One piece of important etiquette to follow is when to send out your 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.
The best time to send out wedding invitations is 6-8 weeks from 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 etiquette here is that your save the dates should be sent to guests (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, 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 everything, even your wedding website, 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 and hotels 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 a total destination wedding (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.
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 guest to receive the invitation and consider their decision, while also providing your wedding vendors enough advance notice to order and prepare supplies. 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!