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Wedding: Semi-DIY Save-The-Dates

by Meghann on April 9, 2012

Are you ready for the big Save-the-Date reveal? ;)

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Ta Da!

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They’re a bit more elegant than I had originally envisioned, but I LOVE them! I have one propped up next to my laptop on my desk and whenever my mind starts to to drift off from work, I just sit there and stare at it. :) <3

But let me share how we got there.

As soon as I saw this photo from our engagement session, I knew this was the one I wanted for our Save-the-Dates.

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It was beautiful, romantic, and truly expressed the love that Derek and I share. I did play around with a couple of other designs with other photos, but my mind just kept drifting back to this photo – that’s when I truly knew the photo was ‘the one’ for our save-the-dates. Corny, yes, but i’m corny sometimes. ;)

Now, what to do with this photo? Originally I wanted to go the magnet route because, well, that’s what everyone else does and that’s just what I assumed I was going to do. I browsed a few sites looking at different designs for magnets, but none of them stood out to me (please note the idea of DIY-ing a design for a magnet hadn’t occurred to me at this point).

Then I started seeing save-the-date cards everywhere. I received one in the mail from a friend and saw a couple of others hanging on other friends’ fridges. The card idea began to appeal to me because I liked the idea of having a clean, simple photo on the front of the card, then more detail on the back with the website information and the addition of another photo or two.

I found a website with a save-the-date winter design that I eventually fell in love with. I designed the card, but left it sitting in the check-out cart for a couple of weeks. As much as I loved the card, it was more than I originally wanted to spend on save-the-dates. A lot more.

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Pretty, right?

So I went back to browsing and found the vintage postcards on Etsy.

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I loved the vintage look and I loved the idea of having postcard, but my heart was still set on the winter theme. I emailed the seller to see if she could create some custom cards, but she politely decline stating she didn’t have the time (totally understandable).That’s when I decided to just go the custom route myself with a little help from my friend Mr. Photoshop and Mr. Zazzle.

Only Mr. Photoshop and I weren’t getting along very well, so I asked a friend for some advice. After trying to explain how to do XYZ, she politely offered to take over the design. She created what I had been trying to create for 2 hours in about 10 minutes and it looked perfect. Go figure.

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She did have to flip the photo horizontally to make the photo work (GENUIS!), but that was the only adjustment that needed to be made. Three cheers for talented friends!

I took the design and built our save-the-dates via Zazzle’s custom postcard maker.

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I uploaded the design on the frontside.

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And for the back, I added another photo, as well as information to access our wedding website.
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After a few discount codes, our total for 100 Save-the-Dates came to $58.96. Not bad considering the other cards would have been over $300. ;)

The postcards arrived a week later.

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We loved them. The photos were sharp, the quality was great, and we couldn’t wait to share them with our friends and family.

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Of course, then the real fun began.

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I hand addressed all 100 postcards because it was just easier that way. Printed label addresses are a pain in the butt and we don’t even have a properly functioning printer at the moment to make them with. Plus, I prefer receiving hand address letters and cards anyways because it shows that a person took their time to personally address the card/envelope for you. It requires a little more time and is a great personal touch.

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There’s actually a funny story behind the stamps. Since postcards are lighter, they require a cheaper stamp (a fun fact that Derek was apparently unaware of). When I went to the post office to buy the special stamps all they had were aloha themed ones. This made me giggle since our save-the-dates are opposite of aloha themed. I could have had a bridezilla moment and tried a few different post offices, bought them online, upgraded the wedding themed regular ones, or made custom stamps, but I just laughed and went with it.

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I hope our guests enjoyed the touch of humor when they saw the aloha stamps as well.

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hehe ;)

Have I mentioned yet that not all of our guests will be coming from the U.S? We’re inviting family from Honduras, the Cayman Islands, and even a special family friend from Switzerland! It probably would have been just as easy to take the postcards to the post office to purchase special stamps, but I had more than enough stamps, so I decided to look up the correct postage amounts on USPS.com and added as many stamps as necessary to the postcards.

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No word on whether the save-the-dates survived the trip yet on these. Finger crossed. ;)

When I first mentioned the idea of sending a postcard as a save-the-date, I received a lot of comments on how the card may be mishandled through the mailing process or become lost in the shuffle.

Luckily, I’ve yet to hear any negative feedback regarding the arrival of the cards. Most everyone has received them by now and they’ve mostly arrived in one piece. (knock on wood) Of course, if someone didn’t receive the card – and they didn’t know to be on the look out for it – then there’s really now way of us knowing if it went through or not. I guess we’ll just deal with those situations on a case-by-case basis as they come up.

And because I’m so paranoid, I had Caitlin send me a photo of hers when it arrived, just so I could make sure it was still in one piece.

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I was a little worried about the tracking stamps covering the wording up on the bottom, but the password and ‘formal invitation to follow’ were both still visible.

