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Save the Dates vs Wedding Invitations - whats the difference?

Clarifying the role of the Save the Date card

Some say send save-the-date cards, while others say send wedding invitations. So which is it? Do you send both?

What’s the Difference?

There is a clear difference between these two stationery items. A Save the Date tells your guest to do exactly that, reserve the date in their calendar. While it does give some information about when and where your wedding will be held, the role of this card is to allow guests to plan in advance and also let them know that a formal invitation will be sent at a later date.

The information on your Save the date card includes the request (e.g. 'Please Save the Date'), your names, wedding date, location (State and Postcode) and a note to let them know to expect a formal invitation. You can also include a wedding website if you have one.

Claire suite Save the Date, letterpress printed in Black ink on White 100% cotton paper

As it gets closer to your wedding date, you’ll need to send out formal invitations. The role of your Invitation is both to invite your guests and to give more detail about your event. Your invitation should formally invite your friends and family to come to celebrate the marriage between you and your partner with invitational lines written from yourselves and / or your families. Your invitation should also include all of the information your guests need to attend - this includes venues and times on the invitation card itself, along with any additional information you want to include in extra cards such as RSVP, accommodation information, maps and directions, transport and travel information. There is really no limit to the amount of detail to include, provided it is relevant and styled consistently with the main invitation.

Claire suite Invitation design, letterpress printed in Black ink on White 100% cotton paper

When to Send a Save-the-Date – and Do You Need to?

You’ll always want to send some type of official invitation to guests for your wedding. Save-the-date cards, however, are optional. It’s important to know when to send your Save the Dates if you choose to use them as timing is so important for these cards. Generally, it is never too soon to send a Save the Date - once you have the important details finalised (date, location) - let your guests know. As a guide you want to send them out 8 - 12 months ahead of your wedding, depending on location (allow longer for destination weddings).
By sending these cards, you’re letting people know to reserve that date in their calendar, so they don’t make other plans for that time. They can then also ask for time off work, confirm travel plans, save money and organise. The timing for the invitations is much later, usually 6 to 8 weeks before the wedding.

Save the Date Etiquette

There are some things you should and shouldn’t do when you decide to send Save the Date cards. Here are some etiquette guidelines that will ensure you’re getting the most out of your decision to send Save the Dates:

Include enough information

There is key information you’ll need to make sure to include. Also, anything you know about the location is important and can prove helpful to your potential guests.

Send Save the Dates only once you’ve finalised a guest list

Once your Save the Dates are in the mail, there's no second guessing. So only send them to those guests you definitely want to be with you on your wedding day.

Include information for allowing plus-ones and whether children will be welcome to attend

Being clear about who is invited early on also gives parents time to plan for child care.

Include a wedding website

Don’t include gift registry information but do include your wedding website if you have one.

Use your Save the Dates Effectively

In terms of save-the-dates and wedding invitations, it’s not a question of which is better. These two things should serve different purposes. Utilising each one effectively can positively affect the experience your guests have when they attend your wedding.

While planning your wedding, consider how great of an impact Save the Date cards might have. If you feel your guests can benefit from receiving a Save the Date, then send them out. However, simpler is sometimes better, especially if your wedding is small or has a short engagement.

Organising your Save the Dates?

Download our Save the date wording suggestions
Read our Save the Date wording guide
Find out more about when to send your stationery, including Save the Dates

Need more tips and or specific advice for your circumstances? Get in touch - we'd love to work with you!

Looking for more?

View our Collection of semi-custom wedding stationery suites
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Take a look at our extensive design options and changes available

What our clients say...

Andrea, thank you for the absolutely wonderful job you did with our invitations. You really went above and beyond to help us with our vision. They're just gorgeous and have everyone gushing. You've really helped to make everything come together.
- Sarah & John (QLD Australia)
The invitations are lovely. Thank you so much. We are both very happy. It has been such a pleasant experience working with you, thank you again.
- Rebecca & Alban (NSW Australia)
I just wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU! Our invitations are absolutely beautiful. So elegant. We absolutely love them. Your service has been impeccable and we couldn't ask for a better product. Thank you so much, it's been an absolute pleasure dealing with you.
- Olivia & George (VIC Australia)