Knowing the right timing for you invitations is so key to a stress free wedding planning process. Like a lot of things in the world of weddings, timelines aren’t totally set in stone, but there are a few key dates to keep in mind.
If you are working with a designer (like moi!) for custom wedding invitations, you can reach out as far as a year in advance of your wedding to make sure you hold time on their calendar. Personally, I like to start the design process for Save the Dates about 10 months before the wedding, and invites at about 6 months out.
Save the Dates: Send them out 6 to 8 months before your wedding
Save the dates have become an expected piece of wedding correspondence. We used to only send out save the dates for destination weddings that required more advanced notice for planning travel. But these days almost everyone sends them out (which, I love, obvi!) I’m not 100% sure why this has started to happen - but I have a few theories:
People are busy! Doesn’t it seem like the world is getting busier and busier? I always feel like our life calendar fills up months in advance - so having and idea of everything that’s coming early on is awesome.
Every wedding is a destination for someone! Gone are the days when only local people were on your invite list. It is so much easier to keep in touch with people all over the world - which makes it more likely that your list of important guests will be coming from near and far.
They’re just pretty! Save the Dates are fun! They give you a chance to set the tone for your wedding early on - and make things start to feel really real, which is so exciting!
Sending Save the Dates for at least 6 months before your wedding will give your guests plenty of time to plan any vacation days or travel needed to get there, but it’s not so early that they can’t commit, or forget (gasp!) that it’s coming up. Make sure to include your wedding website on these so guests can look up accommodation and travel information in advance!
Formal Invitations: Send them out 6 to 8 weeks before your wedding
For your invitations, sending a month to a month and a half in advance of the big day is perfect timing. Since your guests have already saved your date the invitation suite acts as more of a prequel to the wedding than as a placeholder. It should convey the overall tone and vibe of your wedding, and provide extra details not covered by the Save the Dates, for example: specific times and locations, dress codes, etc.
Sending invitations out 6 to 8 weeks ahead allows time for your guests to finalize their plans without feeling rushed - but still gives a sense of “this is really happening soon, so pay attention” at the same time.
Request the RSVPs to be mailed (or submitted on-line) 3 to 4 weeks ahead. This way your invites have time to arrive in the mail before the RSVPs are due. It should also give you time to get numbers back for caterers and one else on the planning team that needs the info.
Don’t Forget: Thank You Cards! Send them out within 3 months of you wedding
Ideally, you should be sending thank you notes as the gifts roll in (within 2 - 3 weeks of receiving). But let’s be honest, wedding planning life gets pretty crazy, and sometimes that’s not a realistic expectation. The goal should be to have all the thank-yous sent out by 3 months after the big day.
That might seem like a lot to keep track of, so I created a timeline cheatsheet for you - view it like a quick reference guide during your planning process (Pin it so it’s easy to find later!):