There are so many moving parts to wedding planning. You’ll spend a lot of time figuring out how things “are done” just to give you and your partner some guidance. And just like executing the amazing dinner you’ll serve to your guests at the reception, the timing of elements is crucial. Timing when to send out invitations and set an RSVP date is no different.
Regardless of when you send out your invitations, you should allow your guests at least a month to send in their RSVP after they receive the invitation. To decide when to set that RSVP date, consider the kind of wedding you’re having, and whether or not you’re going to invite guests in waves.
RSVP rules for the typical wedding
For a typical wedding, the general rule is to send your invitations 6 to 8 weeks in advance and set your RSVP date 2 to 4 weeks in advance. This gives your guests enough time to make plans and clear their schedule, and you enough time to notify the venue and the caterer of the final numbers. Save your sanity and pad your RSVP date properly in relation to the final count deadline needed from your caterer or planner, as some guests will inevitably reply a little late.
Sending out invites in waves
In a perfect world, you could invite all your friends and family to come celebrate with you. But unless you’ve figured out the magic formula for how to invite everyone (and if you do, please tell us how), you may end up having to sorting people into tiers of invitations — inviting first the A-list people, then, if they decline, moving on to a B and possibly a C-list.
If you plan on inviting people in waves, ask for RSVP’s a little earlier. How early is up to you, but we suggest 4 to 6 weeks in advance. That way, once you receive some declines from your A and B-lists, you still have time to send out invites to the C-list. Do you best to avoid inviting anyone a week before the wedding.
Destination weddings are their own beast. They require more preparation and planning because they’re, well, far away. To allow your guests ample time to take off work, save money, and find a dog sitter, we suggest sending out your invites at least 12 weeks in advance. Destination weddings also make it much harder to estimate the number of guests, so ask for your RSVP’s early too — about 6 weeks before the wedding. That way you’ll have ample time to arrange everything for your killer weekend away.
Holiday weddings demand more notice for your guests, since many people make holiday plans well in advance. Send your invites out 12 weeks before the wedding (and save-the-dates as far in advance as possible), but allow your guests more time to RSVP. Ask for RSVP’s by 3 to 5 weeks in advance.
Using Joy to Collect RSVP’s
Whether you’re sending paper invitations, electronic invitations, or a mix of both, you can allow guests to RSVP easily by simply directing them to your Joy website. Then, let Joy do the work of tallying guests and entree choices, so you can get back to choosing the flowers.