Mike and I got engaged knowing it would be at least a year before it would be doable for us to tie the knot. For many, long engagements are not ideal, but I wouldn't change it for a second! A long engagement allowed for us to truly soak in the joy of being engaged without feeling pressured to wedding plan right away. Not only were we able to enjoy our time being engaged without the stress of wedding planning, but a long engagement also allowed for me to be super picky about each of the important wedding details. Being able to take the time I needed to research each important aspect of the wedding that we cared about without making any rushed decisions played a huge part in our wedding coming together exactly how we both dreamed it would.
The first step of wedding planning for us meant save the date's! In every part of wedding planning saving as much money as we could while not sacrificing quality was a priority. In doing this, we began by hiring Hyssop Design to create a logo for us that would not only serve as a piece we would use for our save the date's and invitations, but also as our logo for our website! For our save the date's we used a photo from our engagement shoot with Caleb and Ariana Babcock at Rattlesnake Lake near Seattle in a snowstorm. To keep it simple and cheap (aka DIY), I used photoshop to put our logo as the overlay on the engagement photo and downloaded a free font to put on the finishing touches.
Next, instead of using shutterfly or Etsy to get them printed specifically as "save the date's", I sent the jpg to staples and got them for .24 cents a piece. They came with the back side completely blank which allowed for customizing the calligraphy, which I did myself to save $$, and stuck a stamp on there! This made for a super simple save the date while keeping it personal and cheap!
Another way we considered going was using this same system, but instead of sending them as postcards, sending them in envelopes. We ended up choosing postcards for the sake of cost - since postcard stamps are much cheaper and envelopes weren't necessary. Looking back I think I would have gone with the envelope route to save the risk of the front being ruined in mail processing. But if you're going for cheap - this is the way to go!