The time is finally here! You’re engaged and it’s time to start planning the wedding you’ve been dreaming of. There is so much to do to plan a wedding and after you have a guest list and a few of the big details finalized it will be time to send out save the dates to everyone on your list.
Chances are, if you are starting to think about sending save the dates, you have some questions like when is the right time to mail them out, who do you need to send them to, what should they say, etc.
No worries. We’ve once again got you covered and today we are laying it all out for you so you know exactly what you need and when to send out those save the dates.
Do you really need to send out save the dates?
We’ve talked about this before but the simple answer is no. There is no rule that says you have to send out save the dates (unlike wedding invitations).
Even though you don’t have to send them, here at RC we do recommend them and here are some reasons why:
People live busy lives, they travel, they have commitments, children aren’t always invited and it’s becoming more common for weddings to be on days other than Saturday or last an entire weekend so giving your family and friends an earlier heads up that they will in fact be invited to your wedding allows them to begin making all necessary arrangements so they can attend.
If you are at the age where a lot of your friends are getting engaged or married, sending save the dates sort of locks in your day for friends or family that may be invited to more than one wedding on the same day.
They don’t have to cost a lot. You may be rolling your eyes thinking that of course a stationery company is going to recommend them because we sell them but the reality is that save the dates don’t have to be expensive and often aren’t. Options like postcards or “mini” cards are smaller than a standard invitation so they cost less and postcards allow you save money on postage too. Find more ways to save money on your save the dates here.
Save the dates allow you to express your personality as a couple. Save the dates don’t have to follow your wedding theme, include your wedding colors or really be anything like your invitations or wedding style as a whole. They can be whatever you want and allow you and your future spouse to share who you are as a couple so have fun with them.
What Do you Need before Sending Save the Dates
Before even ordering your save the dates, you need to have a few things finished and/or finalized otherwise you could end up forking out extra money to pay for mistakes. First and foremost you MUST have your wedding guest list finalized. This will confirm how many people will be invited to your wedding which then tells you how many households you will be sending save the dates to.
The next thing you need to have before ordering your save the dates is your wedding date locked in including your venue, officiant and other major pieces booked that can impact the location or even the date of your wedding.
A few other things that will be helpful to have ready is your wedding website. Even if you focus on travel and registry information first and do any personal information later, having a place for guests to go to shop for a gift early or make travel arrangements to try to save money will go a long way toward helping your guests feel welcome and excited to attend your wedding.
Who Should Get a Save the Date?
Save the dates should be mailed to everyone on your wedding guest list. Just remember that you should send one per household, you do not need to send one to each individual person in a household.
If you are doing an A/B list, DO NOT send a save the date to anyone that is on your B list or that you aren’t sure will be invited. Once someone is sent a save the date you are obligated to send them a wedding invitation. END. OF. STORY
Can you save money by sending an electronic save the date?
Here at RC we are kind of old school and feel like even casual weddings are a more formal affair and therefore paper correspondence should always be mailed. With that said, if there is one wedding stationery piece that you can get away with sending electronically, it would be the save the date and there are a lot of great services out there to do this.
Here at RC, we sell Templett templates in our Etsy shop where you can edit just about every element in a design as well as upload photos or graphics of your own and when you are done editing you can download in a variety of formats perfect for texting or emailing to your guest list.
Just remember, if you plan to go this route you can still run into some bumps. Your electronic save the date can easily get filtered into a spam folder or the phone or email you have is wrong resulting in non-delivery.
Many guests who receive a physical save the date will likely stick it on the frig or post it somewhere to serve as a reminder. Just like with everything else, there are pros and cons to consider.
Do you have to Send Wedding Invitations if you Send Save the Dates?
This is an absolute YES. Save the dates do not include all the details of your wedding and they shouldn’t so it is an absolute necessity to send a wedding invitation to EVERYONE who received a save the date card. If you fail to send a wedding invitation to someone that received a save the date it is the same as uninviting them which is absolutely unacceptable. This is why it is so important to have your guest list finalized at the very beginning of your wedding planning process.
