Ok, not going to lie, but I totally heard Arthur Weasley’s voice in my head as I wrote that title. But, this post is about save-the-date cards, not rubber ducks, so, onward we go!

A friend recently asked me about the difference (if there is any) between a save the date and an invitation. this sparked the idea for this particular post. I guess some of us who have worked in the design/wedding industry can take for granted some of the knowledge that we have accumulated over the years.

So, to answer this question, there is indeed a difference between the two items.

the save the date’s function is an informal, “head’s up”.

When do they go out?  9-12 months prior to your event
They let the guests know that you are getting married (yay!), that they are on the guest list (double yay!), and that you want them to keep that spot open on their calendar.

Save-the-dates are a great way of letting your guests know the who and what, even if you currently don’t have the where and when nailed down.

The invitation is the formal way of letting your guests know all of the details regarding your wedding.

When do they go out?  4-6 months prior to your event
When should guests respond by?  Give yourself a minimum of 4 weeks (one month) prior to your event as an RSVP deadline. There will always be someone that needs to be chased after for their response. This gives you time to chase them down and get your day-of stationery started and numbers to your caterer.

The invitation itself contains the ceremony date, time and location. Other pieces can be added to your stationery package to include rsvp cards (to mail back or containing directions on how to rsvp online, by phone or email), accommodation cards (to help those from out of town find a place to stay), and maps (to guide guests to the ceremony and reception locations).

So although they are similar in some ways, there are distinct differences between the two. Not every couple needs to send out save-the-dates prior to their event. It is perfectly acceptable to pass on the save-the-dates and go straight to the invitations if there is less than 7 months to go till the wedding.

Hope that helps!