All you need to know for building the perfect wedding invitation suite. Every stationery option explained, piece by piece, so you know what it is and if you need it for your wedding.
As wedding stationery gets more personalized, it’s hard to know what you need and what rules to follow (and which rules to break). I often meet with engaged couples and they confess how unsure or overwhelmed they are with all the different options out there for wedding invitations.
The good news is that almost everything can be customized to your needs. Literally, (almost) anything is possible!
For example, if you’re having a destination wedding where most of your guests won’t be familiar with the location, you may want to consider having a Custom Map to show guests where the wedding events are in relation to accommodations and attractions. If you’re having your wedding in a location where most of your guests are from, you probably don’t need a Map.
If you just love a particular flower in your bridal bouquet or you’re obsessed with the lace on your wedding dress, we can incorporate that into your wedding stationery. Like I said, anything is possible!
I’m going to break it down piece by piece so you know what each bridal stationery item is and why it’s needed, plus some helpful tips.
The main parts of an invitation suite include…
Invitation: This is where all the crucial information goes. The Bride and Groom’s names, host names or parents of the Bride and Groom, date, time, and venue/location. Also called the Main Card.
Size: A7 5 x 7 inches
Note: Ladies first! The Bride’s name should be listed before the Groom’s name. If you’re a same sex couple, you’ll want to discuss who’s name will be listed first. I’ve had same gender clients that alternate who’s name is listed first between the Save the Date, Invitation and day-of stationery.
Outer Envelope: The envelope that will hold all the other items of the suite. If you choose an Envelope Liner, the liner would be glued to the inside of the Outer Envelope. Envelopes can be square or pointed flap.
Size: A7 5.25 x 7.75 inches
Note: Back in the day, wedding invitations were sent out with an Outer Envelope and an Inner Envelope. This tradition began as a way to protect the Invitation from getting dirty or damaged. Now our postal service is much more sophisticated and the mail is usually protected from the elements. You can skip the Inner Envelopes and only have an addressed Outer Envelope.
Reply Card: This is where your guests let you know if they can attend your wedding. They are replying with their acceptance or regret. A blank line is where they’ll write their names (so you know who is replying). The “M” is a traditional way to start the line for the Mr. or Ms. prefix. Including a ‘reply by’ date let’s people know when they need to mail back their response, usually about 3 weeks before the wedding date. This is also where people can select their meal choice if you’re having a plated dinner. Also called a RSVP Card or Response Card.
Adding a line where your guests can write in “a message to the Bride and Groom” or “we’ll dance if you play this song” is a fun way to engage with your guests and get them excited if you’re having a playful or casual vibe.
Size: A2 4.25 x 5.5 inches or 4x6 inch Postcard.
Note: You should assume some guests will forget to send their Reply Card back, so you should plan on needing a few days to track down those people who don’t reply.
Reply Envelope: This envelope should be pre-addressed and stamped so it’s super easy for your guests to send back their RSVP.
Size: A2 4.5 x 5.75 inches
Guest Info Card: It’s a place for any other information that’s not on the Invitation, but your guests need to see. For example, accommodations, wedding website, map, directions, transportation/parking, registry/gifts, attire, children, etc. This card can be front and back, depending on your needs. This can also be used to invite people to other wedding events like a Welcome Cocktail Party (the day before the wedding) or a Farewell Brunch (the day after the wedding). Also called a Details Card.
Size: A2 4.25 x 5.5 inches
Items or services you can order that add to the aesthetic of the design or make your life a little easier before the big day.
Envelope Printing: The return address digital printed on the back flap of the Outer Envelopes and the address printed on the front of the Reply Envelopes. If you’re hiring a calligrapher or hand addressing your envelopes, having the return addresses and Reply Envelopes printed will save you time and money.
Note: It was traditional for the Reply Cards to be sent to the Bride’s parents (if they were paying for the wedding), but now it’s really whoever is keeping track of the guestlist. I suggest using the spreadsheet you’ve started for addresses and having a column for attendance.
Guest Addressing: Individual guest names and addresses are digital printed onto the Outer Envelopes. The same fonts and styling used in your Invitation would be used for the addresses. You submit your finalized guest list as a formatted Excel or Google Sheets file with formatted columns.
Belly Band: A Belly Band is a strip of paper that wraps around all the stacked items in your invitation suite to neatly hold them together. You can also use it as a place to add personalized touch like a monogram, illustration, or favorite quote, lyric or scripture.
Size: 2 x 11 inches. Assembly not included.
Tag & Twine Wrap: A printed paper Tag with a hole punch. It’s a nice way to add detail or a pop of color while holding the stationery items of your suite together. You can choose from a selection of colored baker’s twine. Same function as the Belly Band.
Size: 2.5 x 2.5 inches, or 1 x 3 inches. Assembly not included.
Custom Map: The map is drawn by hand and is tailored to your wedding with locations, roads, addresses, landmarks, etc. Custom maps are a fun way to personalize the experience for your guests while giving them important information. The map is usually printed on the back side of the Guest Info Card, but could also be used for Welcome Bags or on your wedding website.
Printed materials for your wedding day service and reception.
Ceremony Program: A folding or non-folding card that lists the order of ceremony, wedding party, music, thank you message from the Bride and Groom, or any additional information about your marriage service. Your guests can read this while they are waiting for the service to begin and let’s them know what to expect. It’s also a keepsake for friends and family.
Size: A9 5.5 x 8.5 inches or #10 4 x 9.25 inches.
Menu: Menus clearly outline the meal and can be part of the table arrangements. Not needed for a buffet style dinner.
Size: A7 5 x 7 inches or #10 4 x 9.25 inches.
Place Card: A small card (usually folding table tent style) that includes each person’s name and indicates where they will sit according to your seating arrangement. If your guests have pre-selected their meal choice, you can have their meal on the Place Card so the servers can see where to serve the meals. If you’re having open seating, you won’t need Place Cards or Escort Cards.
Escort Card: A small card (folding or flat) that includes each person’s name and their table number. These can be arranged at a display where guests will find their card and bring it with them to their designated table.
Table Number: Numbers or names for each table at your reception, so your guests can easily determine where they’re seated.
Thank You Card: For after the wedding when you’re thanking people for wedding gifts or for starting your new married life out with some personalized stationery, Thank You Cards from the newlyweds can match your wedding invitations or be a unique design.
Signage: Signs for your ceremony and reception that instruct or inform your guests. Some examples would be signage for… welcome sign, seating at the ceremony, arrows for direction (reception this way), guest book signing, photo booth, gift table, favors, social media hashtag, bar menu or signature cocktail menu, cake or dessert display, etc.
I hope this makes your wedding planning a little easier. If you have any questions about bridal stationery, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm here to help!