Save The Dates, Shower Invites and Evites

by admin on April 7, 2014

My question is in regards to invitation etiquette. While I’ve spent most of my life in the States, I haven’t been invited to many weddings, so I don’t really know wedding etiquette that well. Plus, my culture is different from the US, so that makes things more complicated.

I recently received two e-vites–one was a “Save the Date” evite, and another was a Bridal Shower e-vite. On the Save the Date evite, the couple said that a formal invitation was to follow, so I suppose they covered their bases there. The bridal shower evite is the only invitation that I’ll get, which I don’t particularly mind, but anyway.

My question is, is it appropriate to send evites for Save the Dates and Bridal Showers? I’m going to get married soon myself, and while I probably won’t have a Bridal Shower (never understood the concept of asking guests to bring two gifts–one for the shower, one for the wedding), I’m wondering about the Save the Dates. Is it rude to send electronic Save the Dates/Bridal Shower invitations? I know for an actual wedding invitation, that’d be extremely rude, but I couldn’t figure this one out.

Also, do I have to send a Save the Date? Can I just send out my wedding invitation earlier so that guests will have enough time to plan? 0401-14

I’m not a huge fan of the online event invitation sites since I strongly oppose the privacy policies.   We actually have evite.com blocked at the server level in our house so I would not see any invitations sent to me.     Also, electronic invitations have been known to be be filtered off into Spam in boxes and I’venown of people who never knew of a party because they never received the invitation or did not know to look in their Spam folder.

We are about to celebrate a wedding in our family and there were two shower-type events hosted by two different individuals.  One was sent by evite.com and the other by regular mail.   I know evites are becoming rather ubiquitous but the paper invitation sent through the mail was so pretty and definitely “keepable” for a scrapbook whereas the evite invitation was…..not particularly special or save worthy.    A wedding is a once in a lifetime (we hope!) event and it just seems to me that such events should be celebrated with a high degree of personalization and specialness.   Evites don’t meet that criteria,in my opinion.

But you should not be sending out invitations for a bridal shower for yourself since that would be greedy, rude and tacky.   That decision rests with a friend or bridesmaid who may choose to host a shower for you.

“Save the date” notifications are a rather recent development in wedding planning and the only reason I see the need for them is for a destination wedding or to send to distant guests who must plan well in advance to travel.    A simple post card in the mail can suffice since it can be stuck to a bulletin board or the refrigerator as a reminder.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan April 7, 2014 at 8:23 am

Not a comment on evites, but I just wanted to say I got the cutest “save the date” on a refrigerator magnet. Just thought that was clever. It was definitely something I wasn’t going to lose in a pile of paper.

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Lindsay April 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I’m surprised the grand Dame didn’t address this part of OP’s question:

Also, do I have to send a Save the Date? Can I just send out my wedding invitation earlier so that guests will have enough time to plan?

You really don’t want to send actual invites out more than 6-8 weeks before the big day, as that gives guests a month or so to confirm availability and get their RSVPs back to you before your caterer deadline. If you send out actual invites many months early, I can nearly guarantee that people will set them aside to RSVP when they figure out their calendars and then misplace the invite and/or RSVP. You won’t get RSVPs back, you’ll be frustrated, guests will be embarrassed, etc. If you have a short engagement, then by all means send only the invitation, but otherwise, STD cards/magnets/postcards are wonderful for guests who have to travel any distance longer than a short drive.

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admin April 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Please do not presume that other people’s guests are as clueless and unkind as yours apparently have been. I mailed the out of state wedding invitations for both my son’s and daughter’s wedding 10 weeks before the weddings. The only people to not RSVP at all were two local couples who received their invitations about 8 weeks before the wedding.

The trick is to invite people who are very invested in seeing you married and eagerly respond to an invitation.

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Julia April 7, 2014 at 6:12 pm

10 weeks isn’t that much longer ahead of time than 6-8 weeks.

Lindsay was advising not to send invitations “many months early”.

I think Lindsay’s advice is actually quite good. “Save the date” cards are very thoughtful if potential guests have to make travel plans.

If someone let me know about a wedding that required a plane ticket only 10 weeks ahead of time, I might very well have to decline the invitation because I wouldn’t necessarily have the money to purchase a plane ticket without some advance planning.

I frankly would not be left with the impression that such an invitation was coming from someone who really wanted me at their wedding.

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NostalgicGal April 8, 2014 at 1:12 am

For airline travel it can often take three to four months in advance to get something resembling affordable. For those that might have to fly, and I was certain about a) wedding date, and b) I really wanted this person to come; I might send that person a Save the Date early on so they could look for travel arrangements. Not to mention they might need time off, need to arrange house, pet, and kid sitting, and stuff like that. Now the friends and family that were within a few hours, I could wait until closer to the event to send them the invitations; but. If I had someone that was going to have transportation issues; it is only kind to clue them in early. Even just plain contact them and feel out if they really want to come well ahead of time!

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AMS April 9, 2014 at 8:39 am

After graduating college a few years ago and since I have family all around my state, I’ve found recently that in order to make plans to get together, we often have to set dates months in advance. Especially among my college buddies, people’s calendars are booked months ahead of time due to work schedules and other commitments. I would feel very nervous waiting even 10 weeks before my wedding to send out invitations without previously sending a Save the Date. Though I know many people would rearrange their schedule to attend, I think it is polite and helpful to let people know of your date as soon as possible so they can plan around it if needed. I think myself and my family has gotten a Save the Date for pretty much every wedding we’ve attended in the past 10 years or so.

