First things first. Exactly what is a save the date? Your save the dates are different than your actual wedding invitations. They come before you officially invite guests to your wedding—usually about 6-8 months before the ceremony is scheduled (8-12 for a destination wedding).

You can think of save the dates as a pre-invitation card that gives your guests time to think about whether or not they will be able to attend your wedding.

We’re often asked if sending a Save the Date card is necessary if you’re already sending a formal wedding invitation too. We highly recommend you send both. Your wedding invitation should be sent just 6-8 weeks before your wedding date. By sending Save the Dates months ahead of time, you give your guests time to make necessary travel arrangements and clear their calendars.

Before we show you how to address your Save the Date envelopes, let’s talk about what information the cards themselves should have on them.

In your save the date wording, make sure to include:

  1. Your Names
  2. The Phrase “Save the Date” (or some other way of saying that you’re engaged)
  3. Your Wedding Date
  4. Wedding Location (city and state is fine)
  5. Optional: The words, “Formal Invitation to Follow” or “Invitation to Follow”

As for choosing a save the date theme or style, you might not have finalized a wedding color scheme and style yet. If that’s the case, don’t worry about matching your save the dates to anything. If you do know the color scheme and style you’d like, you may choose to match the save the date with your wedding style. However, it’s not necessary. It’s common for couples to have a little more fun with save the date cards than formal wedding invitations.

Once your beautiful cards are in your hands, it’s time to address them! Here are six guidelines for addressing those save the date envelopes flawlessly:

  1. Address the guests with “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” or “Ms.”
  2. Write the full names of your guests (no nicknames or abbreviations)
  3. Add kids’ names right after their parents
  4. Spell out the addresses completely (write out “Street” instead of writing “St.”)
  5. Spell out the city but use proper postal abbreviations for the state
  6. Provide your return address on the envelope, either in the upper left-hand corner or on the back flap

Here are some samples of how to address envelopes for different types of situations:

Single Person with Guest
Ms. Jessica Freedman and Guest
813 North Center Street
San Diego, CA 91911

Married Couple
Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Smith
714 Applewood Lane, Unit 4
Orlando, FL 32789

Unmarried Couple (list the person you’re closest to first)
Ms. Kaylin Connors and Mr. Phillip Scott
18 East Luther Avenue
Fargo, ND 58102

Children Included
Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Scott, Nora and Henry
414 Lilac Street
Bend, Oregon 97701

As for your return address, include both your names if you’re living together, but just one if you’re not.

Living Together
Ms. Megan Dale and Mr. Hank Forrester
919 South 5th Street, Apartment 917
Chicago, IL 60106 

Living Separately
Ms. Megan Dale
919 South 5th Street, Apartment 917
Chicago, IL 60106

Now you’re all set to address and finally do the best part of all – dropping your save the dates in the mailbox and watching the compliments and well-wishes flood in!