When To Send Wedding Invitations: All Your Questions Answered

Lesley Turner

Published: Aug 30, 2021

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2021

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Deciding when to send wedding invitations is one of the many things newly engaged couples often have to worry about during wedding planning. Of course, wedding plans involve so many things such as wedding florals, bride and groom outfits, reception venue, wedding rings, etc. While those are essential, you should know that your wedding invitation is equally crucial and needs your attention. 

Your wedding invitation contains vital information that your guest ought to know before your wedding day. Therefore, timing is a principal factor to be considered before sending out your wedding invitation – you must not send them too early or too late. Understanding when to send out wedding invitations will help your guests mark their calendars in advance and plan the logistics of coming!

If you’ve managed to create your wedding invitation but are in the blues regarding when to send them, you’re in luck. We put together this handy guide to help you navigate this part of wedding planning with ease. Here are all the deets on when to send wedding invitations. 

wedding invitation suite example

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Wedding Invitations Vs. Save The Dates 

Wedding invitations are letters that you use to formally invite guests to your wedding. A typical wedding invitation suite consists of the main invitation, a response card, and any other piece containing helpful information for your guest, such as a direction card. 

They don’t only serve to inform people about your special day, but also set the tone for your event. How your wedding invitation looks will let your guests know what to expect at your wedding; the theme, formal or informal, etc. You’ll want to make sure your wedding invitation design is made to impress.

Don’t be fooled by thinking save-the-date cards are the same as wedding invitations. Save-the-date cards simply tell your guests to do just what their name suggests – reserve the date in their calendar. While it gives valuable information about the wedding date and venue, the primary role of this card is to allow your guest to prepare in advance and inform them that a formal invitation will be sent later. This is helpful for your guests because it keeps them from making other plans on your special day. And for those guests that have to travel, it gives them time to save money and book their trip. If you’re wondering when to send save the dates, it’s best to send them out 6 to 8 months before the wedding, which is different from when you send your invitations, as you’ll see below. 

save the date card

Wedding Invitation Styles

Your wedding invitation sets the tone for the day and tells your guests what to expect. Will it be a grand and luxurious event, a casual party, or a garden ceremony? The theme of your wedding invites will set the tone for the big day. Your save-the-date cards and wedding invitations should match in theme for consistency. Here are some different types of invitation themes. 

Traditional – This is a tried-and-trusted wedding invitation style for regular couples. It’s a four-piece information suite featuring a conventional typography letter wrapped in a foil-stamped envelope.

traditional wedding invitation

Rustic – Who doesn’t love the feel of the greenery element of a rustic style wedding invitation? The four-piece rustic design often features the invitation, three complimentary proofs, and the RSVPs with their respective envelopes.

ModernModern wedding invitations and geometric designs often go hand in hand. Therefore, the prism wedding invitation is also synonymous with the contemporary style.

Other wedding invitation styles that may fit your wedding are vintage, bohemian, outdoor, casual, etc.

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When To Send Wedding Invitations: Top Questions Answered

Now that you know the importance of your wedding invitation and how you can use the various styles to express your personality and send hints to your guests about what to expect on your big day. So, what are the other things you need to know? We’ve answered some of the most pressing questions regarding your wedding invitation, including when to send wedding invitations. When to send wedding invitations and when to send save the dates are definitely different.

When Should I Send The Wedding Invitations? 

Knowing when to send wedding invitations is very important. Sending it at the right time allows your potential guests to plan and prepare in advance for your big day. 

sending wedding invitations post

There’s a common saying that; “don’t send your wedding stationery too early or too late.” Instead, ensure you’re just on time. With that being said, here’s the suggested time for when to send wedding invitations. 

  • If it’s a destination wedding or you have many out-of-town guests, it’s important to know when to send save the dates. Wedding etiquette indicates that you should start sending out the save-the-date cards as early as 12 months to your wedding. It’ll allow your guest to reserve the date and make travel arrangements in advance. And then send your official invitations to your destination wedding three months in advance.
  • Send formal wedding invitations to guests six to eight weeks before your wedding.

Who Should Be Receiving The Invitations?

You should send your wedding invites to everyone on your guest list at the same time. Never send your wedding invitation to guests in batches, because it isn’t wedding invitation etiquette.

Once your wedding invitation is ready, count everyone on your guest list and then mail all of the invitations simultaneously.

What Time Should You Put On The Wedding Invitation?

In most cases, simply putting the actual start time of the ceremony itself is appropriate. Your invitations are to invite guests to your wedding formally, so of course, the time is important.

Many couples will choose to use a time that is 30 – 45 minutes prior to the actual ceremony to make certain no one is late. However, most guests “will know” or “should know” that they need to arrive early. And even if there are one or two that are “casually late,” they’ll quietly slip in most of the time unnoticed.

When Should We Set The RSVP Date?

