As a planner, I help fill the gaps in the giant wedding puzzle. I find that the thing that causes the most confusion is the invitations. I do not know why, but even when planning my wedding, we struggled with the invites. Invitations seem to carry a weight and sense of mystery. Almost, as if it was not official until a couple’s name is printed in ink. Finally, it makes it official. Like, really official. Wedding invitations, specifically, are the first formal opportunity to shout from the rooftops that you are getting married. Invitations set the tone for the entire wedding weekend. Will it be a formal, black tie affair? Perhaps, a casual backyard bbq. Destination wedding, anyone? You are able to set the tone for the wedding by providing thoughtful and creative wedding invitations.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with the extremely talented Nicole from Emery Ann Design. As an invitation and stationery expert, she has crafted a timeline that breaks down the mystery and sets clear expectations. Please note, these are specific guidelines for working with Emery Ann Designs. If you find an invitation suite you love elsewhere, the same timeline would apply, however some steps might not apply.
Wedding Invitations & Stationery Timeline
10 – 12+ Months
- The Guest List – Grab your pen and paper or spreadsheet. It’s time to make that guest list! Be sure to have your list looked over by both families, then count your households to see how many save the dates and Invitation suites you will need.
- Custom Clients – Now is the time to start designing your custom wedding invitation suites. Design time requires four to six weeks for save the dates.
8 – 9+ Months
- Save the Dates – Place your order 8-9 months before your wedding or sooner if you wedding is out of town or you are expecting the bulk of your guests to travel. This allows your guests to receive your save the dates in time to plan their travel needs accordingly.
6 – 8+ Months
- Mail Save the Dates – Mail your save the dates eight months before you wedding if most of your guests need to travel and six months for local weddings without many out of town guests. But really, the sooner the better, so you won’t be planning your wedding day around someone else’s vacation plans.
- Thank You Notes – Order your pre-wedding thank you notes at this point so they are ready to use for early gift giving and after wedding showers.
5 – 6+ Months
- Custom Invitation Design – As soon as your save the dates are mailed, Emery Ann Design will start the design process for custom wedding invitation suites.
- Collection Invitation Clients – Emery Ann Collection Clients should place wedding invitation orders at this point. Plan for 2 weeks of proofing time as well as 2-3 weeks of production time.
3 – 4+ Months
- Buy Postage – As soon as you receive your invitations, take an entire suite, including you envelope and anything that will be mailing inside of it to the post office to be weighed. The Post Office will tell you the required postage. Don’t forget to ask for them to be hand cancelled (not run through a machine to avoid damage) and the RSVP envelope postage.
- Stuff Envelopes – Make a night of it with your fiance or bridesmaids. Grab a glass of wine or your favorite craft beer and stuff those envelopes! If Emery Ann Design printed your guest addresses and response envelopes, you are ready to rock and roll! Just put postage on the front of the envelopes and seal them tight.
- If you decide to have a calligrapher hand write your guest’s addresses find out the estimated lead time and adjust your order date.
- *Pro Tip – if you do not have the greatest handwriting, do NOT try and address them yourself. On the other hand, printing labels is even worse! Click here to find out why you should not DIY things you are not great at!
6 – 10 Weeks
- Mail Invitations – The recommended timeframe to mail your wedding invitations is between 6 and 8 weeks or sooner for out of town guests.
- Day of Stationery – Order all of the pretty paper goods you need for your wedding day such as, programs, escort boards, place cards, table numbers, menus, and other signage. Exact quantities will be determined once you have secured your guest count.
4 – 5 Weeks
- Guest Responses – Your guests should be responding by the date given on their response card, which is typically 4 to 5 weeks before the wedding. If it is getting close and you haven’t received a response from you guests, give them a call. This info is crucial for your day-of stationery and your caterer.
- Receive Day of Stationery – Emery Ann Design will provide your Day of Stationery 1 week prior to your wedding. I as a Wedding Coordinator, ask to have any of your paper goods provided at the rehearsal so I can take care of setting it up for you on the wedding day. Please have your escort cards alphabetized by LAST name. You have no idea how much time that will save on wedding day!
About The Designer
Nicole Nechvatal is the face behind Emery Ann Design and your guide through the world of wedding stationery.
Not only does she help bring your vision to life, but also guide you through all the tricky ins and outs of wording and etiquette, both traditional and modern; choosing the perfect paper, printing methods, and embellishments; all while keeping the planning process stress-free. While working with you, Nicole, hopes to bring the same feeling of love to you and your guests just as her grandparents, Emery & Ann, did during all events, holidays, and day to day to friends, neighbors, loved ones, and everyone they met. It is her passion to create lasting, meaningful custom wedding invitations filled with personal touches that will excite your family and friends to celebrate with you!
Wow, thanks Nicole for all of that wise information! While there is a company for every wedding couple, Emery Ann Design’s is one of the best in the industry. As if these images were not reason enough to hire a professional, click here to see what an amateur could do to your wedding. If you are still looking for your wedding invitations, feel free to drop Nicole a line. She would love to chat with you. All photography in this article, was provided by Nicole and photographed by Yasmin Alesia Photography For more information about Emery Ann Design or Yasmin Alesia Photography, please check out their Instagram.