Wondering when on earth to start thinking about wedding invitations? There’s a whole slew of steps involved in finding, ordering, and sending the perfect invites, so we’ve mapped out every part of the process right here. You’re welcome!
Find inspiration – 6+ months before the wedding
Invitations should NOT be your first wedding planning priority (you have a venue to find and a caterer to hire!), but start browsing the web for styles you love. You never know if an invitation suite could inspire your whole wedding style!
Meet with stationers or order a sample kit – 4 – 6 months before the wedding
Just like you’d “interview” other wedding vendors, you’ll want to get a feel for invitation options before committing. If you’re hiring a local independent designer, meet with them in person to review some of their past work and discuss what you’re imagining. Opting for an online stationery resource like Wedding Paper Divas or Minted? Request a sample kit to see (and feel!) paper types, colors and more.
Pro tip: You might want to think about other wedding day stationery, like menu cards and programs, before this — especially if you want all your stationery to coordinate.
Order the invitations – 3 to 5 months before the wedding
Printing and shipping take time, so the sooner you place the order, the better. Plus, ordering earlier means you’ll have time to see proofs and make changes (without any time crunch). Ordering the invitations includes deciding what they’ll say, so remember that you’ll have to have your venue, menu, accommodations, and timeline finalized first. If the stationer is handling your envelopes, too, you’ll need a guest list ready.
Address the envelopes and assemble the pieces – 2 to 3 months before the wedding
If you’re hiring a calligrapher to address the envelopes, they’ll likely want around two weeks to do the job (but it depends on your guest list and the specific artist, so ask ahead of time!). No calligrapher? Whether you’re printing or hand-writing addresses, it’s still helpful to give yourself two weeks in case of any mistakes.
While putting all the pieces of your invitations into envelopes isn’t really hard it definitely is time-consuming! We’d recommend having a little party with your family or wedding party to expedite the process. (Just keep the snacks and drinks away from the freshly printed stationery!)
Send the invitations – 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding
You might have already sent a save-the-date to get your wedding on guests’ schedules, but sending invitations between one and two months before the wedding gives them plenty of time to plan. After all, they might need to make travel arrangements or find a babysitter.
Ask for RSVPs – At least 2 to 3 weeks before the wedding
A final headcount is key for the caterer, and they’ll probably want your total tally a week before the wedding. A few extra weeks out gives you time to call non-responders and ask if they’ll be attending. Plus, you’ll need some time to plan the final seating chart.
Of course, you’ll want to adjust these guidelines for your particular wedding. For example, you might want to send invitations a little earlier for a destination wedding. Or, if you’re having a super intimate wedding, you might be able to get away with pushing the RSVP date back a bit. But this starting point should point you in the right direction!