You’ve booked your venue (or at least have a date in mind), contacted your caterer, begun finalizing your guest list, and perhaps even tried on some dresses? With wedding preparations well underway, it is likely you will have some questions about what comes next.
I am in exactly the same position as you! On a walk this morning with my fiancé, we were talking about our next steps in the planning process and stumbled upon the conclusion: we need to send out our save the dates.
Knowing to send save the dates is one thing, but knowing WHEN to send your save the dates is another! Since neither of us was entirely sure, I did some research and this is what I found.
So, when do you send wedding save the dates? It is generally advised that couples send their ‘save the date’ around six to eight months before the wedding. This will give guests plenty of notice to make arrangements such as booking time off work or making reservations for accommodation and travel if necessary.
Save the dates work both ways.
For your guests, they are highly appreciated – giving them a ‘heads-up’ and enabling them to sort out the necessary preparations for your wedding.
For you as a couple, save the dates are a great way to establish a rough estimate of your final number of guests who will be in attendance.
Your guest’s responses to the save the date can then allow for alterations to the guestlist, and hence catering. All of which can be made well in advance – avoiding last-minute panic and stress.
And then, they help to generate a buzz and excitement around your big day – for everyone involved!
Win-win for all.
Save the dates typically inform guests of the date of your wedding and will often read ‘Formal Invitation to Follow’.
So, whilst your save the date will not replace your wedding invitation, it will likely be the first impression your guests have of what your wedding day will be like.
While choosing the right save the date is important, matching your save the date to your invitations and other wedding stationery is optional.
However, through my extensive research on the subject of wedding stationery – save the dates and wedding invitations included – I will be choosing to match my save the dates and invites. It just looks great.
I cannot wait to share with you the gorgeous designs and company I am using. I will share the details towards the end of this post!
But first, let us look at take a closer look at all involved with the sending of save the dates; the timelines, and whom you should look to send them out to!
So, be sure to keep on reading if you are planning your wedding and need to know how to prepare and what to expect with this first yet essential element of communication.
How Far In Advance Do You Send Save The Dates?
Around six to eight months in advance of your wedding day is when you should aim to send out your save the dates.
The save the dates sent out need not include every detail of your day: so don’t feel pressured to have made all your booking confirmations of suppliers before sending out your save the dates.
As long as you have your date secured and perhaps your venue and caterer – anything that is pivotal to your wedding happening on that exact day – you should feel confident to send out save the dates to your guests.
Whilst it is generally advised to send your save the date cards out six to eight months prior – there is nothing stopping you from sending them out slightly earlier or even slightly later than this.
However, if you are considering sending your save the dates out anything less than three months before your wedding – consider the practicalities of this – perhaps you could just send invites instead?
We are planning on sending save the dates for our wedding, as well as formal invitations.
Giving our guests notice several months in advance will allow us to establish a confirmed guest list and make decisions about the catering ad bar package based on who has provisionally confirmed having received their save the date.
How Early Is Too Early To Send Save The Dates?
It is only natural to feel excited and enthusiastic about all things wedding-related – particularly sending out your save the dates – as this might be the first some of your guests have heard about your wedding day.
They are likely to cause a buzz of excitement!
Six to eight months before your wedding day – that is when it is typically advised to send out your save the date cards.
That way guests have plenty of time to make the necessary preparations but it is not too far in advance that they put it to the back of their minds.
Now don’t be deterred if you are looking to send out your save the date a little earlier than six to eight months prior (who can blame you – you’re excited right!?), we have received save the date cards a year if not more in advance!
We aren’t saying that you cannot or should not send your save the dates prior to the eight months in advance guidance, just that this is generally considered the optimal time to send them.
Save the dates sent more than a year in advance are likely to be acknowledged by the recipient and filed away – not because they are ungrateful – just because they might feel that they have plenty of time to prepare and will begin to think about arrangements for your wedding nearer the time.
We are guilty of doing this, friends sent their save the dates out more than a year and a half in advance of their big day – we sent them a message expressing our excitement – and haven’t really thought about it since.
Giving guests too much time to make necessary arrangements for your wedding day, may in some cases have the opposite effect than you might think.
Instead of being highly organized a year in advance, some of your guests may unintentionally forget that they need to make arrangements and end up doing so in a panic – after the formal invite is received.
The six to eight months in advance guidance for sending the save the dates out will sustain the buzz and excitement about your wedding day for you and your guests, without the celebrations and preparations being put on the backburner.
However, typing this article is making me feel so very excited about the prospect of letting our guests know of the arrangements, and whilst we aren’t getting married for over a year, I have already fallen in love with wedding stationary! Save the dates and invites to match.
If you’re anything like me, there is no harm in ordering your stationery (save the dates and invites) well in advance of sending them out.
We have selected the most beautiful design for our save the dates and invites – they are beautifully crafted, stunningly gorgeous and the best bit for us – they don’t break the bank!
Keep reading to learn about our supplier.
Do You Send Save The Dates To Everyone?
If you’re anything like us, your wedding guest list is compiled of several different sections: family, friends, colleagues, day guests, evening guests, plus ones – the list seems endless!
I can seem a little unclear at first who to send your save the date cards to.
Do you need to send a save the date card to every guest you are inviting to your wedding?
There is some debate as to the answer to this question amongst other brides so the answer is: it is up to you as the happy couple to decide.
Some brides choose to only send save the dates to day guests, to avoid confusion and prevent evening guests unnecessarily booking an entire day off work if they are only invited to the evening reception.
However, other brides choose to send their save the dates to all guests indicating that there will be a formal invite to follow providing further details of their wedding.
A solution might be – to avoid the confusion around the save the dates – to send save the dates that read something like ‘Save the Date for our Wedding Reception on the Evening of (insert your date here)’.
This will avoid ambiguity and make clear to your guests the preparations they need to make.
I think sending slightly different save the dates to your day guests and evening guests is a great workaround – I think it could avoid some awkward conversations too!
Your wedding stationer – who is designing and providing your save the dates – will be able to organize this for you. We would recommend contacting them and discussing your options.
Where To Get Save The Dates
Choosing your wedding invites and save the dates can seem like a daunting task.
An internet search will likely provide you with what seems like an endless list of suppliers and brides can spend hours trawling through different designs and suppliers trying to find high-quality, gorgeous designs. Trust me, been there done that.
I mentioned previously that I had managed to find a supplier that I am absolutely thrilled with.
I highly recommend Minted for their incredible range of beautifully crafted, personalized designs of both wedding invites and save the dates.
With stunning designs, in every color theme imaginable, engaged couples need look no further with where to purchase their save the dates.
With options to suit every budget and high-quality design – your guests will be delighted to receive their save the date or invite. This is likely to be the first impression they get of your wedding – so you want to make it a good one, right?!
That was exactly my thinking when I ordered ours.
Sending save the dates provides a lot of benefits for all involved. They’re certainly the courteous thing to do.
But, just like every other aspect of your wedding timeline, there are recommendations and best practices that ensure they are most appreciated and best effective.
6-8 months before your special day is considered optimal.
So, keep this timeframe when planning, and be sure to prepare with plenty of time in advance!
Hey, I’m Allison – a bride-to-be and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I have accumulated since researching for my wedding over two years ago. I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding.