Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Should Brides and Grooms Get Veto Power?

My friend/adversary over at A Groom's Diary thinks it's a good idea for couples to veto each other's decisions when it comes to the wedding details and guest list.  I'm sure you can imagine what my thoughts are on the subject.

Check out Round 4 of the Wedding Blogger Battle Royale over at The Man Registry, and don't be afraid to tell Ian that he's wrong...again.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Would You Take Your Fiance Wedding Dress Shopping?

Probably not, but that's the debate in this week's Wedding Blogger Battle Royale over at The Man Registry.

I'm sure you can guess my reasoning...tradition, surprise, photo-op factor, but my esteemed blogger colleague Ian at A Groom's Diary says every guy should join you at the salon, though he has another activity that he'd prefer to enjoy.

Find out what it is and tell Ian why I'm right and he's wrong, again ;) over at the Groom's Advice blog.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Should You Spend Money on Engagement Photos?

I think you should but Ian over at The Groom's Diary isn't so sure.

Read both of our opinions over at The Man Registry.  Ian and I will be debating the top wedding dilemmas over the next six weeks.

Add your comments to the Wedding Blogger Battle Royale and decide who's right and who's etiquette-ly incorrect.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Should You Allow Kids at Your Wedding?

A Groom's Diary blogger, Ian, and I went head to head to answer this very important question.  Find out our thoughts, and choose which one of us is right, at The Man Registry.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Father-Daughter BAT MITZVAH Dance

For the past few years we've been tracking videos of brides and grooms and even some brides and their dads surprising wedding guests with creative dance routines.  We haven't seen a lot of grooms and moms.  Something to search for. Well, the trend has finally hit the Bat Mitzvah circuit.

And while most of us are many years away from that milestone I thought this video of a 13-year-old girl with her dad was very sweet and glad to know that the wedding world inspired them.  Take a look:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Fiance and I Have a Child, Can We Include Her Name on the Wedding Invitation?

Yes, and I’m sure she would love being included!
Assuming the two of you are hosting the wedding add her name under yours in the following manner:
John Jones and Jane Smith
together with their daughter Louise 
invite you to…
And since you are including her in the wedding invitation wording, you may also want to bring her with you to help pick out the wedding invitation.  I’m sure she’ll enjoy being part of the process.

You may want to take her to the cake tasting too.

Monday, May 14, 2012

We Got an Engagement from Someone We Didn’t Plan on Inviting to the Wedding. Now Do We Have to Send them an Invitation?

You don’t have to send a wedding invitation to someone just because they sent you an engagement gift. You do however have to send them a thank-you note.
If at some point the gift giver says something that gives you the impression that they’re expecting an invitation you can either ignore their comment or explain that you’ve decided to have a more intimate wedding with your closest family and friends and kept the list extremely short.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Can’t Afford to Pay for All My Bridesmaids’ Hair & Makeup. How Do I Ensure They Look Their Best?

I would talk to each girl, individually may be best, and find out what she is planning to do regarding hair and makeup. Some of them may go to a salon for their hair but opt to do their own makeup, and some may assume a makeup artist is being hired for everyone to use.
Once you know everyone’s situation figure out how much hair and makeup will cost per person and if it’s too much for each bridesmaid, or maybe just for a few of them, see if you can subsidize some of the costs.  If you can’t, shop around for the best deal.  Maybe there’s a beauty school in the area with some talented students or an assistant to your salon can send you at a fraction of the stylist’s fee.  Or even a groupon deal you can take advantage of.
Another option that I did for a friend’s wedding was to go to the local department store with a few other bridesmaids the morning of the wedding.  We each had scheduled an 11am appointment at our favorite makeup counter and for the cost of one lipstick, which we bought to use for the wedding, got our makeup done for free.  I honestly don’t remember what we did for the hair. I think for my wedding we hired a makeup salesgirl from the local Macy’s to come to the ceremony location and do each girl’s makeup for about $65 each.  For hair, a friend found a local salon that gave the girls a break because there were 8 of them coming in for blowouts at 9am on a Sunday.
Keep your bridesmaids’ budgets in mind -- they’re spending a lot of money on your wedding -- so don’t force them to lay out hundreds more for hair and makeup.  It’s worth it to start researching budget-friendly options months, and not days, before the wedding.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

How Do We Prevent Tip Jars on the Bar, at the Coat Check and by the Valet?

