Our hot take on when to send out wedding invites and save the dates

Posted by
This business paid a fee to be listed on Offbeat Wed because they feel their products and services are a great fit with offbeat philosophies… and we agree. Learn more about our ads.

I feel strongly about the timeline for when to send out wedding invites. In this post, I'll answer the age-old questions of wedding invitation timelines and when to send save the dates — but I'm giving two answers. The first is what is considered “standard” for the wedding industry. The second is what I personally think is most useful, especially as a money-conscious girlie existing in a post-pandemic era. As always, Offbeat Wed readers are encouraged to exercise their own critical thinking when it comes to how these rules relate (or don't!) to your nontraditional wedding. All that in mind, let's dive in!

First, let's discuss when to send out save the dates

The standard answer

Typically the ideal time to send out save the date cards for a wedding is six to eight months before the wedding date. This gives guests plenty of time to make travel arrangements and block off the date on their calendars.

The Suki answer

I gotta agree that six to eight months is pretty standard if the majority of your guest list will be local or traveling within the same country. Here are my reasons for sending Save the Dates earlier than that — we're talking a minimum 12 months in advance:

  • Half your guests will be traveling internationally for your wedding
  • You're having a destination wedding
  • It helps people budget ahead of time

So yeah, 12 months is a lot! But when my friends and I were getting married, most of us were in our mid-20s. This meant that many of our guests were folks who had just finished grad school, were navigating new positions in their careers, or just had kids. Meaning, they were ballin' on a major budget or were dealing with complex/inflexible schedules!

12 months of heads-up gave them plenty of time to make plans and begin budgeting for travel, lodging, and more. Throwback to my grad assistant job when I had to put away money for entire year to afford the flight, hotel, and bridesmaid wardrobe for a wedding in Ohio. Would I do it again? Absolutely!

And I super appreciated the Save the Date being sent early enough for me to make it happen.

Obviously, your timeline will be significantly different if you have a short engagement, but if you're planning a year or more in advance, give your guests as much time as you can.

when to send out wedding invites and save the dates
Make it easy for your guests to see your Save the Date every time they stare into the fridge for snacks by turning them into magnets! This cute wedding magnet design is from our pals at Vistaprint.

When to send out wedding invites

The standard answer

The typical time to send out wedding invites is six to eight weeks before the wedding date. The reasoning for this is that it gives guests enough time to RSVP and make any necessary arrangements for attending the wedding, like transportation and hotel accommodations.

The Suki answer

Y'all know what I'm about to say: Six to eight weeks is like, what?, a month and a half?! Two months? No way am I doing that to my homies! My hot take is you should send out wedding invitations 3+ months in advance.

Stuck on when to send out invites for a destination wedding? Six or more months gives guests more time to plan and make arrangements to attend. (Passports might need to be renewed! Child care might need to be arranged! People might want to take some time to consider how they feel about the current geopolitical going-ons when it comes to health and safety.)

Whether you're having a local or destination wedding, traveling to a wedding requires a lot of thought and energy. I like to think if I'm asking folks to carve time out of their lives that I can give them enough time to plan it in the most comfortable way possible.

I was invited to a wedding in Cuba six weeks in advanced and had to sadly decline. Traveling to this wedding involved taking out all our money in cash since no cards were used on the island, mapping things out in advanced because there was no wi-fi in most places, and other logistics that we didn't have the mental space or money to plan for within six weeks. Additionally, there wasn't a Save the Date to give us a heads up. It would have been an amazing experience, but my mental spoons were saying otherwise.

My biggest beef about when to send out wedding invites

Not only do I thumbs down the idea of sending out wedding invites only six to eight weeks before the wedding date. But why is it that the wedding invite is also the first time guests are being introduced to the wedding website and given important information about accommodations, travel, and wardrobe?

As a money-conscience mamacita, I'm not comfortable with only having six to eight weeks to budget for these things. Although I'm the furthest thing from a Wall Street bro, I can definitely say that recent generations in the workforce aren't making the kind of money where they can drop thousands on travel and accommodations for a wedding in the timeline of one credit card statement. So, how can we accommodate folks who need more time to plan?

SAVE THE DATES to the rescue

I'm a huge fan of Save the Dates that already have a wedding website or QR code attached to it! This way wedding guests can head to the wedding website and find all the important information they need in one place. Not only does this help with planning ahead, but it saves the marriers the stress of being bombarded with questions leading up to the wedding day.

Later when you send out the wedding invitations, they act as a gentle (and pretty!) reminder that your celebration is coming up soon…without being a giant information dump. You can also include the wedding website on the wedding invitations to remind people where to look for important info.

When to send out wedding invites

Remember, this advice isn't one size fits all! I suggest thinking about your guest list and figuring out when to send out wedding invites on a timeline that works best for your wedding planning timeline. What do you think about my hot takes? Did either of these invitation timelines work for you? Let us know in the comments below.

Offbeat Wed Vendor

This page features vendors from our curated Offbeat Wed Vendor Directory. They're awesome and we love them. If you're a vendor let's get you in here!

Meet our fave wedding vendors