'When should I send my invitations to my guests?' This is a question that gets asked a lot and there are lots of different views about when and why, but this is my guide. Let me explain why I have chosen the dates I have and when you can push these dates forward or back.
First of all you need to allow enough time for your guests to RSVP. I allow between 1 and 2 months after you send your invites out and no later - the longer you allow for people to reply the more likely they will put it down and forget about it.
Once you have your RSVPs you need to give your catering company or venue your final numbers and dietary requirements in advance. Large catering companies or venues will ask for numbers up to 3 months in advance of your wedding day, some smaller venues may only need a matter of weeks. This is also a helpful amount of time for your stationers to prep, design and print on the day stationery, although it does very much depend on how many stationery items you would like and whether they are bespoke or not. That takes us to 4 to 5 months before the wedding day. To be safe I tend to allow 6 months however, there are some times when your invites need to be sent earlier, and I'd like to explain this.
As you can see above, weddings from May to the end of August need invitations to be sent out early, because people tend to book holidays during this period. If you have lots of guests with children it is likely that families will be booking in advance for the school holidays and May half term (which can sometimes be in June by the way!). If you send them early then you can get your invites to your guests before they have booked. There are exceptions to this however - read on to find out more.
I'd also advise that any wedding dates that are in February half term, Easter, bank holidays and October half term be sent in advance if possible, for the same reason.
Most other times of the year you can allow for around 5 months before the wedding, however you need to be aware of Christmas. Never send invitations too close to Christmas. It's so tempting when you can add a Christmas card to the envelope but so often they get lost or accidentally put into the recycling and let's face it, the last thing we want to do is more to add to the to do list, order more invitations and have to pay a for a minimum print run!
When are there exceptions to the rules?
If you've sent save the dates, you can send your invitations out a month or two later, however if you are in holiday season try not to push this too much.
If you have a number of guests coming from aboard or you're getting married abroad you will need to send invitations out early. If you are getting married abroad somewhere easy to reach and fairly cheap for your guests then around 8-12 months before the day is a good rule but if further away allow 12-14 months before the day. I would strongly advise sending save the dates for either situation. These can be an extended version listing local airports so your guests can easily book flights before the invitations arrive with them.
If you haven't sent save the dates and have a number of guests who are teachers, in the army or another profession that will need more than the normal 3 months holiday notice it is advisable to send your invitations out early, and this date is dependent on how much notice they will need. If it is only a small handful of your guests however, I would recommend sending save the dates, or send a friendly email explaining the situation.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.