Who should receive a Save The Date?
Anyone on your wedding invitation list should receive a Save the Date. Think of these as the "invitation before the invitation." Plan to send your Save the Dates to your full invitation list.
However, if you are still editing/managing your guest list, a word of caution. If you are not positive you want to invite someone to the wedding, do not send them a Save the Date. If a guest has not received a Save the Date, they can still be invited to the wedding with an invitation later, but not the other way around. While it's not uncommon to have a handful of guests who receive invitations later in the planning, without having received a save the date first, but don't rely on this strategy to manage your guest list.
What should my Save the Date be?
A simple card with the essential information is beautifully sufficient for your Save the Date. If you've gotten far enough in your planning to have an overall look and design for your celebration, this is a great preview for guests of what's to come. If not, keep the card neutral in color and design to give yourself flexibility later.
Magnets, postcards, bookmarks, pencils, calendars: The options are really endless for creative design in this area, but nothing is as timelessly beautiful as really good stationery.
When should we plan to send them?
My rule of thumb is to send the Save the Dates fairly soon after you have your date and venue secured. The most common timeframe is nine to twelve months in advance. Err on the side of more time if you are having a destination wedding, if the majority of your guests are traveling for the wedding, or if your wedding falls on a holiday weekend. If you're having a longer engagement sending anything more than fifteen months in advance is a bit unnecessary.
Where do we get them?
The essential question to answer for yourself when planning for your wedding paper is do you want your paper goods to be fully custom, semi-custom, or stock. Fully custom means that you work with a stationer to design a paper goods suite specifically for your day. Many stationers also have pre-designed collections where you can select your basic overall design and then customize slightly. A stock option would include an online shop from which you select a pre-designed template and swap out your names and details. The price ranges for all three of these options can vary drastically based on the quality and quantity of what you order. If you know that custom designed paper goods are important to you, then it's best to start that process from the beginning with your Save the Dates.
Do we even have to send these and why?
The short answer is no (ish). There is no Wedding Planning Referee that is going to blow their whistle and call a foul if you forgo sending Save the Dates. However, it's a courtesy to your guests, and helps ensure that as many of your friends and family as possible will be there to celebrate with you on your wedding day. It would be a shame to go through all this planning only to have half of the important people in your life already be away on their summer vacation during that weekend. It's nice to give them a heads up.
And, there you have it! The basics of your Save The Dates! If you’re looking for a little style inspiration when it comes to your Save the Dates and wedding stationary, feel free to take a look at these real Heirloom Weddings to see how their stationary fit their wedding style.