Wedding Stationery Glossary A to Z


Welcome to the world of wedding stationery! As you begin wedding planning,  you’ll quickly realize that there’s a whole language associated with various elements and terminology involved in creating your perfect wedding stationery.  It can be overwhelming. To help you navigate this exciting world and make informed decisions about your wedding invitations, we’ve compiled a comprehensive glossary from A to Z to break down the essentials of wedding stationery.


Accommodations Card – An essential enclosure card that informs your guests about preferred hotels where you’ve reserved room blocks.  Include crucial details like the hotel name, contact information (phone number or website), and the name of the room block.


Belly Band – Elevate the presentation of your invitation suite with a belly band. This decorative band wraps around the suite, neatly holding all the elements together. Consider options like vellum bands with wax seals for a touch of sophistication, monogrammed bands for a personal touch, or fine art-inspired bands featuring patterns or vintage art to add an artistic flair.

Black Tie – If you’re hosting a formal event and expect your guests to don their most elegant attire, it’s a good idea to specify “Black Tie” on your invitations. This ensures that everyone arrives dressed in their finest, adding to the overall ambiance of your wedding. Some couples choose to further describe the dress code, for example, “Black Tie Optional Sneakers Encouraged” or “Black Tie Neutral.”

Bleed – In the world of printing, “bleed” is a term that refers to the part of a design that extends beyond the edge of the paper. This design element creates a seamless look when the excess is trimmed, providing a polished and professional appearance to your printed materials.


Blind Debossing – Blind debossing is similar to letterpress but without the ink. It uses a special die to press illustrations or textures into the paper, typically using antique printing presses. This technique creates a delightful tactile effect as the design is pressed into the paper’s surface. It’s a lovely way to add illustrations or textures to your stationery.


Bridesmaid Proposal Cards – Bridesmaid proposal cards are a delightful way to ask your bridal party members to be a part of your special day. Consider creative options like “Will you help me tie the knot?” Pair these cards with cute acrylic knots for an extra special touch that’ll make your proposal even more memorable.


Buffet Food Signs – When you have a buffet-style meal at your wedding, it’s essential to help guests easily identify the menu items and any present allergens. Whether digitally printed or hand-lettered in calligraphy, buffet food labels serve this purpose beautifully. To maintain a cohesive look with your invitations, consider matching the style to your stationery.


Calligraphy – Calligraphy is a timeless choice for wedding invitations that has been used for generations. Unlike a font, calligraphy is one-of-a-kind, with variations from piece to piece. You can incorporate calligraphy into your invitation suite in various ways, including spot calligraphy (using calligraphy selectively), full calligraphy (for a completely elegant look), and envelope addressing (to make each guest feel truly special).

Learn More: Wedding Calligraphy


Cards and Gifts Sign – At your wedding, guests will want to know where to leave their gifts. A “Cards and Gifts” sign, whether digitally printed or hand-lettered in calligraphy, serves as a helpful guide. This sign can be designed to match the style of your invitation, maintaining a cohesive aesthetic throughout your wedding decor.


Ceremony Programs – Ceremony programs are handy cards or booklets that list the order of service, readings, bridal party members, and other important individuals involved in your wedding ceremony. For some couples, these programs also serve as a way to share their “at home” address with guests as newlyweds. While programs aren’t always required, they are essential for certain religious ceremonies, such as Catholic weddings. You can customize your programs to match the style of your invitations, ensuring a unified look for your wedding stationery.


Cocktail Napkins – Personalized cocktail napkins can add an extra layer of sophistication to your wedding’s drink service. These napkins often feature the couple’s names, monogram or crest, wedding date, or a beloved pet, making them a delightful keepsake for guests.


Coffee Bar Sign – If you plan to have a coffee or tea station at your wedding, a “Coffee Bar” sign is a great way to let guests know where to find it. Similar to other signs, you can choose to have it digitally printed or hand-lettered in calligraphy to match your invitation style.


Cotton Paper – Available in 1 or 2-ply varieties, 100% cotton paper is known for its smooth, eggshell-like texture and crisp, straight edges. 1-ply cotton paper is suitable for digital printing and embossing, while the sturdier 2-ply option is reserved for letterpress and foil stamping. For added luxury, consider duplexing two 1-ply sheets together to create a thicker, more substantial card.


Details Card – A details card or booklet serves as a valuable communication tool to provide guests with additional information they might need. This could include details about preferred accommodations, your wedding website, directions to the venue, or transportation options. You can also use this card to share information about the reception or extend invitations to welcome receptions or celebratory brunches. The details card is a versatile component of your wedding stationery suite that ensures guests have all the essential information at their fingertips.


