You’ve set the date, booked your venue and can’t wait to tell everyone about it. The invitations won’t be sent for a while though, so how do you make sure that your guests will save the date for your big day? As a stationery designer, I loooove paper & would obviously opt for a Save the Date card. But it isn’t about me but about you, newly engaged happy couple. So let me give you some tips on when Save the Date cards are always a good idea, when to send them and how to best spend your money on this particular piece of wedding stationery.
What are Save the Dates and why send them
Save the date cards are the first piece of wedding stationery you can send to your guests. It gives them the heads up as to when and where the wedding will happen so they can pencil it in their diary and keep the day free. Save the Date cards are not essential, especially if you have a short engagement. However, you should definitely consider sending them if you're in one of the following situations:
You are having a destination wedding;
Your celebration spans over 3 days or more, in which case your guests will need time off work;
Most of your guests will have to travel from far;
Your big day falls on a special holiday such as a bank holiday or Christmas.
Digital or paper version
In today’s digital world, you could argue that Save the Date cards are obsolete. After all, an email or a text could do the job. But then again, the same thing could be said for your invitations. Like everything else in wedding planning, it all comes down to what’s really important to you. If you are a paper lover and want beautiful and special stationery for your wedding, then go for it. If not, then go digital. There is, however, one practical aspect of a Save the Date card in that it can be displayed (on a board or the fridge) as a visual reminder to your guests. An email just doesn’t do that.
When to send them
Don’t leave it too late as the whole point of Save the Date cards is to allow your guests to make all necessary arrangements (travel, hotel booking, childcare, etc.) so they can attend your big day. However, send them too far in advance and it may well have the opposite effect: if it's too early for people to even book their flight and hotel, then chances are they’ll just end up forgetting about it. Between 6 and 9 months prior to the ceremony is a good rule of thumb, 12 months if you are planning a destination wedding.
Keep your stationery budget in mind
I get it, you are really excited, this is the first piece of stationery you are sending to your guests and you want it to look really good, first impressions and all. It's very easy to get carried away so I’m going to remind you of that very attractive word: budget. The one thing you do not want to do is blow your entire stationery budget on your Save the Date cards and have little left for the actual invitations and all your items of the day (order of the day cards, menus, place cards, etc.). So, unless you have set aside a chunky budget for your wedding stationery - and in that case please indulge yourself! -, I'd advise you not to splurge on expensive hot foil printing for your Save the Date cards and maybe keep that for the pièce de résistance.
It may sound like a lot to think about but the best you can do right now, if you’re planning your wedding, is to make sure you have booked your stationer. It can take between 2 and 4 weeks for a Save the Date design and up to 12 weeks for a whole wedding suite so don’t leave it too late and get into their/my diary! If you have further questions about Save the Date cards or wedding stationery in general, do get in touch or have a look at my Design & Pricing Guide.