Are Save-the-Dates a Must for Your Wedding?

In the past 15 years, destination and long weekend weddings have substantially increased in popularity. Along with this trend came the modern day practice of sending save-the-dates prior to sending out formal invitations to wedding guests.

The original purpose of save-the-dates was to provide guests of a destination or long weekend wedding with advance notice so that they could have sufficient time to make travel arrangements, book time off work, find deals, etc. Of course, this purpose still holds strong for those hosting a wedding afar or over high-travel dates or long weekends. But if you’re hosting a wedding closer to home, is it really necessary to invest in them for your wedding? The simple answer is no.

Let’s face it, the concept of save-the-dates took the wedding industry by storm. So much so, that many couples now feel obligated to send them prior to their formal invitations in order to not buck modern day wedding etiquette (or as I like to say ‘wediquette’). But it is far less necessary for you to follow this practice if your wedding is being held close to home and outside of peak dates. Of course, if you would like to send save-the-dates out of desire, rather than obligation, it is a great gesture and courtesy to your guests.

Another factor to consider is your budget. When maintaining a strict budget is a top priority, eliminating the use of save-the-dates can be a great way to save. The average cost to send 100 basic save-the-date cards within Canada is approximately $175 with shipping, postage, and tax included ($1.75 each). To some, $175 may not seem like a lot of money but when combined with the cost of formal invitations, it can really add up.

In many cases, save-the-dates are a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘need to have’ so make sure to look at the big picture and all factors before making a firm decision; a great practice to get into for all of your wedding planning decisions!

My Top 5 Save-the-Date Tips

  1. Your save-the-dates and invitations should reference the same guest names.
    Consistency is important. Sending save-the-dates that fail to reference the invited guests by name can create confusion and false assumptions as to who is truly invited to your wedding. Avoid hurt feelings by ensuring you are transparent from the start.
  2. Send your save-the-dates 6 months in advance of your wedding date.
    Timing is important – too early and they may be disregarded, too late and they might as well be formal invites.
  3. Although a great gesture, it’s not necessary for you to send save-the-dates to your entire guest list.
    If you have the desire to send save-the-dates but also need to reduce cost, consider sending your save-the-dates only to the people that you want to ensure attend. Once sent, the formal invites will notify all others.
  4. Keep them simple!
    Postcards are a great option. They eliminate the need for envelopes and limit how much information can be included. If you go too crazy with the details, they might as well be your invites after all. And if budget is a focus, try and leave the creative wow-factor to your formal invites.
  5. Only send Save-the-Dates once you have secured your venue.
    Save-the-dates are intended to provide two key pieces of information for your guests – date & locate. If you haven’t secured your venue, do not jump the gun. This could spell disaster if you are unable to find a suitable and desirable venue for the date and/or location that you have announced.


Katrina Scarlett, Wedding Coach

Do you have any questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you –