As a wedding stationer, I am never surprised by the questions and advice seeking I receive from mother’s of brides and the brides about the lack of response by some invited guests. Unfortunately, in this lack of manners age, many people simply do not follow etiquette rules anymore, or they simply are clueless or downright lazy. So here is a little primer on how to be a great guest at the wedding or other event you have been invited to via a lovely invitation:
The purpose of the Response card is for the guest to indicate if they are attending. If the card indicates an “M_________________” simply write “Mr. & Mrs. Etc. or “Miss”, “Ms” or “Mr.” Check off your acceptance or your regrets. If the stationer has placed a line such as this “Number Attending ___”, this is not a carte blanche area to include your entire family. If the envelope is addressed to only two people in the household, then the correct number to insert is “2”. If you are single and your invitation did not indicate it was ok to bring a guest, then no, you may not bring a guest. Make sure your handwriting is easy to read. Your host is probably depending on legible handwriting so she/he can check you off their list as attending or not attending. Finally, return the response card or post card before the due date. That is why there is a stamp on the envelope. Sending it timely assures that your host will not have to make that awkward phone call to find out if you are attending or not attending. Be respectful of their time, a lot is happening to prepare for the wedding even 2 weeks before the date – having to make time to make a phone call or many calls is downright rude to the host.
The Outer Envelope & Inner Envelope addressing
The host will address the envelope specifically to those invited. If the envelope is addressed to only “Mr. and Mrs. Adam Green,” then those are the only two individuals invited to the wedding. The remainder of the household is not invited, unless of course they too receive their very own invitation. If the words “and Family” or the names of specific household members are included on the envelopes, then they too are welcome to attend the event. Don’t call your hostess to complain that little Johnny wasn’t invited. Venues have a limited capacity; your host/hostess has a limited wallet capacity; respect the choices they have had to make in the process of determining who is invited and who is not. That has already been a stressful ordeal usually split between the bride and groom families. Cut them some slack!
Arrive on time to the ceremony! And don’t ditch the ceremony and only attend the reception. It is rude and disrespectful to the bride and groom. The Wedding Ceremony is the important part of the entire event, not the reception. You have been invited to witness the marriage of two people…be there or decline the invitation with regrets. If you have arrived late due to lost travel time, remain at the back of the ceremony venue. Do not slide in to the back pews if you arrive during the processional…wait until that is over and then find your seat in the back.
Send a gift if you were invited even if you aren’t attending
It is is in good taste to send a gift and proper etiquette, whether you attend or not attend. Typically, you can send the gift to home of the bride or her parents. If their wedding website has a registry list, then shop from the registry These are items they took time to reserve for their gifts…these are items they truly want and it avoids duplicates and returns.
Ok, you are at the reception venue now, you are hoping you are sitting with some people you know but discover you are at a table clear across the room. No worries, sit where you are assigned for dinner. There will be plenty of time to commiserate with people you know at the cocktail hour and after the dinner. Great pains are taken by the family to seat everyone as appropriately as possible. There may be specific reasons by the bride and groom for making these seating assignments. Respect that!
Do not leave before the cake is cut
Emily Post indicates that this is a quiet sign for those who are elderly to know that it is ok to leave if they wish to not stay the entire reception. By the same token, no matter how dull the reception may be, this is the same queue that the younger generation needs to follow as well!
As I think of more do’s and don’ts, I will post them on this blog, but this is a good start. I would love to hear your comments or stories!
“The good guest is almost invisible, enjoying him- or herself, communing with fellow guests, and, most of all, enjoying the generous hospitality of the hosts.”
— E. Post
Whew, what a busy week of order taking for Valentines Day! I was going to post something daily, but honestly, was so busy each day, by the time I got home, I took care of pending family stuff and then put my feet up:) Anyhow, I enjoyed helping Laura out with her shop, Delta Flowers! Delta Flower’s is a great place to purchase your floral needs..all floral is handled with great care, water in the floral buckets is changed often, fresh cuts made to flowers, I was amazed at the freshness of all the flowers…beautiful! Definitely, check Delta Flowers out for your floral needs!
