Can We Plan Our Own Engagement Party?

 Etiquette, Showers & Parties, Showers and Parties, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Can We Plan Our Own Engagement Party?
Nov 132016
 
Champagne Frozen Raspberries

Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to most wedding-related events, the answer to "Who's planning it?" is usually pretty clear. The bridal shower is hosted by the bride's female family members or bridesmaids, the bachelorette party is planned by the maid of honor, and the rehearsal dinner is planned and hosted by the groom's parents. The engagement party, though, is less so — especially if you have family and friends scattered in multiple areas, which could call for more than one celebration. Can the happy couple step in and plan the party themselves? Our experts weigh in.

We love the idea of planning your own engagement party. With a wedding on the horizon, you might as well get in the hosting mindset sooner rather than later. It's also a great idea if you've just gotten engaged and haven't told anyone beyond your immediate family yet: Plan what your friends think is just a normal get-together, then once everyone has arrived, raise a glass and share the good news!

If you will be celebrating your engagement in a few different places, getting involved in the planning will make sure things are arranged in a timely manner — and that you'll actually be around for the party! Team up with someone local, whether one of your parents or a close friend, to help you find the perfect place and make other arrangements, but doing the inviting yourself will get your guests excited as soon as they know why you'll be in town.

Of course, there's something really special about hosting an engagement party in someone else's honor, so keep your options open and don't be afraid to pass the reins to a family member or friend who would like to plan the party for you. Being the guests of honor is great, too!

See more: 70 Engagement Party Dresses You Can Buy Now

Um, Someone’s Phone Rang During Our Wedding Ceremony. Now What?

 Ceremony & Vows, Etiquette, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Um, Someone’s Phone Rang During Our Wedding Ceremony. Now What?
Nov 122016
 

You've planned every single detail, but there's always one thing about a wedding that you can't control: Your guests. From telling them what to wear to letting them know when to arrive, all you can really do is hope they'll read your website! That goes for your unplugged ceremony, too. Even with your officiant asking guests to silence their phones before your unplugged ceremony, there's a chance someone wasn't listening. If a cell phone rings during the proceedings, what's a couple to do? Our experts break it down for you.

If someone's phone rings during your wedding ceremony and they're able to quickly silence it, proceed as if nothing happened. Your officiant may pause briefly to regain everyone's attention, or begin their sentence again, but you shouldn't need to address the interruption in any way. In fact, there's a good chance you'll be so enthralled in the moment that you won't even notice the slight interruption!

Of course, there are a few other scenarios that are less easy to deal with. If the phone rings again, your guest may step away from the ceremony to take the call (especially if he or she is a doctor or has kids at home with a babysitter). Hopefully they'll do so quickly and quietly, so it won't be too distracting. Your officiant may pause and ask guests to confirm that their phones are off before you proceed — especially if you haven't gotten to your vows yet. There could also be a little bustle amongst your guests as they check to make sure their phones won't cause the same interruption, but it will be short-lived.

The moment to be wary of is if a phone rings during your vows or a reading. If the interruption flusters you, ask your officiant to start over, or to repeat the phrase you were in the middle of. It's hard enough repeating an entire sentence, without buzzing or jingles disrupting your flow! And if you've got a friend or family member doing a reading, they can heed the same advice and either start the sentence over, or if it's a particularly moving passage, start the section over again so the gravity and meaning isn't lost.

4 Things to Keep in Mind If You’re Planning a Holiday Wedding

 Etiquette, Holidays, Planning Tips, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on 4 Things to Keep in Mind If You’re Planning a Holiday Wedding
Nov 112016
 

Chestnuts roasting by an open fire, steaming mugs of cider...and a bride heading down the aisle! With indulgent meals and lots of time with family and friends in mind, a wedding during the holidays seems like a perfect fit! It does, however, come with its own set of challenges. Thankfully, we've asked our experts to break down the big things you should keep in mind if you're hoping to get married during the holidays, so the only thing that surprises you is that sprig of mistletoe overhead for your first kiss.

Consider a Smaller Guest List
Even if you plan your wedding a year or more in advance, there's a chance that choosing a date during the holidays will discourage some guests from coming, whether it's because they have their own family celebrations to attend or due to the high cost of travel at this time. If you're worried that you'll have a lot fewer guests in attendance, consider making your wedding a more intimate, family-focused event, then plan a second reception later.

Family Comes First
If you're planning on inviting guests beyond your own families and close friends, you should consider turning your wedding into a family-friendly affair and adding kiddos to the guest list. That will greatly increase the chance of your guests RSVPing "yes," as they won't have to choose between your love and spending the holidays with their children. Look into hiring a few babysitters to entertain the smaller ones once the party gets started, as well as kid-friendly activities (like a 10 p.m. "Ball Drop") to make the evening special for them, too.

