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All Things Save the Dates

Save the dates are one of the optional items in your wedding invitation suite, and it’s totally up to you whether you send them or not. This is probably one of the very first things you’ll deal with in the lead up to your wedding day (after saying yes, of course!) and it’s the first thing your guests will see.

Side note: the phrase “save the date” is completely inappropriate to abbreviate, so I apologize in advance for how many times I say “save the date” in this article.

Should You Send A Save The Date?

You don’t NEED to send save the dates, but in some cases it’s a good idea. Read on to learn the four instances in which I’d recommend you send wedding save the dates!

You’re having a destination wedding

If you’re having a destination wedding, and you actually want your guests to come, it’s a good idea to let them know as far in advance of the actual trip. That’s because your guests will need to work the trip into their budget, book flights and hotels, arrange childcare, and request time off from work.

Many of your guests are coming in from out of town

Perhaps it’s not a destination wedding you’re hosting, but it might feel like a destination to those guests travelling in from out of town. Sending out save the dates will increase the likelihood that these guests will be able to make it.

You’re having your wedding on a holiday weekend

New Year’s Eve? May long weekend? Plan on sending save the dates. People make plans for these holidays long in advance, so make sure they know to mark their calendars with your wedding date.

You just want to

Perhaps you’re the highly organized type, or perhaps you just like the look of a full invitation suite (I can relate). There is nothing wrong with sending out save the dates simply because you want to. Your guests will appreciate the extra notice and will feel special knowing they’re invited.

When Should You Send Save The Dates?

How early you put your save the dates in the mail depends entirely on your situation. Here are a few rules to guide you:

Destination Wedding

  • I’d recommend sending them as soon as you possibly can, which is usually once you have a date and venue, wedding website, and hotel room block. This should be anywhere from nine months to one year in advance.

Out of Town Guests

  • If you decide to send save the dates because you have many guests coming in from out of town, how early you send them depends on exactly how far your wedding is from those guests. If it’s out of continent for them, I’d suggest following the destination wedding timeline of nine months to one year in advance. If it’s not that far, I’d stick to six to eight months in advance.

Holiday Weekend

  • You can stick to six to eight months in advance for holiday weekends, unless you’re getting married around Christmas or New Years, in which case I’d suggest nine months to one year. That’s because people often make plans with extended family long in advance, and you’ll want to make sure they mark their calendars with your wedding date.

You Just Want To

  • If you just want to send save the dates for fun or to be on top of things, aim for the six to eight month mark.

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with sending your save the dates earlier rather than later. No one will turn their nose up at the extra notice.

What Should They Say?

The all important question. What should your save the dates say? Keep it pretty simple, since you will be sending a formal invitation to follow, but be sure to hit the following information.

Header / Footer

Don’t forget the most important part: “Save the Date” or some variation of it. Without this line, your guests might think it’s your wedding invitation they’re looking it. This is also accomplished by a “Formal invitation to follow” or some variation of it as a footer.

Some Examples Include:

  • Save the Date

  • Mark Your Calendars!

  • He Put a Ring on it! Save our Date

  • We’re Spreading the News!

  • Formal Invitation To Follow (footer)


Since this is typically a smaller card (3.5x5), it’s usually first names only. As with anything in wedding invitations, feel free to break that rule for any reason whatsoever.

Some Examples Include:

  • Lucy & James


The whole reason you’re sending a card in the first place. Don’t forget the date!

Some Examples Include:

  • July 16, 2019

  • Saturday the Sixteenth of July, Two Thousand Nineteen

  • 16.07.2019

City and Venue

You should send your save the dates after you have your venue 100% booked and not before. That’s because nailing down a date can be tricky, and you’ll want to save yourself the headache of changing the date once your save the dates are already out. If you’re not sure of the venue but you’re confident of the date (perhaps you’re planning a backyard wedding), just the city is fine.

Some Examples Include:

  • The Inn At The Forks, Winnipeg, MB

  • Winnipeg, Manitoba

Other Information

Other important information to include if you have it:

  • Your wedding website URL

  • The hotel block you’ve reserved, if applicable

  • The contact information of the travel agent you’re working with, if applicable

Keep it simple and resist the urge to pack too much information into your save the dates. If you have lots to say, that’s what your wedding website is for.

Don’t Include

  • Parent’s names: You can save these for the invitation. If your parents are insistent, you can explain to them that it’s a small card and their names will appear on the actual invitation.

  • Ceremony or reception times, and other day-of details: These details might change between sending your save the dates and sending your invites, so it’s best to save them for the invitation.

  • Addresses: There’s really no need to fill up precious space with addresses, since they will appear on your invitation.

  • Wedding Registry Information: It’s considered tacky to ask for gifts in your wedding stationery. If your guests would like to send you a gift, they’ll ask you or someone in your bridal party where you’re registered.

Photo by Janice Wiebe Photography, Planning, Styling & Coordinator Simply You Events


One final note on sizing: standard save the date size is 3.5x5, with an oversize option of 5x7. Choose whichever size you like best and fits your budget.

Planning a wedding? Learn more about invitations from Little Dove.

Free Table Numbers!

Print them at home. Numbers 1-25. 

$100 value.

Photo by Charmaine Mallari

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