The precursor to the critical wedding invitation, save the dates are both exciting and practical. On the one hand they boost the morale of friends and family for the upcoming festivities, on the other, they give an ample amount of time for your guests to block off their calendars for your wedding. There’s a science to sending out save the dates—not too early and never too late. Plus, did you know that different types of weddings require sending save the dates at different times? With all these small details, it’s easy to get caught up in the logistics. No worries! Here’s exactly when to send save the dates.
Save the dates should be sent four to six months before a local wedding, and eight to twelve months before a destination wedding. These timelines will give your guests ample time to make arrangements, but not so much time that it’s too far away for them to keep track of.
While every wedding is different timeline-wise, there are a few tried and true standards for when to send save the dates and related wedding stationery. Here’s a general timeline for a wedding with a year of planning.
The above timeline ensures that your guests have an appropriate amount of time to block off your wedding date in their calendar. However, every wedding’s details and timelines vary. Whether you secure your location a year in advance or a few months beforehand, there’s one basic rule to follow when it comes to wedding invitation etiquette: Do not withhold scheduling information and wedding details.
As soon as you’ve secured the venue (or even the wedding location) and set a specific date, let your guests list know via save the dates. You don’t really need any other details for your save the dates so don’t get hung up on anything else before sending.
OK, yes, we realize we just said to send your save the dates as soon as possible, but hold please just for one moment. It is definitely possible to send save the dates too early. Doing so may cause your guests to put your wedding date out of mind because they feel like it’s too far away to mentally prioritize. Wedding etiquette states that it’s best to send a save the date card four to six months ahead of your big day. (Unless you’re hosting a destination wedding, in which case eight months out is a better timeframe to allow out-of-town guests enough time to plan and make travel arrangements.)
Many couples have a group A and group B when it comes to sending out wedding invites. Group B is typically made up of those guests who you would love to have at your wedding, but, because of space or budget issues, may not be able to accommodate.
In proper wedding etiquette, never send a save the date to anyone in group B. These people aren’t definitely secured an invite to your wedding after all. Only send save the dates to group A—and only send them to each household. You don’t need to send formal save the dates for every individual person on your guest list. If they live at the same address, they only need one save the date.
Save the dates are the introduction to your wedding so we understand you want to time it right. To simplify the wedding planning process, send your save the date card or magnet no earlier than eight months out and no later than four and you’ll be perfectly fine.