Tag Archives: wedding planning checklist

Wedding Planning Checklist:  Section 6: Part 1

1. Refer to your vendor contact sheet (you have one, right?) If not, no worries. You can start one anytime. It will include the name of each vendor, address, email address, phone number and contact you’ve been working with.


2. Review your contracts with each vendor so you are well prepared to call and verify important details.


3. Call each vendor 1-2 months before the wedding to finalize arrangements. Vendors include ceremony musicians, reception deejay or band, caterer, cake baker, florist, limo service, photographers, videographer and officiant.


4. Verify timeframes! You probably have the important details figured out at this point, but the one thing you should check and double check are times! Your wedding day will be on a tight schedule. Verify each vendor’s timeframe for the wedding day, and make sure that fits with your itinerary.


5. Ask any last-minute questions you might have. Wondering if you can have votives in bags for ambiance down the aisle? Wondering how the wedding party will be introduced at the reception? If you’re not sure what questions to ask, ask the vendor if there are last-minute things couples often forget. They should have some helpful feedback for you.

Wedding Planning Checklist: Section 5: Part 4


It’s three months before the wedding, and everything is falling into place. Now is the time to confirm your honeymoon reservations and make sure you have passports, visas, etc. And, of course, you have to tackle packing at some point.


Packing for your honeymoon must be tailored to fit your destination, but here are 10 helpful tips for packing light and being organized — regardless of where you’re vacationing:


1. Packing Light. Pack only what you need for clothing (many couples tend to over-pack, causing unnecessary expense). Choose clothes that mix and match. Pack a swimming suit and one formal outfit. Purchase an outfit or two at your honeymoon location as a fun memento.


2. Roll or Lay Flat — Don’t Fold. Folded clothes can take up more room in your luggage. Try rolling clothes or lying them flat to take up less space.


3. Don’t Pack Duplicate Items. Pack your bags at the same time as your spouse/spouse-to-be if possible. Make sure not to pack duplicate items, such as contact solution, toothpaste, sunscreen and other toiletries.


4. Rely on the Hotel’s Complementary Benefits. Find out what your hotel provides FREE with each room (shampoo, conditioner, a hair dryer and an alarm clock are standard). These items, and any others your hotel may provide, don’t need to be packed.



5. Pay Attention to the Weather. Check the weather forecast in the area you are visiting. Pack clothes according to the most up-to-date predictions. Consider temperature variations, as well. Some locations are hot during the day, but cool down quite a bit in the evening.


6. Be Romantic. Don’t let packing light get in the way of romance. Pack a small gift to surprise your spouse. Also, bring along honeymoon gear, like lingerie, of course, and some fun items like “Just Married” T-shirts.


7. Capture Memories. Pack your camera and/or camcorder along with chargers and extra batteries. Also, bring along plastic, re-sealable bags to store mementos such as sand and seashells. They can also prove handy for packing damp swimming suits or keeping your camera safe from water damage. Bring a small journal, too. There will be lots of moments and stories you’ll want to write down so you can remember everything in detail later.


8. Keep “Must-Haves” in Your Carry-on Bag. Airline tickets, identification (driver’s license, passport, visas), traveler’s checks, credit cards, cash, prescription medications, contraceptives and important phone numbers should be packed in one of your carry-on bags.


9. Remember to Pack the Important Extras! An extra pair of glasses or contacts, asthma inhaler, box of allergy medication, camera/camcorder battery and other important extras can help make you more comfortable and your honeymoon vacation run more smoothly.


10. Include a Collapsible Bag. You’ll want an extra bag for your trip home to fill with souvenirs or dirty laundry — this bag will provide the additional space. You may want to ship some souvenirs home separately if space is still tight.


Of course, if you’re packing for a destination wedding, things will be a bit different. Consider finding some inexpensive wedding favors that pack easily. We suggest favor boxes or favor bags. Fill them with whatever treats or mementos you find at your special destination.


For more tips on honeymoons, check out our post on 10 Money-Saving Tips for a Budget-Friendly Honeymoon.


Wedding Planning Checklist: Section 5: Part 1


Assembling and addressing your wedding invitations are no easy tasks. Here are brief guides to help you tackle each of these important steps in the invitation process.

