One of you proposed and the other let loose with an ecstatic, “YES!” Now it’s time to pick a date, decide on a venue, and let everyone know when you two will finally get hitched. Save-the-date cards are an integral part of your suite of wedding stationery. While invitations get a lot of attention, save the dates may be even more important because they’re the key to ensuring your guests are in the loop with plenty of time to plan travel, schedule time off work, hire babysitters, and perfect their version of the Macarena.
Given their significance, how much do save the dates generally cost?
What is a save-the-date card?
Save-the-date cards are used to give potential wedding guests a heads up that you’ve chosen a wedding date. Think of your save the date as a wedding announcement — and in some cases, it may be the first time a distant relative or social media-adverse friend from high school learns you’re engaged.
Save the dates typically include the following details:
- A declaration, such as “We’re getting married” that gets the point across quickly
- Your names
- Your wedding date
- The location of the wedding — if you haven’t picked a venue, just the city and state is fine
This information allows your loved ones to block off that day on their calendar, minimizing the risk they’ll accidentally get double booked and miss your big moment. According to the experts, you should mail your save the dates about 10 or 11 months before your chosen wedding date, with formal invitations to follow.
The average amount couples spend on save-the-date cards is $150, but the actual number depends on a wide variety of factors such as style, number of guests, and even geographic location.
Get to know your options for save the dates
The save-the-date style you choose will be the primary factor in terms of cost. Your options include:
- Save-the-date postcards: Lightweight, simple, and the cheapest to mail, save-the-date postcards get your message to guests quickly using a single sheet of paper with your details and picture on one side and a short message and the recipient’s address on the other.
- Save-the-date cards: Save-the-date cards are typically the standard 5” x 7” size (think traditional greeting card), with extra space for photos, event details, and a personal message. Cards may be square shaped or feature trendy silhouettes like bracketing or rounded edges.
- Save-the-date magnets: Save-the-date magnets are a fun-filled option that help ensure your guests keep your wedding top of mind. Magnets tend to cost more to produce and to mail, but they double as keepsakes — don’t be surprised if you spot them on a friend’s fridge long after you and your sweetheart say I do.
Though there are always exceptions, as a general rule, postcards are the most affordable option followed by save-the-date cards and then magnets. One example of the same design produced three ways shows that a batch of 100 postcards runs about 60 cents per postcard, with cards priced at 69 cents each and 3.5” x 4” magnets sitting at 73 cents each.* The price difference seems negligible, but depending on your budget and how many save the dates you’ll ultimately need, a few pennies here and there can really add up.
*This example includes a bulk discount and reflects a sale price that may no longer be available.
Paying for upgrades, embellishments, and other extras
One of the most thrilling parts of customizing save-the-date templates is getting to play with all the “extras.” Some options, like switching the background color or trying a different font, come at no additional cost. Others, such as raised foil accents, can add anywhere from $22.50 to $90 to each batch of 100 cards.
Other possible add-ons include:
- Label and seal sets
- Return address printing
- Guest and return addressing
- Enclosure cards
- Specialty labels (such as those shaped like brackets)
Each item you add to your design suite could raise the cost an average of $20-$30 per 100-card batch. Again, those prices differ wildly depending on the vendor and service, but in many cases, the value is well worth the expenditure. For instance, paying $20 for address printing could save you a lot of time and energy hand addressing those envelopes at home.
How postage affects your save-the-date costs
As of early 2021, the price of a forever stamp from the United States Post Office was 55 cents. That stamp can be used for most normal-sized letters that weigh one ounce or less. The USPS charges another 22 cents for each additional ounce, so sending a save-the-date magnet will cost slightly more than a simple card. In terms of postage, save-the-date postcards are the most affordable; it costs just 36 cents to mail a postcard within the United States.
Note that all these prices are for mail sent and received within the United States. If you have guests living internationally, you’ll need a Global Forever® stamp. The stamp’s $1.20 price tag covers one-ounce letters and postcards mailed to residents from more than 190 countries worldwide, including Canada, Mexico, and Great Britain.
For save-the-date magnets or cards containing items that could push the envelope over the one-ounce limit for a standard forever stamp, it’s best to get the envelope weighed by the experts. Take a finished save the date to your local post office and have them give you the estimated postage per piece. Then you can multiply that estimate times your total save-the-date count and include the final number in your overall budget.
More quick tips for keeping your save-the-date costs under control
For couples interested in taking control of their wedding budget, there are ways to lower the cost of save the dates without sacrificing style.
- Stick to one save the date per household. It doesn’t matter if you’re inviting a brother and sister (cousins, perhaps) or the family of four who lives next door. If they all live under one roof, they should get one card. This saves on the amount of save the dates you’ll need as well as the postage cost.
- Don’t send them out too early. Be absolutely certain of your date and location before you alert the masses. Otherwise, you could be facing the daunting task of sending out change-the-date cards to update guests on your new choice of venue or an alternate date. Some couples choose to create a personal wedding website and put that URL on their save-the-date cards. That way, any last-minute changes can be conveyed via the internet rather than relying on another round of snail mail.
- Only send save-the-date cards to people you really want to come. Save-the-date cards may not be invitations, but they’re the precursors to actual invites and should be taken as seriously. Make your guest list, only send save the dates to people on that list, and assume everyone you notified will eventually come until you hear otherwise (that’s where the RSVP cards with your invitations come in).
- Split the difference. Order postcards or regular save-the-date cards for the majority of your guests and commission a smaller number of pricier magnets just for close friends and family who you know will treasure the keepsake instead of tossing it.
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