Does Your Wedding Require a Wedding Program?

wedding-program

photo credit: invitationcrush.com

Though optional, a wedding program can provide the perfect way to highlight and thank friends and family who contributed to the big day. Couples who are short on time or money may wish to forego this option, but remember that a simple wedding program doesn’t need to use many resources and many times, can be a simple DIY project for a member of the bridal party.  If you’re unsure of whether or not you should include it as part of your wedding stationery, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I having a religious or traditional wedding, with many guests who are of another faith or culture?
  • Am I having a large wedding, where guests are unlikely to know the bridal party?
  • Am I having a particularly long ceremony where guests will want to be prepared to wait a while?
  • Do I have many people to thank for their contributions to our wedding day?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then I would most likely recommend providing a wedding program for your guests.

There is no “one size fits all” template for creating your wedding program but typically, the cover or header will include the date and/or names of the couple.  It may also include the location and time of the ceremony, a picture, or design element.

Next, you’ll want to outline the Order of Events for your ceremony in the order they will include.  This includes processional music, greeting, readings, prayers, exchange of vows, ring ceremony, unity candle ceremony, pronouncement of marriage, recessional music, and any other ceremony music.

You may also want to use your wedding program to explain the meaning of traditions or rituals used in your ceremony; acknowledge loved ones who are in spirit, highlight the bridal party; or ask for audience participation in certain parts of the ceremony.  Remember, you can customize your program to your desires so get creative – add a quote, throw in a fun fact! – and make it your own!

3 Tips for Writing Thank You Cards

After the cake has been eaten, the champagne has been toasted and the guests have gone home, there’s still one significant task left to do and it’s arguably the most difficult.  I’m talking about sending the ‘Thank You’ cards.  It’s non-optional and it’s not a sexy job – just ask any bride or hostess who has endured it.  Hopefully the following tips (and a bottle of wine) will help simplify the process a little.

  • BLANK IS BEST.  Customized messages are the best messages.  Make the most of a ‘beautifully monogrammed on the outside but blank on the inside’ card to create a meaningful and heartfelt message of thanks.
  • SHORT AND SWEET. Remember, this task involves writing, and addressing, dozens upon dozens of personalized messages.  If ever there was a word of advice I could give, it would be to “K.I.S.S”  – Keep It Simple Sweetheart.  You don’t have to write a book to get your point across so keep your thank you cards sweet and to the point. If you’re writing a short novel for each one you’ll have carpal tunnel syndrome before you finish the first fifteen.
  • SIGN WITH THE TIMES.  There’s a good chance that you’ll receive gifts from the moment you announce your engagement until well after you’ve said your “I Do’s” – a note of ‘thanks’ should be sent for every single one.  Wedding gifts that arrive before your wedding date should be acknowledged immediately while thank you’s for any gifts received during or after the wedding should be sent within two weeks after returning from the honeymoon.  When signing off on your cards keep in mind that notes sent prior to the wedding date should be worded to include both the first and last names of the couple (ex. Mr. Christopher Michael Jones and Ms. Anne Davis). Thank you cards sent after the wedding can use the couple’s married (ex. Mr. & Mrs. Christopher Michael Jones).

If you’re finding yourself with a case of writer’s block, try to apply this method to the process:

  • Mention your spouse’s name
  • Mention the gift
  • Tell them what you enjoy about their gift or briefly say how you will use the gift

We want to hear from our readers:  Do you have more tips and tricks for sending thank you cards or getting over writer’s block? Leave a comment below.

Check out these related SocialBFly posts:

Guestiquette: Dress Codes Decoded

For many socialistas (and socialistos), the time between Thanksgiving and New Years means a social calendar on steroids.  As flurry after flurry of invitations to company holiday parties, winter wonderland galas, and cocktail socials arrive, you may be combing through your closet to find the perfect outfit.   But if, by chance, any of those invitations arrive with the fine print request for dress code adherence,  you may find yourself THAT much more confused and unsure of what to wear.

We recently took a random poll to find out which of the dress codes are the most confusing and shockingly it’s the most common. So if you’ve ever asked yourself, “What is the difference between white tie and black tie?” you’ll want to read this before you set out in search of the perfect holiday outfit.

In the world of dress up, Black Tie is probably the most common dress code requirement you’ll receive.  Ladies, this means long gowns or knee-length dresses.  Of course, an elegant black dress in either length is always a safe bet or maybe a crimson red gown will help make your holiday statement.  Then feel free to dress it up with a strand of pearls or a diamond tennis bracelet, shimmery satin clutch, an elegant updo and a pair of mouthwatering stilettos.

