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  • Erica Shupe-Dietrich

Do I really need a Save the Date?

I see this question come up on wedding planning groups, blogs and websites all the time. Naturally when people find out I have my own stationery studio, they expect me to tell them ‘of course you need save the dates, how could you possibly skip them?’

So, do you really need a Save the Date? My honest answer: not always.

Originally Save the Dates started as a courtesy to guests who would have to travel to destination weddings. The idea was a polite heads up to give guests plenty of time to make financial, travel, childcare and work arrangements in order to attend the wedding. However they quickly took the wedding world by storm as the first little peek into wedding land for couples and their guests.

For many couples, Save the Dates are an unneeded expense. Sure, they’re fun to have, but like that shimmery isle runner or chair covers at a wedding reception, sometimes you have to ask, do I really need this? Save the Dates can range from a printable or kit to DIY, to the elaborate, with the average cost somewhere around $2-$6 CAD each plus postage, so when you’re talking spending a chunk of your stationery budget, you want to make sure you're spending on elements for your wedding that you really want and need.

6 Save the Date tips

1) Send out save-the-dates if…

  • You are getting married at a destination that will require your guests to travel. This could be flying to a hot and sunny destination, crossing state/provincial/territorial lines or driving more than a couple of hours away from where most of your guest list lives. This allows guests time to make travel arrangements like flights and accommodation

  • You are getting married at the same time as a lot of your friend group- this avoids duplication of wedding dates

  • You are getting married on a long weekend or other culturally significant day that people may need to make special arrangements for

2) Keep it simple!

Your Save the Dates don’t have to be as elaborate as your invitations to be beautiful and exciting to receive. Keep them simple and save the big excitement- both in aesthetic and event details- for your invitations. While your Save the Dates should still communicate something about the formality and tone of your day, you don't need to create something as elaborate as your wedding invitations to make an impression.

3) Stop before you send!

As exciting as it is to send save-the-dates out right away there are two surprising mistakes I see all too often. The first is couples who have a date in mind and send their save-the date regardless of whether or not they have confirmed a venue. The second, are couples who don’t first take a careful look at their guest list and send save-the-dates out only to those who know they are able to have to the wedding.

4) Send your save-the-dates out on time

On time, meaning a minimum of 6 months before the wedding day, but more optimally 8-12 months beforehand. If you send the Save the Date out too late, your invitation tends to lose impact- and that is the stationery investment you really want people to pay attention to.

5) But don’t rush it!

I often tell my clients that wedding invitations are the first real glimpse guests get of their big day. You can tell by the language, tone of wording, fonts, colours, design, and even paper, what the day is going to be like. Think about it- you put so much thought and effort into your day, you want that to show! But if you send out a Save the Date, this is your first impression… so it should match, or at least coordinate with your wedding invitations! Begin with the end in mind- even if you don’t have an exact idea, pick one common thread- like a font or design element you know you want to carry through to your invitations and use that as a prominent feature in your Save the Dates. Enlisting the help of a pro early on in the process will help, but even if you go it alone, taking the time to really think through an idea before you send your save-the-dates out will help build consistency and make your invitations stand out even more!

6) You don’t have to send them to everyone!

Yes, you read that right. You might not actually need save-the-dates for your entire guest list. Word gets around pretty quickly to those who are important (and sometimes those who aren’t) that you’re getting married and the closer people are to you, the more details they’ll probably know. So it is completely acceptable to send save-the-dates only to those on your guest list that will be traveling from far away, or may have a lot of work or family obligations.

And there you have it! Have a tip I missed? Post it in the comments, or visit us on Facebook to leave your idea there!

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