A common question that I always get asked is… how far in advance do I need to send out invitations? I have gathered some research as well put in some of my own personal opinions to help you plan out your parties better and know when to order invitations and send them out!
First, we have to establish what type of event you are having. There are different guidelines for the type of event you are hosting. For example, guests do not need as much of a heads up to attend a barbeque than they do for a wedding or holiday party.
If you are sending out informal birthday party invitations the typical timeline is two to four weeks with sending in the mail. If you are hosting a casual barbeque or get together then you can even text or e-mail the invite the day-of the party but in my opinion, sending a printed invitation in the mail is always better than getting a text! However, if your party happens to be around a major holiday (Christmas, etc.) extra advanced notice is recommended so that people can plan accordingly. Side note: When planning your party, you want to make sure that important guests (such as grandparents, etc.) are notified of the date before getting invitations done. You would hate to purchase invitations then have to move the date!
If you are sending out formal party invitations graduation invitations, charity galas, baptisms, wedding showers, baby showers etc. You will want to send these out four to six weeks in advance. This gives people enough time to make arrangements, purchase gifts and RSVP in a timely manner.
For wedding invitations, it is recommended that you send out six to eight weeks in advance. Same as a formal party invitation, this gives guests enough time to make arrangements, make travel plans, RSVP, purchase outfits if needed, etc. Side note: For destination weddings, the more time in advance you send out the invitations, the better so that people can make appropriate travel plans if they are planning on attending or giving people a heads up with a save the date!
For holiday party invitations it is recommended that you send these out four to six weeks in advance. The holidays are crazy for everyone and people’s schedules fill out very quick! So giving people enough time to plan around the holidays is key to having a great turnout at your party.
Here is a handy guideline for different occasions and timelines of when to send out your invitations:
So now you know when to send out invitations, now how about when to order them? I can only speak for myself and not other stationers but here are my recommended ordering timelines:
Casual & Formal Party Invitations: at least two weeks before you are planning on putting them in the mail (this gives enough time to design, edit, send to the printer, mail to you and address the envelopes.
Wedding Invitations: at least six to eight weeks before you are planning on putting them in the mail (this gives enough time to design, edit, send to the printer, mail to you and address the envelopes.
What are your thoughts on invitation timelines? When do you typically start party planning?