Category: Wedding Planning Checklist

What a time to plan a wedding, right? Covid-19 has thrown a wrench is so many couple’s wedding plans. Ceremonies and celebrations that were scheduled during the height of lockdown were completely up-ended. And 2021 weddings are sure to look different than a “normal” wedding season.

From coast to coast (and continent to continent), couples are faced with a choice: cancel, postpone, alter or forge ahead as planned.

If you’re getting married during Covid-19, you’re not alone. I’m here with a few tips to help keep you sane while navigating this wild world of pandemic wedding planning.


1. Go Ahead and DO the Planning!

If you’re engaged and ready to start planning your wedding, then do! If a 2021 wedding is your dream, then plan for that. And if you’re planning beyond 2021, congratulations – you have a little extra time.

First things first. Set your date and book your vendors. Be sure to read your contracts carefully and have frank conversations about the “what ifs”.

Before booking, ask you vendors:

  • What is your cancelation policy?
  • Do you have any special Covid-19 related policies that will affect what we can and cannot do?
  • What are your Covid-19 safety policies?
  • What’s the deposit? When is the rest due? What happens to my deposit if I or you have to cancel?
  • What happens to my deposit if your business closes?

Deep breath. I know that’s a lot and some of those questions are rather anxiety-inducing. My motto during Covid wedding planning is hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

 

2. Have a Plan B. Or, Several.

The advantage that you have over couples who had to postpone their wedding in the spring and summer of 2020 is that you know what could happen.

Even though you may want to, do not bury you head in the sand. Prepare for a worst-case scenario – let’s say a national lockdown or Covid outbreak in your wedding party (eek!) – as well as not-terrible-but-also-not-great scenarios, and then make contingency plans around them.

Possible scenarios might look something like this:

  • Covid Improvement: If the world begins to feel “normal” again, do our plans change at all?
  • Covid Remains Steady: If we see no improvement, does that change anything for us?
  • Covid Risk Increases: If there’s a community Covid outbreak, do we need to change anything?
  • Covid Risk Hits Close to Home: If we have an outbreak in our family or wedding party, what do we do?

What do Plan B, C and D look like? That’s up to you. For some couples, it might mean postponing their wedding to another date, or even another year. For others, it might be holding a minimony with just your closest loved ones and celebrating with a reception at a later date. And for some couples, it might mean canceling your huge wedding altogether and eloping instead!

 

3. Create a Timeline

Make yourself a decision-making timeline. This will help you feel in control and may help your middle-of-the-night racing thoughts ease up a bit.

It might look something like this:

  • 12 Weeks Before Wedding: Do a gut-check. Has anything drastically changed? Right now, is there anything preventing you from having the wedding you’ve planned?
  • 8 Weeks Before Wedding: Gut-check #2!
  • 6 Weeks Before Wedding: Gut-check #3. Check in with your vendors. Communicate any changes to your guests.
  • 4 Weeks Before Wedding: If you’re thinking about a Plan B, now’s the time to make the decision.
  • 2 Weeks Before Wedding: Final big check-in. You’re almost there!

 

4. Communicate With Your Guests

Along with your timeline, put together a plan for communicating any changes to your wedding guests.

  • A Change of Plans: If something fairly minor has changed – such as your wedding venue – and your wedding invitations have already gone out, communicate the change on your wedding website. It’s also a good idea to enlist your friends and family to spread the word through phone calls, emails and text messages.
  • Wedding Postponement: If you’ve decided to postpone your wedding and reception to a later date, get the word out as soon as you’re able to. Again, your wedding website and word of mouth is a good option. Once you have your new date, send an official Change the Date card to each of your guests.
  • Wedding Cancelation and Small Ceremony: Canceling your planned wedding and opting for a small ceremony is something we’ve seen so many couples do this year. If you’re canceling, make a phone call to each of your guests and let them know. They’re sure to be bummed to miss out on the fun, so send a wedding announcement and share your news once you’re officially married!
  • Wedding Cancelation with a Reception Later: Lots of couples are holding a small ceremony and planning a wedding reception at a later, to-be-determined date. If this is you, send your wedding announcement and explain this to your guests. Once you have your reception date set, send a save the date followed up by a wedding reception invitation.

 

5. Be Flexible

And finally my best advice of all – be flexible. I have a feeling that if you’re planning a wedding during a global pandemic, you already possess this skill. In the end, you will be married! And, you’ll have a great story to tell!

