All About Save the Dates
It’s officially that time of year! Save the date season is quickly approaching. So today I thought I would give the low-down on all things save the dates—the whos, whats, whys, whens and hows—so when you’ve got the ring on your finger and the venue booked, you’re ready to spread the news!
Why Send Save the Dates
Save the Dates serve as an introduction to your guests. They show a little sneak peek of what to expect from your day, while also giving some basic information. Both the visual cues and the practical details allow guests to plan ahead (which is always helpful, but even more important when guests are coming from out of town).
What to Include
Because these cards are just a general heads up to guests, there are only a few pieces of information that need to be included on a save the date.
The Full Names of the Couple
I like to encourage our couples to include both their first and last names on their save the dates. Unless you’re having an intimate, low-guest count wedding, odds are there will be some friends or family members that don’t know you super well (like your partner’s great aunt’s daughter’s husband), so having a first and last name helps form a sense of familiarity. Full names also lend themselves towards more formal weddings.
This one is pretty obvious, but include your wedding date (or wedding weekend if you have multiple events). If your wedding takes place on a day other than Saturday, be sure to include the day of the week as well. While Friday and Sunday weddings are increasing in popularity for a number of reasons, many guests will assume your date is a Saturday if not told otherwise, and they may need to make arrangements with work or childcare.
City, State (Venue Optional)
While you need to have your venue booked before you send save the dates, you don’t have to include the venue on the card if you don’t want to. The city and state of the wedding is often enough information. That being said, our couples often include venue illustrations on their save the dates, and in those instances it makes the most sense to include the venue name, too.
A venue name may also be helpful if you’re hosting a destination wedding in a large city, because it can help guests get a sense of how far the venue is from the airport, what hotels in the area cost, how much they need to budget for taxis, etc.
When to Order and Send
Save the dates have a fairly large window in which they can be sent: 6–12 months before the wedding. If you’re hosting a destination wedding, I recommend staying close to 12 months (or even a little earlier if your engagement is long enough).
Because of that timeline, it’s a good idea to reach out to us 12–15 months before your wedding. Our turnaround time will depend on printing method, embellishments, and custom vs. semi-custom, but it could take anywhere from 8–15 weeks from ordering before your save the dates are ready to go.
Design and Budget
Your save the date is your guests’ first look at your wedding, so you want it to reflect the beauty and story of your day. While the invitation suite should be the pinnacle of your paper goods, save the dates should have the same level of quality, and should fit visually with the main suite.
Your budget will be the main factor in determining how we approach the design of your paper goods as a whole. It will vary from couple to couple, but in general, we aim for about 1/3 of your budget to be spent on save the dates, and 2/3 on the invitation suite. In most cases, the budget difference comes from extra cards, additional embellishments, and/or upgraded printing or paper in the invitation suite.
The level of visual direction in the two projects often comes naturally. Because save the dates are designed up to a 15 months before the day, a lot of details (like your cake, flowers, hair and makeup, etc.) won’t be decided yet—and that’s okay! When it’s time to work on the invitation suite, you’ll have ironed out more details, giving us more to work with for the main suite. This growth in vision creates a really beautiful transition from concept to reality for your guests.
Save the dates are the first thing guests see, so they are often what sets expectations for the day. If you emphasize quality and your story, the result will be beautiful and fitting pieces you can cherish for a lifetime.