With the wedding now T minus 6.6 months away, it’s just about time to start sending out my Save-the-Dates (Can I just express for a moment how much I hate how wedding blogs refer to Save-the-Dates as STDs?! I personally want STDs nowhere near my wedding day!)…
I have opted to send out electronic Save-the-Dates since they’re not completely necessary, and there’s no need to spend unnecessary money. I’m going the DIY route with all of my stationary, so this means that I have to design my Save-the-Dates all by myself. I have absolutely no graphic design training and access to zero savvy software programs. In fact, if someone put me in front of one, I wouldn’t be able to identify it or know what to do with it.
But I try to make do with the resources I have, and the main weapon in my arsenal is none other than plain ole Microsoft Word. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to write up a little tutorial on how I used Microsoft Word to create an e-Save-The-Date (and ultimately invitations and programs). An expert will probably give a great big “Pshh” to this tutorial, but we’re not all experts, so I hope this can help other DIYers.
How to Make an Electronic Save-the-Date Announcement without Fancy Software
Disclaimer: This tutorial greatly simplifies the amount of time and effort I put into playing with the size and placement of the text and objects. I’ve easily spent hours arriving at the final design and even went through several iterations (see below) before deciding which I liked best. Additionally, Microsoft Word is not a design program, so there are obviously limitations. For example, I couldn’t get too terribly detailed with my design motif, that was created using the simple shapes in AutoShapes.
1. In perhaps the most important step of this entire process, I found some inspiration.
I like how this announcement vaguely looks like a concert poster.
I forget where I found this. Forgive me!
And I love all of these because they feature strings of light, which will be a key feature of the wedding reception.
I forget where I found this. Forgive me!
Equipped with this inspiration, I moved forward…
2. I opened a new Microsoft Word Document
3. I began with a blank drawing canvas, which I created by going to 'Insert' > 'Picture' > 'New Drawing.'
4. I started by double-clicking anywhere in the blank drawing canvas and selecting “In front of text” as the wrapping style in the formatting box under the “Layout” tab. This style seems to be the easiest to work with.
5. To format the size of the Save-the-Date, you can either drag the edges of the drawing canvas to the desired size or double click on the drawing canvas and change the size under the “Size” tab of the format box (You uncheck the “Lock aspect ratio” box to make custom dimensions.). My Save-the-Date is 3.25” x 8”.
6. To insert text, there are two options. You can either insert a text box, which will allow you to type the same way that you would type in a document, or you can insert WordArt. To make my text as pliable as possible, I like to use WordArt. WordArt allows me to play with the dimensions of the text beyond just choosing a font size.
To insert WordArt, I go to 'Insert' > 'Picture' > 'WordArt…' From there, there are a limited set of style options. Although you have to choose one of these initially, you will be able to play around with it later. I always just use the first style.
Then, I type in my text and choose the font and font size that I like and click OK. (Note: There are TONS of great free fonts available at www.dafont.com. I am using Budmo Jiggler and Champagne & Limousines in all of my stationary.)
To play with the color of the text, I right click the WordArt and choose “Format WordArt…” From there, I can change the color and outline options under the “Colors and Lines” tab.
To play with the size and rotation of the text, I just drag the points of the text. The white dots resize. The green dot rotates, and the yellow diamond slants.
To play with the shape and spacing of the text, I use the WordArt toolbar, which can be viewed by right clicking on the WordArt and choosing “Show WordArt Toolbar.”
I basically repeat this with all of my words and play around to my heart’s content until I’ve more-or-less achieved a layout that I find pleasing.
7. Then I insert shapes as needed using the AutoShapes toolbar. If you don’t see it, go to 'View' > 'Toolbars' > 'AutoShapes.'
I used rectangles with rounded corners to create the bars between my text.
To choose a design motif, you can either build it using AutoShapes or picture files. Using my inspiration, I ended up choosing a simple design that I could just build using AutoShapes. I used the curved line and simple circles to make a string of lights.
Finally, I inserted one of our engagement photos by going to 'Insert' > 'Picture' > 'From File…' I put a frame around the picture by right clicking on the photo and choosing “Format Picture…” and adding a line to the picture under the “Colors and Lines” tab.
8. Finally, I add a border and a background color. If you’re fine with a rectangle or square, you can just format the drawing canvas by choosing a fill color and a line. To do this, just right click on the outline of the drawing canvas and choose “Format Drawing Canvas…” Then, choose your desired color and line color and thickness under the “Colors and Lines” tab.
I wanted rounded colors, so instead of formatting the drawing canvas, I just inserted a large rounded rectangle AutoShape and sent it to the back. Playing with the order of your objects is an important tool in layering your text, pictures, and AutoShapes. To do this, you right click on the object, select “Order,” and the action you’d like. For my border/fill rectangle, I chose to send it all the way to the back.
9. To covert my Word picture into a picture file, I just select the drawing canvas, copy it (ctrl + C), and paste it (ctrl + P) into Microsoft Office Picture Manager. With this new picture file, I am now ready to email it out to all of my guests.
Here are the Save-the-Dates that I designed but ultimately rejected.
Way too complicated.