Addressing Save the Dates: A Guide

Getting ready to send out wedding save the dates? Here’s a guide on addressing save the dates, etiquette to remember, and more.

By Laura Hensley

Addressing Save the Dates
Photo by Zola

Once you book your venue and settle on your wedding guest list, it’s time to send out save the dates. Save the dates are an important part of wedding planning as they give guests the heads-up that your big day is coming up, and they let them know that you’d love for them to be part of the fun.

There are so many creative and gorgeous save the date designs, so deciding on one option may be hard. But, once you do, it’s important that you know how to address wedding save the dates, and understand all the wedding etiquette behind them.

This guide includes:

Is There Really Save the Dates Etiquette?

There’s plenty of proper etiquette around wedding invitations, and save the dates are no exception. While couples often take traditions or customs and make them their own, there are still important pieces of information and etiquette to consider. Save the dates serve a purpose, which is why you really should ensure that the messaging you send is as useful and practical as possible. The purpose of save the dates is to inform guests that a destination wedding is being planned—and that they will be invited—so you want them to literally save the date in their calendar. While you don’t have to send a save the date if you don’t want to, it is best practice to do so.

Now, let’s get into it!

Part 1: Save the Dates Etiquette: Everything You Need to Know

Before you jump to creative and cute wedding save the dates ideas, it’s important to understand the basics first. Here’s everything you need to know about wedding save the dates etiquette.

What’s the Point of Wedding Save the Dates?

People’s calendars get busy quickly, especially during the high wedding season. Between family members, close friends, and co-workers, it’s not uncommon for weekends to get booked up with weddings pretty fast. That’s why it’s so important for couples to send out wedding save the dates so that they “reserve” a date in everyone’s calendar and give them a heads-up that a formal wedding invite is coming their way. In other words, the point of wedding save the dates is to kindly tell guests not to make other plans.

What Information Should You Include?

While the save the dates are sent out to guests before a formal wedding invite, they still need to have key pieces of information. Don’t assume that just because a proper wedding invitation will come to your guests that they don’t need to know the wedding day date and location.

Here is all the relevant information that is needed on a wedding save the date:

  • Your name and your partner’s name
  • The name/ guests’ names that you are inviting, and whether or not they get a plus one
  • The date of the wedding
  • The wedding location
  • Your wedding website (see below for more information about what to include on your wedding website!)
  • When to expect the formal invitation

When to Send Out Wedding Save the Dates

It’s important to give guests ample time to prepare for your big day—especially since wedding season can bring back-to-back events. While it’s not always possible to give guests months and months of notice, you should try to send out your save the dates at least four to six months ahead of your wedding date.

When it comes to destination weddings, the earlier you can alert guests of your nuptials, the better. For any weddings that involve travel, aim to send out wedding save the dates around eight to 12 months before you say “I do.” Even though this timeline can seem far in advance, loved ones need to book flights, accommodations, time off work and often save up money to enjoy your big day. Keep guests posted on your plans via your wedding website.

How Early Should You Order Your Save the Dates?

If you’re in the midst of wedding planning, you know how hectic things can be—and you likely also know the importance of being organized. That’s why it’s helpful to get your wedding invitation suites organized sooner than later, and plan ahead to order your save the dates.

Save the dates can be ordered as soon as you’ve booked your wedding venue and secured a wedding date. Because the process of deciding on a design, ordering the save the dates and having them printed and/or shipped takes time, the sooner you start, the better.

Who Gets a Save the Date?

Before you send your save the dates you want to make sure that you have a working guest list. Because save the dates are sent out months in advance of your wedding, you want to carefully think about who you are inviting to your wedding and your relationship with them. While you may be very excited over a new friendship, remember that you want whoever you send a save the date to to still be in your life when your wedding comes around. (It can be hard talking to close friends who aren’t invited to your wedding, but we got you covered on that front, too.)

Of course, it’s perfectly fine to send out invitations to more people later on, so don’t worry if you decide you want to add to your guest list after you send your first round of save the dates. (Our online guest list manager helps you keep track of guests’ RSVPs, meal choices, and more.)

Should You Let Guests Bring a Plus One?

This is a personal choice that only couples can make. Some couples are happy to have their single guests bring along a date, whereas others prefer to keep the event more intimate. Whatever you decide, it’s important to make it clear to guests whether or not they are flying solo.

