How far in advance should you mail your wedding invitations?
This is always a frequently asked question when it comes to wedding invitation etiquette. As your wedding planner, we like to work backward to decide on an ideal send date. What date do you need your final RSVP’s? Consider when your venue and caterer require your final numbers. Typically, we recommend having your numbers finalized at least 4 weeks before the wedding. If there are external circumstances that might cause your guest count to change dramatically (like a global pandemic), you might want to add a few weeks to the below timelines. On top of that, it changes when you are managing an A list and B list. We saw this even more during the last year when wedding guest lists were kept smaller.
A list and B list Wedding Invitation Guidelines
We know that sometimes you may have a hard cap on your guest list. Whether you have budget or venue restrictions, you may decide to split your guest list into an A-list and a B-list. What this means, is that you only send out the B-list invitations if you receive back a set amount of “No” RSVP’s from your A-list. The key here is, balancing the invitations so you aren’t sending the A-list so early that they know there must be multiple lists, but also not sending it so late that by the time the B-list guests get their invitations, they know it’s last minute. This is especially true if you are getting married in the Hudson Valley or any destination wedding weekend location that might involve travel.
Once you have a date in mind that you need your final RSVP’s by (typically 4 weeks before the wedding), use that as a guide for the following timelines:
When you don’t have a B-list (ie. everyone on your guest list is invited at the same time), mail your wedding invitations 6 weeks before the final RSVP date (10 weeks before the wedding).
When you do have an A-list & B-list, send your A-list their wedding invitations 10 weeks prior to the RSVP date (14 weeks before the wedding). Hopefully, your RSVP’s will start to come back right away, and then you can plan to mail your B-list wedding invitations 6 weeks before the wedding RSVP date.
Managing your Own RSVPS (without a wedding planner)
We always recommend having your wedding planner manage your RSVP’s. However, if you do want to tackle it on your own, we recommend using a site like Minted or Zola. What can seem fun at first can quickly become overwhelming. It’s so important you create a system to keep track of everything if you are doing it yourself. In a perfect world, all of your guests will RSVP as soon as they receive their invitations. In reality, don’t be afraid to follow up if you don’t hear back right away.