Joy - Helping to make your special day more beautiful....
 Wedding Timeline, Etiquette and Checklist
Nine to Twelve Months Before:
● Pick out engagement ring with fiancé
● Determine who will officiate at the ceremony.
● Select a wedding date and time.
● Announce your engagement in the newspaper.
● Determine how many guests may attend.
● Determine the type of wedding you want (size, formality, style, color scheme).
● Select and order the bridesmaids’ dresses.
● Establish a preliminary budget.
● Select and secure a photographer.
● Select a caterer if not already provided by the reception.
● Select and secure your reception location.
● Select and secure you ceremony location.
● Begin choosing your wedding cake baker, videographer, musicians and florist. Sign necessary contracts.
Six to Nine Months Before:
● Start compiling the guest list (inform your families to do the same).
● Select the attendants for your wedding party.
● Shop for wedding dress, headpiece, veil, etc.
● Start planning for honeymoon.
● Register with a gift bridal registry in your favorite store(s).
Four to Six Months Before:
● Make appointment for a physical exam with your doctor/dentist.
● Check requirements for blood test and marriage license in your state.
● Shop for wedding rings.
● Select and order the invitations and stationery.
● Decide where to live after the wedding.
● Complete the guest lists.
● Begin shopping for trousseau.
● Send your engagement announcement to the newspaper.
● Inform mothers to select their dresses.
● Select and order the men’s attire.
● Finalize honeymoon details and make the necessary reservations.
By Two to Four Months Before:
● Confirm the menu and catering details with the caterer.
● Prepare all maps and directions for the ceremony and reception.
● Select your wedding rings.
● Buy a wedding guest book.
● Set the dates and times with the officiate for the rehearsal.
● Plan the bridesmaids’ luncheon and any other parties.
● Determine your resources for designing and printing the program for the ceremony.
● Finalize the florist details, photographer, videographer, musicians, etc.
● Arrange the necessary accommodations for out-of-town guests.
● Plan a rehearsal dinner, time and place.
● Confirm the wedding cake details with the baker.
Six to Eight Weeks Before:
● Mail invitations and announcements.
● Prepare a portrait for the newspaper. Check your local newspaper for details and timing.
● Set appointment with photographer for your formal bridal portrait.
● Select gifts for all your attendants.
● Set appointments with any hair dressers and/or make-up artists.
● Hire the limousine or other forms of transportation for the wedding.
Four to Six Weeks Before:
● Decide what your menu is going to be for the reception. Estimate the expected number of guests.
● Buy a gift for the groom.
● Schedule a final fitting for your gown so it can be ready for your formal bridal portrait.
● Purchase a going away outfit.
● Pick up your wedding rings.
● Purchase (borrow) all wedding accessories such as the ring pillow, goblets, garter belt,candles, etc.
● Confirm florist details and delivery times.
● Plan the seating for the reception as well as other details for the ceremony and reception.
● Start writing placement cards.
● Make sure all bridesmaids’ attire has been fitted.
● Buy a gift for the bride.
Two Weeks Before:
● Make arrangements to have your wedding gifts moved to your new home.
● Handle business and legal details such as name changes, address changes, etc.
● Prepare the wedding announcement for the newspaper.
● Reconfirm your guests’ accommodations.
● Make sure all clothing and accessories for you and the bridal party are ready.
● Get your marriage license and any blood tests which are needed.
One Week Before:
● Review any seating details with the ushers.
● Make sure all wedding attire fits.
● Finalize the seating arrangements.
● Reconfirm your honeymoon reservations. Ensure you have any necessary plane tickets.
● Start packing for your honeymoon.
● Call any guests who have not responded yet.
● Finish all the place cards for the reception.
● Review all the final details with your photographer, videographer, etc.
● Give a final head count to the caterer.
● Confirm the availability of the musicians and vocalists.
● Delegate responsibilities to reliable individuals on your wedding day.
● Wrap and present the wedding party gifts.
● Finalize your rehearsal dinner arrangements and other plans.
One Day Before:
● Get a manicure or massage to relax yourself.
● Stay with your family the night before and go to sleep early.
● Review and rehearse all the details of your participants.
The Big Day:
● Make sure the best man and maid of honor sign the wedding certificate.