Gratuities for all three -- bar tenders, coat check and valet attendants -- should be listed in the venue and/or catering contracts and paid through those bills.  Make it clear to the catering/location manager that you do not want tip jars/bowls/plates displayed since you are covering gratuities.
If you do see them out while your wedding is happening ask, or have someone like a bridesmaid or groomsmen ask, the manager to have it removed immediately.

Monday, May 07, 2012

We’re Having a Destination Wedding in the Caribbean, Can I Still Have a Formal Wedding?

Of course you can but think about where the wedding is going to be and let that dictate the tone.  If your ceremony is being held on a beach and the reception at an outdoor restaurant you may not be comfortable in a heavy ball gown, nor will your guests in long gowns and tuxedos.
If however the ceremony and reception will be held in a grand hotel ballroom, where there is air conditioning, formal attire shouldn’t be an issue.
But if you want a formal wedding why are you choosing a location that lends itself to a more casual setting? Make sure that you and your fiance choose a geographic locale as well as a venue that will bring your vision to life.  You don’t want to fight with the venue look and feel, you want to work with it.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

We Received a Wedding Gift in the Mail and It Was Broken? Do We Tell the Gift Giver?

You don’t have.  If you know where the gift was purchased I’d take it to the store with all the packaging and shipping materials and explain that this is how it arrived.
If you’re not sure where the gift came from then tell the gifter that it arrived broken and he or she should be able to help you get a new one.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do We Have to Include the First and Last Name of a Guests’ Guest on the Wedding Invitation Envelope?

You should get the first and last name of every guest.  It’s not appropriate to put Mr. John Smith and Guest or as we recently received on an invitation, “& Spouse”. In the situation where it’s a married couple, Mr. & Mrs. Smith is fine -- unless of course the wife has a different last name or she has a professional title such as Dr., Hon. Or is in the armed services and then she would be listed first.
There’s nothing wrong with sending an email or calling a guest and asking for the correct spelling of everyone’s names or asking a guest brining a date you’e never met for his or her name.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Do We Have To Mail Wedding Invitations to our Parents and Bridal Party?

I would send wedding invitations to everyone who is invited to the wedding including your parents, the groom’s and the bridal party. In the case of the parents, you can ask them if they want a copy mailed to them. They may say that you don’t need to waste the postage, but they will probably want a complete wedding invite set as a keepsake.

Friday, April 20, 2012

For Our Wedding Ceremony, Do We Have to Stand With Our Backs to Our Guests?

Not at all.  There are a variety of seating arrangements available for guests -- circle and square layouts will allow guests to sit in a 360 degree arrangement, though some people would still see your back.
If your ceremony venue doesn’t allow you to reconfigure the chairs ask your officiant if when you get to the altar you can turn to face your guests and his back is to them. If you have a rather large train this may be difficult to maneuver so make sure your bridesmaids can help you.
A crazy idea would be to set up a large screen or two and have a video of the wedding ceremony livestreamed on them so guests can get a shot of you from all angles during the ceremony. But this is more like an award show, conference or sporting event set-up so I don’t know why I’m even suggesting it.
Don’t feel that your guests will think it’s rude to have your back to them.  That is the traditional and expected layout, but a unique front of view option is always welcome.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Do I Have to Buy a Plain and Diamond Wedding Band for the Wedding Ceremony?

Of course not.  You can buy one or both -- it’s entirely up to you.
Jewish ceremonies require a plain band, meaning one that is a complete circle and not “broken” with stones. But this doesn’t mean you have to buy them.  Many couples exchange their parents’ or grandparents’ rings and then slip on their “real” wedding bands after the ceremony.
If cost is the issue, I would suggest buying wedding bands that you can afford and save up for a diamond wedding band for a special anniversary -- like your 10th, 20th or 25th.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do We Have to Have a Ring Bearer?

