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A save the date isn’t always necessary, but it’s an addition to the wedding stationery set that most people don’t want to go past. You want to let people know you’re getting married, sure, but isn’t that what wedding invites are for? Well, no. Here’s why.
Generally save the date invitations are something simple sent out well in advance of the big day to give guests the opportunity to make travel and accommodation plans (especially if they have to travel a long way for a destination wedding, or if the wedding is falling on grand final weekend and hotels will be booked out by fly-in-fans). It is possible to forget a save the date card if you’re only planning a few months ahead and the wedding invitations are going out soon, but an advanced warning is usually appreciated by guests if possible. Besides, who doesn’t want an excuse for even more cute stationery!
You really must have a save the date if you’re asking people to travel - especially overseas - so that they’re able to organise their trip. For a destination wedding, consider sending the save the dates out four to eight months ahead so guests have a chance to research what they’re going to need to do. Later, the wedding invitation will give them all the details of the day itself. For a destination wedding save the date it’s a good idea to provide information about possible accommodation and travel with the save the date rather than with the wedding invitation, to ensure guests have ample time to prepare. The information with the wedding invitation can then be more detailed, with information about activities you might have planned outside of the ceremony and reception and want your guests to join you on.
If you’re planning your wedding according to a perfectly-timed schedule, there is a three to four-month window where you may want to let people know you’re getting married and when, but don’t yet have all the details of the day. In this instance, it doesn’t really make sense to wait for the invitations to go out. This is the perfect time to send out the save the date invitation. In this case, it’s as simple as a card with the date and place, with a note that information is to follow. Maybe you’re not much of a traditionalist, and you don’t really want to send out a save the date? That’s alright as well, just make sure you’re not asking anything from guests that they may need to be warned about well in advance.
In our global society, it is more than likely that at least one of your guests, if not several, are living overseas. Whether it is your grandparents from the home country, cousins from across the ditch, or friends who have moved overseas to study or work, it is extremely common these days that several of your intended guests live abroad. Many such guests would love the opportunity to fly to share your happy day, but like everyone else will need time to plan a trip: particularly if it involves 30 hours in the air. If you are expecting that one or several of your guests fall into this category we highly recommend save the date invitations, sent out as early as possible.
Look at you, doing things at the last minute! If you have only two or three months until your wedding day, you can save time and energy by simply sending out the wedding invitation at eight weeks with your other wedding stationery cards and avoiding the question of a save the date card. It isn’t always practical to give such advanced notice, and guests will have to understand that. Just don’t be too offended if a few can’t make it on such short notice. In the meantime, you may want to reserve some accommodation in advance and let your guests know, to ensure everything isn’t booked out by the time they start looking.
So you’ve decided you do need a save the date invitation for your wedding. Who do you need to send it to? What should you send? When do you need to send it out? How do you word the card? So many questions! Here’s everything you need to know.
While they are often referred to as ‘save the date invitations’, this is a bit misleading. A 'save the date' is a promise that an invitation is to come, but it does not contain all the information a wedding invitation requires so it cannot stand alone. Because it is a promise, however, it should be taken as seriously as an invitation. You can’t take it back once you’ve sent it!
Send save the date invitations to everyone you plan to send the wedding invitation to. There’s no point sending it people you have no intention of inviting (and this could create some awkward situations for you!), and there isn’t really any reason to leave off anyone from the guest list if you plan on sending them an official invitation anyway. Don’t panic if you leave anyone out though. Like we said, the invitations are going to follow so the worst you’re going to get is a ‘where was my save the date card, huh?’.
Save the date cards should be sent out at least three to four months ahead of time for your average wedding. Those planning destination weddings, and weddings where you expect some your guests to travel from overseas, should aim to send their save the dates out four to six months in advance, depending on how far guests will need to travel.
