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Wedding Stationery Checklist


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Selecting the perfect wedding stationery is one of the most important tasks in the lead up to your wedding.  It's the first big announcement of your impending marriage, and lets your guests know well in advance what to expect from your big day.  So, where do you begin?  Below you'll find a checklist of each wedding stationery item that you may need before, during and after your wedding day.

Invitations
Printed maps and directions
Reply cards
Reception cards
Wedding programs
Menu cards
Place cards
Seating plans
Favor boxes
Cake boxes and bags
Pre-wedding stationery

  • Hen and bucks' invitations
  • Rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Bridal shower invitations

Save the date cards
Thank you cards

 

Invitations

Wedding invitations are the centrepiece of your stationery, and reflect the style and tone of your wedding.  Whether it's a casual beach party or a formal black tie do, you may need to include:

  • The outer envelope
  • An unsealed inner envelope (to protect the invitation during transit)
  • The invitation
  • A reception card (if the party is being held at a different venue to the ceremony)
  • A reply card and a self-addressed, stamped envelope
  • A wedding gift registry card
  • Printed maps and information on hotels, if appropriate

Order your invitations three to four months before the wedding date - the sooner you order them, the more time
you'll have to ensure they are perfect. 

When to send?  Six weeks before is the most common time frame, while eight weeks is ideal.  Too much earlier and your guests may not be able to commit to a date, too much later and they may be unavailable.  Remember, if you have some guests travelling from overseas, if you've chosen a holiday (such as New Year's Day) or a destination wedding, you may need to provide extra notice.  A nice alternative is to send a ‘save-the-date' card in advance, so your guests know to expect your invitation.

Printed maps and directions

Your guests will avoid angst and frustration if they know how to get to your ceremony and reception!  Finding your way around an unknown area can be frustrating - even scary - for some people.  Make sure you choose maps and directions that are current and accurate.  And consider including a contact number on the invitation of a friend who is directionally-gifted and can guide guests to the venue.

Reply cards

Reply cards are sent with your invitation and an addressed, stamped envelope.  Reply cards ask each guest to check a box advising how many people will be attending the wedding.  Many reply cards also include space for menu options so that guests can indicate dietary needs.  Don't forget to include a date for the return of the reply card.

Reception cards

Traditionally, small reception cards are sent with the wedding invitation to let guests know where the party will take place.  Details of date, place and time are included on the card.  Today, many couples forgo the reception card and include reception details on their wedding invitation.

Wedding programs

Wedding programs are a wonderful way for your guests to follow your wedding ceremony, understand traditions and take home a charming keepsake of your special day.  Wedding programs are usually made in the form of a small booklet, and provide details about the ceremony, the names of the bridal party, the order of events, the titles of readings and songs.  Some couples like to include a favourite poem, song lyrics or story of how they met and fell in love, others honour deceased relatives, thank special people or explain unfamiliar religious or ceremonial rites. 

There are a number of ways wedding programs can be presented at your wedding: in baskets or on trays at the entrance to your ceremony venue, on each chair or pew, or you can ask a friend or family member to greet and distribute programs to guests as they arrive. 

Your program should continue the theme of your wedding.  If your style is old world, consider a scroll of parchment paper tied with some personalised ribbon; if you're a hip, musical couple, consider a program that looks like a CD cover.  Whether you make your wedding program yourself, or have one specially designed and printed, allow at least six weeks to make sure your program is perfect!

Menu cards

Most guests appreciate the chance to browse the menu before the wedding banquet begins.  Include all the elements of the meal, including wines and other beverage options on your menu cards.  Check if your reception venue can provide these as part of the service with paper provided by you to ensure it ties in with your theme.

Place cards

Place cards instruct your guests which seat to sit in at their table.  The traditional small, tented card printed with each guest's name is now giving way to a range of delightful card options that enhance a wedding aesthetic.  Many brides choose wedding favors that double as place card holders: think miniature beach chairs or seashells for a laid back coastal celebration, for example.

Seating plans

A seating plan at the entrance to the dining room helps guests find the general location of their seats.  Seating charts can be one of the most important pieces of communication from a guest's perspective.  As soon as your guests arrive at your reception for pre-dinner drinks, they will want to know where they are sitting.

