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A decade in the making: Setting the scene with wedding stationery

05 Apr 2019

In her latest instalment, Alicia Dunning shares her wedding stationery choices and her top tips for getting your stationery suite right from the outset

Image gallery

Image gallery

Your wedding invitations are your guests' first glimpse into your wedding day. They essentially set the tone for the rest of the wedding and set their expectations. That seems like a lot of pressure to put on something that is sent out months in advance of the big day, but I really do believe that they are a key element...so much so that I’ve dedicated a full blog post dedicated to wedding stationery.

There are three key elements to your wedding stationery: the save the dates, the formal invitations and the on-the-day stationery. Traditionally save the dates are to be sent 6-8 months prior to the wedding, formal invitations are to be sent 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding with RSVPs due 2-3 weeks before the wedding day. They are the traditional timings, so it’s completely up to you when you actually send them and how much notice you want to give people. I've received save the dates as far in advance as 18 months prior to a wedding so it really is up to the couple what they want to do.

We decided to send our save the dates exactly 12 months to the day of the wedding, invitations are being sent out later this month (approx. five months before the wedding) and we’re asking for RSVPs to be returned two months before the wedding so that we can confirm numbers for our suppliers. We have some guests who will be travelling from abroad and so wanted to give as much notice as possible.


When it came to picking our save the dates, we knew we wanted something a bit different, that would be memorable but also give guests their first hint into the wedding. As you’ll know if you’ve read my previous blogs, we’re getting married at Stock Farm Wedding Barn in Cheshire in October 2019 so our wedding is going to be rustic and autumnal.

We scoured the internet for weeks looking all over Pinterest, Instagram and stationery suppliers' websites for inspiration. In the end I found the perfect idea on notonthehighstreet.com; they were small real wood slices that you could have personally engraved. We ordered the wood slices with our names and wedding date on and a magnet glued to the back. I was thrilled when they arrived, they were even better than I’d imagined, but they felt incomplete without any backing card.

Luckily, I’d been talking to a stationery designer called Hollie Leigh and asked her to create a backing card for our save the dates. Everyone loved the save the dates, we had so many comments about how unique and beautiful they were and how great an idea it was to have them as a fridge magnet so that people wouldn’t lose them.


Hollie did a fantastic job with our save the dates and we were so pleased that we’ve since worked with her to design our formal wedding invitations and asked her to design our on-the-day stationery too. Designing the wedding invitations was so easy; I told Hollie the theme of the wedding and things that I did and didn’t like when it came to invitations and she started putting some ideas together right away. We met up for a consultation and went through all of the options for the invitations. She even had some mock up designs ready for me to look at and lots of samples of different colours and textures of card and different font styles.

Because we wanted to show that the wedding had an autumnal theme, we opted for a floral design using the burgundy and reds which we’re having in our flowers on the day but again I wanted something that would set our invitations apart from others. Hollie suggested we use vellum for the front of the invitation instead of normal card and I absolutely loved the idea. As vellum is quite see through, we’re having it backed against red card to tie the whole look together.

I can’t wait for our guests to receive them. I think they’re the perfect set-up for what the rest of the wedding will look and feel like. We’re going to use the same floral designs for our on-the-day stationery too so that the theme follows through. The designs will be on the menus, name place cards, seating plan and any signage on the day. I realise that very few guests will probably look at their menus and say: “Oh that’s the same flower design from the invitations”, but it will make elements of the day feel familiar to them and help to pull everything together.


Here are my top tops for picking your wedding stationery:

  • Think out side of the box. Try to think of something that could be unique to your wedding or theme that’s unlike what you’ve received before. If you want people talking about your wedding, an innovative save the date is the first place to start.
  • Just because you want something different doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. I shopped around a lot before I picked the log slices and spoke to a lot of suppliers before picking Hollie because I needed to make sure we didn’t go outside of our budget.
  • Consider DIY options for personalisation and cost saving. Perhaps save the dates that are a photo that you took yourselves or ordering some elements that you can’t make (such as the log slices) but then putting the final piece together yourself.
  • Don’t leave invitations to the last minute and then make rash decisions. Try to give yourself plenty of time to think about what you’d like and what would be a good representation of your day.

Next time, my fiancé Phil gives his take on the wedding planning process as he goes shopping for suits. 

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