You’ve gotten your engagement photos back from your photographer and are stoked because – it’s time to order your save the dates! The excitement quickly turns to overwhelm as you realize how hard it’ll be to choose ONE photo. Where do you even start? There are so many favorites, because you guys look totally adorable and your photographer did an amazing job. How do you choose the perfect photo for your save the date cards?

First things first, if you’re wondering what save the date cards are – let me explain. Save the dates are usually sent about six months before the wedding to announce to guests to, well, save the date! Often, a photo is included with some basic details about the wedding. Read this post for more information on what save the dates are and if they’re necessary for your wedding!

Gold Foil Save the Date Card

When it comes to choosing a save the date photo, I recommend keeping these four things in mind:

1. Quality

A picture taken on a phone doesn’t always work best for printing. If you’re working with a professional photographer, they’ll provide high quality files that are made to print – with at least 300ppi. Your designer will be able to quickly review the file to make sure it will print nicely. Having a good quality photo for your save the dates is important!

Along with the overall size, choose a photo with good lighting and that’s distraction free. The focus should be on the people in the photo, not the things going on around it! I recommend a picture where nothing important is close to the edges. When a design goes to print, there’s a margin of error accounted for and if anything (like your head!) is too close to the edge, there is a chance of it getting cut. A photo where there’s plenty of safe space on the sides works well!

2. Negative Space

Photos with negative space make for the best save the date designs, in my opinion. This means that there’s room on the actual photo for a design to lay without conflicting with the photo itself. A good example is a picture where the couple is on one side and there’s a muted background on the other, perfect for laying out information. Check out these examples for inspiration!

Custom Save the Date

3. Faces are Featured

This is more of my preference, but I like to mention it because it’s often not considered when choosing a save the date photo. There are so many great photos where the couple (or even just one person) is looking down, away, etc. I adore photos from behind of a couple holding hands, but these don’t work best for save the dates.

Why? Because your family and friends want to see your pretty faces when they get your save the date in the mail! Save the dates usually only include first names, so there’s a possibility of confusion if your face isn’t showing. Think about it!

4. Matches Your Theme

Your save the date is the very first detail guests receive for your wedding day – try to keep it within the same overall feel as the rest of your wedding! Having a laid back, non-traditional wedding? Pick a photo that gives that vibe. Will your wedding be black tie? Choose a picture that represents a formal affair.

Hopefully these tips help you narrow down the perfect photo for your save the date! If you’re still having trouble choosing, you can always add a second photo to the back of the card or do a collage style design.

Save the Date Ideas

Still in doubt? Send your favorite options to your designer – we’ve done this before and are happy to give our opinion on which would work best. I love getting to see your engagement photos and helping you choose one!



  • Save the dates should be mailed no less than six months before the wedding date. Plan on mailing earlier if you’re having a destination wedding, wedding on or near a holiday, or inviting a lot of out of town guests.
  • Order save the dates based on the number of addresses on your guest list rather than the number of guests. Each household only needs one and by counting guests you’ll likely order way more than you’ll actually need!
  • Save the date cards should include the bride and groom names, location of the wedding (city + state is fine), and the date of the wedding. If you have a wedding website it can be added.
  • If you’re inviting a person and allowing them to bring a plus one, address the save the date that way. For example, Miss Susie Smith and Guest.
  • To make sure guests know that the save the date isn’t the actual invitation, you can state “invitation to follow” on the card.

Ready to order your save the dates? Get in touch with me today!


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