Martin's Creative Designs

Wedding, Event Planing, Floral Production & Invitations

Frequently Asked Questions

 Q: We're on a tight budget - how can I justify the cost of a wedding consultant?
A: A consultant will help you stay within your budget and find the best values for your money. Some vendors offer commissions to bridal consultants which Martin's Creative Designs will pass on to you in the form of discounts. Your consultant is also a valuable information resource which means you can put all that money you would have spent on wedding books and planning guides towards a fabulous honeymoon.

Q: My church or reception location already has an on-site coordinator. Why would I need another one?
A: When there is an on-site coordinator your wedding consultant becomes your personal assistant, and does not infringe on the work of the site coordinator. Church coordinators are very good at lining up the bridal party for the processional and the reception site coordinator will make sure the food is served promptly. But these people are often so busy overseeing the site logistics that they aren't able to take care of the little things or anticipate emergency situations. Who will make sure all of the groomsmen have their boutonnieres before pictures? Who will know where to call if the limo is late? What will you do if the zipper rips out of your dress? Who will notice that you wanted organza ribbons on the pews, not silk? On-site coordinators are often not prepared or willing to take care of these kinds of problems. Your professional wedding consultant is experienced in seeing the big picture and smoothly bringing together all of the components.

Q: I'm really enjoying the planning process and I'm concerned that a wedding consultant will take over and do everything for me. Will that happen?
A: Hiring a wedding coordinator means you can enjoy all the fun of the decision making without having to worry about how to make it all work. Your consultant will give you as much or as little help as you need, but will always follow your wishes. Your coordinator can provide you with timelines and to do lists which allow you to do the work with the peace of mind that you will not be forgetting anything. Martin's Creative Designs will help you bring your ideas and dreams to life.

Q: I have a lot of experience planning parties. Why should this be any different?
A. Although much of the preparation technique is the same, a wedding has different etiquette and procedure requirements. Do you know the correct wording for invitations or which florists will do a sample bouquet at no additional charge? On the day of the wedding you shouldn't have to worry about such things as placement of the escort cards or whether the fresh flowers arrived for the cake. Let a Professional Bridal Consultant supplement your own party experience with knowledge specific to the wedding industry.

Q: I noticed you are a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants and have the title Professional Bridal Consultant. What does that mean?
A. All Association of Bridal Consultants members agree to uphold a code of Ethics and Standards of Membership. The Association of Bridal Consultants designates as a Professional Bridal Consultant, provides evidence of continuing education in the wedding industry, submits references from clients and other industry professionals, completes an extensive study program on the wedding business and passes a proficiency exam.

All Association of Bridal Consultants members agree to uphold a code of Ethics and Standards of Membership as follows:

-Represent each client fairly and honestly, providing all agreed-to services in a timely and cost-efficient manner

-Establish reasonable and proper fees for services and provide written estimates to each client

-Use honest, factual advertising

-Deal with employees and clients fairly, in an unbiased manner

-Operate an establishment that is a credit to the community


Questions Regarding - INVITATIONS


My parents are divorced and my mother has remarried. How do I word my invitations?
There are several options for wording invitations hosted by divorced and remarried parents.
The invitation may indicate:

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gordan
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Samantha Gordan

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gordan
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of Mrs. Gordan's daughter

Samantha Gordan

If the invitation is being issued by the mother only:

Mrs. Erik Gordan
requests the honour of your presence
at the marriage of her daughter
Samantha Gordan


If the invitation is being issued by the father and mother:

Mr. James Smith
Mrs. Erick Gordan
request the honour of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter

Samantha Gordan


For other wording options, visit This site offers an array of verse ideas and includes options for any situation.


How do I request that parents leave their children at home?
When an invitation does not include "and family" or specify children by name, guests should never assume it is all right to bring their children to the wedding. Since many guests are unaware of this, you may choose to have printed on your invitations a line that states: "Adult Reception"."Keep in mind", however, it is improper to print "no children" or "adults only" on the invitation.

Where can I find some verse options for my invitations?
At, there are hundreds of verse options. Whether your wedding invitation is being extended by both sets of parents, one set of parents, single or re-married parents, or you and your fiance as a couple, this site will help tremendously. View many options as there may be verse styles you weren't even aware of. Other invitation sites are also important tools to use when researching your invitation wording. A few excellent sites to visit Also, during your engagement, save any wedding invitations that you receive that you really like. You can use the same, or a variation of the verses others have used.