Deckle Edge Paper – Paper with a deckle edge has a distinct appearance, resembling torn or hand-torn edges. This feature adds a touch of rustic charm and elegance to your stationery. It’s important to note that deckle edge paper differs from handmade paper, although both offer unique textural qualities.


Die-Cut – Die-cutting is a technique that involves specially cutting paper to create intricate or unique shapes. While often used for tags or details cards, it can also be applied creatively to custom menus or wedding programs, adding a distinctive flair to your stationery.


Digital Addressing – To maintain a polished and uniform look, many couples opt for digital addressing of their envelopes. This method ensures that guest names and addresses are printed clearly and consistently on the outer envelopes, presenting a clean and professional appearance.


Embossing – Embossing is a printing technique that involves using two printing plates to raise an image or design on the paper’s surface. This method adds texture and dimension to your stationery, creating an elegant and tactile effect.


Enclosure Cards – In your invitation suite, enclosure cards are additional cards that convey crucial information guests may need to know. Commonly used enclosure cards include accommodation cards, reception cards, and details cards. However, it’s worth noting that including registry cards in your wedding invitation suite is discouraged.


Envelope Liner – Elevate the presentation of your invitation suite by including envelope liners. These liners can be used in inner or outer envelopes, as well as RSVP envelopes if desired. Explore various options, such as liners featuring vintage art, custom watercolor patterns, or illustrations of your wedding venue.


Escort Board – A grand and functional element of your wedding decor is the escort board. This board, often displayed prominently, lists each guest’s name and their assigned table. Escort boards can be created on foam core or hand-lettered on materials like mirrors, acrylic, or wood. They can also be a part of a larger installation that includes individual escort cards.


Escort Card – Individual escort cards are designed to guide guests to their designated tables at the reception. These cards typically display the guest’s name and table assignment, simplifying the seating process and helping everyone find their place with ease.


European Twine – European twine adds a rustic and charming touch to your wedding stationery. It can be creatively incorporated into various elements of your invitations or decor for a whimsical aesthetic.


Flat Printing – Flat printing is the most widely used printing method for wedding stationery. It’s versatile, accommodating a wide range of budgets and customization options. Whether planning an intimate wedding or a larger celebration, flat printing can be tailored to your needs. This method offers quick turnaround times, making it a practical choice for various wedding timelines. Plus, it’s an excellent option for showcasing custom artwork and watercolor designs.


Foil Stamping – When you’re looking for a luxurious, elegant touch, foil stamping makes a great choice. It involves pressing the foil color of your choice onto the paper’s surface using a specialized foil printing machine equipped with a printing plate. The result is a stunning, metallic impression that instantly elevates the design of your wedding suite.


Formal Attire – Indicate a formal dress code on your wedding invitations when you expect guests to dress in their most sophisticated and elegant attire. This ensures that everyone is appropriately attired for your upscale celebration.


Guest Addressing – To maintain a polished and unified look, it’s common to have your guests’ names and addresses professionally printed on the outer envelopes of your wedding invitations. Options include digital printing or calligraphy addressing for a personalized touch.

Learn More: How to Address Wedding Invitations


Guest Book – A guest book is a cherished keepsake that your wedding guests can sign, leaving their well wishes and perhaps a personal message. Consider unique options like a Polaroid guest book, where guests take photos of themselves alongside their heartfelt messages, or an audio guest book, where guests leave voice messages for you to treasure after the wedding.


Guest Book Sign – To guide guests to your guest book, consider having a small sign or tent card that designates its location. This sign can be digitally printed or hand-lettered in calligraphy to match the style of your invitation suite.


Hand Cancelling – Hand canceling is a service the post office offers to manually process your wedding invitations, thus avoiding the machine processors. This helps protect delicate stationery elements from damage during the mailing process.


Handmade Paper – Handmade paper is a beautiful choice for adding a touch of artistry to your wedding stationery. Crafted from cotton rag paper, each sheet is painstakingly created by grinding cotton into a pulp and sizing it with a special screen. Handmade paper can take digital printing, or letterpress or foil stamping for an extra luxurious touch.


Inner Envelope – Traditionally, inner envelopes were used to specify the names of the invited guests. While not as common today, some couples still use inner envelopes to add an extra layer of formality to their invitations.


Laser Cut – Laser cutting involves precision cutting of paper using a laser, resulting in intricate and elegant designs. It’s a technique often used for creating belly bands or pocket-style invitations and can also be applied creatively to custom menus and formal invitations.


Letterpress Printing – Letterpress printing is a classic and luxurious technique that creates a deep, pillowy impression on the paper’s surface. It uses antique printing presses, special letterpress plates, and custom-mixed Pantone ink. Letterpress printing can be used on various paper types, including handmade paper, 1 or 2-ply cotton paper, and colored stock.


