Save The Date Etiquette: Your Questions Answered

When we started planning our wedding I had a million questions about the simplest of things. And Save the Date etiquette was definitely one of them.

Should I send them to everyone or just those who needed to travel? What did I put on them? How early should I send them?

If you’re in a similar muddle then this post is here to answer all those questions and more!

I just want to make one thing clear. Just because there is a so-called ‘etiquette’ when it comes to wedding stationery, it does NOT mean that you need to do things in the same way.

You should pick and choose what works for you. So, please take the below as a guide – NOT the only way to do things.

1. Do you have to send Save the Dates?

The short answer to this is no. Save the Dates aren’t always necessary.

You can consider skipping them in situations where:

  • You’re getting married with a short lead-time – you might as well just send the full invitations and not waste money on doubling up with Save the Dates.
  • You’re getting married in your local area and your engagement is well known – you probably don’t need to give most guests a heads up in this scenario.

Save the Dates are very useful in the following situations:

  • You’re having a destination wedding – sending a Save the Date gives them enough lead time to make arrangements.
  • You’re having a no-children wedding – giving your guests more notice will make it easier for them to organize childcare.
  • Your wedding is at a super popular time of year/ a special occasion – a heads up will make sure your guests don’t make other plans for that time.

Either way, it’s totally up to you. There are no Wedding Police to arrest you for making the wrong decision!

2. When to send Save the Dates?

General guidance for Save the Date etiquette is to send them anything from 6 to 12 months in advance. But, clearly for this to happen, you need to have the date and general location of the wedding set.

I’d advise giving guests as much advance notice as possible in the case of destination weddings. For a more local affair, you can get away with sending the heads up a bit nearer the date of the wedding.

You’ll generally want to follow up with the full wedding invitations no later than 6-8 weeks before the wedding.

3. What to include on a Save a Date?

A Save the Date doesn’t need to be detailed. There are only 3 crucial pieces of information to include:

  • Your names (unless you’re using a photo as your Save the Date template, in which case your guests should know whose wedding it is!)
  • The general location – City or high-level area is fine. You don’t need to have your venue decided on at this point.
  • The date of the wedding.
  • You can also consider adding your wedding website address to direct people to information regarding travel and accommodation.

When it comes to Save the Date etiquette, the one thing you shouldn’t add is an RSVP. Guests are not going to expect to have to respond to your Save the Date – leave that for the invitation stage.

4. Whose name goes first on Save the Date cards?

The generally accepted Save the Date name order is for the Bride’s name to come before the Groom.

This follows from the tradition of the Bride’s parents formally issuing invitations, so their daughter’s name would come first. While Save the Dates are a newer tradition, the order of names still follows the same rule.

But, feel free to mix it up!

5. Do you put last names on Save the Dates?

If you’re opting for a more traditional wedding then you may want to use your first and last names on the Save the Date card. However, Save the Dates do tend to be a bit more informal than invitations and many designs you find will only have room for your first names.

6. How to include hotel information on Save the Dates

You won’t have much room on your Save the Date, so the best way to do this is to set up a wedding website and put the link on the card.

Wedding Websites are really useful in this case – you can give your guests information on your wedding venue and travel arrangements, ask them to RSVP online or list your wedding registry without taking up valuable space on your save the dates and invitations.

7. Do Save the Dates and Invitations have to match?

Not necessarily. I’m not a fan of very matchy-matchy weddings, but it can be nice to ensure they’re cohesive.

So for example, if you’re having a country wedding, then a pretty stamped luggage tag Save the Date would be lovely followed by rustic invitation and RSVP cards.

Or, you can opt for a full matching stationery suite so that every item from the Save the Date to the Menus are part of a set. The only downside to that is that you need to have your colors/ theme set in stone from a very early stage.

Read more: RSVP Wording Examples You Can Steal For Your Wedding Invitations

8. How much should you spend on Save the Dates?

This depends entirely on your budget.

You might decide to splash out on bespoke designed Save the Dates, or (like in our case) this could be an area where you decide to save some cash. Here are some ideas to help you keep things on budget:

Cheap Save The Date Ideas

Don’t send them

Ok, so the cheapest idea of all is to NOT send Save the Dates! But, if you want them then consider the following:

Sending Save the Dates by Email

Sending an eCard is a free and eco-friendly choice. Check out Evite and Paperless Post for some lovely options.

Free Save the Date Templates

There are tons of free printable Save the Date cards on the internet, just do a search. You can grab my free watercolor template right here. This isn’t a completely free option as you’ll have to print them, but this doesn’t need to be expensive.

By the time you buy card, envelopes and ink, it might be cheaper to outsource the printing. If you’re in the UK then try – I used them for my own wedding stationery printing and they were awesome. If you’re US-based then I hear great things about Vistaprint!

Create your own Save the Date cards

Some options to consider for DIY Save the Dates:

Personalized Wedding Stamps

I handmade our Save the Dates using kraft card and a personalized rubber wedding stamp that I purchased from Etsy.

Design your own Save the Date Cards

I have a few tutorials to help you design your own cards. I use my all-time favorite online invitation maker, It’s not completely free as you might want to purchase your own fonts and graphics to use in the design, but this is super cheap.

Read more: 12 Alternatives for Wedding Confetti: The Ultimate Guide

Wrapping Up

As you can tell, I DON’T believe that there’s only one right way of doing things.

I’ve attempted to answer all the most common Save the Date questions in this post, but please, feel free to do your own thing… I’m all for doing weddings YOUR way!

Got more Save the Date etiquette questions? Hit me up in the comments!

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Meet The Author

Hey! I’m Maria Sullivan, the owner and main writer behind All The Pretty Paper. I spent 10 years of my life running a boutique wedding planning agency, and I now enjoy giving my expertise and resources away online so I can reach a broader audience and help more folks get married :).