One of the biggest questions I get when starting the planning process and scheduling engagement sessions is “When do I need to send out my Save the Dates?” Well, I’ve asked a professional and now we KNOW! I’m excited to show off my dear friend and creative genius, Jessica Smith of JesSmith Designs. Join us for a series getting into the down and dirty of wedding invitation style, traditions and etiquette (when you should follow them and when to balk at them).
Save the Date Cards
While Save the Date cards haven’t exactly been a time honored tradition, they are quickly becoming a staple of wedding planning and the invitation process. They actually just hit their stride in the United States the early 2000’s.
Why do we need to send a Save the Date card to our guests? It is the first time you are announcing when and where your big day is going to be. While it doesn’t give all of the details for the day, it at least gives your guests the “heads up” about what is in store. They’re most beneficial to guests who are out of town and may have to make travel plans, ask off of work or those that have younger children that aren’t invited to make daycare plans. Heck, it even helps when you’re in the stage of life that all of your friends are getting married if you’re the first one to get notice out there 😉 Having ample time to plan will in turn increase the chances of your guests coming and that’s the whole point, right!?
You can personalize your Save the Date cards to show off those awesome engagement photos you had done! Save the Dates will also help your guests get a feel for your day, if you’re going to have a theme or if you’re going the more formal route.
Is it acceptable to just list the city? It absolutely is. You don’t have to include any specific information other than the date and the general location. Venue and ceremony usually are not included until the formal wedding invitation is sent.
Should we include our registry information on the Save the Date card? The rule is that you should not include your registry information on any Save the Date or formal Invitation that you send to your guests. The only time your registry is to be shared is by your bridesmaids when they are sending out the bridal shower invitations or included on your wedding website.
Side note: When it comes to guest etiquette, items on your bridal registry are actually meant to be gifted at the bridal shower, not the actual wedding. It is customary to bring a monetary gift on the actual wedding day.
Who actually receives a Save the Date? EVERYONE! And remember that once you send a potential wedding guest a Save the Date card, that guest is officially invited. So if you have some individuals who you are not 100% sure on, do not send a Save the Date card to them.
Is there a time frame that we should be sending out our Save the Date cards? They should be mailed about 6 to 8 months before the wedding date. You should be sending them out even earlier if you have a destination wedding or if it’s on a holiday weekend. You should start designing them at least 10 months before the wedding date to give enough time.
Can Save the Date cards be sent out too early? Yes, they can be. Sending out Save the Date cards any more than a year before the big day is too early. They can get lost in the everyday clutter or forgotten about.
Should a wedding website be included on the save the date? Yes, if you have a wedding website, you should include it on the Save the Date.
Are electronic Save the Dates acceptable to send? I would not recommend doing so. If you do circulate an electronic Save the Date, still send out a paper card. You will most likely have guests that don’t have email addresses to begin with. You could also have the issue of having it go into your guest’s spam folder. You’ll also have older guests who tend to be more sentimental and love to have that paper keepsake. Most photographers love to include your personalized Save the Date card as a part of your wedding day photos. Not to mention, you’ll need to have your guest’s mailing addresses for the big day and this is like a trial run for confirming those.
Do the Save the Date cards need to be formal when addressing them? Yes, you still need be clear about which family members are invited. Especially if kids are not invited, that gives the parents time to decide on childcare.
So now that we got through all of the etiquette when it comes to Save the Date cards, what is your favorite part of them!? I love designing them to include the couple’s personal photos and style. I like to say that they are the couple’s first piece of commissioned artwork as a couple.