Wedding Stationery Guide
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Congratulations! You’re engaged!! …Now what?

Your wedding will be a joyous and exciting time to be sure, but the planning process can be long and overwhelming to say the least. Our wedding planning timeline is meant to be a general guide for keeping you on track. Every wedding, and every bride, will be different, so feel free to modify this guide so it works for you! Based on tradition, we’ve given our guide a 1-year time frame, so adjust up or down accordingly.

Brides…Start Your Planning!

  1. Spread the Word! 

    Announce your engagement to your family and friends, either with an engagement party or by word of mouth. Consider placing an announcement article in your local newspaper. Create a wedding web site which you can continue to update as you nail down wedding details.

    • Tip: There are many wedding web site companies out there, ranging from free to costly. Be sure to shop around. Also think about whether you want the whole world to have access to your site, or whether you want to password protect it for only your guests.
  2. Imagine Your Dream WeddingWhether or not you’ve been dreaming about wedding day details since you were a little girl, your first step is to think about what you want out of your wedding day. Barefoot on the beach? Traditional chapel? Extravagent or intimate? Don’t get stuck on the details yet – just think “big picture” at this point. Share your ideas with your husband-to-be, and be sure to get an understanding of his wants and needs (it is his day, too!)
    • Tip: Start an “ideas” notebook you can use to jot down random ideas, rip out magazine articles and paste pictures or samples. Don’t “edit” now – just start grabbing anything that appeals to you. We’ve compiled an article full of ideas like this one if you are looking for inspiration?



  1. Pick a Date 

    Start by selecting the time of year that appeals to you. Next, you will want to check the caledars of your families to see what weekends you have to work with. If you already know the exact ceremony and reception sites you want, you will want to visit those sites and choose your date based on availability.

    • Tip: Other factors you will want to consider when picking a date are: weather, insect activity at outdoor ceremonies, sunset times and travel for guests (holidays are expensive).
  2. Get OrganizedExpand your “ideas” notebook into an official wedding file or binder. You’ll want to keep your wedding contacts, documents, appointment dates, etc all in one organized place for easy access.
    • Tip: Purchase dividers so you can split your folder into categories such as Budget, Guest List, Dress, Bridesmaids, Invitations, Cake, Flowers, Entertainment, and Honeymoon.
  3. Build Your BudgetIt’s not the most romantic task, but now is the time you will need to determine your wedding budget. The longer you put this very important step off, the more likely you are to spend beyond your means.
    • Tip: Now is also the time for that “who will pay for what?” discussion. Are you and your fiance paying for everything? Or are the bride’s parents covering the whole event? You need to know where the money is coming from in order to plan.
  4. Get the Guest List in OrderBefore you select your location but after you’ve built your budget, you will need to come up with a preliminary headcount. Start by organizing your own contact list into a format you like. Now ask for his list, his family’s list, your parents’ list, etc. and add them to your own. If you know exactly how many guests you can invite (for budget or capacity reasons), let your families know exactly how many guests they can put on their lists. It sounds harsh, but it will help avoid conflict later.
    • Tip: As you combine all the lists, create a color-coding system so it remains clear who wanted to invite that person. This way, you’ll know who to go to as you begin to gather addresses. You may want to include an additional column on your list to indicate who is a “Must,” a “Hopefully,” or a “Maybe” to be invited, which will help as you edit and refine your combined lists.
  5. Select your Location(s)You’ll want to make appointments at the locations first, and take your husband-to-be and a few friends for second opinions. You should know that reservations for possible locations are booked for more than a year in advance in many cases. If the site is available and you fall in love with it, ask for a copy of the cancellation policy, put a security deposit down, and secure the date.
    • Tip: Put some thought into the style and level of formality you want for your event. Think about your personalities, your style, and your budget. It is possible to transform that wild garden into a sophisticated black tie party, but it will take a lot more time and money than transforming an already elegant reception room..
  6. Wedding Registry TimeAs early as your engagement party, people will be looking to celebrate by buying you the things you want. Make it easy on your guests (while ensuring you receive the items you want and need) by signing up at multiple registry locations. It will be important to register for gifts in a wide variety of price ranges to appeal to the budgets of all your guests.
    • Tip: Especially if you do register early, make sure to update your registry often so there are always items available. And of course, be prepared to start sending thank you notes! We have several articles on thank you card etiquette to help you.



