Save-the-Date Basics: When to Send Them, Who Gets Them, and More

Everything you need to know about announcing your wedding in advance.

Contributing Writer

Sometimes you need to give your family and friends notice way ahead of the wedding, and that's where save-the-dates come into play. They're an informal yet personal way to share important info with your A list. Here are some tips before you get started.


Tips for Avoiding the Worst Save-the-Date Mistakes

Decide if you need to send them.

Even though it's become a thing to send save-the-dates no matter the circumstances of a wedding, not every celebration needs them. If you're getting married locally and most of your guests live nearby, they don't need to know your wedding date months in advance. But if you're marrying at a busy time, like during the holidays, homecoming weekend, the summer, or a long weekend, or having a destination wedding, you should send out save-the-dates.


Send them three to six months ahead of the wedding.

Everyone will appreciate the advance notice so they can make travel, work, or childcare plans. The further away the wedding, the more time people will need to decide if they can attend, so send save-the-dates about six months ahead in these circumstances.


Mail them to your entire guest list.

If you'll be doing save-the-dates, everyone invited to the wedding should get one, even Aunt Kelly, who has already put the date in her calendar. The rule is that if you'll be sending someone a wedding invitation, you should also be sending them a save-the-date. If you're letting single guests bring a plus one, that should be clear when you address their save-the-date envelopes. Same goes for any children you're inviting—this helps parents decide whether or not they'll attend or if they'll be bringing their little ones.


Have fun with the design.

No matter what kind of wedding you're having—formal or casual—your save-the-dates can have their own individual look. They don't have to complement the wedding's tone unless you want them to. Some creative ways couples have spread the word: For their art museum wedding, one couple sent mini canvases painted with the wedding details, plus a tiny easel and paintbrush. Another couple sent save the dates that looked like vinyl record albums!


Unique Save-the-Dates

Keep it brief.

You only need to include pertinent info: your names, your wedding date, the venue and its location, and anything else that could be helpful, like your wedding website or if you've arranged a block of hotel rooms for guests. What not to include: registry info, a schedule of events, or attire suggestions.


Don't ask for an RSVP.

A save-the-date is a heads up about your wedding, not an invitation, so no reply is necessary. Of course, it's fun and exciting if guests text or email you that they're planning on coming, but don't count their enthusiasm as yeses until you mail out the wedding invitations six to eight weeks before the nuptials and receive their RSVPs.

About the Author

Nancy Mattia

Though Nancy has been writing about weddings for years, she admits that watching a bride walk down the aisle—even on TV—still makes her tear up. The New York-area writer's other favorite wedding moments are when the groom sees the bride for the first time, hearing the toasts, and when she sees a waiter with a tray full of hors d'oeuvres walking towards her. 


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