Wedding planning 101: When to send wedding invitations, save the dates, thank yous, and more

A well-designed wedding invitation can make your guests feel excited for your big day long before they set foot in your venue. Invitations can also provide some much-needed answers to your guests’ questions about everything from transportation to dress code. 

From deciding your guest list to figuring out when to send wedding invitations, there’s a lot of thought and effort that goes into inviting your loved ones to celebrate your “I do.”  Let’s dive right in. 

 

Save the date etiquette

Much like a teaser trailer for a highly anticipated movie, a save the date card serves to excite your wedding guests before your formal invitation arrives. Including your specific wedding date also helps them start preparing for your big day. 

— When should I send my save the dates? Save the dates should be sent out about six to eight months before your wedding. If you think you may not have enough time but still want to send them out, you can opt for online save the dates, which avoid the hassle of mail delivery delays. 

— Who should I send my save the dates to? If someone receives a save the date for your wedding, odds are they’re expecting a formal invitation within the next few months. Therefore, only send save the dates to those you plan on inviting to your wedding ceremony. 

— What details should be on my save the dates? The point of a save the date card is to tell your guests to “stay tuned” for more information. Therefore, they don’t require much specific detail. Many couples include a photo of themselves, the wedding date (or even a general time frame such as “July 2022” or “this summer”), a general location (such as the city or destination), and a wedding website URL or QR code. Adding a website can give your guests more information, such as gift registries or a cute relationship story. 

— Are save the dates mandatory? Save the dates can provide an exciting appetizer for your wedding, but it’s not considered mandatory. If you’re planning on having a short engagement (less than six months), you probably won’t need to send save the dates. Think of save the dates as the first reminder before the wedding invite.  

 

Save the dates that say it all

While the wedding invitation itself tends to attract the most attention, you can make your save the date cards just as exciting. Give your guests something to look forward to with a stunning save the date that will have them rushing to mark their calendars. 

Tableau: Give your guests a peek at your engagement photos with a candid tableau of you and your future spouse. 

Heirloom: Let this invite inspire joy and excitement for your summer or fall wedding. 

Apricot: Opt for an understated yet romantic affair with this joyful save the date.

 

Wedding invitation etiquette

Sending out a wedding invitation is a momentous occasion. You can finally share all the details of your big day with your closest friends and family. 

Most printed wedding invitations include a few different items including:

 

— The main invitation

— A response card so your guests can send in RSVPs

— Additional small cards explaining any peripheral details (wedding theme, attire, or accommodation options)

Visit our exclusive print partner Paper Source to browse our wide selection of printed wedding invitations. Once you’ve got your wedding invitations ready to ship out, you should first know the answers to the following questions:

— When should I send my wedding invitations? General wedding etiquette indicates that you should send invitations about two to three months before your wedding date.  

— To whom should I send my wedding invitations? Two of the most asked questions during wedding planning have to be “who should I invite, and how many people should I invite to my wedding?” You should send your invitation to everyone on your guest list (which should be equal in number to the save the dates you sent out).. Part of the reason you send out invitations is to receive an accurate headcount. Therefore, if there’s a person you’re planning on accommodating, they should receive an invite. 

— What details should be on the invitation? Following proper etiquette for your wedding invites is important when it comes to addressing or creating them. You should include very specific details in your invitation to avoid confusing your guests. Your invitation should include your and your future spouse’s names, the time and date of your ceremony, the venue’s address, RSVP instructions, and information about your registry—though if that information is on your wedding website, it’s fine to direct guests there instead. 

— When should I make the RSVP deadline? Your RSVP should be due one month before the wedding. RSVPs remain a crucial part of wedding planning, as it helps you solidify your seating chart and plan for each wedding guest. Therefore, you should give yourself ample time to make adjustments. 

— What should I do if I have international guests? If you’re lucky enough to have guests coming in from another country, you should practice courtesy and send their invitations earlier than the rest. Send their invitations about twelve weeks before the date of your wedding. This preemptive measure should give them plenty of time to read and respond to your request. If you choose to send online wedding invitations, you’ll avoid international mailing delays and pricey shipping costs. 

 

Wedding invitations to mark the occasion

Wedding invitations also provide the opportunity to give your guests a sneak peek at the theme or feel of your wedding. Showcase your color palette, floral choices, or seasonal sensibilities with an invitation that says it all. These wedding invitation ideas can help you get started:

Licensed to Wed: Tie the knot with this stylish invitation to keep your guests in the loop. 