A good rule of thumb is to set your RSVP date three to four weeks before your big day to allow you sufficient time to get the final headcount to your caterer for the wedding.  It also helps you to finalize the seating chart or arrangement.

RSVP time for wedding invitation

What To Include In Your Wedding Invitations 

Your wedding invitation will not only express your style and personality, but it will also set the tone for your wedding. However, knowing when to send wedding invitations is only part of the process. What items to include with your invitation are equally important? Unless you have planned a wedding before, you may not know what to include in your wedding invitation, so here you go!

  • Host – Traditionally, the bride’s parents are the wedding hosts and are consistently named at the top of the invitation. However, it’s more gracious and honorable to include the names of both sets of parents as hosts. Also, more couples lately have been hosting their weddings or do so alongside their parents.
  • The Request to Attend – This often appears in a single line just below the host(s) name. There are many ways to request attendance and from your guests. here are a few examples you can use:

 “the pleasure of your company.”

“at the marriage of their children,”

“would love for you to join them,”

“invite you to celebrate with them,”

  • Names of Couple – Although, we don’t think anyone needs to be reminded of this. The couple’s name should take center stage and feature just below the “request to attend.” Traditionally, the bride’s name (first and middle) usually come before that of the groom.
  • Date & Time – The time and date of the wedding is essential and should be included. 
  • The location – If your wedding is taking place at a popular venue or location, you may not need the street address, except its omission would lead to confusion. However, if your wedding would be taking place at the host’s home, you should spell out the street, city, and state clearly so guests won’t have a hard time finding their way to the venue to invite guests to your wedding formally.
  • Reception Information – The reception information tells your guests where the wedding reception would take place. It informs them whether it will be in the exact location of the ceremony or at a different venue.
  • Dress Code – Wedding invitation etiquettes require you to include a dress code at the lower right corner of your invitation. Include wordings like “Casual attire,” “Black tie,”  “Cocktail attire,” or whatever dress code you want in the invitations. 
  • Separate RSVP Card – You can choose to have a different response card in your wedding invitation or have your guests RSVP through your wedding website.
wedding invitation with separate rsvp card

Wedding Plus-One Etiquette

Back in the day, wedding invitations generally were for the entire family, but as the cost of weddings increased, couples began to restrict just who is invited. So, what is a plus one? Well, let’s say you have a co-worker that you’d love to invite to your wedding. Your wedding invitation would be sent to just one person mainly because you don’t want to cover the expense of someone you don’t know. But some couples want to allow their single friend to bring a date. This is referred to as a “plus-one.”

Who To Give A Plus One

It is okay to give a plus one to some guests and not to others. You’re not obliged to give anyone a plus one except if they’re married, in a committed relationship, or you think they’d enjoy it better with a friend. Giving unnecessary plus ones to guests will quickly drive up the headcount and cost. Indicate in the invitation whether a guest has a plus one or should come solo.

Dress Code

The dress code may not always seem like something that should be included in your wedding invitation, but it can be pretty significant. For example, if you’re hosting a formal event, you may want to add a section to your invite to let the guests know to dress formally. And on the flip side, if you’re having a backyard wedding or an outdoor affair, you may want to let them know that semi-formal is acceptable. A little blurb on your invitation indicating the appropriate wedding attire is sufficient. 

Registry And Wedding Website

Age-old traditions may have indicated that it was inappropriate to include your wedding registry in your save-the-date cards or wedding invitations, as it gives the impression that you’re begging your guest for gifts. However, as weddings continue to evolve into our modern times, it’s now okay and actually expected. 

Since so much of our lives are spent online, your guests may prefer an online reminder of all your wedding details rather than the traditional paper invitation. Creating a wedding website is a great place to do this. It can be built around your theme, tell your love story, and have all the details of your wedding day, your wedding and honeymoon registries, and so much more. And many wedding websites feature some planning tools that can help you with each step of planning your day including when to send out wedding invitations.

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If The Wedding Is ‘Adults-Only’ 

If you’re having an adult-only wedding, address the invitation to each guest by their name and let them understand that the invite is for only those mentioned in the invitation. If some people RSVPs with their kids’ names included, give them a call and explain that your wedding is for adults only. Ensure that you also have it on your wedding website, so all of your guests know from the beginning that it’s an adults-only wedding.

Get Guests Excited For Your Big Day

Knowing when to send wedding invitations is very important to the success of your wedding day. Sending your wedding invites too early or too late may not sit well with your guests. In addition, your potential wedding guests may forget if you send your invites too early, and they may not be able to free up time on their calendar or schedule to attend if you send it too late. 

We recommend that you should send out your wedding invitations six to twelve weeks before your big day. A great idea to keep you on track is to create a wedding planning timeline. This will help you know when to send save the dates when to send out wedding invitations and when to send you’re thank you cards. 

And don’t forget to include important details that’ll help your guests remember your special day. Adding your wedding hashtag and wedding website will not only keep your guests informed, but it’ll also get them excited for the big day as well.

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