Announcement vs. Save the Date

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in Blog | 3 Comments

The Q: Greetings,  My fiance and I were engaged last month, and had dated for several years prior. Since he is in the military and is slated to relocate in the next few months, we would like to go ahead and get legally married with a small celebration of immediate family members prior to the move. This will make the logistics of the move much easier and allow us time to save for a large wedding/renewals of vows a few years (2-3 years) down the road where we can included extended family and friends.

The question I have is in regards to the notification of the extended family and friends that we are married without offending anyone that they were invited to the small ceremony. Should we send announcements of the news and explain that a future celebration will be held? Should we wait until we have a date set for the larger celebration? Or, should we just spread the news through word-of-mouth?

Any etiquette advice you can offer is greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much!

The A: Elizabeth, thank you for writing, CONGRATULATIONS  on your engagement and thank you to your fiance for his service!

I totally see your point. I think the logistics of a move, especially if it happens to be one abroad, can be daunting, particularly when combined with trying to plan a wedding. I think a small ceremony with immediate family sounds do-able and understandable and that a wedding announcement is probably just the proper call.   That said, if you are looking at more than a year down the line, I think that using an announcement as a save the date without a specific plan in mind might take away from some of the joy of you actually announcing the marriage (vs. a traditional save the date where it is also kind of an engagement announcement as well).

So, obviously this still leaves the question of how to not offend people who weren’t there.  I think the best thing to do is to send an announcement that says something to the effect of:

We are please to announce that

Elizabeth and “Fabulous Fiance’s name here”

were married on

Date here

In a private ceremony held in New York (or wherever)

You may want to insert an “at home” card with your new address in the mailing OR you may want to post pictures of the smaller ceremony online and direct people to a website.  This would be a great place to tell people of your plans to host a renewal of vows and reception in the future.  You can also place your new contact information here AND any registry info (because some people may want to send you a present).   In that case I would add the line

Photos of the ceremony can be found at

I hope that helps and I’d also love to hear reader thoughts in case someone has a more creative thought than I do!  Again, warm wishes and congratulations to you both again!

The Importance of Being Nice

Posted by on Mar 1, 2010 in Blog | 6 Comments

A couple of weeks ago I had lunch with a photographer I’ve done some work with over the last couple of years. We were reminiscing about some past weddings we did when we started discussing an absolutely horrible bride that we’d both experienced a few years back.  Most of my clients are totally lovely, but of course, every once in a while someone comes along who reminds you of why the phrase Bridezilla was invented.

This colleague and I were laughing because we were confident that the bride had no idea that instead of being necessarily “effective” in extracting our best work, she’d simply made herself notorious!  We never forgot her.  I don’t remember a ton about how her wedding was, if her guests had fun or whatever else happened, but I distinctly remember her yelling at her family members moments before going down the aisle. Similarly true is it whenever I get together with a certain florist and photographer from the wedding where the bride freaked out about the weather (it started to rain and we wanted to move ceremony inside) that she pushed the videographer out of her way before banishing the photographer from the room.

I&B-207As you get into the thick of the wedding planning, especially those of you out there NOT working with a wedding planner/ buffer remember that there are moments when you will feel overwhelmed or perhaps confused or perhaps (and I hope NOT) slightly like you are being “taken for a ride”…. (I know that old refrain of “Why is it when you say the word “wedding”, everything costs more). When those moments come up, take a breath, count to ten and THEN do your best to have a calm conversation where you verbalize what it is that is overwhelming or frustrating you.  Brides who have tantrums are more often than not the dreaded phone call that a vendor avoids vs. the bride that everyone wants to go the extra mile for because you are just “SO sweet!”.

Actually, I can’t tell you how many times towards the end of the night I’ll be in the back of the room with a bunch of vendors who say “You know, I normally wouldn’t have added “blah blah blah” in, but they were just the NICEST people.” or “I’m supposed to leave at 10, but I’ll stick around and get some more footage of them dancing- they are such a sweet couple”.

Obviously, when you hire a great team of vendors- true professionals- they are going to give you great service whether you are Satan in a bridal gown or Belle from Beauty and the Beast… But wouldn’t it be nice to think that when it’s all over everyone’s memories about you were as great as your memories about your day?

BTW, the picture here is of one of our most LOVELY brides, Irene, who was SO nice (and hilarious) that after her wedding we invited her to be in our book club.  Hahahaha, because that’s the moral of this story girls…. Be nice and you too can be invited to be in your wedding planners book club- the hottest social spot in town! That made ME laugh!!

A Dated Issue

Posted by on May 14, 2009 in Practical Planning | 6 Comments

The Q:  This is pretty basic, but any help with tact would be great.  Basically, my fiance and I hang out with a group of friends, most of whom are single.  As a rule, we only invited people with “guests” if they were engaged or have been living together.  However, now that my invitations have gone out, I’m SHOCKED to see several of our friends have RSVP’d with a date, even though I know that they aren’t in a relationship, per se.  I don’t want to be a big you know what, but I don’t want all these strangers around either.  Is there a tactful way for me to tell these guys that they can’t bring a date, or do I need to suck it up and have these strangers at the wedding?

