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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?

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