Last week, after procrastinating for far too long, Huey and I finally sat down to finish our Save the Dates! We were so incredibly lucky that my Matron of Honor, Bayside Bestie, and Graphic Designer Extraordinare, Krista A. Jones, created the design and helped us in picking out the proper envelopes!
But I quickly learned that designing the Save the Dates was only the first part of the process! Today’s post is all about Save the Dates – Lessons Learned and a little Etiquette!
Tracking Down & Storing Addresses:
One of the toughest parts of putting together our Save the Dates was actually tracking down everyone’s current mailing address! In a day and age of electronic communication, we no longer send letters as often as our parents or grandparents did! Because of this – I have never needed to keep a current Address Book… until now!
Creating a list of addresses may be easier for some couples than others and we struggled with tracking down friends who had just graduated from college, family members who had recently moved, and military couples that are still awaiting their next station!
Natalie’s Tip: My biggest suggestion for keeping track of addresses would be to create a Google Doc Spreadsheet that you share with your fiance! If you aren’t familiar with Google Docs, they update in real time as you enter new information, so you are always using the most updated version of the address book, and can be accessed from any computer at any time when logged in to your private Google Account! You can also “share” Google Docs so that other people have access to the document and can edit or view it! You could also do something similar in Microsoft Excel, with different columns to keep track of the guest’s proper name, mailing address, rsvp, etc. – All in one document.
And it’s very easy to turn your Electronic Guest-list into a running Address Book by copy and pasting the addresses that you’ve collected into another Google Doc or Spreadsheet! Rather than having to write out every name and address in a traditional book – typing is much faster for some AND allows for easy replication! You can also transfer the data directly to labels if you decide not to handwrite the Send To: Addresses OR email the list to your Calligrapher for an easy sharing of information!
Regardless of how you collect and store your guest’s addresses – be sure of one very important thing… Keep them somewhere that you will have them again in a few months! When it comes time to mail out invitations, you should be one step ahead!
Many couples today choose a photograph for their Save the Date and since Huey and I haven’t done our engagement session yet, we decided to take a different route! Krista created a relationship timeline that covered a few different events in our lives beside cute little graphics that fit with the story!
We ended our timeline with the date of our wedding, May 25, 2013 and the amount of time that makes up the full seven years we will have been dating!
Natalie’s Tip: When it comes to choosing a design for your Save the Dates – follow your heart! I highly recommend hiring a local graphic designer or wedding stationary professional to work with you ONE on ONE to create the perfect design! We have an amazing list of Wedding Invitation Designers in our Vendor Guide that are truly exceptional and I love knowing that our Save the Date truly reflects who we are as a couple! Unless you are a highly trained graphic designer, this is one area of your wedding planning that I would recommend not trying to do-it-yourself! It reduces stress and creates a much better result to leave the design up to professionals!
Suggestions and Etiquette:
One of my favorite local designers, Little Bit Heart, put together an amazing Save the Date Tips Post a few months back that is truly worth reading! The Little Bit Heart ladies recommend that Save the Dates should be mailed out approximately 4-6 months prior to the wedding, or 9-12 months for destination weddings!
Since we are getting married on Memorial Day Weekend during the Naval Academy graduation – We decided to send our Save the Dates out just over 7 months before the big day! We know this weekend is going to be busy for everyone and want to make sure that our friends and family can Save the Date!
If you’re reserving blocks of Hotel Rooms or have a large number of family and friends coming from out of town – You should include this information in your Save the Date! Also, if you have designed your wedding website – this is also good information to include!
What most couples love about Save the Dates are the informality and ability to truly be creative in ways that formal wedding invitations may not allow! Some of my favorite Save the Dates are postcards, magnets, and other objects – couples can have fun and be free to do something different with these pre-invitation mailings!