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Wedding Wednesday – Save The Date Abuse?

When are “Save The Date” requests appropriate?  I used to receive them for milestone events, like weddings.  I have received them for charity fundraisers.  I just received one for a sales “party” from a friend of a friend.  It feels like someone is calling dibs for my Sunday afternoon.  Is this Save The Date abuse? 0202-17

This is just my opinion but “Save the Date” notices should be reserved for special events that would require people to travel long distances to attend.  Perhaps the plethora of Save The Dates  for everything from baby showers to BBQs to fundraisers to sales parties is a manifestation of our busy lifestyles where there is competition for guests as well as an attempt to make sure people prioritize the event on their calendars.


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  • Liz March 1, 2017, 8:13 am

    My feeling is, like an invitation, a save the date is not a summons. Personally, i think they should be reserved for milestone events, weddings, graduations etc. and not sales parties. But that’s just me.

    That being said, if you get one to a sales party, you’re under no obligation to attend, or buy anything. I get invited to them quite frequently, and 99.9% of the time, I decline to attend, or buy. And after I politely decline to attend, i ignore the postings on social media saying “if you want to order, but weren’t able to attend, go here and you can” Thankfully, most people who invite me to things like this just post it, and leave it. I’ve never been hounded to buy anything.

    • Amanda H. March 1, 2017, 3:31 pm

      This. I don’t mind too much when my sisters post about “online sales parties” on Facebook, because they generally aren’t tagging people and hounding them for orders, just posting an FYI. If it got to the point where they were constantly tagging me (filling up my e-mail inbox with notifications), I’d speak to them, but it hasn’t gotten to that point yet.

      And agreed that they should be saved for the milestones, they aren’t a summons, and if it’s for a sales party there is absolutely no obligation to attend or even buy. While I would consider purchasing if I attended a sales party knowing it was a sales party, even then I wouldn’t feel obligated if it turned out there was nothing I needed or could afford. And nevermind getting invited to a party that turns out to be a sales party in disguise; then there won’t be any purchasing from me unless I find something indispensable. Assuming I even had means to pay with me (seeing as I wouldn’t think to bring money to a regular party).

  • Vicki March 1, 2017, 8:19 am

    Fortunately, a “save the date” doesn’t commit the recipient, only the sender: you can pencil in “”Underwater Basket Weavers Gala??” for the one you might be interested in, so you don’t casually agree to see a movie at the same time when you could as easily go the day before, and ignore the sales “party” from someone you don’t even know entirely. That would be true even if what you were penciling in was a wedding: until you have been invited and accept, you can decline and don’t need to give a reason.

    Also, fundraising events, even for groups you actually support, aren’t social invitations, and if someone presses you to attend/give them money, you’re not the one being rude if you tell them “no, I am not going to contribute.”

  • Marie March 1, 2017, 9:09 am

    I only ever send two save-the-dates: one for my wedding, one for my anniversary which we wanted to celebrate in a larger setting than our usual parties.

    If you get a save the date for a sales party, no need to feel obliged to go, just tell them you’re not interested or you have other plans. Doesn’t matter if those plans mean: reading a book in the sun.

  • Stephen March 1, 2017, 10:36 am

    Sanity check – save-the-dates usually say what the event is, don’t they? (Haven’t seen one recently.) Doesn’t that just put them in the same etiquette category as the invitations themselves?

    Like, you’re free to send me a save-the-date for your charity fundraiser, or your “sales party”, and I’m free to decline – just like I would be with an invitation.

    Or am I misremembering how save-the-dates work?

    • Amanda H. March 1, 2017, 3:34 pm

      I think you’ve got it right. A save-the-date is meant to give you a heads-up that this thing will be happening and you’re on the list to receive an invitation down the road once things are finalized, so you hopefully don’t double-book yourself. And they do not count as an obligation (only an invitation that one has responded to in the affirmative is an obligation).

    • mark March 1, 2017, 7:55 pm

      You’re not, this is non issue.

    • LJ Briar March 2, 2017, 6:49 am

      I think the difference is you don’t respond to a Save the Date, and all that’s on there is just that–the date. No address, specific time, or any other needed information. So that is the difference. The host “books” you while they’re still hammering out details. Someone correct me if I’m wrong!

