concertina style wedding invitation with a navy blue floral design

Handmade Wedding Invites – How early is too early for wedding invitations?

Exactly how early is too early for wedding invitations? I know, you’ve searched and searched online to find the definitive answer, but every site you find is telling you something different. Aunt Peggy says that in her day it was always 8 to 12 weeks in advance. But Karen in that wedding chat group is insisting that they need to go out at least a year in advance or all your nearest and dearest will be double booked. Truth is, as with so many other wedding invite related questions, there isn’t really a right or wrong answer. When couples ask me how early is too early for wedding invitations I usually run through a few questions that helps narrow it down to come to sensible timescale.

Have you sent save the date cards?

Save the date cards are a great way to get an early marker in the diary with your guests, but they’re not essential and not everybody wants to go to the expense of sending them out. I usually say that if you have sent save the date cards then you can wait a little later to send your wedding invitations. Your guests should have the big day in their planner and the invitation is primarily to confirm all the finer details.

How big is your guest list, do your guests know and are the invitations a formality?

You might not have sent formal save the dates, but there’s a good chance that your ‘A list’ family and friends will know about your wedding and will have marked the date on their calendars already. If you have a relatively small guest list and you are confident that this is the case, again, you don’t need to go too early with your wedding invitations. If you have a bigger guest list, where you are not in regular contact with many of them, it might be harder to communicate with via word of mouth. In this case you could send wedding invitations a little earlier to ensure everybody is aware.

How early is too early for wedding invitations – are you getting married in ‘wedding season’?

Typically in the UK, the spring and summer months of May to September are ‘wedding season’. If your big day falls in this peak time then think about sending your handmade wedding invitations earlier rather than later. As this is also ‘holiday season’ it would be a good idea to give your guests plenty of notice so that they don’t get double booked. Of course – you might already have this covered with a save the date (see my point above).

Do your guests need to travel or book accommodation?

If you are planning a destination wedding then you might want to send your wedding invitations earlier. Particularly if your guests need to plan (and save for!) flights, accommodation and time off work. This also applies to UK weddings if your family and friends are scattered across the country and need to travel. Top tip for city weddings: always check for sports, music or other big events that fall on the same day as your wedding. It can drastically affect the availability of local accommodation for your guests. Again, a scenario where sending wedding invitations earlier (with accommodation options) would be helpful.

How early is too early for wedding invitations in 2021?

And last, but by no means least, what’s happening in the world? As we slowly emerge from lockdowns and the restrictions associated with the Coronavirus pandemic it’s becoming clear that the next year or two are going to be extremely busy ones for weddings. After all, there are nearly 18 months worth of celebrations to catch up on! I’m advising all the couples I talk to at the moment to factor this in when and consider sending their invitations a little earlier.

So how early is too early for wedding invitations?

Think about the points I’ve highlighted and make your decision based on those:

Have you sent save the date cards? Are you confident your guests know and the invitations are a formality? If yes, you can wait a little later. If not, it would be sensible to go earlier. Do your guests need to book time off, travel or arrange accommodation either in the UK or abroad. If yes, give them plenty of notice – especially if you are getting married in peak wedding or holiday season.

pretty wedding invitations with pale green and white flowers printed on vellum
Vellum handmade wedding invitation

As a general rule I advise my couples to send wedding invitations out around 4 to 6 months before the big day.  As little as 3 months before and as early as 12 is also perfectly normal. If you’re really going to push me for an answer on how early is too early for wedding invitations then I would say no more than 12 months ahead of the big day. If you want to send something more than a year in advance I’d advise a save the date card and follow up with the invitations 4 to 6 months later.

I hope this blog has been useful. If you are in the throes of planning your wedding invitations and stationery be sure to get your copy of my ultimate checklist and timeline. It’s an essential tool for working out exactly what stationery you do and don’t need, how many of each and when you should be ordering

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