Photo: Shaun Menary Photography
You've found the person you love, picked a wedding venue, and selected a date. Now it's time to invite guests to your wedding! Sending out wedding invitations brings up all sorts of questions, from who to invite to when and how, so we've asked our experts to answer some of the most common wedding invitation questions to help make the process a little easier.
Who Gets a Plus One?
While tradition states that only those who are married or engaged should always be invited with a plus-one, common practice has gotten a little more modern, with the ring requirement being replaced with a "serious relationship" requirement. So if your college roommate is in a longterm relationship or lives with her significant other, you really should invite them as a couple. Did your cousin just start dating someone new? In that case, it's your call — and no one will hold it against you if you invite her solo. The exception: You should invite your immediate family members and your wedding party with their significant other or a generic "and guest", no matter what their relationship status is.
When Should We Send Our Save the Dates and Invitations?
When it comes to your invitations, timing is everything. Traditionally, save the dates are mailed four months in advance, with invitations going out around eight weeks before the wedding date. If you're having a destination wedding, add a little time on the front end: Send save the dates up to six months in advance, and invitations 12 weeks before the event. This will give your guests plenty of time to arrange their schedules and shop around for great flight deals.
How Long Should We Give Our Guests to RSVP?
The general rule of thumb is to set your RSVP date for four weeks after you mail the invitations, giving them time to receive the invite and send back their response. The timing can change depending on the type of wedding you're having. For a local wedding, with very few guests coming in from out-of-town, set your RSVP date for two weeks before your wedding date, allowing up to six weeks to RSVP. For a destination wedding, request your RSVPs back seven weeks before the date which, if you mail your invitations 12 weeks in advance, gives guests five weeks to finalize their plans. This will also give you a little extra time to track down people you haven't heard from to ensure everyone is accounted for.
Should We Invite Guests We Know Can't Come?
Once you've gone through the trouble of setting a wedding date, it can be a bummer to find out a friend or family member can't make it. Traditional etiquette suggests skipping their invitation. After all, a single invitation can still be expensive, and it could be interpreted as soliciting gifts. However, if it's a guest you know will appreciate the gesture and will like having your invitation as a memento, you should still formally invite them to be there with you to celebrate. Chances are they'll be thrilled to hear the details and will want to send you a gift, and that link to your wedding website will make finding your registry that much easier.
Can We Send Digital Invitations?
Online invitations are affordable, easy, and come in gorgeous designs that rival their printed counterparts. However, when it comes to your wedding day, you really should skip the e-vite in favor of a paper invitation sent by mail. But for your wedding-related events (engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc.), a digital invitation is a great alternative. These parties usually have a smaller guest list, and ordering a dozen or so invitations can be really expensive. Choose a design that still fits in your invitation suite and take advantage of the built-in RSVP function.