Sending your wedding invitations means that things are about to get real—your big day is quickly approaching, and you’ll soon find out who will be attending the celebration. When thinking about when to send wedding invitations, it’s essential to mail them out during that sweet spot, a time that’s not too close to your wedding date, but not too far off, either. If you sent out save the dates, your guests have hopefully booked their travel and accommodations and checked out your wedding website, but your wedding invitation serves as a final reminder to do so. Your guests will also need to RSVP in a timely fashion so that you’ll have a final guest count and be able to create your seating chart.
Planning your wedding invitations ahead of time is a sure-fire way to make sure all of your guests can save the date and plan accordingly. It’s good to give guests a couple of months notice, and you’ll need to begin even earlier for a destination wedding.
But bear in mind it’s tacky to send out wedding invites too early.
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Table of Contents
- 1 When to Send Invitations?
- 2 Setting the RSVP Date
- 3 Destination Weddings
- 4 What to Include?
- 5 When do you send wedding invitations if you’re hosting a destination wedding?
- 6 When do you send out wedding invitations if you’re hosting a hometown wedding?
- 7 What about rehearsal dinner invitations? When should we send those out?
- 8 How far in advance should I start looking at wedding invitation styles?
- 9 What should I include in my wedding invitations?
- 10 What should I avoid including on my wedding invitations?
- 11 To whom should I send my invitations?
- 12 When to send out invitations(no saved dates)?
- 13 When to mail invitations to overseas guests?
- 14 When should invitations be sent out around Christmas or another important holiday?
- 15 When do I send out invitations for a destination wedding?
- 16 When Should you send invitations if guests need extra time to save?
- 17 When do the invitations go out if I’m delivering them by hand?
- 18 When should the invitations go out if I have an early RSVP date?
- 19 When should I order and send out a thank you card?
- 20 Do we have to invite every guest with a date or a “plus-one”?
- 21 Where do you put the return address on wedding invitations?
- 22 If our wedding reception is for immediate family only, is it okay to invite people to the ceremony only?
When to Send Invitations?
Begin to address your wedding invitations three months before the wedding. If you have a calligrapher, check in with them about four months before the wedding. Make sure to ask them when they need your guest list and invitations.
Ideally, wedding invitations are sent eight weeks before the wedding. This allows guests several weeks to make travel arrangements and request personal time off from work before sending their RSVP back to you.
Setting the RSVP Date
Once your invitations go out, you will need to get them back on time. This helps you organise details such as labelling placement cards and organising seating arrangements. It is also a good idea to ask your caterer when they will need final headcounts to finalise the food and drinks.
Ask for an RSVP date at least three weeks before your wedding. At a minimum, send out your wedding invitations six weeks in advance and set an RSVP date of two weeks before the wedding.
If you get into a situation where some guests have not gotten back to you, feel free to call them. Take their verbal RSVP or politely ask that they mail it back to you so you may properly include their details.
For a destination wedding, it’s common to send out a save the date about six months in advance. This will give your guests the time to budget and hunt for travel and accommodation deals. You can then send out the invitations eight to ten weeks before the wedding.
Since destination wedding trips typically include more events than just the ceremony and reception, you will want to ask for RSVPs three to four weeks before the departure date. In doing so, you will know how many welcome gifts you will need and how many local excursions and special packages to book for your guests.
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What to Include?
On the save-the-date or another smaller card, you can include the full web address for your wedding website as a destination to direct guests to for more information. This is a popular option for couples and eliminates the need to stuff the invitations with a bunch of details.
Avoid including registry information for gifts, as it may appear to be mandatory, which traditionally it is not. You can include special details such as your registry on your wedding website.
Your wedding invitation is another great place to provide information to your guests, such as the dress code. The lower left or right corner of the invitation is a good location for these details. Try to limit it to simple attire phrases that will fit on the invitation and provide your guests with the information they need. Something like “casual attire” or “black tie” will be sufficient.
When do you send wedding invitations if you’re hosting a destination wedding?
When it comes to when to send out wedding invitations for destination weddings, you’ll want to give your guests a bit more notice than if you’re planning a hometown celebration. We recommend sending destination wedding invitations two to three months before the event. You’ll want to give your guests more time just in case they haven’t yet booked their travel and accommodations (hopefully they will have done so after you sent out save the dates, but some people are procrastinators!). Set your RSVP deadline for about six weeks before your wedding, as you’ll likely need more time to plan your wedding weekend (and any group activities or events) if you’re hosting a destination affair.
