Congratulations! You’re officially engaged and have secured a date and venue for your wedding. It’s now time to send out a “save the date” card to guests who you hope can celebrate your special day. They’re going to be so excited when they see that popular three-word phrase come in the mail.
With the exception of a social media post showing off your engagement ring, sending save the date cards is the first official way of letting your guests and loved ones know that you’re getting married.
But what exactly do you include on a save the date? Do you have to send a save the date? Or does an electronic version via e-mail or a wedding website get the job done?
Don’t worry! We assume you have plenty of questions as you plan your wedding and are here to help. Use this article to not only make sure your save the date cards look great, but also include all of the important information your guests need to keep your wedding top of mind.
What Exactly is a Save the Date?
A save the date is a popular way of letting your wedding guests know the date of your wedding so they have plenty of time to avoid booking a vacation or some other important event on that weekend.
The idea of a save the date has been around since the 1920s when Emily Post published in her popular party-planning book “Etiquette” to give guests at least a three-week heads up of your nuptials. These days, of course, we like to give anywhere from three to six months of notice to our wedding guests.
The modern save the date wedding invitation really started getting popular in the early-to-mid 2000s. The invite was an opportunity to not only share the date and location of the wedding, but also your favorite engagement photo.
Is a Save the Date Required?
A save the date is not required, but in today’s busy world, it’s highly recommended.
This is especially true if you’re having a destination wedding that requires your wedding guests to make special travel arrangements, including flights, which can be expensive if you wait too long to purchase.
You also have to assume that your guests have other weddings they’ll be attending in the same season as yours. If you can get your word out first, that may guarantee they attend your wedding and not the other.
And, with everything going digital these days, it’s extremely easy to send an electronic version of a save the date to your guests in a relatively short amount of time.
So, no, sending a save the date is not required, but it’s a good idea.
How Far in Advance Should I Send a Save the Date?
When it comes to sending save the dates, the sooner the better. A general rule of thumb is at least three months in advance and no more than six months in advance. If you send anything out more than six months in advance, you risk people forgetting your date.
If you’re having a destination wedding, however, don’t be afraid to send out save the dates as much as eight to 12 months in advance. Your wedding guests need to accommodate their work schedules and make travel plans, so the more time the better.
Remember, on average it takes about 12-18 months to plan a wedding. And if you’re getting married during peak wedding season (May-August), it could take you some time to find that perfect wedding venue. Once you have all of those critical pieces of wedding logistics secured, you can start creating your save the dates to be sent out.
Can We Send an Electronic Save the Date?
Absolutely. We live in a digital world and many couples create a wedding website to keep those on the guest list informed about all wedding-related activities.
Of course, the hardest part about an electronic save the date is knowing everyone’s e-mail address. If you’ve managed to collect all of those addresses, though, there are plenty of fun options out there for sending electronic save the dates.
Save the Date Wording: The Essential Information
What type of information do you need on your save the date? Here’s what you should include:
- Names: Write all names — the bride, followed by the groom. If it’s a same-sex marriage, list the names alphatbetically.
- Location: Only put the city and state (we’ll explain why in the next section).
- Date: Obviously, this is the point of a save the date card. If it’s more casual, you can use numbers, like 5/14/2022. If it’s more formal, write out, “May 14, 2022.”
- Website URL: Not required, but if you can fit it on your save the dates, it’s definitely helpful for your guests.
- Specific phrases: Make sure it says “Save the Date” and “Formal Invitation to Follow.” This lets your guest know that this is not the formal invite, which will likely include a meal option and more details about if you can bring a plus-one.
There are also a few things you shouldn’t include on your save the dates:
- Venue name: While you’re probably fine to include it, you never know if a venue closes down before your wedding. You can buy yourself a few months and include specific details of the place of your wedding on your formal invite.
- Ceremony specifics: It’s way too early to determine when your wedding specifically takes place.
- Dress code: This is reserved for the formal application.
- Hotel information: Your guests can figure this out later, after receiving the formal invitation.
- Wedding registry information: Again, this will either be on the wedding website or in the formal invite.