It’s black tuxedos for the gentlemen.  A formal white shirt, and bow tie, cummerbund, socks and patent shoes – all in black – completes the uniform.  Subtle accessories like an expensive watch or sterling silver cufflinks and personalized studs, to replace buttons, helps set you apart from the crowd.

Maybe your invitation reads: Black Tie Optional which only means that the gentlemen have the option of wearing a suit.  However keep in mind that it should still be navy or black and be accompanied by a white shirt and understated tie – I, however would beg to differ with wearing understated anything.  Ladies, no such luck.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a White Tie event, baby…you’ve made it!!  This event classification is usually only reserved for the most posh, sophisticated and expensive of events…think, Presidential Inauguration Ball – so your attire should directly reflect that.  What does THAT look like?

Well, regardless of your budget, it should look like A MILLION BUCKS!!  Ladies, you should immediately start to envision formal gowns, decorative beading, or exceptionally chic faux fur.  Gloves aren’t mandatory but are always a good idea in cold weather climates.  Complete the look with spicy red lipstick and elegant upsweep but keeps details like nail polish and makeup  simple.  Less will always be more at a white tie affair.

Gentlemen, your attire looks a little something like this – a black tailcoat, matching pants with two satin stripes running down the sides, a white tie, white vest and white wing-collar shirt, white gloves, black socks that are long enough to cover your shins and black patent dress shoes.  You may want to also consider wearing a overcoat if it’s cold outside but again, gloves are not a mandatory accessory.

Business Formal is probably most often reserved for events that occur during the week and in the early evening hours and all it means is nice office attire.  So ladies you’ll want to save sexy for the cocktail party and instead reach for a dressy suit or conservative dress.  Meanwhile men your suit options can range the entire color spectrum, regardless of whether or not it is light or dark.  I can’t say to the men enough how important socks and shoes are.  NOTHING is sexy about seeing you all prettied up and then look down and see sweat socks hiding inside of severely scoffed shoes.

Things tend to get tricky when Business Casual is the dress code, after all the type of venue and company can mean all of the difference between wearing a suit jacket versus a pair of jeans.  Regardless, your outfit should always say “I am a professional.  I am here”.  And whether female or male that statement should only be a dressier version of your casual clothes – so envision, a pretty sweater or blouse with khakis, slacks or a pencil skit for the ladies and a collared shirt with slack or khakis and a pair of loafers for the gentlemen.  I would encourage you to stay away from jeans but if you must, only wear the darkest pair you own and make sure they aren’t frayed, faded or ripped.

As I mentioned earlier you’ll want to bring sexy back if the invitation requests Cocktail Attire / Cocktail Attire Festive.  Chicas, have fun with it and pair a sexy pair of sandals with a flowy knee-length dress or tailored trouser pants, work your hair into a playful high ponytail or flirty curls, add some shimmer and lip gloss and strut your stuff!! 

Gentlemen, you may not have to wear a tie but you might want to consider concealing one inside of your jacket pocket until you can be sure.  Don a colorful button down shirt with a pair of dark tailored dress pants and nice soft or hard-bottom shoes.

Still in Doubt?  You have options.  You can always call the host to ask what is appropriate for the event or you can take my advice and overdress.  Who doesn’t want to look better than everyone else in the room and if asked, you can always fib and say you’re on your way to another party.

Happy Partying!!

Wording Your Wedding Invitations

Following the post, A Guide to Your Wedding Stationery, I received quite a few emails asking for additional assistance on how to word wedding programs.  Sounded simple, but what I quickly realized is that with the ever evolving definition of family, invitations can become very challenging for the DIY bride. So we’ve sought out the most tricky of situations and provided the appropriate wording for each.

IF YOUR WEDDING IS BEING GIVEN BY YOUR MOTHER & FATHER:

Mr. and Mrs. Patrick A. Jones
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Veronica Jones
to
Bradley Ian Joseph
at the Venetian Club
Saturday, the Fourth of October
Six o’clock in the evening

IF YOUR WEDDING IS BEING GIVEN BY YOU & THE GROOM:

Veronica Jones
and Bradley Ian Joseph
request the honor of your presence
at their marriage
(etc.)

IF YOUR WEDDING IS BEING GIVEN BY YOUR MOTHER & YOUR FATHER IS DECEASED: 

Mrs. Patrick A. Jones
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Veronica Jones
(etc.)

