The date is set, the venue is booked — it’s time to shout it out! Your save-the-dates are the first opportunity to let your guests know where and when you’re going to celebrate and to get everyone excited for what’s to come. While save-the-dates are not as formal as official invitations, there are still some useful conventions to follow. From “how early is too early?” to “print or electronic?” we’ve got you covered with this guide to save-the-date etiquette.
Do I have to send out save-the-dates?
Save-the-dates let your guests know they’re invited, prompting them to set aside the day or weekend of your event. This is especially important if you’ve chosen a holiday or a popular wedding weekend to get hitched.
As with most of the wedding planning process, whether or not you send out save-the-date cards is up to you — but we think you should. Think of it this way: if you’re planning ahead for your wedding, your guests will appreciate the opportunity to do so as well.
What should I know before I send out save-the-dates?
Before you send out your save-the-dates you should know the date of your wedding, the city you’re getting married in, and the list of guests you’re going to invite, including family members and plus-ones. To avoid confusion, address the envelope or e-card to everyone who will be invited.
Optionally, you might want to set up your wedding website before you send out your save-the-dates, and include the URL on the cards. That way your guests can keep up on event details such as hotel accommodations, wedding registry, and schedule specifics as you lock them down.
What information should I include?
At a minimum, your save-the-dates should clearly state:
- The date, or weekend, of your wedding
- The city and state of your event
- The names of you and your fiancé
Many couples also choose to include their wedding website, hotel information, or some variation of the words “formal invitation to follow.” Get creative, but make sure all the important information is clear.
When should I send them out?
When to send your save-the-dates depends on the amount of time your guests will need to prepare for the event. For destination weddings, send them out six to twelve months in advance to give your guests ample time to do things like book flights, save money, and take time off work.
If most of your guests are local to the wedding site, four months’ notice is probably enough. But be sure to consider the possibility that your guests will know other people getting married the same day.
As a general rule, the sooner the better! Your guests will not object to more time to get excited for your big day.
Print or Electronic?
Although print is still the norm, more and more couples are choosing to send electronic save-the-dates to save time and paper. Print is more traditional, so the more formal your event the more likely you’ll want to send your save-the-dates and invitations on paper.
For those less concerned with formalities, electronic save-the-dates can save time and money. Joy lets you to send out unlimited save-the-dates, whether or not you end up using the full wedding website, and even has an option to print matching stationary.
If you do choose to go digital, just make sure to consider those guests who may not be electronically savvy (think: grandparents). To accommodate everyone, feel free to send a combination of print and electronic.
Do I have to send out invitations as well?
Yes! Your save-the-dates are not an official invitation to the wedding. (You should send out your invitations about eight weeks from the wedding date.)
If you sent out electronic save-the-dates with an all-in-one service like Joy, you can use the same service to send official invitations, either electronically or by mail, without having to re-enter everyone’s information.
Make sure you send an official invitation to everyone who received a save-the-date. If for some reason finances become a problem after you’ve sent out your save-the-dates, make your cuts somewhere other than the guest list, like flowers, food and alcohol, or decorations.
Do my save-the-dates have to match the rest of my wedding stationary?
Absolutely not! Your save-the-dates are meant to give your guests a heads-up and get them excited about your wedding far in advance. There’s no need to put off sending them until you’ve chosen your stationary.
If you already have an idea of the style or theme your wedding will have, choose save-the-dates that offer your guests a glimpse into what’s to come. If not, just have fun with it! Choose something that reflects you and your partner’s personalities.
What happens if the date or venue change after I’ve sent out the save-the-dates?
Things happen, don’t panic! If any of your wedding logistics change after you send out your save-the-date cards, make sure to reach out to each of your guests individually to notify them of the change.
One of the benefits of sending digital save-the-dates is you can quickly resend another one in the event that something changes. Otherwise, a combination of phone calls and emails is fine. Just make sure you’ve reached everyone with the updates.