Order your custom Wedding Invitations and Accessories, Birth Announcements, Holiday Cards, Bar and Bat Mitzvah announcements, even Birthday party, Valentine and Christmas Cards at Sunbelt Invitations. We hope you enjoy your visit, and find the invitations, accessories and announcements you're looking for. Please feel free to contact us by phone or email if you have unanswered questions or need assistance.
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Here are some interesting articles and information to help you plan your wedding.
|Wedding Workbook||Planning a Wedding||Choose a Wedding Site||Attend a Bridal Show|
|Wedding Reception||Affordable Getaway||Virtual Invitations||Honeymoon Guide|
|Marriage Proposals||Photography||Wedding Planner||Wedding Vendors|
Do you need help creating the perfect custom, printed or printable invitations in the proper format for that formal or special event? Here are some suggestions and advice from us on invitation etiquette.
We've put together a list of resources that will make your special occasion special.
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Planning a wedding should be fun and exciting. However, if you don't do the proper research and stay within your budget things can go bad in a hurry. What you need is to keep things well organized and simple. Here are some tips to help make sure your weeding plans go smoothly.
1. The first thing you should decide is how big and complex you want your wedding to be. Do you want a small wedding? Or would you rather have a big wedding? You need to make sure both you and your partner are on the same page and agree on things. Prepare to make some compromises.
2. Decide on a good theme for your wedding. This includes how people will dress, food, location, and decorations.
3. How much can you really afford. There is no reason to go all out on a wedding if you cant afford it. This could lead to some really big problems with your families and you as a couple.
4. Do you want to hire a wedding planner? Wedding planners are certainly great and do a good job. But there not necessary either. Be sure if you do hire one that they don't get you spending allot more money then you originally planned.
5. Don't wait to long to get your plans in order. This is something that you must start taking care of. Start booking locations, getting invitations ready, and find your dress. Planning a wedding takes time and work. You need to set a date and get at it. If you don't you might find a year or two go by and your still not married.
If you follow some of these basic tips I think you will find things to along smoothly. Soon you will be off on your honeymoon with your sweet heart.
We recommend that if possible, both bride and groom will attend all interviews. Always carry a note pad and pen to write down important information and questions that may arise during your interview.
Actually, choosing the wedding site that is just right for you, is a lot of fun. Before you start looking, you should brainstorm. As you do, take to consideration your budget, your wedding theme, the atmosphere you want at your wedding, your interests, and your guests.
The location is one of the most important aspects of your wedding so consider carefully what will make yours a special, one-of-a-kind wedding event. You have many option including a do it yourself wedding (friends and family contributing of course.) Following is a list to get you started. Ideas for wedding sites include:
You can probably come up with some more ideas. Unless the location is your top priority, choose the dream location and a few alternative sites that will be just right for you, so that if necessary you can be flexible. Some location are natural for weddings and offer all the amanities you need. Others rent the space and leave the rest to you, still others are free but you have to make all the arrangements. So, consider your budget, consider the work involved, consider your guests and choose the site that will afford you your dream wedding. The information you gathered, is actually a wonderful preparation for your interviews.
Full Service Wedding Site and Facilities
These are venues that can take care of every little detail regarding your ceremony and reception. You'll still need to attend to your personal needs. You'll need to attend to the attire, wedding accessories and wedding gifts for each other, family, and wedding attendants.
Sites Available on a Rental Basis
Many wedding sites that are available on a rental basis. Some provide the space, others provide tables and chairs too while still other provide linens, tableware, flatware and glassware as well. There are also rental based sites that have a working relationship with selected caterers and are familiar with other wedding service providers and vendors.
Public parks, beaches, gardens etc... make great wedding sites and are perfect for do it yourself weddings. They offer you the opportunity to express yourselves in an unconfined atmosphere. Most are free to use but you'll need to do the majority of the planning and contracting. Your first step is to find if you need any permits and or licenses. If you do, obtain them.
Many apartment complexes, condominums, mobil home parke and gated communities have club houses for their residents´ use. So whether you choose to have your wedding in a home or a club house, you'll need to be in charge. Do recruit your family and friends and assign them appropriate tasks. Most will be honored to be asked and excited to be a contributing part of your wedding.
How to Find Wedding Sites
Once you have chosen the type of wedding site you want for your wedding, do the following:
What to Expect of the Representative of the Facility:
Questions For The Representative of the Facility:
Please note that not all questions apply to all. Each question will indicate what venue(s) it is directed to.
fs = full service - rb = rental basis - ps = public site
* If you plan not to include children in your reception, do not alienate guests who'd rather bring children than miss your wedding. You should provide a babysitting service for such guests.
Once you made your choice, you need to receive a written contract signed by the person in charge, and dated. The contract must include all of your responsibilities and all of the responsibilities, warranties and guarantees offered by the facility. Caveat Emptor—Buyer beware! Read each contract very carefully, on, under and above the line. Be sure that you understand it fully and agree with all the terms. If you have questions, concerns, or are uncertain, contact them for clarification. In most parts of the USA you have 3 days to examin the contract and if you need to, cancel with no penalties.
You can find local Bridal Shows being held anywhere from malls to hotels, convention centers and wedding facilities. You can expect to see anywhere from 10 to over 100 wedding vendors, and every single one of them is competing for your business. What to do? How to start? What to bring?
If possible, find out which vendors will be participating in the show before you attend. This will help you map out your plan of attack. Knowing who will be there in advance, as well as maybe having a layout of the show itself, you can seek out the vendors you really want to talk to, and those that aren’t so important to you.
Wear comfortable shoes and leave your coat in the car. Many shows do not offer coat check and it can become quite a burden to lug your coat, your purse, your brochures, and everything else around! This is why you need to…see next item!
Bring someone with you! Bring your Mother, a Bridesmaid, and yes, your fiancé may even enjoy himself! They can help you with collecting information and would be happy you included them in the planning process! As for your fiancé? Just tell him that he can win free stuff and eat free cake!
Other than some cake samples, and possibly appetizers, most Bridal Shows will not have food or drink available to purchase. Make sure you eat before you go, and bring a beverage.
Don’t take too many people with you. They’ll wander off and you’ll spend all your time trying to keep everyone together instead of focusing on your goals for the day.
Bring address labels. I recommend printing out labels on your home computer with your name, address, phone number, email address and wedding date. I also recommend opening a free email account that is designated strictly for all the wedding info you will receive and then cancel them email account after you have booked all of your vendors! You can also rent a P.O. Box to handle all the wedding brochures and mailings you will receive, and then cancel the PO Box when you no longer want the mailings. However, just remember, these vendors will use the information you provide for them – if you don’t want sales pitch phone calls or mailings, simply do not give out your phone number or address! You may miss a great deal though!
Bring the following items: pen, notebook, date book, checkbook, credit card and a large tote bag to carry everything in. Many vendors offer special pricing if you book with them and leave a deposit with them the day of the show. Still not sure if this vendor is truly the one you want? Ask if they would be willing to extend the special price to you for any length of time after the show. Most vendors won’t have a problem working with you. If they say no, it makes you wonder why you need to do it RIGHT THERE AND THEN! Say thank you, and pass on by. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
Before you place that deposit, be 100% sure that you have read and agree to all the details on their contract concerning the description of what it is you are signing up for and their policies. What sounds like a great deal won’t be so great if you later find out the DJ takes an hour break and your cake doesn’t come with a stand!
If you plan on attending the Fashion show portion of the day, make sure you arrive at least an hour early. Seating is often first come, first serve, and if you’ve brought all 12 of your Bridesmaids along, you want to guarantee good seats for everyone!
If attending the Fashion Show isn’t so important to you, then use that time to visit with the vendors. Since the majority of brides will be watching the show, you will have a better chance to actually talk to a vendor and it will be a much quieter atmosphere.
If you are provided with a “Bride” sticker, don’t be embarrassed to wear it! It can become confusing for vendors to identify everyone that attends, and if they know you are the bride, you are more likely to get special treatment!
When filling out any contest entries or door prize drawing slips, print clearly! Who would want to miss out on winning a free limo for their wedding because no one could read your phone number?
The best place to take notes is on the actual brochure handed out by each vendor. That way you connect a face to your notes, to your brochure, and it will be easier to remember when you make your follow up calls.
Most shows will charge a nominal fee for attendance. Make sure you pre-register if the option is available, and don’t be too embarrassed to call the company hosting the show to see if they offer any discounts on admission.
Enjoy yourself! It’s just a bridal show! Nothing HAS to be set in stone that day. Many of the bigger shows will be crowded and noisy – don’t let this deter you! Use this time to gather information and enjoy any of the special offers extended to you. You are the Bride; you make the rules when dealing with vendors. It’s YOUR day, not theirs!
Great deals can be found when you know how much money you are working with. It really doesn’t matter how small your budget is for the reception because all budgets can be accommodated.
Your reception budget should consist of approximately 30% of your wedding budget or more. Most wedding receptions are so expensive due to the fact of providing meals, decorations, hall rentals etc.
For the purposes of this article, I will give two different examples of common receptions and an idea for cutting costs on the food and drinks as well as give you the best tips for throwing your reception on a budget.
Renting a Hall
If you prefer to rent a hall or space for your reception, you must consider many things before making this decision. You will have to think of the prices for the hall rental, the cost of using their servers (most halls include servers in price and they are not negotiable), decorations, flowers, meals, drinks etc.
