A Brides Master List

This is it! This is the list of everything you need for your wedding. Every little detail, every big picture. When I was first starting to plan our wedding, I sat down and typed up everything that came to mind that had to do with a wedding. I’ve since tidied it up a little and figured I would give it to you. It’s a good start for all brides, if you haven’t already done this yourself. I broke it down into categories so it’s easier to keep track of what you’ve already taken care of. You may want to add to/edit and print this list and carry it with you in your wedding planner. You’ll be able to jot things down on it, scratch things off, and look at it while you’re out and about. Good luck, and happy planning!

The Brides Master List


Premarital counseling

Wedding invitations

RSVP cards

Thank you cards

Return address stamp

Gift registries

Wedding website

Photographer and Videographer (if you choose to have one)

Wedding night accommodations and reservations

Wedding party gifts

Honeymoon accommodations and reservations (if applicable)


Gown, undergarments, and shoes

Leg garters

Earrings, bracelet, necklace




Cover-up robe (for getting ready the day of)

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Bridal hair appointment

Manicure and pedicure appointment

Wedding Party Attire:

Bridesmaids dresses, shoes, and desired accessories

Grooms tux and shoes

Father of the brides tux

Groomsmens suits/tuxes and shoes

Flower girl dress and shoes

Ring bearer tux and shoes




Aisle runner

Flower petals for the flower girl

Ring bearer pillow

Flower girl basket

Pew and front decorations

Unity sand/candle set

In Memory candles

Guest book and pen

Brides bouquet (and a toss bouquet)

Grooms boutonniere

Bridesmaids bouquets

Groomsmens boutonnieres

Father of the bride/grooms boutonnieres

Wedding rings


Entrance and exit music



Cake (and grooms cake if applicable)

Cake knife and serving set

Cake topper

Plates, napkins, utensils (if applicable)

Toasting flutes

Tables and chairs


DJ or band

First dance song

Father-Daughter dance song

Mother-Son dance song

Decorations [table runners, centerpieces, balloons, Christmas lights, tulle, disposable cameras, etc]

Party favors

Caterer or food

Card box

Gift table

People to get for Help:

Wedding coordinator (at your ceremony venue or church)

Ushers (for ceremony) and “aisle-runner-puller”

Someone(s) to be at the reception before the other guests

Cake cutters and servers

Someone to take gifts home for you after the reception

Decorating help

Clean up crew (for both the ceremony site and reception site)

Wedding Card Album

I got this off Pinterest (no surprise there!) and you can view the full and original tutorial here. I absolutely had to share this! It was my very first Pinterest craft, it was really easy, and it looks so nice. It’s the perfect way to save all the cards you get for your wedding and to preserve all the kind words of wisdom people took the time to write you.


Our wedding card album


Since it wasn’t my own project to begin with, I won’t elaborate too much on this. I went to Michael’s and picked up large split rings, some cute brads, glittery foam sticker letters, and two sheets of scrapbook paper that matched my wedding colors. For the bow around the front, I used one of the sashes that were tied around the pews at our wedding ceremony. You will need similar materials as well as glue dots, scissors, a single hole punch, and all your wedding cards! Don’t forget to check out the actual tutorial here to see how it’s done and all the things you need to do it 🙂


The front and back cover of our album.

Close up of the top corner. Our album was much thicker than the gal who posted the tutorial. I was very glad I got such big split rings!

Bottom corner. I wrote my tag almost exactly like the examples. I just loved the way it looked!

The open view. I didn’t arrange them by size, I just sort of mixed them up. The envelope glued to the inside of the front cover has a card in it from one of my sisters. She wrote on every inch on the inside of that card and I couldn’t punch a hole through it!


This would also be really great for your first Christmas together cards, kids birthday cards, milestone anniversary cards, and bridal or baby shower cards! I’ll definitely be doing this one again. I highly suggest doing this after your wedding. You could maybe even read through them together on your first anniversary (as you eat the top half of your wedding cake) 😉

Reception Centerpieces

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of ideas and examples for your table centerpieces out there. I have quite a few on my “Ideas for Weddings & Parties” board on Pinterest if you need some inspiration. I found this idea for ours on Pinterest, but I tweaked it a little to match our wedding theme. You can view the original pin here.

