Let’s get something straight: It’s stationery, not stationary.
Well, in my case anyway. revelry + heart creates stationEry (goes in an Envelope) and typically, not while stationAry, as I like to dance around when I work.
When I first entered the stationery scene in 2011, I was lost over all the vocabulary I needed to learn. But being a logophile, I was open to the experience. Stationery and event design verbiage is basically another language.
I decided to start the blog with clearing the air and providing a glossary to stationery (thank the marketing professional in me) for those on an entry and intermediate level. Hopefully, this guide helps you communicate your stationery desires to your designer so you don’t feel like you need an interpreter when planning your wedding!
Save the Dates – notice of a wedding (yay!) typically sent around one year before the event. I have seen these sent as close as 6 months before the wedding.
Postcards – Stationery with no envelope. Two-sided and USPS compliant.
Digital Calligraphy– printed names or envelope addressing in a stylized font to mimic hand calligraphy.
Return Address – Address you want your invitation to get returned to in the event it is undeliverable.
RSVP Envelope Addressing – Address you want the guests to send their responses.
Wedding Suite Pieces
Reception Card – Traditionally, only the ceremony details go on your wedding invitation. A reception card explains the details of the celebration that follows, includes location, time and attire.
Direction Card – Directions to either/both the ceremony location and reception. I often get asked if people still use direction cards in the age of Google/Apple maps, and the answer is yes! Older friends and family and people unfamiliar with the area still appreciate directions based on landmarks rather than “turn left in 1000 feet.”
Details Card – this card is in case you need to alert your guests of any additional details of your event: are children allowed? Do you have a hotel block? Is there an ideal airport to fly into? Providing a details cards takes a proactive role in the barrage of questions your guests will text, email, courier you about your event.
Print Mediums-Not just paper!
This is probably the section I’m most excited about. I love creating stationery on non-traditional mediums. If you see something you’re interested in in this list, we can create it, if you don’t see something you’re interested in, I’d love to hear your ideas and take on the challenge!
Metal Invitations – Stainless steel plates, available in multiple colors, that are engraved, printed and cut to shape to provide an invitation that stands apart from paper.
Wood Invitations – Solid slices of wood that are laser engraved to create unique invitations that provide a natural and rustic platform for celebratory stationery. Available in 19 varieties from cedar to maple, walnut to oak and zebra wood to ash.
Acrylic Invitations – Man-made plastic material available in various tints, finishes and colors. Crystal clear to marble swirls and glitter, these provided a rugged but beautiful medium to personalize with laser engraving.
Pocket Invitation – An invitation that is permanently mounted to a folding jacket with a pocket for insert cards. I typically suggest this format for client’s that have 3 or more insert cards.
Flat, Layered Card for Mounted Invitation – Flat backing card in a color or material that provides a thin border around the invitation from the front and a backing color or pattern for the reverse.
Double Thick Paper – Two cover/cardstock sheets glued together to create a thicker stock.
Triple/Quad Thick Paper – Same as double thick paper, but with 3 or 4 sheets adhered together.
Vellum/Translucent Invitations – Invitations printed on translucent paper. It is similar to baking parchment or wax paper. This paper is delicate and I strongly encourage attaching to a cardstock or other sturdy medium.
Add-Ons and Embellishments
Custom Wedding Logo Design – Not just monograms! I’ve created name lockups with wedding dates, baseball team family names and name initials.
Custom Postage Stamp – A USPS stamp with real US postage to adhere to your invitations and/or RSVP envelopes. Custom stamps contain a digital bar code; this cannot be removed as it tracks and verifies that the postage is authentic with the US government.
Custom Illustration – a drawing created just for you! Maybe you both love dogs or want to reinterpret your navy grandfather’s ship, I will hand draw this for you.
Envelope Liners – Pieces of colored or patterned stock that adhere inside of an envelope to create a contrast. Great to incorporate an accent color or disguise the transparency of lighter colored envelopes.
Custom Address Rubber Stamp – A custom designed self-inking rubber stamp to use on postal correspondence before/after a wedding or when there is a change of address.
