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: