When Should I Send Out Wedding Invitations? Your Complete Guide

Joey Gross
Design by:

Ann Alcasabas

There are countless wedding-related events and festivities throughout a couple's engagement period, all of which require lots of planning, organization, and wedding stationery! There are so many mini-events leading up to the big day, from the engagement party to the bridal shower to the bachelorette party! It can be easy to become overwhelmed by all the details, post office trips and admin tasks, but once you know what to expect, the planning is actually a lot of fun!

As with every other detail of wedding planning, you likely have a couple of questions if you’re planning on getting married soon. When should I send out my invitations, and what should they look like? What information should I include on my invitations? Read on to have all your questions answered!

What are save-the-dates, who should I send them to and when?

Most couples send save-the-date cards so your guests can keep the day in their calendars and get people excited for the big day. Save-the-dates can really be sent at any time once you’ve confirmed your date, but generally no more than 12 months and no less than 6.

It’s up to you who gets a save-the-date, but it’s a good idea to be specific on the save-the-date if you plan to invite that person to the full ceremony, or just to the reception or party in the evening.

When should I send out my wedding invitations?

If the majority of your guests are traveling within the same country as you, send wedding invitations around 8 weeks before the big day. That period will give your guests enough time to adjust their schedules and make travel arrangements if they don't live near the venue. For international guests, your invitations should go out at least 3-6 months before the wedding.

What should my wedding invitations look like?

Honestly… whatever you like! The main thing is that they reflect you and your partner. For example, if you’re both passionate about nature, you may want to show this in your color scheme, with a deep green or dark blue background and a silver font. If you want to evoke a classy, timeless affair, you can opt for your wedding details to be written in calligraphy, printed via letterpress printing, or include pressed flowers on your invitations. Your wedding invitation can include a comment about the relevance of the wedding venue, an anecdote about how you and your partner met or a story about how the proposal took place – it’s completely up to you. Browse our website or talk to us for inspiration.  

Should I set a deadline for RSVP?

Yes, you should! A wedding is a big event to plan, and you need to know how many guests to expect. After all, RSVP stands for “Répondez, s’il vous plaît,” or “Respond, please!”, so your guests should know you’re hoping for a response! It’s best to set your RSVP deadline about three weeks before your wedding date. You’ll want to allow enough time to send your final headcount to the caterer (one week before the wedding) and finalize the seating chart. If any guests still haven't responded by your deadline, you can call them and ask for their response. It’s a good idea to ask them to respond in writing so that you can keep track of everyone’s details.

What about for a destination wedding?

For a destination wedding, follow the same protocol as you would for international guests. Send your save-the-dates and invitations 2-3 months earlier, and provide them with more details about what they need to do and what provisions you’ve made for them, such as reserved rooms and so on.

Do we have to have an engagement party or bridal shower?

Not everyone has an engagement party – sometimes it is thrown by the couple’s parents or close friends. Those invited to the engagement party should also be invited to the wedding, so it’s a good idea to plan this invitee list wisely, if you’re throwing the party yourselves. Some couples view this event as a practice run for the wedding as it allows them to assess who should be invited to the wedding and how things will run logistically. It can also be a good idea if you get engaged but don’t plan to hold the wedding for a few years. Depending on the size of your engagement party, you may choose to send out formal invitations for it, too.

The maid of honor typically hosts the bridal shower, so you shouldn’t really need to worry about it. If you want one, ask for one, if you don’t, tell them you’d prefer to be celebrated with a wedding gift instead. As for invites, everyone invited to the bridal shower should also be invited to the wedding, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a big shower. You can keep it intimate with a small group of friends and family, or have a big party with all your friends. As your maid of honor is most likely going to host the shower, discuss it with them and find out what they have in mind.

Bridal shower invitations six to eight weeks before the event, depending on how many guests live out of town. Ensure your bridal shower guests RSVP to one person (usually the maid of honor) to keep things simple.

Who should I invite to my bachelor or bachelorette party?

After the bridal shower and/or engagement party, you’ve got just two celebrations to go! The bachelor and bachelorette parties are very personal – some fly to Vegas for three days, while others will have afternoon tea! Again, it’s completely up to you.  

As with the bridal shower, your bachelorette party can be as understated or exciting as you’d like, but those invited to this event will also expect an invitation to the wedding. You’ll want to send out these invitations about a month in advance, depending on whether you’re planning a whole weekend away or just an evening.

Do I need to send invitations for the rehearsal dinner?

After the bachelor and bachelorette parties, most couples have rehearsal dinner in the final weeks or days before the wedding. In most cases this will take place the evening before the wedding, and should only include those who will be involved in the ceremony.

Typical rehearsal dinner guests may include parents and siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, the officiant, best man, and maid of honor. If you have space, it’s also a nice idea to invite any international guests to thank them for traveling so far! You can simply include rehearsal dinner instructions with the main wedding invitation, or send another separately. If you choose the latter, invitations for the rehearsal dinner should be sent out about a month in advance to give people enough time to plan accommodation for the night before the wedding.  

Finally, Don’t Forget Your Thank You Cards

Next up: the big day! You’ll likely (hopefully!) receive wonderful gifts from your guests, which, of course, you’ll need to thank them, for too! This will be the last of your cards, but it is an important part of closing the wedding process. You should send a thank you card to anyone who has bought you a gift throughout the engagement process. Since we’re planning ahead, try to send a thank you note within two weeks for any gifts you receive during the engagement party and shower, and within three months after your wedding. Obviously, the sooner the better with the latter, but you get some grace for your honeymoon and settling in to married life!

In Store Now

No items found.