How to Send Save the Dates Cheaply (Without Looking Cheap)

Here's some good news for your wedding budget: save the dates are relatively inexpensive. When compared to actual wedding invitations and other larger expenses associated with your wedding, save the dates are actually pretty cheap. But wedding costs can add up, so couples often look for ways to save money on their wedding without looking cheap. Thankfully you can still send save the dates without blowing your budget. Even better, you can do it without compromising your style or standards.

5 Ideas for Sending Save the Dates on the Cheap

Here are some money-saving ideas, options, and tips to know before you send your save the dates:

Idea #1: Choose a Budget-Friendly Format

Save the date cards, postcards, and magnets all have substantially different prices because of the costs associated with printing and mailing them vary greatly. The format you choose is very important because it has the biggest impact on the total cost to send save the dates. Here's a breakdown of save the date types by cost:

Digital Save the Dates are the cheapest save the date option. Electronic save the dates are relatively new over the past few years and allows you to have the look and feel of traditional save the dates with the convenience, speed, and cost-savings of modern technology. Electronic save the dates are a great option if you want to save money and save the earth at the same time. You'll save money on printing, shipping, and postage—plus you'll save the impact traditional save the dates have on the environment. Since they are sent as emails, they are cheaper than all of the other save the date options. Costs vary based on the service you use to send them, the number of recipients, and the features you use. For more information, see our guide to online save the dates.

Postcards are perfect for cheap save the dates because of two reasons: 1) they don't require envelopes and 2) they are cheaper to mail than save the dates with envelopes. Postcard stamps cost $0.20 less than 1oz stamps, so you'll save over 35% on postage costs by sending save the date postcards. (Note: make sure your postcard is 4x6 or less; otherwise they're considered "over-sized" postcards and cost as much as a regular one-ounce letter which will negate your savings.)

Traditional save the date cards with envelopes are the middle-of-the-pack in regards to cost. They are still cheaper than magnets, but more expensive than postcards. Standard save the dates can be budget friendly if you order from a more affordable vendor, use a coupon or buy in bulk. If you decide to send save the date cards with envelopes, make sure they are not over-sized or weigh more than 1 oz. Otherwise you'll pay extra for postage.

Save the Date magnets aren't traditionally considered "cheap", but they can be affordable. Much of the savings on magnets depends on the size of the magnet you mail and the vendor you purchase it from. Different vendors have different sizes, but you want to keep in mind that larger and/or heavier magnets will raise the costs as well as your postage costs to send them. So if you're looking to send save the date magnets as cheap as you can, order smaller mailable magnets from budget-friendly vendors.

The most expensive types of save the dates can cost 4-5 times as much as their cheaper alternatives listed above. Minibooks, foil-stamped, and even save the dates made from real wood have a high “wow” factor but the cost of these unique save the dates is too high to be considered budget-friendly.

Idea #2: Order as Few as You Need

When sending save the dates you only need to send one card to each household, not every guest. So if a family of four is invited, you only need one card for all of them. Double-check the number of save the dates you'll actually need by counting addresses, not people.

If you're having a large wedding, one of the ways to save money on save the dates is to divide your guest list into two groups and send different save the dates to each group. For example, you could send magnets or traditional save dates to those friends and family closest to you while sending postcards or digital save the dates to potential guests who are less likely to attend but who you still want to be informed of your wedding. This way you can splurge on what you send to some people and save on what you send to others.

It's also perfectly acceptable to just send save the dates to your closest friends and family. Ultimately those who get save the date cards don't have to be the same people who get an invitation to your wedding.

Idea #3: Minimize Postage Costs (or Eliminate Them)

The cost of postage is one detail of sending save the date cards that couples often overlook when budgeting for save the dates. Postage prices vary according to the dimensions, weight, and thickness of your mailpiece. The cheapest save the dates to send are digital cards that are delivered as emails and don't require any postage. Generally speaking, the next cheapest options are post cards, then traditional cards with envelopes, then magnets (which can require extra postage).

Caution: any postcard or envelope that is over-sized, odd-sized (such as a square envelope), or thicker than ¼ inch will be considered "non-machineable" and will require extra postage on top of the base rate required to send your save the dates. Any mailpiece that weighs over one ounce will also require additional postage. To avoid paying extra to mail your save the dates, stick to standard postcard and envelope sizes and avoid square cards, over-sized, thick mailpieces (all of which will raise your delivery costs).

There's also a popular trend to use custom postage stamps for your wedding invitations and save the dates. These stamps look good, but cost twice as much as face value stamps from the post office—which in some cases can make the cost of sending your save the dates more than the actual card itself! So stick to stamps from the post office for the most budget-friendly delivery costs.

Idea #4: Use Coupons, Wait for Sales

Here's a secret: most save the date cards are perpetually "on sale". That's because stationery vendors want you to order now and not wait or shop around. Wedding stationery is a “on-demand” product, so unlike bread or bakery goods they won't go bad. Because of this, vendors need to create a sense of urgency. Coupons and sales do just that, prompting you to place your order and snag a deal.

It's not malicious, but it is typical for almost all wedding stationery vendors. That's why you'll see some vendors regularly have their save the dates 50% off while others opt for a less extreme sale (15%) – but both probably boil down to a similar price point.

So be sure to use a coupon—we suggest making sure you're getting some sort of reduced price. But don't wait forever for a mega sale that probably won't come…it's likely that the price/sale you see any given week is pretty close to the perpetual price for save the dates.

Idea #5: Be Cheap, Not a Cheapskate

Remember: your save the dates will be the first glimpse your wedding guests have into what the rest of your wedding may be like. So the tone you set will be reflective of your upcoming wedding. The last thing you want to do is announce your wedding date to friends and family with a save the date that looks and feels so cheap that your wedding seems like an event to skip rather an affair to remember.

You want to find ways to save money and be frugal without being a cheapskate. The ideas outlined above can help you avoid looking like a tightwad while saving money for other aspects of your wedding budget. It is possible to save the date and save money at the same time!