When to send wedding invitations: Guest's hold up their glasses to cheers at a wedding reception

Your big day is fast approaching. You’ve taken your engagement photos and set a date. Now you just want everyone you love to block that day off on their calendar. But how soon should you send out save the date cards? What about invitations to your bridal shower? And what about the actual invites — do you know when to send wedding invitations?

All these questions (and more) are about to be answered. We’ll help you construct the perfect wedding day timeline to give your guests enough notice with save the dates, wedding invites, and RSVP deadlines. You’ll also learn suggested time frames on when to send out invitations to bachelor and bachelorette parties, and the rehearsal dinner, and we’ll cover what deadline to set for RSVPs.

So grab your white wedding planner or open up your Google calendar because we have a special timeline to construct. At the end of this virtual wedding planning session, you’ll know exactly when to notify your guests about your big day.

When to Send Save the Date Cards

When to send wedding invitations: a save the date card

Design: National Park Foundation

After completing your guest list, the first step in any wedding plan is to send out a save the date card. The purpose of a save the date is exactly what the name entails — to tell friends, family members, and other loved ones to reserve that particular day for your wedding.

Save the Date Etiquette

Depending on your wedding plans, there are different etiquette suggestions for save the dates. You want to give your loved ones as much advance notice as possible, allowing them to request time off work (if necessary), make travel and accommodation arrangements, and address any other factors.

If your guests are within driving distance or have easy access to public transit, the suggested time frame is 4-6 months before the wedding. If, on the other hand, you’re planning a destination wedding, the suggested timeframe doubles. For destination weddings, particularly those that require international travel (and getting passports, for that matter), try to send out save the dates six months to one year before your big day.

What to Include on a Save the Date Card

Surprisingly, a save the date card may have more information on it than your actual wedding invitations. Include a link to your wedding website (if you have one) or wedding registry, and provide suggestions for hotel accommodations. Yes, this means you’ll have to get a jump start on getting hotel rooms blocked off, fine tuning the guest list, and other details, but your guests will appreciate it in the long run.

Now, if you’re reading this thinking, “I don’t have that much time! I won’t even be engaged a full year before my wedding!,” don’t worry. First, these timeframes are only suggestions. Second, with Greenvelope, you can design, address, and send out all your save the dates in as little as 30 minutes. Skipping the snail mail route is one strategy to give your guests plenty of time to make arrangements.

When to Send Invitations to the Bachelor(ette) Party and Bridal Shower

When to send wedding invitations: A bridal shower invitation

Design: Claudia Owen

“But wait, shouldn’t the actual wedding invitation go next?” you ask. You would think, but not quite.

Allow us to explain: Bachelorette, bachelor, and bridal shower parties typically take place weeks, or even months, before the actual wedding. With each of these three events, sending out the invitation depends on your plans.

If you wish nothing of your bachelorette party except a quiet night in with your girls, sending out a notice 3-4 weeks in advance is perfectly fine. If, on the other hand, you’re planning a trip to Nashville or Vegas, you’ll want to give your bridal party (and other invited guests) as much notice as possible. Typically, 1-2 months is suggested.

One final note on bachelor and bachelorette parties: in a traditional wedding, the best man and maid of honor plan these events. Therefore, if you wish to have an out-of-town gathering, you might want to give your bestie a friendly nudge to get those invitations out as soon as possible.

When to Send Wedding Invitations

When to send wedding invitations: a wedding invitation

Design: Owl and Toad

And now, the time has come — it’s time to send out your wedding invitations. Typically, you’ll want to send out wedding invitations 6-8 weeks before your big day. And while this may not sound like much time, at this point your guests have already had your date blocked off for months. Now is simply time to make things official.

If you have guests who live abroad or are traveling from thousands of miles away, you might want to consider sending out invitations a bit earlier. Usually 3 months gives you ample time to make arrangements (and again, if you’re planning a destination wedding, hopefully your loved ones have already had the date blocked off for 6-12 months).

When to Send Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

When to send rehearsal dinner invitations: A rehearsal dinner invitation

Design: Claudia Owens

Often times, couples will host a rehearsal dinner the evening before the big day. While not necessary, it’s an opportunity to do a run-through of your ceremony, allowing your bridal party to know where they should be (and when).

Afterwards, it’s a wonderful time to gather with close friends, family members, and their plus ones. It can be as formal or casual as you wish, and you’re welcome to invite out-of-town guests and other friends, or keep things intimate with just your wedding party.

Since a rehearsal dinner is usually held the night before your wedding, it doesn’t make a significant impact on travel arrangements. Therefore, you can send out rehearsal dinner invitations 4-6 weeks before the event.

When to Request the Return of RSVP Cards

Last but not least, you should set a requested date for the return of RSVPs. This date should give you enough time to get the final headcount for your big day, which can then be communicated to the caterer and other wedding vendors. Typically, RSVP response cards are requested two weeks before the wedding date.

Most wedding invitation suites come complete with an RSVP card attached. This way, your wedding guests can tell you whether or not they’ll attend, the name of their plus one, and their desired meal preference (if necessary).

At Greenvelope, your guests RSVP can be submitted automatically. In fact, you can track all RSVPs in one place, collect survey responses (such as their meal preference), or even see when they opened your invitation. There’s no texting guests for updates or tallying up responses on a Post-It — instead, we do all the guest tracking for you.

The Countdown to Your Wedding Day Is Officially On

From all of us at Greenvelope, we hope your wedding is completely magical. As you create your guest list, send out your save the dates, and receive each response for your big day, we can only imagine how your excitement will build. And we’re here to help you through each and every step.

Whether you’re sending out your save the dates or hoping to beat the post office rush with your official wedding invites, Greenvelope can send out beautifully-crafted invites in very little time. With Greenvelope, you can customize your own invitations and send them directly to your guests’ inboxes. That way, they’ll have plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements.

On your wedding day, you’ll be surrounded by those you love and care about. We’re just here to help you get the word out.