When to Send Out Save the Dates and Invitations

Your Wedding Snail-Mail Guide

One of the trickiest parts of planning a wedding can be knowing exactly when to let friends and family know about your upcoming nuptials. Too far in advance might evoke some eye rolls and forgotten invitations—while too close to your event might not leave guests enough time to prepare. With destination weddings, day-after events and, not to mention, all of the festivities leading up to the wedding itself (like engagement and bachelor/ette parties), there are a ton of moving pieces to keep track of when it comes to sending out invitations. Today, then, we wanted to break down some basic rules for spreading the word via snail mail.

Save the Dates

We recommend mailing out wedding Save the Dates 6 months prior to the event. For a destination wedding or multi-day affair, you’ll want to send them out 8-10 months in advance to ensure you give traveling guests plenty of time to book their hotel room and airfare.

Wedding Invitations

In general, wedding invitations should go out 8 weeks in advance. As always, though, the rules are a bit different for destination weddings—those, you’ll want to send out 3 months in advance. Remember, wedding invitations are a two-way street: they require a response. The closer you cut it to your actual wedding date, the less time you’ll have to collect RSVPs, build a seating chart, etc.

Bachelor(ette) Invitations

For most bachelor(ette) parties, a handful of the invited guests will have to travel. As such, you’ll want to send out invitations 6-8 weeks in advance so your out-of-town guests have time to book their travel accommodations without getting hit with lake-booking fees and surged airfare.

"The closer you cut it to your actual wedding date, the less time you'll have to collect RSVP's, build a seating chart, etc."

Bridal Shower Invitations

Bridal shower invitations should go out 6-8 weeks in advance, depending on how many out-of-town guests you’re inviting. Remember, traveling can be expensive if you don’t book accommodations far in advance, so be sure to give those out-of-towners plenty of time to plan—especially if they live super far from the venue. If you’re planning a shower in California and have a friend who lives in New York, for example, you might even want to give her a call before the invitation comes just to give her a heads up.

Engagement Party Invitations

Engagement party invitations can be simple—an e-invite is fine, especially if you’re planning on inundating guests with paper invitations for future wedding-related events. Your invitations should be sent out as close to your engagement as possible, as you want the news to be fresh and celebratory (and you want to hold the party before wedding-planning woes kick in). In general, holding an engagement party within 2-3 months of getting engaged and sending out the invitations 3-4 weeks before the event is a good rule to follow.

Day-After Events

We recommend slipping a separate card in with your wedding invitations for the guests you want to invite to any day-after events (brunch, send-off parties, etc.). That way, out-of-towners can take that information into account when booking their flight home. If you’re unable to include this information with your original invitations, though (i.e. if you decided to tack on a day-after brunch after already mailing out your wedding invites), an e-vite sent 6-8 weeks in advance will also do—but, again, keep in mind those traveling guests.

Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

If your rehearsal dinner guest list includes lots of traveling guests, you’ll want to send out formal invitations 6-8 weeks in advance. If, on the other hand, it’s small and laid-back affair that only includes local guests, you can get away with sending e-vites 4 weeks in advance. Remember, rehearsal dinner invites should always be sent out after the original wedding invitation.


Photo courtesy Julie Paisley Photography
Stationery by HEW + Co.
Styling by Ro & Co. Events

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