Couples planning a wedding often become so preoccupied with the bridal entourage, the reception, wedding outfits, music, pastor and honeymoon details until they realise, often too late, that the wedding invitations should be given as much attention as the other decisions. It is not just a question of going to the stationery store and signing a purchase order. A myriad of details go into wedding invitations, so you should allot the necessary time and effort for them to avoid snags and undue stress.

Designing a Wedding Invitation Plan

To assist you with your wedding invitations, let these scheduling tips and checklists guide you. The following is a wedding invitation plan that is split into four important stages:

  • Deciding the preliminaries
  • Ordering
  • Preparing
  • Mailing

This is only a guide and is based on the assumption that you have six months before your wedding date. There is a considerable degree of flexibility, and a lot depends on your circumstances, and how much time you have before the big day. You and your future spouse, along with family members, may want to help out, relieving you of the pressure of doing this task on your own.

Deciding the Preliminaries

Time frame: Six months before the wedding

  • The first question to settle is: should you order save-the-date cards? Save-the-date cards are useful for weddings that are scheduled during holiday periods when people usually make travel plans. If your wedding falls around Christmas, New Year, Easter, or during the summer months, you may want to consider sending save-the-date cards six months before the wedding so that you give people enough time to adjust their travel and vacation plans.
  • After you have announced your engagement, sit down with your future spouse, his parents, and your parents, to create a tentative list of people to invite. This tentative list gives you a good idea of how many wedding invitations to order.
  • Create a document that is going to contain these details: date and time of the ceremony, name and address of ceremony’s location, name and address of the reception hall, correct spellings of invitees’ names and updated addresses. It would be a shame and a waste of money if fifty invitations were “returned to sender” because of an incorrect address. You or a family member should call each invitee to verify house numbers, street names and post codes.

Time Frame: Five months before the wedding

  • Review lists and the details in the document, and make any changes if necessary.
  • Finalise invitee list.
  • Divide the invitee list into out-of-town guests and local guests. You may need to send out invitations earlier to out-of-town guests.

Ordering the Wedding Invitations

Time Frame: Four months before the wedding

  • Decide on these details: response cards, wording, map and directions sheet, monograms, motifs, ribbons, font, ink colour, seals and envelope liners.
  • Ask three different suppliers for quotes. Then compare them with respect to discount, customer service, delivery, guarantees, efficiency and payment options.
  • Decide if the supplier you have chosen will also do the thank you cards, place cards, menus, personalised napkins, and rehearsal dinner invitations.
  • Ask the supplier for a sample invitation so you can proofread it, making sure that all specifications were followed correctly and then finalize your order. Order 50 extra invitations in case of mistakes and last minute additions to the guest list. You may want to keep a few as souvenirs as well.
  • Take a sample of your wedding invitation to the post office and have it weighed. You may need to set aside a budget for postage. Remember that the fancier and heavier your invitation, the more postage money you are going to spend.

Preparing the Wedding Invitations

Time frame: Three months before the wedding

  • Assemble all invitations (your supplier should deliver them flat and unassembled, unless you request them to put the invitations together for an additional fee). Do not forget to insert the map and directions sheet.
  • Address them. Begin with the out-of-town guests. You can choose a calligraphy artist or you can address them in your own handwriting.
  • Do a final check. Make sure all envelopes contain the RSVP card, map and directions, seals, ribbons and other enclosures.

Mailing the Invitations

Time frame: Two months before the wedding

Some people say four to six weeks is ample time, but you should leave at least eight weeks. This allows you to give those who live out-of-town the opportunity to make changes in their personal schedules. This also give you time to sort out the RSVP cards which, unfortunately, some people forget or delay mailing back. You need to tell the caterer how many people are going to be attending. Eight weeks should be a comfortable time frame for ensuring that you have the final and correct number of guests. Some people mail their invitations even as early as 10 weeks before the wedding date.

About the Author

Rachel Jackson is a freelance writer who writes about weddings and other family events. Ms. Jackson often writes about specific aspects of a weeding such as the wedding invitations.

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