Word to the Wise | Save the Date + Wedding Invitation Etiquette

It is a frequently asked question and I can see how this sort of thing could become overwhelming for a bride-to-be. With all of the tradition ingrained into all that is wedding planning, the process can become a bit murky. I’ve broken it down a bit to help make your invitation planning and ordering a little simpler.
Save the Dates:
Regardless of whether your wedding will be local or a destination location and whether or not you have local or out of town guests, Save the Dates should generally be sent out 6-8 months prior to your wedding. This gives plenty of time for your guests to plan ahead. If you have travel, lodging, or transportation information available, you may want to include it, especially if you have out of town and international guests.

For a local wedding with 90% to all guests being local as well:
If you are getting married locally and the majority of your guests are local as well, it is safe to send your invitations out 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding date. Give an RSVP deadline of 1 month before your wedding date to ensure you give yourself plenty of time to wait for those last minute RSVPers and gather your final numbers for your venue and caterers.

For a local wedding with both local & out of town guests:
If you are getting married locally but you have guests coming from both locally and out of town, you will want to get invitations to your out-of-towners sooner than local guests, especially if any of the recipients live outside of North America. Sending mail internationally can take anywhere from one to two weeks or even three to four so plan ahead for that. In order to give your out of town guests plenty of time to receive your invitation and RSVP, these invitations should be sent out 10-12 weeks before your wedding date. You can still give an RSVP deadline of 1 month in order to give yourself plenty of time to prepare.

For a destination wedding with local or out of town guests:
The timeline for a destination wedding is basically the same, whether your guests are local to you or out of towners. Regardless of their location, you need to give your guests extra time to allow for them to arrange travel, lodging, transportation, and time off from work. If you have sent out Save the Dates (which as we said above should be mailed out 6-8 months prior to your wedding) than most of your guests will have begun to plan their trips or at least thought about it. Even if you are not planning to send Save the Dates, you should begin to spread the word about 8 months prior to your wedding. Formal invitations can be sent out about 8 weeks before your wedding date and you should give an RSVP deadline of 3-4 weeks before. Make sure you take into account your venues policies (some places may require an earlier confirmation of guest numbers) but typically this timeline will give you plenty of time to satisfy your needs as well as your venues.

When to order your invitations:
This all depends on what type of wedding you are planning. To be safe, you should typically anticipate around 4-6 weeks for the full ordering process. That includes initial meeting, getting samples, approving artwork, printing, and if your stationer is not local to you, shipping.

I hope these quick little tips help you with your invitation and wedding planning!

More questions regarding weddings or other special events? Ask them here.

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