Save-the-date card etiquette

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Many couples find that tradition reigns supreme when planning a weddings. Certain traditions, such as fathers walking their daughters down the aisle and grooms sharing a dance with their mothers at the reception, are moments to cherish.

Though such traditions have withstood the test of time, couples still have some opportunities to embrace relatively recent traditions. One such recent tradition is the save-the-date card, a precursor to wedding invitations that simply lets guests know when the wedding is so they can clear their calendars and be there on a couple’s big day.

While save-the-date cards are best kept simple, there are a few rules couples should follow before sending their cards out to loved ones.

* Finalize the guest list before sending save-the-date cards. Couples must finalize their guest lists before sending their save-the-date cards. Doing so avoids the potentially messy situation that would no doubt arise if a person were to receive a save-the-date card but then not make the final guest list.

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Trimming the guest list often comes down to finances, so couples also want to agree on their budget before sending out their save-the-date cards. Once the guest list has been finalized, couples can send out their save-the-date cards as soon as possible.

* Confirm addresses. Couples should confirm their loved ones’ addresses before mailing any save-the-date cards. This can be easily accomplished by sending mass emails to friends and family members or contacting individuals via private messages sent on social media sites.

Postage to send save-the-date cards can be costly, especially for couples with large guest lists. Confirming addresses can save couples money on potentially wasted postage should the cards be returned because they were sent to the wrong address.

In addition, confirming addresses ensures everyone gets their cards and no one feels left out when relatives receive cards and they don’t because a couple did not have their correct address.

* Keep things appropriate. Save-the-date cards need not be as formal as wedding invitations, but they should still be appropriate. Guests often keep save-the-date cards on their refrigerators, where people of all ages can see the cards.

So while cards can be light-hearted, they should still be family-friendly. For example, photos of the bride- and groom-to-be decked out in swimsuits should be avoided.

* Don’t overdo it with information. Save-the-date cards don’t need to include as much information as the more formal invitations, which tend to include information about the ceremony, reception, hotel, directions, and other relevant wedding details.

A save-the-date card only needs to include the date of the wedding, including the month, day and year so guests are not confused if the cards are going out well in advance of the wedding day.

Couples can include a link to their wedding Web site on the backs of their save-the-date cards, which makes it easier for guests to learn more details about the wedding without inundating them with information too early. 

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