Save the Dates are a pre-invitation mailing. Those who have not been to, or in, a wedding in the last dozen or so years have probably never heard of a Save the Date. In that sense, this is a relatively new thing- but the idea has been around long enough that trends are emerging. Hop on any popular wedding topic online message board, and sooner or later, someone will post about Save the Dates.
As with many things, as far as “save the dates” go, some people will take ‘em, and some people will leave ‘em. That is to say, some couples will love the idea, and some will not be interested.
Originally, Save the Date mailings were for certain special cases, to provide important information to the early-birds. Information such as: available hotels with special rates if booked months in advance of the event. The special cases? Chiefly, weddings with a date that is a national holiday, or destination weddings. Imagine the logistics of a holding your wedding in another country- there is much information to impart to your guests, and flights need to be booked well in advance. Save the Dates will typically be sent out months before the invitations.
As with other cool ideas, the Save the Date was co-opted by more and more couples; Another good excuse (I mean, reason) to send these Save the Dates out, is in the case where your wedding is on a weekday; Some guests may need to know well in advance, to get the day off from work.
Why are couples sending out Save the Dates if they don’t really need to? Because- they are fun. You can be less formal with these Save the Date mailings than you might be with your actual invitations; And, they can serve as your engagement announcement. You can add in photographs, have fun with colors, and explore themes. Let’s face it- couples are enthusiastic about their weddings, and this is one way to direct that enthusiasm.