Traditionally, the save the date invites match the suite of wedding stationery that will follow in a few months. It is usually a simple card with just the necessary information, but you may also choose to include travel information or other relevant details if guests need to plan travel. For the non-traditional among us, there are also some alternative save the date ideas which means the card itself isn’t always absolutely necessary. For example, consider save the date magnets, save the date parcels, save the date puzzles, or another creative multimedia version of a save the date.
Save the date invitations follow a lot of the rules we’ve talking about before for wording your wedding invitation. The key is to:
The best save the date cards are simple, which means keeping to the basic who, what, when and where.
There are four things you should include in your save the date:
There are other things you can include if necessary, although in most cases these things are included in the actual invitation package sent closer to the date. You may wish to provide information about booking flights and accommodation at this early stage if you are having a destination wedding or a wedding occurring during a peak tourism season. Mostly, anything that your guests would need to prepare this far in advance, you should give them information about. For many weddings, this is nothing more than the date.
There are some things that are, according to tradition, simply not appropriate for wedding 'save the dates'. If tradition is the sort of thing you care about, you should make sure to leave these things off. In general, anything too detail-focused is frowned upon. In particular:
Save the date cards are the easiest part of wedding stationery when it comes to wording. If in doubt, it’s perfectly acceptable to stick with the bare bones of information: Your names, the date, and the city. No extra words needed. If only the wedding invitation and thank you cards were so simple! But of course your save the date invitations don’t have to be so sparse. Depending on the overall style of your wedding, and your invitations in particular, you might go for something witty, humorous, formal or romantic. Save the dates are a great opportunity to let your creativity run free, so this can be a fun chance to play with different wording ideas.
The first thing to consider is whether you have already sent out any correspondence. Did you send an announcement of your engagement or invitations to your engagement party? If so, you should avoid wording you're save the date too much like your earlier messages. If it sounds just like your engagement announcement, people are likely to be confused. You want to avoid them pausing when they check their mail and saying “Wait…Nick and Leah? Didn’t we already get this?”.
It is best, to begin with an understanding of the overall style of your wedding. This will inform the approach you take with your written correspondence. Once you have an idea of this, it’s time to get writing!
A FORMAL SAVE THE DATE:
If your wedding is going to be more of a traditional affair, you want to reflect that from the very beginning. You should make your Save the dates decadent and regal. Consider using more words to introduce information, rather than just stating the essential details. For example:
The presence of John and Elizabeth Bradbury is requested on the sixteenth of December two thousand and fifteen, for the wedding of Emma Ray and Lucas Davenport. Please reserve the date. Formal invitation to follow.
This may sound unnecessarily wordy written in a blog post, but printed on quality cardstock in a decorative script, perhaps imprinted on the page with letterpress, it fits perfectly. Your guests will think they’ve been summoned to a royal ball.
Of course, fewer words can also be delivered with a classy touch. If you just want to include the information without embellishment, consider the design of the save the date carefully to ensure it is fancy enough to fit in with the rest of your wedding plans. Elegant save the date cards will set the tone for the day as a whole.
A CASUAL SAVE THE DATE:
For casual save the date wedding invites, almost anything goes. Feel free to be creative with your wording. You could make up a rhyme, write your love story, incorporate some lyrics from a favourite song ore anything you can think of! At it’s most basic, though, you simply want to communicate the facts clearly. If the bare bones of it are not enough on their own, try this:
Please save the date! Luke and Sydney are getting hitched, January 21, 2016. Pencil it in, and we’ll get back to you with more details soon!
Save the date! Daniel and Jessie are tying the knot in Ballarat on June 3, 2016, and we want you there to celebrate with us! Invitation to come.
Just for you, we’ve put together a bunch of save the date wording ideas to help you out. First, we have a collection of snippets so you can mix and match to create your wording no matter what style you are going for! Following that is a set of templates you can use as they are or refer to for inspiration.
