A wedding means a pledge before a witness, because marriage is the basic social institution.
That is why in most of the marriages so many friends and relatives are invited to remain present during the wedding ceremony. If you are the bride or the bridegroom or someone responsible for arranging the wedding party on behalf of either of them, you must exercise a fine judgment regarding when you should send out the invitations for the guests so that they can reach in time.
Obviously, you cannot start thinking about the invitations unless you already have the complete details of the marriage – the date, place and time of the wedding and the reception.
Once you have those, then first make a list of the guests.
The next thing you need to do is go and select the design of the invitation card and the enclosure. Yes, that's right – choose the format before writing the text of the invitation, because a well designed card is a rarity, while the text can be easily modified to fit the size and shape of the card. Mind that you do these things at least three or four months before the occasion, if you don't want to place yourself in a tight spot later.
After the cards are prepared and final list of guests agreed upon, you begin to send out the invitations. The older convention was that the guests should receive the invitations at least six weeks before the ceremony. But in recent times eight weeks seems to have become the accepted standard. This is probably in response to our schedules becoming busier and busier, so that we cannot fit a wedding reception into it unless given a very long notice.
Therefore you should begin to finalize the list at least four months before the occasion. Collecting their phone numbers and postal addresses is no mean task, either. Some people prefer to get the guests' names printed on the enclosures. You may find it more artistic and appealing to have them hand-written neatly by a friend or a relative who can do calligraphy.
At first mail those friends and relatives who live out of town, or far away. You have to inform them regarding the direction of the wedding hall, the details of transport, hotel, car rentals, air tickets and so forth.
You can afford to leave the town guests till about eight weeks before the event. The caterers are supposed to get informed usually before three or four weeks before the ceremony. Before engaging them, it's often a good idea to confirm acceptance and attendance over the phone, when you're reasonably sure that everyone has received their card.
After the marriage, the newly married honeymoon couple is supposed to distribute thanks-giving cards among the friends and relatives who were invited to the wedding. Sometimes, the thanks-giving card is distributed just after the party but it should be on their behalves. They can be given some return gifts too.
Always remember that your responsibilities as host begin right from the invitation. So for the sake of good form, your invitation style should be full of warmth, decency and eloquence. Adopt an inviting manner while inviting them, and remember always that hospitality is not only your duty but also your pleasure.