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Etiquette

Addressing save-the-dates

phiraphira Bahstin member
5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
My partner and I just booked our venue, and we're finishing up the final "first steps" in our to-do list. I'm in the process of designing our save-the-dates, and we're putting together the list of guests who will receive one. I'm aware that save-the-dates are entirely optional, but because I have family from out of town, and we're getting married very close to Thanksgiving, we think it's appropriate to send them.

I've been on the etiquette board for a while, so I'm aware of a lot of etiquette surrounding save-the-dates. I know that not everyone needs to get one, and that anyone who receives a save-the-date should receive a wedding invitation. In terms of invitation etiquette, I know that I should address significant others by name.

Here's my sticky situation: How do I address save-the-dates with regards to significant others? We've had a lot of relationships end temporarily, as well as relationships that I've heard might be ending at some point. Since a lot of significant others wouldn't be invited if they weren't in relationships with guests, we don't want to have to deal with so many potential ex-SOs. Here are some examples:

Sister (early 20s): 3 years into relationship with boyfriend, he breaks up with her for two weeks. A year later, he breaks up with her again, but they get back together a day later (this just happened, like, three days ago).

Brother (late 20s): In the process of divorcing his wife; has been in a new relationship for about 6 months (predates divorce--LONG story). He has made it clear that this is a very serious relationship and not a rebound.

Cousin (very early 20s): Has been dating his high school girlfriend for several years. Girlfriend is close to his family. Have been told by several people, including the girlfriend, that they are likely not going to stay in a relationship. But they still are in a relationship.

Like I said, these are just some examples. In every case, we like the significant others, but we would not be inviting them if these relationships ended.

Obviously, if we sent save-the-dates to just the primary guests (like the siblings or the cousin), we'd run the risk of offending people by not including their SOs. But if we send them addressed to both members of the couple, and didn't invite an SO after a break-up, would that offense be worse?

I'm really, really reluctant to send invitations to ex-SOs as a courtesy. I guess I'm asking: If you were the SO of a wedding guest, would you be more offended if the save-the-date weren't addressed to both of you? Or more offended if it HAD been addressed to both of you, but after you broke up, you didn't receive an invitation?
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Re: Addressing save-the-dates

  • I am going to go out on a limb (and I really mean that, someone else will give you better advice) and say that you should worry more about your people's feelings than their possible guests. If I was your sister, I might be pissed if I didn't see my boyfriend's name on the StD. If I'm her boyfriend, I'm not looking for an invite after we break up. I think this goes for all the rest of the people that you listed as well. I don't think you need to worry about inviting these people in case of break-ups.

    The one exception I would have to that rule is when you have a friend or relative who at the time of the StD is calling someone "The guy I'm seeing," as opposed to "boyfriend." In that case, I would put "and guest" on their StD. That way you are supporting your friend and her budding relationship, but not freaking her or the guy out.
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We just emailed people in relationships and said the SO name wouldn't be on the STD but would be on the invitation. In our case, none were living together so it was easy.
  • I sent STDs to the primary person if not married. 

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    You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.
    melbelleup
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Okay. I guess it sounds like I should probably address the save-the-dates to both people in the couple, and if there's an epic break-up, assume that the ex-SOs don't expect an invitation.
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  • We had a similar situation. My MOH and her on-again/off-again FI were dicey in their relationship status -- breaking up, getting back together, being engaged, not being engaged, living together without being engaged, being engaged but not planning on getting married, etc.

    Ultimately, what we did was mail the STDate to her address with his name on it (they weren't living together). That told her that (a) I was taking her relationship seriously, even if she wasn't and (b) if they were together, he'd be invited, but if they weren't, she wasn't going to have to see him there. (Also, he's kind of a douche, and no one likes him, so really the only reason he is invited is because they're dating/living together/engaged, I have no idea what).

    I think that, if a couple is dating and then breaks up, you're only obligated to invite the people you would have invited if the weren't dating -- if you were close to the guy, invite him; if you were close to the girl, invite her. If you're friends with both of them, invite them both.

    But I suggest sending the STDate to the person who's the primary contact with their SO's name on it. If you send the SO an independent STDate, then you're obligated to follow up with an independent invite. If you invite them as one-half of a social unit, and that social unit dissolves, you're free to not invite them.
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    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
  • I sent STDs to the primary person if not married. 

    This is what we're doing. Although we're allowing everyone to bring a guest to the wedding, just the main person is getting the STD and says nothing about guests. It'll say that on the invites.
    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • We mailed the STDs to the primary person, and listed the gf/bf if we knew them. Otherwise, we put "and guest." It's a destination wedding and we wanted everyone to know they could bring someone before the invitations went out early enxt year. We have had a few break-ups since the STDs went out, but I don't think the new exs expect invitations and won't get them.  

    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
  • I have been considering this problem myself as my StD's will be going out in about two months. (Mostly OOT guests so trying to do the StDs on the earlier side).  I was planning on putting the names of SO if I know them.  But I am not sure if I want to include and guest on the StD or just send it to the individual and then and the "and guest" on the invite.  I plan on giving everyone single a plus one as there aren't too many single people going. I will keep lurking to see what you all would like!
  • If they live together I would put both names on the StD, otherwise I would just send the StD to the main person, just addressed to that one person. It's not a formal invitation with the inner and outer envelopes and all that. And I would think it was weird to get mail addressed to me and my new boyfriend, for example. 

    I don't take the StD to be something to indicate who's getting a guest or not--it's literally just an announcement to not go and make other travel plans on that day, and/or to save your money so you can travel to the wedding. 
    melbelleupashleyep
  • MandyMost said:
    If they live together I would put both names on the StD, otherwise I would just send the StD to the main person, just addressed to that one person. It's not a formal invitation with the inner and outer envelopes and all that. And I would think it was weird to get mail addressed to me and my new boyfriend, for example. 

    I don't take the StD to be something to indicate who's getting a guest or not--it's literally just an announcement to not go and make other travel plans on that day, and/or to save your money so you can travel to the wedding. 
    That helps a lot, thanks!  Here's to hoping this will the OP too!
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Definitely appreciate all of the feedback. It's very tough to be able to gauge when it's appropriate to address it to the "main" guest alone and when it's appropriate to send it to both!

    What I will probably end up doing is put both names on it and send it to the "main" guest (and in the case of some cousins, just ask what's going on with their relationships--if my cousin knows he will be breaking up with his girlfriend soon, it'll save me the trouble of having to guess).
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  • if I knew they were in a relationship I sent the STD with their SO's name.  If I did not know they were in a relationship I did not go out of my way to find out at that point but accomdated a +1 in my number count.  When invitations went out I made sure I had the name of the SO so both names were on the invitation.
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  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I just sent our save the dates this week. Anyone in a relationship had their SO on the save the date.  If any of these couples break up we won't be inviting the other half, except for one couple which I am equally close to both.  Any ex-SO shouldn't be offended that they don't get an invitation if they are broken up with a person you are inviting.
      Anyone not in a relationship it was just addressed to that person, but we will be giving everyone a +1 on the invitation.  The only exception was one friend of my FI who he wasn't able to get a hold of to ask his girlfriend's name, so we put "and Guest" on his Save the Date.
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  • MandyMost said:
    If they live together I would put both names on the StD, otherwise I would just send the StD to the main person, just addressed to that one person. It's not a formal invitation with the inner and outer envelopes and all that. And I would think it was weird to get mail addressed to me and my new boyfriend, for example. 

    I don't take the StD to be something to indicate who's getting a guest or not--it's literally just an announcement to not go and make other travel plans on that day, and/or to save your money so you can travel to the wedding. 
    This is what I'm doing

    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • I'm pretty much doing what MandyMost suggested. I'm not even sure if I'm putting my brother's girlfriend's name on the StD. She'll definitely be invited by name on the invite, but I don't think it's necessary. I've never been offended when my bf (now FI) wasn't on the StD.
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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Well, I'm pretty sure my brother and his girlfriend live together even though they haven't been dating very long, and my sister and her boyfriend have been together for 4 years and still don't live together ... I feel like that would be me making judgment calls about how serious the relationships were.
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  • We sent the StD's to the address of person we knew, and addressed it to both them and their SO if we knew them (at least their name).  We'll include "and guest" for our single guests and their plus one's on the invitation.  If there's a break-up, we'll send an invite just to our friend/family member. 
  • ashleyepashleyep member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited October 2013
    phira said:
    Well, I'm pretty sure my brother and his girlfriend live together even though they haven't been dating very long, and my sister and her boyfriend have been together for 4 years and still don't live together ... I feel like that would be me making judgment calls about how serious the relationships were.
    Just do what you feel comfortable doing. You don't have to follow any rules. Some couples I want to put both names on, and some I probably won't. It will be based on my relationship with the couple.