See More: Seasonal Ideas to Steal From Our Favorite Winter Weddings

Be Prepared for Higher Prices
Sure, there may be fewer weddings happening during that time of year, but between holiday parties, vacations, and vendors wanting to spend time with their own families, the price of your dream venue or favorite photographer may be higher than it would be during a different season. Be prepared to pay more for a wedding on an actual holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or New Year's Eve) no matter the day of the week. This also applies to things like flights and hotel rooms, especially if you're having your wedding at a winter destination. Hotels book up months in advance, and airline prices skyrocket this time of year, so the financial impact could affect your guests, too.

Start Booking Early
You're not just competing against other brides and grooms, but also vying for a space or vendor that's equally tempting to a corporate holiday party or a blowout New Year's Eve Gala. Start contacting and booking vendors as soon as possible: This will give you a larger number of options to consider, as well as time to find a back-up, should that cozy lodge you love already be full of holiday travelers or reserved for a corporate shindig.

Can Our Entire Wedding Be Unplugged?

 Etiquette, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Can Our Entire Wedding Be Unplugged?
Nov 102016
 

Unplugged wedding ceremonies are taking over, and we love it. Your guests are 100% present while you exchange vows, and there are no cameras or iPad screens cluttering your gorgeous photos. We'll call that a win! If you love that feeling of having everyone enjoying the moment with zero distractions, can that unplugged plan extend to the rest of your wedding? Our experts weigh in.

Celebrities have been having unplugged weddings forever, asking guests to check their phones (or leave them at home!) to maintain some privacy and secrecy in a world of overzealous paparazzi. But even if you aren't Kim and Kanye, it's definitely a wedding plan you can make your own!

The first thing to remember is that, well, you're not a celebrity. So no matter how hard you try, there will be a few guests who don't put their phones away for the entire night (especially those who need to make sure everything is going ok with the babysitter at home!). But once your expectations are in check, an unplugged wedding is a very real possibility.

Begin by letting your guests know early. Include it on your invitation insert, mention it a few times on your website, and add a line to the note in your welcome bags reminding guests that you're asking them not to take photos, Instagram, Tweet, Snap, or otherwise share anything from your big day. Guests tend to have a lot of questions, so take the time to let them know why you've made the choice to keep everything unplugged. Since your goal is for your guests to enjoy every moment, and for you all to have a fantastic time together, they'll probably appreciate the lengths you're going to to enhance that experience.

See more: Can I Take Photos at My Friend's Wedding Ceremony?

On your wedding day, put in extra effort to spend some one-on-one time with your guests and make memories together. You might choose to include them all in your ceremony, either with a ring-warming or by asking them to participate in a group vow. During dinner, try to get to each table so your guests all leave with a specific memory they'll share with you.

After your wedding day, make photos available for guests who'd like to see them. This could be a selection of images from your photographer or the full gallery. And if you have a videographer covering the day as well, send the link out! Since your guests won't have pictures on their phones to remember the day by, consider having your photographer print images of the two of you with each guest to slip into your thank you notes, a sweet memento they'll be able to cherish — no hashtag necessary.

4 Wedding Guest Outfit Faux Pas to Avoid

 Etiquette, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Guests  Comments Off on 4 Wedding Guest Outfit Faux Pas to Avoid
Nov 102016
 
Wedding Guest Outfit Faux Pas To Avoid

Photo: Jessica Craig-Martin

Figuring out what to wear to a wedding can be quite difficult. But if no dress code was stated on the invite, then it's truly up to you to put together an outfit that you think goes well with the venue and the overall vibe of the wedding day. But getting it right is half the bottle — you want to make sure you don't commit any major faux pas when choosing your wedding guest attire. Whether you're shopping your own closet or you're hitting the stores to find a brand new outfit, here are 4 wedding guest outfit faux pas to avoid.

1. Wearing White
Pick any other color to wear to the wedding. Wearing white will just have heads turning in your direction for all of the wrong reasons. Plus, it will most likely upset the bride, who won't want to feel anything but pleased by her guests throughout the night.

2. Picking a Dress That Looks Like the Bridesmaid's Dress
If you can get a heads up on the style and color of the dress the bridesmaids will be wearing, try to avoid wearing anything similar. If not, you may have to spend the night explaining to everyone that you're not a bridesmaid and you didn't mean to dress like one.

See More: From Black Tie to Casual: Wedding Guest Dress Code Explained

3. Underdressing
Whether or not the dress code is black tie, try not to underdress for the wedding. Unless it was stated that wearing jeans is okay, try to at least wear clothes that you would be okay wearing for a formal office party.

4. Dressing for the Club
It's a party, so you might be tempted to dress like you're heading out to a nightclub, but remember for a wedding, you should keep it classy. You'll be surrounded by someone else's family and friends so keep it appropriate.

