Newly engaged couples have a lot of wedding admin to deal with, and unless you’re a professional event planner, you’re probably not sure of what order to tick everything off. One responsibility you’ll need to have on your radar ahead of time is wedding stationery — and more specifically, when to send wedding invitations to ensure your guests have plenty of notice about your special day.

In this guide, we’ll outline your wedding invitation timeline and answer all your questions, helping you avoid unnecessary stress and any last-minute trips to the post office. Here we’ll provide all the information you need to get your wedding stationery well organised, so you can move on to focusing on the rest of your wedding to-dos.

Wedding Invitations

When to Send Wedding Invitations: How Early Is Too Early?

If you’ve wondered when it’s the right time to send your wedding invitations, the answer is two to four months before your wedding date. This gives your guests enough time to make arrangements and provides you with a final headcount in the lead up to your ceremony. To leave yourself enough time, you should order your invitations at least a few weeks before this, ensuring they’re printed and ready in advance.

If you haven’t sent save the dates, you may decide to send your wedding invitations up to six months before your wedding to ensure your big day is marked on your friends’ and families’ calendars. Under no circumstances should wedding invitations be sent with less than six weeks’ notice, as this doesn’t give your loved ones enough time to arrange travel, book accommodation and take any required time off work. 

If you’re the kind of couple that loves being prepared, you may be tempted to send your wedding invitations out sooner, but this can be a mistake. If invites are received too early, guests may be unable to commit so far in advance or forget to respond by your RSVP date. 

Who Should I Send Wedding Invitations To?

Your main wedding invitations should be sent to everyone you’d like to attend your wedding ceremony. If some of your guests will be invited to the evening reception only, it’s a good idea to send them separate evening invitations with clear instructions.

When Should I Send Wedding Invitations to International Guests?

If you’re inviting one or two international guests, sending their invitations alongside the rest is okay, but you may want to give these people additional notice via a heads-up text or phone call. If many of your loved ones live overseas, this may call for your invitations to be sent out extra early, as they’ll need plenty of time to organise travel.

When Should I Send Destination Wedding Invitations?

If you’re planning a destination wedding, your guests will likely need extra notice to ensure they can make it. We’d recommend sending out save the dates eight to twelve months before your wedding date and posting your main wedding invitations four to five months before. 

When Should My RSVP Date Be?

You should request RSVPs to be returned one month before your wedding date. It’s common to have some guests who miss this deadline, but this gives you a bit of time to chase them for a response and make sure you have a confirmed headcount before making the final arrangements.

When Should I Order My Wedding Invitations?

When choosing or designing your wedding invitations, you can never be too organised. We recommend ordering your invitations four to six months before you intend to send them, allowing plenty of time for them to be made and sent out to you. 

Save the Dates

Do I Have to Send Save the Dates to My Guests?

It’s your wedding and you don’t have to do anything, but save the dates are an effective way to make sure your guests know about your upcoming celebrations. They’re especially useful if guests need to travel or book accommodation in advance, as you can save your loved ones a lot of hassle (and money!) by giving them plenty of advance notice.

Save the dates are a fun way to kick off your wedding celebrations and are always a nice keepsake for guests to receive. If you’re sure that printed save the dates aren’t for you, you can also send digital invitations or simply email or text your guests to let them know you’ve chosen a wedding date.

When Should I Send Save the Dates?

With save the dates, sooner is better than later — ideally, you’d send them eight months to a year before your wedding date. This gives guests ample time to request annual leave, make travel arrangements and get childcare covered if necessary.

Once you’ve booked your venue, you should send out save the dates as soon as possible — especially if you’re getting married during the summer or having your wedding abroad. You want guests to commit to your special day before they can make other plans, and it’s not uncommon for diaries to get booked up quickly.

Who Should I Send Save the Dates To?

Save the dates should only be sent out to guests who are definitely invited to your whole wedding day. You don’t need to provide quite as much notice for reception-only guests, and it would be awkward if they were to get confused about which part of the wedding they’re invited to.

If you want to know more about save the dates and what details should be included on them, our ultimate guide to save the dates covers all the details.

Your Wedding Invitation Timeline

This wedding invitations timeline covers all the key dates:

  • 8-12 months before: Send out save the dates

  • 6-10 months before: Order your wedding invitations

  • 4-5 months before: Send out invites for a destination wedding

  • 2-4 months before: Send out main wedding invitations & evening invitations

  • One month before: RSVPs are due.

After your wedding, it’s customary also to send thank you cards to your guests within two months.

How Should I Send My Wedding Invitations?

Although digital wedding invitations are an option, most couples go down the traditional route of sending paper wedding invitations to their guests by post.  Below are some tips to help you post your save the dates and wedding invitations:

  • Once your wedding invitations are ready, take a sample to your local post office for it to be weighed and measured. This way, you’ll know the postage cost for each of your invitations and can decide on your preferred delivery method.

  • It’s said that 2-5% of your wedding budget will be spent on your invitations, but this includes the cost of postage. Be sure to budget for this in advance, and consider using second class stamps if you’ll be sending a lot of invitations.

  • Your envelope is the first thing recipients will see — for a stylish finishing touch, you may choose to decorate it with a personalised sticker or wax seal.

  • Remember to provide a return address with your invitations so that friends and family know where to send their RSVPs.

  • Wedding etiquette dictates that invitations should be sent by post rather than delivered by hand. Of course, it’s up to you whether you want to follow this rule!

If you’re ready to get started on your wedding invitations, our range of fully customisable designs offers all the inspiration you need. For more tips, you can also check out our ultimate wedding stationery checklist to ensure you’ve got everything covered.

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