DIY wedding invitation tips

Wedding Invitations Etiquette & The 4-Step Wedding Invitation Timeline


Many brides are often confused about when to send out invitations or request to have the RSVP cards returned. Here is an easy 4-step invitation timeline guide to help you get your stationery planned and sent out… stress-free.

1. Plan Ahead.

Typical turnaround time on stationery orders is between three and six weeks. Generally, stationery turnaround depends on how long you take to approve your proofs, so the longer you take to decide, the longer you’ll wait for the completed prject. If you plan on having a custom invitation design done, you should start your invitation planning at least 6 months before the wedding; this way you’ll have plenty of time to work with the stationer to create a custom design. Custom designed stationery has a turnaround time of two to three months, so make sure you start working with a stationer early.

You should plan to receive your invitations at least a month before the date you intend to send them out; this gives you time to make any corrections or have anything reprinted. This is also the time to select your table stationery, programs and thank-you card designs. This way, you have everything picked out ahead of time;. When it comes time for these things to go into production, all you have to do is submit your text, check your proofs and voila… you’re ready to go.

2. When to Send?

Invitations should be mailed about 6 – 8 weeks before your wedding. For destination weddings, send save the date cards about 4-6 months ahead to give your guests time to make travel plans. Then, about 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding just like a traditional wedding, you’ll send out wedding invitations to every guest who received a save the date, even if they mentioned they cannot attend. Anything can happen during those months, so allow your guests to make the final decision with the traditional reply card.

blank invitations


3. Order Thank-You Cards When You Get Your Invitations.

Most stationers will, of course, deliver all ordered goods to you at one time, but if that’s not the case with your designer, ask to have the thank-you cards delivered with the invitations. Why? Once the invitations are sent, and as soon as you announce your engagement, gifts may begin arriving. I recommend having those thank-you cards ready so that as each gift comes in, you can go ahead and open the gift, write your thank you note, mailing it to let your guest know their gift was received and appreciated.

bridal shower invitations


4. Response Date

Request RSVP cards 3-4 weeks before the wedding date. This gives you time to get the final head counts for dinner and seating to your venue/caterer . You’ll also need this information to give to your stationer for your programs, escort cards and place cards or for a seating poster. This is not a hard-and-fast rule; in fact, any time between the date you expect your guests to receive your invitation and the month before the wedding is a fair time to ask for the RSVPs to come back. You may even want to ask for it back earlier if you know you have procrastinating guests.  If you don’t hear from your guests by the RSVP date, it is perfectly fine to call and ask if they will be attending. Don’t stress yourself out about it. If you’ve called and the guest has still not committed, you’ll still need to be prepared for them to attend. A good host will be ready for unexpected guests. So speak to your caterer or banquet manager to make sure they have additional seating and dinners planned – just in case.

Use this handy 4-step guide, and getting your invitations out on time will be a snap!

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