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Choosing the Right Wedding Invitations

Updated on July 14, 2018
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Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.


Choosing your perfect wedding stationary is more about typing out some traditional words onto cards and sending them out to friends and family. The stationary you choose will set the tone and theme for your entire wedding. From the very first envelope opened your guests will likely know whether you are having a formal or casual event, the personality you share with each other, how the wedding will feel, and even whether or not they'd be interested in attending.

Your wedding stationary says a great deal about you and your upcoming celebration. Let's make sure it is saying the right things about you by getting started with choosing the right style for you.

Wedding Stationary Styles

Just one glance online, or one Google search, will tell you that there are more wedding stationary styles and ideas available to you than there are words in this article or people on this Earth. This can be a serious disadvantage as couples get very overwhelmed quickly with all of the many choices. However, this can also be an advantage for optimistic, creative couples with even a few ideas about what they really want for their weddings.

That's why it's so important, before you even begin planning your wedding, and especially when you start actually looking for the first few pieces of the puzzle, to really consider what the two of you want for your celebration. Do you have colors in mind that you really like that you would like to work towards? What about items, shapes, ideas or themes that will drive your wedding décor? Were you thinking black tie, Sunday best, country, or even backyard casual for the formality of your wedding?

The answers to all of these questions will ultimately help you find your perfect fit in stationary.

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Traditional Wedding Stationary

Truly traditional wedding stationary is simple, clean, and ultra formal. Dating back to the seventeenth century, wedding stationary consisted of single cards in white or ecru, on stiff paper, engraved in black, and embossed with gold and silver. Invitations came with an outer and inner envelope including a single invitation card, tissue paper, a reception card, and an RSVP card with a self-addressed stamped envelope for guests to return.

Each of these pieces had very specific wording and very closely follows all etiquette you will find regarding wedding invitations.


Formal Wedding Stationary

For the purpose of this article, the term formal is simply used to describe a different use of colors and shapes to give all of your stationary a fancier, more elegant look. To determine where these are appropriate, take your cue from your ideal venue, your color choices, and your personal style as a couple.

Formal stationary typically includes mostly blacks and whites with the possibility of an accent color (green is really popular right now), lots of straight lines, and shapes with sharp edges. This same look could be achieved with maroon, navy, and even a dark hunter green with a lighter accent color. Dark colors, and especially black, give the look of wealth. Formal weddings are usually reserved for evenings on Friday and Saturday nights in a nice hotel or country club, and would even be great for a casino or renting out a wine bar.

Casual Wedding Stationary

Casual stationary can cover just about any theme you can imagine. Having a sea-themed wedding? Why not have sea shells or a coral design on your invites? With a fall-themed wedding, you could easily have a fall scene in the background of each stationary piece. The majority of wedding stationary ideas online cater to this category.

Couples have gorgeous casual weddings at all times of the day, every day of the week, and at any and every venue you can think of. The main differences between casual and formal stationary are the use of a larger variety of colors, less expensive printing options, lighter papers, and even less formal writing.

Many etiquette rules go out the window when creating this type of wedding stationary, and some couples even include fun items in their invites, like confetti or cut out shapes, in order to show their guests that their wedding is going to be more of a fun than formal affair.

Natural Wedding Stationary

The average wedding in the United States produces between 400 and 600lbs of garbage! (Green Bride Guide) In an effort to reduce this waste, and the impact of their weddings on the environment, many couples are choosing wedding stationary options made from 100% recycled paper. What's really unique is that you can now choose what type of materials your stationary pieces are made from!

Earth-friendly companies can produce stationary from 100% junk mail, archival papers, hemp, cotton, alternative fiber, bamboo, burlap, parchment, and even flower seeds. (Your guests can plant their stationary pieces in the garden after your wedding!) All of your items can be printed using either soy ink or a variety of vegetable-based inks, and you can finish off each masterpiece by using vintage stamps. Visit TheKnot for tons more Eco-Friendly Tips and Tricks.


DIY Wedding Stationary

With brides and grooms stepping out of the norms and traditions we've gotten used to, and trying to express themselves like never before, the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) trend is catching on and taking off. Are you finding tons of invites that you like, but none that you love?

Does each piece have an aspect or two that you love amongst so many others that you don't? There's no reason you can't have exactly the stationary that you're looking for, and this is why so many people are deciding to make their own.

You could always have them custom-made by a stationer like so many couples do, but expect them to come with a much higher price. Then you could also purchase the materials and make your own as well. If done carelessly and haphazardly, DIY invites and other wedding stationary can end up costing just as much if not more than custom-designed pieces.

However, with some simple price checks and some organized shopping, scrapbook paper, cardstock, ribbon and/or fabric can be an extremely great investment into your wedding. My husband and I made all of our own wedding stationary: invites, inserts, ceremony programs, reception menus, place cards, dessert and buffet table labels, welcome notes, etc. all for only $30. What a deal!

Your Chosen Wedding Theme

Spend your time simply perusing the web, wedding magazines, bridal shop catalogs, and any other resources you can get your hands on where you can find ideas for your wedding stationary. Take the time to order some free invite samples, gather pictures and ideas you like together, and really develop a good idea about what kind of impression you want to give about your wedding and leave with each of your guests.

Whatever look you choose for your upcoming celebration, carry the theme throughout all of your stationary, perhaps using a variety of shades from your wedding colors or varying the design, in order to pull everything together into one cohesive look. Let's look at Each Piece of Your Wedding Stationary now and discuss its purpose in your wedding.

© 2013 Victoria Van Ness


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