When you first sit down to create a basic wedding stationery timeline, it can feel daunting, tricky and a little bit confusing. Am I right? There are just so many moving parts when it comes to wedding stationery! From knowing when to inquire with a wedding stationer to knowing when to mail your invitations, it can be tough to keep track of everything.
Well, my friend, I’m here to give you an inside look at a basic wedding stationery timeline. That way, you’ll know exactly when to create all of your wedding stationery items, key places to pad your timeline, and how to create your own wedding stationery timeline based on your wedding date.
You will need all types of wedding stationery items for your big day. Save the dates, invitations, day-of stationery and thank you cards are the key stationery items you’ll need to create. All of these stationery pieces help to communicate important details with your guests throughout the entire wedding planning process.
Inquire / Get Started: 12-16 months before your wedding date
Mail: 8-12 months before your wedding date
Plan to start designing your save the dates anywhere from 12-16 months before your wedding date. This will give you plenty of time to create a design that you love, get them printed, assemble them carefully and pop them in the mail.
It’s recommended to mail your save the dates around 8-12 months before your wedding date. This is the first announcement you’ll send to your guests about your wedding. So, it’s important to clearly communicate when + where your wedding will be taking place. That way, they can quite literally save the date and begin making arrangements to celebrate with you on your big day.
Inquire / Get Started: 6-8 months before your wedding date
Mail: 10-12 weeks before your wedding date
Starting your invitations 6-8 months before your big day might sound super early. But, there is a lot to do to prepare your wedding invitations for mailing!
You’ll want to create a design you love and that feels like a reflection of you and your big day. This process can take approximately 4-8 weeks if you design custom wedding invitations.
From there, you’ll want to plan on around 2-3 weeks for your invitations to be printed and shipped to you. This timeframe may change depending on the printing method you choose (digital, foil stamping, letterpress, etc.)
Then, budget another week or so to assemble your invites with care so they are all ready to be mailed!
Mailing your invitations 10-12 weeks is ideal. The post office tends to take its sweet time delivering mail, so padding the timeline with that in mind is important. You also have RSVPs to collect, as well, so you want to give your guests plenty of time to respond.
Quick Tip: If you’re short on time, have your guests RSVP on your wedding website! QR codes are super handy for this. This will save your guests from having to mail back a response card and potentially getting caught up in the mail. This will also help your budget by saving you money on printing and postage. It’s a win-win!
Inquire / Get Started: 6-8 weeks before your wedding date
In-Hands: 1-2 weeks before your wedding date
Once your invitations are officially in the mail, you’ll be ready to dive right into creating your day-of stationery.
Starting your day-of stationery designs about 6-8 weeks before your wedding is perfect. You may not have all of the details nailed down or finalized, but that’s okay! Start creating the designs and you can always flow in the final details right before printing.
Plan on printing to take anywhere from 1-3 weeks. Just like your other stationery, this timeline might change depending on the printing method you choose (digital, foil stamping, letterpress).
No matter what you choose, I recommend having all of your day-of stationery in-hand and ready for your big day about 1-2 weeks before your wedding, if possible. That way, you’re not worrying about your stationery right up to the day of your wedding—you’ll be all set!
Inquire / Get Started: 6-8 weeks before your wedding date
In-Hand: 1-2 weeks before your wedding date
Mail: 2-4 weeks after the wedding
As you design your day-of stationery, go ahead and create your thank you cards, too!
Having them in-hand around 1-2 weeks before the wedding day will be so nice. That way, you don’t have to worry about scrambling to create or purchase thank you cards when you return from your honeymoon. You can simply mail them to your guests once you’re home.
Plan to mail your thank you cards anywhere from 2-4 weeks after your wedding day. You can even send them sooner, if you want to! Just make sure to mail them pretty soon after your big day. Your guests will love that you thought of them and took the time to say “thank you”.
When I create wedding stationery timelines for my couples, I always add a little extra padding here and there. I highly recommend you do this for your stationery timeline, too!
Why? Because, we’re all human! Life happens, things come up and plans will shift and change along the way. You’ll be planning your wedding most likely for a whole year — if not longer. There’s a lot that can happen during that time and it can be hard to know exactly what might come up along the way.
