When planning a wedding, one of the most important things to do is first make sure who is going to show up. Not only does this allow you to plan and make needed changes, it lets you go through the intervening days, weeks or even months knowing that your “people” will be there to share in your happiness. It goes without saying that everybody deserves a specially designed, formal printed invitation.
The business of sending out invitations can be nerve wracking to say the least. Timing is crucial here, and you want people to have sufficient heads-up so that they can book leave, arrange travel and accommodation, and fully revel in the occasion just as you want them to.
Plenty of factors play into the exact time you should mail your invitations. The place each guest lives matters, as do the time of the year you decide to hold the wedding, the destination, whether or not you need RSVPs, etc. Following is a look at how each of these things affects how soon you should mail wedding invitations to your guests.
Mailing Invitations to Guests Who Live Abroad
Family and friends that live in other countries require longer notice, so it is best if you send out invites three months in advance, or four if allowing for postal delays. This gives them time to get things in order. If you have plenty of guests visiting from overseas, you may as well send out all of your invitations at the same time. Some may think it too early, which in their case it is, but if they mention it, you can simply tell them why.
Mailing Invitations around Christmas or Another Holiday
If the wedding is close to a holiday, which means you would be having it at one of the busiest times of year, send out invites around a month in advance. This lets people know early on that they should block a date for you. The sooner you get the mailing over with, the better.
Mailing Invitations for a Destination Wedding
Destinations weddings generally need tons of planning, and that includes making sure your guests are clear on the venue and timing. Send your invitations out at least half a year before the event, so that your guests have plenty of time to manage travel options.
Mailing Invitations to Guests Who Need Time to Save
Some guests would likely appreciate the early warning so that they can start saving up to be with you on your big day. Not everybody can easily dish out on travel and other expenses, so the decent thing to do is assume everyone on your guest list wants time to put some money away. In keeping with that, send invites out as soon as you confirm the place and time for the event. Any further details you want them to know can be sent out through emails or even text messages.
Delivering Invitations by Hand
When hand-delivering invitations to people who have already gotten save-the-dates, it is best to time it 4 to 6 weeks before the big day. If there were no save-the-dates sent out, then make this three months in advance. Keep it organized so you do not waste too much time at each house. Make sure to finish this off at least a month before the event; otherwise, it can make things a lot more hectic that they have to be.
Mailing Invitations When you Want RSVPs
If you want a solid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ form every person you invite, you need to factor in the time they need to consider their options. If your RSVP date is unusually early, then you should send out your invites at least two weeks sooner than you normally would.
Mailing Thank you Cards
Lots of brides these days are taken with the trend of sending a thank you card along with the main invitation. Not only does this let people know that them showing up matters to you, but it saves you the effort of doing the same thing after the wedding. While you are at it, you can also pen thank you notes for any presents that arrive during the time leading up to the wedding.
Post-wedding thank you cards are OK too; if you choose to go with those, you would have at least three months afterwards to actually send them out without seeming rude.
Whichever option you choose, be respectful of the sheer amount of time it would take to simply write down personalized thank you messages on all those cards. You will need considerable time to get that sorted, so block enough out of your schedule for this alone. If you can get someone to help by stuffing the cards into their envelopes, it is worth paying them for.