You can let guests know on your wedding save the date or wedding stationery if they’re able to bring a date by clearly stating their name plus their boyfriend/girlfriend’s name, or writing “Plus Guest.” If you’re a wedding guest, it’s often poor form to ask to bring a plus one, but there are exceptions.

Part 2: How to Address Save the Dates

Now that you have wedding save the dates etiquette down, it’s time to talk about how to address save the dates. The way in which you address your guests will depend on who they are, their relationship status, and whether or not you’re addressing a group of people, a couple or a single person.

Read on to learn the basics of addressing save the dates for all your lovely guests.

For Single Guests

If you’re into formality, prefixes are used on wedding save the dates. For female guests who are over the age of 18, "Ms." is the go-to, whereas under 18 is typically “Miss.” For single men, “Mr.” is the standard. If prefixes aren’t your thing, or you’re having a more casual wedding, just use the guests full name on the wedding save the dates.

If you’re giving single guests a plus one, make that clear on the save the date. If you know the name of their date, feel free to write it. If not, it’s perfectly fine to simply write “guest.” Here are some examples of how to write out a wedding save the wedding date card for a single guest, and single guests and their plus one:

  • Ms. Sarah Lee
  • Ms. Sarah Lee and Guest
  • John Parker
  • John Parker + Guest
  • Mr. Terry Brown + Ms. Vanessa Smith

For Married/Long-Term Couples

If you’re inviting a married couple or long-term partners, you only need to send one save the date. The prefix route is a personal choice, so if you do want to use “Mrs.” and “Mr.” keep it consistent across all save the dates. If you’re not using prefixes, don’t feel obligated to include them just on the save the dates for married couples, unless, of course, you want to. Some couples like to show a sign of respect by using prefixes on the save the dates sent to older family members and/or close family friends. Again, this comes down to personal choice and the level of formality that you want to convey.

If a couple has different last names, include both. Here are some examples of how to address wedding save the dates to couples:

  • Mr. John Chan and Mrs. Lucy Chan
  • John and Lucy Chan
  • Mrs. Veronica Greene and Mrs. Helen Bloom
  • Mrs. Monica Turner and Mr. Tim Barker
  • Monica Turner and Tim Barker

For Families

There are a few different ways to address wedding save the dates when it comes to families. First of all, you can include all the family members’ names, names plus prefixes, or you can simply write the last name of the family. (Note: boys under 18 don’t often have a “Mr.” title, whereas girls under 18 do get “Miss.” That being said, you can do whatever you please.)

Here are some examples of how to address families on wedding save the dates:

  • The Marquis Family
  • Mr. Rob Marquis, Mrs. Erin Marquis, Mr. John Marquis, and Miss Rosa Marquis
  • Rob, Erin, John and Rosa Marquis
  • Marquis Family

Part 3: Your Wedding Website: The Complement to Your Wedding Save the Dates

These days, wedding websites have become important parts of weddings. Not only are they the spot to share all relevant information with guests, but they also allow couples to post updates in a timely fashion.

Luckily, getting a wedding website online no longer requires you knowing how to code in HTML. You can have a beautiful website ready in a few easy steps—grab some cute photos of you two, write some stories, and add key information about your wedding. The good news is that Zola can help guide you through all of this; check out our site building page for more information about creating a beautiful wedding website.

With the hard part out of the way, let’s look at some of the things you might want to consider adding to your wedding site to make it helpful for your guests.

The Itinerary

This one’s important. What’s going to happen on the day of your wedding? What are the times that guests need to absolutely be aware of? Take the guesswork out of the day by providing a straightforward itinerary of the day’s events. (But don’t feel like you have to reveal everything; surprises can be fun!).

Accommodation Information

Where can guests stay? What are the room rates? How far in advance do your guests have to book? Make sure that you spell out everything needed for guests that will be coming from out of town or staying overnight to celebrate your nuptials.

Any Wedding Transportation Information

Are you planning to rent a party bus? Is there a way to get to your wedding by public transit? What are some cab companies that you can list in your city? Offer up as many ways to get to your wedding as possible. Don’t forget accessibility, too: Are there certain entrances or accessible-friendly modes of transportation for your guests that require accessibility?