      Mind you, I think them a bit superfluous too. I sent them when I got married, but that was just because I’d drawn a silly little picture of my husband and I after we got engaged and he got excited and said, “These would make such cute Save the Date cards!!” So anyway.

    • o_gal March 2, 2017, 7:20 am

      I started a thread about a STD that we received that did not say wedding or reception. Someone replied that when they sent their STDs that they were just a heart drawn in the sand on the beach around she and her fiancé’s name and the date. So no, they don’t always say what the event is. The ones about weddings you can generally figure out. But it would not surprise me in this day to receive one with no other information other than the date and who it’s from.

      • Stephen March 2, 2017, 10:17 am

        In a case with a “blank” save-the-date like that, I wouldn’t feel shy about responding with “What’s this about?” It would negatively incline me towards the inviter, though.

      • Dee March 3, 2017, 1:52 pm

        I like how you refer to the save-the-date as an STD. Hinting the use of them has multiplied, like a virus.

  • NostalgicGal March 1, 2017, 11:14 am

    Maybe there needs to be something new added instead of using ‘save the date’ for everything under the sun. How about ‘Thinking of you-and pencil this in’ ? The person receiving understands it’s not cast in stone yet but can tag the day with the possibility. Or know they’re already booked and thus be able to Tell The Other Person early on that they can’t.

  • Anon March 1, 2017, 11:18 am

    Keep in mind that a “save the date” is not a summons. Even if you receive one, you are not obligated to actually save the date if you are not interested in the event! Even if I was mildly interested in a sales party for instance, a family gathering would trump it especially if I hadn’t actually said that I was attending (and had only received a save the date). I think it is useful to know dates of things farther out in advance. So as long as you don’t treat them as a demand and more of a “hey, just letting you know!” I think its ok.

  • kgg March 1, 2017, 11:20 am

    If you’re getting a save the date for an event you do not want to attend (friend of a friend’s sales party), you can still say no. Just because you get a save the date doesn’t mean you are obligated to attend. I agree, though, it is weird that people are sending save the dates for things other than big events. I think as long as you don’t look at it as a demand for your time and instead as just an “FYI – this is when the party is” it won’t bother you.

  • Dee March 1, 2017, 11:25 am

    In the end it doesn’t really matter how many SavetheDate cards one gets – they’re just a heads-up about an upcoming event. If you don’t want to go then don’t save the date. Simple. I agree that they’re ridiculous for most situations (including most weddings) but if the sender wants to spend that money then let them. All the receiver has to consider is if they want to go or not. Done.

    To be clear, a sales party is not a party, it’s a request to spend your time and money for someone else’s benefit. You are not required to go or even to RSVP. Just chuck those straight into the G file, if you want.

  • Devin March 1, 2017, 11:45 am

    I think the more save the dates the better. No one is asking to compromise all your time, but allowing you to prioritize potentially overlapping events prior to the formal RSVP. Spring time is a hot bed of weddings, showers, charity events, and social activities. It really helps me to plan my calendar well in advance so i know that on one weekend i might have an 8am chartiy run, an afternoon baby shower, and a sunday birthday brunch, and i will need to send regrets for a friday happy hour networking event (to allow plenty of sleep before the run) and really hustle to get to my favorite stores spring sidewalk sale after brunch.
    That’s the great part about save the dates, if its not for an event you wish you attend you can toss the notice if you have no intentions of attending and RSVP no if/when the formal invite comes. No one else needs to know you didnt save the date for their event and chose another activity, or no activity, over it. However you are on the hook if you say, oh i totally forgot you were doing X,Y,Z on this date, because they gave you plenty of time to schedule it.

  • Anon March 1, 2017, 11:46 am

    Maybe they think “save the date” and “invites” are the same thing?

    Idk, I know I’m reaching.

    • mark March 1, 2017, 7:56 pm

      In this context, they are.

