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When to Send Wedding Invitations

when to send wedding invitations

Everything You Need to Know About When to Send Wedding Invitations

If you recently got engaged, congratulations! There is a lot of fun in store for you and your partner — and a lot of work to do, too. Planning your wedding can feel daunting at times, but it is an opportunity to get creative and explore your ideal vision for your big day. One of the most significant parts of your wedding is getting people there by inviting them. With that, wedding invitation etiquette includes answering the question: When to send wedding invites out? Determining the best time to share the key details about your wedding will allow you to stay organized and keep guests informed.

In this guide, we will explain when to send wedding invitations based on any scenario. This includes when to send wedding invitations for out of town guests, for a destination wedding and in the event that you do not want to send out Save the Dates. Plus, we will tackle everything couples need to know about what they need to do prior to sending out invites and what to do after receiving RSVPs. Read on for expert advice on everything related to sending out your one-of-a-kind wedding invitations. 

Digital vs. Printed: When to Send Wedding Invitations with Save the Dates

When to send wedding invitations largely depends on the style of invite you ultimately decide on. Overall, you should plan to send wedding invitations about six to eight weeks prior to your celebration. There are pros and cons to printed and digital options alike, but your stationery planning process timeline will vary. One of the factors to consider is how long it actually takes to customize your wedding invitations. Below, we will break down the differences in creating them to better understand when to send wedding invitations.  

When to Send Wedding Invitations Prepared Digitally

If you are in a time crunch, making your invites digitally will shorten your answer to when to send wedding invitations. If you have the time and energy to do so, you could design your wedding invitations and send them out on the same day. This is not totally necessary, but if you are running short on time, all you need is a few ideas to work through the custom builder. For instance, if you are approaching the six-week countdown, when to send wedding invitations is simple: ASAP. Whether you planned a short engagement or just ran out of time, you can expect digitally prepared invites to be completed and sent out very quickly. Pro tip: Before you complete these, just make sure you have all of your loved ones’ email addresses!

When to Send Wedding Invitations Sent Through the Mail

While the deadline on when to send wedding invitations remains the same (about six to eight weeks before), your timeline will shift if you want to create printed invites. You will work with a designer and printer to make these special, more traditional invites, and this will take weeks or even months to complete. After your invitations are completed, you will also need to collect mailing addresses, write them on envelopes and find anything else to go with your stationery suite. Of course, these steps can also change the recommendation for when to send wedding invitations. By understanding this, you can better understand when to send wedding invitations that will match the rest of your wedding planning timeline

In addition to affecting your timeline, the digital versus printed conversation is ongoing. For instance, many environmentally- or budget-conscious couples choose to create digital wedding invitations because it saves paper and money to send them via email. Alternatively, couples who want a traditional keepsake generally go for the printed experience. There is not one correct way to do this, but your choice will contribute to your process and determine when to send wedding invitations.  

When to Send Wedding Invitations Without Save the Dates

You do not necessarily need to send out Save the Dates, but they are viewed as incredibly helpful. While they will add to your total wedding cost, there are lots of benefits to sharing your wedding details well in advance. It is a general rule to send them out six to eight months before your wedding day, or even earlier if you are planning a destination wedding (more on that later!). But if you opt out of them, the answer to when to send wedding invitations inevitably changes. 

Guests, especially those located farther away, will need to make preparations to attend your ceremony and reception. And while you might share your date informally, the wedding invitation should be sent earlier. So, when to send wedding invitations without Save the Dates is about four months. This saves you time and money on Save the Dates, without risking that your guests might not be able to make it to your event.

By understanding when to send wedding invitations without Save the Dates, you and your partner can work with your stationer to come up with the best plan of action. 

When to Send Wedding Invites Out for Destination Weddings

How about when to send wedding invitations for a destination wedding? If you are sending out invitations for a destination wedding, you should plan to also send Save the Dates. Consider the fact that some guests will need to renew their passports if it is an international trip, and others may not be able to head over to a different country on a whim. Guests should have a decent amount of time to do all of that, and take time off of work and complete any other necessary tasks in the leadup to your event.