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Perfect. :)

Most of the wedding websites I read suggest that couples send save-the-dates 9-6 months before their wedding. Typically you want to send them earlier if you have a lot of guests coming from out of town or your wedding is during the holidays. Considering our wedding is the first Saturday of the new year (and within two weeks of Christmas, when most schools/offices are wrapping up their holiday breaks), I’d say our wedding counts as ‘during the holidays’ – which is why we sent them out 9 months ahead of time.

Of course, I also believe most wedding ‘rules’ really comes down to what YOU want and shouldn’t necessarily involve tradition. If you want to send your save-the-dates out 10 months before your wedding because you’re just so freakin’ excited (like I am!), then DO IT. It’s YOUR wedding. Make up your own rules. Just my two cents. ;)

So that’s it. Our save-the-dates are out the door and *hopefully* hanging on fridges and cork boards around the country – errr – the world! :)

When did you send your save-the-dates out? Did you have any problems with them?

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cait's Plate April 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Oh my gosh those came out SO cute!!
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2 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy April 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm

We sent our Save the Dates out 7 months ahead of time. As far as I know, everyone got them okay!
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3 Heather @ Housewife Glamour April 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Adorable Save the Dates Meghann! Cat and your friend are very talented ;)
We aimed to send ours out 6-9 months before but ended up getting them ordered, addressed and out the door 5 months before. Our wedding was in July, and there was only one family coming in from out of the country.

We used zazzle.com for our customized stamps and savethedatemagnet.com for our magnets, but I love the postcard idea! Great job!
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4 Heather @ Housewife Glamour April 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm

PS: When ordering your actual invitations – pay close attention to the size and stamp value it would take to mail them. Because of less than a quarter inch, we had to purchase an additional 250 20 cent stamps on top of the customized 64 cent stamps we ordered in the first place… which ended up being an EXTRA $50.

That, and wrong addresses seemed to be our only mailing issues. Between the that 5 and 2 month mark several people moved and didn’t update us with a new address!
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5 Melanie April 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm

These are beautiful! I love the snowflakes! We did a magnet and also used the photos from our engagement photo session – we sent our’s about 7 months before the wedding.

Great job!!

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6 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm

They look beautiful! i’m glad they turned out so well, and so inexpensive!
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7 Sana April 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm

They look so lovely!

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8 Meghan R April 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Super cute! When I sent mine out, I actually sent one to myself to see how they faired.

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9 Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers April 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Love that you did postcards! The Husband and I got married in Nags Head, NC (OBX) and during our wedding planning visit to the beach, picked up a variety of local postcards and printed our info on the address side. They all made it safely and were a hit. :-)
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10 Heather April 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

These are super cute. I love the post card idea and I am super impressed you hand addressed them. It is a nice touch, but I didn’t have it in me do to that when I got married.

We sent our out about 7 or 8 months before the wedding. Pretty much as soon as we had the date and the location settled. We got married December 13 and about half of our guests were from out of town, so we tried to give people as much notice as possible.
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11 erica April 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm

i love your save the dates! that picture is perfect!!!

i can’t remember when i sent mine out…i don’t think there were any problems.
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12 melissa April 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I love love love! Absolutely perfect.
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13 Lauren April 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Meghann these are absolutely gorgeous!!! I love everything about them!!
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14 Hillary April 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

They look beautiful, Meghann! Glad it all worked out for you in the end.
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15 Jessie April 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I sent out my save the date postcards about two months ago with the SAME stamps! It was all my post office had as well. I laughed, slapped ‘em on, and stuck the cards in the mail! Yours came out beautiful!

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16 Mary @ food and fun on the run April 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm

They turned out great! Super cute!
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17 Sarah April 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I have a fun stamp story too. It was exactly at the 3 month mark for getting our official invitations out. I’d hand made all of them, cute square proportions, not realizing that size requires extra postage. So I’m on my lunch break, thinking I can just buy the stamps, quickly(-ish) put the 125 or so stamps on and be done with it. Oh no.

The square envelopes that I thought were so cute required 3 separate stamps to get to the right amount, and all they had were effing rams and mountains. So yeah, there was a freaking mountain goat on my invitations.

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18 Katie April 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Flipping the photo to make the information fit is genius!!! Don’t you love when you have smart friends who can help? Awesome!
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19 Anne P April 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Yay! Ours arrived and it’s on our fridge. :) Definitely didn’t get wrecked in transit at all – they are so cute!
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20 Kt April 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Oops – I think you mean “the quality was great” not “the quality was create”… right?
They look really nice.

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21 Meghann April 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm

You’re right! Thanks for the catch – I fixed it. :)

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22 Emily N April 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

They look great! I am so glad that you got what you wanted for your save-the-dates!
Emily N recently posted..Marathon Training: Week 14 in Review

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23 Claire April 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I love the postcard idea! And that picture of you and Derek is really cute.

