when to mail out
no seriously, when are you supposed to do that??
There are so many conflicting questions and answers out there it will make your head spin! I can't even imagine being a bride and attempting to navigate the vast world of etiquette for your wedding day; I don't envy you one bit. However, we're here to help!
Wedding etiquette is something we've been practicing for so long, it now come second nature to us. It's like a flow chart our brains are constantly cascading down.
So here's the run down:
Save the dates:
Save the Dates are awesome. They give everyone a heads up and allow your guests time to plan details like flights and hotels (even though, let's be real, they won't actually book their hotel until a month out only after you've hounded them for months). Save the dates are typically mailed out 6-9 months ahead of your wedding. We usually suggest avoiding holidays - so if your six to seven month mark falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas, try and get those in the mail before the holiday season hits so it doesn't get mixed up with holiday cards and widespread massive panic of the holiday season.
These get sticky. We suggest mailing out six to eight weeks prior. Here are some general ideas that are often mistakenly disregarded:
- No, it's not helpful or appropriate to mail them out 12 weeks early. This is not only generally considered rude, but unnecessary. You also put far more time between telling guests your date, your reply date and your actual wedding - you'll end up with a far greater number not sending their reply cards back and guests are far more likely to forget about your wedding all together (yes, this actually happens). If you have an idiosyncratic notion that for some reason, your guests are the exception and your invitations really really really need to be out four months in advance, just know that you're incorrect.
- Six weeks prior is fine. This reminds me of eating out at steak restaurants in a major metropolitan city...I say 'medium rare' and it's like it has become a competition to see how close they can get it to rare while still calling it medium and everyone tries to out do everyone else. Six weeks is fine, and just because your friend, who's wedding is AFTER yours has already sent hers out 10 weeks prior, just know that you're right and she's wrong. Six weeks is your minimum; it gives your guests two weeks to get reply cards back and a month to get your count to your caterer (more on this shortly).
- Eight weeks is the maximum. Any further out than this and you'll start running into issues: guests assume their on the A/B list and cause drama (whhhhyyyyyyyyy), people forget to reply at all, your invitation gets lost in the time shuffle and you end up out of sight and out of mind.
- Six to eight weeks out is when they get mailed, not received.
- We schedule all of our invitations to be mailed at the eight week mark. This means we're early. It gives us leeway in case you've changed your mind on what postage you'd like to use, there was a holdup at the printer, or you're not quite finished putting together your address list on time. Anywhere between six and eight weeks is acceptable and follows protocol. If you're at seven weeks and five days, you're not late. If you're at 6 weeks and four days, you're also not late.
- Reply dates: caterers typically ask for your final count ten business days prior to your event. We recommend setting your reply by date at four weeks out, giving you two weeks to hunt down the ungrateful slackers (I mean, your lovely guests and family) who haven't replied yet. If your caterer is one out of hundreds of thousands that thinks it's normal to ask for your head count two months prior, ask them what they're smoking.
- Your guests will receive your invitations anywhere from 2 days to 7 days after you mail them. It wont be consistent, either. You'll have local people get them a week later than people on the opposite coast. We serve at the pleasure of the United States Postal Service, ladies and gentlemen. If there were another plausible option for sending mail, we would be using it. Trust me.