The A: First of all, let’s just say that YOU are not the wrong one here.  Somewhere along the way people have seemed to have lost the concept that the person whose name is on the envelope is the person who was invited.  If it says & Guest, awesome. If not, hopefully you’ll get placed at a good table and meet someone new. In the old days (before weddings cost a gazillion dollars) if you were single you got invited with a date.  These days, single guests- especially friend guests- shouldn’t be offended or think its weird or, frankly, assume that it’s ok to just invite someone along.  I understand why someone wants to bring a date, but they need to respect some simple rules of etiquette…. (sorry, I got on my soap box for a second there).

Anyway, to get back to the practical, brass tacks solution to this issue: call each guest individually and give them some nice, straight talk and explain the deal. Let them know that they will have all of your other single friends to hang out with and you really wanted it to be a circle of people you know. It’s awkward, but not as awkward as you think, as long as you play the “I want to know everyone at my wedding and it will be a blast with all of our other friends there” card.   If they really, really, really think that this date was Mr. or Miss Right and not Right Now, hear their case and then you two can decide.   I remember one of my friends trying to bring a date to my reception, and I said it wasn’t a good idea, and, well, a year later we planned their wedding (eek!) Oh, well, he had a good time anyway and them being apart during my  reception clearly didn’t hurt their relationship.

Parents: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2009 in Blog | No Comments

The Q: I’m sure i’m not the only bride with this issue but I can’t seem to  find any good ideas on the web…  My parents recently divorced (and it was a nasty one).  However, I  always imagined my father walking me down the aisle.  Also, my father and I will do the traditional father daughter dance.  How can I honor my mother?
Thanks for any advice! Also if you could point me to any other advice about dealing with angry divorced parents I would greatly appreciate it.

The A: You are so right. Just on this blog, I’ve had so many questions involving divorced parents.  Here is the thing, no matter how contentious the divorce, they will want to do their very best to not freak out or freak you out on the wedding day. That said, you should always be up front about your plans in the very beginning and tell them each not only THEIR role, but also the role the other parent will have- surprises in this sensitive area often make for bad moments on wedding days.

So, in terms of the aisle, often in this situation with my clients, I borrow from Jewish tradition and suggest that both parents walk you down the aisle together.  They can put their differences aside for long enough to get you down the aisle.  If that isn’t what you had in mind, then I would suggest that when you get to the end of the aisle, before you are ‘given away’, your mother should get up from her seat and meet you at the front of the aisle and walk you (with your dad) those final steps.  After he lifts your veil (if you are wearing one) you can kiss them both and they can both warmly greet your fiance.

I would suggest for the reception that if you are dancing with your dad, you NOT have him make any toasts and instead offer that opportunity up to your mother.  It should be a toast early on in the evening.  This has worked well for many clients and even for one of my dear friends… after her mother’s toast we segued into her dance with her dad and it was a beautiful moment with her parents whose divorce had been quite lengthy.

Another option that we’ve seen BRIDES do  (never seen a groom do this) is to dance  with their mothers as well as their fathers, and literally split the song. It’s not “traditional”, but it gives them both a moment in the sun.

And don’t forget, if you want to make mom feel more special, the dress, the getting ready portion of the day, the hair and make up…. these are all a time for ladies where you can really have some special time together.

I don’t know if I have other sites to suggest (other than the knot or’s etiquette columns) but here are some old posts here from other readers with similar issues:  A general list of do’s and don’ts for parents who don’t get on well. Another is dealing with getting down the aisle.

I know this is stressful, and no one wants to be a bridezilla, but at some point, if it starts to become a little too much about them and their issues, remind them that this is not about their relationship.  This day is about YOUR relationship and (in the nicest, lovingest way possible) let them know they might need to suck it up for one, sure to be wonderful, day.

Hostess with the Mostess

Posted by on Oct 24, 2008 in Blog | One Comment

The Q: My daughter is getting marrried this may and as of yet her maid of honor has not discussed with me her plans for the shower. I know that the girls in the party cannot afford to rent a place for the occasion. I have some ideas for where the shower could be. Would it be ok for me to cover the cost of a location. Also my daughter has expressed that she would like it to be held at my home. Howerver, I dont think I can fit the 40 -45 people she wants to invite. What should I do? wait for the maid of honor to approach me. and if so how long. Or should I offer my suggestions. Lastly what time before the wedding should a shower be held . Thanks

The A: It’s actually increasingly common for the MOB to help with the costs associated with the shower, especially in Metro Areas where people have less space and not everyone can host a home-based shower. It’s not “Post-Approved” etiquette, but for what it’s worth, it’s Blogsmaid approved etiquette for you to contact the MOH and say that you would really like to “help” with the shower by covering the cost of a location so that her and the other bridesmaids can put their money and energy into the other parts- favors, a little cake, decorations, etc. You should bring this up pretty soon because ideally showers are about 2-3 months before the wedding. This schedule helps your guests not feel totally overwhelmed by the wedding and gift buying.

In terms of the stuff about your home and your daughter wanting a home based shower, I think that space is the most important consideration. I feel like you should seriously consider if you could fit everyone, but if you can’t make it work, don’t feel too badly about it. Your ultimate goal is for her to have a lovely shower, and your warm intention won’t be missed!