If you’re wondering, do I have to send save the dates and invitations? Are you not sending save the dates for your wedding and want to know if it’s OK to skip them?
Perhaps you don’t want to spend the money, you don’t have enough time to send them, or you simply don’t like save-the-date cards. Whatever the reason, you don’t have to explain your decision to anyone.
In this blog post, you’ll find out if it is OK to not send save-the-dates. We’ll also tell you when to send invites if you’re skipping save-the-date cards and what you can do as an alternative (if you like!)
Plus, we’ll talk about digital alternatives: are email save-the-dates tacky or not?
Do You Have to Send Out Save the Dates for a Wedding?
This question came in from bride-to-be, Nicole, who wants to know if it is OK not to send save the dates. She writes,
“Hi Emmaline, I don’t have a huge wedding budget and we’re thinking about skipping save the date cards. Is it OK to not send them? Do I have to send save the dates?”
Great question, Nicole!
As a rule of thumb, sending save-the-date cards is optional.
The answer to whether save the dates are necessary is no. They are nice to have, can help guests get planning, and are vital for destination weddings. But in most cases and by definition, save-the-date cards are not required.
Invitations, on the other hand, are essential: they are important cards informing guests everything they need to know about the wedding day. (Read: Save the Dates vs. Invitations for more clarity.)
But when it comes to the save-the-date card itself, no, it is not mandatory or anything. Think of save the dates as an informal “heads up”: you’re giving guests advance notice of the wedding ahead to make travel arrangements or hotel accommodations, or simply put it in their calendar. While I like them and think they’re an excellent idea, save-the-dates are not required.
So, if you’re wondering if it’s OK not to send save the dates, yep! It’s totally fine.
What To Do If You Don’t Send Save the Dates
So, what happens if you skip save the date cards? Complete and utter chaos! Yeah, totally kidding. Nothing happens. You don’t send them and life continues as normal. ;)
There are a few things to tackle behind-the-scenes, though, if you’d like!
1. Finalize the guest list ASAP.
One benefit of sending save-the-date cards is having your guest list done super early, out of necessity in order to send those cards. But if you’re not sending them, be sure to update the guest list and finalize it quickly. Don’t feel guilty when cutting the guest list: sometimes it’s all you can do to keep that budget looking good.
You may find these two links helpful:
• How To Cut the Guest List Without Guilt, and
• The Ultimate Wedding Budget Breakdown
You’ll see how the guest list directly impacts your budget — and why it is helpful to cut costs when you can, like in this example, if you’re skipping save-the-date cards.
Once your guest list is complete, move on to Step 2.
2. Create a FREE wedding website to share the details with wedding guests.
Start spreading the news! You’re getting married… soon! ♫
Some guests may want to know the date ahead of time. Therefore, if you’re not sending save the dates, do the next best thing: make a wedding website.
You can make a FREE wedding website here and edit the details with your photos, wedding date, and location.
Then, you can share the link with family and friends who are on the official guest list. It is the best alternative to save the date cards and is completely free.
You can copy the link and send it on social media (i.e. make a Facebook group for wedding guests, or send it privately to friends and family on Instagram or TikTok, make a newsletter, text the link on your phone, etc.)
You can even make a QR code with your website link and send that to guests. Fun!
WORD OF CAUTION: It’s fun to share the website link with everyone! However, be sure to only send it to guests who are invited and I highly encourage you to add a password to protect your site from lurkers.
A wedding website is a great alternative to save the dates and I highly recommend making one if you’re not sending cards in the mail.
3. Send invitations a bit earlier than usual.
You can mail out your invites sooner than the standard timeline IF you’re not sending save the dates, as outlined below.
When to Send Wedding Invitations If Not Sending Save the Dates
This is a terrific question that many couples want to know: when to send wedding invites if not sending save-the-dates?
Here’s the answer: if you’re skipping them, mail wedding invitations 8 to 12 before the wedding.
The standard timeline of sending invitations is 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding date, so it is perfectly acceptable to send them earlier than that if you’re not sending save-the-date cards.
As tempted as you are to go wayyyy than that — some couples plan to send invites 9 months to 1 year before the wedding — I urge you to wait a bit unless it is a destination wedding. (More on that in a minute.)
You do not want to send invitations too early because timelines and venues can change in a year or slightly less leading up to the big day.
If that happens, look out, budget: you’ll need to re-print the invitations with the updated details or send out change the date cards.
In addition, it’s tough enough as it is to get guests to RSVP on time when there’s a small window. If you give guests too many months to do so, they may lose the invite, forget to RSVP, and you’ll have to track them all down.