Map – Custom maps add a personal and distinctive element to your invitation suite, making them particularly popular for destination weddings. You can personalize these maps with illustrations of your favorite local spots or points of interest. Alternatively, you might create a map that highlights locations worldwide that hold special significance to you and your partner.


Menu – Your wedding reception menu is essential to guests’ dining experience. Individual menus at each guest’s setting indicate their meal choices. Add meal preference indicators like ribbons or wax seals for an elegant touch. Additionally, you can have guest names digitally printed or hand-lettered in calligraphy instead of traditional place cards.


Monogram – Monograms are personalized design elements incorporating your first initials or married last name. They add a touch of elegance and personalization to your wedding stationery and decor.



Outer Envelope – The outer envelope is crucial for ensuring the proper delivery of your wedding invitations. It includes the guest’s address, return address, and appropriate postage. Make sure your outer envelope is carefully addressed to guarantee that your invitations reach their intended recipients. Outer envelopes are available in a wide range of colors.


Paper Weight – The thickness of paper, often called its “weight,” is significant in determining the best printing method for your project.


Personal Stationery – Personal stationery is designed for the bride, groom, or couple and can be used throughout the engagement period for thank-you notes, correspondence, and other personal communication.


Pet Portrait – For couples who consider their pets part of the family, including a pet portrait in your wedding stationery can be a heartwarming tribute to your furry companions.  Some couples include portraits of their pets in a watercolor crest, while others add a watercolor pet portrait to their bar signage and napkins.


Place Cards – Place cards are small cards or objects that list each guest’s name and indicate their assigned seat at the reception table. These cards help create a seamless seating arrangement and can be creatively combined with menus, with the guest’s name displayed at the top of the menu. Place cards are available flat or tented, or choose a creative option like oysters.


Reception Card – A reception card is essential when your reception is held at a different location than your ceremony or if there’s a significant gap between the two events. It includes details like the reception time, location, parking information, and meal expectations.


Rehearsal Dinner Invitations – Rehearsal dinner invitations formally invite your wedding party and close family members to your rehearsal and dinner. Sending these invitations helps guests know what to expect and ensures a smooth rehearsal process. You can include them in your wedding invitation suite or mail them separately, depending on your preference.


Reserved Seating Sign – Reserved seating signs are small signs used to designate where important wedding party members or special guests will be seated. Whether digitally printed or hand-lettered in calligraphy, these signs help ensure that these reserved seats remain available and clearly marked.


Response Card or RSVP – A response card, often called an RSVP card, is a traditional component of wedding invitations. It provides a formal way for guests to indicate whether they will attend your wedding. The response card typically includes the reply-by date, a line for the guest’s name, response options (accepts or regrets), and space for guests to indicate the number of people attending. You may also include meal options, lines for dietary restrictions, or sections for guests to indicate accommodation preferences, depending on your needs.


Response Envelope – Formal response cards are sent with self-addressed envelopes, often pre-stamped as a courtesy to your guests. This makes it easier for them to respond promptly and accurately.


Return Addressing – Return addresses must be included on the back of the outer envelope and on the front of the RSVP card. Ensure that the designated address is the one responsible for recording RSVPs.


Save the Date Card – Save the date cards serve as the first official announcement of your wedding date to your guests. These cards typically include the names of the bride and groom, the wedding date, and the city and state where the wedding will take place. You may also include your wedding website for additional information. It’s common to conclude with “formal invitation to follow,” indicating that more details will be provided later.


Semi-Formal Attire – To guide your guests in dressing appropriately, specify “Semi-Formal Attire” on your invitations. Semi-Formal is a more relaxed attire than formal or black tie, not requiring a full-length gown or tux. Women may wear a cocktail dress or jumpsuit, while men should wear a jacket.


Signature Cocktail Sign – If you plan to offer signature cocktails at your wedding, a sign can inform guests about these special drinks. You can customize your bar signage to match the style of your invitations, ensuring a unified look for your wedding stationery. Including a pet portrait on your signature cocktail sign is a charming addition!


Schedule of Events or Weekend Itinerary – Included in your guests’ welcome bags, the schedule of events card helps keep the wedding weekend running smoothly. It informs all guests of essential times and details. Many couples also use this card as an opportunity to recommend some of their favorite local spots, enhancing their guests’ overall experience. For destination weddings, consider including a map of the area.


Silk Ribbon – Silk ribbon is a luxurious embellishment that can add elegance and texture to your wedding stationery. It’s a versatile element that can be creatively incorporated into your invitation suite or decor.


Spot Calligraphy – Spot calligraphy involves using calligraphy selectively in specific areas of a card or design. Combining spot calligraphy with serif or sans-serif fonts allows you to achieve a unique and personalized look for your stationery.


