Working out just how many invites you need for your big day can cause a bit of a headache. Here are a few tidbits of advice I have picked up in my years working in the wedding industry.
How many invites do we need to order?
What I would say first, is to work out how many households you will need to send an invitation to. Remember to include your VIPs in this, as even if you have already spoken to your Best man, your Bridesmaids, parents etc it is still nice to include them on the invite list, especially if you are having your stationery custom made.
As a rough guide, it usually works out around 2/3rds of the actual number of people you are inviting, unless there are a lot of families on the list. For a guest list of 80 I would usually find somewhere between 45 and 60 is enough.
It’s an easy miscalculation to make, thinking if you have 80 guests, that you will need 80 invites. Or if you have 80 daytime guests and 130 evening guests you need that many for each part of the day.
When you work out how many you need for the evening invites, it can vary a bit more.
For example, if you have 80 wedding guests and another 50 in the evening, you will usually need more for the extra guests – but remember you have already invited the daytime guests so you only need to send to the extra 50. Usually round 30 invitations would cover this. It does depend on how many include a plus 1, or perhaps children have only been invited to the evening celebrations, as can sometimes be the case. The best idea is to have a chat with your stationer too, if they are worth their salt they should be able to guide you. I never give ‘set’ answers as each couple and wedding can be so different to each other. Before you book your wedding stationer, read this helpful blog post.
Do we really need to order ‘spare’ invites?
I would be inclined to say yes. It might seem like a potential waste of a few valuable pounds in your budget, but in all my years as a stationer, I always find those who don’t include them to begin with return to me after a few weeks asking could we possibly have a few more please?
I try to be as accommodating as possible in these requests, however as the diary gets busy, it can take longer sometimes to slot these few extra in where other brides have already booked the space which is not really how I like to work.
As well as the time factor, spare invites can work out more expensive, last minute orders for a smaller quantity can be costly for both the stationery designer and the happy couple so do bear that in mind.
As a rough guide, I usually say add on 10 percent of your order, so if you need 45 invites, request 50, or round up any strange numbers so if you needed 37 ask for 40. You can have these left with a blank space to fill them in yourself later if necessary, there is always the option of having one for a keepsake, and it will feel so much better if you realise a little later that you (possibly, it does happen) missed someone off the list.
They are not then left waiting for an invite when everyone else has already received theirs, as an example. Or if your RSVPs are returned and you find you can squeeze a couple more people in during the day, because you really don’t want them to miss out, then you can use it for that. Try not to think of the spares as a waste of money, or a way for us busy stationers to make extra on the order, it really is about keeping things simple for everyone, less back and forth getting things sorted and one less stress!
I’ve only just started planning my wedding to Bruce, (click here to find out what happened when he proposed) we have quite some time to work with before the date we are looking for, and I am already working out how many invites I will need. The sooner you can get an idea of these things the sooner you can work out things like how many stamps you will need, that sort of thing. It all adds to the cost but can help you budget a bit better too. It’s all part of the fun and if you know what you are looking at from the beginning it will make for a much more enjoyable part of the journey for you – you want to enjoy this as much as possible – I know I do.
As always if you need help figuring any of this out, then do please drop me a line, I would love to hear how your wedding plans are going and help if I can in any way.
It’s amazing how many things I thought of once I started writing this list, which is by no means an exhaustive list – and there will be many things I could add to it – but for today here is an A-Z of wedding stationery to help you with your planning.
Activity Packs: Treat younger guests to a beautifully coordinated activity pack on the day to keep them occupied during speeches and give mum & dad a break!
Bespoke: If looking for something a bit more unique, be sure to find a designer by recommendation who specialises in this sort of work, it can be very time consuming and not all stationers will be able to create all different types of design.
C Catering: Do your invites need to include the option for menu choices? Be sure to allow enough time for this when stating the RSVP date. Find out if your stationer can accommodate printing these on your daytime stationery too. And remember you need to have a menu tasting before confirming the meal choices, it all takes extra time.
DJ: Does your DJ have the option for guests to choose songs for the evening reception? Be sure to include this info on your RSVP cards.
E Embellishments: Are your invites heavily embellished? Remember to allow for this when posting them out, it will cost you more than a standard stamp, are they protected enough in the post? Nothing worse than arriving in a flimsy or damaged envelope.
