Your Wedding Website – 8-12 months before
A wedding website is a great way to organize the details of your wedding in a way that your guests can access and enjoy as soon as they get their save-the-dates. The website is where you’ll put details about local hotels, directions to venues, registries, and even your unique proposal story, so feel free to make one as soon as any of those details are nailed out. You can always add information as you progress in your planning and spend the extra time tweaking details. Your Save-the-Dates – 6-8 months before Save-the-Dates are for letting your guests know to make travel plans ahead of time. If you’re having an entirely local wedding, don’t even worry about sending them. If not, it’s important to balance when you send them out. Your guests need to book hotels, find a way to get time off of work, and maybe even book an extended stay babysitter. If you’re planning a summer wedding (high traffic vacation time) or a Christmas/Thanksgiving date, send them out as early as eight to nine months ahead of time. Just don’t send them out so early that everyone tacks them up on their refrigerators and forgets about them.
It’s also important to note that you should have your guest list (mostly) finalized before you send them out. A save-the-date is as good as an invitation, and guests will be confused and potentially offended if they don’t “make the final cut” and receive an invite. Your Registry – 6 months before
You can bump that registry deadline up if your circle is into engagement parties (as the point of a registry is to let everyone know what you want and need for gift giving occasions), but there really isn’t any reason to put together a registry until someone offers to throw you a shower. You don’t want your favorite items being discontinued way before your wedding date, especially if they’re part of a set and you end up with half a stemware set.
If you do end up setting up your registry early, avoid registering for sets of things and just throw some items on it that can be purchased singularly. You can always go back and add/remove items at your convenience. Your Invitations – 8-10 weeks before
It’s important not to send your invitations out too soon, as you don’t want them collecting dust on a desk for three months. If you didn’t do save-the-dates, however, it’s equally important that you let your guests make plans well ahead of time. Be careful, though - any more notice than10 weeks and your guests are going to forget about their RSVP date.
Your RSVP cards, by the way, should carry a date of about two weeks or so before the wedding. Ask your caterer when they need the final headcount by, and give your guests a few days of a buffer zone; you want plenty of time to make a few calls to guests who missed the deadline. Your Thank You Notes – within 2 months… within 2-3 weeks if it comes ahead of time
Get your thank you notes done as soon as you can – trust me! Any time between a month and two months after you return from your honeymoon is fine, but you can only help yourself by doing them as soon as you can. If you wait much longer than a couple of months, a note will just draw attention to the fact that it took this long to send a note.
If you receive a gift before your wedding date, you generally have a few weeks to send a note out, but don’t wait too long; your guests like to know that everything arrived in one piece.
Your Wedding Website – 8-12 months before
Why You Should Purchase and Store your Wedding Linens
Wedding LinensIf you’re hosting your wedding at a location without available wedding linens, you have a couple of options: either rent them for the evening or buy them outright. Not many brides opt for purchasing their own wedding linens, but if your party is small enough, they can actually save you money in the long run, especially if you entertain a lot. Wedding linens are a special and important part of your wedding décor, why not keep them? Pass them along to your future children? Here are a few reasons why you should opt to purchase wedding linens, even if you’re only getting napkins, placemats, or table runners: For Entertaining
If you entertain a lot, or even if you plan on entertaining ever again, saving your wedding linens will be worth it. Bust out those wedding linens at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other meal opportunity at your disposal. Bonus points if your wedding linens come with a monogram; it adds a hint of “Man, she really knows what she’s doing” to any holiday party. For Posterity
More than wedding photos, actual wedding artifacts (such as your wedding linens, your preserved bouquet) are going to become family treasures down the line. Give your progeny pieces of your wedding day to carry with them to pass to their own children. Your wedding linens will mean more then than you know. For Sentimental Value
Just like with the sentimental hand-me-downs, the emotional value of keeping your wedding linens is indispensable. You won’t regret keeping them, as your wedding linens will speak to the emotion and magic of your wedding day every time you open the linen cupboard.
Floral Wedding Accents – Love Never Dies!
Floral Wedding AccentsA ceremony and reception space can be a daunting cavern to fill, and fresh flowers tend to skyrocket a wedding budget faster than you would expect. You don’t have to eliminate fresh flowers from your favorite florist in order to keep your budget in check, however, you just have to supplement with floral wedding accents. Floral wedding accents are any bunches of arranged flowers (often paper or silk) that you can use to bulk up the beauty of your reception or ceremony space. There are floral wedding accents for all venues and budgets, and they are often a wonderful way to get flowers in places that might otherwise go without. Many brides love to use floral wedding accents on the backs of chairs or the pews in a church – especially for more strict churches (or any other indoor venue) who don’t want to be cleaning up leaves and pollen once the event is over. Floral wedding accents and fixtures are also wonderful if you’re planning on transporting flowers from one venue to another. Floral wedding accents don’t tend to wilt in the car or drip all over the backseat! Guests also love to take floral wedding accents home – whether they’ve been incorporated into the centerpieces, the favors, or elsewhere. Because floral wedding accents never die, your guests will be reminded of your wedding for a lifetime!
