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Save the Date Bookmarks are a great option for couples that love reading or books, are planning a Literary Themed Wedding or are simply looking for something that is a little more unique than a standard flat card.  Similar to a magnet that can be put on a frig, they also are kind of like a little gift that your guests can use and be reminded of you every time they see it.

Bookmark Save the Dates have been some of the most popular save the date cards in the shop for several years now.  Couples tell us all the time about all the comments they got back from friends and family about how much they loved receiving their bookmark in the mail.

As much as we love our bookmarks around here, as a designer, these tall and narrow cards pose some unique design challenges that customers may not realize.  At just 2.5″ wide by 7″ tall, there is much less surface space than a traditional 5″ x 7″ invitation.  That means space is limited so these bookmark save the dates cannot accommodate a large amount of text.  Also, because the text already has to be small, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for trying to squeeze additional text or improper photos.

Because in most cases, the most difficult part of producing save the date bookmarks that customers will love are with the photos, today I’m sharing the key points to consider when selecting the photos for your save the date bookmarks.


The Best Photo Practices for Ordering Save the Date Bookmarks

Professional Vs. Amateur Photos for Your Save the Date Bookmarks

Believe it or not, you don’t necessarily need to use professionally take photos if you keep a few things in mind.  Professional photos are almost always the best and of course are preferred but we have designed and printed many Bookmark Save the Dates that included photos taken on cell phones or a regular camera that have turned out extremely well.  Can you tell the professional photo vs. the amateur photo in the sample below?

Things to consider if using amateur photos for your save the date bookmark:
  • Choose photos with good lighting.  Look at the balance between the light and dark areas of the photo.  If there is more dark than light, the photo won’t work as well.  Go for photos that are light and bright for the best results.
  • Steer clear of photos that look blurry or fuzzy.  Sometimes it’s easy to be snapping away on your phone and not get things perfectly in focus.  If your photos are even a little bit blurry, that’s not something that can be corrected in the printed photo.  Try to find photos that are clear in focus and not so small that they look grainy or fuzzy.
  • Don’t save thumbnails from social media.  This is overly simplifying things but photos you download from your social media file aren’t the same as a photo that would ideally be used for printing.  The best option would be to use the original photo, not something that has already been uploaded to Facebook for example.
The amateur photo is on the bookmark save the date on the right above.

Choose Photos with Good Lighting

Good lighting is subjective.  We all like different things and that’s great.  There are however, a few things to consider when choosing the cards you want to use for your bookmark save the dates when it comes to lighting.

Here at Raspberry Creative, our bookmarks are printed on a high-quality, 110lb cover stock.  It’s cardstock, not photo paper.  Unlike photo prints, the quality of a printed photo on cardstock is not the same as when printed on photo paper.  One isn’t better or worse, but they do look different based on the paper.

We have found, after printing thousands or save the date bookmark orders that photos with a balanced range of lights and darks or photos that are light and bright print the best. 

As a general rule, cards will print a bit darker than they appear on their digital proof so photos where there are large areas of dark shades or photos where the light isn’t focused on your bodies, don’t generally print as well.  See the image below.


Kaylie & Bryan’s photo was beautiful.  The field was almost glowing in the background behind them and this photo would be stunning printed onto a canvas and hung in their home. 

It wasn’t maybe the best photo for their bookmarks because the photo is small and the dark areas ended up looking really dark so your eye is naturally drawn to the lighter background instead of them.  I’m not picking on them or their photo and their bookmarks looked great, I’m just pointing out that it maybe could have been even better.

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Tightly Cropped or Pre-Cropped Photos


Many couples choose their photographer based on their style of photography.  Some couples love light and bright, almost airy photos.  Other couples love dark and moody or even a grainy look to their photos.  Others love dramatic angles or cropping for a more artistic look.

While just about any photo will work in our save the date bookmarks, there is one major issue that we run into which is working with photos that are cropped too close in their original format.

Without getting too technical with you, our bookmarks are 2.5″ wide by 7″ tall in their finished format.  Even thought that this their finished size, what you don’t see is the area that gets cut off.  On all cards that appear to have the printing run off the page, in printing we call that a “bleed”.  

That means that the design actually extends beyond the cut and for the bookmarks the design is actually 2.75″ x 7.25″.  All photos must fit 2.75″ wide which means a small part of the photo will be cut off on both sides.

Photos that are cropped too close to start with may end up having important elements (an eye, nose or chin) cut off and that tends to look strange.

The other challenge is cropping top to bottom.  Since different names can take up more or less space or the addition or removal of a line of text can impact space, the vertical space left for the photo varies with each design that we do.  When photos are cropped too close to start, there is nothing left of the photo to crop.

A Few More Tips to Selecting the Best photos for your Bookmark save the dates

Just a few more helpful tips for picking the right photo for your bookmark save the date:

  • Send photos in original format.  With technology being more accessible to the masses, it may be tempting to try to “help” by cropping your photos the way you want them before submitting them.  Because every layout is slightly different depending on wording, we recommend avoiding doing any cropping before sending your photo.  If you want your photo to be cropped a certain way, make note of that in your order and our staff will work with you during proofing to get it cropping just the way you want it.
  • Be mindful of photos with words / signs.  We all love photos where you are holding cute signs or you put a banner around your dog’s neck but these photos aren’t always the best for use on our bookmarks.  The photos are generally quite small so signs with words are often hard to read or because of how photos generally have to be cropped, it can be hard to avoid cutting out some of the sign.
  • When in doubt, ask the design professional. If you have a photo that you aren’t sure of, don’t be afraid to ask.  Or send more than one photo and let the designer pick what will work best for the space.

Save the Date Bookmarks are a great option for couples wanting a unique save the date that their guests can enjoy well beyond their engagement.  The key to making these bookmark save the dates look their best is knowing how to pick the perfect photo(s) regardless of whether you have professional photos or not.  We hope you have found this information helpful in making your photo decisions and if not, we encourage you to let us know how we can help you pick the best photo for your save the date bookmarks!

Shop our Most Popular Save the Date Bookmarks