Check out our post on What can I DIY for my wedding?
When do you send out wedding invitations if you’re hosting a hometown wedding?
With hometown weddings, you can be a bit more flexible when it comes to when to send wedding invitations. Usually, about six to eight weeks before the event is a sufficient amount of time, if a majority of your guests aren’t travelling a long distance to your event. You’ll want to set your RSVP deadline for about two to three before your big day, to ensure you have enough time to plan your seating chart, create escort cards, and to give your caterer and venue a final headcount.
What about rehearsal dinner invitations? When should we send those out?
After your guests have received your wedding invitation, they might be wondering if there’s a rehearsal dinner and if they’re invited. We recommend sending out your rehearsal dinner invitations a week or two after sending out your main wedding invitations. That way, your guests will have enough time to adjust travel plans if needed. Rehearsal dinner invitations should be sent separately from your wedding invitations, even if the guest list is generally the same.
How far in advance should I start looking at wedding invitation styles?
Let’s backtrack just a bit. You’ll want to give yourself ample time to check out the huge selection of invitations available and find the style that best fits your wedding’s theme and colour scheme. Starting about six months before your big day, we recommend browsing online stationers or reading reviews of local stationers on a site, then visiting a few to see their offerings. This will give you enough time to proofread and order your invitations, as well as enlist a calligrapher to address the envelopes if desired. Calligraphers do tend to book up quickly, so it’s best to hire one sooner rather than later.
What should I include in my wedding invitations?
A wedding invitation seldom is just a single printed item. Usually, there are several inserts along with the main invitation. The main invitation typically includes the couple’s names as well as the names of those hosting the wedding (often the parents), the wedding’s date, time, and location. If your reception is in a different location from your ceremony, you may need to include a card with the reception details printed on it. You’ll also want to include a response card and pre-addressed and stamped envelope so that your guests can send them back to you. Directions cards, accommodations cards, wedding website cards, and other inserts may be needed as well, depending on your event.
What should I avoid including on my wedding invitations?
Certain details aren’t necessary to include on your wedding invitation. The biggest no-no is including your registry information—it looks like a direct plea for gifts. Instead, include an insert with your wedding website information, and then include your registry info on the site.
To whom should I send my invitations?
Your invitations should be sent to all of your guests at the same time. We don’t recommend sending a batch of invitations, waiting to see if there are any no’s, and then sending them to your B-list. Those who have received invitations may spill the beans to those on your B-list, which could make things pretty awkward. When considering when to send wedding invitations, make sure your guest list is completely finalised before doing so.
When to send out invitations(no saved dates)?
When should the invitations be sent if you haven’t sent save the dates? It depends in part on whether you have given people an informal heads up – i.e. telling them in person, via phone or email or through social media. Of course, even if you have informally let people know, the arrival of the formal invitation is when most people will make their plans, book their leave, and buy a dress/suit. It’s only fair to your loved ones to give them plenty of notice. So if you’re deciding when to mail out your invitations, think about how much time you would need to get ready if you were a guest. Then add a little time – some people will likely need even longer than you would!
So when do you send invitations out if there was no save the date? Ultimately it depends on your situation, but we recommend six weeks as a minimum. A few months before your big day is ideal. If people need longer than that to prepare, we highly recommend you consider a save the date as well, or that you take the time to let them all know the details informally ahead of time.
When to mail invitations to overseas guests?
One of the most common questions we get is “when should I send out invitations to family and friends from other countries?” This is a really important question to ask, and shows that you’re considering all your guests! We recommend allowing four months, in case of any postal delays. That way, those guests still have time to get organised. There is no need to send out two lots of invitations at different times. If you know you have to factor in international guests, why not get organised and send all the invitations out four months prior to the wedding? Of course, four months isn’t a rule for every situation, and the exact answer to “when do you mail invitations for overseas guests” will depend on whether you’re sending them from Australia to New Zealand, from Australia to the UK, or from Australia to Antarctica.
When should invitations be sent out around Christmas or another important holiday?
