If you’ve recently gotten engaged, your head is probably swimming with visions of tulle and lace, twinkly lights, and even llamas in tuxes. You may also be panicking, just ever-so-slightly, about everything you need to get done before you dance under the moonlight with the love of your life.
Take a deep breath … or seven. We’re here to help.
One of the first steps after you’ve chosen key details of your wedding — specifically, the date and the location — is to send out save the date cards.
You can think of wedding save the date notices like “pre-invitations” that go out to your guests several months in advance, in order to let people know that you’re getting married and when the happy nuptials will take place. This lets guests mark down the day or the weekend of your wedding so that they don’t RSVP to any other events before your invitation comes.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, once you start the process of sending save the dates, you may find that there are a few etiquette questions to consider. We have compiled seven of the most common tips for saving the date.
Wedding Save-the-Date Tips
1. To Send or Not to Send a Wedding Save the Date
The short answer is, ‘yes you should’. While it’s not mandatory to send save the dates, it’s always a good idea.
There are a few instances in which save the dates are particularly useful.
- If your wedding is planned for the peak summer season (after all, there is a finite number of weekends between May and September!)
- If you’re having a destination wedding which will require guests to travel
- If you want people to attend several wedding-related events over the course of a three-day weekend
In these cases, definitely do send a wedding save the date — the earlier the better. Six to eight months in advance of the wedding date is standard, with a longer lead time for a more elaborate wedding weekend or a destination celebration.
Since the average couple is engaged for 14 months, you should have plenty of time!
2. Be Clear About Who Is Invited
Remember that the people you invite will likely be juggling other event invitations, their significant others’ social schedules, travel plans, and even babysitters.
If this is an adults-only wedding, including that information on the wedding save the date card is important.
Avoid confusion by specifying “plus guest” or “plus one” if you are extending the invitation to single friends.
3. What About RSVP-ing?
Don’t expect your invitees to RSVP to a save the date, however. You’ll send out an RSVP card with your invitation. Naturally, many of your guests may contact you to say they wouldn’t miss it for the world, but you don’t need to worry about compiling the actual guest list just yet.
4. Skip the Registry Information for Now
Similarly, it’s too early to let guests know where you’re registered. Etiquette experts consider it gauche to spread the word about your gift preferences too early. Not only that, but this gives you more time to decide where to register and what items to add to your list!
Remember that a wedding save the date fulfills a different purpose than wedding invitations. Save-the-dates are really just a courtesy notification and aren’t intended to impart all of the details.
5. Direct People To Your Wedding Website
Whether you’re creating your own website, or simply signing up for an easy to use wedding website service, let your invitees know on the save the date. Being able to bookmark your site allows them to stay current on new developments, as well as leave comments about how gorgeous a couple you two make!
6. Why Not Do Everything Electronically?
You want to let people know as quickly as possible to hold a certain date open so they can attend your wedding, and you’re sending them a link to a website with more information.
Why not just send out electronic save the dates and be done with it?
Some couples do choose this route, especially if the majority of their guests are tech-savvy. But believe it or not, some people just aren’t into emails. Many will appreciate the courtesy of a paper save the date to tack onto their bulletin board or calendar. Save the dates make lovely keepsakes for anyone involved in the wedding. And isn’t it fun to receive an actual piece of mail, especially one bearing good news?
7. No Need To Get Matchy-Matchy… Yet
“Wait, what?” you may be asking. “I haven’t even started to look at invitation designs or themes yet!”
No worries. Your wedding save the dates do not have to match the invitation or RSVP card or place cards or anything else, for that matter. Since they are much less formal, you can really have fun.
Try out a potential theme or style. Use a photograph from your engagement shoot, have an artistic friend draw a picture, or even make your save the dates into a refrigerator magnet, coaster, or jigsaw puzzle.
Sending your loved ones a unique, funny, or clever save the date will not only help them remember your big day, but also get excited about it too.
If you are going old-school traditional and want your save the dates to match your invitations (and you’ve already chosen your theme, colors, or design), then go for it!
Learn More: How to Address Your Save The Dates
What If the Date Changes After Everyone’s Saved It?
Look, we get it. Life happens. You might choose a wedding date, notify everyone to save that date, and then find out that it isn’t doable — for whatever reason. While you should make every effort to lock down the date and location (not necessarily venue, but at least the city in which you’re tying the knot), all hope is not lost if it changes.
Enlist the help of your bridal party to telephone all of the guests and let them know. This is better than sending a second save the date, which might get lost in the shuffle or confuse matters further.
Oh, and don’t forget to update your wedding website!
As you and your fiance prepare to send out your save the dates, remember these tips:
- send them early
- don’t overwhelm guests with information
- don’t be afraid to have some fun!
What wedding save-the-date etiquette tips do you have for recently engaged couples tackling their save the dates?