More wedding planning

Your Guest List

The first place to start is to determine how many people your ceremony and reception sites can hold. You can easily find this out by asking the clergy and reception site manager. Invite too many guests and you could be cramped and in violation of local fire codes. If you are planning an outdoor wedding or reception, make sure you plan accordingly and have proper facilities and alternative sites in case of bad weather.

Another factor that can come into play is your reception budget. If you have a seated dinner and open bar you may need to limit the amount of guests. An alternative is to cut back and have a less elaborate reception to accommodate the costs of more guests. A buffet style dinner, cash bar and keg beer may fit more in line with the costs.

Once you have determined how many guests you can invite, you should divide the number in half or thirds. With halves, you can divide between both families, thirds you can divide between bride, groom and parents. Families and friends that live far away may not attend, you need to also consider this the equation and divide your list in other ways.

Who to invite?

Deciding on who to invite and who not to can be a major headache. You should make a short list in the beginning that includes immediate relatives and close friends. Be sure to include wedding party, officiant and any others directly involved with the wedding. It is not necessary for a friend whom is singe, or family member to bring additional guests. However, if you do wish to allow this, proper etiquette dictates you to include their name of this additional person on the inner envelope. Just including the words �and guest� is not deemed proper.

Once you have a base list of people you know you must invite, you can then expand on this list by adding more friends, coworkers, and business associates.

Wait! The list is too large now!

You can cut a list down by eliminating certain categories of people, business associates, social group or professional organizations. You may want to consider sending them a wedding announcement rather than an invite, or hosting an informal reception after the ceremony if you have many disappointed friends and acquaintances.

Kids or not?

Kids can add a lot of fun to a wedding, and also stress. Whether or not you include children in your wedding is up to you. Here are some things to consider:

Does the ceremony site have a separate room for children if they misbehave or cry?

A playroom and a baby-sitter might be a perfect combination to let the parents attend your service while the child plays. This is also a great consideration for the reception, have a room with toys, VCR and tapes, or a pool (if in a hotel). This gives the parents a chance to enjoy the reception a little more. A baby-sitter or two can be a blessing. Let your guests know a baby-sitter will be provided, especially if children are not readily invited.

You may also consider having kids meals at the reception. Talk with your caterer about fixing some fun foods just for the kids. Chicken, macaroni, cocktail franks, etc.

If kids are not included make it clear on your invitations by addressing the inside envelope to the parents only. Have friends and family discreetly let guests know children are not invited.

Choosing Your Invitation

Now that you have a your guest list, it is time to pick out an invitation. There are many invitation companies out there, you might check with several on style, price and quality. Ask to see books and samples to help you determine your style and what is available. Classic styles, contemporary, and photo invitations are some options.

Lettering styles can add variety and class, but can also add to the cost of your invitation.

Offset printing is the most affordable option. This is where the paper is pressed against a metal plate to create letters or designs.

Thermography or photo lettering may be a little more expensive. This process fuses ink and a printing powder to create a raised lettering style more classic to invitations.

Traditional engraving. Usually the top of the line, this process presses the paper onto a specially treated plate to emboss or “cut” the letters into the paper. The result is a lettering that is slightly raised from the page and embossed on the backside.

Font styles are another choice, when choosing a front pick one that is easy to read. Fancy fonts such as Old English Text (old English text) can be very hard to read. Pick a font that lends itself nicely to your invitation style.

Print colors again offer many choices. The standard classic is black, and many stationery companies do not charge additional for black inks. Color choices are offered in a rainbow of colors. You may also consider foil imprinting or pearlized print for an up charge.

You can have envelopes printed with return addresses, embossed, or lined with color.

Matching thank-you cards, R.S.V.P. cards and envelopes, envelope seals, napkins, matchbooks and special printing goods fall under your invitation order. When all is considered, it is not uncommon to spend a couple hundred dollars on invitations and all that goes along with them. Here are some places to cut the costs.

Sticking with white or ivory papers, colors usually cost more.

