If you decided on a destination wedding this year, then, CONGRATS! I’m so excited for you! It’s going to be an incredible experience for you and your loved ones. And part of that joy is sharing it with friends and family, so you want to give them plenty of notice to get there. Sending out a “save the date” is an important part of the process to alert your loved ones to mark their calendars early and look into travel options before costs increase. So what do you need to know about a save the date before you send it?

Send a save the date card six to nine months before the wedding. Technically, once the venue has been contracted for your specific wedding day, the save the date cards can go out. However, I recommend sending them between six to nine months before the wedding. That guests gives ample time to arrange travel, childcare, time off work and schedules. Sending these too soon may lose some of the momentum of the event or even run the risk of the details changing.

Only send a save the date to those you intend to invite. Rule number one is never formally alert a non-wedding guest of the wedding details. Don’t ask someone to mark their calendars or book travel until you’re absolutely certain you want them at your wedding. Sometimes it’s not even a matter of want but of capacity and logistics. Be sure to get firm on your final guest list before you drop a card in the mail to anyone! The last thing you want to do is uninvite a guest after they’ve made plans to attend.

Don’t send until the major details are set. Before you drop these fun announcements in the mail, make sure you’ve organized the basics of the event. Not all your vendors need to be booked or colors selected, but you’ll want to know what venue the ceremony and reception will be held at (and make sure the contract is in place), you’ll want to have set up any room blocks at nearby hotels (this is a discounted group of rooms for your guests to book using a unique code you provide them with), and anything else that may be relevant to guests booking flights, dates and other travel essentials. You’ll also want to register by this time. Once that save the date goes out, guests will start to ask where to shop!

Include location information and wedding website details. A save the date card is usually limited in detail and includes the couple’s names, wedding date and city and state of the event (or country if needed). Then, all the additional content can be housed on your wedding website (a URL that you’ll also want to mention on your save the date). Refer guests to your wedding website (like those at Appy Couple) where you can include specifics like venue, hotel accommodations, travel recommendations, schedule and more.

It doesn’t have to match your invitation or even your wedding design. It’s okay if it’s still early in your planning process and you have yet to decide on colors or styles of your wedding. The save the date can be cohesive with your wedding invitations if you’re planning all at once, but it certainly doesn’t have to. There’s no rule that says they have to look anything like the rest of the event. Remember, this step happens very early on in the process!

Keep it fun and casual if you like. A save the date doesn’t have to be as formal as the wedding day. Use this opportunity to show your playful or personal side, even theming the cards to the destination for a sneak peek.

Since wedding invitations typically go out just eight weeks before the big day, sending a save the date will give your guests plenty of notice to get to the destination with ease, affordability and no stress. Remember, they want to be there to stand by your side!

Did you know that the team here at Bella has an in-house invitation designer? That’s right, I own a division called Richard’s Notebook, for wedding invitations and save the dates for our clients. You’ll find inspiration for your invitations and more from past brides and grooms here at Bella!

Photo by Sarah Roshan.

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