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.
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.”
(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.