Here are some key places I like to add a little wiggle room to the stationery timeline:
If you plan to do digital printing for your invitations, this process can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks to complete. So, rather than planning on just 1 week for printing and ordering time, go ahead and plan on the full 2 weeks. That way, if everything is ready sooner — awesome! You’ll be ahead of schedule.
It’s easier to enjoy the extra time instead of stressing that there isn’t enough.
Let’s be honest, this is most likely your first time assembling invitations. It’s definitely not hard to do, but there are a lot of steps involved and it’s very hands-on. If you already have a busy schedule or aren’t very confident with “crafty” projects, I recommend padding this time a little!
Usually, I like to give my couples 1 week for assembly time. This is usually plenty of time to assemble invitations and get them ready for mailing. Even if you have 200 invites to assemble!
Mailing is one of those things that once you drop off your invites it’s completely out of your hands! You’re sort of at the mercy of the post office to mail your beautiful invites. That can be a little bit stressful.
To help ease the stress, plan to mail your invitations as soon as possible. I love mailing invites around 10-12 weeks before your wedding date. This is a good amount of time for your invites to be delivered to your guests. It also gives you time to re-mail or hand-deliver any invitations that may not arrive at their destination.
This timeline also gives your guests time to respond with their RSVP cards. I mentioned this above, but if you’re short on time or a little concerned about receiving all of your RSVP cards, go ahead and have guests respond on your website! This is such a fast and easy way for guests to let you know if they’ll be at your big day or not.
When it comes to padding your timeline, I recommend adding a little extra time anywhere in the process that gives you stress! This will help easy some of that for you and make the process that much more enjoyable every step of the way.
Now that you know how long the stationery process can take and where to add some wiggle room, let’s create your wedding stationery timeline!
The simplest way to build your timeline is to work backwards from your wedding date.
From there, you can plan when you need to have your day-of stationery in-hand, when to mail your invitations and when to also mail your save the dates. You can even look forward and plan when your thank you cards should be delivered to your guests after your big day.
The other important thing to know is what printing methods you want to do. This will help you determine how long you need to plan for printing. If you’re unsure, just pad your timeline! That way, no matter what method you choose, you know you have plenty of time already planned for in your timeline.
To help you get started, I’ve built a basic stationery timeline below as an example:
— October 26, 2024
— Get Started / Inquire: June 26, 2023 (16 months before wedding)
— Printing: October 2, 2023 – October 16, 2023 (2 weeks; digital printing)
— Shipping: October 16, 2023 – October 23, 2023 (1 week; padded just to be safe!)
— In-Hands for Assembly: October 23, 2023 (1 week before mailing)
— Mail: October 27, 2023 (12 months before wedding)
— Get Started / Inquire: February 26, 2024 (8 months before wedding)
— Printing: July 1, 2024 – July 22, 2024 (3 weeks; letterpress)
— Shipping: July 22, 2024 – July 29, 2024 (1 week; padded just to be safe!)
— In-Hands for Assembly: July 29, 2024 (1 week before mailing)
— Mail: August 2, 2024 (12 weeks before wedding)
— Get Started / Inquire: August 26, 2024 (8 weeks before wedding)
— Printing: September 23, 2024 – October 7, 2024 (2 weeks; digital printing)
— Shipping: October 7, 2024 – October 14, 2024 (1 week; padded)
— In-Hands: October 14, 2024 (2 weeks before wedding)
— Get Started / Inquire: August 26, 24 (8 weeks before wedding — with day-of)
— Printing: September 23, 2024 – October 7, 2024 (2 weeks; digital printing)
— Shipping: October 7, 2024 – October 14, 2024 (1 week; padded)
— In-Hands: October 14, 2024 (2 weeks before wedding — with day-of)
— Mail: November 8, 2024 (2 weeks after wedding)
Feel free to copy this template to create your own stationery timeline! All you have to do is fill in the blanks and you’ll be all set.
If you run into trouble planning your stationery timeline, or if it’s just a little too overwhelming for you — that’s okay! If that’s how you feel, I recommend working with a professional wedding stationer to help guide you through the stationery process.
Hiring a wedding stationer can be really helpful when it comes to relieving some stress and anxiety from your big day! They’ll work with you from the very beginning to plan all of your stationery needs. And guess what? They’ll even help build your stationery timeline for you!
As you think about working with a wedding stationer, don’t be shy about asking them if this is something they can do for you. Most stationers will be happy to help! If not, maybe they just aren’t the right fit for you, and that’s okay.
