Dear Readers, since Today’s Tactful Tuesday is also #GivingTuesday, I thought I would showcase fantastic ways couples have given in honor or their wedding and shared the news with their guests. “Donation in Lieu of Favors” has been a growing trend at weddings for years now, but in many ways, I think that the idea has gotten a bit warped from it’s purest meaning and potential. A brief history of the “Donation in Lieu of Favors” trend. Once Upon a Time, favors were the “rule”… people were expecting to show up to your wedding and receive at the least a bag of candy covered almonds and at the most, maybe a framed picture of themselves taken earlier in the night. Since these favors could get expensive, the idea of repurposing that money towards a charitable means came about, but (under the impression) that somehow greedy guests were desperate for Chotchkies (“Can you believe they didn’t have the almonds??), couples wanted to be sure that they offered guests an explanation… maybe a line in the program, or a note on the menu, or perhaps a small item that represented the charity that they were donating to…
Today, I invite you to consider a wedding donation not “In Lieu” of something, but BECAUSE of something…. because you are fortunate enough to host a wedding, because you are joyous that you are surrounded by love and family and want to celebrate that with an act of generosity, because giving back is part of your joint values. Lieu implies lack, when in actuality, there is plenty. It’s just semantics, really, but don’t semantics made all the difference sometimes? So, why even share that you donated with your guests? Because it presents an opportunity to bring awareness to a cause you support. Because, if even for a brief moment, it might bring someone else a moment of pause from the revelry to feel a moment of gratitude.
Below, some of my personal favorite ways that guests have highlighted a charitable donation at their wedding… clever, heartwarming, or creative.
I absolutely ADORED these coasters that JAM clients Jess and Brian put out at their guests places.
To bring awareness to the Idaho Food Bank, guests received this fabulous little set at one wedding (via Alexan Events)
This was a terribly sweet way to bring awareness to Habitat for Humanity. (via RealSimple)
Or, better yet, give your guests a gift that supports social enterprise. I loved this idea from Offbeat Bride about purchasing handmade gifts from the women Indego Partners in Rwanda, or locally consider places like, Hot Bread Kitchen…
We have felt very fortunate, through ups and downs of the economy and otherwise, to have have been able to launch two businesses in the past decade that keep a roof over our heads and reasonably fashionable clothes on our backs. Personally, we are excited to announce that beginning this month, for every wedding booked with Just About Married, we will sponsor an official birthday party for The Birthday Party Project. The Birthday Party project brings joy to children living in homeless shelters via the magic of Birthdays. What better way to honor a celebration than to host a celebration for a child?
What way are you giving this #GivingTuesday?
So, it’s with great excitement that the newly revised, and totally updated Just About Married (a.k.a. JAM) site went live this morning. We started JAM 3 years ago to help brides who didn’t want to totally go it alone by providing them with excellent Day-of Coordination Services. We’re super happy with the new logo and the fabulous site, and it was tremendous to see what a long way they’ve come in just 3 short years! It was also really fun to see some of their more recent weddings and the trends that have been afoot amongst New York brides this season. My personal favorite has been the floral crown!
Our first bride to really rock the crown was an AaB bride Hillary- last October she wore a custom number by Stone Fox Bride.
Then, I absolutely died when I saw Elana’s amazing floral crown from Poppies and Posies. Elana was a JAM client and this gorgeous shot of her was taken by Readyluck.
And this stunning JAM client had all of her bridesmaids in amazing floral crowns by Crest Florists! (image by Sue Kessler of Christian Oth Studios)
I can’t wait to see this trend evolve, since it’s one of the dreamiest… What do you think?
Though the Weather outside is truly frightful, this is totally one of my favorite times of year because of the time we get to wind down a bit and enjoy our friends and family. A bit of advice to my engaged readers out there: put the wedding on hold, turn off the social media and bunker down to enjoy your mothers, fathers, annoying siblings, friends and even your future in-laws. Of course, you will be seeing them and celebrating with them soon enough at the wedding, Thanksgiving and the holidays offer you all the joys of togetherness without the frenzy of hosting a massive event. Enjoy it.
While this week kicks off the season of gifts for OTHERS, I’ve decided I’m going to take a moment and celebrate the SPIRIT of the season by buying MYSELF something: a book of stamps and some really awesome cards. I used to send Christmas cards and then stopped because I started to resent the task of it more than I enjoyed it and somehow struggled to get it together to send them out before New Years. But, this year, I’m taking a different tactic and sending holiday themed THANK YOU cards. Do I want to wish people a Happy Chanukah/Merry Christmas/Happy New year? Of course I do. But more than anything I want to wish them happiness because I am so THANKFUL to know them. Somehow the idea of expressing gratitude instead of the generic ‘happy new year” got me really excited about the whole idea again! Here are some of the gorgeous cards that I’ve found.
From Bell Invito: I’m obsessed with this Reindeer card. First because I have a love/hate relationship with Antlers and Taxidermy (which, living in Brooklyn, you can’t NOT have an opinion on Taxidermy) and secondly because I love when people use engraving and then do something silly with such a high end printing process. Whimsy! Love it.
Though I generally disavow anything that specifically SAYS Brooklyn (again, another unavoidable bi-product of being from here and watching your hometown evolve from a verb to an adjective) I must say I was moved by this card. It’s got so much Spunk! And I want my cards to be nothing if not a bit spunky! (via Etsy Rocket Ink)
Because I still don’t know that I will really get these out the door on time (being realistic) I love these abstract, metallic inspired cards from Ceci New York. Festive and Glam all at once…which, come to think of it, describes Ceci herself.
