Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Save-the-Date Cards: All the answers to your questions about this important piece of stationery

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From Our Print Issue
Save-the-Date Cards

All the answers to your questions about this important piece of stationery

Everyone loves a bit of advance notice, whether it’s for an impending thunderstorm or an upcoming event. Save-the-date cards are a great way to give guests advance warning of your celebration, and provide them with plenty of time to make arrangements to attend. And though the concept isn’t new, many brides still have questions about save-the-dates. Here’s a rundown of the most common questions, along with detailed answers on how to give your guests plenty of advance notice.

Who receives word?

You should send a save-the-date card to everyone on your guest list, including your attendants and their guests. If it isn’t in your budget to send a save-the-date to absolutely everyone, send only to those attending who will arrive from out-of-town. Be careful that your guest list is final before you send your save-the-dates; everyone that receives this informal card should receive a formal invitation the requisite 6-8 weeks before the wedding.

What should be included?
Save-the-dates can include as much or as little information as you would like your guests to have in advance of your celebration. Your card can be as simple as a postcard that gives your names and wedding date; however most couples take this opportunity to include information that etiquette states should not be included in a formal invitation. Everything from lodging arrangements, transportation information, requested attire, and a schedule of events can be incorporated in a save-the-date. Others share general information on tourist attractions for those who plan to tour the area along with restaurant and nightlife recommendations. The more knowledge you share with your guests in advance, the more comfortable they’ll feel traveling to different city.

When should you send them?
The school of thought on when save-the-date cards should be sent varies. Many believe that cards should be sent out as soon as the date and location have been confirmed. This works best in cases when the wedding is scheduled to take place within the year. But as more and more couples take at least a year, and sometimes even two to plan their weddings, too much advance notice can backfire. As a general rule, save-the-dates are sent around six months in advance of the wedding date. That amount of time should give your out-of-town guests ample time to make transportation and lodging arrangements, along with providing ample notice to their employers in case they’ll need time off to attend.

How formal or informal should they be?
The great thing about save-the-date cards is they can be whatever you want them to be. Anything from a simple magnet that gives your names and the date, to a small booklet that gives a play-by-play description of your event is acceptable. But most couples try to have fun with their save-the-date cards, creating them to complement the theme of the wedding. Since the sky’s the limit here and you don’t have to worry about etiquette getting in the way, be creative! Planning a seaside ceremony? Send a message in a bottle, complete with a cork on the end and a few shells inside the bottle along with a note. How about an Asian inspired affair? Your save-the-dates could be created to look like oriental fans. A celebration with an Parisian theme would garner excitement with Paris postcards as save-the-dates. Even a formal celebration can have a creative save-the-date card; have labels created with all the necessary information for the front of a split of wine and send one along to each of your guests. Now that’s a save-the-date that makes a statement!

What’s the bottom line?
The bottom line with save-the-date cards is that they’re just an extra bit of paperwork to help your guests prepare for your wedding. Though save-the-dates aren’t a required item for all weddings, they do provide a great service to guests and give you a break from answering the same lodging question 250 times.

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