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Wedding planning can be overwhelming, even without a global pandemic happening. There are so many aspects, each with their own vendors, questions, and factors. So, in this week’s blog, I’m tackling some wedding stationery tips to help make things a smidge easier. Couldn’t we all use a bit of help? I’ve got five tips for you, so let’s jump in.

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Tip 1: Set your triangle

This is a general tip for wedding planning, but it directly impacts your stationery. As a first step after getting engaged (well, second step after popping bottles! Yay!), you should set your triangle. Estimate your overall guest count, budget, and vibe you want. These three aspects work in tandem with one another, and they create a give-and-take.

If you want to have an elegant, luxury guest experience as your vibe and a high guest count, plan on also having a high budget. However, if you don’t have a high budget, but you’re set on that luxe experience, the “side of the triangle” to adjust here is the guest count. You can provide an opulent experience for a small group to respect your overall budget. On the other hand, if you have your heart set on having a big group, but can’t afford to spend more, you’ll need to have things be less extravagant.

It doesn’t matter how you decide these elements work in your “triangle,” but have an idea of them ahead of time. This will inform your decisions for everything that’s headcount-related throughout the entire planning process.

So how does this triangle work as one of my wedding stationery tips? Well, you need to know the number of invitations and other pieces you’ll need, in order to get an accurate quote. Once you’ve determined what that guest count is, and how much you’re looking to spend, you’re able to determine if your invitations will be simple and printed in a lower-cost format, or intricate and detailed, or somewhere in between.

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Tip 2: Don’t forget to allocate budget for “afterthought” stationery items

Too often, I chat with couples who have set a budget for their wedding stationery and then are surprised if the total number is more than they had anticipated. This happens when they’ve only budgeted for the invitation, and haven’t considered other items that add up!

One of the most important wedding stationery tips I offer to potential clients is to factor in these items people have as “afterthoughts.” They’re important, too. The two biggest categories here are postage and day-of-wedding items.

On your big day, you’ll want a way to guide guests to their seats, so that’s a seating chart or escort cards. Plus, you may want any other paper items: ceremony programs, menus for the guests’ seats, small signage, or even fun printed items for your bar! All of this costs money and most is per-person. Going back to the “triangle,” the total cost will fluctuate based on your guest count.

For postage, you want to remember you’ll need postage for every invited household for all of the following items:

  • Save the date
  • Invitation outer envelope (typically at least the value of two stamps if you’re doing anything fancy here)
  • Response envelope for the reply card
  • Thank you note

That’s five stamps per household. If you’re inviting 200 people, that’s approximately 125 households. I’m writing this in 2020, and stamps currently cost $0.55 apiece. Five stamps total, for 125 houses, at $0.55 each, is $343.75.

That’s not insignificant, but it gets more interesting. If you go the vintage postage route for your invitations (which I always love), you can expect the postage price to be 4-5x the face value of what USPS would charge for a currently-issued stamp. So that $1.10 in invitation postage could cost upwards of $5.00 apiece to mail, bringing your postage grand total for your overall event to more than $800.00!

It’s important to keep this in mind if you’re going the DIY or “big box” route for stationery, so you don’t end up unexpectedly over budget. An expert will help educate you on what all this could cost, so you have a sense of pricing up front – no surprises.

Save the date with venue illustration of Detroit Institute of Arts - Wedding stationery checklist, wedding stationery tips - Leah E. Moss Designs - photo by Casey Brodley

Tip 3: For a 2021 wedding, send save the dates earlier than usual

Normally,  I recommend couples mail their save the dates 6-9 months in advance of their wedding date. Closer to six if it’s a local wedding, closer to nine for a destination event. But 2020 has been unprecedented and just insane. So, as part of my wedding stationery tips, I’d be remiss if I left out something specifically for this year. Send your 2021 save the dates early, because it’s going to be an insane year! So many couples from 2020 postponed their weddings, so calendars will fill up quickly. Give guests ample time as a heads up, so they’ll be able to plan.

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Tip 4: Don’t go down the Pinterest rabbit hole

So many couples get engaged, and then go Pinterest-crazy. There is SO.MUCH.TO.SEE on Pinterest, and it’s really easy to get pin-happy with every trend, added element, color palette, and detail. It’s the easiest way to get overwhelmed by choice, and it’s also the easiest way to cloud your vision of what’s important to the two of you. Instead, browse a bit, gather some inspiration, and pick one must-have for each category. And then be done.

Instead of going down the rabbit hole, I ask each potential client what would be the one item at the top of their stationery “wish list.” This is one of my wedding stationery tips to make sure your paper goods include what’s most important to you, without getting bogged down by the never-ending options of combinations you’ve seen from someone else online.

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Tip 5: trust your stationery vendor

As a reminder, your paper goods are your first chance to “wow” your guests, well before they even arrive for your big day. Because of this being the first impression, it’s crucial to trust your vendor! I always try to give suggestions that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself. After all, that’s why you’ve hired a professional.

I realize this is one of my wedding stationery tips, but this logic applies to all of your vendors! You’re making an investment in their services, so giving him or her creative freedom will generate an even-better end result. My colleagues in this industry will go above and beyond with their creative excellence to deliver an incredible product for you on your special day!

Whew! That was a ton of information. Let’s recap here.

My 5 wedding stationery tips for engaged couples:

  1. Set your triangle
  2. Don’t forget to allocate budget for “afterthought” stationery items
  3. For a 2021 wedding, send save the dates earlier than usual
  4. Don’t go down the Pinterest rabbit hole
  5. Trust your stationery vendor

I hope this week’s blog was helpful for you as you plan your big day. Remember to keep each vendor category compartmentalized so you don’t get overwhelmed! Having an expert on your team for each aspect will ensure you’re in good hands and your day will run smoothly.