Get Moving on Your Stationery

Today's Wedding invitations have kept up with the times

Wow, how times have changed. The days of a book full of invitations that – let’s be honest – look pretty much the same are over. Modern brides have a bevy of options that let you express your personality as a couple, from the save-the-dates to the thank-you notes.

“Thirty years ago you had two choices, flat or fold over and black ink,” said Kerry Amidon, product manager for Checkerboard, a wedding invitation company. “Nowadays, even if a bride is looking for a traditional invite, there are still so many options.”

An ornate custom invitation suite created with the vintage bride in mind. Bold typography paired with splashes of deep teal, bright yellow and neutral grey gives this suite a modern twist.

Megan Wright Design Co. | based out of Bowling Green, KY

It’s up, up and away with this vintage Americana-style invitation suite. Antique Coronado gold and rich chocolate hues set a tone of timeless celebration and announce the festivities with an old-fashioned flourish.

Checkerboard, Ltd. | National with over 50 retailers in KY

This is an elegantly layered set that features original, watercolor hydrangea artwork. Each piece is individually hand painted with shimmer accents for an exceptionally chic collection to set the tone of your event.

Medley Invitation Designs based out of Georgetown, KY

A wedding stationery suite which combines the luxury of letterpress with the affordability of four color digital printing. A combination of thick cotton paper, opalescent metallics, rustic kraft paper and a mix of patterns, mingles with vintage elements to pull this charming invitation set together.

Couture Design: The Blu Sash | Printing: Cardinal & Straw | | based out of Lexington, KY

In the Details From the envelope liners to the ink on paper, color has taken center stage in the invitation world. No longer is this world seen in simply black and white. And this holds true no matter what style you choose.

Luckily, couples can also mix and match these styles. “Many brides feel their wedding might need to be more traditional, trying to replicate what their mother did, so they might downplay the invitation,” said Amidon.

But with the advent of the save-the-date, couples can use this tool to add a little whimsy. “This is a great point where you can show your own personality,” said Amidon. “If you want something a little more ‘you,’ then the save-the-date is a fantastic place to do it.”

Save-the-dates should be mailed approximately six months prior to the invitation to give friends and family a head’s up that your nuptials are on the way.

What’s Inside? You’ve probably thought about your honeymoon suite, but what about your invitation suite? For those new to the wedding lingo, an invitation suite includes the following pieces:

The Must-haves: main invitation, return address, response set and thank-you notes. “You can’t really take anything out of there,” said Amidon. “That’s the minimum.”

Add-ons: Save-the-dates or engagement announcements. Extras to consider: Reception cards, itineraries or direction cards. “Guests like to bring these with them, [especially] if you’re having a long weekend.”

Getting Started Now is not the time to take a speed course on invitation etiquette. The best way to navigate the invitation process? Ask an expert. “A bride is probably going to only have one time where she’s ordering wedding invitations, so going to a retailer and having that person who does probably 30 weddings a month, that’s who you want to be talking to,” said Amidon.

There is some tradition, some formality when it comes to the wording of your invitation, so rely on the professionals for this. If your venue is at the local country club, you probably want to opt for an invitation that’s a little more formal. Yet if you and your fiancé are more on the casual side, let that guide the wording you use on your invitation. “In most Checkerboard wedding albums, we actually have suggested wording for special circumstances,” said Amidon.

Since couples these days have such varied extended families, let the professionals help with this aspect. All of this is what a professional invitation retailer or your wedding planner can help you with.

Mind Your Budget Just like everything else on your wedding list, be sure to allot enough in your wedding budget for the invitation style you want. “A good starting point is 3-5% of your budget should go to wedding stationery,” suggested Amidon.

And in order to save any unexpected expenses, be sure to order a few more invitations than you need. “That’s a good way to save your budget,” she said, since it’s less expensive to order 125 invitations now, then to order 100 and go back and order 25 more.

Invitation timeline Just like many things with wedding planning, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to mailing your invitations. Here is a good timeline to follow:

  • 6-12 months prior – Send out save-the-dates. These are great for destination weddings, holiday weekends or events spanning several days.
  • 4-6 months prior – Order Invitations. The proofing process can take two or more weeks so start early.
  • 6-8 weeks prior – Mail Invitations. Remember you may need to tell your caterer your final number two or more weeks prior to your event. Give yourself time to contact those last-minute responders.

So be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get started, because you need to remember, it will probably take more than one visit to finalize your selection. “We have heard brides going in ready to order and they don’t know the exact name of the venue or their parents’ names and who goes where,” said Amidon. “Then you also need time to proof. This can take a couple of weeks to get the process going.”

From ordering to mailing, let this stationery tutorial help guide your invitation process. Make a strong first impression about the style of your wedding by heeding this expert advice.

Photographed by Kent Ashley, Ashley Portraits & Styled by Jaimeson Gann