The most important thing about a wedding are the invites....just kidding! The most important thing is of course celebrating your love together with all of your favorite people! But in order to get them there, you have to send out invites (which kiiind of makes invites more important, right?). One of the most common questions we get asked by brides is "When on earth am I supposed to send these guys out?" The average couple spends 13-18 months planning a wedding, so the timing of the invites can get a little confusing somewhere in there. Luckily, we have put together some basic wedding invitation timelines to help you figure out when to start reaching out to invitation designers and planning out your designs! Take a look at the guide below to help get your invitation timeline moving along without an ounce of stress!
SAVE THE DATE TIMELINES
Etiquette says that you should send out your Save the Dates at least 6 months before your wedding, and we suggest longer for destination weddings, or weddings where most invitees are from out of town. We like to say there's no such thing as too early, but it's a good idea to stay within the year, just so no one accidentally shows up in 2017 for a 2018 wedding!
Save the Dates are typically an easier process than your invitations, so if you are going custom, you should schedule out about 1 month for design and production. However, if you are looking for something more elaborate for your Save the Dates, then refer to our invitation design timeframes below!
WEDDING INVITATION TIMELINES
Okay, on to the most important part - the invitations! Wedding invitations are supposed to go out about 6-8 weeks before the wedding date. We try to set our delivery dates about 9 weeks out, so there is a week left to check everything twice, seal the envelopes, and mail the invites (pro tip: take a full suite to the same Post Office you'll be mailing from to get it weighed for correct postage!). The reply-by date for your guests is usually 1 month before the wedding, which gives you time to arrange seating and follow up with guests whose reply cards were "lost in the mail"...a surprisingly large percentage usually!
Okay, 2 months! That's a long way away when you'll be planning for a year! Alright, who are we kidding, you've been planning this since you were 8...which makes 2 months out seem like a lifetime from now. However, depending on how complex your invitations are, their design and production can take anywhere from 2 months to...well, let's just say the limit does not exist. For custom, digitally-printed invitations, with printed addresses, you are probably looking at the lower end of 6-8 weeks for design and production, and then anything additional (letterpress, foil, ribbon wraps, liners, calligraphy, etc) can potentially add more time to that process.
It's important to give your designer enough time to spend working through your design, because unfortunately we do not simply create magic the first time every time. At Design by Laney, we like to create an initial design and then leave it alone for a day or two, coming back to it with fresh eyes. This is how you will truly get that custom, unique design that is just right for you and your fiancé, as well as the perfect addition to your Big Day!
You will need some information about your wedding before beginning the invitation design process, so we do recommend booking your venue, deciding on your date, and going through at least one design meeting with your planner before starting on your invitations. However, as soon as you have an idea of what you like, we can get started!
You will also need to take some time to create at least a preliminary guest list. If you want to save some time on the back end, type your guests in exactly as you would mail them a letter - "Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Snow" for instance, instead of just writing "Jon and Dany". Most calligraphers or designers require addresses in a spreadsheet with each piece of information in a separate column, as in the example below...excuse the corny puns please. If you want formal addressing, you will eventually have to make the "St." and "Rd." into "Street" and "Road" as well as expanding state names, apartments, etc., so starting off on the right track can save you a huge formatting headache in the future. If you have any trouble with formatting names, check out our post on correct addressing etiquette.
As with most wedding items, your wedding invitation design process will be much less stressful the more time you allow for creation and production. We've provided a few tips on how to make that process a little simpler, but check out some of our other production and design posts for more tips and tricks! Do you have any questions about timing or the design process? Post them in the comments below and we will help you out!
All of the lovely photos in this post were provided by the amazing duo Jas + Paul Photography!