Ceremony Ideas

Once you have secured the site for your ceremony and have met with the officiant and/or his representatives you should have a good idea about ceremony requirements and guidelines. Working within those guidelines, you should be able to add your own personal touches with the goal of creating a beautiful setting that helps to create the mood for your ceremony to come. As guests arrive, the setting – candles, lights, flowers and music can create an impressive atmosphere. Instruct ushers to make friendly small talk with guests as they arrive and as they are escorted to their seats. This will help to put guest at ease. If yours is a small wedding, ushers can present a single flower to female guests along with a note from you welcoming them to the wedding. This welcome flower can also be presented with the programs. Consider having ceremony hosts greet guests at the entrance doors. Choose one from each family who is likel to recognize many of the guests as they arrive. Choose host couples to welcome your guests. Your parents may be mingling with guests at this point or may be needed with the wedding party. Guests hosts can welcome people in their name. If you have music playing as guests arrive and are seated, change that music – tempo or volume or both so that special music plays as the parents of the bride and groom are seated. More and more couples are choosing to have a card or note from them along with a single flower or small wrapped gift waiting in the pews for the parents as they are seated. Consider having a special song played as the groom and his best man take their places. As the processional begins, the music should break between the ceremony and the reception to allow for travel time. Arrange for a pre-cocktail hour at your reception site so that guests arriving early for the reception have a place to gather. You may wish to serve champagne or have a coffee bar set up. Stop in so we can discuss even more ceremony ideas that will make this most important day uniquely yours.


Your Guest List

We specialize in helping brides plan for and select the perfect invitations and wedding stationery. It is unlikely that you have organized and sent out so many pieces of a paper trousseau before so do allow our trained experts to help you. Traditional guidelines exist for wedding invitation wording and we can help you through the list. However, many couples are choosing to move away from the traditional and wish to incorporate their own style. We can help you with that choice as well. Know that our experienced staff has been helping brides to create the perfect invitation for years. Because the invitation sets the tone for the wedding you have planned, it is important that it be selected with care. It makes the first impression on the guests so we urge you to make your choices with the same attention you will pay to the rest of your wedding. Arriving at the guest list for your wedding and reception is one of the early tasks you will need to undertake. Here are some of the points you will want to consider as you create your guest list.

a. What style wedding are you planning? If you have chosen a formal, traditional wedding that will likely drive your choice of wording, paper stock and print style. If you are planning a smaller, more casual affair that choice can be reflected in the style of invitation you choose.

b. What size wedding are you planning? If you have a large event planned with a separate reception to which everyone on the guest list will be invited, you will need to have that number when you come to order your invitations. If it is to be a small intimate ceremony with a larger reception either that day or in another city, your paper needs will be different. Your budget will also help you decide on who and how many guests to include.

c. When determining the guest list, it is usually divided 50/50 between families of the bride and groom. However, many circumstances can change that division. Today’s older couples, who have extensive networks of their own friends, may choose to compile the list with 1/3 each for the bride’s family, the groom’s family and the couple.

d. Unless money is no object and you can invite the “world”, guests’ lists usually have to be “trimmed” once the first draft is compiled. You will want to consider some categories of guest that could move from invited guests to friends receiving announcements. Maybe the number of business associates can be trimmed, or friends you haven’t seen in a decade or the children of friends. Work together as a couple to create the list you can afford. Do keep in mind that the general rule on events is that one can expect 15-20% of those invited to decline - for one reason or another. Talk over the implications of that with one of our experienced event planners.

e. If you wish to limit the number of children attending, know that if you have invited friends who have children and have not included the children’s name on the invitation that is an indication that you do not wish them to attend. Family members and friends can spread the work that you are unable to accommodate children. It can be touchy for some friends and family so think through the implications before you send the invitations.

f. In addition to the guest list you have developed, invitations should be sent to the groom’s immediate family, the wedding officiant, the wedding party and their spouses or dates even thought they have been “invited” informally.

g. Depending on your politics, you may wish to consider sending an invitation to the President of the United States @ The White House in Washington, DC. You aren’t likely to have the “First Couple” in attendance, but you are likely to receive a greeting from and signed by the President and First Lady. That makes quite a keepsake. Our consultants can help you through the planning and purchase of your full paper trousseau. Stop in and let us show you the wide range of paper and print we have available for you.


Getting Out the Message

We encourage our brides to talk about their wedding plans so that we can help them with their invitations. Save-the-date cards are an important part of your plans, especially if the bride is inviting many out-of-town guests or if the wedding is being celebrated over a holiday weekend. Ideally, they are sent out as early as six months prior to the wedding. Because invitations offer guests a sneak preview of the tone and formality of the wedding, much thought should be given to the selection. Formal wording should be used for formal and church weddings. Individuality can be expressed by choosing unique sizes, textures, colors, overlays and ribbons. While announcements are nice to send to those friends who live far away, invitations are a bit more personal and give the recipient a chance to attend or not. Unless the wedding is an ultra intimate affair, a reply card with a self-stamped, preaddressed envelope should be enclosed. Optional enclosures can be added such as dinner preferences, or, if it is a weekend affair, guests may be given the option to choose activities they would like to attend. Invitations should be mailed ten to twelve weeks before the event, especially to guests that are far away.