How to Plan Your Wedding: When To Do What (Part II)

The last blog post I wrote was all about how to plan your wedding — from moment of engagement until the final steps. What I didn’t include were things to know for the day of and miscellaneous things that come up whilst planning your wedding. That’s what I’m going to do here!

For the Day

  1. Put other people in charge! Your wedding party and friends and family should be able to help you with some last minute things that need to happen. Also, be sure that you don’t forget any of the top 5 things people forget! This means that you should make sure you have things like safety pins, bandaids, and tissues. But also make sure someone takes care of your personal stuff (like your camera).
  2. Someone will need to: set-up the guestbook, give money to vendors (and be sure to tip the vendors!), transport flowers, hold emergency items, put out the favors, and place cards with the info on your online photo album website!
  3. Remember to EAT during the reception!
  4. Clean-up & Recycling. Make sure you put people in charge of cleaning up and/or recycling. This should be planned for in advance, but someone in the wedding party should make sure it gets done — especially if it’s not something the venue does for you. By the way, consider donating leftovers to a foodbank.
  5. Stay calm, have fun, and enjoy the moments! Here are some tips for staying calm & tips to make sure you enjoy every moment.

Miscellaneous Wedding Planning

I referred to some of these aspects of wedding planning in the Part I, but here’s everything compiled:

  1. Children-free weddings:
    1. whether to have children or not
    2. how to tell your guests that their children may not attend.
  2. Registries:
    1. what to do about wedding gifts (generally – for both you & the guests)
    2. tips on the gift registry
    3. how to tell people where you’re registered
    4. how to ask for gift cards or money instead of gifts
    5. how to deal with anonymous or unlabeled gifts
    6. what to do if you need to return or exchange a gift
  3. Wedding insurance
    1. All about wedding insurance
  4. Showers, Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties, Rehearsal dinners, Afterparty, Honeymoon: While this blog focuses on wedding planning, it’s important to think about these aspects of the pre- and post-wedding. Some families and friends assume that all five will take place. Others don’t find them necessary! You should do what YOU want!
  5. Staying together the night before: Consider whether you want to stay together the night before the wedding or not. Tradition says you should stay separately, but some couples find it more soothing to be with the love of their lives on one of the most stressful nights.
  6. Thank you notes
    1. when to send thanks especially when gifts come before the wedding date
    2. tips on writing thank you notes!
  7. Being charitable: How to get married AND be charitable at the same time!
  8. Wedding photos: Many times, the best part of the post-wedding is seeing the candid shots that your friends and family took. But a lot of times they’re all over the place on different websites. Make sure all your guests’ upload their photos into ONE online photo album! Give out the website info at the wedding, sign up in advance so The Wedding Lens can send reminder emails, and write the info into your thank you notes! Either way, make sure your photos are easily accessible, viewable, and downloadable!

Remember to check out our Green Wedding Tips and our Cheap Wedding Tips to help save your wallet & save the environment!

Still have questions? Email me! natasha@theweddinglens.com

~ Natasha

Wedding Question: When to Send Thanks?

 
 

A Sample Save the Date from Wedding Paper Divas!

 I am getting married later this year, but we’re already getting some of the gifts we registered for! Should we send thank you notes now, or wait until after the wedding?

Good question! First of all, thank YOU for writing thank you notes!

The “rule” is that you should send a thank you note as soon as you receive a gift. That way, there’s not a lot of time that passes between the gift giving and the thanks — which is very much appreciated by the gift givers! Plus, this will make it so much easier on you. You won’t have a billion thank you notes to send at one time if you stay on top of the thank you cards.

Also note: you should handwrite the cards! Don’t use pre-printed thank you cards. It’s not thoughtful and it shows less gratitude.

Remember to check & re-check who sent the gift; the last thing you want is to thank the wrong person for the gift!

Also, if you’re looking for what to write in a thank you note: greet the guest, express gratitude for the specific gift, give an example of what it will be used for, and thank them for attending or for thinking of you. Wedding Paper Divas suggest that if you do not like the gift, say something like “Thank you! I will think of you everytime I use it.” Just remember, someone spent money on you and that is very kind!

