Save the Date Cards: Everything You Need to Know

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You’ve set a date, now it's time to announce the big day to family and friends and answer that age-old question: 

Do you have to send save the date cards? 

Technically, no–you don’t have to send save the date cards. But, it is recommended. While you can always spread the news by word of mouth, mailing save the date cards is a great way to formally give guests all of the basic details. Plus, a tangible card is easy for loved ones to display at home or the office as a reminder of the big day. 

However, if you're hosting a small wedding (less than 30 guests) or if your budget is really tight, feel free to skip them. 

Are save the date cards necessary for you? When should save the date cards be mailed? And, what if you decide not to send them?

Answers to these questions and more in today’s post.

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What are Save the Date Cards?

Let’s start with the basics. A save the date card is like a mini wedding invitation. It gives your loved ones only the most basic information and serves as a way for them to mark calendars for your big day. It also lets guests know in advance that they are definitely invited to your wedding celebration, and that they can expect a formal invitation to follow.

Are Save the Date Cards necessary?

When hosting a destination wedding or a wedding falling on a major holiday, save the date cards are necessary. (I consider major holidays to be New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas.) This gives guests ample time to save money for and make travel arrangements for the big day, or adjust their usual holiday plans.

Additionally, you may consider sending save the date cards if you have a large guest list (more than 300 guests) or if many guests live out of town.

Keep in mind, there are a number of benefits to sending a save the date.

your loved ones will appreciate the advanced notice.

If you give guests advanced notice on your wedding date, more guests will attend. (The more the merrier, right?) Scheduling conflicts can happen in any case, but if you give a timely heads-up you can ensure most of your guests will be there to celebrate with you.

show off your engagement photos.

Facebook isn’t the only way to share those pretty pictures! Adding an engagement photo or two to your save the date cards gives them a lovely, personalized touch. It also makes a great keepsake for your family.

it’s a great way to do a trial run with your stationer.

And last, but not least, save the date cards are a great way to do a trial run with your stationer. There are a lot of unforeseen problems that may arise with wedding stationery.

Maybe you don’t like how sheer the envelopes are or how thin the paper is. Maybe the envelopes don’t adhere very well. What if it takes a longer than expected to receive your order? What if FedEx loses your package? And, most importantly, how does your stationer handle these issues?

Last-minute crises are never fun, but knowing your stationer will address every issue in a professional manner is invaluable. Wedding stationery may be a small detail, but it is the only way to formally communicate details to your loved ones. Hiring a stationer who goes above and beyond to meet your needs will make planning your wedding a lot less stressful.

Get Organized with my Wedding Stationery Planner

Avoid last-minute chaos! Everything you need to stay organized from engagement to "I do" is right inside the guide.






    Who do I send Save the Dates to?

    Anyone who receives a save the date, must also receive a wedding invitation. Send Save the Date cards to everyone you plan to invite to your wedding (including mom and dad!), with the exception of your B list–if you have one–or reception-only guests who are not invited to the main ceremony. Do not send Save the Date cards to anyone who is not invited to your wedding ceremony.

    A save the date tells guests to mark their calendars and make plans to attend your wedding. It is not to be confused with a wedding announcement. If you plan to announce your marriage to loved ones you aren’t sending an invitation to, mail them a wedding announcement 1-2 weeks after the wedding has taken place.

    When should Save the Date Cards be mailed?

    Mail save the dates at least nine to 12 months in advance for a destination wedding. Nine months in advance is ideal for a wedding that falls on a major holiday. For a local or stateside celebration, mail save the date cards at least 6-8 months prior to the big day.

    How do I write Save the Date wording?

    Keep save the date wording short and sweet. After all, some details may change before the big day. (Trust me, I’ve seen it happen!)

    So, what should you include? The bride and groom’s names (obviously), along with the event date, city and state, and wedding website, if you have one. Be sure to indicate “formal invitation to follow” somewhere on your card.

    Here’s what not to include: The venue, time of the wedding, meal choices, wedding weekend events, and any other minor details that could change before the big day.

    Tip: Always indicate “formal invitation to follow” at the bottom of your save the dates. This lets guests know you will send more details later. I made the mistake of not including this on our cards, and we ended up fielding a lot of calls about wedding details. I thought it was obvious that the card I was sending was just a save the date. However, some guests mistook them for invitations.

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    Should Save the Dates match invitations?

    Technically, no–save the dates do not have to match wedding invitations. If you have already chosen an invitation, then by all means order the matching save the dates. (Just look how pretty it all is together in the above photo!) However, if you don’t have your color palette selected yet or if you haven't decided on a wedding invitation yet, keep your save the dates clean and classy. Even though they aren’t a formal invitation, they still set the tone for the big day and should somewhat reflect your wedding concept.

    There are so many options for save the dates, too–magnets, postcards, and traditional enveloped save the date cards are the most popular styles.

    A magnetic save the date is really unique and easy for guests to keep on the fridge. I thought about save the date magnets when I was getting married, too, and I was thisclose to using one.

    However, I love how romantic and classic paper save the dates are, so I chose an enveloped style.

    Optionally, a lot of brides choose save the date postcards as a budget-friendly alternative. Postcard save the dates are an easy and cost-efficient, but they can get damaged and scuffed in the mail. Otherwise, they do the job quickly and efficiently.

    Are Save the Date Cards necessary for my bridal party?

    Yes! I know, I know, your girls (and his guys) are with you every step of the way. They’re going to be your bridesmaids (and groomsmen)–of course they are coming to the wedding! Still, please make sure to send everyone on your guest list a save the date (and a wedding invitation) as a formal gesture. They can keep it on hand to reference it when they need it, and it lets them know they can expect to receive a formal invitation later.

    What if I don’t send Save the Date Cards?

    If you aren’t sending save the date cards, no worries! In this case, mail your wedding invitations at least 10-12 weeks in advance of the big day. You may also want to phone the most important people in your life (the ones you simply cannot celebrate without!), to let them know your wedding date ahead of time.

    Get Organized with my Wedding Stationery Planner

    Avoid last-minute chaos! Everything you need to stay organized from engagement to "I do" is right inside the guide.






      PlanningValerie Freeman