When you wish to rent a hall for your reception there are some things that the hall will include in your rental that you can’t avoid paying for such as: servers, decorations, and wine. However, some halls will give you the option to pick and choose the extras that you want.
Depending on the type of hall that you choose to rent, the costs can vary greatly. For example, if you rent a large hall, you could pay more than if you rented a legion hall.
You might also want to consider that if you are starting with a small budget, that renting a hall might not be worth the effort and money, or it may leave you with less options.
There are a few tips when renting a hall that could keep a great deal of your costs down. Let’s take a look at them.
Hosting a wedding reception at a hall does not have to cost through the nose if you know how to get around the basics which I have just mentioned.
Most people would like to host their reception at a reception hall because they feel that it is more elegant than hosting it outdoors, however, this is not always the case. Sometimes, hosting your event outdoors is more fun and it is also much cheaper.
Daunted at the prospect of saving for your honeymoon or romantic getaway? Tackle it like any other project--one step at a time. Here are a few saving tips the two of you can put into action:
Decide how much you can afford to spend on your honeymoon. Divide the cost by the number of months until the big day then try to set aside that amount every month.
Once you've figured the cost of your accommodations and transportation to the destination, set up a daily budget for your honeymoon.
Always use credit cards whenever possible in international destinations; credit card companies shop for the best currency exchange rates and can save you money.
Don't forget hidden costs like airport taxes, tips, taxi rides, and departure taxes, which can be as high as $30 per person.
Look for 2 for 1 dining coupons and cost-savings booklets at tourism offices.
Visit a local market and pick up some fixings for a picnic lunch. The experience is memorable, and the meal is easy on the budget.
Budget your meal money. Consider splurging on one extravagant meal then cutting costs for other meals. Consider eating at local establishments away from the tourist scene. Costs are often considerably lower.
Don't forget to mention to your accommodation that you're on your honeymoon, even if you didn't select the honeymoon plan. Hotels often honor honeymooners with a bottle of wine or a fruit basket.
Never forget that the best things in life are free--whether that's a walk on the beach or a moonlight kiss.
From purchasing the garter to choosing the photographer, brides (and grooms!) are online and as the Internet’s many advantages have begun to permeate most every aspect of wedding planning, a single question has been popping up more and more: can I use the Internet for my wedding invitations? As a wedding website designer I’ve answered numerous emails from brides asking if an email announcement to visit their wedding website can not just supplement their wedding invitation but actually replace it. It’s an interesting idea, one with the potential to save a great deal of time and money. However, one big question remains. Is it acceptable? Considering the potential benefits, it’s certainly a question worth asking, and some compelling arguments can be found on both sides.
First, consider the many purposes of a wedding invitation. Most obvious is the intent that the recipient understands who is invited. Also important is the inclusion of maps and directions, RSVP information, reply cards and essential wedding details. Furthermore, the wedding invitation is an expression of the couple’s personal style and can serve as a memento for friends and family to remember the event. Considering all these essential functions, the question, then, is whether the traditional wedding invitation can be replaced by a simple email invitation to visit the couple’s site online. Certainly, a creative and informative wedding website can serve the majority of the purposes mentioned. In fact, wedding details might be more specific and useful on a website given the amount of space that can be afforded an entire page devoted to each subject. One can easily give details and links to important wedding locations, schedules, maps, etc. Also, if the bride and groom are able to create their own site or find a designer they like, they can certainly express their own unique style and theme on a wedding website. But what about the empty space in grandma’s album just waiting for her granddaughter’s wedding invitation? Here is where an online invitation falls short. One solution, however, could be to purchase or make a wedding CD with the website on it. Technologically hip grandparents can treasure this memento like they would a written invitation (even if it doesn’t go well in an album).
Still can’t decide? Consider some of the pros and cons of the “virtual invitation”:
For those who are thinking the whole “virtual invitation” is too drastic a change I suggest a compromise. Many couples are finding that combining the modern with the traditional is the way to go until all their friends and family have caught on to the Internet. The couple’s web address can be included in the traditional invitation so their guests can have two sources for wedding information. Also, written invitations can be sent with instructions to RSVP online thus saving the couple time and money for postage and reply cards (with just a slight bend in tradition).
In the end, whether it’s traditional, modern or modern-traditional, what matters most is that the bride and groom have the wedding they desire. The best advice I can give is don’t worry too much about tradition and etiquette; rather, spend the time planning the wedding of your dreams and maybe make some traditions of your own along the way.
While the traditional vows endure, the ways to celebrate a marriage have changed right along with the travel industry. Today's honeymooner may be looking for value, adventure, or variety and searching for a getaway that's as exotic as a stay in a private European castle or nearby as a local bed-and-breakfast inn.
One constant is that couples are willing to spend money on a honeymoon - an average of $1,402 per couple compared to $421 spent annually on regular trips according to the Travel Industry Association of America. Young couples, age 18 to 24 years, spend the most on honeymoons, averaging $1,873. And as many as one-third of all honeymooners spend over $2,500 for that once-in-a-lifetime trip.
And while the move is back toward the traditional wedding and honeymoon associated with earlier generations, today's newlyweds are a far cry from the travelers of earlier days. "They're looking more for luxurious and romantic places, like the little out-of-the-way small hotels and inns and private castles," points out Sylvie del Giudice, spokeswoman for Les Romantiques Hotels. "They're ready for a different experience. It's the experience of a lifetime. They are choosing to go further away on their honeymoon to a different environment and that includes everything: a different language, culture, and food."
Today's couples are finding new ways to celebrate their union, creating honeymoon trends that are being felt throughout the industry.
Started in Jamaica but spread throughout the Caribbean and Mexico and into some other regions as well, the all-inclusive vacation is becoming ever more popular with honeymooners - and their families. Their "one price pays all" policy makes the all-inclusive trip more and more convenient for parents purchasing a honeymoon package as a gift for newlyweds. Air, transfers, meals, drinks, watersports, and even tips are included in the tab at all-inclusive resorts.
Getting married on your honeymoon is also an increasingly popular concept in the Caribbean, where resort packages provide everything from wedding cake to music. At some properties like SuperClubs (http://www.superclubs.com), guests can enjoy a free wedding, including the minister's fee and marriage license.
The devaluation of Canada and Mexico's currencies mean an increase in honeymoon business for financial reasons. Canada is also gaining popularity as a honeymoon hotspot. Couples looking for a white honeymoon find it in ski areas such as Banff, Whistler, and Jasper, and those seeking big city culture seek out cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. The current strength of the American dollar against the Canadian also makes our northern neighbor an attractive honeymoon destination. "Canada is extremely popular as a honeymoon destination," explains Judy Love Rondeau from the office of the Canadian Consulate General in Dallas. "Your money goes 40% further in Canada. Also, honeymooners like the cities of Montreal and Quebec City because they are like going to Paris without going so far and spending so much money."
For some couples, a chance to enjoy the romance of a big city and the elegance of fine dining makes major cities a honeymoon destination. A recent study by the American Society of Travel Agents showed that the most popular city was Las Vegas. Orlando, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were other top choices.
While some couples choose to vacation close to home, conserving both time and money, others see a honeymoon as a chance for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. For these travelers, it's the time for a fantasy journey to destinations whose very names mean romance. For these lucky honeymooners, the American Society of Travel Agents has found that Great Britain is the top European destination, followed by France and Germany.
"We see more and more honeymooners going to Europe versus the Caribbean," says Les Romantiques Hotels' Sylvie del Giudice. "People are getting married older, and they're more interested in the culture and the experience and the discovery of Europe. Or they want to go back to Europe. I deal a lot with people who went to Paris once and now want to show it to their spouse.
"They usually combine romantic cities like Paris, Florence, or Rome with a resort escape like the Riviera or Normandy or the Amalfi coast of Italy so they have the best of both worlds," explains del Giudice. "We have also noticed that honeymooners are becoming more and more adventurous and discovering new areas."
Looking for new European experiences is also bringing more honeymooners to less traditional destinations. Destinations like Portugal, Malta, and Turkey are gaining popularity.
The current trend toward adventure and eco-tourism vacations hasn't overlooked the honeymoon industry. "We have seen a number of newlyweds go on dude ranch vacations as well as our other trips like the cattle drives," says Dave Wiggins, president of Boulder, Colorado-based American Wilderness Experience. "It's the kind of thing for couples who are looking for something inspiring, something they can come back and say 'guess what we did on our honeymoon.'"
Although Wiggins has sold many honeymooners rugged adventure packages, ranging from a 10-day safari in Alaska to sea kayaking in Baja Mexico to river rafting along Idaho's Salmon River, many honeymooners favor soft adventure. "The lodge-based vacations tend to be more popular with honeymooners because they have a bed and roof over their head and a hot shower," points out Wiggins.
"We're seeing more and more soft adventure travel so we have more deluxe lodge-based options," points out Wiggins. Whether honeymooners overnight in a mountain cabin or in a seaside tent, however, he explains the popularity of adventure travel with today's travelers. "At a resort there's a lot to pick and choose, but you can find yourself being a spectator and watching the action go around. On an adventure trip, you're smack dab in the action. There's no sitting back and watching the action go by in front of you - you are the action on an adventure tour."
Finding that special quality is up to the individual honeymooners themselves. With the myriad of choices and a selection of atmosphere that ranges from white-knuckle adventure to hedonistic laziness, there's something for everybody.
Proposing marriage to your beloved is a very big step. You get the ring, but then you don't know when, where, or how to actually pop the question. You want it to be an event that both of you will remember for a lifetime. Some things to consider are listed below.
