Invitation Social Graces Part 3: Focusing on the “When” of Wedding Invite Etiquette

Hi Friends!

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We are back again! As you can see, the information on wedding invitation etiquette is kind of never-ending, but hopefully this step-by-step process can lend a hand in you tackling these formalities a little better. So this week we are talking about the when– i.e. the specific timing in which all your items should be in the mail. Determining these details can be tricky, but by using some rules of thumb, what could be seen as a source of trouble could end up going quite smoothly! Our hope is that with our help your wedding invitations won’t cause you stress, but instead get you and all your guests wonderfully excited for your big day!


For a lot of people, the when of invitation etiquette may be the part you know the least about. Couples tend to want to send their invitations out too early, but we highly, highly suggest pulling on the reins by using the dates below as a guide. The truth is that if you send out information about your wedding too early, people will forget about you (with the best of intentions, but nonetheless). These dates will help ensure a smooth process and correct RSVP/guest list data!

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  • Save the Date!

If you are going to send save the dates (which we think are always a good idea), you can do so anywhere between one year to six months out from your date.

  • Invitation Time!

As far as your invitations, you should send them 8-10 weeks out. We really don’t suggest sending them out earlier than that, as you will likely get incorrect data regarding who will and won’t be able to make it.

  • RSVPs!

When you give an RSVP date, the rule of thumb is that your guests should have the invitation in their hands for about 3-4 weeks before the RSVP is due, and you require the same amount of time to do with the data what you will. So, for example, if your wedding is on October 10th, then your guests should have the invitation by August 10th and the RSVP should be due September 10th.

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So often, couples are set on sending out their invitations super early. I know, it is tempting – you want to get all your RSVPs in so that you can know who is coming and get all your financial ducks in a row. However when you send out your invites and require RSVPS too early, you are receiving preliminary, not final information. Having correct information is important when it comes to vendors and day of details. Getting information to your guests prior to the 8-10 week mark is what your save-the-date and wedding website are for. So please, trust us on this one, we wouldn’t steer you in the wrong direction!

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Even the most well thought-out couple will have to work to get their final RSVPs from those people who haven’t sent in their RSVP cards, and that’s just part of the process. You are probably going to have to track down a few stragglers. Feel free to recruit a family member to help in the process of reaping replies from tardy guests.

With all that said, just remember that timeliness is key! The when of wedding invitation etiquette really boils down to sending out your invitations so that your guests are aware of your big day and that you get accurate RSVP data. These rules of thumb will help you get there as best you can! Now that we have covered the when, we are moving right along next week to our final part of the blog series to focus on the how!

Photo Cred: Image 1 by Aerialist Press, Image 2 by From Leoni With Love, Image 3 (left) by George Kuchler, Image 4 (right) by Tec Petaja, Image 5 by Alyson Graves Brown

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