A Wedding Directory, Workbook & Website

Wedding Guide


wedding decorationsDecorations

The mood of a reception, party, or gathering is determined by the theme of decorations. The initial reaction to the array of decorations sets the mood. Professional decorators and supply houses should be willing to listen to what you have in mind, give suggestions, and even demonstrate your theme for you.

Balloons can be used to decorate the dance floor, create arches over the head table and doorways, and can be formed into canopies, ceiling sculptures and clusters. Balloon and/or flower bouquets make wonderful centerpieces and are a fun way to complete a color scheme.

Disposable cameras placed throughout the reception hall will provide guests with loads of fun and you with a more complete collection of candid guest shots and reception follies.

Have your bouquet and bridesmaids flowers placed on the cake table or throughout the reception area for an extra decorating touch.

Cake Cutting Guide

cutting the cakeCake Cutting Guide

To cut oval tiers, move in two inches from the outer edge and cut across. Then slice 1-in. pieces of cake. Now move in another 2-in. and slice again until the entire tier is cut.

To cut round tiers, move in two inches from the tiers outer edge; cut a circle and then slice 1-in. pieces within the circle. Now move in another 2-in., cut another circle, slice 1-in. pieces and so on until the tier is completely cut. The center core of each tier and the smaller top tier can be cut into halves, 4ths, 6ths and 8ths depending on size.

Cut petal-shaped tiers similar to round tiers as diagram shows.

Cut hexagon tiers similar to round tiers.

To cut heart-shaped tiers, divide the tiers vertically into halves, quarters, sixths or eighths. Within rows, slice one inch pieces of cake.

To cut square tiers, move in 2-in. from the outer edge and cut across. Then slice 1-in. pieces of cake. Now move in another 2-in. and slice again until the entire tier is cut.

Be sure there are boxes provided for cake top and leftovers.

Important Bride Guide Notes

bride and groomImportant Bride Guide Notes

When you are hiring professionals for the wedding:

Get written receipts of all of your transactions. This will be proof of your order and down-payment, if any.

Carefully read all contracts before you sign them. Make sure you understand all the fees mentioned.

Keep all receipts, confirmation letters, etc., together in the same place so that nothing will be lost or misplaced.

Make a master list of phone numbers of the people and businesses involved in your wedding.

Whats Up with Registry

What should you register for? Start with things youwedding gifts‘ll need for everyday, special occasions, and holidays. Start in one room of the house such as the kitchen or dining room, and move on to other rooms in your home (bathroom, bedroom, living room, guest room, garage, garden, etc.). Register in a variety of price ranges from the college budget to larger group gifts to accommodate all your guests. Discussing the decorating plans and color themes in advance will make the registry process much easier and more enjoyable.

Registry is not just for the bride to decide. National registries report that about 70% of the registry is done by the couple together. Many brides are surprised at the attention to detail and craftsmanship that their grooms will contribute to the selection process. Grooms will also find sections on the registry forms for the tools and toys they’d like to receive for the new household.

When you are ready to register, be sure to schedule an appointment with the registry department. The advice and guidance of a professional can eliminate a lot of guesswork, save you time, and prevent you from having to retrace steps later to retrieve forgotten information or serial numbers.

How do you let people know where you are registered, and that by registering, you have indicated your preference of gifts? Discreetly! Do NOT list your registry on an invitation. Let family and friends spread the word for you. As gifts start arriving, it is a good idea to update the store registry on gifts received, to help prevent duplication.

Registry can be utilized for the wedding and shower alike, not only for the bride but also for the groom. Why should the bride have all the fun of a shower? A tool party for the groom can be part of a crafty best mans planning for the bachelor party.

With the growing numbers of second marriages, older brides and grooms, and brides and grooms living on their own with established households before marrying, registering at specialty shops such as hardware, music, gardening stores or art galleries is becoming more common practice. With the craftsmanship and artistry available in Northern Michigan, bridal couples should take advantage of the art that abounds.

If a favorite store or gallery doesnt offer a registry, you might ask family and friends to also suggest a gift certificate at a certain retailer when providing registry information.

Wedding Planning Calendar

calendar9-18 Months

Choose the kind of wedding you will have, date and time.

Discuss the budget, and who will pay for what.

Consider hiring a wedding coordinator.

Make arrangements with the officiant.

Reserve the wedding and reception locations.

Select your wedding dress, veil and accessories.

Choose the bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, and honored roles.

Have formal black/white photo sitting for announcements.

Send announcements of your engagement to your fiancs and your local and hometown newspapers.

Meet with the florist, photographer, caterer, videographer, and D.J. or entertainment to discuss budgets and options.

Discuss the guest list with fianc and families.

Contact rental coordinator for equipment reservations.

Discuss honeymoon and reservations. (Traditionally the groom makes all the honeymoon arrangements.)

Arrange for time off work if necessary.

Buy a wedding planner and envelopes to store brochures and notes. Develop record-keeping system for invitations, gifts, and thank-you notes.

Order dress and accessories.

Order bridesmaids dresses, shoes and accessories.

6-9 Months

Plan reception music.

Plan new living arrangements and home furnishings.

