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The Wedding Guide - The Wedding Stationery Guide
 
The Complete Wedding Stationery Guide

So you're getting married! Congratulations! As you have no doubt already discovered, deciding to get married is just the first of many decisions you'll need to make on the way to the big day. This column is intended to help you navigate through some of the finer points surrounding wedding stationery. We'll also look at a few "modern issues," areas where contemporary tastes run counter to tradition.

Invitations set the tone:
Your wedding invitation will set the tone for your event. Whatever you decide to do for your celebration, your invitation should reflect both the event and your personality!

While the traditional ecru or white paper stock engraved with black ink is still the most popular choice for a formal invitation, more liberal approaches are "pushing the envelope," like invitations on textured papers, in multiple colors, and with custom wedding designs. Whether you plan to exchange vows in a hotel, a place of worship, or on a secluded island beach, show your personal style and create a wedding invitation that truly expresses who you are, your values, and your individuality.

With that said, it is still important to follow a few basic guidelines when planning your wedding stationery. Below is an overview that will acquaint you with the basics of wedding stationery. Please call or come see us when you're ready to put your stationery plans "on paper."

 

Planning Your Invitation

Order all of your invitations at the same time, leaving ample time to have them printed and addressed. Gather and bring all the information you will need to create your wedding invitation:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Place
  • Parents' names
  • Groom's middle name
  • Number of people attending reception vs. wedding

Getting Formal
The most formal invitation is on ecru (cream) or white stock engraved with black or dark-gray ink. It is folded in half, with the text of the invitation on the front outside panel. A less formal invitation is on an unfolded ecru or white card. Either of these papers may be plain or paneled.

Lettering Style
There are dozens and dozens of typefaces to choose from, from frilly scripts to austere all-caps. Choose one that expresses the spirit of your occasion and matches the tone of the stationery you decide upon.

All pieces in your wedding ensemble should use the same paper and ink color.

Wording Your Invitation

The content of a formal wedding invitation is fairly straightforward, albeit slightly more complicated these days due to changes in social attitudes and family structures. Regardless of your particular situation, the lines of your invitation should be in the following order:
1. The hosts' names
Formal invitations begin with the person or people involved with the hosting, using formal names and titles. For example:
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
If the bride and groom are hosting their own wedding the first lines would read:
Isabelle Marie Johnson
and
Jack Hamden Robert
request the honour of your presence
at their marriage
2. Invite your guests
"requests the honour of your presence"
(use honour when the wedding is taking place in a house of worship; honor when the location is a hotel, club, etc.)
 
Casual:
"requests the pleasure of your company"
3. State the affair and relationship to the bride
"at the wedding of their daughter"
4. The bride's first and second name
"Isabelle Marie"
 
If the bride's last name is different from the host's, it should also be included on this line, e.g.:
 
"Isabelle Marie Johnson"
5. The connecting, "to"
This always goes on its own line in a formal invitation.
"to"
6. The groom's full name
If the bride is using a professional title, such as
"Doctor Marie Ann Consalves,"
you should then also include the groom's personal title,
"Mr.," "Dr.,"
or whatever the case may be.
7. The day and month
In a formal invitation, spell out completely the date, time, and location of your wedding. Thus, the date would be:
"Saturday, the twentieth of June"
8. The year
"Nineteen hundred and ninety-eight"
9. The time
"at two o'clock in the afternoon"
10. The location
"The Waybridge Country Club"
11. City and state
"Waybridge, New Hampshire"
12. Reception line
If you are planning to have your reception at the same location as the wedding, the line
"and afterward at the reception"
or
"reception immediately following ceremony"
should follow the city and state.

The Reception Card

If you are holding your reception at a different location than that of your wedding, you will probably want to include a reception card with your invitation. This is helpful in a couple of ways: First, it will not crowd the text on your invitation. Secondly, if you are inviting only some guests to the reception, it is convenient to simply add a reception card to the wedding invitations of those guests.

The card should include the name and address of the establishment with
"Reception immediately following the ceremony"
at the top of the card.

Assembling Your Invitations

The double envelope, that courtly feature of the formal wedding invitation, has its origins in the days when footmen delivered invitations to the landed class. At delivery, the footman would remove the clean invitation from its well-traveled outer envelope. The custom has survived, although with modern postal service the outer envelope is now sealed, with the inner unsealed and placed with the guest's name face up so that it can be read immediately upon extracting it from the outer.

Tissues were originally conceived in the days when inks took a bit longer to dry. Printers placed a tissue over the ink so that it would not smear. Today ink is quick-drying so tissues are not imperative, but used out of tradition. If you choose to use a tissue, it is the first sheet of paper that covers the printed text of your invitation. The large sheet of tissue is for your invitation, the small for your reply card and other small enclosures.

Place items in inner envelope in relation to importance and size:

  1. Invitation
  2. Reply card tucked under flap of reply envelope
  3. Reception card
  4. Other items, such as direction cards and accommodation cards, can be placed in order of size. If there are 2 cards that are of the same size, place them in order of importance.