Where can I find a variety of invitations to order online?
There is definitely an advantage to ordering invitations online. Many of the sites let you search invitations by style, theme, size, color and more so you can view the ones that interest you the most. Some web sites with the best product, selection and prices include,,,, and

When should I send out my invitations?
Invitations should be sent out to most guests approximately four to six weeks before your wedding. Consider sending out of town guests their invitations eight weeks before your wedding to provide enough time for them to make travel and lodging arrangements.

Can my son walk me down the aisle?
As long as your son is willing and seems ready for the responsibility, it would be an endearing touch for him to walk you down the aisle. Most likely, it would be an honor for him that would create a special closeness between the two of you on your wedding day.

What is the difference between a "maid" and "matron"of honor?
A single friend or relative with the privilege of being your "special" attendant would be considered a "maid" of honor. A married friend would be a "matron"of honor. A divorced or widowed woman may choose which she wants to be called.

What's the age group for junior attendants, flower girls and ring bearers? Where do they stand in the wedding party?
Typically, junior attendants are between 8 and 15 years old, and flower girls and ring bearers are between 2 and 7. Keep in mind the usual behavior of the child or children you want to have in your wedding. Their common play habits are a good indication of whether or not he/she is ready for the responsibility of walking down the aisle. Also, to avoid stage fright, it may be better to have more than one flower girl or ring bearer if the child is very young. After the processional, the junior attendant would be at the far left while facing the altar, since she would be the first to walk up the aisle. A flower girl or ring bearer would be standing directly behind the bride and groom, but only if the children are old enough to stand still for some time. Otherwise they may sit in a pew with their parents until the ceremony is over.

Do I need to have an equal number of attendants on both sides?
Certainly not. You should ask people who are important to you to be your attendants without worrying about anything else. In the recessional, an extra groomsmen escorts a bridesmaid on each arm. If there are more groomsmen then bridesmaids, the extra man walks alone. If there are two extra men, they walk next to each other.

What is the order for the processional?
The processional is started by the couple you have listed last in your ceremony program (female on the left, male on the right as you're facing the altar). The other couples walk up next and the maid/matron of honor and the best man walk up right before the bride and her parent(s), who are the last to walk down the aisle. If there is a junior attendant , he/she walks up before the first attendant couple. Ring Bearers and Flower Girls walk up after the maid/matron of honor, but before the bride. Sometimes, the bridesmaids walk halfway up the aisle and "meet" the groomsmen who then escort them the rest of the way, or they walk all the way to the front where the groomsmen are already standing.

How do I honor a loved one that has passed away?
On the altar, place a lit candle or a single flower in a vase to represent the presence of the deceased loved one(s). A moment of silence or a special prayer during the ceremony are ways to reflect on the loved one(s) also. In your ceremony program, mention the person or people by name.

My family is a lot smaller than my groom's and I'm afraid that the church will look funny because there will be uneven seating. What should I do?
Let the ushers know beforehand to balance the guests out. Instead of asking, "Bride or groom's side?" he/she can even out the two sides as guests are being seated. If someone makes a special request though, the usher should honor it. Also
inform your immediate family to be sure to sit on the traditional sides.

What is the order for standing in the reception line?
The order should be as follows: the bride, groom, bride's mother, bride's father, groom's mother and groom's father. The maid/matron of honor and the best man should also have the option of standing in the line. Depending on the size and closeness of your family, siblings and grandparents can also be in the receiving line. If there are stepparents involved, it depends on your relationship with them on whether or not you want them in your reception line.

How many invited guests should I expect will actually attend my wedding?
Though you should be prepared in the case that all your guests attend, generally about 75% of your actual guest list will show up. The smaller your wedding, the more that percentage increases. You'll have to take into consideration how many of your guests live far away and aren't likely to travel.

What should I pay the officiant (clergy)?
Generally, no less than a donation is given to the wedding officiant. It is in fact rare to find anyone giving less than a gratuity. The donation should be given to the best man prior to the ceremony who will then give it to the officiant after the ceremony.