Save the Date Wording: Feel Free to Get Creative
Your save the dates don’t have to match your wedding invitations, which means you can get as creative as you like when designing them — which your guests will love. Here are some save the date wording ideas you can use as inspiration:
Classy Save the Date Wording
If you intend to host a more formal wedding, you should go with a more classic save the date:
Kindly save the date for the wedding of Erin Greenfield to Peter Smith on May Fourteenth, Two Thousand Twenty Two, Taking Place in Denver, Colorado. Formal Invitation to Follow.
Modern Save the Date Wording
Today’s modern save the dates are quite minimal, like this:
Please Save the Date
Erin + Peter.
New York, New York
Centered on the back: Formal Invitation to Follow
Cute Save the Date Wording
A cute save the date isn’t necessarily about the wording — it’s more so about the art and design. Here is some invitation inspiration:
- Childhood photos: Include cute (and potentially funny) school photos from when the bride and groom were both in grade school. In addition to the essential save the date wording, you could include something clever like, “The kids are getting married!”
- It’s a date: Instead of “please save the date,” opt for something that sticks out, like “It’s a Date,” “Let’s do this!” or “It’s on.” To make it clear to people on your guest list, make sure to include an engagement photo.
- “Pencil Us In”: Another clever alternative to “please save the date,” include a picture of a pencil with the couple’s names on it and then the essential save the date wording information below it.
Casual Save the Date Wording
You can go in a lot of different directions with more casual save the dates, including:
- “This could have been a text, but she made me get you a card,” followed by the essential information.
- Erin + Peter: We’re getting hitched on 5/14/2022 in Denver.
Funny Save the Date Wording
For the humorous couple, ask some fun questions on the save the date, like “Do you like cake, dancing and booze? Boy, do we have a party for you!”
Another favorite of ours is the straight-to-the-point-yet-ambiguous approach that’s quite hilarious: “There will be a party. With people. We’ll wait.”
Destination Wedding Save the Date Wording
One of our favorite ideas for a destination wedding save the date is making the card look like an airline ticket.
Each part of the ticket includes essential information about the wedding, including the “formal invitation to follow,” tagline. If you can fit any quick information about travel plans, destination weddings can be the exception to the rules outlined above.
Other ideas include making the invitation card look like a passport or a map. You can include a QR code that takes people to your wedding website for more details.
Save the Date FAQs
We hope some of the ideas above helped put your wedding planning creativity into full gear. Still have a couple of save the date questions? We can help with wording, wedding planning and more.
Do My Save the Dates Have to Match My Wedding Invitation?
Not at all. No one is going to remember if your save the dates match your formal invites, so don’t even bother trying to coordinate the two cards. Some people may use a dedicated wedding stationery for save the dates and thank you notes. If you’re doing that, you may want your wedding stationery to look a little similar to your invitation.
Do I Include Plus-Ones on My Save the Dates?
Unless your guest is married, engaged or living with their plus-one, you typically don’t include the plus-one on the address. Of course, there are some exceptions, like if this person has dated their significant other for many years, or if it’s your immediate family member, like a sister. Our advice is to always err on the side of caution, because there are many factors when it comes to the number of guests. Some locations, for instance, can only allow for so many people.
Does Everyone on My Guest List Get a Save the Date?
For the most part, yes. You probably don’t need to mail one to your immediate family members, like your siblings and parents, but they’ll probably want one as a memento to hang on their refrigerator or at the office. Everyone else who is receiving a wedding invitation should also receive a save the date.
How Long After Sending My Save the Dates Do I Send My Wedding Invitation?
For non-destination weddings, you can send the save the dates out four months in advance, with the formal invitation to follow about eight weeks later.
Do I Need to Send Save the Dates for a Small Wedding?
More couples are going for the smaller intimate wedding with only their closest family and friends attending. In this case, we recommend simply e-mailing or texting them the details as opposed to spending money on sending a save the date. No one will really care if they don’t receive a physical card.
Can I Include the Wedding Venue On My Save the Dates if it’s a Backyard Wedding?
If you’re dead set on a backyard wedding, you can certainly include that on the card.
Do We Have to Include a Photo of the Couple?
Really, all you need are the basic wedding details. But a typical save the date card invitation design includes space for a photo from your engagement shoot.
It’s Time to Save the Date!
We hope you’re inspired by the examples we included above and have all of your questions answered. Save the Dates are a relatively minor part of the wedding planning experience — and the overall wedding budget.
And, of course, next up is the actual wedding invite. Don’t worry, you’ve got this!