From wedding invitations and save the dates to seating charts and thank you cards, there are multiple different stationery elements to juggle in the lead up to your big day. And that’s not even including your engagement party, bachelorette bash or bridal shower!
So when exactly should you send out those wedding invites, create your wedding website and set your RSVP deadline? Read on for our ultimate wedding invitation and stationery timeline below, along with our top tips for streamlining the process.
9-12+ Months Before The Wedding
Send Engagement Announcements
Share your exciting news in style by sending an engagement announcement to your friends and family members! This can be a formal card posted in the mail or a digital graphic sent to your loved ones via text or email.
Not sure what to include? Engagement announcements are typically short and sweet, with a brief message announcing the good news and a sign off from you and your fiance.
We haven’t set a date, but wanted to share our happy news.
More details to come.
Love, Layla & Greg
Send Engagement Party Invitations
If you’re planning an engagement party, this will typically be hosted shortly after the announcement has been made. Between 2-3 months of your engagement is an ideal window while the news is still fresh (and before the wedding planning becomes too overwhelming!).
When it comes to engagement party invitations, draw cues from the formality of your event. If you’re planning a small, casual celebration with close friends and family, it could be as simple as a group text or Facebook event. But if you’re planning a bigger party with a more sophisticated feel, you may want to go the more traditional route by posting or emailing invitations to your guests.
Your engagement party invitations should include:
- Your names
- The name of the host (if relevant)
- Time, date and location
- RSVP deadline and method
- Dress code (if relevant)
You can read our engagement party etiquette guide here where we answer your frequently asked questions!
6-8 Months Before The Wedding
Research Wedding Invitation Options
Before you start organising your wedding invitations, you’ll need to decide on the kind of invitation style that best suits your event. You can go traditional with paper invitations, go digital with online invitations, or even include a combination of the two!
Think about your wedding style and vision to help you make a decision. If you’re planning a traditional wedding, you might find paper invitations are more your style – but if you’re planning a modern party or an eco-friendly wedding, online invitations might be a better fit.
You can also find a happy compromise by sending paper invitations with a link to your wedding website, so guests can RSVP online and find more information about your event. Check out the best websites for sending online wedding invitations here!
Send Save The Dates for a Destination Wedding
Planning a destination wedding? In this case, you’ll want to give your guests the heads up by sending your save the dates as early as possible. Your loved ones will need this extra time to budget for their trip and make any necessary arrangements with work and/or childcare.
Make sure your guest list is 100% confirmed before sending out your save the dates, and only include details that have been locked in (at this stage, it might just be the wedding date and location). You can also include a note that a formal invitation will soon be following.
Save the date!
Emily & Russell
Formal invitation to follow
Create Wedding Website
Now that your plans are coming together, it’s a good time to start building your wedding website! Remember, you’ll be adding the link to your wedding website on your wedding invitations, so it should include all of the essential information your guests will need to prepare for the day. For a cohesive experience, consider matching your wedding website to your wedding invitations and save the dates.
Along with answering your guest’s FAQs, your wedding website should also set the tone for your celebration and get your loved ones excited. With this in mind, you’ll want to think about including the following details where relevant:
- Welcome page
- About us
- Wedding party bios
- Wedding date and location
- Timeline of events
- RSVP date and instructions
- Dress code
- Gift registry details
- Venue directions
- Bus/transport information
- Wedding hashtag
- Online guestbook
- Virtual wedding link and instructions
- Notes regarding kids or plus ones
Get started with our guide to writing your different wedding website sections here.
4-6 Months Before The Wedding
Send Save The Dates
If you’re not planning a destination wedding, the 6-month mark is the perfect time to send your save the dates. Again, keep these brief – your names, wedding date and location is all that’s needed for your guests to mark the date in their calendar. You can refer to our save the date etiquette and wording guide here!
Send Wedding Invitations For a Destination Wedding
If you’re hosting a destination wedding, this is when you’ll want to send out formal invitations with a link to your wedding website so your loved ones can start planning their trip.
