An Introduction to All Things Stationery with Olive & Millicent
So you're engaged (congratulations!) and have secured your dream venue. It may feel like you've suddenly been launched into unfamiliar territory, with so many different suppliers to contact, and options to consider. All of the new decisions may be overwhelming and it's completely understandable if stationery isn't at the top of your wedding to-do list, so here's a handy guide to help make it easier for you.
What do you need?
Save the Dates
Save the Dates are certainly not a necessity but if you've booked your venue over a year in advance it can be nice to send them out to guests if you have the budget for them. If you're getting married locally and most of your guests live nearby, you won't necessarily need them but they can be very handy for anyone booking a destination wedding, or if your guests will need to travel.
When to send them out: As soon as you've booked your wedding, or up to a year before.
Your invitations are arguably the most important stationery item you'll have to consider. Not only do they provide your guests with the all-important details, but they also offer a first glimpse of your wedding. It's important to think about whether you want additional cards to provide further details and for them to RSVP, or if your guests are tech-savvy, you could have your invitation include a link to your wedding website. Your stationery really does set the tone for your day, so it's always a good idea to consider your colour palette and any other themes that might run through your wedding. I always love adding personal touches to stationery. These can be anything from custom florals that match your bouquet, to an illustration of your venue or illustrated map of the area!
When to send them out: Usually around 3-6 months before the wedding but can be sent sooner if you're not sending save the dates.
Top tip: Make sure you allow your guests at least 4 weeks to RSVP! And if you're unsure of what date to put as the deadline, speak to your venue and find out when they need to know your numbers.
Order of Service
Every wedding day is different, so you may not need a formal order of service but it's definitely something you'll need to consider if you're having a religious ceremony. Your order of service will usually include any music being played, hymns/songs being sung (along with lyrics), any readings being read and some couples even like to include a list of their wedding party.
If you're having a sit-down meal with speeches, you'll need to consider a seating plan to avoid any mayhem on the day. This can come in many forms, whether it be something large that is displayed on an easel, separate cards framed or hung, or even escort cards – you really can get creative.
Table Numbers/Names and Place Cards
Pretty self explanatory but it's always handy to number or name your tables, and include place cards so your guests can find their seat. Some couples like to add a personal touch and name their tables after something important to them, e.g. places they've lived or travelled together, or even their favourite books. It's the little details that will help tie everything together and ensure that your wedding is totally unique.
Menus Whether you want one per person or one per table, it's always nice for your guests to know what they're going to be eating on the day!
Signage If you're going all out with your décor, you may also want to include some signage! I love designing welcome signs for couples but it doesn't have to stop there. Some couples like to have signs with an order of the day, or cocktail menus. There really are countless opportunities for you to get creative!
Thank You Cards Thank you cards will probably be the very last thing you order, but it's really important not to leave it too late to send them out. Whether you include a photo from the day, or have something that ties in with your invitations, your guests will love to receive something from you as a token of your appreciation.
When to Order?
Most stationers will book up weeks or even months in advance, so there's no guarantee that you'll be able to secure your design slot straight away. If stationery is important to you and you're wanting something a little more bespoke, I highly recommend starting your search as soon as you've secured your date so you can get some quotes back from your favourite designers and understand their process and lead times. Everyone's lead times will be different but to give you an idea, I allow up to 4 weeks for a house collection design, up to 6 weeks for semi-custom and between 8-10 weeks for anything bespoke. For any day stationery, I'll usually get this booked in around 8 weeks before your wedding, just so there's no last minute stress.
How Much Will It Cost?
Pricing for save the dates and invitations will vary depending on a number of factors. To give you an idea of how much it can vary, some couples will spend between £100-300 on house collection invitations with me, while some bespoke couples will spend over £1000.
Factors to consider that will impact cost include: size, quantity, type of envelopes, whether you're having a house collection design or something bespoke, whether you're having any special finishes such as calligraphy addressing, wax seals or foil printing – the list goes on but I'm sure you get the idea.
When working out your stationery budget, don't forget to consider how much it might cost you to post them to your guests. And if you are thinking of having bulkier extras such as wax seals or silk ribbon, they may be need to be classed as a 'large letter' at the Post Office.
If you're wanting some day stationery items, it's always a good idea to ask for some rough pricing when you're getting a quote for your invitations – even if you're not sure about the finer details, you'll at least know what's possible and whether you might need to increase your budget.
Hopefully that gives you a bit of a guidance, so you can kickstart your planning and start thinking about your wedding stationery.