When To Send Save The Dates For Your Wedding

It’s happening! Your wedding date is set and the party planning starts now. With your guest list complete, save the date cards are a fun and practical way to tell your friends and family they’re VIP—officially on the guest list for your wedding day. Etiquette dictates that you send your save the dates early enough in the wedding countdown to help guests reserve the date or weekend for your big celebration and start planning accordingly. Get started by picking out the best save the date cards (or save the date magnet) for you—ones that match the style and theme of your wedding—and learn answers as to when to send save the dates and also how to address them before you put them in the mail.

This to-the-point wording and save the dates etiquette guide outlines when to order and send save the date wedding cards and how to address them to guests, and it also provides wording examples for casual, formal, religious, and funny save the dates. Getting your personalized save the date cards just the way you want them is a great start before you send wedding invitations, bridal shower invitations, rehearsal dinner invitations, and more wedding stationery. And those looking for coordinated wedding cards should absolutely explore our beautiful wedding suites.

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save the date cards with a variety of couples on the front with differnt designs and fonts

The Timeline: When to Send Save the Dates?

Whether you’re planning a destination wedding or a local affair, your guests need ample time to prepare for your big day. How much time you need depends on when you start the planning process and the location of your wedding.

When to Order Save the Dates: 6 to 12 Months Before the Wedding

So when should save the date cards be sent? And how does a destination wedding affect the timeline? In general, order, design, and send out save the date cards at least 6 to 12 months in advance of your wedding date. If you miss the 6 to 12 month period, try sending and ordering your save the date cards as soon as possible. Why so much time? Giving your guests a year or more to plan will generate excitement and ensure a smooth guest experience, especially for out-of-towners. Remember, Shutterfly can address and send your save the dates and other wedding cards for you. Simply pair our free Address Book Service with our Mail For Me service. Upload your addresses, select Mail For Me during checkout—we’ll add your return address and your recipient addresses to each and every envelope, add postage, and mail them for you.

save the date with festive floral designs with a picture of a couple and their dog in the center

When to Send Save the Dates for Destination Weddings: 6 to 12 Months Before the Wedding

Planning a destination wedding? Perhaps no other type of wedding requires more planning than a destination wedding. With destination experts around the world, including Mexico, London, Italy, and France, the importance of giving wedding guests enough time to plan and save up for such events. It’s recommended sending out cards at least six months to a year in advance. A timely save the date card (or save the date magnet) that announces not only the date of your big day, but also the faraway place you plan to tie the knot is the proper way to invite your guests to your destination wedding.

When to Send Save the Dates for Local Weddings: 4 to 6 Months Before the Wedding

Your ceremony and reception venues are in your hometown, and most of your guests are local. For a local wedding, give your guests at least four to six months advance notice of your wedding date, and follow up with your wedding invites as soon as possible. Expert Wedding Planning Tip: It is important to think about large seasonal events that may impact the receipt of a save the date, if possible do not send save the dates during the peak of the Christmas holiday season, as they can get lost with all of the other mail that arrives during that time of the year.

In summary, here’s a basic timeline for when to send save the dates:

  1. Choose your location and set the date. These two items are intertwined. You may fall in love with a location and select from available dates. Or you may choose a special date and a venue in your preferred location later down the line. The location can be approximate—a city will do.
  2. Take your engagement photos. You can schedule your engagement photo shoot any time after the proposal.
  3. Design your save the dates cards. Use your engagement photos in your design for the ultimate personal touch.
  4. Mail your save the dates. The basic rule of thumb is to send save the dates 6 months before the wedding. For a destination wedding, it is customary to mail save the dates 8 to 12 months in advance. For a local affair, send save the dates 4 to 6 months in advance.
  5. Follow your save the dates with your formal invitations roughly 8 weeks before the wedding.
Can you send a digital save the date? Modern etiquette allows for electronic correspondence in the age of the Internet, but there’s nothing more polished and personal than a personalized save the date sent through snail mail with love. With the variety of customizable designs available with just a few clicks, it’s easier than ever to find a beautiful and true-to-you option for every budget, color and style.

