for your Wedding
Before you can start planning for your wedding, you must have a budget
to work to. This is very important, as you need to know what funds will
be available to you before you put down any deposits or sign contracts
for any services for the wedding.
Traditionally, the bride’s family bear most of the wedding costs
but in these modern times, this is not always the case.
With most couples working and living together, they contribute to the
costs along with the groom’s family in order to ease the burden
for the bride’s family.
You probably already have an idea as to whether or not your parents will
be able to finance the wedding, either partially or with some help from
yourselves. The bride, groom and both sets of parents should discuss this
issue well ahead of the wedding so that a budget can be made and all parties
are in agreement. At this time, you should get an indication from the
parents in regards to how many friends and family they would like to invite.
You may find that this list may need to be trimmed or a compromise made
so that a number satisfactory to all is agreed on. Also discuss any family
traditions that they may want you to carry out – this may or may
not fit in with what you originally had planned.
The Internet, Yellow Pages and recommendations from friends are the best
ways to find out what venues or services are available to you and at what
cost. The easiest way is to ring around first to find out if what you
want is available through that particular outlet, rather than going around
to several different shops with no result. When speaking to the suppliers,
be specific about what you are looking for and ask them to give you a
price (GST inclusive, so there are no hidden surprises) that would be
valid at the time of your wedding. If you are planning well in advance
for your wedding, you may find that the prices have risen by the time
you are getting married.
When you are going to see the goods, whether it be the flowers or the
dresses, take note of the appearance of the business. Are they organised
or is the shop organised chaos? Are they neat and tidy? Rate the customer
service level as well – cheapest is not always the best in terms
of services and little extras.
Once you have chosen your supplier, find out, in writing if possible,
when any deposits or progress payments need to be made and when final
payment is required.
Normally, the financial responsibilities are as follows:
and Her Family
Invitations & announcements – printing, postage and associated
Flowers for the ceremony and reception venues
Flowers for the bride’s attendants
Corsages for mothers and grandmothers
Wedding dress, veil, lingerie and all accessories
Ceremony and reception music fees
Photographer and Videographer
Wedding day transportation for all the bridal party
Reception – food, beverages, decorations and all associated costs
Hair and make up costs for the bride and her attendants
and His Family
Any suit hire costs for the groom
Any marriage licence fees
Accommodation costs for out of town attendants
Wedding rehearsal dinner (optional)
Personal wedding attire (excluding flowers)
Bride and Groom
Engagement and wedding rings
Wedding night accommodation
Gifts for attendants
Most couples and their families will share the costs – use this
list as a guide when discussing the wedding budget.
Invitations & Other Stationery
In order to establish how many guests you can invite to your wedding,
you will need to have a budget in place. A budget will determine how many
guests you can afford to invite and make it easier to put a limit on the
number of guests.
The guest list need not be a major issue as long as all parties involved,
the bride, groom, and both parents, are able to discuss it as soon as
practicable. If all parties are contributing to the financing of the wedding
then the best way is to establish how many guests you can have in total
and divide it three ways. If one party has more guests than the others,
it may create tension between families. You may have to look at inviting
only the immediate families and not the extended families in order to
be able to invite everyone else. If only one party is financing the wedding,
then there should be a decision made as to how the guest list is divided.
You will also need to decide if you will be inviting children. While they
may look cute entertaining the guests, they are also prone to having temper
tantrums at the most inopportune times. They can also get bored and restless
quickly if there is not enough to entertain them for a full day and night.
If there are only a couple of children you would like
have in attendance, consider having them in the bridal party. While most
of your guests would not be offended if you did not invite their young
children, it would be inappropriate to invite some children and not others.
If you have single friends you are inviting but are unable to add ‘and
guest’ to their invitation, try to seat them all together at the
reception so they do not feel uncomfortable with a table full of couples.
While most guests realise they may not always be able to take a friend,
they will appreciate being with other people in the same situation.
Even though it might be a good opportunity for business networking for
your parents or yourselves, it could greatly increase your guest numbers.
Best to leave this type of guest till last and if you have any room, then
If you have potential guests interstate or overseas, be prepared for them
to accept your invitation. Don’t assume they won’t attend
as they live too far away as it may rebound on you inflating your guest
list further. It would be best to invite interstate guests well ahead
of time and ask them to give you an indication as soon as possible as
to whether or
not they will be able to attend.
