When To Send Save The Dates: Tips And Etiquette

When To Send Save The Dates: Tips And Etiquette
jennifer skulski wedding hashers guest author

Jennifer Skulski

Published: Oct 25, 2022

Last Updated: May 17, 2023

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As you’re knee-deep in the wedding planning process and guest list drafts, you might be wondering when to send save the dates.

The save-the-dates are helpful cards to send out prior to your official wedding invitations.

These cards will help put your wedding date on each guest’s radar even before all your wedding details are fully fleshed out.

Now perhaps you and your partner are curious about save-the-date etiquette and when to send these cards out.

Let’s put your worries at ease as we dive into all the tips related to save-the-date cards.

When Should You Send Save The Dates

Depending upon whether your wedding plans involve a local wedding, a destination wedding, or a weekend wedding, you’ll want to give your guests ample time to plan ahead for your big day.

Your wedding day is a momentous milestone in your life.

All your friends and family are excited to celebrate this lovely occasion with you, but they likely can’t do that with a last-minute wedding invite.

In order to help the majority of your guests attend your celebration, you should give them a decent heads up so they can block off that date, take off from work, and plan for any travel arrangements they may need.

photo of girl holding save the date card

When To Send Save The Dates For A Local Wedding

For a local wedding, it’s best to send your save-the-date cards between six and eight months before your wedding day.

While a traditional wedding close to home typically requires less preparation than a destination wedding, guests still need time to plan ahead, mark that date on their calendar, and take off from work, if needed.

Other wedding accommodations guests may have to plan ahead for include transportation to and from the ceremony site or lodging accommodations if they are staying in the area for multiple wedding events such as the rehearsal dinner.

Your guests may also need to organize childcare if they have young children who aren’t invited or won’t be attending the wedding ceremony.

The same goes for finding someone to watch a pet if needed.

Thus, with all these various obstacles in play, as a courtesy, you should send your save the dates half a year in advance.

When To Send Save The Dates For A Destination Wedding

For a destination wedding, it’s best to send your save-the-date cards out between eight and twelve months before your big day.

Yes, a whole year of notice is commendable when it comes to save-the-date etiquette.

Just as you and your future spouse are spending countless hours planning that beach wedding or other special celebration at a remote location, your guests will need plenty of time to plan their travels as well.

On top of the basic preparations for attending any wedding such as transportation, lodging, taking off from work, and finding caretakers for any children or pets that need it, destination weddings require extra planning for the multi-day trip.

This includes finding the best deals on plane tickets and a hotel room in the area, getting passports or other travel documents prepared, and possibly even planning out a mini trip or vacation in addition to the wedding celebration.

All this can be costly and your guests may need a lengthy notice of close to a year in advance in order to start saving up and thinking about their travel plans for this destination wedding.

photo of retro save the date card
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Sending Save The Dates: Tips And Etiquette

When it comes to the save-the-date designs, you want your cards to display all the necessary details about your wedding day as clearly as possible to avoid any awkward confusion.

After all, these cards are meant to start getting your wedding guests excited about your special day.

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Pro Tip: Make sure your save-the-date wording clearly addresses who exactly is being invited to the celebration, including any plus ones.

This tip is especially pivotal when sending cards to households with many family members.

Are the kids invited? Are the significant others invited?

Who’s getting a plus one or who’s invited as an individual?

Then, of course, there’s the timing to consider when it comes to save-the-date etiquette.

While you definitely want to give your guests enough time to plan ahead for your big day and make their own plans, you also don’t want to give them too much time.

Sending these wedding invites over a year in advance likely defeats their purpose as these cards may get tossed aside to think about at another time since it’s so far in the future.

On the other hand, you also don’t want to send those invites out too late.

You still want to give your wedding guests and loved ones a decent amount of notice, within that range of six to twelve months that we discussed above.

Other save-the-date mistakes to avoid include the design of your cards.

They don’t need to be overly complicated. Keep it simple so it’s easy to understand all the details.

Don’t pack your cards with too much information, but rather give your guests the general details they need to know before they receive your formal invitation with RSVP cards.

Lastly, let’s discuss electronic save-the-date notices.

