So you're engaged, congrats!
Now begins the fun (and maybe a wee bit of stress) of planning your big day. The world of wedding stationery can be overwhelming, but don't fret! We've put together a handy checklist of all things paper to help you and your other half decide which parts are essential, and which optional extras you'd like to have. It will also help you stay on track with your budget and time constraints. We've colour coded them by how important we think they are, so red for the essentials, amber for the most popular optional extras and green for the extras that are fun but not necessary.
- SAVE THE DATE - Usually a simple postcard, these are sent out around 6-8 months before your wedding, or as soon as you've set a date, and simply include your names, the date and possibly the town or area your wedding will be held. These are especially useful for friends and family living in far-flung locations so they can book time off work, flights and hotels in plenty of time.
- THE INVITATION - This can be as elaborate or basic as you wish, but if you want your guests to turn up, chances are you will need to send them an invitation. These should be sent out around 6-12 weeks before the big day. You may wish to state the names of who is invited, so people are totally clear about whether or not to bring their partner and/or kids.
- DETAILS CARD - If you have a lot of information to give your guests, it's a good idea to include a separate card. This keeps the design of the main invitation simple and elegant, and 'stick-on-the-fridge' worthy. Here, you can give directions to your venue, details of local hotels and taxi numbers, your gift registry number and anything else relevant.
- R.S.V.P. - Traditional invitations include a card to be posted back with confirmation or regret. If you prefer to go minimal, lose the card but do ensure you provide contact details for guests to reply to. It's advisable to give a deadline for guests to respond by too, so that you can confirm numbers with the venue and start working on your seating plan!
- TRIMMINGS - These are definitely not essential, but there are lots of exciting options to make your invitation stand out. Add ribbon, twine, or a personalised wax seal for a luxurious touch!
For The Day
- ORDER OF SERVICE - Common in traditional and religious ceremonies, these can be given one per guest or one per couple and include the order of your wedding service, plus songs and readings. A more contemporary option is to have a board at the arrival point giving guests a timeline for the day.
- TABLE PLAN - By this point you will have had all your replies and can construct a carefully planned seating chart. This goes at the entrance to the reception and makes sure guests can find their assigned seat, and no one ends up next to their ex-husband, employer, arch enemy etc.
- PLACE NAMES - Same as above, but these are the specific names at the respective places on the table.
- TABLE NUMBERS (OR NAMES) - Fairly self explanatory, these go on a stand in the middle of each table. Give guests a talking point with creative table names; something personal to you as a couple like cities you've visited together or your favourite bands or restaurants.
- MENUS - Essential if you are giving a choice, but otherwise optional. There is no need to give one per guest, 2 or 3 per table is plenty. Make sure you find out in advance about who is veggie, and any allergies or special diets!
- SIGNAGE - If well designed, these can add to the overall aesthetic of your event and can be used as a welcome message or to direct your guests to the dance floor, cake, photo booth, etc.
After the wedding
- THANK YOU CARDS - We are going with essential on this one, a swift way to irk Aunty Margaret is to forget to thank her for the exquisite floral tea set that you'll probably never use... Joking aside, people have probably travelled far and wide and used up precious holidays off work to join in with your celebrations so we recommend sending these out within a couple of months.