When to Send Save the Dates by Mindy Weiss

New York Times Wordle

You've decided on a wedding date and want to ensure that everyone on your guest list can attend. You must now decide whether to inform them of your wedding date in advance. Find out what save-the-date cards are and when you should send them.


What Is a Save the Date?

Save-the-date cards announce your wedding date and are sent out before formal invitations to give your wedding guests enough time to plan for your big day. The advance notice gives friends and family members plenty of time to plan their travel and book hotel rooms.

"A save-the-date card is a notice that you are giving your guests of the date and the place where you're getting married. It's the start of everything. It is the first piece of information that your guests will receive during your planning process." Mindy Weiss —

Including save-the-date cards in your wedding planning process is especially beneficial if you are having a destination wedding or your wedding day falls on a holiday weekend.


What to Include on Save the Dates

As a general rule, save-the-date wedding cards include just enough information to inform your guest list about the general details of your wedding date. You can send an electronic save the date via email or a physical card on wedding stationery in the mail for your loved ones to keep as a keepsake. Include the following information on your cards:

Date of your wedding: Include your wedding date so that your guests and their guests know when to mark their calendars for your big day.

General location: As a general rule, save-the-date etiquette requires at the very least a general location (city and state) of your wedding venue. You may want to include specific information, such as the exact location of the wedding ceremony, especially if you have chosen not to have a local wedding and the destination necessitates travel plans for your loved ones.

Names of you and your partner: The full names of you and your partner should be included in your save-the-date wording.

Optional engagement photos: If you have engagement photos, you can include them in your save-the-date design, but you don't have to.

Wedding invitation to follow: Make it clear on your card that a formal invitation with RSVP cards will be mailed separately.

Your wedding website: Many modern weddings include a website to provide guests with a single point of contact for all of their wedding details. If you want, include the URL of your wedding website on your save the date.


When to Send Save the Dates

"In the past, six months was enough time," Mindy says. Some couples have decided to send save the dates earlier as weddings have become more complex, encompassing entire weekends or taking place in far-flung destinations. The timing of sending save-the-date cards is determined by the complexity of your wedding plans. Wedding etiquette follows the following general guidelines:

Destination wedding: Send save-the-date cards for destination weddings at least eight to twelve months in advance, depending on the complexity of the travel arrangements. Allow your loved ones plenty of time to request time off from work, book hotel rooms and flights, and arrange for child or pet care if necessary.

Last-minute wedding: "If you're planning your wedding in three to six months, you might not even need a save the date," Mindy says. "Send your invitation a little earlier so people have the information."

Local wedding: Save the dates for local weddings can be sent with slightly less lead time, about four to six months in advance. Send out the invitations earlier if your wedding is taking place during a popular vacation period, such as the summer or a holiday weekend.


5 Mistakes to Avoid on Save the Dates

If you choose to send save-the-date cards, avoid the following common blunders before sending them:

1. Forgetting the names of the couple: "What you need to make sure is on the save the date is—No. 1—who's getting married," Mindy advises. "Don't forget to sign your names. People get so excited sometimes: Save the date! We're so excited that no one knows who's getting married. Put your name on it."

2. Including information from the wedding registry: Avoid making the mistake of including your wedding registry information on your save-the-date card. Save those details for your wedding invitation and website.

3. Sending cards to people you might not invite: To avoid sending cards to people you might not invite to the wedding, finalize your wedding guest list before sending save-the-date cards. Only send save the dates to guests in tier A if you divide your guest list into A, B, and C tiers, as Mindy suggests.

4. Worrying about the design of your save-the-date cards: Save-the-date cards do not have to match the design of your formal wedding invitation. Avoid feeling obligated to include more than the necessary information and possibly an engagement photo.

5. Information overload: Avoid providing your guests with too much information. Keep your save-the-date text to a few key details, such as the date, location, and wedding website.


Print vs. Digital Save the Dates: Which Should You Send?

A physical reminder for your guests, a print save the date can be placed on their fridge or mantle. Digital save the dates, on the other hand, are significantly less expensive. Here are some things to think about:

1. The budget: "When you've developed your budget, it's a great time to decide if you're going digital as opposed to a mailed, printed save the date," Mindy says. "Do you have enough money to do a printed? Or is this a great way to save money at the start?"

2. Logistics: To send physical save the dates, you must have the mailing addresses for all of your guests. "With digital save the dates, it's very easy to ask, 'Please send us your current address so that we can have your mailing information,'" Mindy adds. "It's a fantastic place to create a list for so many things in your life, not just invitations. This can be your ongoing list, even for holiday cards."

3. Style: If you're looking forward to your wedding stationery, you might want to give your guests a teaser in the form of a print save the date. Guests who are more traditional or less tech-savvy may prefer to receive their save the date via snail mail.

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