Including Mr and Mrs Chair Decorations
Mr and Mrs Chair DecorationsWhile preparing the aesthetic for your wedding reception, think about adding a set of tasteful Mr and Mrs chair decorations. Mr and Mrs chair decorations are sashes or signs that attach to the back of your chair during the reception. The signs can be homemade, but you should be extra careful to integrate them seamlessly into your day; you don't want them to look out of place! Mr and Mrs chair decorations make for wonderful photo opportunities, and depending on your seating chart, can make it easier for guests to orient themselves in your reception space. Use Mr and Mrs chair decorations during the reception for a fun and festive addition that guests will be sure to appreciate and enjoy. After the reception, Mr and Mrs chair decorations look wonderful on your honeymoon vehicle (substitute a "just married" sign for re-appropriated Mr and Mrs chair decorations!). Before the wedding, Mr and Mrs chair decorations are fun additions to your bridal shower or bachelorette party (just the "Mrs" sign, of course!), and make wonderful decorations before and after the big day. When you're setting up the reception space, just make sure you don't forget the Mr and Mrs chair decorations!
Bridal Party Shirts for Any Time
Bridal Party ShirtsYour bridal party will be together on several occasions as one unit before the big day: think bridal showers, rehearsal dinners, and any late nights where you’re frantically calling your maids to help you finish hot gluing ribbons to programs. Everyone will also be together on the morning of the wedding, primping and preening to look their best for your nuptials. A great way to get everyone a fantastic gift (and promote unity and a team-like attitude) is to spring for bridal party shirts! Bridal party shirts are a great gift for any part of the planning process: get them for the girls the day before the wedding so they can wear them during the morning, or hand them out when you first select your wedding party. Bridal party shirts work any time, and “transfers” make it easy to make any shirts bridal party shirts! The great thing about bridal party shirts is that everyone will look like a team in candid photos – during the bachelorette party, the rehearsal dinner, or even under the hair dryer! Bridal party shirts aren’t just for the adults in the group, either. Most flower girls love feeling like they’re an important part of your day, and bridal party shirts will make them feel included. Don’t be surprised if you see your flower girl wearing bridal party shirts to school even after the wedding!
Who Will Host?: Typically, the engagement party is thrown by the parents of the couple, though no one is obligated to throw one. This isn’t one to plan for yourself; you really should wait for someone to volunteer.
Who Will Go?: An engagement party is often just family, though you should always be careful to try and invite only those who will be invited to the big event. The one hosting and funding the event is the one who decides the guest list, but you might want to be conservative in your recommendations if you’re asked.
Etiquette: An engagement party isn’t a very common pre-wedding shindig, so breaking etiquette isn’t a big concern. If you’re being thrown an engagement party before wedding plans have really started, you probably haven’t created a registry, so it’s unlikely that guests will ask for that info. A Bridal Shower
Who Will Host?: It’s possible that several people will volunteer to throw you a bridal shower, but you should try to accept only one or two.
Who Will Go?: Again, this is an event where only people invited to the wedding should be invited. You aren’t obligated to invite every female guest to the shower (cramming 50 women into a kitchen is logistically difficult).
Etiquette: Thank you cards are customary for bridal showers, just be sure that you aren’t having guests fill out their own addresses on envelopes as they watch you open gifts. Take the time to thank each of your guests with a lovely card, as this is an event where gifts will likely be “showered” upon you. A Bachelorette Party
Who Will Host?: This is usually one for your bridal party, though your Maid of Honor doesn’t have to take the lead. Usually the maids split the bill, but that isn’t a requirement.
Who Will Go?: Bachelorette parties are often much smaller than showers, and many brides like to keep them for quality time with the bridal party before the big day. Again, make sure that everyone invited will also be invited to the wedding!
Etiquette: Try to keep your focus on your own party instead of checking on your fiancé all night via text. This is supposed to be a night for you and your girls – enjoy it! A Rehearsal Dinner
Who Will Host?: You and your fiancé do! The rehearsal dinner is your time to thank your wedding party for their participation in your wedding, and this is one event where the bride and groom usually foot the bill. Sometimes the parents will take the check, but don’t count on it – try to throw your own rehearsal dinner.
