Wondering when to send save the date cards and wedding invitations, or just confused about the stationery timeline in general? We’re here to help you navigate a stress free wedding season, so we’ve got answers!
Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to the question “When should the invitations be mailed?” that will apply in every single situation. We’ve got a standard wedding stationery timeline drawn up for you, but so much can depend on the specific details: what kind of wedding you’re having, the location, how far away your guests are, and whether you have sent out save the dates. So in this blog post, we answer some of the specific questions we frequently get asked about the timing of your invitations, from international guests to destination weddings. Read on for all the details!
When to order stationery sample packs
When should you mail your invitations? Before you even get to that question you have go right back to the beginning of the timeline and ask: when do I order a stationery sample pack? (Yepp, there are lots of details to think of!). Paperlust recommends ordering samples 9-12 months before the wedding or, if you have a short engagement, ASAP! You want to allow for shipping times (though you can select express post if you’re in a real hurry), so always check how long it will take to get to you.
Once your sample pack arrives, you can narrow down your choice of paper and print type, as well as format, and get to picking your dream design online.
When to send out the save the date
These are best sent out eight months before the wedding, if you’re having a long engagement, but at least 4 months. Everyone seems to be getting busier and busier these days and you want to give everyone time to clear their calendar, especially for interstate or overseas guests or for a destination wedding. If you think lots of people are going to need to book annual leave and accommodation to attend your wedding, don’t leave it too late (especially if your wedding is around school holidays or an annual celebration). You also want to make sure that there is plenty of time between sending these and your wedding invites.
When to order the invitations
We recommend ordering your wedding invitations and other stationery 4-6 months before your special day. Many couples choose to order it all at the same time so they can move on to the next aspect of their wedding planning. Whatever you decide, make sure you allow enough time for printing, address gathering, postage to you, and also mailing out to your guests (some of which may be far away, so may require a longer lead time).
When to send invitations for pre-wedding events
Weddings often feature a number of pre-wedding events, from bachelor and bachelorette parties to a rehearsal dinner and maybe a family brunch. Invitations for each event should be sent out at least one month prior, giving your guests enough time to prepare. If people are travelling for the wedding it can be a good idea to send out these invitations around the time of your main invites, or at least let guests know about them know by word of mouth, so they know how long they should plan to be in town for.
When to send out the invitations
When do you send out wedding invitations? Normally 6-8 weeks before the big day is a good time to aim for, although you may need more for a destination wedding or if you didn’t send out any save the dates.
When do you send the invitations if you can’t afford express postage?
Allow yourself an extra week if you are using a regular mail service rather than express postage, and consider the delays that may occur for international guests, particularly if you’re sending any invitations to developing countries. It’s extremely common to use standard mail to keep your costs low, so don’t feel you have to spring for the express postage! Just make sure you know how long you need to allow for postage times when you make your plans.
When to send out invitations (no save the dates)
When should the invitations be sent if you haven’t sent save the dates? It depends in part on whether you have given people an informal heads up – i.e. telling them in person, via phone or email or through social media. Of course, even if you have informally let people know, the arrival of the formal invitation is when most people will make their plans, book their leave, and buy a dress/suit. It’s only fair to your loved ones to give them plenty of notice. So if you’re deciding when to mail out your invitations, think about how much time you would need to get ready if you were a guest. Then add a little time – some people will likely need even longer than you would!
So when do you send invitations out if there was no save the date? Ultimately it depends on your situation, but we recommend six weeks as a minimum. A few months before your big day is ideal. If people will need longer than that to prepare, we highly recommend you consider a save the date as well, or that you take the time to let them all know the details informally ahead of time.
When to mail invitations to overseas guests
One of the most common questions we get is “when should I send out invitations to family and friends from other countries?” This is a really important question to ask, and shows that you’re considering all your guests! We recommend allowing four months, in case of any postal delays. That way, those guests still have time to get organised. There is no need to send out two lots of invitations at different times. If you know you have to factor in international guests, why not get organised and send all the invitations out four months prior to the wedding? Of course, four months isn’t a rule for every situation, and the exact answer to “when do you mail invitations for overseas guests” will depend on whether you’re sending them from Australia to New Zealand, from Australia to the UK, or from Australia to Antarctica.
When should invitations be sent out around Christmas or another important holiday?
If you’re wondering when should you send out invitations around a crazy busy time of year like Christmas or Easter, we recommend that you allow another 2-4 weeks to the lead time on your invites so that your friends and family are more likely to block out that date for you, not another event. The more time ahead the better, when it comes to the Christmas holidays in particular.
When do I send out invitations for a destination wedding?
Wondering when to send destination invitations, and not wanting to leave it too late? If at all possible, we recommend that invites for destination weddings be sent 4-6 months ahead of time to give your guests enough time to make all their travel arrangements.
When should you send invitations if guests need extra time to save?
If you’re having a destination wedding and asking guests to travel, it’s understandable that some of your guests will need time to save up for their flights and other expenses. Don’t assume that everyone has cash on hand. A save the date will come in handy to give your loved ones a heads up to start putting money away for your wedding. You can send this out as soon as you know dates and location. You don’t need every detail finalised, just let them know ‘June 15-18 2019, Bali’ or similar so they can do some research on ticket costs and plan things ahead.
When do the invitations go out if I’m delivering them by hand?
If you are hand-delivering your wedding invites that have been preceded by a save the date, we recommend you ensure your invites are out 4-6 weeks before your big day. If you are delivering by hand, we would recommend a premium print type such as foil stamped wedding invitations. However, where there is no save the date, allow three months. Make sure you get all your invitations out in a timely manner. If you only see one friend every three months, it’s better to send them their invitation rather than giving them their invitation two weeks before the wedding. Start the process of handing out or hand-delivering invites with enough time to get them all out. If you don’t start delivering invites until 4 weeks before your wedding, you’ll have a very short amount of time to get them all to your guests.
When should the invitations go out if I have an early RSVP date?
When do you mail out invitations when you want the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ back ASAP? People need time to consider their availability and make plans, so if you have an especially early RSVP date we recommend adding at least two weeks to your timeline. This increases your chances of getting RSVPs back on time.
When should I order and send out thank you cards?
Many brides like to order their thank you cards at the same time as their invitation. It saves time after the wedding, which helps you get your thank you notes out faster. This also allows you to write thank you cards for presents and help you receive in the lead up to the wedding as they arrive. You can, however, order thank you cards post-wedding, as etiquette states that you have three months to send them out. Just don’t underestimate how long it will take you to handwrite personalised thank you cards for all your guests! It can be a big undertaking, and probably isn’t something you can get done in a single afternoon.