One of the biggest questions we're asked while showcasing our invitations and stationery products at bridal shows is if it's typical or necessary to send a save the date out to invited guests and how far in advance to do so. There are many mixed opinions floating around out there as to what the proper wedding etiquette is or should be for these announcements but the bottom line is, it's entirely up to you and what your budget can afford. Though. There are multiple benefits as to why you might want to consider mailing a save the date to your wedding guests.
To begin, Why not?!
Planning a wedding is exciting and can be so much fun, but, let's point out the obvious, you're going to marry your best friend! You have waited for this proposal and we're pretty sure your family and friends have been excited at the thought of it as well, so why not announce your engagement and upcoming wedding date? Holler it from the rooftops and show off those stunning engagement photos by mailing a save the date roughly 6-8 months in advance.
Destination or Holiday Wedding
Aside from announcing your wedding date of pure excitement alone, there are other factors to consider if you’re still on the fence about the idea. These announcements are almost vital if you’re planning a destination wedding or if your date falls on or near a holiday. Giving your guests a heads up in advance will not only be appreciated but will also provide ample time to help them plan and prepare accordingly. If you're having a destination or holiday wedding, mail your save the dates roughly 8 months to 1 year out from your wedding date.
Out of State/Town Guests
Save the date announcements are also helpful to invited guests who aren’t local to either or both your ceremony or reception venue's location. They’ll need to make travel arrangements in advance as to them, your wedding will be considered the above, a destination.
Get your RSVP’s Back Quicker
Please note, this is not a promised thing or a guarantee, but mailing save the dates may help with the turnaround of receiving rsvps’ back faster, after you’ve sent your wedding invitations of course. As previously mentioned, if guests are made aware of your wedding date early on, they’ll have ample time to plan and prepare by either marking their calendars to hold your date or will know if they are unable to attend due to previous engagements already scheduled. This early preparation can also assist with mailing those extra invitations to a potential B-List. Which by the way, please do not send a save the date to anyone on a B-list.
Running behind with your Wedding Invitations
Planning for a wedding on top of living your normal life can be crazy hectic and with that comes the passing of time and it will happen rather quickly. Often we find couples falling hostage to this, shopping around under pressure and placing their orders on such short notice. This part of your stationery process is the most important and should not be rushed. Buy yourself some time early on by informing guests of your wedding date in advance with a save the date. Trust us, this will help calm your mind (and your guests) in the event you happen to run a little behind with getting your wedding invitations out in the mail around the 8-10 week mark.
Do and Don’ts
Cost: These announcements do not need to be formal or eat up a great portion of your wedding budget. They should be fun and a representation of you and your partner. The purpose of this save the date is to announce you’re engaged and the upcoming wedding date. Choose an affordable style that works best for your wedding and budget whether it be in the form of a magnet, postcard, drink coaster, simple flat card or DIY home project, there are plenty unique ideas out there.
Design & Style: Some couples ask if their save the date should be similar to their wedding style or planned theme, for example ‘beach’ but really there's no right or wrong answer to this question as it’s entirely up to them and considered more a personal preference. Representing your theme is certainly not crucial during this phase of your planning as this particular piece of stationery doesn’t need to set the tone for your wedding day similar to how your actual wedding invitation will. You may decide to go against the idea of matching your theme and to stick with using only your color palette, that's okay. Save the dates are generally mailed pretty far out in advance from the actual wedding date and with mounds of beautiful inspiration out there, your mind might change here and there if you see something different. By steering clear of a theme and going more generic with your save the date, you won’t box yourself in and your options will remain open.
What Information to Include: As you know, save the dates should include both your names and the wedding date but adding the location, a wedding website, and “formal invitation to follow” statement is an optional choice. There is no right or wrong answer here either, however, consider what your save the date design will look like. For example, if you are adding photos and your faces are clearly visible, it may not be necessary to include both your first and last names, let alone a middle name. Remember, this isn’t your actual wedding invitation so it’s okay to go with the “less is more” approach especially if certain details are subject to change, for example, the location.
In addition, often we’re asked during the save the date proofing process if a wedding website should be included. We personally love wedding websites! Beautiful templates are available through online wedding planning resources like WeddingWire or TheKnot and are free with standard memberships and quite easy to setup yourself even if you’re not the most technically savvy. If you’re unfamiliar with wedding websites, we highly recommend you look into this idea further. Not only is this just another way to share your love story and the details you’re planning, it’s another avenue guests can find additional information they may need at their own accord. We dive into how you can utilize a wedding website in our Wedding Stationery Tips & Guide.
Who gets a Save the Date: For the most part, we’ve already covered the importance save the dates can hold by providing your guests with ample time to plan and prepare for your big day, however, there are still some things you’ll need to consider. You shouldn’t send a save the date out to anyone you may potentially cross off or move to a B-List. This means any distant relatives you’re unsure of, co-workers, friends, etc. because, by sending them a save the date you’re also informing them they'll soon be receiving a wedding invitation as well. Save the dates should only be mailed to guests you know who are absolutely positively invited to your wedding, including their +1 or more which should also be addressed on the save the date mailing envelope.
Mailing: The ideal time to mail save the dates to invited wedding guests is between 6 months to 1 year out from the wedding date.
As the holiday season is now upon us, it may be best to either hurry or hold off on mailing your save the dates if this is considered your ideal time. As you know, holiday cards take over our mailboxes during the month of December, your save the date should not be mistaken for just another holiday wish from a family member or friend and should certainly not be overlooked or lost in the shuffle. Again, if you find your ideal mailing date falls subject to this time of year, we recommend getting your save the dates out either right before the holiday card push or in the very beginning of the New Year.
We hope you find this information helpful and invite you to browse through our gallery of save the date designs as you've seen a sampling of here. Turnaround from start to finish (electronic proof to delivery) is roughly 10-15 business days. Rush orders can be accommodated but an additional fee will apply, ask for details.
Please feel free to reach out with questions or leave comments, we look forward to hearing from you!