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

What’s the Best Way to Tell Guests About Our After Party?

 Etiquette, Wedding Etiquette, Wedding Planning  Comments Off on What’s the Best Way to Tell Guests About Our After Party?
Nov 092016
 

While a wedding after party isn't required, it's a fun way to extend the celebrations and make your wedding day last a little bit longer. Of course, a party isn't a party without guests! We turned to our experts to figure out the best way to let your guests know there's more festivities to be had once the lights come up.

Keeping your wedding guests well-informed is all about repetition. You don't want to drive them crazy with the same information over and over again, but you do want to make sure the important details are available in a few different places. The same goes for your after party!

Start with your wedding invitation. An insert or additional card is the perfect place to include the time and location of your after party, as well as anything else guests may need to know (such as if you're providing transportation, or if they should bring a bathing suit for a late-night dip in the pool). Don't have a location yet? You should still mention that the after party is happening and provide a time, then direct guests to your wedding website for additional information as it becomes available.

Speaking of your wedding website, here's where you can get into a little more detail with the plans (or keep everything a surprise!). Be sure to, again, provide the time and location, as well as anything else your guests need to know.

Once your wedding day comes, a few gentle reminders are a great way to encourage guests to keep the party going with you. If your ceremony program includes a timeline of the day, add your after party to the end so they know the night doesn't end with your sparkler exit. Then, as the dance party is starting to wind down, ask your DJ or bandleader to also remind your guests of what's coming next and invite everyone to join the newlyweds for a wild all-nighter. Make sure your wedding party knows the plan, so they can answer questions for guests and encourage them to make a night of it!

See more: 3 Wild Wedding After-Party Stories You Must Read to Believe

Where Should I Keep My Engagement Ring?

 Engagement Rings, Etiquette, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Where Should I Keep My Engagement Ring?
Nov 082016
 

Getting to finally wear an engagement ring is so exciting: Not only is it a brand new accessory, it's one that symbolizes the love you and your fiancé have for one another, and the chapter in your lives that is about to begin. But, as you've probably guessed, this fancy bauble isn't something you can just toss into your jewelry box or slip off and leave on your desk if your fingers need a break. So where should you keep your engagement ring, to make sure it's safe? We've got a few ideas.

One of the first things you should do when you get engaged is go purchase at least two ring dishes (one for your bathroom, one for the kitchen) so you have a designated place to put your ring when you're doing things like washing your hands or making dinner. Set the dish far from the sink so there's no chance of it falling in, as well as out of the way so it doesn't get knocked over. Then remember to put your ring in the dish whenever you take it off!

Put the box your ring came in on your bedside table (or grab another ring dish) so you have a secure place to put your ring at the end of the day, and know where to find it when you get up in the morning.

You should also consider getting a ring dish for your desk at work. The last thing you want is to lose it in a jumble of papers (or accidentally slide it into a filing cabinet or the trash!) on a busy afternoon. And if you've gotten in the habit of applying hand lotion a few times a day, you don't have to worry about piling your jewelry next to your keyboard if you have a special place to stash it, instead.

If you're heading out of the house and don't feel comfortable wearing your ring at your destination, either put it back in the ring box and tuck it into a drawer, or look into getting a small safe to keep in the back of your closet. Consider one that's fire- and water-proof and large enough to fit a few documents: You'll be able to keep your marriage license in there when the time comes, too!

See more: 4 Things to Know When Choosing Engagement Ring Insurance

Nov 072016
 

You've found the person you love, picked a wedding venue, and selected a date. Now it's time to invite guests to your wedding! Sending out wedding invitations brings up all sorts of questions, from who to invite to when and how, so we've asked our experts to answer some of the most common wedding invitation questions to help make the process a little easier.

Who Gets a Plus One?
While tradition states that only those who are married or engaged should always be invited with a plus-one, common practice has gotten a little more modern, with the ring requirement being replaced with a "serious relationship" requirement. So if your college roommate is in a longterm relationship or lives with her significant other, you really should invite them as a couple. Did your cousin just start dating someone new? In that case, it's your call — and no one will hold it against you if you invite her solo. The exception: You should invite your immediate family members and your wedding party with their significant other or a generic "and guest", no matter what their relationship status is.

When Should We Send Our Save the Dates and Invitations?
When it comes to your invitations, timing is everything. Traditionally, save the dates are mailed four months in advance, with invitations going out around eight weeks before the wedding date. If you're having a destination wedding, add a little time on the front end: Send save the dates up to six months in advance, and invitations 12 weeks before the event. This will give your guests plenty of time to arrange their schedules and shop around for great flight deals.

