wedding invitation
jHagan Photography

Sending your wedding invitations means that things are about to get real­—your big day is quickly approaching, and you’ll soon find out who will be attending the celebration. When thinking about when to send wedding invitations, it’s essential to mail them out during that sweet spot, a time that’s not too close to your wedding date, but not too far off, either. If you sent out save the dates, your guests have hopefully booked their travel and accommodations, and checked out your wedding website, but your wedding invitation serves as a final reminder to do so. Your guests will also need to RSVP in a timely fashion, so that you’ll have a final guest count and be able to create your seating chart.

Since there’s a difference between when to send wedding invitations for destination weddings and hometown weddings, we’ve shared both timeframes here, along with some other important invitation tips.

When do you send wedding invitations if you’re hosting a destination wedding?

When it comes to when to send out wedding invitations for destination weddings, you’ll want to give your guests a bit more notice than if you’re planning a hometown celebration. We recommend sending destination wedding invitations two to three months before the event. You’ll want to give your guests more time just in case they haven’t yet booked their travel and accommodations (hopefully they will have done so after you sent out save the dates, but some people are procrastinators!). Set your RSVP deadline for about six weeks before your wedding, as you’ll likely need more time to plan your wedding weekend (and any group activities or events) if you’re hosting a destination affair.

When do you send out wedding invitations if you’re hosting a hometown wedding?

With hometown weddings, you can be a bit more flexible when it comes to when to send wedding invitations. Usually about six to eight weeks before the event is a sufficient amount of time, if a majority of your guests aren’t traveling a long distance to your event. You’ll want to set your RSVP deadline for about two to three before your big day, to ensure you have enough time to plan your seating chart, create escort cards, and to give your caterer and venue a final headcount.

What about rehearsal dinner invitations? When should we send those out?

After your guests have received your wedding invitation, they might be wondering if there’s a rehearsal dinner and if they’re invited. We recommend sending out your rehearsal dinner invitations a week or two after sending out your main wedding invitations. That way, your guests will have enough time to adjust travel plans if needed. Rehearsal dinner invitations should be sent separately from your wedding invitations, even if the guest list is generally the same.

How far in advance should I start looking at wedding invitation styles?

Let’s backtrack just a bit. You’ll want to give yourself ample time to check out the huge selection of invitations available and find the style that best fits your wedding’s theme and color scheme. Starting about six months before your big day, we recommend reading reviews of stationers on a site like WeddingWire, then visiting a few to see their offerings. This will give you enough time to proofread and order your invitations, as well as enlist a calligrapher to address the envelopes, if desired. Calligraphers do tend to book up quickly, so it’s best to hire one sooner rather than later.   

What should I include in my wedding invitations?

A wedding invitation seldom is just a single printed item, usually there are several inserts along with the main invitation. The main invitation typically includes the couple’s names as well as the names of those hosting the wedding (often the parents), the wedding’s date, time, and location. If your reception is in a different location from your ceremony, you may need to include a card with the reception details printed on it. You’ll also want to include a response card and pre-addressed and stamped envelope, so that your guests can send them back to you. Directions cards, accommodations cards, wedding website cards, and other inserts may be needed as well, depending on your event.    

What should I avoid including on my wedding invitations?

There are certain details that aren’t necessary to include on your wedding invitation. The biggest no-no is including your registry information—it looks like a direct plea for gifts. Instead, include an insert with your wedding website information, and then include your registry info on the site.

To whom should I send my invitations?

Your invitations should be sent to all of your guests at the same time. We don’t recommend sending a batch of invitations, waiting to see if there are any no’s, and then sending them to your B-list. Those who have received invitations may spill the beans to those on your B-list, which could make things pretty awkward. When considering when to send wedding invitations, make sure your guest list is completely finalized before doing so.