Write On!

Work with your stationer to choose the perfect style for your wedding, from save-the-dates to thank-you cards.

Stationery is a wedding essential: Your save-the-date card and invitation will get guests excited and give hints about the look of the event. Place cards and ceremony programs can tie together a theme. And thank-you notes will remind them of all the fun they had! Take note of these stationery tips:

Find the right vendor

To start, you could sort through stationery designers’ websites, but be warned, there are quite a few of them! Instead, “ask friends for references, people whose taste you like,” says Kerry Amidon, marketing manager for Checkerboard, a stationery company based in Massachusetts. Chances are, you’ll find a local stationery store you love. “The salespeople will probably be experienced and be able to help you through the process,” says Toni Hajdas, a business manager at Crane & Co. The stationer should have albums of invitations to show you and be knowledgeable about customization and wording choices. Also, ask if he offers services like calligraphy and envelope stuffing (for an extra fee).

Know your numbers

Wedding invitations come in a broad range of prices, so before you order know exactly how much you can spend—and how many you need. “For a 300-person wedding, you don’t need 300 invitations!” says Amidon. One invite per single person, per couple and per family will suffice. “Order about 25 additional invitations for keepsakes,” advises Hajdas. “And order 25 extra envelopes. Everybody makes mistakes while addressing.” If you have inserts or heavy cardstock, have the invitation weighed before you buy stamps. It may cost more than 42 cents to mail.


“Consider your style as a couple as well as the style of the wedding,” says Amidon. “For example, if you’re a modern couple having a formal wedding, you might choose a contemporary typeface but combine it with traditional wording.” Most invitation designs are customizable. It might cost a bit extra to change a design or have one custom-created, but if you can afford it, go ahead and make it your own.

Consider the extras

Be sure to see a proof—a preview of the final result—in order to ensure that names are spelled correctly and all pertinent information is accurate. You might want to buy matching or coordinating place cards, menu cards, programs, maps, table cards and thank-you notes. This will pull together visual elements throughout the day—and after.

Time it perfectly

Send save-the-dates out four to six months before the wedding. That’s when to order your invitations and thank-you notes, too; mail invites six to eight weeks before the big day. Ask guests to respond by about two weeks before the wedding. Then, do a few thank-yous a day to keep up with the gifts that roll in. Hajdas’s advice? “Enlist your new husband’s help!”

Get It in Print

Here, we decode some common printing styles:

  • Engraving is classic and formal, with raised lettering created by a 3-D metal printing plate.
  • Thermography replicates the raised look of engraving but costs about 20 percent less. However, if you want light letters on a dark background, this method can make the type transparent.
  • In Letterpress printing, letters and designs are pressed down into the paper for a retro look that’s now quite trendy.
  • Offset is another word for flat printing or lithography. This method is not only popular but superaffordable too!
  • Imprintables are for the DIY bride. You can buy a kit and print your invites on your own computer. Some styles are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Keep in mind that this can be a time-consuming and involved process—be sure you’re up for the challenge.