One of the most important things to consider when working on a wedding planning schedule is timing. Planning ahead when deciding on your wedding invitations can give you a massive advantage. Sending your invitations out too late can make it more difficult for your guests to attend your event, especially those guests coming from out of town. There are certain rules of thumb that we recommend following to make the entire experience as minimally stressful as possible.
A save-the-date card is a great way to give your guests a heads up about your event date, as far as a year out. This card is generally less formal than an invitation card and typically, the only important information is the date of your event. This card literally allows your guests to save the date to make sure they can plan ahead to attend, with a formal invitation to arrive at a date closer to the event with more information and specifics.
As a general rule, and according to such etiquette heavyweights as Emily Post and Crane’s Blue Book of Stationery, wedding invitations should be mailed out six to eight weeks prior to the wedding date. This gives your guests ample time to plan and also reply in a timely manner if they are able to attend or not. If you are unable to send out your invitations with a longer lead time, it can often be advantageous to include a wedding website or email address that guests can use to RSVP digitally. This option is also becoming increasingly more popular as a quicker and easier way for guests to respond. However, guests from an older generation will often expect and appreciate the tradition of a physical response card.
Because of the need to send out invitations six to eight weeks early, planning ahead also comes in handy with the design and ordering of your invitation suite. It’s best to allow for an additional four to six weeks before the invitations need to be sent out to accommodate the time it takes to compile a guest list, the creative design time, and then the printing and delivery of invitations. If you’re using a calligrapher to address the envelopes, another two weeks is often needed for that process. While rush orders can sometimes be accommodated, it’s always best to make sure you have plenty of time to get your invitations designed and printed exactly how you envision them.