Three different save the date cards with photos that include elegant styles, classic styles and rustic styles on a pink satin background.

Guide to Creating Save the Date Cards

Learn how to design save the date cards and when to send them out for your big day!

Your wedding save the date cards are one of the first things you need to plan for your big day. Before the invitations come, a save the date in the mail shows your wedding guests that they can start planning and clearing their calendars. Before you have all your specific details set, it’s still important to send out save the dates so you can give everyone plenty of time to prepare. Your guests will need time to take off work (if necessary), prepare for travel, and get a new outfit if they need one. Once you have your wedding date and venue, learn how to create beautiful save the date cards that can start to show off your wedding theme and get your wedding guests excited.

Do You Have to Send Save the Dates?

Many engaged couples wonder if save the date wedding cards are actually necessary. Won’t our guests get all the information they need once we send out our invitations? While it’s true that your wedding invitations should have all the details your guests need to know, the save the date goes out before many of those details are set. With save the date cards, you’re making sure guests have plenty of time to prepare and make sure they can attend. Especially if you’re having a large wedding or a destination wedding that takes more planning, the save the date card will at least let your guests know when the wedding will be happening and where. 

Assorment of wedding cards including save the dates and wedding invitations in a variety of styles

If you’re having a minimony or a micro wedding, you may not need save the dates. With a small guest list, you can send out save the date invitations that help fulfill both needs from separate save the dates and invitations. If you skip separate save the dates, just make sure you’re sending out your invitations with plenty of time for your guests to prepare. Even with a small wedding, they’ll still need time to clear their schedules and make sure no other commitments get in the way.

The Best Save the Date Examples

The only information you need to send out save the dates is your wedding date and venue or location. Yet, many couples like to have a theme planned out by the time they’re sending save the dates so they can make sure it sets the tone for the wedding and matches the rest of the wedding stationery that’s to come. If you’re struggling with figuring out what your cards should look like, choose from some of the best save the date ideas below. These designs and formats are excellent whether you already have a theme or want something simple and elegant.

1. Save the Date Magnets

Magnet save the dates are a simple and popular way to help your guests get ready for your big day. With save the date magnets, you can send them on your own or add them to an envelope with standard save the date cards. Everyone on your wedding guest list will be able to put up the magnets on their fridge or other surfaces to keep in mind the wedding date as they plan.

Shutterfly’s photo save the date magnets let you choose one or several photos to feature on the magnet and customize the font that shows your wedding date and location. The custom magnets are a unique way to kick off your wedding planning, and they’ll become a unique keepsake you can keep long after the day is over.

Save the date magnet with collage of engagement photos and area with text for wedding date and details

2. Save the Date Postcards

Save the date postcards, or flat save the date cards, are a simple and effective way to deliver your most important wedding information. If you’ve had an engagement photo shoot, you can feature your favorite photo or a collage of multiple photos that your guests will love seeing once they get the mail.

With save the date postcards, you’ll still be able to choose the best-sized card for your needs and customize by changing the card trim and foil color. Add your wedding date and location with a simple note that more details will come.

Flat save the date postcard with one couple photo and gold foil lettering

3. Destination Save the Dates

If you’re planning a destination wedding, save the dates are very important to get out in time. Depending on how much travel is required, you can send out destination save the date cards 8 to 12 months in advance.

For a destination wedding, designing your save the dates is a fun opportunity to give your guests a sneak peek of where you’ll tie the knot. You can create a unique save the date card that looks like a plane ticket or choose simple backgrounds like palm trees to let your guests know you’ll be traveling somewhere abroad.

Join us in the woods destination save the date card with couple's photo in the background

4. Monogrammed Save the Dates

Monogrammed save the date cards are a great way to keep your designs simple and elegant. Especially if you don’t have a specific theme or haven’t picked one yet, a monogrammed card can still match any of your other wedding stationery.

You can choose a card that features your monogram prominently in the middle or a different style that shows the monogram under your engagement photos. A simple monogram is a cute way to show that you and your future spouse are ready to be connected through marriage.

