Last weekend, we were visiting with family and we got onto the topic of weddings. They had mentioned a post they had all seen on the blog that morning that made them laugh and we giggled and talked more about the topic.
And then, my Aunt Tami said, "Jenn, I have a question for you."
"Yes?" I asked.
She began to tell me the situation she was in..."Last year I received a save-the-date for a wedding so I immediately hung it on my refrigerator and saved that date! The date came and passed and I never received an invitation! Is that normal?"
I was appalled! Seriously?? That is definitely not a common practice, and is something that no bride should EVER do. And so, I was inspired to write a piece on the do's and don'ts of the save the date.
If you're planning on sending some out before your invitations, listen up!
1. Narrow down your guest list BEFORE sending out save the dates.
This is not a "Save my date but I may cut you off of the guest list later" kind of deal. This is an "I am 100% inviting you to my wedding and I want you to be there, so please don't book anything else on that date!"
Do the work ahead of time, and get that guest list narrowed down. And if you are planning on doing a "B list" and inviting those guests if and only if your "A Listers" can't come (which I highly recommend against!), then don't send a save-the-date at all! An invitation and an invitation only will suffice.
Plan ahead, and keep your guests' (or potentially non guests') feelings in mind.
2. NEVER send them before...
If you don't have your venue chosen, a contract signed, and a deposit placed on your date, then you shouldn't be sending out save-the-dates. What happens if your venue gets booked on that day and you need to choose another date? Something tells me you're not going to want to have to call every single guest and let them know about the change or worse, send new save-the-dates and confuse the heck out of everyone!
So do yourself a favor and cross all T's and dot all I's before sending them out!
3. Include Only the Minimum
The only items that should be listed on your save-the-dates are 1. Your DATE and 2. the city and state. If you have a wedding website (which I highly recommend), include that as well so that guests can refer to it for updates along the way...and it's fun!
And the only other item you should think about including are hotels - they tend to book early so if you are planning on getting discounted rates for guests, give them that information early so they can get their plans taken care of!
You may think you have it all planned out but believe me, things will change along the way. So it's better to tell guest what you know for sure, and keep the rest a surprise :)
4. The perfect time to send a save the date is...
I get this question all of the time. When should I send them out? This is a two part question and so, I have two answers. You take your pick!
If you have no concern over every single guest attending, have plenty of budget to accommodate every person you are inviting and have more than enough room for everyone on your guest list to fit at your chosen venue, then send your save the dates out as soon as that venue is booked. And by booked, I mean deposit is placed and contract is signed.
Now, if you are having a hard time narrowing down the guest list or your venue is at it's maximum with your current list then you have two options. 1. Don't send out save the dates and just personally tell closest family and friends or 2. Send save the dates a couple months before your invitations. The closer you get to your wedding day, the more likely people will already have other plans that they can't get out of. I know it may sound harsh, but it's a stress-free way to narrow down that list!