Before we dive into the components of a wedding stationery set or suite, first we want to mention that no matter when your wedding is, whether in the fall, spring, or summer, you should definitely start working on your wedding planning, and stationery design as soon as possible. Starting early gives you the most options, and reduces stress!
At Laura Hooper Design House your retainer with us on a custom wedding stationery suite is secure and transferable to any rescheduled wedding date, if needed. It’s always best to get started early, and if you need to make any wedding date, or detail changes before going to print, you want to have the groundwork laid out and ready to go.
Your wedding invitation is often the first physical representation of your wedding celebration that your wedding guests receive, so you want to make a beautiful initial first impression to set the tone and overall vibe of your wedding. You’ve seen examples of custom wedding stationery that you love online, and maybe have a general idea of the overall feel you want your wedding stationery suite to exude.
But when should you get started on your wedding invitations, and what pieces go into a wedding invitation?
If you’re getting married and planning a wedding, I’m breaking down everything you need to get started on your wedding invitations. From timing to what to include, these are the wedding invitation suite basics that you need to know to begin the process. In addition to wedding invitation timing, mailing recommendations, and suite inclusions, I’m also sharing a few tips and pointers along the way that will hopefully save you a few wedding planning headaches.
Let’s Get Started
It’s a good idea to start on your wedding stationery design sooner rather than later, but a concrete goal would be to begin the design process about 4 to 6 months out from your wedding date. Starting your wedding stationery, including your save-the-date notices, wedding invitation, day of the wedding details, and more, about four to six months before your wedding gives you the most options in terms of design elements, styles, and more. Starting early also avoids having to rush, or feeling forced into decisions, which reduces the overall amount of stress that often comes with wedding planning in general.
If you know you’d like to work with us at Laura Hooper Design House, but you’re still a year before your wedding, we recommend booking your retainer as soon as possible to secure the time in our design calendar, and then we can reach out closer to this time frame to get started.
Let’s talk about the timing for your wedding stationery. This is the number one question that we get from couples, and for good reason!
If you are mailing a save-the-date notice to your wedding guests to reserve the time on their schedules and start planning, these usually go in the mail 9 to 12 months before your wedding, so you’d start on those as soon as you have the wedding date, and wedding location, or venue confirmed.
The wedding invitations should be mailed to your wedding guests around 8 to 10 weeks out from your wedding date. Custom design and production on your wedding invitations can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks, putting you about 12 to 18 weeks out to begin the custom wedding invitation process.
If you are running behind on starting design or choosing your wedding invitations, don’t fret! We can almost always accommodate tighter turnarounds when needed.
Now that we’ve talked about the timing of your wedding invitations and the importance of getting started early, let’s discuss what is included in your wedding stationery suite. We get lots of questions from couples about what is included in the stationery suite or set.
A standard wedding invitation has four pieces: main invitation card, reply card, reply envelope, and outer envelope.
Let’s talk about addresses for a minute. Your return mailing address should be printed on both the reply envelope and the outer envelope. This address is the same on every invitation so it is not a variable component and should be printed. We sometimes hear from engaged couples who are working with other wedding stationers, or ordering from non-custom wedding stationery websites who didn’t print their return addresses in order to save money, but handwriting these addresses is always going to cost more than having your stationer print them.
Let’s break down the four main elements of any wedding invitation suite and go through each of them one by one to discuss what’s included.
The main wedding invitation card will include the wedding “hosts” (aka those paying for the wedding), the couple’s names, the wedding date, time, and location. If you have a wedding dress code such as black tie or cocktail attire, this is usually included on the main invitation card as well.
If the wedding reception is at a different location than the wedding ceremony that information usually goes onto a separate card that can include the wedding website as well, if there is one.
The reply card for your wedding guest to let you know if they will be able to attend your wedding or not, includes the requested RSVP date, which is based on when your final count is due to your caterer, venue, and/or your rental company. Whichever company or wedding vendor that you’re working with has the earliest wedding guest count date required, you want your RSVP date to be set for at least one week prior to this date. This will allow you enough time to reach out to anyone who hasn’t responded. (There will be wedding guests who don’t respond right away and you’ll need to nudge them for their RSVP!) This reply card also includes any meal selections if applicable, notes regarding adults only, and more.
Keep in mind this wedding RSVP reply card is coming back to you in the mail once your guests have made their selection, so you don’t want to put any details that your guest will need later on, such as the wedding website, or the wedding reception location. The reply envelope will have your return address printed on the front for that reply card to come back to you (or your wedding planner) and a stamp.
The wedding invitation suite’s outer envelope will include your return address on the back flap and then your guest’s mailing address block on the front. We, of course, believe that a hand-addressed envelope to each wedding guest makes the very best first impression and always recommend handwritten scripts on envelopes over computer fonts!
In addition to the standard four pieces of a wedding invitation suite that we just discussed, you might want to include a few extra pieces based on your wedding celebration. We love working with our couples to custom design a wedding invitation suite that is custom-tailored to not only their personalities but also the uniqueness of their wedding day. Every wedding day is special in its own right, and we really enjoy helping our couples bring their wedding day vision to life through their stationery pieces.
Additional pieces to your wedding invitation suite might include:
- Reception card (if the reception is at a different location than the ceremony)
- Hotel accommodations or extra details card
- Custom wedding location or area map
- Weekend itinerary (often included in a wedding welcome gift bag, if doing one)
- Custom wax seals
- Ribbon and vellum accents
- Envelope liners
The possibilities are endless with a custom wedding stationery suite design! To learn more or to inquire about your own custom wedding stationery or wedding branding needs, please visit the weddings section of our website. We can’t wait to hear from you!