Wedding Stationery Checklist: All the Paper Items You'll Need for the Big Day
There are many paper items involved in wedding planning! Get a Wedding Stationery Checklist to get a handle on all your wedding paper goods!
Wedding stationery sets the tone for your wedding day and is an essential part of the aesthetics. Wedding Stationery incorporates all the paper goods that will be used throughout your wedding planning and day, such as invitations, signage, menus, seating charts, and more!
One could say that the wedding paper goods put the bow on the wedding details. The items on a wedding stationery checklist can be extensive– but they certainly don’t have to be. Choose the items that are truly required and consider skipping or finding alternatives for items that you don’t deem necessary.
The cost of stationery can slip couples’ minds as they budget for a wedding. DIY can be fun, but life can get in the way. When planning a wedding, life can seem busier than ever, so you may find it more convenient to design and purchase stationery from online websites. It will save time and stress from building up over the course of your engagement season!
We’ve put together a handy stationery checklist to help determine which pieces of pretty printed paper you want to include in your wedding. Below is a list of every wedding stationery piece you could ever need or want, along with a how-to guide for designing and/or purchasing!
Before the Wedding
Let’s start with some pre-wedding stationery pieces.
Save the Dates
Save-the-dates are a courtesy gesture for guests. If it’s a destination wedding, during the holidays, or during the school year time, save-the-dates may be necessary to give guests ample time to plan travel and accommodations. Save-the-dates should go out six to eight months before the wedding day. Guests also have time to request work off with plenty of time to plan. Generally, a save-the-date has the date and location of the wedding. The invitations with RSVPs are sent later, giving the guests time to decide if they will make the wedding.
Bridal Shower Invites + Signs
Bridal showers honor the bride-to-be, and typically those who are within driving distance will attend this event! Four-six weeks in advance should allow those to plan and mark out time in their busy schedules to be a part of the day. Skip the postage and send the bridal shower invites via email. You can use websites like Greenvelope, Evite, or Paperless Post or purchase from an online printable design store like Zazzle or Etsy.
Bridesmaids Proposal Cards
Throughout the past few years, bridesmaid proposals have become over the top, costing a good amount of money. Although they are a fun way to ask, they are not necessary! Your bridesmaids will say yes whether they have a box of gifts or not. Asking your people to stand by your side should happen as soon as possible, at a minimum 6 months in advance to give them time to prepare financially! You can send cards by mail, virtually, or in person with a gift of choice! Etsy is perfect when searching for the best cards to give your bridal party. Alternatively, consider using Canva to design your own on the cheap!
The wedding invitation
Every guest you want present to celebrate the big day receives an invitation. The invitation includes the names of the newlyweds, venue and precise location, date and time, the reception information (if it is being held somewhere else) and RSVP details. Order your invitations as early as possible to avoid unnecessary stress. To allow time for the guests to get their responses in, send invitations 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding date.
Reception cards are not necessary for a wedding. Sometimes couples choose to have reception cards if the reception is at a different location than the ceremony. If that is the case, a reception card including the date, time, location, attire, and an RSVP section could be necessary for the guests. To avoid unnecessary costs, add these details to the primary wedding invitation. If utilizing a reception card, send them out with the invitation 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding.
The wedding RSVP card is mailed with the wedding invitations. Guests return the card to the engaged couple to respond with their intent to attend the wedding. It’s customary for the couple to include a pre-addressed and stamped envelope for the guests to mail in their responses. Alternatively, couples may opt for a digital RSVP option via their wedding website. The deadline to reply is 3 to 4 weeks ahead of the big day to give time for the creation of seating charts and confirming food and beverage headcounts. If there will be a choice of entree, the RSVP card will have space to pick which entree they prefer for the dinner. RSVPs are necessary so you can have an accurate headcount of the guests who will attend!
You should consider sending out a map along with the wedding invitation if your wedding venue is difficult to find, if there are multiple locations, or for a destination wedding in an unfamiliar place! Include the venue, hotels/accommodations, reception location if different, airports for the out-of-town guests, and things to do in the town on the directions/map card for your guests! Alternatively, you could list these details on your wedding website to save on printing costs.
Addressed envelopes are necessary when sending them to guests. The envelope includes the guests’ names with their mailing addresses. If a plus one is invited, add “and guest” next to the recipient’s name on the front of the envelope. Don’t forget to budget for stamps for the outer envelope and the RSVP card envelope!
Day of the Wedding
Programs are not mandatory. They can actually be unnecessary costs for the couple, especially if you’re having a short ceremony. Some programs are a one-page outline of the ceremony times and happenings. Others include further details such as the bridal party lineup, ceremony readings, or personal messages from the couple. Ushers typically give programs to guests at the ceremony upon arrival, or they are placed on the seats in the ceremony space. Wedding programs can help to set the tone for the day and give guests a clear outline of where to be and when. This decision is up to the couple!
The options are endless for seating charts. Some do a champagne wall, standing frame, mirror, chalkboard, etc. A seating chart is necessary if the dinner provided is a sit-down meal for the chefs to know who is receiving what. For a buffet-style dinner, a seating chart may not be as necessary. A seating chart lets the couple choose who sits where, ensuring everyone will have a good time! As guests RSVP to the wedding, the couple can start placing them into the seating chart.
Escort cards and place cards are similar in style but not exactly the same function. Escort cards are often placed near the entrance to a reception space and include a table number with each guests’ name so they know where to sit. A place card is typically displayed in the exact seat in which a guest is meant to sit. If you have a seating chart near your entrance, place cards or escort cards are not necessary. Couples can order printed cards online to save time from sites like The Knot and Etsy, or create your own place cards or escort cards using Canva.
If you’re planning to have assigned seating with a seating chart, then table numbers are also necessary. These number signs help guide the guests to their assigned tables, minimizing confusion with seating arrangements. Print out numbers and display them in beautiful frames that can be repurposed post-wedding for an inexpensive way to create table numbers. Amazon has an abundance of premade options, as well as Target and Wayfair. Check out more creative ideas for table numbers here!
For your guests’ sake, wedding signs are necessary. There are many types of signage for weddings from welcome signs to directional instructions, seating chart guidance, food and bar menu, or even signs to display wedding hashtags for social media. These can be DIY or personalized from websites like Zazzle or VistaPrint. Ease the stress of planning by ordering any signs 4-6 weeks in advance.
Considered a decorative piece for the table, menus are not needed when budgeting for a wedding. However, when providing menus, it is customary to label the first and second courses, entrees, and desserts, as well as any sides that will be served. Some may choose to include a signature drink. Experts recommend ordering menus 4-6 weeks in advance. Browse websites like Etsy and Minted for ideas and products.
After the Wedding
Thank You Cards
Thank you cards are necessary to recognize the people who came and the gifts given to the newlyweds. While time-consuming, it is proper etiquette to show your gratitude to any guests, gift givers, or even your wedding vendors. When writing the thank you card, address each guest by their name, and express thanks for attending and the specific gift given. Thank you cards should be sent within two to four weeks of receiving the gifts if before the wedding and absolutely within a one-year time period if received at the wedding, though the sooner the better so you don’t forget.
When sending thank you cards by mail, addressed envelopes are important and necessary. Include the guests’ names, their addresses, a return address, and a stamp to make sure the cards reach the intended recipients.
We hope this roundup of wedding stationery has guided your planning! Join us in our community to stay up to date on the latest trends, chat about wedding stationery, and more!