● Allow yourself plenty of time to get dressed.
Be sure to eat properly.
● Rest and relax with a good bath.
● Prepare for your hairdresser and make-up appointments.
Enjoy your wonderful wedding and cherish each and every moment. :)
After the Wedding:
● Send thank you notes as soon as possible after the wedding.
● Have bridal gown cleaned and preserved.
● Change your name on ID and important documents.
● Complete change of address cards.
                  click here for your Wedding Checklist
Wedding Etiquette
.Determine what style of wedding you want: formal, casual or somewhere in between
  • Determine who will be paying for the wedding
    • Bride's Parents
    • The Bride and Groom
    • Both sets of parents and the Bride and Groom
    • (Fill in the blank)
  • Determine your budget
    • What is affordable
    • What do you really want in your wedding and maybe list as highest to lowest priority
  • The Bride and Parents of the Bride
    • Save the Date Magnets
    • Wedding consultant
    • Wedding dress and accessories
    • Thank you gifts for attendants
    • Flower basket for flower girl and pillow for ring bearer
    • The groom’s ring and gift
    • Engagement party and/or notices
    • Invitations, Thank You cards and associated stationery (includes mailing)
    • Wedding reception (excluding beverages)
    • Decorations, flowers for reception
    • Wedding cake
    • Photography
    • Transportation of the wedding party
    • Possibly, hotel accommodations for out of town attendants
    • Miscellaneous costs for reception or ceremony
  • The Groom and the Groom’s Family
    • Engagement and wedding ring
    • Thank you gifts for attendants
    • Wedding attire and accessories
    • Marriage license
    • Clergy, Officiate
    • Corsages for parents and grandparents
    • Boutonnieres for attendants and fathers
    • Honeymoon (possibly shared by both bride and groom)
    • Possibly, hotel accommodations for out of town attendants
    • Beverages at reception
  • Bridesmaids
    • Dresses and accessories
    • Travel expenses
    • Shower
  • Groomsmen
    • Tuxedos and accessories
    • Travel expenses
    • Bachelor party
  • Non-traditional
What if your wedding and circumstances are not traditional at all? No worries! You will still need to determine who is paying, what is needed, what is wanted and what is affordable. One non-traditional situation may be where an older bride and groom may opt to pay for the entire wedding themselves. Another situation might share the expenses between both families and the bride and groom.
Budgeting Tips
Whether the wedding is traditional or non-traditional, there are many ways to cut costs and lower the budget overall. Here are just a few of the ways one can budget in some of the more expensive areas of the wedding:
  • Limit the number of guests you invite
  • Wedding dresses come in all price ranges
  • Consider a non-traditional meal at the reception that is less expensive
  • Reception: have a limit on how much alcohol you want to provide or not provide it at all
  • Enlist family and friends to help in areas i.e. photography, driver
  • Create your own decorations for the ceremony and reception
  • Decide if you really need all the extras or just limit them
The Wedding Style
What is your unique style? The wedding invitation will reflect this distinctive style and set the tone of the wedding itself ~whether it be formal, traditional, contemporary, casual or somewhere in between. If your style is very casual, you have a lot of room to be creative. The computer and local craft store offer many options to create a fabulous memento of your special day. If it is a more formal wedding style that you are leaning toward, then there are some basic rules of etiquette that are generally expected in regards to printed stationery. Before you purchase those invitations, determine the style that will set the tone of your wedding. Also, determine what additional types of stationery you will need:
  • RSVP cards
  • Enclosure cards
  • Maps/directions
  • Double set envelopes or single envelopes
  • Programs
  • Place cards
  • Table number cards
  • Wedding Favors
  • Thank You Cards
When to order the invitations:
Generally 4-6 months before your wedding. You want to give yourself plenty of time to avoid mistakes and rushing to get them done.
How many invitations to order:
Order more than you need - approximately 25 extra. You will need extra invitations for last minute invites, mistakes and keepsakes. You also want to order even more additional envelopes for mistakes while addressing.
When to send the invitations:
     6-8 weeks before the wedding.
  • Will you have guests coming from out of town and needing accommodations?
  • Is your wedding on a holiday?
  • Is it a destination wedding?
Who receives an invitation?
