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Wedding Stationery Timelines - when to mail save-the-dates, wedding invitations & thank yous

Planning a wedding typically involves many moving pieces and critical decision-making. When to send out your stationery and when to start the design process are pieces of this puzzle. While you should follow key dates and timing to ensure that everything is distributed on time and in order, it is equally — if not more — important to account for the design and production process for each phase when designing truly custom stationery pieces. Pay attention to the duration required for the design, proofing, revisions, and production to avoid any rush fees. Doing so will allow you to enjoy the creative process thoroughly and not stress about the timing.

I will expertly guide every Sugar Pear Design couple each step, from concept to completion. Each couple’s planning stages — save-the-dates, invitations, day-of elements — will include a curated timeline. As a general guide, I have outlined the key timeframes when to mail your save-the-dates, invitations, and thank yous, including the duration allotted for the design and production process.

Wedding Stationery Timelines - when to mail save-the-dates, wedding invitations & thank yous


Phase Allocation: 11-14 months before your wedding

Design and Production Process: 8 weeks (minimum!)

Mail: 9-12 months prior

Once the wedding date, venue, and guest lists are accounted for, I recommend mailing your save-the-dates 9-12 months before your wedding date. Your save-the-dates are just that: a request to your guests to block your date on their planners and join in the celebration.

PRO-TIP: To avoid getting lost in the holiday shuffle, I suggest holding off on mailing your save-the-dates between mid-November and the end of December. You’ll find that guests will set them aside with the intensions to come back to them later, only to have them misplaced or forgotten.

Sugar Pear Design Save-the-Date

Wedding Save-the-Date for Janelle & Ryan.


Phase Allocation: At least 6 months before your wedding

Design and Production Process: 13 weeks

Mail: 8-12 weeks prior

Your wedding invitations and your other stationery pieces will serve as a visual storyteller by setting the tone for your occasion. The invitation itself is the most essential piece of all of your wedding stationery suite. Let it be the star of the show! Your wedding invitation also requires the most time for the design and production processes. There is no need for you to account for assembly or domestic response postage application. I provide that service for all of my couples.

Drop the invitations in the mail 12 weeks before your big day for your international guests. Did you pick a unique location with significant meaning and will provide your guests an experience, but more than half would need to travel from out of town to attend? Your event is considered a destination wedding. Mail these out 12 weeks in advanced also.

PRO-TIP: Remember, whoever receives a save-the-date should be formally invited, even if they have noted that they cannot celebrate with you. On the flip side, it’s okay to send an invitation if they did not receive a save-the-date. Be sure to address your save-the-dates and invitations to only those in the household whom you intend to invite, including children or plus-ones.

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Wedding Stationery Suite for Laura & Andrew.


If you are inviting any of your guests to a welcome reception, wedding rehearsal, or a day-after brunch, consider including this information in your wedding invitation suite. Working with a custom designer allows for specific a la carte features to select guests.

Sugar Pear Design Wedding Welcome Reception

Wedding Welcome Reception for Julie & Tyson.


Phase Allocation: 3-4 months before your wedding

Design and Production Process: 10-12 weeks

Response Request Date: 5 weeks prior

Confirm with your venue and caterer when a final headcount is required. Allow yourself ample time to contact those guests that haven’t replied. If they can partake, and you are having a plated dinner, collect each guest’s entrée selection.

The final tally will determine your seating arrangements and, thus, the quantities for your escort or place cards, table cards, and dinner menus. Therefore, your requested response reply-by date should be at least five weeks before your event. The final headcount will determine the quantity needed for your ceremony programs or other day-of elements such as hotel welcome packages or beverage service (think bar menu, cocktail napkins, stir sticks, and drink coasters). In addition, ample time for installation pieces like a seating chart or wallpaper for a custom bar will need to be considered. But, again, production times for these elements can be five weeks or more and will need to be taken into account.

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Wedding Ceremony Program for Murrel & Saurabh.


Mail: within 2 weeks (for gifts received before your wedding date) or 1-3 months afterward

Design and Production Process: typically done in conjunction with the Day-of Elements

Prefer to have these earlier than the day-of elements deliverable date? I can accommodate that!

Thank you notes will let your guests know that you are grateful for any gifts you may have received and their presence at your wedding. If you receive any gifts before your wedding, send thank-yous within two weeks of receipt. Thank you cards should be mailed 1-3 months for gifts received at your wedding.

After creating and designing a tailored and cohesive design for your save-the-dates, wedding invitation, and day-of elements, don’t let your thank-yous be an afterthought! They should continue with the same cohesive design.

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Wedding Thank You Notecard for Kathy & Richard.

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Do you appreciate one-of-a-kind designs?

•Do you value a cohesively put-together event?

•Are you looking to create a meaningful environment for your guests?

•Are you obsessed with personality-infused details that will add to a fantastic experience?


Photography Credit: Studio KHPaper AntlerTwig & Olive Photography

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Custom wedding invitations & wedding day stationery design studio based in Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Designing for couples & events worldwide.

Sugar Pear Design Single Leaf