Wedding Program Pointers

By. Andrea Watson, The Fine Hand Calligraphy, Etc.

Wedding programs are becoming increasingly popular today. Although they may not be absolutely essential for a traditional wedding ceremony, they are still a virtual necessity for ceremonies that combine elements from different religions and cultures or if the bride and groom have written their own vows. Should special songs or prayers be included, a wedding program will enable guests to participate more fully in the service. In any case, an attractively designed and carefully thought-out wedding program that complements your other wedding stationery will serve as a lovely record of the event and its participants.

Essential items to include:

  • The title of the event
  • The names of the bride and groom
  • Day and date
  • Place
  • The order of the service which also notes titles of musical selections and soloists if any, as well as citations to source readings
  • Officiants
  • Parents and grandparents
  • Members of the wedding
  • Any helpful translations and explanations of rituals

The first four elements can easily be combined in a title phrase with appropriate line breaks, e.g. The Celebration of Marriage/ uniting / Anna Kathryn Leigh / and / William Arthur Wells / Saturday, the eleventh of August / Two thousand twelve / at half after five o’clock / First Presbyterian Church / Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Other optional elements that you may wish to include are expressions of thank to parents, tributes to deceased relatives, a special verse of scripture or poetry, and other useful information, e.g. directions to the reception venue and/or your new names and address following the phrase At home. If your wedding will be in a church, the pastor will likely want to approve any artwork you wish to use and proofread your program to check terminology and the citations to scripture readings. Take advantage of this free expertise. Marriage may be properly called a sacrament in some churches, not in others. Presbyterians have cross bearers; Episcopalians have crucifers. Your clergy will know the correct forms and be happy to help you. Music directors can also provide advice for the accurate listing of musical selections.

It is possible to produce an attractive wedding program yourself at very little ost using your own computer and printer. You should be proficient with word processing or layout software and have absolutely certain that you have the time and patience to do a thorough job. Good design skills and meticulous attention to spelling and punctuation are essential, also. Cutting and assembly require tools and time. If you are unsure about your abilities and resources in any of these areas, seek help from a professional graphic designer or a reputable printer who offers these services. Even when working with a professional, you must still exercise your own best judgement and taste. When it comes to creating a wedding program that will become a treasured keepsake, remember always that there is much elegance in simplicity.

Information from Tuscaloosa Bridal Directory

The Perfect Wedding Toast

Serious, humorous, or poignant, toasts are an integral part of almost every wedding celebration. Every toast is different, and on such a special occasion, many will be eager to share their sentiments. You’re not alone of you fear public speaking, but at your best friend’s wedding, you’re bound to want to say a few words in her (or his) honor. If you’re truly prepared to speak in front of people, you’ll find it’s much easier to let the words flow.

Here are some tips to help you get ready:

  • The best toasts are those that are heartfelt. So start by pouring your heart out. List everything you want people to know about your friends. (Remember to talk about both the bride and the groom in your toast.)
  • Start with the best qualities. Include memories of good times together — especially the first time they spoke of their beloved. Scribble some thoughts about what makes them a great couple and your wish for their future.
  • You have two audiences. One is the ride and groom, and you can make them happy by not saying anything that would cause embarrassment. Your other audience is the assembly of friends and family. Stories of drunken revels and ad relationships may be appropriate at the bachelor(ette) party, but not at the wedding reception.
  • A toast is a speech. It should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and make sense throughout. When you stand up to speak, it’s best to have a single card with few notes written down to help you remember the key points. Rehearse before the big day.
  • Many wedding toasters aim for lyricism in song or rhyming poetry. That’s a great idea, if it’s you. But a direct, from-the-heart talk workswell also. Be sincere and be yourself.
  • One of the classic rules of public speaking is to open with a joke. One of the classic rules of wedding toasting is to end by tugging on the heartstrings. If you can’t be sentimental at a wedding, where can you be? On the other hand, while a couple of well-placed jokes can win the crowd, you’re not there to do a stand-up routine.
  • A toast should last no longer than three minutes, which translates to no more than five double-spaced pages. Rehearse your toasts with a stopwatch. If it’s five minutes or under, don’t worry, since under the glare of the spotlight, you may speak faster.
  • At the Rehearsal Dinner, the first toast is made by the dinner’s host, usually the groom’s father, during the main course. The toast is often met by a “return toast” from the bride’s father. Then it is open season — the mothers of the bride and groom, the best man and maid/matron of honor, other wedding attendants, family, and close friends.
  • The Groom’s Toast: Keep it short. Be sincere. Thank everyone for coming, including your parents and hers.share a brief personal (not too personal) story of experiences shared with your bride, but don’t tell embarrassing stories or go on and on. Turn to your bride and look her in the eye, tell her how proud you are to be her husband, how happy you are today, and how much you love her!

Information from the Tuscaloosa Bridal Directory

Advantages of Friday and Sunday Weddings

If you decide to have your wedding on a Friday or a Sunday, you’ll reap several rewards: both financial and otherwise. You’ll save time, you’ll probably save a significant amount of money, and you’ll find that your guests may appreciate having a Saturday free to spend time with you and the other guests they know.

Maximize Your Dollar

For Friday or Sunday weddings, the majority of banquet facilities, photographers, video producers, musicians/entertainers and limousine services are much more willing to negotiate in order to reach a price that suits your budget. Vendors tend to see Friday and Sunday as bonus days, a time when they can earn income. Savings on these services can really add up, making this option a great way to save money without having to sacrifice the quality of your wedding.

