Mourning stationery is formal stationery which is associated with a funeral, memorial, or mourning period. There are a number of different types of mourning stationery, ranging from plain black bordered correspondence paper to memorial cards which are designed to be kept as mementos. Many printing companies offer this stationery as part of their services, and funeral homes are often happy to help people make arrangements with such firms. It is also possible to purchase pre-packaged mourning stationery which is often quite suitable.
Traditionally, mourning has been a period accompanied by minimal public interaction for the primary mourners, especially in the case of widows. However, many people need or wish to communicate with the outside world, making some sort of formal stationery highly advisable. While one could use formal personal stationery for correspondence, this stationery is viewed as preferable in some societies, as a mark of respect for the deceased.
During a period of mourning, people may choose to use black bordered paper for basic correspondence; such mourning stationery can also be customized with the name and crest of the sender, just like regular personal letterhead. It is also not uncommon to purchase sets of small thank you cards in somber designs to show appreciation for polite inquiries, gifts of flowers, and other marks of respect made to the deceased and his or her family. Such thank-yous are traditional and expected in most cultures, although a brief delay is not unacceptable, as it is assumed that the mourners are in grief.
Mourning stationery can also be handed out to attendants of a funeral or memorial. Many people like to print up memorial cards or brochures to commemorate the deceased; these range from classic prayer cards with religious themes to small booklets with photographs, poems, and other tributes to commemorate the lives of fun-loving people. At a formal funeral, programs may be printed on mourning stationery and distributed to the people who attend. Such memorial cards, programs, and booklets are traditionally kept, and they can also be sent to mourners who were not able to attend the funeral.
Obviously, most people want to avoid the need for mourning stationery. However, if aesthetics are especially important to you and you use personal letterhead, you may want to consider having this stationery printed in a classic, timeless design, so that it will be available when you need it. You can also use such stationery to correspond with people in mourning; the black band on your letterhead will be viewed as a thoughtful indicator of your respect. It is also a good idea to have a small stock of somber blank cards on hand for writing personalized condolence notes, and this wiseGEEK writer hopes no one needs to be reminded that keeping basic stationery on hand for writing thank-you notes is absolutely essential.