This is a piece I did recently for Weddingdates.ie, offering some handy tips and advice for planning your wedding invitations.
You’ve spent months planning the perfect wedding day, and now the time has come to actually invite people. Depending on your budget, you may decide to have your invitation suite designed by a stationery company, or you might choose to D.I.Y. As a stationery designer, I have seen all types of couples coming to me for help, from the ones who are super prepared and are ordering their invitations 6 months in advance, to those who tried the D.I.Y. route and failed miserably, and even those who left it til the very last minute to arrange.
If you are thinking of going down the D.I.Y. route, I have to offer a caveat. Many people think that making their invitations themselves will be quicker, cheaper and easier on the whole. Unless you are an artist/graphic designer/crafting expert, or have a friend or family member who will be very generous, this will take time, and money! You need to take into account the time it will take to come up with an idea (this could be hours trawling through Pinterest), searching through websites or art shops to gather materials and then hours upon hours of printing, cutting and sticking. When you are initially gathering materials to try out, you might end up spending an awful lot of money on things you’ll never use. If you are trying to fit in making your invitations around a job, family and other wedding planning duties, you may be too tired to focus on the make-and-do, and end up with a costly mistake – like one bride who printed 200 cards with “Wedding Invation” on the front!
If you choose to go with a stationery designer or printing company, don’t leave this until the last minute. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend people book their invitations at least 4-6 months before the wedding. Work backwards from your wedding date – if you are sending your invites out 8 weeks before the wedding, you will need 2-3 weeks prior to that in order to address them. Most designers will have a minimum notice period for ordering so that they can get the materials required – this could be 4 weeks or more depending on how busy they are. Bear in mind also if your wedding is not long after Christmas – there are postage restrictions in place for a number of days and many suppliers close down for the two weeks over Christmas.
I’m often asked about the importance of ‘save the dates’. This is a ‘mini’ invitation that couples can send to guests well in advance of the wedding (often 6 months to a year beforehand) which outlines the date and the area the wedding will take place in. This is a big trend in the U.S.A. and is slowly trickling in to Ireland and the U.K. If you’re concerned about your budget, I would say you don’t necessarily need to send save-the-dates, but if you have family or friends travelling from abroad it is a great idea to give them extra notice so that they can secure flights and accommodation. Meanwhile, for the formal invitation, 6-8 weeks notice is plenty of time, but if you are getting married over special occasions such as Easter, Christmas or bank holidays, it may be worth sending out 8-10 weeks beforehand.
Finally, some tips to remember before you send out your invitations.
- Number your RSVPS to avoid confusion – many people forget to actually write their names on the reply before sending it back to you, so by keeping a numbered list of your invitees and marking each reply card lightly in pencil, you’ll know exactly who’s coming.
- Speaking of RSVPS, make it easy – include a reply card with your invitation or give the option of replying by email or text. Try to avoid a situation where you are trying to call everyone to get an answer three days before your wedding!
- Triple and quadruple check your proof, and have someone else check too – your stationer should provide you with a digital proof to sign off on all text and spelling before going to print.
- Order extra – especially useful when you’ve messed up someone’s name or spilled something, and if you have additions to the guest list at the last minute. A good rule of thumb is to order an extra 10%.