Wedding Manners

Wedding Traditions on Their Way Out

  • Avoiding White - In the past, one of the biggest wedding no-no's was wearing white to someone's wedding. Just like wearing black to a wedding, I am finding avoiding white is starting to become a trend of the past. During the summer months, I see a minimum of 2-3 guest in white.
  • Garter Toss - While this use to be a wedding staple, think 1980's big hair, this tradition is seen less and less. I would say out of all of the weddings we plan each year, there is only 1 wedding who still plans a garter toss.
  • Cake Cutting - At one time, this tradition use to take place on center stage with all eyes on the couple. Now the cake cutting is done off to the side if at all.  Saving the top layer of the cake to celebrate the one-year anniversary is certainly on the way out.

What other traditions do you see making its way out the door?

Thank You Note in 3 Easy Steps

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink - Don't Be a Bad Wedding Guest

"Explain how you forgot to invite us to your party?

You know I couldn't invite you. I had to pretend to be plastic."

  • Don't skip the ceremony. The ceremony is really the most important part of the wedding, be respectful of that!
  • Don't show up with an uninvited guest....including kids. 
  • Don't make the day about you. Sit down and shut up. 
  • Don't wear white. I will keep saying this till I stop seeing people wearing white! 
  • Don't bother the bride with anything. Tell her she is beautiful and move along. 

Wedding Toast Tips

As a wedding planner, I have certainly seen and heard my fair share of toasts. Here are a few tips from the best and worst toasts:

1. Don't start with "Hi, I'm Amy and I'm the Bride's sister/best friend." Duh, if you are the bride's sister and or best friend, chances are you know most everyone in that room. If you feel like you don't know the room, think of a different way to "introduce" yourself.

2. Don't try and be funny- especially if you aren't. There is nothing more awkward than listening to a toast that is supposed to be funny and it is just not. I get it, you think you're funny. I typically think I'm 100% funnier than how people perceive me. A toast is not the place to try out your latest jokes or stories.

3. Don't over share.  I once witnessed a toast where the best man revealed to the room that the bride and groom had been living together...and that was not meant to be public knowledge.

4.Get others involved.  One of the more creative toasts I saw was when the best man got the band involved and played different music clips. You can always get other wedding guest involved. Be creative!

5. Speak from the heart! This is a really special day for the couple. Be sure to respect that and hopefully add a good memory for them.

How to Write your Save the Date

Your save the date verbiage should be short and sweet! The save the date is the first item your guest will receive about your wedding so it should be a reflection of whats to come. For example if you plan on having a traditional formal invitation, your save the date should have more of the formal tradition wording.

Here are some suggestions:

Tom and Beth
are getting married on
March 28, 2013
Washington, DC
Formal invitation to follow

He proposed ... she said 'Yes'!
Tom + Beth
will tie the knot
March 28, 2013
Washington, DC
Formal invitation to follow

We're taking the plunge!
Hope you'll be there to celebrate our flight.
Tom + Beth
say "I Do"
March 28, 2013
Washington, DC
Formal invitation to follow

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink- Plus Ones

"She thinks she's gonna have a party and not invite me? 
Who does she think she is?"

Just because you have a boyfriend, never assume they are invited.  This applies to any event or social gathering!

In my group of college friends, the boyfriends are always assumed to be invited.  In fact every email we send around about setting up something always ends with- as usual all friends and boyfriends welcomed.  I was talking to another friend about this and she thought it was the strangest thing. In her group of college friends, the boyfriends (and husbands) are never assumed to be invited (tough crowd). Yes, boyfriends are always invited, but like I said, they are INVITED.

This of course goes for weddings.  All too often people assume their boyfriend of the week will be invited to the wedding. Never assume that and more importantly, don't be offended when they aren't.  Many times the couple getting married is actually paying for their own wedding.  Cutting down on plus ones is a great way to control the expenses. The only time you can expect your boyfriend to be invited is if you are living together.

Be mindful of how invitations are addressed and remember to not take this personally.

Expensive Honor Being a Bridesmaid- Part 2

Guess its all worth it in the end!

Photo Credit: Cynthia Cain Photography

Bridesmaid Dress

: The dress you will only wear once no matter how many ways or places the brides suggests you can wear it! The cost is around $200 (not including shipping, alterations, shoes...). Nothing you can do about this one sorry!

