It’s commonly known that engaged couples are expected to send out save-the-date cards at least six months before their wedding. Makes sense since the invitees have lives and what not. Plus, I love informing people of things really early. I’m not going to pretend I’m of those chill people who’s like, “whatever, we’ll see.” If I could send out a bullet-point email about every endeavor, no matter how big or small, I’d be much more fulfilled in life.
That said, save the dates seemed like a no brainer, a piece of cake. Nope. Instead they’re kind of an emotional roller coaster, but not a Goliath type coaster. More like Ninja or Colossus. Just treacherous enough to make you grit your teeth, but fun enough to make you throw your hands up and laugh about it. Sometimes you want to vomit, but you don’t. The truth is, I failed to properly prepare. I procrastinated. I Rebecca’d real hard. So I share with you my learnings so that maybe someone out there can have a smoother ride with this seemingly simple task.
The first step was to decide on a design that was 1) original and 2) cheap. People are going to throw them away at some point, so we thought it better not to waste our budget on anything fancy. My husband-to-be immediately completed this step by designing the best save the date I’ve ever seen. “Let me take a stab at it,” he said in passing. Then when I returned home from work one day, he pulled it up on our laptop. “Will you marry me?” I asked. It’s completely representative of our personalities and a perfect foreshadowing of our event. You bet your ass this is going in a frame.
I mean. Everyone stop it.
Yes, it’s printed on actual wood. Yes, wood substrate is very expensive. But, as luck/industry connections would have it, I got these babies printed for $free.99. This whole time I expected to print them on some sort of thick, white stock and put my brideslaves to work cutting them as I lay fanned by man servants. But instead, this kind person who is apparently my fairy godfather insisted on printing them on wood for absolutely no charge. I’ve never even met the guy in person. Thank you, mystery fairy godfather! Definitely paying this forward.
Tip 1: When searching for a good printer, leave no stone unturned. You never know what you’ll find.
Then, I saw this on Etsy via Pinterest (because I love those things now) and time stopped. I purchased it immediately. Possibly the most joyous $10 I’ve ever spent.
Seriously, stop it.
Tip 2: Incorporating ridiculously adorable things really adds to the process. Every time I stamped one of the 5×7 recycled paper bag envelopes (yeah, it’s like that), I felt giddy and Zooey Deschanel-y.
That brings me to envelopes. “Oh yeah! Envelopes.com! I’ll have the return address printed on the back and everything. The Internet is my friend!” Except Envelopes.com was all like “sure, but you won’t get them for 10 business days and also it’s $5million.” So I cursed a few times, then took my phalanges to Amazon.com where I ordered blank envelopes cheaper and in two working days.
Tip 3: Amazon is great for envelopes. These are the ones I got. They are terrific and smell like elementary school.
Tip 4: Give yourself more time and budget if you want your return address printed on the back.
Then addresses happened. A few months earlier I sent an email asking for our guests’ home addresses because I LOVE SENDING INFORMATIONAL EMAILS FOR OPTIMAL COMMUNICATION. Then I planned to plug them into an excel grid as they poured in, which I realize is not cool either. This is what real adulting is, everyone. Except for the part where I just let the replies come in and ignored every single one of them, then spent two hours copying and pasting them all on a Saturday. This helped me confirm whose addresses I still needed … on the day I had planned to send my save the dates. Needless to say, that set me back a few days.
Tip 5: Don’t be a procrastinator, be a … not procrastinator.
Since my penmanship is that of a 7-year-old’s and Drew wasn’t into painful hand cramps, we decided to take the clear label route. It worked for my bat mitzvah, it’ll work for my wedding. So I downloaded the Avery 5160 template and copied and pasted the addresses into it. Because I didn’t realize I needed a lot more time for this process, I rushed through them and got at least one of the addresses wrong (that I know of).
Once the labels were completely populated, we took them to Kinkos on a flash drive and bought the physical labels there. Then, a nice be-dreadlocked young man helped me print them out. I felt so relieved! So excited to start stamping and sticking! Then I got home and realized that a handful of addresses were misaligned and cut off. Tired of doing anything other than sitting on the couch and staring at the wall for the rest of the day, I just hand-wrote those screwed up addresses. Luckily the post office was able to read them.
Tip 6: Triple check your labels for alignment before and after printing. You went all the way to Kinkos, possibly one of the worst places in America aside from CVS and Walmart, so that shit better be right.
Finally came the time to sit, stuff, stamp and stick. Since Drew’s design didn’t include the wedding website, I created little inserts on Zazzle, which came out ok enough. I printed the website on the front and the wedding hashtag/online RSVP password on the back, then added mountain and tree silhouettes for adorableness.
Team work is good work.
We actually had a great time with our little assembly line. We felt like more of a team than usual and couldn’t stop smiling because we were literally sealing the deal.
Finally the post office. Being a millennial, it’s very rare that I set foot inside a post office. Snail mail is almost like a foreign language to me, unless it’s the kind where you can stick it in your outbox and it magically appears on your friend’s doorstep. But I did it. I took my reusable Trader Joe’s bag full of sealed envelopes and bought 100 domestic forever stamps and two international forever stamps. Then I took them over to one of those communal tables with all the weird scratches and pen marks and peeled and stuck that postage like it was my job … because it was! Once I completed that challenging and heroic task, I threw them all into a big, giant shoot and prayed they’d magically find their way. Apparently they did because the RSVPs are coming in, including two from Sweden. International forever stamps aren’t just worthless stickers they trick you into buying! Success on all accounts.
I wrote about this because if you’re anything like me, you assume sending out 100 pieces of physical correspondence will be an easy, breezy task. But listen, it’s not.
Tip 7: For my final tip, give yourself more than a weekend to send out 100+ save the dates or invitations. It’ll save you a lot of nail biting and cursing.