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The Bride's Guide Blog

Save-the-Date Debate

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Posted by Alexis Givens, Real Bride and Editor

As you saw last week, I think I've got the organizational part of my planning down, but actually making a decision—the first of which is will determine the save-the-date—is another story. Because we're having a destination wedding this August, I've got to get the save-the-dates out before people start making their summer plans.


At the beginning of this process, homemade save the dates seemed to be the most fun and economical option. Now, after hours on the computer, several trips to my local craft store and a fair amount of stress, I'm starting to wonder what the save-the date should really look like. We want to set the stage with this first wedding correspondence, and our ideas have all centered around maps (trail maps and vintage maps of the town and the state of Colorado). But we haven't been able to come up with a final idea that we both love.

If I were making this project for anyone else, I would have been done weeks ago, but I think I'm making things too complicated. Every time we get close to a final idea, I add another project to it. Now that we've got a design we both like, how can we package the card in a fabulous way? Shall I tie twine around the card in a complex knot? Do a crash course in calligraphy so I can make the envelopes special? Yes, the simplicity factor keeps flying out the window.


I know we need to bite the bullet and send something (anything), but I'm just having a tough time making a decision. Got any great save-the-date ideas? I'd love to get inspired by some fresh ideas and a little healthy encouragement to get to the post office pronto.

Comments (13)

  • You totally had it right the first time - keep it simple! Save the fancy twine and calligraphy for your invitations, if that's still what you want at that point.
    I love the idea of a postcard for destination weddings, which I first saw in an issue of MS Weddings a few years back. It's what I did for my own Save the Dates last year ( But if you really want to do something creative and still simple, I also love the idea of screenprinting your wedding info onto a vintage handkerchief (, which could easily be done with your gocco.
    I found that narrowing down the decisions was the most difficult part in planning my own wedding - but it helps if you just think about the kind of wedding you want to have and then ask yourself if all these options work with your wedding style. But since your Save the Dates don't have to match your invitations, it's a good time to just relax and have fun with the project!

  • Thanks so much for your suggestions. After looking at your save-the-date (love it!) and seeing some of the other examples, I think you are right. Keep it simple stupid is my new mantra! I started out with a postcard idea and spiraled into a creative whirl of ideas. Fun but not practical. I'll keep you updated with what we choose...hopefully very soon!

  • I'm a freelance illustrator and paper engineer. I was driving myself nuts with the save the dates. I had all these intricate ideas and most of them involved lengthly labor (our guest list is 180).
    Then I had a moment of clarity and thought to myself, "It's just the save-the-date, it's just the amuse bouche to the wedding, the most convenient thing for my guests is one of those little fridge magnets, and the less energy I spend on the save the date the more time I have for the invites, menus, favors, programs, etc."
    So I drew up a simple, beautiful illustration of our venue, popped it into a magnet template with some elegant type in our wedding colors and sent it off to the printers.
    It's simple, pretty, elegant, and practical. It integrates my artistic talents but leaves them wanting more. The guests are just going to have to wait for the invite and the wedding to find out what I have up my sleeve for them in the design department.
    I'm saving the crash course in calligraphy for the wedding invites. Now, if I could get my fiance to get the addresses for his 90 guests I could get these puppies out the door!!
    So in a nut shell, my advice is "don't use up all your creative juices and give away all your secrets on the save-the-date." And make sure your save the date can be easily displayed by your guests so it actually does it's job!

  • Thanks Mary Beth. You are so right! I should keep some of my secrets for the wedding. I'm glad that other people had this issue too. I think it is just the first time you really get to show your creativity for the wedding so it seems like you've got to pull out all the stops. I'll try my best to be a little more practical and share the results soon. Thanks for commenting. It's a big help.

  • yikes, get anything out NOW! i already know what my vacation plans are for august. people need time to get traveling together, what if they need to renew a passport, etc. you can compile something so simply with your own printer, or go to and make something personalized there. or even send an evite. just do something fast! good luck.

  • Hi Robin,
    I know, I know. I have to get them out ASAP.
    Tonight I'll do my last prototype on my printer at home. I'm going to hold myself to a deadline...they will be sent out this weekend. Thanks for the encouragement. I need to get this done and out and off my mind!

  • I went through the same agony that you are but... unlike some of the other brides here, I did *not* keep it simple (I'm sorry!)
    Basically, we had gotten *so* many questions about our event (we live in the US and are getting married in Canada) that I wanted to address a bunch of them with the Save the Date.
    I'm not sure if it went well or not -- most people were grateful, but some people were confused -- they thought it was the invite. Even though I wrote explicitly "What you are holding in your hand right now is Save the Date+" and explained what it was.
    Now, I'm thinking it would have probably been better to just go simple. So... go simple!
    Oh, and if you want to see mine, check out my blog:
    Good luck!

  • Kelly,
    Wow! You are a girl after my own heart. That is the kind of save-the-date that I dream of. Handmade and gorgeous. Great job. I'll keep you updated with the progress...was supposed to figure it out this evening. Now it is 11pm and I've got nothing to show for it. Tomorrow will be the day (let's hope!) Thanks for your input and for sharing your save the date! Best of luck!

  • you can do it by this weekend, no problem! the easiest thing to do... grab a picture of the two of you, open it in a word document or photoshop type program and write across the photo the most general information as well as your wedding website... and that's really all they need! print them out on nice paper intended for great printing, and you're done! you can even affix a small magnet strip to the back for people to display on their fridge. with a little playing around it's amazing how great they can look. you can do it!

  • Wow Kelly,
    Where did you find the time? How many of those did you make? They are beautiful!

  • I labored over my Save the Date, I suppose because it was the first big "presentation" moment of the process. BUT as I hit the 8-weeks away mark for my wedding, I realize I should have been spending the time focused on details for the big day. My advice, keep it simple. Here is one nice touch. I sent our invitations out with great stamps I found on ebay from Massachusetts (we are getting married on Cape Cod). Here is a link to some Colorado stamps.
    Might be a good source for inspiration.

  • Maggie,
    Thanks so much for the link! I love those 13 cent stamps with the mountains! I'm seriously considering ordering the pack of 50...thanks so much for the tip! I've been hunting down ideas on ebay but never saw these. Thank you, thank you!

  • Sooo, Alexis... did I miss the post where you reported on how your Save the Dates turned out? Thanks so much for your compliments on mine -- they were a lot of work, but I think they came out well.
    Mary Beth -- I made 85 of them and people always ask where I find the time. I finally realized the real answer recently: I don't sleep very much. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's true. In fact, my big goal is to get 8 hours of sleep every night during the month before the wedding and I think I'm going to have to work up to that between now and then!

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