  1. Start Shopping!Gather a few beloved ladies and head to the wedding dress boutiques! You’ll get the best service (and the least amount of stress) if you call ahead and make an appointment. If you are dreaming of a custom gown, you’ll want to allow at least 9 months in most cases, for the creation of the dress. Alterations for a standard-sized dress are generally ongoing over a few months.
    • Tip: Try to stay open-minded and calm! It won’t kill you to try on a few dresses you otherwise wouldn’t touch. This is also a time where making your budget clear is crucial. Don’t run the risk of falling in love with a gown that is way beyond your means. You’ll end up way over budget or in a dress you consider “second best.”
  2. Consider Your ColorsGo back and look through your “idea book” and pay attention to the colors that have appealed to you consistently over time. You will want to keep in mind the location, style and season of your ceremony.
    • Tip: Picking your wedding colors can be an intimidating task, so our best piece of advice is to go with your instincts. You’ll be seeing a lot of this particular shade over the next year, so be sure to pick something that is either soothing or exciting, but not jarring or boring to your style sensabilities!
  3. Get the (Bridal) Party Started!Round up your favorite ladies and ask them to stand by you on your big day as part of your bridal party. Ask friends and family as early as possible. You will be able to enlist their help in the planning process, and they will be a great source of advice and support in the coming months.
  4. Interview VendorsThere are a number of service providers you will need to secure for your wedding ceremony and reception. This is not a time to make random decisions. Always shop around, meet the vendors in person, and ask a few questions before signing any contracts.
    • Tip: Ask friends and family for referrals to vendors they enjoyed working with. Have your interview questions prepared ahead of time and make sure everyone understands your budget so that can make it clear to you exactly what your money will buy. You will want to start looking for:

      1. Wedding Officiant – Religious or Civil
      2. Photographer and Videographer (two very different people)
      3. DJ or Live Band
      4. Caterer (be sure to schedule a tasting!)
      5. Florist (more information on flowers)
      6. Limo / Transportation Services


  5. Dress your Wedding PartyYou’ll need to consider your own style, as well as the body type, comfort levels and budgets of your bridesmaids as you start to shop for their dresses. Some modern takes on bridesmaid dresses include dressing each gal in a different dress but all in the same color, or selecting the same dress in different shades of the same hue for a “watercolor effect.”
    • Tip: Make it clear to your maids what they will need to purchase (and when). Communicating this info via email is totally fine. If fittings or other appointments are necessary, appoint your Maid of Honor to oversee the scheduling.



  1. Finalize the Guest List 

    Reconsider your budget and your ideal guest list number. Discuss any final additions with your family. Make sure you consider how many children and “plus ones” will be invited (if at all). Determine the final number of invitations you will need.

    • Tip: There will likely be discrepancies in opinions, and possibly tension here. Be prepared to deal with high emotions and do your best to keep cool. Read our tips on guest list special circumstances and how to deal with them.
  2. Invitations Time!It’s time to wrap up all the shopping for your wedding stationery. You will want to keep in mind your color scheme, the level of formality of the event, and your budget. You will most likely need: save the dates (optional), wedding invitations (with envelopes), thank you cards, and possible other personal stationery.
    • Tip: Ordering wedding invitations is a fairly complex process, especially long distance. A company selling wedding invitations online or over the phone should not only be able to send you free samples, but also have staff who are willing to help with wording and advice that are both proper etiquette and specific to your wedding needs.
      Shameless plug: The American Wedding has been serving brides for almost 90 years via phone, fax, mail and the Internet.
  3. Arrange AccommodationsOut-of-town guests and local guests alike may wish to stay at a nearby hotel. Call early to secure a special “wedding rate” and to reserve a room block, and be prepared to communicate lodging details to your guests on your wedding save the dates, invitations and/or web site.
    • Tip: Do your best to secure multiple hotel options in a variety of price ranges to appeal to different tastes & budgets.



If you followed Part 1 of our guide, dive in to Part 2 to ensure a smooth, no-stress wedding day.

You are well on your way to your big day! Congratulations. . . much of the hard work is behind you! Our biggest piece of advice is to relax and do your best to really enjoy the next few months. We hope the rest of this guide will help you get your final priorities and last minute details in order.

4+ Months Before Your Wedding

  1. Taste the Cake! 

    Call local bakeries, or contact your on-site event coordinator to schedule a cake tasting. Think about flavor, style, size, decorations and color so they’ll have a clear vision of your style and.. .taste!

    • Tip: Make the baker aware of any food allergies you may have or any flavors you definitely don’t like. Bring along your wedding planning binder so the cake is sure to match all those fabulous details you’ve been putting together! And, as always, make your budget clear BEFORE you dig in!
  2. Time to Plan the Honeymoon

    If you have your heart set on a dream location, the earlier you can start planning the better! With all the resources out there, be sure to check as many resources as possible! It may also be worth your time to call resorts and hotels to see if they offer honeymoon packages.
  3. Review Marriage License Requirements and ApplyContact your state to determine exactly what the requirements are where you live. In most cases, you’ll both need to get a complete physical exam including blood tests. You’ll also likely need to fill out some lengthy forms.



