When To Send Save The Dates? What to Include? All Your Save the Date Questions, Answered.

Save the dates should be sent out six to nine months before the wedding date to ensure as many guests as possible can attend their big day. That being said, when to send them out sometimes depends on your wedding details. Learn the pro tips and etiquette here!

Like so much of wedding planning, sending save the dates is one of those tasks that appears simple on the surface, but is surprisingly complex once you get into it. When, exactly, should they go out? What should you include? Who should get one?

In this article, the wedding stationery experts at Minted dive into everything you need to know to nail your save the dates. After all, you only get one first impression with your wedding guests — make it a good one!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Hall

CAPTURE Save The Date Card by Pixel and Hank | Printed by Minted
Photo credit: Elizabeth Hall

When to Send Save the Dates

General wedding etiquette dictates that save the dates should be sent out six to nine months before the wedding date. That said, in recent years, wedding planning timelines have stretched and couples are choosing to send save the dates earlier — between nine and twelve months in advance — to ensure as many guests as possible can attend their big day.

To know if you’re ready to send out your save the dates, you’ll want to have the following details ironed out (or at least mostly finalized).

  • Wedding date. This is the most important, and most obvious detail you’ll need to know before you send your save the dates.
  • Venue. Your venue will be the number one determining factor when it comes to choosing your wedding date. Because of this, most couples make sure to have their venue booked before they send out save the dates. That said, we don’t recommend putting your venue on your save the date card — and we’ll get into why later on in this article.
  • Vibe. Your save the date cards are the first impression of your big day. They set the tone for the celebration to come! So, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the vibe of your wedding as you pick them out. This theme, be it formal, playful, or non-traditional, will also help you narrow down the best save the date design for you.
  • Engagement Photos. Most couples opt to send photo save the dates, so you’ll want to have a beautiful, high-quality shot of you and your spouse-to-be to use on the card. When you’re booking and taking your engagement photos, keep the overall vibe of your wedding in mind to ensure the photo you use on your save the date card helps communicate the spirit of your wedding.
  • Guest list. You don’t need to know if you’ll be extending your second cousin a plus one at this stage of wedding planning, but you’ll need your guest list to be nearly finalized before you send out your save the date cards. This ensures you order enough cards — and that you don’t send a save the date to anyone who may eventually get cut from your guest list.

Once you have all of these details ironed out, you’re ready to order your save the date cards. When it comes to knowing exactly when to put them in the mail, we’ve broken down a few common wedding scenarios below.

When to Send Save the Dates for Destination Weddings

You’ll want to give guests the longest lead time possible when it comes to destination weddings, which means it is recommended to send your save the dates nine months to a year in advance. This ensures that your guests will have enough time to request time off, plan travel, and arrange for childcare, if needed.

When to Send Save the Dates for Local Weddings

If you’re hosting your wedding locally — and know that most of your guests live locally, too — you can get away with sending your save the dates a little bit closer to your actual wedding date. Six to nine months in advance should give your guests plenty of notice to put your date on their calendar.

When to Send Save the Dates for Micro Weddings

Micro weddings, in which you have less than 50 guests, is one of the few instances where you can get away with skipping a formal save-the-date card — as most of your small guest list will organically know your wedding details. That said, if you go this route, we do suggest sending your invitations slightly earlier than you otherwise would; think about four months in advance of your wedding date.

If you do opt to send save the dates, we recommend sending them six to nine months in advance, as you would for weddings of more traditional size.

Are Save the Dates Necessary?

It is perfectly normal to look for ways to cut wedding costs and stay within your planned wedding budget, but skimping on save the date cards shouldn’t be one of them! These cards are arguably one of the most important pieces of your planning because they ensure guests will be in chairs on your wedding day. It doesn’t make sense to work so diligently on venue research, hiring caterers, working with photographers, florists, and entertainers, to then haphazardly inform guests of the details you have spent weeks or months organizing.

So yes, in our expert opinion, save the dates are absolutely a necessary part of wedding planning! Be sure to include them into your overall stationery budget so you don’t sneak up on you as a surprise expense.

We hope this article cleared up all of your questions about sending and perfecting your save the dates! If you could use personalized advice or are not sure which design best captures your style as a couple, schedule a complimentary appointment with one of Minted’s stationary experts, who can walk you through all of the details of save the dates, wedding invitation suites, and more.

Photo by Two Clicks Photography

HAPPY SAILING Save The Date by Ani Somi| Printed by Minted
Photo by Two Clicks Photography

Save the Date Etiquette & Pro Tips

If you’ve implemented the advice we’ve given thus far in the article, you’ve already gone a long way towards getting your save the dates right. Here, we’ve compiled just a few other etiquette details and pro tips to know.

1. Always Triple-Check Before Confirming Your Order

From typos to forgetting to swap out placeholder copy for your wedding website, there are plenty of ways that little mistakes can slip through the cracks when ordering your save the dates. Our best advice? Don’t rush your order, and rope in a person with fresh eyes (such as a best man or maid of honor) to help you triple-check everything before you hit “order.”

2. Ordering the Right Amount of Save the Date Cards

One of the biggest mistakes we see couples make when ordering their save the dates is ordering one card for every person on their guest list — which often results in a huge number of wasted cards! To avoid this, we recommend creating two versions of your guest list: one that tracks the overall number of individual guests, and one that groups guests together by household. Use that second list when it comes to determining how many save the dates and invitations you’ll need to order.

Once you have that number, we also recommend tacking on an additional 5-10 cards to your order. This will give you a buffer in case you make a mistake on a card, a few get returned in the mail, you have a last-minute addition to your guest list, or simply want to keep a card or two for a flat lay photo and wedding memorabilia box. (Oh, and feel free to share your flat lay photo with us by tagging @mintedweddings on Instagram!)