I gathered 27 mason jars in various sizes (I ended up using only 26; one of them was really tiny!) and I didn’t even have to buy them. All I had to do was get on Facebook (small town girl, remember) and ask if anyone had any jars that they no longer needed or wanted to part with.

You will want a good sized work station. To do this project, you will need mason jars, ribbon of your choice, and a hot glue gun. For display you’ll need flat bottomed clear (or colored if you’d like) pebbles, water, and floating candles.

To start, measure around the jar and add about an extra half inch. Cut your ribbon accordingly – the extra half inch is for glue. I used the same ribbon that I did for the ring pillow and the flower girl basket, so I glued the sheer ribbon first and the turquoise over it. The seam where the ribbons are glued looks like this:

Outside of the jar, where the ribbons are hot glued down.

A view of the inside of the jar. You can see how the bottom ribbon is glued to the jar, then each new spot of glue is put directly over the first.

Once your initial ribbons are glued, decide what ribbon you will be using for the bow. You could also use some other kind of embellishment for the front if you prefer. I used a thin lavender ribbon for some, and the same 3/8 in for others (I didn’t plan it that way, I ran out of the turquoise part way through and ended up using the lavender until I got more turquoise). Instead of tying the bow on the jar, use this bow tying tutorial to tie free bows and hot glue them in your desired spot.

For display at the wedding, fill roughly the bottom 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the jar with the pebbles, fill with water up to the top of your ribbon, and float a candle in them. (You need floating candles… regular candles don’t float. I thought most everyone knew this, but Andy and a few of my friends didn’t! I found mine for about $3.50 per 8 pack at Fred Meyers.)

Our assortment of jars turned out really nice, and once they were on the tables filled with water and had the candles lit it was even better. Here’s 3 of our various jars. You can see the three different bow styles I ended up doing.

Finished centerpieces, minus the pebbles.

Personally, my favorites were the ones with turquoise bows. It was what I originally wanted and I just thought it looked best. I even saved two of them after the wedding and I have them sitting on our mantle with our unity sand 🙂 You could tweak this to match your wedding style or theme and your wedding colors. It’s a very easy project and looks great on tables!

Ceremony & Reception Decorations

Planning the decorations was probably my favorite part of the wedding. I found a website called eFavorMart with decorations, fake flowers, gift boxes, and lots more. I got probably over 90% of our supplies there. And everything is cheap.

To save on cost and on time, our ceremony decorations were very minimal and simple. I tied bows on the aisle end of all the pews and framed the doorway at the back of the sanctuary with tulle. Combined with the aisle runner (which was pulled during the ceremony rather than before) and the unity sand table on the stage, it looked nice and was very simple. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the doorway, but here is a picture of the pews and front of the church:

I got turquoise and lavender colored sashes from eFavorMart, and alternated them on the ends of the pews. You can also see the lace covered unity sand table at the front, and the rolled up aisle runner at the base of the stairs.


Our reception was a much bigger decorating task. For starters, the site was way too small for our reception. I was told it had a capacity of 360 people… Maybe 360 people standing shoulder to shoulder and packed in there. Second, there were cabinets, book shelves, a copy machine, and closet doors. Even decorated, it would have looked tacky. So I spent some extra money and went to Walmart to buy king and queen sized white flat sheets. We tacked them to the ceiling in front of the cabinets, in front of and around the book cases, and covered the copy machine. It looked 100 times better! We also draped Christmas lights behind the sheets on the cabinet wall. It looked so good!

From eFavorMart, I ordered satin, pin-tucked table runners in both lavender and turquoise. I also got 3 bolts of white tulle and 3 bolts of turquoise. I used white table cloths, ran the table runners lengthwise on each table, and placed our party favors, centerpieces, and bubbles on top. Here is how it looked at the end. I wish I had a before image!


You can see how packed it was in there. In the end, everyone had a great time and we really enjoyed it ourselves. But I can’t help but wish we had gotten another venue!

