Let me start by saying how incredibly sorry I am. This incredibly joyous time of your life is being affected by COVID-19. Yes, it’s undeniably true that “it could always be worse”. But it does not take away from the fact that this is a very difficult time to be planning a large-scale event (as if it wasn’t stressful enough already).
As always, my hope is to provide some guidance and insight to help you through this. Together, I’m confident that we WILL see weddings happen again and they will be even more of a celebration than they were before. This time apart is reminding us how special our loved ones are and how precious our time is together.
One of the most common questions I’ve been seeing lately from couples is:
Should we send our wedding invitations when we’re not even sure if our wedding will happen on the date we’ve been planning for?
Friends, I feel you. If your wedding is taking place in the Summer or Fall of 2020, it’s possible that you may need to make an adjustment to your plans. But as of today (which is late April), it technically feels like it might be too early to make that call just yet — especially depending on where you live.
That said, if you are strongly considering postponing your date, I would wait to send your wedding invitations (if you can), until you know for sure.
It’s a safe bet that most of your guests are still in some version of stay-at-home. While receiving an invitation to a beautiful event to celebrate your love would be SO exciting, it’s also safe to say that they would not know how to respond just yet.
If you’ve sent out Save the Dates and your date is approaching the point where you SHOULD be sending out invitations, I recommend touching base with your guests and letting them know where you stand.
It is ok to tell your guests you haven’t made an official decision yet, but communication is key.
Your guests are aware of what’s going on. They will be understanding of the difficult position you’re in. To avoid getting a TON of emails, messages, texts, and phone calls about what “the plan” is, I recommend getting ahead of it and let them know where your head is at. Even if the plan is to “sit tight” for now and you hope to make am official decision by [date].
The key to this is communication.
You can communicate the situation with your guests in a few different ways.
And I recommend doing all that apply:
- You can send something “formal” in the mail
- You can update your wedding website with a note from you
- You can send an email to all of your guests
- You can create a private FB group to invite your guests to join for updates
Personally, I don’t think something formal in the mail is necessary for most couples. But if you are hosting a very formal event, I would say to consider it. For most couples, communicating via email and updating your website is great.
Check out the bottom of this article for some links to sites offering great templates and verbiage to use for your wedding.
Private Facebook groups are a great way to communicate updates quickly and easily with your guests.
If you haven’t already, I recommend creating a private Facebook group for your event and invite as many of your guests as you can. You may not be able to get everybody, but you can often get most of them. This will allow you to share updates and set expectations so they know what’s going on.
If you’re worried about “Debbie Downers” you can assign a friend to “moderate” the group and remove any unhelpful, negative posts or comments (with a kind private message to the poster about why it was removed). You can also post an announcement saying you want to keep things overall positive while giving them a place to stay in the loop.
Having a wedding website with RSVP functionality makes thing easy for your guests.
If you don’t already have a wedding website, NOW is the time to get one. I highly recommend finding one that allows for online RSVPs, like AppyCouple. This will make the process quick and easy for your guests.
With AppyCouple, you can create a gorgeous wedding website and wedding app. Choose from over 500 styles to complement your wedding theme. You’ll be up and running in minutes.
If there’s a strong possibility that your event will happen as planned, send out your invitations 7-8 weeks before your wedding.
Typically, I recommend sending out invitations 8-10 weeks before your event. If you are strongly considering moving forward with your date as planned, send out invitations 7-9 weeks before your event.
Because of the uncertainty of times that we’re living in, include a note about what you’re planning to do to keep everyone safe. It’s also best to share how you’ll be communicating any updates. This is a great spot to mention your wedding website or Facebook group.
Every Last Detail blog has GREAT templates for couples to use to communicate what they need to their guests.
And it’s possible that you will send out your invitations only to learn that the CDC or your county/state has put a restriction that affects you. But please know…
It is not the end-of-the-world if you send out invitations only to learn that you need to postpone your event.
Your guests will understand. And they will appreciate you taking their safety into consideration.
If we learned anything in March, it’s just how quickly we need to postpone a wedding if we need to. Couples who were getting married the last few weekends of March had to quickly adjust their plans and get word out to their guests. It was heartbreaking, but they made it happen. You will too if you need to.
Again, this is where I recommend creating a way (or several) to communicate with your guests quickly.
If your wedding is taking place a bit farther out, it’s likely you have the following question on your mind:
Should we send Save The Dates or wait?
For this question, I have a few different answers for you.
If your wedding is taking place in Summer 2021 and beyond, yes I think it’s a good idea to send out Save the Dates in the typical timeframe of 10-12 months before your wedding day.
Your guest may need something fun to look forward to. While you’re not asking them to commit to anything just yet, it can be something they place on their fridge for now!
If your wedding is taking place in the Fall of 2020 through Spring of 2021 and you still haven’t sent out Save the Dates, you have a few different options.
I will always stand by the fact that you should do what’s best for you and your guests. This applies here, as well.
Option 1: Don’t send a Save The Date. Send out your invitations to all of your guests 8-10 weeks before your wedding.
Save the Dates are NOT required to have a wedding. In fact, they weren’t even common to send until the early 2000s. You may save yourself some additional paperwork (and money) by not sending Save the Dates. If you want to get word out to your VIPs, you can still do so and they can plan accordingly.
Option 2: Send a Save The Date to your absolute-MUST-INVITE guests. Send an invitation to all invited guests 8-10 weeks before your wedding.
Depending on when and where your wedding is taking place, there’s a chance that you may be restricted on the number of people* you will be able to have at your event.
Because of this, I recommend looking at your guest list and considering whether each guest will make the “final cut”. If they don’t, will they understand they’re no longer invited if they already received a Save The Date?
This will vary based on your guests and there is not a one-size-fits-all answer.
*Keep in mind that limits on the number of people who can be at your event WILL INCLUDE your vendors and all staffing (servers, bartenders, photographers, band members, videographers, etc.).
Option 3: Send a Save The Date to all of your guests.
If you want to send a Save The Date to all of your guests, by all means, go for it.
If you need to postpone your event, there are some great options for “Change The Dates”.
If you’ve made the incredibly difficult decision to officially postpone your wedding and you’ve selected a new wedding date, stationery companies have been creating some beautiful and amazing options for you to send to your guests.
You can send something printed or digitally. You can go simple or formal. You can be serious or funny. It’s all completely up to you.
If you worked with a stationery designer to design something custom for you, be sure to ask them what options they’re offering to their clients. Many are helping couples create something beautiful to notify their guests while staying cohesive with their overall stationery suite.
Links to great resources:
If you need help communicating to your guests, these websites offer some great templates you can customize: