Author Topic: How do "Save the Date" notices work?  (Read 870 times)

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White Dragon

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How do "Save the Date" notices work?
« on: November 16, 2013, 06:10:37 PM »
I had never heard of "Save the Date" notices before EHell, so I'm not familiar with how they work.

I am thinking that they might be what I need for the event I'm working on.

My brothers and I are planning our parent's 50th wedding anniversary celebration.
Because my parents are the only members of our family still living full-time in Home Town, we opted to *not* have the party there.
Even if all the guests were in hotels, people would migrate down to my parent's house.
Don't get me wrong - my parents love hosting their kids, grandkids and all the assorted relatives.
Just...not all at once. Mom and Dad are in their 70's and a houseful of guests is just too much for them.

So, we are having the event elsewhere, at a location about 3 hours drive from Home Town.
It is a Motel & RV site with a kitchen you can rent out.
Mom and Dad are okay with the venue (they actually suggested it.)
So far, so good.

The party is in August 2014, so there is lots of time for people to book time off work and so on.
We've got a block of rooms and sites on hold, but the booking expires at the end of February.

I need to let people know the date and the reservation deadline (which I am moving up to end of January to give us some time to follow up with the procrastinators!)
Would a "Save the Date" note be a good tool for this?
What should it say?

I am thinking of something along the lines of:

We will be holding a gathering to celebrate
Glen and Theresa's 50th Wedding Anniversary.

The event will be held August 8, 2014 and
will be held at Big John's Motel and RV park in Happytown, AB.

Rooms in the motel, along with tent and RV sites have been set aside
for guests of the gathering.
If you plan on attending and will be staying at Big Johns, please contact the Motel at xxxxxxx
before January 31, 2014 to book your stay.

Invitations with more information will follow in a few weeks.
We look forward to having you there!


It seems like a lot for a 'save the date' note, and it will be going out to all the guests who will be invited. (With info to make it clear about children and +1s)

The formal invite will mostly just be a reminder of the date, plus information on timings and any events that we end up planning.
It's going to be a pretty casual affair - about 50 people with a buffet lunch and maybe a pig roast dinner, so the invite will include RSVP info too.

Any suggestions on how to best get the information out there would be much appreciated.

AvidReader

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Re: How do "Save the Date" notices work?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2013, 06:22:11 PM »
Some years ago, we received a "save the date" for my aunt and uncle's 50th.  We responded positively (and enthusiastically) to the "save the date."  We received it in early December for a late May date.  About 4 weeks out (late April), we received the formal invitation in the mail.  Since travel was involved, we had time to plan the trip and make the arrangements.  I think that by providing that much info, anyone interested in attending can make their reservations way out in front.

Some years later, we received a "save the date" about 3 or 4 months out for another event.  We did not respond to it insofar as the date was not workable for us.  We did not receive a follow-up invitation.  I don't know whether or not it was because we did not respond to the "save the date" or the folks planning the event didn't realize they were supposed to follow up with the formal invitation about a month out.

jmarvellous

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Re: How do "Save the Date" notices work?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2013, 06:26:30 PM »
First, I would try to extend that deadline if at all possible, or get a later deadline at a second location, or a second block of rooms for late responders. Many people will probably want to book in June/July for something like this (even April is optimistic). Typically, RSVPs are due no more than 6 weeks out, often closer to the event. I know how tempting it is to get everything out of the way now, but it's just tough for people to plan to come to an anniversary party (?? it's not clear to me what a "gathering" is) more than 9 months out.

When I've planned events, I've seen advice to send 'save the date' notes about 6 months out and detailed invitations 2 months out or even closer. This is highly flexible, but I think 10- and 9-month pre-invites and invites is probably stretching it.

As far as the wording of the save the date, here's my suggestion, which mainly cuts down on words and aims to clarify things a bit:

Please save the date to celebrate
Glen and Theresa's 50th Wedding Anniversary.

The (party, weekend celebration, ____) will be August 8, 2014 at Big John's Motel and RV park in Happytown, AB.

Motel rooms and tent and RV sites are reserved
for guests at Big John's. Please contact xxxxxxx
before January 31, 2014 to book your stay.

Detailed invitation to follow.
We look forward to having you!

TootsNYC

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Re: How do "Save the Date" notices work?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2013, 06:30:29 PM »
I think it's a great amount of information for them--they need to decide not only if their calendar is free but if their logistics are available.

White Dragon

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Re: How do "Save the Date" notices work?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2013, 06:57:15 PM »
One of the concerns I have is the long span between the reservation deadline and the event.

Unfortunately, the location is in a high-tourist area in the middle of summer.
Reservations for peak season open March 1, and unless we pre-pay, we will not have guaranteed access to the rooms.
Trying to arrange accommodation in that area on only 2 months notice may be possible, but would probably be in the next town - 15, 20 minute drive.

That's why we have the accommodation deadline at the end of January.
Any cancellations after May 18 are an automatic 1 night charge.
(If I include that bit of info, it may give people some more time to plan - if they are willing to risk booking after Mar 1.)

Making things easy for everyone is hard!  :P

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: How do "Save the Date" notices work?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2013, 07:01:17 PM »
This isn't the question you asked but I wanted to mention something based on my experience.  If you expect guests with accessibility issues, and the motel has handicapped access rooms, do whatever is necessary to hold on to those specific rooms.

I hosted an extended family event for which I paid for everyone's lodging.  I'd never stayed there and was stunned to discover a few weeks before the event that the place was three stories and had no passenger elevators! :o  I had to jump through hoops to ensure that I was guaranteed some rooms on the ground floor.  I wound up with just enough first-floor rooms for people who wouldn't have been able to climb stairs, but families with small children wound up on the third floor -- meaning they had to carry a lot of stuff up three flights. 

Some hotels have a few rooms with shower bars and such.  It would be a nice gesture to get some information to help out guests with mobility problems.



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TootsNYC

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Re: How do "Save the Date" notices work?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2013, 07:18:12 PM »
One of the concerns I have is the long span between the reservation deadline and the event.

Unfortunately, the location is in a high-tourist area in the middle of summer.
Reservations for peak season open March 1, and unless we pre-pay, we will not have guaranteed access to the rooms.
Trying to arrange accommodation in that area on only 2 months notice may be possible, but would probably be in the next town - 15, 20 minute drive.

That's why we have the accommodation deadline at the end of January.
Any cancellations after May 18 are an automatic 1 night charge.
(If I include that bit of info, it may give people some more time to plan - if they are willing to risk booking after Mar 1.)

Making things easy for everyone is hard!  :P

I think you absolutely should include that info, so that people know about the urgency of deciding what to do, and acting.

And don't worry terribly about making it fit into some pre-set form--just get the info out, even if it means it looks more like a letter than an invitation. It probably should anyway.

White Dragon

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Re: How do "Save the Date" notices work?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2013, 07:58:24 PM »
This isn't the question you asked but I wanted to mention something based on my experience.  If you expect guests with accessibility issues, and the motel has handicapped access rooms, do whatever is necessary to hold on to those specific rooms.

I hosted an extended family event for which I paid for everyone's lodging.  I'd never stayed there and was stunned to discover a few weeks before the event that the place was three stories and had no passenger elevators! :o  I had to jump through hoops to ensure that I was guaranteed some rooms on the ground floor.  I wound up with just enough first-floor rooms for people who wouldn't have been able to climb stairs, but families with small children wound up on the third floor -- meaning they had to carry a lot of stuff up three flights. 

Some hotels have a few rooms with shower bars and such.  It would be a nice gesture to get some information to help out guests with mobility problems.

Thank you for mentioning this.
It is something we have looked into and although the site does not have any accessible room, we do have their most accessible ground floor room already reserved for GG. She is 98 and still lives on her own, but she is definitely slowing down!  ;D
The site has been excellent about letting us know about distances, surfaces, pathways and so on.

Hopefully we are okay on that front.

cutejellybeen

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Re: How do "Save the Date" notices work?
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2013, 11:16:11 AM »
I think what you have is great info.

If people choose not to act in advance, even with your warnings, then that is on them not you! It will be sad if they cant stay with everyone else, but they were given directions to try to prevent that.

Its very nice of you to organize this for your parents and your family.