Your Complete Guide To Wedding Stationery
Your Complete Guide To Wedding Stationery

Your Complete Guide To Wedding Stationery

Wedding invitations and stationery set the tone for your big day – with save-the-dates often the first glimpse into your wedding and personal style. From the mistakes to avoid to the timings and essential need-to-knows, we asked a range of stationery experts to answer the key questions.

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What are the three most important things to get right with wedding stationery?

“First is quality. You want your stationery to reflect your style so having beautiful paper is essential. We work with warm-white Mohawk paper with a matte eggshell finish – and I’d recommend a thickness of at least 324gsm, but if you want it to look really premium go for 650gsm. Second, design. Take the time to pick out key motifs – these might resonate with you both as a couple or could be inspired by something like the colours from your flowers. A city wedding might suit a minimalist typographic style whereas a festival-themed wedding in the countryside allows you to lean into whimsical florals. Finally, timing. Make sure you get your save-the-dates and invitations out on time to ensure all your loved ones can make it – especially if your wedding is on a bank holiday or if you’re hosting abroad. We typically recommend couples share their save-the-dates around nine to 12 months ahead of their big day and follow up with invitations about six months ahead.” – Molly Park, chief product officer at Papier

“For me, it’s individuality, numbers and information. The look and feel of the save-the-date and invitation sets should convey your personality and the tone of the event you’re planning. Don’t feel you have to conform to any rules. This is your wedding, so make it personal. Then, like any well-run project, having a clear budget will help with decision making. Our consultants can guide you through the variety of options available to you. Finally, it’s easy to lose track of crucial content when caught up in the excitement of designing beautiful stationery. You don’t want to omit timings or the precise location of that secluded hotel, but our team of experts can make sure every little detail is listed.” – Luc Goidadin, creative director at Smythson

When people refer to a wedding stationery 'suite', what are they talking about?

“The stationery suite can refer to the wedding invitation and its envelope, plus any additional pieces that you might be sending along with the invitation, e.g. invitations to events taking place around the main ceremony, an RSVP card with envelope and/or an information sheet. It can also include stationery to be used on the wedding day - orders of service, menu cards, place cards - and not forgetting the thank-you cards. Co-ordinating these items will give your wedding a more coherent feel.” – Ruth Baxter, bespoke stationery operations manager at Smythson

How should couples go about finding the right stationery?

“There’s really something for everyone – the most important thing is to understand your style. Can you describe your wedding in three words? If so, when you’re looking at the stationery, does this fit the description? More broadly, the main styles to know about are foiled designs which have that extra special touch, floral designs, typographic styles, and then a design which has a heavy border.” – Molly

“There are lots of techniques used for wedding stationery, and the right stationery for you will be an ideal synergy of printing technique and design. We specialise in engraved stationery – a traditional form of printing that benefits from exclusive lettering styles, a wide range of paper colours, and hand-crafted finishing methods. Choose your stationer based on what they do best; most have an identifiable house style, so if you see something you love, find out where it came from.” – Ruth

How do you ensure the stationery fits with the style of the wedding?

“Think about whether the wedding is traditional or modern, and also take into account the location, the season and any key colours you plan on using. Are you hosting a New Year’s Eve wedding that’s black tie? That would pair beautifully with a classic gold foiled design with some shimmer and sparkle. If you’re planning a wedding on a beach, something relaxed and colourful might feel more in keeping. For couples who are finding it difficult, I recommend weaving a cohesive colour theme throughout as an effective way to bring everything together.” – Molly

What's the crucial information to include on an invitation?

“Who is getting married, where, and when. The wedding invitation isn’t the time to try and reinvent the wheel with quirky wording or guessing games. It’s wonderful to have a beautiful design to start setting the scene for the event, but it’s first and foremost a means of communication. You don’t want the invitation to leave anyone confused.” – Ruth

What kind of budget should you have in mind for a full stationery suite for a mid-size wedding?

“At Papier, you’d need to budget between £400 and £600 to cover the invitation, the envelope, the information card, the RSVP card and the RSVP envelope. Anything like place cards or printed menus would be additional costs.” 

“As a guide, the starting price for 100 classic Smythson wedding invitations, with envelopes, is £540. Everything is made to order, so the price is set by the exact specifications of the design chosen.” – Ruth 



How do you know what quantities to order of everything?

“My recommendation would be to add on an additional ten invitations in case some people can’t come and you need to send out others to a wider list. If you have any left over, you can always frame them as a personal keepsake or add them to a memory box or scrapbook. I’d add on at least five to ten menus too, and some blank place cards in case you have any last-minute substitutions or guest changes.” – Molly

“Remember to think households, not headcount, when calculating how many invitations you need. Couples or families can be invited with a single invitation, but you may choose to invite older children or both members of a couple with individual invitations. Consider family members who may be unable to attend but would appreciate the courtesy of receiving the invitation. If you are using a calligrapher, find out in advance what percentage of spare pieces they want you to provide. If you are addressing your own envelopes, do you need to order a larger volume of spares to accommodate potential errors? Ask your stationery consultant for advice to check there aren’t any quantity considerations you might have overlooked.” – Ruth

Are there advantages to just going with an off-the-shelf design?

“The process is a lot quicker than ordering something bespoke and you can be more involved in many ways – having a choice of styles means it’s easier to change your mind if the style of your wedding evolves. A lot of the admin is also automated. For example, at Papier, you can upload a sheet of addresses and print them onto your envelopes, which takes the pressure off at an often busy and stressful time.” – Molly

And what’s good about bespoke?

“The biggest advantage is complete flexibility. A made-to-order suite can accommodate your precise requirements both aesthetically and in the quantity ordered – we don’t have to adhere to pre-defined batch quantities. Many weddings include additional events around the main ceremony, and we can help create the right stationery to support whatever it is that you are planning, with the right wording or language.” – Ruth

Are there any major trends you're seeing in bridal stationery right now?

The enduring popularity of the floral speaks to its versatility as a motif and prominence as part of a wedding. Rather than traditional blowsy blooms, we’re seeing people lean towards delicate and pretty designs inspired by tablescapes on Instagram. At the same time, we’re seeing couples go for less colour, particularly for weddings hosted at a town hall or for evening weddings. Country weddings still love a green colour palette, and finally it seems as though boho is back. Maybe it’s our current obsession with the 90s, but we’re seeing a lot of sophisticated reimaginations of the classics.” – Molly  

“I’d just add that we’re seeing more couples feeling confident enough to order designs that they enjoy, and that make sense for their wedding. Visually, these designs don’t have a lot in common with each other, but as a stationer it’s very satisfying to know that each couple created something that expressed their combined vision for their wedding beyond practicalities.” – Ruth

Any common mistakes you see couples make?

“Lots of couples don’t order samples – we’d recommend creating your design and ordering it so you can touch and feel it in person. Also, spelling mistakes. It’s such a simple one but I’d recommend typing out your menu and invitation copy – anything you’re writing actually – into a Microsoft Word document and running a spell check. You don’t want to have to reprint designs because you spelt your name incorrectly – it happens more often than you’d think.” – Molly

Finally, what should brides know before ordering stationery?

“Before you order any stationery, think about the wedding overall, not just the ceremony invitation. It’s not obligatory to order items that coordinate, but it’s good to consider how design elements might harmonise with each other and with the wedding theme – before you even order the first piece.” – Ruth

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