EVERYTHING you Need to Know about Save the Dates

In my previous blog post, I talked about the different things to consider before mailing out your Save the Dates and mistakes to avoid. (I even revealed a few mistakes I made myself throughout the process!)

In this post, I will discuss:

  • Different types of Save the Dates to consider
  • Where to find good ones & how to get discounts on them
  • When you should send them out 
  • Using your Save the Dates to get people to actually visit your wedding website 
  • My honest answer to the question "If I Could Send them out Again, Would I?..."

Also, I'll include a picture of my actual Save the Date!

Different Types of Save the Dates to Consider

First, we had to determine what kind of Save the Dates we wanted. You can either get a postcard (probably the cheapest option unless it's square shaped*), a square/ rectangle printed invitation, or a magnet. It's also important to pay attention to the size of the invite. I bought one for our apartment warming party years ago and it was teeny tiny & definitely not what I pictured. It's really helpful a to take a ruler out and draw the dimensions on a piece of paper to give you a better visual of how large or small your invite will be.

*Helpful tip: I learned (the hard way) from our engagement party invitations that a square invitation costs more in postage. If the dimensions are exact, ex: 5 1/2 by 5 1/2, they're considered "odd-sized" and "non-machinable" and cost 21 cents in addition to the price of a normal stamp for each invitation. So, if you're buying the square invitation because it seems cheaper, it's typically not in the end.

We thought about it and decided we wanted to get magnets. They cost a little bit more, but they were worth it. One main reason being, that we put SO much information on our wedding website that it was important to us that guests could access that information at any time (without bugging us for the wedding website information continuously LOL!). I think most of us tend to misplace paper ones (guilty!) & people are less likely to lose them by just sticking the magnets on the fridge. We put the wedding website information right there on the Save the Date and encouraged guests to visit it. 

Where to Find them & How to Get Discounts

The sites I liked the most were Minted.com and WeddingPaperDivas.com.  We ended up going with Minted because the design we picked was more customizable there.

Keep an eye out for deals on RetailMeNot.com or google other coupon codes. I also signed up for emails from the companies I was interested in buying the Save the Dates from. They were sending me coupon codes weekly, and when I found the best deal I would jump on it and order them. This is also why it's good to give yourself extra time to order and receive them... to stalk out the best deal! You can always unsubscribe when you don't want the emails anymore.

When Should you Send Them Out?

Being recovering procrastinators, I am constantly trying to make sure George and I do things relatively early for the wedding. This way, if we shoot for early then we're more towards "on time" rather than doing it late.

If you're having a destination wedding it's best to send them out at least 10 months before, so people can properly plan & save for your wedding. If not, 6-9 months is a good rule of thumb. If your wedding is on a Friday or Sunday or in peak wedding season (May-October) it's probably best to send them out earlier than later. I believe we actually ended up sending our Save the Dates out about 7 1/2 months prior to our wedding which worked out great.

Like I've mentioned before, I've learned that a lot can change in 9 or 10 months. If you're going to send them out around that 9/10 month mark I suggest only sending Save the Dates to people you are 150% sure you want to invite & hold off on the plus ones you're on the fence about giving out.

Getting People to Actually go to your Wedding Website

We spend so much time on our wedding website. No, more like sooooooooooo much time. We loved the way it turned out and wanted guests to go see it. It had important information about the wedding, but it was also fun and cute. We wanted to get people as excited for the wedding as we were and the site was just the way to do it.

We put our wedding website URL on the Save the Date, but how were we going to get people to want to actually look at it?  

Ultimately, you have to think of your guests and what will motivate them to look. Most people will only be motivated to go check out your site if you get them involved, make it about them somehow, or if you reward them for looking. Channel your inner Mad (wo)Men & think how you could “market” to your “target population”.  What will give them that extra incentive to look?

Some ideas…

  • Say the first 20 people to comment on your online guest book will receive a reward. & be prepared to leave them something extra in their hotel welcome bags or send them a special letter thanking them.
  • Tell them to check out the pictures you have of friends and family on your site (implying they might be on your site - so they'll want to see) 
  • Have them vote on something small - such as the the "specialty cocktail of the night". Give them two choices and have them vote on it. OR, tell them you'd love to hear drink suggestions for you and your fiance's signature drinks. People love to feel involved and thought of.
  • Tell them to check the website to see if they’re featured as your special guest(s) of the week* (we actually did this)

*We chose this route for various reasons. First and foremost, we thought it would be a great way to honor our guests.  We also thought it would make people interact with the site more and for them to genuinely enjoy the website & learn about other guests. We featured one person, a couple, or a group of people that we knew would definitely be coming to the wedding and wrote a little sweet blurb about them each week (or we did a harmless “roast”). It definitely got people to view our site, and some still actually continue to check back to see if it’s their turn yet.  

Our Save the Date

Here's what ours ended up looking like! 

I blurred out our actual details and put some ideas of what to include in yours. What do you think? :)

*Another helpful tip- if you're going to include pictures on your Save the Dates, they have to be high resolution files or they'll look blurry and stretched. 

If I Could Send them out Again, Would I?...

So if I could do it again would I? Yes... I would. I just would be WAY more careful with who I sent them to and who we gave plus ones to, if I could do it over. 

