Wedding planning is a lot like conducting an orchestra. It requires learning all the right measures to take, confirming every detail will work in harmony, and ensuring everyone involved knows their part.
With the right amount of planning, everything will come together beautifully. Thankfully, your save the dates can kick off these preparations months in advance of the ceremony, and get everyone excited about your big day.
A save the date card is your first cue to guests that something momentous is about to happen. Plus, it also serves as the official wedding announcement of your upcoming nuptials. Your save the date invite tells guests when the wedding will take place so they can take time off for travel, book a hotel, and save up for a stunning outfit (and a wedding gift). But how you address your save the dates can communicate just as much to your guests about who’s invited, and how much you’d appreciate their attendance.
Along with the many traditions accompanying weddings, it’s become the norm to follow a few rules for addressing save the dates. Below, we’ll go through everything you need to know to execute this initial step.
Why you should properly address save the dates
Before you tie the knot in front of all your friends and family, there’s a lot that needs to happen. You’ll have to order flower arrangements. You’ll have to plan a meal—or several—with the caterer. You might even need to take a few hours out of your busy schedule to taste a few wedding cake options (can we come, too?).
So why, along with these other tasks, should you sweat the details of how to address save the dates? Isn’t it enough to send out a wedding invitation to each wedding guest?
Great question. There are actually a few reasons.
— Consistency: Choosing a standard method for addressing save the dates helps ensure that you’ll do them all the same way. That in itself will reduce errors and give the whole endeavor a certain finesse. (Hint: Paperless Post saves your guest names in your account, making it even easier to address wedding invitations down the line.)
— Respect: Your BFF from college might not care if you address her as “Ms. Katrina Rao” instead of “Mrs. Katrina Rao.” But for some people, these distinctions are important. It’s worth getting them right.
— Critical information: Follow standardized guidance for addressing save the dates, and you’ll be sure that all the little tidbits you might not have automatically thought to include will be included. It’s really just that simple.
Your guide to addressing save the dates to different groups and individuals
Now that you’re committed, let’s explore the particulars of how to address save the dates with ease.
— How to address save the dates to an individual
— Everything you need to know about using Miss, Ms., or Mrs.
— How to specify whether invitees are allowed to bring a guest
— How to address save the dates to a married couple
— How to address save the dates to an unmarried couple
— How to address save the dates to a family
— How to address save the dates to those with special titles
“Watercolor Garland” by Paperless Post.
How to address save the dates to an individual
When addressing a save the date to an individual, use their full name with a title. Or, forgo titles: when it comes to save the dates, the choice is actually up to you. (This is very different from formal wedding invitations, where it is highly common to include titles and other relevant personal information, especially for more formal ceremonies.) For this reason, it is important to finalize your guest list first because sending out save the date invites can help you narrow down your guest list even further.
As an example, here’s how to address a male-identifying individual:
Mr. Percival Saunders
Everything you need to know about using Miss, Ms., or Mrs.
For female-identifying individuals, titles are used fairly interchangeably in some places, but not so in others. Here’s a guide:
— Miss: This is commonly used for women under the age of 18, and historically reserved for women who are unmarried.
— Ms.: This title does not account for marital status. In other words, it can be used for women who are unmarried or married. If you’re not sure how to address a woman attending your wedding, this is a safe choice to pick.
— Mrs.: We’ll get to the how-to of addressing married couples in a moment. But for now, know that this title is typically used for women who are married, or have lost their spouse.
To recap, here’s the variety of forms you can use:
Miss Lydia Bennet
Ms. Elizabeth Bennet
Mrs. Jane Bennet
“Tableau” by Paperless Post.
How to specify whether invitees are allowed to bring a guest
Here, clarity is so important to prevent confusion among guests. If a guest is allowed to bring someone with them, add that language in the following way:
Ms. Brittany Washington and Guest
Brittany Washington and Guest
Some people prefer to add a checkbox at the bottom of their save the date that allows guests to confirm whether they’re bringing a plus-one. This is totally fine, too, and can help you keep better track of the guest count.
“Farmhouse Flower” by Paperless Post.
