Mastering Your Wedding Save-the-Dates: Etiquette, Style, and More!

Wedding Planning Tips



Do we have to send save-the-dates?

As destination weddings and three-day weekend affairs have become more standard, so have save-the-dates. And if you’re marrying during peak travel times, like a holiday weekend or August in a beach town, a save-the-date is an expected courtesy. Of course, you don’t have to send one if you don’t want to, but it’ll give guests a heads up about your wedding plans. Between travel arrangements and busy schedules, sending a save-the-date will increase guests’ chances of attending your celebration.

When should we send them?

As a general rule, it’s best to start spreading the news around six months prior to the ceremony (eight months for a faraway destination or holiday weekend).

Who should receive a save-the-date?

You should send your save-the-dates to anyone you want at your wedding. Even if you’ve already received verbal confirmations from certain guests, you should still send them a save-the-date (bridesmaids, siblings and parents). Just remember: Only send them to those whom you definitely want to attend.

What information should we include?

At this point, you may not have have figured out all the specifics of your day, and that’s 100 percent okay. The save-the-date should definitely include your and your fiancé’s names, wedding date (or dates, for a wedding weekend), location (a town or city is helpful, even if the venue isn’t booked yet) and a notice for a formal invitation to follow. Ideally, your save-the-dates are the best place to share your wedding website link, where guests can find more in-depth information like links to your registry and a schedule of events.


Should we include a way to RSVP?

While extra-early RSVPs would ideally give you a head start on your head count, this plan has the potential to backfire, since the excess of cushion time might cause some guests to put off replying and forget altogether. So, at this point, an RSVP shouldn’t be expected—after all, this is the correspondence that gives guests an opportunity to figure out what their RSVP will be when the formal invitation arrives.

Should we share registry info on our save-the-date?

While your guests will likely want to know where you’re registered, it’s inappropriate to print this information on your save-the-dates or invitations since gifts, of course, are not technically required. Guests usually know they can ask you, your family or your friends about registry details, otherwise the best place to share that info is on your wedding website.

Do we need to add “and guest,” or can that wait for the invitations?

It’s best to be clear about who’s invited to the wedding, even this far in advance. Communicating who’s invited up-front also gives families with uninvited kids ample time to plan for child care, and out-of-towners time to figure out travel and hotel plans.

What if we send save-the-dates and then change our wedding date or location?

Things happen, so in the event of an unexpected change of plans, your best bet is to update your wedding website, pick up the phone and start spreading the word. You do have the option of sending out another mailing that explains the dilemma—but a personal, verbal notice is the best way to avoid confusion (and won’t cost you more money for extra postage and paper goods). Ask your wedding party and family members to help you get in touch with everyone if your guest list is overwhelming.

Can we send electronic save-the-dates?

Email invitations for informal events like bachelorette parties and post wedding brunches are becoming more popular, which, as a result, is changing the rules of snail mail etiquette. We stand by old-school stationery for the big stuff like formal invitations, but leave the use of digital up to the discretion of the couple for any additional wedding events. If you do opt for e-save-the-dates, consider doubling up: Send out an electronic save-the-date to everyone, and paper correspondence to older relatives or friends that may want it as a keepsake.


Do our save-the-dates have to match our wedding invitations or theme?

Save-the-dates are usually much less formal, so this is your opportunity to let your style as a couple really shine, or try out a theme you love but are hesitant to commit to officially. P

How do we decide on a style?

Our favorite part about save-the-dates is that they aren’t your wedding invitations. You want to create something that grabs your invitees’ attention and sets the tone for the rest of your wedding. Are you both foodies? Print your favorite recipe on the back with a sweet anecdote about the first time you tried it together. Having a destination wedding? Choose a fun map or travel-inspired graphic to get everyone in the mood. But don’t feel pressure to stray off the beaten path if you don’t want to—you can never go wrong with classic, elegant choices like engraved script or watercolor calligraphy on a pretty card that showcases your wedding colors.

Does it have to be a card?

Cards may be the most straightforward way to go, but a wedding save-the-date can really be whatever you want. You have so many creative options: sticker magnets,  custom comic strips, a photograph—even a bar of your favorite chocolate! Since many couples design the save-the-date themselves, this is the perfect chance to showcase your personality and interests as a couple. A graphic e-vite is another option, but (as mentioned above) we recommend sending a printed copy to your less tech-savvy guests and loved ones who might want to save it as a keepsake.

photograph from PaperLust; information from theKnot