The ring is on your finger and the planning is underway—and now it’s time to get your guests in the loop. Your first step is to send a save-the-date card (aka the pre-invitation that officially announces your wedding date and lets your guests know they should clear their calendars). But you have to do it right. Below, find out what mistakes not to make while giving your guests the heads up.
Not Sending Them
Yes, this counts as a mistake. Although you don’t have to send save-the-dates (if you’re having an especially short engagement, it might make more sense to simply send out invitations), you’re typically doing yourself a disservice by not sending them. Especially if you’re having a destination wedding or a three-day weekend affair—it’ll give guests enough time to clear their schedules, make travel arrangements and generally increase their chances of being able to make it to your nuptials. That’s the goal, right?
Sending Them Too Late
As a general rule, it’s best to start spreading the news around six to eight months prior to the ceremony (send them earlier for a faraway destination or holiday weekend). This gives wedding guests plenty of time to book their travel, save money and ask for days off work. Any later than that and they won’t have enough lead time to do those things. After all, the only pieces of information you need on them are your names, wedding date (or dates, if it’s a weekend) and location—just the city is fine, so you don’t even need to have your venue booked yet. Including your wedding website is ideal, but not necessary.
Sending Them Too Early
On the contrary, if you send them any earlier than that—say, a whole year in advance—they may toss the notice aside and forget about it. Also, you should never send out formal wedding information before setting things in stone just in case plans change or something falls through. In the event of an unexpected switcheroo, your best bet is to update your wedding website, pick up the phone and start spreading the word. You do have the option of sending out another mailing that explains the dilemma—but a personal, verbal notice is the best way to avoid confusion. (If your wedding guest list is a bit overwhelming, enlist the help of your bridal party.)
Sending Them to People You’re Not Sure About
Once your save-the-dates are in the mail, there’s no turning back. So only send them to those guests you definitely want to attend. (Even the ones you’ve received verbal confirmations from, like your bridesmaids and family members.)
Overthinking the Design
Save-the-dates are much less formal than your wedding invitations and definitely don’t have to match them or your theme. This is your opportunity to let your style as a couple really shine, or try out a theme you love but are hesitant to commit to just yet. Play with colors, motifs or fonts to create something that will get guests excited for the occasion.
Only Sending Electronic Ones
Email invitations for informal events like bachelorette parties and postwedding brunches are becoming more popular, and as a result, rewriting the rules of snail mail etiquette. We stand by old-school stationery for the big stuff like formal invitations, but the use of digital is up to your discretion. If you do decide on digital, consider doubling up: Send out an electronic save-the-date to everyone,
and send paper correspondence just in case the email goes to spam. Also, odds are, you have older relatives or friends who may want to keep the physical one as a keepsake.
Being Unclear About Who’s Actually Invited
It’s best to be as clear as possible about who’s invited to the wedding, even this far in advance. By including the actual names of every intended guest on the envelope, you’re less likely to have any assumed invitees (like your second cousin’s new boyfriend), or general confusion (is your 7-year-old niece invited?). Being up front about who’s invited also gives families with uninvited kids ample time to plan for child care, and out-of-towners time to figure out hotel room shares.
Including Registry Information
While your guests will likely want to know where you’re registered, it’s in bad taste to include this information on your save-the-dates. Gifts, of course, are not required. You can wait to include a link to your wedding website (where your registry information should live) on an invitation insert, and guests will know to ask bridal party attendants or your parents for the scoop if they need to do so.
Not sure what type of save-the-dates you want to send? Take our fun Style Quiz and we’ll pull together a custom wedding vision that’s perfect for you, plus the right vendors to bring it to life. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once.