The bride’s parents traditionally send the wedding invitation when
they host the wedding. If the financing of the wedding is being shared
by all parties, you may want to word the invitation to show all parties
as the host. The various wording combinations are endless and depend upon
how formal or informal you would like them to be.
For examples of different wording, contact a printer of wedding invitations
who will show you a catalogue of different styles and designs. If you
have any wedding invitations at home, look through these for ideas with
regard to wording, design, fonts and colours. Most bridal magazines can
give pictures or examples of wording.
While a printed invitation is most popular, you can create invitations
yourself with the right tools – computer software, elegant paper
and a very good laser printer. You might find that the cost difference
between printed and home made invitations is minimal and therefore it
may be easier to get them printed. Before ordering your invitations, consider
what other stationery needs you will have and look at ordering everything
at the one time.
Generally, you will need wedding invitations and envelopes, RSVP cards
and envelopes (optional), place cards for the reception and if desired,
order of service booklets for the ceremony. It is a good idea to order
some extra invitations and
envelopes in case of mistakes. Always make sure you have a few spare for
keepsakes. Thank you notes can be printed but they are more personal if
hand written by the bride and groom.
If you plan to have other stationery printed, they should all be uniform
in colour, font, paper and design. This will allow the same theme to be
followed throughout. A lot of brides like to colour coordinate their stationery
in line with the colours of the bridal party or the flowers they will
have. While the effects of this can be wonderful, this can often be time
consuming and hard to accomplish.
Make sure you proof read all copies before authorising the printer to
go ahead. Once you have signed the proof copy, you are liable for any
mistakes. Read through everything carefully, and pay particular attention
to the spelling of all names.
Invitations should be sent no later than six weeks prior to your wedding.
If you are getting married over the holiday season, i.e. January or February,
it may be wise to send them eight weeks before. The RSVP date should be
two to three weeks prior to the wedding. Don’t forget you will need
to know final numbers for the reception venue at least two weeks prior
to the day.
Sending pre-printed RSVP cards and envelopes with the invitation is optional
but will be convenient for your guests. This means they only have to fill
in their name and the number of guests attending. The envelope should
be already addressed to either the host or you. If you choose not to enclose
RSVP cards, be prepared to follow up late responses.
Order of Service Books
‘Order of service’ books are a nice touch for the ceremony
as they provide a memento for your guests. Generally, they list all the
members of the bridal party, the parents of the bride and groom, the celebrant
or minister, readers and any musicians or singers at the beginning then
a running order of how the ceremony will unfold. You can include any poems
or readings in full as well as a copy of your vows. A message from the
bride and groom on the last page will make it more personal. As they are
usually not very large, they can be bound with coloured ribbon in keeping
with the wedding colour scheme. Ask your printer to show you examples
or speak to the celebrant – they may have some from previous weddings.
Table Place Cards
Place cards are essential for your reception, as guests need to be allocated
a seat at a designated table. This makes it easier for your guests to
find their seats and will ensure that everyone is seated in accordance
with your plans. It would be a good idea to have relevant groups together
on one table (relatives, school friends, work associates, singles, etc)
as guests will feel more comfortable sitting with people in which they
have something in common. You will not be able to accommodate everyone
in terms of their table location to the bridal table but try to keep close
family and friends closest to the bridal table then work outward.
An alphabetical listing of every guest with their table number next to
their name can be displayed in the reception foyer and guests can then
go straight to their table without having to look at every place card.
Venue location maps for out of town guests will be very helpful, especially
if guests are unfamiliar with the location of the venue. A simple photocopy
of the street directory with the venue highlighted and showing the most
direct route is easy to enclose with their invitation.
With so many couples living together or living away from home before
they are married, it is often difficult to know what they will need
to start their new life together. For this reason, a gift register
at a major department or specialty store will ensure that the bride
and groom receive gifts that they would prefer and avoid any duplications.
Register for the Bride and Groom
Most department stores and larger specialty shops have a bridal register
service available, with no charge to the bride and groom. To register,
speak to a consultant at the store and they will take you around the store
and ask you to select what products you would like to receive as gifts.
It is a good idea to select small and large gifts as you will probably
have a group of guests that will all contribute to get one large gift
and other guests who prefer to give an individual gift. The store will
give you pre-printed cards to send with your invitations to let guests
know where you are registered. Your guests can then either visit or phone
the store and select their own gift – this is particularly handy
for out of town guests. Once a gift has been purchased, it will be taken
off the register so there will be no duplications.
