It’s wedding planning season, I’m a wedding stationery designer. It almost goes without saying that I’m getting lots of questions in my inbox right now about invites and when to send them. Specifically, when to send evening wedding invitations. Do they go at the same time as the day ones, or later?
As with ‘all things wedding’, there are no hard and fast rules, you should do what’s right for you and your wedding. Here are my tips to help you decide when to send evening wedding invitations.
Before I start, let’s be clear about what invitations we’re talking about here. Evening wedding reception invites are the ones that you send to guests who will be joining you for your evening party only. You don’t need to send them to your ‘all day’ guests, who will already be there.
When to send evening wedding invites will depend a little on when you send your ‘all day’ wedding invitations.
I recommend you send your day invitations four to eight months ahead of the wedding. If you plan to send them at the later end of this scale (closer to four months) then I would suggest your evening invitations go out at around the same time. This will allow you ample time to receive your replies back, and also confirm final numbers for your venue and caterers.
If you are planning to send your ‘all day’ invitations out at the earlier end of the scale, so around eight months ahead of the wedding, then your evening ones could go a little later, maybe 6 to 8 weeks after. There are a few reasons you might decide to send your evening invitations later than your day ones:
Evening guests might need less time to plan, or book time off
Your evening guests will probably not need as long to plan for your wedding as your day guests. It’s less likely that they will need to arrange time off work, book accommodation etc. Therefore they won’t need as much notice. Of course, this may not be the case, in which case you should give your evening guests as much notice as possible (along with any additional details they might need).
Your evening guest list might be more subject to change
Your evening guest list is likely to be a bit less ‘set in stone’ than your day list. Friendships and work colleagues can change, as can relationships. You might not want to commit to invitations as early as you need to for your day list. It’s also likely that catering for your evening party will be a bit more flexible than that for your wedding breakfast. Evening invitations can be sent closer to the wedding as numbers probably won’t need to be confirmed until nearer the time.
You might want to ‘upgrade’ guests
This can be a slightly taboo subject, but I will address it nonetheless. Do you have guests on your day list that you ‘need’ to invite but that probably won’t come? Do you have guests on your evening list that, if you had the space/budget, you would ‘upgrade’ to a full day guest? Yes? It’s OK, many couples I talk to do.
If you delay sending your evening invites until after you’ve received replies for your day ones (this could be within 4 to 6 weeks), then you have the opportunity to send full day invitations to those ‘upgraded’ evening guests in the event of any original day guests being unable to attend. If you haven’t already sent your evening invitations you can do this without anyone knowing they’ve been ‘upgraded’.
So when do you send evening wedding reception invitations?
Whether you choose to send them at the same time as your day invitations or wait a little later, I would suggest sending your evening invites out no later than 8 to 12 weeks before the wedding. This will ensure that you have enough time to get your replies back and confirm all your final numbers with your venue and caterers.
Send them all at the same time if you want to, especially if you are at the later end of the timescale with sending your day ones. Give them out after the day ones if that works better for you, because your evening guest list might change, you might want to upgrade guests, and evening guests are less likely to need to book time off etc.
When you work with me to design and print your wedding invitations and stationery, I will develop a fully bespoke schedule with you. This will include dates for when to send both your wedding and evening invitations, based on what will work work best for you and your wedding. If you’d like to chat about how we can work together, get in touch!
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