Planning Your Wedding Stationery

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From the moment you get engaged, your nearest and dearest will most likely start inquiring about your wedding plans. While purchasing the dress and deciding on florals are often some of the prettiest aspects of planning, it’s often said that sending out an invitation starts to make everything feel “real.” Julie DeWalt of GATHER & Co. is helping us navigate our way through all you need to know to begin planning your wedding stationery.

Where to start

It’s true, while wedding stationery not only sets the tone for your wedding, it is also the official signal to your guests that you care about them and their involvement in the story of your life and love. But how do you choose the wedding stationery that best suits you? What details should you include, and how do you sort through the options? As a designer specializing in paper goods and specialty invitation suites, I certainly understand that the possibilities are endless (and often a little overwhelming) for many brides. There are so many wonderful designers, calligraphers, papers, resources and materials to choose from that any couple can find a style to suit their wedding day. It’s simply a matter of basic prior planning and personal taste to narrow down your choices.

Know your guest list

Most likely, by the time you’re thinking about invitations, you should have a decent idea about your guest list. Start collecting that information as early as possible, and consider that number when tallying up the amount of invitations to order. Keep in mind, your total number of guests is usually more than the physical amount of invitations you need to send, when you consider families and couples typically receive one invitation per household.

Determine your budget

Many brides are caught off guard by what invitations can cost. The average couple has rarely ordered a stationery or print job of this extent prior to being engaged. Costs vary based on quantity, inserts, paper choices, ink colors and print methods. While prices in the industry can range anywhere between $500 and $2,000 on average, you can spend well below and well above that range based on your total amount, insert pieces, paper and printing choices. DIY, online invitation stores, brick and mortar stationery stores and custom design studios are all resources you can look into, and prices generally correspond in that order.

A note about print methods: Digital and offset printing are both “flat” print techniques that allow for a multitude of color options. Thermography, letterpress, engraving and foil stamp are all “textured” plate print methods, and carry a more premium cost. Speak with your invitation resource or designer for more details on what they offer, and recommendations based on your budget.

Consider your time

Do you plan to have a long engagement, or are you keeping it short and sweet? Make sure to consider your timeline when communicating with a designer or ordering your stationery. If you’re having a longer engagement, sending Save the Dates 4+ months in advance is fairly standard. Having a destination wedding? The more time the better. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend sending invitations 8+ weeks in advance. While 6 weeks is standard, and totally sufficient, the extra time helps couples relax closer to the wedding day.

Choose your words

Informing guests of the date, time and location is necessary, of course, but how you choose to do so is personal. Including the names of the hosts (if they are different from the couple) is kind etiquette, and using full names is a nice touch. Beyond that, feel free to be creative with your wording. Getting married under two large oak trees? Include that. Is astrology an important part of your union? Perhaps music lyrics or a famous quote hold significant meaning. These are details that make your wedding uniquely yours.

Define your style

Pinterest and wedding blogs can be a great resource for finding styles that you gravitate toward, but don’t be afraid to look around you. Consider your ceremony and wedding day. Are there any design details you’d like to include in your stationery? What textures and colors do you gravitate toward? Try to stay away from trends and really think about the details that define you and your fiancé as a couple. If working with a designer, don’t be afraid to share these inspirational details, then trust them to create something truly wonderful for you.

Additional details

Calligraphy, ribbon, wax seals and custom or vintage stamps are all great ways to add extra personality or texture to your suite.

Calligraphy – If you love the look of calligraphy and hand lettering for your addresses, be sure to book them well in advance, and order extra envelopes. Many calligraphers also offer full design services.

Ribbon – See our post for ribbon sourcing options.

Stamps – Etsy have several wonderful vendors that curate and sell vintage stamp collections. You can also custom create stamps of your own design online.

Bonus Tips

– Collecting your guests’ names and addresses in an organized excel spreadsheet makes it easy to send along to your designer / calligrapher if needed, and doubles as a place for you to keep track of replies, gifts received and thank you notes sent.

– If using returned RSVP Cards, consider writing a small, corresponding number in pencil on the back corner of your card. Guests won’t notice, and it will help you to see who has and hasn’t responded from your list.

– Make sure to weigh your invitation at a local post office before purchasing postage. Many suites cost more than standard US postage if you include heavier papers, wax seals or odd sizes.

