I sent out some electronic save-the-dates as soon as we finalized a date, venue, got a hotel group rate, and got our weddingwire website’s RSVP section going. We plan on sending out actual invitations by the end of the month, so it didn’t make sense to us to send out a batch of snail mail save-the-dates, but wanted our out-of-town guests to have as much time as we could give them to prepare. For our parents’ friends who are not as computer savvy, we are skipping the save-the-dates and will only be sending the invitations to them.
I used Photoshop for the design. I ended up making a 640×640 design so the size would not be too overwhelming for most email clients and average screen sizes (not everyone owns a ginormous computer screen); I’m hoping the recipient will not have to scroll down or right too much. The image was then hyperlinked to our wedding website.
For a hint of personalization (ie. Dear $%First Name%), I learned how to use mail merge with Gmail and Google Docs (if you’re a Google user you have free access to these and all of Google’s other services):
Not sure if this prevented the save-the-dates from going into spam folders since I’m technically sending each email to just 1 recipient, but I also had a “RSVP online by logging in with your name exactly as follows” and their name exactly as we have on our list so people could find themselves in our weddingwire.com RSVP guest database. Response seems to be good.
I made sure to test the emails on Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, Outlook (had some trouble there, but we only had less than 10 coworkers who use that for their work email, so those could be sent manually), Lotus Notes, and AOL mail. I tested these both on a regular computer, on a tablet computer, and on an iPod touch – basically any devices I had access to.
I followed littlebigfoot08‘s advice and made sure to host the image on my existing Smugmug account (I pay for this, but flickr is free) and include a link to that image in case people couldn’t see the image. I also had a text link to our wedding website.
I personally did not use Pingg because I wanted everything to be centralized at weddingwire.com and Pingg’s RSVP service, as far as I can tell, is not integrated with the weddingwire.com guest list.
On the environmental end, I also included a short blurb saying, “Please reply with the message, ‘No invitation needed!’ if you would like to help reduce our carbon footprint and would prefer to not receive a printed invitation.” When they reply, it goes to my email, then I can mark them down on our spreadsheet. We have gotten a good response here also.
I know this might be overly technical, but hope it helps!