For the Bride: Wedding Stationery Timeline

Today we are continuing our series on wedding stationery and calligraphy with a post all about the invitation timeline. It has been my experience that a lot of brides are unaware of the proper timeline for their wedding stationery needs, not only for when their save the dates and invitations need to be mailed out to guests, but also for when they need to start thinking about the creation of those save the dates and invitations. That lack of knowledge often results in brides scrambling to throw something together and get them out the door in enough time for their guests. I’m excited to bring in Shannon, the graphic designer behind Shannon Joy Paperie, today to share with us the typical timeline for save the dates, wedding invitations, and other wedding stationery needs. I hope it will be a helpful resource so that you will have the most beautiful wedding stationery to really enhance and reflect your wedding day and that you can keep as an heirloom to look back on. Here is Shannon with some really great information on your stationery timeline!

Hi there! I’m Shannon and I’m the creative behind Shannon Joy Paperie, a custom wedding invitation boutique with a heart for the small and meaningful details, based just outside of Washington, DC. There’s nothing I love more than seeing stationery paired with calligraphy, which is why I’m SO excited to be on Amy’s blog today!

Today, I’m talking about the timing of your wedding invitations. Sometimes wedding invitations can get lost in the shuffle of the planning process because they’re needed well in advance of your actual wedding day. Like every wedding vendor, it’s best to book your stationer early so you can be sure that your invitations will be on time and not rushed!

Here’s a basic timeline for the invitation process:

8-11 Months - Order Save the Dates
At 8-11 months out, you'll want to order your save the dates. The timing on save the dates can vary depending on how long your engagement is. You'll want to nail down your vendor and start the designing or selecting process on your save the dates.

6-8 Months - Mail Save the Dates
After you've finished your save the date, you'll want to mail them out somewhere in between 6-8 months out from your wedding date. Keep in mind, you don't want to send them too early if you're planning on having an engagement over a year and you also don't want to send them too late.

4-6 Months - Order Invitations
Here's where the timing of ordering invitations can vary again based on whether you choose a pre-designed suite or a custom suite. I would recommend that the custom work process should start at least 6 months out and pre-designed can be closer to 4 months out. A lot of factors can dictate just how long it can take including your RSVP deadline date, design time, proofing, printing, production and assembly. I always say to leave at least 4-6 weeks after proofing before you'll see them in your hands. It's never too early to start, but it can be too late!

6-8 Weeks - Mail Invitations
I’ve heard varying opinions on what the “official” timing of mailing out your invitations should be - and I think they all hold some validity. Most say 6-8 weeks in advance, but some also say 4-6 weeks out. My rule of thumb is if you haven’t sent out save the dates, you should probably go with the 6-8 weeks timeline. If you did send out save the dates, I think it’s perfectly fine to go with the 4-6 weeks timeframe. Your RSVP date should be two weeks from the date of your wedding.

6-8 Weeks - Order Day-of Paper Goods
While those pretty invitations are going in the mail, you'll want to order your day-of paper goods - programs, escort cards, signage, menus, etc. 

Adding Calligraphy
If you’re thinking about using calligraphy for addressing, you’ll definitely want to communicate that to your stationer early on in the process. While every calligrapher has a different turnaround time, I always like to coordinate with them as early as possible to find out when they need envelopes in-hand, and so I can gauge the assembly time as well. Your stationer and calligrapher do a LOT of coordinating behind the scenes to make sure the invitation process is seamless and easiest for you as the bride. I’ll let Amy chime in on some tips for timing calligraphy!

