So, the location has been decided, the wedding date has been set and the venue booked. You have made your guest list and have had a read of our FAB Guide on how to engage and treat your wedding guests. You are now ready to send out your save the dates but haven’t given any thought on your wedding stationery suite and don’t know where to start. You don’t even know what letterpress means. Well it’s really all ok, because we do! Before we get into wedding invitation styles and defining foreign terms such as “foil stamped”, we thought we would look at what a wedding invitation suite is first. A wedding invitation suite is a set of cards that come along with your invitation to announce, direct or guide guests around various elements of your wedding. Today we will look at what comes in a wedding invitation suite and more importantly, the purpose of the different elements of an invitation suite. We are going to begin this class by dividing the concept of an invitation suite into three separate categories; 1) Pre-Wedding Stationery, 2) Wedding Day Stationery and 3) Post Wedding Stationery. Yes, you read correctly. Categories for wedding stationery. Who knew..

Wedding Invitation SuiteImage by Jose Villa via Once Wed

PRE-WEDDING STATIONERY

ENGAGEMENT PARTY / BRIDAL PARTY INVITATIONS

Our first element to the wedding suite is really feared both towards our American readers and those that are incredible organised and know what style of stationary they want from very early on. In Ireland and the UK, engagement party invitations tend to come in the form of a group text or facebook event, and we don’t really do the bridal party thing at all and the invitations to go to either are really optional luxuries. For our American readers where these parties are generally more formal and traditional, the engagement party or bridal party invitation is a card sent to guests to let them know the date, time and location of your party.

SAVE THE DATE

A Save the Date is a card that is sent to your guests in advance of your official invitation, usually about 6 – 12 months before the wedding is to take place. Save the Dates are particularly important for destination weddings as it gives people plenty of notice to book flights and accommodation and arrange things like childcare. At Fly Away Bride, we feel Save the Dates are important and obviously, if it belongs to a matching suite, all the better but if your wedding budget doesn’t stretch that far there are other ways to get a Save the Date out there. Set up a facebook page and add guests to your wedding page. You could also send out an e-Save the Date or a simple email to guests that you will be inviting. Bottom line; it’s very important to give your guests as much notice as possible if you are planning a destination wedding however you manage to do it.

WEDDING INVITATION

The wedding invitation is a card or set of cards that formally invite your guests to your wedding. This formal invitation should be sent out 6 to 12 weeks in advance of your wedding and should include the names of the couple getting married, details on who will be hosting the wedding, the date, time and location of the ceremony and the reception. We will cover the wording for invitations in a separate post in the next few weeks but information such as the wedding being black tie should be included.

ACCOMMODATION & DIRECTIONS CARD

Most invitations will come with recommended places to stay  and directions on how to get there, particularly if the majority of the guests are not from the local area. It’s important that the name of the hotels or guesthouses are accompanied by their contact details. A matching accommodation & direction card is always lovely and keeps things very elegant but I’ve received plenty of invitations that have been accompanied by a sheet of A4. Again, it comes down to budget and using facebook is a free way to share accommodation details.

RSVP CARD

RSVP Cards are used to encourage guests to respond to your invitation in a timely manner so that you can plan your overall guest numbers appropriately and inform your wedding venue. The RSVP should clearly state the date you require a response by and include a tick box a where guests can accept or decline the invitation. Additional tick boxes may be included if you need to be aware of guest dietary requirements, menu selections or song requests.

TIP; A useful tip is to number your guest list in a spreadsheet and mark their number on the back of the RSVP. That way you will know who the RSVP is from when you receive it back through the mail.

Wedding Invitation Suite

WEDDING DAY STATIONERY

CEREMONY BOOKLET

The ceremony booklet is the little booklet that guests receive on their arrival to the church or ceremony venue. It outlines the order of service and introduces members of the bridal party and those that have a part to play during the ceremony. More often than not, a reflection and thank you note is included in the booklet and guests tend to hold on to them as a keepsake.

