Deployment / Wedding planning

Save the dates

When I told my mom I’d chosen a graphic designer and was working on my save the date announcements, she initially thought a “save the date” was something I’d made up in attempt to make wedding planning even more ridiculous and complicated for myself. But I quickly explained to her that, no, save the dates are a precursor to invitations, and are actually quite common now. Because weddings aren’t expensive enough, so let’s go ahead and tack on another 150 mailings worth of postage.

Realistically, wedding invitations go out typically three-to-four months before the wedding; and when many of your guests are the military type who are constantly moving and training and deploying and TDY-ing, you want to give as much notice as possible. A save the date is a great way to tell your close friends and family that if they make other plans for the date you’ve booked at a wedding venue, they may never be forgiven. Save the dates are also a great way to help those guests get a feel for the tone of your wedding, and its casualness or formalness. (That way you can also reserve the right to never forgive them if they wear an inappropriate outfit. I have extremely high expectations and requirements of my wedding guests.)

So when I first brought up save the dates to my designer, I explained that I wanted them to be formal, yet casual in light of the barn venue; they needed to be whimsical, yet serious because of the important commitment that a wedding symbolizes; they needed to be rustic yet sophisticated, colorful yet subdued, and modern yet timeless.

EASY, RIGHT? I’m, like, the perfect client.

Luckily, I found a designer, Curtis Freeman, who was up for the challenge, and turned around something perfect.

Save the date design

Does it look familiar? I had the unique idea to create a save the date modeled after a movie poster—an idea so unique, in fact, that a quick Google search will turn around no less than 3,000 results proving that you are unoriginal and should probably just give up now.

But, original or not, I was set on the idea. I may never star in a Hollywood romance, but I am starring in a real-life romance, and that deserves just as big a spotlight.

The project came together as a beautiful collaboration; I sent my ridiculous guidelines, my engagement photos, and the original movie poster for “It’s a Wonderful Life” to Curtis, and he sent me back just a rough idea that I fell immediately in love with. I emailed the preliminary design to Jonathan saying something like “If you don’t like this just lie and tell me that you like it because I like it a lot and I can’t deal with the disappointment right now.”

save the date movie poster design

(Don’t worry; Jonathan said he liked it. Which I’m choosing to believe is because he actually liked it, and not because he was humoring me. Which is the general mindset I’ve stayed in throughout this whole deployment, and it’s working very well so back off.)

My designer also has the misfortune of being one of my good friends, which means he really took his life in his hands when he accepted this project; he was perfectly aware beforehand that I’m a little bit neurotic about most things about this wedding, and therefore might be more difficult to work with than your average graphic or web design client. But I’m happy to report that Curtis really delivered, despite the neuroses; he found a way to replicate the original poster design, but helped it fit the tone and theme of my wedding with a few small changes (including the one where, after he sent me the final design, I was like, “hey this is great and I know it’s roughly midnight and that you thought you were done, but can you go ahead and make my shirt pink instead of purple thanks!”).

My only regret is that I didn’t totally form this save the date idea until after our engagement photo shoot, so I couldn’t plan the perfectly posed photo to match the poster; I’ll chalk it up to a very competent photography team and an astute designer for a photograph that got this close. And then I’ll blame the deployment for forcibly removing Jonathan from the chance to plan another photo shoot.

Although he’s probably thanking the deployment for that one.

0 thoughts on “Save the dates

      • You can’t be blamed for that… The woman is a spitfire and the man is cast in a completely stereotypical role. The ONLY thing I like about that movie is his dedication that he’d read their story to her every day when she’s old and can’t remember the epic life she’s led. I have memory issues, sometimes, so when it’s revealed that she has alzheimer’s and he’s reading her their story–that’s when I get teary because that could be me some day.

        • Is it bad to admit that I TRIED watching it and it annoyed me, so I turned it off?? My honey was like “you can’t just turn off The Notebook! You don’t know how it ends!!” I’m like, “yes, yes I do.”

          • I’ll admit that part of the reason I disliked it so much is because I didn’t see it until, like, last year, and I watched it on ABC Family. So every 10 minutes there was a commercial for some new ABC Family show about a teenager combining high SCHOOL with high FASHION, which made it a pretty much unbearable experience. THEIR LOVE IS BASED ON NOTHING, AND IT’S HARD TO BE A FASHION DESIGNER AND A TEENAGER AT THE SAME TIME!

