Your wedding stationery traditionally is your guests’ first impression of your wedding — even though they’re probably plenty familiar with it thanks to news, photos and status updates shared across your social networks.

However informed about the big day your friends and family already may be, everything from your save-the-date to the invitation keeps a bit of tradition in our paper-free digital age. Here’s to keep in mind as you tackle the stationery to-dos.

Getting Started

Don’t log off your social networks just yet! Technologies like Facebook, email and iMessage make it simple to track down current mailing address from all your family and friends spread across the country. (Just don’t make your request via a status update; you don’t want to broadcast the message to folks who will not be invited to your wedding!)

For savvy couples looking for another technological shortcut edge, online planning and collaborating tools can make it either to information gather. Google also has a suite of Google Docs-based wedding planning tools designed to help couples stay on top of their “I Do” to-dos, including a collaborative guest list. Just email the document to your guests, and they can fill in their information. Check out google.com/weddings for more details.

With the hard work out of the way, it’s time to get into the paper details. Whether you’re getting your stationery professionally designed or going the DIY route, take a trip to a local stationery shop to get your hands on some paper and check out design styles. Typically, expect to spend around 5 percent of your budget on your stationery, including postage, but adjust as necessary depending on your guest list and personal paper style preferences.

The Save-the-Date

As soon as your venue is booked, send all your guests a save-the-date. It doesn’t matter if it’s a year out from the wedding — the point is, you want your guests to get your wedding on their schedules as soon as possible.

No need to go overboard on details; just your names and the date to keep open. If you have a wedding website already set up with details about the ceremony, reception and accommodations, include the URL. You also can mention that a formal invitation will follow.

The Wedding Invitation and Enclosures

First things first, remember not to include registry information on the invitation! You’re inviting your friends and family to join in your wedding celebration; you’re not inviting them to bring you gifts. (But yes, they do want to give you gifts, so list registry information on your wedding website.)

The actual wedding invitation is where you officially invite your guests. Plan to put these in the mail around two months prior to your wedding. The RSVP card — self-addressed and stamped, of course — is where guests will accept or decline invitation and, if you’re having a seated dinner, mark their dinner selection. List a date by which you’d appreciate their reply, usually four weeks before the wedding date.

Although all the pertinent details may be on your wedding website, it’s still customary to include a card separate from the invitation that lays out the wheres and whens for the reception venue (if separate) and accommodations.

The Wedding Day

Paper Pieces

The invitation might be the main attraction, but there are still some paper pieces you need for the big day:

• Programs: If you’re having a ceremony in a house of worship, this will list information on the officiant, readings, the wedding party, etc.

• Table numbers/names

• Escort cards and Place cards: Escort cards tell the guest at which table they are seated. Place cards show them in which chair they are sitting.

• Menus: An outline of dinner, set with each place card, is a nice touch.

• Thank-yous: If you want to get a jump on showing your gratitude, it can be worthwhile to invest in stationery that features your newly married name.

© Brides 365