Lately I’ve had a lot of confused brides asking, “When should I buy my wedding invitations?” or “When should I send my wedding invitations?” With all the conflicting information and misguided advice out there, it can be hard to know exactly when you should get buy your wedding invitations or when you should get your wedding invitations in the mail, but I’d like to share a timeline with you that will help you answer this question.
Save the Date cards are very popular these days and for good reason. More people are moving far from family and friends, yet they obviously want their family and friends to be there for their special wedding day, so sending Save the Date cards is a great idea that give guests a heads up that your wedding is going to be a spectacular event that you want them to be present for. This gives them the opportunity to start planning well in advance. They may need to save up some money for plane tickets, ensure they have adequate vacation time, or maybe even get in shape for the big day!
With save the dates going out for nearly all weddings these days, it changes up the invitation timeline a bit. Typically speaking you’ll want to send out your wedding invitations 6-8 weeks before your big day. People already know you are getting married by now, so they really just need the details (and the formality of being invited). For best case scenario, let’s go with 8 weeks.
Something a lot of brides overlook until the last minutes is that all of these invitations need to be addressed. Sure, you could print out some labels on your computer and stick them on really quick, but a hand-addressed wedding invitation is not only traditional, but it’s almost expected. Hand-addressing can take forever, especially if your hand-writing looks more like bubbly cheerleader writing on a pep-rally sign than gorgeous calligraphy. It’s a good idea to allow yourself 1 month to address your wedding invitations. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a whole month addressing wedding invitations in between dress fittings, gym sessions, and cake tasting. There are actually people in this lovely world that you can hire to do it for you! Yup, you can even hire me! Although most of these people will only take a week or two, it’s still a good practice to allow 1 month for addressing wedding invitation envelopes.
Now, if you are working with a stationer (somebody that designs stationary) for custom wedding invitations, you’ll want to allow at least eight weeks of working with them to get the perfect invitation. This can change depending on the stationer, but eight weeks is generally a good rule of thumb. When you start working with the stationer, it’s important that you know what you are looking for and have some good ideas. This will help so that you don’t waste your time or theirs. It’s also important because many times the more refinements or corrections you make, the more they could charge you. Knowing what you want from the start will help keep your costs under control. If you are simply planning to order invitations that are already designed, you can usually allow four to six weeks instead of the full eight, but remember:
It’s always a good idea to give your self more time than you might need in case of any unexpected surprises.
Lastly, you’ll want to add an additional month to two months. During this time period you will want to begin collecting ideas if you have not already done so. Make use of all different resources. It’s great to have magazine clippings, other invitations that you have loved in the past, and even a Pinterest board if you are a fan. Collect not only things and ideas that you like, but also collect things and ideas that you don’t like. This way, you can show your stationer examples of both so they can stay clear of the things that don’t speak to you while they design an invitation that is exactly what you hoped for.
Depending upon the time of year your wedding will be celebrated and the popularity of your stationer, it could be important to book them as early as possible. Many stationers will ask for a small deposit, but in exchange for that, they will book you into their calendars which ensures that they will have plenty of time to devote to your invitations.
Some advice I like to give to brides is that once you are engaged there are 4 wedding vendors you should book as soon as possible: Your photographer, your venue, your baker/caterer, and your stationer. This is solid advice because these are the 4 wedding vendors that book up the quickest. Just get it done so that you don’t have to stress over it later!
Alright, so let’s recap:
I hope this helps to clear up any misconceptions or any confusion. I currently have two rush slots available for any January weddings and several 2015 slots are open, so get in touch and let’s get you on my calendar!