  1. Send Your Invitations Make sure the invitations are compiled, addressed, and postmarked as necessary. Remember that while you are free to add to your guest list as you wish, everyone who received a save the date must receive an invitation.
    • Tip: Pay attention to Postage. Take a sample to the Post Office and have them weigh and place postage on the entire package.
  2. The Necessities Do you need to rent or buy useful items for your ceremony and reception? Do not assume that the location will be providing everything (or anything!) Think about candles, flatware, china, crystal, etc. Call around to find the best deals for renting these items in bulk.
  3. Set the Schedule Confirm the arrival and departure times for the caterer, transportation services, band, deejay, etc. Get in touch with your event location to confirm that all your vendors will have access to the site when they need it. Give each vendor a day- of contact person and phone number. You don’t want them calling you.
  4. Order Wedding Favors While they are by no means a necessity. wedding favors can be a great way to show your appreciation for all the love and support you’ve received from your guests. Favors can be as understated as a homemade CD or as extravagant as charitable donations, but they should always be somewhat sentimental.
  5. Shop for Bridal Party Gifts Shower your gals with love and appreciation for all that they’ve done for you over the last few months. Practical ideas include a robe to wear while primping for the big day, or a piece of jewelry to wear with their bridesmaid dresses.



  1. Create a Perfect Playlist 

    Nothing can ruin your joyful mood than hearing a cheesy song you despise at your own party! Music selection is crucial to the vibe of your wedding reception. Choose your songs together with your fiancé, create a playlist, and share your selections with your Band or DJ early on. Have a discussion with him or her about how much (if any) liberty he or she can take with your selections.

  2. Plan Rehearsal Dinner

    Traditionally, the groom’s family hosts this event, but this is not always the case. If you’ll be taking the lead, select a location for your rehearsal dinner and make the necessary reservations & deposits. If you want to go formal and invite out of town guests, you may want to send an invitation by mail. For more casual events, an email or even a phone call will suffice.

  3. Plan Wedding Weekend

    Now is the time to make arrangements for your “Bridesmaid Luncheon, golf for the boys, and any other events prior to the actual event.

    • Tip: Research local events, attractions, sports games, and concerts for guests who may be looking for entertainment in the days before and after your wedding.
  4. New Address Order address labels with you & your future husband’s new name & new address. This adds a personalized touch when sending out your wedding thank you cards.



  1. Get with the Program 

    Design or place an order for your wedding programs. You’ve been smart to wait at least this long because things inevitably change right up until the last minute. Programs generally include the names of the wedding party and the names of the family of the bride and groom.

    • Tip: Add fun details like “your story,” bios for the people in your wedding party, pictures, your favorite prayer, etc. This is a great chance to make your guests feel more personally involved in your special day.
  2. The Perfect Fit Now’s the time to have your final gown fitting. Bring along your shoes, your veil, and a trustworthy friend for a second opinion. Don’t be shy — if there’s anything you’re not happy about, speak up now while there’s still time to make last-minute changes.
  3. Primping Practice Run Make an appointment to have a run-through on your makeup and hair. You do not want to see it for the first time on your wedding day! Be sure to bring pictures, magazine clippings, and other inspiration for your stylists.
    • Tip: Bring your veil and a picture of your dress.



  1. Final Count Call any guests that haven’t sent back their response card (there will almost always be a few and you do have every right to know whether they’ll be attending.) As soon as you track down your final numbers, give the final count to the caterer.
  2. Musical Chairs It’s time to complete the seating plan for the reception. Start with a diagram of the room and table sizes, and go from there.
    • Tip: Some brides choose to keep friends together, while others get such a thrill out of making connections that they make entire tables of strangers. It’s all up to you, but if you want people to be comfortable, keep their comfort in mind.



  1. Make any last minute seating arrangements/adjustments
  2. Confirm honeymoon reservations and pack!
  3. Confirm reheasal and wedding day plans with attendants – this is the best way to ensure that everyone arrives on time!
  4. Have a relaxing massage



  1. Get a Little Girl Time 

    Indulge in a relaxing manicure and pedicure.  Invite your wedding party and have a little champagne toast and “bridesmaids brunch”

  2. Pay Attention to Detail Lay out all of your wedding attire and accessories.  Shoes? Jewelry? Veil? Something borrowed and something blue? Gather all of those little details for easy access tomorrow and for peace of mind tonight.
  3. Run-Through Rehearse the ceremony with your wedding party and your officiant.  Make sure everyone knows what time to arrive and what their responsiblities are.  Then head to the rehearsal dinner and toast to your happy tomorrow!
  4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep



  1. Eat Too many brides forget this crucial step, and end up jittery, nauseous, or just plain hungry on their big day. Eat small bites of substantial food throughout the morning to keep you energized and feeling good!
  2. Primp When you go to get your hair and make-up done, wear a button-front shirt to avoid undoing all that’s been done. Suggest your maid’s do the same, or consider giving them matching robes as a gift.
  3. Reception Run-Through Send someone you trust (your maid of honor? your stylish cousin?) to walk through the reception site. Ask them to check that the flowers are in place, the table is set, and that the whole place looks fabulous in general. It will give you major peace of mind to know that everything is in order.
  4. Smile and Have Fun You’ve worked really hard, and now the time is here.. .enjoy it! If you are feeling happy and relaxed, so will your guests. An added plus? You’ll glow even more in all those last-a-lifetime wedding pictures. On this day, more than any other, you don’t want to sweat the small stuff!