Hope this helps!

~ Natasha

What Goes inside a Wedding Invitation?

I just received a beautiful wedding invitation. But, of course, it doesn’t just include an invitation telling me where and when the wedding is. So what DOES go in a wedding invitation?

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

First, the envelope addressing: Make sure you address it to who you want to go. Seems simple, but if you want your friend John to take his girlfriend, Jane, make sure you address it to both John and Jane. If you want Julia to bring someone, but you’re not sure who she’d like to bring, you should be sure to address it to Julia and Guest. Otherwise they won’t know and shouldn’t bring someone! (Remember my tips on invitations and guests!)

Second, the invitation: Include an invitation to the ceremony — date, time, and location. If there’s a reception following, say “reception to follow.”

Third, the reception card: If the reception is at a different location, add in another card that tells your guests where the reception is and what time it starts.

Fourth, the response card: This is the little card that you get back that lets you know whether your guests will be able to come! If you want (or your venue requires it) you can also put the menu options on the response card so you can tell your venue in advance how many of which dish you will need. You can also be creative with your response cards by sending, for example, blank cards that let your guests say what they wish. Be sure to include a deadline!

Fifth, optionals: If you want, you can include a map and directions of the locations. You can also put in ideas for accomodations (especially if you have a room block at a local hotel). And, of course, your website! The website can keep everyone up to date on everything.

Be sure that you do NOT include registry information, though you can put it on your website — so take that for what it’s worth. (No pun intended)

Did you include anything else with your invitations?

~ Natasha

What Information to Include on your Wedding Website

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

You have decided, for many reasons, that it’s time to start a wedding website, so you found the site you want to use and you’ve signed up…. now what? Of course, you know you need to put on your names, the date, and the location of the wedding, right? What else goes on your wedding website?

  1. Times and locations of both the ceremony and reception, especially if they are in different places.
  2. Hotel information (especially if you have room blocks!) and include a price, if possible so that guests have an idea of the variations of hotels.
  3. Car transportation or taxi phone numbers to get to/from hotel to the site of the wedding (and reception, if they’re in different places). Directions are also helpful.
  4. Registry information (though it can’t go on your invitation, it can go here!)
  5. Other event information (eg. rehearsal dinner, etc)
  6. A story of how you met and/or photos of you two! People love to read more about the couple.
  7. The wedding party – with brief description/bio – so that people know who’s in the wedding and how they’re affiliated. This will also be helpful if people have questions that they want to ask your wedding party but not you!
  8. Your link to an online photo sharing site (like The Wedding Lens!) so that people can post pictures before and after the wedding. It’s fun to share photos!
  9. You might also include an RSVP feature so that people can RSVP via the internet (and save a little paper!)
  10. Any other updates or information that you think guests should know about but that you may have been unable to include with the invite.

What did you include in your website?

~ Natasha

How to Tell People Where You’re Registered

Despite all of the blog posts on gift giving and gift etiquette that I have written, I just received word that I never explained the best way to ask for these gifts!

Photo from chatiryworld

Photo from chatiryworld

So here’s the scoop. The old tradition is not to put the registry information in the invitation. But it IS okay to put it in the invitation to a wedding shower. I’m not clear on why it’s ok for one, but not the other. Either way, some people still feel uncomfortable with including gift info in the invitations and some people do not have wedding showers. If you do not want to include the registry information with the invitation, here are some options!

  1. Website. Create a website for your wedding. (I’ll write a post on this soon — but The Knot has free wedding websites). List the website on your save the date or invitation. For example “for more information, check out our website…!” Then, on your website, list the places you are registered. This is also where you can let guests know you prefer cash or gift cards, by writing something like “no boxed gifts.” Or, you can tell people not to get you gifts or that you’re prefer that they donate to something in lieu of gifts.
  2. Word of mouth. When people are ready to get a gift for you, they will ask someone else where you’re registered, especially these days. Your long lost cousin might ask your aunt — and hopefully your mom or dad will have told your aunt where you’re registered. Basically, make sure everyone close to you knows.
  3. Question & answer. Just because you can’t volunteer that information doesn’t mean you can’t answer the question! When Uncle Andy asks you where you’re registered, tell him!

