your wedding save-the-dates

This guide to save-the-date cards includes rules, etiquette, trends, and save-the-date wording samples.
Although save-the-dates are not absolutely necessary, these creative reminders have increased in popularity with the rise of destination weddings and modern guest lists that include addresses from all over the world. Since they are a relatively modern concept, no real rules apply.  Save the date announcements are the first chance you have to set the tone for your wedding, so why not do it in a memorable way?  Create a fun save the date, and then follow-up your announcement with a more formal invitation in the months that follow. We’ve sorted through the information that’s out there to bring you the real ins and outs concerning save-the-dates…
Here are some ideas for a twist on the common card—and unique ways to send a bit of your personality along with the postmark.

wedding save-the-date tips

Who Needs Save-the-Date Cards?

If your guest list includes a number of out-of-towners or if your wedding takes place during a holiday or other peak time, you are a prime candidate for save-the-dates. Since invitations don’t go out until six or eight weeks before the big day, save-the-dates are the perfect way to give wedding guests a preliminary heads-up so they can begin making travel arrangements. These days, however, more and more brides send these cards regardless of the time and location of their wedding. Why? Save-the-dates provide a fun opportunity to get the word out and foreshadow the style of your big event.

Rules & Etiquette

Again, few rules apply. The only information you must include is your names and the wedding date, although we suggest including location information as well so wedding guests can begin their travel plans. Aim to send save-the-date cards soon after you secure your date and venue, or about six months prior to your wedding. Remember, everyone who receives a save-the-date also receives an invitation, so have your guest list finalized prior to sending them. Although formal replies are not required, you can get preliminary attendance estimates through word-of-mouth.

Trends & Ideas

These cards will be the first impression of your wedding festivities, so take advantage of this opportunity to build excitement amongst your wedding guests. If you already know the colors and/or theme of your wedding, now’s your chance to provide a sneak peek. Or try including a favorite love poem or quote that symbolizes your relationship. Here are some of our favorite ideas and trends:

  • Stick it to them – Mail save the date magnets that’ll go on their fridge. Or create a personalized label with your wedding details that your guests can put right into their date book.
  • Photo Strip – A picture can say a thousand words-or maybe just the ten or so that you need everyone to know in advance of your wedding. Take a series of photos in a photo booth, holding paper signs announcing your engagement, the date, and the location. Make it stick by printing your photos on stylish photo magnet save-the-dates. Don’t forget to kiss in the shot!
  • Eat dessert first – Personalized cookies can be a great way to save-the-date. Customize with your names and the date of your wedding. You’d just better hope that the cookie doesn’t “disappear” before they’ve marked down the date!
  • Love is in bloom – For a wedding next Spring, consider sending a personalized plantable seed card. By the time the flower bloom, it will be time to celebrate!
  • It’s in the cards – Send your invitees a deck of playing cards for your Vegas-themed wedding. Adding personalized poker chips with your names and wedding date makes for a fun personal touch.
  • Tune them in – Send your save the date in the form of a CD. You might want to include a selection of songs that have personal meaning to you both or record the story of your engagement onto the CD. Be sure to include your names, along with the date and location of your nuptials on the cover.
  • Mark my spot – Bookmarks with all the necessary save the date details can be made easily (and inexpensively) on a laser printer. After cutting them apart, punch a hole in the top of each one and attach a store-bought tassel. Mail them to your guests in a glassine envelope. No one will turn a page on this reminder!
  • Souvenir Postcards – Postcards can be both a fun and cost-effective way to give your guests a sneak-peek at the wedding site. Visit a souvenir shop along the boardwalk, or consider springing for a selection of retro postcards from eBay. You also might want to consider creating your own postcard with a photo and a story about your engagement. (Everyone loves to see the photo that was taken moments after the proposal!) You may want to make the postcard round or square so it stands out from the usual junk mail.
  • Favor the invitation – Consider sending a gift that represents the location of your wedding. If you are getting married on the beach in Mexico, you might want to mail a mini set of maracas, along with a personalized bottle of sunscreen (order labels for the bottles with your names, date and the location). Or, you might consider this personalized hot chocolate mix for your wedding in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Personal Baggage – Personalized luggage tags are a great way to get your guests packing for your destination wedding!
  • Here’s the scoop – For your java lovers, consider sending a mini coffee scoopwith a personalized tag to announce the details of your upcoming nuptials.
  • Use vibrant colors that will “pop” as soon as guests open the envelope.
  • Incorporate graphics that correspond with the season and/or location of your event.
  • Use an image of you and your spouse-to-be holding creative signage, chalkboards, etc. that share your wedding date and location.
  • If the timing is right, turn your save-the-date cards into holiday greetings. Incorporate your engagement photo or another photo taken shortly after the proposal.
  • Who says they have to be printed stationery? Set yours apart by turning them into scrolls, pens, stickers, magnets, or a creative calendar-marker.

Wording Samples

The content of your save-the-dates should be short, sweet, and to the point – providing a basic who, what, where, and when. There is no standard wording; they can be as formal or as whimsical as you’d like. In any case, make sure to include “Formal invitation to follow” somewhere on the card.

Basic Layout for Save-the-Date Cards:

Save the Date
[bride & groom’s name]
are getting married on [wedding date]
[city, state]
Formal invitation to follow

Wording Samples


Please save the date:
May 4, 2012, for the wedding of
Mike and Ansley in Charleston, South Carolina

Fun and Cute

We’re tying the knot!
Justin popped the question, and Katie said yes.
Please join us on October 2, 2012
Orange County, California
He asked her
she said yes
now there’s a wedding
will you be our guest?
[include names, date, and location]

For a Destination Wedding

Please join us in paradise on June 17, 2012
when Lisa & Jay say “I do”
in Maui, Hawaii