Save The Date Cards: Things You Need to Know

We Need a Save the Date Card! Where Do I Start?

Before I get started I want to personally congratulate you on your engagement. If You’re reading this you are most likely an excited (or nervous) groom or a meticulous and equally excited bride, that has been recently proposed to and has no idea where to go from here. The good news is you found the right place. You’ve probably already done the work and googled enough to know about the concept of a Save The Date Cards or Save-The-Date invite for your wedding.

This first step cannot be overlooked and is the first time many of your guests will even hear about your upcoming nuptials. This is your opportunity to share your excitement and the mood of your special occasion and bond with those close enough to you both, to be thought of when sending these out. 

So, aside from choosing whether Aunt Sally gets an invite, you have a lot more on your plate than just cake. You likely just started planning your wedding, but you likely have a theme or vibe in mind. A good save the date card will focus on that vibe or theme. Thats where I come in. One of the areas of graphic design I specialize in is text layouts for print, and illustration. If you would like to look through my portfolio while you read, here’s the link.

A black and gold themed save the date card, featuring an illustration of pinecones on the branch.

Imagine your selected friends and loved ones receiving such an old-fashioned piece of snail mail from you and your soon-to-be-spouse. We are so digitally focuses the simple things really need their time to shine. Not only that but the save the date cards are the first little taste your guests will get of the wedding. Show off the love you have for one another a little.

Don’t underestimate the Save-The-Date for a wedding. This is the platform from which you will jump from for the rest of your special day and life together. Be sure to use a professional to craft this special token of love that will steer your guests journey from avoidable cringe… to loving excited anticipation with the help of a professional Graphic Designer. Like me!

Also, fun fact: Guests who receive a wedding save the date, are more likely to RSVP than those that don’t. They’re also more inclined to give better gifts… Not that thats something you should expect, but who can say?

So, what is a Save the Date Card?

A Save the Date Wedding pre-invite is essentially a type of invite useful to those occasionally out of town but not limited to only those out of towners. The Save the Date Card will let them know key information about the planned (or perhaps loosely planned) wedding. With enough notice to allow them time to plan accordingly. They will need to book the time off of work, set aside a budget, and most likely travel for your event.

Simply put… the love you have is worth having those special people present. Or moreover… If you truly want them there, follow this guide.

What is the purpose of the Save-the-Date?

The Save-The-Date card for a wedding will inform people of key elements of the upcoming wedding as well as some extras that you and your graphic designer can come up with together including:

·       The month or date the event will take place.

·       A line of communication between the couple and their guests.

·       Relaying the theme and mood that you, the couple, want to evoke throughout the celebration.

An image showing a proof from Justin Erickson Art, featuring two separate variations for a save the date card.

Why Bother with a Save-The-Date for a wedding?

Aside from being a lot of fun to create and collaborate on, the Save-The-Dates are crucial for out-of-town visitors and even those with a busy schedule who are distant or local. It is always nice to know of an upcoming event months in advance, and this is absolutely no different. In fact, their attendance may rest squarely on the shoulders of the Save-The-Date card arriving a full calendar year early to ensure priority of scheduling for busy potential guests.

Which comes first, the Wedding invitations or the save the date?

So, there are no stupid questions… but the save the date always comes first.

How Far in Advance do you send the Save The Date for a Wedding?

The length of time leading up to your wedding guests receiving the Save The Date invites for your wedding depends on a lot of factors:

·       Their distance from the wedding venue and reception location

·       What is you and your partners relationship to them personally

·       How close you and your partner are to them physically

·       Be courteous of their work/personal schedules. Give ample notice.

·       Are you currently in Las Vegas?

How soon should you send out your save the dates?

This truly depends on you and your spouse’s preparedness, but in a perfect world, we’re looking at 6-8 months assuming no one who’s invited happens to be a foreign country delegate for the UN and has their schedule booked up years in advance. Use caution and make sure the Pre-Wedding-Invites get out as soon as possible.

What is the purpose of a Save-The-Date for a wedding?

Although, the obvious answer is informing your guests of the location and time of your upcoming wedding… It could also be a vague time of year. Like the month, or season. The idea of the save the date card is to give your guests enough time to clear their schedule and plan accordingly. You could also use the cards as an extension of your personalities. A joke, pr prank, an abstract depiction of a butterfly’s wings and how it represents your emotions the first time you met one another?

Would it be the bright colours you both felt when connecting after overcoming the darkness you each felt alone? And would incorporating that darkness in the Save the Date help weave the honest story you want to share with your guests?

Is it light and bright like bubbles on a summer day?