Finally, I was stalking the Bell Invito site (I’m now madly in LOVE) and saw this card and I just loved it. One of my aunts growing up would always send a 3 wisemen Christmas card and tradition was you would hang it over your front door, so this reminded me of a tradition that I’d let go and inspired me to pick it up again.
I’m excited to unplug, share some wine with my favorite cousin and write out some of these cards to tell my friends and family how thankful I am that they are in my life!
We are back from Paris, and a joyous time was had by all. We had many unbelievable meals, walked the gorgeous streets, drank tons of wine, rummaged at Flea markets and saw SO much amazing ART, I can hardly handle it all. It was the perfect way to celebrate our friend Marcy’s milestone birthday, it was also the perfect way to celebrate a decade of business.
It’s hard to not wax a bit poetic about riding a wave of your own creation for such a large chunk of time. For the next couple of weeks, I hope you’ll indulge us as we use WPW to share some of the lessons learned along the way. People on the outside of owning their own business often look in and and see Entrepreneurship as a work without a boss, but people on the inside know that Entrepreneurship is more like school: some days are good, some days are bad, but every day you learn something.
So, in that spirit, Mayra and I each came up with 5 lessons that we’ve learned along way… plus a bonus or two..
1) No problem is as big as it is in your head. There is a always a solution.
2) Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In the beginning I was so afraid of sounding dumb that I never asked questions, but now I realize we don’t know everything…and shouldn’t.
3. Don’t invest large amounts of money without the help of a financial advisor. We should have used one.
4. Have a detailed business plan that you revise annually. A detailed business plan is like math in school, it feels so dumb and pointless, but you will literally be using it almost every day. It’s good to lay out who you are, what you are about, and how you intend to work so that you stay focused.
5. Remember that we are our own bosses and things are in our hands. We control the future of the business, so try not to stay stuck for too long in a rut.
6.Set Your Own Standard of Excellence Thank you notes are awesome, complaint letters suck and clients can be crazy; when you operate by your own standards of excellence you give yourself the Agency to determine if a job was well done.
7. Be Generous…. it always comes back. With time and money. Pay people fairly. Help people who need it. I never regret a moment spent with a colleague or potential client who couldn’t afford us…
8. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. What works for one business won’t necessarily work for another, so keep your energy on what you can control- your own business.
9. Keep your overhead as low as possible. Early on I wanted to spend money on “flashy” but unnecessary trappings of a “successful business”. I wish we always ran as lean as we do now.
10. Have a Mission and Values Statement. Our product and service offerings have changed over the years, but our core mission and values have largely gone unchanged. When things or people don’t fit in with our mission and values, we know they aren’t right.
The “goal” of your business is usually in practice just the next step. We have had so many goals that at the time felt like they would change our life, and they did, but not ever quite the way we expected. There is no magic bullet to the top, but the staircase up is pretty lovely.
Failures shouldn’t create Fear, they should give you courage. If you try something and it flops, don’t respond by shrinking, respond by re-grouping. You already know the worst that could happen and have learned something along the way.
This week we hear from a Huff Post reader who is having some SERIOUS Mother in Law issues.
The Q: Is there a tactful way to disinvite your MIL to your wedding?
The A: This is a tough one! Disinviting anyone is inherently an impolite thing to do, so the question is, in and of itself, an impossibility. That said, PEOPLE aren’t always tactful or kind and sometimes even parents can create situations that make it unbearable to have them involved in your wedding. So rather than tactful, let’s just say that there are “better” ways to do this than others.
Before I share my “best practices” for disinviting your future MIL, please know that issuing a “dis-invitation” is tantamount to saying that you don’t want a relationship with this woman at this point or anytime in the near future. This is a highly dramatic move that will create highly dramatic and long-reaching consequences. Should your spouse and his mother reconcile, you will always be part of the plot that excluded her from your wedding. I just want to put that out there.
That said, not all mothers deserve to be part of milestones for their children, and it’s possible that your future spouse has decided that she falls in this category. I am not privy to the details. First, you shouldn’t be involved with relaying this message. If you have both arrived at the conclusion that your MIL shouldn’t be there, your future spouse should relay that message to his/her own mother. Next, I strongly feel that rather than saying, “You are no longer welcome at our wedding,” he should position it as a “We’ve discussed it and we think it would be best that you not attend BECAUSE of __________________.” There isn’t a standard form note to send or email you can write. This kind of thing requires a conversation. It also keeps the dialogue open to that person coming around. For instance, let’s say your mother wasn’t accepting of your spouse, but was coming anyway, and being difficult about it. Then you’d say, “We think it’s best that you not attend the wedding because you are consistently rude to my future spouse and we want to be surrounded by love that day.” Put the ball in her court as to how she wants to respond to that. Most likely, though, you have to be prepared for the fact that she will fly into a tailspin and call every one of her relatives to say, “Will you believe what my ungrateful child said to me?!”…or at least that’s what would most likely happen in my family.
You can also entertain simply not acknowledging her in any “role of honor” at the wedding, which is a more passive, less dramatic route than the disinvitation. She can be a guest just like everyone else and not be included in processions, dances and family photos. Some might find that more passive aggressive than peace-seeking, but only your husband knows his mama’s specific brand of crazy…which I assume must be at play here for this to be an issue in the first place.
Is your MIL making you crazy? Need a bit of etiquette advice relating to your wedding? Email us at info at alwaysablogsmaid.com or tweet to @theblogsmaid with #tactfultuesday and we’ll take your questions here on #tactfultuesday