Wedding Stationary… When To Do What

There’s a lot of options when it comes to wedding stationary. Some options are…. well, optional. Whereas others are pretty much mandatory (we’re looking at you invitations). Between sharing the news with announcements and signage for the big-day, it’s hard to know when you should order or mail these different pieces. So we collected our thoughts together to help you with the timeline. Read on below for guidance on your wedding stationary and when to do what.

#1: Engagement Announcements

If you’re having a nontraditional wedding and/or want to be eco-friendly, a digital announcement on your favorite social media platform is a great way to announce your engagement. You can post your announcement as soon as you like after the proposal, just make sure to personally tell any family and loved ones in advance. 

On the other hand, if you’re having a traditional wedding and/or someone is throwing you an engagement party, then paper announcements are a must! These should be sent soon after the proposal, before the digital announcement, and at least 2-1 month(s) before your engagement party. This can be a stand alone piece, or you could combine them with the invitations to your engagement party to save on printing and postage. Just remember, anyone you invite to your engagement party should also be invited to your wedding. 

#2: Save the Dates

Save the Dates are rather important and not just a curtesy. Especially if you’re getting married during a busy season (hello summer!) or planning on having a longer engagement. Your guests will appreciate knowing your date in advance, and you’ll appreciate the RSVP numbers. 

 Save the Dates should be sent out anywhere between 12-8 months in advance. Lean more towards 12 months if you’re having a destination wedding and/or your wedding is on a popular date (Labor Day Weekend, anyone?) If you’re hiring a Calligrapher or getting custom paper products, add another 3-5 weeks onto your timeline. If you’re opting to send digital Save the Dates, you can lean more towards 8 months since the delivery is instant. 

#3: Invitations

Invitations are the only piece of wedding stationary that are mandatory. Formal etiquette dictates invitations should arrive at least 1 month in advance of an event but it’s customary to give at least 2  for weddings IF you sent Save the Dates. You really should aim to mail out invitations 6-4 months in advance. If you’re hiring a Calligrapher and/or designing a custom invitation suite, add 10-12 weeks for production time to your timeline.   

#4: RSVP's

Adding a RSVP card to your invitation suite is a must have! Whether you have guests RSVP digitally on your wedding website, or sending back a pre-posted card, you should have all RSVP’s due 6 weeks before your wedding. Most caterers require a final guest count at 4 weeks. Having your RSVP’s due 6 weeks before your wedding allows you two weeks to track down any no responses. And yes, unfortunately, you will have no responses.

#5: Wedding Day Paper Goods

As a rule, start the discussion as soon as possible (and no later than 8 months before your wedding) especially if you’re wanting more than one custom piece. Every Calligrapher is different and if you’ve been working with one already for your wedding stationary, they should be able to give you an idea on a timeline for the day-of pieces you’re requesting. For example, if you’re wanting a custom Welcome Sign, there’s a big difference between hand painted calligraphy and having it made with vinyl. To avoid any rush fees, plan on submitting final names for escort cards and table numbers to your Calligrapher three weeks before your big day.