No you don’t have to have a ring bearer.  You can ask the best man to hold the rings or the groom can keep them in his pocket.
Even if you do have a ring bearer, no matter how old he is, he should carry fake rings and have the adults hold onto the real ones.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wedding Gown Guidance from Mark Ingram

For the past ten years Mark Ingram has been dressing brides in fabulous gown at his Atelier on the East Side of Manhattan.  In honor of the Atelier's 10th anniversary I thought I'd recycle an old post from 2006 with his wedding gown shopping tips, because this advice never goes out of style:

1. It is important to have an actual wedding date and venue. Your sales consultant will help you select a gown that is perfect for your setting.

2. Bring tear sheets, photos and downloaded web images of styles of gowns you wish to try on. Our consultants will make additional style recommendations based on your initial conversation.

3. Before scheduling an appointment, make sure the salons you have selected feature gowns in your price range.

4. In general, limit your shopping companions to the one or two persons whose opinions mean the most.

The Mark Ingram Atelier is located at 110 East 55th Street, 8th Floor. They only work by appointment, so call them at 212-319-6778 to schedule one soon.

Friday, April 13, 2012

How Will I Know When I Find My Wedding Dress?

You know how you knew with the guy?  Well it kind of works the same way.  You’ll get this feeling that it’s “the one” but there are a few other signs you can look for:
  1. You don’t want to take it off, ever.
  2. After you leave the bridal salon you’re still thinking about it.
  3. You try on other gowns but still want to put this one dress back on.
  4. Your mom cried.
  5. Your dad cried.
  6. You cried.

It’s very important that you’re sure the dress you’re buying is the one you want because it's a very important purchase.  Wedding gowns can be expensive and there’s usually a "no returns" policy. 
If you still want to try on other wedding gowns even though you found one you like, I suggest you keep looking because once you found "the one" you’ll want to stop.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Do I Have to Choose a Bridesmaid Dress My Bridesmaids Approve Of Or Can I Just Pick What I Want Them to Wear?

Since they’re paying for them it would be nice of you to ask them to wear something they feel comfortable in. I know that it’s your big day but you don’t want to humiliate your closest friends and relatives, do you?  If this thought is based on the fact that you want to be the center of attention then don’t have any bridesmaids at all.

When shopping for dresses have a clear idea of what color and style you want and make sure as many of your bridesmaids are with you to try them on.  See what they look like and if they are comfortable in them -- can they easily walk, do they have the coverage they want or need, can they dance the night away with you and your new hubby?
Remember that the single gals could seek revenge on you when it’s your turn to be their ‘maid or they could all get back at you at the shower or bachelorette.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Parents Are Hosting the Wedding and the Groom’s Have Offered to Host the Rehearsal Dinner. Should My Parents Send Them a Thank You Gift?

While it is a very generous thought your parents do not have to send the groom’s parents a thank you gift or note for hosting the rehearsal dinner.  Besides the fact that it is traditionally the groom’s parents responsibility, your marriage is just as much a celebration for them as it is for your family so it’s only right that they take part in hosting some of the festivities -- assuming that it won’t be a financial hardship.
If your mom and dad want to be involved they can offer to help with the rehearsal dinner details such as assisting with the entertainment by offering to make a toast and helping set-up decorations.

Monday, April 09, 2012

I Want My Niece, She’s 3, to Be My Flower Girl But Not to Stay for the Reception. How Do I Tell My Sister?

You just have to tell her, but it’s your decision whether you want to be sincere or demanding in your approach.
I would suggest to her that they hire a sitter to come to the wedding and watch their daughter in another room or bring her back home so that your sister and her husband can have a great time at the reception.  Here you’re showing her that you’re thinking of her and not your wedding.
The other option is to be blunt and tell your sister you're planning an adult-only reception and that she must find sitter coverage for her daughter.
Since people are very sensitive when it comes to issues regarding their children I would  offer to help find them a sitter if they need assistance or even offer to pay for the coverage if you think money is the deciding factor.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Will the Sex We Have On Our Wedding Night Be a Prelude to Our Married Sex Life?

