When to Send out Save the Dates, According to 6 Experts

Are save the dates really necessary?

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When is the proper time to send them out?

Emilie Dulles

Emilie Dulles

Protocol & Event Printing Expert | Owner, Dulles Designs

Since most weddings nowadays are destination weddings for many of the guests invited, your “save the dates” will be especially critical to communicate a smooth and effective wedding planning process they will be eager to attend.

Take note of the actual wedding date and destination

Stunning save the dates help boost pre-event buzz, set the tone for your wedding’s style and time of day, and also share critical travel details for your guests who will be venturing from near and far to celebrate with you and your family.

Don’t scrimp on quality or dare use e-vite “save the dates”. Make an elegant and memorable first impression of the wedding, since it will be one of the most important celebrations of your life.

The more popular your wedding date and the more remote your wedding destination, the sooner your “save the dates” should be mailed.

Nine to twelve months for weddings on holidays and popular locations

This is especially true, if your wedding will be held on a busy holiday weekend –– say President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or Thanksgiving –– or in a popular location that requires advance booking and travel logistics –– say remote islands, hard-to-reach mountain top resorts, European villages, or New York City, Charleston, or Palm Beach.

In these cases, your save the dates should be hand-canceled and in the mail from nine to twelve months before your wedding date.

If you mail your “save the dates” too far out from your wedding dates –– say two years to 18 months out –– your guests will likely lose your save the date in the shuffle of life, or forget to make their travel plans in a timely fashion. Consult with your venue and wedding planner to get the timing exactly right.

I always recommend that your “save the dates” be printed and mailed six to nine months out to give your guests ample time to secure your wedding date on their social calendars and have access to the best flight and hotel options and rates, including other arrangements.

Related: What to Wear to a Beach Wedding

Four to six months for local weddings

If your wedding is going to be held in your hometown, with only a few guests traveling to celebrate with your wedding weekend, then your save the dates can be mailed six to four months out.

The secret is to have an uber-accurate guest list, with perfectly spelled names, addresses, and zip codes –– triple checked by your wedding stationer –– prior to calligraphy or digital printing.

Skip “save the dates” if the wedding is in less than four months

If your wedding planning timeline is less than 4 months out, you may consider skipping the save the dates entirely send your wedding invitations as soon as you have all the critical details confirmed: ceremony and reception location(s), time(s), and any travel or transportation information.

Tips on setting up your “save the dates”

Work with a seasoned stationer who also offers calligraphy and full-service wedding printing.

One who can help you with invitation design, logistical information, protocol, and eventual wedding programs. This cohesive system is especially helpful for destination weddings with extra travel and wedding party logistics that may progress or change slightly for all your guests as the date approaches.

Don’t make the mistake of going DIY right after getting engaged or before your wedding venue and plans have been confirmed.

Avoid ordering something quick and cheap online merely giving your guests your wedding date and location. Save the dates today are as important and impactful as your wedding invitation.

It is also often more costly and sometimes too late to include all hotel, travel, logistical details in your wedding invitations –– information that could and should have been included in your save the dates.

Lastly, when selecting a designer for your “save the dates”, consider the color palette and design of your wedding invitations and other event stationery.

There should be a distinct cohesiveness throughout each printed piece, especially if you will be having a seated dinner and custom menu.

Your “save the dates”, invitations, and wedding programs don’t all have to match 100%, but they should work together graphically and color coordinate. If they are all too different, your guests will be confused as to which type of wedding you will be planning, worry about what to wear, and perceive your wedding weekend as a bit too chaotic.

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Risa Weaver-Enion

Risa Weaver-Enion

Owner & Chief Wedding Planner, Risa James Events

Save-the-dates should be sent at different times, depending on your specific situation

  • If your wedding is taking place in another country, it’s best to send them 9-12 months in advance of the wedding.
    This gives guests plenty of notice to begin making travel plans and stock-piling vacation days, if necessary.
  • If your wedding is not an international affair, but many of your guests will need to travel domestically, send save-the-dates about six months in advance.
    Again, it gives people time to make plans. Even if a guest notifies you that they can’t attend, it’s polite to send an invitation if you’ve already sent them a save-the-date.
  • Send save-the-dates via email as soon as you have a date secured. This is for planning a wedding in a short timeframe (six months or less).
  • If the majority of your guests are local to where your wedding is taking place, save-the-dates aren’t necessary. But if you would still like to send them, six months out is standard.