  • stacey March 1, 2017, 11:49 am

    Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of a “save-the-date card, a phone call or letter let people in need of extra time plan ahead for a wedding or special event? If it doesn’t involve air travel, vows or evening gowns… maybe a save-the-date is unnecessary. People are always going to have commitments that conflict with one another, but most of us don’t know every detail of our schedules even six to eight weeks out. If someone has a business trip, medical appointment or other weighty obligation, it’s unlikely that a save-the-date will alter the eventual outcome. Just my two cents…

    • Ulla March 2, 2017, 6:24 am

      On the other hand, I do have few yearly events which do not have set date, but happen around certain time on year. Usually to guarantee that whole group is present, we start looking for a free weekend approximately half a year before the event. Experience has shown that if it gets much later, it will be very difficult to find suitable weekend. Because of that, it would be really nice to know if somebody is planning a wedding or other important family gathering so I can choose other weekends for this specific event.

      Because, due to the nature of the event, I (and basically everybody else in our group) would with 100% certainty prioritize important wedding over this, even if the date has been locked already. Knowing beforehands saves hassle.

    • SC March 2, 2017, 3:44 pm

      Let’s say that I decide to make phone calls instead of sending a cute postcard for my wedding save-the-dates to 100 couples / families / households. If each phone call takes an average of 20 minutes by the time I track down the phone number, reach the person, and catch up for a bit, that’s 2,000 minutes – or 33 hours. Also, Aunt Lucinda will be horribly offended if Cousin Becky knows the date at their weekly lunch, but Aunt Lucinda hasn’t heard yet because I had to do things like work, sleep, and figure out how I was feeding all my guests. Meanwhile, when I called the Jones household I spoke with my Uncle Todd during his weekly poker game. He failed to write down any information I gave him to pass along to the rest of the house.

      Writing letters out by hand will take closer to an hour per invitation by the time I get something handwritten which doesn’t involve too many smudges or scratch marks.

      A cute save-the-date postcard takes an evening to design & order, 5 minutes per postcard to address / stamp / mail, they all go out at the same time, and they can be stuck on the fridge or left out on the table for everyone in the house to see.

  • Kali March 1, 2017, 12:10 pm

    I don’t really understand what the difference is between a save-the-date and an invitation. Is it just that the actual invitation has more details?

    • Dee March 1, 2017, 7:09 pm

      Save-the-dates are sent out well in advance of the event; invitations are sent closer to, about six to eight weeks before. Save-the-dates do not require (or want) a reply. They are superfluous unless the host is inviting geographically distant guests and they will need to plan vacation time to attend. Even so, the save-the-dates do not arrive early enough for most workers to meet the vacation time deadlines at their work. It seems the main reason for the popularity of save-the-dates is the successful marketing by the printers, much as greeting card companies seem to be behind the creation of those obscure holidays nobody celebrates.

      • SC March 2, 2017, 3:51 pm

        Even for local weddings, a save-the-date tells me to plan my trip to visit my grandmother 6 hours away on a different weekend, don’t plan a girl’s night out with my friends that evening, don’t volunteer at the library that weekend, etc.

  • livvy17 March 1, 2017, 12:31 pm

    It may also be a desperate bid to get people to actually make plans, and/or to keep reminding people about the event. I find so many people think it’s ok to decide at the last minute if they’re going to attend an event (even if RSVPs were requested and/or given). Maybe it’s also to try to make sure the information doesn’t get lost in the mail? I find 95% (or more) of my mail is junk….I usually put it all in a drawer, and shred every other week. I do confess that from time to time I’ve found an invitation tucked into a pizza coupon circular, and I’ve been later to respond than I should due to this. (my bad). Maybe they’re trying to target me! 🙂

    • NostalgicGal March 1, 2017, 4:34 pm

      I had this five years ago for the birthday party. I worked on the group that was invited for three months about RSVP BY DATE as it was being catered. YOU HAVE TO RSVP. (C’mon, a free prime rib dinner, you can surely take the time to respond!). I guessed. I added some meals. About 3:30 pm of the day OF (event is at 6:30) I get four responses… one was someone who responded in time and came down deadly ill; the other three were ‘sure I want to attend’. Long after the cutoff, long after being repeatedly reminded, they expected to be accommodated with a few hours notice. Remember I said I added a few more meals? I ended up being able to cover them. Still. Oh, the number of guests that did show? 14. I’d hate to scale this up to a wedding.

  • Gena March 1, 2017, 12:44 pm

    A “save the date” is not an invitation. Its just a notification so that you can plan as needed. Until you actually accept the invitation, you are under no obligation to attend.

