Wondering When to Send Wedding Invitations? Keep Scrolling

We've nailed down the perfect time frame for you.
Graphic design of invitations in mailbox ready to be sent
Design: Tiana Crispino
Naoimh O'Hare - The Knot Associate Commerce Editor
Naoimh O'Hare
Naoimh O'Hare - The Knot Associate Commerce Editor
Naoimh O'Hare
Associate Commerce Editor
  • Naoimh writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in shoppable roundups from gift guides to wedding fashion
  • Before working on editorial content, Naoimh wrote storefront descriptions for some of The Knot Worldwide's many wedding vendors
  • Naoimh studied creative writing at the National University of Ireland, Galway
Updated Feb 20, 2024

A lot of the decisions you make while wedding planning are completely up to you—there's no set rule for which flowers to choose or what your color palette should be. That said, there are a few planning tasks that have guidelines, including when to send wedding invitations. Sending out your invites after determining who to invite to your wedding is one of the most exciting steps in your planning journey. As guests receive their mail and the RSVPs begin flowing in, expect your celebration to start feeling very real. So now you're wondering exactly how far in advance to send wedding invitations, right? Find out below—we have expert insight from Diane Gottsman, a nationally renowned etiquette expert and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas. (And if you're still in search of the perfect wedding stationery, visit The Knot Invitations for over 400 customizable designs with matching wedding websites).

In this article:

When to Send Wedding Invitations

when to send wedding invitations; wedding invitation timeline graphic
Design: Tiana Crispino

Ideally, the proper wedding invitation timeline is six to eight weeks before the wedding. This doesn't just give your guests lots of time to clear their schedules, but it also means that you can request your wedding guests' RSVPs sooner while staying in line with proper wedding invitation etiquette. This will allow you to get a final head count, invite guests on your B list if needed and complete your seating charts before the week-of-the-wedding crunch.

So the sweet spot of when to send out wedding invitations falls around two months, but if the question: "Is three months too early to send out wedding invitations?" is knocking around in your head, the answer is no, it's not too early in certain circumstances according to Gottsman. "The proper timeline is between six and eight weeks," the etiquette expert says. "When it is around a major holiday, like Christmas, I suggest more time because people need to plan in advance." At the very latest, guests should receive formal invitations around a month and a half in advance, and you should request responses around one month before the big day depending on how long before your wedding you send invitations, though six weeks is preferable, according to Gottsman. Also, if you've got specific questions about when do you send out wedding invitations with a paper RSVP attached, this is the right timeline to go by.

When to Send Wedding Invitations Without Save-the-Dates

If you choose to skip save-the-dates and have a standard engagement length, you should send wedding invitations around six months in advance. For couples who are only engaged a few months before tying the knot, how soon you send out wedding invitations changes slightly: Aim for two to three months before the wedding.

Generally, it's good save-the-date etiquette to give guests a timely heads-up that'll make planning to attend a smooth process (and ultimately boost the number of positive RSVPs you get later). That said, while sending save-the-dates is advised, they technically aren't a requirement. In that case, If you and your S.O. are closer to the average length of an engagement (that's 16 months, according to our data), we recommend sticking to the typical wedding invitation timeline (including abiding by the guidelines for when to mail wedding invitations and sending save-the-dates).

When to Send Wedding Invitations to Out-of-Town Guests

If you're inviting out-of-town or out-of-state guests, it's customary to send out wedding invitations around eight weeks before the big day. We advise sending all of your invites at the same time, regardless of how many guests live out of town. Eight weeks before the wedding is still typical timing when it comes to how early to send wedding invites, so it makes sense to keep things simple and send them all at once.

How long before a wedding should invitations be sent to guests from outside the US? It's an exception—around nine to 10 weeks in advance is a good time to mail those particular invitations if possible, though Gottsman says you can go up to a year in advance. The extra week or two will allow for the extended shipping and delivery time needed to get those invites safely into your loved ones' hands. Keep in mind: When it comes to wedding invitations, when to send them is ultimately determined to account for the right amount of RSVP time. Give international guests the option to RSVP digitally, so you're not waiting for their responses to travel through the mail.

When to Send Wedding Invitations Digitally

While digital invites do get to your guests faster, Gottsman says that it's wise to keep with the traditional six to eight week wedding invitation timeline regardless. While when to send engagement party invitations, bach party invites and bridal shower invitations—which are all often delivered digitally—comes a little sooner, a wedding invitation is still a formal bid and a big commitment, so you should give potential attendees ample time to RSVP.

Why it's Important to Send Your Invitations at the Right Time

Knowing the answer to the, "How soon do you send out wedding invitations?" question is a lot more important than you might think. "Everyone has busy calendars and it's important to get the invitation out at the right time so the date will be secure," says Gottsman. "People make plans weeks and months in advance."

If you mail them too late, you run the risk of not giving your loved ones enough notice to take time off work, book accommodations or make travel arrangements. Sending your invites out too early might mean that your wedding isn't at the top of guests' minds as the day draws closer. You want to hit that sweet spot in between that gives everyone plenty of time to make plans (but not enough time to lose track of that all-important date). Also important is giving them enough time to let you know if they're attending, whether it's by mail-in RSVP or online RSVP. Creating a wedding website can help you easily collect and track RSVPs, too, so it's easy to get that final headcount and send thank-you notes when the time comes.

Cathryn Haight contributed to this article.

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