 

Happy planning, brides and grooms!  xoxo

Ann’s Bridal Bargains focuses on bringing beautiful yet inexpensive wedding stationery to all couples, and now we offer a fabulous collection of guest books in modern styles that you and your wedding guests are going to love. Let’s take a look at a few favorites!

  1. Ever After Guest Book

Hits these trends! Greenery, Rustic

Personalize it like thisadd your choice of wording, which is often the couple’s names and wedding date, in white in your choice of fonts

You’ll love the priceget it for $29 (or less on sale!)

 

  1. Pure Simplicity Guest Book

Hits these trends! Minimalist, Landscape Photo

Personalize it like thisadd your choice of photo and choose fonts and colors for your personalization below.

You’ll love the priceget it for $29 (or less on sale!)

 

  1. Our Day Guest Book

Hits these trends! Multi-Photo, Minimalist

Personalize it like thisadd three of your favorite photos, and choose fonts and colors for your personalization below.

You’ll love the priceget it for $29 (or less on sale!)

 

  1. Birch Tree Carvings Guest Book

Hits these trends! Rustic, Woodland, Birch

Personalize it like thisadd your monogram to the carved heart design. Add your personalization below. All wording is printed in your choice of colors and fonts.

You’ll love the priceget it for $29 (or less on sale!)

 

  1. Blush Floral Guest Book

Hits these trends! Floral, Gold Foil, Vintage

Personalize it like thisadd your personalization below the floral and faux gold foil artwork. Your wording appears in your choice of colors and fonts.

You’ll love the priceget it for $29 (or less on sale!)

 

Shop all guest books to find your favorite. You can also sign up for emails to get alerts about our best deals and discounts.

 

Postage is usually an afterthought when it comes to ordering your wedding invitations but this cost can add up! We’ve put together some great tips for saving on postage before and after you purchase your wedding invites.

How to Save on Postage BEFORE You Purchase Wedding Invitations

Choose a Rectangular Wedding Invitation

You might be tempted to purchase square wedding invitations because they’re unique or pocket wedding invitations because they’re pretty.  Be aware that both will cost extra to mail.

Square envelopes require more postage. Pocket wedding invitations tend to be heavy so a single stamp won’t cut it. To be on the safe side, order a rectangular WEDDING INVITATION that won’t cost extra to mail.

Use an Online RSVP Service

Did you know its proper etiquette to add a stamp to all your RSVP card envelopes? Whoa – that adds up quick! If you have 100 invitations to mail, you’re spending $50 on respond card postage alone.

Instead of having guests mail back their respond card, use and online RSVP service through a wedding planning website like The Knot. But, you don’t necessarily have to exclusively use an online RSVP service. You can also include a phone number or email address for people to reply to. The idea though is to eliminate the need for an RSVP card and that pesky postage stamp.

Use Response Postcards

You’ll notice that most of the rsvp cards on our website are actually postcards. That’s because they are a cost-effective approach to the traditional RSVP. You don’t pay extra for RSVPs and you pay less for stamps because the postcard postage rate is lower than the standard postage rate.

Browse the designs in our collection of wedding invitation sets to find invites that come with free RSVP postcards. Win!

 

How to Save on Postage AFTER You Purchase Wedding Invitations

Don’t Guesstimate

Know how much you need and purchase only what you need with maybe a few extras. Check out the USPS stamps page to see how much stamps are right now and the many awesome designs available!

Wedding postage tip: if you like a current design, buy it now. There’s no guarantee that design will be available when you want it.

Think Ahead! Buy Stamps Early

Buy stamps before they increase in price. To find out when the next postage increase will be, visit Forever Stamp Value. You can even sign up to get notified by email when the next price increase will occur.

Spread Out the Cost

If you’re sending 300 wedding invitations with 300 standard response cards, you will be spending $300 on postage at a rate of 50¢ per stamp. The good news is you can buy however many stamps you want whenever you want. Consider purchasing your stamps in smaller batches spread out over a period of time.

Weigh Your Invitation Ensemble at the Post Office

Bring one complete wedding invitation in the envelope with all enclosures and have the post office clerk weigh it so you know exactly how much postage you need.

If the ensemble weighs more than one ounce (which is equal to one stamp), check to see if your invitations include inner and outer envelopes. You could eliminate the inner envelope to reduce the weight.

