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Save-the-Date Cards

Martha Stewart Weddings, June Summer 2002

Although your wedding day may be months away, there is no doubt that it is first and foremost in your mind. Put it in the minds of your friends and family as well by sending save-the-date cards, which inform would-be guests of when and where the wedding will be. Though not required, they are helpful, particularly if many guests will have to travel to the wedding, if it will take place during a busy holiday weekend, or if accommodations nearby are scarce. Send save-the-date cards four to six months before the wedding, or even earlier if extensive travel plans must be arranged. The cards can be handmade or printed by a stationer. While they are almost always less formal than wedding invitations, save-the-date cards create the first impression that your guests will have of the wedding, so you want them to reflect the style of the event. But even if you will have a traditional wedding, you can express yourself in creative ways, such as by making a save-the-date reminder in the form of a refrigerator magnet or tourist postcard. For a formal event, the cards can be worded simply: "Please save the date of Saturday, the ninth of November, for the wedding of Ann Jones to Mark Brown." For a casual wedding, you might say something like "We're getting married! Please save the date: November 9, 2002, New York City. Invitation and details to follow," with your names below. You may choose to put only the essentials on the card. Or you might include more information, such as accommodation and travel details, to help guests make their plans. You can even send a packet with brochures, an itinerary of wedding events, and maps of the area. Save-the-date cards do not require a reply. You may want to include a phrase explaining this to your guests and also letting them know that the invitation will follow. No doubt a few guests will respond anyway, telling you how much they liked your card and that they can't wait to join you at the wedding.

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Traditional
With save-the-date cards, even classic styles can have a little embellishment. Guests will eagerly mark their calendars when they get one of these. Clockwise from top: The couple's monograms grace this scripted card. A playful letterpress card reads, "Going to the chapel and we're gonna get married." Preprinted cards with a top-hat icon have room to write a message. An anchor icon hints at a seaside locale.

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Informational
Receiving pertinent information early gives guests time to plan. Clockwise from top left: A slender folder from an office-supply store holds a save-the-date letter, list of accommodations, and some brochures. A ribbon-bound booklet offers the particulars of wedding-related events: the bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, and so on. This bluebird-and-floral-motif mailing is two-in-one: One card gives the date and place; another names local hotels.

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Fun
These save-the-date cards convey their message in lighthearted ways. Clockwise from top left: A calendar from a stationer starts at the wedding month and is tied with red waxed twine to a precut custom-stamped card; the wedding date is circled in red. Slip into a photo booth and come out with adorable images for your cards; have the photo strip reproduced at a copy shop onto card stock, and then fold and cut into a narrow card containing basic information. To make a save-the-date magnet, design your message on a computer, and print onto 8 1/2-by-11-inch magnetic sheets (available from office- supply stores) using an ink-jet printer; cut out. A schoolgirl may have dreamed of her wedding day as she practiced writing a married name on lined notebook paper; re-create those doodles, then photocopy onto vellum and cut to size; include a white paper background to make the words stand out. Make reminder stickers for guests to affix to calendars: Buy sheets of adhesive paper; print stickers on a computer, cut to size, and attach them to the save-the-date cards using store-bought adhesive dots.

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Souvenir
Pique your guests' interest about the wedding location. Clockwise from top left: Send a miniature flag of the state or country in which you are marrying; wrap a banner printed with your names, wedding date, and location around the handle, and mail in a tube. Inform guests of a beach wedding with a seashell hot-glued to a magnet that can hold the card on a refrigerator (for other settings, use different small, inexpensive items). Buy postcards from the city where you'll marry, and have a rubber stamp made with your wedding information.

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