What to Include on a Save the Date Card

happy couple save the date with date name and location of their wedding What key information should you include on your save the date cards? Your save the date card should include three main pieces of information:

  1. The date of the wedding, or the weekend of the wedding celebration. The magical date is set and this is the date you include in your card, allowing your guests to mark the big day on their calendars.
If you’re planning a destination wedding or a celebration that lasts more than a single day, indicate the entire weekend so your guests can block off the weekend and arrange their travel plans.

  1. The city of the event. Whether you’re planning a destination wedding or one in your hometown, your guests will need to know the location of your wedding to prepare ahead of time. Even some of your local guests might want to reserve a room at a nearby hotel instead of driving home at the end of the night.
  2. The name of the couple. Full names are preferred, but first names are just as proper for casual and informal wedding celebrations. And you never know, a save the date card might be the first time some of your guests learn the name of your fiancé.
Though not required, the following optional information might be extremely helpful to your guests:

  • Formal invitation to follow. Save the date cards are relatively new to the wedding stationery suite, so some of your guests might not know what they are. Make it clear that they’re just that, save the dates, by adding an extra line that says a formal invitation is on its way.
  • The wedding website. Today’s couples love creating custom wedding websites with fun and helpful information about the festivities. If you’re launching your own site or page, don’t forget to include it in your save the date card. This is also a great way to point your guests to a place with more information that you might not be able to fit in the card or invitation.
  • Hotel information. If you’re planning a destination wedding or a celebration with many guests from out of town, you can include important information about the location, travel information, and accommodations, especially if you’ve reserved a block of rooms with a discount rate.

Formal, Religious, Funny, and Cute Save the Date Wording Examples

The following examples show the proper wording for casual, formal, religious, and funny save the date cards. And be sure to read our more expansive post on save the date wording.

Casual Save the Date Wording

Save the Date!
Ben and Laura
September 15, 2017
San Francisco, CA

Formal Save the Date Wording

Ben Smith and Laura White
Are getting married in San Francisco
September 15, 2017
Formal Invitation to Follow

Religious Save the Date Wording

Save the Date For the Wedding of Ben Smith and Laura White
September 15, 2017
San Francisco, CA
“Therefore, what God has joined together let no man separate.” Mark 10:9
Formal Invitation to Follow

Comical Save the Date Wording

Two Fewer Fish in the Sea
Kimberly and Ryan
San Francisco, CA
September 15, 2017
Invitation to Follow

Save the Date with Hotel Information

Ben Smith and Laura White
Are getting married in San Francisco, CA
September 15, 2017
Formal Invitation to Follow
A block of rooms have been reserved at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel
Use the group code WEDDING
For more information, please visit our website www.benandlaura.com

How to Address Save the Date Cards

A save the date card (or save the date magnet) should go to every guest invited to your wedding, including members of your wedding party and family members. Using the same etiquette rules for how to address wedding invitations, we’ve provided the following guidelines for how to address your save the date cards with your guests in mind:

To a single guest, use the appropriate titles, “Mr.”, “Mrs.” or “Ms.”

Mrs. Jones
43 Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 14002

To a married couple, use titles “Mr. and Mrs.” and the couple’s last name.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones
43 Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 14002

To an unmarried couple, use the titles “Mr. and Ms.” and spell out first and last names.

Mr. Peter Jones and Ms. Stacey Marshall
43 Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 14002

To a married couple with children, include the first names of the children on the second line underneath the parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones
Owen and Julian
43 Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 14002

For a plus one, use the title Mr. or Ms. with the last name of the primary guest and write “and guest.”

Mr. Jones and Guest 43 Goodlett Place  San Francisco, CA 14002

three different save the date cards with rustic wooden background and floral on the side

More Wedding Stationery

Great news! You’re all up to speed on when to send save the dates in 2023 and how to address them for timely mailing. You may have even decided, along the way, to design your own save the date magnet, and you’re no doubt aware of the many more wedding stationery options available at Shutterfly, including wedding invitations, and, for those who yearn for elegant, matching wedding cards, our all-in-one wedding suites. Amazing wedding cards like these are must-haves for any ceremony: