What Not To Include – Save the date cards should not be used to provide detailed information about the event itself. This is not the time or place to discuss the rehearsal dinner, the reception, or the ceremony. It is inappropriate to include registry information as well. Guests who are interested in registry information can contact you themselves, or they can wait until the actual wedding invitations are sent out. Response requests are also not included. These notices are merely a courtesy ’heads up’ to your long distance guests and others who may require, for personal, professional, or medical reasons, some advance notice.
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.
Who Needs them? If your guest list includes a number of out-of-towners, or if your wedding takes place during a holiday or other peak time, you are a prime candidate for save-the-dates. Since invitations don’t go out until 6-8 weeks before the big day, save-the-dates are the perfect way to give wedding guests a preliminary heads up so they can begin making travel arrangements. These days, however, more and more brides send these cards regardless of the time and location of their wedding. Why? Save-the-dates provide a fun opportunity to get the word out and foreshadow the style of your big event.
Keep It Sweet And Simple – Today’s save the date cards can be designed from the comfort and convenience of home at the same time as the wedding invitations, graduation announcements, or other relevant correspondence. Family photographs, personalized messages, and customized color schemes can be integrated to match the color scheme and theme of the event itself. The basic message should tell guests what is happening and on which date. Some couples include a short poem,, or other expression of affection when there is enough room. They can be far less formal than the wedding invitations, so it is acceptable to be a bit more playful, lighthearted, or creative.
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.