How Not to Tick Anyone Off When You Register for Your Wedding

Wedding gifts are great and wedding gifts are complicated. People will look at you like you’re a weirdo if you don’t register anywhere. People will talk about you behind your back if you register for anything they think is too expensive or not strictly wedding-y. People will go off-registry to buy wedding gifts, which is okay, and buy you all kinds of wacky stuff you’re going to immediately donate to charity, which is also okay.

Me, I like to give couples a check because it’s easy, portable, and almost always appreciated. But lots of other folks will give you diddly if you don’t show up at Target or Nordstrom or wherever to zap everything you never knew you wanted for your home. Look, if you didn’t already know here is the deal: Word of mouth is really only the “proper” way to inform people where you and your honey are registered. Hopefully, people will make the effort to ask you where y’all are registered if it’s not common knowledge.

If you want to ensure that no one buys you anything, feel free to put your registry information right on your wedding invitation. Ha ha, only kidding. If you do that, you’re also ensuring no RSVPs, no guests, and no big bash reception due to low attendance. HOWEVER, there is an easy workaround. You get yourself a wedding website – and there are like nine-hundred ways to do that, many for free – and put your wedding registry info, including links, right on your site. Since you’re using new-fangled tech, at least insofar as weddings are concerned since the pace of innovation moves like cold molasses in this sphere, you’re not technically* breaking any etiquette rules.

And now, in case you need reminding…

Things not to put on your registry:

  • Your wedding dress and bridal jewelry.
  • Your wedding night undies.
  • A Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 (sorry guys!)
  • A standalone electric pizza cooker – I swear to Miss Manners you will never use this
  • Personal lubricants
  • Exotic animals
  • Mail-order sister wives

All right, I’m being a little over the top – but I’d love to hear what you think should never, ever be on a wedding registry!

*See what I did there?

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8 Things NOT to Do Before Your Wedding

Wedding planning guides like mine spend a lot of time telling brides-to-be what they SHOULD be doing. I thought it might be fun to share some wedding planning DON’Ts for once! Here are :

1. It’s your day, yes, but please do not justify being a brat by telling everyone that it’s your day. It’s also your SO’s day and your family’s day and even to some extent your guests’ day since after getting hitched the secondary objective of a wedding should be showing people a good time.

2. Do not leave buying bridal accessories until the very last minute. Once you have your wedding gown, give yourself some time to try out different wedding jewelry, shoes, and headpieces. Many stores have amazing return policies – but it only works if you have enough time to place an order, wait for shipping, try it on, and send it back before doing it all again if necessary.

3. Do not tan. By now you surely know how unhealthy tanning can be, and fake tans are getting better and better anyway. Especially do not go tanning, outside or at a salon, a few days before or the day before your wedding. There is always the chance you’ll bake just a touch too long and end up resembling a cooked lobster. Not a good bridal look!

4. Do not go on a bender – intentional or not – the night before your wedding. A few glasses of wine with dinner is totally okay, but too many brides have a little too much after eating far too little because of nerves or a last ditch diet. Trust me when I say you do not want to be even a little hungover when you say your vows. And there’s this, too:


5. Speaking of bridal diets, do not diet yourself into exhaustion in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Your gown will be a certain size and then altered to fit your body perfectly. Lose too much weight and you’ll be swimming in what would have been an amazing dress tailored just for you.

6. Do not, if at all possible, hold the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. Typically these turn into family and friend reunions, and so can go late and get crazy. Ideally you want to get a good night’s sleep the evening before your wedding day and having a party the night before is not the way to do that.


7. Do not assume you have all the time in the world to make reservations or confirm with vendors. Wedding planning timelines exist for a good reason: planning what is essentially a giant party complete with themed décor and multiple courses of refreshments and (sometimes) a full bar isn’t easy. That’s why for some it really is a full-time job.

8. Do not lose sight of what really matters. It’s easy to get so completely wrapped up in planning a wedding that you forget to spend time with your SO. Sometimes one half of a couple is excited about the prep – and sometimes it falls on just one person’s shoulders. Either way, be sure to make time for each other… time that does not include looking at fabric swatches and asking vendors for estimates.

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Choosing Wedding Invitations: Requesting the Honour of Their Presence at Every Price Point

(Ed. note: Today’s post is an excerpt from iDo: Planning Your Wedding with Nothing But Net by Christa Terry. Check it out!)