    • Thanks, Maria! Did you and Rachel do save the dates? Even after I sent them out, my mom was still like “people are going to be confused and think this is the invitation.”

      • Yes we did! My mom was confused about them as well! (Look on my facebook page – a friend posted a pic of ours.) Mom did not understand why we “spent money on something that was going to clutter my desk” hahahaha! I justified our excitement by stating how our wedding is 3.5 hours from where we live in Ohio, so it is sort of a destination wedding if you will. The majority of the guest list will need to book a hotel room and we wanted to give people six month notice of the location, rather than two.

        I also like the save the dates, because it is a little reminder of our happiness and excitement. Especially in your case – your love is far away and sacrificing time with you to protect us. Which my heart extends to you and thanks him! The s.t.d.s are a way for the people who do so much for others to take a selfish second and say “Hey! You! I’m freakin’ getting married!!!!!!”

        And when I say selfish, I mean in the most balanced way without crossing the bride-zilla line!

        • Ohhh they are so cute! You two look so happy, I want to puke.

          Totally agree about getting the word out ASAP–the majority of our guests will also need to plan flights and hotels, so we wanted to give as much time as possible to facilitate getting good plane ticket prices, etc. I’m not afraid of getting a little bit Bridezilla if I have to. I can’t wait to stalk pics of your wedding!

    • I’LL TAKE IT.

      I actually think the hardest thing about wedding planning is making, finalizing, and announcing these big decisions, and then immediately seeing 32849302 other ideas you like. For instance, the other day on the internet I saw a couple who sent Wonka chocolate bars that had “golden tickets” inside that contained the wedding information. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? I could dress all my bridesmaids like oompa loompas. They’d love it.

  1. Your save the dates are so cute and have so much thought behind them!! Did you find the Global Forever Stamp yet??! They’re new and it’s only $1.10 to mail to ANYWHERE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. They’re this nifty ridged circle shape with an embossed globe on them. Between the save-the-dates, invitations, shower invitations etc. they’ve saved me hundreds of dollars.

    • Oh my gosh…NO, I haven’t seen these. The post office employees totally held out on me when I said I needed to purchase postage for invitations. Luckily we don’t have too many overseas invitees, but I will definitely be looking into this when it comes time for invites. Thanks for the tip!

  2. I LOVE them! Totally iconic 🙂 I love when I get save the dates because I can plan. I’m a little crazy when it comes to planning ahead. My husband generiously calls it organized. I wished we had save the dates or invitations, but we just called people and face booked the info. Might have been because we gave them a weeks notice, but everyone showed up.

    • Haha, don’t worry, people are notoriously bad at RSVPing in a timely manner anyway (I can’t get mad, because I’ve done it too). I know I’m going to be making rather aggressive phone calls once the RSVP-by date passes, to be like “I ASSUME YOU GOT A REALLY BAD PAPERCUT ON THE PRE-POSTED RSVP CARD, AND THEN THE CUT BECAME INFECTED AND SPREAD THROUGHOUT YOUR HAND, AND YOU’VE BEEN IN THE HOSPITAL WITH BOTH YOUR HANDS WRAPPED TIGHTLY IN BANDAGES, AND THAT’S WHY YOU DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO PUT AN ENVELOPE IN A MAILBOX.”

      • Hahaha! Yes RSVPing seems to be a thing of the past. In a day of evites and changing your minds or the maybe b utton we have become totally unreliable. I HATE it. I mean it drives me CRAZY. I mean it’s really good the husband is laid back so I can unleash my crazy on him and not the unsuspecting people.

  3. These save the dates are amazing. I came across them on pinterest as I am planning to have a 1940’s “its a wonderful life” themed wedding next november. If you don’t mind me asking where did you get these made? They are perfect!

  4. Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?

    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Hey there. If there is a capcha on my comment form, I was unaware; it could be something WordPress did automatically (like those pesky ads I don’t get paid for). The price of free hosting. I think that some free hosting sites (like Blogger) may give you this option.

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