When it comes to a destination wedding website, you may need to include some more specific details to help your guests build their holiday itinerary, such as:
- Hotel block details or accommodation recommendations
- Childcare services
- Things to do in the local area
- Details for pre or post-wedding events (such as a welcome dinner or recovery lunch).
You can find our guide on what to include on your destination wedding website here!
Organise Wedding Day Stationery
Between 4-6 months is also the perfect time to start organising your wedding day stationery.
Depending on the style of your event, this could include:
- Ceremony programs
- Welcome sign
- Seating chart
- Place cards
- Other signage (wishing well, guestbook, bar, etc)
Ideally, all of your stationery elements should work cohesively together with similar colours, fonts and designs to reflect your wedding vision. If you’re planning an eco-friendly wedding, you may also want to think about some ways to reduce waste where possible. This could mean opting for digital invitations, going minimal with stationery on the day, or using recycled materials to create signage.
3-4 Months Before The Wedding
Send Invitations for Pre-Wedding Events
The final months leading up to your wedding is typically when group events such as your bridal shower and bachelorette party will take place. These events are usually organised by your bridal party, and invitations should be sent around 2 months prior to each event. Read our ultimate guide on planning the perfect bridal shower here!
6-8 Weeks Before The Wedding
Send Wedding Invitations
Woo hoo – the big day is just around the corner, so it’s time to send out those wedding invitations! Get excited, because this is when it all starts to feel real.
Your wedding invitations will need to include the following details:
- Who’s hosting (if relevant)
- A request to attend the wedding
- Your names
- Wedding date, time and location (for both ceremony and reception)
- RSVP date and instructions
- Link to wedding website
Use your wedding invitation wording to set the tone for your event, whether that’s traditional formal or fun. You can find our wedding invitation wording examples here for inspiration!
To encourage quicker responses from your guests, opt for online RSVPs so your guests can easily respond in the click of a button. You can also entice faster responses by including fun question prompts, such as dance floor requests or marriage advice!
Send Wedding Rehearsal Invitations
If you’re hosting a wedding rehearsal dinner, this is also a good time to invite your guests. Depending on the formality of your event, you can keep it simple with a text, phone call or email, or use traditional invitations to make it feel extra special. You can find our tips for planning the perfect wedding rehearsal dinner (including invitation wording ideas) here.
2 – 4 Weeks Before The Wedding
Confirm Final Details for Wedding Day Stationery
Your RSVPs should now be rolling in, which means you can confirm the final details for your wedding day stationery (such as place cards and seating charts). Don’t forget to double-check for typos before printing!
- Follow Up Late RSVPs
You’ll likely need to confirm final numbers with your venue and caterer at the 2-week mark, so use this time to chase down any last-minute stragglers! Ps – our online RSVP system here at WedSites will automatically follow up late RSVPs on your behalf.
Up to 3 Months After The Wedding
Send Thank You Cards
Congrats – the big day has been and gone! As you bask in that newlywed glow, don’t forget to send thank you cards to your guests within 3 months of your wedding. You’ll want to include a personal message thanking each guest for joining you on the day, along with mentioning their gift and/or wishing well contribution. Find some ideas on what to write in your wedding thank you cards here!
When to Set Your Wedding RSVP Deadlines
Now that you know when to send your wedding invitations, what about your RSVP deadlines?
We’d recommend setting your RSVP deadline at least 2 weeks before you need to confirm final numbers with your wedding vendors, to give you some buffer time for late responses! For most couples, this usually works out to be around 1 month prior to the day.
If you’re planning a destination wedding, you’ll want to confirm your final headcount a little earlier to help you organise accommodation. In this case, we’d suggest setting your RSVP deadline at least 6-8 weeks before the day.
And when it comes to other wedding-related events like your bridal shower and bachelorette party? Around 3-4 weeks before the event is a good time to finalise your RSVPs.
Wedding Invitation Etiquette
Want more wedding invitation tips? Read our guide to wedding invitation etiquette here where we tackle tricky topics like kids, plus ones and wishing wells!