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 by Lauren Alexander Wedding Planning & Styling

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Wedding Planner & Stylist, Party Planner in Somerset, Cotswolds, Wiltshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Gloucestershire.

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette: When to send your stationery?

Throughout the wedding journey you will want to invite and include some of your nearest and dearest in certain events, as well as obviously the big day!

At first glance it can seem all a little overwhelming, but breaking it down and taking it chunk by chunk is totally manageable. Paper invites are keepsakes that you and your guests will look back on as precious memories in years to come, so let's get to grips with when to send!


Save the Dates

Though save the dates are not required, they are a fun way to get your guests to mark their calendar and give them a little hint to the wedding itself. They are especially helpful when many of your guests have to make long-term travel arrangements or accommodation bookings.


Ideally send these between six and eight months before the wedding, even earlier if you are planning a destination wedding.


Sometimes the wedding planning process is quite long, and you can feel as though you are twiddling your thumbs. Sending save the dates gives you something concrete to do, plus stops all those relatives asking you when then date is!


So what is included in a Wedding Invitation?

In a traditional wedding invitation suite, you would expect to include the main invitation, a response card, and any other enclosure card containing helpful information for your guests (reception card, travel and accommodation card, map)


Many new couples are turning to creating a wedding website to encapsulate many of the elements that sometimes find themselves inside an invite. Not only is it helpful to refer back to if people lose their invite, but also it is more eco-friendly, allows you to not print everything and also update with any last minute information, change of time, and give helpful click-through links to accommodation, taxi and google maps.


This is something you can do yourself via Wix, Wordpress or there are a number of sites that allow you to use their wedding website templates.


How long before your wedding should you send invitations?

Usually you would hope to send your invited 8 to 10 weeks prior to your wedding date as your venue will require final numbers usually a month before. However, do not feel as though the 8 -10 is something you have to adhere to, many couples send out the invites months before to allow guests to find accommodation as well as make sure they are actually free. RSVPs should be due one month before the wedding, (at least!). Remove some of the last minute stress by asking them a little sooner, and then at least you have one less thing to concern yourself with.


Wedding Invitations for Overseas/International Guests

If you are inviting a few overseas guests, send their invitations along with your other guests, but also give them time prior to allow them to book a hotel, flights and arrange travel when the costs won't be too high.


However if you are looking at inviting a large number of guests from overseas, you might want to consider bumping up the timeline. A minimum of 12 weeks in advance should give them the best amount of time to plan - this is what we would recommend for a destination wedding - and technically for these guests, that is exactly what it is!


Here is another reason why having a wedding website might be key, you can send your guests a link prior to the official invite so that they can plan their travel, as well as allow them to start ironing out room blocking, and transportation.


Other invites


Engagement Party Invites

You might be having an engagement party, drinks or perhaps dinner. It might be an informal affair where a few phone calls, texts or social media group will suffice. Or you may be going the whole nine yards and your parents or close friends are throwing you a party to announce your news. Some send invites, whilst others may announce over a toast keeping it secret.

Aim to send our the invites as soon as possible post-engagement, whilst the news is still fresh.


Thank You Cards


Who doesn't love a hand written thank you card!?


You should aim to send thank you notes for all gifts received during the course of planning your wedding. For gifts send before the wedding date, send a card as soon as possible (but definitely before the wedding!)


For gifts given on the wedding day itself, a thank you note should be mailed within three months of the day, and for gifts received after the wedding a card should be sent within two to three weeks.


Image: Dot the I Calligraphy