Invitation & Wedding Stationery Timeline -- for your convenience!
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.)
Start looking for your invitations and work on the wording. Be sure to include accommodations information for out of town guests and reception information, preferably on a separate card. Your preferred stationer can probably help with things like this, or check out sites like the knot.com that have suggestions for wording your invites.
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, depending on the company you go with. (This is 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 2-4 weeks for addressing. Make sure you thoroughly read their guidelines and policies to avoid any miscommunications (and avoid having to redo your list!).
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. As we mentioned a couple weeks ago, don’t forget to stamp your reply envelopes!
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; you can send a thank you as soon as you receive a gift, even if it’s before the wedding).