Our Vintage DIY Save the Dates


I am very lucky to be planning a wedding with Johnpaul, who is one of the most creative and willing-to-try-it guys in the world. On top of that, Johnpaul is extremely talented. When it came time to make our wedding website, we decided to skip the typical “websites” that everyone seems to choose and Johnpaul designed one that felt much more personal.

He has designed many websites in his time and has a side business designing websites for small companies, so DIY-ing our website was the natural choice. In fact, he’s just traded his web design services for a Goldendoodle breeder in Southern Kentucky in exchange for our puppy who we will bring home in early May!

There are many things that we’ve decided to do ourselves for this wedding (more on those to come), but our biggest undertaking so far has been our save the dates.

Let me preface this by saying that our save the dates are awesome and I’m so glad that we made them as personal as we did, but before I show you our process, I want to leave you with a bit of advice: get realistic about the amount of time you have to dedicate to DIY projects. I think we thought something like, “the website didn’t take a ton of extra time but putting our personal touch on it really made a huge difference!”  The fundamental error in this thought was that Johnpaul is an experienced web designer. I am not an experienced save the date maker.

Our DIY Save the Dates took longer than I thought they would. Way longer. We started sending out our save the dates in February when we got our first batch done. More went out in March but I’m ashamed to admit that there are still a good number (mostly for family) sitting on our dining room table waiting to be completed.

For years, Johnpaul has been collecting vintage books and really wanted to incorporate them somehow into our wedding. Though we didn’t set out to plan a “theme” wedding, in thinking of ways to incorporate these books, we naturally started seeing a “story” pattern in what we’d already planned. Our programs will be “Our Story” (written twice – once from my perspective and once from Johnpaul’s) and I’ll be walking down the aisle to “Storybook Love” from the Princess Bride. Clearly, incorporating the books made perfect sense and so we decided to use library cards as our save the dates.

We could’ve just stopped there – but apparently that just isn’t our style. Why send out just a library card when you can send out a library card with a Johnpaul-designed custom sticker on the other side of the library card? And why send out just a library card with a sticker when you can send out a library card with a sticker on the back of a book? If you’re going to buy books anyway, why not seek out beautiful vintage books that are personally chosen for each recipient? And if you’re going to send these out, why send them in a boring envelope when you can individually wrap each book cover in parcel paper? And if it’s going to be wrapped like a parcel, it should look like a parcel, right? Enter the twine. I insisted that there must be twine wrapped around each package to look like a vintage parcel arriving to announce our wedding (so much so that I made Johnpaul drive me to four different stores to find the perfect twine).

But they turned out perfectly. These turned out exactly like we hoped they would - and then some. Every time somebody got theirs in the mail, we got a lot of comments like “This is the best save the date I’ve ever seen!” and “Oh. My. God. Seriously?” I won’t lie, I think we needed that kind of response to justify the amount of time we spent (and are still spending) working on these.

My favorite comment, though, was when someone said “These are so you.” We chose to DIY so much for our wedding and chose to leave our print on every last element for our big day because we wanted our day to perfectly reflect us as a couple.  While there are some DIY projects we’ve altogether abandoned (like our original plan to collect over 300 mismatched antique plates to use at every place setting.), I know we’ll never regret taking the extra time and energy to make certain aspects of our wedding unique and memorable for the biggest day of our lives.