Save the Date cards 101 – all the tips for a smooth start in planning your wedding

Right now, it feels like we're frozen in time. Days, weeks, months go by and all merge into this blurry thing that is 2020. You might have just gotten engaged (congrats!) or you might have been for a while but never started to plan your wedding because, well… COVID.

But I’m here to tell you that, as cliché as it sounds, this shall pass. Life will resume at some point, probably not as we once knew it but it will. And your love will be celebrated with your family and friends. Oh, and it’s going to be an epic party. So, to make sure that your party rocks, you need to start planning and you need to send your Save the Date cards!



I already covered in a previous post why you might want to send a Save the Date to your guestlist. But this year, we can add yet another reason: many couples have had to postpone their wedding. This means that people may get invited to substantially more weddings than normal in the next couple of years, and some dates will inevitably clash. Without wanting to turn things into a competition, if you want your closest friends to be by your side on your big day, you need to tell them about it ASAP.


When to send your Save the Date cards

As a stationery designer, I will assume you are going for a card version because who can resist beautiful paper goods, right?

I would usually advise sending your cards between 9 to 12 months prior to your wedding date, definitely 12 months for a destination wedding. But as I said above, with the current climate, I would just go with the 12 months rule. whether you're planning a home or an away ceremony. So, if you have a date and a venue, you are basically good to go and can announce it to the world. I appreciate that things are all a bit uncertain at the moment but I like to think that by October 2021, we will have found a way to live with the virus without fearing for our lives (I trust science with that). Also, most stationers have been amazing during the pandemic, offering free of charge digital Save the Dates for their couples who had to postpone. Find yourself suppliers you can trust -like me!- and who will support you if things don’t go to plan.

What information should the card include?

At the time you have your stationer designing your cards, you probably don’t know many details about your wedding day. And that’s totally fine, your Save the Date card’s only purpose is to inform your guests of the following:

  • Who is getting married? Your names need to appear on the card, whether first names only or full names, that is up to you.

  • When is the event happening? And by that, I mean day, month AND year. If you are planning a two- or three-day celebration, it should be made clear so that your guests can make the necessary arrangements.

  • Where will the wedding be? No need for specifics nor a postcode yet, the name of the town (and country if abroad) is enough for now.

The wording is up to you and your stationer will gladly help you out if you are unsure of what should appear on your cards.


Should your cards match your wedding theme?

These cards are the first glimpse into your wedding day for your guests so I can understand how you would want them to tie in with your wedding theme. But because you are at the very early stages of planning, that could prove tricky. There are two ways to be looking at this.

1 - This Save the Date card will be superseded by your wedding invitations so there is no need to overthink it too much. You can play it safe with a minimalist design or have fun with it and not worry about it not fitting in with the rest of your wedding design.

2 - This card sets the tone for your wedding. If you think like that, chances are you already have a very clear idea of what your wedding day will look like. Which means you are probably at a place where you can either have your stationer design a whole bespoke suite for you or you can choose a semi-custom stationery suite that fits with the aesthetic you have in mind.

Just to make it clear, there is no right way of thinking here. It’s your wedding, your choice. Just follow your instincts and do what makes you happy.



Who to send them to?

Before you send your cards, you need to finalise your guestlist. Although Save the Dates are not invitations per se, you need to remember people will consider themselves invited the moment they receive their card. There is no coming back, well not without an uncomfortable conversation, so make sure you want every single person on that list present at your wedding. Then the rule is one Save the Date card per household, not per guest. If you wish your guests to bring a plus one, I would advise adding either their name -if you know it- or “and guest” on the envelope rather than scribble on the card.


So, are you getting married next year? It’s time to get excited and start planning. Oh, and book your stationer designer so you can invite all your loved ones to your big day! You can check out my Design Guide to learn more about my design process and how to book me. Or get in touch now.