Guests can either take the gift to the parents home prior to the wedding,
to the reception, or alternately the store will deliver gifts to you on
a nominated date (usually after the honeymoon). The store will also provide
a list of what gifts were given by which guests. This is very convenient
when doing your thank you notes.
Even though you have advised your guests of your gift registry, some guests
will prefer to get your gift the traditional way – that is, selecting
the gift themselves. If you end up with some duplicated gifts, don’t
despair! Some extra glasses, cutlery, towels, etc can always come in handy.
If you receive gifts that are not from your bridal registry, be sure to
make sure that you write the gift on the back of the accompanying card.
here for a list of gift registries
of Wedding Gifts
you receive any gifts prior to your wedding, open them straight away
and record the gift on the card. If you have time, you can write and
send the thank you note.
It is a good idea to leave the opening of any gifts that are taken
to the reception until the next day. Usually, they are taken from
the reception by your parents or members of the bridal party so if
time permits, open them before you leave for your honeymoon so they
can be recorded correctly in readiness for the thank you notes upon
Thank You Notes
While the thought of writing quite a lot of thank you notes for all your
gifts may seem daunting and time consuming, it must be done. Most gift
givers will be quite generous in what they spend on a wedding gift so
it is only good manners to acknowledge receipt of the gift.
Notes that have been hand written by the bride or groom, or both, will
be far more personal than a printed card that says “Thank you for
your gift, from the bride and groom”. A hand written card tells
the gift giver that you actually know what they gave you and that you
appreciate it. In the event that you are able to return or exchange a
gift that is not suitable, you should never tell your guests as they may
be highly offended.
Thank you notes should be done as soon as practical after the honeymoon
but no later than two months after the wedding.
for the Bridal Party
It is customary to give each member of the bridal party a small gift in
appreciation of their help and participation in the wedding and so they
have a special memory of the day. The bride usually gives gifts to her
attendants and the groom gives gifts to his groomsmen.
Traditional gifts for the bridesmaids are bracelets, small jewellery boxes,
beauty travel cases or the like and for the groomsmen a pewter mug, money
clip or pen. To make it more personal, you can have the gift engraved
with the wedding date and the name of the bride and groom.
for the Parents
Most parents of the bride and groom play an important role in their wedding
day, whether it be financing the wedding or just helping from start to
finish with all of the details. Traditionally, a small gift of appreciation
is given to both parents by the bride and groom.
Gifts for Each Other
It is traditional for the bride and groom to exchange gifts with each
other for their wedding. Most couples feel it unnecessary as the wedding
rings they give each other are sufficient but if you would like to follow
this tradition, choose something very personal that can be treasured for
a lifetime like jewellery or a framed poem that you have written for the
Most brides already have a favourite type and/or colour of flower
that they would like to have for their wedding day.
Depending on the season that your wedding falls within, some flowers
are not available all year round. For this reason, you will need to
have other choices ready. If you are unsure about what flowers will
be in season, your local florist will be able to help. The flowers
you finally settle on can have a huge impact on the theme and mood
of your wedding, so take some extra time to shop around to make sure
you get exactly what you want.
Choosing Your Florist
As with all other services, the easiest way to choose your florist is
to ask friends or family for a recommendation. Failing that, the Yellow
Pages or the Internet will provide you with florists that may specialise
in weddings or some florists in your area. Flowers, and their prices,
can vary from florist to florist so for peace of mind, speak to as many
florists as you can (minimum three or four). Before authorising any flowers
to be ordered or arranged, get written quotes on what the total cost will
following is a list of flowers that you will need:
Bride and her Attendants
Bride’s throw away bouquet (optional)
Flower girl – bouquet or basket of rose petals
Flowers for hair pieces – bride and attendants (optional)
Groom and his Attendants
Groomsmen and ring bearer boutonnieres
Family and Others
Corsage for mothers and grandmothers
Boutonniere for fathers and grandfathers
Corsage or boutonniere for special helpers i.e. ushers at church (optional).
Ceremony – arrangements for the altar and pews. You may be able
to use flowers from any earlier ceremonies. Check with your minister.
Reception – table centre pieces, cake table and the bridal table.