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While I love the element of surprise, I feel comfortable sharing my final save-the-dates as they will be sent out to our guests very soon.  I finished them last month using Vistaprint.com – an online graphic design store.  I usually use Shutterfly for photo-products, but for bulk items, I found Vistaprint to be the most reasonably priced while still providing an array of appealing designs and plenty of room for creativity.

There are a lot of options for making your save-the-date cards, or it’s something you can skip entirely and just send out invitations.  However, if you’ve set your wedding date far in advance and have the time (usually about 4-6 months in advance), it is nice to give your guests a heads up, so they know to…save the date.  I especially recommend it if your wedding falls on or near a holiday weekend.  Mine does not, but I love stationary, so this was something I was excited to work on.

I was toying with the idea of including pictures in the save-the-dates, but not for the formal invitations.  Save-the-dates are the first thing your guests receive about your wedding, so we felt like we should really make it our own, whereas I felt the formal invites, with all the extra cards and envelopes included, should be a little more elegant.  We are both much more comfortable with humor than with mushy love sentiments, and we wanted it to be personalized and symbolic of our interests.  One of our favorite hobbies is target shooting, and frankly Johnny is a gun-fanatic, so when the idea of including guns in the save-the-dates came up, he was all about it.  I also thought it would be delightfully weird, and hilarious. Further, we had a baby out of wedlock last year, so we heard a lot of jokes about shotgun weddings, so I sensed a theme approaching.

On an outing in the woods with the our good friends, Leon and Heidi, the best man and bridesmaid respectively, we snapped some pictures of one another brandishing various guns.  Then, I sifted through the various themes on Vistaprint and came across quite a few with picnic, barbeque, and country themes.  I knew red was going to be a prominent wedding color because I want the picnic-style red and white gingham tables clothes at the wedding, so I came across a few templates that would fit both the theme and the color scheme:

Marry Go Round

Gettin’ Hitched

Both are very stylish with country-themes, a hint of red color, and not too girly.  I’ve noticed a lot of invitations are very feminine, and while they’re can be very beautiful and ornate, I sometimes wonder if the grooms-to-be are comfortable with sending those out to their bros.  Actually, I think many grooms are more than happy to let their brides take the lead with invitations, but, I for one wanted our save-the-dates to reflect on both of us, so I specifically sought out “bi-sexual” designs.  We decided we definately wanted those gun portraits included, so I searched for a template with two photo drops, and here was the final result:


In case you can't tell, the bottom says "Shotgun wedding: a case of wife or death."



Vistaprint allows you many different options in terms of the paper stock, quality, backside.  For instance, you can insert a map or another picture on the back, fill it with color, or you can do what I did and print it in grayscale.   It’s little things like where you can save a few bucks.  Frankly, I don’t think people pay much mind to the back of a card, in fact save-the-dates usually end up on the refridgerator, so I wasn’t going to spend more to have it be red.

I created the card and saved it in a portfolio on the website.  Then, I signed up on their email list and waited, as every few days they emailed me about promotions and sales (like 50% off, or free shipping for purchases over $30).  I waited until I found a good enough sale – a decent discount with free shipping.  My total for 40 cards and envelopes was $30.22!  Not bad.

We’ve given a few of them out already, and I just love watching our invitees laugh at them and say, “that’s so you!”  Just the impression we were looking for.  Thanks to Heidi for taking the pics, you sure do know how to make me look good with a gun! Yee-haw!



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