 

That’s it! Happy mailing brides and grooms!

xoxo

The team at Ann’s

We get a lot of questions about who pays for what in a wedding? The truth is, pretty much anything goes these days. Many couples are choosing to foot the bill all on their own. However, family is welcome to pitch in wherever they would like. The couple should talk with both sets of parents as early in the wedding planning process as possible about the wedding budget and any possible financial contributions.

If parents are contributing, they can either choose how much they want to put toward the wedding or they can choose what parts of the wedding they would like to pay for. The first option is easier for adhering to a specific wedding budget but some people prefer to pay for certain things like the wedding cake or the bride’s gown.

Although wedding costs can be divided in any number of ways, it’s still nice to have an idea of who traditionally pays for what. The wedding budget breakdown below is an easy and well-organized list of financial responsibilities. This is simply a guide for the couple. It’s a great place to start when making decisions about planning your wedding on a budget.

WeddingBDWhoPays2

take time to relax
It’s the last week before the wedding and you might be feeling a little stressed. Maybe “A little” is an understatement. Don’t worry, all brides go through it. It’s unavoidable when you’re juggling the demands of wedding planning and real life (you know, that boring old job that pays the bills?). So put down that pint of ice cream (your friends Ben and Jerry can’t make those centerpieces any cheaper) and read on for our helpful tips to cope with pre-wedding worries.

Take time to relax!

1. Make a list of everything you need to do (big and small) and mark things off as you go. If there is anything on the list you can delegate to a trustworthy person then by all means, delegate!

2. Take time for yourself. Go to bed early.

3. Eat food loaded with nutrition (no junk food!). Don’t overdo the caffeine. Stay hydrated.

4. Get a massage if you have time. If not, soak in a tub full of Epsom salts.

5. Listen to music that calms you.

6. Write in your journal, pray or meditate. Talk to your mom or grandmother (if she is the calming type).

7. Spend some quality time with your future husband.

8. Practice smiling at yourself in the mirror. Stick out your tongue at yourself. Laugh.

9. Pet your dog or cat. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your pet.

cuddle with your pet

10. Read a few chapters of a romance novel. Watch a comedy on TV or anything that is an escape.

11. Go with your bridesmaids, best friend or sister to get your nails done.

12. If you’re working, take more time off than you think you’ll need pre-wedding (if possible).

13. Take a moment to go outside and sit on the grass. Take in the smells, the colors, and breathe deeply.

14. Focus on what’s already gone right with your wedding planning so far.

15. Remember the reason for all this fuss — you found an awesome guy who will make a great husband!

There’s really no such thing as a “perfect” wedding day. Just remember that for better or for worse, nobody but you is going to remember all the nitty-gritty details of your wedding a year from now (including the groom!). The day will blur together in a wonderful, happy memory.

So, take some time to relax and enjoy this long-awaited day!

invitation with response wording

banner: 10 Wedding Planning Myths

Every couple learns as they go when it comes to wedding planning but we wanted to put your mind at ease about a few things by highlighting a few common wedding myths and misconceptions.

 

Myth #1 DIY wedding invitations will save you money.

Don’t get me wrong, they can be cheaper but you have to really research all the materials needed and how much those materials will end up costing. In the end, you might find a simple, professionally printed wedding invitation is similar in cost and A LOT less work.

 

Myth #2 Response cards are still the norm; there are no acceptable alternatives.

This is no longer true. There was a time when response cards were the most acceptable method for responding to a wedding invitation, but today some couples are choosing online response services or providing email addresses and phone numbers on their invitations. Some couples do both response cards and an alternate response method on the invitation. Do whatever you think you, and your wedding guests, will be most comfortable with. Be sure to be considerate of older guests. We recommend providing them a non-electronic way to respond.

 mason jar invitation with response wording 

Myth #3 Every guest will respond to your wedding invitation.

People forget and they procrastinate. It’s okay. Just assume you’ll be making some phone calls prior to the wedding. Ask the person in charge of responses to do this for you. If that person is you, ask your mom or a friend to help make the calls.

 

Myth #4 You shouldn’t have an adult only wedding.

Sometimes the wedding venue is simply not conducive to children, and that’s okay. However, we don’t recommend including “Adult only reception” on the invitation or reception card. Let your guests know children aren’t invited by clearly addressing the invitations to those who are invited. Check out these helpful tips for addressing your wedding invitations.

