Before we dive into the components of a wedding stationery set, first we want to mention that if you are a Fall or early 2021 bride or groom, you should definitely start working on your wedding planning & stationery design as soon as possible. At Laura Hooper Calligraphy your retainer with us is secure and transferable to any rescheduled date if needed. It’s always best to get started early, and if you need to make any date/detail changes before going to print, you want to have the groundwork laid out and ready to go. Currently weddings taking place in July 2020 or later are not being rescheduled and should proceed as normal. We are happy to discuss additional suite pieces to let your guests know you are monitoring the situation and will provide updates as they are available. 

Your wedding invitation is often the first physical representation of your wedding celebration that your potential guests receive, so you want to make a beautiful initial impression. You’ve seen examples that you love online and maybe have a general idea of the overall feel you want your stationery suite to exude. But when should you get started and what pieces go into a wedding invitation?

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 4-6 months out from your wedding date. If you know you’d like to work with us but you’re still a year out, 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. If you are mailing a Save the Date, these usually go in the mail 9-12 months out so you’d start on those as soon as you have the date and location confirmed. The invitations should be mailed around 8-10 weeks out from your wedding date and custom design & production can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks, putting you about 12-18 weeks out to begin the process. If you are “running behind,” don’t fret! We can almost always accommodate tighter turnarounds when needed.

Now what is actually included in the stationery suite? A standard wedding invitation is four pieces: main invitation card, reply card, reply envelope and outer envelope. Your return mailing address should be printed on both the reply envelope and 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 people working with other stationers or ordering from a non-custom website 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.

The main card will include the wedding “hosts”, the couple’s names, wedding date, time and location. If you have a dress code such as Black Tie, this is usually included on the main card as well.  If the reception is at a different location than the ceremony that usually goes onto a separate card that can include the wedding website as well, if there is one.

The reply card includes the requested RSVP date, which is based on when your final count is due to your caterer/venue/rental company. Whichever company has the earliest count date required, you want your RSVP date to be set for at least one week prior allowing you enough time to reach out to anyone who hasn’t responded. This card also includes any  meal selections if applicable, notes regarding adults only, etc. Keep in mind this card is coming back to you, so you don’t want to put any details that your guest will need later such as wedding website, reception location, etc.

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 outer envelope will include your return address on the back flap and then your guest mailing address block on the front. We of course believe that a hand-addressed envelope makes the very best first impression and always recommend handwritten scripts over computer fonts!

Additional pieces to your invitation suite might include:

  • Reception card (if the reception is at a different location than the ceremony)
  • Accommodations/details card
  • Custom map
  • Weekend itinerary (often included in a welcome bag if doing one)
  • Custom wax seals
  • Ribbon & vellum accents
  • Envelope liners

The possibilities are endless with custom design! For additional information regarding our stationery design & production {or calligraphy services a la carte} you can find details on our website here and submit a request for an estimate here.