6 Ways to Genuinely Thank Your Bridesmaids

Dessy Bridesmaids Wedding Day

Your bridesmaids are often your sisters, soon to be sister-in-laws or your dear friends that know you so well. From standing beside you on your big day to helping you feel your best and celebrate your love, they’ve spent countless hours helping you plan and deal with all the pre-wedding stress that most likely took place. These ladies have been through it all with you and finding the right way to say thanks and make them feel appreciated may be challenging. Don’t fret! There are many ways to say thanks but we’ve rounded up our favorites that offer your genuine gratitude for their love and support!
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Wedding Registry Tips for Perfect Presents

wedding gift table - creating a wedding registry

Creating a wedding registry should be fun but for so many brides end up being stressful because they’re in totally new territory. Never fear! Our resident wedding experts are here to help you create the ultimate wedding registry so guests can give gifts easily and you end up with (pretty much) exactly what you want.

  • Whether you need anything or not, your wedding guests are probably going to want to buy you a little something. Typically, couples register for household gifts – dinnerware, a stand mixer, and that sort of thing.
  • These days the etiquette rules surrounding what you can register for have relaxed somewhat and it’s not unusual for couples to create a honeymoon registry, an experience registry, a charitable registry, or simply to register for things like books and games.
  • Registering for wedding gifts ought to be fun but it can actually get kind of stressful when you’ve already been shacking up with your spouse-to-be. In some cases, couples specifically choose not to register for wedding gifts because they’re hoping for checks.
  • While that’s okay, and frankly, usually works, you can’t actually ask people for checks. And you absolutely cannot act disappointed if someone chooses to buy you a very random gift indeed instead of following the crowd and putting a check in a card.
  • You can’t register for things like… costs associated with the wedding, your gown, your wedding jewelry, or travel expenses. Basically, you can’t ask guests to pay for any part of the wedding via their gifts.
  • Gift registries are considered a bit tacky in some circles because they imply you expect a gift, but the fact is that registries make it easy for people who care about you to give you things you’ll actually like. In that way, wedding registries are actually a courtesy.
  • Almost every major retailer has an online registry tool and you can usually go right to the store to register, too. Don’t like any of chain options? Online registry sites let you create a wedding registry that features items from lots of different stores.
  • Know the store’s registry policies with regard to purchases, shipping, and returns. You may find that what looked great on a web page isn’t so great in person, after all. And mistakes can happen!
  • Have your spouse-to-be help you register – even if they’re a little reluctant and especially if you’re registering for house wares. A few years down the road they’ll appreciate the things they picked out and it won’t seem like it’s your house and they only live there.
  • Create your wedding registry early – before your engagement party or any showers, if you can. People may want to buy you gifts months before you say your vows.
  • While tiny boutiques are the best, register for wedding gifts at national stores or online if your loved ones are scattered around the country.
  • Keep your wedding registry simple and stick to stuff you’ve been lusting after for a while. Just be sure to include items at different price points so no one looks at your registry and leaves without buying because it’s too luxe.
  • Find out how long your wedding registry will be live. Some wedding guests or loved ones may want to delay getting your gift (for whatever reason) and they shouldn’t be shut out from our registry because of timing. Keeping your registry live for longer may even mean more gifts!

Where are you and your SO registered?
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Wedding Etiquette and Buying the Mother of the Bride Dress

bridesmaids dresses - wedding etiquette advice

If you’re like a lot of brides, you probably thought you’d be the one calling your mom to ask her the questions… and then it came time for mom to buy her Mother of the Bride dress. Suddenly, your cell is ringing off the hook because she has questions about colors. Styles. What your fiance’s mom is wearing! It’ll drive you bonkers if you let it, but remember that she’s only asking so many questions because she wants you to love her dress as much as she loves yours. Sweet, right?

