When wedding planners use the term "wedding stationery," they are referring to wedding invitations, not a pad of writing paper for the bride and groom to make notes on during the planning process.
Whether a bride is looking for unique wedding invitations, trendy wedding invitations, discount wedding invitations, or even if she is strict DIY (do it yourself) enthusiast who prefers homemade invitations, the planning, choosing, assembling, and printing will be a full fledged project rivaling in complexity and detail any other aspect of the wedding planning process.
Wedding invitations, affordable, reasonable, or ostentatious, are not a last minute item. Brides should start thinking about them about five or six months before the actual wedding date. Invites can't be printed until all the necessary information (location, date, time, etc) is firmly decided upon.
The list of invitees should be finalized to figure out the number of invitations needed. Of course, extras should be ordered to compensate for those accidentally damaged or incorrectly written. Also, some late invitations may have to be sent if some potential guests were inadvertently overlooked on the original list. The bride and others closely involved in the process may also like to save an invitation as a keepsake.
After narrowing down the selection by color, theme, style, and paper choice, it is usually possible to obtain free samples from potential vendors. About four months prior to the wedding, the invitation order should be placed. When the printer provides a proof copy, the bride and several other people should carefully proofread the materials several times over a period of days. Everything should be triple checked including the dates, times, spelling, and venue information.
A completed wedding stationery package should be taken to the post office and weighed to determine the proper amount of postage. Keep in mind any adjustments that must be made if there is a scheduled postage increase between the weigh in and mailing date or between the initial mailing date and RSVP deadline.
If personalized wedding invitation postage or custom wedding postage is being used, the sheets of special stamps should be ordered at this point. Brides should remember that they will need stamps for the outer envelope of the entire wedding invitation package and stamps for the RSVP card (aka response card). Efficient brides will also purchase matching thank you letter stamps at this time. Proper wedding invitation etiquette calls for addressing invitations by hand. Calligraphy is preferred. Some invitation vendors offer or refer clients to calligraphy services.
The invites should actually be mailed a month and a half to two months before the wedding day. As reception response cards are received, they should be tracked on a daily basis either through wedding planning software or a spreadsheet created for the purpose. (The information can be compiled the old-fashioned way with pen and paper, but this will make it difficult to quickly sort the information in various ways.)
After carefully preparing and executing each stage of the wedding invite process, brides will be thankful for any compliments they receive from their guests about their wedding stationery choices.
Although the words "invitations" and "stationery" are usually used interchangeably in this context by those in the wedding industry, there is a distinction worth mentioning. Though not actually part of an invitation package, there are a few other wedding items that can be considered wedding stationery. Indeed, they may be obtained from the same printer or invitation vendor. These items are table cards and place cards that indicate where a particular guest has been assigned seating and camera cards that can be attached to disposable cameras placed on each table with instructions and encouragement for guests to take candid shorts of the festivities. Some people also consider wedding favor tags or wrappings part of wedding stationery.