     One invitation per:
  • Parents
  • Clergy and spouse
  • Family with children under 18
  • Couple (married or living together)
  • Generally, each child 18 or older (still living at home)
  • Single guest
  • Significant other of aforementioned single guest
  • Each attendant
Optional: Those that you highly regard that probably cannot come, but you want to make sure they are invited anyway. It's up to you!
Wording the invitation:
There is much to consider before composing the invitation. The wording will depend on many factors such as: who is hosting the wedding (parents, bride and groom, divorced parents…), the style, where the event is being held (church, home, garden…)The wording is also dependent on the variety of family types keeping in mind that traditional is not necessarily traditional anymore; there is often a unique situation that needs further consideration. With all of this in mind, it is accepted that a less formal wedding will allow for more creativity and less formality while a more formal wedding will want to adhere to some basic etiquette guidelines.
Basic guidelines of etiquette:
  • All verbiage is in the third person
  • Be consistent with spelling: honour/favour or honor/favor
  • Dr. and military titles need to be spelled out: i.e. Doctor Dave Johnson
  • Use Roman numerals in names instead of second or 2nd
  • Punctuation is used to separate city, state or day, date or Mr. Mrs.
  • All days, dates and times are typically spelled out: Saturday, the twenty-third of July, Two thousand and seven at two o’clock
  • Avoid abbreviations: spell out street, boulevard, avenue...
About inviting children:
If children are not invited, you have two options. Either let word of mouth make your wishes known or state on the invitation or RSVP card that it is an adults-only reception. Also, keep in mind that the envelope will also expressly state who is invited to the event.
Using double envelope set or a single envelope:
Brief History:  Back in the days when wedding invitations were hand-delivered, the outer envelope was used to shield and keep clean the inner envelope. Nowadays, two envelopes are not necessary and to use both is just a preference of one over the other.
 Double envelopes set:
Outer envelope:
  • not foil-lined
  • printed return address on back flap (exclude name)
Addressing outer envelope:
  • HANDWRITTEN (except for the return address)
  • It is customary to use complete formal name and address of invited guests on outer envelope
  • Avoid abbreviations except on Mr., Mrs. or Ms.
  • Zip codes should be on the same line as city, state
Inner envelope: contains invitation and any extra stationery. Placed inside outer envelope with printing facing back flap of outer envelope
  • unsealed
Addressing the inner envelope:
  • No addresses
  • Use just the last names along with any appropriate titles i.e. Captain and Mrs. Johnson
  • Invited children using their first names appear under the names of the parents
  • Single person and guest (i.e. Mr. Johnson and guest)
Single envelope only
(same rules apply as in outer envelope of a double set)
Placed on top of the invitation.
Enclosure Card:
A reception card is used when the reception is held at a different location or if you have different guest lists.
RSVP card:
  • Front is pre-printed with name and address of receiver
  • Remember to remain consistent with either the British or the American spelling favour/favor RSVP (répondez s’il vous plaît) is a French phrase meaning “please reply” and it is considered appropriate to contact an invited guest who has not yet responded within the allotted time frame.
Assembling your invitations:
  • The back of the envelope is facing you.
  • The back side of the carrier card goes in first (printed side facing you)
Basic order of placement:
  1. carrier card
  2. invitation
  3. vellum
  4. RSVP card
Additional Stationery:
Additional stationery should be placed on top of the invitation in order of size - from largest to smallest (smallest on very top).
If using either double set envelopes or single:
Insert inner envelope with the print facing the back of outer envelope. When your guest opens their outer envelope (or single), they will see print first.
  • Make sure your wedding date corresponds with the calendar!
  • Order extra stationery (and even more envelopes) in case of mistakes, last minute invites and keepsakes
  • Request the post office hand-cancel your invitations to avoid damage from postal machines
  • Take completely assembled invitation to the post office so you are aware of postage cost
  • Don’t forget the additional postage required for RSVP cards
  • Spellings: whatever you choose - be consistent (don’t forget the RSVP cards)
  • Purchase complimentary looking stamps that will look nice with your invitations
  • Do not mention gifts or where you are registered for gifts on the invitations
  • Enlist the help of good friends and family to help hand-address the invitations
  • Enjoy!
