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Signs at weddings have become a necessity to not only convey to guests what they should be expecting for the evening, but also to reflect your personal style as a couple. Being that every wedding these days is unique, providing your guests with the "what to do next" to keep the night moving smoothly keeps everyone happy, whether it be directing them to their seat, what to order at the bar, and how to tag your photos on social media. Below is what I consider the core list of wedding signage that nearly all Letters & Dust couples order.



1. WELCOME SIGN



Starting with a welcome sign, especially if your venue is at a private residence or is not well marked, a welcome sign lets guests know that they are in the right place and heading down the right path. Welcome signs also make for great photos so guests can commemorate your special day.


Photo credits ( left to right): Emily Grant Photography, Deyla Huss Photography, Casi Yost


2. CARDS & GIFTS / GUESTBOOK SIGNS



After the welcome sign, typically guests will pass by a table for cards and gifts, as well as a guestbook to sign. Having these small signs remind people that the table is for those activities, otherwise you may have people who are just dropping off a card but who may forget to sign the guestbook. Many couples are also opting for a more fun version of a guestbook such as a photo or map for guests to sign, or writing a message to be placed in a bottle which is broken on anniversaries—there are endless possibilities, and some may require explanation which is where the sign comes in handy.



3. CHOOSE A SEAT





Nothing will cause your guests more anxiety than not knowing if seating at the ceremony is open, if they are supposed to choose a side, and if there are any reserved rows for family. Current trends seem to be allowing guests to sit wherever they would like, but giving them a heads up on this makes the process much smoother.


Photo Credit: Jessica Heron, James Hays, Simply Splendid


4. UNPLUGGED CEREMONY SIGN



The other popular sign for ceremony spaces is the unplugged ceremony sign, just reminding guests to please put their phones away and join you in the special moment—no one wants their wedding photos to come back with guests holding up cell phones taking their own photos. This sign is not absolutely necessary, couples can have their officiant make an announcement before the ceremony starts, but if you do feel like they’re going to be some people in attendance that need multiple reminders, having a sign is a great idea.


Photo Credit (from left to right): Laurken Kendall , Deyla Huss Photography, Lucas Rossi Photo


5. ORDER OF EVENTS SIGN



After the ceremony, guests will suddenly be looking for somewhere to go—having an order of events sign will help them navigate if they are going for a cocktail hour while the couple has photos, if they are heading straight to dinner, or if you have another activity planned. It's also good to include this sign so guests know when they can leave—yes that sounds like a downer, but some guests may be wanting to make their exit after the cake cutting, then the real party starts for those that stick around!


Photo Credit (from left to right): Justin Lee Photography , Laurken Kendall , L&D


6. BAR SIGNS



Bar signage is another fun inclusion of the cocktail hour or the reception space or both! Cocktail signs are also we are adding personal touches or a fun color keeps guests interested and excited for the evening. Whether it be naming a cocktail after your pet, coming up with funny names, or including an anecdote about how they may not remember the next morning, these signs are where it’s fun to be personal!


Photo Credit (from left to right): Monique Serra, Alexandra Pallas, Dylan Howell


7. SEATNG CHART



The next stage of the evening is usually when guests are ushered to the main reception space for their formal dinner, which, depending on your style of wedding you may or may not need to include a seating chart. If you have your guests write in a meal option on their RSVP card you will need a seating chart as well as place cards. If you are doing a buffet style or family style, a seating chart is not necessarily needed. Seating charts are also a fun place to create a statement piece being that every guest will have to stop and look at it. In terms of organizing a seating chart, I typically tell my couples that if they have more than 120 people attending, it’s better to do the seating chart alphabetically rather than by table, just to keep the flow of traffic moving so everyone can find their seat efficiently. Coordinating place cards also help this process go more smoothly, or you can opt for individuals to simply find their table and take a seat.


Photo Credit (from left to right): Yasmin Khajavi Photography, L&D, Bridal Bliss


8. TABLE NUMBERS



Table numbers obviously correspond to those including a seating chart, however if you are having open seating, table numbers may help guests remember where they are sitting after they've had a few rounds on the dance floor.


9. PHOTOBOOTH / HASHTAG SIGN



If you plan to include a more D.I.Y. style photobooth or photo guest book at your wedding, having an instruction sign is helpful so guests know they can use the camera, and also to leave a photo for the couple as well as take one for themselves. The second part of this is a hashtag which allows couple to search social media for the photos their guests took of their wedding day—extra points for witty hashtags!


