How early is to early to send an invitation?

Whether a party, a picnic, a gathering of some sort that won’t require travel reservations and such, how far out do you think invitations should be sent? I’m deliberately excluding weddings and destination events and focusing more on less formal occasions you may host at your house or maybe a park pavilion.

The way I see it, for a let’s-get-together sort of party, 2-3 weeks is plenty of advance notice. A week ahead isn’t unreasonable for a host who’s feeling adventurous! If it’s a bit more celebratory, like a retirement or a graduation, or even an anniversary, certainly no more than a month. That gives guests time to shop for a gift or at least a nice card.

Beyond that, it just strikes me as weird to be asked to dinner or a casual party 2-3 months ahead of time. Sometimes I can’t be sure if I’ll be available in 2-3 weeks, let alone months. Not to mention the likelihood that I’ll forget 2 months down the line. How typical is my thinking?

A month for something larger, 2 weeks for something smaller and more casual.

Large = you’re not going to move the date to accommodate guests
Smaller = you might move the date to capture the most guests

I agree, 2-3 months in advance for, say, a casual dinner is out there. If it’s casual, I’d say two weeks is plenty of time, something more formal, excluding as you said, a wedding, I think three to four weeks is sufficient.

Two weeks is enough. Three in cases where invitees are super busy people.

I always liked getting wedding invitations ten months in advance. Wonder if I feel like eating chicken or fish next year.

A month for something casual, 3 for something slightly longer and more involved. But some depends on how long its running and how long you expect me to stay around. If we’re talking the kind of picnic where people will mostly wander in and out over 6 hours I can live with 2 weeks; plan a picnic dinner/yard party for 3 hours and expect me to basically be there the whole time and I would hope for 4 weeks or more.

I think 2 weeks to a month is long enough for the sort of events where the one person or or a small group ( the hosts) are inviting the guests and paying for the food/drinks etc. In my experience, the less-formal events that require longer notice are “unhosted” type events that people might want to arrange their other plans around (reunions and that sort of thing).

One group of our friends does extremely last minute parties that work out very well. The guest list might be thirty people, but if everyone showed up it would be a disaster. So, Friday word goes out that everyone is invited to Mike and Beth’s place Saturday night. Of thirty invitees six to ten show up. A good time is had by all.

It depends on the people involved.

My brother Ed tried to invite several of our cousins to his birthday, three weeks before the date; turns out everybody is booked several months in advance. The life of modern families with children makes me feel tired just from reading their Whatsapps.

Conversely, the Mensa group in Valencia is known to receive messages of “hey, anybody want to meet for a few beers this afternoon?” and later get pics of 7 to 12 people raising their bottles.
And then there’s a whole different section for recurring events. Two Decembers after Abuelita’s death, my aunt informed the family that Henceforth We Shall Meet Every January 4th, a custom we kept until her own death. People RSVP’d every year, but since the event had already been defined as “recurring”, there were no specific invitations sent.

I try to always give about a month’s notice, except for the occasional spur of the moment play date or dinner with family. I know that my husband has to ask for days off about 3 weeks in advance. I don’t know who will have to ask for time off and what their work policies might be, so I figure 4 weeks should be enough. It gives them time to determine if they want to go, then make the necessary arrangements. It also give them time to get back to me if I require an RSVP.