Wedding Stationery Guide
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12 MONTHS OUT

  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.

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4+ MONTHS BEFORE

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.

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YOUR WEDDING DAY

  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!

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