After the ring slides onto your finger and you’re officially engaged, you’ll probably take to social media to make the grand announcement after you’ve called and spread the news to all of your closest loved ones.
While word-of-mouth is a great way to get the message out about the pending nuptials, it’s not exactly an efficient way to dole out specific information regarding the when and where of your upcoming wedding day. And that’s where save-the-date cards come into play. Think of these mailpieces as pre-invitation cards that deliver the bare-minimum pertinent information before you really have any other specific details hammered out.
Basically, the save-the-dates are a heads up to your future guests that a wedding is indeed on the horizon and they should clear their calendar and literally “save that date” to celebrate with you and your partner. But keep in mind that save-the-dates are merely one component of your wedding—don’t blow your entire wedding budget on your save-the-date cards!
With that baseline definition out of the way, let’s talk about save-the-date etiquette and design tips!
Are Save-The-Dates Mandatory?
Word travels fast in the digital age—and information about your wedding date is no exception. Chances are that most of your friends and family will be informed about the nuptials one way or another, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of a save-the-date mail campaign. Your wedding date requires an official statement and save-the-date cards are the ideal opportunity to make a formal announcement about the actual date and location—not to mention the fact that the recipient should keep an eye out for an actual invitation.
Practically speaking, save-the-dates are perhaps most necessary when your wedding is expected to take place during a busy time of the year. For example, if your dream is to stage your wedding on Labor Day weekend, your guests need to know as this is a common weekend for people to make plans well in advance to leave town. Additionally, if you’re holding a destination wedding, save-the dates are an expected courtesy, giving your guests enough time to make travel and hotel arrangements.
When Should Save-The-Dates Be Sent Out?
Remember, the point of save-the-date cards is to give your guests plenty of time to make any of the necessary planning preparations to attend your wedding. Some people need to take time off of work, find a babysitter, shop for an outfit, save money for a gift or any number of other possibilities. As such, the general rule of thumb is to mail out your save-the-dates four to six months before the wedding date—and even earlier if your wedding requires more extensive travel plans.
The more lead time your guests have, the more of a chance they’ll be able to attend the wedding.
Who Receives Save-The-Dates?
Absolutely each and every one of your potential wedding guests should receive a save-the-date in the mail. This includes wedding guests you’ve already told verbally or ones that are a no-brainer to invite, like your parents, siblings, best friend, etc. Not only should these individuals receive a save-the-date, they will also love receiving one. Plus, pinning it to the wall or sticking it on the fridge can be a great daily reminder of the fun to come.
Of course, this also means that your guest list must be finalized before mailing out the save-the-dates. This underscores just how important it is to have your guest list planned out and set in stone as quickly as possible. Once those save-the-dates are dropped in the mail, there’s no turning back! Anyone who receives a save-the-date, has to get an invitation.
What Information Is On A Save-The-Date?
You want to make sure your save-the-dates include all of the details that will help to prepare your guests as much as possible for the big day. As you can probably guess, the most important bits of information are the specific wedding date and the location. But keep in mind, you don’t have to have the exact wedding venue locked down yet—instead, name the town, city or state for this early announcement. Also, be sure to include the address of your wedding website, should be ready and waiting with even more information like your wedding registry and any other pre-party details.
Are Save-The-Date Emails Acceptable?
Absolutely! If you’d rather save on postage and email your save-the-date cards to your wedding guests, that’s a perfectly acceptable course of action to take. Though not nearly as intimate or as fun to receive as an actual piece of mail, a digital save-the-date card can be designed and sent out in a more expedient manner—perfect if you’re pressed for time.