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So you’re getting married! Congratulations! As you have no doubt already discovered, deciding to get married is just the first of many decisions you’ll need to make on the way to the big day. This column is intended to help you navigate through some of the finer points surrounding wedding stationery. We’ll also look at a few “modern issues,” areas where contemporary tastes run counter to tradition.

Invitations Set The tone

Your wedding invitation will set the tone for your event. Whatever you decide to do for your celebration, your invitation should reflect both the event and your personality!

While the traditional ecru or white paper stock engraved with black ink is still the most popular choice for a formal invitation, more liberal approaches are “pushing the envelope,” like invitations on textured papers, in multiple colors, and with custom wedding designs. Whether you plan to exchange vows in a hotel, a place of worship, or on a secluded island beach, show your personal style and create a wedding invitation that truly expresses who you are, your values, and your individuality.

With that said, it is still important to follow a few basic guidelines when planning your wedding stationery. Below is an overview that will acquaint you with the basics of wedding stationery. Please call or come see us when you’re ready to put your stationery plans “on paper.”

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Order all of your invitations at the same time, leaving ample time to have them printed and addressed. Gather and bring all the information you will need to create your wedding invitation:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Place
  • Parents’ names
  • Groom’s middle name
  • Number of people attending reception vs. wedding

Getting Formal

The most formal invitation is on ecru (cream) or white stock engraved with black or dark-gray ink. It is folded in half, with the text of the invitation on the front outside panel. A less formal invitation is on an unfolded ecru or white card. Either of these papers may be plain or paneled.

Lettering Style

There are dozens and dozens of typefaces to choose from, from frilly scripts to austere all-caps. Choose one that expresses the spirit of your occasion and matches the tone of the stationery you decide upon.

All pieces in your wedding ensemble should use the same paper and ink color.

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The double envelope, that courtly feature of the formal wedding invitation, has its origins in the days when footmen delivered invitations to the landed class. At delivery, the footman would remove the clean invitation from its well-traveled outer envelope. The custom has survived, although with modern postal service the outer envelope is now sealed, with the inner unsealed and placed with the guest’s name face up so that it can be read immediately upon extracting it from the outer.

Tissues were originally conceived in the days when inks took a bit longer to dry. Printers placed a tissue over the ink so that it would not smear. Today ink is quick-drying so tissues are not imperative, but used out of tradition. If you choose to use a tissue, it is the first sheet of paper that covers the printed text of your invitation. The large sheet of tissue is for your invitation, the small for your reply card and other small enclosures.

Place Items In Inner Envelope In Relation To Importance And Size

  • Invitation
  • Reply card tucked under flap of reply envelope
  • Reception card
  • Other items, such as direction cards and accommodation cards, can be placed in order of size. If there are 2 cards that are of the same size, place them in order of importance.

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The content of a formal wedding invitation is fairly straightforward, albeit slightly more complicated these days due to changes in social attitudes and family structures. Regardless of your particular situation, the lines of your invitation should be in the following order:

The Hosts’ Names

Formal invitations begin with the person or people involved with the hosting, using formal names and titles. For example:

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Johnson
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter

If the bride and groom are hosting their own wedding the first lines would read:

Isabelle Marie Johnson &  Jack Hamden Robert
Request the honour of your presence at their marriage.

Invite Your Guests

“requests the honour of your presence”
(use honour when the wedding is taking place in a house of worship; honor when the location is a hotel, club, etc.)
Casual: “requests the pleasure of your company”

State The Affair And Relationship To The Bride

“at the wedding of our daughter”

The Bride’s First And Second Name

“Isabelle Marie”
If the bride’s last name is different from the host’s, it should also be included on this line, e.g.: “Isabelle Marie Johnson”

The Connecting, “To”

This always goes on its own line in a formal invitation.

The Groom’s Full Name

If the bride is using a professional title, such as “Doctor Marie Ann Consalves,” you should then also include the groom’s personal title, “Mr.,” “Dr.,” or whatever the case may be.

The Day And Month

In a formal invitation, spell out completely the date, time, and location of your wedding. Thus, the date would be:
“Saturday, the twentieth of June”

The Year

“Nineteen hundred and ninety-eight”

The Time

“at two o’clock in the afternoon”

The Location

“The Waybridge Country Club”

City  &  State

“Waybridge, New Hampshire”

Reception Line

If you are planning to have your reception at the same location as the wedding, the line “and afterward at the reception” or “reception immediately following ceremony” should follow the city and state.

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Other printed stationery that is both useful and appropriate:

The Ceremony Card

If you are planning an intimate wedding with a small group of family and friends, but are then going to have a bash to celebrate, enclose a ceremony card along with the reception card.

Wedding Announcements

Send these out the day of your wedding to friends who you did not invite to your wedding, but to whom you would like to announce your marriage! The traditional announcement would look like your invitation, in ecru or white paper with black ink – engraved or thermographed in the style of your wedding invitations. Mail in double envelopes.

Gift Received Cards

A gift received card is a helpful and tactful way of acknowledging the gift of your guest without delay, especially if you are having a large wedding or an extended honeymoon. The card acknowledges a gift and notes that a personal thank-you will soon follow.

Personalized Stationery

Traditionally, the bride took on the role of thanking the couple’s guests for wedding gifts. Nowadays, however, the groom is more likely to lend a hand or shoulder the burden. When he does, his monogram should be on cards he is writing, hers on the notes she will write.

Notecards with the married couple’s name, e.g., “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson,” are used by husband and wife for replying to formal invitations, sending thank-you’s, personal notes, or an invitation.

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