– Include yourself in the guest list! Many brides love having a set of their own to keep. If you plan to take on a married name, you may appreciate a set with your maiden name as a keepsake.

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If you’re looking for more wedding stationery inspiration, visit our Wedding Ideas Gallery.

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07.31.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog, Wedding Planning

Moments Before the Wedding Ceremony: An Intimate Elopement

The act of eloping forces a couple to really think about what is important to them as they say their vows. Ashley and Morgan’s elopement is no different. They planned their wedding in just 5 days, and in looking at these beautiful photos of the two in the moments leading up to their wedding ceremony, it’s easy to see that what they focused on was the intimate connectedness they share.

More from the bride, Ashley:
“I’m pretty convinced I should’ve started drinking champagne a bit earlier than I did that day. I know it would’ve helped calm my nerves. Our elopement had been planned in five short days, so by the time it actually rolled around it was like I was walking through a cloud. A big puffy cloud. Everything seemed so surreal. Like it was all in slow motion.

Morgan and I both seem to have felt very reflective in the moments before the ceremony. Like everything we once were and all that we had been through together was culminating into this one day. Like it all had come full circle and everything was complete and whole and right in the world.

We were also just entirely moved by the love and effort of all the beautiful people that had come together to make the day happen for us. Our wonderful friends at Amy Osaba Events and our family members that had dropped everything to be there with us; it was so touching to watch it all unfold.

When my husband and I talk about our wedding day, we always come back to one word: sweet. I know that sounds completely cheesy, but it was like this thickness in the air. Like that warm and fuzzy kind of sweet. I can only describe it as, we just felt wrapped up in love.”

Photographer: Katie Hyatt | Location: Tate House | Flowers: Amy Osaba Events | Gowns: Samuelle Couture + shop gossamer | Cake: Sugar and Slate | Grooms attire: Jcrew | Paper goods: Signora E Mare | Hair /Makeup: Meredith Mejerle

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07.30.15 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Couture Flower Girl Dresses from Melijoe.com

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Cherished nieces, nephews or the child of a family friend, flower girls and ring bearers are an important part of any wedding party.  First to set foot down the aisle, they steal the show and our hearts with their adorable antics and precious style. As you’re busy planning the perfect ensembles for your bridesmaids and putting the finishing touches on your dream wedding dress, don’t forget to take a moment to reflect upon the littlest participants in your ceremony.

When it comes to choosing the perfect special occasion outfit for children, we have fallen in love with Melijoe.com. Melijoe was founded by a Parisian mother of 5 with a desire to create a premiere online shopping destination for fashion conscious moms (and brides!). With over 120 brands to choose from, including Little Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney Kids, her vision has been transformed into a reality. Whether your theme is relaxed and casual or a sophisticated black tie affair, delight over the dreamy ceremony selection of romantic designer dresses for girls and perfectly tailored suits and separates for little gentleman. We are smitten with the ever-elegant collection from Dolce & Gabbana, which brings Italian style from the runway to the aisle.

Simplify your planning and order this season’s must have fashion. Free delivery is offered on your first order, and have your fashion picks sent right to your door! The site’s editorial team is always working on the latest trends and their American customer service is ready to assist you in making your wedding a success for the littlest participants. Be sure to check out Melijoe.com today!

All items pictured here are available for purchase on Melijoe.com.

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07.30.15 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

Breathtaking and Unique Wedding Gown Inspiration

We love to see brides who choose unique gowns for their wedding days, and these breathtaking dresses by designer Emily Riggs are two of our newest favorites. With modern silhouettes and romantic fabrics as the starting point, these bold shades of antique gold and coral take centre stage.

Looking for other unique (read: non-white) wedding dresses? Check out some of our favorites here, here, and here.

More from the dress designer, Emily Riggs: 
“I hand-selected the silks used on both gowns while traveling through France and Italy last summer.  The Antique gold is made from the finest silk tulle in France and the coral crepe satin was found in Italy. It’s always a pleasure being able to work with such fine materials and see them come to life. They literally flow like water.”

Photography: Meghan Kay Sadler | Dresses: Emily Riggs Bridal | Florals: Selva Floral Design | Model: Skye Sarenana-Velten | Makeup: Sokha Sok| Hair: Ambrosia Carey

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07.29.15 / Featured, Wedding Ideas, Wedding Ideas Blog