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Category Archives: Invitations + Stationery

Save-the-Dates: Etiquette Q&A

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The ring is on your finger and the planning is underway — time to get your guests in the loop. Your first step: Send a wedding save-the-date card. This pre-invitation mailing officially announces your wedding date and lets guests know that they will, in fact, be invited to the celebration. Here are the answers to your most-asked etiquette questions.

Where to Start
Q. Do we have to send a save-the-date?
As destination weddings and three-day weekends have become more standard, so have save-the-dates. And if you’re marrying during high-travel times like a holiday weekend or summer in a beach town, a save-the-date is an expected courtesy. Of course, you don’t have to send one if you don’t want, but it will give guests the heads up about your wedding plans. Between travel arrangements and busy schedules, sending a save-the-date will increase guests’ chances of attending your celebration. And that’s the goal, right?
If someone receives a save-the-date and will be unable to attend, they are likely to offer regrets far in advance. You still need to send a wedding invitation as a common courtesy.

Q. When do you send them?
As a general rule, it’s best to start spreading the news at around six months prior to the ceremony (eight months for a faraway destination). This gives wedding guests plenty of time to book their travel, save a bit of cash, and ask for days off from work. Any earlier, and they may toss the notice aside. Any later, and it might as well be an invitation.

Q. Do we have to send save-the-dates to everyone?
Just to the people that you want to come to your wedding. Even if you’ve already received confirmations from certain guests, you still need to send them a save-the-date (bridesmaids, siblings, and parents). But remember: Only send to those that you definitely want to attend. Once these are in the mail, there’s really no turning back.
Sticky Situations

Q. Do we need to add “and guest,” or can that wait for the invitations?
It’s best to be clear about who’s invited to the wedding, even this far in advance. Always call your best friend’s boyfriend by his nickname? Now’s the time to find out what’s on his birth certificate. By including the actual names of every intended guest on the envelope, you’re less likely to have any assumed invitees (like your third cousin’s new boyfriend), or general confusion (is your seven-year-old niece invited?). Being up front about who’s invited also gives families with uninvited kids ample time to plan for child care, and out-of-towners time to figure out hotel room shares.

Q. What if we send save-the-dates and then change the date or location?
This scenario is very unlikely, since no couple should send out formal wedding information before setting the plans in stone — but stranger things have happened. In the event of an unexpected change of plans, your best bet is to update your wedding website, pick up the phone, and start spreading the word. You do have the option of sending out another mailing that explains the dilemma — but a personal, verbal notice is the best way to avoid confusion. (If your wedding guest list is a bit overwhelming, enlist the help of your bridal party.)

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DIY Wedding Programs: DIY Wedding Program Basics

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The more guests feel involved with your wedding, the more likely they’ll have a great time. Wedding programs are a wonderful way to help your friends and family follow the ceremony and understand the wedding traditions you’re incorporating, plus they can take theirs home as a keepsake. The key to crafting a good wedding program? Think practically and creatively.

What’s Included
No matter what design you choose for your wedding programs, consider adding the following elements:
The full names of the bride and groom, the wedding date, and the city and state where the wedding is taking place
The order of the wedding ceremony, including the musical selections (and the lyrics if they’re especially meaningful to you), the composers, and the performers, as well as readings, the source or author, and the readers
Wedding party bios with brief descriptions of each attendant’s relationship to you

The name of the officiant
A thank-you note to both sets of parents; one to all the guests is another frequent addition
For religious and secular ceremonies alike, it’s important to keep guests in the know by briefly explaining traditions, rituals, and ethic customs
If you wish to honor deceased loved ones, you can include a memorial on the back page with a photograph, a fond memory, poem, or quote

Personalizing Them
Your wedding program is an opportunity to tell guests a little more about you as a couple and to set the tone for the rest of the event. The easiest way to personalize your programs is to add special touches, such as favorite poems, quotes, or photographs. Here are some creative concepts:
One couple we know extended their old-world European theme with programs printed on marbled parchment paper rolled into scrolls and tied with a sage-green ribbon and a sprig of eucalyptus.

Two actors created a Playbill for their programs: a booklet complete with The Players (each attendant’s picture and a short bio), a description of Acts (the ceremony events), and a Producers’ Note (a letter to guests from the bride and groom).
High school sweethearts reprinted their senior prom picture on vellum and used it to top the program, setting a lighthearted, playful mood.

Knot Note: Instead of making just a ceremony program, consider creating a program for the reception as well. Combine it with the ceremony program or create a separate handout for the beginning of the reception. The goal of the event program is to let people know the approximate times for must-see things like the cake cutting and special dances, as well as special symbolism of particular events.

Making Them
Whether you choose to create a program that’s bound with a wax seal or a single sheet of paper, there are four basic ways to make your wedding day programs.
Set up an arts-and-crafts station in your home, complete with colorful papers, ribbon, and decorations, and host a bridal party DIY night.

Create them using template designs from a computer program. With the right program, you can create almost anything imaginable.

Have them crafted by a professional designer.

Purchase a DIY kit from a company like Paper Source. All you have to do is follow the directions and put the programs together.

Knot Note: DIY programs can be a time-consuming and expensive process, especially if you get hung up on technical details, so do a test run. Time how long it takes to put together a single program before deciding to make them yourself.

Presenting Them
Because wedding programs can come in unusual shapes, sizes, and colors, they can be presented in various ways. Here are some ideas:
Fill baskets, tin pails, or antique trays — whatever works with your wedding style — with programs and place them at the entrance to your ceremony site. Guests can grab one as they arrive.

For an outdoor wedding, put a program on each chair and set a few pieces of colored sea glass on top to keep them from blowing away.
Ask a friend or family member to greet guests and hand out programs as they arrive. It’s the perfect way to give a special role to someone special who isn’t a bridesmaid or a groomsman.
Have your ushers hand guests a program right before they’re seated.