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Save-the-Dates

What goes on a Save-the-Date card? Do I really need to send Save-the-Dates to guests?

I’ve gotten this question a few times, and I get it! There are so many moving parts for couples to think about as they plan, and sending Save-the-Dates might not be top of mind. You might not think Save-the-Dates are really necessary - and for some, they might not be! But first, let’s talk about what a Save-the-Date actually is.


What is a Save-the-Date?

A Save-the-Date card does just that - it tells your guests to mark down the date on their calendar! It’s the more formal way of telling your friends and family, “Hey! We’re getting married soon, but don’t have all the details just yet. In the meantime, here’s the date so you can put it in your calendar!”.


In addition to being a calendar reminder, and similar to your wedding invitations, a Save-the-Date also helps to set the tone for your wedding. From just your Save-the-Date, guests can get a feeling for your wedding “vibes” and the formality of the event. For example, a beautiful script font or hand-done calligraphy can really stand out and give your wedding a more luxurious feel. Engagement photos are also a great way to add a personal touch to your Save-the-Dates! Maybe you’re having a coastal wedding - including those photos of you and your partner walking on the beach give a subtle nod to the yacht club wedding venue you chose.


When should I send out my Save-the-Dates?

Traditional etiquette says that Save-the-Dates should be sent out anywhere from 9-12 months before your wedding date. Based on my experience working with clients in the Raleigh NC area, sending Save-the-Dates about 10 months in advance seems to be the sweet spot for local weddings.


It should be noted, however, that some weddings should send their Save-the-Dates even sooner than that. Err on the side of caution and consider sending out 12-13 months ahead if you’re having a destination wedding in another country, or you know a lot of your guests will be traveling from out of town to see you. For example, a wedding on the Outer Banks in North Carolina or the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts will take a lot more travel preparation for guests than a wedding in Raleigh, Durham, or other North Carolina cities. An early heads up gives everyone plenty of time to plan, such as booking hotels, flights, arranging petcare or childcare, etc. Additionally, weddings on busy holiday weekends should also have Save-the-Dates sent out early, for the same reasons previously mentioned.


As I mentioned previously, some people truly don’t need to send a Save-the-Date out. The general rule of thumb for not sending out advance notice is generally weddings that are happening on short notice, or for smaller and more intimate weddings (perhaps less than 25 attendees) that don’t have a huge guest list. In my experience working as a wedding invitation designer in the Raleigh area, even the most informal of weddings should still send a Save-the-Date.


What do I put on my Save-the-Dates?

Even the most basic and informal of Save-the-Dates includes your names, wedding date, and location. I always advise clients that it looks nicer to do first names, and to add a middle name if you’d like. Additionally, think about the formality of your names. Maybe your full name is Annabelle Marie, but you go by “Annie” to your friends and family. Crane’s Etiquette Guide says that the traditional etiquette for wedding stationery says to use your full name. Whatever you decide to do, remember to keep your names consistent in your Save-the-Dates, wedding invitations, wedding website, and anything else so as to not confuse your guests.


Other than your wedding date and names, you should include some info about your wedding ceremony location on your Save-the-Dates. Best practice is to include the wedding venue name, as well as the city and state. I would not recommend including the specific street address of your wedding venue unless it’s a location like a church, where there could be several “St. Mary’s” in the same city. A specific ceremony and/or reception address is usually shared on the wedding invitations.


Lastly, consider adding either your wedding website URL or the phrase “Formal invitation to follow”. Either option lets guests know that there will be additional information to come in the mail or updated on the wedding website.


What shouldn’t be included on my Save-the-Dates?

Now that we’ve discussed what should be on your Save-the-Dates, let’s discuss some etiquette no-no’s. According to Crane’s Etiquette Guide, specific details such as registry information, attire, and plus-ones can be saved for the wedding invitation suite. Save-the-Dates are really intended to help guests plan their attendance by sharing the date and location of your wedding in advance of the actual invitations.


At the end of the day…

No matter what kind of wedding you’re having, it’s important to remember that your Save-the-Dates are the first impression for guests about your wedding. By following these tips for what to include on your Save-the-Dates and when to send them, you’ll easily be able to check “Send Save-the-Dates” off your wedding to-dos.


Clover Paperie specializes in creating custom wedding invitations that reflect each couple’s unique style and vision. From the initial design concept to the final printed product, I work closely with you and your partner to create the perfect invites that set the tone for your big day. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today and let’s bring your wedding vision to life!


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