Take the time to research and decide on the perfect way to propose.
A person’s wedding can be one of the most important times in their life. They will have memories that they want to treasure forever and then pass on to their children. Wedding photography helps them do this. Having pictures taken at the wedding and then at the reception can capture those precious memories in freeze-frame and help you keep them forever.
Pictures are important so you want to be sure you get good photos, high quality photos that you can enjoy forever.
Most people will have a wedding book designed out of the collection of the best wedding photos. Usually the photographer will do this for you. You will then have a beautiful scrapbook from your wedding to hold your memories.
Choosing a photographer is a very important step in your wedding pictures. You want someone experienced that will do an excellent job for you. It’s possible that you may be on a budget and price may be a factor as well.
There are several things you are going to want to look for with the most important being the quality of the work. It would be great if you could find a photographer that you had seen in action, perhaps at a family member or friend’s wedding. The hardest part of choosing a wedding photographer is that you sign a contract and agree to pay before you have ever seen the photos. That’s how it works in the world of wedding photography; you must make your decision based of faith in the photographer. So how do you make a decision like this?
First, you are going to want to look at referrals. Ask your friends or family members who did their weddings and start compiling a list. You will also need to verify that these people are still photographing. Ask everyone you can about their wedding and their wedding pictures. Most people will even let you see their wedding photos and you can check out the photographer’s work.
Aside from samples from people you know, you can ask the photographer himself about samples. You can call the photographers on your list and do an interview over the phone or make an appointment to meet in person. This is your chance to ask the photographer any questions you may have such as their experience, what training they have and what different types of photography they have studied. If you are doing an in-person interview, the photographer can show you portfolios of samples of their work. If doing a phone interview, that ends well, you may want to go in person and see a portfolio.
When you have chose the photographer you think you want to use, you will have to schedule several appointments. The bride and groom, the bride’s parents and anyone else who may be taking part in paying for the wedding should be present at these meetings regarding the wedding photography.
At these meetings, you will discuss price, payment schedule and possible deposits. Next you will discuss the plan for taking the photos. Many people also get video and digital photographs now. Do you want these? Will your photographer be able to provide these? Will there be extra fees?
Many people have specific plans as to what they want pictures of (e.g. bride and father coming down the aisle, bride and groom, rings exchanging, the kiss, the bridesmaids, etc.) This is your chance to get all this written down so that the photographer is sure to get all the shots you want. Other people give their photographers a little more freedom to decide what pictures will be good to take.
Be sure to ask any questions you have about this important event. Your wedding photography is important to you so don’t hesitate to be clear about what you want.
Did your wonderful husband-to-be recently “pop the question” and now you are wondering what on earth you have gotten yourself into with trying to plan a wedding? Don’t panic! I was there once and I remember the first few weeks of having no idea what to do or where to start. Our wedding date was only five months away and I was completely clueless as to what type of ceremony I wanted, what colors I liked, who would officiate, where the wedding would take place, and on and on the endless unknowns went. There seemed to be an enormous amount of details to figure out, and time was running out.
Before you do anything, make up a “wedding planner.” This was literally the best thing I did and it saved me so much hassle and allowed me to have a beautiful, stress-free wedding day. There are all sorts of lovely pre-made wedding planners available, but I recommend you make your own. Get a 3-ring binder and notebook paper. Title a separate sheet of paper for each month until the wedding. For the last month, make a separate page for each week. For the last week, make a separate page for each day.
As you are thinking of the 1001 things which need to be done before the big day, instead of letting them overwhelm you, write it down in your wedding planner on the appropriate page when you would like to have that item figured out, done, or taken care of. Use these monthly, weekly, and daily lists to help keep you on track. As items are finished, cross them off your list. If something doesn't get done one month, move it to the next month.
In my wedding planner, I not only had a whole section with these lists, but I kept everything else needed for the big day. There was a section for receipts (I put some clear plastic pockets to hold these in), a section which listed everyone who was involved in the wedding (so no one would be overlooked on the program), and fabric swatches (so we could match the dresses, the flowers, and the decorations). Another section listed all the out-of-town guests, where they were staying, when they were coming in, and if they needed transportation. There was a section for wedding and shower gifts and thank you cards which still needed to be written. As we met with various individuals (florists, wedding coordinator, and so on), I took notes and kept these notes in my wedding planner for future reference. There was also a section which listed all the contact information for the key people/businesses involved in our wedding (from cake decorator to officiator).
Your wedding planner will be different than mine, because no two weddings are the same. Customize your planner to fit your exact needs for your special day.
As you plan your wedding, make sure and take time to enjoy preparing and looking forward to it. Don’t get so caught up in all the details that you drive yourself and everyone around you crazy! In the end, everything will work out and it will be a beautiful day!
If you're looking to the internet for help with your wedding plans, you're sure to benefit from the wealth of organizational and comprehensive wedding tips, ideas, tools and resources available right at your fingertips! The internet is packed with useful websites, as well as online stores offering every wedding product and service imaginable. You'll find everything from wedding invitations, wedding keepsakes and wedding favors to online bridal gift registries, travel agencies for destination weddings and honeymoons, wedding consulting services and much more. To ensure that you can recognize and hire or purchase from qualified wedding vendors, the key is to be aware of a few general guidelines.
First, it's important to understand the two basic kinds of online wedding vendors with whom you may choose to do business with.
Wedding Vendor Type 1) An actual, physical storefront who opts to have a website to further broaden their customer base and supplement their offline business.
+ Possible benefits of this type of wedding vendor: This is a wonderful opportunity for you, as you may familiarize yourself with the wedding vendor's offerings via their website and then choose to drop by their store to have a look around and complete your purchase in person. Or you may do this vice-versa - have a look around their store and then go online to make your purchase. This is a very flexible consumer environment for you, as there can be multiple sources of contact and convenient ways to browse! You can also get a personal feel for the type and level of service you may expect from the wedding vendor and their staff.
- Possible drawbacks to this type of wedding vendor: Though not true or hard to measure in many cases, the wedding vendor with a physical storefront does have the potential to be more expensive. And though the storefront exists, it may not be within reasonable driving distance for you to visit in person and explore.
Wedding Vendor Type 2) A virtual store who deals exclusively online.
+ Possible benefits of this type of wedding vendor: You'll often find a reasonable value for your dollar here, as in many cases, online wedding vendors tend to have lower overhead. As well, take advantage of shopping anytime you feel like it...even if it's the middle of the night!
- Possible drawbacks to this type of wedding vendor: In general, you will never actually meet the wedding vendor with whom you are entrusting a certain aspect of your wedding to. To some brides and grooms, this may be worry-some, for others, not a big deal. Do what feels right for you, as this issue may be dependant upon what item or area of your wedding you are shopping for.
Keep these general guidelines in mind while shopping online for your wedding, and you'll be ready to make smart, conscientious decisions. When you choose to be informed and aware, you possess savvy online shopper skills that enable you to make the best wedding product or service purchases for you and your dream wedding!
Invitations are your chance to set the mood for your celebration. Will it be traditional and formal or will you have lots of your own touches in a more casual setting? Or will your celebration lie somewhere in between?
Most people want to do “what’s right.” But the right thing is for you to consider your budget and your event. Invitations can be a complex mailing with multiple inserts (link to parts of an invitation) that follow a Save the Date card or a simple notice of where your celebration will take place.
The only “musts” to invitations are easy to remember if you keep in mind that you’re inviting someone to an event and you want to get them there … and on time! If you’re not hosting an event that people will attend, you will want to send an Announcement rather than an invitation.
|Invitation musts:||Wedding example||Baby shower example|
|Who is hosting the event?||Mr. and Mrs. Michael O’Shea||Come join us|
|Who/what is being celebrated?||The marriage of their daughter Colleen to Mr. Anthony Schwartz||Tara’s expecting a boy!|
|When?||Saturday, the second of July||Saturday, July 2nd|
|Where?||Liberty Park, Washington D.C.||Brigit’s house|
Of course, there are endless ways to invite people to events. Following etiquette tradition would not only make Miss Manners and Emily Post smile, but you as well. Creating the perfect invitation to your event can be enjoyable and will offer everyone a keepsake of the event.
The best thing you can do is to start browsing invitations or announcements to get a feel for the styles that appeal to you. You can save all the cards you are attracted to in your My Own Gatsby folder. Once you have found a handful of invitations, you can start reviewing pricing and customization options to get a better idea of style, and what will fit within your budget. Please note that not all invitations are available for printing. You will need to read each individual product description carefully to determine whether the invitation you have selected is available as blank stock or with printing options.
There are so many invitations to decide between, but the process will take less time if you know what you want or what interests you. Take into consideration the formality of the event, the number of guests you will have, your personal taste, whether there is some kind of theme, and if there are special colors that will be incorporated into the event. Ecru is the most traditional wedding color, but you may want to match your invitation to your dress. If your event color is green, you can look for an invitation with green accents, or you may use green ink and matching envelope liner to incorporate your event color.
Ordering invitations is a two part process; first you have to do some research and gather all of your information, then you are ready to place your order and have your invitations printed. There are so many questions to answer before you can actually sit down and order your invitations. Here's a brief checklist of what you will want to consider before beginning the order process.
All of these questions will be asked during the order process and need to be answered before the order is sent in. It is best to be prepared and allow yourself time in making these decisions. We have provided as much information as possible to help you determine what is right for your invitations, so please take advantage of what's available!
