Does Wedding Stationery Have to Match?

Not sure if your save the dates and thank you notes should match? Read our guide on matching wedding stationery, from paper material to color palettes.

By The Zola Team

Does Wedding Stationery Have to Match?
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • In our modern world, there are no more wedding “have-tos.” If matching stationery suits your taste, then try it. And if not, there’s no pressure to match every single detail.
  • A typical wedding stationery suite includes every paper item that you will provide for guests or the celebration—everything from engagement party invites, to wedding invitations, to thank you notes.
  • Matching stationery pros: lower price point, saved time, and a simplified planning process.
  • Matching stationery cons: limited creativity, less vendor options, and a locked-in decision for a cohesive design theme.

The white dress, the gold rings, the countless flowers…weddings are filled with long-held traditions. But over time, certain wedding etiquettes change—and that includes stationery design.

Do all of your wedding stationery pieces have to match? According to your grandmother, probably. But in today’s world, weddings encompass a huge range of formality and style. There’s no one size fits all in weddings, from dresses to design rules.

Simply put: It’s less a question of should you have matching wedding stationery (hint hint: only if you want). Instead, ask yourself: Does matching stationery match your needs? To answer that question, let’s break down the components of wedding stationery and why matching them might work for you.

What Does Wedding Stationery Include?

It’s more than just invitations. Wedding stationery encompasses every piece of stylized paper material that you design for your celebration.

Just think: How many times will cards, signs, and pamphlets come up between your engagement and honeymoon? This assortment of paper goods is known as your wedding invitation suite, typically following a thematic design. And odds are your suite will have more than a single invitation and thank you note.

From popping the question to saying “I do,” let’s review the common pieces in most wedding stationery suites.

#1 Engagement Party Invitations

Engagement parties are like a smaller, joyous pregame to your wedding day. They’re completely optional, but still a fun way to kick off your upcoming nuptials.

However, like all formal events, engagement parties require guest invitations. Similar to a wedding invitation, these soiree invites should include crucial information, like the:

  • Engagement announcement (“We’re engaged!” “They proposed!”, etc.)
  • Party location and time
  • Host names
  • RSVP information

Since most engagement parties are thrown long before the actual wedding day, don’t feel pressured to define a signature stationery style for these invitations. Unless you’re absolutely certain of your future theme, just go with what feels appropriate.

#2 Save the Date Cards

Most couples know they’re getting married for months (or even years) before their wedding. But once that calendar date is set, it’s time to send out save the dates.

Save the date cards are like a pre-invitation—they are not official wedding invitations. They keep guests informed, excited, and, most importantly, available for your future celebration. Since save the dates are typically sent six to twelve months prior, they usually include minimal information, such as:

  • You and your partner’s names
  • Wedding location
  • Wedding date

While you can direct guests to RSVP on save the dates, that’s not a requirement—do what fits your wedding planning process. Destination weddings might need an RSVP well beforehand, while smaller affairs can wait.

However, by this planning stage, you should have a wedding stationery style (colors, fonts, and overall themes) picked out. Down the line, this will help guests immediately recognize and group all materials for your wedding.

#3 Change the Date Cards

Hopefully, you won’t need this card in your wedding stationery suite. But sometimes, life delivers some calendar-shifting surprises (coronavirus, anyone?).

If your wedding date changes after sending save the dates, you must inform all guests with a change the date card. Essentially, they are just like save the dates but with all necessary updated info.

#4 Bridal Party Materials

What’s a wedding without best friends? Wedding parties bring the fun and close support that everyone deserves before their big celebration.

Want every bridesmaid or groomsman to know their special place in your heart? Send out themed bridal shower stationery. You can include all or one of these cards throughout your celebrations:

  • Bridesmaid Proposals: Stoke the camaraderie early with a sweet “Be My Bridesmaid” proposal. These bridal cards are often personalized with empty space inside for a hand-written note.

  • Bridal Shower Invitations: Since brides typically host the bridal shower, it’s on the engaged couple to welcome guests. Do it in style with themed invitations. Try to send out shower invites a few months beforehand—and don’t forget any bridal registry information that your bridesmaids might need.