Most notable was the dedication Laura and her design staff have to Valentines week and their customers! These ladies were designing all night to the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, not to mention the late hours previously on Wednesday! The team work among these ladies was extraordinary! Tirelessly they worked on arrangements, each designer turning out lovely Valentine flower wraps and vased arrangements all day long until closing at 6:00pm, but not until the last customer was served on Valentines Day! I even gave flower arranging a go and ended up purchasing one that I had made for my mom for Valentine’s day!
I enjoyed spending the last four days with all you lovelies…Laura, Katy Jo, Maria, Katy, Jennifer, Kimberly M. and Kim B. It was a good time!
It’s Monday, February 11th…4 days before Valentines day! Standing in the middle of Delta Flowers, I am seeing a lot going on! It may be quiet now, but everyone working here that is a seasoned holiday employee, knows that this is the calm before the storm.
Delta Flowers is a large floral shop, located on the West side of Lansing, across from Art Vans. When you walk in, you are greeted by a warm, friendly staff including two Golden Retrievers. Buckets surround the designer counter full of fresh flowers, and two huge coolers are packed with roses, tulips, pre-arranged greenery in Valentines vases, and many other flowers. The floral smell…totally wonderful! It will be delightful to help Laura Miller, owner and fellow Lansing Bridal Association Member, during this busy week of Valentines!
My first day was busy, exhausting…when they say floral is messy work, they are not kidding. I have always been a gardener so getting my hands dirty has never bothered me. Today, I helped and learned how to process dry packed floral. What fun to open the boxes! Lots of lilies, lots of roses, lots of daisies and filler flowers!! Most of these required the removal or stripping of leaves on the stalk, the little brown stamens inside the lily’s or “boogers” as the girls call them have to be removed and on some of the stems, special netting placed on unopened bud, removed. Roses, totally different because of their thorny stems, required us to wrap a special plastic tool around the stem, run it down the stem to remove the thorns and leaves…yes, I had a couple heads go flying off the stem…cool thing is..nothing goes to waste. Those heads were placed in a vase to be used in other arrangements.
Customers were coming in to place their orders for delivery for their special Valentine! Probably one of the nicest compliments fpr Delta Flowers today came from a gentlemen who said he was so pleased by an arrangement made by Delta Flowers, it “knocked it out of the park”…those were his exact words! So not only did he come in to express his thanks the floral team, he then placed another order! Another guy came in to place an order and he told me that he loved to order arrangements that were not the typical roses. He said, “if you really love someone, don’t settle for just roses…do something different and special.” Is that sweet or what? I am looking forward to hearing what the rest of these men have to say today!
Today will be day 2 of my experience in a floral shop pre-Valentines! My crystal ball tells me that the phones will be busier, the walk-in traffic busier…count down begins for Thursday! Delta Flowers will be BUSY!!! Let the fun begin!
The winter is a popular time for engagements and the beginning of the wedding planning process. One of the first things on the couple’s mind may be to pick out their bridal party, best man and maid of honor. This can sometimes be a hard task for couples, because they have to decide how many people they want to stand up, if any siblings need to be included, sibling spouse and way more. So consider it as an honor if you are asked to stand up in someone’s wedding.
When you get asked take a minute to seriously consider all that goes into being a bridal party member. Will you have the time, funds and support available to offer your friend during their wedding planning process all the way up until their wedding? If you know you have a busy schedule during that time or taking extra classes, let them know. They will be happier if you tell them up front rather than not being able to attend events and be involved. Let them know that you would still love to help out though, but maybe as an usher or a reader. If all lights are green then go ahead and get ready for some wedding extravaganza!
