As the weather chills, it is time in Chicago for the beginning of “Save the Date Season”. It is the season within the wedding season when many couples (with nuptials scheduled in the Summer and Fall months) will begin to order their official announcements!
There are a few helpful tips that you should keep in mind:
- Use a pre-printed return address on the outer envelope. Some clients forgo adding this, but it can potentially give you a chance to polish up your guest list for the wedding… A returned save-the-date now will give you a shot at updating an address. Don’t miss out on this important opportunity!
- Be careful when sending out save-the-dates to both A and B list guests. You might not have enough slots for the B list people and you don’t want to be obligated to send them a formal invitation. Your B list should not receive save-the-dates for this very reason.
- Don’t “over-share” on your save-the-date. This is simply an announcement and you don’t have to get into specific details. Adults only, the location of the wedding beyond city and state, etc. is unnecessary (unless its a cool historical site you just HAVE to mention in order to whet your guest’s appetites). Just remember that “Formal invitation to follow” should suffice for the rest of your detail.
- Save-the-dates should be sent 7 to 9 months in advance of your date. You can go earlier, but it does depend on when your date is. If you are near a holiday or having a destination wedding, then the sooner the better… Normal wedding dates can use the 7-9 month window, no problem.
- You don’t have to mail physical save-the-dates depending on the nature of your guest list. I’m not necessarily a big fan of this method since I’m a paper girl, but save-the-date eCards and others have been gaining in popularity so I must mention. You will have to be having an ultra small and/or informal event to even consider this method however. I will mention that no matter how nice electronic wedding communication looks (or how eco-sustainable this method is), it will still be impersonal compared to something mailed.
- Watch the price of your magnet save-the-dates closely. You should always look to pay a designer to design the magnet, and secure just the layout artwork from them based on the magnet company’s guidelines. You can then go ahead and upload the artwork yourself and pay direct costs. Magnets are already pretty expensive, so it makes no sense to pay someone a 20% markup fee to have them produced. This will be in addition to your custom design fees! Better yet, if you are not particular, there are hundreds of pre-designed templates provided by these companies at no additional cost.
- Don’t feel compelled to use an engagement photo. You obviously can, and its still popular, however you can help distinguish your event (and even create a little mystery and anticipation) by not using one.
- Don’t snooze on the self-mailer as a cost effective vehicle for your save-the-date. Self-mailers help to value engineer this element. No outer envelope is needed and these are FUN.
- Be careful not to use an outdated style for your save-the-dates.
- Please, slowly back away from the save-the-date idea if you’ve waited too long to develop and send. I’ve had clients who’ve insisted on sending out their save-the-date at the 4-5 month mark, ONLY to follow it up immediately with the actual invitation. If you have waited this long, go ahead and send your invites out at the 3.5 – 4 month mark and be done with it…
Christy Toney is the owner of CT-Designs, a custom stationery and calligraphy company servicing the Chicagoland area. You can view her work on her website and blog and in Wedding Guide Chicago magazine.