Though they were typically meant for destination weddings or celebrations over a holiday weekend just a few decades ago, save the date cards have become increasingly popular in the era of personalized weddings. However, since sending save-the-date cards is still a relatively new practice – barely a generation old – the save-the-date etiquette guidelines can be a little fuzzy.
Generally, six to eight months before the celebration is considered an appropriate time to mail out save the dates – however, couples are sending out save the dates even earlier (eight to 12 months) if the ceremony is held overseas, they're having a destination wedding, or their wedding falls on a popular weekend. Often guests will need a good amount of time to take vacation days, and they may prefer to get ahead of booking flights and other accommodations.
Even if certain wedding guests are not traveling or you think they may not be able to attend, it's still important to send save the dates to everyone in order to avoid confusion or cause people to think they aren't invited. You’ll want to decide if you and your partner want to send formal or informal save the dates – typically, this decision will match the tone of your wedding; however, this is also an area where you can choose to go more offbeat and personal.
Photo by Paige Jones; Planning & Design by Bluebell Events; From Real Wedding: Lively, Colorful Wedding at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
When it's time to send your save the date, you'll need to know what to include on your save the date card. So what information actually goes on a save the date? Take a look at the necessities to include, below:
Your names, of course, should be on the save the date. Some couples also choose to include an engagement photo or photos!
This may go without saying, but you'll absolutely want to include your wedding date. After all, the whole point of sending a save-the-date card is to have your loved ones save the date in their calendar!
The location (at least the city, the venue is certainly not required) should also be mentioned to ensure your guests can start making arrangements to travel.
Since the save the date precedes the official wedding invitation, “Formal invitation to follow” should be noted somewhere on your save the dates... You’d be surprised how many guests will mistake a save the date card for the actual invitation!
Your wedding website, if you have one, can be included somewhere on the save the date, so guests can find information on accommodations and wedding weekend details.
Since the general rule of thumb is to leave registry information, hotel information, and venue details off of the save the date, your wedding website will ensure your friends and family members have access to the details – without needing to include them on your save the date.
Be sure to include your return address on the mailing envelope in case it is not deliverable due to unforeseen circumstances. You want to make sure everyone you send a save the date to actually receives it!
Photo by Adrienne Page; From Real Wedding: Pink and White Destination Wedding in Charleston, South Carolina
Keep in mind that every wedding is different, so it's important to do what's best for your nuptials. That being said, most brides and grooms send out their save-the-date cards six to eight months before the big day.
If you're having a destination wedding, try sending out save-the-date cards a little earlier in advance – typically eight to 12 months before the wedding.
Your stationer or online wedding stationery service will likely give you some direction in terms of save-the-date card wording; however, we've provided some ideas below!
Save the Date
for the wedding of
Allison Rebecca Jones
Matthew Ryder Harrison
Saturday, the tenth of June
Two thousand twenty-three
Formal invitation to follow
Save Our Date!
Allison and Matthew
Formal Invite to Follow
Save the Weekend!
June 9-11, 2023
Allison and Matthew
are getting married
Los Cabos, Mexico
Please see further wedding details at
[insert wedding website url]
For more ideas, discover some of our favorite save the date ideas, read tips for your wedding invitations and stationery, and gather inspiration from real weddings by viewing a wedding photo gallery of wedding invitations and paper goods!
Opening photo by Binaryflips Photography; From Real Wedding: A Luxury Winter Wedding with White Flowers & Gold Details in Orlando, Florida