Wedding stationery 101: what & when to order, and when to send it

5 Min Read


wedding stationary planning

Wondering where to start with your wedding stationery? You are not alone. With so many options out there, it isn’t always easy to know what stationery you ACTUALLY need.

Today, we’re breaking your wedding stationery down to help you sort out your save the dates from your seating plans and figure out what you need to get sorted and when.

Prezola is the UK’s favourite wedding gift list, and we get to chat with hundreds of wedding-planning couples every week. So, it’s safe to say, we’ve picked up plenty of pointers along the way.

digital painted leaves wedding invitation

Firstly, what is wedding stationery?

Let’s start with the basics.

Your wedding stationery suite covers the printed (and lately also digital), elements of your wedding. From the invites to the order of service to the thank you notes you send afterwards.

Many couples choose to coordinate all these elements to fit with the colours and style of their day.

When to order wedding invitations and stationery?

These days it’s common to order invitations online – there are so many stunning options!

If you’re planning to have a traditional paper wedding stationery suite, we’d recommend ordering them around 6 months ahead of your day.

This leaves plenty of time for your stationer to show off with beautiful handcrafted elements and hand-written calligraphy.

When should I send my wedding invitations?

Send your wedding invitation paper suite too late, and you risk your favourite people missing out on your day. Send them too early, and the more scatter-brained guests (you know who they are) might lose it and forget it ever existed!

To solve this, we recommend sending wedding save the dates up to a year in advance and the actual invites 2 to 3 months before your big day.

green and pink colourful wedding invite spread
floral wedding invite card with cream envelope

What to include on a wedding invite?

  • Your full names
  • Wedding date
  • Times
  • Location and venue details
  • Dress code
  • RSVP information
  • Details of your wedding gift list
  • Accommodation recommendations if necessary

What about paperless wedding invitations?

YES, good point! These days wedding stationery can be done entirely online if that’s what floats your boat. Online wedding invitations, teamed up with a wedding website or app can be a great eco-friendly and budget-friendly alternative.

The best online wedding invitations allow you to get that premium designer look for a much cheaper price tag, with the added bonus of reducing your wedding’s carbon footprint!

One of our favourites is Greenvelope, they have endless templates for you to choose from and make your own, plus they have real-time RSVP tracking!

digital green and marble geometric wedding invite

What wedding stationery do I need before the wedding?

Engagement party invitations

You’re engaged! If that’s not an excuse to pop a bottle or two with the gang, we don’t know what is. If you’re planning a formal engagement party, paper invites set the tone for a properly swanky occasion.

Send them out six to eight weeks in advance and don’t forget to include your full names, location, date, time and dress code.

Of course, if it’s more of a casual get-together, you can feel free to skip this one and stick a message in the group chat!

Hen/stag do invitations

Brides and Grooms, avert your eyes – this one’s not your job. Planning the hen and stag parties falls firmly on the shoulders of the maid of honour and best man – thanks, pals!

Though if you suspect they may need guidance, it’s best to send out invites two months in advance and make sure to include names, location, date, times and any other relevant info - bring a change of clothes, you say? Suspicious.

Save the date cards

This is a big one. If you want guests at your wedding, you need to make sure they block out the date asap. We get it – people have busy lives. But get those save the dates out around a year in advance, and they will have absolutely no excuse.

If you’re already past that point, don’t panic – just get them out as soon as you can once you’ve locked in the date. Make sure to include your full names, the date, the city (if possible) and the phrase: a formal invitation to follow.

brown and gold wedding save the date invite
gold wedding save the date on an easel placed on a rope mat

Wedding invitation stationery suite

When it comes to wedding stationery, your wedding invitation stationery is the main event, the big kahuna… it’s the bit that gets people hyped for your day and gives them a little taste of what’s to come. A traditional paper invitation suite tends to contain a few different bits:

Invitation card

Fairly self-explanatory, this one. It’s the main bit that tells guests where to be and when for your ceremony. It should include your full names, the date, time and location of your wedding along with the dress code and any other relevant info.

