Top 8 Save the Date Etiquette Tips You Need to Know
By Bryan Passanisi
Wedding planning is a certainly a time-consuming process. Your schedule becomes busier as the date draws closer with plenty of milestones and deadlines to meet. In the middle of planning, it’s easy to forget that your guests have their schedules and plans, also. Accommodating their calendars means letting them know you are getting married as soon as possible after setting the date. Many people make plans for family outings, business trips and vacations between four and six months in advance. To ensure your guests include your wedding in their upcoming plans, they’ll need adequate notice. If your wedding invitations don’t go out with enough time to spare, you may be disappointed when a few prominent guests can’t attend your big event. Make sure your wedding date is solidly placed on your guests’ calendars with customized save the dates.
Anatomy of a Save the Date
A save the date is often the first method of communicating your wedding to your guests by revealing some of the details of your special day. This pre-invitation notice formally announces your wedding date and lets your guests know that they are invited to the festivities. As the first impression guests receive of your wedding, make sure that this small piece of paper sets the proper tone.
- Ordering. You should order cards as soon as you finalize your wedding plans, including times, venues, dates and any required lodging or travel arrangements. Order enough to send invitations to your entire guest list, and then add 25 additional cards.
- Details to include. You don’t have much room so keep it simple. Just include a few essential elements, including your names, the fact that you are tying the knot, the date and the city where you wedding will take place, and that a formal invitation will follow.
- Registry information. This is an acceptable time to point guests in the direction of where you are registered and what accommodations are available for the wedding by directing them to your wedding registry. It also gives your guests time to get in touch with you if they have questions.
- Theme. The save the dates should coordinate with your wedding invitations and theme. At the same time, you can make it formal to match the formality of your future wedding. However, the save the date notice is meant to be a little more fun and creative.
- Style. There are many different types of fun ways to announce that you are getting married. Popular formats include photo cards featuring the engaged couple, postcards, magnets and themed cards. Most importantly, you want to create a card that gets a bit of attention and sets the tone for the rest of your wedding.
- Recipients. The guest list for the save the date cards can be the most complicated element to figure out. You need to determine if the single people you are inviting can bring a guest. Don’t forget to send the save the date to your parents and the bridal party. Everyone should feel that they are a valued and important guest.
- Addressing the envelope. Now is the moment you need to find out full names and correct spellings to avoid offending anyone. It is also when you can delicately request that children do not attend your wedding. If you address it to the entire family, that means it is ok for everyone, including children, to attend. Sending it just to the parents gives the family ample time to find a babysitter for the occasion. Also, if bringing a guest is not an option, address it only to the invited person. Using the word “and” between names implies the couple is married, so to avoid embarrassing faux pas, list names on separate lines if you are unsure of the situation.
- Sending. As a general rule, it’s best to start spreading the news at around four to six months prior to the date of a local wedding. If you are having a destination wedding, nine months is a better timeline. Also, if your wedding is scheduled during peak travel times such as summer at the beach or a holiday weekend, you may choose to send the save the dates eight to nine months in advance to give your wedding guests plenty of time to book their travel. If you send the notice any earlier, it may get tossed aside. Send it any later and it might as well be an invitation.
The purpose of sending a save the date card is to be courteous to your guests by supplying them sufficient time to make travel arrangements as far enough in advance as possible. The notices are also used for local weddings if most of your guests do not live nearby, and your event falls in line with a peak travel period. Now that you have a general idea of save the date etiquette make sure that you have fun creating and infusing your personality into the different ways of letting everyone know you are going to be married!
Bryan Passanisi is an online marketer living in the Redwood City, California area. He graduated from The University of San Francisco with his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He has managed and written for a popular wedding blog and has created viral content. Brian currently writes for Shutterfly.