Groom Duties

What to Include in a Wedding Save-the-Date Card

Photo by @SviFoto via Twenty20

The first thing you should know about how to address your save the dates is that you should never shorten them to an acronym, because no one wants to get an “STD” from you.

Secondly, whoever named these “save-the-date cards”  should win an award. They’re one of the few things in life that are called exactly what they do. If you’re not into the whole brevity thing, a save the date is an announcement made by the bride and groom to help guests anticipate and plan for a more formal invitation. A save the date  includes a date, a location, and a soft invitation to be there.

For the guest, they offer the chance to make travel considerations in advance; ensure they aren’t double-booked for the date in question; and object to the wedding before things get out of hand.

For the couple, they demonstrate that you are considerate of your guests, given that at least one of the above concerns will apply to them in some way. It also buys you time to deal with formal invitations, which are more time-consuming than most couples realize. In short, save the dates are  a good idea. Almost as good as their name.

So how do you send your save the dates? Start by doing one of the following

  • Make a list of the people you want to invite to your wedding
  • Pick a date for your wedding
  • Pick a venue for your wedding
  • BONUS: Create a wedding website

Once you’re wrapped up one item, do the next until the list is complete. You now have most of the info you need to create your save the dates, as the format for them details all that information in a template that’s easy to fill in once that info is set in stone.

Guest Names

You can hold off on finalizing your guest list and send the save-the-dates sporadically, as names of potential invitees drop off and pile on, but at the end of the day you should know the name of whomever you’re sending the save-the-date to (so you can address them), as well as your own name (so you can tell them who sent it). It’s customary to put the bride’s name first in the announcement of who is getting married.

Wedding Date

You can’t ask your would-be guests to save the date unless you know what the date is. Pick one. Ask them to save it. That’s it.

Wedding Location

Your guests need to know where the wedding will be so they can make arrangements to be there. Even if you’re planning on getting married in your hometown and only inviting friends within a 30 mile radius, it’s worth alerting all your guests to the plans you’ve made—you never know who’s going to move between now and the date you’re saving. It’s not vital that you know the venue for your wedding, but you should narrow down the city/town/resort community before sending. Just know that by sending out a save the date before locking in a venue does pigeonhole you into picking a place in that locality, so if you have your heart set on getting married in a town with only one church, make sure you’ve put down before inviting everyone to historic One Church, Alaska.

Sharing a Wedding Website

Many couples will use their save the dates as a chance to share the details associated with their wedding website. If you’re planning on creating an official wedding homepage, there’s no reason not to share that information here. If guests know the website’s details they can check in for hotel suggestions or other travel specifics, browse your registry for gift ideas and find out more about you as a couple (especially helpful if you sent the save the date to the wrong address).

You aren’t required to have all the final details on your website before you share the address, although it’s best if you at least have a landing page and some of the relevant info in place on the site; you don’t want guests to visit and find only a photo of a bride and groom digging a hole above a banner that reads “Site under construction.” In sum, do a little legwork on your wedding website (if you’re planning on creating one) before sharing the address on your save the date, with the understanding that you can update it as more information becomes available—that’s why you’re using it.

Other Additions

Most save the dates will feature a note that explains you plan to send a more formal invitation at a later date. This bit is not required, but is customary, and etiquette suggests you should add some reference to it. Anything else you want to add on the save the date is entirely up to you, but the above is all you need.

That’s it. That’s all you need to know. But given that this guide promised to be the only one you’d need on the subject of save the dates, here’s even more info, based on questions you might have come here hoping to have answered:

“How should I send my save the date?”

Theoretically they can be shared in any way you choose, although a Facebook event is likely not the way to go. The most popular methods are either by physical mail or email, but you’re more than welcome to visit every potential guest in person and hand them a notification of your intentions to wed. The save the date can take the form of a card with its own envelope, a simple two-sided postcard, fancy e-vites from a vendor such as the Paperless Post, magnets with your faces and wedding date on them, personalized luggage tags, or a mix-CD curated by the both of you and featuring songs directly related to your love, your wedding destination or whatever songs you plan to spin during your post-nuptial dance battle. save the dates are also a great way to get your money’s worth out of your engagement photos, so don’t feel like you can’t add an image of yourselves to the mix in some way.

“To whom should I send the save the date?”

If you’re smart enough to know how to properly use the word whom, there’s a good chance you already know the answer to this question. But just in case, here’s the gist: Address the save the date to whomever you want to invite to the wedding. If you’re inviting one person, use their name. If you’re inviting a couple, use both names. Inviting an entire family? Go with “The ______ Family” or list their names on the envelope. You typically only need to send one save the date per household, but there are exceptions. Examples include: a bunch of roommates who live together or “adults” in the traditional sense who might be living with another set of related adults, such as a college grad who is living with their parents or an older adult who is dwelling with one of their children.

“When to send the save the date?”

For maximum impact, definitely send them before the wedding. Beyond that, the truth is you should send them as soon as you’re able. No matter the date you plan to get married, it’s a statistical reality that someone else—possibly even someone who knows someone you know—will be getting married on that same day. Sending a save the date is like calling shotgun on a wedding weekend (note: not the same as a shotgun wedding weekend). You want your invitees to make plans around your plans. The more advance notice you give, the better your chances of having every guest you want at your wedding actually show up. That said, if you’re less than 6 months away from your wedding and haven’t sent a save the date, save your time and money and simply focus on sending formal invitations.

“Can’t you just show me some examples?”

Sure thing, guy: 



Save the Date!

Sarah and Brent are getting hitched!


Madison, Wisconsin

Formal invitation to follow


Save the Date!

Murphy and Carlos are tying the knot (and also tying one on)

5 / 13 / 09

Sandals | Cancun, Mexico

More details at

Formal invitation to follow



Love is in the air…and so is our plane!

Jacqueline and Jordan are getting married in Paris

March 24, 2019

Sainte-Chepelle, Paris, France

Réserve cette date

More formal invitations to follow




Bottom Line

Save the dates are not complicated, but they do need to be planned. Toss them off as an afterthought, and you’re wedding may end up being half empty.

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