Although notifying the world about your completed vows can come to pass only after the wedding has taken place, you should announce your marriage well before.
The Printed Card
Small weddings and elopements are the most common events for which printed wedding announcements are sent. The cards are usually mailed by a bridesmaid or other friend or family member the day after the ceremony to those not included on the guest list. These announcements are usually created with the same card stock, fonts, and motifs as the wedding invitation (if one was sent out).
Traditionally the bride's parents announce the event; many couples want both sets of parents to share in the honor. Wording is straightforward: "Mr. and Mrs. James Williams and Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Solomon have the honor of announcing the marriage of their children Marianna Pauline Williams to Michael Daniel Solomon on Saturday, the twentieth of June, two thousand, Peoria, Illinois." Other couples prefer to announce the marriage themselves: "Ms. Eleanor White and Mr. Peter Edwards announce their marriage," with the rest of the text mirroring that above. Occasionally, couples prefer a third-person announcement, which then may read: "Ms. Caroline Elizabeth Jacobs and Mr. Charles David Foster were married. . . ." "At home" information may be included on the wedding announcements, or printed on a separate card to be mailed with them. These cards, which should echo the announcements in style, include the date after which the couple will be "at home," along with their new address and telephone number.
Most newspapers will not print a wedding announcement until after the wedding has taken place, often running the items the week or weekend of the ceremony. For these papers, the information is usually needed well before. However, other papers will accept information within two months after the ceremony, and run the announcements a month or more later.
Wedding announcements often contain more information than engagement notices: place and date of the ceremony and reception, name of the officiant, alma maters of the bride and groom, degrees achieved, and current job title. As a rule, small-town papers will publish more information -- attendants' names, descriptions of the gowns, and whether the bride will keep her maiden name -- than major metropolitan dailies, because they have fewer weddings and more space. A few larger papers also offer expanded coverage; the New York Times, for example, aside from printing simple announcements, treats some weddings as news, interviewing couples about the event.
As with engagement announcements, you will probably have to keep checking the newspaper for your item. When you finally see your name in the headlines, it's sure to make you smile, just as it's sure to make a great addition to the final pages of your wedding album.
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