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Save-the-Dates: Wedding Save-the-Date Q&A

OK, you decided to do a wedding save-the-date, but now you got questions. Should you include an RSVP? Does it have to be a card? We've got answers.

Photo: Heather Waraksa Photography

What To Include

Q. Should we include a way to RSVP with our save-the-date?
While extra-early RSVPs would ideally give you a head start on your head count, this plan has the potential to backfire. Your most organized invitees would undoubtedly mark their calendars in permanent ink and pop their reply cards in the mail, but other folks might not be so diligent. The excess of cushion time could cause some guests to put off replying, and they may wind up forgetting altogether.

Q. What else should go on it?
Save-the-dates began as a single card or item containing the basic information (couple's names, wedding date, and sometimes the location), but lots of to-be-weds are now choosing to include more specific details here, and less in the actual invitations. The reason? More time for guests to plan, and less legwork when invitation time rolls around. Out-of-town guests may be especially grateful for a bit of advance info on local hotels and other travel details. Ideally, you should include a link to your wedding website where more in-depth information (like a schedule of events) can be featured.

Q. Can we include registry info on our save-the-date?
While your guests will likely want to know where you're registered, it's inappropriate to print this information on your save-the-dates or invitations. Gifts, of course, are not required—and guests know that they can ask around or call you or your parents to get this sort of scoop. The only acceptable vehicle for registry information? Your wedding website.

Design Details

Q. Does it have to be a card?
No way! Cards may be the simplest way to go, but a wedding save-the-date can be anything you want. Magnets are a common alternative, or you can even have the info printed on a fan, a photograph, even a bar of chocolate. Since many couples handle the save-the-date designs themselves, this is the perfect chance to showcase your personality as a couple. A graphic email is another great option, but make sure to send a printed copy to your less tech-savvy guests.

Q. We want to design them ourselves. Where do we start?
If you don't have a knack for graphic design, don't worry. There are plenty of software programs to help. PrintingPress Wedding software helps you design cards with text and graphics. Or, stick with a simple word processing program. Type up your basic wedding info, pick your favorite font, and import some wedding graphics from a specialized CD (buy one at TheKnot.com/shop). You could also consider printing the info on pretty labels that you'll stick to an item that signifies your wedding (a bottle of sunscreen, a package of hand warmers). Companies like VistaPrint (VistaPrint.com) allow you to upload your own design, and they'll print it on your choice of cards or magnets and ship them right to you. (VistaPrint also offers an extensive gallery of predesigned options, just in case you'd like to get this done with minimal effort.)

Q. How do we decide on a style?
Save-the-dates can be much more informal than the invitations, so have fun with the design. Most important, you want to create an item that gets a bit of attention and sets the tone for the rest of your wedding. A pair of foodies getting hitched Italian-style? Print a great pasta recipe on the back. Two beach bums planning to walk down an aisle of sand? Think about using flip-flop or boat-shaped cards. Music lovers looking forward to an event with the perfect soundtrack? Send out your info as a label on a romantic mix CD. Or, if classic elegance is more your scene, you can never go wrong with engraved script on a pretty card that showcases your wedding colors.

--Erin Walters

See More: Save-the-Date Cards