Stick with simple invitations. Invites printed with embossed papers, cut-outs and in-depth designs are more expensive.

Black inks cost less.

Oversized invitations and heavy papers may add to mailing costs.

Wording your Invitation

Before you put words to paper make sure you have the following information and it is correct. The date, time and day of the week your wedding is on. Correct spellings of names and addresses. Have an idea if you are going to request an R.S.V.P. or not.

Here are some sample wordings for you to choose, you may also wish to review many of the samples your invitation supplier may have. Remember to spell out everything in full.

Brides parents hosting:

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Allen Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Sarah Jane
to
Jeff James Jones
Saturday, the first of May
at four o’clock
First Baptist Church
Middletown, Iowa
Bride and groom’s parents hosting:

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Allen Smith
and
Mr. and Mrs. Clay Jones
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Sarah Jane
to
Jeff James Jones
Saturday, the first of May
at four o’clock
First Baptist Church
Middletown, Iowa
When the bride’s parents have divorced. The parents
whom raised you do the inviting. If that is your mother, and she has not remarried, then she may use both her maiden name and married names in the invitation (Mrs. Moon Baker). If she wants to drop the Mrs., she can, replacing it with her first name (Linda Moon Baker). It is also appropriate for her to use her first name, middle and married surname, along with Mrs. for example:

Mrs. Linda Maria Baker
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Sarah Jane
When divorced parents jointly issue the invitation:

Mrs. Linda Maria Baker
and
Mr. George Lile Baker
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Sarah Jane
When the bride’s mother is remarried or widowed:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brown
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of Mrs. Brown’s daughter…
If you are very close to your step father, you may wish to choose the wording “their daughter”.

When the bride’s father is a widower:

Mr. George Lile Baker
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of his daughter
Sarah Jane
When the bride’s father is remarried and doing the
inviting:

Mr. and Mrs. George Lile Baker
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of his daughter
Sarah Jane
Again, If you are very close to your step mother, you may wish to choose the wording “their daughter”.

Divorced parents sending two separate invitations may be an option if both parents want their names officially on the invitation but not written together. Have one invite to the ceremony and the other to the reception, both can be mailed in the same invitation.

Examples:

Ceremony Invitation

Mrs. Linda Maria Baker
requests the honor of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Sarah Jane
Ect…
Reception Invitation:

Mr. George Lile Baker
requests the pleasure of your company
Saturday, the first of May
at five o’clock
Knights of Columbus Hall
Burlington, Iowa
When the brides parents issue an invitation and the grooms parents are divorced.

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Allen Smith
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their children
Sarah Jane
to
Jeff James Jones
son of
Mrs. Paula Ann Jones
and
Mr. Clay Scott Jones
The bride and groom are hosting their own wedding.

The honor of your presence
is requested at the marriage of
Miss Sarah Jane Smith
to
Jeff James Jones
Have any questions? Please e-mail us and we can provide wording for many other situations.

Beyond the Invitation

There are more than just the invitations, here are several things your stationer can provide and you may wish to consider.

Engagement announcements – these can be mailed to friends and family as a formal announcement of your engagement.

Engagement part invitations If your parents are hosting an engagement party.

Wedding Announcements These announcements are sent to people whom are not invited to the ceremony or reception but who will still want to know about your wedding. Business associates, faraway friends, coworkers or social club friends. They should follow the same format as the invitation and addressed and mailed immediately after the wedding.

Wedding Invitations including any inserts such as:

Reception Cards

R.S.V.P. Cards these cards should include a return envelope and stamp. Traditionally, these cards are not used with formal invitations.

Map Cards These cards will help aid your guests in finding the ceremony, reception and hotels.

Hotel accommodation Cards you may request these from your hotel.

Rain Cards These cards inform guests attending an outdoor wedding where to go in case of bad weather.

Transportation Cards These cards let guests know about wedding day transportation arrangements you have made, such as buses or vans to pick and deliver them from hotel to ceremony and reception.

Parking Cards indicate parking arrangements and locations.

