If there’s any wedding timeline you need to pay attention to, it’s when to send out wedding invitations! Because unless you’re eloping, you’ll want to let your guests know about your wedding day with enough time to make plans to (hopefully) attend.
Sticking to a wedding invitation timeline is important not only because it lets guests put it on their calendars, but in gives YOU a firm date for when you need to make those other important wedding decisions by.
Once you have your date and venue, you’ll be able to start searching for your wedding vendors, attire, and even book your
Use the timeline below to help you figure out when to send your save the dates, invites, as well as when to plan on getting your RSVPs back.
WGM SAYS: Not sure about the wording for your invites? Simply enter your details into this wedding invitation wording tool and it will tell you what to do!
Your Wedding Invitation Timeline
Where and when you’re getting married will definitely influence the timeline for sending your invites, but traditional wedding invitation etiquette makes the formula pretty simply to follow. Here’s what you need to do and when:
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When to Send Save the Dates
Put them in the mail:
- 8+ months before a destination wedding (as soon as you get your date, start working on your Save the Dates! The sooner the better!)
- 4-6 months for a local wedding
- If your wedding is in less than 4 months, skip the Save the Dates and move right to the invites!
WGM Says: A wedding is considered a “destination” if it’s held in a different location from where the couple and the majority of the guests live.
While you don’t HAVE to send Save the Dates, it’s a nice to give guests’ notice of your wedding so you can get on their calendars. People’s schedules have a tendency to book up several weeks ahead of time, especially if it’s in the spring or summer months and they have kids. The more time you can give guests (especially out of town guests) to plan the better!
Pressed for time? You can get Minted invites mailed to you in 1-2 weeks depending on your preferred shipping speed.
With that said, you don’t have to send paper Save the Dates, either! Digital Save the Dates—while once considered taboo—have definitely become more acceptable the past few years, along with digital Change the Dates.
What Should Your Save the Date Include?
In addition to the date, you’ll also want your Save the Dates to include:
- Location (city/state)
- Wedding website url and password if using
Wedding websites have become a must-have for couples, as they allow you to keep guests updated on event details or changes, as well as travel arrangements (such as which airport to travel into) and accommodations. This is also where you’ll put your wedding registry information. Read our review of the best wedding websites here.
You can also indicate to guests WHO is invited by how you address the envelopes. If children are not invited, you would simply address the envelopes to the parents. However if they are invited, you would address the envelopes “The Smith Family.” Learn more about how to address wedding invitations here.
Before You Send Your Invites…
Make sure you nail down your wedding guest list. You can start by creating an A list (these are the people that you HAVE to invite, such as your parents, grandparents, siblings, besties, etc.) then a B list that you hope you can invite if you venue and wedding budget allow.
WGM Says: Remember that while the percentage of guests who actually RSVP ‘Yes’ to a wedding can range from 60-85% (the lower number is for destination weddings) you have to plan on EVERYONE coming when budgeting for money and venue space. Trust us, 100% of invited guests have shown up before, and they’ll show up again!
Once you come up with your guest list, you’ll need to gather all your guests’ addresses in one place. Wedding websites like Zola and Joy has guest list management tools. And if you’re getting your invites from Minted, they also have a super helpful address collection tool. You can also store guests’ addresses in your Minted account for later on and use it when sending holiday cards, which is what we do.
When to Send Wedding Invites
Put them in the mail:
- 2-4 months before the big day
- If you’re not sending Save the Dates (or are having a destination wedding), you’ll want to get our invites out closer to the 4-month mark.
Once you send your Save the Date cards, the wedding invitation is really just a formality. However, it’s still important to get it out in time, especially for destination wedding invitations. This will allow guests to book flights in advance without worrying about any changes to your wedding date and location, since things CAN change in the time between when couples send out their Save the Dates and invites.
Get matching invites, reception and RSVP cards with Minted wedding invitation suites
When Should You Date Your RSVPs?
- 4 weeks before your wedding
- If you don’t hear from guests a few days after that date, feel free to call/email them for a response
A general rule of thumb is to make your rsvp deadline (the date you put on your RSVP card, IE: Kindly RSVP by May 3, 2024) should be about 4 weeks before your wedding. This will allow you to get the final headcount to your venue and caterer in time (they usually request this 1-2 weeks before your wedding day). It will also give you time to put together an accurate seating chart with your updated guest list.
You can also choose to have digital RSVPs only. If you do this, you should still consider an insert card with instructions on how to RSVP. For example, for a formal wedding you can use:
The favour of a reply is requested
on or before October 1
using the following website:
or by phone
Before You Go to the Post Office:
Once you have your wedding invitation suite assembled, you’ll want to take a sample one to the post office to have it weighed and make sure you buy enough postage. This is also the time to inquire about hand-canceling, which means your envelope is stamped vs. sent through a machine. This small detail can definitely help keep your invites looking pristine! Learn more about hand-canceling here.
You might also like: Where to find cheap wedding invitations
When to Send Wedding Invitations FAQ
How early is too early for wedding invitations?
As soon as you confirm your wedding date and finalize your guest list, you are free to send out your Save the Dates! This will give people time to plan around your event. The reason why you want to wait to send out your actual wedding invites out 2-4 months before the wedding is because peoples plans change. Even though family and friends might love you and your partner a lot and want to celebrate with you, it can be hard to RSVP for a wedding a year in advance. And even if you send out invites a year in advance but with an RSVP date a month or two before the wedding, people will forget! So, remember this rule: Save the Dates go out as soon as your details are finalized. Wedding Invites can go out 2-4 months before your wedding date (or you could stretch to 5-6 if you really wanted!).
Can you send wedding invitations via email?
Digital wedding invites are completely acceptable, especially if you’re having a small wedding. With that said, we’re a fan of paper invites, especially for the actual wedding invitations. If you’re hoping to save by sending wedding invitations online, consider using them for your engagement party, bachelorette party, or wedding shower instead.
Is 9 months too early to send Save the Dates
Absolutely not. Especially for destination weddings. While 6-8 months is standard, it’s not unheard of to send Save the Dates up to a year in advance. If you’re ready, send them!
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