A Stationery Proclamation

You’ve gotten engaged and set the date. You’re now ready to announce your engagement to the world and your “Save The Date” is the first impression many of your future guests will have about your wedding style. Before you think about it, it is important to remember that stationery can become a relatively expensive part of your wedding budget, but it doesn’t have to be. There are great ways to save on all things printed while still making an elegant statement and emphasizing your wedding day theme.

While your wedding planner will help with your stationery needs and offer much-needed suggestions, there are so many ways to express yourself creatively, while saving the much-valued budget dollars for another part of your big day. Stationery comes in all shapes and sizes, from Save The Date cards to invitations to menus, programs, seating cards, thank you notes, and more. That’s why it is so important to think about the image you want to create before you select the first note card.

While there is no way around a printed invitation for the wedding day itself, many are opting for creative Save The Date announcements which can cost significantly less than the traditional printed ones. For example, postcards instead of those in envelopes eliminate a significant portion of the cost for the cards and envelopes, as well as the postage. Others are sending magnets that can remind guests of the event to come. Still others have opted to send their Save The Date reminders via the Internet.

It has become customary nowadays for creative wedding planners (like me) to use signs (yes, even those on mirrors) to display seating charts, menus, programs and more. Although they have the very same information as a traditional printed piece, these are theme-related and add an air of elegance to your event. They are cost-effective although most people would never realize they are significantly less expensive than printed programs and menus. For example, if you decide to use a vintage window, glass mirror, or vintage chalkboard, not only is the cost lower but you will also have a piece of the wedding to take home as a special souvenir.

Looking for another way to reduce your stationery cost? Don’t do individual seating cards. When you get over your shock at my last statement, reread it. I didn’t say not to tell people where to sit; merely not to produce individual custom-printed seating cards. Many brides are now opting to do a creative seating chart or board instead. These seating boards are being done in all kinds of mediums – from clay and artistic hand-created, framed art pieces to more traditional table charts that are being put on the tables themselves. Some are even opting to put the seating assignments on hand-written picture frames or magnets guests can take home as souvenirs from your special day.

So now you’ve gotten past the Save The Date cards, invitations, seating charts and the program…now what? It is time to issue a proclamation of your love of each other and food. In other words, your menus. Some couples put a menu at each seat. One way to save money on the stationery is to put one or two on the table for guests to share. Another way is avoid placing the menu at the table completely. This is not a “must have” but a nice accessory to the table space. However, nowadays since so many people have food allergies, it is important to note on the menu when there is something known as an allergen, like nuts, for example. This is a simple way to prevent a problem nobody wants. One key to remember: the more and varied pieces you print, the more your cost goes up. One creative bride recently printed a tag for each party favor and left it at the table with one per couple instead of one per person. The bag the favor was in had the menu printed on one side and the bride and groom and their wedding date on the other. This was done so elegantly but it also minimized the amount on the table, as well as the amount of printing cost. Remember, keeping your pages smaller keeps your printing cost down!

Now that you have learned about printing and the costs associated with it, there is one thing I have yet to address: the cost of the printing itself. Printing comes in many shapes and sizes – from hand lettered to foil stamped to letterpress. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to tell the difference with letterpress, yet the cost of computer-based printing is significantly lower. In fact, a good graphic designer can create all of your wedding-related documents for a fraction of the cost. The additional benefit to the bride and groom: there is consistency across all printed pieces.

Your first impression was beautiful and your wedding day was gorgeous and everything you ever wanted it to be – and more. So what’s left? The thank you notes! Typically I tell brides to get their thank you notes to match their invitations. This is the piece that your guests have as their final impression of your wedding. It comes later so they can relive the beauty and love from your day without you breaking the bank. Many brides design their note cards nowadays themselves. Others purchase the ones that come with their invitations. Regardless of what you choose, the thank you note is here to stay!

I tell my clients to put something personal to each person on the cards. One of my brides took her thank you notes and a list of as many gifts as possible with her on her honeymoon and by the time she landed in Italy, they were finished. With a little elbow grease and some patience, beautiful thank you notes are something people tend not only save but cherish as well. They don’t need to be long but they do need to be heartfelt. While every wedding day is beautiful, so is every thank you note. And on that note, I thank you for taking the time to learn a little about saving on your stationery spending from me!