Assembly in 5 Easy Steps

1. Insert the wedding invitation into the inner envelope (if applicable). The printed side of the invitation should face you.

2. Place the reception card in front of the invitation with printed side up.

3. If you’re including other enclosures, like direction cards or accommodation cards, place them in front of the reception card printed side up.

4. The respond card is next. This card should be tucked under the flap of the respond card envelope, printed side up. Be sure to place a stamp on the envelope. Then place the card and envelope in front of the enclosures mentioned in step 3.

5. Once you have all the pieces assembled in the correct order, slide the inner envelope into the outer envelope with the front of the inner envelope facing you. If you don’t have an inner envelope, tuck the stacked invitation pieces into the outer envelope with the printed sides facing you.

(Want a visual? Visit our blog post, A Simple Guide to Assembling Your Wedding Invitations for illustrated instructions.)


Addressing the Situation


What are inner envelopes?

The inner envelope is still a common part of the wedding invitation ensemble, but has become a more traditional/formal element. Its purpose is to hold the invitation and all the enclosures together within the main envelope. The inner envelope is slightly smaller and has no adhesive on the flap. You will find many of today’s wedding invitations don’t include an inner envelope option.


How are inner envelopes addressed?

If your invitation includes an inner envelope, it will be addressed with the names of each guest. You may address inner envelopes formally or informally, as shown below. If you are allowing single guests to bring a date, add “and guest” or the guest’s first and last name. If children are invited, write the children’s first names under their parents’ names.

Formal Addressing guide

Informal Addressing guide

What are outer envelopes?

The outer envelope holds the entire invitation. It includes an adhesive flap for sealing and is addressed for mailing. Almost all wedding invitations come with outer envelopes.


How are outer envelopes addressed?

Outer envelopes are normally addressed in a formal manner, meaning titles and last names. No abbreviations are used except for titles, such as Ms., Mrs., Mr., and Jr. That means all words in the address are spelled out (St. would be Street, Blvd. would be Boulevard, etc.) Sound like a lot of work? It is! So order your invitations early to give yourself some time or take advantage of Ann’s envelope-addressing service.


(For more addressing details, check out Top 10 Things to Remember When Addressing Your Wedding Invitations.)

Wedding Planning Checklist: Section 4: Part 4

When you think accessories, you think sparkling bridal jewelry and shimmering heels. When we think accessories, we think so much more! That’s our job after all, to help you remember the important details that might slip your mind in all the excitement of wedding planning.

Wedding Ceremony Accessoriesinclude any kind of decoration or accessory that adds to the overall look and feel of your wedding ceremony. Here’s what most brides purchase for their ceremony:

Unity Candle or Unity Sand Kit – the unity ceremony is a common tradition, which involves either lighting a unity candle or today’s popular alternative of pouring sand into a unity vase.

Ring Bearer Pillow – a classic accessory needed for the ring bearer in your wedding party.



Flower Girl Basket– a classic accessory needed for the flower girl in your wedding party.


Aisle Runner – adds an elegant touch to any church aisle and looks fabulous in photos!



Wedding Reception Accessories include everything from decorations and centerpieces to wedding favors and serving sets. Here’s what most brides purchase for their reception:


Napkins – add color, stylish detail and personalization to any wedding reception.


Favor Boxes – a popular choice available in lots of colors and styles! Fill with treats and embellish with accents, such as ribbon and charms.




Toasting Flutes – a special touch for the head table, which the bridal party will love using during the wedding toasts.


Guest Book and Pen– needed at the entrance of the church if you’d like a record of guests in attendance.


Cake Server Sets – a beautiful complement to your wedding cake that’s needed for slicing and serving.


Cake Toppers – the finishing touch for your wedding cake creation.


Place Cards – indicate where guests will be sitting for an assigned seating reception.


Matchbooks a traditional favor that’s perfect on its own or combined with other items.


Reception Decorations – use any variety of decorations to add to your reception’s theme and ambience.



Reception Centerpieces – reception table centerpieces should coordinate perfectly with your décor.





