You get engaged, the ring is on your finger, and planning our wedding is underway. The moment to get your guests in the loop started and the first step is to send your Save-the-Dates.
I gather together a lot of information about Save-the-Dates. Why send them, When to send, to Who, What info to include, How to address the envelope and so much more.
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What are Save-the-Dates
Save-the-Dates are an official announcement of your wedding date. Your guests will know, that in fact, they will be invited to the celebration.
The purpose of Save-the-Dates
Most of your family and friends know about your engagement, but sending your Save-the-Date will let your guests know your exact wedding date and location, and record it in their calendars.
Additionally, if you’re having a Destination Wedding, sending your Save-the-Date is an expected courtesy, since many of your guests will have to make travel and hotel arrangements.
Photo credits: Pinterest
When mailing your Save-the-Date
In general, giving your guests an advance heads-up increases the likelihood that they’ll be able to attend, like 4/6 months before the wedding.
If you’ll have a Destination Wedding, sending them 9/10 months before the wedding is the perfect time to mail them out.
Who should receive your Save-the-Date
First, you need to have an accurate guest list. Then, you should only send your Save-the-Date to those you’re planning to invite to the celebration because there is no turning back after you mail them. If you have a list of 90 guests, bear in mind that every household on your guest list should receive a Save-the-Date, rather than every individual guest.
Send the Save-the-Date to all your guests including family members, even if they have verbally confirmed that they will be joining in the celebrations.
Photo credits: Thõng Bui
What information should you include
Save the dates will provide your guests with the most basic information:
- Your names. Traditionally, it lists the bride’s name first. For same-sex couples, you can consider alphabetizing
- The wedding date
- The wedding location, like city and state. But don’t include the address yet
What extra information you can include: a link to your wedding website if it’s set up, where your guests can find all additional information.
You don’t have to name your wedding and reception venue(s) just yet—save that detailed information for your actual wedding invitation. Simply naming the town or city and state (or destination wedding location) works for this early announcement.
Due to the global situation, I recommend that you add your wedding website at the bottom of your Save the Date to keep your guests updated.
Photo credits: True photography
How to Address Save the Dates
Traditionally, wedding invitations include titles (Mrs, Mr, Miss, Dr, etc), but these are optional when you’re addressing your Save the Dates. It’s up to you, but keep reading on how to invite different kinds of guests.
Single Guests: Can be addressed with their first and last names, or with a singular title, if preferred. If you’re extending an invitation for a plus one, add “and Guest” after their full name.
Married Couples: Can be listed plainly or include titles as well. If the couple has distinguished titles (such as doctors, reverends, or military personnel) and you’d like to include them, it’s appropriate to list the person with the formal title first.
- Denzel and Pauletta Washington
- Mr. and Mrs. Denzel Washington
- Mr. Denzel Washington and Mrs. Pauletta Washington
- Dr. Denzel Washington and Mrs. Pauletta Washington
If a couple is sharing an invite, but not the last name, be sure to include both of their names on the envelope. You may only know one of them, but writing both names extends a more personal invitation — especially if the couple has been together for some time. Write the name of the person you are closest to first. If you’re close to both, traditionally the man’s name goes first; if you’re addressing a same-sex couple, you can list in alphabetical order.
- Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina Rodríguez
- Ms. Georgina Rodríguez and Mr. Cristiano Ronaldo
Entire Families: To invite entire families, you can list the last name followed by “family,” or list out each name. For families with young children, listing out children’s names makes it clear that children are invited.
- The Reeves
- The Reeves Family
- Anthony, Kristyn, Mark, and Alex White
- Mr. Anthony, Mrs. Kristyn, Mark, and Alex White
Overthinking the Design
The Save-the-dates are less formal than your wedding invitations and don’t have to match them or your theme. Play with colors, patterns, or fonts to create something that will get guests excited for the occasion.
Don’t Make These Mistakes
Sending Them Too Early
If you send them any earlier than 9/10 months, let’s say a whole year in advance, they may toss the notice aside and forget about it.
You should never send out a formal wedding information before setting things in stone just in case plans change or something falls through. In the event of an unexpected switcheroo, your best bet is to update your wedding website, pick up the phone, and start contacting your guests as soon as you can.
Sending Them Too Late
As a general rule, you should be spreading the news around six to eight months prior to the ceremony.
This gives wedding guests plenty of time to book their travel, save money, and ask for days off work. Any later than that and your guests won’t have enough lead time to do those things. You can include your wedding website if you already have one, but it’s not necessary.
Not Sending the Save-the-Dates
Believe it or not, this counts as a mistake. Especially if you’re having a destination wedding or a three-day weekend affair. It’ll give guests enough time to clear their schedules, to make travel arrangements, and generally increase their chances of being able to make it to your nuptials.
E-mail your Save-the-Dates
Technology has done wonders for wedding planning, from seamless budget tracking to super-easy ways to share inspiration with your vendors. But not everything is better when technology is involved. For example, what if your e-mails find themselves sitting in the spam folder and never reach your guests!
One of the goals of Save-the-Dates is to give your guests a glimpse of the wedding to come. So the more formal or rustic the wedding can be, the more likely a printed card or a rustic wooden magnet will set the tone you want your wedding to have.
Being Unclear About Who’s Actually Invited
Include the actual names of every intended guest on the envelope to avoid confusion about who’s invited.
Including Registry Information
While your guests will likely want to know where you’re registered, it’s in bad taste to include this information on your save-the-dates.
You can wait to include a link to your wedding website (with registry information there) on an invitation insert.