How Far in Advance Should You Send Shower Invitations?

The etiquette of timing may depend on the occasion and the season.

Pink envelope invitation
Photo: Getty Images

If you're hosting a bridal or baby shower for a loved one, you'll want to make sure you have your event planning timeline nailed down so that every party detail goes smoothly. Beyond securing the perfect menu and décor, you'll also want to make sure that you give out-of-town friends or family enough notice so that they can coordinate their travel plans and be there for the celebration. Whether you've never thrown a shower before or have thrown dozens over the years, these event planning experts are here to offer some key tips for shower hostesses to keep in mind when it comes to throwing a celebration everyone will enjoy.

When should you send out shower invitations?

For both bridal and baby showers, Katrina Hutchins, owner of Katrina Hutchins Events, recommends sending out invitations six to eight weeks in advance. If you have out-of-town family or friends coming in for the shower, Hutchins suggests giving them even more of a heads up about the date so that they can coordinate their travel plans. For baby showers, Hutchins recommends scheduling the celebration at around 30 weeks of pregnancy, so that the mom-to-be can comfortably enjoy the celebration in her honor.

You'll also want to consider the time of year as you're planning the shower.

"People tend to have things set in stone during certain seasons, like a beach week in the summer or a ski trip during the winter holidays," Hutchins explains. "If your event is going to fall during these times, it may be good to send out a 'save the date' of sorts. This can be something as simple as an e-vite or a text message."

This six-to-eight-week time frame applies whether you're hosting the shower at a venue or at someone's home, and it also applies regardless of whether you're sending out paper or electronic invitations, she says. However, if you're going to be sending out paper invitations, Hutchins encourages you to start the process earlier than you think you'll need to in order to be able to design, print, and send the invitations on time. This is especially true if you're envisioning a more complex invitation design.

How far in advance should you ask for RSVPs?

If you're hosting the shower at a venue where catering is required, Jennifer L. Bishop, owner of J. Leigh Events, recommends asking for RSVPs back about two to two and a half weeks before the event so that you have time to finalize catering numbers. For a non-catered event, a week in advance is fine, she says. She also encourages you to check with any additional vendors (such as florists) ahead of time so that you're sure that you have your details finalized in their preferred timeframe.

Bishop also notes that these recommended timeframes apply whether you're hosting the shower at a venue or at someone's home.

"Regardless of where the shower is taking place, you still need to give everyone enough notice so that they have time to prepare," she explains.

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