  • Ashley March 1, 2017, 12:51 pm

    My husband’s place of employment sends really fancy save the dates for office parties in the mail…but then the actual invite with the RSVP goes via email…Figure that out.

    • livvy17 March 1, 2017, 3:13 pm

      How bizarre!

    • NostalgicGal March 1, 2017, 4:35 pm

      A direct result of the time involved? The STD cards have plenty of time to arrive, the invites may be cut a lot shorter and not have enough time to respond properly otherwise.

    • Ashley March 2, 2017, 11:40 am

      I’m not sure what the reasoning behind it is…each year they throw their “Annual Shareholder’s Gala”. We got the save the date sometime in September 2016, for the party in February 2017.

      This is the second year he’s worked there and been there for the gala, and the second year we got a really fancy save the date, then an emailed invite.

      And it clearly said “Save the Date” across the top, along with fancy printing on really nice paper…

      We go to it because it’s a chance for us to try and look good around the higher ups, but I kept wondering where the actual invite was, so I asked my husband “Has the actual invitation come yet?” and he responds “Oh, they emailed it to me the other day, I gotta go RSVP” and I was just so baffled.

  • Gena March 1, 2017, 4:10 pm

    I thought I read somewhere that it is actually rude to send an invitation too early – because it forces people to commit that may not be ready too. A save the date is like a non-committing invitation – I’m letting you know that 3 months from now I’m planning a 50th birthday for my DH, so that if you really want to attend, you’ll know not to schedule your poker night for that same day. However, if you don’t want to attend, you just ignore it and when the actual invite comes, decline.

  • Cat March 1, 2017, 9:24 pm

    I take “Save the Date” to be a request, not a command to appear. I shall appear if I wish. If I have something else to do, I shall not.

  • Rebecca March 2, 2017, 1:22 am

    I’m fine with someone letting me know in advance what date something is going to be, in advance of details like time, place, etc. Then if it’s something I really want to attend, I can avoid committing to something else that’s less important to me. You don’t actually have to save the date if you don’t want to. I see it more as a “heads up, I’m planning this thing, details later, but letting you know when it’s going to be so that if you want to come you have time to plan around it.”

  • A different Tracy March 2, 2017, 8:44 am

    I can’t believe people are sending STDs for sales parties. I thought they were only for events like weddings, where you might have to travel and might want to go badly enough that you’d appreciate extra time to make arrangements. I wouldn’t consider them “calling dibs” at all. If I told someone I couldn’t attend their party and they said “but I told you it was coming WEEKS ago!” I’d say “yes, you did, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to attend.”

  • Lynn March 3, 2017, 10:12 am

    I may be biased as I do send STDs for one party that I organize every year. It is for my club, and we send out an STD email as soon as we have a date set. It is not a summons, nor does the STD require a response. We are just letting folks know that we have an event coming up and that, if they are going to want to attend, they should hold the date open. Actual party invitations with details come out up to a month later.

    What I have noticed is that, in the years that I organize the party and send out the STDs, we get about 75% attendance. In the years when I have been unable to organize the party, the person who has done it has not sent out the early STDs-and our attendance has been 60% those years. This is without a change in venue and with no significant changes in the actual content of the party-it is a pretty set event (at least until someone else is willing to take it over and make changes). The few members who have commented on it have thanked me for letting them know as soon as possible so that they could be sure to not schedule something else over the event.

    Just as an invitation is not a summons, neither is an STD. It doesn’t require a response or a commitment. All you have to do is look at and either toss it if you aren’t interested or make a note of it if you are.

    I am sure the increased use of STDs is a symptom of how scheduled people can be that they are being used for more events. That is certainly why I use them for our annual party.

    As far as sales events, I consider an STD for one of those to be exactly like any other ad I receive. The invitations are also, IMO, just like any other ad I receive. Unneeded and overused, sure. But not rude, barring something else about them.

  • klb4n6 March 8, 2017, 5:46 pm

    We sent out a save the date for the wedding, mainly to my family since they all live out of state. I sent a save the date e-mail to close friends and family for our son’s baptism and first birthday, since again some of the family (my brothers and mom) live out of state. I don’t even remember if it was as formal as an e-mail, I might have just sent a text. But I wouldn’t send any for anything else.