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save the dates

by | Jun 14, 2010 | Uncategorized | 4 comments

Save the Dates are an important aspect of any destination or multi-day wedding.  They’re also important if a substantial portion of your guestlist will be travelling to your local wedding.  There’s all sorts of advice about save the dates available and some of it is great.  Some of it’s not worth the keystrokes that brought it to your monitor, though.

I’m a firm believer of the “put yourself in your guests’ shoes” policy.  If you treat your guests as you’d like to be treated, you stand a much better chance of avoiding conflict and misunderstanding.

Here are five things to think about as you plan to meet with your stationer for your save the date:

1} finding your rhythm | the timing of save the dates

There is no clear consensus on this one.  Emily Post says to send them out 3-6 months in advance or earlier; well, what’s earlier?  You’ll often find the recommendation of sending your save the dates 6-12 months in advance of your wedding.  Let your own taste be your guide here.  Would you find 3 months’ notice that your cousin is getting married a continent-and-a-half away acceptable?  If not, certainly don’t expect your guests to be OK with it.  If you would find it acceptable, think of the most curmudgeonly bellyacher on your guestlist and imagine his reaction.  If even he’d be cool with it, you’re fine.

Generally, the more difficult or expensive travel will be for your guests, the earlier you need to let them know.  This will cause great joy for the deal-sniping members of your guestlist, who will have expedia, travelocity, kayak, and priceline all open before the letter opener leaves the hand.

My one hard and fast rule: if guests have to ask which June 20th, it’s too far out.  Absolutely don’t send it out more than a year ahead of time!

2} eenie, meenie, meinee, mo | who’s gonna get one?

It’s OK not to send a save the date to everyone you invite to your wedding, but it is absolutely not OK to send someone a save the date, but not an invitation.  Even if your former college roommate says they can’t round up the scratch for your Bahamian weekend of love, they still get an invite.  Sending a save the date is a compact with the recipient that says “I’m sending you an invitation later.”  In fact, this is often (and, under most conditions, should be) written on the save the date.

Bottom line: every std recipient gets an invitation.

3} who’s that guy? | addressing save the dates

Here’s a sticky one.  Want your third cousin to bring her grifter boyfriend of three weeks to your wedding festivities (where he subsequently hits on every bridesmaid)?  Then leave it to wonder whether or not she can bring someone.  It is best to leave the “and guest” for the formal invitation.  Only send save the dates to actual, named people who you want at your wedding.

4} skinny dip to follow | what to include

If there are unique or costly events associated with your wedding, now is a great time to let your guests know.  Are you inviting all of your guests to a day of golf at a $150/round course?  Let them know the event and location in the save the date.  They can Google it for an idea of the costs involved.  If you’ve got a hot air balloon ride scheduled, your acrophobic guests might appreciate fair warning.  While design may dictate less information, it is best to give your guests fair warning.  This is another domain where it pays to put yourself in your guests’ shoes.

5} mixed signals | a sdt fitting of your wedding

Plenty of places will tell you your save the dates don’t have to be related to your wedding’s theme or the rest of the stationery.  That’s true.

If you’ve already got your theme in mind, though, why not include it in your save the date?  Save the dates set the tone for your wedding.  If you’re having a formal affair, a custom viewmaster std probably won’t make sense.  And if it’s a beach party cum wedding, a paisley and silk save the date will be completely out of place.


For some save the date inspiration, check out our state of the art post on them.

What would you add to this list?

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