When to Send Save the Dates for Your Wedding

Save the Date Card

Photo by Amber Vickery

One of the first wedding-planning tasks you must take on is sending save the dates. But, many questions come to mind when tackling this project. Specifically, you're probably wondering when to send save-the-date cards. This particular announcement will be your initial segue into the world of wedding stationery suites, so we've done all the research to get you prepared.

Read on to get answers to all your questions about etiquette concerning the first piece of wedding stationery you'll send out.

Do I Have to Send Save the Dates?

Nope. But we recommend you do for a few reasons:

  1. Your friends and family will appreciate the heads-up.
  2. You're more likely to have first dibs on guests who know other couples getting married on the same day.
  3. They're a great way to get everyone excited about your wedding—and to get your own creativity flowing early in the planning process.

When to Send Save the Dates for a Local Wedding

Send out save-the-date cards six to eight months prior to your wedding and the wedding invitations eight weeks before your big day. Not only do some people have to make travel arrangements and save money, but some guests will also need to get time off from their jobs, arrange child care, and/or take care of other pesky chores so they can join you.

When to Send Save the Dates for a Destination Wedding

If you are throwing a destination wedding or getting married on a major holiday, you should give guests extra notice by sending your save the dates out nine months to a year in advance. Better yet, as soon as you’ve chosen a venue and set up your wedding website (with a hotel room block), get those save the dates in the mail. No one will complain about extra time to book flights and reserve a hotel room.

Who to Send a Save the Date To

Anyone you're sure will be invited. Do not mail save-the-date cards to guests on your B-list: Once they receive a save the date, you're obligated to send them a wedding invitation.

Sending Electronic Save the Dates

One of the main reasons to send digital save the dates is convenience. Traditional save-the-date cards require ordering, proofing, printing, waiting for delivery, addressing, applying postage, and physical mailing, all of which can take weeks.

Since most online stationery sites (like Paperless Post, Minted, and Shutterfly's Wedding Shop) are so easy to navigate, you can select and pay for your design within an hour flat, all with a few clicks.

What to Do Before Sending Save the Dates

Before mailing your save the dates, your wedding website should be up and running. You should have your room blocks arranged, and you should have started to assemble your wedding registry—just in case any guests who are booking early decide to beat the crowds and send you a gift early, too. Even if the rest of your site isn’t finished (like the “How We Met” story or bios of your wedding party), filling out those most important pages will be immensely helpful for your guests.

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