Do You Really Need to Send Save-the-Dates?

Here's what to consider when making this decision.

A black and gold wedding save-the-date

Photo by Love Flora Flauna

When you’re deciding on the timeline for all of your pre-wedding milestones, from when to have your engagement party to what weekends work for all of your besties for the bachelorette, one of the many to-dos on your wedding planning agenda is deciding whether or not to send save-the-dates.

Save-the-dates essentially alert guests that they are going to be invited to your wedding in the coming months, along with sharing the basic date and location information. Couples typically send out save-the-dates a few months after they've gotten engaged and have decided on a wedding date and venue. But they're hardly mandatory, and for some couples, they might not even be necessary.

So, should the two of you spend the time (and money) to send save the dates at all? Here's a breakdown of what to consider when making this decision.

Save-the-Dates Versus Invitations

Before you decide to send a save-the-date, you might want some clarification about the difference between save-the-dates versus wedding invitations. Both pieces of stationery give guests a heads-up about the event, and relay important details—but a save-the-date is a much briefer version of the formal invitation, which is more thorough and provides more information about the wedding day or weekend.

The Pros of Sending Save-the-Dates

Plenty of couples send save-the-dates and find it to be an important part of the planning process. Here are the benefits of sending save-the-dates.

You Give Your Guests a Heads Up

Let's face it: Calendars can fill up fast. One of the benefits of sending save-the-dates is that they alert guests of your official wedding date and location, which is ultra helpful when travel is involved. That way, they can jump on booking airfare and accommodations for the weekend—or at the very least, set up travel alerts to snag future sale fares to attend your wedding, if they live far away, or you're planning a destination wedding. Even if they live nearby, they can still mark it on the calendar and will be thankful that you gave them a head's up.

They Can Say "No" to Other Commitments

Having your wedding day marked on their future calendars will give your nearest and dearest a chance to make plans around your wedding weekend and ensure they don't accidentally double-book. Plenty of personal and professional events and travel plans are confirmed months in advance—including work trips and conferences and annual family vacations, to name a few. The greater notice you give your guests, the greater likelihood they'll be available to attend.

They'll Know for Sure That They Are Invited

You may assume your friends and family know for certain that they're going to be invited to your nuptials, but just because they're close to you doesn’t mean that they're automatically expecting to receive an invitation. Wedding guest lists are tricky things and it can sometimes feel like a bit of a guessing game; a save-the-date confirms for your many circles of friends and immediate and extended family that they are indeed on the guest list and can start planning accordingly.

The Cons of Sending Save-the-Dates

While this wedding stationery element can be a helpful tool in the planning process, it's not for everyone! Here is what to think about in terms of holding off from sending save-the-dates.

They Take Time—and Money

Creating and sending save-the-dates is another expense that you’ll have to build into your wedding budget. (Depending on how many you plan to send and how elaborate they are, they could cost several hundred dollars.) Plus, designing, printing, and actually mailing your save-the-dates takes time and effort—including the tedious task of collecting everyone's mailing addresses, although that list sure does come in handy come wedding invitation time!

Even if you opt to send digital save-the-dates to save funds, you'll still need to collect everyone's email addresses (and it's possible that all-important email might get missed).

You’ll Need to Finalize Your Guest List ASAP

If the two of you opt to send save-the-dates, you'll need to make some decisions about who you're inviting to your wedding pretty shortly after locking in your wedding and reception venue(s), which, together with your budget and personal preferences, dictates the maximum number of guests you can have in attendance. Keep in mind that once someone receives their save-the-date, they will assume they're invited to your wedding; you can’t not send them an official wedding invitation later! So choose wisely and thoughtfully to avoid any guest list drama down the line.

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