You've gone through the process of having your wedding suite designed and produced. Hooray! But how do you factor in when to send out your wedding invitations?
Do you send everything out really early so you know it's something you can tick off your list? Or should you just wing it at the last minute knowing that karma owes you a favour and everything is bound to work out ok?
Well, leave all that second-guessing at the door! With this guide to when to send out your wedding invitations and other assorted suite pieces, you'll be all set to admin your stationery like a wedding ninja.
Engagement Party Invitations
As soon as possible!
Your engagement party generally won't have as long a lead-up to it as your wedding, so it's best to get these out to your friends and family as soon as you can!
Save the Dates
8-12 months prior
The rule of thumb with Save the Dates is sooner is better. As soon as you've booked that venue and have a good idea who the must-haves at your wedding are, get those cards in the post!
The times we live in mean that our lives are so busy. Work, kids, holidays, and every other sort of commitment fill our diaries quickly. So while I've said before that Save the Dates aren't a necessity for your wedding suite, they're still a highly recommended way of making sure you give your nearest and dearest as much notice as possible so you can count on them for your big day.
The 8-12 months prior is a reasonable time to get these out to people. This timeframe should work whether your guests are local or international. More than a year out and you run the risk of the date still slipping people's minds. Anything less than eight months and you might as well skip straight to your wedding invitations.
Wedding Invitations (including evening-only invites)
No Save the Dates: 4-8 months prior
This is when the invitations to the main event get sent out. Make sure you have any relevant details cards enclosed with the invitation (or point them to your wedding website), and if you're not sending out an RSVP card (and self-addressed envelope), make sure it's very clear how your guests should RSVP.
With Save the Dates: 2+ months prior
There's some wiggle room if you've gone down the Save the Date route. In this instance, you can leave it until around eight weeks before your wedding to send out your invitations, giving you time to allow for a more involved production process or lots of hand-finishing!
If you have international guests, send their invitations out early. This is doubly important if you haven't sent out Save the Dates as you want to give them as much time as possible to arrange travel and accommodation.
Pro Tip! Never leave it less than six weeks before sending out your wedding invitations. All sorts of things can mean your invitation might get delayed, and when you factor in asking for several weeks' notice for the RSVPs*, you're not giving your guests much time at all to arrange things ahead of attending your wedding. For international guests, the deadline for sending out these invitations is a full eight weeks as they have more to sort out to attend your wedding.
* RSVP Return Dates
1+ months notice
This is largely going to depend on when your venue and caterers want to know your final numbers. Usually, it's a couple of weeks before the wedding, but it can be more so double-check your paperwork!
You will need all that vital info from your RSVPs to pass on to your vendors. Make sure your guests get back to you in good time for you to collate those details and make the return by date obvious (not embarrassingly obvious, but pretty darn clear so there are no excuses!).
And factor in some buffer time. Telling your guests a deadline to RSVP that's the same day your vendors need the information is a stress nightmare! Factor in a bit of time to chase people for an answer either way. If you have a larger guest list: give yourself more time!
Rehearsal Dinner Invitations
3-6 weeks prior
If these weren't sent out with the main wedding invitation pack, this is the time to do it!
It may be the case that the parents of either couple might be hosting and will be arranging these invitations by themselves. At this point, you will hopefully have a bunch of RSVPs back, so you'll be able to pass on information regarding which people are likely to be able to attend if asked.
Thank You Cards
1-2 months after (but preferably within three weeks)
So your wedding went off without a hitch, you're back from your honeymoon, and now it's time to send out messages of gratitude to those that attended and were able to spare a little something by way of a gift.
If this feels like too much of a chore, split the list between the two of you. Remember, done is better than perfect, but try and at least use your best handwriting! Ensure that the thank you notes sent to parents and your wedding team (such as groomsmen, bridesmaids, ushers etc.) acknowledge how grateful you are for all the hard work they put in to make your day extra special.
Bonus Entry 1:
While these most likely aren't on your hit list to send out, for completion's sake I've added these in their own section.
Bridal Shower Invitations
6-8 weeks prior
This should fall to your chief bridesmaid. Depending on whether you have many people travelling from a distance for the event, you might like to allow more time for them to make any necessary arrangements.
Ensure the invitations are clear on who to RSVP to keep things organised. Chaos may reign if replies are scattered-gunned across the whole bridal team!
Hen & Stag Invitations
1 month prior
Here's another one that the couple aren't generally responsible for! While there's no need to send out a printed invitation (unless your chief bridesmaid/best man is that way inclined, then go for it!), your guests should get a month's notice ahead of the festivities regardless of whether the invitation is physical or digital.
Bonus Entry 2:
While you won't be sending any of the following out, these are still pieces that range from essential to 'a really good idea' for your wedding, so pencil them in your diary!
Around 12 months prior
While this isn't something you 'send out' as such, setting up a wedding website is a great idea. You'll be able to constantly update any necessary details like where to stay, where your gift registry is, and in some instances, allow your guests to RSVP online too!
1-2 months prior
This is when you should be arranging and ordering your on-the-day wedding stationery. Items such as menus, table plans, escort cards, place cards, table numbers, orders of service... You get the idea!
And there you have it, a full rundown of when you should send out your wedding invitations and other assorted stationery, with some bonus entries to make the rest of your wedding stationery planning go smoothly!
Of course, you could also book a stationer to guide you through this process (drop me a line here), and we'll do our best to keep you on track (as in pushing you for a decision on whether you want the sage ribbon or the pistachio at relevant intervals...).