Your whole wedding season is such a significant time; it’s worth spending time getting the details right. When it comes to etiquette for a save the date, there are some important things to remember. In its essence, etiquette serves to provide politeness, consideration and kindness to all involved in a social transaction and save the date cards etiquette is ultimately no different.
Who gets a save the date?
Everyone who receives a save the date must also be sent a wedding invitation. If you are still finalising a guest list, you aren’t ready to send out save the dates yet. Even though they are probably already in the loop, remember to still send save the dates to people who have confirmed by word of mouth or those who are obviously attending, like your parents and bridal party. Your parents are probably almost as excited as you guys, so it’s really nice to make them feel part of your day with you and your partner (especially because so many parents financially contribute).
When to send save the dates
Save the dates should ideally be sent out 6-12 months prior to your wedding. All you need is the date (and preferably the city) locked in to send them out. The venue and everything else can be planned later.
When it comes to destination wedding save the date etiquette, the earlier the better. Overseas trips take a lot of time to plan and save for, especially if you have invited families. The general rule for the timing of your save the dates is that the more of a heads up you give your family and friends, the more likely they will be able to attend (most likely need time to book at least one of the following: hotels, leave, flights or babysitters).
Save the date style and design
When it comes to style, many couples ask: do our save the dates have to match our main wedding invite, RSVP cards, menus and thank you cards etc? Definitely not, but it can. Instead of matchy matchy, perhaps consider a general theme or motif (i.e. the colour yellow, falling leaves, rose gold or lace) and work it throughout your entire wedding to create a sense of cohesion. When choosing a style, consider defining elements of your big day like venue(s), wedding gown, bridesmaid dresses, food type and overall location (i.e. French countryside) that may affect your choice.
Save the date vs wedding invitation only
Wedding invitations provide more information but in order to send them early enough forgo a save the date, you need to be very organised. It’s great if you are that coordinated (and you can save money by skipping save the dates) but most people like to lock things in one by one so as not to get overwhelmed, so a save the date is a quick and easy way to give friends and family a heads up on the date and city while you get the rest of the details sorted. Skipping save the dates also doesn’t really suit the style of a formal or traditional wedding. If your engagement is very short, there may not be time to organise save the dates as well as wedding invites (and they would most likely be sent out at the same time) so it’s best to leave them out. Weigh up your situation and timeline to decide what is right for you.
Save the date etiquette: wording and information
Traditionally, save the dates are written in third person with formal wording, but feel free to match the style of your wedding or put more individual personality into it. A save the date is always brief and the non-negotiables are the ‘save the date’ announcement, the couple’s names and the wedding date.
Here is a general template to use as a base:
SAVE THE DATE
For the wedding of
[Person 1] and [Person 2]
[City where wedding will be held]
Formal invitation to follow
Registry information: to include or not to include?
In a word, no. It is considered impolite and presumptuous to mention a registry on a save the date. Even though most guests expect to purchase a gift and would appreciate guidance on what to buy, wedding gifts aren’t compulsory. If you would like to include registry information, it should be on an extra card in the main wedding invitation suite (preferably as a link to your wedding website). Guests can also ask bridesmaids or close family members if they need clarification about gifts. Remember that any note on gifts or wishing wells should be phrased in a very polite, humble and grateful way that clearly demonstrates that you don’t expect anything from your guests other than their attendance to joyfully celebrate your union.
Addressing save the date etiquette
Save the date address etiquette is much the same as for wedding invitations, but we are here with some save the date addressing etiquette tips to make sure you get it exactly right. Wedding save the date address etiquette may vary from country to country but in general save the dates don’t have guest names printed on the actual card, making it easier and more affordable for the couple getting married. Save the date etiquette addressing format can be made more casual, but we recommend only doing so if you are purposely planning a informal wedding. Stay tuned as we discuss save the date address label etiquette and visit our blog on how to address wedding invitations for even more great wedding tips!
Save the date etiquette envelope addressing
Save the date envelope etiquette is different to the actual card inside and is more specific to each guest. While save the dates don’t usually have guest names on them, getting the save the date envelope addressing etiquette correct is your chance to specify exactly who is included in the invitation. Don’t worry if it looks too formal – the clarification it provides is worth it. To avoid confusion, address save the date envelopes with the individual names of each guest invited to the wedding. This way it is clear exactly who is invited – especially helpful when it comes to children and new partners of your guests.
For both save the date address labels etiquette and writing directly on the envelope, it is polite to address everyone by their full name and to include titles. If you would like to include a couple’s children, write the children’s names on the line below. Adult sons and daughters should receive their own invitation. Save the date return address etiquette states that you write both yours and your partner’s names as formally as your guests’ names, but it is fairly common to replace a full first name with an initial.
Mr D. and Mrs J. Williamson
19 Breton Road, Torquay VIC 3228
Save the date return address labels etiquette follows the same format and style.
Electronic save the date etiquette
Electronic save the dates can be a great option for those short on time and money, as well as couples with guests scattered far and wide. While diehard etiquette queens may still be cringing at the idea of online wedding stationery, we have to accept the changing times. A benefit of e-vites or save the dates is that they are more environmentally friendly. The best option out there is Joy’s wedding websites – which also allow you to save the date online. Joy’s designs also match with Paperlust’s top designs so you can match the print with the digital invite.
Electronic and email save the date etiquette is naturally a little more relaxed than printed stationery. You can still word things formally or customise a beautiful digital design to your wedding, rather than writing everything out as an actual email. Email is still considered the most formal of electronic communications, preferred over social media platforms for an important event like a wedding.
Remember to consider your older guests who may not be up to speed with email or texting, as well as close relatives who may want to keep a printed save the date as a keepsake. Printing a couple for these special people is sure to be much appreciated.
Like any custom or tradition, wedding save the date etiquette continues to change with the times. Wedding etiquette encompasses more than just save the date rules to follow, but that’s all we have time for now. For more up-to-date etiquette tips, visit the Paperlust blog!
We are also running a feedback survey on our save the date cards, check it out here we would love your feedback.