“When should I even send my invitations?”
As a wedding stationer I hear this question all the time. To help clear the air about common worries and misconceptions when it comes to planning your wedding stationery, here’s a super simple timeline.
The Wedding Invitation Timeline
One Year Out (or more)
Book your invitation designer!
If you decide to go the custom route, give yourself lots of time to choose a stationery designer, because the custom or handmade invitation design process is much longer than choosing a ready-made template online. And in the current climate with covid postponements, couples are increasingly booking even earlier in advance, meaning that your favourite vendors might be booked up if you wait too long.
Your invitation and stationery designer will also be able to help answer any questions about timeline, wording and ways to stick to your budget.
One Year to 6 Months Out:
Whether you’re mailing or e-mailing your save-the-dates, they can really be sent out anytime after your venue and wedding date is secured. It comes down to your preference and where your potential guests are coming from.
Are the majority of them coming from out-of-town? Is this a destination wedding? In that case, you might want to send these out closer to a year in advance.
4 Months Out (or less):
Send your wedding invitations!
This really comes down to personal preference, and with literally everything to do with your wedding, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. But, for destination weddings or when many of your guests need to book travel arrangements, the earlier the better in my opinion.
Many wedding blogs out there recommend sending invitations out between 6-8 weeks in advance, but many couples that I speak with are opting for a longer lead time, sending invitations between 3-4 months in advance. Your stationery designer can help you figure out a timeline that works best for you and your guests.
3-4 Weeks Out:
The RSVP deadline
On your invitation, it’s important to communicate a date that your guests must RSVP by. Typically this is 3 weeks to a month before the big day, but your catering company / venue will also have a date that they need final numbers from you, so make sure to read over that contract before you set the deadline date.
If you’re hiring a stationery designer or calligrapher to do your place cards or seating chart, they’ll need to have a final guest list from you at that time as well.
“How Much do Invitations Cost?”
This is a huge question, and there are so, SO many factors. According to Brides.com, a good rule of thumb is to set aside between 4-6% of your total wedding budget for your invitations. That blog post does a great job of outlining the many types of printing methods, but two of the most popular printing methods out there right now are Digital or Printing (more cost-effective) and Letterpress (a more premium printing service).
If you’re going the super DIY route through an online discount print shop, you’ll have a limited choice of design templates, and spend between $2 and $5 per suite (including an invitation, RSVP card and all necessary envelopes, not including postage!) On the other end of the spectrum, going for a well-known stationery designer could run you $30-50 per suite on average.
At Cody Calligraphy, pricing currently starts at roughly $7 per suite for digital printing, and includes your invitation card, outer envelope, and an RSVP card + envelope or enclosure card. Optional add-ons include custom wax seals, hand-dyed ribbon, envelope address calligraphy and much more!
Want to know more?
Have questions about sending a COVID-19 “change-the-date”? Want to know more about my services? Ask me how you can get your hands on my 2020 Services & Pricing Guide, which comes with the FREE Wedding Stationery Checklist — for all those nitty gritty Pinterest-y details that are more likely to be forgotten. Every little bit helps, right?