Thanks so much for sharing, Shannon! It is true that your graphic designer and calligrapher do a lot of communicating behind the scenes to make sure your wedding stationery is perfect and I have absolutely loved getting to work with Shannon, her amazing brides, and her gorgeous invitation designs! Like Shannon said, I do want to chime in a bit on important for your timeline when considering about wedding calligraphy. However, I realized that I have more to say about it than I originally thought and because of that, I’m going to go ahead and make it a post on its own for next week. I’ve learned, in the last year of running Sincerely Amy Designs, that there is a lot about the process of wedding calligraphy that people do not know, so I’ll be clearing up some of those things next week. If you want to follow along with Shannon's gorgeous work you can find her here:




For the Bride: Why Hire a Calligrapher

Wedding season is upon us! This is my first year working in the wedding industry during wedding season and it has been crazy exciting and crazy exhausting! It's no secret that I LOVE weddings. In fact, sometimes I joke that I wish I were the wedding photographer or planner. They get to spend so much time with their brides and are involved in so many details of the wedding day. While I don't get to be quite as involved as a photographer or planner, I absolutely love when I get to be a part of a wedding through the detail of calligraphy. 

With wedding season kicking into full gear, I receive a lot of inquires and questions from brides about calligraphy for their wedding day. I thought it would be a good idea to take a few weeks to answer some of those questions here. We'll be covering topics from the timeline of your wedding invitations and corresponding calligraphy to even some tips for brides who want a calligraphy look but can't fit it in their budget. I thought a good place to start for this series would be to talk briefly about why a bride should consider investing in calligraphy. If you are a bride considering calligraphy for your big day, I hope this post will be helpful to you in processing through that decision!


There is SO much to think about when planning a wedding. It has been 4 years since I planned our wedding and I still remember very vividly how much it consumed my time and my thoughts. I loved it, but I was also overwhelmed by all there was to do. Invitations and their envelopes is where I see a lot of brides try to go the DIY route. It's also an area where I see a lot of brides regret going the DIY route. I can speak from experience. We bought our invitations from Michaels and chose to print them from my home printer. I spent an eternity trying to get those invites and envelopes lined up and going through the printer correctly. The amount of paper and ink I wasted was ridiculous! The amount of time I wasted was even more ridiculous. And let's not even talk about the anger, stress, and headaches it caused. When planning a wedding, the more you can delegate, the better. You'll enjoy the process more and feel less stressed. Investing in calligraphy allows you take one huge task off your to-do list and leaves you with a beautiful end result. It's a win-win in my opinion. 


What I love about calligraphy is that it is a small detail that makes a huge impact. I'm not saying that calligraphy is cheap, but when compared to other wedding costs, and the impact it can have in your photos and with your guests, I think it can leave a big bang for your buck. Guests get so excited to see their name in calligraphy, whether on an envelope or an escort card. It communicates attention to detail and is something that your guests both notice and remember. It is also something fun for them to keep as a memento of your wedding day. Calligraphy can also be a more cost effective way to create something really memorable and unique. In the first set of images below, bride Darby, had each escort card written in gold calligraphy, and then attached them to a vase with a flower for her guests to keep. This idea was unique, beautiful, and made her guests feel really cared about. The calligraphy cost her well under $100 but made a big impact in her photos and in the experience of her guests. I'll be sharing more in an upcoming post about other ways Darby created a unique experience for her guests using calligraphy and routes she took to make the calligraphy even more cost effective. Calligraphy is likely to be one of your least costly vendors, yet it leaves your guests feeling thought of and cared about. It enhances your photos (which is really all you have left after your day is over), and allows you the opportunity to create something really unique to make your wedding day stand out.


You Only Marry Once. Come on now, don't act like you had no idea what that acronym meant. ;) I first heard this term from Darby, the same bride mentioned above, and I thought it was hysterical and also so true. When she was contemplating other calligraphy details, her fiancee told her, "YOMO!". I thought it was so sweet that he wanted her to have the wedding day the way she envisioned. Now, let me be clear here. I do not believe there is ever a time when a bride and groom or their family should go into debt for a wedding. Your wedding is 8ish hours of your life, and while it may be one of the best and most beautiful days of your life, it's still just 8 hours and there is life afterwards to be considered. But if the budget is there, when else will you have an occasion so special that it calls for hand lettered envelopes, escort cards, signs, etc? You have likely spent hours searching for or creating the perfect invitation. Why not 'wow' your guests with a beautiful envelope as well? If you know your handwriting is not going to compliment your invitations, I especially beg you to hire a calligrapher! Nothing pains me more than a stunning invitation suite inside a not so stunningly addressed envelope. It is true that you could go the printed envelope route (although we already touched on the headache and time involved in that option) but again, I would argue that this is one of the most special occasions in your life (YOMO, people!), and it deserves a personal and beautiful touch. 