ESCORT CARDS

Our American readers will be more familiar with the concept of an escort card but to fill our European and Australian readers in, the escort card is basically a tent card that displays the guests name and the table that they are sitting at. Many couples choose cards that match their stationary and place them on a table on the way into the reception room but we are finding that couples are getting more and more creative, designing and DIYing their own escort cards and making a real feature of their escort card display.

PLACE CARDS

The place card is the tent card that assigns your guest to a particular seat at the table indicated on their escort card. Perfect if you want to have control over who sits where but oftentimes they aren’t really necessary. They are a great way of decorating the table and adding that extra touch of glam but like the escort cards, more and more couples are getting creative with their place cards and straying away from matching them to the rest of their stationery suite.

TABLE CARDS / TABLE NUMBERS

Table cards or numbers are used so that guests can identify the table they are going to be sitting at. I know, rocket science! They are a great way to tie your invitation suite together and whether you choose numbers or a table naming theme, you guests are bound to notice a well designed and pretty table card.

MENU CARDS

Menu cards are pretty self explanatory really! They are simply a description of the menu options that are available to your guests so that they can choose before their waiting staff appear. A beautifully designed menu card placed on each setting is another great way to add a little something extra to your tables and it really takes the blandness away from plain white linen. Alternatively, you can have a few menu cards placed around the centrepiece for guests to share. Most venues will generally provide menu cards but splashing out on matching menu cards that match your invitation suite is a preferable styling alternative if you can afford it.

THANK YOU NOTES

Thank you notes are another lovely option if your budget will stretch to include them. They are simply a personal note of thanks from the bride and groom to their guests for attending their special day. They make a great impression when guests are first seated at their tables but we suggest either going for individual menu cards or thank you cards, not both. IF you opt for the thank you cards, shared menu cards will work better.

SIGNAGE and FAVOURS

Signage for dessert tables, guest book tables and favour tags are obviously optional but another nice way to identify pretty items you want your guests to see and invite them to use or take.

Wedding Invitation Suite

POST-WEDDING STATIONERY

THANK YOU CARDS

These should really be considered as a must have, after all – your guests have travelled a long way, gone to great expense and were probably generous enough to gift you too on you wedding day too so honestly, it’s just simple good manners that they are sent a personal note of thanks afterwards. Thank you cards that match your wedding stationery are really the perfect ending to the perfect wedding and our advice would be that they are better received when hand written. Thank you notes on tables are not an acceptable substitute and the thank you card sent after the wedding should be personal and show appreciation for both their attendance at your wedding and of any gift that they might have given.

Wedding Invitation Suite

Before you start researching styles…

✈ Set a realistic budget for your wedding invitations by evaluating how important first impressions are to you both and prioritise them on your wedding list accordingly. The more of a suite you want, the more expensive it is going to be and be aware that certain printing and invitation styles are going to be more expensive that others. If it looks expensive, it probably is.

✈ Get a handle on your wedding guest numbers before you start researching the perfect wedding invitation. Remember that it’s not going to work out at one invitation per head as you will most likely be inviting families and couple, not guests individually. When you know the number of invitations you need, add another 10-15% to make up your final number. This will cover mistakes and having to send out additional invites at the last minute. Ordering more invitations than you need at the start is far more cost effective than having to order a handful more at the end

CalligraphyImage Betsy Dunlap via Snippet and Ink

✈ Don’t forget the pretty envelope. If you are going to splash out on a beautiful invitation suite, make sure it is delivered in a matching / complimentary envelope. Think colour and a good font. If you don’t have neat handwriting, print out the invitations using a well chosen font. They are readily available and you don’t have to use those that come in word. You can download free fonts from site like Dafont and can purchase some really eye catching ones from the like of Myfont.

Invitation Suite Featured; In Cursive from Love Vs. Design

10 Responses

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    […] should be simple, but once you start you realise what a minefield it is! We’ve talked about wedding stationery suites before, of which Save the Dates are the first hint at the tone and style of your wedding. Because […]

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