Kimstu April 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm

If you’re inviting only people you’re genuinely close to, then probably you also keep in touch with them to the extent that they’ll find out the date of the wedding quite a while before receiving the formal invitation.

I agree that six months is about the right timeframe for the Save the Date message but much too far in advance for the actual invitation. 1.5 – 2.5 months in advance, as in Admin’s and Lindsay’s examples, is reasonable for sending the invitation itself.

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Brit April 8, 2014 at 11:47 am

I don’t get this. Ours got sent months ahead so people could get cheaper travel. Not a single problem, everyone coming RSVPd. How’s it different from a save the date, except being cheaper and less waste?

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Kimstu April 9, 2014 at 11:41 am

It’s different because a lot of people don’t know their work schedules or other commitments many months in advance.

So if, say, you send an invitation seven months before the wedding asking for an RSVP within a few weeks, some people might not know whether they’ll be able to come or not. If you give them five or six months’ grace to RSVP, the long delay makes the paperwork more likely to get lost in the shuffle.

The “Save the Date”, on the other hand, serves the purpose of notifying the recipient that they WILL be invited to the wedding on this date, but doesn’t require them either to commit to it immediately or to remember to commit to it several months later. They can use that notification to make whatever advance travel plans or schedule workarounds they need to. And then the actual invitation, arriving around two months before the wedding, reminds them of it in a timeframe where it’s reasonable to ask them to make a firm commitment.

That said, if it worked out for you and your guests to do invitations differently, that’s fine. But I think the long-notice Save the Date (at least for guests who have to make complicated travel or scheduling arrangements) plus short-notice official invitation is the best compromise for most wedding hosts.

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Filiagape April 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm

I don’t have a problem with E-vite for casual events, especially when the event is given for someone else and the host may not have home addresses and only E-mail addresses for the invitees, but for a wedding? I have always enjoyed, for close family members, saving the paper invitation and purchasing those side by side 5×7 picture frames; on one side I place a photo of the couple from the wedding an on the other the invitation. I have my wedding invitation framed like this from a wedding 24 years ago and my brothers from 26 years ago. Wen my brother married five years ago, I was disappointed to only receive an E-vite. Please, people, for weddings and birth announcements, and important, long-to-be-remembered events, be a Luddite; send snail mail.

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Kaymar April 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm

But the OP is talking about save the dates, not an actual wedding invitation. I will admit that I’m considering this question myself, because I wasn’t planning to do save the dates and would rather not spend a lot of time/energy on them but my fiance seems concerned about letting people know the date sooner rather than later. Still not sure what I will do, but I don’t think an electronic “early notice” of a wedding is so awful if it’s later followed up by a formal, paper invitation.

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SarahLovesFabric April 7, 2014 at 6:11 pm

The whole Save The Date (which I really, really do not like to see abbreviated as STD) issue has been recently discussed in my family, and the conclusion we reached was that either Save The Dates or early invitations (>8 weeks before) should absolutely be sent if:
1) it’s a destination wedding
2) you’re getting married on a weekday
3) you’re getting married on a holiday weekend
Any of these circumstances require extra planning on the part of the guests, and as such we appreciate the advance notice. There are many people among my family and friends whom I would be quite devastated not to be able to see marry, but not all plans (work or otherwise) can be rearranged at relatively short notice.

Anyone have any other situations in mind that would require a Save The Date?

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Jared Bascomb April 8, 2014 at 9:56 am

I appreciate a Save the Date even if the event is local so that I can make sure that I’m going to be in town! As others have said, getting good airfares requires months of advance planning, and I may be planning a vacation on the event date. Getting an Save the Date email well in advance will help assure that I will be there and not halfway around the world.

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Tracy April 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I think it’s important to send a Save The Date (or just personally notify people) if *any* of your guests would have to travel, even if it’s not a destination wedding. Last year we had to skip a wedding in my husband’s family that we absolutely would have attended if we’d known the date more than 8 weeks in advance.

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BeachMum April 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm

I got married 13 years ago, but more than half of our guests came from out of town, and nearly 1/3 came from another country. We sent out save-the-date cards about six months prior to the wedding so that those who wanted to attend could figure out travel plans (international airfare being the most expensive and complicated) well in advance if they wanted to attend. We sent out invitations about six weeks before the wedding, but would have lost many of our guests had we not sent out save-the-date cards. (I do, however, agree with those who don’t like the abbreviation STD.)

On the other hand, we only sent the cards to those who were out of town. I see no reason to send them to locals who don’t need to make travel plans.

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ERHR April 9, 2014 at 9:42 am

Knowing what I know now, I would probably take the approach of using both methods – evite for STD and then a mailed invitation. When we sent our wedding invitations in 2010, approximately 5% were completely lost in the mail or the delivery was delayed by a couple months i.e. after the wedding occurred (that we heard about). Likewise, as the admin said, not everyone will see an evite. I just bring up our issue to illustrate that postal service delivery is not ironclad either.

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Harley Granny April 10, 2014 at 11:58 am

I know I’ve been married longer that dirt’s been around but we didn’t have the Save the Date (I so want to do the STD thing lol…sorry sick sense of humor). When we picked out date we called or wrote to those that would be coming from out of state and let them know. We purposely picked a date more than a year in advance so they had time.

When the time came to mail in the invites they got those too.

While now a days I don’t mind the e-vites for casual get togethers, I frown on them for something as important as wedding and showers.

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kingsrings April 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm

If one is planning to send out save the dates to EVERYONE invited, then why not just send out the invites themselves earlier? I don’t get why there would have to be two separate mailings and invitation types when everyone is going to be getting the same thing.

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