Save the Date?

I don't get it. Are Save the Date cards new? Or maybe I just don't run in the right circles for something like this. I got my first one for a wedding we attended last year. Which by the way was a beautiful and very classy event.

I understand people are busy and weekends fill up fast. But why do we need save the date and then invitations? Tradition says that invitations should not be mailed any sooner than three weeks before the wedding. If that is not enough time maybe we should just mail the invitations sooner? When we got married we set the date, spread it by word of mouth and mailed out invitations. Am I old and overly frugal to think save the date cards are unnecessary?

It is amazing the array of printed invitations that you can purchase. Can anyone tell me what a
QuinceaƱ era is?

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Save the Date? + ramblings