AM3Destination weddings are not only fun to plan, but everyone involved remembers the entire affair for years and years to come. A destination wedding, contrary to belief, doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive or have to be held out of the country in an exotic location to be considered a success. Many picturesque and beautiful places are available in the U.S. that will make your dream destination wedding a possibility.

The Big Island, Hawaii

Why Here:

The Big Island of Hawaii is considered to be the largest in the surrounding chain of islands and is the first destination on this list. Why? The island offers an incredibly diverse topography and is the number eleventh climatic zone of the world, which means that the weather of this island is pleasant all year round.

You can discover a wide and beautiful range of backdrops around the perimeter of the island, as the landscape is pretty diverse and filled with lush forests, white sandy beaches with sparkling blue waters, and an expanse of green and colorful fields.

The Ideal Time:

Any time of the year is ideal for a destination wedding on The Big Island. Year round temperatures during the day can be in the 70s and the 80s, which is pleasant weather. The dry season starts from May to October, and rain showers even during the winter are short and far apart.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Why Here:

Believe it or not, but Bar Harbor will provide the most perfect and romantic backdrop to your destination wedding. Surrounded by dark-blue and sparkling waters, rugged coasts, and golden sand beaches, the breathtaking and mesmerizing waterfront of Maine can be mistaken easily for the Mediterranean. But the area has its own distinct charm, as well, with its iconic lighthouses dotting the landscape.

Up here, in the Down East, your destination wedding will be the talk of the town for months to come, what with Bar Harbor being the epitome of sophistication, style, and seaside chic, which can be incorporated with any idea to make the event trendier.

The Ideal Time:

For Maine, the busiest season is summer, as hordes of visitors visit the area. If you want to avoid the summer rush and peak prices, the best month for a wedding in Bar Harbor, Maine is September.   

Sea Island, Georgia

Why Here:

Have you always wanted to fly to the Caribbean for your destination wedding but couldn’t for some reason? Well, you do have a perfect substitute in the form of Sea Island in Georgia, which resembles the Caribbean in everything but one: absolutely no tourists! Two main resorts make up the landscape, which means that the “tourists” who will be there are more likely to be your own wedding guests.

In addition to the many world-class amenities and facilities offered, there are a number of activities as well that your guests can take part in, such as golf, horseback riding, tennis, boating, fishing, spa retreats, and much more!

The Ideal Time:

The most ideal time to have your destination wedding here is in the late summer and spring. Early fall is also good weather for a wedding. Don’t plan your destination wedding to Sea Island in June, however, as the hurricane season usually starts then.

Park City, Utah

Why Here:

Having a destination wedding at Park City will give you an opportunity to relish the majestic peaks and classic European sophistication that the Alps are best known for, all the while sitting in your own country. This location has quickly become popular for tourists and people planning their destination weddings, because a number of ritzy and high flying resorts have opened up, which has turned the former mining town into a glamorous location.

The Ideal Time:

The seasons when your guests will find the most to do are summer and fall, but the joys of ski season can be enjoyed starting from early December and lasting until the middle of April.  

Florida Keys

Why Here:

Florida Keys is a 110 mile chain of Islands that offer a laid back, almost tropical feel and allure of the Caribbean, but at a much affordable price, as well as being more convenient for your guests. One thing is for sure: You will be surrounded by beauty, nature, and wildlife indigenous to the Florida Keys, which will make your wedding extra special.

The Ideal Time:

The perfect time for a destination wedding in the Florida Keys is summer, as this is when the area is less crowded and more affordable. Avoid June through November, as those are the months when hurricane season is at its peak.

When it comes to weddings, there are a number of venues that can give you the inspiration to plan the most perfect day of your life, one which you will remember fondly for years to come.


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There are all kinds of celebrations that revolve around weddings, but for a bride nothing is more thrilling and memorable than her bachelorette party.  Bridal showers and engagement parties tend to be on the more formal side, but the bachelorette party provides the perfect opportunity to release all of that pent up pre-wedding energy.  It’s a time for fun and frivolity, for making great memories and really kicking off the next stage in the bride’s life with a bang.  To get the gears turning and the creative juices flowing, check out these great themes and tips for the most unforgettable bachelorette party, and be sure to check out the American Wedding website for additional ideas.

Theme: Escape Back to Nature

If you’re a very nature-oriented person, then planning a bachelorette party or even a weekend getaway to the great outdoors could be just the ticket.  If a tent and sleeping bag isn’t exactly your style, then glamping might be a good option.  Hook a large tent up to a generator and have electricity and even air-conditioning or heat – maybe even rent a couple of cabins.  Hiking, horseback riding, even tree-top obstacle courses are all fun ways of enjoying everything nature has to offer.  Create individual spa sets for each member of the party to relax with at the end of the day.