Square Envelopes – Remember that square envelopes may require additional postage, as the USPS considers them unusually shaped. Select envelopes that meet postal regulations to avoid delivery issues or postage surcharges.


Stationery vs. Stationary – A common language dilemma! “Stationery” refers to paper, envelopes, and other materials used for writing or correspondence. On the other hand, “stationary” means not moving or fixed in one place.


Table Numbers – Table numbers distinguish each table at your wedding reception and help direct guests to their assigned seats. These numbers can be beautifully designed to match your wedding theme or style. Some clients choose to use creative names that are meaningful to them to distinguish tables.


Thank You Cards – After your wedding, expressing gratitude is essential. Thank you cards are a heartfelt way to convey your appreciation to all the guests who shared in your special day. These cards offer a chance to reflect on the love and support you’ve received and to reciprocate it with your heartfelt thanks.


Thermography – Thermography is a printing method that raises the ink on the paper’s surface for a tactile experience. It adds a subtle texture and elegance to your stationery.


Unplugged Wedding Sign – If you prefer that guests focus on the ceremony without taking personal photographs, an “Unplugged Wedding” sign can kindly communicate your wishes. This sign can be digitally printed or hand-lettered in calligraphy to match your invitation style.


USPS Postage – As of 2023, postage rates for wedding invitations may vary depending on weight, size, and embellishments. Most stamped wedding invitations are sent at the 2 oz. rate, costing $0.90 each, with an additional $0.40 for hand canceling, totaling $1.30 per invitation. Response envelopes can often be mailed at the 1 oz. rate, costing $0.66. Remember that large, unusual-sized, or embellished envelopes may require $1.06 stamps to meet postage requirements.



Vellum Wrap – Vellum wraps add an ethereal and delicate touch to your wedding invitations. These translucent sheets can be wrapped around your suite, creating a sense of intrigue and anticipation as guests unwrap the layers to reveal your invitation. Vellum wraps are lovely with white ink, digital printing, foil printing, or simple and unprinted.


Venue Illustration – Showcase your ceremony or reception location with illustrations that can be included on various stationery elements. Custom Venue Illustrations are available in watercolor or as a line drawing that can be digitally printed, letterpressed, or 


Velvet Ribbon – Velvet ribbon is a luxurious embellishment that exudes elegance and softness. It can tie together invitation suites, creating a tactile and visually appealing presentation, especially for fall and winter weddings.


Vintage Postage – Evoke a sense of nostalgia by using vintage postage on your invitations. Vintage stamps add a touch of elegance and become cherished keepsakes for your guests. Vintage postage can be curated to coordinate with a color theme or tell your love story by including stamps of where the couple is from or where they met.


Vow Books – Bound books for writing personal vows or including important scriptures. Designs can be personalized to coordinate with your wedding stationery and often include the couples names and wedding date.


Wax Seals – Wax seals add a touch of old-world charm to your wedding stationery. They can be customized with your monogram, initials, or a design that holds personal significance. Wax seals can secure envelopes, belly bands, or other elements of your suite.


Watercolor Crest – A custom watercolor crest adds a touch of artistic flair to your wedding stationery. Whether incorporating hand-painted floral elements, illustrations, or a watercolor venue illustration, watercolor crests offer a unique and personalized look.


Wedding Day Stationery – This encompasses all the stationery needed for your wedding day, including welcome bags, signs, programs, escort cards, menus, napkins, and more.

Learn More: Wedding Day


Wedding Invitations – The cornerstone of your wedding stationery, invitations set the tone and style for your wedding celebration. They include essential details like the couple’s names, wedding date, time, location, and RSVP information. Wedding invitations are a reflection of your personality and the vision you have for your special day.

Learn More: Wedding Invitations


Wedding Invitation Suite – The complete collection of cards, typically including the wedding invitation, response card, response envelope, and outer envelope. Additional cards like details cards or reception cards may also be included.  Standard suites come with 3-pieces, 4-pieces, or 5-pieces. A 3-piece suite comes with three essential elements: invitation, response card, and outer envelope. An A4-piece suite is a comprehensive wedding invitation suite with four elements: invitation, response card, response envelope, and outer envelope. A 5-Piece Suite is more elaborate, featuring five elements: invitation, response card, response envelope, details card, and outer envelope.


Welcome Sign – A welcome sign is often displayed at the entrance to your wedding venue, greeting guests and setting the tone for the celebration. Whether digitally printed or hand-lettered in calligraphy, this sign can be customized to match your invitation style and overall wedding theme.


Welcome Bag Tag – Personalize tags or labels attached to welcome bags, coordinating with your wedding style. Welcome bags often include local snacks and a drink, a recovery kit, and a weekend itinerary for out-of-town guests.

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