It’s time for some practical advice from Project Pretty. We’re going to run you through a list of the most basic essentials for any wedding in terms of stationery. We’ll also suggest a good time to prepare and send out some of the items like your invitations. Of course, there are countless types of stationery you could want, including invites to your engagement party or bridal shower but today, we’re going to focus on the actual wedding itself.
Here’s our stationery essentials list, in order of when you should be sending or giving them out!
Save the Date cards
It’s usually the case that you’ll send out Save the Date cards as soon as you and your partner have decided on a date. However, the general rule of thumb is that you should allow about 8–12 months before your wedding to give guests time to organise themselves. If it’s a summer or Christmas wedding, perhaps leave a little longer so that people aren’t booking holidays on your big day! It's also important to consider your guest list carefully before sending out save the dates. Only send them to people that you are actually going to invite to the wedding, because once they receive a save-the-date, you're obligated to send them a wedding invitation too!
Obviously, the Save the Date will have secured a date to your guests and it’s almost like an invitation in itself. However, the wedding invitation is the exciting part. This is when it's really official and everyone can start looking forward to the event! We recommend sending these around 3-4 months before your big day. Perhaps give yourself an extra month if your wedding is during a popular holiday season like we mentioned earlier.
These can be included in the envelope with your invitations so that your guests can start responding straight away. You’ll need to include a ‘reply by’ date, so we’d suggest asking your guests to respond about a month before the wedding. Then, that window will give you time to chase up any non-responders and get a head count.
Guest information cards
Guest information cards are entirely optional but we think they make your guests feel more included and prepared for your wedding. Here, you can include details such as the time to arrive, directions to the venue, any accommodation available and where they can find your gift list (if you have one). The invitations, RSVPs and guest information cards can all be neatly packed together with a belly band.
Order of the Day
You’ll want these to be handed out to your guests as they arrive at your ceremony or reception on the big day. This will be helpful to all your guests including those who are only attending the reception. On your Order of the Day cards, you should detail a brief summary of the day overall starting from the ceremony. You could also include a brief Order of the Service but if you want a more detailed card for this, check out our next point. Be sure to include a list of the speeches and the names of everyone in your wedding party.
Order of the Service
Of course, these cards will only be relevant to those who are attending the actual wedding service. You could give these out to your guests as they enter or simply leave them on each individual seat for them to pick up as they sit down. Your order of service will simply list what is going to happen during the ceremony so you might want to liaise with the church or registrar’s office to ensure you’ve got all the details and times right.
Your seating plan is likely to be displayed outside the reception room for your guests to make a note of as they enter for the meal or drinks. You’ll hand it over to the venue before your wedding so they are prepared. Remember, seating arrangements can be a really fun part of planning your wedding! Checking with your parents which family members can sit together or not can certainly bring up some funny memories and stories.
These should also be handed over to the venue before or earlier on your big day. Place cards are quite self-explanatory but basically, you’ll need one each for your guests so they can find their seats and if you desire, one each for the wedding party.
Now, we’ve put this one quite far down on the list because generally, you won’t be eating until later on in the day anyway. There are a few options to decide on here and it will all depend on the way you’ve planned your wedding. If your venue is offering a meal but needs orders to be pre-decided then it’s worth sending out menu cards with your invitations and guest information. You can request menu choices at the same time as RSVPs. Otherwise, you can place menu cards on the tables.
Thank you cards
There are two types of thank you cards that you might want to give out. Firstly, you may wish to give thank you cards to your wedding party once you’ve finished your bridal speech. Secondly, you might like to send thank you cards to your guests after the wedding to show your appreciation for their company. Either way, it’s definitely something that is worth preparing well in advance of your big day so you won’t be stressing that you’ve forgotten them!
Check out our range of invitations, order of service cards, seating plans and more. We’re pretty sure you’ll find something you adore!