You’re recently engaged and you just booked your venue! The date is set, deposit paid and you’re ready for whatever comes next. It seems like the next logical step is to let everyone know the when and where so they can mark their calendars and get excited, but deep down you’re wondering…do I really need to send save the dates?
There are two answers to this question and the one that applies to you depends on a few different details such as, finances, date, location and social challenges. There is a little bit of strategy involved here, but no matter which way you go, if you work through these questions, whatever you decide will be worth it.
To begin with, there is likely a question within the question. By wondering if you even need to send save the dates, you might actually just be asking…could I better spend that money somewhere else, will people come if I don’t send the announcement, will the invitation arrive early enough for people to make plans, or is this going to cause chaos with the guest list and the rest of the planning process? These are all completely legitimate questions, and if you’re thinking about them, you’re on the ball!
So here is the answer to your question “Do I need to send save the dates?”
If you’re having an at home wedding and most of your invited guests live within 100 miles:
You can save the time and cash by making a phone call or sending an email to any out-of-town guests you would really love to have attend, to let them know the date.
If you’re already arguing about the guest list with your parents:
Save yourself an additional fight and don’t send them. Tell the friends you intend to invite the date via a phone call or email so they can make a note, and skip the mail outs. This way, when the invites go out and you get that no RSVP from your Mom’s stylist, or anyone else you were forced to invite, it’ll be no skin off your back because you didn’t want them there anyway.
If you really would rather spend that $100 (or more, of course) on something else:
An extra $100 towards your invitation suite could make a big difference in quality. Or an extra $100 in your honeymoon fund might buy a fancy meal or extra excursion. When you’re working within a budget, as most couples planning weddings are, every time you say yes to spending money on one thing, you are saying no to spending money on something else.
If your engagement is less than six months:
Short engagements aren’t just for military couples and ultra wealthy people anymore. Lots of couples are in their late 20’s and financially independent, so they’re opting to skip the year long (or more) planning fiasco and just do it on the first available date. Save the dates are normally sent out about 6-9 months prior to the wedding date. If you’re coming in under that time frame, but are in one of the situations in the Yes section below, it’s best to get in contact personally with your must have guests, so they can start planning immediately.
If you’re getting married in a location where half (or more) of your guests would need to travel more than 100 miles to attend:
Destination Weddings and Honeymoons considers a wedding 100 miles or more from where the couple lives to be a destination wedding. Obviously there is more than one way to look at this, especially for couples who live across the country from the majority of their families. So in general, if a reasonable percentage of you guests must travel 100 miles or more…you’re having a destination wedding, as far as they’re concerned. At this distance people will be more likely to need to book a hotel room. If it’s even further, they may also need to book transportation and take time off of work. If you’re concerned about getting as many people to your wedding as possible, do send save the dates in this situation.
If you’re getting married on a holiday or holiday weekend:
In this particular situation it’s a good idea to send them, unless you’re not super attached to having a full turnout. Weddings during the timeframe of Thanksgiving to New Years Day, over Memorial or Labor Day weekends, 4th of July week, President’ s week, spring break, Easter weekend, or any of your family’s religious holidays, or your country’s national holidays, if you live or are getting married outside the U.S., might fare better with the heads up a save the date provides. These tend to be the times of year people take family vacations or have a higher number of social commitments with family and friends, so sending a save the date would ensure a better chance of YOU being the commitment.
If you’re getting married in a resort town during peak season:
A wedding celebration at Walt Disney World sounds amazing! A wedding celebration at Walt Disney World in late July can be super challenging for people to make arrangements to attend. Summer is peak season for travel to the Orlando, FL area and it can be difficult to find affordable lodging, let alone lodging of any kind. Hotels fill up fast and months in advance, same goes with booking airfare and rental cars. Help a wedding guest out and let them know they’ll be better off making travel plans right away to avoid the nuisance of sold out…well, everything.
If kids aren’t invited:
You can use this as an opportunity to let everyone know you’re giving them a night off from mom and dad-ing for an adult event. Think…Save the Date for some kid free fun! If a lot of your A-list guests have littles, they might appreciate the notice so they can make arrangements, especially if their babysitter is also invited to your wedding.
If you’ve landed on Yes, I need save the dates, keep these little details in mind as you choose a design and prepare to send them out:
1) If you’re throwing a destination wedding, put any room block/hotel info on the back of the save the date so your guests can start looking into travel accommodations right away.
2) If you’ve got a wedding website, include the URL somewhere on the save the date so guests can easily find any additional info to questions they might have.
3) Only send save the dates to your A-list guests. These are the people you actually want at your wedding, usually parents, grandparents, wedding attendants, Aunts, Uncles, and your closest friends. If someone is on your B-list (distant cousins, an Aunt you haven’t talked to in ten years, co-workers, your Dad’s mechanic) don’t send them one. Anyone that gets a save the date MUST also receive an invitation, even if, after receiving the save the date, they told you they could not attend.
4) Be clear from the very beginning about who will be invited, by addressing the envelopes to the name(s) of the guest(s) that will also receive an official invitation. This gives families with uninvited children (or friends with uninvited +1’s) ample time to plan for child care, and singles time to psych themselves up for a night of meeting new people.
Did you fall in love with any of these invitation suites? I’ve listed the talented stationers below!
Christmas at the Beach Wedding Invitaion Suite / Lily and Rose Studio
Mr. and Mr. Wedding Invitation Suite / Lily and Rose Studio
Calligraphy on Watercolor Wedding Invitation Suite / Invitation Solutions
Vintage Disney Wedding Invitation Suite / Stone Werks
Peter Pan Wedding Invitation Suite / Nine Zero Nine Creative