Once upon a time, wedding invitations included an outer envelope, an inner envelope, a folded invitation card, a response card with its own envelope, a reception card, and a bunch of little squares of tissue paper that kept runny ink from getting all over everything. Really elegant invitations were made of oversized heavy ecru cardstock engraved with richly colored inks. You can still get invites of this sort, but be prepared to pay a premium for them. There is an art to packing a multi-component invitation, and the whole process is thoroughly outlined at To make a long story short, response cards, RSVP envelopes, and reception cards take up different positions depending on how the invitations itself is folded and where the text appears. The thing is, it’s unlikely that any of your invitees will be particularly familiar with this paper folding etiquette, so don’t sweat the small stuff.

via Woodland Papercuts

The big players in the nuptial paper world are the invitations, which come in hundreds of sizes, shapes, colors, and configurations. That said, be prepared to see the same paper and printing options again and again and again if you’re planning on buying mass-produced invites. An affiliate program launched by Carlson Craft has, to some extent, dominated the online invitation world with their cceasy program. You’re going to see a lot of online invitation shops that look just like the sample site at—the prices appear to be set by Carlson Craft so you’re not going to find a better deal unless you can find a store that isn’t a part of the cceasy program that carries the same merchandise. Good luck with that.

You can stick it to the mainstream by looking at the many, many alternative options out there. The plainest of modern invitations typically consist of one envelope, a single invitation card, a response card with an envelope, and a reception card, but there’s no reason to settle for unadorned vellum. The inner envelopes and tissue squares of yesteryear have been replaced by ornate ribbons and charms, brightly colored wraps, and complicated systems of overlays. The more intricate invitations are usually the most visually interesting, but they can also leave recipients feeling a little confused. If you suspect your loved ones won’t be able to navigate the complex scheme of knots and bows on highly embellished invites, opt for something simpler.

Some invitations will always be more impressive than others. crafts dramatic invitations made of laser-engraved birch, cherry, oak, maple, and walnut woods. At, you can order custom designed invites in beautiful fabric enclosures. Would you prefer that each of your invitations be hand painted by an artist? Stop by to get a feel for the cost of originality. It’s not at all difficult to find invitations in bottles, scrolled invitations, seeded invitations that can be planted, and cards that come wrapped in silk envelopes.

Be aware, however, that impressiveness is almost always pricey.

(Image via Woodland Papercuts, which you should also check out!)

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What are Casual Wedding Invitations – and are They Really Casual?

When a bride-to-be tells us she’s planning a casual wedding, what she often really means is that she’s planning a simple wedding. A truly casual wedding – and make no mistake, they do happen – might have people showing up in jeans, coolers of Bud, a groom in board shorts, and the bride herself wearing nothing more complicated than a sundress. Think backyard barbecue weddings without the dressing up that backyard barbecue weddings usually receive.

casual wedding

Simple weddings, on the other hand, are about dressed-down ambiance and understated elegance. Typically, simplicity begins by stripping a ceremony and reception down to their barest elements and then building them back up again very carefully using a minimalist, free-spirited aesthetic as a guide. Think supermarket flowers arranged by the bride herself in an assortment of carefully chosen vintage milk glass – all thoughtfully thrifted, of course. Simple sheath dresses, perfectly tailored, on both the bride and her maids. A cake that looks just rustic enough to pass for homemade even though its look was specifically requested by the couple.

In wedding parlance, simple can mean almost anything. You know it when you see it, we think. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles, but that doesn’t mean that the bridal accessories, venue, refreshments, clothing, décor, and transportation didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Wedding invitations are one area where couples mistake simple for casual. A truly casual wedding invitation would be one written by the bride-to-be herself – and we all know that ain’t happening. A simple wedding invitation, on the other hand, is one that employs uncomplicated language and isn’t fussy. No tissue paper inserts or gold embossing here. Think letterpress invites on plain (yet quality) cardstock. Maybe with a quirky graphic custom designed for the couple for good measure. And the wording? Straightforward, like so:

Jane Marie Smith &

John Jacob Johnson

Invite you to share in their joy

on their wedding day.

Saturday, May 25, 2015

at five o’clock in the evening

Perdullis Inn

6 Severo Way

Salem, MA 01915

Dinner and dancing to follow

If this all sounds wonderful, you’re in good company. More and more couples are opting not for casual wedding invitations but rather for simple ones. It makes sense. Weddings, though no less expensive, are certainly getting less fussy as time marches on. And we like that.

Do you?

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Your Bridal Style: Dressed Up or Dressed Down?

You’re planning a wedding, focusing on your guests’ experience and creating an event that is a reflection of your and your spouse’s two hearts. It is, we know, a lot of work! There’s so much to think about… the venue, how you want people to remember the day, cake flavors, wedding favors, and more. But maybe you’re forgetting something.

Maybe you’re forgetting your own bridal style.