If you are able to determine the exact number of invitations you will need, it is always safe to order a bit extra. Since invitations are usually sold in quantities of 20 or 25, you should think about ordering 150 in cases where you needed 122 invitations. If you ordered 125, 3 extra might not be enough of a cushion. If any are sent back to you with the wrong address, if you add someone to the list last minute, if you or your family would like some for scrapbooks, or if some people don't receive anything and you need to resend them, you will be glad to have a few more on hand.
It is also wise to order extra envelopes in case there are any mistakes made when printing or writing the names and addresses on the envelopes. If you need to order your invitations before your guest list is finalized, you can estimate how many invitations to order by taking half of your total number of guests and adding 25. This will give you a ball-park number but, it is always a good idea to be more exact. Here are some guidelines: Married couples and families only need one invitation. If there is a child over 18 living at home with their family, it is recommended to include their name on the outer envelope, or to send them their own invitation. If you have several friends living in the same house together, it is customary to send each of them an invitation.
The best thing you can do is to start browsing wedding invitations or announcements to get a feel for the styles that appeal to you. You can save all the cards you are attracted to in your My Own Gatsby folder. Once you have found a handful of wedding invitations, start reviewing the prices to get an idea of what each invitation and coordinating items cost per person. Then, multiply the cost per person number for each invitation by the number of guests you will be inviting and that should give you a pretty close price range for what the total paper costs will be.
Invitations should be ordered well in advance to when you want to mail them (customarily they should be mailed six weeks before the wedding). Order them with plenty of time for you to assemble and address them. Significant time can be saved if you get your mailing list in strict order. Allow more time if it isn't and if you plan to address them yourself.
Every bride has different priorities for their wedding. For some, the dress is the most important item while for others it may be the cake. So, when it comes to wedding invitations, planning your budget reflects its importance on your list. For the basics (wedding invitation with inner and outer envelopes, response card with envelope, and reception card), you can plan on spending anywhere between 2-5% of your total budget. But, if you believe as much as we do that the wedding invitation sets the tone for your event, then you may want to up the budget a notch. Also, if you would like direction cards, maps, envelope lining etc. you will want to increase your budget. There are other paper products to consider, such as thank you cards or informal cards, programs, place cards, seating cards and more.
Most people look to etiquette sources for “what’s right.” Relax, and instead think of etiquette rules as etiquette tradition. If you decide to do something different, it’s really OK to do so!
Traditionalists usually favor an oversized, engraved invitation on heavy ecru paper with a tissue layover and an inner envelope sent inside of an outer envelope. The elegance of traditional wedding invitations is often the perfect way to invite people to a celebration.
For the traditional basics, each mailing will include a wedding invitation with outer envelopes, a response card, and a reception card. If you believe as much as we do that the wedding invitation sets the tone for your event, then you may want to include more. Nice touches for wedding invitations include direction cards, maps, envelope lining, and more. And there are other printed paper products to consider, such as thank you cards or informal cards, programs, place cards, seating cards and more.
Invitation enclosures are usually used for formal events such as weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, and corporate dinner/cocktail receptions. Traditional etiquette has much to say about each one, of course!
Response (or RSVP) cards allow your guests to inform you if they will be attending your event and how many people they will be bringing with them. Response cards can be classic fold over cards, panel cards or double-sided postcards (with the RSVP wording on one side, and address on the back side). They should be sent out accompanied by an addressed, pre-stamped envelope to encourage your guests to send it back. These cards can be blank with your own handwritten message on them or they can be printed with your wording.
Response deadlines should be no later than two weeks before the special day, or the date your caterer needs a final count. If after two weeks you haven't heard from some people, phone calls can be made to those having trouble putting pen to paper. This gives you time to figure out exactly how many people will be attend.
A helpful trick that will save you lots of time is to lightly number the response cards on the back in correspondence with the number that appears next to your guest on the list. When you receive your response cards, you can just check the number on the card with the number on your list so you won't have a splitting headache trying to read everyone's fancy handwriting.
Having your name and address pre-printed on the front of the Response Card envelope is a handy and easy way to encourage your guests to respond promptly. Traditionally speaking, the host’s name and address (for example a bride’s parents’ address) should appear on the response envelope. If your part of a blended family or live a long distance from the host(s), you may need use your own discretion. It’s traditional to save the first appearance of the bride’s and groom's names together until after the wedding. So, if an unmarried couple is living together, have the cards sent to the bride only.
Reception cards are needed only if the reception takes place at a location separate from the ceremony. If they’re hosted at the same location, you may choose to say, “Reception immediately following,” or “Dinner and Dancing immediately following” to inform your guests that the reception will be held in the same location as the ceremony.
If the ceremony and reception are held in different locations, you may enclose a reception card. Or, when only a select number of guests are invited to the reception, a separate card is enclosed. It should be of the same paper and type style and is generally half the size of the invitation.
This card may be essential to ensure that no one gets lost or ends up arriving late to your event. You can have simple text directions, guiding your guests step by step to each of your destinations (usually to the church, and to the reception). You can also opt to submit either a hand-drawn map or have the ceremony site give you a copy of their own map and have it printed on the card. Clearly written street names and clear map drawings will certainly help out the chronically lost. Please note that not all brands will allow you to submit your own map. You will have to inquire about this option when you have decided which invitation you would like to order.
For the most elegant look, have the same printer of your invitations also print your directions card. This way, you can be sure that the paper stock chosen will match your invitations perfectly. An alternative to sending the directions cards with the invitations is to send it upon receiving their response card indicating that they are planning on attending your event.
You may want to send this card with the invitations going to your out-of-town guests. It lists hotels or places to rent in the area you are having your wedding. Include phone numbers and any information they will need to know to schedule a place to stay. This is especially helpful if your wedding will take place at a vacation spot.
It is always fun to have your Thank you cards or your Programs printed on the same paper as your invitation and there are still so many options!
A great way to let your out of town guests know about your wedding date is to send Save-the-Date cards. They may be essential for planning flights and taking time off around peak vacation times. Save-the-dates should be sent out at least 3 months in advance of your wedding date, but it is recommended to send them 5 months to a year in advance. This card may match your invitation; you can pick a similar card in a smaller size or choose a very simple version of your invitation. You may also opt to pick a card that is more casual or reflects the location or theme of your wedding (Hawaii/tropical, Colorado/Mountains, Hydrangeas, Lilies etc.)
The informal card can be ordered to match your invitation and are most commonly used as thank you notes. It can be printed with 'Thank You', your names, a monogram or a motif on the outside. The inside is left blank allowing you to write a small personal message. Thank you notes can match your wedding invitations or your personality, just remember that you will need plenty of them. You will be writing thank you notes for more than just your wedding. There are always many occasions surrounding your main event where gifts are given and there are many people to thank for their gift of support. You will want to write a thank you card for each gift given at each event; bridal shower, engagement party, bachelorette party, etc. and they should be sent soon after the gift is received. This means you may be sending thank you notes before your wedding date. They never go bad, so it can't hurt to order more than you think you will need!
This card allows you to tell friends and family of your new address and the date you will begin residing there.
Also known as within-the-ribbon card. This is sent to guests you want to honor by having them seated in reserved pews closest to the altar, or "within the ribbon". This lets the usher know who gets the special treatment.
Programs are an extra touch of formality that help guests understand the direction a formal ceremony is going in, what is being done next, and the explanation of any special rites that are unfamiliar to people of a different religion. They can also be used as tributes to special people in your lives. For the most elegant look, have the same printer of your invitations also print your programs. This way, you can be sure that the paper stock and typestyle chosen will match your invitations perfectly.
Place cards help your guests find which table they are seated at and are usually blank or printed with your name with space for your guests' names and table number, if they aren't already placed on the table. This is great when you have a special seating arrangement and you want your guests to find their place without any problems. They are also helpful in letting your caterers know who is having the chicken or the vegetarian option. You may tie different colored ribbons on the place cards or use stickers to indicate the different meal choices your guests have made.
Most classic wedding invitations have an outer and inner envelope. The outer has the recipient’s street address, a return address, and postage. The inner envelope has less information and should be addressed as if you were hand delivering it. With contemporary invitations becoming more popular by the day, it is not uncommon for invitations to only include one outer envelope. You will need to read each individual product description carefully to determine whether the invitation you have selected includes both outer and inner envelopes, or outer envelopes only.
Traditional etiquette says to “abbreviate nothing, hand address everything!” Writing out “Northwest Two Hundred Nineteenth Street” is tiring and could even delay the delivery of your invitation by a day or two. The United States Post Office would rather you write “NW 219th Street” and for you to use state abbreviations (“CA” instead of “California.”). Hand addressing certainly takes a lot of time, so this may be a good opportunity to get some of your friends and family involved with helping out, IF they have nice handwriting!
