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GUEST LISTS: One of the first things couples should do after becoming engaged is to make their guest lists. There are usually several of these - Bride's list, Groom's list, Bride & Groom's list, parents of the Bride list, and parents of the Groom list, etc.

The best way to make these lists is to use a yellow legal pad or notebook paper. List the guest names to the right of the column line, then list the number of people expected to attend from that invitation to the left of the column line such as ( 4 - Mr. & Mrs. John Doe and family). After you are finished with the list, add up the total of "name lines" to the right of the column line, then add up the numbers to the left of the column line. The total of the "name lines" tells you how many invitations you need (always order an extra 10 or 20). The total of the "numbers" in the left column tells you how many guests to expect at your wedding.

Once you add up the numbers on all of the lists, you will probably be over your limit. This is where you go from Fantasy to Reality. Everyone should participate in removing names. Remember, the total number of "expected guests" will be multiplied by your costs. Just remember...Less is Sometimes Better, especially for the guest list. Then you will be able to spend the extra money on something special for your wedding.

When you order your invitations, be sure to order RSVP cards. These will be a life-saver as well as a budget-saver. Make your Reply Date approximately ten days to two weeks before the wedding date, to allow you time to contact any procrastinators and to notify your caterer. You don't want "surprise" guests at the reception, there may not be enough seats or food.
Guest List Card File Form

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When it comes time to order your invitations, be sure to read over the "Guest Lists" topic for some insight on how to determine how many invites you will need.

You have many choices when ordering your can order them from a professional print store, from an Invitation Catalog, from an online Invitation web site, have them hand-made, or print them yourself on your computer. You also have many choices in paper color, ink color, invitation style and decorations, invitation size, and accompaniment cards and envelopes.

When choosing your invitation, keep in mind, bigger is not always better (you will incur additional postage charges). Be sure to check out the postage stamps that are available (about a month before you mail the invitations). You may need to order a special one that you want (Love stamps are very popular and not always available). Be sure to order enough stamps to include invitations and the RSVP envelope.

Some of the online Invitation and Craft sites offer instructions on how to accessorize your invitations (adding extra decorations, like ribbons, flowers, embossing, etc.), plus there are other sites that offer Free Invitation Software, and others that offer suggestions on how to word your Invitations.

Wording Suggestion: Unless there has been an irreparable separation of the Bride and/or Groom with their parents, I always advise including them somewhere in your invitation, out of courtesy and respect. Just because they are not paying for the wedding, does not mean their names should not be included.

When ordering your Invitations, be sure to also order Announcements, Reception Cards, RSVP cards and envelopes, Thank You notes, napkins, favors, Guest Book, Book Pen, Bride's Bag, Champagne Toasting Glasses, Cake Knife and Server, Unity Candle, and any other Accessories you will need for your wedding.

Suggested Invitation wording samples can be found on the "Invitation" web sites listed on our Wedding Links Page.


Wedding Announcements are sent "after" the wedding. If you are eloping, or having a private family-only ceremony, it is nice if you can mail out your Announcements on your wedding day, so the Postmark is your wedding date, otherwise mail them as soon as possible after the wedding day.

As with ordering Invitations, be sure to order Thank You notes also, since many people will send you gifts.

Suggested Announcement wording samples can be found on the "Invitation" web sites listed on our Wedding Links Page.

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KEEPSAKES: During your wedding planning period, be sure to buy or make a "Wedding Organizer". This can be as simple as a 3-ring binder with pockets. This will be like a wedding planning diary for you. Keep all of your to-do lists, business cards, appointment schedules, contact lists, samples, etc. in here.

Also, make or buy a "Keepsake" box. This can be as simple as a shoe box, or larger. As you proceed with your planning, make sure to put samples of everything in your Keepsake box. Save a complete wedding invitation, before you start addressing them, so you don't run out and use your last one. When you go in for your first fitting of your gown, have someone take a picture of you to save in your Keepsake box. You can do the same thing for the first bridesmaid fitting. Save the invitations to your engagement party, bridal showers and rehearsal dinner, any mementos from your bridal showers, and bridesmaid luncheon, and honeymoon brochure, etc. Also, save one or more of your favors, imprinted napkins, ceremony program, and any other items you had made, printed, etc. After the wedding and honeymoon, you can also add your Guest Book, organizer, guest list card file (comes in handy for holiday mailing list), honeymoon tickets and reservations, even your cake knife, toasting glasses, garter, preserved bouquet and boutonniere, cake top and decorations, etc.

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LEAVING THE RECEPTION: Before all the guests leave, the bride and groom should make their exit, whether to a car or an elevator. If your reception is in the same hotel as your wedding night room, it is advisable to exit to your car (at the front door) like you are leaving, then drive around the block for a few minutes then re-enter by a back entrance. You could also drive to your parent's home, leave your wedding attire, change and then return to the hotel. Then you won't have to worry about returning the tuxedo or wedding gown the next day.

This will also insure your privacy in your room. Most couples do not want company on their wedding night. You can also ask the front desk to not give out your room number, and to hold all calls. Try to keep your room number secret from your friends and wedding party in order to have some privacy later.

If possible, the bride and groom should leave the reception in their wedding attire to complete the wedding fantasy. When the bride and groom change into "going away" clothes, they tend to blend in with the guests. Why not stay in the wedding gown and tuxedo until after you leave ? This, of course, is not possible is you are leaving on your honeymoon directly from the reception. It works out so much better if you can leave on your honeymoon the next day. Things will be a lot less hectic. Also, if you received any money envelopes, need to give your gown and tuxedo to someone, and would like to say an appropriate good-bye and thank you to your parents and families, this can best be done the next morning. Many couples like to go to their parent's home and open the wedding presents the next day also, before departing on their honeymoon.

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