Stationery might not be the first thing that comes to mind when estimating your wedding costs, but it may take up more of your budget than you imagined. Many couples neglect to consider stationery needs in their budgets and are often surprised by what they spend without planning ahead.
According to theknot.com, the average cost of wedding stationery is about $530, while withjoy.com estimates between $80-$275 just on invitations and response cards (before postage). However, it’s important to note these figures DO NOT account for custom designer stationary. Hiring a designer will substantially increase the stationary costs.
Ultimately, your budget will depend on how much stationery you use, whether you want to follow—or skip—all the traditions, and just how fancy you want to get.
What’s Considered Wedding Stationery, Anyway?
Wedding stationery refers to materials (such as paper, wood, cotton, plastic, etc.) onto which words and/or designs are written or printed to aid in wedding-related communications, instructions, designs, and more. Wedding stationery is an important tool for informing your guests of pertinent wedding information from the moment you and your partner agree to take the next step.
If you think about it for even a minute, the list of potential stationery needs can easily get pretty long. By creating an initial list of potential printed stationery items for your wedding, you can decide from the beginning what’s worth splurging on and where you’d rather cut back so that you can spend more on another aspect of your wedding day.
Here are some of the most common wedding stationery items you might consider:
Leading Up to the Wedding
Your partner just proposed, and you said YES! Now it’s time to let everyone know you’re going to spend the rest of your lives together. Let the celebrations begin…
Engagement Party Invitations
Want to announce your engagement and celebrate the milestone officially? Some couples choose to start celebrating as soon as possible, which calls for an engagement party and, of course—invitations. These can be simple and can be sent out a month or two in advance, but be sure to include all the details, such as the date, time, venue, and dress code (if applicable).
Save the Dates
Next up–save the dates! These are a great idea if you are planning your wedding well in advance of the date or if guests will be traveling from far away. These are sometimes sent up to a year in advance, depending on how much planning is required of guests.
There’s no need to share too many details about the event here. Just be sure to include you and your partner’s names, the wedding date, the state of the wedding (or venue, if it is already confirmed), a link to your wedding website, and a note that a formal invitation will follow.
Bridal Shower Thank-You Cards
Since the bridal party will typically handle planning the bridal shower, you may be off the hook for sending invitations. However, you’ll still want to thank everyone formally for their gifts, so you don’t get out of this event without needing to purchase stationery. Be sure to have someone write down names associated with each gift so that you can write personalized (and hand-written) thank-you notes to each of your guests.
The Wedding Invitation
For those of you who are all about tradition, your invitations will require a bit more paper and will come at a higher cost. Traditional wedding invitations include an inner and outer envelope, with the outer envelope including your guest’s name and address and postage, like any piece of mail. The inner envelope is meant to address the guest more personally and should include their title and first and last name.
With traditional wedding invitations, it is common to feature custom designs, envelope liners, embossed lettering, and additional inserts. Inserts typically include the following:
The invitation card is, of course, the most important insert, which should include the wedding host, the names of the married couple-to-be, the date, time, venue, city, and state. It should also specify whether the reception will be held at the same location as the ceremony. In some cases, couples may choose to include a reception card if it is being held in a different location. Any applicable dress code should also be clearly indicated.
If you want to make it as easy as possible for your guests to respond, including response cards (with a self-addressed, stamped envelope) are the perfect way to do so. If you’re collecting responses online, you can still include a response card that instructs guests to RSVP on your website.
Be sure to include an option to accept or decline the invitation, and a date to respond by. If you’re sticking with the traditional response card, there are many creative ways to allow guests to accept or decline the invitation, so have fun with it!
Rehearsal Dinner Invitation
Depending on who is hosting the rehearsal dinner, these invitations may go out separately from the wedding invitations. Regardless of who sends them out, they should include the name of the host, the venue/location, and a way to RSVP, with a date to respond by so there is plenty of time to plan the event—adding last-minute guests to the list the night before the wedding is never ideal.
On Your Wedding Day
When the big day arrives, you’ll want to make sure everyone knows what to do, where to go, and what’s happening next. Here are some stationery options to help make everything go smoothly.
In most cases, you don’t need a program, especially if your ceremony is going to be short. However, creating something for guests to take home with them and remember the day can be fun. If you decide to include one, it may feature you and your partner’s names, the date, the ceremony location, a summary or list of how the ceremony will proceed, and the names of everyone involved— the wedding party, the officiant, any entertainment providers, etc.
When guests arrive at your reception, the first thing they’ll likely do is look for where to place your gift and to find out where they will be sitting. If you have appropriate signage placed throughout your reception, it will be easy for people to find everything, including their escort cards.
Escort cards are meant to be simple and functional, but also often match the theme or decor of the wedding. These cards simply indicate which table a guest will be sitting at. Specific seats are sometimes also assigned in some cases to help caterers know which meal to give to each guest, and in this case, you would need place cards.
Whether you choose to have escort cards or place cards, you’ll need table number cards so guests can find their assigned tables. If there are also assigned seats, you’ll need to ensure the seats are labeled clearly as well. When in doubt, make the numbers big and well-defined, so there’s no confusion about where everyone is sitting.
If you are serving a multiple-course meal, it can be fun to create menu list cards for your guests, so they know what to expect for each course. It also reminds your guests what the offerings are, or whether there is a buffet-style meal because they likely won’t remember what was indicated on the invitation!
After the Wedding
After the wedding is over, there’s one more thing—a very important thing—requiring yet another piece of stationery.
Don’t forget to say thank you to everyone who came and gave you a gift! When opening your wedding gifts, be sure to write down who gave what so you can write (another) thoughtful thank-you note to each gift-giver. This can be a fun activity for you and your partner—now spouse! —to do soon after the wedding.
Some couples choose to include photos with their thank-you cards or to use their favorite photo from the day to create custom thank-you cards. Just don’t wait too long to send them out; it’s best to get these out within a month of the wedding.
Need More Help With Wedding Planning?
As you can see, your stationery budget can vary greatly depending on your preferences and your guest count. Don’t forget to account for it when planning your wedding. If you need help with stationery and other wedding planning activities, call Angela Marie Weddings for a consultation today.
Now that you have an idea of how to budget for your wedding stationary needs, let's chat wedding signs!