This is a question we are often asked, and we thought to write a bit about our views, to give you an idea as to when the best time to send out your wedding invitations is. Unfortunately, what etiquette and wedding “protocol” usually suggest is not necessarily compatible with reality.
IMPORTANT: This article is merely meant to inform and does not try to give advice or “a must” timing. Our intention is to just guide you with our extensive experience in the industry, making wedding invitations and stationery for the day has taught us about the timing needed.
What online “experts” tell you (and I disagree) is to:
“Send your wedding invitations 8 weeks before your wedding. If it’s a destination wedding: send them 3 months in advance to give your guests time to arrange and schedule the trip.”
For starters, some of the advice online is concerning. When the articles are written by SEO content writers who are paid to get to get a website’s rank up on google. 1000’s of people trusting an article that is trying to make sales instead of trying to inform.
What I say: "Really?"
In our experience, it’s best to be thinking of a few aspects of your wedding, deciding the best timing for you, deciding what works for your guests and discussing timing with vendors and suppliers so it can all work together to deliver what you need when you need it.
What I ask my couples before I suggest a timing:
1) Is it a destination wedding? Do your guests need to arrange flights, accommodation and save an amount of money to make it to the event? Give them 6 months to a year if they’re interstate, more than a year if they’re overseas. Only you know how quick your friends can get organised and logistics and their finances. If you want them to come, allow them time.
2) Do you want all of them to come, or are you just fulfilling a formality? I know this can be a controversial question, but we all know that some people will not be able to come, or that you may not be that keen on inviting certain people for whatever reason. However, you may still want them to receive an invitation. If that’s the case, yes! 8 weeks is plenty of time. In On some occasions, we may need to invite others, to participate in or fulfil a formality (family relationships, business, etc, and auntie or neighbour that knew us growing up but would not necessarily attend to your wedding, the list continues.)
3) Did you send a save the date card, or are you planning to? I am not saying anyone should or shouldn’t, some send a save the date card 1 year or more before the day. The truth is that many, and I dare to say most guests, will not buy the tickets until the venue is confirmed, nor they will ask their boss the day off for it, or book a nanny etc until they receive the formal invitation. A save the date is very useful but often instead couples rather save the money and put it towards a much nicer invitation to be sent earlier. There is no right or wrong in my opinion, the choice is again yours. Bottom line, if you have not sent a save the date card, then that invitation probably should go out even earlier than planned.
4) What services do you need to organise that rely on confirmed numbers and rsvps? And what is their timing? As you may know, certain suppliers will need to know your numbers and will need to know some time in advance of the wedding or before the wished delivery date (if a product is needed before the wedding). Say for example, a caterer may not need to know the numbers or whether they are vegetarian or not until 2-4 weeks before the wedding, but perhaps you might need to hire a second nanny for the hotel as some extra kids were confirmed for the day.
Or in the case of our services/products, you may need menus, table/place cards, chocolate or personalised favours/ bonbonniere, programs or order of service. All these need numbers confirmed, and many, such as place cards, will also need the names of the guests. During busy times we (Tango Design) do need 4 weeks for production, from when the PDF is approved, plus shipping time. Whilst many couples approve their design within 1-2 weeks, some need a little extra time, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but there needs to be enough time before your wedding to cater for it. Often, there are last minutes changes, design variations, and changes of information on the invite from the venue, the caterer or the celebrant, and that’s without counting when a family or friends also want to participate in the wording for each piece. Every client, every wedding and every family is different.
So, when to send your invites?
If you want the short answer, I would say:
• If it’s a local wedding, where no accommodation or flights are required:
I would suggest 4-6 months before the wedding day to allow you to organise other services and products with vendors that require numbers or/and names (if needed).
• If it’s a destination wedding, where accommodation and flights are required, and you want them to make it to the event: 6 months to 18 months.
There are many reasons, but it’s best to decide for yourself considering the questions above.
As well as the scenarios mentioned, consider:
• Cultural background and timing. For some cultures it is unthinkable to plan too early, for others, it is a must.
