The first thing you should decide is what kind of wedding you want. What colors do you like? What style of wedding will it be? Formal or casual? What kind of budget will you have?
You should decide how much you want to spend per invitation. A very simple invitation, envelope and RSVP postcard could cost about $3.50 plus postage when printed digitally. The most complex and fancy invitations can cost as much as $50 each. We create many beautiful, original designs that average around $5.50 per invitation, with multiple enclosure cards and pocket envelopes, and many of our designs go up to $10 to $14 if they have a lot of special touches.
A rule of thumb for wedding stationery is to budget about three percent of your total budget, especially after you have added in the costs of postage, thank you notes, and other details for your reception.
When to Order Wedding Invitations
Between the gown, cake and caterer a lot of decisions go into pulling off a beautiful and meaningful event. Luckily, your wedding invitations can be easy and stress-free. By setting up a timetable and working with a trusted designer, it will be effortless. Knowing when to order wedding invitations isn’t difficult. Start with a calendar reserved for wedding planning, note the date of your ceremony, and work backwards.
Six to 12 Months in Advance
Send save the date cards six to eight months ahead for a stateside ceremony, and up to 12 months in advance for an international destination wedding. It’s okay if you’re running behind this timeframe — just start as soon as you can. Create a plan for your wedding invitations and other ceremony stationery. Do you want to include a map, a formal RSVP card with an envelope or a postcard RSVP? Do you need an accommodation card or an event card? Think about what details you need to communicate so that your guests will have a great experience and bring positive energy to your event.
Before you order your invitations, you need to know:
- How many invitations you need. One goes to a couple or family but if there’s an adult child (over 18) at home, you may wish to send him/her a separate invitation.
- The date, time and location of the ceremony and reception.
- Who is hosting, and how they would like their names to appear.
- Where to send the RSVP’s — whoever is organizing and managing the guest list.
- Your wedding theme or colors. If you want your save the dates to match, this has to be decided on earlier.
- Whether you’ll be providing a map or directions card. If so, you’ll need that information.
- Your budget.
Four to Six Months in Advance
Order all your wedding invitations. It could take three or even four weeks for your invitations to be completed from the date you order them, particularly if you have a custom design or special printing considerations. Rush orders are sometimes possible, but cost more — usually a lot more — so place your order now.
Custom design adds another three to four weeks. If you’re using a calligrapher, book when you place the invitation order because that will add two to three weeks.
Begin organizing the guest list for the calligrapher or the printer if you are having the names printed on a decorative label or on the envelope. Typically, the list needs to be in a Microsoft Word document or in a spreadsheet for the calligrapher and in a spreadsheet for anyone who will be merging the guest list into a printed piece such as a label—triple check the list! Returned mail and reprinting due to misspelled names costs time and money.
Two to Four Months Ahead
All of your out-of-town invitations should be placed in the mail by now. Most people mail all of their invitations at least eight to ten weeks in advance. You can get away with a little bit less lead time for your guests if you’ve already sent them a save the date card. If you’re having a destination wedding and most of your guests will have to travel, mailing the invitations as much as 10 to 12 weeks before is desirable. If your guests need to apply for visas, allow as much as 16 weeks.
You should take an assembled invitation to the post office to be weighed for postage. (We always weigh our invitations and provide you with instructions for postage and mailing.) Any invitations being mailed outside of the United States need to be calculated individually.
One Month Ahead
Now is the time to create and order your wedding programs, favors, signage, banners, escort cards, seating charts, menu cards, table numbers, and all the other little details that can make your event feel truly personal and unique. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to orrder your thank you notes, too.