Absolutely not. There are a number of reasons why sex on your wedding night may be anticlimactic, or not happen at all. You can read about them - and the 100+ comments by real people about their wedding night - in a story I wrote on wedding-night sex on The Huffington Post. Okay, this a shameless plug but if the the thought of bad wedding-night sex has crossed your mind check it out.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

My Husband Just Received a Wedding Invitation for His Brother’s Wedding and My Name Wasn’t Included. Should We Say Something?

Definitely!  I would make a joke about it and they will probably say that it was a typo error by the calligrapher, which I’m sure it was.  If you don’t say anything and you think it was done on purpose then it’ll probably fester and become a larger issue and rift in the family.

If you just separated it’s possible that his family assumed you wouldn’t go to the wedding, and in that case it’s your soon to be ex-husband’s call.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

My Mother Is Paying for My Flowers but I’d Rather Use Some of That Money on Other Details. How Can I Get Her to Listen?

If you’ve spoken to her calmly and explained how you see the money being spent and she still won’t listen you may have to do some behind the scenes trickery to make your wish come true.

You can explain to her that if she pays the florist in cash she could save some money and then take the cash to the florist, keeping some for other areas of the wedding. 

If the florist is friendly and mom is with you maybe the florist will work with you on pretending the bill is more and giving you back a “refund.” Though I can hear the shock of me suggesting this as I type.

Remember that when money is involved there are usually some strings attached.  The best route would be to talk to mom, get dad, grandma or a sibling involved in the conversation too to help bring her around. 

If she just won’t budge then I’m sorry but you’ll have to find the money elsewhere.

Monday, April 02, 2012

My Future Mother-in-Law is Insisting We Hire a Reception Band That Plays Music from Her Native Country. We Want a Regular Band. What Do We Do?

Is she paying for the wedding?  When a parent or other relative is covering the costs there are usually strings attached.
I would look for a compromise where the band she wants plays during cocktails or during dinner or for part of the dancing portion of the reception. 
If your fiance can’t seem to talk his mother into some kind of compromise, it’s up to both of you to decide if you:
A.  Need her money to cover the wedding costs and have to do what she asks

B.  Can ignore her requests and hire who you want

C.  Go ahead and hire her band as well as the band you want and have the two coordinate who will play when at the wedding
A wedding shouldn’t cause World War III but it’s common for individuals to disagree on the details.  If your future mother-in-law won’t compromise then I vote for C and if money’s the issue, hire a less expensive DJ of your choice to alternate with the band of hers.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Our RSVP By Date is a Few Days a Way and We’re Still Missing Responses. How and When Can We Find Out Who’s Coming?

I would wait a few days past the RSVP date listed on the reply card before you call or email guests who you haven’t heard from yet.  It’s okay to divide the list: Ask your mom and his to reach out to relatives and their friends and you and the groom contact your friends.
When you’re asking don’t be accusatory, be casual about it and say that you didn’t hear back from them and you’re hoping they can make it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How Do We Decide What the Groom Should Wear?

The groom’s attire should reflect the formality of the bride's wedding gown and the wedding. If you’re in a ball gown he should be in a tuxedo. If you’re getting married on the beach he should be in light slacks and a white button down.

Before shopping for him you should have picked your wedding date, time of day and location and your wedding dress.  Just as your wedding gown's style will be dictated by the time of day and the venue or setting, so will the groom's.

Kleinfeld’s new Men’s Department has a great guide to the different formal wear and suiting style for men. You can see it, along with their product selection, at kleinfeldmen.com.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Should the Engraving On Our Wedding Bands Say?

If you have to ask then don’t engrave them. Engraving your wedding rings is like getting a tattoo -- it should be something important, meaningful to you and not some trendy thing you read in a celeb tabloid magazine.

Simple options are your names, wedding date, a quote or lyric that has meaning to you and your fiance.

When choosing wedding bands ask what your engraving options are regarding character count and find out how long it will take to have the engraving done. As long as you aren’t in a rush you should take some time to think about what you want and if you can’t think of anything don’t engrave them. You can always go back to the jeweler and have them engraved after the wedding.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What Do We Do If a Wedding Vendor Doesn’t Show Up On the Day of the Wedding?

It’s very rare that a situation would arise where a vendor wouldn’t show up on your wedding day.