>>>If your mother has remarried, use her present husband’s name:

Mr and Mrs. Franklin C. Jamison
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Veronica Jones
(etc.)

IF YOUR WEDDING IS BEING GIVEN BY YOUR MOTHER & YOUR PARENTS ARE DIVORCED:

use your mother’s maiden name plus your fathers last name

Mrs. Rose Nelson Jones
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Veronica Jones
(etc.)

IF YOUR WEDDING IS BEING GIVEN BY YOUR FATHER & EITHER OF YOUR PARENTS ARE DIVORCED OR YOUR MOTHER IS DECEASED:

Mr. Patrick A. Jones
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of his daughter
Veronica Jones
(etc.)

>>>If your father has remarried:

Mr. and Mrs. Patrick A. Jones
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of his daughter
Veronica Jones
(etc.)

IF YOUR WEDDING IS BEING GIVEN BY YOUR DIVORCED PARENTS & EACH HAS REMARRIED:

Mr. and Mrs. Patrick A. Jones
and
Mr. and Mrs. Kevin L. Morrison
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Veronica Jones
(etc.)

When finalizing the wording of your wedding invitations, keep in mind that the examples above follow the formal traditional invitation wording used most often with religious or interfaith ceremonies.  If you’re not the traditional kind or planning a secular ceremony, consider including opening statements such as “With Joy in Their Hearts” or “Celebrate the Love of…”.  You might also want to consider changing traditional statements such as “request the honor of your presence at the marriage of…” to something more playful like “laugh, dance, dine, and celebrate the wedding of…”

Be as casual or formal as your wedding vision requires but remember not to get so caught up in the details that you forget that your wedding planning process is supposed to be fun. If you need assistance penning the text of your invitations or can’t think of suitable wording to fit your particular situation email us or leave a comment below.

ABCs of Wedding Planning: [A] is for Announcing Your Wedding

You’ve said “Yes” and naturally you’re on such a high that shouting it from the mountaintops with an amplified bullhorn seems the only appropriate way to announce to the world that YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED!! So it’s only fitting that the first step on your journey down the aisle is the announcement of your engagement.

Ways to Spread the Big News

Traditionally, snail mailed invitations were the only method of spreading the good news but with all of the advancements in technology (and creativity) variety is now truly the spice of life when it comes to the number of ways you’ll have to choose from when announcing your engagement.   The Bride’s parents were usually responsible for creating the wedding buzz but we’ve found that the couple is more often than not taking this task into their own hands or delegating to the MOH to help get the job done.  Here we’ve listed a few based on couple’s personality types:

STILL A TRADITIONALIST AT HEART? Announcing It and Wedding Paper Diva are just two of our fabulous twitter friends who specialize in awesome wedding stationary. Pay them a visit and tell them we sent you.

Sweet and Simple: Publish an announcement in your local newspaper.

photo courtesy of newspaper announcements

Writing your love down in history by publishing the details in a local newspaper is a sentimental and cost effective way making your big announcement.   Select and contact one or two newspapers in your area which will accept your wedding announcement submission.  Upon contacting them you’ll want to ask:

  • What forms are required in order to have your announcement published? Typically, you’ll be asked to provide the location and date of your wedding ceremony, the bride’s maiden name, your parent’s names and city of residence and sometimes, where you will live once you are married.  If you’re allowed to provide additional details about your wedding, consider publishing the names of your bridal party, how you and your fiancé met and where you will be going on your honeymoon.
  • Here is an example of a standard engagement announcement:
    • Mr. and Mrs. John Brown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania announce the engagement of their daughter, Miss Mary Jane Smith, to Mr. Ryan Edward Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Brown, also of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  An October wedding is planned.
      Miss Smith is a 2001 graduate from Drexel University and is a Marketing Director for KPMG.  Mr. Brown is 1999 graduate from Temple University and is a Financial Investor for PWC.

Socialbfly says: There are also many circumstances where the wording must be changed to reflect the situation of the bride and/or groom. There are many different combinations of situations that can occur so if you have a question about how to word your announcement, please contact us.

  • What size, resolution, and quality photograph do they prefer and can they accept for printing? Once you determine whether high resolution, full color photography is preferred over black and white, you’ll need to select a photo that best captures you and your sweetheart happy, smiling and in love.  Remember to include your name and phone number on the back of the photographs and enclose a SASE if you want the photo returned.  If you don’t have a photo that you think best compliments your announcement, consider scheduling a photo shoot.  If needed, the photographs from the shoot can be repurposed for inclusion on your save the date cards, invitations, and wedding programs and even a slide show.

