A Bride’s Guide to Destination Weddings: Timelines for Save the Dates, Invitations & RSVPs
Is it too early for guests to commit to attending my wedding?
When is it too late to expect people to RSVP “yes”?
How long should I wait to send formal invites after sending save the dates?
These are questions that countless brides ask themselves throughout the wedding planning process, so if you can relate, know that you’re not alone! Oftentimes couples, especially those planning destination weddings, are left uncertain when it comes to deciding when the best timing is to send out save the dates and official invites, and that’s why I’m here with the ultimate guide for destination wedding save the date cards and invitations.
Coming up with the perfect timeline to give your guests adequate notice can be tricky, but with these tips and suggestions you can have peace of mind that you’re on the right track.
When should I send save the date cards to my guest list?
Based on my professional and personal experience, and advice I’ve gotten from my travel agent, the simple answer is to distribute save the date cards no later than one year in advance of your destination wedding. Think about your guests first and foremost; they have to spend their time and money, and your big day wouldn’t be the same without them there to celebrate with you! Here are a few key items to consider when sending out save the dates:
- Be courteous and respectful when it comes to the fact that people will need to save money for their trip to your wedding. The reality is that it’s a big ask, and you should be mindful of the stress that can come along with that for some. Working overtime or pulling funds from savings accounts are just two of the many possible situations your guests may find themselves in when considering if they can afford the trip to your destination. Make this part of the process as easy as possible by providing the most notice that you can.
How many vacation days per year does the average person get? Most people who work full-time get two or three weeks of paid vacation a year, so it’s important to give everyone enough time to request days off for travel. You also want to make sure that the date is secured in everybody’s calendar early so there’s a reduced risk of guests having other commitments at the time of your wedding.
A minimum of 365 days might seem excessive, but trust me when I say it’s not! Expenses and vacation time aside, there are other personal factors to consider as well. For example, if someone on your guest list has children or a sick loved one, they may have to arrange for a caretaker. Another scenario could be someone who is nervous about travelling in general, so they will need time to mentally prepare.
Please note these are my recommendations only, and everyone’s preference or ability to give this amount of notice may vary.
Unique save the date ideas you’ve never seen before:
Your wedding day is supposed to be all about you and your partner, so your save the dates should reflect your styles and personalities too! Ditch the standard and check out these alternative ideas for save the date announcements:
1. Luggage Tags 🧳If you haven’t yet confirmed a lot of your destination wedding details, this is a great solution for you! Having only selected a date is no problem. You can keep things simple; include your wedding date and website, so guests can stay up-to-date on announcements as you continue planning.
Click here to shop luggage tags
2. Boarding Passes 🛫Looking for a standout way to highlight the travel theme of your wedding and include important event details? A boarding pass style save the date has plenty of space for you to customize what information you want to share with your guests at this stage. Add a personal photo, include details about accommodations, travel tips, and more!
For the brides who want even more extravagant save the date cards, you’re covered too! You can get full boarding pass sets that each come with a personalized jacket.
3. Customized Postcards 📬This option is the ideal balance for brides who want their wedding to be fun yet traditional. Showcase your destination event on one side with a travel theme, and on the other side you can have a more “classic” save the date look that includes a full-sized photo of you and your partner.
When should I send formal invitations to my guestlist?
As a general rule of thumb for destination weddings, your save the dates should be delivered at least one year prior to your wedding date, and formal invitations should follow shortly thereafter. This timeline gives your friends and loved ones ample notice to solidify their travel arrangements and get ready for your big day.
What information should you have locked in before sending official invitations? Pick the dates of your trip, specify the timeline of events on your wedding day, select which resort you’re staying at, and gather instructions for your guests to book their accommodations. Once you have all of the key event details confirmed, you can start creating your invites right away! And that’s the fun part, where your creativity and style can come into play.
Providing an abundance of time to prepare and make arrangements is one of the most considerate things you can do for your guests; especially when it comes to destination weddings. With that in mind, make sure your formal invitations are distributed as soon as you know the details that your guests will need to book flights, hotels, and other amenities.
How can I easily collect RSVPs from my guests?
Do you want advice on how to get your guestlist to RSVP, and unique ideas for collecting RSVP responses? Read this blog post for a crash course on RSVP etiquette and inspiration!