Wedding Planning and Budget Basics

Wedding Stationery Tips From an Industry Insider

What’s the best way to find the perfect wedding stationery? Talk to a pro. Here, the secrets to choosing the right invitation suite for your big day.

By Sarah Stebbins
Rehearsal dinner invitationCrane & Co.1 of 3

If cost is a concern, where should couples focus their budgets?
Concentrate on the invitation. You don’t need double envelopes, which are very traditional and not done so much anymore, or envelope liners—these are a beautiful touch, but we’re talking about something people open and throw away. Some couples put their wedding websites on their invitations and have guests go online to RSVP, choose meals and get all the wedding details, eliminating the need for a response card, and separate reception card (used when the party is in a different spot than the ceremony), altogether. People sometimes think they have to spring for super-thick paper, but thinner cardstocks can be really elegant. We have beautiful wedding announcements from the 1930s and 40s in our archives that are printed on paper that almost looks like onionskin. I think 96 pounds is a good baseline weight for invitations—any thinner, and the paper starts to look like something you picked up at Kinko’s.

Where do you recommend splurging?
I know I just said you don’t need to spend extra for thick paper, but if you can afford something in the 192 to 220-pound range, and you combine that with engraving or letterpress printing, you truly have a work of art. If I could only splurge on one piece, I would choose the finest paper and printing technique for the invitation and select a cheaper paper, and digital or thermographed printing, for the response cards and envelopes. Your guests are going to hold onto the invite for a while, and you’ll probably keep it forever, so it should be fabulous.

Is it possible to have an invitation that feels modern and fun, yet formal?
Definitely. I love the idea of doing engraving or thermography, which look really traditional, in an unexpected color palette. You could do bright coral type against a yellow or smoky gray paper for a cool, Tory Burch look. Or think about how Vera Wang has been putting black, chocolate-brown, and nude wedding gowns on the runway. A card in one of those shades, juxtaposed with white engraving and some hints of gold, would look sophisticated and right on trend. Letterpress and digital printing tend to have a more relaxed feel. To dress them up, you could mix calligraphy with a modern, graphic font or incorporate a vintage-inspired botanical print.

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Quick Tip


Talk to your venue before renting any items. Ask if you’ll be charged additional fees for using outside vendors and if the site can accommodate additional setup and breakdown time for special lighting, ceremony chairs, or hanging lanterns.