Bride Tip

: Let the bridesmaids pick their own shoes and accessories which will allow them to decide what they are comfortable spending.

Rehearsal Dress

: Traditionally the night before the wedding the Groom's Family host a rehearsal dinner which can be an extravagant in itself.  Dresses can range from $100-$200, but here you have a little more control (no white!).

Cost Cutting

: Try and wear a dress that you have worn before, or trade with a friend!

Day of Wedding Salon

: Many times bridesmaids will gather at a salon (or bring a salon to someone's house) to get everyone looking perfect for the wedding. The cost can be around $50-$200 for hair and $50-$150 for makeup.

Bride Tip

: If you make an up-do mandatory or makeup style then you should also pick up the bill!

Wedding Gift

: This typically runs you $100-$250.

Cost Cutting

: Try pooling all of the Bridesmaid money together and get something big off the registry.


: Many times you are not living where the wedding will take place. That means travel and lodging expenses! That can range up to $1,000 easily!

Bride Tip: Try getting your out of town bridesmaids a place to stay with some of the local bridesmaids.

Total Cost: $850- $2,250

 (and on and on)

Now you know what your signing up for...

Modern Invitation Etiquette Issues- Part 2

Caren is back for round 2! Caren has provided us with a quick invitation overview. Maybe you don't have any invitation hick-ups! Follows these guidelines and you'll be just fine!

As a calligrapher, I am often asked to give advice about the proper way to address envelopes. My personal preference is to go with the tried and true, “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith.” However, nowadays, instead of using the traditional form of “Mr. and Mrs. ….,” many brides and grooms prefer to acknowledge the wife’s first name, as well as the husband’s.
Several years ago one of my clients was adament about this and against my advice insisted on using an extremely unusual format.

Mrs. and Mr. Joan and John Smith

It was so different from what I usually did, (and truthfully so weird,) that I wound up inadvertently making many errors.
 Short of being so creative, here are three ways to achieve the same result without the address becoming so cumbersome. I have listed them in order of my own preference. However, I will always address the envelopes as my clients desire.

   Mr. John and Mrs. Joan Smith

   Mr. John Smith and
     Mrs. Joan Smith

   Mr. and Mrs. John and Joan Smith 

Please visit to learn more about Caren.

Modern Invitation Etiquette Issues

You have your guest list together, your invitations ordered, and now its time to address them.  All is going well until you come to your first hiccup- a couple that is living together, but not married. How do you address that? Then you come to your co-worker who is in a same sex marriage. How do you address that? These are common modern invitation addressing questions and the answers cannot be found in vintage Emily Post.

I'm lucky to have Caren Milman, of Caren Milman Calligraphy, answer all of these questions once and for all (till things inevitably change again)!


Photo Credit

Etiquette for addressing wedding envelopes has evolved from what was considered correct and proper years ago when the majority of invitations went to “Mr. and Mrs.” whoever. Today there are many different situations that affect how the invitations are addressed. Some of the more common ones are discussed below.

When the

guests are a couple living together but not married

, the guests should be listed on two lines without the word “and” (“and” indicates the people are married.) There are three ways to handle this type of 

invitation: list the name of the guest you know better on the first line, list the woman’s name on the first line followed with the man’s name on the second line, alphabetize the names on two lines regardless of sex or 

who you know better. My personal preference is to write person you are closer with on the top line.

Invitations to

gay couples

present a different challenge. You must determine whether they would prefer to be invited as a married couple. If so, then follow the suggestions above, but use the word “and” on the 

top line next to the first name. Otherwise, address the envelope to them as though they are an unmarried couple living together.

If your invitation has an

inner envelope, the outer envelope

is used only for the people who live at that address. If you are inviting someone with a guest you do not know, or who does not live with the main invitee, the words “and Guest” should be added to the inner envelope. If the invitation has only a single envelope, then “and Guest” must be added on the first line next to your invitee.

Children over 18

should receive their own invitations. However, nowadays it in not uncommon to include them on the invitation with their parents. They can appear on the outer envelope beneath their parents names. Children under 18 should be listed only on the inner envelope on a double envelope invitation. However, if there is only one envelope then the young children must be listed under their parents.

Depending on the woman’s preference,


may be addressed as “Ms.” or “Mrs.” Women who are divorced should be addressed as “Ms.”

Please visit

 to learn more about Caren.

Fast Fact 6. Invitations