What do you want them to feel? Telling your story is more important than simply relating the details of when and where. Though also obviously a necessity, authenticity throughout is important to most. That’s where a skilled designer comes in. Mood is everything. 

Who gets a Save the date?

Ideally everyone! But for those on a budget I would recommend the furthest away, both in distance and in relationship.

Whose name goes first on the Save-The-Date?

Traditionally the man’s… yawn… However, since the importance of gender roles are changing and more and more non-binary and gay couples are enjoying their liberty and getting married, it really doesn’t matter anymore.

Do what feels right.

As a side note “if you don’t hire me” make sure you find another Graphic Designer that encourages your decisions without judgement or bias.

A bright white square save the date card with rounded corners featuring an illustration of wisteria in bloom.

Do you put images on the Save The Date Cards?

Some people add their Engagement photos, this is a perfect opportunity to share them. People attending your wedding will be excited to share in your love and this is a great way to let them see your happiness/love/humor through professionally shot photos.

Other people choose illustrations. Most recently I was asked to illustrate sprigs of pine needles and pine cones. It could also be animals, florals, celestial bodies, bugs, birds, you name it. The possibilities are limitless. Working with an illustrator and graphic designer can help bring your brilliance to life.

Do you address the Guests personally on the Save-The-Date?

For the Save the Date card we don’t recommend personal guest names. It is cumbersome, and truly not about them. Let them know the essentials and your vibe as a whole and save the personalizations the wedding invitations. If thats a route you want to go with.

Do you add the Venue on the Save-The-Date?

In short… maybe. At this point your venue likely isn’t secured. If you can add a location absolutely do so. If not a general date should suffice. Save the location for the proper invitations. Planning a wedding has so many moving parts, you want the flexibility to make changes. Don’t cram all of the info you can include into the save the date cards. Keep it simple.

Do you add +1 information on the Save-The-Date

Once again this is information best saved for the wedding invitation and RSVP. Do yourself a favour and enjoy the process. Sink into the feeling of your wedding without stressing all the details. You’ll have plenty of time for that as the event gets closer.

Should you require people to RSVP from the Save-The-Date 

Although a good quick way to anticipate guest numbers, I do not recommend doing this as the save the date may be too far out for some people to know if they can attend or not. Keep the RSVP option and food choices for the invitation.

Save the Date Wording and Etiquette

Since the Save The Date is all about mood, you really want to think about what the message is you’re aiming to get across to your guests. The subtext of the text if you will.

Font and wording are as important as imagery and colour. Talk to your graphic designer for help on this as it will be the baseline for your special day.

The Bare Bones of the Save The Date Card

Basically, you need the following:

Name of the couple.
The City where the wedding will be held
Exact date if you know it, or the month of the wedding

When should I send them?

6-8 months prior, no more than 10 month prior. Always anticipate the needs of your guests by assuming they need more time but not so much time that they forget.

Time means a positive RSVP when the invitation arrives, time to prep and plan, and more time to buy you both the perfect gift. Providing time, means you thought of them and care that they attend your wedding.

Take the time.

Can you Skip the Save-The-Date?

Of course.

You can also skip brushing your teeth or reading the instruction manual. My advice… don’t skip this.

There is so much said through this to your guests that they’re going to want to hear. This can be so special. And shouldn’t it be?

Can I Send a Save the Date Messages through Social Media or Text?

You can. Consider this however. In a world where we do everything through our smartphones. The physical act of receiving a letter by a friend is becoming increasingly special. The power of time and effort is exceedingly recognized and appreciated. Your family, chosen family, friends, loved ones and colleagues deserve that.

While a social media post can get lost or easily forgotten, a beautifully crafted Save the Date message reminds them of the upcoming excitement and is a token of thought and a keepsake for many. It might just be hanging on the fridge, or pinned to the family calendar.

Of all the things to cut from the massive roster of upcoming expenses, this shouldn’t be one. Although the Save the date is often overlooked and seemingly an expense that can be cut. The importance of a save the date wedding card is weighty and should not be taken lightly for the reasons mentioned above. Create the start of your wedding with your guests and each other as you mean to go on.

Not unlike your upcoming life together… make it something to celebrate. Like yourselves.

As always thank you for reading. I hope you found this blog informative, and that you have a better idea of what your save the date cards should focus on. Conveniently you’ve already found a graphic designer! Send me an email or use the form below, lets discuss your vision. I’ll handle the design, and the printing process.

I will answer your inquiry within a business day.

This blog was written by my partner Mark St. James. If you don’t already you should follow him on instagram!

Stay Creative out there,

Justin Erickson

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