Here are our tips for buying a mother of the bride dress that you can share with your mom as she she shops for the perfect one:

1. While it is important to allow your mother and future mother-in-law to pick a style they both feel comfortable in, what they choose needs to at the very least be appropriate. And you get to choose what that means (e.g., no strapless, no plunging necklines, no mini dresses, etc.).

2. Tradition holds that the mother of the bride chooses her dress first, followed by the mother of the groom. Their dresses should complement each other, as well as the bridal party. That’s so they’ll look their best in posed photos.

3. Having one mother in a floor length dress and another in a cocktail length skirt is a major no-no. Likewise, your mother wearing an orange dress next to your bridesmaid’s light green ensembles is bound to make your wedding pictures look kind of gross.

4. While the moms shouldn’t be wearing the exact same style and color a la matching bridesmaids dresses, their dresses should coordinate.

5. Generally, at formal weddings, your mother and mother-in-law should be in floor or tea-length dresses. Semi-formal or informal weddings allow them to get more creative with the length, but they still need to make sure they are complementing one another.

6. Unless your bridesmaids will be wearing black, a mother of the bride or groom should avoid this color. Until recently, black at weddings was considered a social blunder and many guests will still look at the color choice with suspicion. Are they like, mourning, or something?

7. Don’t forget to finish the look with a matching corsage or a small bouquet to honor your moms and ensure they feel special on your big day!

 
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Don’t Let Facebook Ruin Your Big Day

You’ll never hear us say you’re obligated to invite any one person to your wedding, but it’s just a fact that not being an invitee can hurt certain people’s feelings. Once upon a time, that was less than a big deal. You might hear about it at a few social events or around the office but the wedding you weren’t invited to was not in your face the way it can be today in the age of social media. You log onto Facebook and you’re seeing pics of bridesmaids dresses, pre-wedding parties, and getting a real time play by play of who has RSVP’ed in the positive. It’s enough to give even the hardest-hearted non-invitee a glum moment or two.

facebook wedding

And as I’m sure you know by now, if you hurt people’s feelings you’re gonna have a bad time. So post responsibly! Be a grownup even if you don’t feel like one and consider how your endless wedding posts affect the people around you who won’t be receiving or didn’t receive your gorgeous letterpress invite in the mail.

Here are our tips for keeping social media from souring your big day:

1. Tell your close friends and family they’re invited before you go sharing your wedding deets on Facebook and elsewhere. Ditto for your engagement if that ship hasn’t already sailed. It would be so sad if your favorite aunt assumed she hasn’t been invited because she’s seeing your Pinterest pins feeding into your Facebook feed and you haven’t even called.

2. Once your upcoming nuptials are pretty much common knowledge, don’t overwhelm your friends’ feeds with wedding wedding wedding all things wedding all the time. First off, unless you’re inviting everyone on your friend list you could be inadvertently causing hurt feelings even though you’re just sharing because you’re excited. And second, some people just don’t care that much about centerpiece styles and seasonal flowers.

3.  If you want to use Facebook as your venue for sharing all the details your guests will need, create a group and add all your invitees. They’ll be able to get the skinny on your ceremony and reception plans along with anything else they’ll need to know without bugging the non-invitees. The other benefit is that confirmed guests can talk to each other about travel plans.

4. Don’t complain. So your spouse to be isn’t picking up the slack where wedding planning is concerned? Twitter is not the place to address that. Vent about your wedding woes in public and you’ll earn your bridezilla badge so fast your veil’s gonna fly off. Seriously, people don’t take kindly to first world problems.

5. Finally, remember that your big day is not the most important thing going on in anyone’s life but your own. If you ever find yourself feeling offended because so-and-so didn’t ‘like’ your post or retweet your tweet, breath and back off. That is not a good reason to accuse anyone of not supporting you – most likely, they were just too busy living life to follow along with all your wedding planning revelations.

