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Designing our Save the Dates

Jan 21, 2011 05:49PM ● By Anonymous

Well, I decided I just had to design them myself. While I'm not currently designing professionally, I do have a bit of a background in graphic design. So, naturally, I just couldn't order save-the-dates from a website; I had to painstakingly design not one, but FIVE options for our save-the-dates. Then, once I had finally settled on a design, I had to* try it out in different sizes, then in different colors, then I had to choose how and where I'm getting it printed.

Needless to say, it was not the most efficient process.

The thing is, my fiance and I aren't sending traditional save-the-dates. Our invitations will be very traditional, but we wanted to get the "fun" tone of our wedding out to our guests with this. So we toyed with ideas, such as a relationship timeline:

Or a concert poster*:

* I did not come up with the concept for this poster; I shamefully copied it from a much more talented designer, the image found here.

We considered a "by the numbers" save the date, which pays homage to a design/editorial technique I used frequently when I worked at the newspaper:

We also considered a tribute to David's love of movies by creating a movie poster:

For some reason or another, we nixed these almost-fully-designed ideas. There were also a bunch of half-designed ideas that didn't even make it to the end of the process.

I'm not going to post the design we chose here just because I want it to be a surprise for our guests. I'll come back in a month or so and let you know what it looks like. However, I can say that it definitely incorporates David and I's personalities/interests into the design.

I have a few tips for people who want to design their own invitations or save-the-dates.

1. Choose how/where you're going to print the invitations first. I waited until after I designed the invitations, then started browsing printing websites. When I decided on, I had to redesign them to fit in the size they offered.

2. Use a program you're comfortable with. I used Photoshop to design all these because I know it well. A more advanced designer probably would have used Illustrator; however, I would have gone insane with trying to learn a new program and perfect my save-the-dates at the same time. Less advanced designers use Paint or Microsoft Word with no problem.

3. Sketch out a concept first. Paper and pens are still useful for something.

4. Browse or Google images for inspiration. Our final save-the-date design ended up being entirely my own creation, but there's no shame in borrowing elements of other designers' work. Just don't go off and start selling your invitations.

5. Give yourself extra time. I first planned to have my save-the-dates done while I had a week off in between jobs in the middle of July. Didn't happen. Then I was going to have them done by the end of August (in the mail). Clearly, that didn't happen because it's the last day of August. Now, my goal is to have them mailed out by the end of September. This process takes much longer than you think it does!

*When I say "had to," I really mean that I chose to do this because I'm overly obsessive and ridiculous.