We also offers computerized calligraphy on certain outer envelopes in our Envelopments Mix ‘n Match series for your guest’s addresses. We can print it to perfectly match your invitation and enclosure ensemble. It is an absolutely stunning look to complete your invitation. Remember, it is the first impression your guests will have of your special day when they open their mailbox and find your invitation waiting for them. It will also save you time and prevent mistakes from happening.
|RECIPIENT||OUTER ENVELOPE||INNER ENVELOPE, formal||INNER ENVELOPE, contemporary|
|Married couple, same last name||Mr. and Mrs. William Smith||Mr. and Mrs. Smith||Michelle and Bill|
|Married couple, different last names||Ms. Michelle Franks and Mr. William Smith (both names on same line)||Ms. Franks and Mr. Smith||Michelle and Bill|
|Married couple with children under 18||Mr. and Mrs. William Smith||Mr. and Mrs. SmithJoanne||Adam, Mary, and Joanne|
|Unmarried couple at same address||Miss (or Ms) Michelle Franks||Miss Franks||Mr. Smith Michelle and Bill|
|Single woman||Miss Cynthia Green||Miss Green and Charles (note: it’s better to find out the name of a single’s date rather than saying, “and guest”)||Cynthia|
|Single man||Mr. Michael Ross||Mr. Ross||Michael|
|Married couple with children under 18||Mr. and Mrs. Adam Fossini||Mr. and Mrs. Fossini||Joanne Adam, Mary, and Joanne|
|Unmarried couple at same address||Miss (or Ms.) Sarah Raymond||Miss Sarah Raymond||Mr. Jeremy Kuhn Sarah and Jeremy|
The return address is printed on the envelope flap and should be the address of those hosting the event. If it is a wedding and the bride's parents are hosting, then it should be the bride's parents' address - names are not commonly used with a formal return address. Please note, guests who are unable to attend or who wish to send their gift before or after your wedding date will use this address to send packages.
When is it too early and when could it be too late? Planning a baby shower is an exciting undertaking that usually results in a lot of "oooohing" and "aaaahing", but you want to be sure that baby is on his or her way - no more, no less. It is safe to schedule the baby shower anywhere between 1 and 3 months before the baby is due. Check with the mother-to-be on her availability and how she is feeling. Some pregnant mothers have better months than others. It's also wise not to schedule the shower too close to the baby's due date, since the baby may arrive early and the mother-to-be may not feel very energetic as her due date approaches. This also allows plenty of time for the parents-to-be to determine what items they need and want, and to complete a baby registry if they desire.
It is also perfectly acceptable (and in some communities, expected) to plan the baby shower for after the baby arrives. Called a “welcoming shower,” it takes the guesswork out of colors and styles for clothing, and can be a wonderful way to introduce the baby to friends and family. It also allows out of town friends and relatives a chance to attend the shower, celebrate with the family and meet the baby all in one visit. When in doubt, ask the mother-to-be when they'd like the party to be held.
Once you have a date, the fun begins with planning the details of the shower as there are many types of baby showers that can be thrown. You can have a family only, female only, couples, coworkers etc. and you can pick almost any theme.
Baby showers are traditionally hosted by a close friend of the expectant couple, but showers may also be hosted by relatives, co-workers, fellow parishioners, neighbors, etc. Because the person that plans and invites the guests to the baby shower is the one responsible for paying it is usually considered her gift.
There is no one perfect place to host a baby shower. If you have a home large enough to accommodate all of the guests, then that may be the best option. What is most important is to pick a location where the mother would be most comfortable.
If a baby shower is being hosted by more than one person, it is traditional to list the person’s name, at whose home the shower will be held, first when referring to the hosts, then the other hosts in alphabetical order. For example, if the baby shower is being held at Julie's home but Sarah and Jennifer are co-hosting, the hosts would be listed as follows on the invitation:
(Casual, small baby shower gathering)
Julie, Jennifer, and Sarah invite you to help welcome the birth of Tami's child with a Baby Shower at Julie's home on Saturday, August 1st 12 o’clock noon 10048 Northeast 2 nd Street Bellevue, Washington
For more formal, larger gatherings where the baby shower is being held at a location other than a person's home, list the hosts in alphabetical order:
You are cordially invited to a Baby Shower in honor of mother-to-be Tami Williams Saturday, the first of August at twelve o’clock noon Bellevue Yacht Club One Lake Washington Drive Hosted by Jennifer, Julia and Sarah
Selecting a theme for the baby shower may seem daunting at first, but it needn't be elaborate. The theme can range anywhere from "everything in baby blue" to "butterflies and dragonflies" to "New York Giants football." Another fun baby shower theme could be “Mothering around the clock” where guests are asked to purchase a gift that would be appropriate for the time of day tucked within their baby shower invitation. If a guest receives 12:00 noon, they may choose to buy bottles or something for feeding time.
Other fun baby shower themes to keep in mind…. Playtime (gifts for games and educational toys), Baby Safety (gifts to keep baby safe), Pamper Mommy (gifts to help take care of mommy, too), Nursery (anything to do with nursery rhymes), Alphabet (each guests gets a letter of the alphabet – B = bottles, bunnies etc)
If the mother-to-be has decided on a decorative design for the nursery, the theme of the baby shower can reflect that design and provide a hint to guests what colors or themes to keep in mind while shopping for the perfect gift. Whatever the chosen theme, the host can build upon it when choosing baby shower invitations, coordinating decorations, napkins, plates, favors, games to be played, and even the food to be served.
Since the baby shower invitations set the tone of your event, the invitations you select should convey that theme to your guests. Some guests may even incorporate your theme with their baby shower gift. There are so many baby shower invitations SunbeltInvitations.com to choose from, you may even want to base your theme on your favorite invitation.
The baby shower invitations will be the first hint for the guests of what the theme of the baby shower will be. If the expectant couple has found out the sex of the baby, choosing an invitation in pink (or one with pink accents) will undoubtedly announce that they're expecting a girl. The invitation will also tell the guest how formal of an event the baby shower will be – an elegant typeface with formal wording and location alerts the guest that the shower will be a sophisticated event; conversely, a whimsical invitation with informal wording and at a friend’s home tells the guest the baby shower will be a casual affair. A formal invitation should be accompanied by a separate RSVP card and stamped envelope for the guest to respond with; a casual invitation might include the increasingly common "Regrets Only" phrase with a telephone number and/or email address.
If mom and dad already have a name picked out for the newborn and are comfortable with telling people the name, you are more then welcome to use it on your baby shower invitations.
To help the expectant mother respond in gratitude for all the gifts she has received at the baby shower, have each guest address an envelope with their information. Drop all of the envelopes in a bowl and draw a winner for a prize. The guests are eligible for a gift and the mother-to-be has half of the note writing process complete!
As a gift to the expectant mother, order coordinating thank you notes. They'll make the process of thanking the guests much easier, and she'll be reminded of the care you took in planning and hosting the baby shower with each note that she writes.
When creating a guest list for a baby shower, it is best to ask the mother for a list of whom she would like to invite or at least have her look over a list you have created. Some mothers may want to have a smaller more intimate shower while others will want to celebrate with all of their friends and family. If you are a coworker wishing to throw a “coworkers” shower, then you shouldn’t be expected to invite her family or friends outside of work.
Parents who are adopting a child have the same needs as those having a child of their own, and they will appreciate the generosity of friends and family just as much. A baby shower can be thrown for a child of any age – if the child is a toddler, the host may choose to call the party just a "shower" or a "welcome party." It's recommended that a shower for an adopted child be held after the child has been brought home. When selecting the wording for the invitation, state when the child was born and when the child was welcomed into the home of the parents:
Please join us as we celebrate the arrival of Jessica Lynn Born January 18, 2004 and welcomed into her parent's hearts and home on April 4, 2004
Listing the birth date of the child alerts guests to the child's clothing size and provides guidance for buying age-appropriate gifts. If the child was adopted from a foreign country, information about his or her birth country may also be included
Please join us as we celebrate our daughter’s arrivalJessica Lynn who has come from Romania to join our family Born January 18, 2004 and welcomed into her parent's hearts and home on April 4, 2004
There is no standard day or time for hosting a baby shower, although most are held in the evening or on weekends so that working friends and family are able to attend. The chosen theme may influence the timing of the event (a tea party should be held in the afternoon), as may the location (a baby shower hosted by co-workers in an office conference room should be held at or close to the end of a business day). The expectant mother may have a preference about the time: if she's still experiencing morning sickness, she may request that the shower be held in the late afternoon or early evening when she's typically feeling well.
Regardless of the formality of the baby shower, all baby shower invitations should include detailed directions for getting to the shower and a map that clearly shows where the shower will be held. Be sure to include the address and a phone number for directions on the direction card in case that’s the only part of the invitation they grab on the way out of the door. Select a paper color and style that complements the invitations.
Registering for baby supplies, clothing, and even furniture is becoming increasingly common. Since the word “shower” infers “showering the mother with gifts,” it is okay to indicate on an enclosure card included with the baby shower invitations where the parents-to-be have registered. An Example for Registry wording could be: "Betsy and James have completed a registry at _________." It is also acceptable to include the pre-made invitation enclosures that some stores provide. It is not appropriate to include a list of desired items. You may also opt to inform guests where the mother is registered when they RSVP to the event.
Whether you are throwing the baby shower before or after the baby’s due date the baby shower invitations should be sent 4-6 weeks before the shower date giving your guests time to mark their calendars, pick out the perfect gift and enjoy and afternoon with the mother-to-be! If the shower is being held close to a holiday or during the summer months, mail the invitations five or six weeks in advance.
Almost everyone loves a surprise, and (most) expectant mothers are no different. Planning a surprise baby shower for the mother-to-be allows her to have absolutely no role in the preparations – all she can do is enjoy the festivities! Of course, if the mother-to-be is the type of person that doesn't like surprises, it is best plan the baby shower with her knowledge.
If you are throwing a surprise baby shower, there are several ways to include that information on your baby shower invitations. “Mother knows that baby is on her way… but she doesn’t know we’re showering her with gifts for baby to play!” You can also start out with, “Shhh, It’s a Surprise!”
