When do I send out wedding invitations?

Addressing Wedding Invitations Betsy Dunlap Calligraphy

Addressing Wedding Invitations Betsy Dunlap Calligraphy

When do I send out my wedding invitations?

  • Traditionally, invitations go out six to eight weeks before the wedding.
  • Start addressing the invitations 3 months before the wedding. If using a calligrapher, they might need 4 months prior.

When should the deadline be for RSVP’s?

  • Make the deadline for RSVP’s for 2-3 weeks prior to the wedding.

Is it different for destination weddings?

  • Send out wedding invitations three months ahead of time.
  • Ask for RSVP’s 3-4 weeks before the departure date.

How do I estimate how many people will come to the wedding?

  • If you send your invitations out 6 to 8 weeks in advance, the likelihood is that most of them will come. So estimate that 85% of them will attend. Don’t forget to account for plus ones, if you’ve invited them.
  • Out of town acceptance rate is around 85% for family and 40% for friends. For most couples, a safe estimate of acceptance rate for out-of-town guests is 55%.
  • (# of out of town guests * 65%) + (# of local guests * 90%) = total # estimated to attend.
  • It’s a good idea to make an A list and a B list. Send your a list invitations out 8 weeks in advance. As you start to get acceptances and declines, you can start inviting some of the people from your B list.


  1. Wait, I’m confused. If you’ve sent Save the Dates, you can’t really implement the A List, B List option, right?

  2. I think this is definitely underestimating how much time to give. People book up their schedules so far in advance and have holidays and other obligations that you need to give them plenty of notice of the wedding (especially if you aren’t doing save the dates, which not everyone does). I would say invites 3 months before the wedding, and for destination weddings 5-6 months before. You need to give people time to save up, or make arrangements for destination weddings.

  3. The times suggested here are considered standard ettiquette. I’ve worked for both a boutique wedding invitation store and as a wedding planner and these have long been the suggested time frames and it’s what people are accustomed to, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable. That doesn’t mean that you can’t send your invitations and/or save-the-dates out sooner or later depending on the particular demands of your situation. I always tell brides that they know their friends and family better than anyone else. Do what you need to do. The problem with sending them out way way in advance is you never know when catastrophe might strike and, let’s say, your venue cancels on you. Now not only do you have to find a new venue but you also have to have your invitations reprinted!

    Again it’s also a matter of personal opinion, but I think A/B lists are tacky and shouldn’t be used for any event. Most people know or figure out when they’ve been on a B list and bumped to the A list. If they weren’t important enough to get invited in the first place, don’t invited them just to meet your quota. Hurt feelings all around.

  4. This is a great article. I agree with Jen especially if you will be having a lot of international guests. Also if hiring a custom designer brides should remember they need to start on their invitations 6-9 months out to make sure they get exactly what they want.

  5. This is great advice. It is always important to remember that everyone’s guest list is different. The bride and groom know their guests best and although an estimate is key, various factors play a role. Out of town guests is a huge one!It’s always best to budget for more rather than less guests too.

  6. Since we had so many out of town guests, we sent our STD’s out about 8 months before the wedding, and the invites just under 4 months before the wedding. We also had our RSVP date a full 2 months before the wedding to give us a cushion on making any last minute changes regarding the guests.

    Also, when working on your guest list, be prepared if all (or very, very close to all) of your guests are able to come…

    We were planning on the normal 20%-ish to not be able to come to our wedding (especially since almost half of the guest list is coming from out of state), but it turns out only a handful of people aren’t able to come. Something we were not expecting.

  7. this is a good advice, my question is I’m having a Bridal Shower 1 month prior to a wedding, can I hand out the wedding Invitation to every one there on the Bridal shower Party. Is the appropriate?

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