Theme: Pop the Cork

Do the bride and her friends like to hang out with a nice bottle of wine?  If so, a wine themed party would make for a fun and sophisticated celebration.  If the bachelorette party is being hosted at someone’s home, set aside a space that you can decorate to invoke the feel of a winery.  Of course, you could opt for the real thing and get everyone together to visit a local winery for a tasting and then dinner.  Think of renting a limo to get everyone around in style.  If you live near a serious wine region, think about taking the entire day out to tour several different wineries for the full wine country experience.

Theme: Burning Rubber

There’s nothing like a road trip to bring people closer together and spark a feeling of adventure.  Take separate cars or, if there’s a sizeable group attending, rent a van to keep everyone together and the party going all the time.  You can plan the road trip around a particular theme, such as visiting various national parks or certain towns known for pottery, wine, or exciting nightlife.  Wanting a true adventure?  Pick a route at random and just see where the road takes you.  Half of the time, the best road trips are ones that aren’t centered on rigorous planning, something that could be a true breath of fresh air for a bride who’s a little worn out on the whole planning thing.

Ideas, Games, and Activities:

Scrap It – Have the bride and everyone attending the party bring in pictures and mementos that they can turn into a scrap book.  Set it up to show the bride’s life so far and the friendships that everyone shares with one another, and have special section dedicated to her relationship with her soon-to-be husband and their future life together.  Make sure to include funny and humorously awkward photos that will be fun to laugh and reminisce over with a few cocktails.

Go Glam – Plan a fun makeover session for the evening in which all attendees invoke a certain period, such as the 1950s or 1920s.  Go all out with makeup, hairstyling, and even outfits.  Play music from the period and even mix up drinks that were all the rave then.  Have fun with creating flashcards with lingo from the period, with each person picking a card and then everyone else trying to guess what the word or phrase means.

Co-Ed Party – Bachelorette parties don’t always have to include just girls.  Get a bunch of girls and guys together and have an all-out battle of the sexes.  Pair individuals off or go group against group in fun trivia games or even Olympic style events.

Pranksters – set up a list of friends to prank call, but add a twist to it by writing down various things that have to be said or asked on scraps of paper and having each person pick from a hat or bowl.  Spice things up by making the person down a drink for failing the task, laughing, or breaking character.  If you’re out somewhere, assign dares for each person to undertake.  If they fail, they take a shot; if they succeed, everyone else or an individual challenger takes a shot.

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As we approach the fall season, we are keeping all the fall brides out there in mind. When the air turns crisp and the leaves change colors, there is something magical in the air. It makes sense for a couple to choose this time of year to celebrate the love they share.

However, choosing the season and, more importantly, date is no easy task. You have a lot to consider, and you want to pick a time of year that you enjoy the most. Before you send out any save-the-dates, plan showers, and book venues, you need to know the date of your ceremony. So take your time and weigh your options.

Choosing the right month for your wedding is important, and there are many benefits to each month. If you’re considering a fall wedding, these are some of the top advantages:

• There are plenty of unique themes to choose from.
• The cooler weather means no bugs and happier guests.
• Fall is the start to the holiday season—the happiest time of the year!
• The foliage of the leaves provides stunning scenery for the ceremony and/or photos.

Destination Wedding
After you are sure of the date of your wedding, next comes another tough part—the location. Like for her sister the summer bride, fall weather allows for many different locations that make it a picture-perfect season for a destination wedding.

If you thought that destination weddings only happened in the summer or on a beach, think again! There are so many great places that have near-perfect weather and stunning foliage that provide a great landscape for any wedding.

Don’t believe us yet? The following is a list of why you should consider a destination wedding:

• They are budget-friendly.
Contrary to what most people would think, destination weddings fit any budget. You can go as big or small as you desire. A lot of resorts and venues will offer discounts and package deals to help keep your costs down. Plus, you save on decorations, as your location will serve as natural décor!

• You can start the honeymoon early.
What’s not to love about this one? Arriving at your destination will probably serve as a sense of relief from all the pre-wedding stresses. You can let loose and enjoy activities in the days leading up to your ceremony. Whether you stay in that location for the honeymoon or leave after the ceremony, you will be on vacation time as soon as you arrive.

• You get quality time with loved ones.
Since destination weddings require a weekend, most guests will get there at least a day early. This allows for you and your spouse to spend time with loved ones before you leave for the honeymoon.

• It’s easier.
If you want a totally hands-off approach to your ceremony planning, don’t worry! Most resorts have amenities and services that handle as much as you like, from hair and makeup appointments, to the food. With these options, you can usually customize and choose how hands-on you want to be.

• There will be no family feuds.
Families are less likely to argue and fight when they are not at home. Destination weddings provide both sides of the family with a neutral environment.

Need help to brainstorm some great locations for a fall wedding? Don’t worry! We have provided you with five popular destinations:

1. Asheville, North Carolina
Located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville stuns in the fall as the temperatures lower! For those who enjoy sweeping mountain views and a rich array of leaf color, you are sure to enjoy planning a wedding here!

