Setting up a timeline is the first and most important part of planning your wedding. Once you’ve got a schedule, everything will feel less overwhelming. You and your spouse can do things step by step. A good timeline will help you keep the process stress-free.
So when do you save the dates enter your schedule? And do you even need to send them?
What You Need to Know About Save the Dates
Save the dates function as pre-invitations. You send them out to let your friends and family know when to expect the wedding. Some new couples feel that this is unnecessary. If you’re on a very tight schedule, you may prefer to skip straight on to the invitations.
But save the dates let people plan ahead and save up for your wedding. Your future guests will appreciate the courtesy. Save the dates decrease the chances of last-minute cancellations.
Additionally, this is a good way to announce your engagement to anyone who doesn’t know about it yet. If you’re planning a formal or traditional wedding, save the dates are expected.
So When Do You Send Them Out?
The answer depends on the location of your wedding.
If the wedding will be held where you live, people need around half a year’s notice. Send the save the dates around six to eight months before the wedding.
This is particularly important if you’re planning a really formal occasion. In the case of more casual weddings, four months can be enough.
For weddings held at a remote location, it’s important to send the save the date as soon as possible. Don’t wait till your wedding is six months away. You can send it as early as a full year ahead.
Keep in mind that people need time to plan ahead for travel. It isn’t just that they need to book the transport and the accommodations. Destination weddings are more expensive to attend, so your guests may need time to plan their budget.
Do You Have to Send Them All Out at the Same Time?
Usually, couples prefer to send out the save the dates all at once. But if you have friends who live farther away, it’s fine to give them some extra notice. The same is true for recipients who may need extra time to plan their attendance, such as people with very young kids.
Do All the Guests Need to Receive Save the Dates?
Absolutely not. If you’re unsure about inviting somebody, don’t send them a save the date.
Why is this important?
A save the date has to be followed up with an invitation. You can’t change your mind about inviting somebody after they have received a save the date. So if your guest list isn’t set in stone yet, think carefully before you send anything.
What about the Invites?
Your invitations are generally sent six to eight weeks before your wedding. The information in the invites needs to match the information in the save the dates.
Can You Send Your Save the Date Electronically?
Indeed there are many couples who send their save the dates by email. But others feel that traditional cards are more appropriate.
The Upsides of Electronic Save the Dates
Let’s look at the upsides of sending them via email:
This Is the Most Eco-Friendly Option
Couples who care about the environment may prefer to cut back on the stationery.
Emails aren’t the only solution. If you’re willing to do some extra research, you can find eco-conscious save the dates in paper form. These are printed on recycled paper in environment-friendly ink. However, these are likely to cost more.
It’s Less Expensive
For couples who are on a tight budget, the cost of paper save the dates can be a real problem. Even when you buy them in bulk, they can be an uncomfortable expense.
Electronic save the dates cost a fraction. You purchase them for a fixed price and then you can send them to any number of people. There are also some impressive-looking free templates out there that you can use in emails.
The Recipients Won’t Lose It
Electronic save the dates are more convenient for many people. They can’t get displaced and it’s always easy to go back and check the date. Some of your recipients will automatically add the date to their calendars.
The Upsides of Traditional Save the Dates
Here are a few reasons why you may prefer sending the save the dates in paper form:
If You’re Planning a Formal Wedding, This Format Is More Appropriate
Your “save the date” is the first hint your future guests will have about what to expect of your wedding. The design hints at the level of formality. If you know for sure what the theme will be, the design of your save the date can reflect it.
So if you’re planning a luxurious and old-fashioned wedding, emails just won’t cut it. Go for imposing, traditional-looking stationery and set the tone right away.
Generation Gap Issues
Some of your future guests may not use their email regularly. Snail mail is more universal.
You Can Be Sure They’ll Arrive
While there’s a very small chance that some of your save the dates will get lost in the mail, posting them in paper form is still the safer option. Electronic ones can get sent to obsolete email addresses. They can also end up in somebody’s spam folder.
A Quick Recap
Save the dates let people know when to accept your wedding. When you send one of these, you have to follow it up with a real invitation.
Your “save the date” can be electronic or in paper form. It’s a good idea to choose a design that fits your wedding theme.
In most cases, it’s fine to send the save the dates six to eight months before the wedding. Four months is the latest to send them. But in the case of remote weddings, a full year might be the better choice.
A Final Thought
There are beautifully designed save the dates out there. When you find the perfect design, you can give your future guests something to be excited about.
At the same time, you shouldn’t stress about it. If it seems expensive or inconvenient, you can skip the save the dates without raising any eyebrows.