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Are Save the Dates Necessary?

You want most of your nearest and dearest to make it to your wedding. So how do you go about pinning them down for that very important date? By sending out a Save the Date of course.

A Save the Date gives your wedding guests a heads up that you’ve set a wedding date, that they’re invited, and indicates the location, so they can begin planning annual leave and budgeting for attending.

Save the date

When are save the dates necessary

In many cases, Save the Dates are a must-have. Save the date cards are vital to send when:

  • guests have to travel – they live very far away from where you are going to get married
  • guests have serious commitments that they will need to negotiate time off for if they are going to be able to attend
  • if you choose to have a destination wedding, your guests will need plenty of time to sort out passports, visas, and flights for your big day
  • Weddings that are close to important holidays or long weekends will also need to save the date cards to make sure that your guests don’t plan anything else
  • You won’t get your wedding invitations sent until very close to the wedding (say, 6 weeks before), so you want to “buy yourself some time.”

Why send them

Your guests have busy lives, and their calendars fill up fast. Save-the-dates advise your guests of the basic information they need to negotiate time off work and ensure they don’t commit to big plans around your wedding day.

Sending save the dates allows your out-of-town guests to organize travel plans and accommodation. The more time guests are given, the better rates they’ll get. You want to give them time to watch for cheap flights around your wedding date and book accordingly.

Child care can be an issue for those with young families. If you don’t plan to include children in your wedding invite, give guests plenty of time to arrange for their children. Finding a sitter who will stay well into the evening can be hard. So those with young children must make the necessary arrangements.

Be sure to give your guests ample time to arrange to attend your big day before the official wedding invites are sent out. Guests will appreciate the advance notice that a save-the-date card gives.

When not to send Save the dates

Yet sometimes Save the Dates are a waste of money. Here’s when you should skip them:

  • If your engagement and your wedding are very close together. Say, within nine months of each other. There is no point in sending out save-the-date cards because you’ll be sending out wedding invitations before you know it!
  • When most of your guests are local to the wedding location, and it’s not on a holiday weekend, you can skip the Save the Dates.
  • If your wedding budget is particularly tight. Then Save the Date cards are one thing you can afford to lose.

Save on your Save the Date with these strategic ideas

Save-the-dates are an added expense when it comes to your wedding budget. Depending on the size of your guest list, designing, printing, and mailing your save-the-date invitations could add up to a few hundred dollars. You will need to ensure you have all the up-to-date physical addresses of your friends and family members to ensure their save-the-date, invite, and RSVP cards arrive on time.

It is possible to send a digital save-the-date invite to save on costs. Just be sure you have all your guests up to date email addresses. Follow up to ensure the invite hasn’t gone into their junk folder if you haven’t had a timely RSVP.

Sending save the dates requires you to finalize your wedding guest list much earlier than if you choose only to send an official wedding invitation. Making it harder to make any last-minute changes to your invite list.

Hold off on finalizing your guest list until closer to your wedding date. This allows you to ensure your budget can cover your intended guest list. If you plan a short engagement, skip the save-the-dates and send your invitation a few weeks sooner.

If most of your guests are local to your wedding and it’s not a holiday weekend, you could skip save the dates too. Inform any out-of-town guests by phone or email, so they have a little more notice. You could also choose to send save the dates to out-of-town guests.

Save the date etiquette

Save-the-date cards are a relatively new tradition when planning a wedding. They are a formal way of notifying your guests of your upcoming wedding so they may plan accordingly.

Once you have locked in your wedding venue and date, save-the-dates are a great way to announce to your guests the date and location of your wedding. This informs your wedding guests that they are invited but that further details will follow. However, sending save-the-date wedding cards is optional and up to your preference.

It is the rule of thumb that a couple should send out their save the dates 6-8 months before the planned wedding. This gives your guests enough notice to ensure they don’t double-book themselves on your special day. If you plan a destination wedding, this time frame will be even longer (12-18 months).

Save the dates are different from your formal wedding invitations. A save-the-date card gives your guests some details, such as the couple’s names to be married, the wedding date, and the venue. It’s along with a short note explaining that a formal invitation will follow closer to the stated wedding date.

The formal invitations role is to invite your guests to your wedding formally and contains all the wedding details your guests will require. This invitation should contain the details of the ceremony and wedding reception. Venues and times should be included. A reply card so your guests can confirm whether they can make it. If required, local hotel information, maps and directions, and transport and travel details.

Both save the dates, and your formal wedding invitations can be purchased with your wedding stationery to match your desired theme.

Destination wedding

Sending save-the-dates is a must for a destination wedding. Giving your guests as much advanced notice as possible allows them to organize any travel arrangements to attend your big day. At the very least, they can look for cheaper airfares and accommodation.

If your planning an overseas wedding, your guests will need to weigh up their financial ability to make it to your wedding celebrations. They have things to consider, such as having an up-to-date passport, visas, and booking a hotel room at a reasonable rate.

Destination weddings take a lot more planning than a local wedding. It’s a good idea to treat your save-the-dates for your destination wedding more like a pre-invitation information pack than a note stating you’re having an upcoming event.

Guests need a general timeline of their wedding events to plan their trip. They may choose to have an extended trip before or after the wedding, so any wedding information you can lock in and inform them of as early as possible will help them plan. From the welcome party to any group activities you would like them to be present for.

You may not be sure which types of group activities the majority of your guests are interested in. You could add a little questionnaire to your pre-invitation, allowing your guests to reply with what activities they would enjoy.

Ideas for your save-the-dates

  • Save the date magnet – Magnets are a great option as your guests can stick them up on their fridge and have a frequent reminder of your big day approaching.
  • Funny save the dates – Depending on your personality type, you may like to have a little fun with your save the dates. A funny phrase such as “Open Bar”, “Free Cake”, or “Come for the beer, stay for the wedding” sets the tone and might be just what gets your guests excited about your wedding.
  • Stationary that matches your wedding theme
  • Postcard style save-the-dates. We rarely receive postcards these days. A postcard-style save-the-date is a fun idea your guests will love. Using a photo from your engagement photoshoot is a great way to share your favorite snaps with your guests.
  • Love story timeline – Including a timeline of your relationship journey together is an opportunity to share with your guests the date you met, the date you got engaged, and the planned date of your wedding.

Final thoughts

Whether save-the-dates are a waste of time depends on individual circumstances. For large weddings, save-the-dates can be useful to ensure guests are available and make necessary arrangements.

Save-the-dates may not be necessary for small weddings, or those close to home. Ultimately, it’s up to the couple to decide if save-the-dates align with their priorities and budget. While they can be helpful tools, they are not essential to the wedding planning process and may not be necessary for every wedding.

Further reading

You want to be sure to send Save the Dates to guests you are certain you want to attend. Read up on what happens when you have to cut the wedding budget, but the Save the Dates have already gone out. If you send out Save the Dates, ensure you’re not making mistakes. I’ve covered 5 things to avoid when sending Save the Dates.

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