Worried about when to send your invites?
So, a very common question I am asked is when should I send my save the dates and invitations. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to this really but there are better and worse times.
Save the Dates
Save the dates can realistically be sent up to a year in advance of your wedding day. When you send them and if you send them will depend on a number of factors such as if you’re having a wedding that people will need to travel to, or a weekday wedding where people will need time off work. You may even decide that you see the majority of your guests on a day to day basis so actually don’t need to send them. Don’t feel like you have to. It’s a waste of money if you’re having an intimate wedding and can speak to the guests regularly. Also don't be afraid to use email, text or social media to spread the word. FREE sites such as Canva can be a wonderful tool to create your wedding brand which can quickly be send virtually. When it comes to distributing your budget you need to decide if the design and print cost for save the date cards are worth it.
If you do decide to send them, it will be the first insight for your guests into the style and type of wedding you are planning so don't just jump in and send the first thing you like. Try if possible to follow the theme of your wedding right through to this item of stationary. It should also where possible match the invitations that you will send around 6 months later so whether you are designing and printing them yourself or whether you are booking a stationer to do it, it's worth having a clear idea of what you want all of your stationary to look like first.
As for invitiations, I have never yet worked at a wedding where invitations haven’t been sent. Even if they are something you print at home. They need to contain information like –
The names of the hosts, whether thats you or your parents (if this is someone other than yourself, the full name including title of both the bride and groom should also be added)
Time of your ceremony
Date of your ceremony/reception
Venue, including postcode or directions
Date of RSVP and contact details for them to reply to
Gift list or request for money/honeymoon vouchers, whatever you decide to ask for
Menu and menu choice card if you're offering one, make sure you ask about dietary requirements even if you aren't offering a choice on the menu.
Other information should you wish to include it such as whether you have a dress code or whether you're inviting children.
The majority of venues will require your final numbers around 2-4 weeks in advance. It is dependent on your venue so make sure you check with them when booking on the requirements.
Always allow time to chase those who have not replied to you at the agreed time. So if your venue requires numbers 4 weeks before ensure you get your RSVP date 6 weeks before. Thus giving 2 weeks to contact those who have not returned the RSVP.
Guests will need time to arrange things such as babysitters, hotel stay and transport so it is best to give them around 6/8 weeks to reply. Adding this time onto the already proposed 6 weeks means you will need to send your invitations around 14 weeks before your wedding.
Again this in not a must and you know your guests better than anyone else. If you think they need longer then add time on. If you think they’re efficient then take time off.
Hints and tips–
Don’t send invitations out too early, your guests may RSVP but then forget as they’ve been busy with other things.
Don’t send invitations out too late, your guests may not have time to make arrangements and will therefore have to decline the invite.
Having just got over the craziness of Christmas I can honestly say avoid any time in December to send out important documents such as invitations. Especially if you require additional information such as menu choices. People just aren’t in the right frame of mind to worry about your wedding on top of their own Christmas and you’ll end up chasing them in the New Year to which you will likely get the reply “oh I forgot about that’ or “oh did I get an invitation”. Either send them a bit earlier or a bit later, you will need to decide on this based on your knowledge of your friends and family and how they will respond.
Keep a spreadsheet of who you have sent a save the date/invitation to and update the spreadsheet as you receive the RSVPs back. It is important to keep a running total and to keep on top of who has confirmed their attendance, even if it is just verbally. With so much else going on you could easily forget if someone you work with or someone outside of your closest circle tells you in passing if they are coming or not.
Make sure you keep track of whether guests inform you of special dietary requirements. You will need this information for your caterer or venue. You can keep track of this on the spreadsheet that you are collating RSVPs on.
There is a whole chapter on wedding stationary in the Wedding Planning Made Simple workbook as well as on the course itself. The chapter covers things such as when to send invitations, what to put in them, what stationary you should consider, ideas on how to ask for certain gifts and how to politely inform your guests about how you want your wedding day run.
You can read more about the course itself and what is involved here!