According to proper etiquette, invitations should go in the mail closer to the actual wedding date.
It’s easy: here’s exactly when to send wedding invites if not sending save-the-dates, based on an updated 8 to 12 week timeline for couples who are skipping them.
Note: This is the approximate timeline to use ONLY if you’re skipping save the dates. Otherwise, stick to the standard 6-12 week timeline here.
|Wedding Date||When to Send Invites If NOT Sending Save the Dates|
|Wedding Date: January 1 – 15||Send invites: October 9 – November 6|
|January 15 – 31||October 23 – November 20|
|February 1 – 15||November 9 – December 7|
|February 16 – 28||November 24 – December 22|
|March 1 – 15||December 7 – January 4|
|March 16 – 31||December 22 – January 19|
|April 1 – 15||January 7 – February 4|
|April 16 – 30||January 22 – February 19|
|May 1 – 15||February 6 – March 6|
|May 16 – 31||February 21 – March 21|
|June 1 – 15||March 9 – April 6|
|June 16 – 30||March 24 – April 21|
|July 1 – 15||April 8 – May 6|
|July 15 – 31||April 23 – May 21|
|August 1 – 15||May 9 – June 6|
|August 16 – 31||May 24 – June 21|
|September 1 – 15||June 9 – July 7|
|September 16 – 30||June 24 – July 22|
|October 1 – 15||July 9 – August 6|
|October 16 – 31||July 24 – August 21|
|November 1 – 15||August 9 – September 6|
|November 16 – 30||August 24 – September 21|
|December 1 – 15||September 8 – October 6|
|December 16 – 31||September 23 – October 21|
Do You Have to Send Save-the-Dates to Everyone?
If you aren’t sending save the dates, maybe you just don’t want to mail them out to every person on your guest list. That is another way to do it! If money is an issue, or you don’t want to spend a ton of your stationery budget on mailing STDs to every guest, you do not have to send save-the-dates to everyone.
Instead, order just a few and send them to your VIPs: your parents, grandparents, and siblings are a great place to start. Want to expand on it? Mail them out to close friends and whomever you think will appreciate a formal heads up (perhaps guests who live out of town).
Is It Too Late to Send Save the Dates?
If you’re not sending them because it’s too late to mail save-the-dates, here’s the typical timeline: they should go in the mail six to eight months in advance. Anything sooner than 6 months — 3 months, 4 months, 5 months, for instance — is too late to send save-the-dates. In this instance, just wait until you mail the invitations. You’ll save money in your budget and the cards won’t look hastily thrown together. Instead, do nothing and wait for the invites OR create a wedding website — it is always a good idea to have one anyway! — and share the link with guests if you waited too long to mail the save the dates.
When to Send Save the Dates for Destination Wedding
You should send save the dates to everyone if you’re planning a destination wedding because, simply, travel. If so, you’ll send them out 8 to 12 months in advance.
Is it tacky to email save-the-dates?
Hmm, tacky? No! Not in the least. I think if a couple doesn’t want to send out paper save-the-dates, but they like the idea of giving their guests a heads up, digital or email save-the-dates are not tacky in the least. It is a modern era and for some, technology is the easiest way to get the message across to your guests.
If you like an email or digital save the date, I highly recommend using Greenvelope as an alternative to sending save the dates in the mail saving time, paper, and money.
Email save-the-dates have come a long way. Look how lovely these are!
It is not tacky to send digital save-the-dates, especially if you want an alternative to traditional cards. Guests can access the cards on phones, via email, and have just as much fun and anticipation as they might with a card in the mail. When you use this service, the card is animated; it appears as if they’re opening it up right out of an envelope, all virtually.
• You can see examples of digital save-the-dates here or get yours now.
Are Save-the-Dates Too Expensive to Send?
If you’re not sending them because you think they’re too pricey, consider these cheap save-the-date cards: you can cut costs majorly simply by knowing where to shop.
You can also spend less when you opt for postcard save-the-dates vs. traditional cards. The postage stamps for postcards cost less than standard; furthermore, postcards require no envelope. This turns into cost savings for you — and paper, too! Just an idea!
Is digital not your thing? Do you still NOT want to send save the dates — digital or printed? That’s totally fine, too! No pressure either way.
One last word of advice, if you do end up sending them:
Never Send Save the Dates to Someone NOT on the Guest List
Whether you send them to just a few guests, to everyone on the list, for a destination wedding, digitally or through the mail…. never send save-the-dates to anyone who is NOT on the guest list. That would be a major — and easily avoidable — save-the-date mistake.
Hope it helps!