  • Bridal Shower Thank Yous: Often, bridal showers are gift-heavy celebrations—which means thank you notes are in store. Whether holding a bridal registry or simply accepting gifts at the shower, a stylized thank you card goes a long way to showing your appreciation.

#5 Wedding Invitations

The date is set, the location is reserved, the dress is picked out—now, it’s officially time to call guests to the party.

Out of the entire stationery suite, your wedding invitations are the most important pieces. Not only do they share vital information with guests, but their design also sets the tone and formality level of the ceremony—it’s a window to the future celebration.

Compared to save the dates, wedding invitations share slightly more information with guests, including:

  • Names of the marrying couple
  • Names of the hosts (typically the couple’s parents)
  • Wedding date and time
  • Venue name and location
  • RSVP notice (optional)

Typically, all other guest information (especially RSVP response forms) go on separate enclosure cards. But if your modern stationery design has the space, then mix up tradition and include more info on the invitation.

#6 RSVP Cards

No wedding invitation is complete without RSVPs—how else would you know which guests plan to attend? If your invitation does not include a note to RSVP digitally, then you’ll need to include a separate response card.

So nothing falls through the cracks, make sure to request a reply-by date and all necessary information on your RSVP form, such as:

  • Guest names
  • Response options (attending vs. absent)
  • Total expected guests or plus-ones
  • Allergies or meal requests (optional)

And of course, it’s courtesy to pre-stamp your response cards. No guest should have to pay for postage to RSVP.

#7 Enclosure Cards

Where can out-of-towners stay for your wedding? Is there a dress code? And what about the rehearsal dinner?!

Enter a stylish solution to all guest questions: enclosure cards.

Often part of a “wedding invitation suite”, enclosure cards are added inserts that hold all necessary guest information not on the invitation. Common enclosure card categories include:

  • Accommodation Cards: For destination weddings or parties with many out-of-towners, it’s courtesy to inform guests of nearby housing options. Add an accommodation card with local hotels, inns, or other vacancies. Just ensure all options are within reach of the ceremony venue.

  • Transportation and Direction Cards: If your wedding venue is particularly out of the way (ski lodges, beaches, rural estates, etc.), then a card with transportation or direction information is helpful.

  • Itinerary Cards: Planning a three-day fanfare for your nuptials? Keep guests in the loop with an itinerary card. A clear schedule of every meal and party will help loved ones prepare for your magnificent celebration.

  • Attire Cards: Almost all weddings have a dress code, from beachy semi-casual to white tie. But if you have a strong vision for your wedding photos (like specific clothing colors), then your guests will need more details. If necessary, include an attire card with your invitation suite.

  • Wedding Website and Contact Cards: At Zola, we firmly believe in the power of a wedding website (just check out our gorgeous free wedding website templates). Direct guests to all the details that can’t fit on your invitation with a wedding website card. No need to mess up your invitation design with a URL.

  • Rehearsal Dinner Invitations: If other family members aren’t taking the reins, add a rehearsal dinner invitation for your close loved ones. Typically, these include all the same information as your wedding invitation.

  • Reception Invitations: A reception invitation can apply to a few situations. First, for couples who elope or hold an intimate ceremony, you don’t have to give up celebrating in style. Invite all loved ones to the after-party with a reception invitation. Second, for couples with different ceremony and reception venues, a separate reception invitation will clarify all party locations and transportation details.

#8 Ceremony Programs

On the big day, welcome your guests in style with a ceremony program. These beautiful cards (like our Gardner program template) are a lovely way for invitees to learn more about the wedding families, parties, and other notable players. While not necessary, they do give an official air to the celebration.

#9 Venue Signs

Banners, posters, easel art—large welcome signs are an eye-catching addition to your wedding stationery suite. Not to mention, venue signs help guests know they’re in the right place. For a grand welcome, add one to each primary location for your wedding.

#10 Table and Seating Materials

Don’t leave your guests stranded on the dance floor. When it’s time to eat and celebrate, every wedding reception needs an organized way to provide seating—and stationery plays a large role in the process.

