Whether you’re looking for an alternative to traditional save-the-dates or need to update your plans with a change-the-date, paper isn’t your only option. Electronic save-the-dates aren’t just budget-friendly; they can also be more convenient, as they take the hassle out of printing, addressing, and physically mailing a bundle.
According to Simone Vega of Coordinated to Perfection, electronic save-the-dates have become extremely popular among couples recently. “Given the current landscape, where there is a lot of uncertainty of when, or even if, a wedding will or will not take place, these save-the-dates are definitely a money-saver,” she says. “It definitely makes it easier to resend online save-the-dates if your date has to change."
However, it’s important to know both sides of the electronic save-the-date story before going this route. Ahead, we break it down.
Electronic Save-the-Date Cost
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to digital save-the-dates is that they don’t cost anything to send. Just as paper save-the-dates range from basic to more elaborate, the cost for digital versions can also vary quite a bit. “There are very few things in this world that are 'free,' and electronic save-the-dates are definitely not one of them,” says Kimberly Sisti of Sisti & Co. “With the exception of a couple of services, most have a monthly or yearly membership fee or a ‘pay as you go’ option.”
Although save-the-dates are generally not too pricey when it comes to your overall wedding budget, if you’re looking to do something a bit more fancy then you're going to spend more. “The cost of printing alone, especially if you are making them on your own, will definitely add to your costs,” says Vega. “You are definitely going to save some pennies by going the non-paper route.”
But exactly how much money you’ll save depends on the type of digital option you go with. “With a custom-designed graphic that you personally send out electronically, it may run you more than using a generic template online,” says Nora Sheils, co-founder Rock Paper Coin and founder of Bridal Bliss. “It will also have a better chance of landing in your guest's inbox rather than your spam folder.” Plus, she reminds couples that printing cards and then stamping them tend to not only cost substantially more but also come with a bigger headache. And cutting back on stress anywhere you can during wedding planning is priceless.
Electronic Save-the-Date Pros and Cons
“While electronic save-the-dates can be quick and easy, there are quite a few challenges that come along with them,” says Sheils. First are the pros: “They can be easily designed, quickly sent, and either free or a very low cost,” she continues. But for Vega, the biggest benefit is the time couples save by sending out save-the-dates electronically. “You're basically cutting your time and the energy you will need to create a paper save-the-date, get it printed, address envelopes, purchase stamps, then a trip to the post office to send them out,” she says. With an electronic save-the-date, you simply have to purchase a template, fill in the information needed, and voilà—you’re ready to send them out. “We have done this many times for our couples and they are always super happy with how fast the turn-around time is,” she says.
Another pro is that there isn’t an environmental impact of sending digital save-the-dates. “First and foremost, there is no harming of trees or environment in any way, “ says Sisti. “Consider it a win-win for you and Mother Nature.” It also takes some of the guesswork out of it for you and your guests because you don’t have to worry if they will get lost in the mail, wonder if your guest actually got it, or if they will disregard it right after receiving it. And lastly, guests can access the information from their phone wherever they are instead of searching for a piece of paper to remind them of important details.
However, Sheils warns that there are also a few cons to take into account, including that they are less formal than printed cards and many times, they can get lost in junk mail or an overflowing inbox. Another aspect that some couples worry about is if their older guests will have trouble with an electronic version. “Although many older folks are computer savvy, some are not, and will not be able to open their save-the-date,” says Sisti. “This risks a lack of communication and might be seen as rude to not send everyone their own physical copy. Some might find it poor taste that the couple is not thinking about all their guests and trying to contact them in a few different manners.”
Keep in mind that your guests’ comfort—from the very beginning—is paramount, and it starts at the first announcement of your wedding, not just at the reception. Consider a split between electronic and a small batch of paper ones for older guests.
Electronic Save-the-Date Tips
If you do decide to go the electronic route, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Make it stand out.
The most important thing is to remember that people get hundreds of emails a day, so you need to make it stand out. “Use a creative subject that will catch their attention (rather than think they are being sold something) and keep the body of your email clear and concise,” says Sheils. “If you are using a service, there are countless ways to personalize your message and ensure that guests will open in.”
Don't worry about staying on brand.
Vega also recommends that you don’t put too much pressure on having your theme finalized before creating save-the-dates. “Many couples feel that they have to send out save-the-dates that match their wedding decor or wedding colors—this is not true,” she says. “My advice is to choose something that displays your personality, or maybe a favorite place that you have been or something fun. Do something opposite and don't give away the wedding goods just yet!”
Give your guests notice.
For Vega, one of the most considerate things a couple can do is give their guests notice, which means sending out electronic save-the-dates as early as possible. “With online save-the-dates, couples should really be aware of the timeline when sending them. The save-the-date isn’t just about announcing your wedding date but also considering that it helps your guests to prepare in advance for that day,” she says.
Electronic Save-the-Date Etiquette
Paper save-the-dates are “one and done” explains Sheils. “You stuff, send, and are finished! That is...unless you have an incorrect address,” she says. But with electronic save-the-dates, there is a different set of etiquette questions that can come into play because guests may have overlooked or completely missed the email. “It may have hit spam, or they may have accidentally deleted it. So, reminders may be sent, but also try not to hound your guests,” she advises.
Pay attention to the wording.
Vega recommends that couples put just as much time into the save-the-date wording as they do into the look. “It has been said that the wedding invitation sets the tone of your wedding day,” she says. “However, if the save-the-date is the first piece of info your guests will receive, I would say this will set the tone as well. Make sure you're setting the tone through your wording that you want for guests to experience and feel on your day.”
Address them properly.
If you're sending out electronic save-the-dates, treat them similarly to a paper one. “That means addressing it to the people who are invited in a household but only sending one per household whether that's a family, a couple, or a single person (with or without a guest),” says Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events. “While you might feel inclined to send one to each individual person since everyone has their own email address, it's not necessary. Not to mention that gets tricky when you have plus-ones.” And like a paper save-the-date, she also suggests sending the email to the person you're closest with. “But, if it's a family (or couple) you're equally close to, choose the family member who manages the calendar for the family and is likely to open it, read it, and share it with the rest as opposed to the ‘head of the family,’” she says.
Include all the important information.
You’ll also want to ensure that your electronic save-the-date has all the same info that would be on a paper invite: your names, wedding date, location, and wedding website. “And if this is a virtual wedding versus an in-person one, make sure you're clear about that as well,” Chang adds.