7 tips to save yourself from Save the Date stress

Updated Feb 5 2016
Guest post by Rebecca Pardess

bear mail save the date tips

I love informing people of things really early. I’m not going to pretend I’m one of those chill people who’s like, “whatever, we’ll see.” If I could send out a bullet-point email about every endeavor, no matter how big or small, I’d be much more fulfilled in life.

That said, Save the Dates seemed like a no brainer for us — a piece of cake. Nope. Instead they were kind of an emotional roller coaster — just treacherous enough to make you grit your teeth, but fun enough to make you throw your hands up and laugh about it. Sometimes you want to vomit, but you don’t.

The truth is, I failed to properly prepare. I procrastinated. So I share with you my learnings, so that maybe someone out there can have a smoother ride with this seemingly simple task…

Tip 1: Decide on a design

I wanted them to be original and cheap. People are going to throw them away at some point, so we thought it better not to waste our budget on anything fancy. My husband-to-be immediately completed this step by designing the best Save the Date I’ve ever seen. “Let me take a stab at it,” he said in passing. Then when I returned home from work one day, he pulled it up on our laptop. “Will you marry me?” I asked. It’s completely representative of our personalities and a perfect foreshadowing of our event. You bet your ass this is going in a frame.

Yes, it’s printed on actual wood. Yes, wood substrate is very expensive. But, as luck/industry connections would have it, I got these babies printed for super-cheap.
Yes, it’s printed on actual wood. Yes, wood substrate is very expensive. But, as luck/industry connections would have it, I got these babies printed for super-cheap.

Tip 2: Incorporating ridiculously adorable things really adds to the process

I saw this stamp on Etsy, and I purchased it immediately. Possibly the most joyous $10 I’ve ever spent. Every time I stamped one of the 5×7 recycled paper bag envelopes (yeah, it’s like that), I felt giddy and Zooey Deschanel-y. That brings me to envelopes…

Tip 3: Amazon is great for envelopes

“Oh yeah! Envelopes.com! I’ll have the return address printed on the back and everything. The Internet is my friend!” Except Envelopes.com was all like “sure, but you won’t get them for 10 business days and also it’s $5million.” So I cursed a few times, then took my phalanges to Amazon, where I ordered blank envelopes cheaper and got them in two working days.

Tip 4: Don’t be a procrastinator

A few months earlier I sent an email asking for our guests’ home addresses because I LOVE SENDING INFORMATIONAL EMAILS FOR OPTIMAL COMMUNICATION. Then I planned to plug them into an Excel grid as they poured in. (This is what real adulting is, everyone.) Except for the part where I just let the replies come in and ignored every single one of them, then spent two hours copying and pasting them all on a Saturday. This helped me confirm whose addresses I still needed… on the day I had planned to send my save the dates. Needless to say, that set me back a few days. Which brings me too…

Since my penmanship is that of a seven-year-old’s, and my fiancé wasn’t into painful hand cramps, we decided to take the clear label route. It worked for my bat mitzvah, it’ll work for my wedding. So I downloaded the Avery 5160 template, and copied and pasted the addresses into it. Because I didn’t realize I needed a lot more time for this process, I rushed through them and got at least one of the addresses wrong (that I know of).

Tip 5: Triple check your labels for alignment before and after printing

Once the labels were completely populated, we took them to Kinkos on a flash drive and bought the physical labels there. Then, a nice be-dreadlocked young man helped me print them out. I felt so relieved! So excited to start stamping and sticking! Then I got home and realized that a handful of addresses were misaligned and cut off. Tired of doing anything other than sitting on the couch and staring at the wall for the rest of the day, I just hand-wrote those screwed up addresses. Luckily the post office was able to read them.

img_4466

Tip 6: Give yourself more than a weekend to send out 100+ save the dates or invitations

Finally came the time to sit, stuff, stamp and stick. Since Drew’s design didn’t include the wedding website, I created little inserts on Zazzle, which came out okay enough. I printed the website on the front and the wedding hashtag/online RSVP password on the back, then added mountain and tree silhouettes for adorableness.

We actually had a great time with our little assembly line. We felt like more of a team than usual and couldn’t stop smiling because we were literally sealing the deal.

International forever stamps arent just worthless stickers they trick you into buying

Tip 7: International forever stamps aren’t just worthless stickers they trick you into buying

Finally the post office. Being a millennial, it’s very rare that I set foot inside a post office. Snail mail is almost like a foreign language to me. But I did it. I took my reusable Trader Joe’s bag full of sealed envelopes and bought 100 domestic forever stamps and two international forever stamps. Then I took them over to one of those communal tables with all the weird scratches and pen marks and peeled and stuck that postage like it was my job… because it was!

Once I completed that challenging and heroic task, I threw them all into a big, giant chute and prayed they’d magically find their way. Apparently they did because the RSVPs are coming in, including two from Sweden. Success on all accounts.

So, if you’re anything like me, you assume sending out 100 pieces of physical correspondence will be an easy, breezy task. But listen, it’s not. I hope my tips help you.

  1. Yes to all of this! Last summer the post office started making postcard stamps as a form of forever stamps too, which made my life considerably easier. ("Wait, how many should I buy? What if the price of postcard stamps goes up between sending Save the Dates and when our postcard RSVP cards will start coming back?" Then I found out they were forever stamps and it just became "BUY ALL THE STAMPS!" If there are extras, we just have the vacation-postcard thing covered for a while.)

  2. Postable has been my favorite tool in keeping my guests addresses updated. I sent the people I wanted to invite a link from my Postable account, they filled out the info, and I was able to copy and paste to print out my envelopes. We had a handful of people I had to follow up with, but it it was a life saver!

    • OMG, thank you for the terrific tip on Postable. I have been wanting to organize addresses in a way that doesn't involve 1) us doing all the typing, or 2) some grody over-the-top form.

  3. Learn to Mail Merge! If you already have addresses in a spreadsheet, you can have Word or Docs or whatever you are using pull the information in auto-magically without having to copy/paste every single one. True, the time spent learning the process might make it a wash this time, but think of your thank you cards/future holiday letters/etc etc… that will all go so much faster once you learn this new skill.

  4. Love this! Thank you for these tips. And, um, I'm going to need to buy the bear stamp off of you… Seriously though. Can we make that happen?

  5. I just found out the hard way that the post office sells 2 ounce stamps for heavy wedding invites. I brought one stuffed envelope to the post office and the lovely woman there laughed and laughed and laughed. "You already stamped all the envelopes?! With this regular forever stamp?!" I swear, weddings keep the USPS in business.

  6. I skipped the trouble of save the dates by just making a phone call to everyone I was planning to invite to tell them I was engaged and to give them the date. I only have a guest list of about 60 but I feel like it was special and personal (some are relatives I NEVER talk to on the phone) and it was free!

  7. Gosh, I used a postcard printed at Vistaprint. No envelopes at all. Just a quote from the Princess Bride on the front and the info on the back. Postage is cheaper too!

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