December 29, 2020
There are so many misconceptions around wedding invitation etiquette and many revolve around the timeline. Unlike what you might find on a website’s “planning timeline”, wedding invitation planning should not be left until 3-4 months before the wedding. Your wedding invitations are a “first look” for your guests to anticipate what awaits them on your wedding day. They should reflect the style of the wedding but also your excitement to host them on your wedding day.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that celebrating with the ones you love is not something to take for granted. I absolutely cherish handmade touches and my hope is that this guide helps give you a better idea of your wedding invitations and stationery timeline, as well as some etiquette advice to make each guest feel appreciated and cherished. If you are currently looking for a calligrapher, I would love for you to reach out here. I know that each wedding is unique and I am happy to answer any questions.
Typically couples will start working with an invitation designer between 6-8 months before their wedding. Often, an invitation designer might have a month or two waiting period before you start working together and then it may take a couple revisions to finalize all the custom details. This is definitely not something you want to feel stressed or rushed over, so give yourself the gift of lots of time.
If you’re worried about a potential postponement or date change, ask your invitation designer what process they have set up for that. In 2020, us wedding vendors were caught by surprise and had to rush to figure out what was fair for everyone. They may want to work with you to finalize the design, but are willing to hold off on the actual printing until closer to when you want to send out the invitations.
I might be biased, but I believe envelope calligraphy is one of the most incredible ways to wow your guests. Imagine how excited they will be to not only receive a stunning and personalized envelope in the mail, but one where both their name and address is beautifully written by hand. I can’t think of any other way that makes your guest feel as appreciated and excited for your event.
For your timeline, please make sure to budget AT LEAST 3-4 weeks for envelope calligraphy to ensure you have more than enough time for your calligrapher to complete the work. The beauty of handwritten details can not be rushed.
I know many couples are wondering the best way to keep guests informed about any changes on their wedding date like whether you need to move to a new outdoor location (check out my favorites in New Jersey here) or down size at the last minute. Although I hope that your wedding goes as planned, I know it might ease your mind to have a backup plan.
On your RSVP cards, I would encourage you to leave a spot for guests to advise how they would like to be updated with any changes (assuming that’s something you are able to accommodate). If you are forgoing RSVP cards and instead providing an online option, consider adding a note that the email they are using to RSVP will be the email that you will send any updates to, should you need to closer to the date. If you already know what your back up plan is (for example: if mandated, the ceremony and reception will be held outside), consider including that on your invitations.
When it comes to your invitations, here are a few simple rules to note:
For most words, you are going to want to write out the word instead of using the abbreviation (Ave. is written at Avenue). The one exception to this is that “Mr.” and “Mrs.” are typically still abbreviated.
You will also want to write out your invited guests full names and make sure that it is incredibly clear who is invited to avoid any miscommunication. If a couple is married, you may write “Mr. and Mrs.” before his full name, but it is also becoming increasingly common to write out both names. There are a lot of unspoken etiquette rules when it comes to whose name should go first and when, but your invitation designer or calligrapher should be able to advise you on any guests who may have special considerations.
Although I am encouraging you to get a head start on your planning, invitations should typically be sent out 8 weeks prior to your wedding date. Make sure to include an “RSVP by” date. Before that (and up to a year before, really), consider sending Save the Dates to your guests.
I absolutely love envelope calligraphy and would be honored to play such a special role in your wedding invitations. Write Pretty for Me is based in Hoboken, New Jersey but we work with wedding couples all over the US. If you are in need of envelope calligraphy (or wedding signage, table numbers, etc), please don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to create something custom for your event. For inspiration, check out my gallery.