I don't want to serve alcohol at my wedding; what else can I serve?
Since sober receptions are becoming more common, reception staffs and caterers are great resources for ideas on hosting a refreshing, non-alcoholic reception. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Water (bottled, sparkling, flavored, mineral, etc.)
  • Tea - feel free to experiment with iced teas as well - add berries or garnish with mint leaves
  • Coffee - mochas, lattes, cappuccino, finding exotic varieties of coffee is easy these days. (suggestion: ask your caterer about a portable espresso cart!)
  • Non-alcoholic beers and wines
  • Juices and/or smoothies, including blended protein drinks or other exotic beverages available at your local health food store.
  • Punch
  • Soda, including caffeinated and decaffeinated colas, root beers and "un-colas"
  • Floats, malts, shakes or any other ice-cream drink
  • Exotic, non-alcoholic drinks, or "virgin"cocktails such as pina coladas and bloody marys - don't forget Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers for the kids.

For toasts, there are a variety of sparkling beverages that make splendid champagne alternatives such as sparkling ciders and juices. Or try one of these tantalizing cocktails:

  • Ginger Cider Fuzz - a mix of cider, apricot nectar, club soda and ginger
  • Sparkling Apple-Grape Punch - a mix of sparkling apple-grape, nectar and chunks of fresh fruit

What are some other options for entertainment besides a DJ or band?
Depending on the size and formality of your reception you could hire a magician, comedian or a hypnotist. If your wedding is during the morning or early afternoon, you can skip music all together. Remember though, one of the most important and emotional symbols of your union is your first dance as husband and wife. Without music, this would be difficult to do!

Where can I get some unique ideas for favors? is your answer! This site has many FREE, mail order catalogs to choose from with hundreds of unique favor suggestions. Many of the items can even be personalized for that extra touch. Other web sites to visit are
, and all three are excellent sources for wedding favors.

What does the host or hostess do?
The host or hostess is in charge of the reception and makes sure everything happens when it's supposed to. If you and your groom make a grand entrance after most of the guests have arrived, the host/hostess can announce the new "Mr. & Mrs."and even announce the names of your parents and the wedding party (before the bride and groom) as they enter the room. He/she announces when hors d'oeuvres will be served, when to be seated for dinner and when speeches are about to begin. He/she may also announce the bride and groom's first dance together and any other planned dances such as the father daughter dance and the wedding party dance. If you talk to your DJ beforehand, he/she may be willing to be the "host." Although, having a host/hostess would be a great way to include a friend or family member in your wedding day festivities.

What questions should I ask my contact for my reception hall?
There are many questions you should ask. First, find out the cost and if they have your wedding date available this may determine whether or not you want your reception there! Next, ask how many people they can accommodate for and what type of seating they provide. Some places may have you rent tables and chairs from them or from someone else. Also ask if beverages and food must be purchased there (if so, how much and what kind?) or if you can bring them in yourself or have a caterer. If you can only purchase food from them, ask if you can stop in for a "taste test."Ask what time you can get in to decorate. If the site has nothing booked the night before your wedding, you or your decorator may be able to get in that night and have one less thing to worry about on your wedding day. You could also ask if they provide people to clean up after everyone has left. If not, you'll need to make arrangements. Finally, almost all places charge a deposit, so be absolutely sure when making your decision.

Who pays for what?
Traditionally, the bride's family paid for the majority of the wedding, but times have changed! Now it's basically up to you, your fiance and each of your families as to who pays for what. Depending how traditional you and your families are, it's possible each family may agree to paying half. If you and your fiance are financially capable, then the wedding could be split three ways. It's best to first discuss your ideas with one set of parents at a time. You don't want them to feel uncomfortable or obligated in the presence of the other parents. Once you get a feel for how they would like things to be paid for, you can all get together and brainstorm money saving ideas. Keep in mind, if you've been living together for some time, you may be expected to pay for your own wedding.

How do I request that guests give us money?
Asking guests for specific gifts is generally improper. However, there is nothing wrong with letting them know if they ask whether you prefer monetary gifts. Let friends and family know and have them tell other guests as well. Keep in mind though, many guests prefer to give material gifts, so it is best to register somewhere as a backup.

How do I let people know where I'm registered?
It is considered inappropriate to include in your invitations where you are registered. Instead, spread the word through family and friends. It's fine to tell someone if he/she asks you. Since some people feel at a loss when choosing wedding gifts, they would prefer to buy something you picked out yourself.