You should read your contract and ask the vendors you meet with what their back-up plan is if they get sick or have a family emergency. A professional will have someone they can call to fill-in for them -- especially your photographer and videographer. The florist, baker and caterer have people working with them to create your wedding details so you may not even notice if the person you interviewed isn’t there on the day for set-up.

If a vendor can’t make it, he or she will most likely reach out to you as well as their back-up and notify you of the change in plans.

You should have a contact sheet with all your vendors’ names, email and numbers -- and list their back-up or secondary contact at the company too -- so you can contact them if you get concerned.

On the day of the wedding try to let it roll off your back and enjoy the day. When you’re back from your wedding you can call a lawyer, if necessary.

Monday, March 26, 2012

How Do We Find Names for Signature Drinks?

Your signature drinks don’t have to have creative names so don’t stress out over finding one. You can use the name of the drink (Cosmopolitan, Manhattan, Rum & Coke) if you don’t have time or can’t think of something clever. If your caterer is concocting new drink recipes for your wedding ask him for some naming ideas.

But if you want to have original names look to your wedding’s location or theme for ideas. You can also use the color of the drink for inspiration and you don’t have to have the word “cocktail” in the title.

Think about why you are serving this drink -- is it a favorite? Is it the color? Does it fit your theme? For example, a Mad Men inspired retro wedding may want to serve a martini bar and each drink can be called by its known name. If your wedding is on the beach, make up playful names with beach-y words: tropical, sunburst, wave, etc...

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Mom Said I Need a Trousseau. What Is She Talking About?

A trousseau is a wardrobe for a newly married woman. Literally clothes and accessories, so if mom is buying you definitely want one. While the tradition of a trousseau has become outdated, some women have turned the trousseau into their honeymoon wardrobe or lingerie specifically.

Ask mom what she is thinking to find out what type of clothes or lingerie she wants to buy you. This could be a fun outing for the two of you to spend time together before the wedding.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Parents are Paying for Our Wedding But My Fiance’s Parents Want Their Names on the Invitation. Should They Be?

It’s more important to have a pleasant relationship between the in-laws, so while etiquette dictates that the host of (paying for) the wedding is listed at the top of the invite you may want to find a compromise that makes everyone happy. Here are wedding invite guidelines:

The first line of the wedding invitation is the “host line” which means that whoever is hosting the wedding is listed in the format of:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith invite you to…

When a parent is not hosting the wedding but would like to be listed on the invitation you can include them after their child's name in the following way:

Daniel Johnson
son of Jack and Susan Johnson

If the hosting parents don’t really care if they share the hosting space with their future in-laws the hosting line would read:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Jack Johnson
invite you to…

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Do We Have to Give Wedding Favors to Our Guests? Won’t They Just Throw Them Out?

You don’t have to give wedding favors. They’re not a mandatory item like the wedding bands.

I like the idea of wedding favors because it’s another way to play with your wedding’s theme. To ensure that your favor isn’t tossed in the trash choose something that can be used right away -- food is great as a snack on the ride home, a CD will likely get listened to in the car or a charitable donation which can’t be used by guests, but will be noted and appreciated.

Another idea is to have a photo booth during cocktails and the photos taken are the favor. Or set up a dessert buffet with bags or pastry boxes for guests to pack up for home.

I wouldn’t spend too much time on your wedding favors. If you can’t think of something you’d like to leave for guests then don’t leave them anything. Better not to force it and spend money on something you’re not really into. You can use those funds towards another detail you’re really excited about.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Must-Attend NYC Wedding Event

It’s that time of year again: New York magazine’s annual Weddings Event -- which coincides with their latest issue, a must-have for tri-state area brides. This year’s event is Wednesday, March 28th at the Metropolitan Pavilion from 5 to 8pm.

The event features the best in NYC bridal: Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, Naturally Delicious, Jarrell Entertainment, Kleinfeld Bridal, Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier, Judy Paulen Designs and more!

Tickets can be purchased online at weddings.nymag.com for $40 for 1 or 2 for $60. And this is definitely an event you want to bring a friend to -- your fiance, a bridesmaid, your mom or grab a bride-to-be you met in a wedding message board!