 

Myth #5 It’s not okay to invite your exes.

Granted, we do believe you should carefully consider if it is appropriate to invite your exes to your wedding, but we also understand that sometimes your exes become good friends or are a part of your close social network. Most importantly, make sure you and your soon-to-be spouse are perfectly comfortable with the idea. If not, don’t invite the ex.

 

Myth #6 You have to invite all of your coworkers or none.

There is no reason to feel obligated to invite all of your coworkers. A wedding is for your closest friends and family. The same rule applies to coworkers.

 

Myth #7 You should invite people who invited you to their wedding.

Just because you attended someone’s wedding doesn’t mean you have to invite them to yours. If you’re already questioning whether to invite them, they can probably be cut from your guest list.

 

Myth #8 You should include registry info with your invitation.

Wedding guests are not required to give you a gift, and including registry information with the invitation can make people feel obligated. Place registry information on your wedding website and let your closest friends and family spread the word. The same goes for cash gifts. Tell a few friends and family and let them spread the word. It is never appropriate to ask for cash gifts directly.

 

9. Plan to give one favor to each guest attending the wedding.

Wedding favors can get spendy and sometimes time-consuming if making them yourself, but one way to cut down on the cost and effort is to give one favor to single guests and one favor per couple. The tricky part is handing them out. We recommend having assigned seating and having place cards at each setting. This way you can provide one favor for single guests and you can place one favor between the place settings for couples. That being said, wedding favors are often sold in bulk. So if you want to make sure everyone gets a favor (and maybe an extra or two), you can probably up the quantity for a reasonable price.

 yellow favor boxes with black ribbon and square, white seal

10. Guests should not have to pay for drinks.

Sometimes it’s simply not in the budget. Guests aren’t going to refuse to celebrate with you because they have to pay for a drink or two. They are there for you, not the bar…hopefully. Many couples avoid the cash bar by limiting drinks to beer and wine, which can dramatically cut down on costs. You could also consider a cash bar but still provide one or two signature drinks and soda for free.

 

We hope this helps ease your mind as you’re wedding planning and you run across some of these common wedding myths. Check back often for more helpful advice, or feel free to comment and leave us a question. We’re happy to answer it!

 

 

picking up tuxes
The Wedding Gown

A bride will need to schedule on average 2-4 fittings for her wedding gown. If the dress is store bought, two fittings are likely. The wedding gown should be complete at least three weeks before the wedding. Most bridal shops and alteration shops recommend you pick-up your gown a few days before the wedding. You might be tempted to pick it up earlier, but if the dress is at the bridal shop it’s less likely to get damaged in any way.

picking up bridesmaids dresses

The Bridesmaid Dresses

Since the bridesmaids are responsible for picking up their dresses and having them altered, the bride can rest easy for this task. Bridesmaids should try on their dress when they pick it up and request any alterations needed. Most bridal shops will do the alterations in store, but your bridesmaids may choose to take their dresses elsewhere for alterations. That is just fine, as long as all dresses are finished by at least 2 weeks before the wedding.

picking up tuxes

The Groom and Groomsmen Attire

Tailor-made tuxedos and rented formal wear should be ordered at least three months prior to the wedding. The groom or groomsmen will have to schedule a fitting if purchasing a tailor-made tuxedo or suit. If renting, groomsmen who don’t live locally should get professionally measured and send their measurements to the rental facility at least 1 month before the wedding. Typically when renting, the groom and groomsmen will try the full tuxedo or suit rental on sometime during the week before the wedding. Even though most rental shops are great about ensuring you receive a quality product, the men should still keep a lookout for the following things when trying on their attire.

 

• Is it the correct style and color?

• Are the jacket sleeves the right length?

• Are all buttons accounted for and button properly?

• Is the tuxedo or suit too big or too small?

• Are buttons in place for attaching suspenders?

• Is the shirt sleeve length correct?

• Is the neck a comfortable fit?

• Do cuff links fit properly into button holes?

• Is the tie, cumberbund or vest provided?

• Do the shoes fit? match?

• Does everyone have the proper socks?

• Do the pants zip and fasten properly?

• Are there stains, holes, cigarette burns or frayed edges.

