Every paper good you'll ever need for your wedding. How's that for a plan for today's post?! We are getting down to the nitty gritty and giving you a handy list you can check off (or cross out!) in the months and weeks leading up to your wedding.
First things first, don't be overwhelmed. You'll find that some of these pieces of paper won't be necessary for you, and nowadays some of these might take place online by email or be taken care of by your bridal party or even outlined on your wedding website. So if you see something on this list that doesn't apply, just cross it out and relish in the fact that your stationery list just got a little shorter! When I got married, we didn't have an engagement party and my bachelorette party was pretty informal, so those two pieces weren't needed. Instantly shorter list!
We're going to start chronologically with our wedding stationery guide and work our way through engagement all the way to thank you cards. And we'll give you a few clever ideas along the way!
1. Engagement Party Invitations
If you're having a more formal engagement party, you might choose to send engagement party invitations, but you could also consider using an online stationery option like Paperless Post to email beautiful invitations to your guests. These invitations come through email but are a little more festive than a simple text email.
2. Be My Bridesmaid Cards
If you'd like to make your bridesmaids feel extra special, you might consider sending Be My Bridesmaid cards to them, or presenting them with these cards at a brunch where you gather them all together. You can find lots of free downloadable options online, like this one from Wedding Chicks.
3. Bachelorette Party Invitations
Your maid of honor might be coordinating your bachelorette party with your bridesmaids and friends via email, but it would make the event a little more alluring if your gals received a paper invitation in the mail. Let's be honest, getting any sort of mail is such a novelty these days it instantly elevates an event!
4. Save the Date Cards
Save the Date cards are still on the optional side of the spectrum, but most couples find them to be very helpful in letting their guests know to block of your wedding weekend far enough in advance. There are so many clever save the date options, but we really like ones that show a little of the couple's personality. Invitations tend to be more formal, so save the date cards can be a little more playful. You might consider using any engagement photos you've had taken for this purpose as well.
We shared lots of options for cute save the dates just last month!
Invitation / RSVP / Map / Itinerary / Accommodation Info
Invitations, duh! You'll need the invitation itself, and a way for your guests to let you know they're coming, whether with a paper RSVP postcard and/or envelope, or through your wedding website. But while the invitation part is simple, you might want to add a few more bonus features to them. Your guests might appreciate a map, if your venue or ceremony locations are hard to find. You might include accommodation suggestions or an itinerary or wedding events your guests are invited to attend over the course of your wedding celebration. For instance, since most of our wedding guests were coming from out of town, we invited them all to the rehearsal barbecue the night before the wedding.
6. Place Cards
Place cards have just your guest's name on them and are placed at their exact table setting. If you know that Great Aunt Mildred can't stand Great Aunt Mabel, but you need to put them at the same table because they know the same people, place cards can be a good option. That way you can be assured that those two guests will sit far enough away from each other to keep the peace!
7. Table Plan
With place cards, you'll likely need a table plan at the entrance to the location where dinner will take place so your guests don't spend half an hour wandering around the room trying to find their itty bitty place card amongst a sea of tables. You can have one designed or get extra creative so long as your handwriting is legible!
8. Escort Cards
Escort cards are cards with your guest's name and table number on them, typically arranged at the entrance to the place where dinner will be served, or at the reception entrance. Your guests can take the card with their name and table number and use it to find their table. If you pair escort cards with place cards, you can also ensure your guests sit at specific seats and that they have very good directions to help them get there!
Whether you have a menu at each place setting or a few menus dotted on each table, you'll want menus to let guests know what is being served. Sometimes your venue will provide these, but keep in mind that you'll want them to blend in with your decor. When I arrived at the reception venue for my brother's wedding last summer, the supplied menus were printed on off-white paper - the only off-white in the entire room! With a little last-minute DIY action, I was able to make little menu holders with their initials on the outside to cover the off-white. But if you think ahead, you can avoid last minute paint brushes and glue sticks!
10. Table Numbers
To help your guests find their tables easily, make sure your table numbers can be found relatively quickly. You can try our really simple DIY table numbers using water colors and simple frames.
11. Guest Book
Depending on your preferences, you might choose to have a guest book or another creative option for recording your guests' congratulations on your wedding day. You could have your engagement photos printed into a book and ask guests to sign that as a keepsake. Or you could have your guests leave a note of advice or scripture for you as an alternative.
12. Favor Tags
If you're giving favors to your guests, you might want to include a little tag that says thank you for coming or that explains what your favor is. Some couples choose not to give favors but opt to make a donation to a charity instead, and if that's your preference you could print a few cards for each table that explains your choice and the meaning behind it.
I think signage can help your wedding run smoothly and keep you from being peppered with questions on a day you should be focussing on getting hitched! Before your wedding day, sit down and think about how your guests will move from place to place, and whether it would help to give them a little direction with signs along the way. At your ceremony, you might like a framed posted that asks your guests to choose a seat, not a side. That's a popular one at the moment! Or you might want a few signs dotted here and there explaining where the restrooms are (if it's not clear), where they can leave gifts, and even when the cake cutting will be taking place. All of these helpful hints can make the experience even more enjoyable for your guests throughout your wedding day.
14. Ceremony Program
For your ceremony, it's helpful to have a program that explains to guests who is performing your wedding, who is in the bridal party, who is walking you down the aisle, who the musicians are, and the order of service. Again, this helps your guests know what to expect, and it's nice for your guests not to be in the dark! When my brother-in-law got married last summer, there were nine bridesmaids. The whole ceremony I was wishing there was a program so I could practice their names!
15. Thank You Cards
While you're thinking about your wedding stationery, you may as well start thinking about your post-wedding stationery. You'll want some sort of thank you card to send those guests who gave you gifts. I love receiving thank you cards with wedding photos on them. They're such a fun reminder of the celebration!
16. Wedding Announcements
And we're rounding out our essential wedding stationery list with another more optional one. You may want to send wedding announcements after your wedding day to those who couldn't make it or weren't invited to the wedding day. This might be appropriate for friends of your parents.
And that, my friends, is a long list of all the paper you might need for your wedding. We love how creative couples get in making this list reflect their personalities and styles!
Emily Westbrooks is an American-born writer and blogger based in Dublin, Ireland. She is the Online Editor for Confetti Magazine, one of Ireland's top bridal magazines. She also writes her own lifestyle blog, From China Village, where she chronicles her adventures in Dublin, travels around Europe, DIY projects and Irish design. She shares her home with her husband, one cat, and four sassy chickens!