When you start your wedding planning, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with all the various deadlines. How long do you have to write a thank you note if someone sends you a gift six weeks before the big day? Is a year too early for a wedding website? Save-the-dates? Here’s a quick run-down on some of the more important wedding deadlines you don’t want to miss:
Your Wedding Website – 8-12 months before
A wedding website is a great way to organize the details of your wedding in a way that your guests can access and enjoy as soon as they get their save-the-dates. The website is where you’ll put details about local hotels, directions to venues, registries, and even your unique proposal story, so feel free to make one as soon as any of those details are nailed out. You can always add information as you progress in your planning and spend the extra time tweaking details.
Your Save-the-Dates – 6-8 months before
Save-the-Dates are for letting your guests know to make travel plans ahead of time. If you’re having an entirely local wedding, don’t even worry about sending them. If not, it’s important to balance when you send them out. Your guests need to book hotels, find a way to get time off of work, and maybe even book an extended stay babysitter. If you’re planning a summer wedding (high traffic vacation time) or a Christmas/Thanksgiving date, send them out as early as eight to nine months ahead of time. Just don’t send them out so early that everyone tacks them up on their refrigerators and forgets about them.
It’s also important to note that you should have your guest list (mostly) finalized before you send them out. A save-the-date is as good as an invitation, and guests will be confused and potentially offended if they don’t “make the final cut” and receive an invite.
Your Registry – 6 months before
You can bump that registry deadline up if your circle is into engagement parties (as the point of a registry is to let everyone know what you want and need for gift giving occasions), but there really isn’t any reason to put together a registry until someone offers to throw you a shower. You don’t want your favorite items being discontinued way before your wedding date, especially if they’re part of a set and you end up with half a stemware set.
If you do end up setting up your registry early, avoid registering for sets of things and just throw some items on it that can be purchased singularly. You can always go back and add/remove items at your convenience.
Your Invitations – 8-10 weeks before
It’s important not to send your invitations out too soon, as you don’t want them collecting dust on a desk for three months. If you didn’t do save-the-dates, however, it’s equally important that you let your guests make plans well ahead of time. Be careful, though – any more notice than10 weeks and your guests are going to forget about their RSVP date.
Your RSVP cards, by the way, should carry a date of about two weeks or so before the wedding. Ask your caterer when they need the final headcount by, and give your guests a few days of a buffer zone; you want plenty of time to make a few calls to guests who missed the deadline.
Your Thank You Notes – within 2 months… within 2-3 weeks if it comes ahead of time
Get your thank you notes done as soon as you can – trust me! Any time between a month and two months after you return from your honeymoon is fine, but you can only help yourself by doing them as soon as you can. If you wait much longer than a couple of months, a note will just draw attention to the fact that it took this long to send a note.
If you receive a gift before your wedding date, you generally have a few weeks to send a note out, but don’t wait too long; your guests like to know that everything arrived in one piece.