Tips for ordering your wedding invitations

Yeah, you are engaged!  You have shared the news with family and friends!  The planning for your wedding day is set in motion.  There are lots of details to prepare for and coordinate, but you are a savvy bride and you will bring it all together.   I have put together some tips that might assist you to keep the planning process in check.  No doubt, now that you have announced your engagement, you and your fiance have already started to draft a guest list and have pretty good idea who you will ask to be your  attendants.  

First and foremost, however, make sure you put together a budget!  Weddings can be expensive if there are no parameters set.  Many of the brides I see today are working and they share the cost of the wedding with their parents or for many, the couple takes care of the majority of the costs.  These factors will sum up who is hosting your event.  

If you set your date a year out, you have a great window of time to plan your wedding.  The first priority is setting your wedding date and time, reserving your ceremony venue and reception venue …you can’t proceed with other details until these elements are completed and finalized.

In the stationery world, this time line should help you with some of the items you may want to consider:

6-12 months from the wedding date:

Save A Dates – important to utilize if your wedding date is schedule on or very near a holiday or if you have many guests who are coming in from out-of-town or out-of-state. Instead of using a magnet, use a card stock that has a cute design or incorporates your theme.  Use this paper real estate to provide your guests with additional information such as hotel reservation numbers where you have rooms blocked for your wedding weekend.   Out-of-state guests will appreciate your courtesy in giving them as much advance notice as possible because if they are flying in, they can garner the best flight rates available to make it to your wedding day!    

Engagement Announcements & Engagement Party invitations – Always a nice touch to formalize your engagement and announce to family & friends, bringing you all together for a celebration.    Photo post-cards are perfect for this, but you can always select something more formal or trendy; it is a matter of personal taste.

Thank you Notes for Bride and Groom – without a doubt, you will be having showers  prior to your wedding day.  Have a ready supply of thank you cards available for each of you to send to your friends and family.  Don’t wait until after the wedding to do this.  You will be too busy sending Wedding thank you notes.

Wedding Invitations – If you are seeking customized wedding invitations, I love, love the client that thinks ahead and realizes the importance of the wedding invitation and the necessary time it takes to incorporate customization to make her wedding invitation unique.    By doing so, you allow a good window of time for final selection, finalizing the design details, allowing for customizing issues that need to be resolved, if any, and allowing your stationer to take care of the front end details such as putting wording options together, getting the order in and then delivering proofs to you for changes and/or approval.    Keep in mind as well, that when you have added elements such as paper layering, embellishments such as ribbons, rhinestones, etc.,  these can add an additional 5-7 days to production time after print production.  With that in mind, it is best to order ahead so stress is alleviated and timelines allow for addressing envelopes and delivery time to guests. 

3 months out from your wedding date:

Wedding invitations,  if not already ordered,  need to be ordered asap.  Consider as well the need for programs, signage, table cards, seating scrolls, menus, weekend Details for out-of-town guests, welcome bags,  favors, rehearsal dinner invitations and after wedding brunch invitations.

If you are running into time constraints, and by 3 months out, when ordering invitations, it can feel like crunch time, consider allotting your budget for the addressing of guest names and addresses on your envelopes.  This is a HUGE time saver…when they arrive to me for your pick up, all you have to do is assemble the invitation suites, stamp the rsvp envelopes, stamp the outer envelopes, seal and mail.   It is worth the extra cost.  I can also refer you to a calligrapher and have your envelopes shipped ahead so this is completed when your invitation suite arrives.  Additionally, for a modest fee, I will take care of all the assembly and mailing for you.

2 months out of your wedding date:

Time to get those invites in the mail if you have not already done so.    If you desire to have wedding programs, they need to be ordered now.  Wedding programs are extremely detailed and require time for proofing and changes.   You need to figure that it takes at least 5-10 days of production once approved for print. On average, wedding programs usually require at least 2 proof sessions to assure accuracy of the information.

4 to 5 weeks out from your wedding date:

If you did not insert brunch invitations and/or rehearsal dinner invitations with your mailed wedding invitations, you need to take care of  this detail now.  

1 to 2 weeks ahead of schedule:

By now, we should already be working on your seating scroll or seating cards  after I have sent you a template for guest names and seating assignments.  I can typically turn this around in one week, but it requires your focus on getting the information to me as quickly as possible.  After the invitations have been mailed, and you have determined you want a seating scroll or seating cards, you should already be working on who will be seated where.  This allows you time to change it up to the arrival of the last rsvp.  You can even use the template which is in Excel format as a tool to check off received rsvp cards.

Week of the Wedding:

Fabulous, you committed  to your timeline.  You worked with your stationer and remained in budget.   All rsvps have arrived and guests attending are accounted for.  All reception related paper goods have come in and are now delivered to the reception venue.    You deserve a relaxing pedi and/or mani, a taste of your favorite cocktail, and RELAX…your day is approaching and you will be Savvy bride of the year because you planned strategically!