So, take your time and feel free to reach out to wedding stationers whenever you’re ready. I know I would be more than happy to help you with your wedding stationery needs. (:
If that feels like a good fit for you, you can learn more about how we can work together on my website! I offer custom and semi-custom wedding stationery for engaged couples across the country. No matter where you are located, I’d love to create wedding stationery that is the perfect reflection of you. Plus, I’ll create your timeline for you, so you don’t have to worry about a thing!
Abby and Joe met when they were in college while working as part-time servers at Shadow Glen Golf Club. Joe decided to go back to where it all started to pop the question! It was his last week working there and Abby had been asking to go back and see it one last time. They had a date night planned but Joe was upset when his boss unexpectedly called him in due to an “emergency”. When they got there one of Joe’s co-workers was giving Abby a tour of a new renovation while Joe tended to the “emergency”.
Abby said, “During the tour, we walked outside and in between some flowers stood Joe waiting for me. He proposed at the place where we met, then we went out to dinner with my family after to celebrate!”
Going back to where it all began is a great way to start the next phase of life together. I asked Abby what she was most excited for about their future marriage and she said, “I am most excited to go through different seasons of life together! I can’t wait to have kids that are older, and watch each other parent, and then be empty nesters and grandparents together. It makes my heart so happy to know that I have someone I will get to experience everything with now!”
Between the waterfalls and the large lake-scape, Shadow Glen offered so much beautiful scenery for their engagement session. I also love that they brought a bottle of their favorite tequila to the session. It was a great way to personalize their photos with something they both love and enjoy together!
The love these two have for each other is so vibrant and I feel very fortunate to have been able to capture it!
Megan and Nick tied the knot on a bright and beautiful Summer day at Hawthorne House. Surrounded by their closest family and friends, they began the next phase of their relationship and it was so wonderful to capture! There were two photographers so we were able to capture everything, from the big moments and the small details.
Hawthorne House sits on a beautiful property that offers multiple different spaces for photo opportunities. Nick and Megan had their first look at the gazebo on the property. “Seeing Nick at our first look was my favorite part of the day! I was so nervous and jittery and when he turned around I felt a huge sense of relief. His reaction made me cry happy tears and I knew it was going to be an awesome day,” said Megan.
After the first look and the ceremony, everyone headed outside to take family portraits in front of the chapel! Megan explained, “I was very nervous at the beginning of the day! So much time and energy goes into planning and I was just hoping for a smooth day. But as the day got going I felt myself getting more and more excited!! I also was the happiest I ever felt as I got to marry my best friend! We had so much fun dancing the night away!”
At the reception everyone got comfortable as people ate and the party began! Nick and Megan had their first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Megan said, “Nick actually chose our wedding song! Funny story – I unfortunately had Covid 2 weeks before our wedding and we really needed to practice our dance to submit the song to the DJ – so we both put on masks and practiced in our living room while I was recovering!” They knocked it out of the park!
From there, everyone danced the night away in celebration of the newly married couple! The entire day was so much fun to capture. When I asked Megan what one piece of advice she had for a future couple planning their wedding was, she said, “Look at your partner when you walk down the aisle!!! It is such an important moment that goes by way too fast.”
I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to capture all the special moments of this day for Nick and Megan to relive any time they want!
You’re getting ready to graduate and begin a new phase of your life, what a great moment to capture! Senior sessions are a great way to commemorate your time in school and announce what your plans are for after graduation.
Some people choose to continue their education, some take time off to experience the world, and some jump right into a new profession! Regardless of what path you choose, it’s an exciting time in your life – one you will want to look back on. Senior sessions are typically tailored to the graduate and include memorabilia from their past and future! They can be a minimal or extravagant as you’d like them to be. There are a few different things to consider when booking a senior session.
I recommend going to a location that holds importance or somewhere outside with good scenery. A location that holds importance could include: an athletic field, a museum, a theater, family land, a bookstore, etc. It could be anywhere! Some of my favorite places in Kansas City to capture senior sessions are the Nelson Atkins Museum, Shawnee Mission Park, and Downtown.
Choosing what to wear can be a daunting task but I recommend staying true to yourself! Wear something you feel comfortable in. If you are doing multiple outfit changes, I would suggest picking one outfit that is relaxed, and one that is more dressed up. You could also wear something that commemorates your time in school or your future plans. This could include: a jersey, a t-shirt from a club or university, or a uniform for a new job.