Once you’ve received your publish date, you’ll want to tell everyone to pick up a copy.  What a sweet way to forever capture your wedding moment in time!

 

Tech Savvy and Not Afraid to Prove It:  Create a wedding website

The use of wedding websites as a method of announcing your engagement has become a fast-growing trend for several reasons:

photo courtesy of dex knows

  1. It doesn’t take long to register and create an online wedding profile using pictures, wedding details, and your personal love story.
  2. Most sites like the Knot, WeddingWire and Wedding Announcer, are free making it a cost effective and budget friendly alternative.
  3. Not only can you announce your engagement but it also allows for easy ongoing communication regarding your wedding plans to friends and family with the click of a mouse.

A simple email to friends and family asking them to check out the cool new website you’ve found only to learn that that cool new website is their favorite and newly engaged couple is a plan so simple, it’s Genius! Hit send and watch the congratulations pour in.

 

photo courtesy of your engagement 101

Life of the Party: Throw an Engagement Party

Should you have an engagement party?  Well consider this, gone are the days when couples must have one.  Sure, it’s a great way for both families to get better acquainted but if you are hosting your own, you’ll want to start by carefully assessing your budget.  It is, after all, another party and weddings quickly add up.

You’ll also want to consider your timing.  In terms of the wedding timeline, engagement parties should be planned about 3 months after the official proposal and about a year before the actual wedding date.  If your budget and timing can accommodate an engagement party, then let’s plan a party!!  If your timeline doesn’t allow for that you can also consider celebrating it 6 months before your wedding date but we tend to sway couples away from this decision – there will be several future opportunities to toast to your love leading up to the wedding ceremony.

If you decide to plan a party, you will again be faced with options as an engagement party can take the form of a backyard garden party, formal dinner, intimate home gathering and anything in between.  Regardless of your location, have fun!  The most important goal of your engagement party should be to create a friendly, warm environment that inspires conversation and celebrates you and your fiancé as a newly engaged, soon-to-be-married and super in love couple.

Sidebar: As with formal announcements, the engagement party was the honor of the bride’s parents but today, it’s no longer a faux pas to have a best friend or godparent fulfill this role.  If someone other than the Bride’s parents are planning the engagement party, she should speak with both sets of parents to ensure they are available for the event date.

The Etiquette Behind Announcing Your Engagement

There are some rules of…pardon the pun…[announcing your] engagement!

  • Whom To Tell First and When? If you or your fiancé have children from a previous relationship, you’ll want to start here and you’ll want to handle with care.  After all, imagine how daunting learning that there’s a new daddy in town or that all of a sudden you have older siblings can be.  You’ll want to allow plenty of time for the children to adjust to the change and often times, the old saying “time heals everything” will apply itself as long as there is unwavering love from the biological parent and unconditional support and an genuine attempt to bond from the new one.  Next up are your parents. Traditionally, the bride’s parents are notified first and the groom’s immediately thereafter.  There is no “right” way to tell your parents however whenever possible, face-to-face is always the best policy – it just adds that extra oomph to the excitement factor.  Regardless of how you announce it, the both of you should be present.  I usually recommend that Grandparents, siblings and anyone else who you know would be emotionally devastated at the idea being the last to know be notified. This includes close friends.  Once you’ve completed this roll call, my dear Bride, you are free to tell the world.
  • Who to Invite to the Party? If you decide to host an engagement party, take extra care with your guest list and never invite anyone who will not be invited to the wedding.  It’s just bad social relations.
  • Gifts NOT Required. Not only is it a bad idea to ever mention your requests for gifts on your invitations but it’s important to know that gifts aren’t “regulars” at engagement parties.  If you do, however, receive gifts, wait until after the event to open them and always send a thank you card.

Tell Us How You Announced to the World That You’re Getting Married.

From the moment you said I do you’ve been busting at the seams with the excitement that you’re getting married.  And for good reason – you’ve been fantasizing about it since you were a little girl marrying Barbie to the latest Ken doll (wait…was that just me?). So, don’t you think you should tell us all about how you made the big announcement? Did you throw a surprise engagement party for your guests?  Was a large fireworks display your way of telling the world you said “yes” (don’t laugh…it’s been done)? We want to hear your story.

Other Online Resources: Announcing Your Engagement at Work