There are a few key things you need to think about when deciding when to send out wedding invites and save the dates. Have you set the date, booked a wedding venue, and left everyone enough time? And that's before you even start to think about the design of your invitations and save the dates! There's one key principle though: if in doubt, send them as soon as your venue is confirmed.
Have some things set in stone
How many times have you been asked "so when's the date?" - exactly. There's an undeniable temptation to tell everyone your wedding date as soon as you've said "yes", if only just to keep people quiet. Venues can get booked up months if not years in advance, so it's risky to send out save-the-dates without somewhere booked, if not reserved. Make sure that you have written confirmation from your venue before ordering the save-the-dates. There's nothing worse than having to re-send a 'save-the-new-date'.
So, when should I send my wedding invites?
If you're marrying in the UK, it's a good idea to get your save the dates posted (or emailed, if you're going paper-free) 6 to 12 months before the wedding date. Not only will you want to make sure that they can attend (and haven't already received an invite for another wedding on that date) but also it gives them plenty of time to RSVP.
What if I'm getting married abroad?
If you're tying the knot abroad, the more notice you can give your guests the better. Flights usually get released 10-12 months in advance, so by having a fixed date a year in advance means your guests can book their flight and hotel early on and secure a good deal. Plus, getting them out early means that you'll have more time to get on with the rest of the wedding planning.
Should I set an RSVP deadline?
In a word: yes. Put a deadline on your wedding invitations for when you need all RSVPs returned by. Not only will this ensure your guests sort out their personal diaries and make way for the wedding of the year poste haste, but it means you can finalise plans and numbers pronto.