Photo Credit (from left to right): The Marshalls Photography, Elli Lauren Photography, L&D


10. FAVORS SIGN



And lastly a favors sign if you are items for guests to take home so they know how many to take per family.


Keep in mind, the amount of signs you have at your wedding is basically how much instruction you feel you need to give your guests—it’s always better to air on the side of more instruction rather than less. Giving directions prevents guests standing around scratching their heads and holding up your timeline, but depending on your style of wedding and ceremony, many of these can either be condensed onto one sign or omitted completely. There are also plenty of additional signs such as a program, dinner menu, dessert menu, chair signs, as well as special quote signs that are meaningful to you and your partner that can be added onto any sign set—there are literally endless possibilities, and we'd love to help you create them!

  • Letters & Dust

You're recently engaged, congratulations! You've found the perfect venue and made some of the basic decisions such as the time you would like to get married and what kind of reception you would like to have—now how do you go about inviting your loved ones to this party? Pinterest is an endless deep dive of inspiration that can quickly become an overwhelming rabbit hole that leads you to feeling even more confused about what your wedding invitation needs to be: what the heck is a belly band? Do I actually NEED an envelope liner? There are no dumb questions when it comes to wedding invitations as more than likely, this is a beast you have never encountered before. Fret not, we are here to hold your hand and make this process much easier—and more practical.





Let's start with the basics: What is an invitation suite?

The term "suite" seems to be intimidating to most—it's really just a dressed up word for "set", and each suite / set is unique to each love story depending on needs, desires, and amount of information that needs to be delivered to your guests; it can very well be viewed as the most important piece of your wedding, no pressure! Your invitation sets the tone for your wedding day: is it formal, casual, indoors or outdoors, a sit down dinner or happy hour party? Your guests need to know these details so they know how to dress, whether bringing children is appropriate, and overall what to expect for this awesome party!


SAVE THE DATES

The beginning of the suite is typically your save the date, however you do not have to have the same designer create your save the date and your invitations. Couples who want to utilize a photo from an engagement photo shoot with their photographer typically order save the dates from a resource like minted.com and why not, they do beautiful work! This means if you approach a different designer for your actual invitations, there may be a design discrepancy from your save the dates—seriously this is not a big deal, save the dates are a quick glimpse for your guests to mark their calendars and have all the happy feelings for you. Invites are where you can really dig into the overall vision for your big day. If you do have your eye on an invitation designer (hope you're looking at us :) ), be sure to ask them if they also do save the dates—more than likely they do, and can help create a save the date that will flow into your invites.


INVITATION CARD

Now let's look into the real superstar—the formal invitation and it's accompanying components. Obviously if you are wanting to do a mailed invitation, you start with the invitation card (yes, duh we know). The wording of your invitation card conveys the where and when, who is hosting, and appropriate attire if that needs to be communicated. The invitation itself tends to be the most elaborate card in your suite—it's the one piece your loved ones will probably hold onto as a keepsake, so if you are going to opt for upgrades like letterpress and metallic foil, this is the card to start with.


REPLY CARD

Your reply or RSVP card is how you will collect the names and headcount of guests coming to your wedding. This is also where guests can choose their meal selection (if applicable) and also where you can communicate if children are welcome at the wedding or if this should be an adults only affair. Guests can also include their recommendations for music choices (if you want to give them that power)—you've been warned!





MAILING ENVELOPE

This seems self explanatory, but of course there are options—you can choose to do an inner and outer envelope, or just the outer. The inner envelope typically has just the guests' names and serves as an added layer of protection while your beautiful invitations are at the mercy of the postal service. Inner envelopes are more typical of a black tie event, but whatever your heart desires is doable in the world of invitations. Another key component of envelopes is addressing. Calligraphy, digital printing, and white ink printing are all options L&D offers, with calligraphy being the more expensive option, and digital printing the more budget friendly but still beautiful alternative. Digital addressing can include the same font choices, or even a fun image on your envelopes carried over from your physical invitation, and covers your return address, guest address, and RSVP envelope address.


RSVP ENVELOPE

If you are wanting to do a mail back RSVP card, you can either opt for a traditional envelope, or you can have your RSVP card designed as a postcard, just be sure for both options you account for the postage you will include for your guests to mail them back.


The add-on pieces

The pieces referenced above make up the "core" of an invitation suite and they may be all you need, but maybe not. Below are other pieces to consider to up the wow factor of your invites, as well as if you have more information you need to convey.



