Now that you’re engaged, picked a date and found a venue location, it’s time to start thinking about your timeline for Save the Dates!
I will start off by saying, Save the Dates are by no means necessary for a wedding. Save the Dates have become a “trend” but are not a necessity! Let’s discuss when Save the Dates are truly needed:
You’re having a Destination Wedding
Most of Your Guests are Traveling from Out of Town
Your Guests will be Booking Hotels
Your Hotels have a Deadline or Minimum Rooms Available
You chose a very Popular Date (Holiday, Major Sporting Event, Peak Wedding Season)
If your wedding doesn’t meet any of those needs, you are not required to send a Save the Date.
But what if you still want to send one? Not a problem! There are tons of Brides and Grooms that still decided to send Save the Dates. Many couple send Save the Dates to:
Share Engagement Pictures
Share Their Wedding Website Featuring Times, Locations, & Registries
They have a Very Large Guest List
Now let’s discuss the time frames you need to meet if you are moving forward with Save the Dates.
You’re having a Destination Wedding – 9 Months to A Year In Advance
If you are having a destination wedding and are requiring all of you guest to travel, make sure you give them adequate amount of time to plan, save & book. Whether you are traveling to a different State or out of the Country, your guests will need to know a lot more details about your wedding then they normally would. You will need to provide them with:
Wedding Destination Location
Hotels & Accommodations Available
Travel Options & Packages
Length of Stay
Due to the amount of information, the cost that will be incurred and the commitment you are requiring from your guests, you will want to shoot to get your Save the Dates out about a year in advance, especially if the wedding is out of the Country or a long distance for most guests.
If your guests are only required to travel to a nearby City or State, you can wait to send Save the Dates closer to the eight to nine month mark. Hotel blocks can typically be set up for your wedding a year in advance and guests will start purchasing domestic flights around the six month mark.
Your Space is Limited – 6 to 9 Months in Advance
If you chose to have an intimate Wedding in a beautiful, secluded vineyard off the beaten path, kudos to you! Just keep in mind that out of the ordinary venues may lead to limited accommodations. If you are running into the issue of limited space, make sure your guests are aware and have enough time to book or find accommodations on their own. Especially if it comes down to guests having to travel to a nearby town for accommodations. You wouldn’t want guests to not come just because they were unable to find a place to stay. Shoot to send your Save the Dates out six to nine months in advance.
This also applies to anyone that has a large guest list and limited hotel or accommodation space. Even though you may have a large venue, if the accommodations available are limited, make sure you give guests enough time to secure a place to stay and possibly a rental car.
You Chose a Popular Date – 6 to 9 Months in Advance
Sometimes you have your heart set on a wedding date and then later find out, your soon to be best day of your life, now shares the date with a major event or holiday…boooo! Unfortunately this happens to a lot of people. A few events to check for would be any major sporting events, concerts, races, or expos happening near your venue. I have seen couples book hotel blocks a year in advance, just to have them taken away because there is a large event that is now taking place on the day of their wedding and they no longer can hold the rooms.
If this is something you are running into, make sure to get your Save the Dates out six to nine months in advance so guests can get rooms booked before they are completely sold out. Good news is, as long as your guests make their reservations right away, they will be guaranteed a hotel. It may not be an amazing rate, but they can secure a spot.
You Just Want to Send Save the Dates for Fun – 6 Months in Advance
If your guests are not required to travel far and most likely will not need hotels, then you have no need to really jump the gun on sending out your Save the Dates. If your Save the Dates are going out mostly for fun and providing your guests with you wedding website, that you slaved over, and a sneak peak of your gorgeous, new engagement photos, then you can shoot for sending them around the six month mark.
I would not suggest waiting too much longer though. Wedding Invitations are typically sent out around the three month mark and it would be a waste of time and money if you waited too close to your Wedding Invitation mailing date. Then you might as well save the money and incorporate engagement photos and your wedding website into your Wedding Invitations.
Overall, use your best judgement and make sure your guests are given enough time to make arrangements to attend your wedding. Whether they need to start saving money or just getting hotels in advance to secure a spot to stay, make sure they are aware of all the details needed to make informed decisions.