In an industry where budgets tend to get blown out of the water and couples often find themselves asking if an upgrade or add-on is really worth it, we could all use some tips on whether or not the save-the-date juice is worth the squeeze.
My hope is that this helps you come to an informed decision about what's right for you as a couple, and I believe the issue of save-the-dates is somewhat nuanced depending on your situation.
First...What is a save-the-date?
A save-the-date is a card that is mailed to guests with some simple wedding information on it including your names, wedding date, city/state, and usually your wedding website. The website is key in directing your guests to the necessary info for making their travel plans. Very often, the save-the-date features an engagement photo so your guests can see your adorable, betrothed-and-in-love faces.
So, now that you know exactly what a save-the-date is, the first question I ask my clients when they are unsure of whether to chop or keep save-the-dates in their stationery budget is:
1) Do you have a lot of guests traveling from out-of-town?
Maybe you know where I'm going with this. If you have a lot of important guests coming in from out-of-town with plans to make hotel accommodations, you should seriously consider sending save-the-dates. This way, you guests have the opportunity to make their travel plans well before they ever receive their wedding invitations. If you don't have a lot of out of town guests, consider notifying those guests via word of mouth so they can make their travel plans. Even if you don't have a lot of out-of-towers, there may be some other reasons why save-the-dates are right for you. Read on!
2) Is your wedding taking place in a destination city?
This one might be a no-brainer, but consider some of the nuances of what we might consider a destination. Destination weddings don't always take the form of nuptials on the beach in Mexico or an intimate evening on Lake Como, Italy. If you're getting married more than a few hours outside of a city where most of your guests live, save-the-dates should be a consideration so that your guests have the ability to book their overnight accommodations as far in advance as possible.
3) Does your wedding take place during a busy weekend in your city or on a holiday weekend?
Maybe you live in Boston and your wedding falls on the same day as the Boston Marathon or if you're like me, you live in Columbus, Ohio and your wedding falls on the same weekend as a key OSU Buckeye home game versus a certain *ahem* team from up north. You'd want to notify your guests of their accommodation options as soon as possible so that they don't get shut out of all the hotels in town, which believe me, does actually happen!
Are you seeing a common thread?
The functional purpose of a save-the-dates is to give your guests a way to make their plans to celebrate with you as early as possible. But it's a courtesy, not a requirement.
Let's dive in a little further.
Save-the-dates have not always been a "thing". Let's rewind 10-20 years, and you'd see a world where save-the-dates were far less common than they are now. I'm not sure how we got to the point where couples feel immense social pressure to mail this little card to guests.
If you opt not to mail save-the-dates, consider mailing your wedding invitations a little earlier than etiquette calls for (which is about 2-3 months ahead). Maybe your invitations hit the mail 4-5 months (or more) in advance. This helps ensure the people you love will be able to attend your big day with less travel-planning stress.
So, are save-the-dates necessary? The bottom line: Save-the-dates are most certainly not a necessary component of your stationery suite, but are quite helpful in getting word out to your guests early on in in your wedding planning process.
I would love to hear your thoughts - what factors helped you to decide whether to keep or get rid of save-the-dates? If you're still feeling unsure of whether or not save-the-dates are right for you, drop us a line! We'd love to chat about how we can help.