Party favors don’t have to be extravagant or expensive, but it is a nice gesture. We got 200 2×2 inch favor boxes from eFavorMart, filled them with Hershey’s kisses and hugs, and then tied ribbon around them with bows on top. It was so incredibly time consuming, but we did it and they looked great!

A close up of our favor boxes. I used both lavender and turquoise ribbon to mix things up. You can imagine how long this took!


I also made our centerpieces. I got the inspiration off Pinterest, and I’ll post a how-to soon. I got 26 mason jars, hot glued ribbon and bows onto each of them, put clear pebbles in the bottom, filled them with water, and floated floating candles in them at the reception. They came out so good, I saved two for myself and put them on our mantle in our home. You can find lots of other centerpiece ideas both at Pinterest and on TheKnot. It’s worth going through them, there are so many good ideas!

Reception Timeline of Events

Here is our reception timeline. Feel free to copy, paste, edit, and print it for your own reception! Just remember that it won’t be followed to a “T”. Even though there are times printed on the timeline, it’s really just more of a guide to when things will be happening.



5 PM:

–          Introduction of the Wedding Party: Music – We Found Love (ft. Calvin Harris) by Rihanna

  • Parents of Bride
  • Parents of Groom
  • Bridesmaid & Groomsman 1
  • Bridesmaid & Groomsman 2
  • Bridesmaid & Groomsman 3
  • Bridesmaid & Groomsman 4
  • The New Mr and Mrs

–          Couples First Dance: God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton

–          Prayer

–          Eat and Greet (easy, low volume music)


6 PM:

–          Toasts – Member of the wedding party will start off

–          Father-Daughter Dance: In My Arms by Mark Wills

–          Mother-Son Dance: How Sweet It Is by James Taylor

–          Open Dance Floor


7 PM

–          Garter Removal

–          Garter Toss

–          Bouquet Toss

–          Money Dance

–          Open Dance Floor again


8 PM:

–          Cake Cutting

–          Open Dance Floor, last time


About 8:45:

–          “Last Dance” (letting guests know the party is wrapping up) Fast and Festive Music – “In The Mood” or “Sing, Sing, Sing”


9 PM:

–          Bride and Groom Head Out! Final Farewell!

The Reception

The time has come to plan the party portion of your big day, otherwise known as the fun part! Same as with the ceremony, you need to find a venue first that is available on your date (again, this is assuming you are having separate venues). If at all possible, you should visit venues in person and get a tour to see how big the space is and what you’ll be working with in terms of table set up and decorations. You should have your venue booked at least 4-5 months in advance. Here are some questions you need to ask:

What is the room capacity?

Are we allowed to bring in a caterer and/or our own food?

Do you have any requirements concerning decorations such as candles, tacks and pushpins, or adhesives?

Will we be able to set up and decorate the day before the event?

Where are (or are there) cleaning supplies we can use?

Where is the best place to put the DJ? (Look for at least two outlets that can be dedicated entirely to the DJ. A room corner usually works best)

Do you have tables, chairs, and linens?

Keep in mind that you should have a decent gap between the end of your ceremony and the beginning of your reception to allow for pictures (unless you take your pictures before the ceremony. This ruins the whole “groom can’t see the bride before the wedding” but some people do it. I myself was completely against it, even though some wanted us to do it that way). I planned our day with a 2 hour window between for pictures, and we did pretty good sticking to that. We were only 15 minutes late to our reception, and nobody even noticed.

Once you have your venue, seek out a caterer or decide on your foods. We went against all “wedding etiquette” I had found and we had a potluck reception. Small town folks love potluck get-togethers, and for weddings everyone makes their best dishes. You can’t go wrong with that. I asked guests to bring their best finger food to share and our families provided punch, plates, utensils, and napkins. (And of course dessert was also provided – the cake. Duh!) Both of our mothers made a few dishes too. We had so much good food! And it saved us so much money. Caterers can cost thousands of dollars, and in my experience the food is not always that great. You must check with your venue to see if you can host a potluck or even bring in your own caterer. One venue I went to said I had to have a professional food caterer and couldn’t bring in any outside food except the cake. Another venue I spoke to told me I had to use their catering service.