We’d wager you have a personal style, but maybe you want to rock something a little different on one of the most important days of your life. Could be that in the day to day you’re a dressed down tomboy and you want to glam up – hello CZ wedding jewelry – for your ceremony and reception. How do you want people to see you? Flirty and fun… or sophisticated and elegant? Dressed up or dressed down?

dressed up bridal style

The wonderful thing about planning a wedding is that when it comes to your bridal style, the sky is the limit. Be yourself, or be someone else. Your wedding is the ultimate excuse to play dress up. You can be princess for the day if you really want to – just imagine yourself as royalty! Or not, if you balk at the notion of stepping out of your favorite pair of jeans. Not that we’re suggesting you get married in them (though there’s nothing wrong with that) but we do think it’s fine to consider the real you when you’re envisioning your bridal style. Carefree and comfortable is a wonderful look to pursue.

dressed down bridal style

There are no right or wrong answers. Though do consider where you’ll be spending the bulk of your wedding… indoors or outdoors, in the heat or frosty cold, on grass or parquet floors. This is your time to shine and we recommend creating your own light instead of mimicking someone else’s. Dress up or dress down, it’s all wonderful. Create your own bridal style – one that’s relaxed, happy, confident, and beautiful.

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Wedding Planning Luxe: Live Event Painting

If it wasn’t enough that brides-to-be had to choose between a DJ and live band, now there’s wedding photography versus live event painting. Okay, maybe not, but live event painting is definitely a trending wedding add-on! If you love art, hiring a painting to capture the emotion of your ceremony or reception might just be for you.


What it is: Live event painting is just what it sounds like. An artist comes to your ceremony or reception and, over the course of the event, creates a one-of-a-kind, romantic painting that you can hang proudly in your home.

How much it costs: Every artist is different, and painters will have their own styles, favorite medium, and price tags. But expect to pay anywhere from $500 to more than $5,000.

What to consider: Does your wedding venue allow painters? Be sure your ceremony or reception venue is okay with having an artist in attendance using materials like paints and solvents.

Now as much as this is modish at this moment, live event painting is nothing new and is actually rooted in centuries of tradition. On top of becoming a treasured keepsake, your finished painting may appreciate in value over time and will certainly be a family heirloom that outlives you. We love the idea of having the finished work scanned and printed onto thank you cards so guests get to see the result of the artist’s work.

What’s also very cool about having a live event painter at your wedding is that watching the artist at work can be yet another diversion for guests. When your loved ones aren’t actually gathered around the painter doing his or her thing, they’ll probably be talking about your choice to have a real live art pro in situ. That’s why we recommend choosing an artist who won’t be bothered by a little friendly chitchat or questions from your wedding guests. That way, he or she won’t mind the interruption and your guests can learn more about this luxe trend.

Image via

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Should You Have an Unplugged Wedding?

The newest trend in weddings is not some sparkling bridal accessory or the color of the moment, but rather the unplugged wedding.

In this, the age of ubiquitous iPhone, it’s not unusual to have your view of the bride and groom blocked by some taller guest taking hundreds of snapshots with a tablet. Most of us have gotten used to the fact that at least one guest per wedding will be live-tweeting the ceremony and reception. But a growing number of couples are now asking guests to disconnect for a few hours – and the hope is that everyone will have a more meaningful, more enjoyable time in the process.

Wedding photographers in particular are advocating for the unplugged wedding. While a majority of wedding guests fancy themselves photogs, snapping away during the ceremony kiss and the first dance, there’s the question of whether they (or the couple) will ever even look at those Instagram pics. The professional photographer who is at the wedding to work, on the other hand, has a vested interest in getting the best shots – and isn’t there to enjoy himself or herself. Wedding guests, the notion goes, should put their gadgets away and just enjoy the wedding. They can always check out the “real” photog’s online gallery later.

unplugged weddings - discount wedding veils

Other arguments for the unplugged wedding: Turning off phones means no chance of a ringtone interrupting the ‘I do’s. No chance of someone with their head down in a pew texting instead of listening to the couple’s original wedding vows. If guests aren’t taking pics, there’s no chance of unflattering cake smashing shots ending up on Facebook or Tumblr. The bride won’t have to deal with guests lining the aisle with iPhones held high.

But is it etiquette-appropriate to request that your wedding guests turn off (or even turn over) their digital devices for the duration of the event? I’ve heard stories of guests being asked to leave for violating no phone rules, but I’ve never actually been to a wedding where the couple requested that phones stay in pockets.

I don’t think I’d be particularly offended to see a politely worded request on the ceremony program, a la “The Bride and Groom request that guests turn off their phones for the duration of the ceremony and reception. The photographer will be posting photos online. Please just enjoy yourself.” But I also recognize I might be alone in that opinion!