Between-the-ribbon Pew Cards

Table Cards lets guests know of your seating arrangements at the reception.

Place Cards usually are set to reserved tables for the parents, grandparents and special guests you are reserving a seat for.

Luncheon Invitations

Wedding Programs

Matchbooks, napkins, paper coasters, etc.

Thank-you Cards

Rehearsal Dinner Invitations

New Address Cards

Note Paper

Bachelorette and Bachelor Party Invitations

Addressing, Assembly and Mailing

Addressing your invitations by hand is the traditional and most personal way. However, if you have poor handwriting you may wish to ask a friend or hire a calligrapher or secretarial service. More and more we are seeing the use of computers for outer envelope addressing, although not recommended, it is becoming increasing more popular. We do still recommend hand addressing the inner envelopes. Do not use a typewriter.

Write out all names, streets, states, Etc. Only abbreviate Mr., Mrs., Ms., Jr., and Dr.

If several members of the family are invited, avoid the use of “and Family.” Address the outer envelope to the heads of the family and list everyone on the inner envelope.

When a female guest is divorced, you have a variety of addressing options. If she still uses her married name, you can address the envelope using that name, or use a combination of her married and maiden names. If she uses her maiden name address accordingly.

Address a widow with her late husband’s name: Mrs. Ralph P. Baker

Single women or girl address as: Miss or Ms.

Boy younger than thirteen: Master James McNeil

Assembling your invitations

If your invitations are folded, insert them into the inner envelope with the folded side inserted first with the typeface toward the back of the envelope. You want a folded and non-folded invitation facing so that the side with lettering will face the recipient when removed.

Place inserts such as reception cards, RSVP cards and maps, on top of the printed side of the invitation.

The inner envelope remains unsealed and placed in the outer envelope so that the guest’s name is visible then the outer envelope is opened.

Mailing your invitations

Be sure to have at least one or several of your completed invitations weighed for postage. Once determined, ask the postal attendant for stamps that may convey your wedding style; hearts, love stamps, doves, flowers…

Mail invitations six to eight weeks prior to the wedding.

RSVP Central

Donít let the idea of R.S.V.P.ís leave you scared.

If you find you are receiving a lot of regrets, make up a list of other people you would like to invite and send them invitations. It is okay to send invitations two to three weeks prior to a wedding.

If you have not heard from some guests, you may want to do some phoning. Ask family and friends to help. It is important that you have a close head count for your caterer and more so if you are having a sit down meal at the reception.

Invitation Q&As;

 

* How do announcements differ from invitations?
* Do we need to use an envelope seal to seal the outer envelopes?
* Should we include a map card and what information should it provide?
* What is a reception card?
* What is a reception invitation?
* When should thank you notes be sent?
* Why are two envelopes used and what purpose does each serve?
* How can I check on the correct postage for mailing?
* How far in advance should invitations be mailed to the guests?
* How is the inner envelope inserted into the mailing envelope?
* How many invitations should we order?
* Can we address the invitations by handwriting?
* Can we use computer printed labels to address the invitations?
* How is the inner envelope addressed?
* How should the following titles appear?
* Is it acceptable to write “and guest”?
* Should an invitation be sent to the following people?
* When addressing invitations is it appropriate to use abbreviations in names?
* When may a wedding invitation be addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Family”
* When should children receive their own invitations?
* When should Ms. be used for a female guest?

How do announcements differ from invitations?

Announcements are generally sent to those friends,
family, and business associates who were left off the
guest list because the celebration was too small to
accommodate everyone or because you are not
close to them, but they might still wish to hear the
news of your marriage. The announcement is not an
obligation, just a nice idea. Announcements are
never sent to anyone who has received an invitation
to the ceremony or reception.

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Do we need to use an envelope seal to seal the
outer envelopes?

Envelope seals are a nice added touch to
complement your invitations. Envelope seals are not
required, but can be applied to add a personal flair to
your invitations.

Although a seal is used, it is important still to seal the
envelopes properly, with the envelope seals being
used just for decoration.