Garters – for wearing throughout the ceremony and tossing at the reception, of course!

Wedding Planning Checklist: Section 4: Part 3

As you begin your search for wedding invitations, check out this post, Choosing the Perfect Wedding Invitations — 5 Questions to Ask Yourself. These helpful questions will steer you in the right direction and help you narrow down your choices.

Or if you are about to order your wedding invitations, here are some important things to remember before ordering — and a checklist of stationery pieces you may need.


Deciding how many wedding invitations to order.

It’s easier to calculate than you think. When determining the quantity you’ll need, make note of these simple guidelines:

• One invitation should be sent per couple

• Children under 18 years old can be included on their parents’ invitations; older children, especially those not living at home, should receive their own invitations

• Send one invitation to single guests; you may write “and guest” on the inner envelope if they are welcome to bring a date, or send a separate invitation to the guest’s date

• Include 25 extra invitations with your order so you’ll be covered in case of last-minute guest list additions. You’ll also have a few left as keepsakes! It costs far less to include 25 extra invitations with your initial order than to place a new order for 25 invitations.

Common mistakes made when mailing invitations.

• Ordering invitations too late; therefore, sending the invitations too late. Couples should order wedding invitations about 4 months ahead of time. This allows time for addressing and sending invitations 6-8 weeks before the wedding, which gives guests plenty of time to make travel plans, adjust schedules, find babysitters, etc.

• Spending too much or too little on postage. Take a fully assembled invitation with all enclosure cards and envelopes to be weighed at the post office to determine exact postage needed. Many invitations mail for the cost of a standard stamp. Some styles cost more due to size and/or shape (eg. marquis [square] invitations).

• Licking every envelope — not necessary!  An envelope moistener is totally worth a few dollars.

Accidentally using old addresses. The best defense you have against someone not receiving an invitation is making sure you know they didn’t receive it. Making your return address clean and legible is important. If your handwriting isn’t the best, or you want to save time on addressing, have us print your envelopes with the return address. Choose the same ink color and typestyle as your invitations for a fully coordinated look.


The Checklist: The invitation…plus everything else you need.

The basics that you need include:

Wedding Invitations – Of course.

Response Cards – These are how you tally who is attending your wedding, and are essential for the caterer.

Reception Cards – Inform guests when and where the post-wedding celebration is.

Envelopes – Inner and outer envelopes are included with all discount wedding invitations and response cards. Upgrade to a lined inner envelope to add color.

Thank You Cards – A thank you card should be sent to every wedding guest.


Additional Stationery that takes you beyond the basics include:

Save the Date Cards – They are a wonderful way to notify your guests well in advance of the event.  Save the Dates can be sent out four to twelve months in advance allowing important family and friends who will need to travel to your wedding location.

Announcements – If you had a small wedding or a destination wedding, you may want to send wedding announcements to friends and family who couldn’t make it. Any of our discount wedding invitations can be used as wedding announcements with just a change of wording.

Direction/Map Cards – Although direction cards aren’t a requirement, they’re quickly becoming a standard addition to the invitation ensemble.

Accommodations Cards – If you have several guests who will be traveling, it’s courteous to reserve accommodations or present them with hotel information near the wedding site.

At Home Cards – If you will be moving shortly before or after the wedding, include at home cards with your invitations.

Informal Cards – Informal cards are printed with your names and can be used for both thank yous and as correspondence after the wedding.

Seals – Envelope seals secure your invitation ensemble and they add a stylish finishing touch. You can even order extra seals and use them to accent gifts, favors, thank you notes and gratuity envelopes.

Wedding Planning Checklist: Section 4: Part 2 of 2



Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but these days money has become a pretty close friend of the bride and groom as well. We’re giving you a quick rundown of what to look for when shopping genuine diamonds, but we’re also providing you with some less expensive alternatives that look gorgeous but won’t leave you in the poor house.



Shopping genuine diamonds? Remember the four Cs.

Cut – During the cutting process, artisans sculpt tiny angles — known as facets — into a raw stone. Poor sculpting creates dullness. The cutting process also creates the shape. Shapes include round brilliant (more that 80% of diamonds), pear, marquis, emerald, asscher, cushion, princess and heart. When shopping for diamond rings, look for brilliance (how it reflects light), fire (it flashes color) and scintillation (it sparkles). Be sure to examine the stone in a variety of different lighting.

