In the Mail: A “When-to” for Wedding Invitations

The beginning of a new year marks the beginning of a new wedding season.  Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles answers some of the frequently asked questions about the most optimal timelines for ordering and sending wedding invitations. 

Congratulations! You’re getting married, you’ve locked down your dream location, and now you need to spread the word. Here are a few tips for a wrinkle-free work flow that will result in perfectly timed wedding paper.


When is the best time to send Save the Dates?

Save the Dates are usually sent anywhere between six and twelve months before the event. Consider sending them out on the early side if your wedding is in a location with limited flights and accommodations such as Aspen or St. Barts. If the wedding is located in New York City, six months ahead is usually fine. Be sure to include the hotel block information with the Save the Date and not later with the invitation because that’s when guests need it most. If everyone is invited to Friday night festivities and Sunday brunch, call it a “Save the Weekend” so that your lucky guests will know to book a longer weekend.


OK, my Save the Date is in the mail! When do I need to start the wedding invitation process?

Trusty sources say that invitations should be posted between six and eight weeks before the wedding, but here at Dempsey & Carroll, our clients generally prefer eight weeks out. Working backwards, producing fine engraved papers with hand finishes takes about six weeks and calligraphy of the envelopes takes  a minimum of two or three weeks. For design time, allow about three weeks. Faster results are certainly possible when required, but to get the most enjoyment out of the process, come to see us at least five months in advance of your big day for a stress-free, luxurious experience of a lifetime!


And what about the paper I need for the day of?

We usually start working on menus, welcome notes, ceremony program booklets, escort cards, and place cards right after we send the wedding invitations to print. All the paper then has a congruent feel for a perfectly polished wedding!


A Selection of Save the Dates

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles put together a selection of some of his favorite save-the-dates from our recent work. 

Seaside in the Caribbean

The bride and her mother were undecided about incorporating the couple’s photograph in their save the date design and Dempsey & Carroll was thrilled to provide this pleasing solution: A nice thick card with an elegant time-honored script, depth intensifying painted edges, all in our regent ink. The couple’s charismatic photograph, printed on velum, was laid over the invitation card. Envelopes were finished with matte linings in an eye-popping brilliant cerulean blue.


Verdant Beauty on Lake Michigan

Sweet flourishes capped a breezy script (one that reads as easily as a block font) for this charming save the date. The beveled edges were painted in aquamarine, an accent color that would continue through the invitations and day of papers. After lining with aquamarine tissue, the envelopes were hand-calligraphed by Dempsey & Carroll.


A Peaceful Garden near Melbourne Australia

A vivacious couple from Australia adored our Mark Ingram collection and wanted to incorporate elements throughout their save the date and invitation suite. We started on our generous 6-ply paper, the Mark Ingram watercolor enhanced texturally with blind embossing done by hand on our antique engraving presses, but we swapped out the gold painted edge for a custom spring green ink. We then used sand ink for the classically bold script and the envelopes were lined with a warming sand tissue.


Classic Elegance at the Breakers Palm Beach

The bride and groom knew they wanted gold accents for their invitations but saw in the save the dates the opportunity to be more playful. (They met at school and our rich Orchid ink on creamy Dempsey White paper was the perfect representation of that school’s colors.) The corners of the save the date card were rounded and beveled by hand as was a small insert card with their website information. The envelopes were finished with a lighter shade of the Orchid.