When should you mail wedding invitations? The best time to send your wedding invitations depends on a few logistic factors for the best possible result. It can be tricky to find the balance. Sending invitations too early can cause forgetfulness, and sending invitations too late can result in stress, rush fees, and unexpected expenses.
Wedding invitations have a longer and more involved timeline than many couples realize. If you’re working with a stationer on a custom or semi-custom invitation suite, your timeline will need to include time to review and inquire with stationers, book a stationer, the stationer’s design time, and creation of your suite in addition to mailing time before the invitations reach your guests. Even working with a large-scale company for pre-made invitations will take some time to get the invitations in-hand.
When to Mail Wedding Invitations
Below, we’ve put together the most important factors to determine when is the best time to mail your wedding invitations.
The Logistics Behind Your RSVP
First, we need to understand how your wedding invitation RSVPs affect your wedding planning logistics. Your wedding invitation RSVPs serve as your final guest count. Vendors like your caterer, venue, rental company, florist, and more will need to know your final guest count in to finalize your order. It also greatly affects your catering order for alcohol quantities, and meal selections.
The deadline for your final guest count varies by vendor, but is typically somewhere around one month before the wedding day. Missing these deadlines or last-minute changes can result in rush fees and logistic issues, so send invitations with plenty of time for these deadlines. Remember that there are also usually a few guests who have yet to respond by the RSVP deadline, and you’ll need to also factor in time to reach out to guests individually for their RSVP.
When booking your venue and caterer, be sure to note their final guest count deadlines in their contracts and note them on your calendar. Refer to these dates later when setting your RSVP deadline, giving yourself at least a couple of weeks between your RSVP deadline and when the final guest count is due. If you have any doubts or concerns about your RSVP deadline, ask your venue and caterer for input.
As a general rule, we recommend setting your RSVP deadline a minimum of six weeks before the wedding.
Save the Dates
We highly recommend that couples send save the dates for their weddings prior to sending wedding invitations. Save the dates are an amazing tool for keeping your wedding top of mind for guests. We also recommend having your wedding website on your save the dates so guests can check in and stay informed as you add more details about your wedding to your website. Sending save the dates gives guests more advance notice, improving your wedding invitation timeline.
The Location of Your Wedding
Will you be hosting a wedding local to where you and most of your guests live, or will you be hosting a destination wedding? Destination weddings typically take more time to plan, and this requires an earlier RSVP deadline. Local weddings typically require less logistics, and RSVP deadlines can comfortably be a bit closer to the wedding day. Here’s a general guideline, assuming you sent save the dates (which we strongly recommend):
We recommend mailing wedding invitations for destination weddings approximately 16 weeks before the wedding.
We recommend mailing wedding invitations for local weddings approximately 12 weeks before the wedding.
Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and every wedding is unique. When in doubt, consult your stationer, venue, and caterer and they can advise you on your specific situation.
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