2. Aruba
Calling all beach bums! Just because you want to get married in the cooler months doesn’t mean you can’t still get married on the beach. Fall is a great season to visit Aruba, as the summer crowds are gone and the island sits well below the hurricane belt, so you are safe from hurricane season.

3. Hot Springs, Virginia
Virginia is known for some magnificent views of the annual leaf change. Take in the yellows, oranges, and reds while nestled in a 3,000-acre valley. The best time for the foliage is late October to mid-November.

4. Hudson Valley, New York
Hudson Valley is just a quick 90 miles from Manhattan, and it does not disappoint! This is a great place to take in autumn’s color show. The valley is surround by a forest and will make a beautiful setting for a wedding.

5. Yosemite National Park, California
This one is for all the nature lovers out there! Yosemite National Park will make a breathtaking backdrop for your ceremony. The best time to experience the wild landscape and fall foliage is late September to early October.

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logoWeddingHeroYou may only have eyes for each other on your wedding day, but you will probably want at least a few of your closest friends and family to celebrate with you. Our friends at Destination Weddings has put together some insight they’ve gathered over the years to share with us. Invitations and save-the-dates are a big part of any wedding planning process, but they become even more important for a destination wedding. These serve as preludes to not only a ceremony and reception, but to a vacation as well. Standard wedding invitation etiquette hasn’t changed much in the past century, but destination weddings are unique events and thus have their own set of etiquette guidelines. Our list below is a great starting point!


1 Amorcito Corazon Studio

When to send them: Nine to twelve months in advance

What to include: Location, date and any other firm details you have at that point.

Your save-the-dates are the first official communication about your wedding plans and should be sent early in the planning process. For destination weddings, guests will need to budget for the trip, schedule vacation time at work and arrange for childcare, so the sooner you can get the information out the better. Of course for last-minute couples who do not have the leeway to give their guests ample time to plan, it’s perfectly fine to send your communications as soon as you can. With full-service planning companies such as who have personal wedding website and e-save-the-date capabilities, it’s never been easier or more fun to communicate with your guests! On that note, many couples are now opting for the green option of email save-the-dates, which allow you to get the information out quicker and in a more streamlined fashion. However, anything that you publish on the save-the-date card can’t be changed later, so be sure to confirm your exact date and location first. Likewise, once the save-the-date cards have been sent, you can’t delete people from the guest list, so don’t hit send until you’ve triple checked your attendees!


2 Maureen Pacheco Photography

When to send them: Eight to twelve weeks prior to the event

What to include: Exact location and time, resort information, RSVP card (or link), itinerary of events and dress code.

If the save-the-date was a hint at your wedding plans, the invitation is the full reveal. Aside from giving all of the essential information, the invitation will also set the tone for the wedding. If you are planning a laid-back beach ceremony, choose a casual design. But, if you are hosting an elegant fete in a European castle, opt for a formal look. But, don’t let the style do all the talking. Some guests may find packing for a destination wedding confusing, so take the guess work out of it (and lighten their baggage) by stating the dress code for the ceremony and any other weekend events. It’s also helpful to mention if there will be a local reception or party after you return from the destination. Some guests may want to celebrate with you without hopping on a plane, thus information about a nearby get-together may make their RSVP easier for them.

Shower invitation


When to send them: Four to six weeks prior to the event

What to include: Time, date, location and gift information.

Shower invitations are perhaps the easiest and most common place for invitation faux pas to occur and it gets even trickier for destination weddings. Since not everyone on your initial guest list will be able to travel for your nuptials, a pre-wedding shower allows them to be able to join in the celebration beforehand. Here, it’s important to suggest the type of gift you are expecting. Generally, wedding and shower guests want to know what the couple would like to receive, rather than guessing. This is especially true for a destination wedding when the couple may prefer a donation to their honeymoon or travel fund instead of another toaster. Take advantage of crowdfunding on your wedding website where your guests can contribute towards fun wedding weekend or honeymoon experiences and let them know the details of how to do so!

Inviting people to stay in touch


When to let them know: 3-7 days in advance (enough time for them to set everything up!)

What to include: name of the app or hashtag and directions on how to use it

For those guests that won’t make the full-length trip, it’s a great idea to invite them to follow the festivities digitally! There are many apps nowadays that can facilitate this for you. From free long-distance texting to photo sharing and live streaming, there is no need for your friends at home to miss out on the important moments. Apps such as WhatsApp and Viber do wonders for those without international data plans to help stay in touch via texting and calling while away. Set up a hashtag where they can find all of the candid photos from the big day on social media, or set aside time after the ceremony to skype with them to make them feel included. However you choose to share your special day, they will be grateful to be a part of it.


For you amazing Destination Wedding, check out:


For amazing Destination Wedding Invitations, check out:




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So you’re recently engaged? Congratulations! Being engaged is one of the most exciting times in your life. You’ve probably been dreaming about this moment since you were a little girl. There are parties and dresses and, at the end of it, you get to marry your best friend. However, while it is fun and exciting, there is a lot of planning that has to go into creating the perfect wedding day.

