Any wedding timeline on Pinterest will tell you that sending your Save the Dates is one of the first things you need to do after booking the venue. Typically, 9 months before the big day is the suggestion. Although you might want to leave 12 or more if it’s a destination wedding, or you have a lot of guests who live abroad. Big vacations can take a lot of planning time.
There are so many different stationery options out there these days that this seemingly simple task can feel completely overwhelming, especially so far out, so here are my tips to help you get it right for you,
Know your style. Picking the venue will definitely help to narrow this down. Have you gone for a rustic barn venue? An urban industrial space? A chic boutique hotel? Your wedding stationery gives guests a first glimpse into what to expect from your wedding, and choosing something that reflects your venue and color palette is a nice touch. You don’t have to choose a matching stationery suite of course, but if continuity is important to you, defining the look and feel of your wedding is something you’ll want to do before the Save the Dates go out.. Start by creating a mood board (or have your Planner do it for you) to help distill your ideas.
If you don’t know, don’t sweat it. 9 months can be a long time in the world of wedding planning. Perhaps you think you’re all about the boho look, but then you go wedding dress shopping and decide it’s a definite bo-no! Suddenly you’re all about the beaded Hollywood look and that Save the Date you sent featuring a flower crown feels all wrong… it can definitely happen. If you’re just not sure what your style is so far out, don’t put yourself under pressure, you can find lots of simple monochrome designs, use your engagement photos or explore Etsy for unique ideas that will leave guests guessing for longer.
Define your budget. I have so many brides who have fallen in love with handmade, watercolor & calligraphy invitations on Pinterest and are then horrified to discover how much they cost. But bare in mind what you’re getting…. The design expertise of a professional creating something bespoke just for you, hand made luxury paper, each invite or save the date hand painted and hand written… and trust me, as someone who’s tried my hand at calligraphy, it is not easy! These guys are supremely talented, work very hard at their craft and spend a fortune on professional materials. Yes, you can save a lot of money by going to an online giant like Vistaprint or Shutterfly and choosing one of their standard, albeit, customizable designs, but you are really not comparing apples with apples. If hand crafted invitations are on your wishlist expect to set aside at least 10% of your budget.
Get the numbers right. Ok, this might sound like I’m stating the obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people get this wrong. You’re inviting 120 people to your wedding.. how many do you order? The frequent answer is 130, so you have a few spares… However, unless every person on that list is single you’ve just ordered 50% too many! If the majority of your friends are couples, or even families, you’ll only need half that. Remember to count households, not individual guests. You may find you have more budget to play with than you thought.
Don’t forget postage. If you decide to go for unusually sized or shaped cards, or the ever more popular alternatives such as magnets or coasters, you will likely need to pay for extra postage, and this can add up with a large guest list, particularly if you have overseas guests. Make sure you factor this into your budget.
Triple check your proof! Whether you’re creating it online yourself or having someone design it for you, always triple check. I’ve seen so many mistakes over the years, from the date being wrong to a parent’s name spelt incorrectly, and I’ve even seen a Bride have a meltdown over a mis-placed comma! It can be heart-breaking, having spent so much time selecting your design, to see the end result less than perfect. Check your proof, then check, check and check again!
Still stuck? I'll be sharing some of my favorite stationery options over the next week, or get in touch if you want a little more assistance with your planning!