Favours: It can finish your table settings beautifully to have your beautiful decorated favour boxes to match the rest of your stationery. It’s all in the detail!
GGuest Book: You don’t have to have a traditional ‘book’ for your guests to leave you messages, there are lots of ways you can get your guests signing, maybe a large signing board with a photo, signing snapshots from the photo booth, a wishing tree. Be creative.
Honeymoon: Struggling for ideas when guests ask what to buy you? Why not use a fun rhyme to ask for donations towards your honeymoon? See here for more ideas.
Inviting: Your invites truly set the scene for your special day so make it count. Invite your guests in a way they will remember forever. Get them excited about your big day from the beginning.
J June: It used to be one of the most popular months to get married but anything goes these days. If you are getting married in a popular month, such as summer holiday season be sure to book your suppliers far enough in advance, and prepare to wait a little longer for them to get back to you during these busy periods too.
K Keepsakes: It’s lovely to have something from your stationery you can remember after the big day, order yourselves a spare invitation or Order of Service to add to your memory box.
Lettering: It’s all the rage, have your stationery carefully hand written or signage for the venue carefully hand drawn by a reputable supplier.
Marriage: Whatever you do, don’t forget what this day is all about. It’s about the 2 of you, together forever, sometimes that can get a little bit lost in the planning!
N Name change: Remember when giving your stationer your seating plan details that the tiny detail of your new married name (if relevant) needs to be taken into account! It amazes me how many couples forget about this when preparing their seating plans.
O Order of Service: Not essential but particularly helpful if you are having a church wedding, check with your church if they have a template you can use if having them specially made, equally useful to note if having a ceremony at the venue, a framed Order of the day to match your seating plan can give your guests a little guidance to what happens when, and looks beautiful too.
Planning: Ask your stationer if they have any way of helping you keep everything organised? I send out a free spreadsheet to contain all the info you might need in relation to your guest list and responses.
Quotes: Find some lovely quotes that are relevant to both of you to use on your table stationery, it looks so lovely and makes it all the more romantic (or funny if that is more your style). It really adds both your personalities to the proceedings.
RSVPs: If you are having these sent back to you by post, do you need to provide your own envelopes or are they included in the cost of your invites? Something for you to consider. Allow plenty of time for the RSVP date to overlap/you to alter your guest list if needed.
Seating Plan:Don’t waste hours figuring this out from the beginning of your wedding planning journey. Your time is valuable, wait until the RSVPs have been returned and you have a better idea who is actually attending, it could save you a lot of stress.
T Tradition: The age-old tradition of invites being addressed from the bride’s parents is long gone. Some couples still do this, but it stemmed from the parents being the ones who paid for everything, and these days that often is not the case. Make sure your wording in your invites reflects both your personalities and feels right for you both. There are many options out there. Here are examples of the wording used my some of my lovely couples.
U Underestimating: Don’t be fooled into thinking that needing to send invites 4 months before means you only need to sort them a couple of weeks before that, this is often not the case and disappointment can cause additional delays and stress. Allow more time for this than you may think you need, a good stationer will advise on realistic timescales and not offer empty promises.
V Value for money: Good work ain’t cheap, cheap work ain’t good! Be sure to check what you are getting for your money before booking to get something made that looks too good to be true, and make sure you have seen the work first hand as well. (a good clue is don’t opt for anyone who spells it stationary…)
Wedding Party: Have your VIPs, eg parents, bridesmaids and best man all been included on the invite list?
X Xtras: Have you considered everything you need in the costs quoted for your stationery? Guest names or other additional printing, spare invites, personalised menus, addressed envelopes, delivery to your home address or the venue on the big day if relevant? Be clear what is included and what is additional to your quote.
Yonks: Be a little wary of any supplier who seems to take an age to get back to you, yes they may be busy but you deserve to be made to feel as though you and your big day are important to them.
Zilla: Keep calm, count to ten and don’t unleash Bridezilla (more tips about that here) if anything doesn’t go to plan. Always keep in contact with a supplier if you have any doubts, they will be happy to reassure you if they are worth their salt.
I have been asked these questions so many times over the years, so here is a quick guide to 10 things you really should think about once your venue is booked, before you seek out a supplier or confirm your wedding stationery booking. Some of them may be questions specific to your supplier, in which case don’t forget to ask them before you go ahead and book!
