I want to start by pointing out that that the acronym for "Save the Dates" is STD, and I don't think people talk about that enough. A few months ago, when people were just receiving our save the dates, I almost responded to someone's instagram comment with "Thank you! Glad you got the STD," not because I hated her and I was glad she got herpes or something, but because she'd sent me a photo of her save the date with a "look what I got!" text earlier that day and I was trying to make conversation. This is a problem I didn't plan on having is all I'm trying to say.
Another more obvious (but far less troubling) problem with save the dates is that they can get pretty expensive. There was never a question that I'd be DIYing the save the dates and the invitations though, so I flat out ignored any and all ads I saw having to do with these things. Also, quick interjection... They really come for you with wedding ads when you get engaged. I swear, you look ONE thing up online and all of a sudden the Facebook and Instagram ads come out of nowhere to sell you on absolutely anything even remotely wedding related: honeymoons, charger plates, floral arrangements, wedding registry services. The list goes on, but my favorite ads were for engagement rings, simply because they make absolutely no sense. Newly engaged women are not shopping for "the perfect ring for your perfect girl". Okay, interjection over.
I want to share with you what I did to create my save the dates, and all of the mistakes I made along the way so you can learn from them. I made a lot of mistakes. You'll see.
I started by designing the save the dates using a free application/website called Canva. I used it a lot to create promotional materials for an internship I did in my undergrad. It has a TON of great templates as well as the ability to create a blank canvas in any size which is what I did for my save the dates. I went with a 4 inches by 6 inches template, which I later found was a HORRIBLE mistake, as there were no envelopes in that size readily available to me on the cheap. I'd suggest looking at envelope sizes before designing save the dates. You can of course find envelopes to fit any size, but if you're looking to save some money or if you're in a time crunch, looking at more common sizes is probably a good idea. In retrospect I would've gone with something 4.1 inches by 5.8 inches to fit an A2 envelope, which I found reeeeal cheap at Walmart.
Canva is pretty simple to use, and has a ton of free images as well as the ability to upload your own. I actually ended up using one of their premium images, so I did have to pay for it. I designed my save the date with the watermarked image, and then paid $1.00 to be able to use it and download without the watermark for 24 hours. 100% worth it.
The stickers I used were from Social Print Studio. They're adorable! I made yet another mistake while ordering them, though. Knowing I had about 200 guests invited, and wanting each save the date to include two stickers, I ordered four booklets of stickers (each with 126 stickers) to get 400+ stickers, only to later realize that though I had a count of 200 people, I was only actually sending save the dates to fewer than 100 households. Long story short, I ordered way too many stickers. So much so that I put three on every save the date, mailed extras to my mom and sister, and still have some left over. I spent $36.00 when I only needed to spend $18.00, but ya live and ya learn.
The raffia was a genius idea from one of my bridesmaids. I originally was thinking twine, but she had a spare wad of raffia lying around (as one does) and offered it along with the idea that it would make the invites read more Hawaiian than rustic. Seeing as how I'm taking my little Hawaiian butt to Vermont to get married, I liked the idea of bringing a bit of home with me and into the wedding, and now we're starting that early with the save the dates. The raffia also helped to hold down the stickers which were only affixed by a tiny bit of adhesive from an adhesive roller on one side. We used as little adhesive as possible so that when the strip of stickers are removed, they don't take a bit of paper with them.
I decided to address the envelopes in gold and black. My favorite look was the couple without a shared last name, which I mocked up in the photos posted here. I picked up the envelopes (in the A2 size) from an office supply store, had the save the dates printed at a local print shop and it was time to start assembling!
To save some money, we cut the save the dates out ourselves. Bless my beautiful bridesmaids'/best friends' souls. One person was cutting them out, another cutting out stickers, another writing return addresses on envelopes, and another (moi) addressing the envelopes. I later tied the raffia, and had my fiance seal and stamp all of the envelopes. He put the stamps on sideways, but you couldn't really tell.
I really like how these came out. They were all different sizes because cutting them ourselves meant we could have some that fit the envelopes (with a bit of extra white space surrounding the design) but only on half of them, while the other half remained at the 4x6 size.
The fern design is an introduction of the greenery I want to have in abundance. The green alongside the gold lettering and white background introduces my color palette for the wedding. The raffia is a reminder of home, and lastly, the imperfections and inconsistency in the hand lettering, raffia tying, and even the size of the save the dates (lol) make them feel relaxed, but still beautiful. I like that they're polished enough, but are unique and warm. I feel much better about them than I would anything I could have purchased pre-made (both emotionally and financially).
Hopefully someone can learn something from my mistakes and my successes. I've loved looking at wedding DIYs so far, so I figured I'd share my own! Keep a look out for more :)