In the estimated $62 billion American wedding industry, a majority of the more than two million annual brides and grooms-to-be will sift through myriad contemporary and traditional bridal stationery offerings to find the perfect combination of size, shape, shade, texture, ink, font, purpose and price to announce their upcoming nuptials.

But regardless of their final selection, Christine Rector with Paper Chase suggests, “Order early and order a few more. There are always last minute add-ons.”

Selecting fine stationery to simultaneously fulfill a couple’s aspirations and match their budget can seem daunting.

For couples desiring to present a traditional, elegant beginning to a life of wedded bliss, formal wedding invitation suites from the likes of William Arthur, Vera Wang or Crane & Co., may include engagement announcement, wedding announcement, save-the-date card, wedding shower invitation, rehearsal dinner invitation, reception card, reply card, menu card, table and place card and finally, a thank you note. Of course, color or theme-coordinated napkins, favors and guest registry are often included in the ensemble, as well.

With costs for basic invitations starting around $100 and approaching $600 per 50 in high-end designer styles, full traditional stationery appointments for a large wedding party could easily become cost prohibitive for many couples.

“Many brides are foregoing traditional, ‘Emily Post’-type etiquette and thinking outside the box by omitting or combining stationery in unique ways while expressing their individuality and saving money,” says third-generation shop owner Margo Nelson of Margo’s Gifts in Utica Square, Tulsa.

“Our customers are moving away from the traditional ivory and white invitations and looking for unique shapes, flourishes and colors… and are also budget conscious, so we strive to provide a wide range of available invitations to meet every price range,” Rector says.

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