Another thing that can help personalize your photos is memorabilia. Anything from your past or future that is meaningful to you. This could include: books, sports equipment, awards/medals, or your graduation cap and gown. Memorabilia is not necessary, you can definitely have a great session without it! But, it is just another thing to help set your session apart.
If you are interested in scheduling a senior session, I recommend reaching out to your photographer 5-6 months before you graduate. This may seem like a long time in advance, but photographers can book up quickly and the earlier you reach out the more flexible they may be with their availability! This also gives you plenty of time to decide on a location for the session and for you to choose outfits and let your photographer know if there is anything specific you’d like captured.
What’s better than a surprise engagement? A surprise engagement + a party! Zach knew what he was doing when he planned to pop the question. He gathered all of his and Rachel’s closest family and friends at one of their favorite places – Weatherby Lake. Everyone showed up early to hang out, set up, and hide away before Rachel showed up.
When she got there, Zach walked her to the lakeside, got down on one knee, and popped the question! Rachel’s surprise was so genuine and sweet. Little did she know, all their loved ones were secretly watching from a distance! After she said, “yes”, everyone started cheering and she turned around to see them come out of hiding.
After everyone gave their congratulations, we were able to capture pictures with family and friends for the couple to look back on to remember this special day. Weatherby Lake was beautiful and we got to walk around a get great photographs of the newly engaged couple by the water! Then we went back to the pavilion for the champagne pop and a toast.
If you are in the process of planning an engagement, take some notes from Zach’s playbook. Go somewhere that is special to you and your partner, include family and friends, plan a celebration, and make is a SURPRISE!
Spring means graduation and with graduation comes the opportunity to capture senior sessions! There is something so fun about a senior session and capturing this phase of life for people. Whether they are graduating High School or they are graduating College and entering the workforce, it is such an exciting time! All my graduating seniors are so full of zest and ready to take on the next phase of life. Jolie was no different!
She graduated from Louisburg High School with plans to attend Missouri State University. If you didn’t know, I am a MSU alumni (GO BEARS)! It was wonderful to meet her, and talk about her plans for the future. It’s always fun to talk with people who plan to attend my alma-mater, it allows me to reminisce on my time there. I’m also always willing to share advice on what to do and where to get the BEST food!
The sun showed up for us at sunset! It was a beautiful evening for a senior session at The Nelson Atkins Museum and we had a great time walking around and chatting. Her outfits were so cute and a great representation of her personality!
A good rule of thumb is to do a mix of casual and dressed up looks. It’s common for people to bring a uniform or t-shirt from their school to wear so they can capture those memories!
Scheduling a senior session is a great way to capture this special time in your life! Whether you have one outfit or 3 and are attending a University or starting your career post-graduation. One of the best parts of my job is being able to meet people who are in different phases of life. They all have one common goal – preserve these moments and memories!
Your wedding style, at its core, comes down to what you and your partner want your day to look like. Your style can be an overall “feel” or a compilation of multiple different themes you love! It is defined by your choices in venue, color scheme, florals, invitation suite, textiles, table settings, etc.
If you aren’t sure what you want your wedding style to be, I would suggest talking with a wedding planner, browsing Pinterest, and/or using a free quiz from Zola or The Knot to get an idea of where your interests lie. This will help determine what styles and themes you and your partner naturally gravitate toward.
Defining your wedding style early in the planning process will help save time in the long run! If you know what you want your wedding to look like it will allow you to be more decisive when picking out decor, textiles, linens, etc. It also helps your wedding team when making your vision come to life! If you can explain to them what you want and give them a distinct wedding style, they will have an easier time putting together your dream wedding day.
A few wedding styles that are common include:
Regardless of how you define your wedding style, it’s the job of your photographer to capture the essence of your wedding day! I love being able to help couples document all the memories from their big day so they can look back and relive every single moment.
Moments after you say “YES” to forever and you come down from all the feels of that exhilarating moment… reality hits you! There is now an impending list of ‘to-dos’ that need to be checked off. After careful consideration, we task the things that we deem most important to least and move accordingly. Depending on who you ask, some might suggest that the cake isn’t high on the list of importance; but I beg to differ and that might be a slightly biased opinion.
