He asked, she said yes, and now you have both agreed on a date. While not necessary, sending out save the dates prior to invitations is a great way to announce your engagement and also allow your guests to begin clearing their calendars.
But what is the proper way to address a save the date? Should they be as formal as the invitations, or are they a little more flexible?
Save the dates tend to be a little less formal than a wedding invitation. You have the freedom to design them to fit your personality and they don't have to contain every bit of information about the wedding, unlike the invitations. They should contain the bride's and groom's first name, and in most cases, also the last names. If the bride plans to change her last name, this will let people know what it will be in advance. You should also include the date (Surprise!), a location if possible, and "Invitation to Follow."
Addressing the Cards
For a married couple, list them as Mr. and Mrs., with the husband's first name and their last name. If the couple has children, you would list them on the second line, after the couple's name.
Ex. Mr. and Mrs. Steven James
John, Luke, and Zoe
What if I know the wife and not the husband?
You still address the save the date with the husband's name first. If you are more comfortable (or don't know the husband's first name), you can also address it to the family instead.
Ex. The James Family
An Unmarried or Same-Sex Couple
For an unmarried or same-sex couple who live together, you would address the save the date as Mr. Jack Johnson and Ms. Jane Jackson, or Ms. Jenna Johnson and Ms. Jane Jackson, listing the individual you are closest to first.
An Individual (With or Without a Guest)
There are a couple of ways you can address an individual's invitation. You can address it the standard way with Mr. or Ms. and their name (Mr. Johnathan Bell, Ms. Alexis Wade). If you would like them to bring a guest, or you already know they will be bringing a guest, you can also address it with Mr. or Ms. Their Name and Guest (Mr. Johnathan Bell and Guest). If you know they are bringing a guest, you could also send the guest their own save the date.
For doctors, reverends, or someone else with a special title (such as military officers), you will address the invitation with the professional title first, even if it is the wife. For a doctor, it would be Dr. Ashley and Mr. Zach Graham, or if both are doctors, you would say Drs. Zach and Ashley Graham or The Drs. Graham. In other instances, you would say Reverend Mark and Mrs. Michelle Smith, etc.
Hand-Delivered Save the Dates
If you are choosing the hand-deliver some of your save the dates, this is perfectly acceptable, saves you some money, and many people enjoy the personalized touch, but you should still address it!
Also, include a return address on your save the dates. People may begin to send you gifts, even before they receive a formal invitation and you will want to make sure they go to the appropriate address. For help creating the perfect save the dates or invitations, check out our list of vendors specializing in custom invitations and stationery on the Wedding and Party Network website!