Wedding Stationery Timeline
It's one of the questions I see asked most often in Facebook wedding groups and from clients.
"I'm getting married in XXXX; when do I send out my save-the-dates?"
"Is 10 months before the wedding too soon to send out my invitations?"
These are good questions to have and I've seen so many conflicting replies to the comment threads, so, for the first post in Caterham Co.'s new 'Wedding Etiquette' series I thought I'd address some of these questions and give you, Lovelies, a place to refer to in the future.
When should I start working with a graphic designer/ stationer/ calligrapher?
Usually, when you first approach a designer, you'll have made a few decisions about your big day already. You'll have a set a date, booked a venue, and decided on a theme.
An ideal time to hire a designer would at least 9-10 months before the wedding especially, if you're planning on ordering a custom design! For semi-custom stationery, you could probably get away with ordering a little later 🙂
Always keep in mind the lead time your event stationery will take. If you're wanting custom designs, speciality printing like letterpress, or anything special it will significantly increase the lead time.
The first event stationery item you'll be looking at in save-the-date cards.
I'm going to do against when a lot of designers say here and say that not every wedding needs a save-the-date! Save-the-dates are primarily for destination weddings (to give your guests enough time to prepare and save for the event.), or if a specific guest will need to travel far to get to you. Not every guest needs a save-the-date either — a basic rule of thumb is that if you know a certain guest needs extra time to prepare, save, or travel to your wedding then it is a courtesy to send that person a save-the-date.
So, for the wedding stationery timeline: start designing your save-the-dates 8 months before the day and send them out 6 months before the day. If you're having a destination wedding add to the timeline and post them 8 months before the wedding.
Wedding Invitations and RSVPs
Next up, we have the main components of any event stationery — the invitation suite.
A wedding invitation suite is usually comprised of an invitation, a reply card (RSVP) and corresponding envelope, and an envelope to post your pieces in.
Depending on whether you're having a custom suite designed or using a semi-custom design, you should order or start working on these 4-6 months before the wedding. You can also order your thank you cards now. An invitation is usually posted 2 months before the big day.
As for RSVPs, I recommend setting the RSVP date for about 45 days before the wedding this gives you enough time to confirm and send in your final head counts to the venue and to all the other vendors who need this number as well.
Day-of stationery items include ceremony programs, escort cards, seating plans, menu cards, place cards, favour tags, labels, and table numbers. Wedding signage is also considered day-of stationery.
The best time for you to order your day-of stationery would be about 45 days before the wedding.
Thank You Cards
As I mentioned earlier, you can order your thank you cards at the same time you do your invitations, though any time during this whole process would also work. usually, you'd send your thank you cards out about 3 weeks to 1 month after the day.
And that's about it! I hope that this post has cleared up some of the grey areas of your wedding stationery timeline — of all the things that make up your big day, your stationery doesn't have to be a confusing one!