Below is a save the date infographic to give you the full anatomy for planning:
Save the dates invitations are your guests’ very first taste of your wedding: they establish its signature style and hint at the feel of the day. You should be able to tell from a save the date whether the wedding will be formal or casual, classic or rustic, and so on. Understandably, you’ll probably feel a lot of pressure to get your save the dates right! So if you’re having trouble deciding on a theme for your wedding stationery, and worrying about those all-too-important reminders that need to be sent out so early in the piece, you might want to consider seasonal save the date cards.
Whether you’re having a magical white winter wedding or planning a warm, relaxed summertime affair, it’s easy to reflect the season stylishly and effectively in the design of your save the date cards. Seasonal save the dates have the bonus of hinting at what to wear, as well as the style of the wedding. An autumnal save the date, for example, will immediately remind guests that they might need to bring a coat along for later in the evening!
Keep in mind that your save the dates don’t necessarily need to match your invitations and other wedding stationery. You may prefer to keep them separate and unique. If you do prefer a matching suite, though, it remains super easy to incorporate key seasonal elements, motifs and colour schemes throughout all your stationery components.
Likewise, you don’t have to incorporate the seasonal theme of your save the dates into your overall wedding décor since it will remain relevant regardless thanks to the date. So if you don’t have another particular look or theme in mind yet, a subtle seasonal option could be the perfect choice.
Let’s take a look at some save the date card options for each of the four seasons.
Shades of blue and green, from pale sea foam to deep royal blue
Shades of yellow, from bright gold to subtle sandy shades
Nautical symbols and materials e.g. anchor, rope
Summer weddings are all about embracing warm weather and enjoying the outdoors. Many summer-loving couples will choose a beach wedding, which is an easy and effective theme to work with your save the date cards. However, the seaside isn’t your only warm-weather option. Garden and vineyard weddings – any ceremonies held outdoors – are also popular, and can make for some very pretty wedding stationery.
No matter which type of summer wedding you’re having, it’s best to keep things simple with your save the dates. You don’t want to cross the line into tacky territory by plastering the cards with enough palm trees for a Hawaiian shirt! Opt for a subtle approach, using one or two key motifs and an elegant, carefully considered colour scheme.
Reds and oranges, from burnt sienna to Burgundy
Shades of brown such as chocolate and coffee
Hints of sage or forest green
Leaves and trees
The crisp air and scenic, leaf-strewn backdrop of an autumn day sets the scene for a beautiful wedding. The season’s naturally rich colour palette is ideal for stand-out stationery, too.
Autumn-themed elements work well in illustrated or photographic save the date cards. For a tactile, handmade effect, why not consider including actual pressed/dried flowers or autumn leaves? It’s the perfect chance to get creative.
Shades of blue, from frosty pale blue to dark navy
Trees (e.g. bare branches, fir trees)
Winter weddings provide the perfect opportunity to create a picturesque, striking aesthetic. From the snow-white wedding dress to the echoes of lace in a delicate snowflake, winter and weddings seem made for each other!
There are plenty of ways to incorporate this season into an elegant set of save the date cards.
Pastel, bright or mixed shades of pink, green, yellow, purple, orange
Contrasting black or white space
Flowers and plants
Insects like dragonflies or bees
Ah, spring. It’s the time of new beginnings and blossoming buds: in other words, the perfect time for a wedding. Flowers are in bloom, and the weather is getting warmer, so garden, forest or country field weddings are particularly popular in spring.
Whether it’s to accommodate your locale or only to commemorate the season, a nature-based theme is perfect for spring save the date invitations. Florals are an obvious choice – they offer a broad range of beautifully decorative options, but there are other things you can do if flowers aren’t your style. For a less ‘girly’, more neutral option, you might like to concentrate on leaves and greenery other than flowers, which can open up a beautiful, minimalistic and earthy colour palette.
Remember, this is your wedding! You want to get the guests enthusiastic from the start. A clever save the date wedding invitation will have them eagerly awaiting your full invitation.
Don’t forget that we have some great tips on wording your save the dates. We’ve got you covered!
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