As a general rule, aim to send your save-the-dates six to eight months before the wedding, and invitations at least eight weeks beforehand.
However, if you're getting married out of town or overseas, allowing 10 months for save-the-dates and 12 weeks for invitations will mean guests have plenty of time to confirm travel plans and accommodation.
Request RSVPs no less than three weeks before the wedding.
WHERE TO GET YOUR INVITATIONS MADE:
How you go about designing and printing your stationery depends on the level of customisation you're after. Most wedding stationers offer custom as well as templated designs, while stationery sites such as Wedding Paper Divas allow you to create your own design online, using ready made templates.
PLANNING TO GO DIY?
Designing your own invitations? Write a quick checklist to be sure it provides all the essential information before hitting 'print':
- Both your full names and, if you like, your parents' full names
- The fact that you're inviting the guest to your wedding
- The ceremony and reception venue names and addresses
- The ceremony start time (there's no need to include the reception start time unless there is a gap between the ceremony and reception)
- The dress code (optional)
- The RSVP deadline and any instructions
If you aren't including a separate information card, add the URL of your wedding website.
SAVE TIME, AND PAPER:
You don't need an invitation for every guest. Take a look at your guest list and figure out how many houses need invitations before you give our stationer a number – you might be able to cut the final count down. Couples who live together get one invitation, while for couples living apart you can either send on invite to the guest you're closer with (and include both names on the envelope), or you can send out separate invitations. If you only want to invite some members of the household (for example, your friends but not their children), then include those you are inviting by name. For example, "Karen and Mark", not "The Smiths".
Before your invitation is printer, your stationer will send you a proof. Get your groom to read it over, and then enlist the services of a grammar-savvy friend to do a final check. Pay particular attention to the accuracy of dates and timings, websites, any directions and, of course, spelling. Top tip: when you are doing your final read, rotate the invitation 180 degrees, and read it line by line in and upside-down position. This will feel odd, but it's a sure-fire way of slowing your eyes down, making sure your pick up any spelling mistakes.
HOW TO SAVE YOUR PENNIES:
A great invitation design is the ultimate way to set the scene for your big day – but that doesn't make the (often hefty) expense of designing, printing and sending your invitations any easier to swallow. To minimise costs, choose a simple, light card stock and skip any extras such as envelope liners and custom ink colours. As your guests to RSVP by email instead of by post, and instead of an extra "information" card (which often includes travel and accommodation information, or venue directions), point guest to a website that includes these details instead. Be sure that your invitations fit inside a standard "medium" envelope size (130x235mm with a thickness of 10mm) to minimise postage costs, and don't forget to include the cost of the stamps ($1 per stamp) into your overall stationery budget. Lastly, be sure to order an extra few invitations – it'll cost more to go back and print extras should you make a mistake while perfection your calligraphy skills!