rustic coastal save the date card, luggage tag style with twine

What are wedding save the date cards and what is the point of them?

Wedding save the date cards have been around since the mid 2000’s and have really gained popularity over the last 10 years or so. But (I hear you say, frequently!), what actually is the point of save the date cards?

Simply put, they announce your wedding date to your intended guests and ask them to keep the date free. They are a nice way to say – pencil us in, don’t book anything else on this day because we’re getting married, more details coming. A great idea, I’m sure you’ll agree, but there are a few questions I am frequently asked about them. I’ll try to answer some of those here.

pretty pencil us in wedding save the date card with ivory ribbon bow

Are wedding save the date cards really necessary?

No, not at all (I know, I know, I make wedding stationery, I should be telling you yes!) they are not essential. However, they can be very useful for weddings at certain times of the year. If you’re planning your big day around the peak summer ‘wedding season’ then the earlier you can let your guests know the better. You don’t want to be double booked with your second cousin twice removed. Same applies for other busy times of the year when families may be planning holidays. Also think about whether your guests need to book time off work, sometimes they need to do this a long time in advance.

Save the date cards are really useful for destination weddings where you may want your guests to book more time off work and book flights, accommodation etc.

So why not send my invitations out straight away?

Good question. Of course, you could – if you have all the details ironed out. Do you have the timings finalised? Do your guests need to pre-order a menu choice & have you decided what that will be? Have you nailed down your final guest list (bearing in mind your wedding could still be 18 months to 2 years away)? If you don’t have all these things finalised then you probably aren’t ready to have formal invitations printed yet.

Burgundy and navy flowers design wedding save the date cards

OK, so what information should we put on them?

The beauty of wedding save the date cards is that they need very little detail. Just your names, date and event venue if you want to mention it. It’s a way of putting a relatively inexpensive marker in the calendar with the invitation to follow, containing those all important details. Of course, if you want to include a link to a wedding website, it’s a great opportunity to do this and keep all your guests up to date throughout your wedding planning.

Rustic luggage tag style save the date card with blue watercolour splash and twine

When should we send wedding save the dates?

To get the most benefit from your save the save cards, send them as early as is practically possible. As soon as you have booked your date and wedding venue, you are good to go. This is usually around 12 to 18 months ahead of your wedding day but can be up to 2 years in advance. I don’t usually advise sending save the dates if your wedding is less than a year away, often in this case it’s more cost effective to just send your invitations a little earlier.

calendar style wedding save the date cards with eucalyptus wreath design

Who do we send save the dates to? 

I’ve already mentioned that, at the time of sending save the date cards, you may not have finalised your guest list. So how do you know who to send them to? Here’s my advice: Send your wedding save the dates only to those guests on your ‘A list’, those friends and family that you 100% want to be there on your big day. Those guests on the ‘definitely maybe’ list? I wouldn’t send a save the date to them. In my opinion there would be nothing worse, as a guest, than receiving a save the date card for a wedding which you don’t then receive an invitation to.

When budgeting for and ordering save the date cards, remember that you will need one per couple, family or household not one per guest. Don’t over order!

Do they go to evening guests?

Generally, no, you don’t need to send a save the date to your evening guests. The chances are that your guest list for the after party will be a lot more undecided anyway, and so the previous point applies. That said, I have made ‘save the evening’ cards for couples before, so it can be done. I would simply advise, if you decide to do this, that you make it very obvious it is a pre-invite to the evening reception only. You don’t want any guests confused as to which part of the celebration they are invited to.

rustic floral save the date card with calendar design

Do you put RSVP on wedding save the date cards?

You wouldn’t normally ask your guests to reply to a save the date card. The formal RSVP request will be in the wedding invitation. However, you may find that, when they receive a save the date if a guest already knows that they won’t be able to make it they will let you know. This can help with planning your guest list and managing guest numbers.

woodland theme save the date card

What if I don’t know my colour scheme yet?

Wedding save the date cards can be a great way to give your guests their very first glimpse of the style and theme of celebration to come. Don’t worry too much about colours at this stage, think more about getting the right tone and style as well as reflecting your personalities. For example, if you are planning a formal, black tie wedding then a crisp white card with elegant black calligraphy would be the perfect choice. For a destination wedding perhaps a luggage tag style would be more fitting.

Pencil us in wedding save the date word graphic

So what’s the point of wedding save the date cards?

They are not essential but they are a great way to give your guests plenty of notice of your upcoming wedding. Sending them well in advance (up to 2 years) allows your friends and family to prepare, arrange time off work and most importantly not to double book themselves. They can give a little glimpse of the celebration to come without needing to to include all the finer details. Send them to those most important guests that you don’t want to be without on your big day. You don’t need to include an RSVP. Finally remember that you only need one per couple, family or household.

If you have any questions about wedding save the date cards, or would like me to design some for you, please get in touch!

More wedding save the date cards inspiration on my Pinterest board here.

You might also like to read my blog: 5 handmade save the date card ideas.

what's the point of save the date cards
wedding save the date decorative text block

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