DETAILS CARD

If your ceremony and reception are in separate locations, or you have specific info you need to distribute to guests such as accommodation information or dress code, this is a great card to have, especially if you’re providing transportation to and from each location. A details card can also include your wedding website as well as the RSVP information if you are choosing to have guests RSVP online.


ADDITIONAL INSERT CARD

If your details card is full and you just need to add your wedding website, registry information, or another small bit of information, this is a great way to do that, or it is a great place to include rehearsal dinner information or an invitation to a welcome party. Your guests will be impressed that everything you’ve sent them goes perfectly together!



ENVELOPE LINERS

Your envelope liner is a fun place to add a little surprise within your invitation suite. It is a great place to include either a pop of color, a metallic shimmer, or even a custom printed pattern or monogram! If you have inner and outer envelopes, traditionally the inner envelope would be the one that is lined. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can also opt to line your RSVP envelopes—however you are the one who receives this back in the mail, so if you need to cut cost, this is a good place to start.


BELLY BAND

Belly bands are typically reserved for invitation sets with multiple cards. The function of the band it to package all the pieces together as the guest pulls it out of the envelope—it definitely adds to the overall “experience” of opening the invitation as well as adds to the “wow” factor. Belly bands can be printed or solid card stock, vellum, or ribbon. Bear in mind ribbon tied in a bow can add to higher postage costs.


You're so extra...

For those looking for the luxury experience for their guests, these add ons create show stopping invitations that will leave your guests in awe and in anticipation for what is to come on your wedding day!


WAX SEALS

Custom wax seals are a fun surprise to seal your inner envelopes or pocket-folds. Designs can range from monograms, to botanical drawings, or even pup portraits! You can also have a keepsake wax seal press made that you can use for your future mail, a fun keepsake!


CUSTOM / VINTAGE POSTAGE

Including custom postage is another level of personalization that is available in invitation suites. This allows you to incorporate illustrations, a photograph, special flower or monogram to the outside of your envelope. Another unique option for postage is to curate vintage stamps to collage on your envelopes. Vintage postage must be a collage because vintage stamps only come in lower denominations and will not meet the current USPS postage rate unless you add multiple stamps on the envelope. Vintage postage can be curated to fit within your invitation suite design through color, location, or imagery, however bear in mind this can again lead to higher expenses to source and procure these stamps.



VELLUM WRAPS / ENVELOPES

Vellum is a semi translucent paper that can be wrapped around your invitation suite, attached as an overlay, and can be printed on. vellum envelopes are also available, which are stunning for a modern wedding and give guests a peek at what’s inside.


POCKET-FOLDS

Pocket enclosures essentially act as the inner envelope as well as the belly band. Guests have the experience of opening the clutch style pocket which typically has the invite mounted to one panel, and a pocket containing all additional pieces in the next fold. You also have the option to create a tri-fold invitation, which even includes a perforated RSVP card and reduces the amount of paper in the suite.


LETTERPRESS PRINTING

Letterpress printing is a beautiful option to give your invitations depth and a luxury feel. It is created by using plates to create an imprint on each individual piece of paper. An important point to note is that each color that is letterpressed = 1 plate, so the more colors you use the higher the cost will be.


METALLIC FOIL

Whether you are looking for a glamorous statement with gold or silver, or something funky like blue or green, metallic foils are a great option for a little glitz and glamour—as an added benefit, foils show up on dark as well as light paper stocks. This process does add some cost onto your wedding invitations, but worth it for the added “wow” factor!


DOUBLE THICK CARDSTOCK

Double thick options are a classy and luxury option for your wedding invitations, however they are typically best for letterpress or foil stamping, which adds significant cost. As implied, double thick cardstock is twice the thickness of already thick cardstock so you

essentially must pay for double the paper as they are layered to create this effect.


DECKEL EDGE / HANDMADE PAPER

At L&D we use a cotton rag handmade paper which has a beautiful, romantic quality about it. Deckel edge paper limits designs as it can not be digitally printed to the edge, so think more simple designs if you are wanting to use this luxury paper.



Remember, your wedding invitation suite should reflect you and your partner and what you value for your wedding day. Whether you choose to go completely baseline with your invites or over the top, they will be beautiful because they represent the two of you. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions about invitations or the design process—we now offer digital invitation design for those who like us, would love to see reduced waste in the wedding industry!

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