This may seem like a very obvious topic for some of you, and if you are a superstar planner, then you may have checked these off your list immediately. For many of you, however, you may try to put the cart before the horse and try to send save-the-dates before you should be. Remember, planning well now will save lots of time and screw ups (and redos and stressing out) later on. Here are a few things you need to do before even thinking about starting on your save-the-dates.
1. Set your date
This one is pretty obvious, but it also doesn't mean just pick a date out of the air willy-nilly. A lot of things may impact your dream wedding date (if that's actually a thing...?). Think important family members having exams, best friends already committed to being in another wedding that day, a sister being pregnant and due that week... Aim for a date range or month and work with the people on your must-have list to be sure the most important people to you will be able to make it. Also, see #2.
2. Book your venue
While you don't necessarily HAVE to do this one, it's highly recommended that you do so before letting people know you're getting married and they'll be on the list. You may not be able to grab a venue you really want (say, due to timing, budget, availability, etc.), and you don't want to let people know it's in a city that it actually ends up NOT being in, or a venue that you were hoping for but didn't quite make happen. In tandem with item #1, your date may be determined by the venue's availability, and the two highly depend on each other. We had set a date and even booked the venue but then realized some cottages we wanted to stay in along with close family and friends that were part of the venue were all booked up because of a sailing tournament, so we had to shift up a week. Things to completely nail down before sending save-the-dates...phew.