The time between Thanksgiving and Valentines’ Day is considered engagement season since more than 1/3 of couples get engaged during this time. December is the most popular month for engagements and, while Saturday is the most popular day for proposals, Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year.

With all of these new betrothals comes the sending of save the dates. These are a relatively new invention but you can find out more about the history of engagement announcements here.

This first part of your wedding stationery advises family and friends of your wedding plans and allows them to start making travel and vacation plans. If you’re planning a wedding for a holiday weekend or during the summer, a save-the-date card is essential. These get sent to all guests but it is especially important for out-of-town guests who need to make advance travel arrangements.

While it’s always nice to have the save-the-date cards match your invitations, it isn’t essential, especially if time is a factor in sending them out. Design should begin as soon as you have a firm date and they should be in the mail 6 to 8 months in advance. If your wedding is near or on a major holiday or requires extended travel for your guests, mail your save the dates one year in advance.

While save-the-date cards have become ubiquitous these days, it’s still possible they’ll be mistaken for an actual invitation. This is why “Invitation to follow” or something similar is included on the card. If you have a wedding website (and who doesn’t these days?), you may want to include that on the card as well.

One last note: Under no circumstances should save the dates be sent out until the guest list is finalized. Everyone who receives a save the date must also get an invitation to the wedding. Even if someone, after receiving your save the date, tells you that they can’t attend, that person still gets an invitation since schedules can (and often do) change.

{photo from Oh So Beautiful Paper}

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