Save the date cards are miniature announcements that precede actual invitations, and their main use pertains to weddings. They’re informal, concise, and pave the way for the actual invitations, much later on. Since weddings are events that require participation and attendance of the extended families on both sides, it can be quite hairy to ensure that they’re all there. In order to allay any potential problems with attendance, save the date cards are sent from 6 to 9 months in advance, but 12 months is appropriate if the wedding coincides with special holidays and/or it’s a destination wedding.
Save the date cards are simple cards that give limited information. You can announce your engagement and announce the date of your wedding. It doesn’t have to list the location unless it’s going to be out of town for part or all of your guests. There are a couple of options you have when you use save the date cards. You can have postcards printed and spend less on postage or you can create a card to insert in an envelope.
You want your save-the-date to look unique, personalized and funky; so that it can attract your guests’ attention and make them want to attend your wedding. Save-the-date cards for weddings should ideally reflect the couple’s personality, and the wedding tone.
Planning and Sending – Once you know all of the basic details about your wedding plans, place your order with your stationer. As with invitations, having these cards printed can take up to several weeks, so give your stationer plenty of time. You can mail these cards out up to six months before the wedding date. Save-the-date cards can be designed to match the rest of your wedding stationery and ordered at the same time, or they can have a completely different look.
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.