I’m Taylor Elizabeth, owner and lead designer of Taylor Elizabeth Cakes. I’ve been baking and designing cakes for eleven years and over that time I have learned a thing or two about helping couples bring their dream wedding cake to life. In my experience, I find that people can overlook or underestimate the possibilities that couples can create with their cakes. The possibilities are endless and the earlier you decide on the vibe or aesthetic that best fits you as a couple the better chances you have for the design to come to life!
The wedding industry is constantly changing, trends never stop! In 2023 there are a few showstopper trends that couples are making their own and we are here for it! I always like to tell my couples when trying to figure out what their cake should look like, create something that reflects the both of you, your style. Never be afraid to be bold and unique in the ideas that you have. Communicate with your cake designer and give them as many details that you can represents what you are looking for. Then allow them to use that to bring your vision to life. The more information they have the better they can design a custom masterpiece for your special day that you and your guests will never forget.
With trends, come traditions and there’s one that is slowly declining, the groom’s cake, traditionally a southern custom. Recently, a few of my clients have been ordering a small after-party cake to share once they’ve made it back to their hotel. Book your photographer for an additional hour, or recruit a bridesmaid to snap some fun, chic pictures of you two enjoying the cake to commemorate the night.
The bride’s cake is traditionally cut at the reception for dessert. This is the cake that everyone will see. This year’s trends are making sure that it is one to remember. A few styles that I’m looking forward to this season are subtle yet bold. I think they will truly be around for the years to come!
There is nothing quite as chic, elegant and beautiful as a tiered cake covered in pearls. Pearls are such a timeless and romantic staple that enhance any reception.
There is something so bold and understated about a MONOCHROME moment!
Whether you’re loving greens or pinks, creating a wedding cake that’s all one color is a decision you can’t go wrong with. It will stand out in the best way and be an absolute dream at any modern wedding.
Florals and weddings have always gone hand and hand; and your wedding cake is no different. I will say that florals may be my all-time favorite! There is nothing like adding some fresh flowers to accompany your cake. Ask your florist to create a beautiful wreath that your wedding cake can sit in. If you want to take it up a notch, a monochromatic cake will set it off perfectly!
These are just a few of the trends to make your special day unique and tailored to you and your partner. Always remember that this day and the memories are what’s important. At the end of it all do what ultimately is going to make YOU happy!
XO TAY E
Kansas City has a lot to offer when it comes to date night ideas! As Spring approaches and everyone is antsy to get outside I love to recommend mini golf. It is such a fun way to get out with your significant other and do something outside of the typical bar hop, dinner, or movie date night.
I had a great time with KT and Ryan at Lone Summit Ranch for some mini golf fun! Couples often think that a session with me needs to be at a park or rooftop. Those are great options if that is the aesthetic you want for your session! One of my favorite ways to capture a session is to tag along on date night.
Following along to some of your favorite date night spots allows me to capture you and your significant other in a natural, fun, and comfortable state. It creates a unique experience that is very specific to you and your relationship! For people who aren’t comfortable being in front of the camera, this is a great alternative to having a session at a park or somewhere downtown. There is typically less posing involved because I hang out in the background and capture you hanging out!
Some other fun date night ideas that are great options for sessions are: stopping by your favorite brewery, walking the Plaza, going to the River Market, and grabbing a coffee. But I am up for pretty much anything! I am here to help you preserve special moments, however we do that is up to you.
“There is no magic in magic, it’s all in the details”
– Walt Disney
Detail photos are a great way to capture the magic of your wedding! They encapsulate the special sentiments, feelings, and mementos of your big day. Planning for your detail photos should be very personal to you and your spouse, so it is a perfect representation of you and your relationship. There are a few things I recommend making sure you pack, like the invitation suite and the rings. But there is so much wiggle room for you to add your own personal touches so your detail photos are unique to you as a couple.
These are just a few ideas! Include anything that is personal to you. I recommend you start thinking about which items you’ll want in your detail photos at least a couple months in advance. Start a list so you know what you need to purchase or find. Gather everything a couple days beforehand and double check to see if there are any additional items you want to add. Don’t feel like you have to include something from every category in the list above! Some of the best detail images have minimal items in them. Stay true to yourself and add whatever is important to you. Put all your detail photo items into a small container or shoe box so they are all in one spot. You can hand me the box when I arrive and I will make the magic happen!