I get a lot of questions from brides and grooms about when they should order and mail out their invitations. For anyone planning a wedding and curious about invitation logistics, here’s what I suggest:
Save-the-dates are a GREAT idea! They set the tone for your wedding and start building excitement. If you are sending save-the-dates, order them as soon as you have your venue booked, and send them as soon as they’re done, so that your guests will mark your wedding date on their calendar.
Wedding Invitations – Mailing
Ideally, the invitations themselves are sent out so that they’ll arrive 6-8 weeks before the wedding. If your guests will be traveling, stick with 8 weeks to allow them several weeks to make travel arrangements and arrange time off from work. However, if you’ve sent save-the-dates 6 weeks is fine.
Ask for an RSVP date 3 weeks before your wedding (assuming you sent your invitations on time!) or at minimum 2 weeks before the wedding.
Wedding Invitations – Ordering
This is a little trickier, because in reality the turnaround time for invitations from order to completion can vary a great deal, depending on where you get your invitations, how large the order is and how complex the design is. If you’re ordering 50 simple cards plus RSVP cards it may take as little as a week or less. On the other hand, if you’re ordering a couture set of 250 invitation suites with multiple pieces, and each piece requires custom design hand assembly, your invitations could take as long as 4 months.
The general rule of thumb is AS MUCH IN ADVANCE AS POSSIBLE! The ideal time to order your invitations is as soon as you have your venue booked, and you have an idea of your wedding style, theme and budget. You really can’t order them too much in advance. Plus keep in mind that if there’s an artist/designer whose work you just love, they may get booked up well in advance. Better to place your order sooner, rather than risk losing out to other early birds!
Wedding Invitations – Addressing
NOTE: although calligraphy is certainly not required, I DO strongly recommend that your invitations be addressed BY HAND. Why? Think about it: how many pieces of mail do you get every day? Most are, of course, addressed by a machine. Don’t you take more notice when someone has taken the time to write your name and address out with a pen? Don’t you want your guests to feel that they were worth your time? Even if a font is fancy and elegant, it’s still made by a machine. Personally, I’d rather know that someone cared enough to hand write my name and address. And whatever you do, unless the theme of your wedding is “Office Supplies”I strongly advise AGAINST using computer labels, which will just make your beautiful invitations look cheap.
Be sure to allow plenty of time to address your invitations.
If you’re hiring a calligrapher, check with her to find out how far in advance she’ll need them. (And be sure to talk with several and compare their lettering samples, as quality varies widely! Although I rarely have time anymore to hand-address envelopes in calligraphy myself, I know some of the best calligraphers in the area, so if you work with me and you want your addressed calligraphed, you can be assured of the highest quality work.)
If you’re addressing your invitations yourself, keep in mind that writing by hand takes TIME, and the more invitations you’re sending out, the longer it will take you. I recommend addressing a certain number of invitations every day, rather than trying to do it all at once, especially if yours is a big order. If you’ll be doing the addressing alone, allow anywhere from a week (for, say, 50 invitations, which would be 7-8 every day), to a month (for, say, 250 invitations, which would be 8-9 every day). If you have friends or family helping, you might plan an addressing party, with refreshments, music and coffee-talk.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and questions. Just send an email and I’ll reply as soon as I can. 🙂
Interested in custom wedding invitations? I offer a line of predesigned, customizable fine art wedding invitations, designed to coordinate with my ketubah prints and wedding artwork, and I also create couture wedding invitations in all styles, from the sleek and elegant to the wacky and over-the-top. If you can dream it, I can make it. Call my studio at 650-938-3939 or 866-538-8268 to set up a consultation.
And while my website is still down, please visit my Wedding Wire storefront to see more examples of my work.