Link to Your Wedding Registry

Once upon a time, wedding registries could only be created at stores, requiring your guests to walk in, speak with a clerk, and figure out what hadn’t been bought yet. Today, however, wedding registries can live online, and adding a link to your registry on your site is a convenient way to help your guests buy you the things that you want.

Some Activity Ideas for Down Time

Are you planning your ceremony and reception at two different wedding venues? Will there be downtime between the two? Make sure that you give your guests an idea of how they can pass the time if they’re going to be a few hours between your events. You can list nearby attractions, restaurants, parks, galleries, or even malls where they can spend their time.

FAQs

Creating an FAQ on your site is a great way to get the basic questions answered quickly for your guests. The section should be succinct and have key questions listed so that if someone is strapped for time and wants to quickly find the knowledge they need (e.g. when does the ceremony start?), they can.

Who to Contact for Information

This one is self-explanatory. Put the key contacts here and list multiple ways to get a hold of them (e.g. by phone or email).

The Story of How You Two Met

This is something that can infuse your site with the sort of personality that your friends and family love to see. Recounting the story of how you two met is a great way to add some fun and color. Of course, a meeting story isn’t the only way to liven up your site. You can also recount some of your favorite memories together, list some mutual passions, or even highlight some fun facts about yourselves.

Part 4: Wedding Save the Date Ideas

Now that you have the info on wedding save the dates proper etiquette, how to address save the dates, and what to include on the wedding websites, it’s time to talk wedding save the dates ideas. Here at Zola we have plenty of creative ideas to suit every couple and their personal style. Let’s get started.

Modern and Simplistic

For couples who like modern and simplistic designs, send a clean, crisp wedding save the date. Think graphic elements, such as floral motifs, and sans serif fonts. Keep the focus on the details with an uncluttered design. The use of color and fonts can do wonders; you don’t need lots of fuss happening on the page.

Magnet Save the Dates

Some couples like to get creative and really remind guests of their upcoming nuptials. What better way to stay top of mind than by sending guests a magnetized save the date? Many save the dates have the option to be magnets, which not only make for cute fridge decor, but also act as a keepsake for guests. Add a photo of you and your partner for an extra special touch.

Virtual Wedding Save the Dates

Not everyone wants to mail out physical wedding save the dates. Virtual cards are a great option. If you go this route, make sure that you have everyone’s updated emails; you don’t want an important piece of mail getting lost in cyberspace.

Featured Couple Photo Save the Dates

Put your adorable engagement photos to use. Feature a cute picture of you and your spouse-to-be on your wedding save the dates. There are plenty of different ways to feature a photo—or a few—on the cards.

Foil Save the Dates

Foil save the dates use a process of foil stamping to create a metallic or pigmented look. You can use gold, rose gold, or silver foil on the text to create a sophisticated contrast on the paper. Foil text next to a beautiful photo of you and your partner makes the perfect combination for a memorable wedding save the date.

Destination Save the Dates

Get guests excited for your destination wedding with a themed save the date. Having a Hawaiian event? Use flowers and beach designs to get folks in the mood. Are you getting married in Las Vegas? Save the dates that incorporate playing cards make for a playful touch.

Postcard Save the Dates

A wedding postcard is one of the most practical pieces of mail—it doesn’t require wedding envelopes. What’s more, the save the date postcard is usually a standard size, so it doesn’t require any special postage. If you’re looking for a more informal option, consider a postcard save the date.

Letterpress Save the Dates

For guests who want a lux look, letterpress save the dates are a classic choice. This premium printing method uses raised, inked surfaces to press designs onto paper. This method creates really sharp and classy looking designs. While letterpress save the dates are more pricey than other options, they make for a strong first impression.

Zola: The Destination for All Your Destination Wedding Needs

Wedding save the dates are one of the first pieces of communication that you’ll send out to your guests, so it’s important you start the process early. Once you book your wedding venue and draft your guest list, it’s time to get going on your save the dates. Addressing save the dates depends on your personal style and preference, but as long as you include your guests' name, your wedding location and date, and your wedding website, you’re all set.

Sending out wedding save the dates can seem like an overwhelming process, but no matter what your wedding paper needs are, Zola has everything in one place. Whether you need save the dates, wedding invitations, or thank-you cards, our wedding paper services make it super easy to customize designs just the way you like. For every step of your wedding planning journey, we are here to support you.

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