Everything you need to know about wedding stationery. Stationery items – i.e., paper goods and anything related – show up at a lot of different places in your wedding, from your first foray into Save the Dates, to your actual Wedding Invitations, to Day-of Details, and finally for your Thank You notes. Here’s an overview of the most common stationery you’ll need for your wedding, from start to finish!
Examples above from Wedding Paper Divas, one of my absolute favorite online wedding invitation stores. Shop here.
Save the Dates
Save the Dates are often the first piece of wedding stationery item you’ll order. Usually, save the dates are sent when you plan to invite a sizeable number of out-of-town guests to your wedding, or if you’re having a destination wedding.
Increasingly, save the dates are sent even for local weddings with local guests, because they’re a great way to announce your engagement. Save the dates are also growing in popularity because they’re a fantastic opportunity to share your shiny, gorgeous engagement photos with your friends and family, and to play around with more fun and whimsical design styles than they feel able to with the more traditional, formal wedding invitations.
Save the Date overview:
- Optional piece of stationery that lets you announce your engagement long before the invitation is sent
- Recommended if you have out-of-town guests or a destination wedding
- Lots of cute and fun options available – a great chance to use your new engagement photos!
- Can be sent anywhere from 4 months before the wedding, up to a year before the wedding.
Wedding Invitations & Accompanying Items
The next stationery item you’ll need to think about are your actual wedding invitations – what most people think of when they think wedding stationery. Wedding invitations are often mailed with related items like response and directions cards. For this reason, we often refer to wedding invitation “sets” or “suites” to denote the whole collection of items sent with the main wedding invitation.
Wedding invitations are usually more formal and conservative than save the dates, but since wedding invitations set the tone for your whole wedding, we think it’s fine to step out of the box and go with something more playful, vintage, or themed. Most of the invitations we feature on this site are unconventional and unique – and that’s why we like them!
Nevertheless, you can get away with only a wedding invitation, as long as you include information about how to RSVP, and make other information such as directions or accommodations (if you need them) available online or put them on the back of your invitation card.
Ceremony & Reception
Here’s where it starts to get a little more complicated – the sky is the limit here! Stationery for the ceremony and reception include everything from wedding programs, to decorations, to menu cards, advice cards and guest books!
You can match all or some of your ceremony and reception stationery to your wedding invitation suites for a consistent design theme, or you can keep them separate – it’s totally up to you and what makes sense for your wedding.
Here’s some of the more common uses of stationery in the ceremony and reception, and advice about each of them:
At the Ceremony: Wedding Programs & Guest Books
Wedding programs are typically handed out to guests at the ceremony, and contain the ceremony program as well as the names of those in the wedding. Wedding programs are another graphic design opportunity to keep the message and feel of your wedding front and center.
If you’re having a large wedding and budget is a concern, you can even skip the individual programs altogether and just create a large board detailing the program for the day.
Guest books are typically notebooks filled with each guest or family’s signatures, maybe with little messages of love and support as well. Guest books are usually available to sign at the entrance to the ceremony, and/or at the reception, where people have more time to sign the book at their leisure.
Alternatives to the traditional guest book include having guests sign a canvas or poster – it can feature designs such as a tree, where each guest writes their name on a leaf. Or, be even more out of the box by having guests sign rocks for a future rock garden, or seashells if you’re having a beach-themed wedding.
At the Reception: Favors and Decoration
Wedding favors & favor stickers
If you want to tie in your wedding favors with your overall wedding design, you might use favor stickers or favor tags. They’re an inexpensive, easy way to ensure that even the smallest detail of your wedding has been attended to and designed to perfection!
Posters are a fun and inexpensive way to spice up your ceremony or reception decor! Popular posters include signs encouraging guests to use the photo booth, or write in the guest book. Humorous posters encouraging guests to “Eat, Drink & Be Married!” or “Keep Calm and Marry On” are also becoming increasingly popular.
Other possibilities for posters include fingerprint trees, or simply designs that tie together your reception decor with the theme of your wedding.
At the Reception: Escort Cards, Table Numbers, Seating Charts and Favor Stickers
If you wish to have assigned seating at your wedding – to have a more formal feel, or to encourage certain guests to get to know each other better – you will need to offer guests assistance in finding their assigned place or table. This is where escort and place cards, table number cards and seating charts come in.
Escort / Place Cards
Escort and place cards are both little cards, one for each guest, that tells the guest where they’re supposed to sit. Escort cards are placed at the entrance to the reception, so guests can find the escort card with their name on it and then navigate to their table.
Place cards, on the other hand, are slightly different, as they are already placed on the assigned of each guest. They may feel slightly more formal, but might also make it harder for guests to find where they are supposed to sit – so we recommend seating charts, so guests can already find their table without wandering around the reception venue.
Table Number Cards
A table number card is a little sign on each table indicating the table number. Numbering tables helps guests find their assigned table and seat. Table number cards can be a cute addition to your reception decor.
Seating charts also guide guests as to where to sit. If you’re using escort cards and table number cards, a seating chart is probably unnecessary. However, if you’re using place cards, a seating chart will help guests find their table and name without having to wander around looking at every place card to find their seat.
After the Wedding: Thank You Cards
Thank you cards are sent out after the wedding as a way to thank guests for sharing in the event, and for any gifts or help they gave. Thank you cards are an etiquette must! They’re also a great opportunity to show off your gorgeous wedding photos as well, with guests who might not otherwise see any.