How Long Should We Give Our Guests to RSVP?
The general rule of thumb is to set your RSVP date for four weeks after you mail the invitations, giving them time to receive the invite and send back their response. The timing can change depending on the type of wedding you're having. For a local wedding, with very few guests coming in from out-of-town, set your RSVP date for two weeks before your wedding date, allowing up to six weeks to RSVP. For a destination wedding, request your RSVPs back seven weeks before the date which, if you mail your invitations 12 weeks in advance, gives guests five weeks to finalize their plans. This will also give you a little extra time to track down people you haven't heard from to ensure everyone is accounted for.

See more: When is it Okay to Put Registry Information on Wedding Invitations?

Should We Invite Guests We Know Can't Come?
Once you've gone through the trouble of setting a wedding date, it can be a bummer to find out a friend or family member can't make it. Traditional etiquette suggests skipping their invitation. After all, a single invitation can still be expensive, and it could be interpreted as soliciting gifts. However, if it's a guest you know will appreciate the gesture and will like having your invitation as a memento, you should still formally invite them to be there with you to celebrate. Chances are they'll be thrilled to hear the details and will want to send you a gift, and that link to your wedding website will make finding your registry that much easier.

Can We Send Digital Invitations?
Online invitations are affordable, easy, and come in gorgeous designs that rival their printed counterparts. However, when it comes to your wedding day, you really should skip the e-vite in favor of a paper invitation sent by mail. But for your wedding-related events (engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc.), a digital invitation is a great alternative. These parties usually have a smaller guest list, and ordering a dozen or so invitations can be really expensive. Choose a design that still fits in your invitation suite and take advantage of the built-in RSVP function.

Should We Have an Open Bar at Our After Party?

 Etiquette, Food & Drink  Comments Off on Should We Have an Open Bar at Our After Party?
Nov 062016
 

After the party is the after party, whether it's a dance party at your favorite club or a few reserved tables at the local bar. If you're planning to keep your wedding festivities going all night, some more celebratory drinks will be in order. Do the hosts have to pay for them, or can you ask guests to pay for their late-night drinks themselves? Here's what our experts have to say.

Just as with your wedding reception, there's no hard-and-fast rule requiring that you pay for everyone's drinks through the after party. If you are inviting your guests to an official continuation of your wedding reception, here are a few different ways to address the drinks situation:

If you want to offer a partial open bar, you could choose a few options (say, your favorite beer and your favorite mixed drink), then let guests know that anything other than those beverages won't be covered. So if they're craving a gin and tonic instead of your signature Moscow Mule, they're on their own.

You could also set a cash limit on your tab, covering all of guests drinks up to a certain dollar amount, then switching over to a cash bar. This might only be enough to cover the first round, but after an evening of hosting, no one will blame you!

Don't want to spring for booze? If you're also going to serve late-night snacks at your after party, you could offer hosted food (and maybe add on non-alcoholic drinks like soda) and have all alcohol be served at a cash bar.

And of course, it could just be a trip to the bar in your wedding finery, with nothing paid for by the two of you except your own drinks — if anyone will let you buy yourself a glass of wine while you're wearing a wedding dress, that is!

See more: Do We Have to Go to Our Own After-Party?

Can I Take Photos at My Friend’s Wedding Ceremony?

 Ceremony & Vows, Etiquette, Wedding Ceremonies, Wedding Etiquette  Comments Off on Can I Take Photos at My Friend’s Wedding Ceremony?
Nov 052016
 

It's hard to resist the temptation to take pictures at your friend's wedding. She's going to look stunning, the décor will be on point, and everyone will be smiling and having a blast. You'll want to capture those moments! But there's nothing worse than a beautiful shot of the bride and groom's first kiss, with a friend or family member leaning out into the aisle with their phone to get a picture of their own. So should you put your camera away when it's time for your friend to walk down the aisle? Our experts weigh in.

Before you take out your camera, figure out if your friend would be okay with you snapping a few shots. Was there a note on her website specifying that the ceremony will be unplugged? Did you pass a sign on your way to your seat, or see a disclaimer at the top of the ceremony program? Did the officiant make an announcement about putting your phone away before the processional started? If you were asked to keep your phone and camera in your purse during the ceremony, listen! You'll be helping make sure your friend has the ceremony she wants, as well as get the pictures she's hoping for. There's an added bonus: Keeping your phone in your pocket means you'll be 100% present as the ceremony proceeds, won't miss a single detail of the sweet vows, and will be able to truly share in their joy.

If you weren't told not to take pictures, consider doing so anyway. Sure, you won't be able to Instagram that moment your friend comes down the aisle, but you'll be able to see it instead of watching through a screen. And with all the money your friends spent on their photographer, they'll appreciate that you did your part to make sure their pictures look as great as possible. So maybe encourage the guest seated next to you to do the same!

See More: Should You Take Family Photos Before the Wedding Ceremony?

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