3. Uninviting Someone After They Have Received A Save the Date Card

Of all the save the date etiquette best practices, be sure to pay close attention to this one! It’s really hard (near impossible) to gracefully uninvite someone to your wedding. Unless there have been extreme extenuating circumstances, it can be difficult to explain previously unknown capacity or budget constraints to would-be guests. So make sure you and your partner review every person who will receive your first wedding correspondence to confirm you’re on the same page. It’s a major etiquette no-no to exclude a person from receiving the official wedding invitation after they have already been sent your save the date. Where this scenario sometimes comes into play is when a wedding couple sends out mailers to more guests than a venue can accommodate, thinking 10-15% of their invites will decline.

If you are wondering if you should send save the dates to B list guests, we strongly encourage you to cast a narrower net with your first wedding mailer. Ideally they should be sent only to your A-tier guests. As you start to gauge what your final headcount may look like, you can then trigger your wedding invitations to additional guests further down your list that may not have received one of your initial save the date cards. Following this strategy is a failsafe way to avoid any uncomfortable phone calls down the line.

4. Registry Information

Decorum and tradition dictates that it is best to leave your wedding registry information off of your save the date. That said, you’ll likely have excited guests itching to get you a gift, so it isn’t a bad idea to have your registry built and available for them to take a look at on your wedding website at the time you mail out your save the date cards.

5. Matching Your Save the Date to the Vibe of Your Wedding

We’ve talked a lot about how to save the dates, by nature of them being the first correspondence guests will receive for your wedding, set the tone for your big day. So consider what every detail — from the photo you choose, to the script style, color palette, and even cardstock weight — communicates about your wedding. The best save the date designs have all of these details in harmony, which will help evoke a feeling and set the emotional stage for your celebration! Not Sure What Your Save the Date Style Is? Take Minted’s Quiz!

Save the Date Wording: What to Include

The practical purpose of a save the date is to give your guests plenty of advance notice as to when your wedding will be — which should hopefully mean as many of your nearest and dearest as possible will be able to attend your big day! But save the dates do more than that, they also set the tone for your celebration, both with their aesthetics and their wording. Here’s what to include on your save the date card to achieve both of those things.

1. The Date

We know we’re stating the obvious here, but the number one task of your save the date is to communicate when you’re getting married! So make sure you choose a save the date design that features the date prominently, and in a font that is easy to read.

2. Your Names

Forgetting to include your names is a faux pas that is more common than you may think. If you’re going with a save the date card design that is centered around a photo of you and your spouse-to-be, you can get away with just featuring your first names. If you prefer to keep the text on your card as minimal as possible, you can include your first and last names on the return address info printed on your envelopes. That said, if you’re opting for a more traditional non-photo save the date, you’ll want to make sure both of your first and last names are highly visible on the card (a rule that especially holds true if you have a more common name or are inviting a large number of extended friends and family).

When it comes to ordering your names, it is traditional to put the bride’s name first. If you’re a same-sex couple, you can choose any order you like, We recommend playing around with how your names look within your favorite designs to pick the order you find most visually appealing.

3. The Wedding Location

In anticipation of the big day, couples are often excited to clue their guests in on where, exactly, they’ll be tying the knot. However, unless you have a signed contract and have paid a deposit for that venue, we advise that you hold off on mentioning the venue on your card. Not only is it a bit embarrassing if it falls through, but this save the date mistake could also confuse people down the line.

If you don’t have your exact venue nailed down by the time you send your save the dates, just including the city where the wedding will take place is perfectly acceptable (San Francisco, New York City, Kansas City, etc.). You can save the specifics for your wedding invite and wedding website!

4. Your Wedding Website

Your guests are going to be so excited to receive your save the date — and naturally, that excitement will spark a flurry of all kinds of questions. Is there a room block at a nearby hotel? What else is there to do around your wedding venue? What’s the dress code?

Including a URL for your wedding website, where you’ll have at least some of these questions answered (or a note saying you’ll be providing more details soon), on your save the dates is a great way to capitalize on this excitement. Having your website ready to go when you send out your save the dates is also a sweet idea if you plan to use that space to share a little bit more about your love story, and get everyone even more excited to see you two tie the knot.

For a step-by-step guide on how to build a beautifully-designed wedding website, check out Minted’s guide.

5. Save the Date Message

In addition to the date, location, and your names, most save the date cards will also incorporate a message that makes it clear what the card is. At its most simple, this message could read “Save Our Date!” But this message is also a great opportunity to show off your personality as a couple, and set the tone for your big day. A few examples of what this could look like are…

Jeanine Raymond and Jacob Carter
Are Getting Married in Napa Valley
May 5, 2025
Formal Invitation to Follow

We’re (finally!) tying the knot
Phoebe Neuman and Cyrus Mann
July 15, 2025

Pop the Champagne!
Savannah Baker and Nicolas Maleki
October 25, 2024

How to Address Save the Date Cards

A save the date card should go out to every person (or household) on your guest list. How you choose to structure the first line of your address can also go a long way towards communicating exactly who is invited. For example, adding “and guest” can communicate that a single person will be able to bring along a plus one. While our comprehensive guide on how to address your save the dates and wedding invitations provides you with more unique cases, examples, and tips, here are a few ways to address save the dates for most wedding scenarios.

  • Single guest, no plus one: First and last name only
  • Single guest, with a plus one: First and last name, with the addition of “and guest”
  • Married couple: For a formal wedding, use the couples titles and their last name. For a less formal wedding use both of their first names and their last name (“Larry and Laura Hayman”, for example). Pro tip: Use this option when sending dates to guests with children if you do not plan to invite the entire family to your wedding.
  • Unmarried couple: Include the first and last names of both parties
  • Family, including kids: The [Last Name] Family