Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Extra Extra! The wedding announcement.

To be completely honest, a newspaper wedding announcement (for us) was a complete afterthought. A 5-month long afterthought, to be exact. In fact, I never would have even considered it if I hadn't been perusing a college friend's Facebook page and stumbled across a framed copy of her wedding announcement. It made me wish I had done one. Then I started looking up the etiquette for how long you can wait to have it done. I got mixed answers. I decided I didn't care. I was doing it. Then I realized how expensive it is!

To print a formal wedding announcement in our main hometown newspaper would have cost  $576.80! Umm, what?! This isn't the Times or the Post! We decided to see how much a basic announcement would cost, and it was still $200.85. We downgraded to the "midtown" news and it was $65.60. We downgraded to our college hometown (much smaller population) and the prices were still $55.00-$250.00. Simultaneously, I had submitted a formal announcement to my hometown (where my parents live), and was waiting to hear back from them. Guess what. They are going to print our announcement and photo this coming Sunday FOR FREE. Done.

This got me thinking about the costs and rules associated with engagement and wedding announcements. The New York Times has RULES! They only report on ceremonies taking place during the previous six days. Sunday events are reported that day. Requests for announcements must be made at least six weeks prior to the event. But get this...they don't charge for publication! However, "space is limited" and they "cannot guarantee publication." Criteria include: noteworthy awards received by the couple, as well as charitable activities and special achievements. Photos are typically formal portraits. "Couples posing for pictures should arrange themselves with their eyebrows on the same level and with their heads fairly close together." (Here is a fun look at what it takes to get into The Times!)

This also got me thinking about the history behind wedding and engagement announcements. I remember looking through David's mom's wedding book and seeing her wedding announcement, clipped from the local paper, aged to perfection. In TLC's Wedding Announcements 101, "couples have been putting their wedding announcements in the newspaper long before Facebook took over the world. Having your wedding photograph printed in the newspaper is an honor and still a hot commodity in today's world. It's a sign of prestige to make it into a national newspaper's weddings section, and couples clamor for the opportunity." They go on to explain that "a wedding announcement is "simply a formal write-up published in local or national newspapers that shares the details of your nuptials. The requirements may vary from paper to paper, but the intention is the same for them all: getting your good news out into the world!"

According to Martha Stewart Weddings, "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." Wedding announcements typically contain more information than engagement notices: place and date of the ceremony and reception, officiant name, alma maters of the bride and groom, degrees, and job titles. Some papers publish more information including attendants' names, gown descriptions, etc.

If you're interested in having an announcement printed in your local paper, contact the paper to find out about the submission process. Sometimes they will have an online form where you can submit details and a photo. Prices, sizing, format, and dates of publication will vary. Here are a couple templates that you can use for your announcement wording:

I'd be interested to hear your opinions and thoughts on the whole newspaper announcement business! What do you think of it, and did you do it? Did your parents or grandparents do it?

the Bride


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