You should book a DJ no less than 1-2 months before your wedding. Most DJ’s don’t fill up for events that early, so this should be a safe time frame. Some people are bound to tell you that a DJ is just an added expense and you’d be just fine playing music off your iPod. No. They have obviously never planned a wedding reception. A DJ does more for you than just hit play on a fancy device. Your DJ should be able to introduce the wedding party, announce reception events when they are going to happen, and keep music flowing seamlessly. They enable you to enjoy your party without having to play host. Ask around to find out if there are DJ’s in your area that people you know recommend, or that have good reviews.

We were incredibly blessed with our DJ, Marc. He wanted to be there a half hour early to set up and be able to play music while guests were arriving, and bought music that we wanted played that neither of us had. Marc met with us on our time schedule two separate times to go over the location, playlists, the reception events, names of the wedding party members, and all the other details. He brought in a few lights, his own table, and all of his equipment. I sat down and made a general playlist for him, and also made him a playlist on my iPad of songs that we already owned that he didn’t need to buy. We paid him $500 for 4 hours of work, and I know he could have charged a lot more. He didn’t charge us extra for arriving a half an hour early or for the music he downloaded.

In addition to having a playlist, you will need to have a typed up copy of your reception flow of events. The events include the introduction of the wedding party, first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, bouquet and garter toss, and cutting the cake. I have posted our events timeline here for you to use if you’d like.

Lastly, decorations. You should begin buying and collecting your decorations at the beginning of your engagement to help save money and to avoid the “cost shock” of dishing a large amount of money at one time. Here you can find some decoration ideas and a little bit of advice. I hope this helps you sort out your reception. I’m sure the stress is beginning to build if it hasn’t already. Just remember to take a deep breath, pray for patience and strength, and maybe take a day or two off from planning. It could do you a world of good!



“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

Writing Your Vows

The traditional wedding vows are short, sweet, and to the point for the most part. They get the job done, so to speak. But writing your own vows makes your ceremony much more personal and romantic, and it makes the vows more meaningful and special between the two of you. Your vows are a promise, one that can and should never be broken. They give the two of you a sort of guideline for your marriage relationship.

If you decide you both want to write your own vows, first check with your officiate to make sure they are okay with it (some can be very old fashioned and would rather you not). Then decide if you want to write them together so you’re prepared or separately to make them a surprise. (Making them a surprise can make the emotional factor go way up! So if you really want to try to not be a balling mess on your wedding day, opt to write them together).

Your vows can be deep, personal, touching, funny, lovey, or just plain cute. Let both your personalities direct you. As far as length goes, the longer the better. Whether you go with short or long, just make sure both of your vows are the same length. I was at a wedding once where the brides vows were much longer than the grooms (and by much I mean quite a lot!) and I felt so bad and embarrassed them.

We wanted our ceremony to be close and personal so we chose to write ours. Our officiate told us that guests really love it when couples write personal vows and that we should try to make them as long as possible. I wrote a rough draft of mine, and then together we added or subtracted things for his, adjusted mine, and polished them up as finals. I already had an idea of things I wanted in my vows, but I got online and Googled both personal and traditional wedding vows for some extra inspiration. This is something you should do 1-2 months prior to the wedding. Since getting Andy to do anything wedding related was so hard, I didn’t succeed at getting ours done until the week before.

Here are our wedding vows for you to use as inspiration. We were going for a deep, romantic sense with a little something funny 😉

I Lynda take you Andrew to be my husband. To have and to hold, to trust and confide in, and to love unconditionally more and more each day. I will cherish our union and nurture our marriage both physically and spiritually. I promise to be your faithful, loving wife; to pray for you always; to love you with actions, not just words; to hold your hand in church; to never go to bed angry; to not to steal the covers at night; to let you sleep in on days off; and to go fishing when you ask, no matter how much it’s raining. I promise that I will stand by your side and share your burdens through sickness and health, good times and bad. I will respect you as a person, grow with you, and never give up. I will walk with you through the rest of the journey that God has set before us, from this day forward, until death do us part.

