Guide to Wedding Stationery Timelines

Updated: Jun 22

One of the first and most common questions couples have during our initial meeting is, “How early do we need to get started? How long does the process take?” The answer depends on who is designing and supplying your paper goods. Each designer has a different process, so this blog post is about my own timeline preferences and what couples can expect when working with me on their wedding stationery.

Generally speaking, there are some etiquette “do’s and don’ts” when it comes to inviting guests to your wedding. For example, if you have sent a Save the Date card to your guests prior to the formal invitation, you can expect a response from them more quickly than if you have not sent a Save the Date. Stationery professionals are well versed in the rules (and when it’s okay to break them!)

9-12 Months Out

This is the time to send Save the Dates to your guests! This is an optional step, but Save the Dates are helpful guests who will be traveling for your wedding. If you are having a destination wedding or your date is on a holiday weekend, it’s best to send out Save the Dates as soon as your have your date, venue, and guest list solidified in order to allow guests optimal planning time!

6-8 Months Out

6-8 months before the wedding is time to design your stationery. This gives ample time to decide what design features will coordinate best with your wedding theme and best tell your love story. It also gives me time to spend perfecting your custom artwork! If you choose any custom artwork like watercolor features, illustrations, or crests/monograms, it’s best to begin closer to the 8-month mark. If you’re going for a more simplistic, minimal design then 6 months will do just fine.

It usually takes a few rounds of back-and-forth tweaking the design and verifying all the details. After finalizing the finished design, we will work together to order your stationery for print. Each suite typically contains an invitation, detail card, and RSVP card With envelopes to coordinate. Optional additions include a venue map, envelope liners, or photo of the couple! There is a lot of room for creativity in these added details. All stationery will be shipped directly to me so I can double-check for quality and quantities. At this point if you have chosen envelope addressing, postage application, or any finishing details (think wax seals, belly bands, ribbons, etc.) I’ll assemble your suites with all the beautiful finishing touches. Don’t forget to order a few extra for keepsakes, for your photographer, and just in case of postal mishaps!

6-9 Weeks Out

Now your invitation suites can be sent out to guests. Don’t forget to include postage for both the invitation suite and the return envelope in your stationery budget! Be sure to double check all names and addresses to avoid mailing issues.

3-4 Weeks Out

Set your RSVP deadline to 3-4 weeks out. Some couples choose to set this date even a couple weeks earlier, but I recommend no more than 4 weeks in order to minimize last-minute changes. 3-4 weeks out is enough time to give your vendors a final headcount and to create your seating plan!

At this point, we can also finalize any day-of paper goods and signage. There are lots of options here, like seating charts, programs, menus, place or escort cards, table numbers, welcome and ceremony signage, etc.

6 Weeks After

The big day is finished and you and your new spouse are getting settled into married life. It’s time to send thanks to everyone who was there to celebrate your love! Most of the couples I have worked with love to incorporate a wedding photo into their thank-you cards. You can choose between a printed message that every guest receives, or a blank inside so you can write a custom message for each one of your guests. Your loved ones will receive this and smile, remembering what a beautiful day it was!


There are so many decisions to make when it comes to your wedding stationery. A professional stationer is always going to give you the best experience and least stress because they know the ins and outs of the whole process! Additionally, you get a completely custom design that you won’t be able to find anywhere at the big box stationery stores, one tailored perfectly to tell your love story and invite your loved ones into your big day. Whether you choose a custom stationer or find a design you love at a big box store, I hope this timeline guide is helpful to you and your honey. Save the photo here for quick reference!

Happy planning!