If you’re wondering when you should send out invitations around a crazy busy time of year like Christmas or Easter, we recommend that you allow another 2-4 weeks to the lead time on your invites so that your friends and family are more likely to block out that date for you, not another event. The more time ahead, the better, when it comes to the Christmas holidays in particular.
When do I send out invitations for a destination wedding?
Wondering when to send destination wedding invitations, and not wanting to leave it too late? If at all possible, we recommend that destination wedding invites be sent 4-6 months ahead of time to give your guests enough time to make all their travel arrangements.
When Should you send invitations if guests need extra time to save?
If you’re having a destination wedding and asking guests to travel, it’s understandable that some of your guests will need time to save up for their flights and other expenses. Don’t assume that everyone has cash on hand. A save the date will come in handy to give your loved ones a heads up to start putting money away for your wedding. You can send this out as soon as you know dates and location. You don’t need every detail finalised, just let them know ‘June 15-18 2019, Bali’ or similar so they can do some research on ticket costs and plan things ahead.
When do the invitations go out if I’m delivering them by hand?
If you are hand-delivering your wedding invitations that have been preceded by a save the date, we recommend you ensure your invites are out 4-6 weeks before your big day. If you are delivering by hand, we would recommend a premium print type such as foil stamped wedding invitations. However, where there is no save the date, allow three months. Make sure you get all your invitations out in a timely manner. If you only see one friend every three months, it’s better to send them their invitation rather than giving them their invitation two weeks before the wedding. Start the process of handing out or hand-delivering invites with enough time to get them all out. If you don’t start delivering invites until four weeks before your wedding, you’ll have a very short amount of time to get them all to your guests.
When should the invitations go out if I have an early RSVP date?
When do you mail out invitations when you want the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ back ASAP? People need time to consider their availability and make plans, so if you have an especially early RSVP date, we recommend adding at least two weeks to your timeline. This increases your chances of getting RSVPs back on time.
When should I order and send out a thank you card?
Many brides like to order their thank you cards at the same time as their invitation. It saves time after the wedding, which helps you get your thank you notes out faster. This also allows you to write thank you cards for presents and help you receive in the lead up to the wedding as they arrive. You can, however, order thank you cards post-wedding, as etiquette states that you have three months to send them out. Just don’t underestimate how long it will take you to handwrite personalised thank you cards for all your guests! It can be a big undertaking, and probably isn’t something you can get done in a single afternoon.
Do we have to invite every guest with a date or a “plus-one”?
No, you don’t have to. If a guest isn’t married or in a serious relationship, it’s perfectly acceptable to invite them solo. Most guests will understand that without “and Guest” or another name on the invitation, they aren’t invited with a plus-one. At the same time, it’s always nice to invite everyone with a guest that can add up quickly ( in terms of both headcount and cost). If a guest RSVPs for two, call them and explain you’re trying to be diligent about your guest list. Unfortunately, you were not able to invite everyone with a guest. If you realise that nearly everyone will be coupled up, you might want to extend a plus-one invitation to your few single friends and family members.
Where do you put the return address on wedding invitations?
The return address usually goes on the back flap of the envelope. Also, the return address used should be that of the person(s) whom you’ve designated to receive response cards, be it your parents or you (traditionally, whoever is hosting the wedding handles response cards). Don’t forget that the RSVP envelope should also be printed with this address (and should include postage).
If our wedding reception is for immediate family only, is it okay to invite people to the ceremony only?
This is a tricky situation. Standard etiquette dictates that everyone who attends the ceremony (or wedding shower, engagement party or wedding reception) should be invited to the wedding—that means the ceremony and the reception. By inviting guests to one and not the other, it could send the message that you want them there for the actual ceremony, but you either don’t want to pay for their plate at your party or don’t care enough to have them there to celebrate your newlywed status.
There are so many wedding-related events and festivities that take place throughout a couple’s engagement period, and they all require a lot of stationery and invitations. At first glance, it can seem a little overwhelming, but it’s manageable if you know what to expect.
Read on to learn when to send everything from save the dates from thank you notes, and who to send them to. Chances are, you’ll be making more trips to the post office than you have in your entire life. But these invitations are things that you (and your guests) will look back on as precious keepsakes in the years to come.