The Journal

How to get clients’ stationery for flat lay styling

Picture this: you’re walking into a hotel room on the morning of a wedding. Your clients are busy getting with their families and wedding party, but when you arrive, they excitedly hand you shoes, jewelry, the wedding bands, and a few special heirlooms like a handkerchief. Maybe they’ve written personalized vows in cute little notebooks, too. All of these personal details will be so fun for you to style and photograph as part of your couple’s wedding day story!

You ask for a copy of the invitation. Best-case scenario, someone reaches into mom’s purse and hands you her personal copy of the invitation. It’s been stuck on the fridge for a few weeks already so its condition is far from pristine, the envelope is dirty and wrinkled from the mail (if they still have the envelope at all), and the invitation itself is double-sided (but mom only has one copy).

Worst-case scenario, no one remembered to bring a copy of the invitation at all.

A couple’s wedding invitation suite can be one of the most fun elements of their overall design to style and photograph. But what if your clients forget to bring their stationery with them on the wedding day?

Solution: ask your clients to send you their full wedding invitation suite ahead of time!

Calamigos Ranch wedding

Requesting your couple’s stationery before the wedding will help you prepare in a few different ways:


1. You’ll have the full invitation suite.

Instead of a single copy of the invitation as an afterthought, your clients will send you all the different pieces of their stationery suite ahead of time (and that’s one less thing for them to remember — or not remember — on the wedding day). This ensures you’ll actually HAVE the invitation, RSVP card, envelopes, and other pieces to photograph on the wedding day instead of either a crumbled copy of just the main invite card, or no stationery at all.


2. You can get at least two copies of each stationery piece.

LOTS of invitation suite elements are often double-sided, which means if you only have one copy, you can’t include both sides of the design in one image. Asking clients to send at least two copies of their full stationery suite means you not only have the ability to showcase both sides of a single piece in the same composition, you’ll ALSO have backup copies in case anything gets damaged.


3. Paper elements will be clean and unblemished.

Be very specific with your clients when asking them to send you copies of their invitation suite. In addition to asking for two copies sent in advance, tell your couple NOT to send you the stationery the same way they delivered it to their wedding guests. Everything, including the outer mailing envelope (especially if it has special hand-lettered or printed addressing or stamps) should be shipped to you inside of a sturdy, no-bend cardboard mailer to keep it protected from the hazards of mail handling. The outer envelope is almost almost smudged, scratched, or bent (which can also affect the condition of the stationery inside), so enclosing the full suite within cardboard mailer or flat-rate USPS box is the best way to ensure it arrives to you ready for photos!

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4. You get a sneak peek at your couple’s vision for the big day.

The wedding invitation is everyone’s first peek at what to expect from the celebration in terms of vibe, color palette, and design. This helps YOU as the photographer prepare for how to match your flat lay styling to the overall look and feel of your clients’ wedding day! You can plan the props you want to bring for styling their stationery and personal accessories or just develop a mental game plan for how you want to approach photographing their details. Either way, you have a much better sense of your couple’s style after taking a look at their wedding stationery.

Ready for more inspiration?