Save the Dates
For a destination wedding, save the dates are usually sent out anywhere from a year to 6 months before the wedding date. I believe that it is better to get them out on the earlier side so that your guests have time to find hotels and decide on their plans. Save the dates can be anything from a postcard to magnets. The basic information your guests need would be the date, location and a link to your wedding website.
Invitations - RSVP cards, Maps, Information
The most important part of your wedding paper is most likely going to be your invitation suites. There are so many options when it comes to your invites! I highly recommend meeting with a stationer to go over options so that you can get a good idea on pricing and what fits your budget. Don’t forget to include an RSVP card and envelope, a map of the area if needed and an information card that may include things like other festivities taking place, lodging suggestions or your wedding website.
Welcome letters are what you would provide to your guests upon arrival to their hotel. Sometimes this letter comes along with a welcome bag of some sort, but if you want to skip the bag, you should atleast provide a letter. This can include things like a “thank you for coming” note, things to do in the area, reminder of event times (welcome party, ceremony, brunch), parking information, etc. If you are not sure where all of your guests are staying, you could also send this in an email the week leading up to your wedding.
If you are having a church ceremony, you are most likely going to want to have a ceremony program. If you are having an outdoor ceremony, a program of the service is not required (especially if is rather basic), but it can be nice for your guests to have something to look at while they wait. You will want to include things like the bridal party and family names, order of service and maybe a thank you to your friends and family.
Escort Cards & Place Cards
What is the difference you ask? Escort cards are what the guests pick up and “escort” them to their seat. Place cards are what assign your “place” at the table. Most brides will do escort cards and not place cards, as it can be tedious to assign each seat at the table for your guests. There are many options for escort cards ranging from tented, seating charts, starfish, etc.
If you are having a plated meal with or without a choice, it is always a good idea to include a menu card on the table. You can either do one per table or you can do one per place setting. If you are doing stations or buffet, a menu is not needed, but you may need catering cards to identify what each food is. Check with your caterer first to see if they provide them or not.
There are always places throughout your wedding where you will want to include some signage. Some examples of this would be for your signature drinks, directing guests to the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, guest book details, bride and groom signs, and more.
Thank You Notes
Don’t forget your thank you notes! You can talk to your stationer about having them match your invitation suite, or you can also talk with your photographer about doing a “Thank You” photo to use on your cards.
Learn from the expert!
Jen from Dulce Press in Mashpee says, “When choosing wedding invitations, be sure to go with something that sets the tone for the wedding. Whether it's casual, formal, backyard BBQ, your wedding invitation style will show your guests what you're planning. It doesn't mean that if it's a casual wedding, the invitations have to be flimsy! Just go with a fun, fresh design over a traditional format.”