Decisions have to be made, and it can get to be very overwhelming and stressful. One way to make sure that you don’t get in over your head in wedding planning is to know what you need to do, when you need to do it, and how to stay organized throughout the process.

If you need a little help, check out this timeline to help keep you on track and help you make sure your big day is everything you’ve dreamed of:

12-18 Months to Go

Create a Budget

Creating a budget to pay for the big day can be one of the most stressful parts of the whole planning process. However, stressful as it might be, having a budget that is decided on is one of the most important parts of your planning, and it needs to be done very early on in the process.

You don’t want to start looking at dresses and venues, and fall in love with something that you can’t afford. You want to sit down with everyone involved and determine how much that you have to spend altogether, based on your families’ contributions and your own contributions.

Make sure that you are realistic about the budget. After you have a total budget, you need to decide what you want to spend it on. Some people want to have a ton of flowers at the wedding, which can cost a lot. That might not be important to other brides. There are a lot of wedding calculators that you can find online that will help you see how much you should spend on each part of the wedding.

Create a Guest List

The second thing that you need to do once you have a budget in place is to create a guest list. You can’t start planning a wedding if you don’t know how many people you need to account for. Sit down with your significant other, and all of your family, and ask who needs to be invited.

It’s better to have a large list of people, and then narrow it down, than not invite everyone you want. After you know who you want to invite, make sure that you create a document with all the names in it. You’ll want to include their addresses, RSVPs, and any food allergies or special requests in there, as well.

Choose Your Wedding Party

While the budget and guest list can be somewhat stressful to create, deciding who is going to be in your wedding party shouldn’t be. This should be a fun and easy part of the planning. Basically, as soon as you get engaged, people want to know who is going to be in the wedding. Think about the most important people in your life, and decide who you want up there as you marry your significant other.

Set a Date

Some brides know that they want to get married in June or sometime during the winter. Some people don’t have a specific time when they want to get married. Talk this over with your significant other and decide on a general timeframe in which you want to get married. It’s better not to decide on a specific weekend until you can talk with a venue. They book up fast, and you need to be open when deciding on a specific date.

Determine the Location

Again, some people know they want to get married in their hometown. Some people know they don’t want to get married in their hometown. Decide on a general location for the wedding. It might be where you are living now, your hometown or somewhere that is special to you and your significant other.

Create a Wedding Folder

You should definitely create a wedding folder so that you have a place in which to put everything. You can keep all of your contracts and information all in one place, and it will be much more organized.

Start an Inspiration Board

Head over to Pinterest and start looking at wedding pins. Make sure that you keep any ideas that you see in one place so that you can later find them. Getting inspiration is a big key to your wedding. Find things that you like, and keep them so you can incorporate them into your big day. Consider opening up your board to your wedding party or those who are helping you with the planning, so that they can get a better understand of what you want your wedding to be like.

Hire a Wedding Planner, If Needed

If you are thinking about hiring a wedding planner, you want to make sure that you contact them early. Not only do wedding planners book up fast, but they also have a lot of connections and relationships with venues and vendors that can help you. Don’t think that you have to have a full-service wedding planner, either. You can get a wedding planner for just day-of coordination to help make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Book a Venue

Like wedding planners, venues are going to book up fast, so, after you have your budget and guest list, you should start researching venues. When you have your location, start searching local venues. You also need to decide if you want to have everything at the same place, or if you are going to need both a ceremony and a reception venue. After you do some research, narrow down your choices of your favorite venues to just a
couple, and contact them. Pick the one that you like the best, but also ones that work with your timeframe, budget, and guest list.

8-12 Months to Go

Hire a Photographer

This is something else that books up fast, so you need to start your research as soon as you have a venue set. Some people think that they can skimp on a photographer or videographer, but that’s not the case.

As exciting as it is, your wedding day will probably end up being a little hazy in your memory. Without quality photos and videos, you won’t be able to remember all the little details and won’t be able to relive the day. While you won’t be able to keep the food or the flowers, your photos and videos are things that you get to keep forever.

Find your Dress

You need to think about whether you want a DJ or a live band at your wedding. It might be that you want both, or want them at different parts of the day. Make sure that you look into a couple of companies before you pick one. Also, see if you can check out some of their gigs beforehand so you know what it will be like at your wedding,

Book a Dj or Band

You need to think about whether you want a DJ or a live band at your wedding. It might be that you want both, or want them at different parts of the day. Make sure that you look into a couple of companies before you pick one. Also,see if you can check out some of their gigs beforehand so you know what it will be like at your wedding,

Create a Wedding Website

This is another fun part of the planning process. Create a wedding website so you can get all of your information to your guests in one location. Make sure that it notes the date of the wedding, the location, any travel information and accommodations, the dress code, and anything else you want your guests to know. You also want to make sure that it is personable, and reflects you and your significant other.

Book a Florist

Get in touch with your florist sooner, rather than later, to make sure that they can accommodate what you are looking for. It might be that the flowers that you fell in love with on Pinterest aren’t going to be in season when you are getting married. Take visuals with you when you go to meet your florist so that they understand what you are looking for. You don’t want to end up with something that you don’t want or like.


