The essential guide to save the dates

5 Min Read


couple browsing on the sofa

Congratulations, you've made it this far in your wedding planning journey!

You've popped open the champagne and celebrated with all your social media followers, and you've even got your venue and date locked down.

But before you kick back and relax, there's one important task left on your to-do list: sending out those save the dates. Don't worry, we've got your back with this essential guide to save the dates - because let's face it, things are about to get a bit hectic.

Sit back, take a deep breath, and let us guide you down the slippery slope of wedding planning. Trust us, you'll thank us later.

minimalist black and white save the date

Stationery: PaperGrace


What are save the dates for weddings?

Save the dates are part of your wedding stationery suite and are the official notification to your guests that you are getting married, informing them of the wedding date and location. If the guest is lucky enough to receive a Save the Date, it means their invited to the daytime and evening celebrations.

Typically sent out 6 to 12 months before the wedding day, they provide ample time for guests to make travel arrangements, request time off work, and plan accordingly.

As the first piece of your wedding stationery to be shared with your guest, Save the Dates also provide a peek into your chosen wedding theme and style. The design of your save the dates can set the tone for your wedding and give your guests an idea of what to expect on the big day. They are the first step in creating a cohesive look for your wedding stationery, which includes everything from the invitations to the seating plan, and everything in between.

Overall, save the dates are a crucial part of any wedding planning process, directing the style of your special day.

Save the Dates key facts:

  • To be sent out 6 to 12 months before the wedding day
  • The first piece of wedding stationery to be shared with guests
  • Follow the wedding theme and style
  • Set the tone for the wedding (boho, modern, traditional, etc.)
  • The first step in creating a cohesive look for wedding stationery

wedding save the date

Stationery: PaperGrace

light teal and gold simplistic save the date invitation

Are save the dates and wedding invitations the same?

Although save the dates and wedding invitations may seem similar, they serve different purposes in the wedding planning process.

Save the dates and invitations are sent to your wedding guests at different points in time in your wedding planning.

Save the dates are typically sent out before the official wedding invitations, and their primary purpose is to inform guests of the wedding date and location, allowing them ample time to make necessary arrangements to attend. Save the dates are more informal than wedding invitations and often include less information. So, the basics needed by your guests to make plans to attend.

On the other hand, wedding invitations are formal and provide all the necessary information for guests to attend the wedding. Whether the wedding will last all day or just the evening - be it informal or formal - invitations include all the necessary information for the day, including the venue, dress code, transport, accommodation arrangements, RSVP information, and of course, your wedding gift list details!

Additionally, wedding invitations may include details such as the order of service, menu options, and any other necessary information. Whilst both save the dates and wedding invitations are essential components of your wedding stationery suite, they serve different purposes and should be treated as such.

Key Outtakes:

  • Save the dates and invitations serve different purposes.
  • Save the dates are sent first and provide the date and location.
  • Invitations provide all necessary information and are formal.
  • Invitations include venue, dress code, transport, accommodation, RSVP, and gift list details.
  • Invitations may also include order of service, menu options, and other information.
  • Save the dates and invitations are separate components of wedding stationery.

Are save the dates an absolute must?

Not really. Whilst save the dates are an essential component of wedding planning, they are not an absolute must.

However, they are highly recommended, especially if you are planning a destination wedding or getting married during a busy season.

Sending out save the dates ensures that your guests have plenty of time to make necessary travel arrangements, request time off work, and plan accordingly. This is particularly important if you have guests coming from out of town or if your wedding falls on a popular holiday weekend.

So, the more notice you give your guests, the more likely they will be there on the day. Win win.

And they’re a great way to give your guests a glimpse of your wedding ahead of time, whether you’re planning a boho barn wedding or something tropical and far-flung, helping build excitement and anticipation for your wedding day, as they provide a sneak peek into your wedding theme and style.

Ultimately, whilst save the dates are not mandatory, they are a useful tool for ensuring that your guests can attend your special day and should be considered an important part of the wedding planning process.

brown save the date on top of a black envelope

Stationery: PaperGrace

When to send your save the dates

It's time to get those save the dates out into the world! But when is the best time to do it?

Well, if you want to give your guests plenty of time to plan and get excited about your big day, it's recommended to send them out 6 to 12 months before your wedding, with 9 months being the sweet spot. Think of it as a little teaser to get your guests hyped up about what's to come.

Plus, if you're having a destination wedding and getting married abroad *dream of a tropical island*, you might want to give your guests even more time to save up and book those flights. So, sending them out 2 years ahead could be a good idea.

Trust us, you don't want anyone missing out on the party of the year.

And if you're getting hitched during a busy season or on a popular holiday weekend, it's even more important to get those save the dates out early, so your guests can mark their calendars and clear their schedules. So, let's get those save the dates in the mail and start counting down the days to your big day!

Do you send save the dates to evening guests too?

Ah, the age-old question: do evening guests get a save the date too?

Technical answer? Save the dates cards are normally only sent to those guests who are invited for the whole day. So you don’t need to send them to those you’re inviting to the evening celebrations, as typically there are fewer travel arrangements required for these guests.

However, going with the short answer, these guests are still an important part of your big day, and you want them to be able to celebrate with you. Sending a save the date to your evening guests is a polite way of letting them know that they won't be invited to the full day's festivities. It's like saying, "Hey, we still want you to party with us, but you don't have to sit through the ceremony if that's not your thing."

Plus, who doesn't love getting a little piece of snail mail with their name on it? So, let's not forget about our evening guests when it comes to sending out those save the dates. After all, the more the merrier!

digital white and brown save the date invitation

Stationery: Greenvelope

digital green watercolour save the date invitation

What should you include?

Alright, it's time to get creative and start planning your save the date content! When it comes to what to include, there are a few key elements to keep in mind.

In short, add anything that your guests will need to know to plan for your big day.

First and foremost, or how we like to call them, the

  • VITALS: the wedding date and location. So, make sure you've got these front and center. You want your guests to be able to mark their calendars and know where the party is at.
  • And then there’s the ‘NICE TO KNOW’ such as your wedding website, perfect for including accommodation recommendations, dress code and most importantly your wedding gift registry details!

But don't be afraid to have a little fun with it! Maybe you want to include a cute photo of you and your partner, or a funny pun that ties into your wedding theme.

And if you're feeling really extra, you could even include a little save the date magnet that your guests can stick on their fridge (because who doesn't love a good fridge magnet?).

Ultimately, the content of your save the date should reflect your personality as a couple and get your guests excited for what's to come. So let those creative juices flow and have fun with it!

Should I include my gift registry on my save the dates?

Keep your save the dates simple, with just the information that your guests need to start planning for your big day. Now is a good time to start thinking about your wedding registry though! That way you’ve got plenty of time to register, build your list and include details in your invitations.

digital cherry blossom save the date invitation

Stationery: Greenvelope

digital save the date geometric invitation

Can we send virtual Save the Dates?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, you can send virtual save the dates!

In fact, in this day and age, it's becoming more and more common to send them via email or social media. It's eco-friendly, cost-effective, and let's be real, who doesn't love getting a cute digital invitation in their inbox? Just bear in mind that your Save the Date could end up in a junk folder or email addresses could be out of date. And, your Great Auntie Mable may not have an email address, either.

But this is an amazing opportunity to get super creative with your e-save the dates! Maybe you want to make a fun little video with you and your partner announcing the big day, or design a fancy digital card with all the important details. The possibilities are endless!

And the best part is, your guests can easily save the date to their calendars with just a few clicks. So, don't let tradition hold you back - go ahead and send those virtual save the dates with pride!