The MoBster Diaries

Friday, July 8, 2011

Save-the-date and Invitation Timelines

Tick-tock-tick-tock. You've nailed your wedding date and booked your venues, caterers, and florists. And how's that guest list coming along, hm? Well, whether or not you've made a final decision about adding your mother's best friend's brother and wife to the list, it's not too soon to get to work on the paperwork.

A couple of events to super-Sharpie onto your wedding timeline are mailing dates for your save-the-dates and invitations. Let's start with what has to come first: the notification that you are getting married and the date of the wedding.

Save-the-dates are a relatively new idea for most weddings. Seems to me they've shown up within the past ten years. Now they're seen as indispensable, especially if most of your guests will be coming from out-of-town and/or you're having a destination wedding. Folks' calendars get filled up pretty quickly these days for all sorts of reasons, so a formal heads-up is a great idea.

So. Look at your wedding calendar. Count back 6-8 months from your wedding date. Yep. That's when your save-the-dates should be in the mail. Don't have 6-8 months? I'd recommending sending out save-the-dates as late as 4 months out. Any notice will be appreciated by your guests. Just don't send the save-the-dates out the week before your invitations. Yeah, that's cutting it a bit fine, plus why spend the cash at that point?

Now. Wedding invitations. Rule of thumb is 6-8 weeks before the wedding. Mailing them too soon might cause them to be filed away and forgotten; mailing them too late - especially if you haven't sent a save-the-date - might result in too many RSVP "regrets."

Remember that for both save-the-dates and wedding invitations, you'll have to factor in the printing and shipping time of your invitations from your favorite stationery source. Sometimes it can take up to two months for all that engraving and fancy scroll work, so be prepared.

Of course you already know that wedding invitations should be hand-addressed, whether you choose a friend, a calligrapher, or a hand-addressing service like Elegant Scribbles. The addressing, assembling, sealing, and stamping time must be considered as well.

Bottom line: don't leave the save-the-dates and invitations until a couple of months out from your wedding date. Once you have a date and venue, go ahead and get your wedding stationery (save-the-dates, invitations, place cards/escort cards) ordered. Finalize the list, buy the stamps (for both response cards and complete invitation), and feel free to turn the addressing over to someone else.

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