Monogrammed save the date card with rustic theme and couple photo that include monogram in the center of the card

5. Seasonal Save the Dates

Are you getting married outside of the traditional wedding season? Having a fall or winter wedding can give you a beautiful winter backdrop, and it’s usually also cheaper than a spring or summer wedding. If your wedding date is in the off-season, show off the unique landscape with seasonal save the date cards.

You can include winter-themed photos and warmer colors like orange and red, which match the season better than brighter pastels. Use your save the dates to show your guests that you’ll be getting married in a winter wonderland!

Seasonal save the date with floral lights trim and winter themed photo along with rustic card background

How to Design Save the Date Cards

Shutterfly’s save the date templates make it easy to design your cards exactly how you want. In a matter of a few steps, you can create the cards that include photos and designs you love. What’s best is that Shutterfly will send your save the dates directly to your guests if you want, for just a small additional charge. With everything done online, you’ll feel thankful crossing the save the dates off your wedding planning checklist. Follow these easy steps to design your save the date cards:

  1. Style. To start, filter Shutterfly’s save the dates by the style examples above or browse all the design styles to find the options you love. As you’re browsing, keep in mind the colors you want to use as well as the number of photos you want to feature.
  2. Size. Once you find styles you love, you can customize further by size. Choose from magnets, postcards, tri-fold, and gate-fold cards. You can also select cards as small as 3×5 inches or larger 6×8 cards. 
  3. Details. Once you have the style and size you want to use, start personalizing with the card’s details. Choose a foil color to make your font really pop and change your card trim. 
  4. Info. Shutterfly’s save the date template will guide you through the card’s information. Add your names, event, date, and location. If the card has space, you can also add another message or more details. 
  5. Personalize. Now for the fun part! Personalize your card by choosing the photos you want to use. We recommend uploading more photos than you think you’ll need so that you’ll have plenty to choose from. 
  6. Address. Choose the envelope style you love and decide if you want to add printed addresses for yourself and your guests. You can always use custom return address labels or unique address stamps instead. 
  7. Review. Once everything is done, be sure to review and double-check everything for formatting and spelling. When you’re ready, Shutterfly can send the save the dates directly to your recipients for just $0.99 per envelope plus postage.

When to Send Out Save the Dates

Save the dates are one of the first things you’ll be able to check off in your wedding planning process. As a rule of thumb, you should send out save the dates at least six months before your wedding. However, if you’re having a destination wedding, you’ll want to send them out about eight months to a full year before the big day. Getting your save the dates out early ensures most of your guest list will be able to attend, making your big day even more memorable and joyful! Use our wedding stationery timeline below to view where save the dates fit in your planning process:

  • Save the date cards – Send out 6-12 months in advance depending on your wedding size and location.
  • Bridal shower invitationsSend out six weeks before the bridal shower. Most people host bridal showers 2-3 months before the wedding.
  • Wedding invitationsSend out about 6-8 weeks before the wedding.
  • Rehearsal dinner invitationsSend out about a month before the event. Most people host their rehearsal dinner the day before the wedding when the bridal party is already together for the big day.
  • Wedding thank you cardsTry to send out no later than three months after the wedding.
Photo save the date card with single couple photo and brown background with flower detailing

When to Use Change the Date Cards

Sometimes, there are just too many things out of our control that can affect a wedding. Just like any other event, weddings are subject to big life changes and issues with weather, illness, vendors, timelines, and much more. If your wedding is postponed for any reason, it’s easy to let your guests know with change the date wedding cards. With Shutterfly’s reprint promise, you can reprint any of your event-based cards for free before April 2021. With a new change the date card, you can issue a wedding postponement announcement and send out your invitations when the time is right. Don’t let big changes affect your wedding day – your guests will understand and appreciate keeping them in the loop with change the date cards.

Additional Wedding Stationary

Use Shutterfly to build a stationery suite that matches the wedding style of your dreams. Along with themed save the date cards, you can build similar designs for your wedding invitations, thank you photo cards, programs, menus, and much more. Start preparing for your wedding in style with beautiful save the date cards and find everything else you need to match. We promise you and your guests will love everything you choose and personalize to show off your personality.

Additional Resources

Shop Save the Date Cards

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