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Howdy! Today’s etiquette inquiry comes from Liz. In her words…

I was hoping to get some advice and/or thoughts on save the dates — I’ve received mixed reviews on whether they are necessary or not. My fiance’ and I decided that it was a cost we were going to save, and had made up our minds not to do them. However, a dear friend and bridesmaid has offered to design and give us save the dates for our wedding gift. She is a very talented designer and I am excited to see what she comes up with. Now the question becomes, when is the appropriate time to send save the dates? And, do you send them to everyone you intend to invite?

Great questions! First, I thought I’d outline the scenarios when I feel save the dates are, if not necessary, helpful for guests for other engaged ladies who might be on the fence:

1. If you’re having a destination wedding, and a large majority of your guests will be making significant travel plans. I would define a “large majority” as anything over 50% of your guests, and definitely anything over 75%. A save the date will help your guests block off travel time, reserve days off from work, and get a good rate on plane tickets and/or hotel rooms.

2. If you’re holding your wedding over a holiday, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, or Labor Day. Since some of your guests will have long-standing plans for these events, you’ll want to put a bug in their ear early.

Once you’ve decided that a save the date is for you, Liz’s first question comes into play: when to send? Emily Post suggests 3-4 months before the big day, but I would suggest that up to 7-8 months prior is still within a reasonable range. Think about it — I know I plan out my days away from work far in advance, and I assume my guests would do the same. Just be ABSOLUTELY SURE that your guest list is set in stone before sending anything. Which brings us to Liz’s next question…

do you send save the dates to everyone you plan to invite? The answer? Yes, absolutely. Once the save the dates are in the mail, the buzz about your wedding will begin to build. Your friends and family will start to talk. And if Aunt Joy (who lives in Savannah, 4 hours from the wedding site) received a save the date, and Cousin Anna Bell (who lives an hour away from the wedding site), did NOT receive a save the date, the chatter could start to spiral out of control. While it may seem silly to send local information to a local, it’s definitely the best policy to head off confusion. Plus, save the dates are exciting, and all guests should feel like an honored guest, excited to attend!

What do y’all think? Are you sending out save the dates? If so, how far in advance did you send them? If not, why not?

The save the date above is one of my favorite designs from Minted. Too cute!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar ashley reply

    I’m assembling my save the dates this weekend (yipee!) and one thing that gave us piece of mind when creating a guest list was the decision to NOT send save the dates to a small handful of non-family members that we’re kind of on the fence about inviting (i.e. my fiance’s former boss and one of our teachers from high school). We figure they’re certainly not expecting a save the date, so no big deal if they don’t get one now and then DO get the invite later this summer after we’ve crunched some numbers and really determined if we’re comfortable adding those numbers to the guest list. Just my two cents! I seriously heart save the dates. You can have so much fun with them as opposed to the invitation which requires a certain tone of formality! l-o-v-e!

    • avatar Kat reply

      ashley: I don’t know what to do about who gets a save-the-date. I’m actually glad this has come up. We’re getting married in England and have SO much family! Unfortunately, if all the aunts, uncles, and cousins get a save-the-date and ARE able to make it, we won’t be able to afford it. Is it wrong to only send it to those we seriously intend on inviting?

  2. avatar Kylie Hill reply

    LOVE those save the dates from Minted!

  3. avatar Tweets that mention Southern Etiquette: Who gets a save the date? « Southern Weddings Magazine — reply

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Caroline Creates and Emily Ayer, Southern Weddings . Southern Weddings said: Who gets a save the date? Find out who when our resident etiquette queen, @EmilyAyer, tackles this week's reader dilema! […]

  4. avatar Erin reply

    I’m with Emily on sending them out 7-8 months in advance and still being appropriate–I know I plan my events and my weekends ahead of time and I’d like to think other people do as well. My original plan was to send save-the-dates, but after some thinking, my fiance and I decided that all of our friends and family pretty much know about our wedding already, they’re all relatively local, and anyone over an hour away already knows, so there was really no need to spend the extra money. We plan on sending our invitations out a little early, too, hoping to receive the majority of the RSVPs early on.

  5. avatar Gili reply

    I am sending mine out this week, which is the 4 month mark before our Memorial Day weekend wedding. 80% of the guests will be from out of town and we wanted guests to get a head start on booking hotels and making plans. And they definitely are going out to everyone on our invite list. So, I am totally in agreement of your tips, Emily!

  6. avatar Liz reply

    Thanks for answering my question! Great advice! I will have to send y’all the save the date my friend creates for me when I get it!

  7. avatar Jenn reply

    I sent mine out 7 months prior to the wedding. Our wedding is at the beach (not where we live) and I guess is considered a destination wedding for everyone, as none of our family or friends live there. I agree with what you said about sending them out enough in advance for people to take time of work if need be and also to get rooms and good rates on rooms at that. Plus, it’s just one more exciting thing to do and to hear everyone start the buzz like you said :) I would totally send out save the dates no matter what!!

  8. avatar Weekly Round-Up « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Etiquette with our resident manners-master, Emily? Read up on the details of save the date manners here. Are they necessary and when should you send them out? Who should you send them to? Emily reviews […]

  9. avatar Ashley S reply

    I think Save the Dates are necessary to help ensure that people are able to accommodate work/travel schedules. I’m doing email Save the Dates for most of my guests. (My fiance’s grandmother and some other people on our guest list who aren’t, um, technically savvy and wouldn’t ever see it in an email, are getting cards.) I wanted Save the Date magnets, but due to cost decided against it. I spent a Saturday designing the card using one of our engagement pictures and photo editing software. I’m going to print them at a local photo printing place, and I’m sending the emails and cards out the week after Thanksgiving for our April 28, 2012 wedding.

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