"Seating charts are often overlooked in Australia," says wedding planner Cathrin D'Entremont.  "I always tell my brides not to rely on the Excel spreadsheet prepared by their function centre!"

Some creative seating chart ideas include artists' canvasses, propped on easels and painted or adorned with the couple's wedding motif.  Another charming idea is to buy a selection of silver frames to hold seating plans for each table - simply hook each frame onto a pre-prepared board.  Or, for a tried-and-true solution, co-ordinate your seating charts with your other wedding stationery.

"It's your personal day, so your wedding should ooze your personalities," Cathrin explains.  "I always tell my clients not to be afraid to add their own personalities to their special day."  A couple that loves movies can take their inspiration from the golden era of Hollywood, for instance, with guest tables named after classic romantic films.  Or avid wine collectors may echo their passion with tables named after chardonnay, shiraz and merlot (and delight their guests with gorgeous wine stopper favors).

Favour boxes

Whether you call them bonbonniere like the French, bomboniere as the Italians do or koufeta, as they are known in Greece, wedding favours are a charming way to thank your guests for participating in your special day.  What's more, your friends and family will appreciate an eternal memento of the love you share for each other.  Read Pink Frosting's tips on picking the perfect bomboniere.

Cake boxes and bags

Cake boxes or bags are a delightful touch for guests who want to take their slice of wedding cake home.  With the array of boxes, bags and containers available, there is bound to be something special that suits your theme. 

Pre-wedding stationery

A wedding isn't just about the big day - there are bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, hens' and bucks' nights to consider. 

  • Hen and bucks' invitations are usually sent by the chief bridesmaid or best man, which means themes and invitations are often not in your control!  The thing to remember is that guests receive all the information they need, including venue, dress code and how much money each person will be paying.  Find a gorgeous range to choose from at Pink Frosting's hens party shop.
  • Rehearsal dinner invitations tend to complement the wedding invitations (although they shouldn't match them).  Traditionally the bridal party is invited; invitations are sent out at least two weeks before the wedding.
  • Bridal shower or kitchen tea invitations are usually issued by the bride's friends, so again, the bride doesn't have much say in the style of wedding shower invitation.  Just remember that it can seem pushy for the bride's family to invite people to a bridal shower - it can seem like they are soliciting gifts on her behalf.

Save the date cards

Save the date cards announce your wedding date in advance of sending out invitations to ensure guests keep the date free. This is particularly useful if you're getting married during a busy holiday period, if you're inviting overseas guests or you are planning a destination wedding in the snow or on a tropical island.  You'll need to give your guests notice that they need to plan for your wedding.

Save the Date Cards are usually mailed around three to six months before the wedding, although you could send them out as early as a year before.  Choose a style of card that suits the invitation that will follow.  They can be sent either by the couple or by the parents, depending on who is hosting the wedding.

Thank you cards

Handwritten notes - from both the bride and groom - are the best way to thank guests for their gifts and presence at your wedding.  Traditional couples opt for a card with the couple's monogrammed initials, while more modern options include a postcard or bespoke card with your wedding photo on the front. 

Stationery expert Suzi Waters, of Alannah Rose, suggests that while there's no hard and fast rules, matching thank you cards that tie in to your stationery theme give your guests a little reminder of your wedding day.  "But if budget does not allow, a simple pretty piece of note paper will also do the job. It is, after all, about the sentiment," Suzi advises.

Suzi also has a couple of examples of how you can say thank you in style.  If you are thanking your guests for their gift of money, you may like to say:

Dear Suzi
Thank you for helping us celebrate our wedding day.
We were so pleased to share this special occasion
with our closest family and friends.
Your generous gift is appreciated and we will be using it
to put towards our kitchen renovation.
With love from Jack and Ainslee Richards

Or for an actual gift:

Dear Alannah
Thank you for sharing our wedding day with us. 
We were so pleased you could be there to help us celebrate.
The Vera Wang champagne flutes are divine;
we used them for our first celebration toast on return from our honeymoon!
With love from Jack Richards and Ainslee Smythe

Whatever you choose, make sure you send these no later than one month after your honeymoon.



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