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 as they do for a wedding or holiday party.
If you are sending out informal birthday party invitations the typical timeline is sending them out two to four weeks before your party. If your party happens to be around a major holiday (Christmas, 4th of July, Halloween etc.) extra advanced notice is recommended so that people can plan accordingly.
My Tidbit: When planning your party, you want to make sure that important guests (such as grandparents, etc.) are available on the date you are thinking before getting invitations printed. You would hate to purchase invitations then have to move the date!
If you are sending out formal party invitations such as 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 them 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.
My Tidbit: 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. You can also give people a heads up by adding the location and a wedding website address on the save the date so that guests can be checking for travel info.
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 quickly! 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:
Party Invitations from the shop: at least 2 weeks before you are planning on putting them in the mail.
Custom Invitations: At least 4-6 weeks before you are planning on putting them in the mail.
Wedding Invitations: at least 6 to 8 weeks before you are planning on putting them in the mail.
What are your thoughts on invitation timelines?
When do you typically start party planning?