Nov 18

Wedding Stationery 101

Welcome to our first O&E 101 post! This series will be a crash course in everything you need to know about wedding stationery and signage as you embark on your wedding planning! We’ll talk about everything from timelines to terminology, with the goal of giving you the knowledge you need to choose the most important pieces for your wedding.

This first “course” is all about the basics. Here’s the questions we’ll answer with this post:

  1. What’s included in “wedding stationery”?
  2. What timeline should I follow when planning my wedding stationery? (a.k.a. when do I mail all of these things?)
  3. How do I even get started?

So you’re engaged, and you’re feeling a little ahead of the game you’ve set a date, and booked a venue, and all of the sudden, everyone is asking allll the questions. Suddenly you’re expected to be a certified event planner with all of the answers, even though you’ve likely never planned an event this size, let alone a wedding, let alone YOUR WEDDING.  


If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, you’ve come to the right spot! (At least as far as paper goes!) I’m going to break down some basics so you can be a pro at your consult with your stationer. (I mean who knew invitations had “belly bands??”)

First, what even is wedding stationery?

Stationery (with an e) refers to any papers used for writing. When we say wedding stationery, we’re typically referring to anything you mail to your guests, as well as any paper products or written signage at your wedding. 

The most common wedding stationery pieces are:

  1. Save the Dates
  2. Wedding Invitations
  3. Day of Signage
  4. Day of Stationery (menus/placecards)

Other items that are included in this category would be engagement announcements, shower invites (if you’re hosting), vow books, guest welcome bag information cards/maps, programs, and thank you cards, just to name a few.

Wedding stationers specialize in the design and production of the paper part of this category. Some also do lettering or calligraphy, and may offer signage or other hand lettered items in addition to paper products.

Owl & Envelope specializes as a full service wedding stationery designer, which means I can help you through all of your stationery and signage items, start to finish!

So what is wedding stationery? Short answer: Anything you mail to your guests, or any signage you use on your big day!

Okay, when do I need to order all of these?

We’ll be covering timelines in more detail in future posts, but here’s the basic gist:

Save the Dates: These typically mail out 6-8 months prior to your wedding date. If you’re getting married over a holiday, or having a destination wedding, consider sending 9-12 months prior. Depending on where you order from, you’ll need to plan on 2-8 weeks for production prior to your mailing date.

Invitations: Invitations typically mail out 6-8 weeks prior to your date. Semi-custom options take between 2-8 weeks for production (depending on the complexity), and custom design and assembly can take up to 12 weeks (or more). I encourage brides to book their stationery design with me 6 months or more in advance to guarantee enough time to complete them before their mailing date arrives.

Day of Signage: This varies greatly depending on the size and quantity of signage you’ll want, but I recommend booking this at least 3-4 months prior to your wedding date. This allows for design time, as well as ordering any larger materials, and then we settle on final wording, etc. in the 30-60 days prior to your wedding!

So how do I get started?

I know wedding planning can be overwhelming, and your vendors are all here to make it as simple as possible, so you can enjoy being engaged! I recommend finding a wedding planner as your first priority. A wedding planner you click with is the greatest asset you’ll have in your wedding planning journey, as they can help you set a budget with your priorities in mind, offer great insight on the planning process, and be your point of contact to field all of the questions you’ll inevitably get from guests and vendors. (I’d be happy to recommend a planner if you need one!)

 Once you have your budget set, you’ve set a date, and you’ve booked your venue, you’re ready to start the process of ordering Save the Dates! If you’re planning on working with a stationer on your invites, I would recommend also checking with them about doing your save the dates. Much like engagement photos can help your photographer and you learn about each other and work seamlessly together on the wedding day, working with your stationer on your save the dates is a great way to ensure they get to know you well, and it will make your invitation design & day of signage/stationery experience that much better! (plus you won’t have to research/meet with/choose 3 separate vendors! Bonus win!)

I love working with my clients on save the dates, and getting to know you as a couple. I find that if we’ve spent that time working together, I am able to pour so much more of your story and vision into your wedding invitations, making them truly unique and all you!

Want more information about each the stationery pieces you might want for your wedding? Stay tuned! We’ll be covering Save the Dates, Wedding Invitations, Maps/Itineraries, and Day of Stationery and Signage each in their own post in the coming weeks.

Ready to get started with your wedding stationery? Get in touch with us here!

Happy Wedding Planning!



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