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When To Send Wedding Invitations: How Early is Too Early?

When you’re planning a wedding, timing is an important consideration. It’s hard to know when to book vendors, when to throw engagement parties and bridal showers, and how early to send out your wedding invitations. 

Once you’ve booked your venue and set a date for your wedding, you may be wondering, “how soon is too soon to send out the invitations?” You don’t want to wait too long and have guests unable to attend due to prior commitments, but is there a rule for how far in advance you can send out the invites? 

We’ll break down wedding invitation etiquette and common practices for timing your wedding invitations. 

When To Send Save-the-Dates 

A save-the-date is different from a proper wedding invitation. They typically stand as a placeholder for the real invitation to ensure that guests know to clear their schedules on that day, or avoid committing to any other events.

Save-the-dates are sent out before wedding invitations, and the general rule of thumb is to send them between 6 and 12 months before the wedding. If your engagement is on the longer side, it’s common to send the save-the-date 12 months out.

In light of COVID-19, couples across the globe have had to reschedule their weddings. Right now, many brides and grooms are grappling with rescheduling venues, vendors, and alerting their guests.

If you are scheduling your wedding in the aftermath of the global pandemic, it may be wise to send out your save-the-dates slightly earlier. With so many couples rescheduling at once, dates are being scooped up quickly, and it may be necessary to let loved ones know your date earlier so that they can save it and avoid missing your special day. 

When To Send Wedding Invites 

Finding the right time to send out wedding invitations can be a difficult balancing act. The general rule of thumb is to send invitations 8 to 12 weeks before the date (2 to 3 months out). You can set a date on the card for guests to RSVP by so that you can get a headcount, but prepare for some guests to fail to meet that deadline. If you’re concerned that you need more time, send out your invitations 16 weeks (4 months) before the wedding at the earliest.

Wedding invitations – and RSVPs – are important for a number of reasons. Not only do you want your closest guests to make it to the wedding, you also need a guest count to tell the venue for tables, chairs, and seating arrangements, and to tell caterers and other vendors so that you have the right amount of food, drinks, and so on. 

How Early is Too Early for Wedding Invitations?

Many brides want to send out their invitations early so that they can confirm their numbers with vendors, but sending wedding invitations too early can be a mistake. Often, guests end up leaving the invitation in a pile of mail and forget to respond, or they cannot commit to a date so far in advance. In other cases, they may RSVP “yes” and then forget about it because so much time has passed between their RSVP and the actual event. 

As we stated above, anywhere from 8 weeks to 16 weeks before the wedding is an acceptable time to send invitations. Sending out invitations earlier may seem like a good idea to get planning done sooner, but ultimately it may make finalizing your guest list numbers more difficult. 

When to Send Wedding Invitations with No Save-the-Dates

If you choose not to send save-the-dates, feel free to send your wedding invitations out a bit earlier than if you had. In the 8 to 16 week range, you may want to lean more towards 16 weeks before the wedding for invitations if you did not send guests a save- the-date. This way, guests have a little more warning and more time to plan.

When to Send Destination Wedding Invitations 

If you’re planning a destination wedding, you may want to give guests a little more notice so they can figure out travel arrangements. Consider sending your invitations 12 to 16 weeks before the wedding, keeping in mind that you may want to book a block of hotel rooms for guests or recommend other accommodations at your destination. 

Timing Your Wedding Invitations 

Our recommendation is to send out your invitations between 8 to 12 weeks before your wedding, but if you need more time, 16 weeks early is acceptable. 

Ultimately, you can send out your invitations whenever you want, but you should keep in mind that guests may forget that they RSVP’d or simply forget to answer if you invite them too early. If you’re worried about guests being double-booked, use a save-the-date to encourage them to mark their calendars. A wedding website, perhaps even with email updates, is another great way to remind guests about your upcoming celebration.

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