Unless you’re planning your wedding in three months or less (and if you are, I salute you, that is not always easy), you probably need Save the Dates. (We’re going to agree upfront to not call them STDs, because, no.) While Save the Dates might seem like one of those extra things you don’t need, they are in fact helpful for a lot of reasons. First, they force you and your partner to have some early conversations about the guest list, which you should be doing anyway (have a realistic ballpark number of guests before you pick a venue!). But they also set the tone for your guests that this wedding is coming, and it’s important, and you’re planning now so please put it on your calendar now. It’s obvious but: telling people to save the date means they, quite literally, will save your wedding date. (Not to mention, so many fewer “when is the wedding?” texts to field.)
There is a right and a wrong way to do Save the Dates. And by “right” and “wrong” I mean “easier on you” and “oops we made it too complicated and now I want to cry.” That’s where Zola comes in. They have everything you need to get custom Save the Dates and invitations without breaking the bank. Better yet, for a limited time, Zola is giving APW readers 50% off all save the date designs (even magnets!) with code SAVE50. That’s half off, the kind of savings that can really make a difference! They even have Save the Dates that start at only $0.99/each—that’s a steal.
We’re going to walk you through all the do’s and don’ts of sending out your Save the Dates. Because no one wants to realize that they paid for engagement photos to use on Save the Dates, and now it’s a month before invitations are going out and it’s too late to use them. (Not that extra photos are ever a regret, at least for me, but you get my point.) So, here are a few tricks of the trade as you approach your Save the Dates.
DO: Send Save the Dates (Most Of The Time)
You might be thinking, is this just an added expense that I could skip? Perhaps. However, as mentioned above, there are lots of reasons to send them. And if you’re having a destination wedding or planning a wedding during a holiday, those are extra good reasons to send them. If you’re inviting a lot of people and you would be heartbroken if they didn’t make it, if your wedding is going to span more than one day of events, or if you are inviting a lot of guests who will need to make travel arrangements—send them some sort of heads up. They will appreciate it, and you will be glad when more of your favorite people are there with you. Feel like a task you need to make time for? Don’t fret, Zola makes it easy — when you upload your guest list, they’ll help you out by addressing all those envelopes for you (for free), no cramped hands involved.
DON’T: Forget to schedule your engagement photos if you want to use them on your Save the Dates
Does your photography package come with an engagement session (lucky you)?. Or, are you planning to have special engagement pictures taken that you want to use for your Save the Dates? Photography (or really, the editing and prepping) takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your cute faces be photographed, edited, ordered, and printed onto your dream Save the Dates. So, leave yourself and your photographer the time to get it right—schedule that photo session in advance. Not doing a photoshoot? That’s okay too—Save the Dates are a perfect spot for your favorite selfie or photo booth images, or no photo at all. Zola literally has hundreds of options with or without pictures.
DO: Send Your Save the Dates EARLY
There isn’t a hard and fast rule for Save the Dates, because they’re a newer invention that’s come about because more people are traveling for weddings (and we’re all more overbooked). But the general rule is six to eight months in advance of the wedding or nine to twelve months for a destination or holiday wedding. Here’s my rule: Have you booked your venue? Send them. Why not? All this will do is give your guests a heads up and warning that they should take time off work, book a hotel, find a babysitter, and start picking out a dancing dress. And you know, literally, save that date.
DON’T: Take it too seriously
We tend to believe that Save the Dates are the perfect time to be silly or laid back in a way that you might not want to do for your invitations or the rest of your event. Pick the extra giggly photo, a laid back fun design, or add a fun note like “be there or be square” so your guests know you’re excited to have them there, but also that they don’t want to miss the event of the year. I love the Freeway design (below) with its cheeky “Making it Official” statement.
DON’T: Forget to share the important details on Your Save the Date
Most Save the Date cards are pretty minimal and have basic information like who, what, when, and where. However, if you’re taking the time to send out this information in advance, it’s likely because you want your guests to have some of the details in enough time to do something about it (something being: put it in their calendars, and possibly book travel). This could also be important if you want your friends and family to reserve their entire weekend (not just Saturday evening) for the events—this is a good time to share some vague but helpful details. We recommend making sure you have a way for guests to learn that info—could be an enclosed card, info on the back of the Save the Date, or a website. Zola makes it so easy by letting you print info right on the back of your Save the Date — plus, you can add more cute photos there too.
DON’T: Send Save the Dates to Your B or C lists, if you have them
If you have broken up your guest list into priority sections, or the A, B, and C lists, only send Save the Dates to your A list, or to as many people as you are sure will: fit in your venue, you can afford, and you will absolutely want at your day. If you send a Save the Date to someone down on the C list, you are now obligated to invite them—no take backsies. But definitely do keep track of all those guest list details right inside Zola—they’ve got everything you need including a guest list manager. When you use their tools, everything is intertwined—upload your guest list and you can track RSVPs, plus Zola will also print the addresses on your Save the Date and invitation envelopes (for free!). Yay for saving time, and money.
TL;DR: If Save the Dates are in your future, schedule those photos, peek at all the beautiful designs on Zola, and have some fun with it. oh, ANd use code Save50 for 50% off your save the dates (for a limited time).
This post was sponsored by Zola. Zola doesn’t just have gorgeous affordable wedding invitations. With Zola, you can build the registry you actually want; add items from a selection of over 50,000 gifts (plus add from any store), or if physical objects aren’t your style, register for experiences and subscriptions—heck, with Zola you can even Zola (yes please.) And with Zola, you can manage your wedding Zola and your guest list too. Other perks include group gifting, registry advisors, and the lowest credit card processing fee in the industry for cash gifts, if you choose to add a cash registry option. Click here for a full list of Zola’s features and sign up for Zola today!