Stationery 101

Wedding invitation timing tips to

save your sanity

(you can thank us later)

Story time: I mailed my personal wedding invitations 5 weeks before the big day. FIVE WEEKS! If you’ve done any research at all, you know that the recommended time for sending your invitations is at the very least 6-8 weeks ahead of the date. I was in such a tailspin from trying to plan and execute everything myself that I messed up the one thing I was actually qualified to handle.  *I also ended up having a panic attack the day before the wedding when I was supposed to be delivering linens to the reception venue, but I was stuck at home folding ceremony programs instead. But that’s a story for another day.*

All that to say, take it from me as someone who DIYed her wedding based on a checklist in Southern Bride Magazine that I carried around in my purse for months, and start a little earlier than you think you should. Because planning a wedding on top of everything else you already have going on in your life – work, relationships, maybe even buying and furnishing your first home – is a lot and the tasks add up at the last minute. That’s why we made this  guide – to make sure you don’t lose your sanity by putting off your invitation deadlines until the last minute! 

Now, speaking of deadlines, let’s circle back to the 6-8-weeks-before-the-wedding invitation mailing date that most people already know about. That’s a good fact to know in the grand scheme of things, but what you realllllly should know is when to start based on that deadline. And, honestly, the answer may surprise you. Here it is:

You should start thinking about your invitations 6 months ahead of the wedding date.  That’s the sweet spot to ensure that you get everything you want. Custom design, specialty printing, and added embellishments require significantly more time to produce, not to mention that stationers and calligraphers book up very fast during peak wedding times each year.  

To make things easy on ya, we created a little cheat sheet for you to determine what month you should book your stationer based on your wedding date. 

Now we know that 6 months before the wedding is the ideal date to procure your stationer. But before you do that, you should also have the following things:

1. Your color palette and wedding vibe so you can start researching the kind of invitations you want. We love using Pinterest for this since it’s a visual search engine. You can get a lot of great results if you type in long tail phrases like “pink modern fairytale wedding invitations” or “boho sunset western save the dates” or “timeless black tie letterpress invitations”. You get the point.

2. Your fairly solid guest list. You don’t have to have an exact number, but your price will be based on your quantity of invitations (remember, you need households, not heads, when you’re thinking about invitations since not every single person needs an invite) so you want to get pretty close. 

3. Your printing method of choice. You don’t have to know the ins and outs of each method, but if you know for certain that you want letterpress, for example, it’s a good thing to mention when you reach out. 

4. The pieces you want included in your suite. Another thing that your stationer can help you with, but if you already know for sure that you need a details card, a reception card, and you can’t live without all the bells and whistles (link to embellishments post), it’s good to mention up front.

That’s it! When you’re ready, you can officially inquire here! (link to form). After you’re booked, that’s when you can finally take a deep breath and bask in the fact that your invitations will NOT be the reason you lose any sleep during wedding planning. 

If you choose to go the DIY route, here are the important dates you should put on your calendar.

  • 4-6 months before: send Save the Dates (6-8 months if it’s a destination wedding or lots of your guests are traveling to you).
  • 6-8 weeks before: send invitations (8-10 weeks if it’s a destination wedding or lots of your guests are traveling to you).
  • 4-6 weeks before: send Rehearsal Dinner invitations.
  • 2-3 weeks before: start assembling any day-of items you have like programs, place cards, etc so you’re not waiting until the last minute! 
  • 2-3 months after: send Thank You Notes 


Experience the Anna Howe Design difference

If you feel overwhelmed by the task of wedding invitations, we have good news: we’re here to help! With so much already on your plate in the wedding planning process, we exist to take the stress of design, timeline, etiquette, and production of your save the dates, invitations, and day-of paper goods off the table. AHD clients get one-on-one access to a designer to hold your hand through every step of the process as well as unlimited proofs until every single detail is perfect! If this sounds like something you’d be into, we’d love to hear from you! Fill out the form here to get started today!

Ready to work together on your  dream invitations?

The first step is to fill out the inquiry form. You’ll get a no-strings-attached estimate back within 3 business days!

Hey, I’m Anna!

I’m a wedding stationer with a passion for all things crafty. Whether you’re a bride looking for info on invitations or a mom looking for crafts for your kids (or let’s be real here, for yourself), I’m glad you’re here! Check out all the other ways to follow along below.

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