There has been a lot of confusion over what the differences are between Save-the-Dates and Invitations. I’ve seen people use these words interchangeably and that can really throw a timeline because invites and save the dates are totally different items that send very different information. So let’s put the confusion to rest and get on with it.
What is a save the date?
Save-the-dates are a card or e-mail that get sent o out to your guests to let them know, “Hey! We’re getting married on this date!”. Typically it won’t have the location of the wedding unless there are A LOT of people traveling to your wedding. You can also incorporate your engagement photo into the design to show off the adorableness that is you two.
You want to send out save the dates if …
- a lot of guests are traveling from out of town who need to arrange for a mini-vacay to be at your wedding
- a good portion of your guest list is military or first responders and have trouble getting time off work
- you are having a destination wedding because people need to plan way out to be able to join in your wedding celebration
When to mail ’em
If you don’t fit into one of these categories then you can totally skip save-the-dates. (Unless you have your heart set on them, then send them anyway! Who’s stopping you!) You will send save the dates about 1 year (aka 12 months!) out from your wedding day.
What is an invitation?
Every detail you want your guests to know about your wedding goes out in the invitation package.
The entire invite package is made up of:
- Who’s getting married.
- Where the ceremony is happening.
- When the ceremony is beginning.
- How many seats you’ve reserved for them.
- A spot for them to indicate if they are coming or not
- Their name(s)
- Meal selections
- RSVP by date (this is crucial!)
- Enclosure Card
- Hotel Accomodations
- Wedding Website
- Reception Venue
- Rehearsal Dinner invite
- Welcome Reception
- Post Wedding Brunch
Note: If you have a wedding website, and your guests use the internet and are tech-savvy then, by all means, keep the enclosure cards to a minimum and just include a small card with your wedding website.
When to send ’em
You will mail out your invitations approximately 4-6 months our from your wedding. But this GREATLY depends on your specific wedding timeline. I go into a lot more detail in this blog post all about finding your perfect RSVP by date. But essentially you need to give your guests 6-8 weeks to respond, and yourself enough time to count who’s attending, send out b-list invites, figure out the seating chart to give to your calligrapher/designer, AND give your guest count to your caterer by your contracted date.
So there you have it!
Save-the-dates tell guests to mark their calendars because an invitation will be coming later. You will send them out 12 months from your wedding day.
Invitations tell guests all the nitty-gritty details about your wedding. You will send them with an RSVP and enclosure cards about 4-6 months out from your wedding day.