Rachel Gatulis and Andrew Gray's Save the Date card

Rachel Gatulis and Andrew Gray's Save the Date card (Credit Lindsey Nurk / January 2, 2013)

Our Save The Dates finally went out. I am actually pretty proud of them. I do not consider myself to be creatively inclined but I definitely gave myself a pat on the back after seeing the finished product. We decided to save money and make postcards as opposed to using outer envelopes or magnets. We made them pretty inexpensively, and I've received so many compliments.

Here's how we made them:

We are fortunate enough to have our talented photographer and friend, Lauren (Check out her website!) shoot our wedding. The unfortunate part is that she lives in Charlotte, N.C., so in lieu of having her trek up to Baltimore for one picture, we enlisted the help of my bridesmaid extraordinaire, Lindsey.

Andrew and I have always found humor in the city's self-proclaimed "Greatest City in America" benches. We decided it would be appropriate to take our Save the Date picture on one. Lindsey borrowed her fancy camera from work and after asking a father and son to vacate the bench we wanted to use (how embarrassing?), we snapped a few awkwardly posed pictures and continued on to dinner.

As it turns out, Lindsey is a whiz with photoshop. She was able to eliminate the trash, birds, and other undesirable elements from our picture. I chose a font and wording for the back of the card and then called Miller's Minuteman Press.

MMP was so easy to work with. I uploaded the images (front and back) to their website. They asked a few questions about my preferences on borders and card stock. They seemed to know exactly what I wanted. If it weren't for my lackadaisical approach to returning phone calls, we would have had them within two days.

Andrew put all of our guests' addresses in an Excel spreadsheet (shocker). He picked up some clear address labels and was able to print the addresses very easily from work. After a long deliberation between the more expensive "wedding" themed stamps and the less expensive stamps specifically for postcards that featured Hawaiian shirts, he decided on wedding stamps.

In hindsight, the non-wedding stamps would have sufficed and we didn't need as many extra postcards because there wasn't any opportunity to make a mistake. The total cost for our Save the Dates (photos, Photoshopping, 125 full-color postcards printed on heavy stock, address labels and the more expensive stamps) was under $160, leaving more money in our budget for more important things like food and entertainment.

Another item off the wedding checklist -- yay!