We sent out the save-the-date cards for our mid-July wedding this past December and are having an engagement party the end of February given by a friend of my parents, who recently sent out his paperlesspost.com invitation. What do we need to be doing?
My parents have done much of the planning on their end. My bridesmaids want to wear their own dresses. Which may be fine, because my wedding dress is not conventional, but I’m not sure. My fiancé’s friends might wear blue blazers. This is an evening country wedding on Long Island with a rustic feel, but it is not hookey by any means. Mostly our friends, but my parents will have some guests of their own. I would appreciate your advice.
–Happy Bride, New York City
It sounds as though you’ve allotted yourselves ample time to relax between your wedding events. Since you sent out the save-the-date cards you have no doubt been hearing from any friend and family member who will not be able to attend your wedding due to prior commitments — babies being born, relocating to a new country, etc. It gives you space to add a few new names to your guest list, to whom you don’t necessarily have to send a STD.
The key here is to set up a wedding excel spread sheet with the names of your wedding guests and how many people they will be bringing, such as a new partner you hadn’t counted on. Your list for the STD mailing will be the names and addresses that are the core to your wedding guest list. Set up columns for the events: engagement party, rehearsal dinner, wedding, thank-you note, etc. Leave space to add more columns.
Putting the details of your wedding such as the itinerary, timeframe, dress codes, and bridal registry information on your wedding website will help to keep everyone in the loop. Register your wedding website on TheKnot.com to help guests find it.
However, setting up a timeline to remind when various vendors need to be paid or reminded of your wedding date is rather crucial. For each vendor from florist and makeup artist to video photographer and bagpipe player, you’ll need a confirmation date and reminder date. For instance, the caterer will need an exact headcount so many days out, and he’ll keep you to that when charging per person. Don’t forget, you’ll need at least a day to assemble the invitations, stamp, and seal them. If you have the envelopes first, you can address them ahead of time or hire a calligrapher.
The sooner you register your bridal registry the better. Otherwise you will start receiving candy dishes and similar knick-knacks that may not be useful in your life at this point. Take your time filling out a registry list at one or two stores that carry household item you really need for your apartment: Williams-Sonoma or Bed, Bath & Beyond. And perhaps another registry at either Michael A. Fina, Scully and Scully, or Tiffany & Co. for high market gifts from your parents’ clients and wealthier friends.
Your primary bridal registry should consist of things you use everyday. The items should be in a wide range of prices from something as useful as a measuring cup, whisk, or cookie sheet, to a mixer, juicer, toaster oven, or cookware and bakeware by Le Creuset or All-Clad.
Flatwear is good to ask for because a guest can give you one place setting or two. Glasses, plates, bowls, mugs, and other sets can be shared amongst buyers when one sends you juice glasses and another wine glasses. To start, you want at the very least either six or eight pieces in most of these sets.
Since your paperless post.com engagement party invitation has gone out already, you want to have thank-you notes on hand to whip off one at a time as the notices come in saying who has sent you what. You will have an option to have the store hold the items and send them all at once, or have them sent directly following the purchase. As soon as you’ve mailed the thank-you, mark it off on your excel spreadsheet, but remember not all guest to the engagement party will be sending a present, as they have the option of giving a combined engagement-wedding present.
Next step is to put ideas together for the wedding invitation, which should reflect the formality and style of your wedding. Ideally you would order your invitation ten weeks before the wedding, but check the printers schedule, if you are having them printed. Since guests already know the date, you can send the wedding invitations out between six to four weeks prior to the wedding date. For instance, for a July 11th wedding, mail the invitations no later than June 6th.
Before then you’ll want to know what your bridesmaids are wearing. The image to the left of your question is my favorite photo of a non-traditional bride with her bridesmaids. It works. The coordination may be in the fact that all the bridesmaids are friends and lead the same lifestyle. If you don’t think yours can pull this off, suggest that they all wear the same color dress and let them choose the style and length that suits them best. As your gift to your bridesmaids, give them all the same small evening clutch that will identify them further as being part of your bridal team. You can also choose the shoe or nail polish color for them to wear. At J.Crew weddings online you can find the same shoe in every size in one place.
The groomsmen put the whole look of the wedding together because they are the ushers, the go-to-person with the flower in his button hole who is in the know. Identifying them as your husband’s team can be as easy as having them all in navy blue blazers, as you said, but add dress khaki pants, certainly a wardrobe item most men wouldn’t mind having to buy, if they don’t already have them. Then your fiancé can give them all the same tie in one or two of the wedding colors. Most of the men will already have a decent white shirt and brown shoes.
Now you see, why in terms of continuity that having common threads, such as the wedding colors appearing throughout the wedding event help to bring the look of the wedding altogether. Think of the wedding photos. In choosing two colors it makes it easier deciding the color of the table cloths, groomsmen’s ties, bouquets, wedding cake, etc.
By adding something such as a Photo Booth, your guests will be able to make their own party favor momento to slip into their pocket or clutch bag to take home.
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