1) SET A DATE & VENUE
Before you venture over to your stationery to-do-list, you need to have some of the big things checked off first. Your date, venue(s), and ceremony and reception time need to be decided upon. If you are sending out save the dates, you only need to confirm your date. Keep in mind though that your date often depends on certain venue availability.
2) ALLOCATE A BUDGET
Brides have an endless amount of options for wedding stationery. ...local stationery shops, etsy business owners, the Pinterest-inspired DIY bride. No matter the route, whether it's in hiring a professional designer or opting to invest your own time, stationery is just that - an investment. Brides often budget for $800-1200 for wedding stationery. The best thing you can do is give yourself a comfortable number and let that budget determine the "must haves." It may be that letterpress printed stationery is really important to you or that you KNOW you want to have the envelopes addressed in calligraphy. Establish a budget and work backwards to get the best of what you can get with that number.
3) ESTABLISH YOUR AESTHETIC
The aesthetics involved in your wedding stationery should be intentional. The ink color, the paper choice, the assembly ...it all represents the type of wedding celebration your guests will expect to attend. For example, you may not want a super traditional or over-the-top formal invitation for a backyard soireé. You'd probably want to lean towards the more casual side. These decisions are often inspired by your color schemes, an overall feel or mood you want to create, etc. You're going to want to have a general direction of where you want your stationery to take you.
You typically want to mail your invitations 8-12 weeks before your wedding. If you opt for save the dates, you typically send those roughly 8-12 months prior to the wedding or as soon as your date and venue is set. If you are investing in a professional designer to create your stationery. You'd want to allow at least a few months of planning. You also want to make sure you give yourself or your calligrapher enough time to address your envelopes. The sooner the better is usually key here.
5) COORDINATE YOUR DAY-OFF PIECES
Once the save the dates have been sent and the wedding invitations printed, there are still some lingering after-math pieces to keep in mind. There is nothing better than a series of paper goods intertwined through out your wedding that all compliment each other. Some of the items you may want to think about including for the day off are you programs, menu cards, place cards, thank you notes, or even a special print or card to use as wedding favors or a special gift to a family member.
PERSONAL PREFERENCES AND TIPS
PURCHASE A CUSTOM ADDRESS STAMP
A custom address stamp is super affordable and has a multitude of uses. If you purchase this stamp early enough, you can begin using this stamp for thank you notes after showers and as your return address on save the dates, shower venues, and celebrations. You can also use this stamp for the return address on your wedding stationery and/or your recipient address for your response card's return back to you. ...then of course all of your snail mail post wedding stationery.
STAMPS & POSTAGE
Try to find a stamp that coordinates with your stationery. The post office usually has some ...ehh "generic" wedding stamps. I would recommend opting for a custom stamp. ...even better, use a vintage stamp collection if you can. You can find vintage stamps on eBay by seaching "unused uncanceled stamps."
IMPORTANT: Ask your postman (or woman) to hand meter your envelopes. Otherwise, you'll end up with those ugly black lines at the bottom of your envelope. That's a good way to make your calligrapher cry.
Wedding websites are a fantastic way to have your guests updated on the latest wedding news, allow for accommodations, and even allowing your guest to rsvp in advance. Opt for your own domain name. Domain names are super affordable, you can usually create one for about $10 for a whole year. As a stationery designer, I know www.TheJohnsonsBigDay.com looks way nicer than www.Name/us/SomeVenue/somethingelse.com ...don't you think?
PACK YOUR STATIONERY TO THE WEDDING
Everyone should have a really great photo of their stationery. Go ahead and pack your stationery suite in your wedding day bag to have the photographer snap a great shot of that pretty paper.
FRAME YOUR INVITATION
Your invitation, along with your dress and maybe some heirlooms are one of just a few tactile things you'll actually preserve from your wedding day. The first anniversary calls for "paper." Frame your wedding invitation as an anniversary gift to remind yourself and your spouse why you chose one another. Maybe write a hand written note to keep on the back side of the frame.