Save Time

On a Friday, you’ll probably have your wedding in the evening, which means that the ceremony is followed immediately by dinner. This means that you will avoid the extra cost and hassle of a one-to-two hour interim reception or cocktail party. Having the ceremony and reception back to back may ensure more people at the church ceremony.

Additionally, a Friday/Sunday wedding frees up at least one day of the weekend, generally making your family, friends and guests more appreciative of the extra time, especially if they are traveling.

Save the Date

Planning for a Friday or a Sunday wedding makes it much more likely that you will be able to reserve the church, hall, music and other services on the date of your choice. Choosing a Friday or Saturday date allows you to avoid making several calls to numerous vendors, only to hear, “Sorry, we’re booked on that date.”

Rehearsal is Easy

Restaurants are usually thrilled to have rehearsal dinners booked on Thursdays or other evenings during the week, since those are typically their slower business days. You will find a more relaxed atmosphere and the staff will be more attentive to your party’s needs.

In selecting a Friday or Sunday date for your event, you’ll help both your budget and your odds of getting exactly the wedding you want, while also allowing for more time dedicated to finalizing last minute details. You can use the extra day to catch your breath, and use the extra money to purchase something special.

Information from Tuscaloosa Bridal Directory

Changing Your Name

It is tradition for the bride to take her new husband’s last name. There is a lot that comes with changing your name. Here is a list of whom to inform and what to modify when your name changes.


  • Driver’s License
  • Auto Registration & Title
  • Auto Insurance
  • Social Security Card
  • Credit Cards
  • Checking/Savings Accounts
  • Health Insurance Policies
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Telephone Number & Listing
  • Post Office
  • Charge Accounts
  • Income Tax Deduction Status with Employer
  • Lending Institutions
  • Medical/School records
  • Wills
  • Accountant
  • Securities Broker
  • Leases and Landlord
  • Library Card
  • Voter Registration Card
  • Organization Memberships
  • Passport
  • Safe Deposit Box
  • Magazine/Newspaper Subscriptions

-Information from Tuscaloosa Bridal Directory

Wedding Expenses–Who Pays?

The bride’s family is entirely responsible for the wedding ceremony. The groom’s family may offer to share in the cost of the reception, and the bride’s family may accept, if they wish. By tradition, wedding costs are divided as follows:

The Bride (or family) pays for:

  • Invitations and Announcements
  • The Bridal Outfit and Trousseau
  • Bridal Photographs/Video
  • All Costs of the Reception
  • Flowers for the Church, Attendants, and Reception
  • Music at the Church and Reception
  • Sexton, Organist and Choir Fees
  • Bridesmaids’ Luncheon
  • All Rental Equipment for Large Weddings and Receptions
  • A Limousine for the Bride and Cars for Transportation
  • Groom’s Wedding Band
  • Groom’s Gift
  • Gift for the Bride’s Attendants
  • Lodging (if necessary) for Out-of-town Bridesmaids
  • Bride’s Personal Stationery

The Groom (or family) pays for:

  • Bride’s Engagement and Wedding Rings
  • Marriage License
  • Clergyman’s Fee ($10-$100, inquire)
  • Bride’s Flowers
  • Boutonnieres, Gloves, Ties for Men of Wedding Party
  • Wedding Gift for the Bride
  • Complete Wedding Trip or Honeymoon Expenses
  • Gifts for Best Man and Ushers
  • Lodging (if necessary) for Out-of-town Ushers

Optional Expenses:

  • Bride’s Bouquet, usually gift of the Groom (may be purchased by the bride’s family)
  • Corsages for mothers and grandmothers are usually provided by the groom (may be purchased by the bride for her mother and grandmother)
  • Bachelor Dinner is usually given by the groom or family (may be given by the bride’s family or friends
  • Rehearsal Dinner is usually given by the groom or family (may be given by the bride’s family or friends)
  • Attendants’ Dresses are usually bought by each girl (although, the bride may provide them if she wishes)

-Information from Tuscaloosa Bridal Directory

How to Get Your Marriage License

These are the requirements for obtaining a marriage license in Tuscaloosa County.

Tuscaloosa County Marriage License Requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • If you are under the age of 18, both parents must come in and sign the application, as well as a Marriage Bond. They MUST see your parent’s driver’s’ license and the minor’s certified birth certificate issued from the Health Department in the last 30 days.
  • YOU MUST HAVE:
  • Driver’s License; State issued non-driver’s license or a passport for identification
  • Social Security cards are required if you have a social security number
  • IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, A NOTARIZED AFFIDAVIT ATTESTING TO THE FACT THAT YOU WERE NEVER ISSUED AND/OR HAVE NEVER HAD A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER MUST BE SUBMITTED AT THE TIME YOU PURCHASED YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE.   
  • Divorce decrees if either party has been divorced or death certificate if spouse is deceased.
  • $74.00 CASH for the license
  • Blood tests are NOT required
  • Marriage license are valid for 30 days in the State of Alabama. That means once the license is issued to you, you must get married within 30 days. The license is void after 30 days and valid ONLY in Alabama. You may purchase your license in any county in Alabama. It is not required that you buy it in the county where you are to be married.

Tuscaloosa County Courthouse

Monday- Friday 8:30-5:00 p.m.

(4:15 if applying for license)

Marriage Clerk: 349-3870, Extension #315

-Information from Tuscaloosa Bridal Directory

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