Getting parents involved

Enlist the help of your families in your wedding plans. If parents have never met, get them acquainted.

To help break the ice between parents that have never met, invite them all out to dinner. If they live far apart, give your parents a call and introduce them over the phone. They will want to exchange congratulations and invite each other to meet before the wedding date. If they have an engagement party for you, make sure the other half is invited.

You will want to discuss with your families the type of wedding you are planning. You will also want to discuss finances as one may dictate the other. Get your families input. There may be a wedding tradition one of the families you may want to include. While your preferences should take precedence, it’s not likely everything will go your way, be prepared to give and take.

Money is a main determining factor in every wedding. You will need to spend considerable time on determining a budget and who is paying for what.

Old tradition dictated that the bride’s family pays for the bulk of a wedding. Today however, this is not always the case with many weddings being financed by the bride and groom.

Your fiancé’s parents may also want to help with expenses.

If you are counting on your parent’s to pay for certain expenses, you will need to discuss this with them. They may need to decide on what they can afford, and what their budget will allow.

If the subject of “who will pay for what” still has not come about, you may want to approach them. “John and I are going to be taking care of the flowers, his folks want to pay for the DJ. Can you help us pay for the wedding photographer?” Have a good estimate on what you are looking at spending.

Keep his parents informed also, such as guest list size and when you will need a list. Your moms will also want talk to each other about the type of dress they are going purchase for the wedding. It might be a good idea for them to go shopping together to help coordinate styles. This can also be a great way for them to get to know each other better.

Month-by-Month To-Do List

Planning your wedding can be a long or short affair. The planning may begin a year or more in advance, while it is possible to plan in a much shorter amount of time.

Just remember that peak wedding dates may require extra time to reserve your service providers. Once you are sure on your date, set it in stone by reserving your locations and service providers.

Keep in mind; this list covers many planning objectives but not all. You will want to add any special planning tasks to it.

Bride’s list: 12-18 months prior

*Select and set wedding date *Reserve church and reception locations *Choose attendants *Select and reserve service providers *Start looking for wedding attire

Nine months prior

*Meet with officiant. Begin pre-wedding counseling if required. *Start compiling guest list *Finalize and order wedding gown, veil, bridesmaid’s attire, and flower girl’s dress *Begin registering for gifts *Discuss and plan honeymoon

Six months prior

*Begin reception planning, select menu *Select and order invitations *Have engagement photos taken *Begin shopping for grooms and men’s formal wear *Work with florist on wedding flowers *Help mom’s select attire *Select cake decorator and cake

Three months prior

*Begin to finalize guest list *Shop for honeymoon clothes *Shop and order wedding rings *Check your state regulation and get blood tests if you need them *Reserve a block of hotel rooms for guests *Work with DJ on selecting music for reception, first dance, etc. *Finish guest list

Two months prior

*Begin bridal gown and bridesmaids dress fittings *Address and main invitations *Purchase gifts for attendants *Submit announcement to newspapers *Work with hairdresser and veil to get the look you want *Plan rehearsal dinner

Three weeks prior

*Confirm honeymoon and travel arrangements *Get marriage license *Confirm in writing poses and special requests with photographer, videographer, D.J., caterer, reception hall, etc. *Get haircut or touch-ups *Purchase Groom’s gift

One-week prior

*Supply caterer with final head count *Pack for honeymoon *Confirm with all service providers on date, times, details and any changes *Purchase travelers checks *Have Fun!

Grooms list: 12-18 months prior

*Purchase bride’s engagement ring *Select and set wedding date *Reserve church and reception locations *Choose attendants *Select and reserve service providers

Nine months prior

*Meet with officiant. Begin pre-wedding counseling if required. *Start compiling guest list *Begin registering for gifts *Discuss and plan honeymoon

Six months prior

*Begin reception planning, select menu *Select and order invitations with bride *Have engagement photos taken *Begin shopping for grooms and men’s formal wear *Make honeymoon reservations, plane tickets, etc. *Make arrangements for passports, visa, and inoculations for travel *Reserve Honeymoon/wedding night suite

Three months prior

*Begin to finalize guest list *Shop for honeymoon clothes *Shop and order wedding rings *Check your state regulation and get blood tests if you need them *Reserve a block of hotel rooms for guests *Make sure groomsmen are measured for formal wear *Plan with parents the rehearsal dinner and finish guest list

Two months prior

*Check in to what requirements are for marriage license *Purchase gifts for attendants *Submit announcement to newspapers *Reserve rehearsal dinner location and other details

Three weeks prior

*Confirm honeymoon and travel arrangements *Get marriage license *Get haircut or touch-up *Send out rehearsal dinner invitations *Double check with formal wear provider to make sure all measurements are in and tuxes ordered *Purchase Bride’s gift

One-week prior

*Check with and remind groomsmen and ushers on rehearsal dinnertime and place *Pack for honeymoon *Confirm with all service providers on date, times, details and any changes *Purchase travelers checks *Prepare officiant fees, entrust it to best man and give him instructions on paying the officiant. Prepare and present musicians, vocalists and others with appropriate monetary gifts *Make sure all wearing tuxedos inspect and try on formal wear

2-3 days prior to wedding

*Instruct ushers on special seating arrangements. *Have Fun!

Newspaper Wedding Announcements

Word of your engagement will travel fast and far among friends, however, word of mouth only travels so far. Once you have told family and friends, it’s time to announce your engagement in writing. Newspapers, club newsletters and company newsletters are just a few places to start.

