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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.)
Read on for the best save the dates.
Zola Violin Save the Date
If you know, you know: Zola is THE one-stop-shop for everything wedding-and registry-related, including, you guessed it, stationary. Add your photo and text, then customize it to your liking, choosing everything from size to paper type to shape.
The prices are great, there's free shipping, and 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.
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.
Jessie Steury "Our Timeline" Save the Dates
Along with providing details of your relationship on your wedding website (always a fun read for guests), we love the idea of providing everyone with a snapshot of your love story on the save the date.
Customize this one with your favorite milestones as a couple, set alongside your favorite photo. You can even take the lead of this example and choose a metaphoric picture to further symbolize your journey.
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.
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.
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.
Inspiration by Amie Le Rustic Save the Date Luggage Tugs
If you’re planning a destination wedding in the mountains, these save-the-dates are choice. Not only is the luggage tag style adorable, but the subtle landscape backdrop and neutral tones also work perfectly together.
Bonus points for extra touches, like the mountain range outline overlying the return address on the included envelope.
Kelli Hall Calendrier 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. Straightforward and to the point, 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.
Zola Gardner Bloom Save the Date
Utterly romantic, the oversized floral illustration on this card will pair perfectly with any type of outdoor, garden-inspired nuptials. Choose from two colored options, as well as a black and white version that’s still romantic but slightly more understated.
Hooray Creative Modern Union Minibook
A fun alternative to the typical save the date, this miniature book houses all of the info your guests will need to know before the big day arrives. Choose your favorite photo for the cover, then customize the following six pages with all kinds of info about the ceremony, reception, lodging, and more.
Social Print Studio Double Sided Square Prints
The unique, 4 x 4-inch square shape of these cards is sure to stand out among a sea of other rectangular stationary. Upload your favorite image on the front, then add your own text (via one of the site’s templates) onto the back to let your guests know the when and where details.
A matte finish and simple white border are the perfect finishing touch. Order another set to use as thank you cards post-wedding.
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.
Zola is one of our favorite go-to sites for everything wedding-related—and that includes save the dates, of which they feature many design and color palette options. We also love Etsy for its wide range of unique offerings, as well as Minted for the vast selection, fun ideas, and ease of use.
When to send save the dates
Stationary expert Katie Fischer Cohen recommends mailing out a save the date 6-8 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. "It's a courtesy that allows your guests enough time to plan and book their travel," says Cohen. "Sending it well in advance also means that you'll have a higher acceptance rate."
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.