2021 Wedding Stationery Tips and Planning Guide
Whether you’re already scheduled to marry in 2021, or you’ve already had to move your date from 2020 to 2021, then now is the time to start planning your wedding stationery, particularly if marrying in the Summer or Autumn months this year. Here, I share my top 2021 wedding stationery tips and planning guide, so that you can secure your booking and get organised early with your wedding stationery.
1. Plan now
There’s no doubt that 2021 is started in a state of flux with lockdown, however many weddings are set to take place this year. This means that many stationers and other suppliers are already booked up, especially if your date falls within the peak Summer months, from May to September. So if you haven’t already booked your stationer, my top tip would be to get in touch to check their availability and timelines.
2. Get to know your timelines
One of the questions that I am most frequently asked is when to send out the Save the Dates and Invitations, so here I have outlined the ideal timelines to follow. However, do bear in mind that timelines are likely to be tighter than normal, due to the unsettled start to the year. As such, it is essential to understand not only your timelines, but your stationer’s timelines too. Get in touch with your chosen stationer soon and book early to ensure that you can receive your stationery in good time.
Save the Dates
Your Save the Date is a simple announcement that goes to all your guests to let them know when your wedding date is and where it will take place, so that they can mark it in their calendars and start making plans to ensure that they can attend your special day.
As such, these are typically sent out 9-12 months ahead of your date. Although there really aren’t any strict rules on this, do bear in mind that if you’re planning a Summer wedding, a destination wedding, or your date falls on a bank holiday weekend, your guests will need more notice. Equally, if you’re planning a short engagement, then you’ll have to get these out ASAP!
Save the Dates can be sent out either as a printed invitation, or digitally via an evite. I offer both options for my couples.
If you have already sent out Save the Dates, then my advice is to send out your invitations no more than 2 months before your wedding day (perhaps slightly longer if you need to allow for longer overseas postal times). Guests will already have your date in their calendars from your Save the Date, so receiving your invitation is about creating excitement as your big day approaches. It also gives you the chance to provide further information about your special day. This is also the last chance for your guests to confirm their attendance and provide any dietary information too.
In my experience, if you give your guests too long to respond to your invitation then they are less likely to be prompt about sending back their RSVP, and you’ll end up having to chase them up!
Also, you may be wondering when to set your RSVP reply date for? To help you with this, it is best to coordinate with your venue caterer first, to get their deadline date for guest numbers, and also liaise with your stationer over table plan order deadlines. Then bring your RSVP reply date back 2 weeks from their deadline to give yourselves a little leeway for any guest chase ups. It also allows you a little extra time to finalise your table plan.
You can request that your guests RSVP via an email address, a wedding website, or on an RSVP card enclosed with the invitation. If sending RSVP cards and envelopes for a postal return, don’t forget to make things as easy as possible for your guests to reply quickly by enclosing a pre-addressed and stamped envelope. Printed address labels are the simple solution for postal RSVPs, which I offer as an optional extra.
On the Day Stationery
Once your guest numbers and menu has been finalised, it’s time to think about your on-the-day stationery. This includes table numbers, place cards, menus, signage and table plan/ escort cards. It is good to get these printed all together, because grouped orders will ultimately save you time and money. Again, do book your stationer as early as possible for your on-the-day stationery requirements, to avoid quick turnaround charges on artwork and delivery.
Thank You Cards
My advice is to print your thank you cards with your wedding invitations or on the-day stationery. This ensures that you have them, ready to write, soon after your wedding day. However, if you would like to send out cards to family and friends, which incorporates your favourite wedding photo, then you will have to ensure that you understand your photographer and stationer’s timelines first. You will also have to consider your honeymoon timings.
3. Work out your guest numbers and budget
Emerging trends from 2020 are two types of wedding: the micro or intimate wedding for those wanting to scale back and focus on their nearest and dearest; and those who are happy to go small for the ceremony, but with a view to going large with a big party later on down the line (wed now, party later)! Until you have your guest numbers, you won’t know how many invitation sets you will need and you won’t be able to work out your budget for your stationery either.
Don’t forget that when working out the number of invitations that you will need, this is based on the number of households that you are sending them to, rather than the total headcount. So, if you’re planning an intimate wedding you may only need 20-30 invitations, or up to 70-80+ for larger weddings. Also, do remember to factor in postage costs!
Your wedding stationery budget will not only depend on the quantity of invitations required, but the number of enclosures, the type of printing and any accessories selected. It’s always good to let your stationer know your budget and stationery goals up front, so that they can advise you on the most suitable options open to you.
4. Printing options
The most popular types of printing for your wedding stationery are outlined below, in order of most cost-effective to the most expensive. The type of printing that you select for your stationery will have a direct bearing on your budget and timelines, so it’s important to understand the different options available. However, please also be aware that these timelines may extend during busy times of the year, so it’s always good to book early and agree your timelines.
- Digital printing – I use this method of printing for my modern luxe Studio Collection because it is the most economical option for stationery printing and provides a high quality finish on a thick, softly textured cardstock. It is the most flexible form of printing, with lots of paper options and you can order in quantities of 10 (starting from a minimum of 20). It also offers the quickest turnaround time of 3-4 weeks.
- Digital Foil – At a small additional cost to standard digital printing, and a slightly longer timeline of 5-6 weeks, you can add a little foil shimmer to your stationery with this method of printing. It is printed onto a smooth cardstock, but it does not deliver the same ‘deboss’ effect achieved by the more expensive hot foiling.
- Hot Foiling – is a traditional type of printing and the more expensive option. It provides a beautiful luxurious feel by adding a ‘debossed’ effect on your stationery that was once reserved for book covers. This type of printing is more labour intensive from both an artwork setup and production point of view, requiring a custom metal plate to be made for the printing process. This type of printing is typically triple the cost of digital printing and it increases the timeline to 8 weeks. There is also a minimum order quantity of 50 invitations (with increments of 25). You will need to book at least 4 months in advance when ordering this type of stationery.
- Letterpress – is another beautiful and timeless print option for your wedding stationery. It is equally labour-intensive and also requires a custom metal plate to be made and so is similarly priced to hot foiling. This process requires a minimum of 8 weeks and can be ordered in quantities of 25 (starting from a minimum of 50). You will need to book at least 4 months in advance when ordering this type of stationery.
5. Adding little heartfelt details to your day
Weddings are likely to have an even deeper meaning for couples this year, particularly for those who had to postpone their day last year. Having experienced the lockdown, there is a definite sense of being grateful for good health and being able to celebrate with loved ones. Incorporating some little personal touches is a great way of showing your guests how important they are to you. This can be as simple as your choice of wording on the invitations, to a heartfelt thank you message on the actual day which can be incorporated onto place cards, escort cards or favour tags.
I hope that you have found my 2021 wedding stationery tips helpful. If you’re struggling to pinpoint your style, or you have any further questions about wedding stationery, paper and printing, do get in touch today to schedule your consultation call!
Contact Natalie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographers: Gyan Gurung Photography (Main Image) and Sophie Lake Photography (Thank You Card)