    There's no etiquette rules about addressing save the dates, no one should be offended that their SOs name wasn't on the save the date. It doesn't mean they're not invited.
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  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    ashleyep said:
    phira said:
    Well, I'm pretty sure my brother and his girlfriend live together even though they haven't been dating very long, and my sister and her boyfriend have been together for 4 years and still don't live together ... I feel like that would be me making judgment calls about how serious the relationships were.
    Just do what you feel comfortable doing. You don't have to follow any rules. Some couples I want to put both names on, and some I probably won't. It will be based on my relationship with the couple.

    There's no etiquette rules about addressing save the dates, no one should be offended that their SOs name wasn't on the save the date. It doesn't mean they're not invited.
    Yes but with all these people that write in here that don't invite SO, I think it's nice for people to know their SO is invited, even if that should be the default. 
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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Yeah, like @laurynm84 said, what I'm trying to avoid is having my brother leave me an upset voicemail if I didn't include his girlfriend on the save-the-date, EVEN THOUGH she is of course invited when we send the wedding invitations.

    My friend suggested just putting "and guest" for everyone with an SO, but I don't want to for two reasons. First, not everyone is getting a +1; if Susie and Billy are dating, so I send the save-the-date saying "Susie and Guest," and then Susie and Billy break up, single Susie does not get to bring a guest.

    Second, I got an invitation a couple weeks before I got engaged, and it was addressed to "Phira and Guest." I felt really hurt that it wasn't addressed to, "Phira and Mr. Phira," and I don't want to do that to anyone else.
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  • phira said:
    Well, I'm pretty sure my brother and his girlfriend live together even though they haven't been dating very long, and my sister and her boyfriend have been together for 4 years and still don't live together ... I feel like that would be me making judgment calls about how serious the relationships were.
    But if you look at it strictly from a mail standpoint--you address mail to the person who lives there. OFFICIALLY live there--if they just "stay over" and are "practically living together" that's a different story.

    I'm trying to think if before we lived together, either of us received our name on mail at the other person's house. I don't think so. To me, that seems weird! 
    ashleyep
  • ashleyepashleyep member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited October 2013
    MandyMost said:
    phira said:
    Well, I'm pretty sure my brother and his girlfriend live together even though they haven't been dating very long, and my sister and her boyfriend have been together for 4 years and still don't live together ... I feel like that would be me making judgment calls about how serious the relationships were.
    But if you look at it strictly from a mail standpoint--you address mail to the person who lives there. OFFICIALLY live there--if they just "stay over" and are "practically living together" that's a different story.

    I'm trying to think if before we lived together, either of us received our name on mail at the other person's house. I don't think so. To me, that seems weird! 
    This makes sense. If you used inner envelopes, you wouldn't put the SOs name on the outer envelope unless they lived there too. Since the way the invitation is addressed implies who is invited, you put the other name on the outer envelope as well if you don't use an inner one.

    But because the way save the dates are addressed don't have those same implications, you don't have to do that.

    Phira, you could send your brother's girlfriend her own save the date if you wanted. Or include her on your brother's if you feel like it looks like it's judging.

    I just know that regardless of what I choose to do, I'm not going out of my way to find SOs names for the Save the Dates. I will do that for invitations of course.
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  • phiraphira Bahstin member
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    @ashleyep the whole issue is that his girlfriend (who is perfectly nice) would not be invited to the wedding at all if she weren't dating my brother, and I barely know her, so ... I wouldn't send her her own if they're not living together.
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  • phira said:
    @ashleyep the whole issue is that his girlfriend (who is perfectly nice) would not be invited to the wedding at all if she weren't dating my brother, and I barely know her, so ... I wouldn't send her her own if they're not living together.
    Yeah, I pretty much realized that as soon as I wrote it, ha. I'm probably just going to hand my brother and sister their save the dates, so no hurt feelings there :P
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