You have found your planner, venue, photographer, videographer, and caterer. Amazing! Your next step is to hire a stationer. You may be thinking - invitations! And as much as that is true, there is way more to the job of a stationer than just the invitations.
Your wedding will need many different types of signage and stationery throughout the day to help guide and inform your guests.
Paper or digital invitations will inform guests on many details about your wedding date, location, and venue, but when it comes to the day of the wedding, they’ll need to know where they’ll be sitting, what they’ll be eating, and the timeline for the day.
Trust me, you don’t want to leave all these details to the day before your wedding. Knowing when and how to organize your signage and stationery will help you stay on track!
Here are a few tips to organize and plan your wedding stationery:
Day of Details. These can be tricky! Many couples arrive at their wedding and think “oh shoot… We forgot about ______________ (reserved seating, buffet station signs, place cards, etc.)”. The best way to avoid this is to set up a focused block of time to plan.
Sit down and think through each step of your day. Imagine being a guest and having no clue what is happening. Where will they need instructions? How will they know where to be and when? What are the little details that need tags? Walk through your wedding day and make a list of all the places you will need signs/instructions.
After this, think through any additional special things you might want to add to your day. Custom wine labels? Photo booth? Banner with a love quote? You could go crazy with all the ways to add personalization to your event!
Here is a list to get you started:
- Welcome Sign
- Ceremony Programs
- Reserved Seating
- Vow Keepsake
- Guestbook Table
- Cards and Gifts
- Favour Tags
- Seating Chart or Escort Cards
- Place Cards
- Table Numbers
- Buffet Station Signs
- Bar Sign
Timing. Knowing your timeline will be crucial as you start planning!
Here are some tips to point you in the right direction:
Save the Dates
Send your save the dates 12 to six months before your wedding. If it is a destination wedding, 12 months may be more appropriate to allow your guests to prepare for the trip.
Send your invitations out 16 to 10 weeks before your wedding. If you have already sent save the dates you can hold off on sending invites to the six-week mark but if you haven’t, I suggest up to 16 weeks before the big day.
This is a range and is based on personal preference. Too soon and your guests may delay with their RSVP. Too late and they may not have time to adequately plan. If you have guests coming from out of town giving them enough heads up is the appropriate thing to do.
Day of Details
I would recommend speaking to your stationer a minimum of three months in advance to book all of your day-of details. It is important to know what you need and to inform your Stationer so that they have the time they need to get organized for you.
Your seating chart is an important part of your stationery that you, unfortunately, are not able to plan for until you have all RSVPs back. Because of this, try to be organized and have those ready 2 - 3 weeks before your wedding to give enough time for that to be made. I suggest working on this as RSVPs come in so it’s not so time-consuming at the end.
Numbers. Often you will be purchasing your save the dates, invitations, and other day-of details before you have a complete guest list. Every Stationer will have different policies on when to order and the changes you can make throughout the process. Because of this, it is always better to order more than too little.
Some tips for numbers:
For Invitations | Take your guest list and divide it in half, then add 10 - 20 extra. Don’t forget to add a few for keepsakes and for day of detail photos.
For Table Numbers | Tables are often eight people per table, so take your guest list and divide it by eight as a general rule.
For programs | Order 75% of your guest list
For place cards | Don’t forget about the additional people at your wedding from outside your guest list. Your Photographer, Videographer, DJ, and Planner need to eat as well.
RSVPs. Staying organized with your RSVPs will make the process much easier for you!
Online RSVPs are a great option for keeping track and saving some money on RSVP cards, envelopes, and stamps. Many of the website options will have software that will help you stay organized and keep on top of your guest count. Another option is to do a simple RSVP email but keep in mind this is not optimal if you have menu options.
A pro tip for wedding websites - buy a domain! It is so much nicer for your guests to type in www.HannahandErik.com rather than a long, random and numbered website but if you are going to use a 3rd party site, one of my favourite wedding websites is www.withjoy.com.
Another great way to stay organized is to create a spreadsheet. It doesn’t need to be fancy. A simple google docs sheet that will allow you to keep track of who has replied, and how many in each party is very helpful allowing you to see at a glance who you need to follow up with. A good number of your guest list will not reply on time. Knowing this in advance will help you navigate the situation when you come to it.
Pick a reply-by date that gives you enough time to follow up with those who did not get back to you. Often couples wait until the last minute, so give yourself time to follow up so you can submit your final catering, rental and venue numbers on time.
Every wedding is different and follows its own unique planning timeline but I have found these tips to be incredibly helpful to couples planning a wedding from two years to six months before their wedding.
As always, a wedding planner can help you stay organized with your timeline, day-of itinerary, guest list, RSVPs, and stationery.
Please download and use this Stationery Checklist to help you stay organized.
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