Everything You Need To Know About Your Save The Dates

If you are getting married next summer, now is the time you should be sending out your Save the Dates (STD for short). Chances are, by now, you’ve been invited to a few weddings and received a STD in the mail, but for those who don’t know, a Save the Date is literally an invitation-type card, trinket or, in some cases, an e-mail or video, informing you that a wedding will be taking place on a certain day, that you are invited, and to expect a formal invitation in the mail closer to the time of the wedding.
 

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Mailing your Save the Dates is a critical step in your planning process for many reasons. First, it forces you to create a guest list, which is the most important part of the whole planning process even bigger than choosing your date. You need to know who to send them to and your guest list and that number will help you determine the size and scope of your wedding, will help you determine the type of location you want, and the all-important budget. Second, STDs help you choose a date. You can’t send out a Save the Date without a date; that would be pointless.
 

However, while that does sound like a lot of work, it’s important to get the date and guest list done first. It will help you immensely with the rest of your planning as those are the two things every vendor you speak to will be asking you…when is your wedding and how many people are you inviting. They may ask you where you are having it too, but it’s not as important, yet.
 

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The good news is, that unlike invitations, STDs don’t need to have anything specific on it other than the date. You really just want your guests to book that date on their calendar. They don’t need to know specifics just yet because they unwritten rule is if you receive an STD, you will be getting a more detailed invitation at some point, at which time, guests can officially accept or decline.
 

To help you navigate through your Save the Dates, we asked Hudson Valley stationers and graphic designers for their advice:
 

When should you send out your Save the Dates?

 

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

Frankie D’Elia, owner and creative director at Fitting Image Graphics, Inc. in Carmel, says, “There is not a universal timeframe for when to send out your Save the Dates,” but he always suggests that as soon as you know your date, let your guests know as soon as possible after that so they can secure that day. ”Keep in mind,” he says, “that you’ll want to give your guests as much notice as possible if your wedding falls around a holiday weekend. This is because people generally plan their vacations or days off from work around holidays and you’ll want to catch them before they make plans; your big day, of course, takes priority!”
 

Kristal Walden, owner Kristal Walden Graphic Design in Beacon, says, “Usually you send out your Save the Dates a year before your date.” However, she says, “If you don’t have a year out, send them out ASAP.”
 

“We say nine months to a year,” says Amy Eddy, co-owner of Graphic Nature, LLC in Fishkill. “Usually if it’s on a holiday weekend or if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, we say a year out.” Sometimes they have couples who come in six months before their wedding and want to send out Save the Dates. At that point, Eddy says, “We say don’t waste your money because in two months time you are going to work on the invitations.” However, she says, if you are in that situation and don’t send Save the Dates, she recommends sending out invitations a little earlier. More on that in the coming weeks.
 

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What should be included on a Save the Date?

 

Photo Credit: Graphic Nature, LLC

Stephanie McHoul, also co-owner of Graphic Nature, LLC, says, “They’re usually pretty basic. If there’s no photo, first and last name (of the couple) are important, and then they (the couple) usually keep it very vague.” Sometimes they’ll put location in terms of city, usually never a venue name, but if the couple has a wedding website, they’ll include that. This way, guests can visit the website which the couple can update as they get more details or just list all their details at that time.”
 

Should the Save the Date match the invitation?

 

Because couples are coming in a year in advance of their wedding to do their Save the Dates, many details of the day are still unknown. Eddy says, ”Half the time they (couples) come here to do Save the Dates and it’s a year out from their wedding and they don’t really have their ‘vision’.” That’s OK. McHoul says, ”It’s nice if it’s complementary…I personally like it when things coordinate without being overly ‘matchy-matchy.’ ” Eddy says, “Most of the time it’s just a big photo with script font, save the date, and it’s very simple so it’s not so themed or specific.” That way it leaves room to design an invite the way you want that’s more specific to your theme or aesthetic once you know it.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

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3 Essential Details You Need to Know Before Attending Your First Wedding Expo

Join us in this first part of a three-part series

 

The start of the new year means one thing in the Hudson Valley: It’s wedding expo season! If you are recently engaged, you might have started to notice ads for invitations popping up for shows almost every weekend at different venues across the area. If you are thinking about going to one, which I highly suggest you do, there are three essential details you need to know before you attend your first expo.

