Planning a Wedding
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I order wedding invitations?
- Invitations should be ordered at least three months before the wedding, after
information such as the date, time and place of your service and reception, and
an accurate guest list are confirmed.
When should I mail the invitations?
- You should mail invitations about 6 to 8 weeks before the ceremony. Announcements
should be mailed a day or two after the wedding.
What is a traditional invitation?
- Traditional invitations are white, ecru, or ivory with or without a panel.
They can be engraved or thermographed (raised print).
To whom should I send invitations?
- You should send invitations to the person performing the ceremony and their
spouse and the members of the wedding party, in addition to your and your fiancé's
family and friends. It is permissible to invite guests to the reception and not
the ceremony, if the service is attended only by relatives and close friends.
How should I address the envelopes?
- You should not use any abbreviations except for Mr., Mrs., Jr., or Dr. Adult
family members living under the same roof should receive separate invitations.
For young children, address the outer envelope to their parents and write their
first names on the inner envelope under their parents' names.
What are the tissues for?
- Tissues are a holdover from the past, when they were needed to prevent ink
from smearing. This is no longer a problem with modern printing methods but the
use of tissues remains for aesthetic reasons and tradition.
How should I insert the invitation in the envelope?
- The invitation is folded and placed in the inner envelope with the folded
edge down and the front of the invitation facing the back of the envelope. The
inner envelope is then put in the outer envelope with the front of the inner envelope
facing the back of the outer envelope.
Who do I send wedding announcements to?
- Wedding announcements are sent only to those people who were not invited to
the ceremony or reception.
When do I send out thank you notes?
- You should always send a thank you note, even if you have thanked someone
in person. A hand-written thank you should be sent as soon as possible after receiving
the gift, normally within 3 weeks.
How do I thank someone tactfully for a monetary gift?
- You should not mention a specific amount when writing a thank you note for
money. Refer to it instead as "your generous gift" or something similar. You might
also mention how you plan to use the money.
How many bridesmaids and ushers are needed?
- It depends on the size of the wedding. For a formal or semi-formal wedding,
four to six bridesmaids and ushers is average. The number of each does not need
to be the same. Generally, you should have one usher for every fifty guests.
Where do the bride's family and friends sit?
- The bride's parents are normally seated on the left side of the aisle and
the groom's parents on the right side. In some synagogues this may be reversed.
My church has two aisles. How do I work with this?
- Use one aisle and run the entire wedding as if there were only one, or use
the right aisle for the processional and the left aisle for the recessional.
Can we have a formal house wedding?
- Yes, although there are never as many attendants as in a church.
Is there usually a recessional at a house wedding?
- Not necessarily. The married couple may turn around after the ceremony and
receive best wishes from the guests.
Does the groom always kiss the bride at the altar?
- The officiant will advise according to church custom.
How is the receiving line arranged?
- The receiving line is in the back of the church after the ceremony. Usually,
the bride's mother and father are first, followed by the bride, groom, and bridesmaids.
The groom's mother and father may also be included. The best man and ushers do
not stand in the receiving line.
Who pays the clergyman?
- The groom pays, but the best man delivers it in a plain white envelope either
before or after the ceremony.
Where does the bride sit at the reception?
- The bride is seated at the groom's right
If the parents are divorced, who attends the reception?
- If agreeable by all, both may attend, or separate receptions may be given.
What are the duties of the best man at the reception?
- The best man reads any congratulatory telegrams and proposes the first toast.
Who cuts the first piece of cake?
- The bride, with the groom's right hand over hers. They break the slice and
eat it together. A waiter or friend then continues slicing the cake.
If other couples start dancing at the reception before the
bride and groom, what happens?
- When the newlyweds appear, everyone should stop dancing. Then the bride and
groom waltz once around the floor solo.
Who should the groom dance with besides his bride?
- The groom should also dance with his mother, mother-in-law , and the maid
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