I have spent some time talking with a lot of my AMP Bride Tribe gals about their biggest stresses during wedding planning. Both past and present brides agree – “when to do what” kind of questions were a big stress! It is my goal to help with these issues and create a space here to answer my brides’ biggest questions. So today we’re talking about invitation timelines!
When to Send What – Invitation Timelines
Save the Dates, RSVP’s, Invitations, Thank Yous…. there are a lot of correspondence to keep track of leading up to and directly following the wedding. While each wedding or elopement is unique there are some recommendations for what to send when. Below is a general guideline to go off of:
First let’s start with destination wedding invitation timelines.With so many friends and family (and maybe you!) traveling a longer distance, it is good to give a longer time for guests to plan ahead.
Save the Dates | 8-12 Months Before
Save the dates give your guests a head’s up. They allow your guests to begin planning time off from work, saving for the travel, and possibly planning childcare or pet sitters. With destination weddings, sometimes guests will decide to turn their travel into an extended getaway, so a year’s notice is thoughtful!
Invitations | 3-4 Months Before
There is such a thing as too early, so keep that in mind for the formal invitations! No more than a few months ahead of the big day is plenty of time for your guests to remember to book travel plans and return their RSVP cards, but it won’t be so long ahead of time that it gets pushed to a back burner!
RSVP Deadline | 3-5 Weeks Before
The RSVP Deadline really depends moreso on your vendors needs. Check with your caterer and venue about when they need a final guest count, and make sure your RSVP cards sent out with the invitations have a deadline date that match these vendors’ needs.
Thank You Cards | ASAP
Believe it or not, you will begin receiving gifts before your wedding week even arrives! It is important to keep a good list of who gave what, and begin your thank you cards as soon as possible after the wedding. If you’re going on a honeymoon the week after, be sure to start your thank yous as soon as you get home! It’s best to get them out less than a month after you say “I do.”
Local wedding invitation timelines are a little different. When your family and friends are nearby it is not as important to give extended notice.
Save the Dates | 6-8 Months
With so many of your guests more local, it isn’t as necessary to send these super early in advance, but Save the dates do still give your guests a head’s up. They allow your guests to begin planning time off from work, saving for the travel, and possibly planning childcare or pet sitters. Some of your family may still be traveling to you from a distance, so at least 6 months notice is polite.
Invitations | 4-8 Weeks
As we said above, there is such a thing as too early, so keep that in mind for the formal invitations! No more than a month or two is enough time for folks to remember to arrange travel, and will be near enough the big day that guests’ excitement is at a high. Remember to check with vendors about guest count deadlines to make sure you send out invitations with enough time for RSVPs to come in though!
RSVP Deadline | 2-4 Weeks
The RSVP Deadline with both local and destination weddings depends on what your vendors need. Caterers and venues are the top vendors that will need your guest totals, so check with them on deadlines for thosefinal counts! It will save you some stress to request RSVP’s a little earlier than vendors need, too.
Thank Yous | ASAP
As I say above, you will begin receiving gifts before your wedding week even arrives! It is important to keep a good list of who gave what, and begin your thank you cards as soon as possible after the wedding. If you’re going on a honeymoon the week after, be sure to start your thank yous as soon as you get home! It’s best to get them out less than a month after you say “I do.”
Bear in mind:
Brides, bear in mind that these invitation timelines are for sending out your cards. For brides working with me, we will need to order your cards a week before you intend to send them out, and the design process should be started at least 1-3 weeks before you order. When I was wedding planning, I found it helpful to set out these dates in my calendar and plan ordering dates from there. Of course, if you’re an AMP Bride whose package includes cards, we will have a workflow set up to make sure we’re on top of your schedule for designing, ordering and sending out your cards!
I hope this post helps clear up some of the mystery and questions surrounding what to send out when! If you’re interested in more Wedding Planning Tips, click here for past blog posts.
Interested in joining the AMP Bride Tribe? Let’s chat! There are very limited 2017 dates remaining and 2018 brides are beginning to book!