Tips for save the date etiquette

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Getting married is an exciting—and busy—time. There’s so much planning to do, so many details to keep track of, and many moving parts that help make it a day to remember. One of the most important steps is to share the news with your future wedding guests and have a date they can mark down on their calendars. After all, you want as many of your friends and family as possible to share in the celebration with you, right? To do that, you have to give them plenty of notice.

Why send a save the date?

With wedding invitations, everyone wonders are save the dates necessary? Your save the date is basically like sounding the trumpets and announcing your upcoming nuptials to your guests. It lets them know the details of who, what, where, and when so they can plan ahead and make any necessary arrangements in order to be there. The perils of not sending save the dates well before your big day is that some of your guests might not RSVP. It could be they can’t get off work in time, or they aren’t able to arrange travel or childcare in time. In some cases, like a short engagement, it might make more sense just to send wedding invitations, but if you aren’t getting married for several months at least, don’t skip save the dates. They benefit you and your wedding guests.

Save the date etiquette

Though the tradition of sending save the dates is somewhat new, it has become increasingly popular in today’s modern culture. There are, however, some etiquette rules to consider. 

Only send cards to guests you are inviting

Save the dates should only go to the people you’re actually inviting. If there is anyone you are unsure about, it’s best to not send one at all, or send it a little later once you decide. Sending save the dates to people you have no intention of inviting to the wedding is in poor taste. The only caveat might be someone you know that has already said they can’t attend, but would still love a save the date as a digital keepsake.

Be clear about who you’re inviting

You want to be clear when you send your save the dates who you’re actually inviting. It’s important to be specific when addressing the save the date, and be sure to include the names of each person. Otherwise, you’ll have guests wondering if they should bring their children or a date. To avoid confusion, be upfront and clear from the start so that no unwanted guests assume they’re invited.

Send them early, but not too early

While advance notice is a great thing for people to make arrangements and get travel plans in order, there is such a thing as sending save the dates too early. The problem with sending them too early is that you run the risk of your guests forgetting when you’re tying the knot. You can send event reminders and follow up so that your guests don’t forget, but it’s best to keep your wedding top of mind if you have a shorter window of time.

Another reason you may not want to send your save the dates too early is in case you’ll need to change the date for some reason. Be sure that you give yourself enough time to get a confirmed date in place before sending out save the dates.

Don’t send them too late

There’s also such a thing as sending your save the date cards too late! When you send your save the dates depends on the type of wedding you’re having. If you’re having a destination wedding, or you know you’ll have a lot of guests flying in from other parts of the world, you’ll want to give them plenty of lead time. Eight months before your wedding is a good rule of thumb. If your wedding is local and you know most of your guests live in the area, you’ll be fine sending them four to six months out. 

Don’t get too hung up on the design

Yes, save the dates are often used as a precursor to give guests a glimpse of what they might expect at the wedding, but you don’t have to match them exactly to your wedding theme and decor. They don’t have to be formal unless you want them to be. It’s okay to try out a design on your save the date, and then later change the theme around slightly with your actual invitations. What’s important is that you have fun with your save the dates and get your guests excited about the upcoming wedding. Be creative with your save the date photo ideas, experiment with colors and fonts, and express yourself as a couple.

Save the date wording etiquette

Your save the date wording only needs to have a few specifics. Stick with the basics and customize it however it suits your personality and style. You can save all the other details for your wedding invitations.

Include your names

Make sure your design includes both of your names. You can write out your full names or just your first names, depending on the style and tone of your save the date. Typically, the bride’s name will come first, but there’s nothing wrong with mixing up traditions if your situation is more unique. Some couples prefer to put their names in alphabetical order or list the groom’s name first.

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Include the date

This is why it’s called a save the date! Make sure you put it prominently, either in numerical form or written out. No need to include exact times, just the day itself. If you’re having a destination wedding or a weekend-long gathering, include all the days and specify which day the ceremony will be on. Some people might only be able to make it for the ceremony, not the entire weekend.

Include the wedding location

This is just a general location, like country, city, and state. You don’t need to be specific with the venue just yet. Guests only need to know the location for planning and travel purposes. This doesn’t mean you can’t include your venue if you want, but chances are you won’t have it booked yet. If you do and you want to add it, by all means, do! It’s your save the date after all.

Include the wedding website URL

If you have a wedding website to keep guests apprised of wedding plans and related info, include that URL on your save the date. That way people can check it out if they want more detailed information. Most couples use a wedding website to post engagement photos and videos. You can also use it to share hotel information, local maps, and things guests might find helpful to know, especially those from out of town. With our online save the dates, you can easily link to your wedding website and a registry from any design.

Let them know a formal invite will follow

Be sure to include phrases like “formal invitation to follow” or “our formal invitation will follow.” This lets your guests know that you’ll send them an actual invitation closer to the wedding date that will include things like exact times and ceremony locations, the gift registry, meal choices, and a way to RSVP. 

Ready to send your save the date?

Creating your own special and unique save the date card should be a fun part of the wedding planning process. Hopefully, by using these wedding save the date etiquette tips, it will help make the process even more enjoyable. From modern to classic designs, get started with our wide selection of save the dates.