And if you can't make it to the event make sure to pick up the latest issue of New York Weddings filled with everything a bride and groom getting hitched in the Big Apple (or surrounding area) need to know!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quick Reader Survey

Can you please complete this quick survey? It's 100% anonymous and a way to learn more about brides and grooms and the engagement/wedding planning process.

The link to take it is here and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes of your time.



Friday, March 16, 2012

Should the Groom Buy or Rent a Tuxedo?

His decision should be based on several factors:

Budget: Can he afford the cost of a new tux, or is it more economical to rent one and buy one when he can afford it down the road?

Other Events: If you and your groom will be invited to a number of events in the near future (weddings of friends/relatives, business and charity functions) than it may be better to buy a new one. Renting a tux for every occasion will add up and the cost of buying now may be more affordable in the long run.

Suit Style: For looks that aren’t the classic black tux but have tails or cutaway jackets you may want to rent since you’re not likely to wear this specific style again.

You should also visit both retailers and rental shops and try on different styles to see what looks best on him as well as what all the costs are. Factor in prices for the style of pant and jacket, all the accessories (buttons, cufflinks, ties, vest, cummerbund) and for the number of days you’re going to be renting it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Should I Expect at My Wedding Hair and Makeup Trial?

At each trial you are testing out your wedding-day hairstyle and makeup colors and application. It’s important to bring photos of what you like, and you can bring photos of what you don’t, to show the hairstylist and makeup artist what you want, or what you don’t.

For your hairstyle trial it’s important to bring any hair accessories you are planning on wearing -- tiara, headband, hairpins. You can also bring your veil to see how that will look. But make sure to have it pressed after the trial so it’s not wrinkled for the wedding. You may also want to wear a top that has a similar neckline to your wedding dress’ so you can see what the style will look like in a bodice of the same cut.

Once the style is finished and you like it -- you should feel comfortable to make comments/adjustments that are both positive and negative -- and make sure to take several photos. For your hair, you need pictures from multiple angles -- front, both sides and above. For makeup you only need a front shot but you want to write down every color used and where -- foundation, powder, blush, eyeshadow, liners, lipstick, mascara -- so on your wedding day you and the makeup artist remember what you liked.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

If I Want a Photojournalist Photographer What Should I Look For?

The word photojournalist used to differentiate these types of photographers from the old-fashioned shots from the ‘80s and ‘90s, but today I feel that almost everyone uses the term because it became a popular one brides use.

A photojournalist in theory, and photographers please chime in if I’m wrong, will capture the moments of the day and not have people pose for them. You won’t be recreating your cake cutting or bouquet toss, the photographer will have captured it as it was happening.

Today, you’ll find that most photographers will show albums of these types of images -- where they’ve captures the natural flow of the day -- and when you talk to brides and grooms who’ve worked with them you want to hear that they didn’t even realize the photographer was there.

Whatever type of photographer you want to hire, it’s important that:

1 - You like him and feel comfortable around him
2 - You like their work and have seen a COMPLETE wedding album, not just their greatest hits
3 - You can afford them -- both the cost for the day of the wedding and the album and prints

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Do I Have to Provide Meals for the Vendors at My Wedding Reception?

I think you should, specifically for the vendors working the entire wedding -- which can last 6 hours or more. Talk to your caterer about having meals prepared for the musicans/DJ, wedding planner and her staff, the photographer and videographer and their assistants. These are the vendors who will be working your entire wedding day and they will need food and drinks (non-alcoholic ones of course) in order to stay awake and energized.

The makeup artist and hairstylist, dresser, officiant, baker and florist (and their teams) won’t be spending more than a couple of hours with you so you don’t need to offer them a full meal.

As for what you serve it can be casual: sandwiches, wraps and salads. They won’t expect to be served the same meal as your guests. And for the cost, that will depend on your caterer. Some will throw it in and others may charge a $20pp fee. You can negotiate this with them or ask your wedding planner to coordinate sandwiches, drinks and a snack for vendors from outside source.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Mother-in-Law Keeps Mentioning I Can’t Wear Strapless for the Ceremony, But the Church Hasn’t Said Anything. What Do I Wear?

