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.
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.
The moment you have your date and location decided on, it is time to send out your save-the-date cards. It is fine if you have not closed up on the exact location, just letting them know the state and city your wedding will be held is sufficient.
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.
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.