• The amount of people involved in the PDF approval. Some couples are the only ones who have a say on the design or/ and the wording, however plenty get their parents, financial contributors or friends included in the decisions. Again, not right or wrong, but the more people involved, the longer it takes for everyone to agree. Please allow some time for it.
• Changes of information with third parties. Say you were given a time, but the planner or venue suggests at the very last moment a change, or maybe the photographer wants you for a few shots before the ceremony, trust me it happens. Please triple check with the venue, the planner, celebrant and any other people involved in the decision. It can take time so please allow for it.
So, to conclude this article, what I am trying to say is that the sooner you know who and how many guests are coming;
-the easier you will be able to organise other items/ services you may need
-the higher the chance that your guests can make it
-the more time you will have to ensure the invitations reflect what you want them to be
-you will also have the chance to invite a second lot of guests, if many in the first lot cannot make it (i.e. destination weddings). I will talk more about this in another article, but I am referring to guests that you would still love to come to your wedding, but they didn’t quite make it onto the first list due to a budget or spacing situation (friends you have not seen that often, or new friends/ work colleagues, etc.)
Back to browse some designs? Invitation Shop
The rustic wedding theme started blooming back a few years ago. At the time, many wedding experts and decorators found it hard to envision that mix of elements: the elegant and the rustic, the lace and the twine.
A year after, burlap and lace became the absolute star of the rustic wedding themes. You could see it featured in invitations, chair sashes, signs, table runners, etc. Today the trend is still incedibly popular (yet not a novelty anymore) and has extended beyond weddings, to bridal showers, baptisms, birthdays and coorporate functions. The rustic wedding theme is a winner, and can have luxury and a down to earth feel, all in one
Rustic weddings, sometimes labelled 'shabby chic', are becoming more popular due to the diversity of brides and grooms and their desires to have the wedding they choose, that speaks of them as people, whether that be a traditional white gown and church wedding or a rustic wedding held on a farm, or in a garden or vineyard. The point is that you are marrying the love of your life and you want the wedding to be the wedding to reflect your personality and style.
A rustic wedding can be both down to earth, shabby and rugged as well as chic, elegant and sophisticated as long as it reflects who you and your groom are. Whilst some would say that lace, pearls and bling do not belong at a rustic wedding, it really is up to you. If used sparingly, they can add the chic to the shabby.
Rustic wedding invitations may feature recycled or handmade papers, hessian or burlap, raffia or twine, corrugated board, typewriter or handwriting fonts and may be dressed up with ribbons or string, maybe add some pearls for a chic touch. Burlap and lace is the most popular wedding invitation trend for rustic, shabby chic and bohemian weddings. Country lace for a cosy look or french lace with beads for an elegant glam rustic celebration,
Locations for a Rustic Wedding
Many locations are suitable, but there is usually an outdoors element, where nature is second in beauty only to the bride and groom. Some of these places include a mountain top, a farm, barnyard, a vineyard, a lake, camp setting, the city park or garden, the beach, backyard, national park, or a resort. If you prefer to have it inside in case the weather changes, try inside a mountain lodge, a winery or brewery, or a clubhouse. Rustic weddings can be most anywhere you want them because it has a great deal to do with the decor.
Rustic weddings held outside can also be much less expensive because you can use the beauty of the surrounds as part of your decor.
You can set up candles to light the way down the aisle and string white fairy lights up in the trees for an evening wedding or reception. Rustic weddings can take on many themes, shapes and sizes depending on what you want and what your budget will allow, the possibilities are endless.
You can add plenty of rustic chic to your wedding, with chairs and tables draped with hessian table runners. Other rustic theme items include:
If this is your first wedding, you may want to wear white. Even brides who wear a beautiful white gown can have a rustic wedding. Picture a beautiful bride walking down the aisle, through a path in the woods, or a barn breezeway wearing a great pair of cowgirl boots and carrying lovely bouquet of wild flowers mixed with straw and wrapped with a piece of hessian or cheesecloth.