Have you been to an unplugged wedding? Or are you planning one yourself?

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Choosing Your Wedding Scent

You’ve got the ultimate dress (and the most luxurious undies for underneath). Your perfect crystal tiara is perched on your dressing table. You found the most beautiful wedding shoes. Now it’s time to think about perfume. Nowadays, many brides-to-be don’t have a signature scent they’ve been wearing for years and years because it’s fun to try different perfumes or switch scents with the season. If that sounds like you, why not think about picking a special perfume just for your wedding day?

Narrowing down your options is when it comes to your wedding scent shouldn’t be that different than choosing that crystal tiara.

First, consider what impression you want to make. Do you envision yourself dazzlingly happy? Stunningly beautiful? Enveloped by romance? Strikingly serene? How you imagine you’ll look and feel at the altar can help you as you search for a wedding day fragrance.

Next, think about the theme of your wedding. A wintertime wedding decked out in white and silver calls for a very different scent than a ceremony and reception on a tropical island! For the former, think in terms of warm, comforting perfumes. Maybe something heavier. For the beach, fruity florals are just right.

Finally, consider what you want your perfume to accomplish. Are you hoping to make your soon to be spouse swoon? Try something musky. Wearing your mother’s classic perfume, on the other hand, is a wonderful way to honor your mom without having to wear her out of date wedding gown.

So if you have a perfume you adore, wear it. And if you’re allergic, don’t think you need to smell like roses when you walk down the aisle. But if you were thinking about choosing a special wedding day scent, do it! It’s just one more way to customize your big day!

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Wedding Planning Tips: Prioritizing Versus Economizing

When it comes to wedding planning on a budget, trying to get the ceremony and reception you want can feel like a second job. You’re hunting down deals. You’re bargaining with vendors. Looking for steals that look like splurges. It is, we know, a lot of work for the bride-to-be who has caviar dreams with a canned tuna bank balance. It’s a big part of why we sell beautiful wedding jewelry at prices every bride can be happy with – we think you deserve to look beautiful no matter what.

(You’re already beautiful, of course – you know what we mean…)

pearl wedding jewelry

But anyway, back to point. We have a secret to share. You can get what you want – the best version of it – by giving up the things you don’t care about. Or you get the whole package, everything and anything for your wedding, by lowering your expectations just a little bit.

Maybe that means working up DIY baby’s breath centerpieces instead of decorating tables with professionally arranged roses. Or wearing simple glass pearl wedding jewelry instead of shelling out for the real deal. A classic outdoor ceremony in your nearest public park instead of the high profile house of worship with its supposedly optional “donation.” Or maybe it means cutting back nearly everywhere except for your clothes and accessories so you can hire a kickass photographer. There is no right way or wrong way to plan a wedding.

Some wedding planning truths:

  • · Cheapest does not mean best
  • · Neither does most expensive
  • · Sometimes prioritizing means giving something up so you don’t have to deprive yourself
  • · Sometimes budgeting means not having to prioritize


Things you do not need for your wedding:

  • · Wedding favors
  • · Ceremony programs
  • · Alcohol at the reception (no kidding)
  • · Live musicians
  • · A big white wedding dress
  • · A tiered cake
  • · Five different inserts in your wedding invitation
  • · Anything that isn’t you, your honey-bunny, an officiant, and some witnesses (if your state requires them)

Basically, you can prioritize. Or you can budget. Or you can do both, but you don’t have to. If you plan your wedding thoughtfully, you can get the wedding you want without breaking the bank and love every minute. Promise!

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Inspired By…

A big part of wedding planning is finding inspiration. Go on Pinterest and wedding inspiration boards abound. Brides-to-be are making their own inspiration boards, saving inspiration boards they find on blogs, and reading the magazines for even more inspiration.


You might think with all that wedding inspiration, every bride-to-be can find the inspiration she needs when shopping for gowns, bridal accessories, shoes, vendors, flowers, and everything else she’ll need for her ceremony and reception.

But nope. Lots of brides-to-be are floundering. It’s like water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. Too much inspiration. Too many options. You could drown in all that inspiration.

That’s why we sometimes tell the brides-to-be who come to us for help with their bridal accessories that they should find inspiration in things meaningful to them. Not in what’s trendy or what’s made it into the pages of the bridal magazines. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you love?
  • What makes your heart beat faster?
  • What are your passions?
  • What interests do you share with your spouse-to-be?
  • What colors are in your closet?

Your wedding should be about you and the things that make you excited, not the things wedding experts recommend. Who cares what colors are in this year – your favorite colors should be your guide. Throw out the magazines. Close your computer (after finishing this post, of course). And then look around you… what do you see?

There’s your inspiration!

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