You will be asked this question a lot as you visit wedding fayres and make enquiries with suppliers, but it’s not just about when you get married.
For a wedding stationer, they will need to know when you want to send your invites. You may be a little hazy on this, it’s not as simple as ‘4-6 months before the wedding’, if you have a wedding in the school holidays, or mid-week for example.
Have a think about when you would feel comfortable requesting your RSVPs back by. If you can trust your guests to reply quickly, great!
But if you think it may take a while then allow extra time and work backwards from there. Often for a summer wedding I would be preparing invites to go out in January, but they might have been booked in for as much as 18 months by then, so don’t take too long to decide if you have found someone you really want to work with.
Here is another helpful blog post about just how long it can take to make up elegant, handcrafted wedding invitations like the ones available in my portfolio.
2. Invitation Styles & Colours
Do you know what kind of style of invitation you want? Have you seen a design somewhere that made you ‘ooh’?
Does it reflect anything else about your day, such as the kind of venue, any theme you want to follow, or do you just LOVE it?
There is no right answer here but they are things to consider if you really want to wow your guests with the storytelling of your big day from the beginning. It is worth considering if you will need your chosen colours to be incorporated in some way too.
There are many ways this can be done but it will depend on how your chosen supplier works.
3. Your guest list – Daytime and Evening guests
Have you started on your guest list already?
Usually you will have some idea before booking your venue, but this can often change along the way, for lots of reasons.
Remember as you begin to sketch this out that it can be helpful to have some flexibility, and be aware that not every person on your first list will necessarily be able to make it to your big day.
If you are having a separate evening ‘do’ you can always bump up any chosen guests if those ‘decline’ messages do make an appearance. This can all help with number 4 too…
4. How many?
When working out how many invites you need, to get a more tailored quote, remember one vital thing: If you have 100 guests, you don’t need 100 invites.
Usually it works out around 2/3rds of that number as a rough guide (one per household). Also, it’s worth remembering, for the evening guests, to make a separate headcount in the same way, rather than the final number of guests (you already invited the daytime guests so no need to send them anything more!)
And however much of a sales tactic this sounds like (it really isn’t), always allow a little room in your budget for spare invitations. Whether you think you will need them or not, it really is a good idea to add a few on just in case.
You can leave the name part blank and then just fill them in yourself as you go, it would be a disaster if you needed them on a quick turnaround (more often than not) after all the trouble you went to for the perfect invites, only to find out your supplier can’t fit them in due to other weddings.
5. Quality, Samples & Proofs
Make sure you are looking for a quality supplier, who uses quality materials – you should be able to request to samples of their work quite easily.
Find one who will set your mind at ease during the process. One who will provide you with a sample that helps you feel like they understand what you want, and one who always signs off the proofs to make sure everything is correct before they are printed.
Do you want your invites to be completely personalised, including having your guest names printed?
If its important to you, as it gives your invites the truly ‘finished’ look, put it on your list, sure to check if this is available as an option – and find out whether it costs any more money.
Talking of printing, are you looking for someone who prints everything in house, or has pre printed ‘fill the blank’ invites?
If they do the printing themselves you will find it to be a much more personalised service, it will give them the control they need over producing your invites and not having to rely on anyone else to get it right for you.
7. HOW much?
When it comes to requesting a quote for your wedding stationery, keep your budget in mind. Remember too, that the figures won’t just have been plucked out of the air, every wedding supplier spends time carefully calculating their quote based on your requirements.
Give serious consideration before responding, especially if they have already made it onto your shortlist of ‘must have’ suppliers. There are usually options to help you spread your payments too and if you are being quoted for all your stationery you may not need to pay for everything all at once anyway.
Just as with any other enquiry, receiving the quote does not guarantee availability if you haven’t paid any kind of deposit – always remember to check how long the quote is valid for as well.
8. Matching daytime and venue stationery
It’s a lovely idea to consider having the rest of your stationery on the day to coordinate with your invites, so remember to ask if this is available too. Not every design is always able to be used within a venue setting or on a seating plan so if this is important to you, think carefully.
If you are getting married in a church, you might want your Orders of Service to match the rest of your stationery, especially as this is often one element of your big day the guests might want to keep as a souvenir!
