When Should I send out my Wedding Invitations?
An insight as to when and what to do about your “Save the Date”, Wedding Invitations, and Wedding Website
Let’s start with the ever popular “Save-the-Date” cards. If you plan to announce your wedding to all your friends and family, I would suggest sending these cards out approximately six months before the wedding date. If you plan to have a website, this can be included on your “Save-the-Date” cards. A simple “SusieandJack.com” is all you really need to get started. If you like, (or if you do not have a Save-the-Date), you can include the web address in the formal invitations with an insert – a small card that informs guests they can find more details online.
Wedding websites are a great way to tell the story of you, and a couple met, and what your wedding plans include. This personal website can introduce the couple, the wedding party, and intimate family members. It should also state the date and time of the ceremony and reception, along with the address of these venues, with a map. Responses can be done through the website if you feel comfortable with your guest’s computer abilities.
If going the traditional route, you should mail your invitations six to eight weeks before the wedding. This means that you need to order invitations approximately four to five months before the big day. Invitations are time consuming. So working on them a little at a time is ideal. Start addressing invitations at least three months out and give yourself at least a month to complete the task. Allow guests several weeks to make travel arrangements and ask for time off work. Therefore, you should ask that guests return the RSVP cards two to three weeks before your wedding, if you sent them out on time. Keep in mind you’ll need to get the responses back in advance so you can start labeling place cards and organizing your seating. Also make sure you ask your caterer when they’ll need final head counts (usually a week before).
For a destination wedding, it’s typical to send out the “Save the Date” cards about eight months before, which will give guests time to budget and get great travel deals. Invitations should be sent about eight weeks, a little earlier than normal. Because of this, and since these types of trips typically include more events than just the ceremony and reception, you’ll probably want to ask for the RSVP’s three to four weeks before the departure date. That way you’ll know how many welcome gifts to make, and how many surfing lessons and spa packages to book.
Another suggestion is to make an A and B guest list. Send your A list invitations out eight weeks in advance. As you start to get acceptances and declines, you can start inviting some of the people from your B guest list. Do this only if you are highly organized and have time to keep track of constant responses coming in.
Ever wonder how many people will attend your wedding after sending out your invitations? If you send your invitations our six to eight weeks in advance, the likelihood is that most of the will come. So estimate that 85% will attend. Don’t forget to account for plus ones, if you invited them. The out of town acceptance rate is around 85% for family and 40% for friends. For most couples, a safe estimate of acceptance rate for out-of-town guests is 55%.
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Some information gathered from weddings.about.com, theknot.com, and oncewed.com