Not sure when to send your wedding invitations? We’ll break it all down for you. Sending out wedding invitations is arguably one of the more complex steps in the wedding planning process. When do you need to send wedding invitations for destination and local weddings? When should the RSVP expire? Do you need to save the date? If so, what exactly are you wearing? We’ll answer all your burning questions about the timing and content of your wedding invitations in this wedding invitation etiquette guide.
When to Send Wedding Invitations for Non-Destination Weddings
So you’re planning a non-destination wedding and trying to figure out when to send wedding invitations. What does the wedding invitation schedule look like? Local weddings don’t require as many reminders as destination weddings (unless you have guests flying in from international locations, in which case you’ll want to be on your wedding invitation schedule at some point!).
In general, it is standard practice to send wedding invitations 2 months before the wedding date (we will discuss the rules for destination weddings in the next section).the two-month buffer period is designed to give your wedding guests enough time to receive their invitations, consider any travel plans and respond accordingly. If you send out wedding invitations too early, there’s a chance that guests don’t yet know their schedule and may forget about the invitation altogether. However, it’s too late to send invitations, and your guests will have to scramble to arrange their plans. Two months is the perfect time to send wedding invitations for non-destination ceremonies.
When to Send Destination Wedding Invitations
As we hinted earlier, wedding invitation timelines for non-native weddings are slightly different. A general rule of thumb is to give destination wedding invitations an extra month. Why? It gives your guests plenty of time to organize their travel plans. If you have guests from international destinations, we recommend adding some extra time to account for longer postage times. How long does it take for your wedding invitations to arrive at the homes of your international guests? Just Double the time to consider mailing responses and add that time to your wedding invitation card design and schedule.
What does a wedding invitation contain?
So, what exactly is a wedding invitation? A little more than you might expect, you don’t want to miss any details when you send these wedding invitations to your guests! Let’s break it down. Here’s the minimum you need to include in your wedding invitation envelope:
- The wedding invitation card itself, which will include the date, time, venue address, dress code and your wedding website (so you can share accommodation and travel information with your guests)
RSVP card and return envelope, including postage
These elements cover the minimum requirements to provide your guests with the information they need to respond.When sending your wedding invitations, there are some extras that can add a really nice element to your invitation kit. These include:
- Dinner menus so your guests can see what they’re getting and choose accordingly
- Dedicated accommodation and ‘to do’ cards so your guests can plan their trips with confidence (even with an illustrated map of your venue!)
- Souvenir postcards for your wedding destination, especially if your guests are traveling somewhere interesting
When should the RSVP for a wedding expire?
Set your RSVP deadline to be 3-4 weeks before your wedding. This has several key benefits:
- Setting your RSVP deadline 3-4 weeks after the big day gives you the opportunity to follow up with anyone who doesn’t respond in time.
- When you set your RSVP deadline a few weeks before your wedding, you can finalize your seating chart instead of waiting until the last minute.
- Make sure all RSVPs by the deadline allow you to share that information with your caterer so they can start preparing for the watercolor wedding invitation.
- You want to set your RSVP deadline at least a few weeks before you actually need that information from your guests. Inevitably, wedding guests will not respond to their responses in a timely manner, giving you time to follow up with them after sending your wedding invitations?
The return address on wedding invitations
Let’s talk about a return address to include on your wedding invitations when you send them out. The address you choose plays a very important role in the planning process! Does anyone in your family help you confirm the guest list and contact the caterer? If they are willing to collect and record guest responses, you can use their address as the return address. When sending your wedding invitations, if the mailing is unsuccessful, it will be sent to this return address, so you need to consider who will collect the reply or otherwise follow up with these guests. Usually, the return address on wedding invitations is the same as the return address on the RSVP envelope, but feels free to mix it up if necessary!
Do you need to save the date?
Are you saving the required date to send to your wedding guests? Is the invitation enough? If you know your guests will need a lot of time to plan your wedding, we generally recommend sending save the date. This is especially important if you’re getting married where your guests don’t live, especially if you have guests traveling internationally. In general, the smaller your wedding and the more guests you have the less need to save the date. But we personally think sending them is a good rule of thumb.