Invitations are a very important part of your wedding not only because they set the tone and are the first impression, but they also provide guests with all the information they need for your BIG day. Here is a timeline that we encourage bride's to follow with all their paper goods:
1. When should we send out the Save the Dates (and are they necessary)?
Save the Dates are important to send out if you are engaged for over 6 months. If you do not send out the Save the Dates, we suggest mailing your invitations a little earlier (10-12 weeks before your wedding date as opposed to 8-6 weeks before). If you are having a hometown wedding, mail out your Save the Dates at least six months before your wedding. If you are having an out of town wedding, or your wedding is on a holiday weekend, we suggest mailing them out 8-9 months in advance. Remember that Save the Dates do not always have to "match" or go with the design of your wedding invitations. Many brides like to have a little fun with the save the dates with either a magnet, photo card, calendar, painted map, coaster, or something that is a little more creative and less formal than the wedding invitation.
2. When should we make the deadline for RSVPs on the wedding invitation?
Make your RSVP date three weeks before your wedding date. I would also check on the timeline that your caterer or wedding planner needs to know the head count of your guests. Three weeks gives most venues and caterers enough time, and keep in mind that you also need to know the quantity of ceremony programs, menus, escort cards, etc in this amount of time. I actually love to have this information earlier than three weeks, because wedding season is busy, and it is nice to have your order placed before it is stressful on everyone with rush printing, rush designing, etc.
3. Do we need a wedding website, and if so, where do we put it?
The wedding website is important to let your guests know all of the information that you may not be able to provide in the wedding invitation-- and it helps you save money by not having to purchase an extra set of cards for "directions", "accommodations", "parking", "registry" (which you should NOT put on your invitations), etc. The wedding website should be included on the Save the Date so that guests know ahead of time where to book their hotel, etc. If you decide not to do a wedding website, you will need to provide all of this information on the Save the Date, either with an extra card, a fold out card, or on the reverse side of the card. We can always design something unique and fun for you! When sending out your invitations, it is always nice (but again, not necessary if you sent out a Save the Date with the website info) to include a small card with the website information printed as a reminder card to visit your wedding website.
4. How do we let guests know about the gift registry?
As I noted above, bride and grooms should NOT put their registry information on the Save the Dates or wedding invitations. The only invitation that you can print the registry information are shower invitations. Including this on your wedding invitations or Save the Dates may sound impolite to your guests as if you are expecting gifts. You can let your wedding party and close friends know where you are registered, so they can let the guests know as well, and you can put this information on your wedding website.
5. We would like an adult-only reception. How can we let our guests know without sounding harsh?
Inner and outer envelopes are the traditional way that guests should know who is specifically invited to your wedding. The outer envelope is addressed to the household, and the inner envelope is addressed to the people in the household invited to your wedding. If you do not have inner envelopes, address your invitations to all the people invited to your wedding. Another way that brides can let their guests know who is invited is by having "we have reserved (blank line) seats in your honor" and the bride or calligrapher fills in the number for each reply card and/or "number attending" underneath the line where the guests write the names of those attending. If the guests happen to put their children's name on the line, you can politely call them and let them know that your wedding is adults-only. You can also politely put this on your website, and have a babysitter service for your guests to call in the area.
6. How do we let guests know our dress code?
If you are having a "black-tie" or "black-tie optional" wedding (which means tuxedos for the men and formal for the women), this can be printed on the lower right corner of the invitation. You can also have a separate card for the dress code, and usually the time of the wedding or the formality of the invitation design will give your guests a clue as to how formal your wedding is. You can also have the dress code on your wedding website.
7. When should we place an order for Invitations and Save the Dates, invitations (and all other materials)?
This is a VERY good question, as I have some brides who think they have plenty of time, and order their wedding invitations a bit late, and then they are confused as to why it cannot be printed and designed in a few days. PLEASE, PLEASE order your invitations and Save the Dates as early as you can! ESPECIALLY during wedding season. While you know from question #1 when you should mail the invitations and Save the Dates, you should order these as soon as possible. It usually takes a week or two to design and approve invitations (after signing the contract), and then it takes another 5-10 business days to flat print invitations (during wedding season) and 12-18 business days to print letterpress and foil. If we are assembling invitations, add another 3 business days to the order. If you want to order beveled edges or engraving, these can take 6 weeks due to the wedding season. Custom designs (meaning you are not choosing a design that is on the website) takes 2-4 weeks during wedding season. If you want to rush the process, there is a 40% of the total rush fee for flat printing, and designing. We cannot rush letterpress, flat, foil, thermography, or engraving because the printing process is very time consuming in itself. We want you to get EXACTLY what you want with your wedding invitations, but please be on time with ordering them and please be aware that this is not something that you can just order and have in a few days or even a week (unless you pay for rush print and order an existing design)! We work as quickly as possible, but please be aware that you need to place your order 2 months before you would like to mail them out. Ceremony, escort card wording are appreciated at least 1-2 months before the wedding if you are flat printing. Letterpress we need at least 2 months before your wedding. This means that we need all of the information that you would like printed in this amount of time.
6. What are all the materials that we can order from Tickled Ink?
We can pretty much do anything that you would like with printing and designing. Save the Dates, Invitations, koozies, napkins (all sizes), plates, cups (all kinds- from clear wine glasses to stadium cups), custom designs, signage, printing of the addresses (calligraphy), programs, itineraries, coasters, boxes, gate folios, die cutting, laser cutting, wood (we can also print your monogram or name on cutting boards as a wedding gift), thank you cards, escort and place cards, table numbers, menus, hand painted maps, you name it, we can probably (or have probably) done it before! Please ask and we will let you know! We look forward to hearing from you, and if you have any other questions that are not answered, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to hear from you!