If money is getting tight as you near the time to mail out your wedding invitations, you need to find ways to cut back on things like food, music, flowers, or other extras NOT on people already planning on attending.
Now that you know all about save the dates it’s time to move on to the timeline…
When to Send your Save the Dates
Regardless of the kind of wedding you are planning (local, destination, etc.) the point of sending save the dates is to give your invited guests advanced notice so they can begin to prepare to be present on your special day. The exact timing does somewhat depend on how early you started planning your wedding and of course the location of your wedding.
When to Order your Save the Dates
In general save the dates don’t take a lot of time to order, produce and ship to you. Whether you order from a company like Raspberry Creative where you work with a real designer to proof and edit your design before printing or if you order from a larger stationery retailer where you can edit and order without having to talk to anyone, the general rule for save the dates is around 1-2 weeks.
If you plan to do something more custom or elaborate, productions times can longer but as long as you have your guest list and proper quantity, have your photos (if you plan to include a photo) you don’t need a lot of advanced planning to order and receive your save the dates.
So the next questions you may have are likely when you should actually send your save the dates or how does a destination wedding impact your timeline?
When to Send your Save the Dates if you are Planning a Destination Wedding
If you are planning a destination wedding then you most likely already know that of all wedding types, this kind of wedding requires the most planning.
For the guests attending a destination wedding, it is very important to give them as much time to plan and save up as needed.
For a destination wedding, we recommend sending out your save the dates 8 months to a year before your wedding. A destination wedding is one of the situations where sending save the dates is a must.
Pro Tip: Other situations where sending save the dates is a must is if your wedding location will require the bulk of your guests to travel even if it isn’t really a destination wedding. Other situations where you should seriously consider sending save the dates is if you are planning your wedding over a holiday weekend or if you are planning your wedding during a busy travel / vacation time.
When to Send Save the Dates for Local / Traditional Weddings
If you are planning a wedding in your hometown where the majority of your guests are fairly local then you can wait a little longer to send your save the dates. Here at Raspberry Creative, we recommend sending out save the dates roughly 6-8 months before your wedding but you can send them out as late as four months if necessary. Any later than that and they won’t really serve much of a purpose since the wedding invitations will be mailed 2+ months before the wedding.
Pro Tip: Depending on your wedding date, sending out your save the times on time may align with major seasonal events (peak Holiday Season) is not the best idea. Given the amount of mail this time of year, your save the dates can easily get lost in the sea of mail or simply forgotten about with so much else going on. A little forethought will easily help you avoid this possibility.
Why do Save the Dates have to be sent so early?
If you are wondering why your save the dates have to be sent out so early, think about it this way. Weddings are expensive but attending a wedding as a guest can also be expensive and be a sacrifice of time.
Not every guest has the same financial situation so buying a gift or giving money may take some time to save or plan for. They may need to buy appropriate clothing, take time off work, make childcare arrangements, travel arrangements as well as a list of other things depending on the wedding and each guests’ situation. Chances are if you think enough of your guests to invite them to your wedding, they also would want to be there to celebrate this very special day with you so giving your guests several months to a year to plan will not only build anticipation and excitement but also make them feel more comfortable giving them a better overall experience.
Plan Early and Send Save the Dates
By now you should know that save the dates aren’t required but regardless of your wedding, they are still a great idea because they get your guests excited and they give your guests plenty of time to make all necessary arrangements.
Sending save the dates does require a little advanced planning though because for the majority of all weddings they need to be sent 6- 12 months before the wedding day. Save the Dates for destination weddings should be sent in the earlier range of 8-12 months before the wedding. On the other hand, save the dates for weddings that are more local can go out a little later in the 6-8 month range and even as late as 4 months out if the guests are all local.