If you are a bride wondering if calligraphy is something you can make work in your budget, or if you are a bride looking to come up with ways to uniquely incorporate calligraphy into your wedding day, I would love to chat with you more! You can contact me here! Also if you have any questions regarding wedding day calligraphy or the process, leave a comment below. I'd love to help answer your questions! Come back next week as we continue with this series and talk about the invitation and calligraphy timeline! 


Dream Big! Free Desktop and Iphone Wallpapers

I can't believe it, but the Sincerely Amy Designs website is celebrating it's one month anniversary...birthday...webiversary. Whatever you call it, yesterday marked one whole month that the website has been live! What a month it has been! It is crazy how fast the last 30 days have gone. I couldn't be more thankful for all of your support! As a fun little way to say, "Thanks!", I have created a few free desktop and Iphone wallpapers. My hope is that you will download them and use them as a reminder to not limit your dreams. So often we are our own obstacle to making our dreams a reality. Dreaming big is scary, hard, and messy BUT the journey is so worth it. The Well Studio talks in 31 days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer about dreaming so big that only One can fulfill it. What would happen if we dared to dream that big, so big the only way it could actually happen is if the Lord moved and worked to bring it to life? And what if we decided to come alongside to encourage and defend those crazy, big dreams in others? It's hard to even imagine the impact we could have!

Thank you so much for being a part of making the dream of Sincerely Amy Designs a reality! I remember a year ago when this dream was just a prayer. A prayer I was almost too scared to even pray. Here's to daring to dream big and encouraging and defending others as they also dare to dream big! 


To use the desktop wallpaper, right click on one of choices below and save it to your computer. Then set it as your desktop wallpaper.



To use the Iphone wallpaper/lock screen, hold down on one of the choices below and select 'Save Image'. Open your camera roll and select the image you just saved. You will see an icon in the bottom left corner (looks like a square with an arrow pointing up). Click on that icon and you should then see an option to 'Use as Wallpaper'. 


These wallpapers are for personal use only. You may not sell or give away the image in any way. The beautiful watercolor images were designed by the insanely talented Katie Fiddler for Design Love Fest.


What To Do When You Aren't, "Good, Thanks."

I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago and as I walked past a worker there, he politely asked me how I was doing. Honestly, as soon as he asked me, I wanted to throw up. I know he was just doing his job and it was well intended. I wasn’t upset with him in the least bit, but I realized in that moment, I was so tired of that question. You see, I’m in this hard season of life where the question, “How are you?”, feels terribly overwhelming. I had come to really dread that question. How do you answer what should be such a simple question when everything in your life is a complicated mess? I responded, like I do almost every time I’m asked that question, with, “Good, thanks.”, knowing full well that was a lie.

When you are in a hard season and there is a lot of heartache and grief, those short moments when your brain finds relief from thinking about reality, are so few and far between. That day in the store, for a brief second, I had forgotten about life outside of my grocery list. That was until I was caught off guard by the man’s seemingly harmless question. And that simple question, in the middle of the frozen pizza aisle, left me feeling paralyzed. It got me thinking, how do you deal with hearing this question over and over again, when life is far from the typical answer of  “Good, thanks.”?

Are you tracking with me? Have you ever been there? While I don’t have a perfect solution, the Lord has revealed two things to me recently that have helped me through what can be an incredibly overwhelming question when the real answer is complicated, painful, and messy.



