The pieces you'll need for your wedding ensemble.
After you set the date and book the venue, it’s time to start thinking about selecting your wedding stationery. Because you’ll need more than just an invitation, we asked our local experts to help guide you through the list of staples that will create the perfect wedding paper ensemble.
Save the Dates
Save the date cards are not mandatory, but they’ve become more and more popular. These should be mailed six months ahead, longer if it’s a destination wedding. Mary Hopple of M. Hopple & Co. advises, “include the bride’s and groom’s names, date, place, directions and accommodations, a line saying ‘formal invitation to follow,’ and a website if there is one.” Ann Schwartz of The Paper Place says that “everyone on the guest list should receive a save the date card. You don’t want a friend or family member to think that they were left out.”
These don’t necessarily have to match the rest of your wedding stationery. “I’ve noticed my clients having some serious fun here,” says Sara Cormier of Cormier Creative. “My latest design was for a Las Vegas wedding with a ‘lucky in love’ theme. The card featured scratch-off stickers which revealed the date of the wedding—clever and memorable!” Photograph cards are a huge trend: “There are so many dynamic photographers in Cincinnati,” says Kristen Folzenlogen of Poême of Hyde Park. “These photo save the dates have become more artistic and photojournalistic, as opposed to the traditional posed engagement shots of 10 years ago.”
You won’t have a wedding without one. Some trends Cormier, Hopple, and Schwartz are noticing these days include diagonal copy placement, hand-drawn artwork and motifs, pockets and layers, use of multiple typestyles, naturals in colors and papers, wood-grain designs, letterpress, gray backgrounds with colored floral patterns, blush pinks, purples, navy, and the latest colors—tangerines and oranges. Folzenlogen adds, “the hot trend in invitations is classic, classic, classic. Brides and grooms are becoming a bit more traditional these days. We have found that focus on the paper quality and how it is printed bears as much weight as the actual design itself.”
Assembling the invitations yourself can save you time and money, but if you want to make sure it’s done correctly, let the experts do it for you. “We require an Excel spreadsheet of all your names, in a certain formatting which we furnish you,” Hopple says. “And the addresses will match your invitations.” Square invitations are very popular, but it’s important to remember that the U.S. Postal Service considers them an unusual shape and charges an additional 20 cents on top of regular postage. Always take one of your invitation ensembles to the post office for analysis and weighing to be sure you put the correct amount of postage on them before you mail them.
Programs, Menus, and Place Cards
The theme of these items usually correlates to the invitation style. Many brides choose to use the same typeface and ink color. “Think about a budget for these items when you think about your invitation budget,” Hopple says. “These extra items can be costly. An elaborate program can cost as much as your invitations.” These additional paper pieces will also require a lot of proofreading. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a misspelled name on a wedding program.
Big trends include “program fans” for outdoor weddings. “It’s a fun way to dress the chairs as guests arrive and are seated,” Folzenlogen says. Many couples have started combining menus and place cards into one item. Personalize each menu and tuck it into the napkin to indicate where each guest will sit. Place cards are also doubling as guests’ gift tags. There are many ways for couples to be innovative and express their creativity when it comes to these last pieces of the wedding paper ensemble.
Photograph by Ryan Kurtz, courtesy of M. Hopple & Co.