When to send out all those damn wedding cards and invitations

Invitation suite for a Hawaiian destination wedding. Designs  by Kathy Mueller
Invitation suite for a Hawaiian destination wedding. Designs by
Kathy Mueller

Save the Dates, shower and bachelor/ette parties, wedding invitations, Thank You cards… when do you need to send out all those damn wedding things? Well, first of all, you don't NEED to send anything (except Thank You notes), and every wedding works differently. But here's a super-helpful guide for when to send out wedding info for maximum efficiency purposes…

Save the Dates

Rustic Western Save the Date Cards
We've talked about Save the Dates a lot, but when exactly should they be sent out? I say, as early as possible. If you really want a hard number: six months prior to the wedding date. You want to send these out as early as possible — especially if you're having a destination or holiday wedding — so that people can plan accordingly, save up money, get the time off work, start crafting your wedding gifts, etc.

For more information on Save the Dates, check out these posts:


Shower and bachelor/ette party invitations

Household Mix-Up Bridal Shower Invitations
Obviously this is going to depend on if you even want to have these extra parties. If so, you might want to send your shower or bachelorette invites about four weeks before the date of the party.

For more information on showers and bachelor/ette parties, check out these posts:


Wedding Invitations

Love Story Wedding Invitations
The BIG BOYS of the wedding suite — the invite, the response card, and any other info you need to send your guests. Send these out between eight and twelve weeks prior to your wedding date. Of course, you have a little more wiggle room on the timing if you've already sent out Save the Dates.

For more information on wedding invitations, check out these posts:


Thank You cards

chalkboard thank you cards
To quote Ariel on this one: "You really should send thank you cards for all gifts received during the course of planning your wedding within two months of the wedding itself." Even if you're a year out from your wedding, start your thank you list now because people will be lending you helping hands from the moment you get engaged.

For more information on Thank Yous, check out these posts:


Of course, dates and times vary with every single wedding and event. These are just guidelines to help get your brains around where to start with all these damn wedding things! Now feel free to leave your own advice as far as timing and sending.

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  1. I'd also add that you should send thank-yous for gifts received at any pre-wedding festivities within a week or two of those events (such as showers or engagement parties). I kept a spreadsheet of who gave us what (complete with addresses) so that, when we returned from our honeymoon, it made sending out thank-you cards a lot easier.

    Plus, spreadsheets are my jam.

    3 agree
  2. Whew! Glad the thank you window is so gracious. My husband and I are writing them together (because we're both thankful!) but our schedules are so offset that we only get a few done a day.

  3. Thank you for saying to send STDs out as early as possible! I often see Tribesmaids worrying that they're sending them out too early, and it really is a case-by-case basis. We sent our STDs out a year in advance. Our wedding was going to be between xmas and NYE, in a popular xmas holiday spot, and everyone but my parents was going to have to travel, including guests from overseas who had to save up and book flights. Everyone was really grateful for the advance warning. We also sent out invitations 8 months in advance, because it had accommodation options for longer stays as well as information that accommodation would be available on the night for free. Because people needed to book well in advance for the area the wedding was in, it was a no-brainer for us!

    • I've heard the only concern with sending STDs out early is that people might actually forget that they received it! I feel like that applies primarily to weddings where you're inviting people who you don't actually know that well…or for invitees who are notoriously absent-minded, in which case you probably already know that! That's why they get friendly reminders every now and then 😉

      We're planning on sending ours out about 10 months prior in August, but my mom has been pushing for 12 months since people like to plan their holidays in advance (we're having a technical destination wedding – in my fiance's home state, but where 99% of the guests will need to travel by air and some internationally). So it really, REALLY depends on your specific situation and what you feel comfortable with!

  4. Where was this when I was getting married? Lol.

    Also, you can send out wedding announcements post-wedding. Not really sure why you would, but you can. You can also send out engagement announcements prior to the save the dates.

    • Wedding announcements are sent to people you want to know but who weren't invited (if you have a big family but a tiny wedding, fr ex) or if you eloped.

      2 agree
    • My mom wanted to send them to her extended family. She's close with them, but I'm not. I just printed up a dozen and she was very happy!

  5. Were getting married Labor Day weekend 2015 and plan on sending out STDs 9 months in advance. Living in Maine, its a big destination for labor day weekend so we want to make sure accommodations for hotels are available. We're trying to find a house to rent so we can have people camp in the yard and inside since we plan on having 3 days of festivities.

  6. Amazing Wedding card design !!! They look really cool, simple and elegant. I also had great time reading the post. I think your tips can be really effective especially for people who are confused about planning their wedding day. Great post, wonderful designs and amazing website.

  7. Getting ready to order our save the dates and invites from vistaprint later today, so trying to mentally figure out the logistics. We're having an adults only wedding and the nature of a family event means that most people's go-to babysitters will be unavailable.

    We're having a June 2016 wedding. I'm planning to send a heads-up email to family (and friends, just for the sake of fairness) with kids around February/March 2015 just so they can be sure to hear everything straight from me and not through the grapevine.

    In keeping with that, I think save the dates will probably go out around 8 months – so about this time next year. I've put a late April RSVP-by date (final numbers due to venue late May) and I think those will probably go out early-mid January 2016, to give people a little extra time to finalize their childcare plans.

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