Take a break from wedding planning with a themed beach read

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Since I’m an English teacher in the real world, a post about books was bound to surface. This one is for anyone who needs a break from endless wedding planning, but still wants to stay in the “love mode.” Whether you’re the bride, her momma, or a bridesmaid, take a break this summer with one of these wedding-themed reads:

*A Beautiful Day, Elin Hilderbrand’s latest highly readable novel for ladies. This one is centered around a Nantucket wedding.

*The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan. Some of you may have read Maine; hoping this one is as good!

*Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

*Seating Arrangments by Maggie Shipstead

*My Fake Fiance, a collection of romantic stories by Lisa Scott

*The Wedding, for all you Nicholas Sparks fans out there

*The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

*The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham

Happy reading!

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Summer is Wedding Season! Are you up on your wedding ettiquette?

I’m a huge fan of the HuffPost Weddings blog, and I loved Diane Gottsman’s recent post on wedding etiquette. Two of her points resonated with me: One, if your child’s name(s) is not included on the envelope, it was not an oversight; and two, don’t call the bride or her family to ask for an exception.

I would add the following Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to wedding etiquette:

Do reply promptly to a wedding invitation. Get up, look at the calendar, and if you’re free and want to attend, drop that response card in the mail right away. DON’T procrastinate, and don’t wait to see if something better comes along for that weekend. The bride and her family are anxiously awaiting responses so they can either begin activating the “B list,” or start thinking about seating arrangements. If the bride or her mom is contacting you AFTER the response deadline, you have really messed up!

DON’T call the bride or groom and ask for a “plus one” if this was not clearly indicated on your invitation (it would say Ms. Julie Smith and Guest). Weddings cost a lot of money, and whomever is hosting is doing plenty of numbers-crunching and hard decision-making. Don’t make it harder on them than it already is!

DO plan to send a gift if you have been invited to a wedding, even if you don’t go. It can certainly be smaller or of lesser value, but if the couple thought enough of you to include you at their wedding, it is appropriate for you to acknowledge their marriage with a gift.

And for all you brides-to-be out there, here are a few for you!
DO discuss the plus-one and children issues beforehand, and make a “policy.” For us, a plus-one was included for wedding party only, if the friend was “in a relationship.” For other guests, plus ones were extended only for couples who live together or are engaged. We had a few requests for exceptions, and stuck with our “policy.”

DON’T take it personally when friends decline. Sometimes money is an issue, especially for young people who often must prioritize among several weddings in a year.

DO consider the expense of being involved in a year’s worth of wedding festivities, and DON’T expect your friends to attend everything. Because my daughter had a big engagement party and a bachelorette weekend, we decided to let them off the hook for the bridal shower. We limited those invitations to bridal party, relatives and friends of the family.

For more do’s and don’ts, check out wedding expert Diane Gottsman’s post below:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-gottsman/wedding-etiquette-dos-and_b_3490270.html

Special gifts: Plan ahead for special moments

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A couple of weeks before my daughter’s wedding — OK, maybe a week before — I realized I wanted to give my daughter something special on the morning of her wedding day. This actually caused me about 48 hours of real angst. A photo? Ordinary. Special jewelry? Nothing really to give; we’re not historically “jewelry people.”

I pulled out the early photo albums, assembled long before the digital age, and then Megan’s baby book, hoping for divine inspiration. In a little pocket of her baby book, I found it– teeny little prints of my daughter’s thumb-sized feet inked onto an index card with the words “Baby Girl” and her birthdate and weight. I really was overcome with emotion as I thought about how far she’d come since those little prints were made. I decided to write something about that, and assembled my words and her feet into a framed gift for my daughter. Perfect! But, man, that wasn’t easy!

Advice: Think about a simple, meaningful gift to give your son or daughter on the wedding day. And think about it early enough to allow for things like framing, assembly, reproducing, or whatever you need to do to make that give “just right” for your child. I heard a story recently about a mother of a groom who had saved a precious “this is why I hate girls” poem her son had written in second grade. It became the perfect framed gift from Mom.

It is often the simple, sentimental things that make the wedding day so very special for families.

No Gifts, Please. Just a Trip to Hawaii.

I was just beginning to gather my thoughts for a post on registries and gifts, when the blog post (above) caught my eye. When I first heard about the ‘financing the honeymoon’ trend, I was appalled, but now that my daughter has piles of the kinds of registry loot that I received in the 80s, I’ve started to reconsider my position on this. What do YOU think?

I Just Want It To Be Perfect

So we’re all more than familiar with the whole debate surrounding wedding registries: some people love them, some hate them, some people think they’re the height of convenience, others the height of tackiness. They’re more or less an accepted part of weddings at this point, though — the idea, after all, is to help the happy couple begin their lives together and save them the time and potentially marriage-fraying battles over different kinds of cutlery or linens. But what if the happy couple has already been living together for three or five or thirteen years and already has all the fitted sheets their hearts could ever desire?

Well, that’s where the honeymoon registry comes in.

The idea behind the honeymoon registry is essentially a good-hearted one. Let’s say your couple has been dating for eight years, living together for five. They probably have plenty of housewares already, and one more…

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6 money-savers for D-I-Y bridal showers

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Sure, it’s nice to imagine helping the bridesmaids host a lavish restaurant affair, but you may decide you can help the girls in the affordability department if you host the shower at someone’s home. There’s really something quite lovely about a backyard bridal shower, as long as the weather cooperates!

Here are three tips for making it affordable without sacrificing fun or flourish:

1. Price club flowers— Places like Costco have amazing fresh-cut flowers every day. Buy a bunch, and then rearrange them in dollar store vases (or vases you might have on hand). Beautiful, fresh centerpieces that allow for a little creativity.

2. A little help from your friends — Mom, ask some friends if they would mind contributing a signature dish– they will most likely be happy to contribute, and there’s nothing better than homemade goodies. For an afternoon shower, an array of finger foods, dips, salads and desserts is probably all you need for a delicious spread. Also, rely on friends and family to help you gather serving pieces, dishes, wine glasses, linens, and anything else you need for entertaining a crowd.

3. Bargain hunt— Once the girls decide on a theme for the shower, put someone in charge of bargain-hunting for paper goods and decorations. Think dollar stores and Target for fun stuff.

4. Servers and clean-up crew— Surely, someone knows a few teenagers who would like to earn a few bucks by helping to set up, serve, and clean up. Calling the pros will exceed $25 an hour; a couple of teenaged girls can be hired for less, and still make a decent wage.

5. Scrap the expensive cake— and offer a fun and less expensive alternative like a sundae bar or s’mores by the fire pit.

6. Trim the guest list— There’s really no need to include every female on the wedding list. Bridal party, close relatives and good friends will make the party a bit more intimate and far less expensive.

Bridal shower guest list – 5 things to consider

When planning a shower for the bride, how do you come up with the guest list? Well, here are five things to consider to help get you started:

1. Will the shower be held in a restaurant or in someone’s home? For either venue, what’s the max?

2. Couples or women only? It seems as though women only is still the popular choice.

3. Have the bride and groom been living together, and is their home pretty well stocked? If so, you don’t really “need” every woman invited to the wedding to come bearing household gifts. Maybe relatives and bridal party?

4. Has the couple already been celebrated with a big engagement bash where guests brought gifts? If so, see #3.

5. Are the brides friends just starting out in life and trying to get on their feet? Will they be spending a lot of money to come to the wedding and, possibly, a bachelorette party? If so, spare them the shower obligation and keep it to the bridesmaids and “older ladies” (yes, that means YOUR peers, MOB!).

Next ~ Some fun theme and gift ideas!