{Tip} Print Material Timeline

April 3rd, 2013

With the rush of wedding season upon us, I thought it might be useful to share this rough timeline for getting your print materials taken care of for your wedding. If your wedding is this summer, you have hopefully already started on these as your invitations should be going out right about now! But if not, here is some information to help get you on track. If you are having a Fall 2013 wedding, now is a good time to begin your print material process!

Of course we all know weddings often come together in less time than this {my own destination wedding was planned in just six months total!}, so this is just a helpful guideline. We hate having to turn down any order, and unfortunately have had to do so already this season because we simply don’t have time to accommodate all of the “rush” orders that come our way. Planning in advance ensures that you will receive the invitations and addressing that you want no matter where you get them from!


6-8 Months Prior to the Wedding: 
If many of your guests will be traveling for your wedding, you should send out save the dates by about six months out. Some people choose to send save the dates whether guests are traveling or not – it’s up to you!  Now’s a good time to contact your calligrapher to get on his/her schedule in advance. (Keep in mind, many of the best calligraphers do book in advance, so it’s good to plan ahead.)

6 Months:
Start looking for your invitations and work on the wording. Be sure to include accommodation information for out of town guests and reception information, preferably on a separate card. Your stationer can help with with your wording, or check out sites like The Knot that have suggestions for wording your invites.

3-6 Months:
Finalize your invitations and place the order if you haven’t done so already. If you are having custom invitations designed, it can take several weeks for proofing, printing, and delivery. (This can be true even if you aren’t having custom invitations designed…plan ahead, so you don’t have to rush!)

Give your envelopes and address list to your calligrapher. During busy wedding season, it can take 4-6 weeks for addressing. Make sure you thoroughly read their guidelines and policies to avoid any miscommunications (and avoid having to redo your list!).

2-3 Months:
Send out your invitations. Eight weeks in advance is the standard; or even more if you didn’t send out save the dates, but your invites should definitely be dropped in the mail by six weeks out. Be sure you weigh a fully assembled invitation at the post office to get accurate postage. Also, don’t forget to stamp your reply envelopes!

2 Months:
Finalize all other printed materials such as programs, menus, escort and/or place cards and signage (cake displays, drinks at the bar, bride and groom signs). Often, I recommend to my clients to start on this as soon as the invites get dropped in the mail. Even if you don’t have all the details nailed down, it’s a good idea to place the order in advance.

4-5 Weeks Ahead:
Send out your rehearsal dinner and brunch invitations if you are having a brunch the day after the wedding. Many times we’ll have requests from the mother-in-law-to-be to design a card to match the invitations and be included in the invitation set.

2-4 Weeks Ahead: 
You should set your RSVP date for approximately four weeks prior to the wedding date and call guests who have not replied once that date comes and goes. (You’ll be surprised how many people will forget to send in their cards, no matter how early you send out the invites).

Give your calligrapher a finalized set of guests/table numbers for your escort cards, menus, etc. A complete list helps prevent any confusion, but additions are common and should be sent all at once if possible.

After the Wedding:
Send out thank you notes (these should be ordered prior to the wedding). Also, modern etiquette says you can send a thank you as soon as you receive a gift, even if it’s before the wedding! So if you like to stay on top of things…feel free to do this as your gifts come in!


Content originally posted March 2010

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Laura owns LH Calligraphy and is pleased to be a full time calligrapher. She creates and custom designs maps, invitations and envelopes with the traditional feel of calligraphy with a modern twist.

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