Reception card

If your reception is in a separate location to your ceremony, this is the bit that gives all the info on that. Time, location and address are all important to include, along with any info about plus ones and whether children are welcome.

RSVP card

Traditionally, this includes a tick box for guests to fill in and send back by post. Though these days it’s much more common to include a phone number or email address so guests can shoot over a quick ‘yay or nay’ without having to root around for an envelope and stamp. This is also a great place to request any info on dietary requirements and let guests know about your awesome Prezola gift list!

Directions/map card

In our humble opinion, this is one bit of wedding stationery that it’s generally fine to skip. These days most guests will use google maps (or similar) to find your venue. But it’s something to consider if your location is particularly tricky to find… festival wedding in the middle of a field… we’re looking at you.

Accommodation card

Here is where you can give details of any local accommodation options you’d recommend. You can also let your guests know if you’ve pre-arranged a block booking or any discounts.

navy blue and rose gold geometric wedding invite

What wedding stationery do I need on the day?

Order of service

This gives your guests an overview of what to expect in your ceremony. It might include the words of any songs, readings or poems you have (nice to have for anyone hard of hearing). It will also include both your names and the date of your wedding, so it makes a great keepsake of the day. You’ll need one for each guest, plus a few spares just in case.

The reception program

This is designed to guide your guests through the evening proceedings. From the timings of the wedding breakfast and speeches to the first dance and cutting of the cake. This is often one large display, placed somewhere easy to spot. It could be a printed poster board to match your wedding stationery style, or you could have a chalkboard, or painted wooden sign… get creative!

Seating plan and table numbers

This is usually displayed at the entrance to your wedding breakfast to help guests find their seats. Table numbers (or names) should also be clear and easy to read, so guests don’t spend too long hunting around.

Place cards and menus

Once your guests have located their table, the place card lets them know which seat is theirs. And the menu card lets them know what they’re about to eat, so they can start getting excited about it!

Gift tags

This one’s very much an added extra, but if you’re offering wedding favours, a hand-written gift tag can be used instead of a place card.

Guest book

This one’s our fave! Mostly because you get to look back over the messages in years to come and laugh about how they get bigger, messier and more extravagant as the evening went on.

Top tip: leave a polaroid camera and some tape with the book and get guests to snap a quick selfie to include with their message!

minimalist wedding menu on marbled plate
teal simplistic wedding menu on black plate surrounded by cream decor

What wedding stationery do I need after the wedding?

Thank you cards

This is where your Prezola gift list becomes your new BFF. We keep track of exactly who bought you what, along with any messages they sent. So, when it comes to writing thank you cards, you’re already one step ahead with all the info at your (newly be-wedding-ring-ed) fingertips!

Where should I buy my wedding stationary from?

Well, we’ve seen our fair share of wedding stationery, one of our favourites is the effortlessly cool Papergrace. But there are loads of options, including Vistaprint for a budget-friendly option and Etsy where you can buy direct from the creator. If you’re looking to go digital why not try Greenvelope? Or take a look at Tavern Creative who have a HUGE range of designs.

How many of each stationary item do I need to buy?

Whoever you buy your stationary from is likely to be able to advise you on this, but if you’re choosing a design where you handwrite any element (such as the recipient’s name), you’ll want to order a few more, just in case.

cream and gold boho wedding menu

Looking for a little inspiration? We’ve got you

Traditional designs

brown rsvp invite in a tweed bow
green regal floral wedding invite and envelope
gold monogram wedding invite with blue envelope

Modern designs

simplistic wedding stationary full invite set
minimalist black and white wedding menu stationary set

Colourful designs

minimalist black arch wedding menu
pink and gold wedding stationary set

Designs for unconventional couples

red and pink wedding invitation set
colourful wedding invite set surrounded by colourful roses

Seasonal designs

seasonal floral wedding card timetable
greenery wedding invite next to rings and bridal accessories