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As you kick-off the wedding planning experience, the process of choosing (and sending!) save the dates often marks an important transition. It’s the first step where things start to feel truly tangible, and all the planning and envisioning transforms into something very real.
For many couples, the save the date also serves as a kick-off to the overall tone and look of the wedding. It can act as an aesthetic foundation for the invites that will soon follow, not to mention all of the other wedding-related stationery, from programs to place cards to menus. If you already know the vibe you’re going for, let the save the dates announce it loud and clear.
But if you’re not quite sure, or just want to keep this part of the planning process quick and easy, the save the dates can also totally stand on their own. Go with something simple and straightforward, or have some fun with a more whimsical option. (And when in doubt, adding a cute couple photo is always a good move.) Make sure to get those save the dates out ASAP once you get your venue booked. Stationary expert Katie Fischer Cohen recommends mailing out them six to eight months in advance of the wedding date. For destination weddings, or if you're hosting a wedding during a popular weekend, you can send it out up to a year in advance.
Meet the Expert
Katie Fischer Cohen is a the founder of Katie Fischer Designs, a Manhattan-based graphic design studio.
Read on for the best save the dates.
Zola Violin Save the Date
This save the date lets your favorite photo take center stage. Add your image and text, then customize it to your liking, choosing everything from size to paper type to shape. You even get a free wedding website with your purchase! Also nice: Free ‘change the dates’ currently come with all save the dates and invites, a major win if plans need to change.
Lucky Lady Paper Boarding Pass Save the Date Boarding Pass Invitation
Planning a destination wedding? You need these save the dates. Inspired by the shape and design of old-school boarding passes (remember those?), it’s the perfect way to get your guests excited about the fun travel to come. They feature plenty of customizable space where you can add all of the important details, and even the envelopes are on brand, with a colorful map emblazoned on the inside.
Mallory Hope Design Polaroid Minimalist Photo Save the Date Postcard
The front of this card boasts your date in oversized romantic font, plus a calendar with the date highlighted. Customize the back to your liking; keep it simple with a pattern, add your favorite photo, or write a custom message to your guests.
Minted Nicole Walsh Wrapped Save the Dates
Take your announcements to the next level with with these super luxe and sophisticated save the dates. Hand-pressed with metallic foil for a bit of sparkle, we're especially obsessed with the color-rich background that frames your favorite pic. Choose from dramatic midnight blue to soft blush.
Papier Wedding Photo Frame Save the Date
An almost identical replica of a Polaroid right down to the shape and size, we love the simple and vintage feel of this black and white option. In true Polaroid fashion, there’s a space for a photo on the front and custom text on the back; the matte, eggshell finish and thick paper quality make it feel extra luxurious.
Leaves Save the Dates by Kelly Schmidt
These minimalist save the dates set the tone for a rustic, yet elevated ceremony. The muted earth tones backgrounds and foiled olive motif evokes an Italian countryside wedding (or choose white for a whitewashed Greek island vibe), Part of the Minted + Brides Collection, this design makes a big impact with a just a few hand drawn strokes.
Country Garden Save the Dates by Susan Moyal
With six different color palettes to choose from, this retro floral design is perfect for any type of garden party, from a magnolia-laden Southern event to a rose-filled Martha's Vineyard fête. Add a touch of metallic foil (there are eight hues available) to several of the leaves to make them pop.
Casual Save the Dates by Jessica MIller
A modern update to a classic photo card, this save the date is anything but ordinary. Featuring several different font types, from script to block lettering, it bridges the gap between old school and contemporary styles. In addition to the six color palettes available, it's also possible to totally customize the hues to your liking—and you can even change the silhouette of the card itself.
Petal Toss Save the Dates by Angela Marzuki
The loose, brushy florals on this save the date feel bold and bright—just like your love! If the vision for your wedding is a laid back, outdoor party, this design will set the scene. And if you're looking for something a bit more subdued, the monochromatic options (we especially love the blue), will do the trick.
Beautifully Scripted Save the Dates by Kristy Kapturowski
The name of this design says it all. The focus is on the scripted font as it flows across the page, accented by modern block type to spell out the important details. The result is a perfect marriage of styles that balance and elevate each other. Another option featuring a huge range of color palette customization options, this save the date is a winner.
Modern Classic Names Save the Date
Your photo may be the star, but the streamlined typography and modern text placement makes this card stand out from the rest of the pack. Choose from six different paper options, from the thick, Signature Minted style to a soft Pearlescent, which adds a luminous glow to your favorite portrait.
All In Cork Save the Date Wine Corks
How perfect would these be to announce a vineyard wedding? The corks are printed with your names and date and come housed in a mini wood box to ensure they don’t get misplaced.
Minted Ana de Sousa Cordially Save the Dates
Simple yet unexpected, this option features the date of your big day in oversized, bold text, with your names and location next to it. The metallic foil adds a touch of glam, and it's available in It’s everything you could need or want in a save the date, all wrapped up in a sophisticated little package. Plus, the minimalist aesthetic is guaranteed to pair well with pretty much any type of wedding vibe.
Pamba Towels Save the Date Tea Towels
Admittedly, most save the dates will end up in the trash or recycling at same point—but not this option. While obviously a bit pricier than a paper card, these screen-printed tea towels are an unexpected alternative for those seeking a more lasting option and/or who have a shorter guest list. They feature a floral design and come printed in eco-friendly inks, in your choice of color.
Paperless Post Rubell Save the Date
Once frowned upon by etiquette purists, there’s no harm in opting for a digital save the date if you’re looking to stay on a budget, or are simply looking for ways to be more eco-friendly.
This invite is just as sophisticated as any paper option, with bold, art deco-inspired gold and black font. There’s also a similar version where the text is set over a photo, should you prefer to have a picture.
What to look for in save the dates
A save the date is an opportunity to be a bit more playful and less formal than a traditional wedding invitation. It's a place for you personality as a couple can shine—don't be afraid to be witty, creative, or out-of-the-box when you're coming up with ideas together.
The most important thing to include is, of course, the date of your wedding. Although the save the date can be simple in words and design, just make sure that it's legible and easy for all guests to understand.
When should we send save the dates?
It's ideal to send out save the dates at least six to eight months in advance of the wedding date. If you have your venue booked early (or if you have a far flung destination weddings or hosting the event during a popular holiday period), it's a good idea to send them up to a year in advance.
Can we send an online save the date?
Yes, but make sure that everyone on your guest list is savvy with computers and smartphones first. If you have any concerns about particular guests receiving the save the date, make sure to follow up with a phone call or note.
Are save the dates necessary?
While save the dates are not mandatory, it's a helpful way for guests to mark the date on the calendar as soon as your venue is booked. Because they tend to be more casual than invitations, a save the date can also be a fun and creative way to announce your engagement.
Why Trust Brides
Brides contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Her work has appeared in such digital and print publications such as Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, and Allure.