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Should we include a map card and what information
should it provide?

If you are getting married in an out-of-way place or
have a lot of guests from out of town, you may want to
include a map card with your invitation. On the card
you should also have hotel information for your out of
town guests; this would include the reservation line
and rates for a few different hotels. The directions to
the hotels, ceremony and reception should include
information directing the guests from a major
highway or airport.

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What is a reception card?

The reception card is an invitation to the reception,
and it is often sent when the ceremony and reception
are held at different locations. The reception card is
enclosed with the wedding invitation. The reception
card comes in a set which includes the card itself and
the envelope. The reception card contains details
about the reception time and location.

The reception card is also used when the guest list
for the ceremony is larger than that for the reception.
Here, the reception cards would only be enclosed
with the wedding invitations for those being invited to
the wedding and reception.

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What is a reception invitation?

When the wedding ceremony is private and a large
reception follows, the invitation to the ceremony is
extended personally with a phone call or
conversation, or by a personal note. The wording of
the reception invitation is typically as follows:

Mr. And Mrs. James Howard Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the wedding reception for their daughter
Jessica Anne
and
Mr. William Ham
Saturday, the sixth of June
two thousand
at six o’clock
Knights of Columbus Hall
Burlington, Iowa
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When should thank you notes be sent?

Every time you receive a wedding gift you should
send a thank you note. It is important that they be
sent out very soon after the gift is received. This
means that thank you notes can be sent our before
and after your wedding.

You also should send a thank you note for each gift
you receive for your engagement and your showers.

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Why are two envelopes used and what purpose does
each serve?

The outer envelope is the one that is addressed,
stamped, and mailed to the guest. The outer
envelope contains all invitation components. The
inner envelope is used to hold the invitation and
inserts, but only has the names of the people to
whom the mailing envelope is addressed.

For example a married couple’s inner envelope is
addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson” with
no first names or address. This allows the bride and
groom to be very specific as to whom is invited. For
example, if a close friend is invited and the bride and
groom want her to bring a guest (and they don’t know
the friend’s name), the outer envelope is addressed
to the friend while the inner envelope reads “Miss
Jones and Guest.” An inner envelope that reads only
“Miss Jones” clearly indicates that Miss Jones cannot
bring a guest.

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How can I check on the correct postage for mailing?

Go to the post office and weigh a complete invitation
set; an invitation with all of the inserts and an
invitation without the inserts so that way you will
know exactly how much postage to put on each one.

Be sure to do this because having your invitations
returned to you for lack of postage can throw off your
whole schedule.

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How far in advance should invitations be
mailed to the guests?

The rule of thumb is to mail the invitation six to eight
weeks before the wedding date. However, if you
have many relatives in various parts of the country or
are getting married during a holiday period, send the
invitations out ten to twelve weeks before the
wedding to give guests time to plan their travel
schedule.

For out of town guests you may also want to consider
sending out a “save the date” announcement which
will provide your guests with the wedding date and
hotel information three months or more prior to the
wedding.

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How is the inner envelope inserted into the mailing
(outer) envelope?

When two envelopes are used, the invitation (folded
edge first for a folded invitation, left edge for a single
card) and all enclosures are put in the inner
envelope, facing the back. The inner envelope is
then placed, unsealed, in the outer envelope, with
the flap away from the person inserting it.

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How many invitations should we order?

After you have assembled your guest list, figure out
how many married couples you have because they
get just one invitation, and count how many single
people you have. Also figure that children over the
age of 18 who still live with their parents should
receive separate invitations, while children under 18
are included on the parent’s invitation.

Always order extra just in case you forgot to put some
names on your guest list or to cover replacement
guests. To reorder more invitations (the minimum is
usually 25) is more costly than ordering the correct
amount initially.

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Can we address the invitations by handwriting?

Yes, handwriting the invitations is just fine. It gives a
personal tone when you hand write the names and
addresses. You can also use a calligrapher, but if
you want to save significantly on the invitations, you
and several friends can easily address the invitations
for a personal touch.

