Your Guide to Wedding Stationery

guide-to-wedding-stationery

Photo courtesy Rachel Peters.

Before you go buying every pretty note card in sight, you’ll want to figure out just what you’ll be ordering and when. Use your wedding style, theme and budget to guide you through the options and try to keep it consistent with similar colours and themes. To help make the process less stressful, Weddingbells has compiled a step-by-step guide of what you need to know about the paper products you’ll be ordering.

Save-The-Date Cards
When to order: Up to one year in advance.
When to send: Eight to 12 months before the big day.
If you plan on getting married in the summer or tying the knot out of town, it’s best to notify your guests ahead of time so they can save the date for your special day. Save-the-date cards can be sent up to one year in advance. The message inside the card should be brief, note the date and location of your wedding and explain that a formal invitation will be mailed at a later date.

Invitations
When to order: Three to four months in advance.
When to send: Six to eight weeks before the big day.
The invitations are the centrepieces of your wedding stationery suite and will reflect the tone of your big day. Styles range from lavish cards and envelopes printed on heavy stock to simple, eco-friendly designs. Traditionally, a wedding invitation has several pieces: the outer envelope printed with your guest’s address, an unsealed inner envelope that protects and contains the invitation, the invitation itself, the reception card (if your party is held at a different location than the ceremony), printed directions to the ceremony and reception locations and lastly, the RSVP card with an accompanying self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Reply Cards
When to order: Three to four months in advance.
When to send: Inside the invitation, six to eight weeks before the big day.
A traditional reply card informs your guests of the RSVP deadline, and asks them to accept or decline their seat at your wedding. Due to dietary concerns, many reply cards also include menu options so guests can choose their meal preference.

Reception Cards
When to order: Three to four months in advance.
When to send: Inside the invitation, six to eight weeks before the big day.
The reception card informs guests of the location, date and time of the celebration that takes place after your ceremony.

Wedding Programs
When to order: Formal, multi-paged programs should be ordered along with invitations (three to four months in advance). Allow four to six weeks for simple programs with minimal pages.
Your wedding program is an informative guide that features ceremonial details, such as date and location, names of the bridal party, the event timeline and may include favourite excerpts from books or poems recited. The program also serves as a wonderful keepsake and allows you to express your individuality as a couple by including your engagement story or how you first met.

Menu Cards
When to order: Six weeks before the big day.
Menu cards are a relatively modern addition to wedding stationery. They list the courses offered at the reception and the elements of each meal as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink options.

Place Cards
When to order: Six weeks before the big day.
Small cards labelled with each guest’s name informing them where they will be seated at the reception.

Thank-You Cards
When to order: With the invitation, six to eight weeks before the big day.
When to send: Ideally, ASAP for gifts received before the wedding and within one month for gifts received on your wedding day.
The thank-you card expresses your gratitude for having your guests share such a special day with you, as well as for any gifts you may have received. Although you may find this process time-consuming, it’s best not to take shortcuts. Take the time to write a brief, yet personal, handwritten thank you to each guest, noting the gift they gave and how you plan to use it.

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