Favours or Bomboniere
As mentioned in the decor section above, once the wedding and reception are over you can give away the preserving jars filled with jams, honey, fruit or whatever as wedding favors. You could do the same with any special candles that you've used, like the ones wrapped in cinnamon sticks pictured.
Browse our rustic wedding invitations
Mason Jars: Studio Larsen
Jars: Lindsey Gomes Photographer.
Bride Dress: Morilee By Madeline Gardner.
Cinnamon Candles: Welke.
As we all know, social media has also changed weddings. It has changed the way we plan for it, how we search for suppliers, or browse for inspiration and on the day, the way we share the wedding celebration online. What is too little or too much to post online at a wedding?
Having social media on your day is a personal decision. Many couples opt for a reception that is 'phone free', inviting guests to switch them off or place them in a basket for the purpose of ensuring more privacy. I personally like the idea of using 'airplane mode', which ensures no connection with outside networks and means photos of your wedding won't appear online until after it's over.
An umplugged wedding helps avoid distractions and sharing online photos you may not want. On the other hand, all those phones could also help capture the special moments that the photographer may miss.
The Ceremony, Reception and Social Media.
It is important you tell people on the invitation if you do not want the photos they take to be shared on social media. Also, remind them on the day. A reason does not need to be given, it can be something as simple as 'so that you just enjoy the day', or because you may choose to keep your day more private.
A Special Hashtag for Your Wedding Day.
If you are happy to share your wedding on social media, it's a great idea to create a hashtag and advertise it on a big sign or/and on table numbers, asking your guests to share their photos with the hashtag "# " e.g. #SamandTanyasWedding. It is fun to see what moments everyone else captures on the day. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all use hashtags.
In this last decade, the decoration in wedding ceremonies has taken an incredible and positive turn in terms of presentation and beauty. Today couples have the opportunity to say "yes" under precious arches or pergolas, coordinated with rustic, beach, bohemian or traditional wedding themes, with fabrics falling softly, hanging lights or lamps and a lot of other variables with a romanticism and absolute atmosphere. A personalized and magical way to start the celebration.
So…How do we get them? The most obvious answer is to rent them. There are hundreds of companies that have pre-determined designs and others can even customise them to your wedding theme or style. Prices are varied, as you may imagine. The decorators who rent these pergolas usually are responsible for bringing the arches or materials to the ceremony and decorate on the day. Once the ceremony is finalised and the guests retire to the reception, they also usually take care of dismantling and removing everything. Pretty easy if you hire them.
nother option is "do it yourself". Well, this decision is personal and if you think you have the skills, the time, the design and the materials, why not?. If you decide to do it this way, do it with a lot of time to spare. DIY can be tempting but it can also be tricky and more often than not, it will make you spend more money than you thought you would. Actually, I'm not trying to discourage you. If you are a DIY and skilled couple, you may end up with a wonderful project. Worst case, if you are not happy with your result, you can decide, to rent one instead.
We have also seen an intermediate option in some places like Ikea offering a basic but beautiful artificial flower decorated pergola with an affordable price. Nothing wrong with that, if that is what your budget allows.
In terms of variety, we keep getting surprised by the creativity, beauty, romanticism and uniqueness that these settings have given to weddings. We remember at first, the arches were made with tree trunks and veils, some petals and candles. Then, the trend slowly walked through the old wood doors decorated with a rustic or vintage effect, some adding chandeliers and rugs. Later with the bohemian chic fashion, we began to see garlands of leaves and flowers and wreaths, with a spiking effect for the ceremony photos.
Afterwards, the use of trees as the ceremony point, was extended, surrounded once more, with natural fabrics and flowers. Some couples added touches of hipster lights, making the tree set up so modern and environmental friendly. This year, along with invitations and decorations at the wedding, the geometrical shapes, especially hexagonal ones, have taken off, and we can see them being part of the ceremony “arches”, taking an important part in this wedding season.
And to finish, we leave you with some ideas for arches to coordinate with rustic chic, beach and traditional wedding themes
Wedding Blog for Real Weddings
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