In recognition of the father's involvement in the life of the child, many baby showers are co-ed. When planning a couples’ baby shower, it's important to make sure that the theme of the party and any planned activities are inclusive, enjoyable, and engaging to both men and women. Men are less likely to wear a pacifier around their neck or gaggle over bonnets and bassinets. Be sure the expectant father would like to be included in the baby shower and if so, plan a game he would enjoy. One such game is to ask the father what he thinks baby’s favorite sport will be and other such questions. Then ask the guests to guess what father picked. The one who guesses the same as father wins!
Baby showers are typically not thrown for women expecting their second or third child, primarily because it is presumed that the mother will already have many of the essential items typically given at baby showers. However, the birth of every child is cause for celebration. Instead of a large gathering focused around the giving of gifts, plan a small get-together of close friends that centers around an activity (such as pampering manicures and pedicures) or enjoying a new or favorite restaurant. Guests may choose to bring a token gift if they like. If the parents insist they do not need any gifts you can word your baby shower invitations as such. Simply print, “No gifts, please,” at the bottom of the invitations. Your wording could also read “Please shower us with the gift of your presence…”
More and more gay and lesbian couples are choosing to have children, either through adoption or, in the case of lesbian couples, by one of the women giving birth. The guidelines for throwing a baby shower for a gay or lesbian couple are generally the same as they are for a heterosexual couple or single mother, with the exception of the "in honor of" wording on the invitation. For gay and lesbian couples, it is appropriate to list both of the parent's names on the invitation.
Although not as elaborate or as common as the baby showers thrown for expectant mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers frequently are the focus of celebratory gatherings among close friends or colleagues. For these showers, the gifts are given to the grandmother or grandfather but may be meant for either the expectant mother or the new baby. Gifts may also be intended to stay at grandma or grandpa's house for when the child visits: bassinet, activity rocker, books, toys, etc.
Name tags are a great way for people to feel comfortable at a large baby shower or one where the guests may not know one another. You can print the tags with the theme of the shower or have guests draw their own duck or rattle on their name tag.
The baby shower host will be busy with many details the day of the shower, but it is important to have everything ready when guests begin to arrive. The host should greet guests at the door, welcome them to the event and give them direction as to where to put their purse and get settled.
>When planning the seating arrangements at a baby shower, make sure you have enough seating for everyone invited and be sure to set aside a comfortable chair for the expectant mother. Ask someone to be in charge of passing the gifts to the mother and someone else to keep track of who they are from. You will be the hostess with the “mostess” if you have that arranged for her!
Depending on how many guests are invited to the baby shower, the hostess should make sure that the celebration stays in motion. Make sure that the games, eating, gift opening etc. are somewhat scheduled so that the baby shower is a festive celebration and not a drawn out weekend afternoon.
Even if you are hosting a baby shower with a lot of guests, it is important that time be allowed for gift opening. The shower is to help prepare the parents for their new baby and many people go to quite a bit of trouble to elaborately wrap the perfect gift. Guests are looking forward to seeing the look on the expectant mother’s face upon opening their gift and will feel appreciated hearing in person how much it is liked. It is also fun for the rest of the guests to see all of the items that the mother has received – isn’t that the fun of baby showers?
Many things expectant parents will need for their baby are expensive and otherwise out of guests’ price range. One helpful thing a hostess can do is to suggest a gift that several guests can purchase together. Guests will be able to afford something special and the expectant parents can receive the car seat or crib to keep their child safe.
Playing games at the baby shower is a wonderful way to break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another. Having a quiz about the expectant mother is a great way for guests to learn more about her: Who was the first person she told that she was pregnant? How many weeks pregnant is she? Did she and the father agree on a boy's or girl's name first? Another traditional baby shower game doubles as a gift for the expectant mother: fill a tray with a number of different baby items, set it in the middle of the room for a minute or two, then take it away and ask guests to write down as many of the items as they can remember. Or orchestrate a taste test contest of baby food – you may be surprised at what you can and cannot identify! Offer small prizes to the winners.
Don’t be afraid to use the baby shower invitations as an introduction to the game playing at the shower. Ask them to bring a baby photo to the shower and play a game trying to match the baby photo to each guest. There are all sorts of ways you can get them to participate in the fun.
Games at a baby shower are great ice breakers, however check with the mother-to-be before planning any games as she may feel differently. The mother may just prefer the guests sign in a guest book over playing any games. To put a spin on the guest book, you could have each guest create a baby shower scrapbook page and place the photos in later.
Giving guests a favor at the end of the baby shower serves as a small token of appreciation for their gift and for their involvement in the celebration. Favors can be as simple or as elaborate as desired and can range from a small bag of candies tied with ribbon to a picture frame. Bubbles wrapped with a custom label are another cute keepsake. The choice of the favor can be an extension of the baby shower theme, or can be something general like a fragrant bar of soap.
Expectant mothers should be sure to thank each guest as they leave the baby shower. Having the favors near the door is a perfect way to gather before everyone leaves and gives the mother a chance to say goodbye to everyone who attended.
Because friends and family will be mingling and visiting during the baby shower, appetizer and finger foods are generally served. However, it is perfectly appropriate to serve a meal appropriate to the time of day, especially if you are hosting the event at a country club tea room. Even if you are serving mostly finger food, be sure there is enough seating and tables for your guests to sit down and eat. Many people come dressed to a baby shower in a nice outfit that they wouldn’t want decorated with deviled eggs or frosting. For beverages, it is most traditional to serve a delicious punch and/or tea. Alcoholic beverages are not usually appropriate as the mother-to-be will be left out, although cocktail parties have been thrown on occasion instead of a traditional baby shower.
When planning the menu for a baby shower, you should take into consideration the time of day that shower will be occurring. If your guests are arriving at 11:00 am, they will be expecting to have brunch or lunch served at the event. If your baby shower invitations indicate 2:00 pm as the commencement hour, light appetizers and punch would be appropriate.
Potlucks are a fun way to allow friends and family to be involved in the baby shower and to relieve some of the costs. You can create a menu from which people can pick the dish they would like to make or you can ask everyone to make their signature dish.
Hostess gifts are a common gesture of thanks given by the guests or guest of honor to the host. In the case of baby showers, the mother-to-be is not expected to give a hostess gift to the hostess. If the mother-to-be would like to give a gift to the hostess, a bouquet of flowers or a small token of your appreciation would be appropriate.
Selecting the right birth announcement is a matter of personal taste and style and knowing, or not knowing, the sex of the baby! Knowing the sex will help make some decisions for you: blue or green for boy birth announcements or pink and lavender for girl birth announcements. There are many other announcements that are adorable in neutral colors. If you are waiting until the birth of the child to find out the sex and would like to order your baby announcements in advance, then ordering one in neutral colors is recommended.
When browsing our entire selection of birth announcements you may see one that you are drawn to and your decision is made. You may want to take the approach of sharing your nursery colors via your birth announcements. If anyone wishes to send a gift, they can take the hint from your announcements.
Photos birth announcements are a great way to introduce the new addition to your family. Keep in mind that it may take a few tries to get the perfect photo and it wall also take time to have them developed and attach them to your baby announcements. No one expects you to send a photo with your announcements, so if you don’t have time for such an announcement don’t fret. Plus, you can always include a photo on or with your thank you notes.
Birth announcements wording typically start out with some type of introduction such as “We are delighted to announce the birth of our daughter”, then you will go on to list at least the following information: baby's name, date of birth and parents' names. Depending on the level of desired formality, the names of the parents may be listed as "Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Peterson," "Betty and Thomas Peterson," or simply "Betty and Thomas" on the baby announcement. The baby's birth weight and length, time of birth, place of birth, names of siblings, and address may also be included. There are many clever ways to word an announcement, feel free to be creative and have fun with it!
Here’s an example of casual Wording - Girl Birth Announcements:
We welcome with love
Arrived: March 3, 2004
Weight: 8 lbs., 2 oz.
Betty and Thomas Peterson
An example of more formal Wording - Boy Birth Announcement:
Our hearts are filled with happiness,
Our lives are filled with love,
because we have the baby girl/boy
that we've been dreaming of
born on March 3, 2004
at 10:30 pm
8 pounds, 7 ounces
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Peterson
Some parents are uncomfortable sharing the birth weight of their child in instances of unusual birth weight. Leaving the birth weight off of the birth announcement is completely acceptable. Friends and family may still be curious and ask anyways, but there is no reason it must be included on the announcements.
If you have chosen a photo card that only allows for a few lines of text, then we recommend narrowing it down to the baby’s name, date of birth, weight and length on one line, and the parents’ names.
Plan ahead and write your wording or use our Word Wizard before you order your announcements. Wording can take longer than you think! You can then pick out and order your birth announcements before the baby is born. You won't have to fuss with the details once the newborn arrives, you can just call in the vital statistics to finish the order.
Often times, the birth of twins, triplets or more will be a surprise to friends and family. When preparing the wording for multiples, it can be fun to use the “twin” theme on the birth announcements. When wording the announcements, be sure to write the babies’ names on two separate lines in order to prevent any confusion. You don’t want everyone to think you’ve just given your child one really long name! You may also send separate birth announcements for each child, which should be mailed in separate envelopes.
