Our Wedding Stationary
Our Wedding Stationary
a.k.a how I spent 6 months of my life before my wedding.
All photos were taken by the talented Olivia Locascio Film & Photo. Go check her out.
Wedding stationary. Brides and Grooms either love it or hate it, and at the end of the night, most of it gets thrown away (don’t think about that one too hard, it’s depressing.) But, even in today’s technology driven world, it can be a tricky part of the wedding planning process. Some people choose to hire a wedding planner, which always makes me think of Franck from “Father of the Bride”. If you don’t know who that is, please view this movie clip and try to figure out how on earth you managed to go through life without this movie. I’m concerned for you. Now, it is true that at some point in the wedding planning process, every bride or groom thinks about why they didn’t get a wedding planner. It’s their job to make your engagement life easier. But, if you’re like me and are too stubborn and picky to allow anyone else plan your wedding, you do it yourself no matter how many waking hours you spend making (and remaking) decisions.
These are the things I suggest you figure out COMPLETELY before you start making your wedding invitations:
The Date. This should be the first thing you figure out anyways, so it’s kind of common knowledge. But vital to every aspect of wedding planning. If you change your date in the middle of planning your life will be a mess.
Locations. Ceremony location, reception location, where your having your rehearsal dinner, where you want to take pictures, where you’re getting ready. All of these will have to be listed somewhere and you will need them to factor in commute times between locations to get the timing down.
Start your timeline. Now I say “start” because figuring out a timeline for a wedding is time consuming and frustrating. I suggest deciding what time you want to have your ceremony and working your way from there. If you would like to see an example of our wedding day timeline (factoring in the getting ready time, photography, ceremony, reception, dances, etc.) you can click here.
The Guest List. I shouldn’t have to explain this one to you.
Once you have all of that figured out, you can get back to the designing part.
There are several pieces to a wedding/party stationary set:
Save the Dates
Lodging and Location Information Cards
Rehearsal Dinner Invitations (for the wedding party)
Escort Cards / Seating Charts
Thank You Cards
People choose to combine or omit some of these pieces, of course. Every wedding is different and there are no set rules as to what makes a wedding a wedding other than two people joining. But, being a designer, the wedding stationary was an important part of our wedding for me.
Save the Dates
I started off easy, doing what many people do now; using an online source. Yes, even as a graphic designer I can appreciate other’s designs enough to use them. I ordered our "Save the Dates” from Mpix using one of their pre-designed templates that I then edited using their online tools. We kept it simple, using a postcard to cut down on cost with a simple, straight to the point image and text on the front. The online designing process is pretty easy with one of these online sources. The only downfalls are A. You are extremely limited to how the design looks and how images and text will flow & B. They can be pricey. Knowing that I didn’t have my wedding invitations designed yet, I wanted them to be cohesive so I then took that design as the starting point for the rest of my stationary.
& Rehearsal Dinner Invites
For our main invitation set, the one that we sent to all of our guests, I created separate pieces that could then be combined differently depending on the event and the guest. We were having a smaller ceremony (about 100 people) and a larger reception (about 300 people) so we needed to have different components depending on who was invited where. Using my own design products (I mostly use the Adobe Suite) I designed the individual cards simultaneously to keep everything cohesive. I then (like a crazy person) decided to print and assemble everything myself . This was because of my control freak tenancies. But it did allow me to have complete control over the printing quality and cutting (< mistake. My cutting skills are not up to par).
For our Reception Invites, I created a simple 5” X 7” card. To keep the shipping easy, I kept the same height or less for all of the cards. This way I knew they would all fit in a 5” X 7” envelope. Being that we were having all 300 guests invited to the reception and only 1/3 of them invited to the ceremony, I made the reception card as the “main” invitation card. Normally when you use a printing service for your invitation suites, this is reversed and the ceremony card is the main piece. This was just personal preference since I didn’t want to have an awkward sized card floating around a ill-fitted envelope.
Also in this trio I included the Ceremony Invitation and the Rehearsal dinner and Lodging information for the wedding party. We were having all of our wedding party stay in the same condo to make our lives easier so this card included the address and check in information.
To keep everything from getting lost and to add an extra layer of creativity, I created a simple wrap around sleeve using Ink-Printer friendly velum. I then painstakingly sealed them all with a simple “L” wax seal. I made a couple different designs using a few of our favorite engagement photos on the back and had the picture wrap around to the front. I found that the extra width from the wax seal made getting them into the envelopes a little tricky, but once they were sealed, it worked out fine.
For the envelopes, I was able to send them all through the printer. We made our guest list into a spread sheet that included the name, address, and who was invited to what. This made copy and pasting easy for all of the address labels and we didn’t have to keep writing out return address on them all. The envelopes were just some white 5” X 7” invitation envelopes I picked up from Michael’s.
The printer I used was the Brother MFC-J4320DW, All-in-One Inkjet Color Printer. It has the capability to print dual sided and on paper sized up to 11” X 17” which helped cut down on the cost of the amount of paper needed. I found that the Brother ink that they have for the printer works great, but can get spendy, so I used an off brand, IKONG, and it seemed to work fine. Another way to cut the cost is to use black ink instead of colored. The Brother MFC-J432oDW is a 4 color printer, meaning I had 4 ink cartridges instead of just 2. As long as all of your text is in “Black” and not “Register”, you will only be using ink from the Black cartridge and being that black ink is usually cheaper (not sure why, it just is) the cost is less than full color.
Printer (Yes, I could constitute buying a new printer) : View Here
Ink: View Here
Wax Seal Stamp: View Here
Sealing Wax: View Here
Paper: View Here
& Dinner Menu
View the PDF Version of our wedding program here
Our wedding programs. These things took me literal MONTHS to design. I created a 4 page newspaper to act as our wedding programs. They included a brief thank you to our parents, introduced our wedding party, included our menu along with other small tidbits that our guests could have all in one spot. Designing a newspaper is something that takes so much time (so. much. time.) but it also made a great token from the day that we could keep and look back on later.
There are many different sizes for newspapers to take into consideration when you are looking at designing one. I would first suggest getting a quote from a printer that A. Will print small batch newspapers (this turned out to be harder to find than I thought) and B. Let you submit your own design or a newspaper. Many require you to follow a template. I was lucky enough to use a local printer, Evans Printing in Sparta, WI, and they were able to print 200, 4-page black and white newspapers, folded and trimmed, for around $0.50-$0.60 a piece.
Designing a newspaper, or any one piece print with a lot of information, the best way I found to go about it is to gather all of the information that you want to put into your piece and put it all onto the blank layout. Then, I suggest separating the text into chunks and organizing them to fit together into kind of a building-block layout adding pictures and dividers as needed.
The newspaper ended up being a big hit with out guests. It went with out coffee and doughnut desserts and had a crossword and comic section to help fill any downtime they might have had. Designing your own wedding stationary is both rewarding and also makes them that much more special to you when everything is said and done.