Wedding Planning Guide

save the date wording & etiquette

Everything you need to know before you send your save the dates.

save the date designs

Congratulations, you’re engaged! Once you’ve booked a wedding venue, it’s time to start thinking about save the dates. This little piece of wedding stationery serves as a heads-up to guests so they can mark their calendars and begin making travel plans to attend your celebration. The save the date also lets them know there will be a formal wedding invitation on the way with all the details. This means you can keep your save the date wording short, simple, and to the point.

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You asked, we answered. We have the answers to the most frequently asked questions on save the dates, save the date etiquette, and how to word your save the dates.

What is a save the date?

A save the date is a card that's mailed before the wedding invitation. It announces the wedding date and location and lets the recipient know they will be invited to the wedding. Basically, the purpose of the save the date is to get guests to mark their calendars and get excited about the wedding to come.

Do we have to send save the dates?

Nope, sending save the dates isn't mandatory, but we recommend it for a couple of reasons. First of all, your friends and family members will appreciate the heads-up and you're giving them plenty of time to make any travel plans (if necessary). Some guests will likely have invitations to other weddings or events on the same day, so you're more likely to get first dibs on the date. And lastly, save the dates are a great way to show off your engagement photos and kick off the celebration of your upcoming union.

However, a caveat: If you're having a destination wedding, a summer wedding (that's prime wedding season, after all), or a wedding that falls on a three-day weekend, then save the dates are a must. Those situations really do require a lengthy heads-up about your wedding, so mailing a save the date well in advance increases the chances of guests being able to attend your wedding.

When should we send save the dates?

Mail your save the dates six to eight months before the wedding. This will give guests ample time to request days off from work and make travel plans, if needed. However, if the wedding falls on a holiday weekend or is a destination wedding or summer wedding, aim to send them nine months to a year in advance.

Who gets a save the date?

Anyone you're sure you're going to invite to the wedding. If your guest list is not entirely finalized, refrain from sending save-the-date cards to guests on your B-list. Once someone receives a save the date, you’re obligated to send them a wedding invitation, too.

Do we need to add plus-ones to the save the date?

This one is a tricky one, because once you offer a plus-one, you can't take it back. Here's our guide on whether or not to add plus-ones to your save the date.

    When to Include a Plus-One on the Save the Date:

  • Married, engaged, and cohabitating guests should get a plus-one.
  • Give your wedding-party members a plus-one.
  • Guests who have been with their partner for so long that it’d be awkward not to invite them.

When NOT to Include a Plus-One on the Save the Date:

  • If you've chosen your wedding date and location, but not a specific venue. It's best to play it safe since you don't know how many people your wedding venue will be able to accommodate.
  • You've chosen a wedding date and venue, but your budget isn't finalized—it's a good idea to wait and see how many plus-ones you'll be able to afford.
  • Since it's still early, consider not offering plus-ones for guests who are casually dating or single; as the wedding date gets closer, you'll have a more accurate sense of how many guests will be attending and if you can accommodate additional plus-ones.

What types of save the dates are available?

There are many different kinds of save the dates to choose from to suit your wedding style and budget. You can go the traditional route with a paper save-the-date card sent via snail mail; you could also opt for a more casual postcard-style save the date or a magnetic save the date that guests can stick on their refrigerator as a reminder. We also have change the date card designs in case you need to postpone your wedding due to unforeseen events. Check out our full list of 33 unique save the date ideas or our list of 7 change the date card trends.

Is it OK to email my save the dates?

These days, many couples are opting for electronic invitations to many wedding-related parties, like the engagement party or bachelor/bachelorette party. Electronic save the dates are definitely a convenient and affordable option, especially if many of your guests live overseas or if you're hoping to keep your wedding as eco-friendly as possible. However, there are a couple of drawbacks to consider:

1.There's a chance your save the date email might get filtered into a guest's spam folder or that the email address you have for someone is one they no longer check.

2. Digital correspondence doesn't have the tangibility factor of an actual save the date card. When a guest receives a save the date in their mailbox, they'll likely stick it on the refrigerator as a reminder.