Belly Bands – bands of paper that wrap around the invitation suite to belt the pieces together. Can be printed, patterned or plain.
Ribbon – Available to tie around suites like gifts or mount between layers to create more dimension in the invitation suite.
Buckles/Gems/Embellishments – Buckles are metal and/or crystal embellishments that your ribbon feeds through to provide a sparkle accent to ornate traditional invitations.
Wax Seals – Used over ribbon or seams to adhere two things together. Wax seals will require additional postage as they need to be hand-cancelled as they cannot go through sorting machines.
Edge Painting – Sometimes described as color seams, this is coloring the outer edge of the card to provide a pop of color to the card.
Edge Foiling – If you ever admired the golden edging of bibles in church, that’s very similar to edge foiling. Also called gilding, this method paints metallic paint or foil onto the outer edge of the card to embellish the paper.
Deckle/Raw Edge – Natural torn-like edging that you’d find on handmade paper.
Foil Finish – Hot foil is stamped onto a custom plate and pressed into the paper of your invitation to provide a shiny finish to the wording or design of your invitation.
Cold Foil – This is toner reactive and newly popular to the industry. More cost effective than hot foil, this foil finish is a shiny finish with a flat texture.
Engraved Ink – raised and matte, this is the most traditional inking method for stationery.
Thermography Ink – raised and shiny in appearance, this method provides the raised feel of engraved ink at a lower price point.
Letterpress – Similar to hot foil stamping, this process requires forging a custom plate of your design and applying ink to stamp onto each piece in the suite.
Flat Printing – digital or laser printing that is flat in feel and available in full-color.
White Ink – White laser printing to provide contrasting ink on rich or dark colored papers.
Embossed/Debossed – Embossed is raised, think of the wording or image in popping off of your invitation. Debossed is the opposite, impressed into paper similar to letterpress, with no ink applied.
Day of Stationery
Day of stationery-signs, cards and items for the day of the event.
Escort Card – A card that escorts guests to their seat/table assignment. These are cards that are collectively and obviously displayed at your venue, where your guests retrieve their place for the evening.
Place Card – A card with the guest’s name at their table setting or seat. These beautiful agate cards with hand calligraphy are a beautiful example of a place setting, which are typically used at smaller dinners and events.
Cocktail napkins – Usually 5x5 in size, and often customized with monograms or names for weddings. I recommend 2 per guest.
Lunch napkins – Paper napkins typically 7x7 in size. Available personalized or non-personalized.
Guest Towels/Napkins – Usually in hand washing locations, these rectangular paper napkins are 4x8 in size. Available personalized or non-personalized.
Ceremony Programs – Booklets or flat cards describing the details of your ceremony: typically they include the order of events, wedding party’s names and relationships, readings, clergy/religious leaders, memorial dedications and a thank you note from the bride and groom.
Custom Seating Chart – printed poster or sign that categorizes guests by table number or alphabetical organization of surname. This replaces the need for individual escort or place cards.
Table Numbers – Cards that identify the table to guests. These don’t have to be numbers! I’ve done Star Trek references, cocktail names with recipes, and names of mountains. I encourage creativity here.
Bar/Photobooth/Signature Drink/Social Media Signage – Signage throughout your event to make your guests aware of favors, social media tags, photo booth instructions, specialty drink recipes and more.
Gift Tags – Tags to attach to favors and a good opportunity to use your wedding logo!
Drink Coasters – Customized coasters in disposable or reusable material for guest’s drinks. Especially popular during cocktail hour.
Snapchat Filter – Custom designed digital frame image that I can upload to Snapchat to run during your event.
Wedding Hashtag – I favor puns when I create these, but on a basic level, a hashtag is an identifier for social media to tag your event. This helps the couple easily find posts by friends and family under one tag.
Custom Menus – available in various sizes and mediums, if your guests choose their meal the night of the event, I can create custom menus with your event branding.
Congratulations! Now you’re fluent (or closer to it) in stationery lingo. I can’t wait to hear how you impress your friends and family with knowing these terms and ideas. Now, let’s talk stationEry!