Select and register wedding gifts and patterns.

Select color scheme.

Contact mens formalwear specialist for mens attire.

Have parents select attire.

Order invitations, announcements, programs, napkins, matchbooks, and personal stationery.

Arrange for physical examinations, dental appointments.

Order unity candles (fancy ones can take six months).

3-6 Months

Choose and order wedding bands and engraving.

Order wedding and grooms cakes.

Check state/county marriage license requirements.

Plan ceremony, reception, menus, master of ceremonies, music, and timetables.

Plan rehearsal dinner, and bridesmaids luncheon.

Complete guest list, address and mail invitations.

Make arrangements for lodging information for out-of-town guests.

Purchase gifts for attendants and groom.

Plan reception seating if necessary.

Pre hairstyle

Wedding Flowers for All Seasons

Close up of bride and bridesmaids bouquets


Tulips – The favorite flower of spring. Available in parrot and traditional shapes in a variety of colors and bi-colors.

Lily of the Valley – Fragrant, tiny white bell shape flowers on a slender, short stem.

Hyacinth – Very fragrant, tubular bell shaped blooms clustered on a robust stem.

Narcissus – Daffodils, in yellow, orange, white and bi-colors, some fragrant & some not. A true sign of spring.

Lilacs – Fragrant, lavender and purple tiny star shape blooms, clustered on a woody stem creating a cone shape bloom.


Hydrangea – A popular garden shrub bloom. Large ball shape blooms in blues, pinks, green & jewel fall tones.

Dahlias – Dramatic, round pom pom bloom, a variety of vibrant colors.


Sunset Leucadendron – Rust/burgundy colored leaves that create a protea shaped bloom.

Pepper Berries – Grape like cluster of mauve pink berries, with delicate weeping foliage.

Safflower – Thistle like orange blooms with multiple blooms per stem.

Chrysanthemums – Available in large showy blooms & sprays of small blooms. Winter

Star of Bethlehem – White star like blooms on a sturdy allium type stem.

Ranaunculus – Small, delicate, papery flowers.

Freesia – Fragrant, popular bell shaped blooms on a arched stem.

Stephanotis – Waxy, white, gardenia scented, small star shaped blooms. Often used in Bridal bouquets.

Wedding Dress Shopping

Wedding dressTips to Know Before You Go

DO take the page from the magazine with the picture of the dress you want into a bridal shop. Note the magazine name and issue date on the page.

DON’T order a dress that you have not actually seen.

DO inquire about the alteration policy. Most stores charge for this because employing an expert seamstress/tailor is an additional cost for them. Custom fitting is as important as the style of the gown.

DON’T rush to accept an all-inclusive price (free headpiece, petticoat), because the level of service is often reduced by the amount of extras promised. Beware of incredible deals.

DO use a credit card when paying your deposit. If the dress is not delivered or there are problems, the bank that issued the card can be contacted to issue a refund.

DON’T buy at a hotel sale unless the sponsor has a bridal shop in town. Traveling shows are cash and carry. You have no way to reach the seller and no recourse if you’re not happy with the dress.

DO set a budget. The cost of a wedding dress averages between $700-$800, but can range from $300-$2,500. Know how much you are willing to spend, and be prepared to buy if you find your dream dress. Most salons require a 50% non-refundable deposit.

DON’T bring children along. Take this time for yourself.

DO start looking early! Most stores recommend that you order your dress no less than 16 weeks before your wedding to allow time for custom ordering and fitting.

DON’T bring more than two bridesmaids or friends shopping with you. Too many opinions will only cause confusion and controversy. Pick one trusted adviser.

DO check the manufacturers size charts for each dress with your measurements in hand. Select the size closest to your largest measurement  its easier to take in a dress than to enlarge it.

Tips on Sending Invitations

wedding invitation Gather your lists of invitees before you order the invitations.

Order at least 25 more invitations and envelopes than you think you will need (to cover mistakes in addressing, re-mailing to a current address, to cover last-minute must haves). Its much more expensive to re-order than to order more than you need at the beginning.

Type/print the list of names with the appropriate titles: Mr., Mrs., Dr., Ms., Reverend, Captain, Lieutenant, Rabbi, Fr., Messrs., Honorable, etc.

If a widow: Mrs. John Smith; If divorced: Mrs. Susan Smith.

For children over 18 and living at home, they receive their own invitation or are listed separately on their parents: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith Ms. Melissa Smith

If inviting two people sharing a home or living together, or a married couple with different names, use both full names: Dr. Susan Davis Mr. James Rosser

If inviting children under 18, their individual names (or, and Family) are listed below their parents names on the inside envelope: Mr. and Mrs. Smith Sue, Bret and Mike

If you are graciously inviting single people to bring a guest, this appears on the inside envelope: Mrs. Smith and Guest; Mr. Jurgen and Guest.

When purchasing postage for the outer envelopes, take a fully stuffed envelope (invitation, inner envelope, response card/envelope, reception card, map, etc.) to the post office. Correct postage is determined by weight and size. If sending different enclosures to differing groups of people, take an example of each. Remember, postage to foreign countries is higher. And, if you are sending invitations to other countries, do not pre-stamp the response envelope. U.S. postage can only be used for mail originating in the U.S., territories or through the armed services.

