Now that your sweetheart has popped the big question (yay!) it's time to start planning your wedding. You've told all your family and friends, selected the perfect venue and reserved a date, it's time to start thinking about your wedding invitations. Don't know where or how to start? No worries! I'm sharing a helpful timeline for when and how to work with a custom stationery designer for your invitations.
9-12+ months before your wedding
Start doing a little research on wedding stationers and calligraphers. Reach out to the wedding stationers and calligraphers that you love the work of to discuss all of your needs for your big day. Try to have an idea of wording ready for your Save-the-Dates, as well as an estimated number of Save-the-Dates and invitations you’ll be wanting to have printed.
send out 6-12 months before your wedding
It's important to send out Save the Dates before your wedding so that your guests have time to prepare for travel and other accommodations. Save the Dates are typically sent out anywhere from 6-12 months before your wedding, and for destination weddings, it's best to send out the Save the Dates at least 8 months in advance.
Try to have all of your wording ready for your stationery designer, and start discussing all the options and your design preferences for your invitations. If you need help with wording and etiquette, just ask! Your stationer will love to help.
send out 2-3 months before your wedding
Your invitations are typically sent out about 2-3 months before the wedding. You'll want to order them at least 3-4 months out from your mailing date to allow time for your calligrapher to address them and also time for assembly of each invitation suite before they are put in the mail, and make sure to allow extra time for specialty printing (letterpress, gold foil, etc.) Be sure to check with your stationer about their timeline for each step of this process - it will vary by stationer and calligrapher!
due 3-4 weeks before your wedding date
Your "reply by" date on your response cards should be about 3-4 weeks before your wedding date. You don't want it to be much farther out than that, as that will make it difficult for your guests to know their schedule that far in advance. Similarly, you don't want it to be too much closer to your wedding date, as your guests may already have plans.
(as soon as possible!)
If you are wanting your invitation envelopes professionally addressed by a calligrapher, make sure to book a time with that calligrapher at least 2-3 months before your anticipated mailing date. If your stationer also does calligraphy, or works closely with a calligrapher, feel free to ask them the process for this. It's important to get on a calligrapher's schedule as far in advance as you can, as envelope calligraphy takes quite a bit of time. Also remember that the majority of calligraphers request at 15-20% extra envelopes for any transcription errors, ink splatters or late additions to the guest list.
Once you've confirmed RSVPs, check with your calligrapher about addressing etiquette and send your final guest list to your calligrapher. Again, if you need help with addressing etiquette, just ask! Your calligrapher will likely have templates or can guide you in how to word your guest list.
book 2-3 months before your wedding date
About 2-3 months before your wedding date is a good time to talk with your stationer/calligrapher about designing menus, programs, signage, escort cards or any other day-of items, as well as to design your thank you cards. Send final menu and program wording to stationer/calligrapher by the time they need to avoid any rushing and errors.
send out within 3 months of receiving the gift
The wedding day has come and gone, and you have a ton of gifts! It's time to start sending out those thank you notes. You may have heard that you have a year after your wedding date to send out your thank you notes, but that is just not true. You actually want to send them out within 3 months of receiving the gift. And if you are having a bridal shower, it's good to have these ordered beforehand to send out thank you notes for those gifts before your wedding.
Please note: This timeline is geared toward wedding stationery that will include calligraphy, and will vary from wedding planners and stationers. This timeline works best for my purposes as a wedding stationer and calligrapher, but is meant to serve as a standard guideline that includes at least a full year for planning. Feel free to adjust accordingly if your wedding planning time is less than a year, and use this timeline as a basic guide.
I hope this guide is helpful for you in your wedding planning process! Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have questions about how to work with a stationer or calligrapher - I would love to help in any way I can to make your wedding invitation process easier.
Interested in hiring a wedding stationery designer? Let me know! I would love to hear from you and find out if we are good fit! :)