Today we’re helping you decipher between a save the date vs invitation. Get more wedding planning tips like this to your inbox by becoming a subscriber. It’s free!
Save the date vs invitation: what’s the difference? That’s the question we received from newly engaged (congrats!) bride-to-be, Ashleigh, and her fiance, Mike. She writes,
“Hi Emmaline, I have a question! People keep telling us we need to send save the date cards but I am not sure what the difference is. Aren’t we supposed to send invitations? Do we send a save the date and an invitation? I’m so new to all of this and could use your help. Thanks in advance.”
Save the Date vs Invitation
First of all, great question, Ashleigh! It really isn’t a question of if you should send a save the date OR an invitation, but rather if you should send a save the date AND an invitation. You always send an invitation; a save the date is optional, but highly encouraged. Think of your save the date as an informal greeting to reveal, “we’ve set a date, here’s where the wedding will be”. On the other hand, your invitation will tell guests more pertinent information such as the time, the actual names of venues, choice of dinner entree, etc. I always love to receive a save the date, and I know many others who enjoy them, too. A save the date not only gears your guests up for the fun ahead, but it also provides them ample time to save the date on the calendar and arrange travel arrangements (if it is a destination wedding). A save the date is also helpful for a Friday evening wedding, as many guests like to take time off of work to attend the ceremony mid-afternoon.
When to Send
Now that you know the difference between a save the date vs invitation, one of the biggest things to remember is the timeline of when they are mailed. Save the date cards are sent approximately 4 to 6 MONTHS before the wedding; invitations are sent 6 to 8 WEEKS before the wedding. Big difference!
Do not send save the date cards to guests unless you’re positive he or she is on the wedding guest list. Also, it’s important to note that your save the date card doesn’t necessarily have to match or coordinate with your wedding invitation or decor; high-fives if it does, but it’s so far in advance that you aren’t always one-hundred-percent sure on the details yet. A save the date is informal, so don’t worry so much about those details just yet.
You can coordinate the save the date with your invitation, but it’s not a requirement.
Browse Save the Dates
Ready to be inspired? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite save the date cards and invitations, to give you an idea of the difference. As you can see, save the dates are much more succinct and shorter than invites. As a reminder, you can coordinate the designs if you like… or go completely unique on the save the date and choose something else for your invitation.
Love this matching invitation set (via here!)
And here’s the matching invitation set:
P.S. Newly engaged? Check out our wedding planning podcast!
P.S.S. Also, be sure to check out these new engagement gifts for 2020!