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Can we use computer printed labels to address the
invitations?

Printed computer labels, whether done on white or
clear labels will detract from the personal tone of
your wedding. We recommend not to do this. Instead
have yourself and/or some friends hand write the
addresses.

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How is the inner envelope addressed?

This can be less formal than the outer envelope. You
need to include the names of all invites at the
address including children. For a traditional wedding
you would put ‘Mr William Cash’. But for a casual or
intimate wedding you could put, ‘Bill’ or ‘Uncle Bill’.

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How should the following titles appear?

The following titles are addressed as follows:

Lawyer:
Outer Envelope – Ms. Mary Jones, Esq.
Inner Envelope – Ms. Jones

Physician:
Outer Envelope – Jane Doe, M.D. or Doctor Jane Doe
Inner Envelope – Dr. Doe

Professor:
Outer Envelope – Professor James Jon or James Jon
Inner Envelope – Prof. Jon

Judge:
Outer Envelope – The Honorable Jerry Law
Inner Envelope – Judge Law

Mayor:
Outer Envelope –
The Honorable Rod Carry, Mayor of Jamestown
Inner Envelope – Mayor Carry

Captain (armed forces, police force, fire department):
Outer Envelope – Captain Marc Masters, U.S. Army
Inner Envelope – Captain Masters

Minister:
Outer Envelope – The Reverend Barry Ebberhard
Inner Envelope –
The Reverend Ebberhard (Roman Catholics use Father)

Rabbi:
Outer Envelope – Rabbi Loren Stein
Inner Envelope – Rabbi Stein

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Is it acceptable to write “and guest”?

No, typically “and guest” is too impersonal. It is much
warmer and welcoming if you find out the name of
your friend’s guest and write their name on the
envelope. Another option is for you to find out the
name and address of the guest and send the guest
their own invitation.

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Should an invitation be sent to the following people?
(general questions)

Invitations should be sent to:

The person who performs the ceremony and their
spouse? Yes
The fiancé of an invited guest? Yes, You need the
fiancé’s name so that you can put their name on the
invitation of the invited guest.
The bridal party members? Yes
The groom’s parents? Yes
Family and friends who live too far away to attend the
wedding? Yes
Small children who are not invited to the reception?
A personal preference
People in mourning? Yes
Only one member of a married couple? NO
Only one member of an unmarried couple living
together? NO
Ex-spouses? A personal preference

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When addressing invitations is it appropriate to use
abbreviations in names?

No, it is not acceptable etiquette. Traditionally, all
names are spelled out in full and this tradition still
stands today. Do not abbreviate a person’s name or
an address.

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When may a wedding invitation be addressed to “Mr.
and Mrs. John Smith and Family”

1) When it is clear that you are inviting just the
people living under that roof, and not another relative
that lives next door.
2) When the children are young
3) When every person living under the same roof is
intended to be included in the invitation.

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When should children receive their own invitations?

Children who are over age 18 should receive their
own invitation if they are still living with their parents.
However, if you have extra invitations and there are
children in the home over the age of 13, it would be
acceptable to send them their own invitation. This
will be a personal touch and will make the children
feel special.

If children are not receiving their own invitation, their
names may be written on a line below their parents’
names on the inner envelope and do not have to
listed on the outer envelope at all.

When should Ms. be used for a female guest?

Use this for single women or if you unsure if the
female guest is married.

Choosing your florist

Your wedding flowers can say a lot about your wedding and your personal style. Silks or fresh, they will add to your ceremony and reception site, give complementary color against you and your bridesmaids dresses, and add a touch of color to your groom and guys.

There are so many choices when it comes to flowers, and it seems just as many choices in florists. Here you will find some information and questions that will help you determine which florist may be right for your wedding.

You will need to start looking for a florist and contact one early in the planning stages, ideally 8-12 months prior to your date. Get recommendations from other service professionals as well as family and friends. Give the florists a call and make an appointment to talk with them and see their work.