And that’s as it should be. Balance is the key to using social media in a mannerly way when you’re engaged!
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7 Wedding Traditions You Can Safely Skip

When you’re planning a wedding, it becomes all too obvious that the vast number of so-called wedding traditions can easily bankrupt the budget bride and groom. Every new tradition seems to come with a price tag! Many couples are fighting back against the culture of excess surrounding weddings by scaling back and simplifying, but it’s not always easy. Too many wedding planning guides are quick to say that traditions must be upheld, lest brides and grooms find themselves on the wrong side of etiquette. That’s why we want to be just as quick to counter by saying that most of what we think of as tradition is relatively new in its current form… and entirely optional.

Here are seven wedding traditions you can safely skip without offending Miss Manners or Emily Post – though you may have a few not-in-the-know wedding guests who see your omissions as inflammatory:

1. The flower girl – and by extension, the flower girl dress. While a little girl in a miniature gown can certainly enhance the look of a wedding party, whether to invite children to participate in the wedding ceremony is wholly up to the bride and groom.

2. Carrying a bridal bouquet. We love flowers as much as the next bridal accessory experts, but the fact is that a bride can walk down the aisle carrying whatever she wants or even nothing at all. Common floral alternatives include prayer books, candles, lanterns, and fans, but don’t feel like you have to carry anything.

3. Wedding favors. Surprised? While there is indeed a long history of giving wedding guests a little something to take home, there’s an equally long tradition of wedding guests tossing wedding favors right into the trash bin as soon as they get home.

4. Having a bride’s side and a groom’s side at the ceremony. Sometimes it happens that one half a couple has a whole lot of family while the other half has hardly any, or a bride and groom may share all their friends. Ushers can seat guests on either side of the aisle – or guests can simply seat themselves as they see fit, without having to take sides.

5. The garter toss. Wedding garters are so lovely these days that we personally love it when the bride decides to keep hers on her leg where it belongs. Have a toss if you really want to, but could we at least ask that your new spouse not use teeth to remove it beforehand?

6. Matchy-matchy bridesmaids dresses. Besides the fact that it’s unlikely that ALL of your ‘maids will look great in grey or green strapless sheaths, giving bridesmaids a little leeway to choose their own dresses (maybe in one color family) results in more interesting wedding pictures and a more authentic look.

7. Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Though a wedding guest or two may ask you to share your ‘somethings,’ most won’t, so unless you’re very sentimental yourself and truly want to take the time to choose from among the old, new, borrowed, and blue, feel free to just wear the dress and wedding jewelry you really want to wear.

What other wedding traditions do you think brides should consider tossing out?
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Dealing With Wedding Planning Criticism

The bride is the queen bee of her big day, right? Tell that to the the brides-to-be who have to deal with the nitpickers. A mother-of-the-bride who gives every dress her daughter loves the stink eye. An aunt who demands that the wedding vows not be said until 3 p.m. so she doesn’t have to drive in the city in the a.m. The bridesmaid who says she simply can’t wear purple, which happens to be the bride’s favorite color and the dominant color in the wedding color scheme.

Have you experienced it yet? The spoken or unspoken criticism of the decisions a bride-to-be will make while planning her wedding often come as a surprise because she has been told over and over that it’s her day and she probably expects her relatives and loved ones to be polite. *snort* One saying that always makes us laugh is “Weddings bring out the worst in people.” It’s shocking, but it’s often true. Because weddings are such a public affair, it’s not uncommon for those close to the bride- and groom-to-be to assume that their input is welcome, even when not specifically requested or when it’s clear that the couple just wants to share the fun of planning, not have their choices analyzed.

It probably won’t surprise you to read that when brides ask us questions, we’re happy to answer them, but when brides come to us to share what they’re excited about, we say it’s beautiful even when it doesn’t float our boats. Because you know what? It’s not our wedding.

