Timeline for Wedding Invitations

Ideally, you should hire your wedding stationer at least 10 months before the big day, especially if you want a customized suite.

If you’re having a destination wedding, or if your’re wedding locale is far away for many guests, there’s nothing wrong with sending out save the dates 8 or 9 months before the big day. If it’s nearby for many, you can wait up to 6 months. I’ve heard from wedding planners that more people will likely be able to attend if you send them a save the date because they’ll have time to plan.

Typically, the invitations should be sent out 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding, with 8 weeks being standard for a destination wedding.

If you’re having me or someone else address the outside envelopes with handmade calligraphy, offer that person at least 2 weeks before you need to send them.

I’ll typically need at least 2 weeks to customize the first draft of a design for wedding suites, with one week being standard for revisions.

Accommodations can be made for rush orders, but you’ll likely have to pay a higher fee.

Good luck, and leave a comment if you have any other questions.


Wedding Invitation Budget

When I was planning my own wedding, I budgeted $1,000 for handkerchief invitations and reply cards and envelopes from The Polka Dotted Bee.

I moved from Cortez to Boulder, Colorado, while I was planning. So I had to print new, re-addressed reply cards from The Envelope Please in Boulder.

I included a map insert, which I drew and printed myself on a new inkjet printer.

The printer and all of the above was included in the $1,000 budget. But I ended up having to buy thank you’s separately, after the wedding–not something I recommend.

All in all, the budget for my invitations was small considering the three-day affair totaled about $33,000. My mom, aunt and mother-in-law were exceptionally generous with us and paid for everything except about 1 percent of it.

If you’re gasping at the cost, let me tell you: CNN Money said the average wedding in 2012 was $29,334, with Manhattan weddings at $76,687 and Alaskans spending about $15,000. USA Today quoted a slightly lower number from Brides magazine: $26,989.

The Invitation Blog says people spend about $659 on invitations. Statistics Brain says they cost about $350, including postage. But it’s hard to pin down a number, especially if you’re looking for exceptional design and a variety of media, like maps, menus, escort cards/place cards/seating chart, programs, favors and thank you’s.

Ideally, your budget for an entire suite with all the trappings that I just mentioned should total about 10 percent of the total cost of your wedding.