There's lots to consider when it comes to your wedding stationery, with thousands of different designs and styles for wedding invitations, and not to mention all the color, paper, and envelope options out there. To help make your life a little easier, here are 10 helpful tips for planning and ordering your wedding stationery. 1) Start early Your wedding invitations contain all the important information about your big day, so this is not a process you should rush. By starting early you can scout out the ideal stationers and devise a plan to make sure your invitations are ordered four to five months prior to the wedding. This will ensure you have time to address and stamp them so you can get them to your guests six to eight weeks prior to the wedding. Keep in mind that if you are having your wedding during a holiday or marrying overseas, guests should receive notice at minimum 10 to 12 weeks before the wedding. 2) Define your style Your wedding invitation is the first hint at the mood and style of the event. If you're throwing a laid-back country wedding or an elegant and glamorous wedding, you can reflect that in the style of your wedding invitations. You should have an idea of the style of your wedding before you start shopping, to ensure you have a clear vision of what you are looking for. 3) Incorporate your style Incorporate things like your wedding colors and certain motifs, if any, into your wedding invitations. Carry over colors and designs into all stationery pieces to give the whole wedding a feeling of cohesion. Keep in mind that certain colors or shades might not work as well for text and have your stationer or designer give you feedback on how legible your important information reads. 4) Don't overload the invitation You only need certain key points on your wedding invitation; adding unnecessary additional info will only complicate and crowd the invitation. You should include the couple's names, date, time, location, the hosts (optional), dress code (optional), and RSVP information. If you need to include additional information such as a map and directions, it should be on a separate card that you can place in the same envelope. 5) Shop around Once you know what you want, you can have a look online to gather inspiration. You may know the style you want but now you have to determine the layout and any additional pieces involved like a reply card. A great alternative to the traditional invitation + reply card is a seal and send invitation. The envelope, invitation, reply card, and its envelope are all one piece that is folded into one clever package. It saves paper and looks great. You will also get a better idea of what price you can expect for the type of wedding invitations you are looking for by shopping around. 6) Look the guest list & determine the quantity of invites needed Your final guest count will not be the number of invitations you need to order. Count the number of households instead: this will give you the number of invitations you'll need to order. We had 150 people invited to our wedding and ended up only needing 90 invitations - almost half. 7) Order extra There are many reasons you should order a few extra invitations. The rule of thumb is to order 20-25% more than you think you will need. This will give you extras for the ones in case any get lost in the mail and any last-minute guests you want to invite. You'll probably want a few for keepsakes too. If you order more after the fact, you'll be paying for the shipping twice. 8) Ask for a proof and triple-check it If you are ordering your stationery from a reputable company, they should without a doubt give you a proof (either digital or hard copy) before they go ahead and finish the job. Triple-check this proof, and have two people besides yourself look over it as well. This ensures no mistakes have been made and you're not left paying for reprints. 9) Find out what's included Make sure you know what you're getting when you order your stationery. Not only should you get a proof and triple-check it before giving it the OK, but you need to ask what is included in the price. Do they come with envelopes? Are they folded? Do they come with address labels? Don't assume they will come ready to be sent out, especially if you're cutting it close on time. 10) Don't forget the stamps It may seem like a "Duh" thing to say, but with everything going on and the process of getting your invites in hand, you might overlook the stamp. You should also include the cost of stamps in your wedding invitation budget. You will need two stamps, one for your send out of the invitations and another on the envelope of the reply cards. It's part of the wedding etiquette to supply the stamp, it also takes away any excuse for recipients to not reply on time. Remember to also include your return address on both the invitation envelope and the reply envelope. I hope you find these 10 wedding stationery tips helpful. If you're looking for unique and eco-friendly options for your wedding stationery, make sure to check out Botanical PaperWorks.