Congratulations!!! You are engaged. Now what? Here is a handy dandy guide to help you with your wedding invitation timeline.  Perhaps the most important thing is – You should Order your invitations atleast 6 months before your wedding.  

This means that you will need to know your venue, date, and time. But as most venues book out atleast that far in advance that should not be a problem.

Okay, so lets work backwards from your wedding date – send your invitations out 6-8 weeks in advance to give people plenty of time to take off of work. If your wedding is during the summer, on a holiday or a destination location allow 12 weeks or more. So remember, this means you need to add the invitation design process and turnaround times on top of the times above to determine your get started date.

If you are ordering a pre-done pre-designed invitation from one of the big box companies  6-8 weeks before your mailing date should be sufficient, 10-12 weeks is optimal. Of you are doing custom designed invitation allow 4-6 months. Remember your preferred designer’s schedule may fill up and fabricating invitations from scratch takes time so, the sooner the better.

So what if you delay or just don’t have the time?  Is it still possible to get your invitations completed in just a few weeks? Well of course it is…. but the real question is… will you like the selection you may have to choose from or the price for a rush job…..? My best guess, probably not.  Remember what they say about value: there’s fast, there’s cheap, and there’s good.  Generally you can only get two of those things at once.

Are you are thinking of DIY? DIY can be a little tricky. Depending on how complicated you want your invitations to be and if you are going to get help with the design it could be a quick process or a long process. Just remember even professional designers take a couple of weeks. That being said however long you think you will need take that time and *TRIPLE* it. You heard correctly. Trust me it takes much longer than you expect to time ribbon and assemble. There will be unexpected complication and things will not turn out how you thought so give yourself time to fix any bumps in the road.

So, how do you avoid panic mode and rush fees?

Follow the timeline below:

9-12 months before your wedding

  • Put together your guest list to determine the number of invitations you’ll need (remember to order extras)
  • Start gathering photos, inspiration items etc. Pinterest is a wonderful resource. This will help you clarify your personal style and your vision of your big day once you see what you lean towards more.
  • If you are sending out Save The Date cards, start to consider what type of Save The Date you’d like…post card, magnet, card, custom.

6-9 months before your wedding

  • Purchase and send out your Save The Date Cards, especially if you are having a summer wedding, a summer wedding, or a holiday wedding
  • Start looking at invitation options to determine the type and style of invitation you are looking for
  • If you’ve decided on custom-designed invitations, find a designer you’d like to work with and book them
  • Give some thought to the wording you want for your invitation, and what additional inserts you may need (reception cards, accommodation cards, map/directions, itinerary etc.)
  • Determine the day-of stationery you desire (menus, escort cards, programs, thank you cards etc.)

4-6 months before your wedding

  • Finalize your guest list and make sure you have full names and correct and addresses for ALL guests
  • Also determine if you are allowing plus ones for your guests
  • Determine your invitation style, what additional inserts you will need and wording you will like.
  • Place your invitation order
  • Don’t forget to proofread, proofread and proofread!

3-4 months before your wedding

  • Begin addressing your envelopes if you are doing so by hand or sending them out for calligraphy
  • Begin assembling all the parts of your invitations and stuffing them in the envelopes (keep them unsealed, just in case)
  • Order any day-of stationery if you haven’t already

8-12 weeks before your wedding

  • Take one complete invitation to the post office to be weighed.  Purchase postage for your invitations.
  • Seal your envelopes, apply the postage and take them to the post office to be mailed (ask for them to be hand-canceled if possible)

3-4 weeks before your wedding

  • Keep a running tally of your RSVPs as they come in, make sure you keep track of both yes and no responses (there is a neat trick for this stay tuned to the blog to find it out)
  • Mail any additional invitations for events surrounding your wedding (rehearsal dinner, day-after brunch etc.)

2-3 weeks before your wedding

  • Follow-up with any guests who have not yet replied to ensure you have an accurate headcount for your venue

1-2 days before your wedding

  • Make sure you have all of your day-of stationery together and determine who will take care of the items (ie. who will hand out programs, who will set up escort cards etc.)

1-3 months after your wedding

  • Send out personalized thank you cards to your guests

This timeline is by no means the end all be all for every situation, but hopefully it will help you  stay on track and ahead of the game with your wedding invitations and wedding stationery.

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