Not sure if you really need to send out save the dates? In a nutshell, a save the date asks your guests to mark their calendars with your wedding date and serves as a quick note to inform guests that they are invited to the wedding, when and where you'll be exchanging "I dos," and that you will be in touch with further details (via the official wedding invitation, to be mailed out at a later date).
Still have questions? We've outlined ten key reasons why sending save the dates to your wedding guests might be a very good idea. Also, before you send them out, be sure to review our list of embarassing mistakes to avoid.
Reason #1: You're having a destination wedding.
If you're planning to tie the knot at a faraway destination, then sending save the dates to guests is a must. You'll want to give your guests as much time as possible to make travel plans, book plane tickets, reserve lodging, request time off from work, and arrange for childcare, if necessary. Of course, some scheduling conflicts are inevitable, but if you give your guests enough of a heads up, chances are more of them will be able to attend and the more, the merrier!
If you are hosting a destination wedding, we suggest you mail your save the dates nine months to a full year in advance to give guests ample notice.
"Our Paradise" by Elly
Reason #2: You know you'll have a lot of out-of-town guests.
Say, you and your fiance live in New York City and are hosting your wedding in the city. You're from different states, so both sides of the family will be traveling to NYC to attend. Technically, you aren't really hosting a destination wedding, per se, but a sizable chunk of your guest list will be traveling from out of town. The courteous thing to do is to give guests as much notice as possible to make necessary travel plans, which is why you should definitely send out save the dates. Follow the same protocol as with destination weddings and mail your save the dates nine months to a year before the wedding.
"Simple Elegance" by Kasia Labocki
Reason #3: You're getting married during peak wedding season.
In general, wedding season starts in late spring and continues through early fall, with the most popular months to get married being June and September. If you've decided to get hitched during this time, then it is a very good idea to send out save the dates for your wedding. Basically, the goal here is to call dibs on your wedding date, before guests receive an invitation to another wedding or event on the same day. In this situation, aim to mail your save the dates nine months to a year in advance of your wedding date.
"Painted Date" by Rebecca Humphreys
Reason #4: You're getting married on a weekday.
Getting married mid-week is becoming more and more common. For one, it's a whole lot easier to secure the venue you've had your heart set on if you're open to getting married on days other than Saturday or Sunday. But having a weekday wedding means keeping in mind that you might receive a higher-than-average rate of regrets. Some guests might be maxed out of vacation days, others might not be able to arrange for childcare, while some guests might not be able to skip an important work conference. But you can increase the likelihood of guests' attendance by mailing out save the dates well in advance; aim to send them as early as possible—again, we recommend mailing them nine months to a year before the wedding—to make sure your guests can put in requests for time off from work, make travel arrangements, and generally increase their chances of being able to make it to your wedding. Because that's the goal, right?
"Calendrier" by Kelli Hall
Reason #5: Your wedding is on a holiday or during a three-day weekend.
Hosting your wedding during a three-day weekend created by holidays such as Memorial Day or Labor Day might seem like an ideal situation—especially since you could have a Sunday wedding since most guests will likely already have the day before and day after off. However, it's important to keep in mind that traveling during those prime times will definitely be more expensive for guests, which is why it's a good idea to give folks plenty of advance notice by sending save the dates. This way, guests can get a head start on booking travel before prices spike.
If your wedding date falls on a holiday like Valentine's Day or, say, Easter, then it's also imperative to send save the dates to your guests. Some people have traditions that they like to adhere to or have standing annual plans, so mail your save the date notices to guests but also be prepared for a higher rate of declines. In these situations, send your save the dates nine months to one year in advance of the wedding.
"Palm" by Elsa Duncan
Reason #6: You're planning on a long engagement.
There are many reasons why having a longer engagement is a good idea—it gives you both more time to save money for the wedding, you can take your time throughout the wedding-planning process without feeling rushed, you have more time to tackle DIY projects (if that's your thing). But, a long engagement also has a few drawbacks; namely, the fact that, after a while, your upcoming nuptials might not be at the forefront of your guests' minds.
Enter the save the date: Mailing a save the date is a reminder that your wedding is coming up and ensures your friends and family members have your wedding date clearly marked on their calendar.
"Painterly" by Four Wet Feet Studio
Reason #7: You want to get a head start on collecting guests' mailing addresses.
We're all about making the wedding-planning process as stress-free as possible. Gathering all of your guests' mailing addresses can be a headache, so any chance to get a head start is a good enough reason for us.
Instead of emailing, texting, or calling guests individually to ask for their address, save time by letting an online tool do the address-gathering for you. This way, you'll have all of your guests' contact info in one place; this will become a handy mailing list for your save the dates, your wedding invitations, and your post-wedding thank you cards.
Start with Minted's Wedding Address Collection tool, which allows you to easily request mailing addresses from wedding guests (your guests will receive an email from you requesting their mailing address). Your guest list details and their addresses are saved in your online address book; Minted will then print all of your wedding stationery, from your save the date, invitation, and thank-you card envelopes to your escort cards and place cards (for free!).
"Tropical" by Kelly Schmidt
Reason #8: Your save the dates gives guests a peek at the kind of wedding you're planning.
The save the date is the first official wedding-related item your guests will see, and it serves as a little sneak peek at what's to come. Use your save the date set the tone of the celebration you're planning, whether it's an elegant-yet-rustic celebration at a private ranch, a classic black-tie fete in a downtown ballroom, a modern-themed affair at an urban art gallery, or a waterside celebration right on the ocean. If looking for some truly original ideas, check out our list of 33 unique save the date ideas.
"Vintage Romance" by Nazia Hyder
Reason #9: You want to get a preliminary estimate of your guest count.
If you're hoping to get an early estimate of your wedding guest count—maybe your caterer is asking for the number in order to give you a price quote, or perhaps you're hoping to DIY some wedding projects and need to estimate how many supplies to purchase—then sending out save the dates can help you determine that. Once you've mailed your save the dates, some guests may reach out to let you know they are not able to attend due to other commitments, so you can update your numbers. However, it's important to note this is not foolproof—some guests will wait to officially let you know their regrets after they've received the wedding invitation.
"Olive Bough" by Kate Ahn
Reason #10: You want to show off your engagement photos.
Many wedding photographers offer an engagement photo session as a part of their photography packages. And we're big fans of taking them, the main reason being that it is an opportunity to become more comfortable being in front of the camera. Most couples aren't used to having a camera trained on them for an entire day, and it might feel awkward to have romantic moments between the two of you photographed. An engagement photo shoot essentially serves as a trial run before the wedding day—it's an opportunity to get more comfortable and feel more relaxed about posing and having your photograph taken all day. It's also a great way to establish a better rapport with your photographer—after all, they'll be by your side for 10+ hours on your wedding day so it's important that you feel comfortable with them.
And since you'll get great portraits from the engagement photo session, mailing photo-themed save the dates is a perfect way to share your favorite shots with your friends and family. Review all our different card formats and sizes to see which style may best showacse your photos. This way, your beautiful engagement portraits will have their moment to shine and the photos will make your save the date feel personal and truly unique.
"Heritage" by Melissa Egan of Pistols