The date you mail your wedding invitations is important. Send them too late and your guests won’t have adequate time to book travel. Send them too early and you risk (dare I say it?) being forgotten amidst the chaos of the rest of life. And how does sending a save-the-date affect your invitation mailing date? Here are some guidelines for mailing wedding invitations:
1. If the majority of your guests are local:
Mail your wedding invitations 4 to 6 weeks prior to your wedding date. This is the traditional mailing timeframe, and because local guests won’t need to book travel, this should leave adequate time for them to put your wedding on their social calendar.
If you sent a save-the-date and most of your guests are local: Still mail your wedding invitations 4 to 6 weeks prior.
2. If a significant number of your guests live out-of-town:
Mail your wedding invitations 6 to 8 weeks prior to your wedding date. This gives out-of-town guests time to book travel, but it isn’t so far in advance that your wedding will be overlooked.
If you sent a save-the-date and many of your guests live out-of-town: Still shoot for mailing your wedding invitations 6 to 8 weeks prior, but since your guests have been well-informed, if you can only manage 4 to 6 weeks prior, don’t fret.
TIP for inviting out-of-town guests: Be a hero to out-of-town guests by including information about lodging near your wedding venue. Let them know how far the suggested lodging is from the nearest airport, and give them some idea of the transportation situation: will they need to rent a car? Is there public transportation available? Are you providing a shuttle service between the suggested lodging and your wedding venue? Include this information on an enclosure with your wedding invitation, if possible. Otherwise, include this information on your wedding website, or ask family members to share it with others.
3. If you’re having a destination wedding:
Mail your wedding invitations 2 to 4 months prior to your wedding date, depending on whether your wedding will be held in this country or another country. Mailing your invitations out early allows guests to obtain a passport, if needed, and arrange for travel.
If you sent a save-the-date and you’re having a destination wedding: Mail your wedding invitations 2 months prior if you included travel information with your save-the-date. If you did not include travel information with your save-the-date, mail destination wedding invitations at least 3 months prior to your wedding, and include travel information with the invitation.
TIP for destination weddings: Consider using the services of a travel agent to help your guests book their travel. A travel agent will ensure that all your guests understand your weekend itinerary and know when to arrive and when to depart. She’ll also help your guests get the best rates, prepare properly for travel, and serve as a singular point-of-contact during their trip. Send your travel agent’s contact information in your save-the-date or with your wedding invitation.
So when should you order your invitations?
After you’ve determined the appropriate mailing date for your wedding invitations, the next step is making sure you order your wedding invitations far enough in advance to get your invitations in the mail. Here’s a quick guide for turnaround time on wedding invitations, from first thought to mailbox:
Online/Mail-Order Invitations: Order pre-designed invitations from online and mail-order sources 1 to 3 months in advance. Expect delivery of your invitations in 3 to 8 weeks, depending on the company you’re ordering from, and the type of printing process you select. You’ll need at least week to address your envelopes if you’re doing it yourself. If you hire a calligrapher, give her at least 3 weeks to address your envelopes.
Custom Invitations: Contact your custom stationer at least 3 months in advance to allow time for a design consultation, sample creation and revisions, and order fulfillment. If time is an issue, ask your custom stationer to send your mailing envelopes in advance so you can have the addressing done by the time your invitations are complete. Custom stationers will often arrange for calligraphy services on your behalf, also.
Save-the-Date: Dogwood Blossom Stationery & Invitation Studio, LLC
The save-the-date in the photo above was created in a coral and jade green palette. It uses multiple layers, including textured white, pearlized coral, a custom modern geometric wallpaper design in jade green, and a final printed layer included a circled-date calendar.