Most people think that registering is just a fun part of planning, where you get to go around stores and just pick anything that you like, but you need to have a little more organization than that.Generally, you want to have twice as many potential presents listed as you do guests, and you want to make sure that you have gifts that are in all different price ranges. Also, you should register at three different places to give your guests different places and varieties from which to

Decide on an Officiant

You and your significant other need to decide on someone to officiate the ceremony. Some couples decide on someone who is special to them, whether it is a minister, family member, or friend. Whomever you decide on, get in contact with him or her and make sure he or she is available that day. Also, go over what type of ceremony that you are looking for with them beforehand.

Reserve any Extras you Might Need

If you are going to need anything extra, like chairs, tents, or lighting, you want to go ahead and book those so you can make sure that you’ll have them available when you need them.

Take Engagement Photos

Make sure that you take your engagement pictures ahead of time so that you can use them throughout the wedding process. You can use them for save the dates, wedding announcements, and at the showers or the wedding itself.

6-8 Months to Go


Send Out Save the Dates

Not everyone sends out save the dates, but they are nice for your guests. This is especially important if you are going to be getting married out of town or on a very busy weekend. Make sure that you send them out with the date and the location so that your guests can plan accordingly.

Order Your Bridesmaid Dresses

Dresses can take a long time to get ordered and altered, so make sure that you give yourself enough time to get them all.

Start Planning Out Your Honeymoon

You and your significant other need to decide on when and where you want to go on your honeymoon. If you are considering going out of the country, you need to make sure that your passports are up to date, and you have all the shots that you need.

Order a Cake

Wedding cakes take a lot of time and effort, so bakers will normally only do so many each weekend. Make sure you contact a baker and order your cake with time to spare.

Block Off Hotel Rooms

If you are having an out of town wedding, or you are expecting a lot of out of town guests, you need to block off rooms at a hotel so they know where to stay. Hotels will normally give you a small discount, too.

4-6 Months to Go

Get Your Invitations


Start looking at what type of invitations that you want, and go ahead and order them so you can get ready to send them out.

Book Your Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner

The rehearsal dinner is normally taken care of by the groom’s family, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what is going on. Make sure you have everything reserved and ready.

Find an MC

You are going to need someone to keep the wedding running. Sometimes, your DJ will cover this duty, but not always. If not, decide on someone who is responsible, and who is comfortable in front of large crowds.

Decide On a Hairdresser/Makeup Artist

The rehearsal dinner is normally taken care of by the groom’s family, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what is going on. Make sure you have everything reserved and ready.

Three Months to Go

Decide On a Menu

This should either be done with the venue or your caterer. Decide exactly what you are going to have on your menu. Make sure that you have options for everyone, like vegetarians and people who have food allergies.

Pick Your Music Selections

Go over all the music that you want played at the wedding, and make sure that you get it to your DJ or band in time for them to get the right versions.

Finalize Your Ceremony

Talk with your officiant and decide on everything that is going to happen and everything to be read.

Purchase the Rings

You want to go ahead and purchase your rings so that you have time for any resizing or engraving that you need.

Two Months to Go

Mail Out Invitations

Generally, your invitations should be mailed out 6-8 weeks before the wedding, with your RSVP deadline 3-4 weeks before the date.

Reserve Tuxedos for the Groomsmen

Decide on a tuxedo for your groomsmen, and anyone else who is going to be in the wedding, and get their measurements to the tux shop

Submit Your Wedding Announcement to the Newspaper

If you are going to put your wedding announcement in the newspaper, go ahead and do it. If you are including a photo, check with the publication first to find out any rules that they might have.

One Months to Go

Get Your Marriage License

Generally, it doesn’t take long to get your wedding license, but you want to give yourself extra time, just in case. If you are changing your name, consider getting multiple copies to have for all of the different places you will have to go.

Create a Shot List for Your Photographer

Sit down and decide exactly what photos you want on your big day. You might want certain photos with family members and friends, but your photographer doesn’t know that, and you will probably forget during all the craziness. Get this list to your photographer and go over it ahead of time.

Confirm and Finalize with Your Vendors

Contact all of your vendors and make sure that everything is ready to go

Week of the Wedding

Finalize Your Guest List

You should have all of your RSVPs in, and you need to get your guest list to everyone that needs it, like your venue and caterer.

Arrange Final Payments

Make sure that you have all of the payments ready, for the day of the wedding, to give to your vendors. Make sure that you give them to someone responsible to take care of so you don’t have to worry about it.

Create a Timeline for Everyone Involved

Create a wedding day timeline for everyone who is going to be in place that day. You also might want to include phone numbers on there so you can get in touch with whomever you need.

Day of Wedding


Don’t worry. You’ve put a lot of time and effort into this day, and all your planning will soon be worth it.

Have Fun

This is one of the biggest days of your life. Make sure you enjoy it.

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