Pictured save-the-date stationery by Nerissa B Modern Calligraphy
As you check off your wedding planning tasks, one of the first big decisions will be sending out “Save-The-Dates.” These crucial pieces of snail mail not only inform guests of the upcoming nuptials with a request to attend, but they also set the tone for your wedding. Such pieces of stationery are the first part of your wedding that your guests will see, and therefore will set the stage for the theme, tone and experience your big day will take on.
But what does it take to create a beautiful and functional Save-The-Date? Here are 10 key things to keep in mind when designing and sending out wedding save-the-dates.
1. Timing is crucial
You can go earlier, but it is standard to send save-the-dates out seven-to-nine months prior to your wedding date. If your date is near a holiday, in peak travel season or if you’re having a destination wedding, then the sooner the better. After all, your guests will have to take time off of work and make travel reservations! By sending out details in a timely manner, you give your guests the courtesy of ample time to plan and make necessary arrangements.
2. Consider your A- and B-list guests
When designing save-the-dates, make sure to only send them to guests who are on the final guest list. Naturally, it is considered poor etiquette to retract an invitation after sending a save-the-date. Guest-counts can change and it’s not uncommon that you’ll need to tighten your invite list between when you send your save-the-dates and when you send out the real invitations. Be mindful of this and keep your guest list up-to-date throughout the planning process.
3. Don’t overshare
Save-the-dates are brief for a reason. It is simply an announcement! The date, venue and/or city and state are truly all you need to account for. The time of the ceremony, whether children are invited and guest dress code are not necessary to disclose at this time.
This information helps guests plan their attendance and ensures they have the necessary information to mark their calendars and make arrangements. You can also provide a wedding website or email address for guests to contact for more details or RSVP. “Formal invitation to follow” should suffice for the rest of your details, though.
4. Proofread and double-check
While we here at Chicago Style Weddings are accustomed to proofreading, it is not something to be taken lightly! Before sending out save-the-dates, ensure that all the details are accurate, and there are no errors or typos. Triple-check the date, venue and location information to avoid any confusion or miscommunication. It’s always a good idea to have a second set of eyes review the save-the-dates to catch any mistakes that may have been overlooked.
5. Physical mail is not required
Depending on the nature of your guest list and wedding theme, you don’t have to mail physical save-the-dates. While we are not necessarily big fans of this method, save-the-date eCards and other methods have been gaining in popularity. When considering this method, we recommend digital invites for informal and/or small events only. No matter how nice electronic wedding communication looks, it will still be impersonal compared to something mailed. Plus, its harder to “save the date” when your guests don’t have a physical invitation reminding them. Just think how many emails and Facebook notifications you get in a day…your invite is bound to get lost in the digital mix!
6. Keep it consistent
Save-the-dates are a sneak peek into the wedding theme and style, so try to keep them consistent with the overall wedding aesthetic. From the color palette to the font choice, make sure it matches the vibe you’re going for on your big day. This creates a cohesive look and feel for your wedding celebration while building some hype for the day.
7. No engagement photo needed
It is a popular tend to include your engagement photos on your save-the-date design, however don’t feel like you have to. By not including photography, you can help distinguish your event (and even create a little mystery and anticipation) by using only graphics and design elements.
8. Consider a self-mailer (postcard)
Don’t snooze on the self-mailer as a cost-effective vehicle for your save-the-date. Self-mailers –also called postcards – help to save some money, but also offer adorable design opportunities. No outer envelope are needed and these are do retro and fun to receive.
9. Don’t wait, but if you do…
Step away from the concept of save-the-dates if you’ve waited too long to send them out. If you send out save-the-dates too late in the process and immediately follow up with the actual invitation, you are wasting your resources. If you have waited this long, go ahead and send your formal invites out and be done with it.
10. Follow up with formal invitations
Save-the-dates are not a substitute for formal wedding invitations. Be sure to send out formal invitations closer to the wedding date with all the necessary details, RSVP information, and any additional requests or requirements. Save-the-dates simply serve as a heads-up for guests to mark their calendars and make initial plans. While you may think to yourself, “OK, my guests know the date and location, we are all set!” that is simply not the case. Formal invitations are your time to continue setting the tone and to share all the beautiful details you’ve poured over.
Save-the-dates are an important part of wedding planning, providing guests with a heads-up on the upcoming event and allowing them to make necessary arrangements. Keep the timing, consistency, key details, guest list, format and accuracy in mind when designing and sending these out. By doing so, you’ll set the tone for your wedding celebration and help ensure that your loved ones are able to attend your special day. Happy planning!