Here’s the truth: No matter what wedding dress you pick or what wedding jewelry you wear on the big day… no matter how you do your hair or what shoes are on your feet as you walk down the aisle, at least one wedding guest, if not more than one, will cringe inwardly at your choices. We hope they do their cringing inwardly, anyway. Someone is going to think your reception chicken is rubbery and they’re going to wonder where you hid the top shelf liquor. While the majority of guests will love your wedding favors – or the fact that you opted not to give out favors – but a few will either hate your wedding favors or think their absence is sign of stinginess.

Whatever. It’s not a reflection of your taste as a bride or the quality of your venue or how beautiful or tasteful your bridal jewelry set is. Really, it’s not. Everyone is a critic, even if they never actually vocally critique your choices. And if they do? The best response is simply to brush it off the way you’d brush off any other casual rudeness from someone close to you. You don’t have to like it, but frankly, acknowledging it gives the critic more power than they deserve. It is, after all, your wedding – and if they don’t care for your choices, they can decline, with or without regrets.
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A Reader Asks: Do I Have to Let People Bring Babies to My Wedding?

A USABride fan who called herself ChildfreeBee wrote in to ask this question:

We’re fixing to send out our wedding invitations and I’m wondering what to do about babies. Specifically, the young babies of friends on our guest list who just took the parenting plunge. My partner and I aren’t anti-baby but we’re pretty adamant about not wanting our own. So far, everyone has understood that we’re having an adult affair – it’s an evening wedding – but if people have young babies do we need to just accept that they have to bring them along? Can we ask them not to?

Most couples are excited to include children in weddings, whether they’re specifically delighted by colorful flower girl dresses or picking the perfect ring pillow, but we get that kids aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – especially when it comes to late evening dinner parties starting at $50 per plate. In formalwear, no less. Unfortunately for these couples, etiquette is pretty clear on the fact that the only proper way to share the fact that a wedding is adults only is specifically naming only adults on the invitations (vs. something like “The Smith Family”) and having gossipy besties spread the word.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that many invited wedding guests do not understand the significance of the names on a wedding invitation.

But of course, that’s talking specifically about kids. When you’re talking about babies – particularly young babies who might be nursing – it’s going to be a lot harder to convince new moms and dads to find a babysitter, if it’s even possible. As for whether you can just call up parents and announce that babies aren’t invited, the answer is no. At least not politely. What you can do is use your social network to spread the word that this is an adults-only kind of party. And if these new parents contact you to ask outright whether baby is welcome, which is what they ought to be doing anyway, you can at that point feel free to say no. A little courtesy on both sides can do a lot to keep relationships intact. You may find you have a couple more cards in your Declines With Regrets pile, but there won’t be any bad blood because of it.
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Bridal Glove Etiquette: Wearing Bracelets with Gloves

One of the questions our bridal stylists get a lot is “If I wear X, can I still wear Y?” where X and Y are various bridal accessories and types of wedding jewelry. As in, if I wear crystals, can I still wear pearls? If I wear a bridal tiara, can I still wear luxurious drop earrings? You get the idea. A particular question that comes up less frequently, but still comes up, is whether a bride can wear bracelets with her gloves.

The easy answer is yes – we support brides wearing whatever will make them feel beautiful – but we wanted to go deeper and find out what the etiquette rules are that deal with bracelets and bridal gloves. As it turns out, the rules for bracelets (as opposed to rings) are a lot more simple and straightforward than we imagined they’d be.

There is actually a long history of prominent women wearing bracelets over opera gloves – which is why some stylists caution brides to avoid wearing bigger bracelets over gloves lest they end up looking like the Queen Mum (or a Material Girl).

But in general, there is no reason to wait until your wedding reception to swap out your gloves for a beautiful bridal bracelet. These days, brides who wear both aren’t breaking any rules, etiquette or fashion. And in fact, a bracelet on each wrist *daring, we know* gives the bride wearing mousquetaire gloves somewhere to tuck the ends during the ring exchange part of the ceremony and while dining.

When it comes to rings over gloves, though… we think not, even if some think doing so is fashion-friendly.
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