Newspapers are the most common used place for announcements. Most papers run announcements under the Lifestyle section about once a week. You will want to contact the paper for deadlines and requirements of photos and text. Ask for any forms you may need to fill out. Inquire if there are any fees for placement.

You will want to contact newspapers where you live and work, also where your parents live. If you are well known in other communities, you may want to run the announcement there also.

To make sure of proper communication, type your announcement, double-spaced, on a sheet of paper and attach your photo.

You should include career information about you and your groom, your parents and where they live, and what school(s) you attended. If you are keeping your name, you may want to note this as, “The bride will keep her name” so friends, family and business associates will know how to address you in the future. The month you will be married may be mentioned along with the city/town.

You should word the announcement as follows in the traditional way:

Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Smith announce the engagement of their daughter, Diane Sue, to John Jacob, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Smith of Miami. A June wedding is planned in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa…

In some cases, you may need to word your announcement differently. When the bride’s parents are divorced, you should word it for the parent who raised you and also mention your other parent as follows:

Mrs. Judy Smith of Burlington, Iowa announces the engagement of her daughter, Diane Sue, to John Jacob, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Smith of Miami. Miss Smith is also the daughter of Kenneth Smith of Palms Spring.

If divorced parents remain friendly, they may jointly want to announce the engagement as follows:

Mr. Kenneth Smith of Palms Spring and Mrs. Judy Smith of Burlington, announce the engagement of their daughter…

If the bride’s mother has remarried, use your mother’s surname in the announcement:

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Murphy announce the engagement of Mrs. Murphy’s daughter, Diane Sue Smith, to John Jacob, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Smith of Miami. Miss Smith is also the daughter of Kenneth Smith of Palms Spring.

If one of the bride’s parents is deceased:

The bride’s mother announces the engagement of Miss Diane Smith, daughter of Mrs. Judy Smith and the late Kenneth Smith, to Mr. John Smith, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Smith of Miami.

If both the bride’s parents are deceased, an honored family member or friend can do the announcing:

Miss. Jamie Smith of Burlington announces the engagement of her sister, Diane Sue, to John Jacob, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Smith of Miami. Miss Smith is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Smith.

If the groom’s parents are divorced or deceased, you will want to follow the same general format.

If the bride and groom are hosting their own wedding, you can do one of two things. Let your parents have the honor of announcing your engagement, or announce it yourself. If you wish to announce it yourself consider the following to word your announcement:

Miss. Diane Smith of Burlington, Iowa is to be married in June to John Smith of Miami, Florida. Miss Smith is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Smith of Burlington. Mr. Smith is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Smith of Miami.

Second marriages keep the wording traditional just as a first marriage. However, the bride will want to use her current, legal surname, even if it differs from your parents:

Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Smith announce the engagement of their daughter, Diane Sue Schultz, to John Jacob, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Smith of Miami. A June wedding is planned in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa…

You may use the above as examples to start with. You may also wish to look at your local paper and see what many of the couples are using for a format.

Setting your Wedding Date

The first step in any wedding is to firm up a wedding date. While it sounds easy, there are many factors that may force you to pick a different date, such as work, school, weather, holidays, area events, etc.

You will need to start by finding out availability of your church, synagogue and reception site. Many sites can be booked a year or two in advance of your date, so check as soon as possible to insure the date is open or look for alternative dates or times. Some churches will handle two to three weddings back to back and some reception sites may handle two or more receptions at a time. Find out all your options.

You will also want to consider how much time you will need for planning your wedding. Many weddings take a year or more of planning depending on how big the event.

Different times of year can also play a big part of your wedding date. Seasons, area events, major holidays, religious holidays, work or military service can hinder your plans. Guests may find it difficult also to attend around major holidays.

Check with your parents and attendants, your best man may have guard duty or parents may have a planned vacation over that date. Other anniversaries, birthdays and graduations may collide.

Many brides also consider their menstrual cycle when planning the wedding date. In some traditions, sexual consummation of the marriage takes place on the wedding night, so careful planning of the date is important. Planning a date around this six to twelve months in advance can be difficult.

Once you have your date nailed down, let all the key people know so they may start planning their schedules accordingly.

How to announce your engagement: Announcing Your Engagement


Going public with the news of your engagement can be exciting. How do you get the word out? First off, start by telling your family, followed by close friends and co-workers.

The tradition of asking a bride’s father for her hand in marriage is not dead, just overlooked. Your fiancé may wish to speak with him privately, with both parents and/or stepparents.

News as important as this should be delivered in person! You and your fiancé should make plans as soon as you decide you want to announce your engagement to visit with your parents first. If you live far away and can’t wait, call them with your great news! If you think your family may have reservations, speak to them about it. It may put them more at ease if they can spend time together with your fiancé. If he/she has children, make sure they are involved with their potential new grandparents.

If either of you have children make sure you tell them as soon as possible. Marriage can mean a dramatic change for some children. It may mean the end of one lifestyle and the start of a new. They may have questions. Take the time to talk with them about their concerns, your wedding and what it means to all of you.

Good news travels fast, so make sure to call grandparents, relatives and close friends. Have a tentative date or time of year in mind so friends can start thinking about plans if they will be traveling from a far, or let them know you will be getting back soon with a date. You will also want to let co-workers and your boss/supervisor know the wedding date and time needed off. If you will be relocating after the marriage let them know this so they can plan ahead for your departure.

Last, but not least, if you are divorced or have children with another, make sure you share this information with them. If not on friendly terms, write them a letter or note.