Sunday, April 23, 2017

WEDDING NOTES™ - Thoughts on Gift Giving

As the wedding season ramps up, it is time to dust off the guidelines on gift giving for weddings.

We are frequently asked about when is a gift a must and when it is a maybe?

Here are some simple "rules".

SHOWERS:  If one is invited to a bridal shower and plans to attend - yes, a gift is in order.  Usually, a shower gift is smaller and more personal than the gift given at the wedding.  If one does not plan to attend, a gift is not required nor expected.  However, depending on one's relationship to the bride -to-be, a small gift of remembrance may be sent to the bride in care of the hostess of the shower or via another guest who will be attending.

WEDDINGS:  If one is invited to the wedding and plans to attend, yes - a gift is expected.  But if one is invited but cannot attend, the giving of a gift is optional.  We say "optional" because the norms around this are changing and even vary by geographic region.  Traditionally, if one was invited to a wedding but could not attend, a gift was not necessarily expected.  If the guest was close to the couple, a gift was usually sent anyway.  However, today's expectations are changing and guests may decide to gift anyway.  If the bride or groom are close friends or relatives, a gift is sent.  If you are only casual friends, a gift may be sent.  Emily Post experts now state, "You traditionally respond to a wedding invitation with a gift whether or not you are able to attend...".  Some guests may give a group gift which is a good way for casual friends to participate.

For more questions about gift giving, see our experienced consultants for assistance.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

WEDDING NOTES™ - Thanking your Bridesmaids

As you add "Buy gifts for attendants" to your to do list, consider all that they are giving you.

Do you have to buy gifts for them?  No!  Do you have to thank them for what they are doing for you?  Absolultely!  Whether it's one witness at a Justice of the Peace or 6 college friends who are flying in to be a part of your special day,  standing up for you at your wedding is quite a commitment.  They are likely buying a dress, shoes and maybe a headpiece of sorts.  It's likely that they are attending at least one shower for you and will no doubt be giving you a wedding gift.  Some of them may have incurred flight or other travel expenses just getting to your wedding.   The gift you choose for your bridesmaids is important and must be accompanied by a huge thank you for being a part of the most important event in your life.

What to give?  There are many classic and innovative ideas to consider.  Here are some we know about.

  • *A favorite is jewelry, accessories,  or personal items monogrammed or in individual favorite colors .  These gifts are usually given either during a bridesmaid's luncheon or at the rehearsal dinner along with the groom's gifts to his attendants.
  • *If schedules permit, many brides choose to host a spa day for their attendants.  A day of relaxing massages, facials and personal attention is hard to beat.
  • *If you are planning a destination wedding, paying their travel expenses would be a marvelous gift.  If you can't swing the airfare, plan to cover at least their ground accommodations.
  • * Plan to send post wedding flowers to the bridesmaids at their place of employment whenever/wherever possible.  Send a thank you note with the flowers.  If they cannot be delivered to the job site, send them to her home.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

WEDDING NOTES™ - Some Really Good Advice

If you have never before practiced Self Care, do it NOW.  All the planning and decision making that gointo pulling the myriad aspects of your wedding into place can leave you stressed out beyond belief.  This advice comes from wedding planners who know how important this is.

*Do whatever you need to do to unwind, relax and sleep well.  Take your vitamins, get healthy exercise and find effective emotional outlets for releasing the stress you feel.  Remember your groom.  Do fun things together and plan together.  You need to be healthy and strong and resilient.

*Get and stay organized.  Start early and document every decision made around your wedding day.  It doesn't matter if you keep records on line or in file folders or a paper bag.  Find a system that works for you - implement it early on and keep it current.

*Together set a budget for the wedding and stick to it.  Agree on priorities.  Identify those key items that you both really want as well as those areas where you can "under" spend.

*Remember to be grateful for all that you have and for everything others are doing for you.  You will get gifts, good wishes and offers to help.  Thank those who offer assistance whether you take them up on that offer or not.  Because weddings are happy occasions, people feel good and want to help if they can.  It's nice to be a part of a positive and joyous event.

*Remember your plan and stick with it.  Yes, you'll hear of a great idea or see something at someone else's wedding that you'd like to adopt for yours.  Be careful of playing "one ups manship".  Do you really want that?  What are you willing to give up for it?  Some you'll want to copy and some you won't.  This bride is having her big day and you'll have yours.

And the best advice of all - let go of bridal guilt!  You can't make everyone happy all the time.  It's not worth the worry and stress.  Sometimes guilt is ok.  It can help us deal with other's feelings.  But most of the time we are simply afraid that we have let someone down or hurt someone's feelings.  Do your best to be aware of the feelings of others and honor them when you can.  But the best advice is to remember that on your wedding day, you are there to please yourself and your groom as you begin your new life together.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

WEDDING NOTES™ - First Photographs

Engagement photos have come a long way from a formal studio shot of the bride to be.  The favorites  are shots of the couple in fun and unusual locations and are used in newspaper announcements, on save-the-date cards and part of the wedding day decorations.

Working with a photographer on engagement shots gives you a chance to see how you like a photographer's work and what he/she is like to work with before you sign a substantial contract for ceremony coverage.

Done right, these photographs can be introductions to the wedding's theme or  a fun expression of the places and items that mean much to the couple.   Talk over your ideas with the photographer.  You may wish to try some vintage shots using an classic car, or vintage bicycle.  Or you may consider being in costumes.

If you plan a destination wedding, have your engagement photos taken with stacks of luggage next to a bus, or car or train or plane.

Find landmarks in an urban setting that are important to you both.  Shots taken against a skyline or against a brick wall will provide a different look from your wedding day photos.

Consider night time shots.  Outdoor lights can include timed exposures.  Or if holiday lights are important to you, have photos taken with them.  Consider candle light or night life lights.

Are you both outdoor enthusiasts?  Have your engagement photo reflect that as you pose with your canoe or water skis, or on horseback or skates.

Do you like amusement parks?  Have your photos taken on a merry go round, or roller coaster or Ferris wheel.

The setting you choose can help your guests to understand you both as a couple and communicate the love you share.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

WEDDING NOTES™ - A Working Check List

It may seem overwhelming at first, but every wedding moves according to THE PLAN if you take the time to do it right.  No time?  No experience?  Scared of where to start?  Follow this list and check them off when completed.

1.  Work out your budget.  Determine how much you've got to spend and what are the sources of those funds?  (Hint:  do not say my Visa or MasterCard).  This will include the guest list.  How many people do you plan to attend?  The reception will likely represent the single largest  wedding expense.

2.  Decide on the type of wedding you want.  Morning, afternoon, evening?  Formal or not?

3.  Decide on the date and book your venues for the ceremony and reception.  If they are in separate places, try to minimize the travel time between them.

4.  Book the officiant for your ceremony.

5. Research, decide on and book photographers, florists, caterers (if needed) and entertainment (if wanted).

6.  Find your dream gown.  Order it and make possible  bridesmaid selections.

7.  Select members of your wedding party.  Select and order bridesmaids gowns and order tuxedos.

8.  If you will have out of town guests, book a block of rooms at two or three different sites with price options available for your guests.

9. Register for gifts.  Sign up at a minimum of three retail locations - again with a variety of price points.

10.  Know that there are many other decisions you'll need to make but these are key and will provide a structure for you to follow as you choose options.