Sunday, July 18, 2010

Save the Dates

Another task on the wedding list has been completed - most of the Save-the-Dates have been received by our guests and that means I can blog about them.

Not everyone chooses to give out Save-the-Dates but the idea behind them is pretty simple. Once the wedding was booked, we wanted to make sure our important guests knew the date and venue as soon as possible. Hopefully this means that when the date rolls around, no one has to beg off attending because they booked other plans already.

On the other hand, it's still a good ten months or so to go. Sending out the actual invitations at this stage, complete with all the information about the food, facilities, directions, accommodation, and so on, would just be a sure-fire way of making sure everybody lost that information long before the wedding - not to mention that some of the information may well be out-of-date and inaccurate in ten months' time. I don't want to be sending out the formal invites until two months before the wedding, at the earliest.

Save-the-Dates bridge the gap nicely. They get tucked into the diary or stuck to the fridge in a way that is much more noticeable than a spoken reminder during conversation. They're usually postcard or business-card sized, and there's a bit of a fashion at the moment for them to be magnetic. I hopped on Vistaprint and found that magnetic business-card-sized Save-the-Dates, with a standard design and our text, would cost £5.49 for 25 - so including P&P, we'd probably be looking at just under £15. I picked out what I considered to be the three least-offensive designs and asked Steve what he thought.

He was not impressed. Even when persuaded that they were a good idea, he wanted something more "us". One thing led to another and soon I was busy googling to see if it was possible to buy or make personalised “magnetic poetry”.

Turns out it’s very possible. Magnetic paper suitable for use in a home inkjet printer costs £2.65 for a pack of 5 sheets. I ordered two packs - I can't see how having some spare magnetic paper will ever be a bad thing. While I was at it, I also ordered some little ziplock baggies to keep all the bits in, which was £1.60 for 100. Much more cost-effective than ordering ready-made cards!

While waiting for these items to be delivered, I flexed my mild obsession with spreadsheets:
Handily, since my Guest List spreadsheet is one line per household, it was easy to know exactly how many lines to 'Fill Down' with the words. I was very lucky - our number of words and number of guests enabled me to fit the whole thing onto two A4 sheets. I did do a couple of extra lines as spares, but on the whole there was no wastage. It helped not having to order in multiples of 25 as well - we have more than 25 households to invite, but less than 50, and I'm not sure what I could have usefully done with the dozen or so spare cards.

A few days later all the bits arrived, and joy of joys, the magnetic paper printed perfectly, so it was off to Staples for the rest of the necessities. These consisted of a trimmer to cut the paper (£3.95), some plain, recycled wage envelopes (£4 for 50), and some decorative pirate and monkey stickers (99p per pack). We'd have needed envelopes and stickers for the factory-made cards anyway, so I'm not really counting those when comparing the prices.

I first cut the pages into strips with each strip containing one of each word. Then for each envelope, Steve and I selected a Page 1 strip and a Page 2 strip and placed them in the individual baggies as we sliced them into individual words. This was a lot easier than cutting all the words up and then trying to make sure that everyone got one of each.

(As a minor piece of added evil, each packet included one SuperFunBonus word like "wedding", "flowers", or "celebrate". Yes, we did drive several people bananas as they tried to figure out where that word was supposed to fit. Bwahahahaha!)

An example of the finished article:
Save the Date magnets in place on our fridge

And the neatly decorated envelopes:
ready to go out

For guests who have trouble with their hands and may prefer to not mess about with fiddly magnetic pieces, we did another magnet sheet with half a dozen nice, plain, square, one-piece notes. We also stuck a little piece of ordinary paper in the envelopes for families with children, explaining about the pirate-themed kids' entertainment we are planning and encouraging them NOT to invest in child-sized formalwear.

Steve has been writing extra words on the offcuts and the message on our fridge seems to change every couple of days. It's sort of sweet.

If I was doing this again, I would probably try and find slightly thicker magnetic paper - ours was 650 GSM and although it works, it doesn't have quite the same feel as normal magnetic poetry pieces. I would also try and draw (or get drawn for me) a cute little picture or cartoon, as having just text sometimes seemed a little sparse - having a single bigger section to pull it all together would have been nice.

All in all, it was a fun and affordable project and we've had a lot of good feedback (most frequently "even if it hadn't had the names in, I'd have known it was from you two," which we are both taking as a compliment). It's also interesting to see the different layouts that different people have been using when assembling the words. Transferring that responsibility to each guest has meant no etiquette agonising about whose name should go first or in what order the information should be presented.


Carie @ Space for the Butterflies said...

And there was me thinking the extra word was a clue that you were having a scone themed wedding! I still think it's genius

jiva said...

Our extra word was coffee. I wondered if Steve wanted a pre-wedding coffee brought over. Love the idea and you are so clever making it all work so well. Shame I cant steal your ideas cos I'm already married!
Cant wait to help out even if I cant be right there until the day.

Pandora Caitiff said...

Oh my!

That is an incredibly awesome way of sending out the info. I didn't even know you could buy magnetic printer sheets.

I look forward to more stories of inovation as the preparations continue. (And bonus points for pirte-themed kids stuff!)

Mary said...

I never said there would be an absence of scones or coffee. Everyone got a wedding-themed word.

Penelope said...

You know when I mentioned magnetic poetry on twitter, I didn't actually expect you to do it :P (I'm @colona13 on twitter)

Actually, I think it's a really cool way to do messages and stuff. I'm a big fan of magnetic poetry.

Mary said...

You gave me and Steve the germ of a silly, geeky idea and you expected us not to follow through on it?

Penelope said...

Yeah, I have this tendency to forget which of my friends I don't know through geeky activities are actually geeks unless I'm hit over the head with it many times in a row. (For example, the number of people I know through Linux stuff who know Flash has driven it in to my head, but I still find it weird when they reply to her messages on twitter)

Anonymous said...

batsgirl you are a flippin genius! I LOVE this! Planning my wedding at the moment so I appreciate your updates :)

xx debs515 (from Ouch) xx