A Guide to Save The Dates

Save the dates add an extra touch of style and coordination to your wedding. Find out why and when you should send your save the dates with this complete guide.

By Emily Forrest

wedding save the date by zola
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • Send save the dates before your wedding invitations and at least 4-6 months ahead of your wedding date so guests can literally “save the date” for the celebration.
  • Design your save the dates to match your free wedding website from Zola! It's the perfect way to direct guests to learn more about your event.
  • Save the dates wording should be short, sweet, and communicate basic information guests need to know, i.e. who, where, and when.

Save the dates serve as the first piece of formal communication about your wedding logistics that you’ll share with guests. Before the invitation, a save the date simply lets wedding guests know, well, what date to save for your wedding. Here’s everything you need to know about wedding save the dates (sometimes called wedding save-the-dates), from etiquette, wording examples, to when to send save the dates, and much more.

What Is a Save The Date?

As the first piece of your wedding stationery or invitation suite, save the dates serve a functional purpose and add an extra touch of style and coordination to your wedding event. Sent to your guest list months ahead of actual invitations, save the dates let guests know that your wedding is happening—and they should quite literally “save the date” for the celebration. They also indicate that a wedding invitation is coming.

These announcements most often take the form of printed cards sent via snail mail. Some couples get creative with save the date magnets or other small mementos, though (also sent via snail mail).

Save The Date Goals

Your wedding save the date card should serve the following purposes:

  1. Alert your guests to your wedding date, and have them record it in their calendars.
  2. Let guests know that there’s a formal wedding invitation to follow.
  3. Direct guests to your wedding website to learn more details about your wedding weekend.
  4. Prompt your guests to think about travel arrangements, if necessary.
  5. Set the general tone (including style, theme, or formality) for your event.
  6. Provide a tangible memento (that can coordinate with the rest of your wedding paper) to include in your wedding album or scrapbook.

Zola QR Code Promo

Save the Date Etiquette: The Five Ws of Save The Dates

WHO Gets a Save The Date?

One hundred guests on your list, 100 save the dates, right? Think again. Every household on your guest list (rather than every individual guest) should receive a save the date.

WHAT Should I Include on My Save The Dates?

Save the dates provide guests with the most basic information: who is getting married, when, and where. An engagement photo of you and your partner from your engagement shoot is also a great addition. You can also include a link to your wedding website if it’s set up so that invited guests can check for updates in real time. See below for more information about how to word save the dates.

WHEN Should I Send My Save the Dates?

If you’re wondering when to send save the dates, it all depends on your specific wedding timeline. The standard rule of thumb is to send save the dates four to six months before your wedding celebration (if it’s a local wedding). If your timeline is different, don’t stress: the safest thing to do is to send them as soon as possible once you’ve booked a venue and settled on a date. If you’re hosting a destination wedding, you want to send save the dates earlier. If you have a year, send them two months earlier than normal.

For more details, check out our complete guide to sending your Save the Dates.

WHERE Should I Shop for Save The Dates?

We might be a little biased, but Zola has an incredible selection of save the dates and related wedding stationery. Designed to coordinate with our free wedding websites and matching paper invitations, our stunning array of save the dates means there’s a design for every style and type of wedding. Customize the wording (and upload your favorite photo) to make it feel 100 percent personal to you.

WHY Are Save The Dates a Thing?

Since the trend gained traction in the mid-2000s, these classy head’s ups have become increasingly popular as people become busier (and more forgetful) and couples need to give their invited guests more time to block out the event on their calendars. They are especially important if your wedding day falls during a popular month to travel like close to the holidays or during the summer.

How to Word Wedding Save The Dates

Save the date wording should be short and sweet, and communicate the basic information guests need to know: who is getting married, where the wedding is taking place, and when. Typically you can just name the city in which you’re getting married—at this stage, guests only need to know if travel is required.

If you have a wedding website, which we highly recommend you set up as soon as you’ve secured your wedding date and location, include the link so guests can read more details about your wedding online for themselves. Then save other details for the invitations you’ve promised them—and do be sure to promise them invitations to follow!

Save the Date Wording Ideas

If you want to know exactly how to word your wedding save the dates, here are some examples in a variety of styles, moods, and formalities. Use them as a jumping-off point when crafting your own original save the date wording.

Formal Wording Examples

Meghan Markle and Prince Henry of Wales
are getting married in London
May 19, 2018
Formal invitation to follow

Please save the date
to celebrate the marriage uniting
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin
September 27, 2014
Venice, Italy
Formal invitation to follow

Traditional Wording Examples

Please save the date
to share in the joy of
Gisele Bundchen
Thomas Brady
at their marriage on February 26, 2009
in Santa Monica, CA
Invitation to follow

Please save the date
for the wedding of
Neil Patrick Harris to David Burtka
September 6, 2014
Perugia, Italy
Formal invitation to follow

Casual Wording Examples

Save the date!
April 4, 2008
for the wedding celebration of Beyonce and Jay Z
New York City
Formal invitation to follow

Jessica and Justin
are tying the knot!
Friday 19 October 2012
Fasano, Italy
Invitation to follow

Whimsical Wording Examples

We’re spreading the news!
Ellen and Portia are getting hitched!
Please save the date: 8/16/08
in Beverly Hills, California
Invitation to follow

Will proposed…
Jada said yes!
Join us on December 31, 1997
as we say, “I do!”
in Baltimore, Maryland
Invitation to follow

Up next for you

green and white wedding invitation on green background

Wedding Invitation Wording: A Complete How-To Guide


Learn the how-to's of wedding invitation wording, plus formal and casual wedding invitation examples from the experts.

When to send out wedding invitations

When to Send Out Wedding Invitations

Q & A

When is it too early or too late to send out invites? Find out when to send wedding invitations and everything you need to consider for your planning timeline.

A metal calligrapher's pen resting next to a wedding invitation envelope addressed using ink calligraphy

How to Address Wedding Invitations: Etiquette & Examples


Master the art of addressing wedding invitations with proper etiquette. Learn formal and modern approaches to create elegant and inviting cards.

how to RSVP to a wedding

How to RSVP to a Wedding


If you've received an invitation to a wedding and you're not sure how exactly to respond? This is our guide to wedding RSVP etiquette, tips, and steps.

best month for wedding

How to Choose The Best Wedding Month

Getting Started

Choosing your wedding month and date is a crucial first step in the wedding planning process. Here's how to decide on the best time of the year to get married.

Create Save the Dates as Unique as You Two

Find even more wedding ideas, inspo, tips, and tricks

We’ve got wedding planning advice on everything from save the dates to wedding cakes.