3. If you're emailing a save the date, it might get buried in guests' inboxes once they've read the message.

Another thing to keep in mind is the formality of your wedding to come. The save the date functions as a little sneak peek at the kind of wedding you're planning. So, the more formal the celebration, the more likely a printed save the date card will convey a similar tone and aesthetic, rather than an email.

Keeping those factors in mind, if you decide to go the digital route, we suggest emailing save the dates to everyone on your guest list. Then, take the extra step to also snail-mail a printed save the date card to not-so-tech-savvy guests (e.g., older guests who might not check email regularly), as well as family members who might want to save the card as a wedding keepsake.

Does our save the date have to match our wedding invitation?

Save the dates tend to be less formal in style than the wedding invitation, so this is your chance to give your guests a glimpse of you as a couple. If you've taken engagement photos, choose a couple of your favorites to incorporate into a photo-themed save the date design. Having a destination wedding? Play up your wedding locale with a save the date design that highlights the setting (think: palm fronds, mountain vistas, Mexican paper flags, the Manhattan skyline, etc.). But you can never go wrong with classic stationery choices, like elegant calligraphy, romantic watercolors, and metallic foils.

Do I have to send someone a wedding invitation if I sent them a save the date?

Yes—anyone who received a save the date announcement must also receive a wedding invitation. When someone receives a save the date in the mail, there is a clear expectation they will be invited to the wedding and that a formal invitation will follow. Failing to send a wedding invitation to someone who received a save the date would essentially be uninviting them—not acceptable. If your guest count and/or the wedding budget has become an issue since mailing out the save the dates, then sit down with your partner to figure out a way to scale back on catering, decorations, or music instead.


There's no need to have all your wedding details set in stone in order to send out save the dates. All you need to include on your save the date are listed below (along with a few things you can skip!).


  • Your venue
    As long as you include the city and state, you're good! But you can certainly include your venue name, if you'd like.
  • Hotel/accommodations information
    At this point, don't bog guests down with too many details. Send hotel information with the official wedding invitation, instead.
  • Ceremony and reception start times
    You're early in the wedding planning so there's no need to have specific start times in place yet. The purpose of the save the date is to inform guests of the wedding date and locale.
  • Dress code information
    Again, it's too early to send this info just yet—save any details on wedding guest attire for the wedding invitation.


Some couples include photo from the engagement shoot or a favorite quote or saying, if there's room. Wording-wise, this is the time to be less formal, so feel free to get creative with your save-the-date text. Here are a few examples of how couples word their save the dates.

For a more traditional look, choose a save the date design featuring an elegant combination of serif fonts and calligraphy script. Non-photo designs convey a more refined, formal look. Choose foil details—borders, frames, lines—in gold, silver, or rose gold to add a luxe touch. Include your full names and spell out the date and location to give your save the date a more formal tone.

Kindly save the date
For the wedding of
Skylar Reynolds
Bailey Michaelson
July Twenty-Sixth
Two Thousand Twenty One
Atlanta, Georgia
Formal invite to follow

Please reserve
September 20, 2021
For the wedding uniting
Rebecca Goodwin
Tyson Pierson
Chicago, Illinois
Invitation to follow

If you prefer a save the date that's clean and simple, then choose an airy, minimalist save the date design and only include the pertinent wedding details in the copy. The rest will speak for itself.

Save the Date
Invitation to follow

Save the Date
Nicole + Daniel
Charleston, SC

Save our date
Emerson & Kennedy
New York

Keep things light and fun with an expected save the date design, paired with wording that conveys your bubbly personalities. Puns relating to your relationship or the location of the wedding are always a winner.

July 8th, 2021
Please save this date.
It's a good one.
Julie and Dave are getting hitched!
It'll be in Austin, TX, and we'll send more details,
But until then…

Free cake,
Open bar,
Need we say more?
Allison + Wesley
Denver, CO

Save the date
Harper and Charley
October 23, 2021
Joshua Tree, CA