When meeting with the florist, check out their shop. Do they work from out of their home or have a shop? What is their business traffic? Do they specialize in weddings?

Ask to see arrangements in silk or fresh. If they are designing arrangements for a wedding that you can view, ask to see them.

Look at fresh flowers the florist has, do they look healthy? Do arrangements in the shop look full and vibrant?

Ask the florist for suggestions, try to have in mind what you are looking for, does she listen to you wants and seem willing to create what you wish for? Does she have suggestions on what you can do to enhance or lessen the costs of the order?

Ask around to several florists and get a ‘ball park’ cost for your wedding flowers. Keep in mind, price is an important factor, many florists will try to work within your budget.

Once you are comfortable with a florist, you need to ask some questions before you contract them such as:

Have you worked at my ceremony and reception site before? What suggestions do you have for enhancing the sites with flowers and decorations?

Do you recommend silks or fresh flowers and why?

Will you be able to make up or do you have a sample bouquet that I can see before deciding on a type of bouquet for design, size and colors?

Can you provide candelabras and plant stands for arrangements at my ceremony and reception. Will you decorate these? Will you or can you transport them from the wedding to reception? (you may wish to use these as backdrops for your cake area or other reception areas)

Keeping in mind the ceremony site (air-conditioned or not), time of year, flowers in season and heat factor. What flowers do you recommend?

How will you ensure or guarantee my flowers on the wedding day? Is there a back-up plan in case of an emergency?

Will you personally deliver and set-up the arrangements? Will you stay and pin flowers for groom, groomsmen and others?

Can you provide other decorations other than flowers, such as balloons for the reception, centerpieces, and flowers for cake table or floral cake topper?

Do your preserve the wedding bouquet after the wedding? If silks are used, do you have suggestions for re-creating different arrangements (such as centerpieces) with my bouquet or other arrangements after the wedding?

What will the total cost of my order be? Is there any overtime or additional costs I need to be aware of? What is your payment policy?

If all the questions are answered to where you feel comfortable, get it all in writing as to costs, what the florist will provide with an itemized list. Make sure she/he provides you with information of who will design the arrangements and who will deliver them. Provide the florist with contact information for your ceremony and reception sites and a timeframe of when and where you wish your flowers delivered and set-up.

Ceremony Flowers

You and your bridesmaidís bouquets will be a focal point in your wedding. You will want to have arrangements with some impact, yet not be overpowering. Here are some helpful tips and flower facts to consider:

Your bridal bouquet will need to compliment your wedding style, dress design and your body size. As there are many different dress styles, there are different bouquet designs that will compliment or detract from them. For example, a sheath style gown with its long lines will look its best with a small bouquet or an elongated bouquet design. A very elaborate dress with detail on the bodice and skirt may benefit with a bouquet design that is held to the side. A very petite bride can be easily overwhelmed with a large bouquet.

Talking with your florist, they will be able to make suggestions as to the design and size you will need. If possible, ask for a sample bouquet or similar to help illustrate the design.

Choosing your flowers used can depend on the season, color and sizes of the blooms. Flowers that are in season are usually less expensive, look healthier and will last longer. Your florist can help you in choosing in-season blooms. Another alternative would be silks, which can sometimes be less expensive and are available all year round.

The classic wedding bouquet is all white, with roses and freesia. However, wedding floral arrangements today are based on your own personal style and theme. Consider blushing pastels, vibrant reds and yellows, even a mixture of wildflower colors. Blooms such as Cala lilies can keep with the traditional white, while adding a very distinctive flair. Remember to have your florist make up a small toss bouquet that resembles your bouquet.

The attendantís bouquets are often different in size and color from the brideís. You may even choose to have your attendants carry candles, bibles or other items decorated with flowers.

Traditionally, flower girls carry baskets of loose flower petals to toss in the aisle before the bride. This tradition is to give the bride a soft bed of petals to walk upon. Check with your ceremony site, some churches do not allow toss petals as they can be messy and guests might slip on them. An alternative to loose petals can be a miniature bouquet or basket of blooms.