Who Will Go?: The people in your wedding party – that means ring bearers, those doing readings and prayers, the families, the bridesmaids – everybody.
Etiquette: No one is asking you to host a dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town; a backyard picnic is more than enough. This is your opportunity to gather everyone involved with your wedding together and thank them collectively. If you’ve prepared gifts (or some members of the wedding party want to give a speech, and there isn’t enough time during the reception), this is the perfect time.
Wonderful, Whimsical, Personalized Wedding Vases
Personalized Wedding VasesCreating your own centerpieces for you wedding reception can be difficult and frustrating if you're a newbie. The empty space within the vase is often hard to overcome, and something about the blank side of glass just isn't personal enough for you. Never fear, hypothetical flustered bride! Personalized wedding vases are the answer. Personalized wedding vases allow you to fill your reception space with color and sparkle while simultaneously adding touches of personality to your day.
Personalized wedding vases can either be engraved with your names or wrapped with color and text, depending on your preference. The benefit of "wrapped" personalized wedding vases is color uniformity. Your wedding colors can be synched up to your personalized wedding vases to create a more unified look and feel to your guest tables, dessert tables, and any other tables you can cram into your event space. Personalized wedding vases may feature your monogram, names, wedding date, and any theme you might be playing with for your wedding day. Use the colors of your personalized wedding vases to compliment the blooms within for brilliant (and simple!) centerpieces.
Wedding Confetti Ideas
Wedding ConfettiDecorating a blank event space on your own is often pretty scary at first. Trying to find pieces of decorative filler that don’t LOOK like filler is close to impossible for the novice designer, and trying to find emphatic pieces that don’t break the bank is even harder. With wedding confetti, however, a first-time party planner (or an expert who knows the benefit of a full, colorful party space) will find that there’s no better companion. Wedding confetti doesn’t have to be the strips of paper from birthdays past. Wedding confetti comes in all shapes and sizes and has more uses than you could imagine. Consider diamond wedding confetti – pieces of molded acrylic that exude elegance, color, and style. The “diamonds” come in all shades and they add a great contrasting element to centerpieces and otherwise blank table tops. This wedding confetti make a space feel coherent without overpowering the more important pieces of the table and/or event. Traditional wedding confetti is also great for decorating within an otherwise blank space, but don’t feel limited when it comes to shapes. Girlier events (such as bridal showers) will benefit from some pink butterfly wedding confetti, while mismatched circular black ring wedding confetti adds a posh feeling to your uptown space. Also, feel free to toss some good old fashioned multicolored wedding confetti at the bride and groom as they make their entrance!
Fun and Flirty Aprons for Unique Bridal Shower Gifts
Unique Bridal Shower GiftsPreparing for a bridal shower usually means starting at the bridal registry. As a guest, you want to try to find a gift that the bride will enjoy, but often the series of toasters and bath towels on the traditional registry will start to bring you down. You want to find some unique bridal shower gifts that are flirty and feminine, but how can you be sure to find something the bride will want and use? The answer is looking to non-traditional, but still fun and practical, venues for unique bridal shower gifts. Unique bridal shower gifts don't have to stay within lingerie or gift cards - they're usually fun things the bride wouldn't think to buy herself. Think about flirty, girly aprons for the bride-to-be during your hunt for unique bridal shower gifts. These unique bridal shower gifts range from the sexy and crazy to domestic and coy, with themes starting at the farmer's market stretching all the way to the nightclub. Every girl, no matter her domestic prowess, would love these unique bridal shower gifts for her kitchen. For the more adventurous male, these unique bridal shower gifts look fine on any home cook, regardless of their number of y-chromosomes.
A mendhi artist was on hand to apply the traditional temporary adornment to every guest in attendance, including the bride. Most guests chose designs on the palm of their hands, but at least one left with a flower on her shoulder. As a hostess described, henna is popular in India not just as decoration, but also as a personal air conditioner. “It draws heat out of the body,” she said. Though mendhi is traditionally applied to the bride’s arms, legs, and back before the ceremony, Andrea wanted the special tradition a little early. Bridal henna is usually done 2 or 3 days before the wedding for good luck, and the artist will also often hide the groom’s initials somewhere within the design for him to find. The décor of the day:
Though the party space took only a small portion of the hostesses’ backyard, the event felt spacious and cool. The heat of the unseasonally warm day was guarded by lengths of sari (colorful cloth pieces) that draped from the roof of the patio – many of the guests also wore similar saris (ranging in color from pink to orange to vibrant shades of blue and green). Two large tables framed the mendhi space that acted as the event’s centerpiece.
