I am often asked “How much lead time do you need to create a custom wedding invitation?” Well, the short answer is “It depends.” That may not sound very helpful, but every invitation design is unique, and because there is an almost endless choice of styles and printing techniques, the TYPE of invitation we’re creating largely dictates the amount of lead time we need.
However, here are some general guidelines to help you figure out your timeline for ordering custom invitations for your wedding or event. You’ll need to account for design and production time, as well as your mailing window. We’ll start with design and production.
In general, for one of our beautiful digitally printed invitation designs, it takes two to three weeks for the design process, a week or so for printing, and up to two to three weeks for production. Add another few days for addressing and delivery. All together, that’s about seven to eight weeks. We have been known to work miracles on several occasions to get invitations designed and printed more quickly than that, but if you want to avoid rush charges (which can be expensive), it’s best to get started well in advance of when you actually need to mail everything out.
Once you get your invitations back from production but before you can actually send them to your guests, you need to affix your postage and stuff the envelopes. Give yourself a few days to do the “stuffing” that so you don’t make mistakes.
And finally, the mailing window: you’ll want to send out your invitations six to eight weeks before your event, and up to ten to twelve weeks before if you’re planning a destination wedding. This means you should start designing your custom invitations no later than four months before your wedding. However, we recommend starting the process at least six months in advance.
All of this is for beautiful, custom digitally printed invitations which generally require a little less lead time. But that’s not your only printing option. If you are looking to do a letterpress, foil printed invitation, or want to add thermography, add two weeks to the process. And if we’re designing a custom laser cut invitation, Invitation Maven’s newest offering, or are creating something with a custom die cut, add three weeks.
The bottom line is START EARLY. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to develop your vision, decide on the details, including how many invitations you’ll need, and then design your full invitation suite. You’ll have much more fun and will enjoy this part of the process far more if you aren’t rushed. The more time you give yourself, the more options you have, and you won’t encounter rush fees or the extra stress that goes along with being in a hurry.
And of course, if you’d like to inquire about our custom invitation design offerings, contact us at info@InvitationMaven.com.