Save the date cards is the best way to announce your wedding plans to family and friends. You want to make sure that everyone you invite has plenty of time to plan for the event. It doesn’t matter if your wedding will be local or if they will need to travel, they need to be prepared. Save the date cards help everyone to do just that. You don’t want to send them out too early, but at the same time if you are going to use save the date cards, you need to send them out soon enough for them to do any good. It’s recommended that you send them out about six months before your planned wedding day.
Getting your guests’ attention – Some brides-to-be really want these cards to be eye catching so that they truly standout and serve as a visual notice. If this is what you have in mind, look for something unusual, such as scratch-off cards or magnets (that can be posted on your guests refrigerators). Maybe you will want to make your own cards, incorporating one or more of your wedding colors, a graphic design, or a photo.
Some companies offer digital save the date cards as well. What this means is you have the card to use on your computer and you could send them out to any email address that you have. Since almost every household has a computer and an email address, this would be a good way to save money on postage stamps.
Timing Is Everything – Wedding invitations are generally mailed out six to eight weeks prior to the event, but save the date cards should be sent out four to six months ahead of time. This way, guests will be able to shop around for transportation, schedule a convenient flight, reserve a hotel room, and make other necessary arrangements. Major events are exciting social gatherings that everyone will want to attend, both family and friends from near and far. Sending them out well enough in advance makes it far more likely that all of your guests will be able to attend.
Rules & Etiquette – Again, few rules apply. The only information you must include is your names and wedding date, although I suggest including location information as well so wedding guests can begin their travel plans. Aim to send save-the-date cards soon after you secure your date and venue, or about 4-6 months prior to your wedding. Remember, everyone who receives a save-the-date also receives an invitation, so have your guest list finalized prior to sending them. You can, however, always add guests later (there is no rule that says everyone must receive a save-the-date card). Although formal replies are not required, you can get preliminary attendance estimates through word-of-mouth.