So you’ve finalised the date, booked the venue, and you can’t wait to tell everyone when your getting married, but when should you send out your wedding invitations?
It’s easy to get carried away and eagerly look to send them out two years before you’re actually getting married, but it’s important to find the right balance between sending them out too early and too late. Here are our guidelines to make sure you get it just right.
Save the date cards
The first stage of inviting people to your wedding is sending out save the date cards. Don’t confuse these with your wedding invitations – they can be sent any time you like and are more of an ‘FYI’ than an official invitation.
The aim is to let your guests know what date you’re getting married so they don’t book any holidays or make any other arrangements around that time. Save the date cards allow you to notify guests of your wedding date well in advance without having to send all the minute details before everything is finalised. If you’re having a long engagement, look to send out save the date cards around 6 months to 1 year before the wedding.
As for what to write on your save the date card, just state your names, the fact you’re getting married, the date and a rough location (no need for an address). A save the date card may read something like:
SAVE THE DATE
Rebecca and John
are getting married
on 26th June 2016
at Arley Hall, Cheshire.
Invitation to follow
When to send wedding invitations
Nearer to the time you can send out your official wedding invitations.
The general rule of thumb is to send them about 8-12 weeks before the wedding date, however, you may want to send them earlier if you have guests who you know need more notice, such as those with children who will be planning holidays or those who work in the emergency services and have rotas set in advance.
However you don’t want to send your invitations too early as you risk guests forgetting and loosing the invitation!
Addressing your wedding invitations
When it is time to send out your official wedding invites, you may come across a lot of (unnecessarily) strict rules around addressing the envelopes, most of which are outdated in today’s society. If you’re having a super formal wedding, or you’re royalty, then yes you may want to pay close attention to the etiquette around addressing your wedding invitations. However, if you’re not, then you should do whatever you feel most comfortable with and what fits the style of your wedding. Here’s a guideline to some of the most common rules:
- Addresses must be handwritten – yes this adds a nice personal touch, but if you don’t have great hand writing you may want to print your labels to avoid invitations not reaching the recipient.
- Don’t use abbreviations for street names or cities etc – this makes sense to avoid confusion and reduce the risk of invitations going astray.
- Use current addresses – again, this makes sense. Make sure you have current addresses for all your guests.
- Use the recipients full name including middle name – unless there is more than one person in the same house with the same name, I’m not sure why this is necessary.
- Address the envelope depending on the recipients marital status and profession (e.g. doctors or military personnel) – the most important thing is to ensure it is clear who the invitation is addressed to, if you want to go the extra mile you can do but it’s by no means necessary. Whether you decide to address it Mr & Mrs Brown, Mr John & Mrs Vera Brown or John & Vera Brown, as long as the invitation reaches the intended recipient, it’s really up to you. Here is a more detailed guideline if you’re interested in the technical formalities.
- Addressing children on an invitation – the general understanding is that if you don’t include the children’s names on the invitation, they aren’t invited, but there will be some guests who will just assume their kids are welcome. If it’s an adult-only wedding, make this clear in the additional details of the invitation and ask your bridal party and close family to spread the word.
- Use an outer and an inner envelope – The basic reason for this is so that the inner envelope with the invitation in arrives with your guests in pristine condition. However this tradition dates back to the days when the butler would receive the messy outer envelope and remove it before bringing the inner envelope to the recipient. So unless you’re marrying a member of the Crawley family, this really isn’t necessary (not least because it doubles your work and envelope costs!)
To sum up, as long you clearly state who the invitation is for (is it just for the recipient or for their partner as well? Are children invited?) and write/ print the address neatly and in full, this is more important than getting bogged down with the etiquette of how to address your wedding invitations.
Now you know when to send out your wedding invitations, browse our beautiful range of wedding invitations and read our guide to wedding invitation wording for further advice about wedding invitation etiquette.