Hey there engaged friend! So your now-fiance (eek!) put a ring on it, you've started picking out colors and have a date set. Well first off... CONGRATULATIONS! The planning process can be a lot at times so at the end of the day, remember what the most important part of all of it is: you are going to be sharing your life with the person you love.
So now what? It's time to get your wedding stationery needs in order! It might seem silly for you to think about wedding stationery at this point since you've got bigger things to take care of, but it can be pretty time sensitive if pushed off too far, and the invitation suite really is the first thing that guests see and sets their expectation for what's to come! (Insert your eye rolls here) I get it. That's what everyone says, I see and hear it all the time... "All people do is throw it away", or "It's just like every other invitation". Well guess what? It doesn't need to be! What separates all of those other weddings and invitations from yours is, well, you! It's not a requirement to do what's "trendy" at the moment or feel like you need to do something because everyone else is doing it. You and your fiance have your own unique story, your own personality as a couple and individually... Let that shine on paper!
Now that I'm hopping off my soapbox and have you thinking about your wedding stationery, these general guidelines will keep you on task when working with a wedding stationer.
9 TO 12 MONTHS
RESEARCH WEDDING STATIONERS AND CALLIGRAPHERS YOU LOVE. When doing your research, some things to look out for are whether you vibe well with not only the stationer's style, but also their personality. Check out their Instagram, blog, check out their recent work and see what they have to say. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give when hiring a wedding stationer (or any vendor for that matter), is to make sure you TRUST them. Trusting your vendors is huge, because you will be comfortable in the process knowing that they will always have your best interest in mind. It is super important to me as well, as a designer, to know that my client knows my aesthetic and trusts that I will do my very best for them. This is why I offer complimentary stationery consultations for couples that are thinking of working with me. We both get to know each other on the call, so it makes making the hiring decision (on both ends!) that much easier. Also, start thinking of wording for your Save-the-Dates so it's ready for whoever you hire.
7 TO 9 MONTHS
MAIL OUT SAVE-THE-DATES. It's important for guests to have enough time to prepare for travel, babysitting, and accommodations, especially if you are having a destination wedding. For destination weddings, I'd recommend closer to 9 months to be safe. I do want to note (and some may disagree)... you don't have to send out save-the-dates, so if you missed the boat on the timeframe for these don't worry! Just make sure to send out your invitations a little earlier.
5 TO 7 MONTHS
HIRE YOUR STATIONERY DESIGNER. Once you've found a stationery designer you like and trust, start working with them to design the perfect suite that speaks to you and your fiance's love story. Everyone says the same thing, "invitations set the tone for your wedding".... it's because it's true! Decide how you want your love story told on paper and throughout your wedding.
3 TO 4 MONTHS
FINALIZE YOUR GUEST LIST. Make sure to give your wedding stationery designer or calligrapher your final guest list as early as you can so there is time to calligraph your guests envelopes. Nothing is more of a wow-factor than beautifully addressed envelopes before opening the one-of-a-kind suite designed just for you. Now (or even earlier) is also a good time to chat with your designer about day-of goods such as menus, programs, signage and any other details you may want for your wedding day. Together you can hash out some ideas of what you'd like and how much time it will take to produce the detail items.
8 TO 10 WEEKS
MAIL OUT YOUR INVITATIONS. If you are the one that will be assembling and mailing these out, make sure to allow for extra time. You can always ask your wedding stationery designer to take care of this for you during the design process! I always prefer to send these out at the 10 weeks before mark, so that even if you have to chase down RSVP stragglers (it will always happen), you will still be on the ball in terms of your timeline.
4 TO 6 WEEKS
ORGANIZE YOUR RSVP'S. Your RSVP's should be coming in around this time. Make sure to hunt down any stragglers so you can get final numbers to your vendors, start laying out your seating chart or any additional day-of detail that require a final guest count. Get your calligrapher the final list for these detail items as soon as you can, especially if you have a large wedding.
2 TO 4 WEEKS
TOUCH BASE WITH YOUR CALLIGRAPHER or designer and coordinate the delivery of your day-of pieces and signage for your wedding day.
1 TO 3 MONTHS AFTER
SEND YOUR THANK-YOU NOTES. Oh hey newlyweds, it's time to send those thank you notes for all the wonderful gifts you received! If you want custom thank you notes that match your wedding stationery, make sure to chat with your stationery designer beforehand (ideally during the suite design process).
Have any questions for me or interested in hiring a wedding stationery designer? I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to contact me with anything you'd like to know! I'd be more than happy to help in any way I can.
P.S. This timeline is based off of my experience and workflow, and might differ from another stationer's timeline. If you had a specific stationer in mind, shoot them a question about their particular timeline! I'm sure they'd be happy to dish their details.