When should I send out wedding invitations?

You're getting married in 4, 8 or 16 months? When you're newly engaged, the first thing to think about is setting the date. It seems to be the first thing people ask after saying "Congratualtions!" Setting the date is obviously the first thing you need to determine before you know when you are sending out invitations.

So when do you send out those invitations, when is too soon, and when is cutting it too close. Well here are some things to think about when making this decision.

Set the Budget
First, you need to set your budget and figure out how many people you will invite to the wedding. The best way to increase or decrease your budget is by headcount, so think about who your friends really are if you are trying to save a few dollars. Creating a guestlist, even a rough one, will help you when getting estimated on your wedding invitations. And remember, you don't need an invitation for each person on your guestlist, you only need enough for each family or couple. This is sometime an obvious detail that is easily overlooked.

Getting anxious?
Sent out save the date cards. If you at least know the city you are getting married in, sending out save the date cards can be helpful for out of town guests making plans to travel. You can send these out 4-6 months in advance, and as far out as 12+ months in advance for a destination wedding.

Printing the Invitations
You probably wont dive into the design and printing of your invitation until you have the major details of your wedding, such as the venue, directions, where you are registered (if you find this appropriate for your invitations, it's a personal decision), and the proper wording you prefer. You can find samples of invitation wording at http://www.theknot.com/. Follow this link to find the Invitation Wording Wizard: http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/wedding-invitations.aspx.

So when do you send them out?
As a general rule, wedding invitations are sent out 8 weeks in advance and and RSVP should be requested 4 weeks in advance. If your invitations take a week (at the most) to be delivered, this allows your guests 3 weeks to reply on time, and 5 weeks for those procrastinating guests. Most vedors, specifically the cater, require a headcount 2 weeks in advance. Giving the 2 weeks grace period will allow for a more accurate headcount, even though it's almost impossible to know exactly who will come to your event without sending their RSVP, or who will pull a no-show last minute.

Don't forget to include:
- The invitation including the name and address of the church or venue.
- Directions to the venue(s)
- RSVP cards with postage. You can save $0.11/stamp on postage by making RSVP postcards instead of a RSVP card with a separate envelope.
- A website for additional information about your wedding (hotels to stay, directions, where you are registered, etc.) This website can be a the bottom of the invitation or on the directions/map. Avoid putting this on the RSVP card because your guests will send this back to you and no longer have that information.

For some wedding vendor and idea references, including some wedding invitation vendors, visit http://kincaidesigns.com/Links.html#weddings.

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