Groom, groomsmen, fathers and other special men traditionally wear boutonnieres on the left lapel of their coats. The groomís boutonniere should be different from the others, usually of the same bloom found in the brideís bouquet. Men other than the bridal party that may wear a boutonniere are the officiant, musician, reader or soloist, family member and host.

Corsages for mothers, grandmothers and other special women should be of colors chosen to compliment their dresses. A traditional corsage is pinned to the dress on the left shoulder, however, you may wish to consider a wrist corsage or have mothers and grandmothers carry a single rose or small bouquet of flowers. Other women who may receive a corsage include officiant, musician, reader or soloist, family member, host and personal attendants.

You will also want to consider your ceremony site and have arrangements or floral decorations to accent the site. You will want to work with your florist to determine what, if any arrangements and decorations may be needed, and their size. Small arrangements can be lost in a large site, where too large of arrangements and decorations can be distracting.

Work with your florist on decorating the candelabras, providing greenery for the pews and other structures such as piano, organ, and railings. If you are having a candle light ceremony, your florist might be able to provide help with placement and provision of candelabras and accessories. Remember, the idea is to enhance the site, not to overwhelm it with flowers and decorations. You or your florist must be an artist when working to develop an overall site plan.

Reception Flowers/Decorations

Your reception can be enhanced with a few simple arrangements, or a lavish display from centerpieces to floral arches. Depending on your style, budget and reception site, you may wish to heavily decorate or add just a few simple touches. You will need to discuss with your florist what they can provide. Some florists can provide everything you would want and need for a price.

Your reception flowers and decorations should carry a uniform look and echo the colors of your wedding. Floral arrangements, table centerpieces, balloons, and lighted greens around tables and the room will all add to the ambiance and style you wish to obtain. Floral arrangements should be placed in areas where guests will mingle and focus their attention. Buffet tables, stages, mantels, staircases, the main entrance and cake/head tables will be main focal points.

Guest tables may receive centerpieces of floating candles, floral arrangements or theme items. Keep these centerpieces below eye level to encourage conversation and as not to obscure guest’s views of the room.

Metal arches of flowers or balloons can create a stunning effect for entryways and help divide rooms.

Head tables and cake tables might require some extra attention. Look behind the tables, are there doorways, light switches or fire equipment that can be obscured? White plastic latticework can create a beautiful textured backdrop for very little money and easily divides a room.

You might also talk with your reception site coordinator, the site itself may have decorations you can use.

Preserving Your Bouquet

You can preserve your wedding bouquet by first talking with your florist before your wedding. Let them know that you wish to preserve your wedding bouquet. They can then make suggestions about incorporating flowers that dry well. Silks are also an alternative. Your florist may provide a freeze dry process or offer to preserve your bouquet for you, know your alternatives and discuss with them their suggested method.

If you have fresh flowers, start preserving your bouquet at the reception. Put the bouquet in a place as to not be disturbed. You may request a floral box to help in this matter.

Before leaving on your honeymoon, you or a person you appoint can start the preservation process. Hang the bouquet upside down in a dark, dry place such as an attic for about two to three weeks. Once the flowers have dried, they are extremely fragile, handle with care. Use the bouquet to decorate a wall or shelf, place it in a shadow box or inside a wedding montage box. Do not place the bouquet in a plastic or sealed bag as it can attract moisture and easily mold or deteriorate.

Another alternative to your bouquet is to create potpourri from the dried flowers and leaves. Remove all the petals and leaves from the stems while they are still fresh and place them in a single layer on a sheet of newspaper in direct sunlight for about a week or two. Later, place the petals and leaves in a glass bowl and add aromatic potpourri oils for fragrance and place in a potpourri pot or bag.

You can press your flowers in an old traditional method. Place flowers in a single thin layer in newspaper to protect book pages, place between the pages of heavy books with added weight on top of the covers. In two to three weeks, remove the flowers and glue them to the pages of your wedding album.

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