Save the dates are a fairly new addition to the wedding scene, although they have so quickly become part of the etiquette of the day they are often included in essential wedding checklists. If you’ve been wondering why you’re essentially sending out a pre-invitation, invitation, you’re not alone.
For couples on a tight budget or those who are trying to strip away formality and fuss it can feel like invitation overkill. Like every aspect of your wedding day, there is no one size fits all approach but there are some situations where it makes good sense to give your guests a little extra time to plan for the day. Here are a few key questions to consider if you’re trying to decide whether you need to save the date.
If you’re holding your wedding both close to home and to the area your guests live it may be possible to forego Save The Dates. If, on the other hand, you’re getting married on a tropical island then you should give your guests as much notice to scrimp, save and organise as possible. Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular as our festival style 3-day affairs. Use common sense to determine how much impact your wedding could have on your guest’s schedule and if it will require time off work or a trip far away, give them a heads up.
The average length of engagement is 14 months, but there is really no such thing as a standard engagement period. Some couples are keen to get the ceremony fixed in as soon as possible while others need months or years to create their ideal day. Save the dates are usually sent out between 6 to 8 months pre-wedding, so if your plans mean your wedding is going to take place sooner then it’s probably not practical or necessary to send out save the dates. Another important factor in scheduling your wedding is to consider just when in the week and in the year, it’s taking place. If it’s happening on a usual work day, over peak holiday season or on a bank holiday it’s helpful to give your guests chance to arrange their diary or book in days off work.
A general thumb is that bijou weddings of 50 guests or under are less likely to require a save the date. If the guests are all close family and friends, chances are they will be aware of the day and have cleared the space in their calendar as soon as you have the venue tied down. If you’re inviting a larger number of guests, those from further away or even out of the country, save the dates are a useful courtesy to allow them more time to ensure they can get to you.
All the practical considerations in the world can fly straight out of the window if you have seen some incredibly gorgeous save the date cards that you can’t live without. Like choosing your colour scheme or the music for your first dance, this comes down to personal preference. If you do choose to make this part of your wedding prep than there are a huge number of ways to go about it. From magnets to personalised pencils, you can make your save the dates fun, personal, and budget friendly. They absolutely don’t have to match with your scheme and they can be a lovely way to generate an initial buzz amongst your family friends. Details can be pretty basic at this stage including, clearly, the date and the names of the attendees you would like to be there. Beware though, once your save the dates are issued there is no going back or shifting around your guesting decisions. This is setting your guest list in stone at an early stage so proceed with caution.
Still not sure whether you’re a save the dater? Electronic save the dates can be a great halfway house if you aren’t sure whether you want to go to the trouble or expense of sending out physical reminders. With a little ingenuity and IT smarts, you can create a pretty email that ensures everyone holds your date in their diary.