For Save the Dates, it is typical to send those out about six to nine months before the wedding. Another general rule of thumb is to share the details as soon as you confirm where and when your wedding is taking place. However, with a destination wedding, you will want to move your timeline to sending out Save the Dates nine months to a year before. With that, when to send wedding invitations for destination celebrations could also be affected. You can stick with the classic rule on when to send wedding invitations for destination functions (two to three months), or send them even earlier. It is also not recommended, but if you forgo sending Save the Dates, when to send wedding invitations for a destination wedding should change to the timeline suggested for Save the Dates: nine months to a year before.

As you are thinking through everything for your destination wedding (including when to send wedding invites out), remember that more communication is always appreciated. There is a lot that goes into a destination wedding, and both you and your guests should feel prepared for everything coming up. Plus, you should keep your wedding website updated with more information, so you can avoid any last-minute questions from guests traveling to your celebration.

When to Send Wedding Invitations for Out of Town Guests

The answer to when to send wedding invitations for out of town guests also depends on how far away they live. Generally, you can use the same rules attributed to when to send wedding invitations for a wedding hosted in an international country or other destination setting (about eight weeks before). All of this said, it is recommended that couples send Save the Dates six to nine months before the celebration, or even earlier if you are concerned about your out of town guests.

santana wedding invitation
Helena wedding invitation

Other Wedding Timeline Items to Keep in Mind

When to send wedding invitations is not the only timeline item that should be on your radar. In addition to this, you will also want to complete a few other tasks to best prepare you to host the smoothest, most fun set of festivities. Here is the wedding expert recommended timeline to consider as you figure out when to send wedding invitations.

  1. Have a conversation about what will work for your specific budget. Not all weddings cost the same amount, but fees can really add up. You and your partner need to work together and discuss exactly how much you can feasibly spend on everything. This includes your venue, which makes up for about 40 percent of your total wedding cost, and all of the vendors. If there are any friends or relatives who have offered to contribute financially to your wedding should also participate in this important conversation. 
  2. Finalize your guest list. Early on, you and your partner will need to decide how many people will receive invites to your celebration. Some people envision a large wedding with hundreds of people, while others love the idea of a micro wedding. Depending on your budget and general preferences, you should talk through this aspect of planning and make sure you are on the same page before confirming your guest list. As you are weighing your options, keep in mind that approximately 75 to 85 percent of guests will ultimately attend your wedding.
  3. Consider bringing on a wedding planner. Your vendor team can get a real boost when you enlist a wedding expert to guide your planning process. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done for your wedding, and if your budget allows, you should seek out a professional planner. This person will work with you from the beginning to end of the planning process, and they can connect you with the other vendors they really love working with. Because of their years of experience in the industry, planners can also weigh in on big and small decisions, from your venue to the decor.
  4. Decide where you want to get married. This is one significant piece in the puzzle that will change up the answer to when to send wedding invitations. Just like you did for your guest list, you and your partner need to think through where you would like to say, “I do.” Have you always dreamed of getting married locally, or are you loving the idea of jetting off to a tropical island for a destination wedding? Wherever you go, the distance will ultimately decide when to send wedding invitations (and Save the Dates!). 
  5. Research venues and pick your favorite one. Once you have narrowed down the “where” of it all, you should start your venue research process. You can ask family and friends, your wedding planner or even Google the best venues in that particular area. From there, you should schedule tours for these places and make sure to see them in real life. While this might be difficult to pull off — especially if you are hosting an international celebration — it is crucial to get a feel for the space by visiting and exploring it in person. When you have found “the one,” see if they have your dream date available and if it fits your budget and then book it. Wedding venues are in high demand constantly, so you want to make sure you get the venue and date solidified as quickly as possible.
  6. Build your wedding website. Your wedding website will serve as a digital hub for all things related to your celebration. Couples often use it to share photos from their engagement, detail other events before or after the wedding, offer up suggestions for places to go in the area, recommend lodging options and more. Later in the process, you can even use it as the place where guests RSVP to your wedding invites.
  7. Design your Save the Dates. Your Save the Dates go hand-in-hand with your wedding website, so you should complete them around the same time. In most cases, you will want to send out your Save the Dates about six to nine months before your wedding day. This gives your guests the basic details they will need to plan out everything so they can attend their wedding. Again, if you are hosting a destination wedding, when to send wedding invitations and Save the Dates will get moved up a bit. As important as your wedding is, your guests will also need to make arrangements for their work, petcare and daycare before booking their travel and lodging. Giving them as much time as possible will make it easier for them to attend your special day.