I Andrew take you Lynda to be my wife. To have and to hold, to trust and confide in, and to love unconditionally more and more each day. I will cherish our union and nurture our marriage both physically and spiritually. I promise to be your faithful loving husband; to pray for you always; to love you with actions, not just words; to hold your hand in church; to warm you up when you are cold; to try to remember to put my dirty clothes in the hamper, and always replace the toilet paper roll. I promise to remember this day with love and roses. I promise that I will stand by your side and share your burdens through sickness and health, good times and bad. I will respect you as a person, grow with you, and never give up. I will walk with you through the rest of the journey that God has set before us, from this day forward, until death do us part.

One of Andy’s brothers and his wife gave us a very thoughtful and special wedding gift; something we will always cherish and have in our home as a reminder of the promises we’ve made to each other. They printed each of our vows on special paper and put them in a three-picture frame, leaving a space between his and mine for a photo of the two of us. It’s a nice way to display your vows and give you that constant reminder.

If you find you’re having trouble finding the right words, or if you’re having troubles in other areas of your wedding planning, remember this verse:



“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

Bouquets & Boutonnieres

Fresh flowers are unbelievably expensive! My bouquet and two boutonnieres cost $150, and I know the gal I got them from could have charged more. Since we were trying to do our wedding cheaply, I wanted to avoid fresh flowers wherever possible. So I made my bridesmaids bouquets and the groomsmens boutonnieres.

Apparently I did this the hard way, because little did I know that you can buy bridesmaid bouquet handles with that green foam in them for arranging fake flowers. Hmph.I found them at Michael’s long after I made these…

I ordered fake lavender colored roses and white mini rose buds from eFavorMart (which is where I got all of our decorations too – more on that later). They have lots of colors and flowers to choose from. I took 4 lavender roses and 4 stems of white rose buds and set them aside for the groomsmen, and divided the remaining roses and buds by 5 to make the bouquets (I also made myself a toss bouquet – there was no way I was throwing my real and expensive one). I cut them all to the same lengths and rubber-banded them together very tight and near the top (as close to the flowers as possible, without messing up the arrangement).

I then wrapped the stems in a deep purple, inch and a half wide ribbon, starting at the base and wrapping upward toward the flowers. (You will want to use tacky glue to glue the starting end to the ribbon laying over it. I didn’t do this and one or two of them started coming unraveled at the wedding.) Wrap your ribbon around all the way to the top, glue down to itself with tacky glue, and clamp it for 10 minutes or so, just so it has a good hold before you let it finish drying. Then cut off any excess ribbon and fluff the flowers.

For the boutonnieres, I used small rubber bands (like the ones you use for small hair braids) to hold the two stems together, and did the same wrapping style with the same ribbon. Glue the last end wherever you want the “back” to be, the side that is against the groomsmens chest, so it’s hidden and unnoticeable. You’ll be able to use a boutonniere pin right through the ribbon to attach it to their suit jacket or shirt.

Here is how my finished products looked:

The completed bouquets and boutonnieres.

This was rather difficult and time consuming. I highly recommend buying the bridesmaid bouquet handles. They have them at Michael’s on one of their wedding aisles, and I’m sure you can order them on the internet as well. (Unless of course you’re super-bride, then by all means make yours this way!) You can at the very least make your boutonnieres 🙂

In Memory Candles

Having “In Memory” candles is a personal choice and not a tradition at weddings, although there are marketed premade candles out there. I couldn’t justify spending $20 or more on a candle, so I made ours. I went to Walmart and bought two ivory, unscented pillar candles (I think they were $1 each) and two small square mirror plates to set them on (these were about $3 a piece). I already had silver glittery alphabet scrapbook stickers at home, but I went to Michael’s and got some pearl and corner embellishments to add to them. Using tweezers, I carefully placed each letter and number on the candles. The use of tweezers prevents getting your skin oils on the stickers, and also helps you keep them straight. Since they are going on wax you can easily peal and replace them if they begin to go askew (but don’t worry, they hold on great once you press them on hard! Ours made it 2 months in a tote and then all the way from Anchorage to Kodiak – 250 miles).