Stephanie Sica

Stephanie Sica

Founder & CEO, Orchard and Broome, LLC

Take note of the wedding location

There are a few factors to consider in determining the timing of your save-the-date send-off.

First and foremost, if you’re planning a destination wedding that requires a lot more coordination on the part of your guests (ie – flights, hotel bookings, and so on), allow anywhere from 8-to-12 months lead time before your wedding day.

On the other hand, if your affair is local, save-the-dates can be sent between 3-4 months prior, with invites to follow about 2 months before the big day.

Laura Hatton

Laura Hatton

Director, Hatton & Co.

These should be sent out at around the 12 months mark

With a year to go, most people should be free to attend. They’re less likely to have booked a holiday or have a hospital appointment scheduled in.

With that in mind, making sure you’ve sent out a very quick, informal text to the majority of your guests before committing to anything is a great rule of thumb. This will likely include the main guests and immediate family because these people will usually be the most important to the bride and groom.

Melissa Jakes

Melissa Jakes

CEO & Founder, RESCUE Event Planning, LLC

There are a couple of factors that make a difference on when a save the date should be mailed out or emailed out.

  • If the event falls on a holiday weekend or holiday, please send it out 9-12 months out in advance, this allows guest to properly plan since their traditional plans will have to be adjusted to make room for your event.
  • If the event does not fall on a holiday weekend or holiday 6-9 months is a great time to send out save the dates. The key is the earlier the better!

Retno Dwinika

Retno Dwinika

Wedding Planner, Amora Bali Weddings

An ideal timeframe would be at least 1 year before the wedding

Book the venue before you send out all the save the dates. After the venue is fully booked, that’s when you want to send out the save the dates as soon as possible.

Having a destination wedding already creates a challenge for your guests to attend as there will be some planning involved. Your guests will obviously need to save some cash, reserve their holiday days, book tickets and arrange their accommodations in order to witness your big day.

In the case of destination weddings, the save the dates are more important than ever. Once you have an idea of how many guests confirmed their attendance, you will have an idea of how many people you can expect for the next arrangements (food, furniture, favors, etc.)

Your guests will be grateful when they receive a notice earlier. The earlier, the bigger the chances that you’ll see “Yes, please count me in! :)” as a response.

People tend to plan things long in advance. You just have to make sure that you secure your big date long before your potential guests have their own plans!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Save the Dates?

A “Save the Date” is a pre-invitation that is sent out to guests before the official invitation to let them know about an upcoming event, such as a wedding, a milestone birthday celebration, or a big family reunion. 

The purpose of a Save the Date is to give your guests a heads-up about the event and give them enough time to plan and prepare. Here’s why you might want to send a Save the Date:

Give guests plenty of time: By sending out a Save the Date several months in advance, you’re giving your guests enough time to make necessary arrangements.

Avoid scheduling conflicts: By letting your guests know about the event early, you’re giving them a chance to make sure they’re free on the event date and avoid scheduling conflicts.

Get everyone excited: A Save the Date can be a fun and exciting way to get everyone pumped up for the event. It can be as formal or as creative as you like and can set the tone for the event to come.

Make sure everyone’s on the same page: By including important information such as the date, location, and dress code in your Save the Date, you’re making sure that everyone’s on the same page and knows what to expect.

How early is too early to send out Save the Dates?

Sending out Save the Dates too early can be just as problematic as sending them too late. Here’s a general guideline for when to send out Save the Dates:

Ideal time: 6 to 8 months before the event. This gives guests enough time to plan and prepare but not so much time that they forget about the event.

Too early: Sending out Save the Dates more than a year in advance is usually too early. People’s schedules can change, and it’s possible that some guests may not be able to attend the event.

Too late: Sending out Save the Dates less than 4 months before the event is usually too late. This gives guests very little time to plan and prepare, and may result in scheduling conflicts or last-minute cancellations.