Inside your reception venue, place these styled table materials for guests to find a seat:

  • Escort Boards: Like the keycard to a map, escort boards carry all table numbers and the names at each table. Place one front and center near the entrance of your reception venue, so guests can easily find their seats.

  • Table Numbers: You can’t list table numbers without….well, actual table numbers. Typically placed on tall holders in the center of the table, number cards should be visible and clear for all to see.

  • Name Cards: To avoid any games of musical chairs, most couples add a small name plaque or card at every seat. Once guests find their name, they’ll know they have a parking spot for the night.

  • Menus: Whether buffet-style or served a la carte, all reception food requires a clear and detailed menu (preferably one with a stunning design, like this one from Zola). You can place small individual menus at every seat or larger menus at every table.

#11 Welcome Bag or Gift Bag Tags

Have lots of traveling guests? A little gift goes a long way. Send or leave a collection of tagged welcome bags (or simple cards) at the accommodation spots for your guests. The touch of personalized stationery lets loved ones know that you appreciate their attendance.

#12 Thank You Notes

Your mom was right—always send a thank you note. From shower gift givers to reception attendees, weddings have plenty of opportunities to show your gratitude.

Here are some common groups that warrant a specialized thank you note:

  • Engagement party guests
  • Bridal shower guests
  • Groomsmen and bridesmaids
  • Rehearsal dinner hosts
  • Wedding ceremony attendees
  • Reception attendees
  • Hired wedding vendors or services (stylists, caterers, etc)

Design Elements of Matching Wedding Stationery

Now that we know the pieces of a wedding stationery suite, it’s time to dive into their actual matching factor: design elements.

A consistent stationery design isn’t just for beauty’s sake. It’s also functional. Stylistic themes set the formality and tone of your celebration. Even more, the recurring visuals help guests instantly recognize all stationery as uniquely yours. It’s one of the many ways you can make your big day feel special.

Whether matching all pieces or not, consider these stylistic factors when designing your wedding stationery.

Color Palette

Most weddings typically have three or four colors that imbue all visual elements, known as a color palette. These shades imbue all visual aspects of the celebration: decor, wedding outfits, florals, and yes, stationery.

Whether you’re a neutral-tone minimalist or rainbow lover, your wedding stationery will need a consistent palette. Monochrome or single-tone designs are a striking modern option. But most couples choose a combination of shades for their weddings, such as:

  • Cream and gold
  • Black and white
  • Blush pink and baby blue
  • Navy and gold
  • Reds and pinks
  • White and any jewel tone

If matching your stationery pieces, simply use the same colors across the board. If not, feel free to mix it up. Use a singular color from your save the date palette, and then use three shades for your invitations.

Fonts or Typography

“We’re getting married!” “We formally invite you...” “Thank you so much!”

No matter the piece, all wedding stationery includes some writing. Keep your suite on-theme by exclusively using the same fonts for typography. Most couples opt for a primary font (for overheads and titles) and a secondary font (for description). And if you decide to use handwritten calligraphy, make sure to use the same artist.

Paper Type or Material

Wedding cards are lovely physical keepsakes, not disposable emails—so picking the right stationery material is important. It’s a visual and tactile element that adds personality.

With so many beautiful and innovative designs, modern couples have countless material options. Here are just a few common types:

  • Cardstock: This category of paper material is popular for a reason—cardstock’s thickness and weight add gravitas to any stationery. Cardstock comes in different materials that change its style, from elegant cotton to rustic linen.

  • Iridescent: Want a little sparkle in your wedding stationery? Go for iridescent papers like mylar or pearlescent. Pearlescent includes shimmery flecks for effortless glamour, while mylar adds a sleek gloss on top.

  • Recycled (or Kraft) Paper: For the eco-friendly or boho couple, recycled paper is a surefire hit. It’s pulpy design adds an earthy texture, and the price point is often budget-friendly.

  • Parchment: Like an instant time machine, parchment just conveys a vintage, rustic feel. This soft, thinner, and tan-colored material is perfect for indoor or intimate ceremonies.