General Bridal Party Etiquette
Once you accept an offer to be a member of a friend’s bridal party here are a few things to keep in mind. Number one, it’s not your wedding, repeat….you are not getting married! Remember that it is your friend’s day, not yours, so be respectful of their wishes. Now that that’s been established, know that you are going to be their support system, attend parties and potentially help out with DIY projects and invitations. Note that you are not their slave and do not have to be there at their beck and call. There are certain events that bridal party members are expected to attend and are explained below. Although make sure that you are not sacrificing your work or life just to help with their wedding, keep a good balance and know when to say no if needed. Check out each specific bridal party role for more information on general duties.
As a bridesmaid, you are the bride’s support system during the wedding. Whether it is helping her pick out a dress, going to a bridal show or decorating. Here are some of the general duties as a bridesmaid:
- Attend all pre-wedding functions; include engagement party, bridal shower and bachelorette party. It is customary to bring a gift to these events.
- Assist in planning bridal shower and bachelorette party events
- Get fitted and order bridesmaid dress. Make sure you order it on time and get the correct, style and color.
- Purchase shoes for the wedding that the bride approves of or picks out
- Start practicing desired hair and makeup styles for wedding if you are doing your own or start saving to pay on the wedding day and have the stylist and makeup artist do it
- Help address save-the-dates and wedding invitations
- Assist in assembling other wedding décor, like favors or wedding programs
- Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner the day before the wedding
- Arrange for lunch for the wedding day while getting ready
- On the wedding day, help out where needed, carry bride’s touch-up bag and other items as needed
- Help pack away any decorations as needed
Alright dudes, you’ve got it pretty easy on your part compared to the girls so have fun with it!
- Attend pre-wedding events, like the engagement party and bachelor party
- Assist with planning bachelor party
- Get fitted and order correct style, cut and color of tux and dress shoes on time
- Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner; so you don’t get lost
- Assemble and help set up wedding items as needed
- Plan some day-of activity like golfing before the wedding
- After the ceremony get ready for some pictures and some mingling!
- Help pack up any wedding décor as needed
Maid of Honor and Best Man
The maid of honor and best man typically do the same duties as the bridesmaid and groomsmen with a few extra responsibilities.
Maid/Matron of Honor:
- Same as above under bridesmaid
- If there are two of you in this role then share the responsibilities and planning
- Plan bachelorette party, including venues, menu, invitations, transportation and more
- Attend any vendor meetings or tastings with the bride as needed
- Sign the marriage license as a witness after the wedding ceremony
- Give toast for the bride and groom at the wedding reception, you usually go first
- Same as groomsmen above
- Plan bachelor party including locations, food, transportation, invitations and more as needed
- Go with groom to accomplish wedding tasks as needed, such as picking out tuxes
- Carry the wedding bands during the ceremony
- Sign marriage license as a witness after the wedding ceremony
- Give a toast for the bride and groom during wedding reception
- Prank the “getaway” vehicle with the bridal party for fun
Being a member of a friend or family member’s bridal party is an honor and a fun role in helping the couple celebrate their wedding. Once you have been asked to stand up in a wedding ask the bride or groom what their expectations are and if they had any particular responsibilities in mind other than those noted above. Enjoy this time and know that you are a big part of helping their wedding come together.
What is a love letter? I would define it as words placed on paper that are heartfelt and written with an expression that will stir an emotional response from the reader. The letter will undoubtedly be cherished by the receiver for years to come.
Writing a letter expressing your love and admiration for your special someone does not have to be a daunting task. Obviously, you are inspired to write a letter of love but letter writing has become a lost art, so where do you start? Letter writing is becoming a lost art, but nothing is more touching to the heart than thoughtfully chosen, personalized words of endearment. So have fun with it!
Lovely stationery and a favorite pen is a great start. Consider using sealing wax to decorate the outer flap of the envelope before mailing. Don’t use everyday Forever stamps on your letter. Instead use a personalized stamp (Occasions can help you with that) or visit your post office and select the prettiest stamp you can find!
