When to Send Out Your Wedding Invitations
If you’ve never planned a wedding before, all the details that go into your invitations and stationery can quickly become overwhelming.
Most brides go into planning their wedding with very little knowledge of when to order which pieces of stationery, and why should they? That's what I’m here for!
As a wedding calligrapher, its my responsibility to know all the details of what goes into your stationery so that you can relax and have fun planning your big day.
To help you understand better when you should be thinking about the different elements of your wedding paper, I’ve put together a comprehensive timeline for wedding stationery.
The most important part of determining your specific timeline for wedding stationery is knowing your wedding date. Then, just work backward from that day and give yourself due dates for each piece of wedding stationery.
Save the Dates
Save the dates generally are sent out 6-8 months ahead of your wedding day. Keep in mind the arrangements your guests may have to make to attend your wedding.
If a majority of them will have to travel, book flights or a hotel, or if your wedding is during a holiday season, you want your guests to be able to plan accordingly! Make sure to give them plenty of time to get your wedding day on their calendar before their schedules get filled up.
Wedding invitations are typically sent out 2 months in advance. As with the save the dates, the timing and location of your wedding will determine how far in advance you need to invite your guests.
Another thing to consider is when you want your RSVPs to come back, so you can finalize the numbers for your big day. I generally recommend having responses due one month in advance to give yourself and your vendors time to plan the final details of your big day.
Advice from a fellow bride: Expect a few of your guests to RSVP last minute, or miss the RSVP deadline altogether. To account for this, make sure your deadline leaves plenty of time to make last minute changes to things like your seating chart, thank you notes, and other details.
Other stationery items to remember are details like menus, place cards, signs, banners, and favor packaging. Order these items 4-8 weeks before your wedding day.
Thank you notes
As you receive gifts pre-wedding, your future self will be grateful if you send out thank yous no later than 2 weeks after you receive the gift. For gifts you receive on your wedding day, send out thank yous no later than 4 weeks after your wedding.
I recommend ordering thank yous when you order the invitations so that you have cards on hand as you receive gifts before your wedding! It is much easier to chip away at the thank you notes instead of having this huge mountain of notes to write after you're married.
Other things to consider
The design process: Beautiful, high quality designs take time to create and it is always best to give your wedding calligrapher time to do their job well! This way, your wedding stationery can best reflect who you are as a couple.
Stationery style: Invitations that are simple and clean might not take as much time to create as a more intricate design will. Adding custom illustrations and calligraphy are beautiful details that will add to the timeline of your stationery process.
Assembly: Assembling and sending out your invitations is another part of the process in wedding stationery. If you have intricate details like twine, wax seals or a silk belly band, make sure to allow yourself or your stationer time to assemble your invitations beautifully.
Quantity: Remember that you don’t need to order an invitation for every single person, but rather for each household. Typically, if you have 200 guests to invite, you will need 110 to 115 invitations. I always recommend ordering 10 to 15 extra invitations so you can add any last minute guests, have a suite to photograph, and have a keepsake to look back on!
What if you're behind?
If you're reading this guide and realizing you're already behind on your stationery timeline, I've written a whole resource just for you! Read the guide here to learn what to do if you're behind on ordering wedding invitations (without sacrificing the quality).
I hope you find this timeline helpful, and I’m always happy to help brides learn about wedding stationery etiquette!
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