Navigating your way through the world of wedding planning is a tricky task, but with a little guidance there's no need to be overwhelmed.
There's so much to consider when it comes to your wedding invitations:
Do I need to send out save the date cards?
When do I send my wedding invitations?
What information do I need to include with my wedding invites?
When should I order my table plan?
Take it all in, enjoy yourself and let us guide you through our top tips for organising your wedding stationery.
When Should I Order My Wedding Stationery?
Save The Dates - 12-18 Months Before
When it comes to save the date cards, opinions are mixed. Some would suggest sending them out to your guests at least 6 months before the wedding. Personally I disagree.
If there's only 6 months left before your big day, there's no point sending a save the date. Just go straight to the invitations.
Remember the key purpose of a save the date card
Booking your date and venue will be one of the first things you do. The finer details of the wedding will become clearer in the 6-12 months before your date. With nothing but the date and venue arranged, the save the date cards will allow your friends and family to pencil you in.
Invitations - 6-12 Months Before
We'd recommend having your invitations ready to send out at least 6 months before your date. This will ensure your guests are able to make arrangements for the day, book accommodation and choose an outfit.
If you've already sent save the date cards, sending your invites 6 months before the wedding would be perfect. Your guests will have already booked the time off work, ensured they're not on holiday and made any necessary arrangements for pets or childcare. If, on the other hand, you've opted not to send a save the date prior to the wedding invites, the more time you give your guests the better.
On The Day Items (non-guest specific)
Non-guest specific on the day items refers to wedding stationery you would be ordering regardless of how the guest list looked - for example menus, order of service booklets, a welcome sign or table name cards. For these items, I'd recommend ordering them as soon as you can.
Once you have a clear idea of what readings you're including in your service, purchase your order of service booklets. Once you've made a decision on your table names, order your table name cards. The sooner you organise these items, the quicker you can tick something off your to-do list and the more effectively you can spread the costs.
On The Day Items (guest specific)
In the past, I've seen the guest list change due to illness, break ups and even a groom falling out with his best man on the stag do (I did not ask questions).
Last minute changes are an inevitable part of weddings, so you want to ensure you leave guest specific wedding stationery as late as possible. I'd advise ordering your table plan and place cards one month before your wedding.
Thank You Cards
When it comes to thank you cards there's two types of couples that always stand out for me:
Your thank you cards are handwritten, signed and sealed before the wedding, ready to send out before the confetti has even settled.
It's your 2nd wedding anniversary and your toaster has just broken. This reminds you that never thanked your aunty for the toaster, so it's time to arrange your thank you cards.
I am exaggerating of course, but my point is, with thank you cards, there's no right time to send them out (within reason - 2 years is a bit much).
If I had to give a definite timescale, I would say 2-8 weeks after the wedding.
Do I Need To Send Out Save The Date Cards?
No you don't need to send out save the date cards. As detailed above, save the dates serve the purpose of locking down your friends and family on a specific day, whilst the remaining wedding details are yet to be be confirmed. Don't feel that this is a wedding tradition you should definitely follow.
Astonishingly many popular venues in the UK now have a 2-3 year waiting list. If you've reserved a date a few years in advance, it's highly unlikely that you'll know the start time, the accommodation options, the menu and the 'RSVP by' date. It would however be beneficial to you, not to mention courteous to your guests to send out a save the date 12-18 months before to give them a heads up to keep the day free.
If you're getting married within a year and have a clear idea of how the day will unfold, just skip straight to the invitations.
What Do I Need To Include With My Invitations?
In a previous article we detailed the information and items you should include on the invitations themselves, so here we'll discuss the extra info cards you might like to include with your invitations.
Répondez S'il Vous Plaît - quite simply 'respond please' in French
The key to a good RSVP is to make the return as easy as possible for your guests.
Postcard RSVP card: All your guests will need to do is fill in the blanks, affix a stamp and send. Your address will be printed on the right, with the return information on the left. You can even affix the stamp for them.
Return slip & envelope RSVP cards: Have your guests fill in the card, slip it in the envelope and pop it in the post. We can even print your address on the return envelope.
Crucially, you want to know if they will be at your wedding or not, but an RSVP card can ask a few other important questions:
Choose your meal for the day
Request a song that will get you dancing
Do you need transport for the evening reception
Would you like us to reserve a room
Will you be bringing a plus one
I'd always suggest including a deadline for your guests to reply and given the recent pandemic, asking them for a contact number or email could be quite useful.
In my opinion, one of the best parts of planning a wedding is menu tasting and one the best parts of attending a wedding is the food!
Your menu insert card will usually detail the different options for each course (normally 2-3 per course) and you'll ask your guests to make their selections when they RSVP.
Unless you're having a set menu, this is something your caterers will need to know a few weeks before the wedding. However a menu insert card will also give your guests the opportunity to declare any dietary needs, restrictions or allergies. Most caterers will accommodate all dietary requirements.
If you having a lots of guests attending from out of the area, they'll need somewhere to stay. An accommodations card will list all the nearby hotels, B&Bs and guest houses.
With each option listed, it would be a nice touch to mention the following information:
The hotel star rating
A brief description
Distance to the venue
Contact information (website and telephone number)
If you've made a block booking at a specific hotel, you can guide your guests on where to stay, preferential rates and any references they may need to state, to make their booking as part of the wedding party.
Wishing Well Card
'Ask for money card', 'poem card', 'wishing well', 'registry information' - no matter what you call it, asking your friends and family for gifts and money is always the most awkward aspect of your wedding invitations (in my opinion).
Fortunately there's a wide selection of euphemistic poems online that allow you to carefully tiptoe around the tradition with minimal discomfort, for example:
If you were thinking of giving a gift to help us on our way.
A gift of cash towards our house would really make our day.
However, if you prefer a gift, feel free to surprise us in your own special way.
If finding a gift is hard to do,
Perhaps our wishing well is for you.
A gift of money is placed in the well.
Then make a wish… but do not tell.
If, however, a gift you’d prefer to find.
Be assured we will not mind.
Wishing well cards will typically be a small business card insert. We typically make them in A7 size (105x74mm)
Guest Information Card
Everything listed above can be easily condensed onto an all encompassing guest information card. If you don't have a lot to say on each point, I would highly recommend including it all on one A6 card. We can make them double sided at no extra cost, which will give your invitation sets a clean and concise look, but will also save you money.
Aside from the aforementioned details, other things you might like to add, include:
Children and any venue age restrictions
Your contact information
Local area information - particularly if it's a destination wedding
Venue requests i.e. no confetti, 11.30pm curfew
Local taxi numbers
When Should I Ask My Guests To RSVP By?
Your venue and your caterer will usually have a specific date required for you to supply them with an attendance list and menu selections. This will usually be a few weeks before the wedding. With this in mind, you should ask your guests to reply to you 2-4 weeks before this deadline - if time permits.
It's very likely you'll have some guests that forget to reply, so you'll need to allow enough time to chase them up before submitting your numbers to the venue.
If you have any questions about wedding stationery, please do get in touch, we'll be happy to advise email@example.com