a folded wedding invitation with champagne flowers, printed onto plantable seed paper

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.

If you had to pin me down to a number then I would suggest that any more than 12 months before the wedding would be a bit early to send wedding invitations (have a think about sending save the dates if you’re keen to get a date in the diary). But, the truth is, as with so many other wedding invite related questions, there isn’t really a hard and fast 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 them work out the most sensible timescale for them to send their wedding invitations.

wedding save the date cards with a eucalyptus design on the corners
Save the date card from my Eucalyptus house collection

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. The most popular time to send save the date cards is between 12 and 18 months ahead of the big day. You can send them up to 2 years in advance though. If you still have more than a year before your wedding and you’re worried that it’s too early for wedding invitations, send out save the dates and then follow up with your wedding invitations 4 to 6 months ahead of the big day.

My view is 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. If you haven’t sent save the date cards then of course, send your wedding invitations a little earlier. I would aim for maybe 8 to 10 months in advance, but you could go up to a year before.

RELATED BLOG: When do you send save the date cards for your wedding?

Does everyone already know about the wedding and are the invitations more of a formality?

OK, so 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. They may even have their travel and accommodation plans already in place. In this case your wedding invitations are more of a formality, confirming all the finer details. In this instance, you probably don’t need to send your wedding invitations any earlier than 6 months before the big day, later even if you feel that’s the right thing to do.

concertina style wedding invitation with a white and green floral design
Concertina invitations from my White & Green Floral house collection

How big is your guest list, and are you in regular contact with most of them?

If you have a relatively small guest list and you are regularly in contact with most of them on there, you don’t need to go too early with your wedding invitations. Four to six months ahead of the wedding is probably ample. 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, say six to eight months) to ensure everybody is aware. Again, I would advise no earlier than 12 months ahead of the wedding.

Are you getting married in ‘wedding season’?

Typically in the UK, the spring and summer months of May to September are peak ‘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. For spring an summer weddings, I would advise sending invitations six to eight months in advance, or even up to 10 months before if that feels right for you.

a modern style folded wedding invitation with details and menu printed inside
Folded wedding invitations from my Modern Monogram house collection

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. Here, I would suggest sending your wedding invitations any time up to a year in advance. I would still suggest that any earlier than 12 months would be a little early, but if it works and feels right for your situation then go ahead.

RELATED BLOG: 11 extra details you can include on your wedding invitations

So how early is too early for wedding invitations?

Think about the points I’ve highlighted above 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.

As a general rule I advise my couples to send wedding invitations out around 4 to 8 months before the big day.  As little as 3 months before and as early as 12 is also perfectly acceptable (just make sure you have enough time to get your replies back and confirm your final numbers with your venue and caterer). 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.

RELATED BLOG: When to send wedding invitations

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