Wedding Ceremony Programs that were part of a stationery suite by Holland Designs that included invitations with inserts, custom favor labels, escort cards, and thank you cards.
Photo courtesy of The Artist Group.

The Planner says:

Invitations by Carlson Craft Photo courtesy of Jenifer Rutherford Photography
Invitations by Carlson Craft
Photo courtesy of Jenifer Rutherford Photography

Wedding Stationery includes anything that’s printed on behalf of the event beginning with Save the Dates all the way through Thank You Cards.   These are the first items that wedding guests will receive and it sets the tone for the entire event.  Just remember that there’s no 2nd chance to make a good 1st impression.

Event stationery is available from a wide variety of sources at an even wider variety of prices.   PLANNING NOTE 1:  No matter the source (online, stationery store, custom graphic designer) always get a proof before the final printing.  Check the details (date, time, location) and spelling (try reading it backwards) before giving final approval.

You can keep it simple with just an invitation with RSVP card and SASE envelope or go a little more complex with a full suite in a pocket fold with inserts for directions, accommodations, rehearsal dinner, etc.  Whatever you choose make sure it fits the overall feel that you want to convey for the wedding.  You should be thinking of event stationery a minimum of 6 months prior to mailing.  This allows plenty of time for design, changes, printing, assembly, envelope stuffing, addressing, and mailing.  See the guest blog post by Abbey Malcolm  “What Brides Should Know Before Meeting with the Stationer.”

PLANNING NOTE 2:  Do you know the difference between an escort card and a place card?  An escort card “escorts” you to your table i.e. “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith   Table 5”   A place card shows you your seat or “place” at that table.  Most weddings don’t use place cards.

Alison and Austen’s Wedding invitation. Envelope is lined with contrasting bubbles. Address wrap used on the envelope.  Suite designed, printed and assembled by Abbey Malcolm of Abbey Malcom Press

The Mother of the Bride says:

Alison and I were on the same page.  We both wanted letterpress.  Fortunately Abbey Malcolm Press had the ability to work with me on a rush order.  During the time that Alison and I were working with Abbey she and Austen were working on (a) securing a venue for the ceremony and (b) the guest list.    They had been working on both since early September but now it was time to get serious.  Their limit was 150 guests.  Austen would give me names like “Danny Boy” and “Cousin Joe” and “Bubba.”   This drove me nuts.  Eventually I got the correct names and they secured a church for the ceremony.  Not their first choice but they were happy.

The design included a Envelopments Pocket Card with the invitation affixed to the front and the inserts for Accomodations, Private Dinner and Party tiered in the back along with the RSVP card and SASE.
The design included an Envelopments Pocket Card with the invitation affixed to the front and the inserts for Accommodations, Private Dinner and Party tiered in the back along with the RSVP card and SASE.

Next up was the design.  Alison and I had two totally different visions for the invitation design.  Originally she wanted Art Deco, however, I didn’t like any of the initial designs she showed and by the time she showed me designs I liked it was too late.  Doing more research online (this time a good thing) she found a bubble design that we both liked and we emailed some samples to Abbey who then created three different versions and emailed them to us to view.  Once Alison picked the one she liked we started to work on the wording for each piece.  We had five pieces including the RSVP.  Alison and I went to Abbey’s studio to finalize the design and the wording, choose the overall size and type of invitation, style the inserts, and then choose the paper, fonts and ink color.  You would think this would be the easy part, however, it was exhausting. So many on the spot decisions.  The results were AMAZING!  Happy bride and MoB!  The design was used on everything – custom postage, invitations, inserts, menus,  hotel gift bag labels, door tags, favor labels, and thank you notes.  Abbey created a monogram for them that was used on their thank you notes and was made into a gobo for the party.   We used envelope address wraps for the invitations that Abbey created from the guest list that we sent to her in EXCEL format.  Once we went for the initial meeting everything else was done via email.

Nautical Stamp
This was the design for the custom postage for the invitations and the RSVP envelopes.
The envelope wrap. Tab that wraps around to the back of the envelope has the return address.  Font and design matched the invitations.

A note about postage.  To make a long story short the postage for the invitation was originally calculated incorrectly by the post office.  Custom postage stamps were ordered based on the amount given by the postal clerk.  After the error was brought to the Post Master’s attention he agreed to hand cancel each invitation and send them out through his post office.  If any came back he offered to make up the $0.20 difference.   Only one came back for insufficient postage – my son’s!  I put new postage on it and mailed it out again.   PLANNING NOTE 3:  It is highly recommended to take your fully assembled invitation suite to several different post offices before ordering custom postage and check the USPS website for criteria.  When in doubt go with the higher postage.  It will save you time and energy down the road.

PLANNING NOTE 4:  Before inserting the RSVP card with SASE into the main envelope lightly number the back of each card to correspond with each name on your address list  i.e.  1 -Mr. and Mrs. Robert Abbott.  This will help you determine who sent the RSVP card back without their name.  It happens – trust me!

The invitations went out.  Three weeks later Hurricane Sandy hit. We know some RSVPs were lost in the storm not only in the mail but in people’s homes that got flooded before they had an opportunity to RSVP.  Phone calls were made.  We also had several guests that didn’t know that if the invitation is only addressed to Mr. and Mrs. John Smith then the children are not invited.  Austen had to call two families and tell them the kids could come to the ceremony but not the party.  One family came all the way from Hawaii.  Fortunately they had an RV and teenage daughters to babysit!

Letterpress menus with hand calligraphied names acted as place cards for dinner.


We also had Abbey create all the ancillary stationery such as gift bag labels, door tags, menus that acted as place cards (see above) for dinner, resolution cards (see the blog post on Design/Decor), and embossed thank you note cards with custom monogram.


What I Would Do Differently:

I would have trusted my first instinct when I got the amount for the postage. Other than that – nothing.  The stationery was beautiful and really fit the feel of the event which was to CELEBRATE  the newlyweds and the New Year!  Everyone who received it was impressed!  It was worth every penny!!


Alison and Austen with custom lighting for their New Year's Eve celebration.
Alison and Austen with custom lighting for their New Year’s Eve celebration provided by SCE Event Group. Note the custom monogram designed by Abbey Malcolm Press as a gobo light at the party















PLANNING NOTE 5:   If you have a custom monogram made, technically, it should not be used until AFTER the ceremony.  Why?  Because you’re not married yet and your name hasn’t changed until the pronouncement.  Avoid using it on aisle runners and ceremony programs.  Go wild with it for the reception!