I really wish the wedding websites (one in particular) would stop telling brides/grooms that they need to send their invitations out 3 months prior with replies due back 6 weeks before the wedding. That is way too early on both sending invitations and receiving replies – especially if save the date cards were sent.
One thing you need to do before ordering your wedding invitations is to ask your venue/caterer when the final count is due to them. By this final count, I mean final payment. Check with your venue/caterer/other vendors if you can add people after giving them the final count (I know you cannot subtract people, but that’s another topic for discussion with your venue/caterer/other vendors).
Most venues/caterers/other vendors need 2 weeks for this count (again, check with them). So, what does this have to do with reply cards? EVERYTHING! We are the “communication” to your guests. When your guests receive their invitations (8 weeks prior to your wedding – especially if you’ve sent save the date cards), they read it and know the details of YOUR wedding. When they read the reply card, there is something they have to be interactive about – YES, they get to particpate- sending it back with all THEIR information. They need to tell you the following: 1. Their name; 2. if they are attending; 3. How many are attending (oh, please be the same number as you invited!); and 4. the food choice for each person (if you are offering them a choice). Oh, but when do they need to do this by? Let’s break it down as to why I recommend building in a little extra time.
If you need to let your venue/caterer/other vendors know a final count at least 2 weeks prior to your wedding day, we all know you won’t get 100% of your replies by that date. So….we build in at least 1 – 2 weeks prior to the date your final count/final payment is due. This allows you to contact those who don’t reply (yes, you should only because you don’t want to be paying for extra meals) in enough time to get your final count/final payment ready.
You do need to be cautious of reply dates when you and an A list and a B list – this is tricky – we cannot build in an extra 2 weeks unless you send you invitations out 10 weeks prior. You have to be extremely careful not to offend anyone on the B list- that is a discussion we have regularly here at the paperbag.
Hope this sheds light on reply dates!