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Traditional Bride's Cheatsheet on When to Send Wedding Invitations

You are thrilled to become Mr. and Mrs., especially at an elegant wedding that family and friends will reminisce about for years. But that means there’s a lot on your to-do list--which seems to be growing by the day! Allow us to make your wedding planning easier.

We’re here to help you simplify the process. Using our extensive wedding expertise and passion for bringing dream wedding moments to life, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that outlines when you should send your gorgeous wedding invitations.

Not only that, but after reading, you’ll know the timeline for preparing and sending save the dates, thank you notes and more. Get ready to breathe a huge sigh of relief--we’ve got you covered!


When to Send Wedding Invitations

Your partner has popped the question you've been waiting for (and maybe even a bottle of champagne to follow)! You've had a little time to process the proposal, and you're ready to start this exciting new chapter of your life together. You're deep in planning mode as you find the best wedding vendors to complete each important task on your unbelievably long list.

One of these important tasks is picking out your perfect elegant wedding invitations. It's essential that your loved ones know what day to reserve for your special milestone, but what's the best way to do that? We're here to help you determine exactly when your guests should receive their save the dates and wedding invitations.

It’s best practice to start planning your wedding stationery about 1 year ahead of your wedding date.

The wedding invitations themselves should be sent out in the mail about 3 months before your wedding date.

To make sure your classic and traditional wedding invitations go out on time, it’s important to follow a thorough timeline. We've broken down the recommended wedding invitation schedule so you can enjoy a seamless wedding planning experience!

Your Streamlined Wedding Invitation Timeline

Just like you need time to search for the wedding gown you love, say “Yes!" to the dress, and have it altered, it’s crucial to give yourself enough time for the wedding invitation process. We recommend this breakdown to all of our custom wedding invitation clients.

12 Months Before: Create Guest List and Order Save the Dates

As with the rest of the wedding planning process, you must start with the end in mind. After all, it’s hard to pick a wedding accent color if you don't know the overall vision for your big day!

To start, really imagine your ideal wedding day.

When you look out at the attendees, who's standing there supporting you? Which people in your life, and in your fiance’s life, do you want to be there with you--celebrating one of the biggest days of your life?

Make a list of those people, and start to create the wedding guest list you've envisioned. Create your list of non-negotiables, and make sure they're added to the list you've envisioned. Your fiance should do this, too!

Once you both have your lists, it's time to review and compare them together. Combing through the lists, you'll come up with the final list together. Remember to keep your venue and its capacity in mind when choosing the number of invitees.

You'll use this list to determine the number of save the dates you need to order. Remember, you should always order a few extra--this way if someone can't attend you'll have additional save the dates to send out and share with other loved ones.

10 Months Before: Send Save the Dates

It's always best to send out save the dates sooner rather than later. This way, people will have plenty of time to plan for your event and the day you say “I Do” will be on their calendar. This is especially helpful for loved ones who live out-of-town or abroad. They'll have plenty of time to monitor and book flights at the best prices with less stress!

To make sending save the dates a seamless process, Shine Wedding Invitations offers elegant guest and return addressing services to all Shine brides. Guest and return addressing saves you the trouble of handwriting each address, and the envelopes will perfectly match your stationery.

Once the envelopes are sealed and en route to your loved ones’ mailboxes, you can take a few deep, calming breaths! It’s time to focus on all the other wedding details, because the next steps in your wedding stationery journey aren’t for another 4 to 6 months.

4 - 6 Months Before: Order Traditional Wedding Invites and Thank You Cards

Your wedding day is getting closer, and it's unbelievable that the time is almost here! Full of excitement and anticipation, you're ready to order one of your key pieces for wedding day photography--it's time to find the perfect, traditional wedding invitations.

To ensure your etiquette is just right and you have all the information you need to include, review how to word wedding invitations. You'll also want to make sure it’s easy for your guests to respond with their RSVP, so we recommend including response cards and envelopes in your invitation order.

To further streamline your wedding stationery planning, we recommend ordering thank you cards with your invites. It's best to order the same number of thank you cards as save the dates--you'll want to be prepared to thank each person that sends you a congratulations or gift, even if they're unable to attend the wedding! Thank you cards that match the rest of your stationery will add to the cohesive look and feel of your big day, and the attention to detail won't go unnoticed by your loved ones.

2 - 3 Months: Send Traditional Wedding Invitations

If you are wondering when to send your wedding invitations, about three months before the event is the perfect time to mail them. By this point, you'll be itching to send them and eager for the invitations to make their way to your loved ones' homes!

Your wedding invitations will set the tone for your wedding day, and reinforce the first impression your wedding guests got from your save the dates! We've designed our traditional wedding invitations with this in mind. Each piece of stationery in every suite was thoughtfully designed to work with and play off the others to complete a cohesive wedding look.

We recommend setting your wedding RSVP date 4 - 5 weeks before the wedding day itself.

This will give you plenty of time to follow up with any invitees before the wedding, and you'll have a near-perfect head count for your day-of stationery, favors, and other key wedding details.

3 - 4 Weeks Before: Confirm RSVPs and Order Day-Of Stationery

One month before the big day, follow up with any invitees you haven't heard from to confirm their attendance. This is the best time to follow up with anyone who didn't reply or said maybe. Once you've gathered that information, you're finally ready to order your day-of stationery.

Day-of stationery continues to bring your wedding invitations to life on your big day, and continues to set the tone for your reception and ceremony. Key pieces include:

  • Menus
  • Place cards
  • Table numbers
  • Seating charts
  • Ceremony programs
  • Favor tags
  • Wedding signs

Each piece will greet guests and work with each other to create a seamless wedding day look. Your guests will be talking about your elegant and put-together event for years to come.

The Day Arrives

When your wedding day finally arrives, everything you've been through will come together in the moment. All your loved ones who excitedly received wedding invitations months before and smiled joyfully at reading the where and when will arrive for your breathtaking ceremony. The gorgeous tables will be adorned with beautifully designed place cards and menus that embody the vision of the wedding you always imagined.

It will to be a wonderful day to remember, and the journey ahead couldn't be more exciting. By following a schedule like the one recommended above will make the path to your wedding day simple and enjoyable.

If you're looking for professionals who are passionate about weddings and know exactly how to set the tone for your special day, you've found them. We would be honored to help create elegant wedding invitations that tell your story on the smoothest timeline.

Ready to see if our style speaks to you? Explore our variety of classic yet traditional wedding invitations.

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About Shine
Built on a foundation of classic design and quality materials, Shine Wedding Invitations was launched in 2008 as a response to the need for elegant and timeless wedding invitations. Our designs are simple, clean, and modern, yet stand the test of time. We respect trends, but we don’t rely on them. Our goal is for you to be able to look back at your wedding invitations in 10, 20, or even 30 years and still be thrilled with the design.
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Find your perfect design by visiting our wedding invitation shopping pages
Bring Your Vision To Life
Browse our invitations and find the perfect design for your wedding.
Use letterpress wedding invitations to really make a statement
A Difference You Can Feel
Make a statement with our luxurious letterpress wedding invitations
Request a free wedding invitaiton sample todayFind your wedding invitation style by taking our styling quickFind your perfect design by visiting our wedding invitation shopping pagesUse letterpress wedding invitations to really make a statement

Request a Free Sample Set

Experience our papers, colors, and printing in person.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Take our styling quiz to find the right look and configuration for your stationery.

Bring Your Vision To Life

Browse our invitations and find the perfect design for your wedding.

A Difference You Can Feel

Make a statement with our luxurious letterpress wedding invitations

See Us Shine

Client visions brought to life #shinenewlywed