To inform is important. To engage is essential. As the designer of a range of graphic and illustrative products, I always keep these points in mind, particularly when creating wedding stationery.
A stationery suite is vital to the smooth running of any wedding, but for such a momentous event the pieces deserve to be more than just functional. Yes, stationery is key in tying all elements of the pre-wedding, wedding day and post-wedding events together. Yes, it should aim to ensure guests feel prepared, involved and appreciated. It should help the happy couple visualise the wedding and provide them with the peace of mind they deserve on their special day. I also believe wedding stationery should engage with guests, providing a glimpse of what to expect and evoking as much excitement in them as the bride and groom feel.
As any designer will testify, a large part of the process is deciding the style and theme of the stationery. Whether you’re including the chosen accent colour, complementing the venue or reflecting the couple’s interests, I feel it is vital that the outcomes fulfil the dual purpose of being both informative and engaging. Regular meetings with the bride and groom are imperative to this and ensure the couple feels part of the process. Making time for visits to the venue, discussion with the couple’s other suppliers and plenty of research into both traditional and contemporary trends all facilitates a creative, successful result.
One of my newlywed couples explains:
"When we began to think about wedding stationery it was very important for us that all of the different pieces matched. The outcomes were designed beautifully on pearlescent paper, elegantly incorporating our initials, with plenty of space for the information to be displayed. We also wanted the stationery to reflect the same theme as the venue. The area our reception took place in was blue and gold so it felt only right to follow this colour scheme in our outfits, flowers and stationery. The stationery sent to guests prior to the day provided them with an insight into the location and helped generate conversations with our friends and family about our plans.”
Dressing the wedding breakfast
A significant element of any couple's wedding stationery suite is the wedding breakfast table pieces. I have found this to be an area that some couples find difficult to visualise. Not only should table stationery echo the other pieces in the range but they must also complement the reception venue, interior decor, flowers and favours. They are essential in directing guests but also an ideal way to inject personality and atmosphere in to the space. As such they require a lot of consideration and planning.
The art of dressing a wedding table is fraught with decisions, carefully balancing form and function to achieve an organised yet sociable setting. I have often discussed the arrangements at length with couples and, with experience, have been able to advise suitable approaches. Line of sight should always be considered, not only the view across the room but also between guests sat opposite one another. As such, beautiful floral centre pieces are often raised but this in itself can create issues for the stationery design. In addition to other items, I am regularly asked about how best to approach table name cards. For example:
- Including cards within the flowers, either on spikes or tied hanging. This suits informal, flowing arrangements well.
- Producing low table cards, placed slightly out from the centre, duplicated to create symmetry. This is useful for larger weddings to allow the greater number of guests to see their table from different angles.
- Flat place names, placed around the base of the flowers to accentuate the arrangement. This works best at a smaller wedding where guests have an opportunity to walk around and read from above.
- Adapting wine bottle labels to show the details. The wine is often on the table already so reduces clutter. Eclectic weddings could incorporate this in a handcrafted manner.
- Adding details to the backs of chairs (one or more per table), such as cards tied within decorative ribbon. Ideal for when table space is at a premium.
Table plans are useful upon entry to the reception, coming into play before guests reach their seats. Whether an aerial view or a more formal layout, the plan is a key piece of stationery that clients often request. As an alternative, some couples prefer their guests to collect a named escort card which includes their table details. In either case, this reduces a lot of the pressures associated with organising a large event.
When using a table plan, individual name cards provide guests with the final information once their table has been discovered. I have produced pieces ranging from traditional tent fold cards to more unique items such as named favours. Even the relatively simple tent fold option can be made more intriguing with additions such as handcrafted embellishments or further text inside, like a joke or fun fact about the couple.
Favours, menus, notelets, CDs and children’s activities are amongst other items clients have requested for their wedding tables, and again, I approach these with the same thoughts in mind and try to echo the other items designed. Ultimately the table pieces, both stationery and other additions, all need to work together to cumulatively provide essential information and to enhance and enrich the setting for the big day.
"As our reception venue was very traditional with large ornate gold frames, it could have been easy for the tables to look out of place but our stationery—the place names and table numbers in particular—complemented the space really well, which meant visually everything flowed throughout the room. Sarah guided us not only with the stationery designs but also advised how to tie all of the other table elements together and how best to liaise with the venue, resulting in a fantastic outcome."
I have regularly used printed.com’s products for my work with Once Upon Design as they provide a wide selection of creative solutions. For example; with the tent fold name cards they offer a great system to make the potentially time consuming process much easier. Alongside artwork you simply upload a spreadsheet of names which is then used to personalise each card. This level of service, combined with the broad range of products, styles and finishes they offer has allowed me to provide my clients a wide variety of options which, as I always strive for, are both informative and engaging.
Once Upon Design is a bespoke design company which provides a range of custom made products, both personal and corporate. Visit www.onceupondesign.co.uk for further information.