Sunday, October 4, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Some Thoughts on Enclosure Cards

We help many brides with their paper trousseaus and have a wide selection and variety of wedding papers and accessories that can help to make your wedding invitations uniquely yours.  Brides we assist have lots of questions about those print items as they work to create a unified look and feel for their upcoming wedding celebration.  We are delighted to assist and advise our brides on invitations and other items that will compliment their wedding look, and we answer questions!  Some brides will say, "I want to include a card that tells guests where I am registered."  Others will say "We don't want/need gifts.  We are trying to buy a house and prefer money over gifts.  I want an insert card to let guests know."

Our response is careful not to offend the bride, but it is advice firmly given:  "an invitation to a wedding is just invitation for guests to share with the couple and their families, a celebration of the marriage.  It is not a solicitation for gifts."In fact, it is entirely possible that a guest could come to your wedding gift-less!  You have invited the person(s) to help you witness and celebrate.  If they bring (or send) a gift - that is lovely.  If they can't or don't, you still welcome them.  A gift is their choice, not yours.

You register for gifts for the convenience of your guests.  Just because you have done so doesn't mean that each guest must abide by your choices.  A registry is really your attempt to "help" your guests who feel inclined to provide a gift.

Since Bridal Registries began in the 1920s, guest have been able to find out where the couple has registered simply by asking family members or attendants.  Now with the easy access to the Web, guests can go on line and access the bride's wedding site and find out the bridal registry.  Either way, the information guests need, is easily accessible.  Don't send enclosure cards listing your registry choice.

Likewise with requests for cash.  It isn't done!  Don't include it with or on your invitations.  Guests can find that out the same way they discover registry choices.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Memorable Wedding Photos

If most brides were asked what they would save after a disaster like a fire or flood or hurricane, chances are they would say photographs and many would specify wedding photographs.  For something that important it makes sense to take steps before the wedding to insure those photos and videos are special.

Choose your photographer (and videographer) carefully.  You will view the work of many.  You've gotten recommendations from friends.  You've sought references.  You will have discussed his/her style of photography and made sure he or she had the flexibility to shoot the wedding that way you wish to have it done.  To insure that what you want happens as you want it, take steps to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome by developing your own contract or by reading closely the terms of the one the photographer offers.

Some thoughts for inclusion:

  • ·         Be sure to give your photographer a list of people and events you specifically want captured.  (Be careful not to script the shots so closely that the "must have" list you provide precludes his/her ability to take advantage of candid or "can't miss" shots.  At the same time, you should feel comfortable saying NO to shots that just aren't you.

  • ·         Make sure that any written agreement includes a clear statement of the package details you have selected.

  • ·         Be sure you are clear on the photographer's copy right policy.  Read it carefully.  Make sure that you are clear about posting any photos you wish to your website or that you can email photos to family and friends.

  • ·         It wouldn't hurt to have the name and number of any backup photographer who would be available in an emergency.

  • ·         You will want the date that proofs will be available and how long you may keep them.

  • ·         You will want to know how long the photographer will keep negatives.

  • ·         You will want reorder pricing.
  • ·         You will want confirmation in writing of deposit amount required and total cost and payment due dates.
  • ·         If yours will be a large wedding, check to make sure that your photographer has an assistant along to arrange group photos and assist with special lighting needs.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Dressing the Groom

While the bride usually purchases THE GOWN for HER DAY, most grooms choose to rent their wedding apparel from a well respected and well known men's formalwear specialist.  Most grooms will find their best selection and service at a retailer known to or affiliated with the store where the bride found her dream gown.  Having one consultant can give the couple the confidence to know that the wedding party will be well fitted and dressed for that special day.

Because most couples want all the men in the wedding party  (with the possible exception of the groom,) to wear matching tuxes with the same shirts, same ties, same vests, it makes sense to select a vendor who can provide all of the members of the party with the sizes, colors and styles and accessories chosen.

A formalwear specialist will have a wide variety of styles and formality available.  They will have samples of the latest looks available for try on and sizing.

A good formalwear shop or retailer will have trained staff on hand to take and record measurements to ensure an excellent fit.  They will encourage the groom and best man to work closely with the male attendants to insure that they get in to be properly sized in a timely manner. 

 They will urge members of the wedding party to pick up their tuxes well in advance of the wedding to insure that there will be time to complete any last minute size adjustments.  

The formalwear specialist you select should have experience in sizing and selecting tuxedos for wedding parties whose groomsmen are athletes or fitness buffs or are otherwise big and/or tall men.  Not all styles worn by the "average" man will work well on bigger groomsmen.  The best formalwear retailer will advise on which styles will flatter all members of the wedding party.

Monday, September 7, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Friends and Attendants

Selecting your attendants for your wedding can be an easy choice for some but for others, an agony of indecision.  If you are planning a small intimate wedding with only the sister of the bride and the brother of the groom in attendance, it couldn't be simpler.

If however, your dream is to have all of your close personal friends with you at the altar, there are some issues you may face.  Cost is one!  If the bride wants all of her sorority sisters in the wedding but the groom doesn't even know that many people he would ask, there's a potential problem.  Some choices need to be made.  

It is very likely you will have to make concessions when finalizing your wedding party.  Keep these ideas in mind as you complete your choices.

