Announcements, Save-the-dates, Invitations, and Timing
Although the same card can be used as a wedding announcement or an invitation, there are distinct uses of wording that can transform it from one to the other. Many couples getting married want to announce their special occasion, but aren't having a large wedding that can accommodate everyone. You won't have to worry about those receiving an announcement mistaking it for an invitation since they should be sent out the day of the wedding or shortly after.
Although not required, save-the-date cards are important when you are planning a wedding that falls on a holiday weekend, located at a popular vacation spot, or when many of your guests will be traveling to attend your wedding. Save-the-date cards are usually sent at least 4 months before the wedding, but it is recommended to send them 5 months to a year in advance if you are having a destination wedding.
Save the Dates allow your guests to have plenty of time to request work off, arrange hotel and/or airfare, arrange for babysitters etc. so that your wedding will be a celebrated event and possible vacation that they will share with you. Your guests will appreciate the advance notice of a Save the Date and will have the memories to keep for a lifetime.
Save the date cards can vary from formal cards that resemble wedding invitations to informal magnets, postcards or even mint tins. If you prefer electronic mail to mailing out paper invitations, you could also use this method of communication to save on both time and cost. This card may match your invitation, you can pick a similar card in a smaller size, or you may also opt to pick a card that is more simple and casual. Some couples select cards that reflect the location or theme of their wedding, others choose something casual and fun like save-the-date magnets. The card should contain the date and location of your wedding, your wedding website address if you have one and also note that a formal invitation will follow at a later date.
Invitations should be mailed out six to eight weeks before your wedding date. If you are planning a destination wedding or have a large number of out of town guests, we suggest sending your invitations four to six months prior to your event to give your guests sufficient time to make their travel arrangements.