Wedding - DIY Save the Dates and Wedding Invites

September 03, 2014

Wow, where do I even begin with this wedding series? There is just so much to post about and I wasn't quite sure of the best way to group and order the posts. I'm desperate, and I was very tempted, to share all our photos from the big day straight away but I figured that I should go back to the start of the planning process and show you, mostly in order the steps we took for planning our wedding after we got engaged. {See our engagement story here}

You may recall from the proposal post that we had already started planning the wedding before I had a ring officially on my finger. So we had chosen our venue, Notley Abbey and booked a date. You'd be surprised at how quickly anything wedding related gets booked up, especially in the peak summer season. We knew that we wanted an English summer wedding straight away rather than a Winter or Autumn wedding. I was obsessed with having my favourite flowers like peonies and sweet peas so we looked at the best time of year for having those which turned out to be June and July. We didn't want it to be near school holidays as it would make going on honeymoon more expensive and full of children but equally had to respect exam timetables, I was finishing my law degree and knew that exams could run into the start of June but my brother and cousins were still in school so their exams wouldn't finish until the very end of June. Looking at prices for our venue, we chose a Thursday wedding simply based on the fact it was £8000 less for the venue than a Friday, Saturday or Sunday wedding. Based on this we chose the first Thursday in July and wow what a great choice that turned out to be. The weather is always unpredictable in England, no matter if it's January or June but our Thursday choice turned out to be the most glorious blue sky hot sunny day and both the Saturday before and after were pouring with rain. Obviously we got lucky but if you're thinking of planning a wedding be aware that not all weddings have to be at a weekend anymore. If you give people enough notice to take time off work you can extend your celebrations and have a long weekend for a fraction of the price.

Once we had set a date and venue, we drew up a guest list and started to make our save the dates to send out. We had to do this quite carefully as it was still very early on in the planning stage and we didn't want to send a save the date to somebody that we'd later regret asking based on numbers. So we decided in the end to just send them to crucial friends and family who we 100% wanted to come to the wedding, expanding the list later for the proper invites.

I wanted to give people as much notice as possible to plan their time off work and holidays given that July is a popular time to go away, and hell we'd just got engaged I was too excited to wait to announce our news and start making the wedding official! At this point in time, back in September 2012 we hadn't chosen a stationery theme for our wedding {what would later turn out to be brown paper and red hearts} so I didn't want to theme our save the dates too much or pay a lot of money for them given that we would be sending out proper invites a few months down the line. After looking around the internet, I came up with the idea of ordering a personalised rubber stamp from The English Stamp company, website here to use with brown luggage labels {which are cheap as chips from eBay}. The vintage luggage tags would be versatile enough to go with any theme and just a small something that people could hang up on a notice board or stick up on their fridge.

Before sending them out, I had spotted this post  when browsing the web on how to turn Instagram photos into a faux photo strip which I loved the idea of so decided to make one of our engagement photos to send out with the luggage tags. If you want to make your own, you can use this template -  I saved my photos from Instagram online and then used the template to make the photo strip and then printed onto a4 sheets of photo paper and cut them out. You could also make these as bookmarks or just to decorate your notice board with your favourite photos.

Included in the save the dates was a little note explaining that while sending these out well ahead of the wedding it would be on a Thursday which is why we needed to give extra notice. We tied this up with some string and sent them out to friends and family.

Once we'd got a bit further in the planning and knew more info about timings, accommodation for guests and decided on our guest list we set about sorting our proper wedding invites out. I thought about making my own but wanted them to be really special and professional while still looking a bit quirky and vintagey. I searched high and low online for ages ordering lots of samples from sellers on Etsy and Not on the High Street. I fell in love with the vintage red love heart range by A Bird and A Bee that I had spotted on Not on the High Street quite early on but decided to keep looking at first to see if there was anything I preferred. I even thought about getting an invite commissioned just for us but in the end kept coming back to the red heart range, I'm super fussy and when I like something I really like it and nothing else. I'm such a sucker for red hearts and brown paper so got in touch with Ellie direct through her website and got started on personalising our invites. Her stationery has been featured in quite a few bridal magazines. If you like her unique rustic style and are planning a wedding of your own, you can get a 10% discount, details at the bottom of the page.

I ordered main invites, for day guests, smaller evening invites, information cards with directions, accommodation details and a gift list {we opted for donations towards our honeymoon instead of gifts} and RSVP postcards with a space for song requests and dietary requirements. When you're counting how many invites you need, don't just go on the number of guests as most people will be a couple or family so you won't need quite as many. We ordered a few spares too and wanted to keep a full set!

I felt it needed something to package the invites, info card and rsvp together so we got a small heart stamp from a craft shop and red ink and stamped red hearts onto small luggage labels {again ordered from eBay}.The heart labels would tie everything together with divine candy striped twine in red and white. I liked the idea of brown string but with the brown paper found the coloured string was a better contrast. 

We layered the info card, rsvp card and the main invite and tied a big bow around with the heart luggage tag in the centre. 

To personalise the envelopes I used an initial heart stamp, purchased from a seller here on Not on the High Street to put over the seal. 

We posted them out this January, 6 months before our wedding. It was so fun to send them all out and wait for the RSVPs to come through my Parent's letterbox. The wedding was official!

As a bonus for all readers, the lovely Ellie from a Bird and a Bee is offering you 10% off all wedding stationery by quoting Roses and Rolltops. You can check out her website here.

{Next week - Dress shopping!}

R <3 xxx

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