So what if no one asks or you dont have a website or your guest doesn’t have access to the website? Well, I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do if you’re not including the info with the invitation. Truth is, if someone wants to get you something from your registry, they’ll ask and they’ll find out. If they have something else in mind for you, they will probably get you that instead. And, if they’re at a complete loss and don’t feel like asking, then maybe they will end up giving you cash or a gift card — so you can go out and get what you want from the registry!

Regardless of what you end up receiving, be sure to say thank you!

Good luck!

~ Natasha

Tips on the Gift Registry

gift-registry

While I have previously provided some advice for alternatives to the gift registry, I realize that registering for gifts has become a part of standard wedding planning.  After all, it makes it easier on guests to find things that the couple definitely wants. So, with that in mind, here are some tips on how to register for gifts AND things to keep in mind.

  1. Talk about what you and your spouse need before hitting the shops. It will make the registering process easier and less time consuming.
  2. Register for cool things, not just spoons and forks. Yes, you need spoons and forks, but people won’t be satisfied by giving you a place setting. Come up with other things you want and need AND that you would be happy giving as a gift.
  3. DO NOT register for things that you cannot afford to replace.  One night, that plate and maybe a glass is going to fall to the ground and break. I know, it’s sad. But you will have to replace it and if you cannot afford to replace it, you have no business asking someone else to buy it for you. Does that mean you should be able to afford the whole register list? Of course not! But be realistic, not greedy.
  4. Think of items that will work for different price ranges. Some people can afford more than others.
  5. Register for the people you are, not the people you hope to someday be. In other words, if you don’t drink, do not ask for wine glasses because someday you might have a big dinner party and want to serve wine. Seriously.
  6. In terms of kitchen items, remember: space is limited. Your kitchen is not infinite and you won’t use everything, especially if it’s in a storage closet.
  7. Don’t register for things you don’t need, just to fill the space on the registry. It seems obvious, but it’s easy to get carried away with that little barcode reader gun.
  8. Let your guests know where you registered – with invitations, on your wedding website, when asked, etc.
  9. SEND THANK YOU NOTES. Always. Please.

Do you have tips for how to register for wedding gifts?

~ Natasha

What To Do About Wedding Gifts

Most couples are registered somewhere, some couples request money, and other couples say that your presence at the wedding is a present.  I’ve looked at registries and thought: 1) Wow, all the good stuff is taken! 2) I know the couple WAY too well to be giving them a fork.  3) I can’t believe they registered for gifts, after saying how much they hated registries.  But what alternatives are there?

If you are a bride and groom, you have a few options. 

  • You can do an alternative registry. One specific type of alternative registry is Wishpot which allows you to create a registry of anything you might want! You can also work with a bank or other business to have people make contributions to your downpayment on a house or a sofa. 
  • Register with a charity, so that your guests can give monetary gifts to a cause of your choice!
  • Ask people to contribute to a honeymoon fund.  If you do that, then set up a way so that people can easily contribute  and be assured that you will use the money for the trip and not for a trip to the grocery store.
  • Ask for money.  You might decide to ask for money because you have everything you need now or you aren’t sure what might be needed or you’re traveling to or from the wedding.  If you decide to ask for money, there are tactful ways to do so.
  • Ask for nothing and make it clear to guests that you’re serious about it.  You might have everything you need now and you don’t want to ask your guests to give you money for a future purchase.  If that’s the case and people insist on giving something (because they probably feel awkward giving nothing), then maybe look above & register with a charity.

If you are a guest, then you might want some ideas that don’t involve cash or a registry!

Giving wedding gifts does not have to be awkward, so long as you remember that you’re all friends or family.  No one wants anyone else to feel bad about asking for or giving a gift. After all, it’s a wedding celebration!

~Natasha