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24 laura April 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Our wedding was December 20 so I took a similar approach and sent our save-the-dates basically as soon as I could! Holiday weddings can be tough that way.

One thing I did with our save-the-dates/invitations that made life a little easier was ordering stamps online — that way you can make sure to get as many as you need!
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25 Beka April 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

These are so cute. They came out great!
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26 kirsten April 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

They came out so great!! I also did postcards for my save the dates and didn’t have any issues. I mailed myself one from work a few weeks before just to check. I did that with my invitations also.

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27 Rachel Wilkerson April 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

They look great! Yay for DIY and saving major amounts of money on them!!
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28 Army Amy* April 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm

These are gorgeous! I agree that stamps aren’t worth stressing over. Good call.*
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29 Carrie April 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

They look great! I just received a save the date from a friend and she went the postcard route, too. Makes sense!
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30 Melissa @TryingtoHeal April 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I got my save the date and it looked great!!!! And I did notice the Aloha stamp and laughed pretty hard. Honeymoon in hawaii? I’ll show you around kauai?!?!?!?!
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31 Laura @joyful shimmy April 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

They look gorgeous . I’m definitely going to borrow this idea for a DIY project I have in mind. So excited for you… You look gorgeous in these pics.
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32 Laura April 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm

We have a 7 month engagement so we did have much of an option on when sending them out! We got them out in the beginning of January for our June wedding.

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33 Caroline April 9, 2012 at 9:26 pm

This came out absolutely wonderfully! They are beautiful, and I’d definitely have one sitting out if i was in your position.
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34 BroccoliHut April 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm

You and I are on the same wedding planning timeline!! My save-the-dates just came this weekend, and I am so psyched :) I plan on sending mine about 6 months before the date–early May after I graduate.
I LOVE your save-the-dates–you chose such a cute shot!

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35 Hannah (Hannah Lives) April 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Oh. My. Lanta. Those are beautiful! I am so impressed that you, a couple talented friends, and a website made those! Snaps for Meghann!
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36 diana@mymarblerye April 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm

those look beautiful! Congrats!! I wish your head wasn’t cut off though! BTW that aloha stamp would have confused me!! You aren’t have a destination wedding are you?
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37 Elisabeth April 10, 2012 at 4:36 am

So cute (I love that picture)! I also love using Zazzle!

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38 Caitlin April 10, 2012 at 10:10 am

these look gorgeous meghann!!! love them and love that pic. the snowflakes are a cool touch and such an interesting contrast between the greens in the background of the pic and the fact that you two clearly aren’t bundled up in it. it is after all a winter wedding – even if it’s in FL! i think the fact that there won’t actually be any snow at this winter wedding makes the choice to use winter save the dates more fun! oh, and i’m obsessed with the aloha stamps.
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39 Coco April 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm

They are beautiful!
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40 Emily April 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Those are the most gorgeous save-the-dates I have ever seen! Btw, I also did NROLW and I would really recommend The New Rules of Lifting for Abs, which I started after NROLW finished. I like the core emphasis with specific abs work and using asymmetrical weights to force your core to adjust to the imbalance.

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41 Melissa Z April 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I had a very similar issue with the postcard stamps and my reply postcards. You see…we had a destination wedding (so the invitations/reply cards/etc all had a tropical feel to them) and the ONLY postcard stamps they had a the time had Polar Bears on them!!!! Haha, I could have used your ALOHA ones and you could have used the Polar Bears!!! But definitely not something to go Bridezilla on…just something to laugh about!!!

Congrats and the Save the Dates are beautiful!!!!

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42 Reenie April 13, 2012 at 12:50 am

Love them!!

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43 Brittany April 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Your Save the Dates are super cute. I’m thinking I want to do a postcard as well. :)
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44 Sam April 23, 2012 at 11:32 am

Really nice design……..We might take some aspects of this into our new range of save the date cards. Very pretty, design.
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45 Ana June 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

Love your wedding blogs…save the dates are awesome!!!

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46 y3lsha June 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Hey! I love these save-the-dates! It is EXACTLY what I envisioned for my own! I was wondering which option you chose on the zazzle site? Because I like that it is JUST the picture on the front of the postcard. And the snowflakes and words were added via photshop? I was wondering what I would do with my pics because I am getting married in Feb but I will be taking my engagement pics here in a couple weeks ( June) so I didnt know if it was strange to have “summer-looking” pics for a winter wedding so the snowflakes is a great idea!

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47 Meghann June 26, 2012 at 10:17 am

I had my friend design the save-the-dates in photoshop and then I used the blank postcard option in zazzle.

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48 Steph October 13, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Did the postacards have a “Zazzle” logo on them? They look beautiful.

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49 Meghann October 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Nope. They did not.

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