Custom Designed Wedding Stationery Timeline Guide

January 5, 2013  |  Blog, Featured
Part 1 in a series written for couples in the market for wedding invitations. Read Part 2 for information on the cost of wedding invitations. Read Part 3 for information about the ordering process.
Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2013! This year, I'm going to start blogging more about wedding stationery and the process of finding the perfect wedding stationer for your needs. It can be a bit overwhelming for those who aren't quite sure what to look for. So, I'd like to break down different aspects of the process for you in a few posts. This post will focus on ordering your invitations, save-the-dates, etc. and a nice wedding stationery timeline guideline to make things a bit easier for you. Something to keep in mind: Always order your stationery ahead of time. When it comes to custom design, the more time you start with, the better. If you are planning on custom designed pieces or haven't yet found what you are looking for in pre-designed suites, have a look at the schedule* below for a good guideline of how much time to set aside for your stationery. *Please Note: Each stationer is different with their timelines. The information below reflects my own suggestion for a solid schedule to keep in mind when ordering custom work from Nicola Black Design, LLC.
Nicola Black Design uses Reich paper as an upgrade choice in papers

Part of the fun of custom designed wedding stationery is choosing particular papers and printing techniques. Image: Reich Paper samples.

First, you'll need to establish your "send" dates. For save-the-dates, count 4-7 months back from your wedding date. For invitations, count 2-3 months back from your wedding date. Those dates are usually around the time you want to send your pieces out. Some couples prefer doing so with even more time from the date of their wedding - make sure your "send" dates reflect your preference. Of course, destination wedding invitations should be sent out with enough time for guests to book flights, hotels and whatever else may be necessary. So at least 6 months is a good guide there. Once you establish your "send" date, use that as a guideline as to when you'll need your invitations in hand to assemble and send out.
Nicola Black Design custom save-the-dates

Custom designed save-the-dates should be ordered 6-9 months before your wedding date. Image: Custom designed save-the-dates by Nicola Black Design, LLC

Secondly, you'll want to establish your "in-hand" date. We'll use a non-destination wedding for our purposes. Let's say you are sending your invitations out 2-3 months prior to the big day. You'll need to add the time for custom design, printing and shipping to your "send" date. Each designer is different and can sometimes accommodate different schedules, but my regular turnaround time is as follows for custom work: 15-20 business days for the first draft design proofs. The client then has time for 2 sets of edits if necessary which, in total, along with newly sent design proofs, can take up to 7-10 business days (if the client sends each set of changes within 24 hours from the time they receive new proofs). After the designs are approved and final payment is sent, printing and shipping turnaround time begins which can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks. In most cases, printing/shipping may be reduced, but this is a general guideline to use when scheduling your stationery order. So you're looking at 9-13 weeks total for custom stationery design. I have taken custom stationery work with a much more condensed schedule, but am only able to do so when my current project schedule allows for it. If you want to guarantee a spot and reserve design time for custom designed stationery, use the 9-13 week schedule above. Meaning, for invitations, you should begin your inquiry at least 3-5 months from your "send" date or 5-7 months from your "in-hand" date. Here is a quick reference:

Wedding Stationery Timeline
for Custom Designed Orders

Custom Designed Save-the-Dates:

Order at least 2-3 months before your "in-hand" date (or 6-9 months before your wedding date). Contact us about your custom design today!

Custom Designed Invitations:

Order at least 2-3 months before your "in-hand" date (or 4-6 months before your wedding). Contact us about your custom design today!

All other Printed Stationery:

Order with your invitations about 4-6 months before your wedding date. The pieces that need to appear at your wedding will usually be completed shortly after your invitations are already taken care of. The design of the pieces will be cohesive and will all go together bringing the full design of all printed pieces in your wedding together! Contact us about your custom design today!
Don't forget to make sure you add any time needed for a calligrapher to address envelopes as well as any additional time needed for assembly to your equation. Whichever stationer you choose should be able to give you a proposed timeline for your project(s). If you will need the stationer to be aware of any time necessary for calligraphy, additional elements that you'll be adding on your own, etc., let them know at the time of inquiry. They will add that information to your proposed timeline to make sure it's possible you have all elements you need from them in hand in time. I'm always happy to answer any questions you may have! Please reach out by either commenting here, sending an email, visiting my Facebook page, Google+, or Twitter. If you are ready to begin the process of ordering your wedding stationery with Nicola Black Design, I'd love to discuss your ideas with you! Begin the process by sending an inquiry. Please note, if you have less time available than what is listed above for your invitations to be completed, please contact me for a quote regardless — I can accommodate most schedules if they fit in with my current job queue.

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