Wedding planning involves many different timelines: from when you should order your dress and get it altered, to the timeline your day-of coordinator develops for the big day. Wedding stationery is no different. We get asked frequently at bridal shows and initial consultations questions about timing: when do you send out your save the date? When should I request my RSVPs to come back? If I’m having a destination wedding, when should I mail out the invitation suite?
At Trilogy Event Design, Creative Director and Graphic Designer Francesca Staffieri works out a design timeline for each of our couples so that they know when they can expect their digital proofs, printed proofs, and deliveries. And, this timeline is built specifically to when you need to mail out your pieces in the run-up to your wedding.
We’ve built a rough timeline below to share with our readers whether you are starting 12 months or more before your wedding, or 6 months prior to your wedding. Remember: just like any other wedding professional, designers can book a wedding up to 18-months in advance, so it’s just as important to book your favorite designer early just as it is to book your photographer.
6 – 12 months: Send out your save the dates. There are several different factors that go into when and if you should send a save the date (see our recent blog, “Let’s Save the Date”). If you are having a destination wedding, marrying over a holiday or holiday weekend, having your big day during prime vacation season, or are asking the majority of your guests to come in from out of town, the sooner you send your save the date, the better. Otherwise, more and more couples are using the save the date to get people excited for their wedding or set the tone for their wedding. Just remember: etiquette dictates that you should send a wedding invitation to every person you send a save the date, so don’t send someone a save the date unless you’re definitely planning on inviting them to your wedding!
5-9 months: Design your wedding invitation suite. Are you looking to wow your guests with a combination letterpress/foil-stamp printed invitation suite? Do you want to use 100% recycled or 100% cotton paper? Do you want your invitation suite assembled in a pocket-fold? Designing and assembly of your invitation suite takes time if you truly want something uniquely created for you. When meeting with your designer, let them know what papers and printing methods you like or don’t like; the overall style of your wedding (rustic versus traditional versus modern); the kinds of fonts you love; and any other design elements you would like used in your invitation suite. Every wedding should tell the couples’ story, and that story begins to be told with your wedding invitation suite, so make it something unique!
4-5 months: Calligraphy. Do you really want to hand-address 100 envelopes yourself when you have so many other things to accomplish in the months leading up to your wedding? Have you decided upon a gorgeous engraved wedding invitation suite? Nothing classes up an invitation set more than having calligraphy for your invitation envelope. With so many different lettering styles and custom colors to choose from, your guests will be wowed from the moment they look at your envelope. As you can imagine, calligraphy takes time as well, so you will want to plan to get your envelopes to your calligrapher by the 4-month mark. You will also want to supply your calligrapher with at least 20% more envelopes in case of errors.
3 months: Send out your invitations! Sure, you want to get your invitations out so that your guests can decide between the Surf and Turf or the Pan Roasted Wild Salmon. But the other reason you need to send out those invitations at the 3 month mark is so that you can have your RSVP deadline set to 4 weeks before your wedding. Why? You're going to need to know a total head count, and probably a count of the number of dishes as well to provide to your caterer or venue. But, it's not just meals that hinge on your final count! Table numbers, quantity of centerpieces, even the size of your wedding cake all rest on your final tally. And, no matter how much you will wish it is not the case, you will need to allot yourself enough time to track those stragglers down who haven't returned their RSVPs.
2 months: Thank you cards. While you may think you don't need your thank you cards until after the wedding, you will be surprised at how many wedding gifts you will receive before the wedding—even from guests who are planning to attend the big event! Getting your thank you cards early will mean that you can make a small dent in writing them out. One caveat: if a guest does plan on coming to your wedding and gives you a gift prior, it may still be a good idea to send the thank you out after the wedding so that you can include how appreciative you are of the fact that they attended your wedding.
1-8 weeks: Day-of stationery and/or miscellaneous customizations. Whether you want a custom designed seating card, or one hand lettered, you won't be able to have them done until after you get your RSVPs as you will need to know both the names of the guests coming as well as the table number they are sitting at. Or, maybe you want tags for your wedding favors, a custom made footer for your photo booth picture, or your own personalized cocktail napkins. While the designs of these items should have been done weeks before this timeframe, you should be taking delivery of the majority of these items at least one or two weeks prior to the wedding day.
As we stated at the beginning of the blog, this is a rough timeline. When you meet with Francesca and Trilogy Event Design, you will be given a customized timeline for you based upon your needs. It’s never to early to start thinking about your wedding stationery, so schedule your free consultation with Francesca by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 800-941-2770, or using our online scheduler here.