Don't Make These Save-the-Date Mistakes

If you're going to give your guests a heads up, you might as well do it right.
kim forrest the knot
by
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a speciality in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated Apr 05, 2022

The ring is on your finger and the wedding planning process is underway—and now it's time to get your guests in the loop. Your first step is to send a save-the-date card (aka the pre-invitation that officially announces your wedding date and lets your guests know they should clear their calendars). But you have to do it right. Below, find out what save the date etiquette mistakes not to make while giving your guests the heads up.

Not Sending Save the Dates At All

Yes, this counts as a mistake. Although you don't have to send save-the-dates (if you're having an especially short engagement, it might make more sense to simply send out invitations), you're typically doing yourself a disservice by not sending them. Especially if you're having a destination wedding or a three-day weekend affair—it'll give guests enough time to clear their schedules, make travel arrangements and generally increase their chances of being able to make it to your nuptials. That's the goal, right?

Including Too Much Information

When it comes to save the date wording, we recommend keeping it simple. The only pieces of information you need to include are your names, wedding date (or dates, if it's a weekend) and general location—just the city is fine, so you don't even need to have your venue booked yet. Including your wedding website is ideal, but not necessary.

Sending Save the Dates Too Late

As a rule of thumb, it's best to start spreading the news around six to eight months prior to the ceremony (send them earlier for a faraway destination or holiday weekend). This gives wedding guests plenty of time to book their travel plans, save money and ask for days off work. Any later than that and they won't have enough lead time to do those things.

Sending Save the Dates Too Early

On the contrary, if you send them any earlier than that—say, a whole year in advance—they may toss the notice aside and forget about it. Also, you should never send out formal wedding information before setting things in stone just in case plans change or something falls through. In the event of an unexpected switcheroo, your best bet is to update your wedding website, pick up the phone and start spreading the word. You do have the option of sending out another mailing that explains the dilemma—but a personal, verbal notice is the best way to avoid confusion. (If your wedding guest list is a bit overwhelming, enlist the help of your bridal party.)

Sending Save the Dates to People You're Not Sure About

Once your save-the-dates are in the mail, there's no turning back. So only send them to those guests you definitely want to attend. (Even the ones you've received verbal confirmations from, like your bridesmaids and family members.)

Overthinking Your Save the Date Design

Save-the-dates are much less formal than your wedding invitations and definitely don't have to match them or your theme. This is your opportunity to let your personality as a couple really shine, or try out a wedding style or theme you love but are hesitant to commit to just yet. Play with colors, motifs or fonts to create something that will get guests excited for the occasion.

Only Sending Electronic Save the Dates

Email invitations for informal events like bachelorette parties and postwedding brunches are becoming more popular, and as a result, rewriting the snail mail etiquette rules. We stand by old-school wedding stationery for the big stuff like formal invitations, but the use of digital is up to your discretion. If you do decide on digital, consider doubling up: Send out an electronic save-the-date to everyone, and send paper correspondence just in case the email goes to spam. Also, odds are, you have older relatives or friends who may want to keep the physical one as a keepsake.

Being Unclear About Who's Actually Invited

It's best to be as clear as possible about who's invited to the wedding, even this far in advance. By including the actual names of every intended guest on the envelope, you're less likely to have any assumed plus-ones (like your second cousin's new boyfriend), or general confusion (is your 7-year-old niece invited?). Being up front about who's invited also gives families with uninvited kids ample time to plan for child care, and out-of-towners time to figure out hotel room shares.

Including Registry Information

While your guests will likely want to know where you're registered, it's in bad taste to include this information on your save-the-dates. Gifts, of course, are not required. You can wait to include a link to your wedding website (where your registry information should live) on an invitation insert, and guests will know to ask wedding party members or your parents for the scoop if they need to do so.

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