If you have made it this far in the process, you can feel more in-the-know about when to send wedding invites out. Based on where and when your event is happening, when to send wedding invites out could range between six weeks to four months before your big day. Deciding when to send wedding invites out also works in tandem with when you will receive your RSVPs. The earlier you choose when to send wedding invitations, the sooner you will get the “yes” or “no” responses. No matter what, you need to give guests some sort of deadline — usually about two to three weeks before the wedding — for when you need them to respond.

Review this timeline during your planning process to stay on track and help you and your vendor team ultimately decide when to send wedding invites out. There are plenty of other choices to make for your wedding day, but these items are all related to the conversation around when to send wedding invitations. 

What to Do After Deciding When to Send Wedding Invitations

Picture this: You have figured out when to send wedding invites out and they are in the mail or your guests’ inboxes. Determining when to send wedding invitations is a daunting task, but now that you are past it, you can start to imagine how your ceremony and reception will look. There are quite a few things you and your partner need to do in the month leading up to your epic celebration, and these include: 

  1. Confirming your guest list. When to send wedding invitations really comes into play when you need to collect RSVPs. That is because you need to give your guests enough time to share whether or not they can make it to the festivities. If there are any holdouts, you need to reach out. Give them a call, or send over a quick email or text, and see if they can confirm their attendance. While this might seem like a frustrating chore, you and your partner can also use it as an opportunity to catch up with some of your favorite people just before you head down the aisle. 
  2. Sending the final guest count to the necessary vendors. Once you have all of the RSVPs confirmed, you will need to send your total number of guests to your planner, venue coordinator and catering team. All of these vendors will need it to get organized and appropriately perform their duties. For instance, the venue will need to know how many chairs will be used for the ceremony and reception, and the catering staff will want to figure out just how much food to prepare.
  3. Decide where you want to sit. Where you and your partner sit at the reception is another item on your to-do list. Some couples envision a sweetheart table, which is an intimate table for two that is usually set up as a focal point near the dance floor. Another popular arrangement is to have two seats at the center of a long or round table full of your wedding party. These are the two most common routes to go, but you and your partner can also get creative. If you are hosting a micro wedding, however, you may be able to sit with everyone at one large, long table.
  4. Make seating or table assignments for every guest. After you know where you are sitting, it is time to think about everyone else at your wedding. There are two basic choices here: To give every guest a table or specific seating assignment. You can share a table name or number to direct your guests to, and then your guests can arrive and independently select their seat. On the other hand, wedding couples who want a bit more control over the seating chart can leave name cards at every seat. So, a guest can see which table they are assigned to, and then arrive at the table and head to the proper seat.
  5. Create a seating chart display. Now that you have sorted out how many people are attending and where everyone (including you and your spouse-to-be!) is sitting, you can have some fun with the seating chart. The most typical display chart shows table names or numbers with guests’ names assigned to every one. These days, however, we are seeing couples choose unique, off-the-wall seating chart displays that are authentic to them and match the theme well. For instance, labeled tequila shots for a wedding in Mexico or a large map with various “destinations” in lieu of table tables are excellent ideas. 

Your process is all your own, but remembering these essential decisions will help you and your partner along the way. There is so much to look forward to, and checking these boxes will only lead to future enjoyment and stress-free planning. 

Getting Started on Your Wedding Invitations at Bliss & Bone

Now that you have a better understanding of how and when to send wedding invitations, you and your partner should start thinking about your wedding theme and stationery designs. At Bliss & Bone, we are here to assist you in crafting the wedding stationery suite of your dreams. To make things even easier, we have curated collections that can take a lot of the guesswork out of the design process. Within these collections, you can find templates for wedding websites, Save the Dates, wedding invitations, rehearsal dinner invites, wedding menus and more. The most memorable day of your life is fast approaching, and we are here for it all. Feel free to contact us online or send us an email to hello@blissandbone.com. We look forward to working with you on all of your wedding stationery.

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