Congratulations on your engagement! If you’ve finished celebrating and telling friends and family, and have finally chosen that all-too-important date, it might be time to consider letting your guest list know! A pre-invitation to the event to notify loved ones, distant cousins and high school sweethearts of the upcoming event and is the official announcement of your wedding date. It let’s guests know that they can expect an invitation and to reserve the date.
If you’re wedding requires travel or is around a holiday this can be especially important, as it tells guests to start planning to be there. As your first interaction with your wedding guests, most couples will be anxious to get this right and put their best foot-forward as they approach newly married life. Below are answers to some important questions when getting save the date cards ready.
Are they a requirement, won’t the invitation do?
Of course you don’t have to send one if you don’t want to. If you have a small, intimate guest list and are having a wedding close to home, your guests will probably know your chosen date as soon as you do! A pre-invitation ahead of the official invite might be a bit superfluous and an unnecessary cost.
However, destination weddings, weekend long events or costly high class affairs are becoming increasingly en-vogue and so your guests might appreciate an early heads up so that they can begin to plan and save as quickly as possible. Weddings are expensive for everyone involved, especially members of the wedding party, so ensuring you give your guests as much time as possible to plan is courteous. It will also help your guests to avoid disappointing you – it would be terrible if they missed out on attending your big day because they couldn’t afford it.
If your family is traditional, Save-the-Date cards are often expected as well, and can be important keepsakes to close family and you as the official announcement of your wedding date.
When do they need to be sent?
Generally, around 6-8 months is the best time to send out invitation cards. You might want to send them a little bit earlier if you are having a wedding that requires travel or requires guests to pay for their own accommodation or any other expenses. If you send them any earlier, guests may forget to make arrangements for the date. If you send them later, you should expect a larger number of declined RSVP’s.
Who should you send them to?
Send your Save-the-date cards to anyone you want at your wedding! This includes close family and friends or anyone who has been with you since day on of your engagement and told you verbally that they will be there, it is still polite to send an confirmation of the date. Just ensure you are only sending them out to people you definitely want to attend, it is considered very poor manners to not follow up with an invitation and is paramount to dis-inviting a guest. You could very quickly lose friends by not following through on your promises, it is much easier to politely explain that you are trying to keep the guest list small rather than back-peddling.
What details should be included?
At 6-8 months out from the wedding, chances are you don’t have all the details hashed out – that’s not a problem. The Save-the-Date card is not intended to have all the information included, that’s what the invitation is for. You really only need to include the highlights; your names and wedding date announcements, location (if you know it) and a notice of when to expect the formal invitation. If you’re going to have a wedding website where guests can access information about your wedding or wedding registry, the pre-invite is a good place to include the URL.
Don’t include an RSVP
It might be tempting to try and gather a headcount early using your Save-the-Date cards, as it would certainly help with catering and venue requirements, but chances are this will not go as planned. The long stretch of time will increase the likelihood that guests will put of and forget RSVPing altogether, or a likelihood that circumstances will change for them, so an initial ‘yes’ or ‘no’ reply might change later on and add to wedding planning headaches. A lot can change in half a year!
Do indicate if plus ones are invited
It’s best to get this out of the way as early as possible. If you’re inviting someone and know that they will likely want to bring the whole family along and there just isn’t room, try to make this as clear as possible from the early stages of the wedding and include this on your Save-the Date card. This avoids bigger problems later on with assume guests or upset family and friends.
If you follow these simple guidelines for Save-the-Date cards it will ensure that everything will run smoothly and you’ll be well prepared to send out your eagerly anticipated wedding invitations to you guests.
Megan DeGrom was born and raised in New Jersey just outside the Pine Barrons. As a journalist, Megan has contributed to many online publications including Rotten Tomatoes and Variety. In regards to academics, Megan earned a degree in business from St. John’s University. Megan covers economy stories here at Clear Publicist.