 

But first, as Julie Andrews says in a song from one of my favorite movies, The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” So, what exactly is a wedding expo, and what can you expect?

 

I like to think of wedding expos as trade shows for the wedding industry. If you’ve attended any sort of trade show, whether for work or for fun, you know it’s an opportunity for businesses in a particular industry to come together and showcase their products and services to potential consumers. In this case, the business are owned by wedding experts, and the consumers are you, the engaged couple. It’s an opportunity for you to get an idea of the types of businesses, services and products that are out there to help you create your dream day.

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

“If you’re looking for a DJ, if you’re looking for a band, if you’re looking for invitations, you’re looking for everything that goes along with your services for your wedding,” says Paul Porco, one of the managers at Villa Borghese Caterers, a venue that’s been hosting wedding expos for almost 30 years, and who, himself has been in the business for 25 years. “It’s an opportunity, then, to interview them (the vendors), to find out what particular products they offer, and also get an idea of about a budget and to get more educated on what to anticipate and what to look for.” Porco says an expo is really one of the key tools in helping couples book particular vendors for their wedding day.

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Each show is different, and it’s recommended you go to as many as you can. Wanda Mendillo, Banquet and Sales Manager for Anthony’s Pier 9, says, “The more shows you go to, the more experience you get.” Why is experiencing more shows beneficial? Because it gives you an opportunity to meet new vendors, see new locations, and learn more about how to create the wedding of your dreams.

 

However, no matter what show you go to, there are three essential details you need to know before going because these are the questions every vendor you speak to is going to ask. Knowing these three things will help streamline the process for you and help you to more effectively narrow down your “A” team.

 

Date

 

Typically, couples start attending wedding expos soon after they get engaged, which means, they usually have about a year or longer to plan. That being said, It’s OK if you don’t have the exact date pinned down – it helps but isn’t necessary yet if it’s your first show. What you do need, however, is at least a timeframe. The year, the season, the month – something to give the person you are speaking to an idea of what you are thinking as it helps them see if they are going to be available that day.

 

Photo Credit: Grandview Events

You also do not want to wait too long to attend a show. Here’s why. Margaret Brower, Director of Sales at The Grandview, explains that some vendors, such as photographers and DJs, may have a team of staff that go out and cover weddings; that way, they can do more than one wedding a day. However, some vendors might just be a single person with an assistant, so if that vendor is already booked on that day, you will need to find someone else.

 

Budget

 

Similar to date, you may not have an exact budget in mind. In fact, if this is your first wedding expo, you may just be going to get an idea of how much services cost. However, having an idea of a budget does two things: It helps you quickly streamline the vendors who fall way outside your budget, and it also lets you see what you are getting for what you want to spend. We’ll discuss value versus cost in a future post.

 

Here’s a true story: When I attended my first show, I admittedly didn’t do any research before I went. That was not smart. I had a budget in mind, but honestly, it was just a random number I pulled out of thin air based on what I thought services would cost. Here’s what happened because of my unpreparedness: When I got to my first show, I immediately felt a sense of panic and sticker shock. We were on a tight budget, as we were also buying a house at the same time, but my little number was unrealistic in every stretch of the imagination. That’s why you need to have some idea in mind, or at least use the show as a research project, with an open mind, to get a realistic idea for how much services cost.

 

Guest List

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

The third thing you need to know is a rough estimate of how big your wedding will be. Again, this is where it behooves you to do a bit of planning before you go. Vendors ask you this question because knowing how big your wedding will be gives them an idea of what type of an event you want to have. Are you planning a quiet, intimate affair for just family, or a big blow-out party? It also helps you when you are talking to venue. The venue host will always have table at the expo, and so, if you are interested in the venue, you want to know how many people you expect because it will determine if that venue is the best fit for you. Your number of guests can ultimately decide where you have your wedding.

 

Another true story: We originally thought we would have 75 people, just guess-timating. Once we wrote down names, we ended up with nearly double that. What would have happened if we booked a venue that could only hold 80 people (because we thought we would have only 75) and then ended up with nearly 150 people? We would have either had to make some serious guest list cuts, or lose money because we would have to break the contract and book a different venue.

 

So, we want to know from you, have you gone to any wedding expos yet? Did you prepare? If so, how?

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