Parents with different last names should include their first and last names as part of the birth announcement, as well as the full legal name of the child. Samples for boy announcement:
Mary Jones and Stephen Murphy
the birth of their son
Samuel George Murphy
We joyfully announce
The birth of our son
Samuel George Murphy
Mary Jones and Stephen Murphy
Divorced or separated parents may choose to send baby announcements separately, with each parent mailing the announcements to his or her friends and family only. In this case, the parent may elect to include only his or her name on the baby announcement. Samples for boy announcement:
Someone new to love
Ryan James Keenan
Born July 4, 2004
7 pounds, 3 ounces
If the mother is unmarried, she should include only her name on the birth announcement. (as shown above) If the mother desires, and if the father gives permission, the father's name may be included as part of the birth announcement. The baby's full legal name should be included to avoid questions about whether the child was given his mother's or his father's last name. Samples for boy announcement:
Someone new to love
Ryan James Keenan
Born July 4, 2004
7 pounds, 3 ounces
Gay and lesbian couples should include both of their first and last names and the full legal name of the child in the birth announcement along with the general information detailed above. Sample for girl announcement:
It's with much joy and pride
that we introduce to you
July 31, 2003
8 pounds, 3 ounces
He fills our heart with much love
Sandra Lion and Erika Lynne
A mother that becomes widowed during her pregnancy may indicate her name on the birth announcement as either "Mrs. Thomas Peterson" or "Betty Peterson." The husband may be referred to as "the late Thomas Peterson," if desired, or the mother may elect to include her name only. Sample for girl announcement:
November 21, 2003
6 pounds, 8 ounces
Betty Peterson and the late Thomas Peterson
The addition of an adopted child to the family most certainly warrants a baby announcement. When selecting the wording for the announcement, state when the child was born and when the child was received into the home of the parents. Sample for girl announcement:
Marcus and Elizabeth Harris
are proud to announce
the arrival of
Born January 18, 2004
and welcomed into
her parent's hearts and home
on February 3, 2004
If the child was adopted from a foreign country, information about his or her birth country may also be included. Sample for girl announcement:
Marcus and Elizabeth Harris
the arrival of
Grandparents’ names can be included on the birth announcement if you wish for them to share in the joy of announcing the new family member. Their names would be appropriately listed on the line below the parents’ names. Sample for girl announcement:
We reached for the stars
and got an armful of heaven
brightened our lives
on December 1st, 2003
5 pounds, 8 ounces
Loving parents and grandparents
Dean and Kelly Thompson
Mark and Lynn Thompson
It is perfectly acceptable to send birth announcements for all babies, no matter where they fall in their birth order. Parents may choose to include sibling names as part of the birth announcements, or even have them announce their new baby brother or baby sister into the world. Sample for boy announcement:
Daniel has a new hand to hold!
His baby brother
Was born on
January 13, 2004
5 pounds, 8 ounces
Mark and Lisa Walker
When ordering birth announcements, it can be tough determining how many you will need. Deciding to whom you are going to send the birth announcements is important before placing your order. Do you want to send to just close family and friends, or will you also be sending to coworkers, out of state relatives etc. as well? The birth of a child is a celebrated event, so as a rule of thumb, feel free to send an announcement to anyone who would like to share in your special news. Just as in creating a guest list for an event, you will want to create a mailing list for your birth announcements. This will not only give you an accurate count of how many announcements to order, but it will also take the stress off of creating the mailing list after the baby has arrived. The more you can do in advance the better because you won’t have the time or energy later.
Be sure to order your thank you notes at the same time as your baby announcements. You will most likely be receiving gifts before you get a chance to drop the announcements in the mail!
It is best to send your birth announcements as soon as possible, preferably within a month after the birth of your baby. If more than three months have passed since the baby's birth, consider including the birth announcement as an insert along with a holiday card or an announcement that includes news about the entire family. Your friends and family will be forgiving knowing that you are busy taking care of a new child.
If you have your baby announcements and wording picked out, your guest list established and a helpful husband or good friend on board, then the task is made simple and doable. You can pick out and order your birth announcements before the baby is born. You won't have to fuss with the details once the newborn arrives, you can just call in the vital statistics to finish the order. When the announcements arrive you can just run the envelopes through your printer and drop them in the mail. Some vendors may send your envelopes in advance so that you can hand address them before the baby arrives.
Have your birth announcements weighed at the post office and buy your stamps ahead of time. That will also save you a trip when you have your hands full with the new baby.
Also, some people like to write hand written notes on the birth announcements. Know that this is not common practice and not necessary. As new parents, you will be living busy lives and no one will expect you to the time it takes to write a personal note to everyone.
Absolutely not. Although most parents want to send birth announcements as a way of sharing their good news, some worry that recipients will view the sending of a birth announcement as a request for a gift. This is absolutely not the case: recipients are under no obligation to send a gift. If desired, the phrase "Please, no gifts," may be included in small print at the bottom of the birth announcement. In any case, if a gift is sent, a personalized thank you card should be mailed as an acknowledgement of their generosity.
After you send out your birth announcements, be prepared to receive gifts and notes of best wishes. When ordering your birth announcements, pick out and order your thank you cards so you have plenty on hand throughout your pregnancy. There are many occasions where gifts are given before and after the baby is born, so be sure to order plenty of extra thank you cards.
Upon receiving gifts after sending your birth announcements, after a baby shower or after an evening with friends, there are several components to writing an appreciative thank you card.
Timing is of the essence; you should have thank you notes on hand after announcing your pregnancy so that you can write your thank you cards without delay. Thank you notes for birth announcements should be mailed within a few days of receiving the gift. You have a bit more time after a shower since you will have more to write.
Sincerity is another key component of a genuine thank you card. Be sure to say “what” you are thanking them for by listing the items they gave you and it is always heartfelt if you can say how you are looking forward to using those items or comment on how adorable or helpful they are.
If you want your own touch and “classic” isn’t really a part of your wedding planning vocabulary, then you have come to the right place. With paper, ink color, format and accessory choices, your options are endless.
We offer a full line of exclusive custom wedding invitations that are truly unique. Choose from over 90 cardstock colors and 14 ink colors to create a wedding invitation all your own! You also have the option to add a Pocket fold or Envelopment in our Mix ‘n Match printed invitations section. Or for the more daring do-it-yourselfer (DIY’er), you can save costs and let your creative juices flow by creating and printing your own design with all the tools we have available at your fingertips.
The wording of the invitation is the part people struggle with the most. There are lots of nuances to keep in mind. As you read through these and other sources you might consult, it’s important to remember that etiquette traditions are strictly guides for you. If you want to do something a little different, you should!
There are a number of spelling and wording conventions that apply to all parts of the invitation.
The first line is often the most difficult to iron out as it’s often seen as a way to not only convey who is hosting the wedding but who the couple would like to recognize. Before blended families and when women were brides at young ages, it was almost always the bride’s family who hosted (and thus paid for) the wedding. Now, a combination of people in a couple’s life host weddings.
The next line—how the hosts invite their guests—varies by venue and personal taste. The most common phrase “the honour (or honor) of your presence” is traditionally reserved for worship services or a wedding that takes place in a church or synagogue. The “pleasure of your company” or “honour of your company” usually indicates that the service will not be a worship service. Again, etiquette outlines only what is traditional not what you should and should not do. Other phrases for this line include:
The most formal of wedding invitations, which have gone almost completely out of style, did not use a pronoun of “you” or “your.” Rather, a blank line was left in the printed invitations in which the guests’ names would be hand written.
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Everett
request the honor of
Mr. and Mrs. David Bonner’s
presence the marriage of their daughter
Mr. Sean Patrick O’Shea
Saturday, the second of July
Queen Anne’s Presbyterian Church
The Return Address, printed on the envelope flap, should be the address of those hosting the event. If it is a wedding and the bride's parents are hosting, then it should be the bride's parents' address - names are not commonly used with a formal return address. Please note, guests who are unable to attend or who wish to send their gift before or after your wedding date will use this address to send packages.
Having your name and address pre-printed on the front of the Response Card envelope is a handy and easy way to encourage your guests to respond promptly. Traditionally speaking, the hosts name and address should appear on the response envelope. However life isn't as simple as it used to be, so you may need use your own discretion. Keep in mind that the bride and groom's names should not both appear on the response envelope; for many families and religions it is frowned upon for an unmarried couple to be living at the same address.
There really is no easy way to tell your guests that their beloved children are not invited. The most subtle approach is to spread the "no children" restriction by word of mouth. If you are looking for a more "formal" statement, here are two ways that avoid putting the bad news directly on the invitation:
On the reception card:
On the response card:
Please respond on our before (Date)
Number of Adults____
Contemporary invitations can include all or just some of the traditional elements. Some couples prefer to include a quotation or poem in their invitations. Consider your invitation design when deciding what to say.
You can really have fun with the wording. We’ve seen invitations written in rhymes, in Dr. Seuss-style language, and in a completely casual voice (these started with “We’re tyin’ the knot.” Play around with wording and look everywhere for inspiration.
Couples often forgo traditional wording and write something from their hearts.
Two friends, two hearts
joined together in friendship
united forever in love.
It is with joy that
ask you to share
in a celebration of love
as we exchange our marriage vows
on Saturday, the first of August
Wording inspired by invitation design
If your invitations have an Irish Claddaugh on them, consider using “love, loyalty and friendship” as a design element on your invitation. Or, ifWording inspired by common interest
Two book lovers might find it fun to include this quotation “Are we not like two volumes of one book? ~Marceline Desbordes-Valmore” on their invitations. Whatever the couple’s interest, there are bound to be quotations that speak to you.Wording inspired by the event theme.
