After scouring the web I have discovered that as of the time of this post, there is no real wedding stationery timeline worksheet. I still can't believe no one has put this together yet! There are posts like you should order your invitations this many months ahead, blah, blah, but none that really dive into it all and make it easy to figure out.
First off, let me get this disclaimer out of the way: This timeline is suggested only, is based upon my professional opinion and working with EAlexDesigns. Special requests, printing processes and assembly parameters may result in additional time. It is always best to order your invitation suite as soon as possible to guarantee you have them in plenty of time.
Okay, now that that's done.
When determining your wedding invitation timeline it is easiest to start at your wedding day and work your way backwards. You can download my worksheet here, it's pretty self explanatory, as a backup I'm going to show you one in this post to hopefully answer any questions you may have.
Find your Wedding Invitation Response Date
The first box is simple, so long as you have picked your wedding date! For the sake of this exercise we will say you're getting married on December 16. Congratulations!!
This part could take a little time to track down. You're going to want to go through the contracts for your vendors. Not necessarily all of them, just the ones who require a headcount from you. Admittedly the stationer is probably the one who is furthest out, this is because we need to know the names of everyone attending and table numbers in order to create your escort/place cards.
Once you've found them all you'll want to take your wedding date and subtract the number of weeks the furthest out vendor needs.
December 16 - 3 weeks = November 25
Unanswered Responses Date
Many, many years ago not responding to a wedding or event was incredibly frowned upon. These days with so much to do and so many distractions people forget to send back their response cards. How long do you want to have to track down the missing rsvps? Typically one to two weeks. Think about who you’re inviting, are there a lot of guests? Do you know a lot of them are procrastinators? Do you suspect you’ll be tracking down quite a few and need to lean on family members to help you get responses from long lost family? Then you’ll want to go with two or more weeks. For the sake of our example, let’s say you’re having a small wedding and you’re close with everyone, you’ll only need one week.
Take the vendor date and subtract that many weeks to get your response date.
November 25 - one week = November 18.
Find your Wedding Invitation Mailing Date
What day do you have to have them in the mail by? This one can be difficult to determine, there's no real right or wrong. Take into account the location of your wedding, will they need to find lodging? Is there a deadline on the room block? Did you send save the dates? Will people have to make special arrangements such as taking off work or getting a babysitter? Think about your guests and then decide. The standard for a normal, in town wedding is one month.
It has been suggested you mail them toward the end of the week or over the weekend. This gets your invitations to them at the beginning of the week, making it more likely they will have a timely response. Receiving them at the end of the week isn't a big deal, it's just when people are busy giving them less of a chance at mailing it back right away.
We are going to use the standard one month, subtract that from your response date to get your mailing date.
November 18 - 4 weeks = October 21.
Find your Wedding Invitation In Hand Date
Your in hand date is the date you want to physically have your invitations in your possession. How much time will you need to get your invitations ready for mailing after they arrive? Remember you will be busy planning your wedding and your normal activities. Make sure to give yourself enough time!
Addressing & Assembly by EAlexDesigns
If you're having me address and assemble all of your invitations then you'll only need to think about how long it will take you to seal them and put on the stamps. My suggestion is one to two weeks.
Addressing only by EAlexDesigns
If you're having me address your invitations I will take care of printing or putting on your address wraps for you. That still leaves you in charge of assembling them and stuffing them in your envelopes. How labor intensive do you expect that to be? Do you have belly bands to put on? Ribbon to wrap around them? Any other embellishments to attach? My suggestion is two to three weeks.
For DIYing, I'll send everything you purchase as is. Addressing and assembly will be completely up to you, how long do you think that will take? My suggestion is to give yourself no less than 4 weeks.
For this worksheet we are going to say you are having me address them and you're doing the assembly, you think you can finish them up in two weeks. Take your mailing date and subtract two weeks (or however many you came up with) to get your in hand date.
October 21 - 2 weeks = October 7
Find your Wedding Invitation Order Date
Ordering from The Collection
If you're ordering from one of my predesigned suites in my Collection then I suggest two weeks of production and one week of shipping. Production time can fluctuate on your availability. Do you answer emails quickly? Make fast decisions? If so that timing should be fine. If you aren't always fast to check your email then you may want to consider adding more time here. Here we will figure three weeks.
Requesting a Custom Suite
If you're having me design a custom suite for you then you'll want to add in more time. Take the Collection date you got above and add a minimum of eight weeks, for a total of eleven weeks.
Addressing by EAlexDesigns
I will print/stamp the addresses on your invitation and response envelopes. Or, I will print and attach your address wraps to your invitation and response envelopes. Either way the production time is two weeks.
Assembly by EAlexDesigns
I will put together your invitation suites according to your choices and stuff them in the invitation envelope. The production time is two weeks.
Things happen, your package could get damaged in transit. You could be really busy at work and unable to work on sealing your envelopes. The post office could be out of stamps (believe it or not that has happened to me!) I suggest a minimum of two weeks, four weeks is optimal, but add as much time as you can afford to add. Let's go with optimal, four weeks.
To find your order date take your in hand date and subtract all of the options you will be utilizing and the safety net from it. Let's assume you are ordering from the Collection and you're doing the assembly but not the addressing.
October 7 - (3 weeks + 2 weeks + 4 weeks) = August 19
So that's it, you need to order your invitations by my husbands birthday! Again, I feel I should say: This timeline is suggested only, is based upon my professional opinion and working with EAlexDesigns. Special requests, printing processes and assembly parameters may result in additional time. It is always best to order your invitation suite as soon as possible to guarantee you have them in plenty of time.
If you have any questions about production times for different things feel free to comment and ask them below. For now, download your worksheet and find out what your wedding invitation suite timeline is!
Blogging isn't a constant thing for me, but hopefully someone will get some use out of the things I say, no matter how far in between.