For some of us, when faced with this question, we need to lay down our desire to portray a life that is put together and choose to be more vulnerable. I’m not saying I should have opened up and shared my whole life with the grocery store worker; there are definitely times where it is not appropriate to be vulnerable. However in a lot of cases, it is incredibly helpful to open up and share with someone what you are going through. In the social media world that we live in, we can so easily be deceived into believing that everyone else’s life is perfect. It can be tempting to try and portray ours as perfect too and that temptation can make it difficult to share our burdens and hardships with others. The weight of depicting a perfect life is one that can’t be carried for long. You will eventually crumble under that kind of pressure. God has designed us for authentic community. We aren’t meant to carry these burdens alone. We need people who are praying and pleading to God on our behalf. We need someone who knows the messy details of our lives and walks alongside us in that mess.

Part of what makes this season particularly hard is that what is going on with my family is not something I can share with just anyone. Maybe you are in a similar situation, where it's not that you are unwilling to be vulnerable, but for whatever reason, vulnerability is not an option. That can be a very lonely place. Something that was extremely helpful for me was to find one friend I knew I could trust and share those heartbreaking details with her. I would encourage you to do the same. Find one person, outside of the situation, who can help you carry the weight of that burden.


I’ve never yearned for Heaven more than I have these last few months. This world is so broken. When that question, “How are you?” comes and I’m instantly reminded of the pain and the reality of life here on Earth, I find God gently whispering to me, “This is not your home. This life is just a vapor. Your treasure is in Heaven.” I can easily get wrapped up in feeling like the cards my family and I have been dealt are not fair. And when those thoughts creep up, I have to remind myself of truth. I know that our time here is short in comparison to eternity, and man will the other side of eternity be beautiful. This broken world will be restored. Justice will be served. And until then, God promises He is at work in all the brokenness, even when we can’t see it. These reminders bring me peace in the midst of chaos, in the midst of hard circumstances that I can't seem to make any sense of.

One of the situations that has made this a difficult season for us is that we are going on 3 and a half years of living with and taking care of my aging grandma. Thankfully, the realities and hardships of this situation I have been able to share with many of you. We are so weary. There are many facets of this situation that make it incredibly difficult and I won't go into all of them now, but one of those is that it feels like our life is on hold. Of the 42 months that we’ve been married, we have only spent 4 of those months alone and in a space that was ours. The rest have been here, in a tiny ranch style home with 60 years worth of stuff from a lady that lived through the Great Depression and likes to hold on to almost everything. Our wedding presents are still packed away, unused, in boxes scattered in many different locations. We are anxious to have a place that is ours and feels like home. It can be difficult to be here while most of our friends are in the exciting stage of purchasing homes and starting families. Neither of those things we can do here and it’s been a long 3 and a half years of not only waiting for that stage to come for us, but also trying to celebrate friend after friend live out that stage. And then again God gently reminds me, “This is not your home. This life is just a vapor. Your treasure is in Heaven.” The things of this life will pass away. A physical home has no eternal value. There is greater and more significant work to be done here than to spend my time wallowing over how we aren’t happy or comfortable. When I am blinded by my fleshly desire for comfort, I miss living out my purpose and calling. I miss making my short time here on Earth something of worth.

I love the lyrics from Starfield’s song, Something to Say. They sing, “Faith might mean there won't be answers and hope might mean enduring through the night, but help me not forget in darkness, the things that I believed in light”. It’s in those dark moments that we need to cling to the truth we believed in the light. We need to fight to not only remember but believe God's promises.

Friend, if this is you, feeling paralyzed by the question, “How are you?”, I want you to know that you aren’t alone and that I’m praying for you. I pray you know a peace that’s beyond all understanding, a peace that only comes from a relationship with the Living God who holds this whole broken, crazy world together. I pray that you find courage to be vulnerable and I pray that you hold tightly to the things of eternity and loosely to the things of this Earth. If you would like me to pray in more detail over you and your circumstances, feel free to contact me. I will gladly and boldly approach God’s throne on your behalf. He promises us, when we boldly approach His throne of grace, that we will find, “mercy and grace in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)