Save-the-Date Etiquette Tips

Woman hands putting save the date card in the envelope. Wedding planning, invitation concept
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Wedding trends continue to change, and this can be confusing or frustrating to those who have to plan and pay for them. However, there is one trend that prevents the frustration and that is the save-the-date card that many brides have chosen to send before the wedding invitations.

This gives people a heads-up to guests who will be invited and prevents having to decline the invitation because of another commitment. After all, who would want to miss the wedding of a favorite niece or best friend from college?

When to Send Save-the-Date Cards

These little cards can be sent as early as six to 10 months out. If you’re having a destination wedding, you may want to send it a year before the event. It allows guests to mark the date on their calendars, ask for time off work, plan vacations around it, and save money if funds are tight.

If your plans are set more than a year before the event, wait a few months, or your guests might not put it on their calendars. Don’t wait until too close to the wedding, or you may have a lot of RSVPs returned with regrets.

Who Should Get a Save-the-Date Card

Anyone you want to attend the wedding should receive one of the save-the-date cards. However, if there are some people you’re not sure about, don’t send them one because as soon as they go out, those people will start making plans. It would be rude to not send an invitation or uninvite anyone who goes to all that trouble to witness one of the most important days of your life.

What to Put on a Save-the-Date Card

You’ll want to include all the information you have available at the time you’re sending the card. This includes the event, location, date, and approximate time. Let the recipients know that they’ll receive an invitation with more details at a later date. They don’t need to respond to the save-the-date announcement.

Here are some things to include on the save-the-date card:

  • Names of the couple getting married
  • General location of the wedding and reception
  • Date of the big day
  • URL of the wedding website if there is one
  • Hotels in the area

You can add some fun, personal touches to the card, such as something that ties into the theme of the wedding or an interesting tidbit about how the couple met. Adding a personal touch with an interesting approach lets the recipients know that this is an event they don’t want to miss.

How to Address the Envelope

When addressing the envelope for a save-the-date card, you may choose a formal or informal style, depending on your relationship with the recipient. It’s always a good idea to show respect to older guests by using “Mr. and Mrs. Jones” or “Dr. and Mrs. Edwards.” If you are allowing a “plus-one,” you should put “Ms. Sellers and guest” to let her know she is allowed to bring someone.

Print vs. Electronic Save-the-Date

It’s generally best to send a print save-the-date card via snail mail. However, many people prefer to forego the paper and stamp, and this group is growing as more people have discovered the benefits of doing everything electronically. Make sure you have the correct email address before sending the save-the-date messages electronically, or you may discover that some of the most important people don’t receive them.

If you have friends and family members who aren’t adept at communicating via email, send them a print version. There’s nothing wrong with doing a combination of print and electronic. However, it’s still good form to send the actual invitation via snail mail with an RSVP card and self-addressed stamped envelope tucked inside.


Make sure you’re clear with the information you put on the save-the-date card or email. Include the names of those who are invited, whether or not children are welcome, and what arrangements will be made if people have kids. If you have an idea of whether the event will be formal, semi-formal, or beachside, add that.

More Points to Consider

When sending save-the-date cards, there are certain points to consider, including some things that should not be included. Here are some extra tips:

  • Don’t include the names of stores where you’re registered for wedding gifts. This is considered crass. If guests want to know this information, they can call and ask you or someone else in the bridal party.
  • If the venue changes after you send the save-the-date cards, follow up with the correction by either sending another card or calling everyone on the list.
  • Let guests know if you’re able to reserve a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests. Give them the address and instructions on how to be included in any special rates you’ve negotiated.
  • Even if you send save-the-date cards in the mail, you may also do an extra email reminder. Be careful not to send too many of these, or the guests will dread opening your emails.
  • Don’t worry about your save-the-date cards matching your wedding invitations. They’re much less formal and only serve as a calendar placeholder for scheduling.
  • Some brides and grooms enjoy adding a picture from their engagement photoshoot for a more personal touch.

Remember that the purpose of save-the-date cards is to let people know that an invitation will follow. Don’t expect an RSVP at this early stage in the planning.