Faial: Invite your guests to watch love and flowers flood the air with this dazzling invitation. 

Benares: Go big and bold with a colorful  invitation your guests won’t soon forget. 

 

Rehearsal dinner invitation etiquette

If you were the kid who always enjoyed the anticipation wrapped up in Christmas Eve or the last day before summer break, you might be just as excited for the rehearsal dinner as you are for the wedding. And for good reason! Rehearsal dinners give you and your partner a chance to say thank you to the people closest to you, and enjoy a more intimate setting before the hustle and bustle of the actual wedding day. 

Rehearsal dinners give you a chance to share a special moment with your dearest guests, so why not honor them with an invitation? 

— When should I send my rehearsal dinner invitations? Rehearsal dinner invitations should go out six to eight weeks in advance. 

— Who should I send my rehearsal dinner invitations to? A typically more intimate gathering, a rehearsal dinner should include anyone in your wedding party, as well as close family, your officiant, and any dates or spouses of those in your wedding party. 

— What details should be on the rehearsal dinner invitations? Your rehearsal dinner invitation should include the event’s time, date, and location. You can also include additional information as needed. For example, if you’re dining somewhere fancy, let your guests know to expect a more upscale dress code. If the rehearsal dinner is a relaxed potluck, let them know what dish to bring. 

Feel the love with these rehearsal dinner invitations

Give your guests a taste of what’s to come with an invitation to excite the senses. 

Script Rehearsal Dinner: Pull out all the stops with this refined text and color scheme. 

Dinner and Drinks: Keep it classic with a minimalist design.

Hedgerow Happy: Perfect for an outdoor wedding, invite your guests to feast and flourish.

 

Wedding thank you card etiquette

After the big day has come and gone, you should take the time to thank all of your guests for their generosity. Whether they gave you a wedding gift, traveled a long way, or made a speech that brought tears to your eyes, take the time to express your gratitude for each of your wonderful guests. 

— When should I send my thank you cards? For gifts received on your wedding day, you should send out your thank you notes within three months of your wedding. If you received a wedding gift before or after your wedding day, you should do your best to send out a thank you note as soon as possible. Taking this initiative can help your cards from getting lost in the shuffle. 

— Who should I send my thank you cards to? You should send thank you cards to those who gave gifts at your wedding or any supplemental parties (engagement party, bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette party, etc.). 

— What should I include in my thank you card? Typically, wedding thank you card wording involves a greeting, a statement of gratitude for a specific gift, a small, specific mention of the guest or the gift, and then a send-off. A heartfelt note or a general thank you for their gift or attendance works wonders. As you open presents, be sure to keep track of who sent what (and if you have any special memories of them from the wedding you can include them in the note). This will help ensure an accurate and personalized thank you card to display your affection.  When in doubt, follow this template:

 

Dear [Name of guest],

We were so happy you could celebrate our wedding with us. We especially appreciate your thoughtful gift. We can’t wait to put this pizza stone to good use on date nights—we’ll eat pizza and reminisce about how you dominated the dance floor during “Cupid Shuffle!” Thank you for the gift but most of all, thank you for the memories.

Love,

[You and Your Partner’s Names]

 

Say thank you, and so much more

Let your guests feel the love with a beautifully personalized thank you card. Send them a memento of your wedding day and a custom note they can look back on fondly. 

True Thanks: Gift your guests a beautiful wedding memory while offering your thanks. 

Rose (Thank You): Invoke feelings of treasured romance and blooming love with a thank you card that says it all.  

Just Married Getaway Thank You: Offer your best wishes before beginning your own journey. 

 

Invite your guests with the best: Paperless Post

As wedding planning unfolds, you’ll often discover just how many components require careful consideration. Among these components, invitations can make the most significant difference. 

Ensure your invitations are sent out with courtesy and style with Paperless Post. Browse our beautiful selection of online wedding invitations, save the dates, and thank you cards that can express your delight and gratitude in a big way. 

When you send invitations and thank you cards online, you won’t have to worry about them getting lost in the mail. And with open and RSVP tracking—plus the ability to send RSVP reminders to guests who are taking their sweet time—you can rest easy knowing you’ll have an accurate headcount. 

Let Paperless Post help you welcome your friends and family with open arms. After all, they’re a big part of what makes your special day so special.

 

 

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