Having a big turnout to an important event is crucial. For this reason, it’s often seen as proper etiquette to send out save the date cards prior to sending out invitations. So what are save the dates and how to do the work? A simple answer is these are used to let people know to reserve the date so they don’t schedule anything else on the date. You then have more time to send out the invitation and work out all of the other details without worrying about whether people will be free or not. So sit back and keep reading and see what save the date ideas you can come up with for yours.
Save the date cards are often used for weddings, but they can be used for other life events as well. They can be used for graduations, anniversaries, bar and bat mitzvahs and much more. There is no right or wrong time to use these cards as long as you send them out properly and within the specific time frame. The sooner you tell people about the date, the better chance you have of making sure that people don’t make other plans.
It’s possible to have the party of the century with enough guests. The only way to ensure guests arrive is to give them proper notice. One of the top reasons that people don’t attend an event is because they weren’t given enough notice. With the use of save the date cards, you can cut out this excuse in its entirety.
When to Send Save the Date Cards
Sending out save the date cards needs to be done in a timely manner – not too soon and not too late. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to give people at least a 4 or 6 month window of your event. In the event of a graduation or some other very specific date, you may know a year or two in advance, but you also don’t want to give people too much notice.
Consider when your event is and look at the calendar. Generally people keep a day planner or a calendar up in their homes. If your event falls within the same calendar year as what is currently posted, then go ahead and send out the save the date cards. This isn’t a time for people to RSVP, it’s simply requesting that they hold the date open. You will then send the invitation closer to the event to give the guests all of the remaining details.
Wording the Save the Date Cards
What is the proper way to word your save the dates? Save the date cards don’t have to be formal and they don’t have to give a lot of details. Essentially, you’re telling people what date they need to hold open and why. You should make save the date wording fun and show friends how happy you are. Once you tell them that, your job is done.
A sample save the date invitation could simply read:
Please save the date!
Barbie Doll & Joe Soldier are getting married
Saturday, December 19, 2013
Mattel Headquarters, California
Invite to follow
The details of the save the date are vague. You are telling people what date to save, why they’re saving it and where the event will be held. That’s all you have to include. There’s no need to disclose specifics because that is the role of the invitation. Don’t include when the invitation will follow either because this may depend upon when you get all of the detail specifics ironed out.
Why Send Out Save the Date Cards
There are a few other reasons why you want to send out save the date cards beyond simply asking people to hold the date open for the event. Since it is a low cost thing to do, it allows you to be selfish in a few ways as well.
First, consider the fact that there may be other things going on that day that you hadn’t considered. Once you send out the save the date cards, keep an ear open for anyone saying that they cannot attend. If multiple people tell you that they received the date but they already have something else going on, see what that something else is and how it will impact the bulk of your attendees. It may be worth your while to change the date if the majority of your attendees won’t be able to make it on your initially chosen date.
Second, save the date cards allow people to make travel reservations without it costing them a fortune. People don’t need to know all the details to book plane tickets. Save the date wording is easy. They just need to know the when and where, which is what you are giving them. If you rely solely on the invitation, you may only be giving people six to eight weeks to book flights, hotels and other travel arrangements.
The goal is to get the largest outcome as possible to celebrate the event with you – regardless of the event. Weddings, anniversaries, graduations – they’re all big events and that means they can all include sending out save the date cards. Forget about just an invitation – the save the date card is the first thing you need to think of when planning an event when you expect a lot of people to attend.
The Style of Save the Date Cards
Save the date cards don’t have to be formal so here are some save the date ideas. Let’s review – they don’t have to be formal. What they do need to be is informative. There’s no need to disclose themes or times or even exact locations. Those can all be revealed when you send out invitations a few months later. A postcard or notecard is sufficient. This doesn’t mean lace or vellum or ribbons. A simple, printed card is all that it needs to be.
Consider the event and plan the save the date cards accordingly. The style should be somewhat representative of the event. If you already know the theme of the event, allow it to show in the save the date to give people an idea of what to expect. If the anniversary is taking place in Vegas, use a card and gambling theme. If the wedding is being held on the beach, then use a beachy theme.
You can use photographs within save the date cards. Due to the cards being less formal, you can use photographs of the people who are part of the event. A portrait of the couple or even a school picture of the child is sufficient. While you never want to use a photograph in an invitation, this is the perfect opportunity to share photos – especially when an engagement photo shoot was done in anticipation of a wedding.
Save the date cards can be ordered online and printed to your specifications. This can make it easier to get the style you want without running them all through your printer – though this is always an option to consider if you’re on a budget. Focus on the bare minimum details of the card. Give people what they need to know. Avoid giving details that may change. Once they are in print, you tend to lock yourself in to those details – which may change based upon availability.
Other Aspects of Save the Date Cards
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on save the date cards to conjure some neat ideas but they do have to contain some “oomph” in order for people to notice them. Avoid sending out postcards. This is a big event and you want people to take your event seriously. If you wish to keep the message simple and make it the size of a postcard, that’s fine. Slip the card inside of an envelope and then mail it out. It will cost you a little bit more, but it will provide a nicer overall presentation.
Keep a calendar to know when to send out save the date cards, when to send out invites and when the event is. At the very earliest, save the date cards can be sent out eight months in advance. Then two months out, send the invitations. Request an RSVP on the invitations that tell people when they have to respond to you by if they are coming or not. If you are having your event at a large banquet hall or other facility, the coordinators may help you with the RSVP date based upon when they need a final head count.
Work with a professional stationery company to at least get ideas of what the save the date cards should look like. Formatting is easier than you think and don’t get bogged down in the save the date wording. There’s only really four lines that matter – the request to save the date, the name of who it’s for, what’s going on and when it’s happening. As for everything else, the minute details can be left for the invitation itself.
At the end of the day, save the date cards are proper etiquette for giving people advance notice of big events. Turnout is important, especially when the event is taking place in a city where the majority of desired attendees do not live in. Make your save the date wording count, just like in marketing to draw guest to attend. The save the date cards don’t have to be formal and they don’t have to be filled with a lot of events. Ultimately, it’s about telling people the when and the where so they can get the event on the calendar and begin planning out travel arrangements to be there.