The Big Lie You’ve Probably Heard About Stationery for Elopements and Intimate Weddings

The Big Lie You’ve Probably Heard About Stationery
for Elopements and Intimate Weddings


There are so many articles out there about how you should plan for your wedding invitations. But what if you’re eloping or having an intimate wedding? There’s even less information out there! It’s almost as if no one even bothers with stationery when it comes to small weddings. Or, even worse, they think stationery isn’t necessary.

I’m here to tell you that isn’t true at all.

I’ve been in the wedding invitation world for over 5 years now, designing invitations for weddings of all sizes – my largest was 400 people and my smallest was 2!. Before that, I was a graphic designer who specialized in print marketing. Before that, I worked for a handful of years in the hospitality industry. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to make a good first impression on people…and the best way is through paper. If you’ve got questions about stationery, I’m here to guide you! Here, we’re going to explore some of the common misconceptions about wedding stationery. Hopefully, this will help you determine what you need when it comes to your own elopement or intimate wedding!

Image by: Beginning and End Photography

Have you ever heard the expression, “You only get one chance to make a first impression”? At its core, that’s what wedding stationery really is: an impression that you’re making on your guests. The first idea that your guests will have of your marriage celebration is the announcement you send out, or the invitation you extend. The same applies if you’re eloping, and may be even more important in this case! Your elopement announcement is the snapshot of your commitment to each other. It’s the only lens through which your guests can view the start of your adventure together.

Beyond the first impression that invitations provide, they’re also extremely important if you’re inviting guests to join you both on your special day. Invitations provide details like the date and time they need to show up, where they’ll be, how they need to dress (like comfortable shoes if you’re hiking a ways!), and most importantly, who they’re celebrating (you!). Can you get the same thing done with digital invitations? Sure, but you’re missing out on an important piece of nostalgia from what will be one of the most important days of your life. And I don’t know about you, but I’m much more excited about attending a wedding when I’ve received a gorgeous invitation in the mail!

I’ve always admired wedding invitations, but the turning point came a few years ago when I found my parents’ invitation from when they were married over 30 years ago, still pristine and lovely. Then, while cleaning my grandparent’s home after they passed, I found wedding invitations from every one of my family members.

Keepsakes: that’s what stationery is. Invitations serve an important function prior to your elopement or intimate wedding, but they’re also wonderful time capsules that can transport you back to a special place in time.

Images by: Elly Zuluaga Photography

Some of my favorite invitations I’ve designed have been for weddings with 50 guests or less. They’re wildly intimate affairs with the people you love most in the world (no B-list guests required), and I’ve found that these types of weddings just love to infuse their personalities into their weddings.

For Sara + Seth’s intimate wedding (photos above), I designed matching invitations and day-of pieces that we displayed at their venue. Being able to match all of your paper pieces gives your guests a truly unique experience!

(My personal favorite: the 8-page program I designed to walk guests through Sara + Seth’s Jewish ceremony! It outlined all of the traditions and why they were important to the couple, but it also did the uber important job of making the guests feel involved in the ceremony. That was huge!)

In the stationery world, we call this “branding” your big day. Just as you probably want the same groupings of flowers in your bouquets or a similar color palette for your attire, it’s a good idea to coordinate your stationery to create a one-of-a-kind world that your guests are living in
for a day. Does everything have to match for your wedding? No, not necessarily. But I’m a firm believer that it should!

If you’re going to order invitations and signs and menus and place cards, why create more stress for yourself and order them from a bunch of different places? Working with a stationer (like me!) is the easiest way to make sure all of your pieces match…but it also alleviates a lot of pressure from you to search and search to find multiple vendors to create what you need!

One of the most fabulous things about eloping or having a small, intimate wedding is that your budget might be a little bit more flexible. That means you can put your money towards the things that really mean the most to you as a couple. For Lauren + Robert’s intimate wedding, I created a map of the island they were entertaining their small number of guests on. We included the activities they had scheduled – parasailing, a bonfire on the beach, and the rehearsal dinner sketched out for guests to reference – and it provided a great focal point for their invitations.

On their wedding day, we opted to skip all of the signage and other pieces in favor of gorgeous menus and place cards. That’s all we did! The menus matched the invitations and featured letterpress on handmade paper. For the place cards, I tore handmade paper into small rectangles and calligraphed the guests’ names. Because they were having such an intimate wedding of just 35 guests, we could do these pieces without breaking the bank – but making a huge impact on the guests!

Photo credit: Emily Anne Keeney Photography

In the end, stationery isn’t just something that guests will “throw away”. Quite the opposite, in fact: a well-designed piece will earn a special place in a loved one’s home! Making a statement with these pieces sets the tone for your small wedding and will be something your guests look
at with fond memories for years to come.

If you’re eloping, consider how your loved ones will feel when they open your announcement! There’s something so special about a beautiful, physical announcement that you’ve tied the knot rather than a digital announcement or changing your relationship status on social media.

Paper makes an impact, and no wonder: in today’s digital world, we’re much more likely to get excited about an event when we receive an invitation in the mail, rather than an e-vite or a Facebook event invitation. The day you tie the knot is one of the biggest days of your life (if not THE biggest one!), so why not make it count?

Written by Collective Member Holly Goodman of Sablewood Paper Co. 

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