  • ·         Before you start naming names, the bride and groom must agree on quantity.  Each of them should have a potential list of candidates for attendants.  Let's say your list contains 8 names.  If you agree on five attendants each then you each take the top three on each list and slot them in.  Next you alternate choices.  It doesn't mean one person gets all his or her top choices, but they each get some.

  • ·         Ignore the old formula that said the number of bridesmaids a bride should have was one for every 45-50 guests.  Have as many as you can afford without looking like opposing softball teams at the altar.

  • ·         If you are searching for a way to let someone know how much you'd like her to be a bridesmaid but can't - make her an honorary attendant.  Ask her to be your personal attendant.  Ask her to handle the guest book and be an official hostess.  Make sure she has a corsage.

  • ·         If you have two best friends and don't want to decide between them, ask them both to share maid/matron of honor duties.  If your older sister is married and your younger sister is not - you have a matron of honor and a maid of honor.    The married attendant stands next to the bride during the ceremony and manages her train and veil at the altar and holds her flowers.  The maid of honor holds the groom's ring and any specialized readings, prayers or special ceremonial items.  Both of them would give reception speeches.  Both would receive special attendant gifts.  They can be dressed identically or choose gowns with minor adjustments.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Giving Gifts

With wedding season in full swing, we frequently hear questions about gift giving.  Guests at multiple weddings in a year want to know answers to their questions:  How much should one spend and how should one give it?

Most experts agree on a couple of things:  

1. The closer the guest is to the bride or groom, the more one is expected to give and

2. Do not give more than you can afford just because of those expectations.

Lots of wedding advice comes from the "cost-of-the-meal" tradition of gift- giving.  This just means that guests give a gift roughly equivalent to what it cost to host them.  But advice from The, says "location and cost of the reception should not be the burden of the guest."  Instead, consider using these guidelines suggested by the website:  "A distant relative of the bride or groom or a co-worker should give $75-$100:  a friend or closer relative should give $100-$125: a closer relative, up to $150."  That advice includes cash gifts and gift items.

However, having offered those guidelines, there are other elements to consider.  If one has to spend a lot to get to the wedding, spending at the lower level should be considered.  Whenever possible/feasible, purchasing items from the couple's gift registry sites is best.  

If a person has financial obstacles to consider, he/she can offer hand -made gifts or framed photos or make a charitable donation in the name of the bride and groom.

It is important to remember that as a guest, you are invited to witness an important event in the couple's life and to celebrate that event with them.  There is no obligation to give a gift.  Also, there is no obligation to honor a couple's request for cash only gifts nor does one have to honor what one couple requested in an enclosure that directed the respondent to "check the box for where you want your cash gift to go - to cover champagne on the plane or in the suite at the hotel or the limo or at dinner".  One guest faced with those options, decided to "send just a congratulations card.  There is no etiquette today that defines how crass our society has become."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - Guest Replies

When selecting items for one's paper trousseau, very few brides neglect to order reply cards and envelopes.  These have become "essentials" when attempting to calculate the number of guests to expect at the reception.

However, having sent them out with the invitation package, know that there will always be a number of guests who never bother to reply.  Your choice is to go with some industry average that calculates that up to 10% of invited guests won't attend and won't let you know they aren't coming so you can plan accordingly or you may wish to contact those "silent" guests directly and ask if they are planning to attend.

Some brides elect to make the calls themselves, others involve their mothers in the contacts or the groom's mother as well. As Martha Stewart says, "Once the R.S.V.P. deadline printed on the reply card is come and gone, you are well within bounds to start reaching out to tardy invitees."

When you do call, keep the message short and sweet.  Martha suggests these words:  "I wanted to be sure you got our wedding invitation.  I need to get the final numbers to my caterer this week, and we'd love to know whether we'll be seeing you there."

We know that some brides-to-be are considering a "B-list" of invited guests.  We don't condone that practice but know that it happens.  Some advice:  If you are planning to use this approach, we offer these considerations:  Most people will figure out they are "second-tier" guests when the invitation comes to them two weeks before the wedding date.  If you are determined to use a second round of invitations, at least be strategic about it and up the dates when your invitations go out.  Send your first round of invitations out up to 10 weeks in advance and set the R.S.V.P. to at least 5 weeks before the wedding date.  Once regrets start coming in, you can still get a few invitations out to names on the B-List if you are determined to do so.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

WEDDING NOTES™ - The Best Gift

Thanking those special people in your life who have stood up with you - parents, family and your wedding party attendants - deserve a special thanks for being an important part of your special day.

Knowing that you and your finance are not the only ones who will look fabulous that day, makes this gift idea so special.  Attendants have their hair done, their makeup done and are looking good.  Why not make this day last for them.  Your parents and the groom's parents are formally attired.  Dad is in a tuxedo!!!  The men in the bridal party are looking fine. Your gift to each of them?  A professionally done individual photograph taken by your wedding photographer.  Make it a head shot of each person.

Chances are many have never (or at least recently) had a professional head shot photo taken of themselves.  Why not provide them with one on a day they are likely to look wonderful.

Photographers are unlikely to care what they are directed to shoot.  Make arrangements with him/her well in advance of the wedding.  These photos will likely be shot prior to the ceremony.  Advance notice will enable the photographer to plan time and place for the photos (against a plain backdrop- not the church).

You can plan it as a surprise or alert the wedding party in advance.  Your choice.  But gifting people who matter to you with a professionally done formal headshot for passports, ID cards or social-networking pages is a great gift and one to be appreciated.  It is a lovely way to say thank you for being part of our important day.