Save the Dates vs. Invitations vs. Wedding Website

Pulgas Water Temple Wedding Caili Chung Photography

If you’re new to wedding planning, you may not know the difference between these things. And what you need. No worries, I gotchu 🙂

Save the Dates

Save-the-dates are meant to put guests on notice so they don’t make plans on your date and therefore be unavailable to attend your wedding. If you’re going to send out save the dates, I recommend getting these out as soon as possible.

Your save-the-dates should include:

  • Your full names
  • The date of the wedding
  • The city and state where the wedding will be and venue information if you know it

Wedding invitations are often kept as keepsakes whereas save-the-dates may be more casual.

Guests are not expected to respond to these.

Cinnabar Hills Wedding Rainy San Jose

Wedding Invitations

Wedding invitations are formal invites with more specific information about the event like locations, times, where to stay, etc. If you already sent out save-the-dates, you can send out wedding invitations 6-8 weeks before the wedding. This allows you to have all the necessary arrangements/plans in place. And this allows guests enough time to respond, but it’s close enough to your date that guests have a better idea about their own schedules.

Your wedding invitation can include:

  • Maybe an acknowledgement of who’s hosting (this may be your parents) or yourself!
  • You and your fiancé’s names
  • Language addressing the recipient and issuing the actual invitation
  • The date and time of the ceremony
  • Venue name & address
  • Times
  • Dress code, if applicable

While a save-the-date card is usually just one card, a wedding invitation may have more stuff like a card with directions to the venue, an enclosure card with hotel booking information, a response card, a reception/meal ticket that needs to be filled out and mailed back, an itinerary for the day or weekend, or a stamped, pre-addressed envelope.

Guests are expected to respond to this invitation & RSVP so you can tell caterers and plan your tables accordingly.

Fairview Napa Wedding California Caili Chung

Wedding Website:

A wedding website can have all the information found on your wedding invitation & more. I recommend putting the URL for your website on your invitation.

If you don’t know what to include on a wedding website, click here to see an example for inspiration.

Hakone Garden Japanese Saratoga Wedding Caili Chung Photography

The RSVPs (or lack thereof)

Some guests are great at RSVPing, but many are not. So no matter how you collect RSVPs, you’ll probably still going to text/call/email people individually and ask for their response. Just expect that. To minimize the people you have to personally follow up with – I recommend making RSVPs digital so it’s as easy as possible for guests.

What We Did

I don’t enjoy writing out addresses and dealing with stamps and whatnot. Therefore, we did not mail physical save-the-dates, we just texted guests about our date. And we only mailed physical invitations to grandparent-generation guests and people who actually save that pretty paper. This was a way we saved money and hassle – read more about this here. We invited everyone else by sending out our wedding website URL and a small message.

Benicia Street Mansion Wedding Harry Potter

–> Planning a wedding can be overwhelming! But I gotchu 🙂 After going to so many events as a photographer, I’ve got plenty of recommendations and experience with everything wedding-related. Click here to learn more about the Caili Chung Photography Wedding Experience <3

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Save the Dates vs. Invitations vs. Wedding Website

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