Can You Send a Save The Date and Not an Invitation?

If you want to save money on your wedding, you may take aim at certain aspects of etiquette which you don’t believe to be important. One of these things is the invitation process, etiquette holds that you send a save the date, then an invitation with an RSVP. Is all that necessary?

Can you send a save the date and not an invitation? They help the guests to organise their time off in advance. If you don’t give the guests this opportunity, some of them may not be able to attend. Save the dates and RSVPs also allow you to properly arrange your wedding ceremony and reception. Plus, you can find them for cheap enough that you won’t make much of a saving by not buying them.

Besides that, etiquette does hold that both are supposed to be sent. So, if that’s something that’s important to you, then you should definitely send both a save the date and an invitation.

Difference between a Save The Date and an Invitation

A save the date and a wedding invitation are two different things. They serve similar purposes, but are both necessary to organise a large ceremony.

The save the date is sent before the invitation. It’s a small card, usually ranging in size between the size of a business card and a postcard. It may have a design on the front to make it look pretty. It has several key pieces of information on it:

  • The name of the couple
  • Details of the wedding venue
  • What date the ceremony will be held

This is sent around four to six months in advance. The point is to give your guest enough time to book time off work if necessary.

An invitation is like a formal, more detailed version of a save the date. It contains much of the same information, but will also specify the time of day that the ceremony will be held, and information on the reception to be held afterwards. It should also be sent with an RSVP, which the guest should send back to confirm that they’re attending.

Do You Need to Send an Invitation after a Save The Date?

Because there’s a lot of overlap between the function of these two things, you may be tempted to only send one. There are good reasons to consider doing so, but there are also good reasons not to. Here’s a list of reasons for sending them, and reasons against sending them both...

Reason For: Etiquette

One reason you should consider sending both a save the date and an invitation is that it’s the done thing. While wedding etiquette isn’t as important as it used to be, some couples still place a lot of stock in it. You may think that it makes or breaks a wedding, and if you do, you’re not alone.

So, you might want to get married in a church, wear a white dress and have a formal reception because it’s what a wedding ‘should be’ like. That’s what many brides and grooms dream of, in some cases for their whole lives. That’s why so many couples disagree on what their weddings should be like: they’re important events!

Sending both a save the date and an invitation fits into that mould. Time honoured tradition has the couple sending both. That’s why both save the dates and invitations have traditional layouts and wordings which you commonly see.

Reason For: They Help You Organise Your Wedding

But there are reasons other than ‘it’s tradition’. Sending a save the date first and an invitation afterwards helps you organise your wedding, and helps guests prepare.

The save the date is sent to give guests enough time to prepare. Some guests might need lots of advance warning to book time off work, for example. Others might have to fly in from abroad. And telling your guests so far in advance stops them from making any other plans in the meantime. That’s why a save the date doesn’t offer much more info other than who’s getting married, and when.

The formal invite helps you prepare your ceremony and reception. They’re sent with RSVPs, which are small cards that the guests are supposed to send back. On the card, they tick a box to tell you whether they will or won’t be attending.

This gives you exact guest numbers. Once everybody has confirmed, you can then start arranging your venues, item hire, minibuses and more. So, without a save the date, each guests might have trouble planning time off and attending; and without formal invitations, you can’t plan your ceremony and reception properly.

Reason For: Your Guests Might Be Confused

Because it’s tradition to send both a save the date and an invitation, some guests might be confused if you don’t.

Let’s say you only send a save the date. You intend for this to be considered a full invitation. But for some guests, especially those from older generations, they may not see the save the date as one. It may get to a couple of weeks before the wedding when you start getting calls… “Are we not invited? Did our invitation get lost in the post?!”

The same applies to only sending an invitation. Your guests may have been expecting a save the date, and only sending an invitation may not leave them enough time to attend. That’ll lead to even more frantic phone calls. That’s the last thing you want when your wedding day is around the corner.

Reason For: They’re Surprisingly Cheap

With the cost of a modern wedding, and pressures on the economy that everyone is feeling, there’s a big incentive to keep costs low. So, you try to identify the less important aspects of a ceremony/reception and save on the cost of them.

If you think that sending separate save the dates and invitations is redundant, then you might want to keep costs low by not sending one (or even either). But that’s not a good idea because of how important they are to the admin side of a wedding. And better yet, they’re much cheaper than you might imagine.

Online invite and save the date printers like Bride & Groom Direct offer invites for less than £1 each. And these aren’t ‘cheap and cheerful’ either: they’re fully personalised with the couple’s names, the date of the ceremony, and your chosen design and color. And better still, each order comes with free envelopes, so that’s more money saved.

So, if you’re interested in saving money, there are far better ways to do it than not buying invites!

Reason Against: Small Wedding? No Problem…

All that being said, you can get away with sending only one if you’re having a tiny wedding. The fewer guests will be attending, the easier a ceremony/reception is to arrange.

That’s because you can take the time to text or call each guests individually. If you can do that, then the invite becomes only a formal necessity. You can even inform each guest of when and where your ceremony will be, and who’s doing what, in person.

This saves a little money, and ensures you don’t skip a single guest (although it’s still a lot of effort). While invites aren’t the most expensive aspect of a wedding, every little helps. And besides that, you can ensure that you double check with every single guest. No invites will get lost in the post, no guests can forget to reply because you’re talking to them face to face. So, overall, this is a good solution.

Reason Against: More Time, More Effort

Perhaps the main reasons why people consider cutting corners here are the time and effort involved. Couples picture spending hours slaving over their invites/save the dates: designing them, filling them out, and sending them.

It’s true: you do have to spend both time and effort to send a save the date or a formal invitation. But you can cut down on the effort/funds you have to put in by consulting with a professional printer.

For starters, a professional printer like Bride and groom Direct can fill in certain things for you. Your name and all of the details of your venue can all be printed directly onto your personalised invite. Some of our invites even offer guest name printing, where you tell us the names of each of your guests, and we professionally print them onto your invites. This saves you lots of time and effort.

That leaves sending your invites: but we can help there too. Each order of invites and save the dates comes with free envelopes, so that’s one fewer thing you’ll have to do.

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