Did you know a third of engagements happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day? That makes the early part of every year very busy as we start sending out save the dates.

They are the first piece of the wedding stationery ensemble and are generally sent 6 months in advance of the big day. If the wedding is in a far-away destination, falls during a holiday or you have a large number of overseas invitees, save the dates should be sent 8 month to one year ahead of time. This allows guests plenty of time to make arrangements for travel, taking time off from work or planning a vacation around your celebration.

They reflect the spirit of the entire wedding and are the first glimpse the guests see of what’s to come. While it is nice to have the save the dates match the invitation, it’s not essential. Save-the-date cards have been around for while but it’s still possible they may be mistaken for the actual invitation. I recommend including “invitation to follow” somewhere on the card. And if you have a wedding website that information should go on there too.

When you’re making your guest list please keep in mind: once a person is sent the save the date, they MUST be invited to the wedding. But the save-the-date note isn’t an order. A guest isn’t obligated to attend the wedding just because they got one. Think of it as a courtesy to your invitees, enabling them to plan accordingly if they want to attend.

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