Also, just a cautionary tale from me, please wait until you have your RSVPs before you begin planning out your seating arrangements. It can be helpful to picture who will sit where when you are doing your invites, I know, but this can often feel like a waste of time when you find out family member Y won’t be coming anyway and family member Z can quite happily sit with your best mates girlfriend.
So just wait a while, if you can.
If you are ordering through a website, its quite likely that your order will be posted out, but if you are meeting with the supplier in order to build up a good working relationship, it is worth asking how you will receive your invites.
Do they deliver them to you, or will you need to collect them? Also, how do the invites come? Are they ready to send out or do you need to put the additional cards together with the pocketfolds?
It may sound like a minor detail but its good to know what to expect for your money.
I often get asked if I am the one who sends out the invites to the guests too. This is a premium service not currently available but its always worth checking with your own supplier if it isn’t clear who does what.
And last but definitely not least…
10. Wow factor!
So you’ve been looking at ideas, and sourced quotes and maybe even ordered a few samples.
But which one gives you that eek, it’s real kind of feeling?
Which one can you picture sending to your guests to really wow them and get them all excited about your special day?
Is there one that does that more than the others? Or did you only have one to begin with?
The feeling is so important, because you will remember that excitement in years to come and when that happens seeing your invites as you look back on your wedding day will give you goosebumps all over again.
I hope you have found this list helpful. I am only ever at the end of an email if you have more questions you need answering. Of course you could always book a tea room appointment for a more personal touch.
While you’re here, why not pop your details on the mailing list for more helpful hints & tips, and that all-important wedding stationery checklist! Just follow the link here. TTFN, Jacqui xx
If you are careful with your planning and spending and you are strict with your budgets it is possible to stick to them.
I will be honest though, what I see so often is that towards the later stage of planning, couples realise they have either overspent or run out of Wedding fund completely and as a result often have to cut back on their spending for the final few details that could so beautifully finish the job. I’ve been told by venues they can see the difference when the stationery comes from a professional source (such as myself) or when the couples tried to save money on this very important feature of the venue decor.
Don’t get me wrong, I think doing your own wedding stationery can really bring a personal touch to the day, I did it myself (and when I think back to what my place cards were actually made from…well I won’t be advising anyone to try it!)
But if you are going for an all out elegant style wedding the attention to detail (the finer details in particular) is so so important.
If you’re all for having it made here’s a few ways you can save money.
If you want to have them made, have you thought about not having all the details printed in them? A nice pretty outer section without the personalisation perhaps, with spaces left free inside to add the important details later. This might not save loads of money but could also speed up the process of having them made.
This isn’t something I offer but I am sure many wedding stationers would give you the chance to write your own details inside (just names, dates, guest details etc) which would save them a significant amount of time in the preparation/checking off and could save you money as well.
Order of Service
While its all very lovely having all your wedding stationery matching, the idea of a beautiful Order of Service carefully handcrafted and personalised with your details and wedding date is possibly one of the nicest keepsakes from your big day. This does of course only apply if you have your wedding in a church.
These too can work out quite costly if you have the fully decorated version so have a word with either your church who may well be able to offer a simple printed booklet at a lower cost or your wedding stationer who also might be able to assist – especially if you wanted it to match the fonts, colours and style of your other stationery.
You will typically need the same number of these as you had wedding invites, unless your evening guests have also been welcomed to join you in church (but without the offer of the sit down meal in between!) – I have seen this done and it’s a nice way to bring everyone together.
A fairly recent introduction, instead of a fixed table plan, you can just have nice card printed off per table with the table name and then each of the guest place names for that table underneath.
Your guests can then choose who on that table they would prefer to sit next to – saving all the time and trouble of stressing over THE SEATING PLAN down to that painful finer detail and also saving yourselves on the cost of having one made. Double win!
There are various ways you can save the time and trouble of all of the above – lovely 3 sided table cards which give all the info about your day.
On one side the table name or number, the 2nd side could have your menu and then on the 3rd to really give your guests a helping hand give your guests a full run down of what to expect and when (Order of the Day).
If going into that kind of detail really doesn’t appeal why not give them a gentle reminder as to the names of the guests seated at this table (and perhaps yet again do away with place cards too).
