One of the most common questions we get throughout the wedding planning process from our clients is when to send your save the dates and wedding invitations, and what to include on them. Too far in advance may result in forgotten invitations, while too close to your wedding may not give guests enough time to prepare.
So today, we plan to break down everything you need to know about save the dates and wedding invitations, including when to send them, what to include on them and some of our favorite vendors and websites to get them from.
When to Send Save the Dates + Wedding Invitations
Save the Dates
Many questions come to mind when tackling your save the dates. This is one of the first tasks you take on when planning your wedding, so we know you must be eager to get it done! More specifically, when to get it done. This particular announcement will be the first your loved ones will hear of when and where you and your fiancé will be getting married.
First things first, before you mail your save the dates you need to have a few things completed. You need to make sure your wedding website is up and running with links to room blocks that are arranged or other suggestions on where else guests can stay. We also suggest adding your venue to your wedding website, things to do and restaurants so guests can check everything out and get a better idea of what’s in the area. Keep in mind, the rest of your site doesn’t have to be finished, but filling out those most important pages will be very helpful.
Now that you have those tasks completed, it’s time to order your save-the-dates and send them out. We recommend sending your save the dates out six to eight month prior to your wedding day. This is mainly because your guests need to make travel arrangements, save money, get time off from work or arrange child care.
On the other hand, if you are throwing a farther destination wedding, getting married on a big holiday or have a lot of international guests attending you should most definitely give guests more notice by sending your save the dates out nine months to a year in advance, basically right after you book your venue and date, and take your engagement photos.
If you have a shorter engagement, we recommend sending save the dates right away, or choose to forego them and send your wedding invitations out a little bit earlier to notify guests in a timely manner still.
Keep in mind, save the dates do not require an RSVP from your guests.
Another big question that comes up towards the end of your planning process is “so when should I mail my wedding invitations out?”
One of the biggest things to consider here is to not send them out too early, your invite could easily be forgotten about or overlooked, but also not sending them out too late because that can be impolite and not give guests enough time to plan or RSVP. Below are basic wedding invitation timeline rules.
Prior to sending your wedding invitations out it’s important to make sure your wedding website is set up for guests to RSVP (if you are doing this electronically). You also want to make sure you have everyone’s updated address - some of these could have changed since sending your save the dates out. Lastly, you want to make sure your registry or honey fund is set up on your wedding website in case guests want to purchase a gift before the big day.
Now that you’ve completed those tasks, it’s time to send out your wedding invitations. Depending on which vendor you decide to go with will determine how far in advance you’ll need to purchase your invites. If you are having your invitations custom from a stationer we recommend ordering them about six months before your wedding. If you are going through a website such as Minted, we recommend ordering them about four months before your wedding day.
Once you receive your invitations they should be sent to your guests six to eight weeks before your wedding. If you are having a big destination or international wedding, we recommend sending them out three months before. Keep in mind the holidays. If you are getting married in February, your invitations will be scheduled to be sent out right around holiday card mail time - one of the busiest times of the year. At this point, we would recommend sending them a bit earlier so they don’t get lost in the shuffle of holiday mail!
We recommend making your RSVPs due two to three weeks before your wedding date to allow enough time for you to get a final head count to your caterer and to finalize your seating chart and table layout. Unfortunately, some guests will forget to respond. If this is the case, give them a quick call or shoot them a quick text asking for their RSVP.
What Information to Include on Save the Dates + Wedding Invitations
Save the Dates
Save the dates are a little less complicated than your actual wedding invitation because at this point, you may not have figured out all the specifics of your day, and that's totally okay. However there is important information you’ll want to include like the venue’s city and state (you do not have to include the actual venue or address), the date, your names, your wedding website URL, a notice that a formal invitation will follow and it’s totally up to you if you’d like to include an engagement photo or not!
There are many different ways to go about your wedding invitations. If working with a stationer they’ll have different invitation suites for you to choose from, or if working off of a website, they’ll have different templates you can work with. Although it may seem obvious what to put on your invite, more often than not, couples will forget to include key details like time, date, ceremony location, and/or the reception location. So make sure to check over your invite, and then check it twice with this list below:
- Host line - whoever is hosting the celebration should be mentioned first
- Request line - a.k.a. (“Please come!”), so use this section to set the tone for your celebration.
- Date and time (we recommend making the invitation time 30 minutes before the time you want your ceremony to actually start) and then add “cocktails and reception to follow” or something along those lines
- Ceremony and reception location - including the venue’s name and exact address
- You can add a dress code (this is optional)
- Your wedding website URL where more details can be found, especially if you are wanting them to RSVP online.
Other items may be added to a more formal or traditional invitation suite such as
- An RSVP card and envelope with postage for your guests to mail back their RSVPs
- A Details card that includes cocktail hour and reception details, lodging information, or things to do around town.
We hope this list helps, but remember everyone’s invitation suite will be different - so it’s important to ask for help if you need it and always double check everything is on there before printing!
If you’re wondering what to include in a wedding invitation suite just remember, you're not alone. Designing, packaging, and sending wedding invitations is a major undertaking. We hope these tips helped, now time to get designing!