DIY Wedding Save the Dates: The Lowdown

easy DIY save the date

As a bride-to-be and a chronic overbeliever in my abilities, I’m wary of the current wedding DIY movement. To me, a do-it-yourself project on the scale of a wedding sounds like a sure way to frazzle already taxed nerves. That said, I made an exception: my DIY save-the-date postcards. While I’m happy with the results, it was more challenging than expected, and I wouldn’t recommend it for all situations.

First, let me take you through the options you have for your save the dates.

  1. You can get a wedding invitation suite that includes save the dates and other paper items, such as invitations, reply cards, maps, programs, menus and thank you notes. This way all your paper items will match. You’ll likely get a deal buying them all together, but it might not be as cheap as DIYing a few items yourself. You can use a stationer who designs your invitation suite to your specifications, or you can buy a predesigned set.
  2. If you’re not ready to commit to a suite, simply find a save-the-date you like that feels representative of the type of wedding you’re hosting. Not too long ago the proper etiquette was to have the save the date and the invitation match, but this isn’t the concern it once was. If you opt for different save the dates and invitations, I recommend having something that connects the two, whether it’s the color, a similar font or a theme.
  3. You can design your save the date yourself, which is what I did with help from my brother, who works in advertising. (So, yes, I had the help of a pro.) Same rules apply as above — try to make it connect in some way to the invitations that will come later. I recommend keeping things simple to avoid driving yourself crazy.
  4. Save-the-date templates allowing you to print the cards yourself are a good option if you want to save money and aren’t confident in your design skills.

You have some different printing options if you DIY. I used Vistaprint, which has good prices for bulk orders, but there isn’t a lot of hand-holding there, so you need to feel comfortable with their interface and your abilities. A friend of mine went to a local printing company, which is an excellent idea because you’ll support a local business and get the assistance of a real live human being. You can also print out save the dates yourself, but make sure you use a printer that can handle the cardstock and be prepared for some pretty tedious, time-consuming work cutting the cards to the right size.

Naturally, you need to weigh what’s most important to you (time vs. cost vs. professional product, etc.) For Robert and me, saving money on save the dates means we can use a local Nashville letterpress company for our invitations, which we’re thrilled about.

Oh! A heads up that the price of postcard stamps just went up to 33 cents! On the plus side, the new postcard stamps are cute little apples rather than the loud Hawaiian shirts on the 32 cent stamp. And to speed up the process of addressing cards, we had a Western custom rubber stamp made at a very reasonable price from 2impress.

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  1. Great job on those save the dates! I agree that the DIY projects can really frazzle the nerves. I did it myself (but like you, not too much). I had an experience where I arrived to photograph a beautiful wedding and the bride was still printing out place cards, menus and programs in her hotel room. She was a wreck. The whole bridal party and family where running here and there chaotically. She’s a gem of a girl and it was tough to see her so frazzled. My second shooter and myself pitched in where we could so she could finish her hair and makeup. She had just taken on too much herself.

  2. Thanks for this story, Ashlee! It can be really hard to envision the time that DIY projects will take. I’ve had a few friends take on projects and say in retrospect that they would have really preferred to have done something else with their time than that giant DIY project that distracted them right before their wedding. I often think of that when I’m debating taking on DIY projects. Your client is lucky she had such a good-hearted photographer!

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