Who goes first on Save the Dates, the bride or the groom?

Traditionally, the bride’s name is listed first on a “Save the Date” for a wedding. This is because the wedding is considered the bride’s special day, and her name is typically the one associated with the event.

However, it’s becoming increasingly common for the bride and groom’s names to be listed together without any particular order. For example: “Together with their families, [Bride’s Name] and [Groom’s Name] invite you to save the date for their wedding.”

Overall, the order in which the names are listed is a personal decision of the couple. If the bride and groom prefer to have their names listed together, or if they have a unique way of presenting their names, that’s perfectly fine.

Can I send out Save the Dates if my wedding venue or details are not confirmed yet?

Yes, you can still send out Save the Dates even if you haven’t confirmed all the details of your wedding. When sending out Save the Dates without all the details confirmed, it’s a good idea to include:

The date: Make sure to include the date of the wedding, even if the time is not confirmed yet.

The location: If the exact venue is not confirmed yet, include the city or general area where the wedding will take place.

The hosts: Include the names of the bride and groom to let guests know who is organizing the event.

A note about the details: Let guests know that more information, such as the venue and time, will be provided at a later date.

What can I write instead of “save the dates”?

“Save the Date” is a common and well-recognized phrase, but if you’re looking for a more unique or creative way to phrase your pre-invitation, here are some alternatives that you can consider:

• “Hold the date for [bride and groom’s names]’s wedding!”

• “Mark your calendars for [bride and groom’s names]’s big day!”

• “Set aside the date for [bride and groom’s names]’s wedding celebration!”

• “Reserve the date for [bride and groom’s names]’s special day!”

• “Don’t miss [bride and groom’s names]’s wedding—save the date!”

Can I send out digital Save the Dates?

Yes, you can definitely send out digital Save the Dates! In fact, digital Save the Dates have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the convenience and cost-effectiveness of sending them electronically.

Here are some of the benefits of sending digital Save the Dates:

Cost: Digital Save the Dates are less expensive than traditional paper Save the Dates.

Convenience: Digital Save the Dates can be sent quickly and easily, and can be customized to fit the event.

Environmentally friendly: Digital Save the Dates eliminate the need for paper, ink, and postage.

Easy to track: Digital Save the Dates allow for easy tracking of who has received the invitation and who has RSVP’d.

What is the best way to word my Save the Dates?

The wording of your Save the Dates should reflect the style and tone of your event, as well as your personal taste and preferences. Here are some tips to help you choose the best wording for your Save the Dates:

Be clear and concise: Keep the wording simple and to the point, as your guests will appreciate having all the important information in one place.

Personalize it: Make your Save the Dates unique and personal by including a special message or a favorite quote. This can help set the tone for your event and make your guests feel special.

Get creative: If you want to add a creative touch to your Save the Dates, consider using humor, a play on words, or a pun. This can help make your Save the Dates memorable and fun.

Consider the tone: Make sure the wording of your Save the Dates reflects the tone of your event. For example, use more formal language if your event is a formal wedding.

Proofread: Before sending out your Save the Dates, make sure to proofread them carefully to ensure that all the information is accurate and that there are no spelling or grammar errors.

Is it necessary to send out Save the Dates?

Save the Dates are not an essential part of wedding planning, but they can be useful in certain situations.

If you are planning a destination wedding or if many of your guests will need to travel a significant distance to attend, Save the Dates can be a helpful way to give guests plenty of advance notice to make travel arrangements.

Additionally, if your wedding is happening during a busy time of year, such as a holiday weekend, then Save the Dates can help ensure your guests clear their schedules in advance.

Finally, Save the Dates can also be a fun and creative way to excite your guests about your wedding and build anticipation for the big day.

What is the difference between Save the Dates and an invitation?

Save the Dates are typically sent out 6-12 months before the wedding and serve as a preliminary heads up to guests about the date and location of the wedding. They are not as formal as invitations and often include less information.

Invitations, on the other hand, are typically sent out 4-6 weeks before the wedding and provide all the necessary details about the wedding ceremony and reception, such as the date, time, location, dress code, and RSVP information. Invitations are typically more formal and serve as a formal request for guests to attend the wedding.

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