“When should we order our wedding invitations?” is a question I often hear being asked as couples go through the planning process. Truth be told, there are a few variables that will affect when YOU specifically should start the process. Hopefully, I can walk you through it and make things as easy as possible.

Flat lay of wedding invitation suite with ring box, flowers, and bride's shoes

Photo by Josiah and Steph Photography from Katie and Max’s Farm Wedding

Before we jump into invitations, let’s start with something that comes first: Save The Dates

Do we need to send Save The Dates?

Here’s the thing: Save The Dates became popular around the mid-2000s. But weddings were happening quite successfully for a LONG time before that. So, I don’t particularly view Save The Dates as something you absolutely must send. For most couples, I DO RECOMMEND THEM.

Here’s why:

Engagements today are quite longer than they were in the previous century. Couples are often planning for over a year (sometimes two) as opposed to the few months that previous generations opted for.

I hate to say it, but weddings today are a much bigger production. The investment is higher. And it’s no longer common to have a church ceremony followed by a simple cake-and-champagne reception in the church’s basement.

Guests are often doing a lot more traveling to attend weddings. And people’s lives are busier than ever. Giving them a heads up so they can arrange their work schedule, find plane tickets, book a hotel, arrange for a car, save up some money, etc. — I find it to be a great courtesy, if possible.

If your wedding falls on a popular date or holiday weekend, give your guests a heads up. This allows for a higher likelihood they’ll be able to attend instead of making other plans for that date.

That said, if your engagement is going to be less than six months, it’s my personal belief that you can skip Save The Dates and focus only on wedding invitations.

When should we send Save The Dates?

Ideally, your Save The Dates should be sent out 10-12 months before the wedding day. If you’re planning a longer engagement, you can send them out sooner. But I find 10-12 months to be a great sweet spot.

While Save The Dates should be sent early on in your planning process, they should only be sent AFTER you’ve set in stone the following three things:

  • Wedding date
  • Wedding location (venue/s)
  • Your guest list

If any of these factors aren’t completely finalized just yet, please do not send out your Save The Dates.

If you have a B-List, these guests should not receive a Save The Date. Anyone you send one to should be 100%, without-a-doubt invited. Because you can’t send a Save The Date and then not invite them to your wedding.

Flat lay of wedding invitation suite with ring box, flowers, and bride's shoes

Photo by Alison Conklin Photography of Amy and Joe’s Country Club Wedding

When should we order our wedding invitations?

For most couples, it’s best to start working on the invitation process 6-7 months before the wedding day.

Obviously, there are a few variables that determine when YOU specifically should order your wedding invitations. Depending on the route you’re going, your planner and stationery vendor should be able to guide on what works best for you.

For example, if you’re having something incredibly custom made for your invitations (like these individually hand-painted invites from our friends at Momental Designs), you should start a bit sooner on the process than most.

Either way, always make sure to order a few extra invitations. This includes one for you to keep and one to give to your photographer to capture on the wedding day. And DEFINITELY order at least 15-20% extra envelopes.

When should we mail our wedding invitations?

I typically recommend mailing your wedding invitations 8-10 weeks before your wedding day.

That means, by this time, you’ve already ordered, received, stuffed, weighed, stamped and addressed your invitations.

Now, before sending, I recommend a few things:

  • Before going too far, assemble and stuff one complete invitation suite. Take this to your Post Office to have it weighed and measured. They can give you the proper postage for however many you need to send. Most invites will require additional postage than sending a regular letter and you don’t want all of your invites getting returned.
  • Make sure the address on the envelope is clear and easy to read. If you work with a calligrapher (like our friends at Paperloveme Calligraphy or Ren & Ink), they will guide on what’s best based on your color palette.

Flat lay of wedding invitation suite with ring box, flowers, and bride's shoes

Photo by JBJ Pictures with calligraphy by Paperloveme Calligraphy

What should our RSVP date be?

You’ll want to double-check with your venue, caterer and any other vendor who’s going to need a final guest count to make sure you give yourself enough time to collect everyone’s RSVPs.

Most require your numbers to be due around 2 weeks before the wedding date.

Based on this, I recommend an RSVP date of 4-5 weeks before the wedding day — closer to 5 weeks, if possible.

This gives you enough time to track down any outstanding replies (yes, it happens and yes, things really do get lost in the mail). It also gives you enough time to plan your seating assignments (a HUGE task which is why I recommend closer to five weeks to give yourself some extra time).

To save yourself some precious time, I recommend adding a small number on the backside of the RSVP card specific to each household. If the RSVP comes back blank with no name, you’ll be able to check the number on the back and know immediately who it is.

Flat lay of wedding invitation suite with ring box, flowers, and bride's shoes

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography from Kim and Mike’s Hotel du Village Wedding

Anything else we should consider?

When ordering your invitations, don’t forget to consider any other stationery you might need. Things like your rehearsal dinner invitations and thank you cards are GREAT to order when you’re doing your invites.