Depending on the size of your wedding, one of the most difficult decision processes is drawing up your final guest list. Before sending out save the date invitations, there is a lot to consider. Should the coworker who you are on friendly terms with yet don't spend time with outside of work be invited? What about distant cousins you haven't spoken with in ten years? Or the old friend from junior high school who surprisingly invited you to her own wedding last year?
Coworkers and Church Friends
Save the date invitation etiquette can be ambiguous. But there are a few rules of thumb that aid in the process. For groups of people – such as coworkers or church friends – you should invite all of them or none of them. With the exception of a coworker who has become a close friend, and whom you spend personal time with, it should be clear that you either decided to invite colleagues from your department, or you simply couldn’t invite any. Dealing with it in a “cut and dry” manner can help avoid hurt feelings.
The same theory goes for church friends. If you aren't pressed to cut down on your guest list, and you are inclined to do so, then go ahead and invite the 15 members of your community group. But unless you are close friends with someone, it's not obligatory to invite them.
With family members, there is an inevitably more grey area. If you're doing a lot of the planning with a parent, he or she may have strong feelings about which family members are invited. Use discretion, and remember that this is your big day and you can invite who you want. If you have a great aunt who loves to know what's going on in your life, or who always remembers to call you on your birthday, then she would obviously be hurt if she were left out.
If you have a lot of family out of state (even if they are unlikely to attend), it is still best to send them wedding save the date invitations, as they will want to feel like they are part of the celebration. They'll also want to know where you are registered, or if you have a wedding website where they can look at engagement photos or find updates on your choice of honeymoon destination.
For out of state family members who plan to attend your wedding, they will need to know your wedding date three to six to even eight months (if travel is required) in advance so they can begin looking into travel arrangements like airfares and hotels. Depending on your wedding location, they may even want to make their annual vacation as part of this trip.
It is completely acceptable to send save the date invitations by email. Not only does this cut down on cost, it's convenient for everyone involved. Just keep in mind that some people may not have access to email or a computer, and in that case, make sure the word gets out to them via airmail or phone.