  • Non-Paper Materials: For a wedding invitation that’ll stick out from the crowd, choose a unique non-paper material. Clear acrylic cards or engraved wood boards will definitely catch your guest’s attention. However, this option is best for couples who don’t want a matching stationery suite—a fully non-paper stationery set is a large expense.

Patterns, Illustrations, and Motifs

To pull together a wedding stationery suite, you need more than similar colors and paper—recurring motifs and ornaments are your best friends.

Throwing a garden wedding? Then watercolor florals are more than appropriate. Saying “I do” on the beach? Sunrays, blue skies, and sandy textures are all up for grabs. These artistic elements convey the setting and theme of your celebration to guests.

Need some inspiration? Here are some wedding stationery ideas for different stylistic details:

  • Florals and botanicals
  • Patterns (stripes, polka dots, lace, etc)
  • Color-blocking
  • Cutouts and overlays
  • Metallics and foil details
  • Bows and string-ties
  • Decorative edges
  • Venue-related artwork (beach, garden, vineyard, etc)

Matching Wedding Stationery: Pros and Cons

So you’ve picked out your colors, papers, motifs, and ornaments. Now, here comes the big question: Should you match your wedding stationery?

A matching wedding stationery suite is a big decision, one that requires commitment and forethought. For decades, it was the norm. But today, digital designers and vendors offer tons of stencils, templates, and customizable flourishes. How to choose?

No worries—we can help smooth out the decision. If just starting your design process, here’s a pros and cons list for matching your wedding stationery:

PROS

Pros of having matching wedding stationery include:

  • Saved Time: The more similar your stationery, the less time you spend fretting over designs (and the more time you have to plan the rest of your wedding). Simply adjust the same colors, patterns, and decor to each stationery piece—a premium vendor like Zola can help you there.

  • Easy Recognition: By sticking with one template, guests will have an easier time recognizing stationery pieces as yours. Over the months leading up to the ceremony, this can help guests understand the thematic elements and formality of your wedding.

  • Lower Cost: Typically, separate designs mean higher costs. One simple theme will keep your wedding stationery on budget. Also, many wedding invitation makers (like Zola) offer package deals for matching designs across the board.

CONS

On the other hand, matching wedding stationery does have its downsides:

  • Less Creativity: Matching wedding stationery may be the simple choice, but it does slightly stifle the inner artist. If you love variation and creative spirit, a matching suite might be too cookie-cutter for you.

  • No Wiggle Room: The space between your engagement and your honeymoon can last years. During that time, you might change your mind about the overall wedding theme and decor. A matching stationery suite requires committing to one design early on—there’s no room for changes down the road.

  • No Price Haggling: Choosing different designs for separate stationery pieces opens you up to using different vendors—and snagging the best deals. For instance, a reception venue might offer free table numbers, saving you money over buying a matching stationery set. Similarly, if you plan on reducing your stationery to only a few items, package deals for matching stationery might not be such a great option.

Coordinated Stationery: An Alternative

Not sold on matching stationery? No worries. There’s a solution that still cohesively (but more creatively) ties your suite together: coordinated stationery.

Like matching suites, coordinated stationery uses similar colors, patterns, and decor for all pieces. But how you incorporate those design elements can change. For example, you might use pink and orange across your entire stationery suite. But perhaps you color-bock your save the dates and substitute a decorative border for your official wedding invitations. It’s more detailed and time-consuming, but also more personalized.

Create Your Dream Wedding Stationery With Zola

At the end of the day, weddings are a celebration of you and your partner’s love—not the perfection of your stationery. If simple planning and cohesive themes feel important to you, then go for matching wedding stationery. Otherwise, choose what feels right. After all, it’s your wedding, so it’s up to you.

Looking for that perfect vintage floral invitation design? Or need some quick change the date cards to keep guests in the loop? Zola’s paper shop has every wedding stationery piece you’ll ever need. Whether shopping for a matching suite or a la carte, our customizable and exclusive templates make stationery a breeze. Kick off your designing today with a free paper sample.

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