Save-the-Date 101

Save-the-Date 101

Sending Save-the-Dates has become fairly standard practice for most weddings, and is sure to generate excitement for your upcoming wedding day. Here’s what you should know before sending yours!

Save-the-Date 101
Save-the-dates are the preliminary announcement of your event.  While not required for all weddings, they are certainly a nice way to let your guests know ahead of time about what’s to come. 

If you are hosting a destination wedding or you have a lot of out of town guests, or your event falls on or near a holiday, guests can expect to receive this advance notice.  The reason for this is to allow travelers to save up for expenses, book cheaper travel, block rooms before they are unavailable, and plan their schedules around an entire weekend or extended weekend instead of just one evening out.  If you want to ensure all your loved ones can attend, be sure to send out a save-the-date.

Typically save-the-date cards are sent out between six months and a year before the wedding.  You do not have to have all your details locked into place when they go out, but be sure you’ve set your date, location, and set aside room blocks for your guests’ accommodations.  You can include travel agent and hotel information on a separate card sent with your announcement or you can refer guests to your wedding website for all travel information and assistance.  The goal is to make it easy for them to attend, so the more information you provide on your wedding website – the better.

But what if you don’t want certain guests to attend?  It is still proper to send everyone a save-the-date.  Friends and family may talk, and you would hate to have one couple find out they didn’t receive the advance notice that the rest of the guests did.  

Who do you address them to?  Plan out ahead of time if you will invite “plus ones” to the event.  You should determine if guests, families, or children will be welcome and make that clear on the envelope for the save-the-date as well as the invitation.  This helps get the point across from the very beginning that kids may not be welcome or that you are asking your guest to come alone.  The more times you can remind your attendees of their invitation, the less likely you will find yourself in those uncomfortable situations of added invitees.  

What should they look like?  The beauty of a save-the-date is that the style, formality, or theme can tie into your event, but it can also be completely different.  If you and your fiancé have a love of theme parks but that pastime just isn’t appropriate for your black tie affair, take this time to theme your save-the-date, show a little personality, and later structure your invitation to announce the formality of the event.  If you are hosting a destination wedding, let guests know by sending a three-dimensional message-in-a-bottle or send a boxed invitation filled with loose shells or sand that the two of you collected on your outings together.  A save-the-date can be an object, like an ornament with just the names, date, and city location printed or tagged to it for a holiday wedding, or it can be a die-cut shaped flat card with a few more details about destination and travel.

If you want to keep with tradition, only print your names, the date of your event, and the city and state (or country) in which your event will take place.  Then let guests wait for the formal invitation for all the details or make them work a bit to find out what wonderful event awaits them.

And once all your save-the-dates have gone out, if a guest replies to inform you that they will not be able to attend; it is still customary to send them a wedding invitation.  You know they will not rsvp yes, but you still want them to know they were invited and included.


59 Replies to “Save-the-Date 101”

  1. Include graphics or colors that make sense to the locale and date, such as pink and red flowers if you plan to marry in the springtime in a rose garden, or a card tied up with a baby-blue gingham ribbon for an oceanside summer soiree.

  2. The hottest trend is a photo strip (the kind you create yourself on a beach boardwalk) with funny faces and the wedding date. In each of the four pictures, hold up a sign. 1) We’re getting married. 2) Save the Date. 3) June 5. 4) Be there!

    1. especially for destination weddings, – between travel arrangements and busy schedules, sending a save-the-date will increase guests’ chances of attending your celebration.

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