9 months to 1 year before - Order and send out your Save the Date Cards
This gives plenty of time for those who need to book off holiday for your wedding or book flights if coming from abroad.
5 months before - Get in touch if ordering bespoke stationery
If you are thinking that you would like a bespoke design created just for your wedding then get in touch with the stationer you would like to work with now so you have plenty of time to work on creating a design that is just right for your wedding.
3-4 months before - Order your invitations
If you are ordering an off the peg design or have already been in touch with a stationer about a besoke design now is an ideal time to place your order for your wedding invitations.
Depending on their complexity and whether they are handmade or a flat printed design the turnaround time from ordering can be anything from 2 - 6 weeks. You will often have proofs to check over of your wording and want to make small changes once you have received these proofs so make sure you allow some time for this and don't rush proof reading your stationery as you won't be able to make any changes once they have gone to print!
This is an ideal time to also put a deposit on any matching reception stationery you wish to order so you ensure you can book in to your stationer's schedule.
2-3 months before - Send out your invitations
If you haven't sent out Save the Dates you may wish to send out your invitations slightly earlier than this but on average this is around when most people will send out their invitations.
1 month - 6 weeks before - Confirm or order your reception stationery
Ideally set your RSVP date at least 6 weeks prior to your wedding if at all possible. This gives you plenty of time to chase stragglers who haven't RSVP'd ( believe me no matter how well you think you know your guests there will always be a few! ) and sit down and work out your guest list and table plan which will often take some time. You then have all the information you need ready to give to your wedding stationer approximately a month before the wedding to create your Order of Service, Placecards, Table Plan etc.
I hope this has given you a better idea of the timescales you might be looking at when ordering various elements of wedding stationery.