It has FINALLY happened… the love of your life has popped the question and you have set the date… but now what?!? The engagement season can be such an exciting time yet overwhelming at the same time. But no need to panic, I have broken it down for you that you may be on top of your stationery game!
While many wedding details are important and must be checked off the list, but wedding stationery is one that has strict deadlines that you don’t want to miss. By sticking to the the timeline (a free infographic near the end) , I guarantee the wedding planning (at least for stationery) will be less hectic.
Consider me your “Wedding Stationery Fairy Godmother.”
7 - 9 Months
To get the ball rolling once you have set the best day ever (aka your WEDDING DAY), I always tell my brides to start compiling your guests lists. Since I was not the first one to get married in my family, we conveniently had an ongoing list of addresses in excel… but I still needed to get our friends’ addresses! There is no need to let this part be hectic either… get the addresses the easy way. I recommend using the free services from Postable or Zola.
This is also the time you should be getting in touch with your stationery designer. I know it seems so early but as cliche as it is… Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your wedding stationery! To see the madness behind the beautiful wedding invitations here is my design process.
6 - 8 Months
This is the time to start designing and mailing out your SAVE THE DATES. If you’re wanting pictures for your these, I recommend getting them done ASAP if you haven’t already. If you are having a destination wedding, I recommend you sending them out 9 months in advance. The Save the Dates officially announce your wedding date has been set… you are letting your wedding guests know that the BIG DAY is coming and to mark it on their calendars. Essentially, it is for your guests more than it is for you… they have to start planning travel and accommodations if they are coming from out of town (or if it is a destination wedding).
4 - 6 Months
This is the time the wedding starts to get real… your WEDDING INVITATION SUITE. By this time, you have a complete list of guest addresses, you have pinned all the inspiration images on your Pinterest board (let’s be honest…you have probably had it started before you were even dating your significant other). Now it is time to start designing your invitations.
The difference between an empty room and a reception is people… you have to send out the invitations for your guests to know when the BEST DAY is going down! When working with my clients, I create a mood/inspiration board for them so we are all on the same page on what your dream is! Also during this time, it is important to start getting some ideas for your day of stationery (programs, menus, etc…)
DESIGN wedding invitation suite. Check! PRINT wedding invitation suite. Check!
Now lets get these bad boys addressed and assembled ready to go to the post office! At this time you would have these addressed by a calligrapher (or yourself especially if you have fancy writing) or you can have your addresses printed onto the envelopes.
*** If you are using a calligrapher, make sure to book them in advance so they can allot enough time to painstakingly write on every envelope the guest address AND the return address!
This is also the time for you to start designing the rehearsal dinner invitations!! It’s the “party” that kicks off your Wedding Day! You practice for the big day and then you eat and drink before you get to wake up on what seems to be the day that never would never arrive!
The day has come that it is time to officially invite your wedding guests! Etiquette for a destination wedding is to send out 10 - 12 weeks before… and 6-8 weeks for a “normal” wedding! I recommend you having a completely assembled wedding invitation suite to be weighed at the post office so you know the exact amount of postage needed. When you are considering your time frame for ordering and mailing your custom wedding stationery, one of the most important things to take into account is if most of your guests live locally to your wedding venue, if most of your guests are traveling in from out of town, or if your guests will be traveling overseas for a destination wedding.
For your response cards, they should be returned 3-4 weeks before the wedding… don’t worry, as the stationery designer, I will put the date on there for you. It gives you enough cushion that if cousin Betty Lou twice removed didn’t send her card in time, you can follow up with the guests who haven’t accepted or denied coming to your wedding.
True story - we didn’t weigh our wedding invitations and had to add an ugly 15 cent stamp on to our envelopes. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy but I had other fish to fry leading up to my wedding day. Moral of the story… weigh them so your envelopes can look just as pretty as your invitation suite!
Time to mail out the REHEARSAL DINNER INVITATIONS! Yes, you can send your bridal party an email or text of when to show up but the rehearsal dinner is the Groom’s Parents’ party… it’s their time to love on the future Mr. and Mrs. so give them the privilege to send an actual invitation for the rehearsal dinner.
In regards to etiquette, you are supposed to invite out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner… plus don’t you want to cordially invite your grandparents and any special attendees (readers, ushers, etc…) to enjoy this joyous occasion before you walk down the aisle in the most beautiful dress ever!?!
This is also the time to be finalizing the programs, menus, etc… and having them printed and ready to go! Your wedding will carry on without these stationery items but wouldn’t you want to let your guests know who these beautiful ladies and dapper gentlemen standing next to you are! Plus everyone wants to know how long you will be standing up there… they are really there for the cake and dancing!
Now I know, you might be thinking “what if I do not have a long engagement or if I am reading this blog post a little bit too late?” Don't fret… Contact your favorite wedding stationer(s) ASAP and discuss your personal wedding time frame. They/I might have availability in our design calendar and can potentially recommend ways to save time in your design timeline if possible!
If you are interested in beginning your custom wedding stationery design process with me, I would love to hear more about you, your sweetie, and your wedding! Please complete out my wedding invitation questionnaire and we can get this ball rolling!