You could also tie or hot glue ribbon onto candles, use rhinestones, or whatever else your little heart desires. (Paint, pen, and markers do not work so don’t waste your money on those attempts). You can find small photo clips at Invitations by Dawn that you can use on your bouquet ribbons or could clip onto ribbon attached to your candles.

Here is how our candles looked when I was finished. They looked great up on stage, and cost about $5 a piece with all the materials.

Our candles for my Grandmother and Uncle.


You can choose to incorporate these into the ceremony, or just have them already lit when guests are arriving. I had my parents walk to the front together and light them at the beginning of the ceremony before my mother took her seat (the church we were married at has doors and stairs both at the front and back of the sanctuary, so my father went downstairs and circled back up and around to get me!)

Remembering loved ones lost in this way on your wedding day can help bring you a sort of peace, especially when it was someone you were close to and loved very much, who would have been there in life if they could. I prayed that morning that maybe God would let them look down on us and watch, and because of the peace I felt before I walked down the aisle I have faith that He did.



“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:18-19 ESV)

Ring Pillow & Flower Basket

Since I couldn’t find a pillow and basket in my wedding colors at a low price, I decided to make my own. This was my first craft for our wedding, and it obviously lead to many more! It’s very easy, and I hope this is easy enough to follow.

You will need:

– Tacky glue

– Ribbon in your wedding colors

– Small rhinestones (optional)

– Small sewing kit

– A plain ring pillow and flower girl basket


I got my ring bearer pillow at Walmart for about $11. The tacky glue, ribbon, and rhinestones I got at Michael’s. (I apologize for some of the photos. They were taken with my phone and aren’t that great!)

My plain ring pillow from Walmart.

Wrap your chosen ribbons around the pillow to get a measurement and cut accordingly. I used a wide sheer purple and a narrower solid blue to layer. Trim the edges of the wide ribbon so it looks like it disappears behind the main bow (if your pillow doesn’t have a bow or anything on the front, you can make a bow using either white ribbon or one of your wedding colors and tack or sew it to the front. Here is a great bow tying tutorial). Because one of my ribbons was sheer, I stitched them to the pillow under one of the bow ears, with the solid ribbon under the sheer.

Stitch or glue one end under the bow, making sure the ribbon is lying over top and centered on whatever preexisting ribbon is there (if your pillow has one). Flip your pillow over and pull the ribbon flush so it lays tight and flat against it. Stitch it where the existing ribbon is stitched to create the handle, then stitch it again in the same place on the other side. Wrap it back around to the front and stitch the end under the opposite side of the front bow. Then do the same steps with your next ribbon (if you have one), laying it centered and flush just like the first one. If this ribbon is wider and sheer like mine, don’t make it part of the handle. Instead, cut it and stitch or glue it where the handle starts and do the same on the other side. The underside should look like this:

The backside of the pillow, showing the handle or hand slot for the ring bearer.

The front should look something like this:

The pillows front side, almost finished.

I used a thin purple ribbon to add to the tying ribbons that hang off the front. I cut them to the same length and stitched them up underneath the heart embellishment. I also decided to monogram the pillow with rhinestones. Put some tacky glue on a paper plate and use tweezers to carefully pick up each rhinestone, dip the back of it in the glue, and position it on the pillow. Create any design or monogram you’d like! I’d suggest practicing on a flat surface first though 😉 Tacky glue goes on white but dries clear, so if it comes out around the edges you won’t see it when it dries.


The flower girl basket I bought at Michael’s, for somewhere around $12.

The before image of the flower basket.

I did the same ribbon overlay here as I did for the pillow. Blue first, then purple. I used tacky glue rather than stitching. Glue one end to the middle of the bottom of the basket and let dry. Then pull tight and flush and glue the remaining end to the inside of the basket. (I glued mine close to the bottom on the inside, so when it was full of petals you could see the ribbon on the sides.) Do the same on the other side, and then repeat with the sheer ribbon, or whatever other ribbon you’ve chosen. I tied bows around the four ends of the handles to add a girly touch for my nieces.

Here are the finished products. Inexpensive, easy to make, and made to match our wedding perfectly.

The finished basket and pillow.