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When to Send out Save the Dates

If you've just decided on a wedding date, congratulations! This is a special and exciting time in your wedding planning process and a very special moment with your husband or wife-to-be. With the date set and your plan in motion, it's time to choose and send save the dates! In this digital age, you may wonder if traditional mailed save the dates are still a necessity. The answer is, yes!

Not only will your guests appreciate the heads-up for planning purposes, it's important to set the stage and begin generating some excitement. It's very possible your guests might be booked if your wedding falls during a busy travel season, so save the dates are essential in ensuring your loved ones can make it to your big day. Even if you're sure your event will be your guests' priority, it's helpful to give your invitees some extra time to plan. Particularly if there's travel involved, a little extra warning never goes amiss. Finally, if you have colors, styles or themes decided, a matching save the date is the perfect way to set the stage and the tone for your event. Choose between casual, festive and formal designs and ensure your wedding is coordinated from the very beginning.

Can I Send a Digital Save the Date?

According to modern etiquette, it is acceptable to send save the dates via email. However, purchasing stylish and personalized save the dates online has never been easier, and with the variety of customized options available, there's plenty of options for every budget, color and style. Further, traditional paper save the dates create a unique sense of occasion, and provide an undeniably traditional and classy touch. Paper save the dates are also practical; your guests will most likely hang up or display your cute and customized mail piece somewhere in their home or office. The display will serve as a continual reminder of your event, and is much more effective then yet another message in their inbox. Digital save the dates can also be mistakenly sent to spam or lost amidst the clutter of guests' inboxes, so if you choose to go this route, you may end up needing to send another reminder or follow-up message. If you've opted to stick with tradition send save the dates via mail, invest in customized address labels. A return address is essential (you'll need to know if you have a bad address or if there's an issue with your envelopes), and your big day is the perfect opportunity to spice up usually utilitarian details!

laser cut coral save the date, white photo letterpress save the date, and gold foil-press save the date cards

When to Send Save the Dates?

Set the Date

  • First and foremost, decide on your wedding date.
  • Once you have a date and an approximate location, all you're missing is a photo!

Take Engagement Photos

  • Your engagement can be scheduled any time after the proposal.
  • It's wise to plan the shoot while you're deciding on location and dates, so you're all set to go with your save the date as soon as you see the final prints!

Mail your Save the Dates.

  • Save the Dates should be sent 4-6 months before the wedding.
  • For a destination wedding, save the dates should be sent 6-8 months in advance.
  • Either case should be followed by formal invitations roughly 8 weeks before the day.
  • If many of your guests will be traveling regardless of the location, it's good etiquette to include further information or a reference to your wedding website so guests can begin making plans as far out as they like.
  • Also make sure to add a few extra weeks to your save the date timeline if your event falls on or around a holiday.
  • Remember, many of your guests may need to save money, request time off work, or arrange childcare, so the more information you can provide at an early stage, the better.

What to Include on Your Save the Dates

Always follow with a formal invitation.

  • The number one rule to keep in mind with save the dates is this: you must send a formal wedding invitation to anyone who received a save the date.
  • Failing to follow up with a formal invitation is tantamount to uninviting a guest to the event.
  • Your save the date should also list that guests should expect more details; most designs feature a mention of "formal invitation to follow."

Don't forget the details.

  • They're not necessary with your save the date, but don't forget to include customized response cards with your formal wedding invitations! Particularly when you've taken the added step of sending a save the date, RSVP's are crucial. Don't complicate things by omitting the response card, especially when your guests have been busy making plans to attend your special day.

Location, location, location.

  • Your save the dates should always include the location of your wedding celebration.
  • Even if you're having a local wedding or haven't decided on a venue, the approximate location of the special day will help your guests make necessary arrangements.

Everyone's included.

  • Save the dates should be sent to everyone invited to your wedding and yes, this does include your parents, siblings, family members, closest friends and even your bridal party.
  • These special guests probably don't need the reminder, but it is courteous to include them in every step of your wedding process.
  • Your closest family will cherish your special day, and will treasure your save the date as a memory and a keepsake!

Be yourself.

  • Match your save the dates to your wedding colors, theme, or style, and most importantly, to your personality!
  • See more information on save the date wording in our inspiration and resources section!
three save the dates with photos and laser trim, letterpress and foil

Tips and Advice for Sending Save the Dates

The save the date process can be a tricky one, particularly for wedding novices. If you haven’t attended or been involved with many weddings before planning your own, you may be wary of making a save the date faux pas. Read on for our favorite save the date tips and advice and ensure you’re on the right track!

Consistency is key when addressing save the dates.

  • Save yourself some difficulty and address your save the dates to every guest invited to the big day.
  • For example, if children are welcome, address the save the dates to "The Williams Family," or if they’re not, address to "Mike and Nancy Williams." If you know your cousin has a serious girlfriend but have never learned her name, now is the time to find out so it’s totally clear who’s invited.

Hand-address for an added touch.

  • Matching return address labels are a great idea, but try to avoid using labels for guests’ addresses if at all possible.
  • Hand-addressing the save the date envelope lends a personal and celebratory air, and ensure your guests feel special and valued.

No gifts, please.

  • Your save the date is not the place to include your wedding registry information! Your names, the date of the wedding, the location, and a reference to further information (i.e. a wedding website) are all that’s needed.
  • It’s proper etiquette to include a registry enclosure card with your formal invitations, or list your information on your bridal shower invitations, but make sure to keep your save the date gift-free!
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