Wedding stationery is the first glimpse most of your guests will have of your wedding. Not only does it relay the important details, such as the wedding date, time, and venue, it also clues them in to what the day itself will be like. A good wedding invitation will communicate the formality of the event, and through materials, embellishments, and the design itself, you’ll share SO much about you and your partner’s love story and wedding vibe.
In this blog, I’ll take you through the wedding stationery process from start to finish, providing insight on how to find the right stationer for your budget and aesthetic, to tips on when to send everything out. Consider this your one stop shop for all info regarding wedding stationery and calligraphy.
Wedding stationery provides your guests with a great visual first impression of your big day and it can serve as a lasting keepsake that they’ll remember the day by. From save the dates to on- the- day programs, paper goods will guide your loved ones to your wedding day and keep them informed on the day itself.
When it comes to choosing between options for your stationery, there are several options to explore. The differences largely lie in client experience, quality of design, and quality of materials, embellishment options, and then price. Keep an open mind when you’re exploring the options, as you’ll want to find what works best for you and your partner and your budget.
Custom stationery design is a high-end experience, where you work one-on-one with a stationer to create paper goods specifically for you and your event. With custom, every detail is tailored to you, and stationers will propose a theme and materials based on your aesthetic and budget. When you’re working with an individual designer or small business on these kinds of invitations, you have the opportunity to collaborate, talk through your every design wish, and really work towards a unique, totally bespoke piece that represents who you and your partner are.
View the custom stationery process as a blank canvas, where you can personalise and create anything you would like. Because of the extensive amount of time that goes into designing, sourcing, and finishing custom stationery, it is decidedly the most expensive option for wedding invitations, commonly ranging between £1,000+, depending on the designer, amount of invitations and scope of the project. It is an investment in high quality material and design, with luxury paper and printing methods and limitless embellishment. You may work with your stationer on letter pressed invitations, engraved designs, invitations with a vintage look. Along with the exceptional quality of work, you’re also investing in a stationer’s expertise and heir advice along the way. Designers often need 10–15 weeks to complete custom stationery, from initial sketches to delivery. These stationers sometimes book months in advance, so research and enquire as early as you can.
Semi Custom Stationery
If you love the idea of custom stationery, but the price is making you panic, semi-custom invitations may work best for you. Some custom stationery designers offer curated collections of semi-custom collections. These invitations are predesigned, but highly customisable, and come with the knowledge and experience of a designer. The options available and embellishments are usually the same or similar to those of totally customisable stationery so you are almost receiving the same experience, just at a more comfortable cost. Semi-custom invitations usually range from around £500, depending on the size of your project, design and how many items you’ll need.
Online Printing Services
These kinds of invitations work great for couples on tighter budgets, and there are a number of retailers that sell these kinds of invitations online. The cost of mass-market stationery often ranges from £75, depending on the size of your order and which retailer you choose. The turnaround will be much faster than bespoke invitations and stationery and you can receive your order in as little as a few days. However in exchange for a lower price and a quicker turnaround time the quality, customisation options and client experience can be limited. Customisations are usually limited to names, dates, locations and sometimes fonts. Printing methods, paper choices and changes to design are usually limited.
Some e-commerce sites do provide a few rounds of edits, but overall your personalisation options will usually be limited in comparison to having a more bespoke service.
How to choose a Stationer
Deciding between custom, semi-custom, and online stationery often comes down to what you value and prioritise the most. However, the formality of the event and overall budget of your wedding should also help provide a plan for stationery. If you’re hosting a black tie destination wedding weekend in the lakes, online order stationery will probably not be able to properly communicate what your guests should expect. Plus destination weddings typically have intense, weekend itineraries that require a lot more communication than traditional invitations can convey
Consider what works best for you and your partner in the grand scheme of things and plan accordingly. Once you’ve decided which general direction best fits your needs, it’s time to choose a specific stationer or retailer. Consider the atmosphere and feeling you want on your wedding day, and find a stationer that matches the tone that you’re looking to achieve. If you’re dreaming of handmade paper, look for a stationer who is experienced in working with that material, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google are all great places to find suppliers that fit your style. If you are using a wedding planner or have friends who have been married recently – ask for recommendations! Once you have narrowed down your choices to a few vendors, enquire with them to receive a quote. If you’re ordering custom, the designer may want to schedule a phone call or ask you a few questions to get to know you better before putting options together. When you receive a quote and see what they can offer, consider if their process, pricing, and availability fits your needs, and feel free to ask them questions! When you’re confident that a supplier is the one that will bring your stationery dreams to life, book them! Some stationers can book up to 12 months in advance – so if you’ve found someone great, leave a deposit, sign the contracts and get them booked!
It’s not always easy to know when to send out all of that wedding communication, so I’m here to help with my handy stationery timeline.
Save the date cards
These announce your wedding date and are a great first glimpse into the plans you have for your wedding style. Your save the dates are a practical way to have your guests add your wedding into their diary to make sure they don’t get booked up. You should send your save the date cards at least 6 months before the wedding. You don’t need to give away a lot of information at this point, you simply need to let your guests know the date and the vague location ie- the town or region.
It’s time to send out your invitations around 6 months before the wedding. Use your invitations to give your guests all of the information they will need in order to make it on your big day! At this point you’ll have your venue, theme and colours locked in and its time to share this information with your guests. You can also include handy RSVP cards to make it as easy as possible for your guests to let you know whether or not they are able to join you at your wedding.
On the day wedding stationery
Finalise all of the day stationery such as order of service, place cards, menus and your table plan 1-2 months before your wedding day. Coordinated stationery creates a real wow factor, so keep the same design and fonts throughout all of your stationery.
Thank you cards
After the high of your wedding and the high of your honeymoon, it’s easy to forget this final element of your stationery. Sending wedding thank you cards is an important step in making your friends and family feel appreciated. Send out your thank you cards within 1-2 months after your wedding day. You may wish to send them earlier, however lots of couples like to choose a professional photograph from their wedding album for their thank you cards and so like to wait. You should send a wedding thank you card to everyone who attended your wedding, anyone who sent you a card or present and any suppliers who did an amazing job too.