A digital save-the-date card is a great way to instantly send out your notices to your guest list and is completely fine to do.

However, in terms of proper wedding etiquette, sending physical save-the-date wedding cards in the mail is more widely accepted.

photo of letterpressed save the date card

Save The Date Timeline

12-15 Months Before

Shortly after your engagement, it’s time to start up the wedding planning process.

In terms of the big picture, now is the time to choose your desired ceremony location and the wedding date you have in mind. In order to reserve the wedding venue of your dreams, you must check the space’s availability and secure the location well in advance.

In this timeframe, you can also start coming up with a personalized wedding hashtag that you and your partner can use to brand your special day throughout your wedding planning and beyond.

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12 Months Before

A calendar year before your big day is typically when you’ll take your engagement photos. This is the perfect way to announce your good news and get your friends and family excited about your upcoming celebration.

As a general rule of thumb, a year in advance is also a prime time to start asking your close friends and family to be a part of your wedding party and bridal party.

They, of course, should be the first notified and consulted about your wedding day so they can ensure they’ll make it!

Now you can start designing those save the dates whether you start from an online template or freestyle your own ideas.

As you and your partner begin to solidify your major wedding plans, you can continue to add the necessary details to these cards.

When creating your save-the-date designs, your cards are an ideal spot to showcase your best engagement photo and highlight your unique wedding hashtag to truly personalize the design.

Once you finalize the design of your fabulous save the dates, it’s time to get them ordered, then wait for their delivery.

8-12 Months Before

By now you should’ve received your printed save-the-date cards.

Next, it’s time to mail them out.

After finalizing your wedding guest list and deciding on your plus one policy, be sure you clearly label who each card should be addressed to, and who within a given household is invited.

Once you address your save the dates, you can finally send them out to your guests, wedding party, and bridal party.

8 Weeks Before

You gave your guests the proper heads-up about your wedding day with the save-the-date cards, but now with two months left, it’s time to start getting an official RSVP headcount.

Typically, you should send out your formal wedding invitations about three to four months prior to your big day.

These invitations should provide more in-depth wedding details including the exact address of your venue, the time of your ceremony, the dress code of your wedding, your wedding website URL if you have one, and even your wedding registry information.

However, the most important aspect of your wedding invitations is the RSVP.

Whether you choose to have your guests RSVP digitally such as through your wedding website or you request a return card in the mail, around eight weeks before your wedding is the time to confirm the attendance of your guests.

custom save the date card with envelope photo

What To Include In Save The Date Cards

1. Date Of The Wedding

As the name suggests, save-the-date cards are all about informing your guests about the date of your ceremony.

Be sure to clearly include your date on your wedding stationery, with the day of the week, month, day, and year fully spelled out.

If you’re planning a destination wedding or multi-day celebration over a holiday weekend, make sure you list the full date range of your wedding plans so guests can make proper travel arrangements.

2. City of Wedding Event

Hopefully, you were able to reserve the wedding venue of your dreams, but if you’re still negotiating with various venues or deciding between a few options, you should at least provide your guests with the general location or the city where your wedding will ultimately be held.

3. Name of Couple

This may sound obvious, but as your guests may receive numerous save the dates, especially around Wedding Season, you’ll want to make sure you and your partner’s names are clearly and prominently represented on the cards so your guests can keep everything straight.

4. Wedding Website

A wedding website can be a helpful resource throughout your wedding planning as you can keep track of your wedding budget, wedding details, guest list, wedding registries, and RSVPs all in one place.

If you do create your own wedding website, be sure to share it with your guests on your save-the-date cards so they can visit your site for any updates.

5. Save The Date With Hotel Information

On your save the dates, you may also wish to include hotel information about where the wedding party will be staying for the big day so all your guests can reserve lodging accommodations together.

clay letterpress save the date card

Mark Those Calendars!

We hope that all your pressing questions have been answered about the tips, proper etiquette, and the timeline for making and sending out your save the dates.

Let your wedding date clearly be known by sending out these cards well in advance by about six to twelve months before the big day.

Once your guests receive the notice, they can start marking their calendars and getting excited about the upcoming celebration!


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