Include the date you write the letter and use a salutation that captures the heart…”My dearest Emily,” or “My dearest John.” Share with the reader why you are writing to them, tell them what inspired you to write to them. Love letters clarify what is going on inside of you, the writer. There is something about setting pen to paper that can solidify meaning and thought. Keep it fluid and don’t worry about making it a lengthy letter…but do be attentive to details such as darling dimples, sparkling eyes, unending patience, etc….use the adjectives! Incorporate shared experiences, the things that were memorable, those “I will never forget moments.” Don’t hesitate to borrow a line or two from your favorite song or poem that speaks the words you want to say, especially if the song or poem already has special meaning to both of you. Using these as lead sentences can actually be your foundation for sharing your feelings.
February is the month of love…get busy, write something special to that certain someone. If you don’t have a special person in your life right now, write a love letter to yourself!
Huffington Post, Weddings, recently posted an article regarding trends for Grooms. I found this posting to be very interesting. As a stationer, many of my brides bring their fiances along for the invitation selection experience. Some are very involved, enthused and some are so involved, they are the final decision makers…not the bride..(my take on that is that usually, this is a peek of how the rest of the marriage will be)…other times, I am sure they would be more happy sitting in front of my 50″ with a bottle of Michigan brew!
Needless to say, I was happy to see that Grooms are being recognized as a part of the whole wedding planning process. After all, it is just as much their day as the bride’s. Here are some of my takeaways after reading the article:
Groom Trends for 2013 include:
1. Bourbon Bars – introducing a drink station filled with bottles of the grooms favorite bourbons or scotch. These are set up as mini-bars and are usually situated in a lounge area, giving the feel of a more relaxed area perfect for mingling and conversation.
2. Flashy Socks – This caught me because usually the guys are wearing either flashy tennis shoes, or some other crazy, colorful footwear for the “surprise”…but why not go for the gleaming patent leather paired with wild colors, stripes, chevrons or polka-dot socks! These are deserving of a picture in the photo album, so just be sure to flash those socks to grab the attention!
3. Grooms are using Pinterest: We gals love Pinterest because it has a treasure trove of creative ideas and we can share and create boards to our delight. Apparently the guys are catching on to this as well. Hey, they need inspiration too! Engagement rings, creative proposals, honeymoon ideas, rehearsal dinner ideas, gifts for the groomsmen! Your guy may not be on Ebay, he might be pinning away instead!
4. Couple LOR & LETTE parties: Why not? Take a party bus or limo to your favorite downtown spot, winery or game day! Include everyone in both wedding parties; it almost becomes a pre-wedding reception party. The usual standard bachelor or bachelorette party theme is still strong, but the combined party sounds intriguing.
5. Male Engagement Rings – Guys love the bling too, probably in a more understated way. This tends to be a newer trend, and the guys are receptive to it. If the bride is wearing one, some guys feel they should be wearing it as well. It will be interesting to see if this trend tends to grow.
Occasions can help you come up with a FABULOUS bachelor/lette or combined party. Just call us for an appointment, or email us or use our handy on-line scheduler. We love to be part of the planning fun!
This article appeared today on one of my groups on Linked In. I totally missed the 20/20 Confidential program on Friday, January 18th. However, after reading the article, as a wedding vendor, I would have had the same reflection on the program. Those of us seasoned in the wedding business are not out to rip off people. As a stationer in the community, I service many brides. I am forthright with them on costs, I inquire about their budgets, I make accommodations for pricing where I can, but let’s face, this is a business…I run it like a business. I know many wedding vendors, like myself who are totally embracing of integrity and exceptional customer service. Many of us belong to Bridal Associations and such to uphold standards set forth by those associations such as honesty, integrity and positive business ethics.
