Often, our clients ask, “What IS wedding paper design?”. It sounds simple enough when you break down the words in the term but there is so much more that goes into it.
Weddings are one of the few places where using paper is expected and won’t be “going green” by eliminating it in favor of an electronic invitation. Weddings are extremely special events, supposed to be once-in-a-lifetime and deserve fancy and beautiful accessories to present the day. With all that said, let’s dive into exactly what “wedding paper design” means to us at r3mg…
To us, wedding paper design is all about taking the theme/aesthetic of your wedding and translating it into a creative, beautiful and fully personal design which can be used on all your paper pieces. Whatever pieces you deem necessary, we take this custom design and incorporate it into everything. Think of it as branding for your wedding. We take into account so many things: wedding colors, location, the couple’s personality, wedding style (formal, traditional, informal, etc), who is hosting, the couple’s favorite styles/ideas and create a design that is perfect for the happy couple. We always have our couples complete a wedding design worksheet so we have an idea where to start.
Once we have an idea of what type of design and style the couple likes, then we decide which paper pieces are needed. There are so many different paper opportunities for a wedding, it can be extremely overwhelming to think about: Invitations, Mailers, Response Cards and Envelopes, Reception Cards, Accommodations Cards, Enclosures, Favors, Escort Cards, Pew Cards, Programs, Menus, Thank You Cards, Itineraries, Table Numbers, Place Cards, etc, etc, etc. Let’s go through some of these…
Invitation Suite Here at r3mg, we consider our Invitations to really be an Invitation Suite. We rarely design invitations that are just a flat card mailed to your guests. Our Suites include:
Invitation Card – the actual card that has your names, the ceremony information, sometimes the reception information and the pertinent information. Oftentimes, the Invitation Cards have a Mat or Backing on them, sometimes a double layer. These cards are typically square or rectangle.
Invitation Folder – this is the piece that holds everything for the Invitation Suite together before it goes into the Mailer. There are many styles: petal fold, pocket fold, pocket card, portable pocket, booklet, gate card, quad fold and more. The Invitation Card is placed on this with the Response Card/Envelope and any Enclosures tucked into the pocket or in the piece.
Response Card – this is the flat card which your guests send in to reply to your invitation. These typically include one or two lines for the guest’s names and a place to indicate their dinner choice. This also includes a date for the response to be sent back.
Response Envelope – the small envelope, which is self-addressed and stamped already for your guest to mail to you.
Invitation Mailer – most times, this is the outer envelope which holds the folder and is mailed to your guest. Sometimes, this can be a box. If the invitation has numerous embellishments and pieces, it won’t fit nicely into an envelope. The boxes are usually extremely nice, don’t think brown ugly boxes. Think a glossy or matte jewelry box
Additional Pieces for the Invitation Suite
Typically, the Invitation Suite includes more information and pieces than just the five mentioned above. These informative or response-driven pieces are called Enclosures.
Reception Card – If the reception and the ceremony are at separate locations, then this card is typically included. It has the reception and cocktail hour information and sometimes a map and/or directions. Oftentimes, we print the map and/or directions on the back of this card.
Accommodations Card – If there will be out-of-town guests or it is a destination wedding, then an Accommodations Card is typically included. This lists information for your guests to easily stay overnight, travel and/or sightsee.
Rehearsal Dinner – A small card with a Rehearsal Dinner invitation is included for the members of the Wedding Party and immediate family who are needed/invited to the rehearsal
Additional Paper Pieces Included
Depending on your wedding, you may need other pieces to share information with your guests. Examples include: babysitting information, golf outings, brunch invitations, itineraries for the weekend, etc. Almost every wedding typically includes the following pieces…
Escort Cards / Place Cards– These cards are used to let your guests know at which table they are seated. There is typically a table at the entry of the reception which includes a card for every guest, which has their name and table number on it. It is acceptable to list each guest separately or to list one couple on each card. The couple will either assign a table number or a table number and a chair placing for the guest. If they are assigning just the table number, then only the one card with the table number is necessary. If the couple chooses to assign chair settings, then there will be a card on the table, next to/on each plate with the guests’ name who will sit there. Rather than a table of cards, modern traditions include a Seating Scroll or Framed Poster which lists the guest’s names and table numbers
Table Numbers – Table Numbers go hand-in-hand with Escort Cards / Place Cards. They are on each table with the Table Number (or name, depending on the wedding’s style) for guests to find their tables. Various styles include Table Tents, Framed Numbers or Cards slipped into tall, ringed holders
Menus – Guests like to know what is being served for dinner and dessert. To do this, the couple will include a menu card either at each place setting or a few on the table to share. The menu will list the different entrees, side dishes and desserts, including ingredients and delicious descriptions. This is especially helpful for guests who have food allergies, vegetarians, vegans and children.
Programs – A program is typically given at the ceremony. These papers list the ceremony order of events, the Wedding party names and placings, the parents and grandparents of the couple and any other person involved in the ceremony (musicians, organist, accompanist, celebrant, etc). Traditionally, they also include a note of gratitude from the couple to their guests and loved ones
Thank You Cards – These are a necessity for weddings where the couples receive gifts. In all honesty, every bride and groom should graciously thank their guests for sharing their day with them and any gifts they have received. These should be hand-written by the couple, not pre-printed for the inside of the card
Many, though not all, weddings will include…
Pew Cards – Pew Cards are given to the immediate family if the ceremony is at a religious location and many guests will be attending. The ushers will take the Pew Card and escort these guests to the front pews, which should be reserved.
Welcome Packs – If the wedding is a destination location or a guest if from out-of-town, coordinating a welcome pack is a hospitable introduction to the city. Include maps of the downtown area, hotels/lodging, a list of places to see, restaurants to dine at and local shops. The couple can also include adventures, like a treasure map, scavenger hunt, disposable cameras, tickets to an event and more.
Favors – These are the small trinkets/gifts you give each guest as part of your thank you for their attending your wedding. They are usually small and meaningful toward the wedding aesthetic. For example, if the couple has a photo booth at their reception, then a picture frame might be used as the favor.