Planning a wedding can be incredibly stressful and challenging, as there are many different aspects to consider, and many arrangements to work.
And on top of that, the timing of everything has to fit in perfectly, so that the wedding can go ahead as planned and runs smoothly.
One of the most important parts of organizing a wedding is coming up with a list of guests and sending out the invitations. But when should you be sending out the invitations?
You want to send them out with enough time so that your guests have enough time to book the day off, and make preparations. But sending them out too early can be an issue, as you might not have all the necessary details set in stone!
Plus, you don’t want to get ahead of yourself, right? So when is early enough but not too early?
Let’s go ahead and break down all the basics!
Sending out the ‘Save the Date’ invitations:
Any wedding planner will tell you that the first step in planning a wedding is setting a date. Of course, setting a date usually goes hand in hand with choosing a venue.
After all, wedding venues are usually very busy, and there tends to be a waiting list. They will usually give you the available slots, and you pick the date you prefer the most.
Once you have the date, you can send out the ‘save the date’ invitations. These aren’t proper wedding invites, instead, they’re an early substitute with the sole purpose of ensuring that people set that specific date aside, so that they can make sure they’re free to attend the wedding.
These save the dates won’t usually contain a lot of information about the wedding itself. Mainly because you probably won’t even have many details yet, as it’s early days. They’ll be a simple ‘hey we’re getting married on this day and we want you to come, so please be free on this day!’
On average, people send out ‘save the date’ invitations between 6 and 12 months before the wedding. This gives guests plenty of time to book off the specific day, and to make arrangements to attend. You can essentially send these out as soon as you 100% know the exact day of the wedding.
Sending out the wedding invitations:
Once the ‘save the date’ invitations have been sent out, so that guests are aware of the day they need to be free, you can continue with the wedding planning. But eventually, it will be time to send out the real proper wedding invitations.
Actual wedding invitations are the formal and official invite, that lets the guest know that they are properly invited to attend the wedding. These invitations will be prettier, and will usually have a bit more information, like maybe the theme or the style of clothing expected from guests, as well as perhaps a timetable and the exact venue. But when do you send them out?
On average, wedding invitations are sent out between 8 to 12 weeks before the wedding, so that the guests have a couple of months to prepare.
If you haven’t sent out a ‘save the date’, and you’re directly sending out wedding invites, then you can send them out slightly earlier, up to 16 weeks before the wedding, to give that little extra time of preparation.
This will give your guests enough time to arrange their wedding attendance, and get ready for the big day. Plus, it gives them enough time to confirm their attendance, so you can finalize important details such as the exact amount of guests for the food and catering!
It’s a good idea to include a method of RSVP within the wedding invitation, such as an email, or a little envelope with an RSVP card that they can send back.
And along with this, it’s recommended that you include a deadline by which all guests should confirm attendance.
(We recommend you make this deadline slightly sooner than needed, just in case a few guests answer late. You need to still have enough time to amend numbers and preparations!)
Okay, but when is it too early for the invitations?
Well, it’s better to send them out early than sending them out late, that’s for sure. Especially because you need enough time to get an answer from all the guests, so you can properly prepare for the exact number of attendees.
But in regards to wedding etiquette, you shouldn’t send out the wedding invitations any sooner than 4 months before the wedding.
(Plus, if you send them too early, guests will be more prone to forget the invite in the pail of mail, as there won’t be that sense of urgency to prepare! And they might not be able to fully confirm so early in advance!)
Factors to consider when timing the wedding invitations:
There are many other factors you should consider when sending out wedding invitations, other than etiquette.
Here are some of the main ones:
- If you’re having a destination wedding, and expect your guests to travel abroad for the day, send the invites out earlier!
- How far away do your guests live? You might want to change when you send the invites out, to make up for larger distances.
- How much time do you need to amend preparations, once the guests are fully confirmed? Make sure you don’t have to rush as a consequence of sending the invites out too late!
To sum everything up, the average time frame for sending out the wedding invitations is between 8 and 12 weeks before the wedding. (And you can previously send out the ‘save the date’ invites between 6 and 12 months in advance!)
To properly follow wedding etiquette, don’t send out invitations more than 4 months before the wedding date.
However, you need to make sure the wedding invitations are sent out with enough time to allow for the guests to confirm attendance so that you can amend the numbers and make proper preparations.