I would check with both your officant and the wedding manager at the church (person you booked the wedding through) to find out what the policy is. Some houses of worship have strict policies on how much skin you can bare -- shoulders covered, capped sleeves, sleeves to the elbow, sleeves to the wrist. You don’t want to show up on your wedding day and be turned away...it could happen.

If you’d prefer to show more skin than the venue allows, talk to the bridal salon where you bought your dress about cover-up options for the ceremony -- options that can be easily removed for formal photos and the reception.

As for your mother-in-law: If it turns out the church doesn’t have as strict a policy as she does/wishes, it’s your wedding so wear what you want to wear and don't talk about your wedding dress in front of her. On the big day she'll be too busy greeting her guests that she probably won't notice or mention your neckline.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I Love Vintage Stamps, Does It Make Sense to Use Them On Our Wedding Invitation Envelopes?

The cost of one stamps is 45 cents and your wedding invitation will probably cost at least 60 cents with so many inserts adding to the weight. To place vintage stamps -- assuming their denominations are all between 1-30 cents -- you will need a huge envelope to get to the total you need to mail one invite. And remember that an oversized envelope will also add to the price of mailing.

I think a better option would be to design a vintage-looking stamp at zazzle.com. This way you get the vintage look but don’t have to worry about buying dozens more stamps to meet the rate you need or getting an extra large envelope.

Another option is to use vintage stamps on invitations for events with a limited number of guests -- bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner. This way the rate to mail is lower and you won’t have the extra cost of 100+ envelopes to find stamps for.

If you're looking for vintage stamps, Champion Stamps is a great resource.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

I Don’t Want My Bridesmaids to Buy “Bridesmaid Dresses,” Where Can I Recommend They Shop For a Dress?

That depends on what your requirements are.

Even though you are being “nice” by letting your bridesmaids choose their own bridesmaid dresses, you should still set some parameters as to color, length and formality. You want everyone to complement each other, especially in formal portraits.

If you want a relatively easy color to shop for -- black, navy, white -- then your ‘maids shouldn’t have trouble shopping at department stores or mall shops. But, if you’re requesting a specific shade -- coral, lavender, sunny yellow -- then they may have the best luck at a bridesmaid dress retailer.

A bridesmaid dress retailer will offer a variety of styles, by several designers, in a rainbow of colors. Each girl will easily find a flattering silhouette in the color of your choice.

Some national bridesmaid retailers include, David’s Bridal, Bella Bridesmaid and the online retailer WeddingtonWay.com.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Does My Sister Have to Be My Maid of Honor?

It’s customary for the bride’s sister to be maid or matron of honor, and if she has more than one sister, for the role to be shared between them. Regardless of how close you are, it’s probably best to ask your sister to stand with you at the altar, especially if it will cause a family rift if you don’t.

I know several sisters who aren’t very close but they still stood as each other’s maid of honor at each other’s weddings. The bride’s best friend a/k/a the first choice for MOH can be a bridesmaid and still take part in helping the bride shop for her wedding dress, craft various wedding details and plan the shower and bachelorette parties.

A wedding is a family event and it’s important that you try to avoid any arguments or fights. Ask your sister to be your maid of honor and your BFF to be a bridesmaid. She’ll understand.

Monday, March 05, 2012

We’re Really Looking Forward to Our Honeymoon, Can We Register For It?

There are a number of companies that offer Honeymoon Registries where guests can buy you meals and activities (tours, shows, spa treatments, etc.) at your honeymoon destination. Each program is different so I suggest doing some research on several companies before deciding which one to register at.

There was one bride who told me that the site she registered at looks like guests are gifting you specific things to do while on your honeymoon, such as dinners, massages, sightseeing tours, but in reality the site would send the couple cash, less a 10% fee. I do not recommend this type of program because it is deceitful to your guests.

If you do register at a honeymoon registry company I suggest you also register at a traditional retailer so guests who would like to buy you something for your home have that option. You will find that guests of your parents’ and grandparents’ age may go this route.

Friday, March 02, 2012

How Do We Know Which Wedding Photographer To Hire?

