Wedding Stationery - Timeframes

A guide to when you should look to organise your wedding stationery and when you want to send it out.

Wedding Invite design featuring wedding venue illustration, ribbon and scissors

One of the first questions I get from the couples I work with is when should I send out my invitations and the honest answer is that it is completely down to you.

The main concern with getting the invites out is to give your guests plenty of notice so they can be available to attend your wedding and put in place the arrangements for getting to and from the venues and finding somewhere to stay for the event.

To help you plan, below is a rough guide I suggest my clients work towards in terms of timeframes for their different stationery items.

Wedding Stationery suite design featuring Save the Date, Change the Date, Invitation and information card

A Rough Guide

Save the Dates:

These are sent to guests roughly 12 months before the wedding or at the earliest opportunity if you have less than a year to go.

** If the wedding is abroad you may consider giving more notice for guests to make arrangements for flights/accommodation etc. but this isn't essential.


For these I would recommend sending them to guests within 3 - 6 months of your wedding day. 

On the day stationery items:

Look to supply all the details to your designer and confirm everything you need 4 - 6 weeks ahead of your wedding day.

You may want to leave a few details to the latest possible moment, such as the table plan, which is fine. Just make sure your designer is aware and will be able to accommodate. I would generally want to lock in everything no less than two weeks prior to the wedding day.

A good way to know when you should be looking at each stage of your wedding stationery is to work back from the big day / when do your suppliers and venue need to have the final numbers confirmed

If for example you’re having a set menu for guests to choose from but the food choices aren’t decided until 4 months before your wedding, it is worthwhile contacting your designer in advance to have the invites ready to go to add in last information shortly after you’ve made your decisions so your invites can be printed as soon as possible.

Wedding venue illustration sketch in pen and ink

 A few other considerations

  • If you are designing your stationery from scratch, please allow time for the designs to come to life. This includes any illustration work, testing font & design styles, and time between your feedback and alterations (there might be days you want to take a break from planning your wedding and not check your email and that’s okay).

  • Please factor in the time it takes for your stationery to be printed, prepared and posted to you. There may be some elements of your stationery that need hand finishing, such as belly bands wrapped around your invites or liners to be fixed within envelopes. Remember to allow time for these elements to be completed as it will vary depending on the quantity of invites you require.

  • Website - these need to be ready for when you send out the invitations as most guests are likely to want to find out as much about the wedding as possible and when they need to RSVP by. If you don’t have all of the information at the time of launching the site and sending out your invitations, it is worth considering how you would get your guests to return to your website for the latest information about your special day.

  • If you are giving your guests a choice of dishes for each course, it’s worth knowing when you need to have selected your menu with the venue & if you’re having a food tasting session, what date that is taking place. You will also need to check when they need all of the guests' food choices confirmed as this will potentially dictate when you require their RSVP’s back by.

  • Remember to factor in if you will be travelling to the venue a few days prior to the ceremony that you will need everything before you leave and also consider how you may store the items e.g. large table plans.

Illustrated wedding day timeline, featuring an illustration of the couple

Timeframes for working with a Wedding Stationer

Here I have presented a mock wedding date scenario for when I would expect to begin working with a couple to begin creating their stationery designs in order to hit my suggested time frames.

Wedding Date:  Saturday 13th April 2024

Save the Dates - Target date: 13th April 2023 (12 months before wedding)

Contact stationer - March 2023 to discuss idea and theme.

During the initial stage I work with couples to design the style and theme of their invites that will usually transfer across all the other stationery elements they require to ensure continuity. That is why this stage is often the longest part of the design stage, with lots of little tweaks and adjustments to make sure you’re happy.

Design - 7 - 10 days artwork dependant.
Printing -  2 - 3 working days to complete (depending on if you require any additional finishes e.g. die cutting or foiling)
Finishing touches - 1 - 2 days**
Shipping - 1 - 2 days

Invitations - Target date: 13th November 2023 (6 months before wedding)

Contact stationer - October 2023

Hopefully there won’t be any changes to terms of the themes previously used such as font and sizing etc. however, if you require additional artwork, do allow time for these to be completed.

Design - 3 - 10 days artwork dependant.
Printing -  2 - 3 working days to complete (depending on if you require any additional finishes e.g. die cutting or foiling)
Finishing touches - 1 - 2 days**
Shipping - 1 - 2 days

** This can vary depending on any extra touches you’ve included within your design, such as envelope liners, belly bands, handwritten addresses and the volume of invites you require.

On the Day stationery - Required date: 3rd April 2024 (10 days before wedding)

Contact stationer March 2023

As you’ll generally have your design theme in place already, it’s usually a case of just applying this to any different day stationery you require, such as table plans, place cards, menus, order of service, welcome signs etc.

If you require any bespoke illustrations, such as one for each table or a timeline, be sure to discuss this as soon as possible with your stationer so they're aware of your ideas, but generally a month should still be plenty of time.

Woodland inspired wedding invitation design featuring line illustrations

Final thoughts:

Remember that each wedding is different and there will potentially be factors that mean you need to work further ahead than this guide or nearer to your wedding day for different stages and that’s okay. 

My top tip would be to give your stationer an idea of the dates you're working towards as soon as you can. That will allow them to schedule enough time in their diaries to work on your brief, complete all your finishing touches and allow you to relax and enjoy being a part of their creative process.





About the author:

I'm Chris, an artist and wedding stationer based in Whitstable, Kent.
I've been designing bespoke illustrated wedding stationery since 2016.

Back to blog