Planning your wedding invitations ahead of time is a sure-fire way to make sure all of your guests can save the date and plan accordingly. It's good to give guests a couple of months notice, and you'll need to begin even earlier for a destination wedding.
But bear in mind it's tacky to send out wedding invites too early.
When to Send Invitations
Begin to address your wedding invitations three months before the wedding. If you have a calligrapher, check in with them about four months before the wedding. Make sure to ask them when they need your guest list and invitations.
Ideally, wedding invitations are sent eight weeks before the wedding. This allows guests several weeks to make travel arrangements and request personal time off from work before sending their RSVP back to you.
Setting the RSVP Date
Once your invitations go out, you will need to get them back in a timely manner. This helps you organize details such as labeling placement cards and organizing seating arrangements. It is also a good idea to ask your caterer when they will need final headcounts to finalize the food and drinks.
Ask for an RSVP date at least three weeks before your wedding. At a minimum, send out your wedding invitations six weeks in advance and set an RSVP date of two weeks before the wedding.
If you get into a situation where some guests have not gotten back to you, feel free to call them. Take their verbal RSVP or politely ask that they mail it back to you so you may properly include their details.
For a destination wedding, it's common to send out a save the date about six months in advance. This will give your guests the time to budget and hunt for travel and accommodation deals. You can then send out the invitations eight to ten weeks before the wedding.
Since destination wedding trips typically include more events than just the ceremony and reception, you will want to ask for RSVPs three to four weeks before the departure date. In doing so, you will know how many welcome gifts you will need and how many local excursions and special packages to book for your guests.
What to Include
On the save-the-date, or on another smaller card, you can include the full web address for your wedding website as a destination to direct guests to for more information. This is a popular option for couples and eliminates the need to stuff the invitations with a bunch of details.
Avoid including registry information for gifts, as it may appear to be mandatory, which traditionally it is not. You can include special details such as your registry on your wedding website.
Your wedding invitation is another great place to provide information to your guests such as the dress code. The lower left or right corner of the invitation is a good location for these details. Try to limit it to simple attire phrases that will fit on the invitation and provide your guests with the information they need. Something like "casual attire" or "black tie" will be sufficient.