At long last, the question has been popped and you've said "yes" to your future spouse! Perhaps you're going into this engagement with a pretty clear idea of the wedding date in mind because of some symbolic dates in your relationship, or even a holiday (NYE soiree, anyone?). Or perhaps you put the venue first, and to get that dream space you're willing to take any date under the sun! No matter how you get there, once you have the date locked in it's time to start planning out save the dates. We have everything you need to know about this crucial wedding communication piece from etiquette to timelines.
Right on Time
The industry can be a bit divided when it comes to a precise timeline. With heavy-hitters like Brides saying four to six months from the wedding and The Knot saying six to eight months, it can still feel a bit unclear. For destination weddings or full weekend weddings, we say absolutely lean towards eight months (or more) if possible, to give guests ample time to make plans. For those planning a shorter engagement or a wedding with primarily local guests attending, you can push the save the dates out a little closer to the big day. You know your guests best, so there is a level of intuition that can help guide each couple to what is best for their day.
We recommend using your save the dates as an excuse to share some engagement photos. Engagement photos are the perfect opportunity to get some quality time in with your wedding photographer and start to get comfortable working together. Popping a few of those gorgeous images on your save the dates is a given, so be sure to get that shoot scheduled in advance so you can have the photos ready when it's time to pop those save the dates in the mail.
All in the Details
When it comes to the information needed on the save the dates we say, keep it minimal and know that all the fun details will follow on your official invitations. For the save the date, all you really need to include is your names, date(s), location, and ideally the wedding website. As far as the location goes, we recommend just putting the city to start so you have time to finalize venue decisions if needed. Essentially the goal is to give your guests enough information to ensure they're available while giving your and your fiance the freedom to make any additional decisions.
For the most cohesive experience, it can be fun to tie your save the date in with your invitation and other printed pieces for the wedding. If you're planning for a chic black and white wedding invitation suite, your save the date can follow the same theme. A bright and airy classic invitation suite may seem disjointed if it follows a muted boho save the date. Of course, the odds of someone placing them side-by-side for an aesthetic critique are quite low, but setting the scene as early as the save the date can be a great way to create a theme that will lead through the entire event
Save the Date Etiquette
Send save the dates - We know, this one seems obvious, but when it comes time to start cutting the budget this can be an item on the chopping block. Giving people advance notice not only allows them time to plan and budget for their attendance but also gives you ample chance to plan for your guest count.
Be timely - Even with a broad range of dates as we noted above, (4-8 months out and longer for a destination), it's important to determine a timeline that will ultimately give your guests the highest probability of being able to attend.
Send to confirmed guests only - Once that save the date is in the mail you're locked in. There's no editing down the guest list once people have a save the date in hand, so be absolutely positive before you pop them in the post. Tip: Order a few extra in case you find you're able to have more guests than you initially thought!
Printed is best - Call us old-fashioned, but there are certain traditions that just make sense. Sending a printed save the date is a way to ensure that it is received and stays at the top of mind. The printed piece can always be supplemented with a digital follow-up, but a digital version alone risks being lost to spam folders or trigger happy delete buttons. If you send a digital-only version, be prepared to do a bit of leg work to ensure people receive it.
Add your website - this is one of those pieces of etiquette that, while not expected, can show an extra level of thoughtfulness. Once your guests have the key info from your save the date, they can start accessing your wedding website for additional updates. Sharing the website early can also cut out some of the questions you have to field.
The moment the save the dates are in the mail is the perfect moment to pause for a quick sigh of relief. One of the big items is off your wedding planning to-do list. Plus, you've done it with pristine etiquette. The next printed piece to focus on will be the invitations, and those typically go out eight to fourteen weeks prior to the wedding. Check out our guide on sending wedding invitations, here. Choosing invitation suites can be one of the more fun and exciting pieces of wedding planning, and getting the date booked in people's calendars early with your save the date will allow ample time to make the perfect invitation selection.
Did you find this helpful? Here are more guides you might love!