Well, we’ve written about the history of Lucky Duck Press, typecasting machinery, hurricanes, small business, and even foraging. So now it’s time to delve into the world of wedding planning — at least as far as the paper goods are concerned. This post will be the first in a series that guides you through the process of envisioning, planning, and ultimately purchasing your wedding invitations.
Some of our favorite pieces to design and print at LDP are wedding invitation suites. The main reason is that they tend to be longer-term, carefully considered projects that entail a tremendous amount of concentration and attention to detail. Perhaps we’re nuts, but we love it. (By the way, an invitation “suite” refers to an entire package of invitation related pieces and sometimes beyond into other paper goods for your wedding day and may be as simple as an invitation and envelope or as complex as the invitations, reply cards, information cards, maps, menus, table/escort cards, thank you notes, and “at home” cards. More on all of those later.)
When you’re newly engaged, everything about your wedding and the planning process probably feels exciting and exhilarating — and completely overwhelming! We know. We’ve been there. The first thing that many people will tell you — and it is good advice — is to simply enjoy being engaged for a little while before you dive into wedding planning. Do that. Really. But be sure to set a date that you want to start your planning in earnest.
Don’t worry, this time will not be “wasted.” You will still be thinking about your wedding. Perhaps you’ll notice inspiration for it in places that you least expect. Without the pressure on yourself to get the guest list finalized, the menu worked out, or the venue booked, your mind will be open and receptive to all of the ideas and images that will later make up the palette for creating the wedding that you want. If you see something that interests or inspires you (or even something you want to be sure NOT to do) write it down, snap a picture, or pin it to your inspiration board on Pinterest and then move on.
We won’t write much more about the planning for your actual wedding here. There are many many great websites, books, and magazines that can guide you through that process. But once you do get started with serious planning, there is a question that the two of you should ask yourselves fairly early on: Do we need Save the Date cards? There are a few primary considerations that should go into answering that question.
First, how far will guests need to travel to join you on the day? Will most be coming from across town or from the other side of the world? Is yours a destination wedding in Tahiti or will it be at the family compound within three miles of everyone’s house? Obviously, the farther guests will have to travel, the more important and useful a Save the Date will be. You may not know exactly which beach you’ll be on, but if guests know they need to get to Hawaii in late September, they’ll be pleased to know that well in advance so that they may book travel or request vacation time.
Similarly, if your wedding is on or near a holiday a Save the Date is a good idea. Just think about how much further in advance you make plans for Memorial Day weekend than any other weekend in May, and you’ll understand completely.
The next thing to consider is who will receive a Save the Date. Ideally, you’d have your guest list all ironed out and simply send one to each guest or couple. But that won’t happen. Since your A-list of guests likely will be a bit more set in stone than whether or not you’ll invite your college roommate’s ex-boyfriend (probably not, by the way) you can send Save the Date cards to those that you know for sure you’ll be inviting. Getting a save the date will increase the chance that your guest will be able to attend but be careful, once you send one to someone, you really can’t not invite them even if you end up way over the capacity of your venue or have a change of heart.
The last thing to consider when deciding whether or not to send save the date cards is, “Do you want to?” Even if you think you don’t need them you may decide that having another piece of printed matter associated with your wedding is too appealing to pass up. That’s what we did – but I am sure that doesn’t surprise you. If you think that you couldn’t possibly stand another piece of paper well … that seems strange to us, but it’s okay too.
Since your Save the Date cards should be sent about six months before the wedding (or as many as eight months before, if your location is very popular or distant) you may not have the design of your formal invitations finalized yet. That’s okay. Save the Dates can typically be less formal than the invitations and are an opportunity to put a bit of fun into your stationery package. If you have a theme or even one element that you’re sure to use on your invitations, include it. That will tie the whole thing together stylistically without matching exactly. Or, if you have an idea that seems a bit too whimsical or informal for your invitation, now is the time to showcase it.
Even if you don’t have a finalized design for your invitations, it is often worth signing a contract with your stationer at this stage as you will often be able to get the Save the Date cards for a slightly lower price when you buy them, in advance, as a part of a larger package.
While we love paper and things printed, we understand that often something has to give way in the face of budget concerns. If that’s where you are but still want to make sure that your distant family in New Zealand gets your wedding on their calendars right away, there are some other options.
Consider an electronic save the date such as those offered by pingg.com. Or you might consider a telephone call. While everyone certainly loves to get a beautiful piece of mail or even electronic mail, your guests will be truly touched to receive a personal Save the Date telephone call. Divide your guest list with your fiancée and then make a several calls per week until you work your way through the list. Just be sure not to put anyone on the spot to agree to attend; just make it a friendly, informational call.
However you choose to let people know, have fun with it. People will be thrilled to hear of your engagement and will likely be as excited as you are about your upcoming wedding!