A lot changes in a year and a half. Relationships change... friendships fade, new friendships grow. Situations change... jobs change, you move... things happen! Sending people a Save the Date pretty much locks them in to be invited to your wedding. So, if you know exactly who you want at your wedding with no question whatsoever then I would send them a Save the Date. However, if you're not sure about some people, or not sure if you want to invite them with guests, I would highly highly highly recommend not sending them out to them at this time. You could always make the final decision when you get closer to your big day and it’s time to send an actual invitation. 

Good luck & have fun with them. I would love to see how yours turned out! If you have any questions feel free to comment on my blog and I'll be glad to help.


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Save the Dates - What to consider & BIG mistakes to avoid (yes I've made them too)

Save the Dates! I personally love cutesy stuff like this. I'm super into personal stationery, fun fonts, wooden stamps, and all things like that. Also, I was excited to get our loved ones hyped for the wedding. 

However, it was easier said than done. Besides agreeing on what kind of Save the Date to pick and what to write on it, we questioned so much in regards to who to send them to…   Should we put “& guest” on his envelope if we're unsure we will end up being able to give him a guest at the wedding? Do we send one to the distant relative we feel almost obligated to invite, but are not sure if we will end up having room? Should we send them to everyone at work, or only a few people we are closest with? She's not in a relationship and I'm on the fence about giving her a plus one, so should I put one on the envelope anyway? Who do we send them to and who do we not send them to????

If this sounds familiar, don’t worry, I went through it too. Or if you’re like me, you’ll worry anyway! Hehe, but I do always feel better reading blogs and seeing other people’s experiences and then forming my own opinion. Our Save the Dates came out great, but I’ll admit I made mistakes along the way. I’m happy to help you by offering you my honest perspective while also giving you some tips to avoid any headaches. In my follow up post, I'll even show you what ours ended up looking like and give you suggestions on what to write on your Save the Dates to make the most out of them.

When sending out Save the Dates, there are important things to consider:

1) The confidence you have (or don't have) in your guest list. 

The most difficult part of wedding planning was determining and agreeing on the final guest list. We knew from the get-go that the majority of our guest list would comprise of family. George has a very large extended family, many whom of which we're extremely close with... cousins that are like brothers and sisters, and aunts that are like second parents. Of course, they were no-brainer-invites along with a handful of friends.

After that, lines of friendship and extended family became a bit blurry. We got some pressure from family about who we “had to” and “should” invite. It was hard and soon became very confusing and complicated. You end up comparing people to others and examining your relationships under a microscope like never before.

If you’re in a similar situation, I would recommend sending Save the Dates only to the people you are 150% sure you want to invite. I cannot stress that enough. Work friends you’re not close with, distant relatives you’re not sure you can squeeze in, people you haven’t spoken to in a really long time, people who come out of the woodworks (seemingly to score an invite to your wedding), and other people you're on the fence about are safer to leave off for now. You could always reexamine your feelings once it’s time to send out wedding invitations. Trust me on this one.  A lot can change with relationships in the time between engagement and wedding.

2) Plus Ones

PLUS ONES, dun dun DUN!!!!!! Who should get them? Who doesn't “need” one? That, my friends, is… a subject for another blog post. However, for Save the Date purposes, the best advice I can give is this… if you’re not sure about giving a person a plus one then don’t. Just for now, just for the Save the Dates. If someone questions you after they receive their Save the Date if they’ll get a plus one for the wedding, just reply that you hope to, but due to budgetary reasons you will have to reexamine it when it gets closer to the big day. Leave it at that. People don’t have to agree with your decisions, but they have to make an effort to respect them.

So, in my opinion, it’s best to just put your friend/cousin/single uncle's name on the Save the Date envelope for now, and to add their plus one to the wedding invite later on if you decide to give them one. It's easier to add plus ones once the invites go out, but not as easy to take them away.  Without getting too specific, we definitely made that mistake when we sent out our Save the Dates and are having some serious regrets. So trust me on this one too... don't put an "& Guest" on the envelope if you're not 150% about giving someone a plus one. 

3) Functionality

Save the Dates, if utilized properly, can serve as a phenomenal resource for guests. Many people wanted to know the little details about our wedding (hotel accommodations, location of the venue, transportation information, etc.) and we were excited to tell them! We ended up creating an amazing wedding website which we poured so much love (& time!) into. We wanted to use our Save the Dates to get our guests to actually go and see this awesome website we created. After all, it’s much easier to say the 4 sweet little words, "check out the website", rather than having to re-explain where the reception will be, the name of the hotel, what time the ceremony is, etc., to everyone every-single-time you see or talk to them (hands up if you feel me!). 

In an effort to not make this post super long...in my next blog post I will discuss:

  • How to get people to go on your wedding website through your Save the Dates
  • When to send them out to your guests
  • Where you can find some cool Save the Dates (& where to find coupons to save extra!)
  • Hidden postage costs to avoid
  • My honest answer to the question of "If I knew then what I know now, would I still send them out?"

Also, I'll show you what ours ended up looking like!

Oh, & for my Game of Thrones loving brides, in honor of last night's season finale...  ;)