It’s time to send out your save the dates! This officially makes everything seem more “real” since it’s the first time all the info—date and place—appears in one spot. Beyond your Instagram post, your save the dates are the first glimpse your guests will see of your wedding day. It’s the perfect time to set the tone for what’s to come. Besides sharing need-to-know details, save the dates are the perfect way to excite your guests for your wedding day. Now, all of your friends and family can start making plans to attend, book hotels, and make vacation plans.
As a seasoned wedding stationery designer passionate about designing exquisite invitations, I understand the importance of every detail in creating a memorable wedding experience. I’m thrilled to share with you this guide that will walk you through the what, why, when, and how of save the dates and important save the date etiquette to remember.
What are Save the Dates?
Save the Dates are the official announcement of your wedding date and location and inform your guests that they will be invited and to expect a formal invitation in the future.
Why Save the Dates are Necessary
Save the dates do more than inform guests of the wedding date; they also serve as the first peek into the magic of your upcoming wedding. They set the tone for the event by introducing your wedding style and aesthetic. Sending save the dates is also a courtesy to your guests, giving them plenty of time to make arrangements, from taking time off work to booking hotels and planning vacations. Finally, save the dates help share the excitement with your loved ones. Now, they can mark their calendars and start counting down the days with you!
Custom Save the Dates vs. Online Stationery Stores vs. Digital
When it comes to save the dates, there is no shortage of options available: working with a stationery designer, ordering from a “big box” stationery store, or sending a digital announcement. While online stationery stores or paperless options offer quick and cost-efficient solutions, opting for custom save the dates provides a host of benefits:
Opting for custom-designed save the dates ensures that your wedding stationery, from the first announcement to the final thank you card, tells a cohesive and branded story. Bonus points that they fit right into the wedding stationery flat lays!
The biggest advantage of choosing custom save the dates is that you begin the relationship with your stationer early in the process. An experienced wedding stationery designer will provide you with valuable support, guidance, and expertise during wedding planning.
When to Send Out Save The Dates
As a general rule of thumb, I recommend sending out save the dates 6-9 months before your wedding day. Destination weddings and busy holiday weekends are the exceptions to this rule, and you should plan to send your save the dates 9-12 months before your wedding day.
If you decide not to send save the dates, be prepared to have several guests unable to attend. Today, people’s weekends are booked quickly and far in advance, especially for holidays and summer dates. Is your engagement short? Or are most of your guests local? Then, it may be okay to skip the save-the-date and move right on to designing your wedding invitations. Remember, today’s calendars fill up fast, so early communication is key.
Also See: When to Send Wedding Invitations
Types of Save the Dates
Just like the rest of your wedding stationery, your Save the Date should reflect your personality and wedding style. The save the date should hint at the celebration to come and allude to the wedding invitation design. With all of our custom save the dates the colors, design, and calligraphy coordinate with your wedding invitations and may include an engagement photo on the back.
1. Venue Illustration Save the Date: Features a watercolor painting or illustration of your wedding venue.
2. Wax Seal Save the Date: A creative way to include a wax seal in your wedding stationery wardrobe. The wax seal can feature your wedding monogram or a motif that plays into the stay of your wedding invitations.
3. Die Cut Save the Date: Introduce an interesting shape that plays into the overall vibe of the wedding invitations.
4. Floral Wreath Save the Date: For a floral forward wedding, consider including a floral wreath that introduces the season and color story into the design.
5. Monogram Save the Date: A classic save the date featuring a traditional monogram, modern monogram, or custom watercolor wedding crest, all designed to reflect your vision for your wedding day.
What to Include on Your Save the Dates
Your Save the Date should contain all the essential information to help guests plan for your wedding day. Include your and your partner’s names, your wedding date, and the location of the wedding at the bare minimum. Should you not have the exact venue booked early in planning, it’s okay to list the city and state. Don’t forget to include your wedding website URL for your guests to find additional details.
Who Gets a Save the Date
Make sure that you’ve taken the time to pair down your guest list, as save the dates should only be sent to guests who will be invited to the wedding. Save the date etiquette dictates that you send one per family or household. Exceptions include adult children living at home, unmarried couples not cohabiting, and adult roommates, all of whom should receive their own save the date if they are invited guests.
Common Save the Date Etiquette Mistakes
Not Including Enough Information
Be sure to include all the necessary details, like your names, wedding date, and location, to make it easy for your guests to make travel arrangements. Including the URL for your wedding website is an additional way to communicate important information.
A Disconnected Design
Designing your save-the-dates too early, before you’ve had an opportunity to consider your wedding style and aesthetic, often results in a disjointed wedding stationery collection. This can be confusing for guests. Before you send out your save the dates, be clear on the mood of your wedding and communicate that through the style of your stationery.
Forgetting Last Names
Many modern save the date designs show first names only, which looks clean and very striking. However, some guests, particularly your parents’ friends, won’t be familiar enough with you as a couple to know who the save-the-date is from. If you decide to go with a design with only first names, remember to add last names on the return address so they know who the save the date is coming from.
Including Registry Info
Registry information should be reserved for the wedding website and wedding shower invitations only. However, it is appropriate to include the wedding website URL where guests can access registry information.
Misspelled words or poor grammar instantly bring down the elegance of a printed piece of stationery. If English wasn’t your strongest subject, get a second set of eyes on them before approving for print. I suggest reading the wording out loud to help catch mistakes. Part of my nearly foolproof printing process includes a print release, signing off that all pieces of the wedding stationery have been approved for spelling and wording. This step works well in eliminating errors.
Ordering too Many
It is a common misconception that you must order the same number of save the dates or wedding invitations as the number of expected guests. The actual number is closer to 60-75% of your total guest count and is determined by the number of households invited. I do suggest you order 7-10 more than your total count to account for any last-minute additions, postal mishaps, and keepsakes.
Not Following Up with an Invitation
The biggest faux pas of them all. Remember, only send save the dates to people you plan to invite to your wedding. If you send someone a save the date, it’s considered a significant social gesture. It’s generally expected that those who receive a save the date will also be invited to the wedding. So, think carefully before sending out save the dates, and ensure you’re committed to including those guests on your final guest list.
If you’re ready to order your save the dates for your upcoming wedding, we specialize in well-branded weddings and create custom invitations and save the dates for couples looking for modern, romantic designs.