Why Mailing Wedding Invitations Early Isn’t Always a Good Thing
Your wedding invitations make everything seem so real and tangible. It’s the first detail of your big day and you can’t wait to share them with your guests. You carefully choose the perfect pretty paper and the thought of holding onto them before mailing is dang near impossible.
I get it. I’m a paper lover myself – my excitement comes from shipping your invitations to you, ‘cause I’m just dying for you to see them in person. So I know you’re feeling the same way about getting them to your guests!
But there is such a thing as mailing too early. Wedding invitations are typically sent 6-8 weeks before the big day. You can send earlier if you’re having a destination wedding, holiday weekend wedding, or didn’t mail save the dates. (Wondering if save the dates are necessary? Read this post!)
If you’re planning to mail earlier than about two months, I really recommend reconsidering! Here’s why mailing wedding invitations early might cause problems:
You’re no Longer Flexible
Signed, sealed, delivered has some finality to it. Once you put that invitation in the mail, you’re sealing the deal and lose a bit of flexibility.
From the details to the guest list, waiting until the two month mark to mail invitation can give you some control if changes are needed.
Maybe your ceremony time moves up an hour after talking to your photographer who does convince you to do a low light first look. Maybe your hotel room block moves for an unforeseen circumstance.
These scenarios aren’t to cause fear, but wedding planning is fluid. Things are constantly changing and having every single detail finalized six months or more before the big day can be pretty unrealistic.
I’m not even going to address the unique situation Covid left wedding planning couples with, but I think it’s fair to say we have all learned a lot about pivoting plans during a global pandemic.
Guest List Changes
Along with changes within wedding details and logistics, there are bound to be changes to the guest list. Maybe your guest count changes after deciding you really don’t have the budget to invite your coworkers. Maybe you move your outdoor garden ceremony to the ballroom and have the space to include more people than originally planned.
Not only do the actual guests invited change, but also addresses. You’ve put a lot of thought into your pretty paper – it needs to get to the right place for the right people! Doing a final check through your address list before sending everything to print will help reduce any reprints for envelopes.
People aren’t great at RSVP’ing, so make it as easy as possible for them. A narrow window of time is best for actually getting responses back.
Ideally, you should mail about 8 weeks before with a reply date of about 4 weeks before. This is ultimately determined by when your venue needs a final headcount. Here are some tips on choosing an RSVP date.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s say your wedding is June 1 with a May 1 RSVP date. If your friend get an invitation in January or February, they’re going to open it, see a May reply, realize they don’t know yet about their plans but will reply when they do. (Obviously this friend needs to check their priorities, but you get the idea!) The card gets tossed in that mail pile never to resurface again.
In the same situation, if the friend gets the invitation April 1 – they’ll likely have a better grasp on their calendar, work schedule, and other obligations so they can appropriately respond quickly.
Save the Dates
Save the date cards are the perfect buffer to give a head’s up without sending the complete invitation to your full guest list. You can choose to send save the dates to everyone, but if you want more flexibility with your guest list – mail only to your VIPs.
As their name implies, the save the date will give your most important (and definitely invited no matter what) family and friends the opportunity to begin their planning in advance.
I spend a lot of time educating on ordering invitations early, because I don’t want couples to have a stressful paper process or pay rush fees. On the flip side, there are some cons to doing it too early as well – it’s a balance, but I’m happy to advise each couple I work with on a timeline depending on their unique situation.
Along with mailing too far in advance, ordering too far in advance can not always be the best idea for many of the same reasons. You can start working with your invitation designer in advance, but I wouldn’t recommend printing or finalizing your guest list any more than six months in advance. Read my full post on when to order and when to mail your wedding invitations right here!