The story of the Save the Date photo

These days, sending a "Save the Date" announcement before a wedding is standard practice.  It's obviously a nice way to give out of town guests some time to make travel plans, but it's always a way to give a hint about the style of wedding you're planning.

We wound up ordering our Save the Dates much earlier than most.  There was a good reason for it...

As I mentioned yesterday, I started reading wedding blogs pretty regularly a little over a year ago.  Just as the design blogs have giveaways, the wedding blogs have giveaways.  Just as I enter design blog giveaways now and then, I started entering the wedding blog giveaways.  I wound up winning quite a few things.  So many that the women at work started joking that there was a book in my wedding planning experience (not so sure about that).

One of the first giveaways I won was for set of custom Save the Date announcements from The Happy Envelope, a fantastic stationary company in Knoxville, TN.  The only problem: we were so early in our wedding planning that we didn't have a picture or wedding website to put on the Save the Dates.  We had a date.  We had a location.  That was it.

We wanted the Save the Date had to be a little quirky and it had to include Baxter.  I started poring through photos to find something that would work.  At some point in looking through photos, a different "take" on American Gothic came to mind.   If you don't remember, this is American Gothic:

That's not exactly the kind of imagine you'd expect to see on a Save the Date, is it?

I tried to explain what I was thinking to some friends, but they weren't quite feeling it.  Everyone seemed to want the very traditional picture of us embracing or canoodling in a popular location.  It didn't feel like us.   So, one afternoon after work, we went to an area of our neighborhood that has a brick sidewalk and a brick wall.  I swept as many cherry blossom petals out of the way as I could and set my camera up on a stool, prepared to use the timer button as many times as needed to get the shot that was in my head.

After the first terrible shot, a graduate student came walking by and offered to snap a few pictures for us.  Luckily, he also had a Nikon and he understood what I was going for when I explained what we were trying to do.  Within a minute, we had the image.

I was giddy.  I uploaded the photo to show some people on a fairly traditional wedding message board and the first response was "your heads are cut off."  I decided to try a different message board that felt a little more creative to me.  Maybe a more diverse group of brides understand what I was doing?  The comments rolled in and they were positive.  I wasn't crazy!  One person even said it reminded her of American Gothic.  Another said "I will be mad if you don't use this."

We changed the color to sepia for the Save the Dates and I hastily put together a bare bones wedding website so we'd have an address for the cards (more on the website on another day). The Happy Envelope had a proof back in a couple days, then sent our finished Save the Dates soon after.  They've been sitting on a shelf for months. I finally took them down last night so I could send the envelopes out to be addressed.

Even though I've had them for months, the idea of actually sending these out is making the wedding feel closer.

If you're married, did you send Save the Dates?  
Do you like receiving them?
Do you expect them to have a picture of the couple on them?


  1. Hi, I'd like to invite you to post your giveaways on our giveaway directory: Giveaway Scout ( Please submit your blog here:  Once you receive our confirmation email you can post your giveaways on our site. Thanks.

  2. Karlie Riess MunroAugust 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    I didn't send save the date cards but in my Thank-you cards I created on Mix book, I  had a picture very similar to yours above, except our golden was sick and had laid down see below, our cover was a pic of us holding "Thank you" signs and you opened to the first pic which said "from the tops of our heads to the tips of our toes!"  Love the fact that you used this pic for Save the date! 

  3. Are you going to share a photo of the save the date? I hope so! :)  We're sending them, and I'm realizing we need to do so between now and Christmas, so the pressure is on. Gotta get a design - and load the basic info into :)  Ugh. I think we'll skip the photo. 

  4. I would be SO happy to get a card with a photo like this! It's PERFECT!

  5. just wondering about the dude's shoes?! they're awesome!! where can a guy get a pair??

  6. Oh boo... they're not on the web site... is it weird to keep a picture of these shoes on my desktop? Things like this haunt me...

  7. I really love this! It's so cute and the American Gothic tie-in is great. I enjoy when save-the-dates are a little more creative and/or have significance for the couple. My best friend and her now-husband met because of some orange Chuck Taylors, so they had my sister do an illustration for their save-the-dates. I know lots of people enjoy them, but honestly am not a huge fan of the more traditional kind, where you get unsolicited photos of the couple in the mail. 


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