Unless you’re a celebrity with paparazzi following your every move, there’s no reason to keep your wedding date under wraps. In fact, most couples do just the opposite!
When brides and grooms can’t wait to share the news, they usually send pre-wedding announcements that say when and where the big celebration will be.
We’ve already shared the pros and cons of sending save-the-dates.
If you’ve decided to send your own, then there’s one more thing you need to know:
When to send them.
Today, we’re sharing everything you need to know about when to send save-the-dates. Plus, we’ve got a few etiquette tips you should know before you put them in the mail.
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Timing is Everything!
Photo: Bella Charlotte
The whole point of sending save-the-dates is to let people know when your wedding is taking place. That way, your wedding guests will have plenty of time to plan for it.
Send them too early, and they might get overlooked. Send them too late and you might as well not send them at all.
When it comes to save-the-dates, timing is key!
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For Destination Weddings
If you’re having an out-of-town wedding, get those save-the-dates in the mail a good nine months before the wedding day. You’ve gotta give your wedding guests a heads up so they have enough time to make travel plans.
For Weddings on Holiday Weekends
Saying your “I do’s” on Labor Day or the Sunday before the Fourth of July? People make holiday plans MONTHS in advance, so get them in the mail six to eight months ahead of time.
For Local Weddings
Throwing a local wedding that won’t require most of your guests to travel?
Four to six months before is the perfect time to put your pre-invites in the mail.
For Out-of-Town Guests
If you’re inviting a few guests from out of town, make a special point to tell them in advance.
They’ll need ample time to make travel arrangements, book hotel rooms, and find child care if they have kiddos at home.
Include the Most Important Details
Save-the-dates aren’t just a way to show off your engagement photos (even though they’re perfect for that). Aside from your smiling faces, there’s some important info you need to include as well.
As the name suggests, the most important piece of info to include is the DATE of your wedding.
Let your invitees know the city and state where you’re getting married, too. That way they can take time off work and make travel arrangements or book flights if they have to go a distance.
As long as you include the city, there’s no need to include your venue — but you can if you want.
Also, make sure your save-the-dates include you and your partner’s first and last names. Remember, not everyone who gets an invite knows both of you!
Before you send out your save-the-dates, create a wedding website first. You can include a link on the card to show your family and friends all of the adorable engagement photos you’ve posted for them.
If you’ve reserved a block of hotel rooms for guests, make sure that info is on your website, as well, so your guests can make their travel arrangements in advance.
Only Send Them to People Who Will DEFINITELY Be Invited
Photo: Real Bella Weddings
As for those etiquette tips we promised, here you go:
Receiving a save-the-date means one thing and one thing only — a formal invitation WILL follow.
There’s no need for anyone to RSVP to a save-the-date. But any guest who gets one will expect a formal invite to the big day at some point.
DO NOT send save-the-dates to people who don’t have a solid spot on your guest list. That’s a big no-no!
Want to invite more guests than your venue can hold?
Instead of sending a save to everyone, here’s what you should do:
Let’s say you only have room for 100 guests but want to invite 120 people. Send save-the-dates to your top 100 guests ONLY.
Some people will inevitably RSVP with a no. For each person that declines, you can send another invite out.
Not every couple sends save-the-dates, so those last twenty invitees will be none the wiser that they only made it to your B-list.
You should also be precise in how you address your save-the-dates. If you invite a family and want them to know that their kids are welcome, include the children’s names. If you’re letting your single friends bring a plus-one, address the envelopes to So-and-So and Guest.
Tip: If you must postpone your wedding due to coronavirus, you'll want to notify your guests with a "change-the-date". Read our Guide to Postponing a Wedding for more info.
Save-the-Date Mistakes To Avoid
We have a few more etiquette tips to share. Sorry rule-breakers, but these are things you need to know!
After all, your save-the-dates are the first peek your guests will have into your upcoming nuptials. And we like starting things off on the right foot!
Don’t Worry About Matching Them To Your Theme
There’s no need to make your save-the-dates super formal. Keep them casual and fun — their only purpose is to get you a spot on a busy guest’s calendar!
And they don’t have to match your wedding stationery. Don’t let your save-the-dates force you to choose wedding colors or a theme before you’re ready.
Related: 15 Stylish Wedding Invitation Ideas for Your Guests
Don’t Mention Your Wedding Registry
Whatever you do, do NOT include your registry information.
When it comes to wedding etiquette, one rule of thumb is never to make it obvious that you’re asking for gifts. Always err on the side of subtle!
Mention your registry info on a save-the-date, and you may as well write Someone buy me that Georg Jensen ice bucket I can’t afford!
Asking for gifts is uncouth with a capital U. Instead, include a link to your wedding website and put your registry info on there, right where it belongs.
It’s totally fine to share the details of your registry in advance with family members and close friends – but only if they ask.
Aside from your family and best friends, save-the-dates may be the first time that some of your guests even hear about your engagement. So make them fun, include some cute photos, and then continue planning your dream wedding.
It will be here before you know it!