A save the date is the official 'town crier' announcement of your wedding date that says the formal invitation is coming! It tells your guests to start planning ahead of time for a fabulous party!
Save the dates are especially a great idea if you are having a wedding where your guests may be expected to spend a little more money than normal. Examples would be for a destination wedding, weddings near a holiday or busy summer months, or a multiple-day weekend celebration where most guests will be coming from out-of-town. Your save the date gives them the courtesy of being able to budget, making early travel accommodations (which saves a lot of money), planning for the time off work, and arranging for babysitting services, if needed.
So WHEN should you send out your save the dates? The typical rule of thumb to send them is as early as six to eight months before your event. If you are holding a destination wedding or a cruise wedding, for example, you might want to send them eight to ten months (or more) ahead so that guests can order passports, if needed, and start making travel arrangements. In cases where you have made special payment arrangements through your travel agency for your destination wedding, early information about the payment options would surely be most appreciated!
What should be printed on the save the dates? Most importantly, it should be clearly stated that this is only a save the date and the formal invitation will follow! With the simple phrase 'formal invitation will be mailed to you later', you will eliminate tons of questions and calls. But there will always be a few people who will still think that it is the actual invitation...just be prepared for that! Think short and simple...you will need to put you and your fiancee's names, your event date, and the city and state location of your event. We highly recommend including a photo on your save the date and including your first and last names (not just 'Becky and John')...it makes it clear to guests who you are, especially to those who haven't heard from you in awhile. If you have a wedding website, this is a great time to advertise it to keep your guests informed along the way! It is especially important to provide information on the website about the pre-arranged payment options for a destination wedding--it gives your guests an early start and lets you know who are really interested too!
To whom do you mail save the dates? Only send them out to your guests you are 100% sure to invite. These are your 'A list' folks on the guest lists! It's also a great opportunity to give advance warning that it's going to be an adults only affair or that you will be providing a sitter service during the event (especially for out-of-towners). By sending the save the dates out early you will also get calls, emails, or texts from guests who may not be able to attend--which helps with your guest list! Some couples only send out a limited number of save the dates to the closest family or friends--just to ensure that those closest to you will be able to attend. This is the best idea if you have not yet finalized the guest list and only know the principals who will be invited. Just remember, if the guest gets a save the date, they must get an invitation (unless they have indicated they cannot attend).
What should be left off the save the dates? You don't need to include the venue yet, just the city and state location. In a lot of cases, you may not have booked your venue yet. Also, do not include any gift registry information.
What format should you use? We recommend making it as unique as possible. People are less likely to throw away or misplace 'cuteness'! So make your save the date stand out! Pick a save the date style that fits you best, as a couple! A photo is always cute...make it a fun photo from your engagement photo shoot! A magnet allows your guests to stick it on the fridge to remember it until the formal invitation shows up! A postcard is great because you just have to stick a stamp on it and send it on! We strongly suggest some form of hardcopy format because the digital form (i.e., email or text) can get lost in the mix of emails or texts throughout the passing months. However, you know your friends, so go with what works best for them...digital or hardcopy!
Our lives have gotten so busy these days...so the majority of your guests will truly appreciate the heads-up notice of a save the date to announce your big day!