How long do I have to send out my thank you notes?
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, send out thank you notes as you receive gifts before your wedding. This is especially important for givers who send their gifts in the mail or by another shipping method. A thank you note assures the person that his/her gift reached you. For gifts received during or after your wedding day, thank you notes should be sent out within one to two months. Since the task may seem daunting, try to set aside 15 or 30 minutes everyday to work on them until you're finished. If something prevents you from getting them sent out within this time frame, remember the rule "better late than never."

What if I receive a gift that is broken?
If the gift is something you registered for, most stores will replace it with no questions asked. If it's a gift from another store where you are not registered, try calling the store to find out about their exchange policy and explain your situation. If it was shipped by them, most likely they will replace it. If it was shipped directly by the giver, check to see if it has an insurance stamp. If so, send the gift back with a note explaining what happened and the giver will be reimbursed. Then he/she can replace the item and send it again. If there is no insurance stamp and you have no idea what store the gift came from, it's your decision on whether or not you want to tell the giver what happened. If the giver is someone close to you and would notice that you're not using or don't have the gift he/she gave you, honesty is probably the best policy. If it is a friend or relative who lives far away and whom you rarely see, send a very grateful thank you note without mentioning their gift was damaged when you received it.

What if I receive a duplicate gift?
If the items you receive duplicates of are practical - towels, table linen, everyday dishes - you may want to keep and use them when your originals wear out. If the items are duplicates are things like answering machines, bed spreads or tents, exchanging one of them is acceptable. If the duplicates were received from two people who don't know each other well, each person will think it is the gift he/she gave you and you won't need to explain. However, if the givers are two people who know each other well, it's best to explain what happened and let them know what you exchanged the item for.

I have children from a previous marriage - how do I include them in our wedding?
Consider including the children in your bridal party as bridesmaids, attendants,junior attendants, ushers, flower girl or ring bearer. Children may also like to do a reading during the ceremony, or even escort the bride (their mother) down the aisle. You may also choose to include the children in a special ceremony within the wedding ceremony. Here is a suggestion for such a ceremony:
Circle of Acceptance: Have the children, the officiant, the parent and stepparent hold hands to form a circle at the altar. Have the officiant assure the children that although accepting a new person into the family circle may be difficult, they have now been blessed with the love and support of both their parent and the new stepparent. The officiant then states, "Your parents wish to seek your blessing and support"; at that moment the children are asked to express their acceptance.

This is my second marriage - can I wear a white gown?
With the increase of second marriages, designers in the bridal industry are creating gorgeous second wedding dresses. What you choose to wear should only depend on the formality of the ceremony, the time of day and most important, what suits you most comfortably. A white gown is perfectly acceptable, however, a veil, the symbol of virginity, should not be worn. A hat or a wreath of fresh flowers makes a splendid alternative.

Can I register for my second marriage?
Gifts are generally not expected for a second wedding, though many guests may choose to send one. Gifts should be accepted graciously and acknowledged with thank you notes, as is proper in first marriages. Do not indicate "No Gifts" on the invitation.

We are planning to renew our wedding vows on our 20th anniversary. What different things can or should I be planning for our renewal ceremony?
This celebration and declaration of love can be as simple or as fancy as you want it to be. Some couples choose to copy their wedding ceremony exactly, including the original wedding party if possible. Remember though, it isn't supposed to be a re-enactment of your wedding day, but a celebration of the growth and depth of your relationship. Others may choose to write their own vows based on their lives together. Even if the original wedding was in a church, the renewal doesn't have to be since it isn't a legally binding ceremony. It is a reaffirmation of the couple's love for one another. It can be held in a park, garden or on a beach. If the couple has children, they may want to include their children in the ceremony. The original rings can be used, or if special anniversary rings are purchased, those can be used instead. A celebration afterwards is optional, but keep in mind that friends and family want to share this special day with you. The gathering can be anything from a brunch to a party with food and music.

Can I accept gifts for our anniversary/vow renewal ceremony?
Gifts can be accepted, although not expected. Since you aren't "beginning" your life together, but rather "continuing" it, people may choose to give you gifts with special meaning such as pictures in frames, memory books or other personalized items. Thank you notes for gifts should be sent as soon as possible after the event. Even guests who didn't bring a gift deserve thanks, after all, their presence is a gift!

Do I need a marriage license for my vow renewal ceremony?
No, a license is not necessary since you are already legally married. In fact, anyone you choose can be the officiant at your renewal, whether it's the officiant from your original wedding, or a close friend.



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