If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I love paper! I firmly believe that the paper items are the thread that ties all your details together and makes your wedding feel cohesive and fabulous.
Over the next few days, I will be featuring interviews with some of my favorite Columbus stationers. It should come as no surprise that I think a good stationer is worth their weight in gold. They will help you wade through the numerous paper items available for your wedding as well as guide you through the minefield of etiquette issues.
Before that, I thought I would share the basics on all the fun things that these wonderful pros can help you with – buckle up, this is a long list!
Paper: Before the Big Day
Save The Dates – even after the million or so phone calls, emails and posts on Facebook, there are probably still a few people that don’t know about your engagement. Save the Dates are a great way to spread the word and make sure that your guests know when and where your wedding is going to take place so they can start making plans to attend. They are sent out 6 to 12 months before the wedding and at the very least should include your names, your wedding date and your wedding website address, if you have one. Save the Dates don’t have to match the rest of your paper items – in fact they probably won’t since they are generally selected way before anything else.
Wedding Invitations – Your wedding invitation will set the tone and feel for your wedding well before your wedding day. It will give your guests an idea of what to expect on that day as well as how to dress. There are a million different styles of invitations which can be overwhelming – take your time and find one you love that really speaks to you and that you can build the rest of your paper suite around. The invitation should be sent out 8 weeks prior to the wedding so make sure to allow enough time to order and address them.
Reception Card – This insert lets your guests know the time and location of your reception. If your reception is immediately following your ceremony in the same place, you don’t really need this card – a simple line in the corner of the invitation stating that the reception will immediately follow the ceremony will suffice.
Response Card – A small card or postcard included in the invitation that your guests fill out and return to you in the stamped envelope that you provide. This is also where your guests would indicate their menu selection if you are offering a choice. You will include a date that the RSVPs should be returned by – set it about 2 weeks before your wedding so that you have time to track down those guests who ignore that date and leave you guessing. Also, even though there is a line on the card for your guests to write their name on, someone will forget – leaving you to try and figure out who actually sent that card! If you put a small number on the back of each RSVP card or envelope, you can figure out who sent the RSVP even if they forget to include their name.
Map Card – An insert to help your guests get around during your wedding weekend. This card can also include information about your hotel guest room blocks as well as the address of your wedding website.
A note about the registry cards that stores hand out – NEVER, NEVER, NEVER include them in your invitation. Period. Don’t put any information about your registries on your map card insert either – you can put the information on your wedding website and include that address but that is it. Seriously, toss those little cards out as soon as you get home because they are just tacky – I don’t use that word lightly but it applies here.
Paper for the Big Day
Programs – Programs vary in size and shape and can be as simple as a single card or as complex as a multi-page booklet. They usually include the names of the parents and bridal party and the order of ceremony as well as a note from the couple. Including information about your cultural and religious traditions would be nice for guests who might not be familiar with them.
Escort Cards/Place Cards – Although, these terms are often used interchangably, they are actually very different things. Traditionally, an escort card tells your guests what table they are to be seated at while a place card assigns your guests to a specific seat. Unless you are having a very small wedding, you will probably not be assigning seats so you would really only need escort cards. Also used to indicate menu selection for each guests if you gave your guests a choice on their RSVP cards.
Menus – Either one per table or one per guest, they give your guests an idea of what treats you have in store for them. Especially helpful for guests if you are having stations rather than a plated meal.
Whew. Still with me? Lots of paper goes into a wedding, huh? I haven’t even touched on Table Numbers/Names, Favor Tags, Bar Signs, Thank You Cards, Rehearsal Dinner Invitations, Bachelorette Party Invitations, Bridal Shower Invitations – the list goes on and on and on and it should all tie together into a fabulous, cohesive package that defines your wedding.
I hope that this has been helpful. Watch for my chats with 4 fabulous Columbus area stationers each day this week starting with my chat with Jenny from Seedlings tomorrow.