Color – There are two categories of color: colorless and fancy. Colorless diamonds are graded on a scale of D (completely clear) to Z (traces of yellow, brown or gray). Most colorless diamonds found in jewelry stores range from D to L. Fancy diamonds (yellow, pink, blue and other naturally colored stones) are rare and more expensive.

Clarity – Most diamonds contain two types of imperfections: internal flaws (inclusions) and surface flaws (blemishes). Flawless stones exist but are very rare. Most jewelers have never seen one. Many jewelry stores sell diamonds that are considered “eye clean,” which means inclusions are only seen under 10x magnification. And believe it or not, a few inclusions can be a good thing. They’re like fingerprints, making each diamond unique.

Carat – Carat refers to a diamond’s weight. Each carat contains 100 points. A 75-point diamond weighs 75 carats and is smaller than a 100-point diamond that weighs 100 carats. Carats aren’t always a reflection of cost. A diamond cutter could choose to leave in a flaw and the stone would be bigger but less brilliant and less expensive. When shopping, remember that stones weighing just under full are much less expensive.


Looking for affordable alternatives?

Why should your fiancé pay two months worth of salary for something you can find at a much lower cost — and just as beautiful and meaningful? If you’re interested in diamond alternatives, check these places out.

Synthetic diamonds are created to be gorgeous, conflict-free and affordable. 

Moissanite, a fairly new discovery, has become a popular alternative to diamonds. It’s just as brilliant, very durable and more affordable.

High-grade cubic zirconia is a lovely and super affordable alternative to diamonds.

If you’re a more down-to-earth kind of couple, check out Turtle Love Co. for unique, beautiful options — many of which include colorful gemstones.

Wedding Planning Checklist: Section 4: Part 1 of 2

We packed this post with so much great information, we had to divide it up! Today we’ll cover interesting statistics from The Wedding Report for 2011, 5 tips for purchasing wedding bands and a quick guide to wedding band metals. Check back tomorrow for another quick guide about shopping genuine diamonds AND affordable diamond alternatives!

The 2011 Wedding Report Says…

• In 2010, brides and grooms spent $9.64 billion on engagement rings and wedding bands.

• Most couples purchase their engagement and wedding rings from large local (national chain) jewelers.

• Diamond use for groom wedding bands saw the biggest increase in demand.

• Engagement ring average carat weight is 1.18.

• The diamond shape “Round” makes up more than half of what consumers want.

• White gold continues to be the most popular metal choice.

• Approximately 26% of couples said they personalize or customize their engagement ring and wedding bands.

• When it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands, brides and grooms say that durability, design and style are most important.

• The prime timeframe appears to be at least 6 months plus for both researching and paying for the engagement ring and wedding bands.


5 Purchasing Tips

1. On average, couples spend about 2% of their wedding budget on the wedding bands.

2. Order wedding bands no later than four months before the wedding date.

3. Wedding bands don’t have to match.

4. A lower karat gold is actually more durable.

5. White gold is popular because it looks like silver, it’s durable and it’s reasonably priced.


A Quick Guide to Wedding Bands

• 24k = 100% gold

• 18k = 74% gold

• 14k = 58.5% gold

• Yellow gold – The higher the gold percentage, the richer the color and softer the band. Therefore, 14k is actually more durable than solid gold due to the metal additives.

• White gold – White gold looks like silver and is stronger than yellow gold.

• Platinum – Also looks like silver but stronger than gold and more expensive.


Check back Saturday for the diamond-shopping guide and great diamond alternatives!

When we started the Bargainista Blog just over a year ago, we thought the one thing our budget-savvy brides would appreciate the most would be a how-to series on wedding planning focused around saving money.

We were right! Our bargainistas love these in-depth articles posted one to two times a month. Each post titled “Checking it off the list!” highlights another topic on our Wedding Planning Checklist.  The series follows a 12-month planning checklist, so you get detailed information — with a budget twist! — for the entire planning process.

