Hooray! You and your partner have secured the date for your wedding, at that gorgeous venue you had your eye on forever, and now you’re wondering to yourself - OK what next? Well now you get to tell everyone about it! This is such an exciting step in your wedding planning timeline, however I may be just a little biased…
You may be asking yourself (or googling) when do I mail out my save-the-dates or formal wedding invitations? When should I hire my stationery designer or calligrapher? Well darling, my hope is this guide will help you in answering these questions and aid you in your planning. Have more questions about the design process? See our custom wedding invitation timeline section or FAQ page for more details!
If you haven’t hired your stationer yet, I highly recommend you connect with him or her right away, the more time they have to prepare for your stationery suite the better! Not only will it cause less rush down the road, but it may also make the difference between you receiving that gorgeous letterpress suite you’re longing after.
The below are the general timelines that I work within here at Blush and Blue Designs with my own custom wedding invitation clients. The amount of time needed for certain processes may differ from stationer to stationer so please make sure to check with your chosen vendor to ensure they can work your project into their schedule by the time you need it. Since I do all the art work and calligraphy myself for a project my timelines tend to be a little longer. Keep in mind as well that print processes such as letterpress and foil may take an additional amount of time. Think of your preferred stationery designer as that trendy upscale restaurant that you need to call weeks in advance for a reservation to ensure you get a table. Stationery designer's calendars fill up much like these reservations, we can only handle so many enquiries, so the quicker you contact us to secure your time on our calendars the more likely it is we will be able to accommodate your precious project!
Note: All times below are for a digitally flat (flat color on paper, no foils or embossing) printed invitation suite. You can learn more about the different print processes on our custom wedding invitation designs page.
Save The Dates:
From start to finish our save the date designs take about 8 weeks. Ideally clients using the same stationer for both their save the dates and wedding invitations should contact their preferred stationer approximately 11 -12 months prior to their wedding date to begin discussing ideas and to secure your project on our calendar, especially if your wedding is during the busy wedding months of summer and early fall.
When should I mail my save the dates?
I always suggest mailing your save the dates no more than 6 months before your wedding. If you plan on having a wedding that is out of town or out of state increase this to 8-10 months, depending on the destination so family and friends have time to check flights and make travel arrangements.
My wedding date is June 25, 2017. I should contact my preferred stationer no later than July 25 2016 (11 months before my wedding). I’m choosing to mail my save dates on December 6th 2016. My stationer will begin my project in October 2016 (approx 8 weeks before mail-by date.)
2 Piece Ensemble:
A two piece bespoke wedding invitation ensemble includes a main invitation and one other piece of stationery design (typically a reply card with reply card envelope) along with inner and outer envelopes. From start to finish a 2 piece custom wedding invitation will take approximately 8-10 weeks. If you are using the same stationer for both your save the date designs and your formal invitation then you will need to contact your designer 11-12 months prior to your big day. If you are just using a stationer/calligrapher for your formal invitations you will still want to allow enough time as possible before your wedding to ensure space on your busy stationery designer’s calendar. I recommend 4-6 months in advance of your date.
When should I mail my invitations?
My suggestion is roughly eight weeks before your wedding date. Your RSVP deadline should be around two to three weeks before your wedding date, however I also recommend checking with your caterer, depending on when they would like your final head counts count a week or so before then if you are including meal choices on the RSVP. This will allow enough time for your RSVPs to make it to you for you (and allow a few extra days for stragglers who “swear they sent it to you already”) to tally and provide a number to your caterer.
My wedding date in July 7, 2018. I should contact my preferred stationer on January 7, 2018 (6 months before my wedding date just to be safe). I’m choosing to mail my invitations by May 12 (approximately 8 weeks before my wedding) and my RSVP by date will be June 20 (just between 2-3 weeks before my wedding). My stationery designer will begin my project in March 2018, around 10 weeks before my mail-by date.
Ensemble with 3 or more pieces:
A three piece bespoke wedding invitation ensemble includes a main invitation design, RSVP card, RSVP envelope, and enclosure card design, along with inner and outer envelopes. A four piece design may include the pieces from the three piece suite along with an additional enclosure card such as accommodations, itineraries, or custom heirloom artwork. the latter being my favorite!
From start to finish a 3 or 4 piece custom wedding invitation will take approximately 9-11 weeks. If you are just using a stationer/calligrapher for your formal invitations you will still want to allow enough time as possible before your wedding to ensure space on your busy stationery designer’s calendar. I recommend 4-6 months in advance of your date for the three and four piece wedding invitation suites as well. However, with any suite containing more than 4 pieces I would recommend contacting your designer about 8 months before.
Example: My wedding date is April 22, 2018. I should contact my preferred stationery designer by October 22 (approximately 6 months before my date). I will want my invitations in the mail by February 25 and my stationery designer will begin my project in December 2017 (approximately 11 weeks before my mail-by date)
Envelope addressing with calligraphy or lettering:
Please allow an absolute minimum of 2 weeks per 100 envelopes. Its safe, however, to contact your calligrapher about 3-4 weeks prior to your mail by date just in case. If you are using a separate calligrapher for your addressing apart from your stationery designer please be sure to tell your designer, this may affect the timeline they have to design and assemble your invitations for hand off to the calligrapher, or they may wish to work with the calligrapher to receive the envelopes once the calligrapher is finished addressing. If you are working with Blush and Blue Designs for your custom wedding stationery design, we can also take care of the envelope addressing and calligraphy!
Custom day of details:
Day of details for weddings can include custom beverage signs, programs, escort cards, place cards and seating charts, menus, table numbers and so much more! You should contact your designer about 4-6 weeks before your wedding date for most of these items. If you are looking for more than one design it’s always best to contact even further out from your wedding date, just in case! Have you caught the trend yet, we love having as much time as possible to plan for your big day details!
Custom wedding day gifts:
Gifts can include custom crest designs, vow books, vow artwork and calligraphy, portraits and so much more. If you have a gift idea in mind for the couple-to-be please contact us approximately 6-8 weeks before the date of the event you need it by. If you are not local to North Carolina, please also allow shipping time in the amount of time you wish to contact us by!
I have some great news for you darling! Blush and Blue Designs can take care of all of the above mentioned designs and calligraphy! I would love to be a part of your event and help you capture your unique love story for your big day. Want to chat more about your ideas and hear some of mine? I’d love to set up a coffee chat and hear all about you! No worries if your not local to Raleigh, we can make it a virtual coffee (or mimosas) date too! Click below to snag a day date time. Or check out some of my previous custom wedding invitation designs.
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