Wedding stationery is one of the first fun wedding tasks you'll be taking care of, along with booking your venue and photographer and saying yes to the dress.
Meeting your wedding stationery deadlines is crucial, not only so your wedding guests know about your big day and mark the date on their calendar, but also so you'll have a solid guest list full of people who have RSVP'd "yes" to build your seating chart off of.
To determine your wedding stationery timeline, we'll work backwards.
Photo by Krista Hawryluk Photography
1. THE BIG DAY
For simplicity's sake, let's say you're getting married on September 1st, 2018. You have your wedding venue booked, so it's a sure thing and you're ready to start planning your invitations.
2. RSVP DEADLINE
I would recommend an RSVP deadline of one month before your wedding date, which brings our example RSVP deadline to August 1st. This gives you a full month to create your seating chart, place cards, table numbers, and escort cards, or send them to your calligrapher.
Be sure to check with your venue, caterer and favours provider to see when they need your final guest count by, as that may affect your RSVP deadline as well.
Photo by Charmaine Mallari Photography
3. TARGET INVITATION SEND DATE
Your wedding invitations are typically sent 2-3 months in advance of your wedding date. For our example, that puts us at June or July 1st. Many websites will suggest no later than 6 weeks in advance, but I personally do not find that to be enough time unless your guest count is below 50 people.
You can wait closer to 2 months if you're having a very small wedding or you've sent out save the dates. If you're having a medium or large wedding that includes guests who are coming in from out of town, and you haven't sent save the dates, err on the safe side and aim for 3 months. If you're highly organized and would appreciate knowing your guest list in advance, aim for 3 months.
On a personal note, when I was sending out my own wedding invitations (which I created myself) back in 2014, we sent them two months in advance. By then, antsy family members had started asking my mom if they would in fact be invited, even if they had already been told they would be. From my own experience I suggest this - know your crowd. If there are people on your guest list who like to know what they're doing on a Saturday night in September well in advance, shoot for the three month mark instead, or send save the dates first.
Photo by Ashley Nicole Photography and Lori Gospodyn Photography
4. TARGET SAVE THE DATE SEND DATE
Save the dates can be sent the moment you have your venue booked and your date confirmed. They shouldn't be sent any less than 6 months in advance of your wedding date. For our example, the save the dates would be sent on March 1st, 2018, or earlier.
Whether or not you should send save the dates in the first place could be a whole other blog post. To simplify matters, if you can answer yes to any of the following questions, you should consider sending save the dates!
- Are you having a destination wedding?
- Are a significant number of your guests coming in from out of town?
- Is your wedding on a holiday weekend, a weekday, or during peak wedding season? (typically mid-June to August)
5. HIRE YOUR STATIONER
Start the conversation about your wedding stationery with an experienced local invitations provider 2-3 months in advance of your first send date, whether that's your save the dates or the invitations themselves. For our example, that might be January 1st of 2018 or even earlier - 3 months before the save the dates should be sent at the latest.
While this might seem pretty early in the game, the last thing you want is the stationer you've had your heart set on to tell you that they're already booked. Stationers typically have their schedule for the next 2-3 months booked almost solid, especially during peak season, which for stationers in Winnipeg is January to May.
1. Book your stationer: 2-3 months before target send date (of invitations, or save the dates if you're sending them)
2. Target send date - Save The Dates: 6 months+ before wedding date
3. Target send date - Invitations: 2-3 months before wedding date
4. RSVP deadline: 1 month before wedding date
As a final note, I genuinely hope this blog post doesn't stress you out! Your timeline leading up to your wedding day can seem so stressful. I remember when I was planning my own wedding, I would look at the insurmountable wedding tasks ahead on top of my own 9-5 and life in general, and wondered how I would ever get through that season of life.
All I can say is that once you sign that contract with your wedding stationer, you can breathe easy. It's in their hands. Any good wedding stationer will hold your hand through the whole process, reminding you of deadlines and urging you on in the most encouraging way possible.
Remember to breathe and enjoy your engagement!