If youve ordered thank you notes for your wedding gifts with the names of the bride and groom, you can write, seal and stamp the thank you note as the gift is received, but do not send out before the actual marriage ceremony is performed. (Writing the thank yous as gifts are received is much easier than doing them all at once. Just mail them after the wedding or on your return from your honeymoon.)

Set up a card file, loose-leaf notebook, or computer program with:

Response Shower
Gift/Thank You Wedding Gift/Thank You
Y/N #
(What?) Sent? (What?) Sent?


City, State, Zip

Tips for the Toast

wine-glass-250546_1280Think about what makes your relationship with the bride and groom so special: the way you met, your shared interests. Is there an anecdote or sentiment that sums it all up?

If you could make one wish of happiness for the newlywed couple, what would it be?

Pick one message for the toast: love, commitment, relationships, friendship, etc.

Keep your message brief 1-5 minutes should be sufficient.

Speak loudly and clearly, and remember that everyone in the room shares your sentiments and feelings.

This is a chance to say some things that mean a lot to you about people you care about.

Write a speech to practice, speak it out loud so you can hear how it sounds. Practice it often to become familiar with it.

Its the waiting thats most likely to make you nervous, remind yourself of that and that this is the warmest audience you will ever have.

While youre sitting, repeat your first line to yourself so when you get to your feet and the room goes silent you will be ready with the line youve been repeating. Youll find the rest just follows.

Bridal Party Responsibilities

Close up of bride and bridesmaids bouquets

Special People Do Special Things

Attendant duties MAID or MATRON OF HONOR: Name___________________________________________
A Maid of Honor is single; a Matron of Honor is married. She is at least 18 years of age  the minimum age to sign a legal document. Helps select attendants dresses and coordinates the bridesmaids. Helps address the invitations, and plans the shower. Helps the bride dress and finish packing on her wedding day. During the ceremony, stands next to the bride, holds the grooms ring and brides bouquet. Adjusts brides veil and train, and signs the marriage license. Stands next to the groom in the receiving line. May offer a toast at the reception. Helps the bride change into her going-away outfit. Takes care of storing the wedding dress and may deposit gift checks or look after presents while couple is honeymooning.

Offer to do errands for the bride and help address invitations before the wedding. Pay for attire and attend fittings. Participate in bridal shower. Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. May assist in caring for the flower girl or ring bearer before the ceremony. March down the aisle in the processional, may stand in the receiving line. Sit alternately with ushers at the bridal table. Dance with ushers during the reception.

At least 18 years of age  the minimum age to sign a legal document. Makes arrangements for the bachelor dinner. Often assists in hotel arrangements for grooms family and out-of-town guests. Confirms honeymoon travel arrangements and provides grooms transportation to the ceremony and to the reception. Confirms ushers and groomsmens duties. Helps groom pack car for couples getaway. During the ceremony, signs marriage license, holds the clergys fee and brides ring. Offers the first toast at the reception and sits at brides right at the head table. Dances with the bride and attendants, and reads congratulatory telegrams. Returns all of the mens rental clothing to the tux shop.

Assist groom with errands, bachelor party, and seating lists before the wedding. Responsible for clothing rentals and lodging, attending rehearsal dinner and arriving early to the wedding site. Escort guests to their seats, seating friends of the bride on the left, of the groom on the right. Seat the grooms parents and the brides mother. Pull runner into position as the bridal march begins, and pull it back at the end. March in the processional and escort the bridesmaids at the end of the ceremony. May escort bride and grooms family out of the church, and signal each aisle of guests to exit. Pack and decorate the get-away car (if allowed). Should be able to give directions to the church and reception facilities. Provide bridesmaids with transportation and dancing partners for the reception.

Seated just prior to the mother of the bride at the ceremony. Traditionally host the rehearsal dinner. They stand in the receiving line. Often pay for the liquor and bar service at the reception.

Traditionally, the father of the bride pays for the wedding and reception although its more often a shared expense with the bride and groom and the grooms family. The father of the bride escorts his daughter down the aisle and stands next to the mother of the bride in the receiving line. Toasts the couple at the rehearsal dinner. Dances with his daughter after her first dance with the groom. The mother of the bride is the last person to be seated before the ceremony and is the first in the receiving line. Is prepared to pass along gift and registry ideas to inquiring guests. She assists in compiling the guest list and may accompany the bride when shopping for her gown.

When including children, choose the kids carefully, include them in the rehearsal, provide a baby-sitter, seat their parents on the aisle, allow them to back out if nerves prevail, and be sure to give them a special reward for their important role in your wedding.

Immediately precedes the bride. Carries a basket of flowers to strew in the brides path, symbolizing a beautiful path ahead.

Precedes either the flower girl or the bride. Carries the pillow with the symbolic ring. (The best man still gets the honor of presenting the real thing.)

For a very formal wedding, two children may carry the train down the aisle.

Children from either family who light the candles just before the mother of the bride is seated.

Join Our Mailing List

Join our mailing list to receive the latest information about Michigan Weddings, Expos and Vendors.