Next in our How to Wedding series: save the date cards.
Honestly? We considered skipping them. There’s a huge part of me that feels like the double-invitation trend (save the dates and then invitations later) is a waste of time, effort, and dollars. I mean, why not just send an invitation? One and done. Half the cost. Voila!
In the end, though, Abby and Chandler chose save the date cards for the reason I imagine many do. While we’re fully ready to ignore any of the traditional wedding protocols that don’t make sense to us (like waiting until 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding to send invitations when we could send one months in advance, instead), we weren’t ready to settle on all the final wedding details that would appear in the invitation — ceremony time, reception time, etc.
Now, there are LOVELY save the date card templates and options ALL OVER online, and a lot of them offer pretty cool services like allowing you to input all the guest names and addresses so you can get save the date and invitation envelopes addressed and save yourself a TON of work. Minted.com is one example, and their products are both gorgeous and easy to use. Compared to other similar sites, they’re even cost effective. But compared to our budget, they’re expensive. Like, we would’ve been into the save the date cards at least $250 by the time we were done with postage. That seems… a little silly when I think of all the other ways we can spend $250, you know?
Enter: a friend with a good camera and Walgreens.
Abby and Chandler’s friends, Audrey and Emma, captured their engagement photos at Sparks Lake in Central Oregon.
Cost = Free
And so for save the dates, Abby and Chandler picked one of their favorite photos and created a very simple card with basic info using the Over app, then sent it digitally to Walgreens for printing. Since Walgreens is always running some kind of a discount on photos and cards, we took advantage of a 60% off code for a heavy-enough cardstock, and, for $117 including all postage, sent these:
Which I think are perfect!
A few other thoughts while we’re here:
1. Some photographers include an engagement session as part of their wedding packages. It’s worth checking out to see if you can bundle some of your photography expenses this way! The photographer Abby and Chandler selected, Alyssa McConaughey, does this. Also, photography hint: try to find someone super talented like Alyssa who’s an up and coming photographer in your area. We love Alyssa’s images and she’s still a little less expensive than more established photographers around here. I suspect demand for her services will soon mean an increase in price point, especially since she’s already booked parts of summer and fall 2020 and is filling fast, but I feel like we caught her just in time! Photography is one of our Top 3 budget categories where we feel the investment is absolutely worth the return, so this one’s a big decision.
2. Abby and Chandler are using The Knot as their wedding planning program. It allows us to keep all the info in one spot, the app is free, and the templates for wedding websites are simple to use. Via the app, Abby and Chandler can customize and track their To Do checklist (with helpful suggestions from the software regarding timeline and planning), input and manage their budget, create a wedding website so guests have all the info, manage the guest list, addresses, and responses, and curate registries. It’s a SUPER helpful tool that hands down beats the enormous three-ring binders I used to keep back in my event-planning days. Technology is cool.
3. Figuring out wedding guests is tricky! But not too tricky if you keep your ultimate goals in mind. In Abby and Chandler’s case, they’re inviting the people closest to them — friends and family who’ve played important roles in their lives growing up and on into their adult years. That’s going to be a little different from Greg’s and my wedding, when our parents also invited all their close friends. We’re not doing that, so the invitation list is smaller. There’s always the risk of offending people, but in the end Abby and Chandler want to be able to recognize the folks who are there and celebrate with the core who made them who they are today. I love that.
P.S. Summer is exhausting. The sprint of constant activities hasn’t done me in yet, but I’m not gonna lie — it’s been a close call. Is it bad that I’m grateful we have a foster dog who had to have a hip replacement surgery last week? She’s gonna force me to be home with her for the next 10 weeks of recovery. THANK YOU, DAISY. Tell you what — I’ll help you save your hip, and you help me save my sanity. I feel like that’s a fair trade, girlfriend. In conclusion, I’m waving in the dark, friends. And waving and waving. 👋🏼