Judging by the questions I get, a lot of people must be confused as to when they should be sending out their wedding invitations and announcements, so I’ve put together a quick guide.
Save the dates
These should be sent out no later than five months before the wedding day, otherwise they will arrive too close to the invitations. There’s no such thing as too soon with the save the dates, however if you’re sending them out a year or so in advance, you’ll need to think carefully about who should receive one because circumstances can change. Once they’ve gone out you can’t later turn around and decide you’d prefer an intimate family affair or find that you’ve changed jobs and don’t want to invite your former colleagues.
Eight weeks is a good rule of thumb for when to post your wedding invitations, but there are exceptions. If you are having a small or casual celebration with local guests who have been made aware of the date, you could get away with six weeks. Aim for 10 weeks if you are having a destination wedding, have lots of out-of-town guests, it falls on a holiday weekend or if you didn’t send out save the dates.
Thank you notes
Try to have all of your thank you notes sent out within three months (of course your guests will offer a little more grace if you had a two-month honeymoon). With a little planning you’ll be able to have them done in no time: make sure you have ordered, addressed and stamped them in advance.
So that has all the important sending dates covered, but what about receiving?
Your venue will need to know final numbers for catering purposes a few days before the wedding and (trust me) there will be people who don’t respond on time. Setting an RSVP date of 10 days prior will give you enough time to chase up the stragglers. This won’t affect ordering your personalised place cards: simply order one for everyone and only use the ones that are coming. However if you plan on having a custom printed seating chart you will need to set a response date that allows enough time for design, printing and shipping.
I hope that’s cleared things up a little.