Or some of my couples choose to have the table number repeated on a second side just to save any confusion.
As listed/detailed above there are a couple of different ways you can avoid having to have a table plan. They can work out costly, anything from around £50 – £150 for a luxurious one that does the job well.
You could do your own on a board,available from your local craft store – but honestly, on more than one occasion in my time dressing venues I have seen diy ones that have been altered as the guest list changed – it doesn’t look nice!
Where you can, if making your own, don’t do it too far in advance.
The last week is really the best time for ‘putting it down’ although you can have a provisionally drafted version ready to go on the pc, just save over with any alterations needed and check when is the latest date you can send it to your wedding stationer.
Twice in recent weeks I have seen significant alterations when guest’s couples have broken up and made the seating arrangements difficult (although I’m sure the least of their concerns at the time) and as a wedding stationer I do prefer to leave the completion of the seating plan until the final week.
You could save money on having a post box for safely receiving any monetary gifts by repurposing an old suitcase (nice for a shabby chic styled wedding) or getting a nice looking gift box and simply adding aa message on the outside.
It does look so much nicer when everything matches though!
Do It Yourself
You could of course make your own – I will be covering this in another blog post coming soon, as there is a whole world of ideas out there. Just be realistic as you enter into planning this that it may not be as cost effective as you think. And can be quite frustrating too!
However you decide to try and save some of your wedding budget
Take your time making those decisions! The whole process of planning a wedding creates one of the prettiest most memorable pictures that will be in your minds eye forever. Don’t cut corners where it might matter the most. There are of course plenty of ways you can save in other areas of your wedding planning but take your time with each and every decision, you’ll be so glad you did.
I’m off now to enjoy some of this beautiful sunshine (isn’t it glorious!!!).
During the makeover process, I found that I started to think more and more about the idea of offering packages of stationery through the website.
I never found they worked particularly well in the past, but I have changed a lot of things about my business since then – for the better – and now am much more focused on making things easier for you – my lovely couples.
It can get really overwhelming when we sit down to talk about your wedding stationery.
I often have many questions to ask and there are plenty that you won’t know the answers to. So once we have spent the time customising the numbers for your wedding invitations – as these can vary soooo widely, and then simply add a package on top for your daytime stationery, it seems like it might just work!
When we sit down to go over all the details at my lovely local tea room to talk about your wedding stationery
(ooohhh, it really is rather lovely in there!)
It’s quite possible at this point you haven’t thought right the way through to what is happening on your guest tables just yet.
But I can easily tell you what will work well based on the information you have given me for your invitations.
It can vary depending on whether or not you have chosen a set menu, maybe you are having a glorious buffet or perhaps you have decided to let your guests choose their own menus from a selection.
There are many ways we can make this work my lovely, so don’t fret.
What I’m hoping to do is make this whole process much easier for you by guiding you with the most obvious choices for essential daytime stationery, and then you can add any other items on as you need.*
As a rough guide, when you get married in the lovely venues I often do wedding stationery for – like The Nottinghamshire, Shottle Hall, Swancar Farm, The Old Vicarage Boutique to name but a few, you will be having a sit down meal of some sort, and for this a seating plan is often the best way to avoid chaos.
Once you have a seating plan in place, you will more than likely need table name or number cards to go with it (need some inspiration for ideas? look no further), pointing your guests in the right direction for their table, and if you have gone to all the trouble to decide who sits next to who, it makes perfect sense to have the matching place cards with their names on – these can be personalised further with their individual menu choices if you wish.
So by creating a nice neat little add-on package of these beautiful things, we can create a picture perfect scene just for you, to continue your gorgeous theme right the way through from your wedding invitations to the big day itself. Your guests will be truly delighted to find that you have gone to all the trouble of matching your stationery perfectly, and when you walk into the room after tying the knot, you will feel the sparkly warmth of knowing that it is exactly as you pictured it.
I’m too excited to show you all the designs available to create this perfect vision, so let’s take a look!
And in case you’re wondering how much this is all going to cost – here is all the information you need about prices and packages too!
Of course if you have any questions at all about this, I’d LOVE to hear from you – add your comments below or click on my pic to pop me an email. Either way I look forward to hearing from you very soon!
With love and sparkles,
*You can also pay for your stationery in instalments, to make it even easier!