Remember, weddings are about your guests too!

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Credit to my daughter on this topic– she spent much of her engagement thinking about ways to make the wedding a most excellent experience for her wedding party and invited guests.

In a recent post at Wedding Party, blogger Stephanie Herbst notes that about 69 million Americans will be attending more than one wedding this summer.

“While your guests will obviously be thrilled to see you get hitched,” Herbst writes, “they’re also putting in a lot of time and money to celebrate with you.” She has great suggestions for thoughtful touches that your guests will most certainly appreciate.

Probst has great suggestions for showing your guests how much you appreciate them. Here a few of ours:

1. Make welcome bags for out-of-towners. We had lots of fun doing this. Include a note that thanks your guests for being a part of your big day. The contents can be very simple. Ideas include: A bottle of water, pack of gum, granola or chocolate bars, a map of the area, and a list of cab companies (if they prefer not to drive).

2. Give thoughtful consideration to seating arrangements. Place people thoughtfully to ensure they have a good time! Do you have a bunch of friends who love to dance? Place them near the dance floor. A quiet friend who will be attending alone? Put her at your friendliest friends’ table. And make a real effort to avoid a “dumping ground” table (they will know!).

3. Acknowledge your bridal party every chance you get. My daughter had little gifts for them at every occasion throughout the year, letting them know how much she appreciated their being in her wedding.

4. Give your guests a safe ride home. We wrestled with this “obligation,” but decided to take care of our guests with transportation between the hotel and reception venue. Once the rides are taken care of, a nice party becomes a GREAT party!

Remember, these are your family, neighbors and best friends– make sure they know you’re thinking of them too!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-herbst/10-thoughtful-ways-to-mak_b_3575724.html?ir=Weddings&utm_campaign=071213&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-weddings&utm_content=Title

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!

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

10 things I wish someone had told me before my daughter’s wedding day

Inspired by a Huff Post Weddings blog post (see previous post), I decided to compile my own “10 things” list, with a mother-of-the-bride slant. It was surprisingly easy to think of things, and I hope some of these help other MOB’s, brides, or anyone who is planning a wedding.

1. Groomsmen, especially youngish ones, know nothing about their wedding day responsibilities. Seriously, assume nothing. They need to know that their purpose is to seat guests, not just to stand there with “don’t I look awesome in this tux” expressions. The old ladies are waiting to be seated, and that is your job, boys!

2. You really do need a wedding planner of some kind (your cousin? best friend?) on the day of the wedding, because you, momma, will be like a deer in headlights. You can do all the planning and troubleshooting in the world, but have someone else run the itinerary that day. Your daughter is getting married!

3. Rehearse. All of it. Meticulously. Our daughter’s officiant was not able to run the rehearsal, so we did. What we thought would be a quick-and-dirty run-through, turned into a realization that we needed to walk through every last detail. See #1, above (I needed to use my teacher voice with them).

4. Your new son-in-law’s family WILL irritate you, no matter how much you like them. Get a good mantra going, and stay calm. Snapping at your daughter’s new mother-in-law could cause your daughter grief for a lifetime.

5. Dance with your son-in-law!

6. Make a list ahead of time of family pictures you really would like taken both at the reception and during the more formal photo time. Insist on this, even if your daughter says “MOM. There’s not time for all that!” We made mistakes here, and are missing photos we would have cherished. Ideas include bride with cousins, aunts and uncles, godparents, neighborhood pals, etc. And if you want “table shots,” you should add them to the list, because today’s photographers don’t always do those. Again, assume nothing.

7. Someone has to remember to bring the marriage license! Yes, we forgot that. It must be signed and posted immediately following the ceremony. This is a marriage, people, not just a photo op.

8. Decide ahead of time who will be dealing with packing up gifts, envelopes, and personal items from the reception. 1 a.m., after multiple cocktails, is not the time to do that. Have a plan so you know where everything is the next morning.

9. Your daughter will likely look to you to “fix” things along the way. Discourage her ahead of time from doing that, or you will look “clenched” in every photo. See #2, above. Put someone else in charge that day.

10. Once the day dawns, it’s all in motion; the weather is the weather, and what’s not done won’t be. Who cares? It’s your daughter’s wedding day!

What a certain bride wishes she had known before her wedding day

Latest blog seen on Huffpost Weddings; it’s a good one! Next from bridemomma, 10 things I wish someone had told me before my daughter’s wedding day. Thanks for the inspiration, Caci Cooper!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/louisiana-caci-cooper/10-things-i-wish-someone-had-told-me_b_3405473.html?ir=Weddings&utm_campaign=061213&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-weddings&utm_content=FullStory

Happy Father’s Day

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So, is it ALWAYS Dad who gets the honor of escorting the bride (please don’t say “giving away” the bride)? Traditionally, yes. If the bride’s dad (or stepdad) is in her life, then he should do the honors. In Jewish ceremonies (and others who simply like the idea), both parents escort the bride. In cases of no dad, the bride can select her mother, brother, or anyone she chooses to escort her.

For all you fathers out there, this moment is one of the most serene, special and meaningful moments in life– enjoy your moment!

Ceremony Checklist

Whether your ceremony is held in a chapel, church, or even a room adjacent to the reception, here is a checklist of things you may need:

1. Marriage license! We know firsthand that this can be overlooked. You need it at the ceremony so the officiant can sign and post it. Trust this to your best man, father of the bride, wedding planner, or other responsible participant.

2. The rings — the classic best man responsibility.

3. Programs to hand out as guests arrive. These can be simple, printed card stock. Have your invitation printer design one to match your suite, or make one yourselves. Check out the link below for a nice program option.
CeremonyProgram

4. Bubbles, little pre-made packages of birdseed or confetti, or whatever your guests will toss at the happy couple as they exit the ceremony venue.

5. Candles in holders, if the couple will include some type of candle lighting as part of the ceremony. Don’t forget matches.

6. If you will incorporate the Jewish tradition of breaking a glass, bring what you need for that too (tip: a lightbulb in a velvet bag makes a satisfying sound when stomped).

7. Flowers to decorate the altar or place where the couple will stand to recite their vows.

8. A plan! Even if you don’t have a formal rehearsal, definitely do a walk-through so everyone knows their roles. My daughter’s groomsmen really had no idea that their primary responsiblity was to seat the guests. Assume nothing.

The murky and not-so-murky topic of plus-ones: part one

Quiz:

You open a wedding invitation and see that you have not been given a “plus one.” The proper next-step is to

a. in-box or text the bride immediately to ask if your boyfriend can come
b. write in your boyfriend’s name on the reply card and mail it
c. tell a mutual friend to tell the bride how angry and upset you are
d. respond that you alone will happily attend or regretfully decline

Answer: d…D! And only d. Case closed.

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!