It’s hard to believe we are into March already and while it still looks and feels a lot like winter, I’m beginning to really think ahead to spring. A new month means a new topic and if you missed January’s Save the Date topics or February’s Printables and Templates topics, you really don’t want to miss March’s topics all about the behind the scenes information for ordering your wedding stationery. Today we are starting off with some basic things you should know before ordering your wedding stationery.
If you are newly engaged or just starting out in the stationery process I highly suggest scrolling down to the bottom of this post to sign up for our my wedding stationery checklist and timeline. It’s super helpful (may clients have told me so) and by signing up for my email list, you also get access to some other super amazing bonuses not available here on the site. Just be sure to come back to the post and finish checking out today’s information as well!
Before you Order your Save the Dates
Believe it or not, I’ve had couples contact me or even place an order immediately after getting engaged only to realize they ordered way too many, way too few or actually had to change their date or venue because they ordered before all the big details were solidified! This can be so costly so below are a few things to make sure you have nailed down BEFORE ordering any stationery.
One of the very first things you need to do as a newly engaged couple is sit down and decide on a guest list. I don’t mean and “A” and “B” list, I mean a solid, accurate list. This list may determine what venues are too big or too small, what you can afford for meals, the overall wedding budget, etc. Having a solid guest still will also give you an accurate number for save the dates and invitations so you can avoid costly mistakes.
This also avoids any embarrassing mistakes like sending save the dates to people you don’t plan to invite. Save the dates are not announcements. They are intended for only the people you plan to invite to your wedding. This gives them a heads up on the date and lets them know that a formal invitation can be expected in the near future.
Church / Venue
Having at least a rough idea of wedding size (number of guests) may help you rule out certain locations for your wedding as being either too small or too big. Solidifying your wedding location is also the determining factor of your wedding date as well. If you are completely set on a certain venue and it’s already booked for the date you want, you either have to change dates or change venues.
I have actually had quite a few couples come back to me to reorder save the dates because they had to change venues or dates simply because they ordered before they had finalized contracts and deposits with their venue.
This should go without saying and is tied into the church or venue but an important one all the same. Is your wedding date on a week day? Does it fall on or close to a holiday weekend, a busy travel or vacation time or is it on a popular sporting event? It may seem silly but considering these things when deciding on sending save the dates may be important.
Before Ordering your Wedding Invitations
Whether you’ve sent save the dates or not, having the information above already puts you in a great place for preparing to order your wedding invitations. You should have a pretty good idea of how many invitations you will need and having your date and venue(s) will help you (or your stationer) begin to get a picture of the pieces you will need. Below are a few more things that will help you.
Know Your Budget
Ok. I know this is a touchy subject but just like you have a budget for your wedding menu, your attire and alcohol, you need to have a realistic idea of what you can spend on your stationery. You know whether where your priorities are and if stationery is just something you know you have to do even if you don’t want to, that is fine. The key is to be real.
The wedding stationery industry has changes drastically over the past 10-15 years. Couples have SO MANY options from hiring a designer to custom design and produce their invitations to a million different DIY options. What ever you decide is right for you is fine, just know what you want and can spend. When you begin to look at invitations then, you’ll be able to quickly rule out options that are not a good fit for you.
What Pieces do You Need
Are you getting married in a church and then holding your reception at a different venue? Are you getting married in the same location as the reception? Are you providing hotel accommodation information with your invitation? Do you need to provide directions or are you including all the details on a wedding website? Do you need to provide meal choices for your guests to select before the wedding date? When does your venue or caterer need to know a final headcount of who will be attending? The answers to these questions will easily help you determine what pieces you will most likely need to include in your wedding invitation suite.
Get and Idea of Style
A quick internet search will return days and days of images to browse of wedding invitations. Just like I’m sure you pinned a million ideas for your wedding decor, attire and style, do the same with your wedding stationery. This will be extremely beneficial to your wedding stationer to have visuals of things that spoke to you. While a professional stationer cannot copy another designer’s work, seeing images can help in capturing a look or feel that words alone may not.
Think about whether you like a simple invitation, one with glitter, a pocket or folder or some kind of unique material. Even if you don’t know all the right terminology, having images helps your stationer guide you throughout the process and ensure that you get exactly what you want. Curious about the terminology? Go check out this great glossary post!
Know Your Timeline vs. Time for Ordering
The biggest issue couples have when ordering their wedding invitations is waiting way too long to order. On average, a custom wedding invitation suite can take 4-6 months from time or order to finished product. This can vary depending on quantity and the specifics of the order but from what I’ve seen of other stationers this is a pretty common estimate.
The worst feeling in the world for me is meeting with a great couple that has all kinds of amazing ideas for their invitations only to find out they need them in two weeks. That means they either have to settle for something less than they dreamed or pay a premium in rush fees.
Of course if you are ordering online or from a catalog, turn around times will be shorter. Printables and templates will also take less time. Just be sure to always know the proper time to mail them out.
That’s it! While some of this may seem obvious, I see couples missing at least one of these things all the time. Wedding stationery, timelines, etiquette and all the terminology continues to be one of the big mysteries out there for couples. There is so much differing and changing information, couples get lost of confused. Wedding planning is hard enough and I truly hope that you have found this helpful.
Want more information on wedding stationery? Sign up below to get my stationery timeline and checklist with additional bonuses included! You can also leave a comment below with any questions or comments or as always you can send an email for more one-on-one Q& A.
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