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Brace yourself. The next few months of mother-in-law drama, hiccups, snafus and bridal emergencies will be enough to worry about. Don't add to the madness by being consumed with wedding season correspondence. Just in case you were under the assumption that invitations and thank you cards were the only wedding correspondence to fret about, sadly, you're mistaken! But don't be dismayed. Grab a latte macchiato and chill because this easy guide will keep you organized.
Engagement Announcements
Don't wait around for the details. As soon as you're engaged, get the word out as soon as possible. Let people know the wonderful news!
These should be sent within six to nine months of your wedding day. While it's best to have an exact date for people to plan, it's permissible to vague. An example would be mid-April. If you are having a destination wedding then you need to get these out nine to 12 months in advance.
Note: Only send these to those you are inviting to the wedding.
Engagement Party
Between the engagement party and the bridal shower, you've got some wiggle room. Not every bride (or couple) wants to host or attend multiple pre-wedding events. Some prefer to either combine them into one or host one over the other. If you are going to have an engagement party then send out the invitations four to six weeks ahead of the event.
Wedding Party
As soon as you have confirmed those who are in the wedding party, such as bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc., you want to get the word out. You have a couple options. Either host a party, whereby you'd send the invitations out one to two weeks out, or simply mail out wedding kits. No party is necessary. Get as clever and creative as you'd like with these. Many such kits include small gifts, color palates, couple-pairings, and the list goes on.
Bridal Shower
If you are going to have a bridal shower, then get the invitations in the mail four to six weeks ahead of the party. Remember, as the bride, it is not your responsibility to throw your own bridal shower. Also, it's not your mom's job either. This is where the maid or matron of honor comes into play. She is the one to coordinate and host this event. Since many pre-wedding events are becoming more and more co-ed, it is not uncommon to have a bridal shower with the groom and other men in attendance.
Wedding Invitations
Send your wedding invitations out about six to eight weeks prior to the ceremony. If you are having a destination wedding, then send these out at least three months in advance. Always make sure that your reply correspondence has appropriate postage. Never make your guest buy postage!
Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal dinner is a fabulous occasion to let your hair down and celebrate the impending wedding with out a lot of fanfare. Of course, you can make this as casual or fancy as you prefer, but the important thing is who is invited to this. This night is for everyone in the wedding party, the officiant and family. It's always a good idea to invite out-of-town guests as well. This is a great time to break the ice for everyone. Have fun.
Bachelor/ette Party
In these modern times the tradition of brides and grooms going off to separate parties is in the midst of a makeover. Some couples are either nixing it altogether or they are merging the two into a co-ed event. The duty of coordinating these events lie with the best man and the maid or matron of honor. The invitations need to go out three to four weeks before the parties. If you are leaving town for the event then you need to send out the invites four to six weeks in advance.
Wedding Announcements
Also known as marriage announcements, you want to send the message out to everyone that was not able to attend your wedding. This can include people on and off your wedding guest list. It's up to you. Do not, however, send these to the guests who did attend your wedding. It's redundant on the upside and crass on the downside. Just don't do it.
Post-Nuptial Brunch
We don't live in the Victorian Era anymore, that's for sure. However, the post-nuptial brunch is a festive brunch event that is held the day after the wedding, without the bride and groom in attendance. Typically, this is for immediate family, close friends and guests who are travelling. Send these invitations about three to four weeks out. It is entirely permissible to skip the mailing, as some brides do, and simply set up a table with the details at the rehearsal dinner.
Thank You Cards
One of the worst things you can you is either forget or choose not to send thank you cards. Don't be careless. And despite what you've read in books by Emily Post, we live in a time where everything is instant. Get your gratitude in the mail between four and eight weeks after the ceremony. This gives you plenty of time to go on your honeymoon, relocate to your new home and get acclimated going back to work.
Note: If you want to get super organized, get someone you trust to go through the wedding gifts and cards for you. They can keep a log of who gave what for you. It doesn't hurt to have someone write brief thank you notes for you. Just remember to rewrite them in your own handwriting. This will speed up the drudgery of sitting down and writing thank you cards.
Good idea @daniachicago
Can you include a list of who's responsible for what for these events?
So many functions to go to over one wedding. Great list!!!!!!
I know. That's why I put this list together so that you can see the bigger picture of all the things that go into it. Imagine everything that you are going to spend on postage for a wedding...hehehe With the right planning, it won't be a hassle though @noonmarez.
OMG! I would never forget to write a thank you. My mom would kill me! She raised us girls to write thank yous for everything.
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