The Guest List

Before you can even think about save-the-dates, there’s The List. Where to begin? The person who drives this is the host of the party. If the parents of the bride are hosting, or paying the lion’s share of the party, the list starts there. Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that you (MOB) are the decision maker. Once the congratulatory champagne flutes have been washed and put away, think about $$$$ and start doing your research. It’s actually not as hard as you think (thank you, Google). Come up with a range with a cap that won’t put you into foreclosure, and start a spreadsheet. My daughter had a binder; I had excel files. If you’re involved financially, make sure you maintain CONTROL.

Once we knew how much we were willing to spend, we did some cost-per-head math, and concluded that a good size for our daughter’s wedding would be 130
-150. The next step was to come up with our list of family and friends who were non-negotiable A-listers. I emailed that list to my daughter, and left it to them to come up with both the groom’s list and the friends list. Now here’s where I would do it differently. I SHOULD have nabbed more slots for MY people, and given a concrete number for both the groom’s family and the “friends” crowd. Before we could finesse all of this, the save-the-dates were ordered and in the mail! ARRGGHH! Here’s how one our many “list” conversations went:

Me: Meg, you have 100 friends on this list. I think maybe this could be edited.

Meg: MOM. You know Matt and I went to college together! We have a LOT of friends!

Me: Well, you’ve been out of school for three years, and I haven’t heard you mention half these people! Like, what about Susie Jones, for example….

Meg: MOM! We talk all the time on facebook!

Ugh. You get the idea. Here’s the takeaway message: Don’t rush the guest list process, and don’t rush the save-the-date. If you do, you’re stuck.

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More about those “save the dates”

In an earlier post, I said not to do them. Save-the-dates is something that is definitely on my list of things my daughter and I would have done differently. It’s not the cost– they can be done inexpensively– and they do have high cute factor. 

The biggest negative is that it locks you in to a list a bit too early in the process.  If you DO send them out, do it just a couple of months before invitations are mailed, not a full year. 

Ours went out nearly a year before the wedding, and when invitation time came around, my daughter regretted sending a few of them out. Again, a lot can change in a year! 

And don’t for one minute think that knowing about your wedding in advance means that some people you’re “really close with” won’t ditch your big day at the last minute if something better comes along. The people nearest and dearest to you WILL save the date. More on the guest list, including good and bad guest etiquette, later!

Something for the MOB

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A thought for all you brand new mothers-of-bride out there– go out and browse all you want, but don’t buy your MOB dress too early!

I found a dress I loved nine months before my daughter’s wedding, stuck it in a closet and considered it done until it was shoe-shopping time a month before the wedding. Long story short, when I tried on the whole ensemble, it didn’t zip! Off to Weight Watchers for me to begin a month of dieting– a stressor I did not need.

Take-away advice here is to either buy your dress closer to the event, or try it on OFTEN for fit checks! People loved my sleeveless, fitted navy lace dress, but to be honest, I wish I had covered up a bit more. After all, we are MOBs, and no matter how fit we may be FOR OUR AGE we are not as young as either the bride or her attendants. Even with a little photo-shopping, the pix don’t really lie.

More about cost

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So how does that “frank conversation about money” get rolling? Well, every couple’s situation is different, and maybe money is no object and either the bride or groom’s family will welcome the news with a grand “it’s on us!” gesture. Well, a girl can dream….What worked for us was deciding on a budget we were comfortable with and sharing that number with our daughter right away. She and her fiance could make plans within that budget, or decide to add to it themselves, or with a little from the groom’s family. We stayed within our budget, and the bride and groom picked up the cost of music, videographer and honeymoon.

Talking about money early in the game allows for realistic planning from the start. If you don’t, it can get very awkward. And even if you do this, know that there will most likely be awkward convos anyway…

Tips, suggestions and advice from an experienced mother-of-the-bride

Flowers :)

Whether you’re the bride, bride’s mom  (MOB), or maid of honor (MOH),  wedding year planning, with all its seemingly endless details, will likely overwhelm you. My daughter’s engagement year was a whirlwind of lists, decisions, and emotional peaks and valleys. It was also filled with things we did SO right, as well as those we did SO wrong! I’d like to share while the whole experience is fresh in my mind. From save-the-dates (don’t do them) to wedding day itineraries (crucial), check back as I get my site going, and maybe I can help you avoid some missteps and make it all a wonderful experience!

First Things First

  • DO buy a binder– a BIG binder–  with clear insert pages and dividers (bridal outfit/accessories, bridgesmaids, groom/groomsmen, invitation suite, guest list, reception, ceremony, logistics, flowers). Customize your binder with sections that make sense to you and start getting organized!
  • DON’T be too hasty about choosing your bridal party. Sit on it awhile and enjoy being engaged. Trust me, friendships can change in subtle ways over just six months, let alone a year or more. 
  • DO discuss the kind of wedding you want, and have frank conversations with your families about cost.
  • DON’T rush to print and mail “save the dates” — or better yet, skip them altogether! Through facebook, twitter, etc., those closest to you will know the date.

….more to come 🙂