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First, I hope you all had a FANTASTIC holiday and an even better start to your brand new year! I have t share super exciting news and the story that goes along with it!

A couple of weeks ago my best friend M’s boyfriend J called me at work. The moment I saw his name pop up on my caller Id, I knew what was coming. It went a little bit like this.

J: Nina, I need your help.
N: Oh yeah?
J: I’m at the jewelry store. You need to tell me what kind of ring M wants.
N: Oh my god. Really? Wait. um. I think… wait. oh god. Um. Can I call you back in ten minutes?

Then I hung up on him. Of course M had told 100 times exactly what her dream ring was, but for the life of me I could not think of anything except that episode of Sex and the City when Miranda helps Aiden pick out Carrie’s gold, pear-shaped diamond ring, that she finds and hates.

Bad.

I did not want to be Miranda.

So I did what any self-respecting bestie would do. I went through my email. I knew somewhere there was at least one email with ring settings attached. I typed in “Her name, ring” and hit ENTER. Bingo. Two emails popped up. One was from 2007.

Seriously.

I sent that immediately to J, and then realized there was yet ANOTHER email from 2008. Better to go recent right? I  sent that one, with the disclaimer to IGNORE PREVIOUS EMAIL. Done. Square setting, circle stone. Sent.

I talked to J a couple of times throughout the day, and when he decided to finally buy THE RING, I think I was more excited than he was. J, was so excited he wanted to run home and put that sparkly little guy in her burrito for dinner.

He didn’t.

Instead he drove from Maryland to New York the day after Christmas, (Two weeks of secret keeping and ignoring all of M’s calls on my part here) with the plan of proposing to her that night after dinner. Instead, he proposed the minute he pulled into her driveway, in the rain. He couldn’t wait any longer. She was completely surprised, shocked and thrilled. So was everyone else.

Honestly. It was the hardest secret I have ever had to keep, but I’m so glad I didn’t say a word. That is NOT something you want to ruin ladies.  I didn’t trust myself, let alone anyone else, and letting this secret get out would have ruined everything. Trust me I wanted to tell EVERYONE, but when you’re asked to participate in something like this, do yourself a favor, play by the rules, and do what you’re told. Because the SURPRISE is totally worth it!  Check out M’s beautiful, beautiful, beautiful ring below. So excited for you M&M!

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This is as touchy subject. Constant watercooler chatter on the wedding planning circuit among brides and grooms-to-be- is the “child debate”. Couples are always debating whether keeping their guest list strictly adult will hurt their guests feelings by not including their children. There are two schools of thought on this…

#1 Leave the kiddies at home

Look, here’s something you need to understand (parents of said children)… When you got married no one tried to upstage your day by bringing along a gaggle of toddlers dressed to the nines, spitting up and teetering around to a chorus of “oohs” and “ahhs”. While we love your children and welcome them as a lovely addition to the world, we think you deserve a night off. Leave the kids at home. Get a sitter, dress yourself up and come out and party with your friends. We’ve missed you.

#2 Bring ’em along…

On the other hand, there are those that think that excluding their friends and families children makes for long term strife that just might not be worth it. People actually get offended if their children are left off an invitation. They believe that their children are part of their world now and inviting them means inviting all of them and couples should just man up already.

Here’s a few things to remember…

You did this once before right? So you know how much these “parties” can cost. If a couple includes children, most venues will accomodate them with child prices and menu options so they’re not spending the normal $75 to $200 per person on children. No kid could consume THAT much mac n’ cheese.  But depending on the number of children, this addition to the budget can make a serious dent.

In addition, inviting children means inviting your friends to not pay attention to you, and isn’t that the point of this day? I digress.

So you can really go one of three ways here…

OPT FOR THE ADULT ONLY RECEPTION

If you really want an adult only reception, say so on the invitation. Address the envelopes to the couple and use wording like ” Please join us at LOCATION directly following the ceremony for an adult-only reception.” Then let guests with children know that a sitter is on hand if need be, and let upset guests know that only children in the actual bridal party will be attending.

