Sending Save the Dates was a no-brainer for Chris and me because our wedding was in Southern California, but my college friends were from around Connecticut, his high school friends were from Northern California, his family was from South Carolina and Georgia, and his family friends (who were like his family since his parents were missionaries abroad) were from across the world. If we wanted all our guests to come, we had to give them ample time to look for travel deals and save up money.
We did not want to spend a lot on our Save the Date since there would be an invitation to follow, but we also didn’t want to waste the time, effort, and money on sending something not worth receiving. According to us, that would have been something sloppy, something tacky, or even something that was quality but was outside of our personalities.
We wanted our wedding to be a celebration of gratitude for all those who helped shape us into the people we were at that point, so our Save the Dates would be reflective of that. Both he and I are lovers of tradition, but we also are just plain goofy and think life is so much better when it’s lived creatively.
So, let me break down the factors:
1) Budget for Save the Dates: minimal
2) Personalities: traditional yet goofy
3) Purpose: to invite our guests into our relationship since they had been so deeply involved with our lives
4) Time Line: about 6 months in advance
All of those factors intersected when I saw a Save the Date on a friend’s refrigerator. It was a photo booth strip (keep in mind, this was before the photo booth rage, so it was even more creative); each picture had the couple making silly and cute faces while holding up signs that spelled out Save the Date.
So Chris and I made a date of it at the Santa Monica Pier. We spent about $6 taking several strips of photos, trying to master the timing of switching the signs and holding them at the right level. When we finally found a good one, we triplicated it on photo paper at Kinko’s and made enough copies for our guests.
Then we used Kinko’s paper cutters to slice the strips apart. Along with the photos, we added the story of our engagement. Chris had washed my feet on Venice Beach (as Jesus did for His disciples the night He committed Himself in entirety to loving them) and taken me to dessert where our families were waiting to celebrate with us. It was an elaborate set-up and story that we thought our guests would enjoy knowing. So we printed that out, two to a page, and copied and cut those while we were at Kinko’s.
On supplies, we spent around $30, and on postage, another $50 or so. For what it was worth to us to announce our wedding well in advance, $80 was a steal. The story made people cry (definitely a sign of a good love story, right?) and the photo strip was fun and original, so many people kept it on their refrigerators even after the date was marked on their calendars.
If you and your fiancé have the time, you can make an adventure out of the Save the Dates task by doing them yourselves. Especially if the design is one that causes you to reflect on the proposal or on your relationship, it can be a really sweet (and productive) date.
Article originally published on May 6, 2011.