Here are a few of our top wedding planning posts so far: wedding planning checklist

Top Shops for Affordable Bridesmaid Dresses

Sending Wedding Thank You Cards the “Write” Way

Time to Plan for Hair and Beauty Treatments


Here are a few upcoming posts you don’t want to miss:

May 12, 2011 – How to Approach Cutting the Guest List

May 26, 2011 – A Quick Guide to Engagement Rings

Visit our Wedding Planning Guide to see all topics posted so far, and be sure to follow us on the Bargainista Blog to catch future helpful planning posts!

Wedding Planning Checklist: Section 3: Part 6


What you need for a Classic Bridal Shower:

The classic bridal shower is timeless. It works for any bride and we’re certain you’ll be able to pull off a beautiful party for a budget-friendly price.


Start by having guests sign in with the Umbrella Bridal Shower Guest Book. Guest books make great keepsakes for the bride. Transform some of the guest book pages into pre-made scrapbook pages for the bride to add photos and other memorabilia from the shower.


Continue the theme with Personalized Napkins featuring the Umbrella Shower design or Bridal Shower design. (Estimate two napkins per guest.)


Small White Favor Boxes make excellent favors when personalized with the same design as featured on your napkins. Fill them with your choice of treats.


Check out Netting for Favors and fill the netting circles with Scented Lavender Blossoms for a cute air freshener favor.



What you need for a “Sweet Love” Bridal Shower:

We love this theme because it’s creative, fun and simple. You can add extra details for a more elaborate theme or just keep it easy. Either way, it will be a fabulous bridal shower.


Start by having guests sign in with the White Guest Book. Again, guest books make great keepsakes for the bride, especially with pre-made scrapbooked pages.


Continue the theme with Personalized Napkins featuring the Intertwined Hearts design or Love/Heart design. (Estimate two napkins per guest.) $20 per 100.


Heart-Shaped Favor Boxes are perfect “Sweet Love” favors when personalized with the same design as featured on your napkins and filled with treats.


Cookie Cutter Favors are also a great idea. You can create recipe cards printed with favorite cookie recipes and attach them to the cookie cutters (or check out our professionally printed Cookie Cutter Cards).


Place some cheap glass jars from your local dollar store along the tables, and fill them with Wedding Candy Hearts for a sweet centerpiece and even sweeter treat.


bachelorette party ideas
Wedding Planning Checklist: Section 3: Part 6


Every maid or matron of honor needs to consider the bride’s style. Is she up for an all-out Bachelorette bash? Or is she more of a low-key kind of gal? We’ve got options for both!

Bachelorette Party supplies


What you need for a true Bachelorette Bash:

Get ready to party with the gals, and make sure the bride has some extra special flair for the occasion!


Start the evening off with the proper decorations. A Bachelorette Banner and coordinating Bachelorette Balloons should do the trick!


The Bachelorette T-Shirt and Shot Glass Set makes for a fun evening and is sure to gather some interesting advice for the bride.


Going out on the town? Make sure your ride is as dressed for the occasion as you girls! The Bachelorette Car Kit comes with lots of fun goodies to add to your car.


cheap bachelorette party supplies


Try this idea for a low-key Bachelorette party:

Host a wine and chocolates Bachelorette party. It’s classy, it’s romantic, and it’s oh-so-tasty!


Decorate with our Wedding Tissue Bells available in wine (perfect!). Check out our Table Covers and Table Skirts in wine, white and chocolate — all great colors for the occasion. Add some draping Tulle and white lights for a classy, beautiful touch.


Fill Personalized White Favor Boxes with chocolates (each favor box fits four chocolates beautifully). Better yet, make your own fudge! You can make lots of fudge for cheap.


For an alternative to favor boxes, order Mini Personalized Candy Bar Wrappers. You pick up the chocolate, we provide the wrapper and you’ve a got a cute and clever favor that fits perfectly with your theme.


Finish the theme off right with Personalized Wine Bottle Labels. Whether you’re choosing the wine or guests are bringing bottles to share, our wine labels are easy to apply and they’re a fun addition to any wine party! (Tip: Give extra labels to the bride. She’ll love using them after the shower.)