Note: You will want to designate someone to return all rented formal wear the day after the wedding. One person can return multiple tuxedos or suits. Usually this is the duty of the best man, but choose whomever you would like.

 

The Ushers and Ring Bearer Attire

The ushers normally rent the same attire as the groomsmen, but some couples choose to let the ushers wear their own suits. In this case you will want to tell them the color of suit, shirt and tie you would like them to wear as well as what color/style of pants to wear. The ring bearer’s outfit traditionally coordinates with the groom’s attire, but does not have to match exactly. Parents may choose to purchase or rent an outfit for the ring bearer. This usually depends on how formal the outfit needs to be. Suits may be used again, but tuxedos are less likely to be reused.

 

There you have it, a few pointers for picking up your bridal party attire before the wedding. We’re certain the ladies will look gorgeous and the gents will be dashing! Enjoy the day and the company.

packing for your honeymoon
packing for your honeymoon

Packing for your wedding night may seem like one of the easier tasks on your list of wedding to-dos, but we recommend starting a packing list 2-3 weeks before your wedding. This will give you time to think of all the things you will need plus time to purchase things you don’t currently have.

If you’re planning for just one night, your packing list will be fairly minimal and you can focus on remembering the things that will make your wedding night special. These things could include lingerie, champagne, chocolates and any other items you might want for such a special occasion. We won’t bore you with a checklist of regular travel items since you probably already have that figured out.

If you’re packing for your wedding night and honeymoon, you have quite a bit more to think about. Wondering where to begin? Here’s a great checklist from The Knot, and you’ll also want to read 10 Helpful Tips for Packing Light to get you started.

Start writing your packing list and gathering necessities. Packing early means less stress in those final days before the wedding and more time to enjoy the wedding

organize wedding items
week before the wedding

Keep Your Bridal Party Informed

A week or two before the wedding, inform the bridal party about their wedding day responsibilities to ensure everyone knows their role and your big day will go smoothly.

Here’s a checklist for keeping your bridal party informed.

• Finalize the rehearsal and wedding-day schedule and provide an itinerary to your bridal party 1- 2 weeks before the wedding. We can help you, just read “Putting Together Your Wedding Day Itinerary.”

• Create a list of every member’s contact information, along with the names of people you’ve asked to perform specific tasks and deal with vendors should problems arise.

•  Give a copy of the contact list to your personal attendant, wedding coordinator or whoever you have appointed to take care of wedding day logistics so they know who is responsible for what tasks.

• Explain any special ceremony seating arrangements to the head usher.

• Choose someone to take care of the gratuity envelopes for the officiant and reception vendors. These envelopes should be delivered after the ceremony and reception.

We don’t recommend going overboard on communication. The goal is to make sure everyone is informed of his/her role without making anyone feel overwhelmed. So put together a casual itinerary for the bridal party. They’ll appreciate feeling informed and prepared.

  organize wedding items

Organize Ceremony and Reception Items

Use a convenient portable container to keep day-of ceremony and reception necessities all in one spot. Talk with your ceremony and reception venues to see when these items can be dropped off: one week before? 2 days before? day of? Then designate someone to take care of bringing the items to the venue at the appropriate time.

Here are a few things you may need for the ceremony:

  • marriage license
  • unity candles
  • ring pillow
  • flower basket
  • guest book – be sure to personalize the first page by filling in the blanks!
  • card box
  • gratuity envelope
  • bird seed, rose petals, bubbles, etc., for your send-off to the reception
  • your emergency list of all wedding vendors with phone numbers
  • Read Last-Minute Items You May Have Forgotten for more items you may need.

Here are a few things you may need for the reception:

  • guest book from ceremony location
  • card box from the ceremony location
  • photo props
  • toasting flutes
  • cake server and knife
  • toss garter
  • toss bouquet (if delivered to the ceremony site with other flowers)
  • bouquet holders

bridal emergency kit

image: ultimate emergency kit, from www.weddingbee.com

Assemble an Emergency Kit

Also be sure to prepare an Emergency Kit of various items that may come in handy. Your personal attendant or Maid of Honor may already have this ready, so check with her to find out for sure. We’ve seen brides purchase cute clutches and create an “emergency kit” for each bridesmaid as a unique and useful gift.

 

Putting some effort into planning a week or two before the wedding will surely pay off! You’ll feel so much more relaxed the day of and you’ll be able to enjoy what really matters, each other.