Planning Articles and Checklists


A Starting Point

To begin your planning, it is beneficial to confront a few basic questions. Pencil in your personal preferences or “best guesses” now. Don’t worry too much about your answers.
This is just a preliminary worksheet to get you started. Your final decisions will come later.

Download PDF here:



Wedding Date:


Time of Day:                      [ ] Morning        [ ] Afternoon                  [ ] Evening

Wedding Style:                 [ ] Formal           [ ] Semi-Formal             [ ] Informal
Ceremony Setting:           [ ] Church           [ ] Chapel                        [ ] Garden
Possible Locations:
Reception Setting:           [ ] Ballroom        [ ] Garden
Possible Locations:
Projected no. of guests:
Projected Budget:
Wedding Colors:
Wedding Theme:

Questions and Answers

Most frequently asked wedding etiquette questions.

I am having a small ceremony. Is it O.K. to invite more people to the reception?

Many couples are choosing to exchange vows in front of close friends and family only, or even alone. Yes, it is O.K. to issue invitations to only the reception if you would like to invite more people to the “party.”

Neither of us belong to a church, where do we find an officiant?

Regional bridal magazines have many ads for officiants who will perform a ceremony for you. Some areas even have a toll free number to call for referrals.

I don’t see how we can fit all those pictures in between the ceremony and reception. What is another option?

Taking photos (even of the bride and groom) before the ceremony is increasing in popularity. If you choose to do this, have your photographer take you some place quiet and private when it is time for you and the groom to meet for the first time. This can still be a special moment for the two of you.

We would really prefer money in lieu of gifts. Can we put this in the invitation?

Absolutely not. If you would prefer money, have your families be the ones to spread the word – but only if they are asked what you would prefer for a gift.

What do I do with my engagement ring during the ceremony?

Wear your engagement ring on your right hand, or have the Maid of Honor hold it for you until after the ceremony, and then slip it on, on top of your wedding band. The wedding ring should go on first, and be worn closest to your heart.

May I include gift registry cards with the invitations?

No. It is acceptable to include these cards in your bridal shower invitations, so, many guests will already know where you are registered. Have your families spread the word regarding your choices for gift registries to other invitees.

May I include “Registered at…” cards with the bridal shower invitations?

It is acceptable to include these cards with the bridal shower invitations.

I have many bridesmaids and a small budget. Those bouquets can be pretty expensive. What can I do to cut costs?

Have each bridesmaid carry a single flower, perhaps a rose. Tie a bow with some beautiful ribbon, and have them carry this down the aisle.

I am having a small wedding with only family. My Maid of Honor (my sister) would like to host a bridal shower for other friends. Is it rude to invite friends to the bridal shower who are not invited to the wedding?

Strict etiquette says otherwise, but most find this acceptable as long as the Maid of Honor explains the circumstances. This is often the case when a co-worker throws a shower.

How can I distinguish my Maid of Honor from the other bridesmaids?

The Maid of Honor can wear a floral wreath on her head, or have a slightly different bouquet than the other bridesmaids; for instance she may have flowing ribbon, or a special color of ribbon. Her dress style may differ as well. It is not necessary to distinguish her in any of these ways either. Typically she will be your “right hand” and stand closest to you during the ceremony, which is often enough distinction.