While a usual engagement is between 12 and 18 months, some couples opt to speed up the process (and you can totally plan a fabulous wedding in a shorter period of time!). That may mean eight or nine months, or — if you're really too excited to wait — just a few months before you walk down the aisle. If you fall into that latter camp, and would rather have a reception than simply head to City Hall, how close to your wedding date can you send out invitations? Here's what our experts have to say.
The great news is, if you secure a venue quickly and choose a speedy printing method, you should be able to get invitations out in plenty of time. After all, standard etiquette is to mail invitations within eight to 12 weeks of your wedding day. So if you get engaged at the end of April and want to get married as early as the end of June, you're still well within the norm for invitation timing.
Planning to get married more quickly than that? Once you have your guest list together, start making phone calls. Let your guests know that a formal printed invitation (or a gorgeous digital one!) is on its way, but that you wanted to give them as much information as possible in advance — namely the date, time, and any travel information they might need. Then, send out your invitations as promptly as possible, and use these to include more creative details like the dress code. And don't forget to work on your wedding website! You can direct guests toward your URL when you call them in the first place, so they can find the information all in one convenient spot.
If you're planning to get married in just a few weeks, you're probably envisioning a smaller affair, whether it's low-key or formal. A guest list of locals will make securing "Yes" RSVPs much more likely, and you can always plan a reception for other friends and family members later if you'd like.