It seems lately that the media finds it perfectly acceptable to demonize just about anyone who is in business. I simply can’t stand by and not comment. Anyone who comes to me can trust that I value their business, I value the relationship I build with my clients, I have worked hard to build my business and I take pride in offering them a product and service that is second to none. You do get what you pay for. So, enough of my ranting, here is the blog post, and I look forward to actually viewing this media piece to make a fuller assessment. Please feel free to leave comments!
Last night, ABC aired “Wedding Confidential: Industry Secrets.” First off….industry secrets?? What secrets? The title alone of ABC’s 20/20episode on Friday, January 18, 2013, bothered me but the direct line from their promo, “Learn the tricks the wedding business uses to rip off unsuspecting lovebirds…” well, that just burns my biscuits!! That really makes me mad. And I don’t like getting mad. The media has made me, and the rest of my colleagues in the wedding industry, look like heartless, slimy con artists who use lies and hype to trick brides and grooms into giving us money that we don’t deserve. Normally, I would shrug this off as bad reality TV, but I can’t. Not this time. ABC has made a BIG mistake in their reporting. And judging from the negative feedback on their Facebook page by members of the wedding industry, I’m not the only one who thinks this episode was an epic fail!
What I’m really upset about is that ABC has now created a rift between wedding vendors and engaged couples by creating all the hype themselves and presenting the wedding industry as finks. They present this show with the idea of, “We’re going to help you” and they’ve done nothing to help couples. In fact ABC has made it worse for them. Brides already feel cautious and insecure when meeting with vendors and to see a show like this, that misleads couples about the whole industry, is just disappointing. It’s blown all our collective efforts in building a bridge of trust between our industry and engaged couples in just a matter of minutes. Wedding professionals, including myself, are some of the most caring and passionate people out there who truly want to be a help to brides and grooms and their families. These types of shows and blogs and books that teach couples “negotiating power” to get cheaper prices are doing nothing but turning THEM into being pushy and demanding. NOBODY likes a pushy, demanding person. Pushy and demanding brides are a TURNOFF for just about every wedding professional out there! So, tell me 20/20, how does this help them? The repercussions from this will not help the relationship between brides and their vendors. It hurts everyone on both sides.
Very disappointing! Shame on you, ABC.
What most couples don’t fully realize is that there is a difference between planning a party and planning a wedding. A wedding is NOT a standard party! There is more stress, an increased time investment, more details, more liability. Therein lies the higher expense. This should not even be something the wedding industry has to defend. If you’re a bride-to-be reading this…would YOU want your DJ to prepare for your wedding the same way he would prepare for your birthday party? If you’re honest, your answer is NO!! I would think that you’d want the biggest day of your life to be rockin’ and memorable!! If you hire a DJ who charges the same for every job, you are NOT going to get a rockin’ wedding…you’ll get an OK wedding. I don’t know about you, but that is not acceptable to me. And your mediocre wedding won’t be the DJs fault. You paid for it. You want an exceptional job, expect to pay. That is not a rip-off. That’s common sense!
Again, shame on you, 20/20, for misleading brides instead of educating them on the ins/outs of wedding planning. You had a chance to really help engaged couples everywhere and you didn’t. You had a chance to support small businesses and you didn’t. You just threw us under the bus!
I, for one, will be addressing this episode more in depth in the following week to clear the air and set the record straight with brides and grooms. I hope my fellow wedding professionals – YES! Professionals!! – will get out from under the bus and stand up to 20/20 for making a mockery of brides and grooms and the industry as a whole!
Lansing Bridal Association Member, Dave Downing – Chaplain / Wedding Officiate, shared this article at the recent Lansing Bridal World show and he has allowed Occasions to republish here on our blog post. I found it interesting reading, and hope you do to.
Here is some history regarding Victorian Wedding Etiquette:
The following are ‘rules of etiquette’ for weddings based on guides from the 1890’s. It’s interesting to note how things have changed in some ways, and haven’t changed very much in others…