So it’s not every day that you send out fancy snail mail and have personalized menus printed for 200 of your closest family and friends. Side note, isn’t crazy how many people you actually know?!?! I had no idea until my husband and I started gathering our guest list. Anyway, today I’m going to walk you through our stationery timeline so you don’t miss a beat.
Wedding Countdown: 1 Year!
Congrats, you’re engaged and you picked your date. Now, it’s time to start thinking about save the dates. Save the dates typically go in the mail 6–8 months before the wedding. Why not send them sooner you ask? In my experience, guests tend to disregard things that are a year or more in the future. While to you, the date may seem like it’s quickly approaching, your guests probably don’t feel all that same pressure. Also, try to avoid sending save the dates in the height of the holiday season (mid November to early January). Your pretty little card is likely to get mixed up in the whirlwind of family photo cards and new year’s wishes.
There is one exception to my 6–8 month rule. If you’re planning a destination wedding (especially one that requires a passport), your guests will need extra time to make plans. Feel free to send them up to a year in advance.
Save the dates typically take 4–6 weeks to design and print (although we’ve been known to turn them around sooner). Plan to meet (in the studio or via video conference) with us about two months before you plan to send them out.
A few things to think about before your save the date appointment:
• How many cards do you need (keeping in mind one per couple)?
• Do you want to include an engagement photo? If so, email us a high resolution photograph. If you can’t decide, send a few of them and we’ll help you narrow it down.
• Do you want to include a wedding website? If so, start creating one now so you have the url ready to go. Most of our couples use AppyCouple, The Knot or WeddingWoo. All of these options allow you to use a short and sweet custom domain name. We 100% recommend this because it’s SO much easier for your guests to remember and it’s SO much prettier in letterpress ?
Wedding Countdown: 6–8 months!
By now you’ve probably booked most of your vendors (caterer, photographer, florist) and are hitting that weird, unnervingly quite wedding planning lull. Well, in good news, now is the perfect time to chat with Fat Cat about your wedding invitations. Wedding invitations generally take 6–8 weeks to design and print. Some couples like to browse and order their invitations in one appointment, others like to split the process up into two appointments. However you work best is fine with us.
Ideally, you want to have them in your hands a few weeks before mailing, giving you plenty of time to purchase stamps and stuff the envelopes. You may be inclined to host a stamping and stuffing party with your bridemaids but keep in mind that wine and paper don’t mix. Feel free to indulge in a cocktail AFTER the invitations are safelty stamped and sealed.
Wedding Countdown: 2 months!
Now it’s time to put your invitations in the mail. It may tempting to send them out sooner BUT we’ve found that if your guests receive an invitation too early, they’re likely to forget to respond. For instance, let’s say your wedding is in November and your guests receive the invitation in July. A late fall wedding seems lightyears away when wearing flip flops on a 90 degree day. Your guests are likely traveling for summer vacations and planning family barbecues. Not to mention, those with kids will be preoccupied with back to school shopping before they have time to get excited about your November wedding. Do yourself a favor and wait to mail them until September (unless you’re planning a destination wedding of course).
Wedding Countdown: 6 weeks to go!
The wedding planning lull we talked about earlier is a thing of the past. You’re in the homestretch and there are lots of little details that need your attention, including your day-of stationery (menus, seating cards, programs, favor tags, etc.).
If you haven’t already spoken to us about your day-of paper, now is the time to act! Again, we’ve been know to turn into wizards and produce 200 menus in 48 hours, but we try to avoid that when possible. Giving us at least 6 weeks to design and print your day of stationery will allow you to take advantage of a wide array of paper and print options (and will help you avoid rush fees).
Worried about those REALLY last minute details (like your seating chart)? Rest assured, that’s not a problem at all here. We like to put you on our schedule 4–6 weeks before the wedding so we can print your seating cards or chart about 2 weeks before the wedding. If you have your heart set on hand calligraphy (swoon), give us a call and we’ll create a timeline with you.
So keep all this in mind when when you undoubtedly find yourself browsing bridal forums at 2am. They’ll quickly have you convinced you’re six months behind on everything ?
ps: Photos are from the lovely Becka Pillmore Photography.