Addressing Your Envelopes

General rules:

  • Spell out all Avenues, Roads, Streets, Boulevards, etc.
  • Use the complete name of guest: i.e., Richard, not Rich
  • Write out numbers one to twenty; higher numbers write numerically
  • Junior, Senior: should be stated on outside envelope, not inner
  • A boy under age 13 is referred to as "Master"

DOUBLE ENVELOPES - Address Samples
Most of your addresses will comply with one of the samples below. If any don't, call us for advice!

 
Couple (married with same last name)
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson

 
Couple (married, woman kept her name)
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Karen Connor and Mr. John Ryan
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Connor and Mr. Ryan

 
Couple (Man is doctor)
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Dr. and Mrs. James Hunt
INNER ENVELOPE:
Dr. and Mrs. Hunt

 
Couple (Woman is doctor)
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Dr. Marie and Mr. James Hunt
INNER ENVELOPE:
Dr. and Mr. Hunt

 
Couple (Both are doctors)
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Drs. James and Marie Hunt
INNER ENVELOPE:
The Doctors Hunt

 
Family
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson
Isabelle and Matthew
(children listed by seniority)
Separate invitation to children over 18 years old, even if at same address

 
Two Sisters
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Miss Isabelle Johnson
Miss Renee Johnson
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
The Misses Johnson

 
Sister and Brother
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Miss Isabelle Johnson
Mr. Matthew Johnson
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
Miss Johnson
Mr. Johnson

 
Two Brothers
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Mr. Isaac Johnson
Mr. Matthew Johnson
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
The Messrs. Johnson

 
Unmarried people living together (Woman First)
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Susan Smith
Mr. Jack Roberts
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Smith
Mr. Roberts

 
Unmarried people living together (Listed Alphabetically)
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Roxanne Brown
Ms. Josie Hunter
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Brown
Ms. Hunter

 
Single person with named guest (dating, cohabiting, engaged)
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Susan Smith
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Susan Smith
Mr. Jack Roberts

 
Single person with unnamed guest
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Susan Smith
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
Ms. Smith and Escort
or
Ms. Smith and Guest

 
Junior/Senior
 
OUTER ENVELOPE:
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson, Jr
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
INNER ENVELOPE:
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson
 
SINGLE ENVELOPES - Address Samples
Most of your addresses will comply with one of the samples below. If any don't, call us for advice!

 
Couple
 
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000

 
Family
 
Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson
Isabelle and Matthew
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000

 
Separate invite to children over 18 years old, even if at same address
 
Isabelle Johnson
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
Matthew Johnson
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000

 
Two single people living together
 
Ms. Susan Smith
Mr. John Roberts
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000

 
Single person with unnamed guest
 
Ms. Susan Smith
and Escort (or and Guest)
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
Mr. Jack Roberts
and Guest
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10000
 

Finally! The Mailing!

Before sending your invitations, take a sample to the post office with all pieces to confirm that you're applying the proper postage before mailing! If you have international addresses, it is important to ask for postage for each individual country to which an invitation is being sent. These measures will ensure prompt delivery of your invitations.

Once everything is properly stamped, you will want to adhere to the following timelines for mailing your invitations:

  • Four to six weeks before the event is the general rule for mailing your invitations to ensure your guests receive their invitations and are able to respond in sufficient time. If you have guests traveling from outside the regional area, it is courteous to mail their invitations 6-8 weeks ahead of your wedding date so that they can make travel arrangements. As well, if you are planning your wedding around a holiday weekend, it is a good idea to get your invitations out 6-8 weeks prior so that your guests are sure to make your wedding the focus of the holiday.
  • Regardless of when the invitations are sent, they should all be mailed at the same time.

Now, sit back and relax - and start thinking about other paper planning! Your wedding reception will allow you to further personalize your affair and carry the theme of your invitations right through the day of your wedding. These stationery pieces can include invitations to the rehearsal dinner, the wedding program, placecards or escort cards, menus, and table numbers. We can help you put together a comprehensive plan of coordinating papers that will help create a lasting impression.

We also carry papers for wedding-related occasions such as bridal showers, teas, and engagement parties.

 

The Thoughtful and the Tasteful

Other printed stationery that is both useful and appropriate:
The Ceremony Card: If you are planning an intimate wedding with a small group of family and friends, but are then going to have a bash to celebrate, enclose a ceremony card along with the reception card.

Wedding Announcements Send these out the day of your wedding to friends who you did not invite to your wedding, but to whom you would like to announce your marriage! The traditional announcement would look like your invitation, in ecru or white paper with black ink - engraved or thermographed in the style of your wedding invitations. Mail in double envelopes.

Gift Received Cards A gift received card is a helpful and tactful way of acknowledging the gift of your guest without delay, especially if you are having a large wedding or an extended honeymoon. The card acknowledges a gift and notes that a personal thank-you will soon follow.

Personalized Stationery Traditionally, the bride took on the role of thanking the couple's guests for wedding gifts. Nowadays, however, the groom is more likely to lend a hand or shoulder the burden. When he does, his monogram should be on cards he is writing, hers on the notes she will write.

Notecards with the married couple's name, e.g.,
"Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,"
are used by husband and wife for replying to formal invitations, sending thank-you's, personal notes, or an invitation.
 

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