Are save the date cards mandatory? As in absolutely, 100% necessary?
Technically, you can get married without them, but I think they’re an important asset to have. In some circumstances, wedding save the dates are considered optional, while in other situations they’re a real necessity.
So, what’s the difference? How do you know if you need them — or not? In this blog post, you’ll learn whether your save-the-dates are required or optional based on your needs. I’ll also tell you why save-the-dates are NOT invitations — and where you can get a personalized sample to test ’em out.
We’ve got a lot to unpack here, so let’s get started!
Let’s begin with what I like to call Wedding Paper Refresher Course, 101: Save the Date Cards vs. Wedding Invites. Here’s what sets save-the-dates apart from invitations.
Are Save-The-Dates Required?
Save The Dates vs. Invitation
A save the date tells guests:
1.) We’ve set a date (yay!)
2.) We’ve selected a wedding location, and here it is (double-yay!)
3.) You’re on the guest list (woo!)
On the flip-side, let’s consider the invitation’s purpose. What does it do?
A wedding invitation informs guests:
1.) This is your official request to attend the wedding
2.) Here are ALL the specific details, including the venue, menu selection, dress code, RSVP info, who is invited, etc.
3.) Don’t forget to RSVP before this date
Formality: Which Is More Formal?
Formality is important to note here: save the dates are informal, while invitations are formal.
Timing: When To Send Save-the-Dates vs. Invites
Thirdly, let’s talk about timing. You’ll notice that save the date cards are sent way earlier than invites, and many couples miss the mark on sending them so they omit save-the-date cards entirely.
The SAVE THE DATE is sent 6 to 8 months before the wedding.
The INVITATION is sent 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding.
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Finally, there’s one major different: necessity.
Save the dates can be skipped, but an invitation is absolutely mandatory.
Also, you cannot send a save the date to a guest and not follow it up with an invitation.
You can technically send an invitation to a guest who didn’t receive a save the date (but why would you want to?)
Lastly, never send a save the date to a guest unless they’re officially on the final guest list. :)
Now that you’ve graduated from Stationery 101, let’s talk about the instances where you MUST send save the dates and when it is mandatory to do so.
PRO TIP: This is a helpful read if you’re NOT sending them → When to Send Invitations If Not Sending Save the Dates.
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When You Must Send Save-The-Date Cards
Save-the-date cards are required in the following instances:
You need to send save the dates if you’re planning a destination wedding. Guests need enough time to plan ahead, and an invitation just doesn’t cut it in the time-frame provided. According to proper etiquette, you mustn’t send invitations too early. As a result, you’ll find save-the-date cards to be absolutely beneficial in this regard.
Wedding on a Holiday Weekend
If you’re planning a wedding on a long holiday weekend, such as Labor Day or Memorial Day weekend, during the holiday season, or during high peak summer wedding season, save the dates are imperative. This ensures your guests can take adequate time off, if needed, to attend, and add the date to their calendar for planning purposes.
If you have many guests who will need to travel to attend your wedding, save the dates are vital. Similarly to destination weddings, it gives your guests proper time to plan ahead and arrange for travel accommodations and lodging, which will be a huge plus for them.
If your wedding falls into any of the three categories above, consider save-the-dates required.
In conclusion, and professionally speaking on my own behalf, I think save the dates should be a requisite for all weddings, but I know it’s not always in the budget. This is because it provides your family and friends necessary time to plan ahead, even if the wedding is based locally and held at an off-season time. Everyone’s calendar fills up so quickly as it is, so having a “heads up” is called for, IMO.
It is also a fun way to celebrate your excitement: you’re getting married and there’s an official date! IT’S HAPPENING!
Plus, you can share some super-cute pics of the two of you, and who doesn’t love the opportunity to do that?! ;)
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Save the dates are vital to kick off the announcement of your wedding website, too, which will be HUGELY beneficial to guests as you continue to plan your wedding.
You can get a wedding website to match the save the date, then follow suit with an invitation that brings the whole design together, like these.
You can place your wedding website on the back of the card or at the bottom so your guests can access it with ease. You can even add a QR code to it so guests can scan the code and go directly to the website via their Smartphone device. BONUS: They’ll be all, “Wow, they’re so tech-savvy…” ;)
On the other hand, I know that some couples don’t feel save the dates are crucial, so they skip it, and that’s OK. You should feel confident and free to plan your wedding and budget as you see fit! And maybe to you that means save-the-dates or favors or color palettes or big weddings or a big live band. You do you. It’s so very important because that’s what makes weddings so very beautiful, unique, and special.
Last but not least, let’s talk about samples. Sometimes, trying out a sample of a save the date is all you need to make the call! And once you see these beauties I have a sneaking suspicion you’ll want to order a pack of your own.
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Where to Get Save The Date Samples
See how it’s done! Click the image below ↓
• Need suggestions? Read: 9 Places to Buy Cheap Save the Dates.
ON TO YOU: Do you think save-the-date cards are obligatory? Why or why not? Discuss in the comments below.