The centerpieces fell in line with the colors of the event, focusing on reds, yellows, and oranges. The hostesses filled large glass bowls with strawberries and lemon slices submerged in water, and topped them with beautiful floating orange and yellow flowers. The home that the event was hosted at fell in line with the Indian theme as well, playing the bride’s favorite Bollywood clips in the living space and smelling ever so slightly of the delicious Indian cuisine that was later served. The delicacies:
The bridal shower menu was as expansive as it was delicious. It was a self-serve, but catered, event, and there was no lack of edible opportunities. When guests arrived, they were treated to appetizers such as panir and peppers, samosas (spicy and complex deep fried veggies and potatoes), and creamy mango smoothies. During lunch, guests found garlic naan, palak panir, chicken tikka masala, daal (lentils), and a dessert of milk cake treats (called ras mali) and son papri. The games and favors:
Instead of traditional bridal games, the hostesses modified some old favorites to fit the day’s Indian theme. Instead of a toilet paper wedding dress, two teams of guests learned how to wrap a sari. After one trial, the teams were set against each other; the winning model earned a beautiful beaded bag. Another bag was later awarded during a game that asked guests to choreograph their own Bollywood-style dance. On their way out, guests were treated to bangles (directly from India!) and a beautiful artisan tote bag.
Stock up Early on Wedding Favor Containers
Wedding Favor ContainersAre you a DIY sort of bride whose main concern is boxing your favors – not ordering them? Wedding favor containers come in all shapes and sizes and are a perfect vessel for the DIY bride. So whip out the glue gun and keep the following tips in mind as you exercise your creativity on a few wedding favor containers: Don’t leave your wedding favor containers until the last minute. Favors might not seem like such a big priority right now, but don’t let wedding favor containers wait until the week before. If you don’t have a choice (busy work schedule, other more-pressing DIY projects), enlist help from your bridesmaids to stuff wedding favor containers over a long weekend. Make the offer more appealing by offering drinks or dinner (and promises of everlasting loyalty) to your maids. If you’re going edible, make sure your wedding favor containers have a cool place to hang out. Your grandmother’s cookies might be so bomb you want to shower your guests with wedding favor containers full of them, but they won’t look so tasty without proper refrigeration. Since edible favors are so popular during the summer months, disasters are not uncommon. If you can, enlist the help of your venue or caterer. They’re probably fine housing and distributing your wedding favor containers for you, but you have to know to ask!
- 1. A Maid of Honor Only Has One Set-In-Stone Duty
The role of Maid of Honor only has one responsibility: showing up and standing beside you on your wedding day. You didn’t pick her because you want a free wedding planner; you picked her because she’s the best friend you’ve got (aside from your fiancé). Don’t think that she HAS to sit up every night the month leading up to the wedding designing dessert tables and addressing invitations. It’s not a crime to ask for her help, but don’t expect it as a part of the Maid of Honor contract. Talk to her as soon as you can about how much responsibility she wants – NOT how much you expect.
- 2. Don’t Ask Her for Parties
Bachelorette parties and bridal showers aren’t part of the deal either. It isn’t the responsibility of your Maid of Honor to plan and pay for all of your pre-wedding events, and you should probably hold off on asking for them. If someone (such as an aunt or bridesmaid) wants to host a shower for you, your level of involvement should be providing a short list of people you would like at the event (making sure that they’re all also invited to the big day); It’s up to the hostess to figure out the budget and how many people she’ll be able to afford. Pushing a large guest list or taking the initiative to assign parties to your Maid of Honor will cause undue stress and some unintended resentment. Take it easy – this is one part of the wedding process you don’t need to fret over!
- 3. Your Maid of Honor has other Responsibilities
In the final weeks leading up to your wedding, you will probably be very focused on your impending nuptials – and that is completely understandable. Your Maid of Honor, however, probably has other duties that she’s trying to juggle in addition to her responsibilities as your right-hand woman. She probably has a job, a family, a cat, and an infinite number of other things weighing on her mind. Is she still in school? Working on her master’s thesis? None of these things will pause for her. Try to understand if she has to slip out of a Mani/Margi/Pedi Party a little early or can’t make it to your place for invitation addressing during lunch on a weekday. She would do the same for you! Remember, your Maid of Honor will probably want to be there for you as you make your journey down the aisle. If you make a point to discuss expectations and responsibilities before things get crazy, your friendship will come out the other side even stronger than before.