Make a good first impression.
Credit: Courtesy of Dempsey & Carroll

"The save-the-date is the first correspondence that guests will receive about your wedding," says Jung Lee event designer of FÊTE NY in New York City. "It's the perfect time to set the tone for what's to come." As you'll soon find out, there are thousands of options for save-the-date formats and designs-that's why we're here to walk you through the process.

When and to whom should I send a save-the-date:

These cute little cards (or magnets) should be sent to anyone you plan to invite to the wedding-including people who are definitely attending, like your MOH and your siblings. A good rule of thumb: send them out about six months before the big day, unless it's a destination wedding, or the wedding date falls on a big holiday. In that case, you'll want to give your guests about an eight-month notice to make travel arrangements.

What to include:

The key elements to include are your names, the wedding date, the name of your venue as well its city and state. "It's up to the couple how detailed they want to get within that information," says Erin Burke, designer at Paper Source. You can also include a wedding website URL (for all the other details), a witty/romantic quote, or a fun fact about you as a couple. P.S. Don't forget to add, "Invitation to follow."

How to phrase the save-the-date:

"The phrasing of the save-the-date should reflect the style of your wedding," recommends Burke. "It should be as personal as the couple getting married," adds Burke. For instance, "Come away with us" is a great option for a destination wedding; "Hang with us" suits a casual modern vibe; and "We are delighted to announce," for a more formal affair.

How to choose the design:

"The wonderful thing about choosing a save-the-date is that there are no set rules, except to be uniquely yourselves," says Lee, who recommends that couples use the save-the-date as an outlet for creativity since these don't have to match the actual wedding invites.

Ask yourself, "What kind of wedding story do I want to tell? "Envision your first date, or the instant you knew you were in love," says Lee. "Your save-the-date is a chance for your guests to be a part of that spark." Engagement photos are perfect for translating that romantic sentiment. If you're into more graphic elements take cue from the location, the theme of the wedding or your personalities. Say, a watercolor flower garland for a garden brunch reception or luggage tag-shaped cards for a globetrotting couple. "Use the save-the-date as a little preview of what a guest should expect on your wedding day," adds Burke.


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