How to address save the dates to a married couple
Historically, save the dates addressed to married heterosexual couples listed the man’s name first. These days, this is a tradition you can take or leave. One subtle nod to gender parity might be to put the names in alphabetical order.
If you’ve made the choice to leave titles off of your save the dates to individuals, you can go ahead and do so here, too. That said, if one or both members of the couple have a professional title, such as “Colonel” or “Doctor,” it’s often considered polite to include it.
And, what if you’re addressing a same-sex couple who shares a last name? For men, you can opt to use the title “The Messrs.,” and for women, you can choose to use “The Mesdames.” (You can also simply use “Mr. and Mr. or Mrs. and Mrs.—whatever makes you and your guests most comfortable.)
Here’s what the array of options looks like:
Andrew and Bill Buckingham
Mr. Andrew Buckingham and Mr. Bill Buckingham
The Messrs. Andrew and Bill Buckingham
Hon. Bill Buckingham and Mr. Andrew Buckingham
Notice that in the last example, the order of the names is switched to put the professional title first. This is common practice, but not required.
In the end, with so many ways to address your save the dates, you should simply try to be as inclusive and respectful as possible. Pick the choice that feels most accurate and welcoming to your guests, and most true to you and your future spouse, too.
How to address save the dates to an unmarried couple
The method here is similar to the one for married couples. Like them, unmarried couples usually share a save the date—even if you only know one of them well.
If you know both invitees (even just as an acquaintance) but write “and Guest” instead of one of their names on the save the date envelope, it will be construed as an impersonal touch—or even a slight. It could also result in your named invitee showing up to the wedding with someone you didn’t intend to invite at all. To avoid confusion or hurt feelings, always list both guests’ full names—and titles, if you’ve been adding them.
Ms. Chandrika Jones and Ms. Dori Andersson
How to address save the dates to a family
For friends who are parents and whose children aren’t invited, use the guidelines above for inviting a married or unmarried couple. If children are invited, put their names on the save the date following their parents’, or simply write out the family’s name. Here’s an example of your options:
The Awad Family
George, Elham, Juniper, and Marcus Awad
Mr. James, Ms. Elham, Juniper, and Marcus Awad
“Positano” by Jonathan Adler for Paperless Post.
How to address save the dates to those with special titles
As we discussed, unlike with wedding invitations, save the dates don’t necessarily require titles. That said, it’s considered respectful to include professional or distinguished titles on save the dates. Here are some common examples:
— Dr. (Doctor)
— Rev. (Reverend)
— Prof. (Professor)
— Capt. (Captain)
If an invited couple shares a title, you can include its plural form at the beginning of the invitation once. For example, if your married friends, who are a surgeon and a dentist by trade, are invited, address the save the date like so:
Drs. Alison and Ziggy Gregory
Save the Date FAQs
Still have questions about how to address your save the dates? Here are some of the most common questions and answers:
1. What do you write on a save the date envelope? Include your guests’ names and full address.
2. What information should you include on your save the dates? Always include the wedding date, the location of the venue, the URL of your wedding website (if applicable), and the words “invitation to follow,” which gives guests a heads-up that the full details are on their way.
3. How can I find out spelling or titles I’m not sure of? The best way to solve this problem is to simply ask. Send a text. Give them a call. In cases like these, it’s always best to quickly reach out and confirm the spelling of a name or a title you don’t know for certain. Your guest will appreciate the effort you took to get it right.
Send save the dates stress-free with Paperless Post
Save the dates aren’t rocket science, but they’re not exactly intuitive, either. Just as your nuptials are special and deserve thoughtfulness and care, it’s a good idea to take your time and energy refining the small details on your save the dates.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t make things simpler for yourself. Paperless Post offers digital save the date services with user-friendly .csv upload for large guest lists and time-saving features, like our mobile address book importing tool. Take advantage of unique designs from renowned artists and designers like Stephanie Fishwick and Carolina Herrera, or send an animated Flyer for a more dynamic effect. You can conveniently share your save the dates via email, text, or shareable link! And you won’t miss a single exclamation of excitement with a comment wall that allows guests to share their feelings about the upcoming celebration.
Visit us today to view our best-in-class save the dates and invitations, and watch your wedding come to life.