Let’s be real, its not everyday that you’re sending wedding invitations to every single person you’ve ever known. It’s not like its a daily occurrence in our lives that we get really good at like sending emails or doing our laundry. So, why on Earth should you be expected to know when your invites should go in the mail or when to get started on your ceremony programs? There’s just no way you would know where to even start with your wedding stationery timeline.
And that, my friend, is okay.
Thankfully, that’s where we come in! We’ve put together a go-to wedding stationery timeline for you to rely on during this entire process. That way, you have zero questions about when you should get started or be dropping things in the mail.
The first step of the custom stationery process would be to schedule a phone, or in-person, meeting with a stationery designer. We recommend doing this around 7-9 months in advance if you can. That way, you’re able to talk about save the dates, invitations, and day-of stationery. You’ll likely already have a vision for what you’d like your wedding day to look like and that’s super important. It’s okay if you don’t have a specific vision for your invitations, but your general wedding style should be nailed down, for sure. That will help us meet the mail date for your invitations with as few hiccups as possible.
You might be thinking, “7-9 months is such a long time before the wedding day. Is that really necessary?” Yes. Yes. Uh-huh. Yeah. Totally, 100% necessary.
The reason behind needing to get started so early is so we have plenty of time to design, revise, print, assemble, mail and deliver those bad boys. That’s a lot of steps, right? And each step has its own section of time built into the timeline. We swear to you, there’s a method to our madness and a strategy to our timeline. Getting started that early will truly help you in the long run.
The very first item we’re going to focus on is your save the date. This is your first touch point with your guests and we want to spend plenty of time making that first impression a solid one.
We should get started designing your save the dates around 7-8 months before your wedding date. That way, we have plenty of time built into your timeline for any edits you may have, print time, assembly and mailing. It may sound pretty simple to create a cute little card with just a little info on it for your guests, but believe us, it can take some serious time. So, we want to make absolutely sure we have enough time to get everything absolutely right for you.
Now, we should plan to drop these babies in the mail around 6 months before the wedding. This allows your guests have plenty of time to block off their calendars, ask for time off work if they need to, make travel arrangement, etc. You want to give everyone plenty of notice so they have time to prepare for your big day.
Keep in mind that your save the date timeline is probably the most flexible of all your stationery items we’re going to create.
If you have family that lives out of state (or out of the country) you may want to send your save the dates up to 9-10 months before the wedding. But, if majority of your guests are in town and travel isn’t as big of a concern, the original timeframe of about 6-8 months is perfect. It’s really whatever you’re most comfortable with based on your guest list. This is also something we can help give recommendations on, as well!
At this point, your guests have your date blocked off on their calendars, time is requested off of work and travel plans have been made. Now, they’re anxiously waiting for more details!
To get them all the juicy details in a timely fashion, we recommend sending your invites about 10-12 weeks before the wedding day. Personally, we love that 10 week mark so everyone has plenty of time to make solid plans, but not enough time for them to potentially lost that RSVP card. Because, fair warning, that might happen! Some couples do prefer to send the invites a little closer to their wedding date, but please please please—no later than 8 weeks out.
Note: Don’t forget about a your timeframe for requesting those RSVPs back from your guests. We recommend requesting that your guests mail those back to you 4 weeks before the wedding. You’ll always have those who will text you, give you a call or RSVP on your website, but just make sure you have everyone’s responses in by that 4 week mark. This allows plenty of time for your stationery designer to then create your seating chart or your escort cards. Also, this gives your other vendors, such as your caterer, enough time to make plans of their own, as well!
Ask yourself, “do I want custom cocktail napkins for our bar?” or “should we have our seating chart in calligraphy, or maybe just printed and framed?”. Your answers to questions like these will help determine what your timeline should be for all your day-of creations.
Most weddings include programs, a seating chart or escort cards, menus, signage, and other items like cocktail napkins or a favor. These items should be ordered up to 6 weeks before the wedding.
At that point, the program should be finalized, the menu should be put together and any other signage you may need should be incorporated into your decor plan. Now, items such as your seating chart and escort cards will likely be finished 4-6 weeks before the wedding and that’s because they are contingent on getting the attending guest’s names back. So, based on when you receive everything from your guests, we can get started on those.
That’s okay! That’s why we’re here to help.
We create custom timelines for all the couples we work with to make sure it fits their needs. If you’re interested in learning more about our custom work, head on over to our Custom Wedding Stationery page to read all about it!
Already know you want to get started? Shoot us a message through our form here and we’ll get going.