OR

COMPROMISE

Invite children to the ceremony only…

If it’s important for your friends children to be invited but you want to give your friends a break, invite them to the ceremony. Provided they’re well behaved or make good use of the cry room, a  good way to compromise is to start here.

Hire a Sitter..

I worked a wedding a few years ago that was strictly an adult only reception. The bride told me that if I saw a child wandering about at the reception, I was to escort said child and their guardian out of the reception area calmly informing them that this party was a “KID FREE ZONE”. That may sound harsh, but the bride had gone to great lengths to plan an adult only reception that even her nephews weren’t invited to attend. So any additional child that caught a ride to the dance with his parents was simply asked to spend the evening with the hired sitter,  who was in a nearby house entertaining a handful of mini’s with movies, popcorn, board games and more. Smart girl. Providing a sitter to people was quite a nice touch considering many of her guests were out of towners, plus it’s cheaper than hurting your friends feelings in the long run.

OR

INVITE THE KIDDIES

If you decide to invite children to your reception… entertain them. They don’t care about your wedding. Really. Create a “kiddie table” like the one that Katie & James created for their Annapolis Wedding. Load it up with crayons, coloring books, sunglasses etc to keep them busy. Here are some other “kid-friendly” ideas from Kate Parker Weddings.

Craft Table by Kate Parker Weddings

Craft Table by Kate Parker Weddings

The Beach Table by Kate Parker Weddings

The Beach Table by Kate Parker Weddings

The Candy Table by Kate Parker Weddings

The Candy Table by Kate Parker Weddings

Um. Yes. What is wrong with you?

Alright. Here’s the thing. Thank you notes can be a huge pain. HOWEVER. There is really no excuse to NOT send thank you notes out after your wedding. It’s your WEDDING. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.

The very first wedding I attended as an “adult” (I was in my early twenties) required money for a shower gift, wedding gift and travel to leave my wallet forever.  I never got a thank you note for the shower gift, and I never got one for the wedding gift. But neither did anyone else. Seriously. What is up with that?

Let me break it down for you. 150 of your closest friends just bought you a seriously expensive gift that YOU picked out, slapped some serious cash into a card, rearranged their schedules, paid for a rental car, a hotel, a new dress, stomached plastic tasting potatoes and watered down vodka tonics, and paid attention to you for at least one whole day. (two days in some extreme cases).

You best find 5 minutes to say thank you.

I don’t really understand why etiquette is dying. I’m not saying the prim and proper laws of Emily Post still stand, but remember what your mother taught you… always say “please” and “thank you”.

Kind of necessary kids.

Here’s why you’re ultimately screwing yourself over if you don’t send a thank you note after your wedding.

Someday… most of you will have children. You’ll invite a lot of those people that came to your wedding and bought you pretty, sparkly things to your baby shower too. This is a sure fire way to ensure your child will come into this world with a room full of rattles and bibs without a crib to sleep in. I’m not saying one is entirely related to the other… HOWEVER, how likely would you be to spend money on a gift for someone who can’t even bother to say thank you from the first go around?

That’s what I thought.

Don’t do it.

Technically, you have a year to send a thank you note from your wedding. Personally, I think it’s best to get it done early. I’m not saying you should spend your honeymoon licking stamps, but you should get it done as soon as you get back. If you keep putting it off, you’ll never do it, and your friends will wonder allowed if their note got lost in the mail someday, inadvertently igniting a series of whispering conversations about how no one has received a thank you card yet…

Do you really want your friends talking about your poor wedding form? 

Oh, also. Email thank you notes are not allowed. If you want to go the extra mile and send out both, absolutely go for it. My Invitation Link has great personalized options for digital thank you notes. But you better buy bulk to send out some handwritten thank you notes to ANYONE who bought you a gift.

It’s really bad form not to.

Check out My Invitation Link’s latest  blog post about this too.

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