The wording of the invitation and other forms of stationery should correspond with the style of the wedding. It certainly can get complicated with the different family types and if your family situation is unique and does not fit the traditional mold, you will just need to give your wording some additional consideration. Below you will find some standard formats for traditional and non-traditional invitations. They are only examples in which to build and create your own invitation that compliments your distinctive style.
Parents of the Bride are hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Allen Johnson
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Robin Estelle Johnson
John Michael Smith
on Saturday, the seventh of July
Two thousand seven
at 12 noon
Grace Fellowship Church
Rochester, New York
Both sets of Parents are hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Johnson
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Robin Johnson
John Smith
on Saturday, the seventh of July
Two thousand seven
at half past six
Grace Fellowship Church
Rochester, New York
Bride and Groom are hosting:
Robin Estelle Johnson
John Michael Smith
request the honor of your presence
on Saturday, the seventh of July
Two thousand seven
at four o’clock
Grace Fellowship Church
Rochester, New York
Divorced Parents of Bride are hosting:
Mrs. Patricia Ann Johnson
Mr. Robert Neil Johnson
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
on Saturday, the seventh of July
Two thousand seven
at half past six
Grace Fellowship Church
Rochester, New York
Divorced and Stepparent are hosting:
Mr. and Mrs. James Korman
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage
of Mrs. Korman’s daughter
Anna Johnson
Paul Benson
on Saturday, the seventh of July
Two thousand seven
at half past six
Golden Hills Country Club
Brighton, New York
Both sets of divorced Parents, Bride and Groom are hosting: (Informal)
Together with their families
Anna Johnson
Paul Benson
on Saturday, the seventh of July
Two thousand seven
at half past six
Golden Hills Country Club
Brighton, New York
Both sets of Parents are hosting, Bride's Father deceased, Groom's Parents divorced, both remarried:
Mrs. Anna Anthony Johnson
Mr. Robert Becker & Mrs. Janelle Becker Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Robin Johnson
Daniel Becker
on Saturday, the seventh of July
Two thousand seven
at half past six
Golden Hills Country Club
Brighton, New York
Informal Bride and Groom Hosting:
Anna Johnson and John Smith
invite you to celebrate
their wedding
on Saturday, July 7th
Two thousand seven
at 6:30 in the evening
Golden Hills Country Club
Brighton, New York
Military Wedding:
Major and Mrs. Richard Carl Johnson
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Anna Evelyn Johnson
Captain Paul Neil Benson
United States Army
on Saturday, the seventh of July
Two thousand seven
at half past six
Golden Hills Country Club
Brighton, New York
There are many ways to honor a deceased loved one and may include: lighting a candle in their memory, a mention in the program, offering up a prayer, honoring the person in a toast or tribute, leaving an empty chair, flowers, a song, etc. If it is very important to you to include the name of a deceased loved one on the invitation, three sample wordings are found below.
Deceased Mother, Bride's Father Hosts
Mr. John Holmes
husband of the late Margaret Holmes
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Anna Michelle Holmes
Lance Michael Jamison
Friday, the seventeenth of July
two thousand and nine
at six o'clock
Northbrook Church
Jackson, South Dakota
Deceased Father, Bride's Mother Hosts
Margaret Holmes
in loving memory of the late John Holmes
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Anna Michelle Holmes
Lance Michael Jamison
Friday, the seventeenth of July
two thousand and nine
at six o'clock
Northbrook Church
Jackson, South Dakota
Both Parents Deceased, Bride & Groom Host
Anna Michelle Holmes
daughter of
Margaret and John Holmes, in blessed memory
Lance Michael Jamison
son of Mr. and Mrs. Sean Jamison
request the pleasure of your company
at their marriage
Friday, the seventeenth of July
two thousand and nine
at six o'clock
Northbrook Church
Jackson, South Dakota 
 RSVP Wording Must Haves: You need to know who is coming to your wedding~ especially if you're using a seating chart to seat guests. Plus, your caterer will need a final head count.
  • Name
    • M______________________
    • or
    • Name______________________
  • Accepts line (your guests are coming)
  • Declines line (your guests are not coming)
  • RSVP on or before date (2-3 weeks before your wedding date)
Depending on the style of your wedding and the tone what you want to convey, experiment with the wording. Here are a couple options:
_____ graciously accepts
_____ regretfully declines
_____ Yes! See you soon
_____ Sorry! Love to but can't
Please reply on or before July 12, 2010
 Optional or Additional RSVP Wording: (Meal Choice option...)