You may choose to use a verse that is related to the theme of your wedding. For instance if you are having your wedding by the ocean or on a beach:
Because our love is as enduring as the seas
Luke and Janet
will exchange marriage vows
Although the same card can be used as a wedding announcement or an invitation, there are distinct uses of wording that can transform it from one to the other. Many couples getting married want to announce their special occasion, but aren't having a large wedding that can accommodate everyone. You won't have to worry about those receiving an announcement mistaking it for an invitation since they should be sent out the day of the wedding or shortly after. If you are one such couple, here is one suggestion for your wedding announcement wording:
Mr. and Mr. Bruce Thompson
have the honour of announcing
the marriage of their daughter
Mr. Michael Dean Slater
on Friday, the fifteenth of December
Two thousand and seven
St. Mary's Cathedral
Invitations should be mailed six weeks prior to the event. People planning a summer or holiday wedding often choose to send Save the Date cards as many as four months before the event. These cards are especially helpful for out-of-town guests.
Now this is something you probably didn't even know you had to worry about, but believe it or not, you can't just stuff your envelopes any old way. Depending on your invitation style, the invitation itself will usually be the largest piece, and at the bottom of the ensemble. Place any extra enclosures such as response cards and reception cards directly on top of the wedding invitation. Usually the response card is placed on top of the enclosures tucked under the flap of its stamped envelope. Slide everything in the inner envelope (if there is one) with your wording facing up and the booklet opening showing, so that it is immediately visible upon opening. Place the inner envelope inside the outer envelope, with the guest's names facing the back so that the guests' names are seen first when the envelope is opened.
Never assume you know how much mailing an invitation will cost. Can you imagine anything more heart-breaking than getting back all your beautifully addressed invitations because you were three cents short on postage? Take a completed invitation with all your enclosures to your local post office and have them weigh it and tell you the price for a first-class mailing.
Look for love-themed stamps for your invitations. The U.S. Post Office is happy to handle requests for hand canceling. This helps to ensure that large, thick, or oddly sized envelopes don’t get caught in processing machines. It can also minimize the amount of automated printing (for example, bar codes) the post office adds to your mailing address.
A fun thing to consider if you have plenty of time is to choose a city with a wedding-related name (Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon or Loveland, Colorado) and contact the postmaster about hand-canceling your invitations there. If you bundle your invitations together in a large package and mail them to the postmaster, she or he will arrange to hand-cancel your invitations.
First off, the first engagement party is traditionally thrown by the bride's family, then the groom's family or friends can follow suit. Engagement parties are typically a cocktail event or casual in nature since you want the happy couple to be able to mix and mingle throughout the evening with family and/or friends. The engagement announcement or invitation should reflect the type of party that will be hosted, but shouldn't upstage the wedding invitation. The guests invited to an engagement party should also be on the guest list for the wedding, unless there is an understandable reason; ie. the couple is having a small, family only wedding.
Proper etiquette does not require that rehearsal dinner invitations be sent out, however it is a good idea to take the time to drop them in the mail. With the hustle and bustle of wedding events, they are sure a helpful and tangible reminder of the time and location for the evening. Keep in mind the bride and groom have plenty on their minds and will be the first ones the family and wedding party turns to for questions.
Customarily the groom's parents host the rehearsal dinner and often involve the bride and groom in planning the event. Selecting rehearsal dinner invitations, location and event details can be a fun way for the bride and future parents-in-law to get better acquainted.
Since Save the Date cards are used as a preliminary invitation to your wedding, they should be sent at least 4 months before the wedding, which is about 2 months before your wedding invitations will be in the mail. Save the Dates are not necessary, but are especially important if many of your friends and family will have to travel to your wedding location or if your wedding date falls on or around any holidays. You may want to consider sending them out even earlier, especially if your wedding is taking place at a popular destination or vacation spot.
Save the Dates allow your guests to have plenty of time to request work off, arrange hotel and/or airfare, arrange for babysitters etc. so that your wedding will be a celebrated event and possible vacation that they will share with you. Your guests will appreciate the advance notice of a Save the Date and will have the memories to keep for a lifetime.
First off, the first engagement party is traditionally thrown by the bride's family, then the groom's family or friends can follow suit. Engagement parties are typically a cocktail event or casual in nature since you want the happy couple to be able to mix and mingle throughout the evening with family and/or friends. The engagement announcement or invitation should reflect the type of party that will be hosted, but shouldn't upstage the wedding invitation. The guests invited to an engagement party should also be on the guest list for the wedding, unless there is an understandable reason; ie. the couple is having a small, family only wedding.
Traditionally, it is the maid-of-honor and/or the bridesmaids who throw the bridal shower. The bridesmaids will often choose to throw the shower together, which can help save on costs if there are an abundant number of guests to be invited. Otherwise, it can be friends or coworkers who want to have a special shower. Keep in mind, that people who are invited to a shower should also be invited to the wedding since gifts are inferred to be given at a shower. Exceptions can be made if the bride is having a small wedding or if the coworkers, for example, know in advance that they won't be invited to the wedding. Often times, your coworkers knowing they won't be at the wedding will throw a shower just so they have and opportunity to celebrate with the bride.
Usually, family members don't throw showers because it is not as altruistic appearing as when friends decide to host. But as times change, so can traditions and your bridal shower can be hosted by your favorite cousin all the same. If the bride and groom are visiting relatives away from their home town, a family shower would be a perfect way for you to see your aunts, uncles etc. before the wedding day. It also releives some of the stress of catching up with everyone on your wedding day and allows you to share stories in more relaxed atmosphere.
When is it too early and when could it be too late? Planning a baby shower is an exciting undertaking that usually results in a lot of "oooohing" and "aaaahing", but you want to be sure that baby is on his or her way - no more, no less. It is safe to plan the baby shower anywhere between 2-4 months before the baby is due. Check with the mother to be on her availability and how she is feeling. Some pregnant mothers have better months than others. You can also plan a shower for after the baby is born, which gives everyone a chance to meet the newborn baby.
Once you have a date, the fun begins with planning the details of the shower as there are many types of baby showers that can be thrown. You can have family only, female only, couples, coworkers etc. and you can pick almost any theme. It is especially fun to derive your theme from the nursery decorations. Carry out that theme on your baby shower invitations and you'll be giving a hint to guests what colors or themes to keep in mind while shopping for the perfect gift.
If you are a newlywed or are writing letters on stationery that you've had since gradeschool, it's time you treated yourself and purchased some appropriate stationery!
Newlyweds will definitely be needing some thank you cards! There are plenty of choices in this category. Please see our "What to Print on Thank You Cards" etiquette question for a complete answer.
Other stationery items to consider are Enclosure Cards and Letter Sheets. You can have a monogram, your last names or whatever suits you printed on each item.
Thank you cards usually allow for one line of printing that can be used in many different ways. First, you can have "Thank You" printed to match the font on your invitation. You can have a "couple's monogram" printed on the card, in which case it is known as an informal card since it doesn't require that it be used as a thank you. A "couple's monogram" consists of the bride's first initial, then the couple's last initial, and then the groom's first initial; "Sarah and James Ryley" would appear as "SRJ". Another option is to have your names printed on the card: "Mr. and Mrs. James Ryley" would be most formal, while "Sarah and James" would be the least. This would also be considered an informal card. Note, the bride's name should appear first on all printed items relating to the wedding. There are benefits to both thank you cards and informal cards. Ordering "thank you" on the card allows you to use them as thank you notes for occasions other than the wedding. Ordering your names or monograms on the card allows you to use them as notecards for personal notes or messages that aren't in reference to thanking someone for a gift. With so many options you are sure to find a solution that works best for your event.
These types of enclosures are usually used for formal events such as weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, and corporate dinner/cocktail receptions.
This card allows your guests to inform you if they will be attending your event and how many people they will be bringing with them. Response cards should be sent out accompanied by an addressed, pre-stamped envelope to encourage your guests to send it back. These cards can be blank with your own handwritten message on them or they can be printed with your wording. R.S.V.P. deadlines should be no later than two weeks before the special day, or whenever your caterer needs a final count. If after two weeks you haven't heard from some people, phone calls can be made to those having trouble putting pen to paper. This gives you time to figure out exactly how many people will be in attendance. One simple trick that will save you lots of time is to lightly number the response cards on the back in correspondence with the number that appears next to your guest on the list. When you receive your response cards, you can just check the number on the card with the number on your list so you won't have a splitting headache trying to read everyone's fancy handwriting.
One invitation will serve the purpose when all of the guests are invited to both the ceremony and reception and it is at the same location. You may choose to say 'Reception immediately following,' or 'Dinner and Dancing immediately following' to inform your guests that the reception will be held in the same location as the ceremony. However, when the ceremony and reception are held in different locations, you may enclose a reception card. Or, when only a select number of guests are invited to the reception, a separate card is enclosed. It should be of the same paper and type style and is generally half the size.
This card may be essential to ensure that no one gets lost or ends up arriving late to your event. You can either hand draw the map or have the ceremony site give you a copy of their own map and have it printed on the card. Clearly written street names and clear map drawings will certainly help out the chronically lost. For the most elegant look, have the same printer of your invitations also print your directions card. This way, you can be sure that the paper stock chosen will match your invitations perfectly. An alternative to sending the directions cards with the invitations, is to send it upon receiving their response card indicating that they are planning on attending your event.
You may want to send this card with the invitations going to your out of town guests listing hotels or places to rent in the area you are having your wedding. Include phone numbers and any information they will need to know to schedule a place to stay. This is especially helpful if your wedding will take place at a vacation spot.