One piece of important etiquette to follow is when to send wedding invitations. It can be inconsiderate, not to mention hurt your guest attendance, to send out your invites too late (or too early, for that matter). To play it safe, follow our Wedding Invitation Etiquette Timeline below to make sure you’re communicating with your guests in the right way, at the right time.
Wedding invitations should be sent six to eight weeks before the wedding date. Ideally, you would have also sent out Save the Dates 4-6 Months before the Date as well. The proper time to request RSVPs is 1 month from the Wedding Date.
There are, of course, caveats to each of these timeline recommendations. In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to consider for your wedding invitation timeline.
The general rule of wedding etiquette states that your save the dates should be sent to your guests list (only those whom you definitely plan to invite to your wedding) around four to six months before your wedding date—enough time to catch them before they’ve made other plans and allow them to block off the date on their calendars. Allowing a few months’ of advance planning is also considerate for guests who need to book travel or accommodations. However if your wedding falls on a holiday weekend or will take place in a far-off destination wedding venue, sending your save the dates even earlier, like 6 to 12 months before your wedding date, is highly advisable.
While you may have picked out your wedding invitations when you chose your save the dates (since at Zola you can choose one coordinating design for your entire wedding invitation suite, there’s no need to send your invitations months and months in advance. General wedding invitation etiquette says to mail your invites around six to eight weeks before your wedding date. Combined with your save the date, this allows guests plenty of time to reply yay or nay to the invitation, book travel arrangements as needed (if they haven’t already), and purchase a gift for you off your Zola Wedding Registry.
If a large percentage of your guest list lives abroad, or if you are planning to send a destination wedding invitation (meaning no one lives near the location), it’s best to add a few weeks onto this timeline. Aim to send your invites around 12 weeks before your wedding date.
If you're only planning to invite a few international guests, it's fine to send their formal invitation at the same time as other guests, but make sure to let them know about the wedding day details ahead of time (through a quick call, text, or email) so that they have enough time to prepare their travel arrangements.
Your wedding invitation must include a way for guests to respond. Whether you choose to have guests RSVP online via your wedding website, or you send an RSVP card and pre-addressed envelope as part of your invitation suite, be sure to indicate an RSVP deadline so that guests know when they need to alert you to their decision. The rule of wedding invitation etiquette says that one month before your wedding date is the perfect amount of time: it offers a brief window for guests to receive the invitation and consider their decision, while also providing your wedding vendors enough advance notice to order and prepare supplies. The sooner you're able to get an accurate guest count, the sooner you're able to finalize your wedding planning details (think seating chart, final menu selections, cake size, and more).
A one-month-prior deadline also adds some timeline padding for those stragglers who won’t get their RSVP card in on time...because you know there will be those!