Last week, commenter Cynthia wrote:
Are “save the dates”, the actual invitation for the wedding? Or is it the first heads up that someone got engaged and is getting married soon? Do people need separate invitations for engagement showers and bridal showers?! So many invitations! How did you do it?
These are SUCH good questions! I did a ton of research when I was getting married, trying to figure out how all these different invitations worked and when to send them out. Here’s the breakdown of everything you need to know:
Save The Dates
Save The Dates are by no means necessary, but they have become more and more common in recent years. When you start planning your wedding, one of the first things to usually be decided is the date of the wedding and the general location. Couples send out Save The Dates to people they know will be invited to the wedding, so guests will have a heads-up and won’t schedule anything else for the same day. If you’re planning to send out Save The Dates, do so about 6 months before the wedding. Take a look at ours here for a general idea of info you should include. REMEMBER: if you send someone a Save The Date you MUST invite them to the wedding. So don’t send these out to people unless you are positive that you’ll have the space and budget to include them.
Bridal Shower Invitations
The bridal shower is generally thrown by the bridesmaids, so brides don’t have to worry about invites for this. (You will have to provide the Maid of Honor with a guest list and addresses, though.) These invites should be like any other party invite and sent out 1 to 2 months before the event.
Engagement Shower & Bachelor(ette) Invites
Once again, these events aren’t hosted by the bride and groom, so it’s up to the bridal party or family of the couple to decide how they want to do this. The type of invitation will depend on how formal the events are and how many people are invited. Trav and I didn’t have an official engagement party, but the day after we got engaged, we invited a group of friends to our house for a pool party and it turned into a “yay, we’re engaged!” party. (Thus, no invitations were necessary.) Our bachelor and bachelorette parties were small and not very formal, so we set everything up via email and skipped the invites altogether.
THIS is where guests can find all the details about your big day. Send out your wedding invites 6-8 weeks before the wedding and make sure to include information about both the ceremony and reception, the dress code, and a full address for the venue (we even included a little map!) Also, make sure to include an RSVP card and a deadline for guests to get back to you. (We chose to have guests RSVP on our wedding website.) DO NOT put any information about your registry on your invites. Guests know to track down family members for that info, and if you have a wedding website, you can put links to your registry info there. Check out our invitations to get a better idea.
Hope this helps, Cynthia!
Married gals: were you confused by all of the different invitations for wedding activities? Did you send out save the dates? Unmarried gals: do you think it’s important to have formal invitations for the bridal shower, engagement party, and bachelorette? Share your thoughts in the comments!