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What You Need To Know About Save The Date Etiquette

How to avoid the mistake I made

Maybe you got engaged over the holidays and are realizing that one of the first items on your to-do list (once you pick that pesky venue and set a wedding date) is going to be to send out save the dates. Or maybe you’ve been engaged for ages, but suddenly your summer or fall 2018 wedding is fast approaching, and it’s time to get out some mail. Either way, that tends to leave you frantically googling save the date etiquette. What are the rules for this piece of stationery, and do you really have to call it an STD? (To answer the latter, no. Let’s agree to skip that acronym for stationery.)

The tricky part about save the dates is that they are relatively recent inventions in the world of weddings. I can guarantee you that your grandmother never sent them out, and chances are, your mom didn’t either. But as families and friends have gotten more geographically dispersed, weddings have become more of a destination event for many of the players. And that means it can be really helpful to let people know that they should, well, save the date six months to a year in advance. Sending out save the dates isn’t mandatory, but it should be employed when it seems like it will be genuinely helpful (or when you really just want an excuse for more pretty paper goods).

Save the dates can be anything from letterpressed cards that match your invitation suite, to magnets, to emails, to even texts. But keep in mind that save the dates have a way of locking you into a guest list far in advance of the wedding. Many people (including, um, me) have sent out save the dates, then realized that their guest list had grown too big to fit everyone in it. Or worse, they’ve had a falling out with a save the date recipient. When this happens, etiquette doesn’t have much of a life preserver to throw you. So keep in mind that you’re better off sending out save the dates to a smaller list than you might end up inviting to the wedding, so you can be completely sure that every save the date recipient is going to make the final guest list.

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With that warning out of the way, what else do you need to know?

save the date Etiquette FAQ

What does a save the date need to say? 

If you want to get wildly creative with your save the dates, go for it. They are a good place to get a little crazy, if you want to go more formal with your wedding invitations. But it’s important that you include the most vital information (because yes, I’ve received save the dates that omitted the location).

  • Who are you? (Your names)
  • What are you doing? (Getting married!)
  • When/where is it happening? (If you don’t have your venue booked, include the city/state/country)
When do you send out a save the date?

Your save the date is not your wedding invitation—that’ll go out later. The save the date serves as a kind of first-round notice, especially if you’re getting married in the summer, when people are more likely to be on vacation, having a destination wedding, or hosting a several-days-long celebration. As such, you want to send your save the date out a minimum of six months before the wedding.

Who do you send a save the date to?

People that you are a hundred percent sure are going to make the guest list, even if you’re worried about the fire code. Plus people you know will be there, like your moms. Because for the most important people in your life, these will land right on the fridge. That “look at this thing my baby is doing!” feeling doesn’t stop when your kids get out of grade school.

Is it okay to send a digital save the date?

It’s nice to send your save the dates out the old fashioned way (see: the fridge display above), but you don’t have to. There are plenty of digital alternatives that allow you to send out save the dates online, and email and text are a totally valid option here. But which ever way you do it, you’ll want your save the date to be addressed to the people you expect to attend.

What’s the guest etiquette with save the dates?

If you want to include a plus one for your brother, make sure your save the date indicates such. If you don’t want children to attend, make sure you let parents know so they can arrange childcare.

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Do we put wedding gift registry info on the save the date?

You shouldn’t include your registry information on a save the date, but you can include your wedding website URL or a note that says something along the lines of, “Additional information to follow on formal invitation.” (While we’ve ruled that the phrase gift-grabby can be retired, putting registry info on a save the date does feel a little too much like a direct ask for a gift.)

Does a save the date have a picture?

Save the dates do not have to have a picture, and there are a ton of stylish options that don’t. But it can be a really fun way to show off your engagement pictures (or just some cute DIY photos of yourselves), and people love to put your smiling faces on their fridges. If you’re going the photo save the date route, Kimi of A Printable Press has the following tips: “Designs often don’t have a lot of room for extra wording, and in those cases people should see if they can print on the back of the save the date. It’s a good place for website info, travel stuff, list of weekend activities, etc.”

Where do you get save the dates?

There are about a million places you can get save the dates around the web, but our favorites include: Minted, Printable Press, Shutterfly, Paper Source, and Basic Invite.

What does sample save the date wording look like?

We checked in with our favorite designer, Kimi, over at A Printable Press, and she gave us tons of sample save the date wording. Steal away. And remember that it’s perfectly fine for your save the dates to be very informal… even if your wedding is going to be black tie.

Very Traditional Save the Date Wording

Kindly (or Please) Save the Date
for the wedding of

Aiden Hudson
&
Parker Drosselmayer

October 17, 2021
Rochester, Minnesota

Formal invitation to follow

Traditional but Relaxed Save the Date Wording

Save the date
for the wedding of

Aiden Hudson
&
Parker Drosselmayer

October 17, 2021
Rochester, MN

Invitation to follow

Casual Save the Date Wording

Save the date!

Aiden & Parker
are getting married

Oct. 17, 2021
Rochester, MN

Invitation to follow

* * * * *

Save the date

10.17.2021

Aiden & Parker
are getting married!

Rochester, MN

Invitation to follow
www.aidenandparker4evs.com

Modern and Minimal Save the Date Wording

Aiden & Parker

10.17.2021
Rochester, MN

Invitation to follow

* * * * *

10.17.2021

Aiden & Parker

Rochester, MN

www.aidenandparker4evs.com

Fun Save the Date Wording

We’re tying the knot!

Aiden Hudson
&
Parker Drosselmayer

10.17.2021
Rochester, MN

Invitation to follow

* * * * *

We’re getting hitched!

Aiden & Parker

10.17.2021
Rochester, MN

Invitation to follow

* * * * *

You never thought they’d get around to it, but

Aiden & Parker

are getting married!

10.17.2021
Rochester, MN

www.aidenandparker4evs.com

If you’ve sent out Save The Dates, what style did you go with, and what tips do you have? If you’re picking Save The Dates right now, any pressing questions?

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