Send out your save the dates now. If you are having a destination wedding, then give your guests ample time to make travel plans. By all means, avoid having me ship your stationery before December 1 or after January 1. The usps and all shipping companies experience their highest volume at these times.
Start ordering samples of invitation suites. We don't like surprises when it comes to wedding planning. Ordering samples is the only way to know exactly what you are ultimately going to be purchasing. You can purchase samples in my Gilded Swan Etsy Shop. I always send several paper samples and differing colors for each design.
Order your wedding suite now. I email your first set of proofs within 24 hours of receiving your deposit, wording, and colors. Printing and production take 3-5 weeks. Your venue may change your start time or you might have misspelled a street name.
Things do happen and you need to build in that buffer time!
Don't forget to take one complete sample of your wedding invitation suite to your local post office to be weighed. Most suites take one stamp, but if you are including a few enclosure cards or even one museum board invitation, you might need additional postage.
Your wedding invitations must be received by your guests at this time. Earlier, for destination weddings. Set your RSVP date 3-4 weeks before your wedding. This allows you to consult with your caterer and gives you plenty of time to make follow-up calls with guests not replying yet.
Start ordering your "Day Of" stationery such as programs, table cards, place cards, brunch invitations, and signs for your special day. You may need to really push your caterer for dining menus and drink menus. These items cannot be ordered last minute.
There is no reason you can't start working on your programs, place cards, etc. right after you send out your invitations. Have your ducks in a row, enjoy your wedding!
Don't forget to order Thank You notes and envelopes. Your good friends and family have graced you with their presence and special gifts... let's put your appreciation in writing!