Your save the date card or wedding invitation is the first indication your guests will get of your chosen wedding style. It doesn’t just provide information about time and place, it also acts as a guide to what to expect on the big day. Therefore you need to take a little time to think about your stationery. Here are some of our top tips to getting it right:
1. Define your wedding style
Before anything else, decide whether you want a classic, super-relaxed, vintage, bohemian, glamorous or ultra-modern wedding – as this will inform your choice of stationery design. You want your stationery style to match the overall look and feel you are aiming for on the big day.
2. Design & colour
You need to be able to give your chosen stationer a starting idea of what you are looking for. Search magazines and the internet for invitation designs you like, that work with your agreed wedding style and start collating an inspiration file. And know the colours that are likely to feature strongly on the day. For instance, ivory, white or cream card, with a black, silver or gold font is an elegant, classic choice whereas a vibrantly coloured, unusually shaped card with metallic font might work for a more bohemian or ultra-modern wedding. A good stationer will be able to work with you to turn these thoughts into a glorious reality.
Don’t leave it too late! Save-the-date cards should go out 6-8 months in advance of the wedding and the actual invitations should be sent out around 12 weeks before. Remember, it can take anything from a few days, to a few weeks (depending on the chosen design) to get these printed, let alone sent off, so don’t leave it until the last minute to get your wedding invitations printed. If you are looking for something unique you will need to factor in extra time for production, so be organised. It is also a good idea to indicate a reply-by date – roughly four weeks after the guests have received the invitation. This gives ample time for guests to reply and then allows you time to finalise numbers with your caterers etc.
4. Card shape and size
Traditionally your invitation card would be rectangular in shape and fly folded, although these days many couples are breaking with tradition and are opting for single cards, often in a variety of shapes and sizes. So whilst nowadays more or less anything goes you are only really limited by your imagination and the capabilities of your stationer. One thing to remember though, if you do pick an unusual design, is that moving away from a standard envelope size will mean additional costs – both for the bespoke envelopes and the possible increase in postage.
5. Get the wording right
Firstly, never ever crowd the card! The invitation should only state the key facts: the host, the name of the bride and groom , ceremony and after party activity date, time and location, dress code (optional) and RSVP information. Anything else should be included on a separate information card that can be popped in the envelope with the invitation. Secondly, make sure the font and colours you choose are legible – dark ink on a light coloured card or light coloured ink on a dark coloured card will provide the best contrast and hence improved legibility. Choice of font is also important and whilst it should reflect your personal taste the more ornate the font the more difficult it will be to read.
6. Considering numbers and costs
The price per invite varies widely. Depending on design it can range from £1 - £100. It totally depends on design, paper quality, colour, ink, typeface and printing process required. Expect to pay far more for the finest paper and printing techniques (such as engraving). An unusual shaped card will also add to your costs. So research your options widely and discuss them in depth with your stationer. When it comes to the number of invitations you should get printed, always, always order more than you need. You never know when you might make a mistake addressing a card, or you might need to send out extra invites at the last minute, or you simply might want to keep some as a keepsake – if you order more at the start, you will save on costs. It is expensive to go back and re-order.
7. Proof your cards CAREFULLY!
Your stationer will send a proof to you, prior to the invitations being printed. Check, check and check this again! It is so easy to miss a tiny mistake – and a very costly error to make. Once your stationer has been given approval to print, there is no going back, unless you re-order. We suggest using a tip from copy editors: using a ruler under each word, read it letter by letter, backwards. Then you are far less likely to skim over a mistake.
8. Ordering your wedding stationery
Our advice is to divide your stationery ordering into two distinct parts concentrating initially on the invitation and any stationery that will accompany it. Think of this as ‘stationery before the day’. Once the invitations are in the post you can turn your attention to ‘stationery on the day,’ which will include Ceremony programmes and all your table stationery, such as menu cards, place-cards, a table plan etc. Yes, amazingly you will probably need all these items! To ensure a cohesive look throughout it is as well to consider all your stationery requirements at the outset. In the unlikely event that you are able to order all your stationery at one time you may benefit from cost savings that can be achieved when all the elements can be worked together.
9. A final thought
You need to weigh your invitations before stamping them – to ensure that you have applied the correct postage. Imagine how embarrassing it would be, not to say expensive and time-consuming, if you had applied insufficient stamps and the invitations were returned to you….or your guests had to pay the difference! And, finally, on a point of postage, if you choose to add a stamp yourself to the the pre-addressed reply cards your guests will have no excuse for not mailing them back to you in double quick time.