_____ graciously accepts
_____ regretfully declines
___ Chicken   ___ Steak   ___ Seafood
Please reply on or before July 12, 2010
The favor of a reply is requested
before the sixteenth of June
Will ______ attend
(Favorite Song option...)
Name ______________________
_____ graciously accepts
_____ regretfully declines
___ Chicken   ___ Steak   ___ Seafood
Favorite Song ______________________
Please reply on or before July 12, 2010
* This knowledge will help you choose your playlists for the DJ/Band, etc.
HAVE FUN with your RSVP Cards Turn them into keepsakes! Pose a question to your guests: ask them to write a message on the RSVP Card, i.e. wedding day advice. . . honeymoon advice. . . being married/getting married advice. . . You're sure to get a variety of funny, heart-felt and memorable bits of advice from loving family and friends!
Tips: To eliminate the deciphering of bad handwriting, number your guest list and correspond that number to the back of the respective RSVP card. And, make it easier on your guests by sending stamped, self-addressed RSVP postcards/envelopes.
Enclosure Card Examples:
Immediately following the ceremony
Golden Hills Country Club
5521 Bunker Lake Road
Brighton, New York
Reception Dinner
at six o’clock
Golden Hills Country Club
5521 Bunker Lake Road
Brighton, New York
Dear Bride & Groom,
In this day and age, where most communication is either emailed, instant messaged or voice mailed, a handwritten note takes on a whole new meaning that communicates IMMEDIATELY to the recipient:I have time for you! You are Special! You mean something to me!The handwritten note is a rarity and has the potential to be kept as a memento of something special. Consider a gift that just may be a true sacrifice on the part of the giver and in that event, the “Thank You” becomes a precious keepsake.So, take your time and write out your “Thank You” with sincerity, genuineness and gratitude. Do not think of the undertaking as a chore but rather as a privilege to acknowledge your guest and their gift.
  • About the Thank You:
    • Handwritten
    • Personal
    • Consider stationery to match your “Save the Date” or wedding invitations, personalized with your married name, monogram, or personal photo
    • No mistakes or misspells
    • Order plenty of extras in lieu of mistakes (you can always use them afterwards)
  • Who should write the “Thank You”?The Bride and Groom together (no, not on the same note).  Both of you share in the gift and both of you should partake in writing the notes.
    • Groom: Take your time and write only to family members and friends if you think your handwriting is bad.
  • To whom should the “Thank You” go?-Everyone who sent a gift -Everyone who gave a service to you: i.e. Hostesses, Reception Coordinator, Participants i.e.    Reader… -SPECIAL “THANK YOU” to i.e.: Clergy, Officiate, Parents, Maid of Honor, Best Man… Any professionals who exceeded your expectations
  • When should the Thank You be sent?As soon as possible
  • If the gift was given before the wedding: within 2 weeks If the gift was given at the wedding: within 1 month after the honeymoon
  • Contents of the “Thank You”:
    1. Mention the gift.
    2. Gratitude. If you like it, state that. If you do not like it, find something you appreciate about it (it is still a gift on their part).
    3. State how you plan to use the gift.
    4. Acknowledge any special effort presented by the giver: i.e. traveling a great distance
    5. Enclose with term of affection if possible or at least a “Kind Regards”
  • If the gift came damaged: do not mention that to the giver but take care of the problem with the store yourself.
  • If gift is cash or check: do not mention the amount but describe it i.e.: “generous” “kind” “charitable”
Dear Aunt Judy, It was wonderful that you could come to our wedding all the way from Florida. It was great to see you and we were honored that you came. The coffeemaker that you gave us is just perfect and we will think of you as we drink our morning cup each day. Thank you for your very thoughtful and generous gift.Love,
Rick and Ellen
  • Use your guest list with addresses intact and have it with you at “gift opening” so you can jot down the gift next to the giver
  • Keep meticulous record of WHO gave WHAT
  • Find a comfortable place to write
  • Use a high quality pen
  • Make a plan of how many notes you want written each day and then stick to it (i.e. 10 each weekday and 20 on the weekend)
Love Story
Taylor Swift
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