Planning a wedding can be stressful and very overwhelming especially if you are doing everything yourself. You have scoured GOOGLE and PINTEREST to download a free wedding checklist on when to do what and where to start.
Book the venue
Hire a photographer
Select a florist
Pick a DJ or band
12 months before, 10 months before, 8 months before, the list goes on!
These lists are helpful tools when planning your wedding but there is one thing, they often get wrong and that’s….
HIRE A WEDDING STATIONER!
QUESTION: How long before my wedding should I send out invitations?
I have read several different blogs and wedding websites to see what they say about this topic and the conclusion that I have come to is that when these lists and posts were made, they didn’t actually consult a stationer. Now, if you do happen to follow these timelines for save the dates and wedding invitations, you will still be okay, but I am going to walk you through a timeline that is a little easier to follow and also give you plenty of time to get EXACTLY what you want out of your wedding invitation suites and save the dates.
SAVE THE DATES
QUESTION: How early is too early for save the dates?
First up, save the dates! For something so simple, these have several different impacts
1. Alert your guests that you have selected a date and to give them a heads up.
2. Show off the amazing engagement photos you took with a professional photographer (most likely the same photographer you have selected for your wedding day).
3. Introduce your guests to the beautiful wedding website you have created.
4. For destination weddings, your save the dates will allow them to make travel arrangements as soon as possible.
Helpful Tip: A wedding is considered a destination wedding if the venue location is more than 3 hours away for 45-65% of your guest list, even if it is local to you as the bridal couple.
Do I really need to send save the dates?
In my honest opinion, I truly believe you should send out save the dates. They can be a true asset to you and here are a few tips for ordering them:
1. You don’t need as many as you think. Save the dates should be sent to immediate family, friends and out of town guests ONLY. So many couples over think this and end up sending one to everyone and when it comes time to ordering the formal wedding invitation suite, they realize they need to cut their final list down.
2. Use one of your engagement photos on the back so your guests can frame it for a keepsake after your wedding.
3. Keep it simple to save on postage, save the embellishments for the formal wedding invitation suite
Okay, so when should you order and mail them out?
Save the Dates should be ordered 12 months before your wedding and mailed to your guests 9-10 months before your wedding. If you are having a destination wedding, you should send them out as soon as you book your venue. This will allow your guests to start planning their travel information.
Is 12 weeks too early to send wedding invitations?
Depending on who you ask, this timeline line may vary. So, I’m going to tell you what I tell all my couples. The process of ordering wedding invitations is not like ordering save the dates. The process is much more complex especially of you want to go custom.
I like to start the design process about 5-6 months before your wedding to allow for design time, printing and assembly and still have them in your hand with plenty of time. When mailing your wedding invitations, this is where you may get some conflicting dates. Most blogs will tell you 6-8 weeks before your wedding, but I tell all my couples 10-12 weeks and here’s why….
When you create your guest list, most of you will have an A list and a B list. Your B list, you will tap into as you get your regrets from your A list. You will need to give the guests on your B list enough time to receive your invitation and have them respond back all before you need to give a final count to your venue. On the other side of it, you don’t want that guest to feel like they were an afterthought because you sent them an invite 3 weeks before your wedding, no one wants that.
If you need help in this area, head on over and check out the blog post I have all about creating and cutting your guest list. Check out the post here!
One thing that people often forget is the mail transit time. Let’s say you mail your invites 6 weeks before your wedding. You send several invites across the country, let’s say mail time takes 4 days to get across the country and 4 days to be returned to you. That takes almost 2 weeks (mailing days) out of your time. You need to give your venue your final count 2 weeks before your wedding. That leaves you only 2 full weeks for your guests to fill out your response card and mail it back to you. Ideally, once your guest receives your wedding invitation in the mail they will fill out the RSVP right away and drop it in the mail right? I wish I could say that was the case, but realistically that just doesn’t happen. This is all before you even send out another invitation from your B list.
WOW, that was a lot of information that may seem trivial, and can it work on tight deadlines? YES absolutely, however, to save you the hea
dache of chasing your responses, take my advice,
Be sure to download my free checklist for when to order your Save the Dates, Wedding Invitations and Day of Stationeries. You can add this checklist to your wedding planning book, folder or whatever you are using to help plan your big day.
Well, that’s it, thanks for listening!