Welcome to the TWE. Guide Guide to Wedding Stationery with Leeming Brothers is the go-to for stunning, luxurious stationery. Leeming Brothers print for weddings and top fashion houses such as Chanel and Dior. There are two great men behind the brand, Lewis and Neil. Lewis joined the company in 2009 as an apprentice, making tea and sweeping up and a few years in was given the promotion of a lifetime – to run the company and be in charge of design. Neil is a master printer, based in the factory in Essex, and knows his way around copper-plate printing, embossing and fine stationery better than anyone else. Together, they are the master stationery duo to have on your wedding radar and speed dial in the lead-up to your big day. Lewis shares everything you need to know about wedding stationery, from sending out your save the dates to printing menus on the day.
Wedding stationery should be top of your to do list
Stationery is one of the first things that you should be looking to tick off on your wedding to-do list. Of course, the venue comes first, but once you’ve decided on this (and the date and time) you need to let your guests know so they can put it in their diaries.
Start by doing your research
My main tip for any couple is to do your research and try to have a general idea of what you would like. We often find that even when couples do have an idea, after a consultation (or when they have been to the studio) those go straight out of the window as they see the endless possibilities. But it is still good to have an idea. Your designer/stationer will do all the difficult design work, that is what you are paying them for, but even they need direction to begin with. Otherwise they could spend hours designing something that they think you will love, and you could come back and say it is nothing like what you wanted. If you have something in mind, please do not keep it a secret. Your stationer will love creating your dream wedding suite, it is their absolute passion so if you can give them a little assistance, it is always really appreciated.
Tell a story
Your wedding invitations are the first insight into your wedding that your guests will see. Littles features and hints always go down well. We love including hand-drawn venue illustrations and little nods to your relationship within the invitations. Subtle things like this can really make a difference and truly make an invitation yours. Plus you’ll know which of your guests has really been paying attention if they spot them!
Make sure you see samples
Physical samples are usually a bit costly to produce, as to produce a sample of a job, we essentially have to produce the final job just to see if you like it or not. If you do, we then have to do it again to produce the actual job itself. However most stationery companies will be more than happy to send you samples of previous jobs completed that may be similar to give you an idea of looks and finishes before you give the go ahead. This is always a good idea so that there are no shocks when the final job is delivered because you were not sure of the difference between embossing or debossing for example!
There are no set timelines
If you are having bespoke stationery made then this will take longer than off-the-shelf invitations. For bespoke, your stationery supplier will go through the process with you and then will start on your proofs (a mock-up design of your invitations or save the dates). I have found that sometimes you have couples who sign off their proof on day one, others we have been going back and forth for a number of weeks. Try and leave plenty of time to make sure that you and your stationer are not rushing. Bespoke jobs have varying timelines depending on how involved they are. I would advise to leave at least 2 weeks for design time and then another 2 weeks for production. Some things may be able to be made quicker or may take longer than this, but just to give a general idea.
Save the dates
Save the dates are not used all of the time anymore. However I would recommend sending them if you are having a wedding abroad so your guests can book flights and hotel stays. If you are having a wedding during the busy summer months it could also be a good idea, just to make sure you get the date in their diaries first!
When to send out invitations
Traditionally invitations were sent out to arrive with your guests 3 months to the day of the wedding. Nowadays, as we usually have much busier lives (pre and post Covid) couples tend to send them out a bit earlier to ensure their guests can attend – especially if you are having a wedding in the popular summer months. If you are having a wedding abroad, consider sending them much earlier so your guests have time to book their accommodation and flights. Your guests may also want to make a bit of a holiday out of the trip so they will need to arrange this.
Wedding etiquette and wording your invitations
Back in the old days there was one type of invitation. Black script on white folded card. There was also only one way to word an invitation. Nowadays there are so many combinations it can be a bit daunting. If parents are still together and they are inviting/hosting the wedding then their names should come first on the invitation. If it is just the bride’s parents then their names only. If both sets of the couples parents are together then all of their names. If sets of parents are no longer together, or you are inviting your guests as well as your parents then it is best to use ‘together with their families’. Now it is also acceptable to use more informal wording on invitations, for example ‘the couples names’ would love for you to join them at their wedding or ‘join us on our wedding day’.
Secrets to mastering the wax seal
Wax seals have had a massive resurgence in recent years. Traditionally used to seal important and private documents, these days couples love to use them on their wedding invitations to add that extra layer of personalisation. They finish off a suite beautifully and you can add flowers, petals, different wax mixes and even gold leaf to make them really stand out. We offer the full service at Leeming Brothers and can take care of this for you, but if you want to DIY it, I have two tips for you: if you have a lot of seals to make, then buy a wax pot made for beauty treatments. These can be found very cheap online and are perfect for the task. Instead of having to melt the wax with each seal, you place all of the wax in the pot and melt it. Then you can spoon out a small amount and pour onto your envelope or vellum. Trust me, it is much easier, avoids burning the wax and saves on a lot of mess. Another tip is, in between each impression, dip your seal into a glass of cold or icy water. The metal of a seal will start to heat up the more times it is pressed into hot wax. The hotter it gets, the less effective it is. It will not pull away cleanly leaving a deep impression. Cooling the metal in between presses will mean your seals look super crisp every time.
Don’t forget about on the day stationery
The turnaround times for day stationery are similar to the invitation parts. There are a lot of elements to remember with day stationery, so any stationer will thank you for giving them as much lead time as possible! We understand changes happen last minute, especially at the moment, so make sure you order a few extras just in case. There are lots of things to bear in mind here, place cards, table plans, order of service booklets, escort cards, signage and menus. It is possible to personalise these items if needed but please remember this takes a bit more time to typeset and produce!
My all time favourite stationery suite was…
A hand-made deckled edge suite. This type of wedding stationery is quite popular now, but we made this suite a number of years ago and it was our first time working with the hand-made cotton paper. Compared to what we were used to it threw up problem after problem on our presses. All of these things were solvable but just took us some time to work out – which we actually really enjoyed. The couple had thought of everything and had an incredible eye for detail. The suite consisted of two invitations, (main and second day celebration), RSVP cards, information cards, hand-made envelopes with golden calligraphy, a vellum wrap to keep it all together, bound with ribbon and finished with a wax seal. As an added extra, we lined the envelopes with an image of the beautiful painted ceiling of the chapel where the couple would be saying their I do’s.
Leeming Brothers stand out from the crowd because…
Everything we produce we do ourselves, in-house. We have our own workshop full of printing presses, platens, engraving equipment, areas for colour and gilt edging. We produce our own engraving, die-stamping, embossing, foil and letterpress and due to this we have a great understanding of our equipment and what it is capable of. We have also brought in more modern digital printing equipment so we can offer full colour work, or use the modern digital printing to pair with the traditional methods. This allows us to add images, patterns and motifs to our stationery and then accentuate that with foiling or embossing for example. Nowadays, a lot of stationers are fantastic designers, but there are not many that also have full control over the creative process.