It’s very important that you look at complete albums shot by the photographer you are interviewing. You don’t want to see a highlight or “greatest hits” album with the best shots they’ve ever taken. You need to know that he or she can capture every moment from getting ready through the ceremony and reception and take great formal shots too. If a potential photographer is not able to show you a complete album you may want to meet with someone else. That’s a red flag.

Also, if you’re hiring a photographer from a group or studio who reps multiple people you should ask to see the album of the person they are trying to book for your wedding. You don’t want to look at various albums and not see the work of your photographer. You should also meet with this person before your wedding to make sure you like his or her personality.

And speaking of personalities, you and your groom should both feel comfortable with the person you’re interviewing. Your wedding photographer will be in your face all day and should be someone you like and want to be around.

You also want to make sure you can afford the photographer you hire. Do not hire someone that you cannot afford -- I’m talking about shooting the day of the wedding + the album and prints. It’s okay to splurge on a great photographer by taking some money from another wedding area, but do not hire a $10,000 photographer if you can’t really spend more than $5,000.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

I’ve Heard the Parents of the Bride & Groom Should Give Their Future Son/Daughter-in-Law an Engagement Gift. Is This True?

Wedding or engagement tradition dictated the bride’s parents give the groom a watch and the groom’s parents gift the bride a pearl necklace. Today the gift doesn’t have to be a watch or necklace, or you can skip this tradition altogether.

While not as popular as it once was, I think it’s a nice idea -- as a kind of welcome to the family - to gift something special to the bride/groom from the parents. These types of gifts are sentimental and can become family heirlooms.

Remembering that it’s the thought that counts, if your parents are thinking of giving their future son/daughter-in-law an engagement present make sure it’s something that he/she will cherish. It can be something which can be worn at the wedding (jewelry, watch, cufflinks) or an item he or she will truly appreciate. If possible, have it monogrammed or engraved to note the occasion.

Just like many wedding traditions you can tweak it to make it what you want it to be or forget it altogether.  I wouldn’t tell anyone that they have to give a gift. A gift is something they should want to give and can afford to give.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Can I Ensure We Don’t Slip on Our Way Down the Aisle Or On the Dance Floor?

Scoring your shoes is a must for both brides and grooms. And if your parents and bridal party are wearing new shoes to the wedding I suggest you show them how to score theirs too. It’s very easy: Take a scissor, ice pick or unserrated knife and draw a lot of lines in every direction on the soles. You should also make an “x” on the heel.

For your ceremony aisle consider skipping flower petals in the decor or limit them to the edge of the aisle because you can easily slip on them.

Remember that if you are wearing new shoes on your wedding day you should break them in in the weeks before the big day. In addition to avoiding any slips and falls you want to be conformable in them and avoid getting any blisters, especially if they’re too tight. There’s no superstition about the groom not seeing the bride’s shoes before the wedding so feel free to wear them around the house.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What Are Some Ways to Dress Up the Groom’s Wedding-Day Look?

I love seeing guys in a colorful or printed tie or bow tie to put some personality into their suit or tuxedo. You can find a wide range of color and fabric options for ties, bow ties, vents and cummerbunds at the men’s store or rental shop, but you may also want to shop at specialty stores or craft your own.

TieCrafters.com can custom make any of these items in a fabric of your choosing. You’ll see a lot of their work in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.

Other accessories to dress up his look include: Colorful or patterned socks (you've seen the shoe/sock shot in a lot of real weddings), great shoes and cufflinks.  All of these items can be worn after the wedding and the cufflinks can be a great gift you or parents can gift the groom.

I’d skip a suit in a wild color -- remember the powdered blue ones from the ‘70s -- because you want your pictures to look timeless.

Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Avoid a Bra Blunder on Your Wedding Day

It’s very important you make sure your wedding dress’ undergarments give you both the support and coverage you need. A sexy dress should expose some skin but not bare all, especially in front of your future in-laws and grandma.

When trying on wedding dresses make sure you feel comfortable with a low V or other revealing neckline. Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson and a seamstress from the store what they can do to make sure your girls stay hidden and you don’t have a J. Lo moment on your big day. (If you missed it, one of her nipples popped out on stage at the Oscars in her stunning, but quite revealing gown.)

The best person to help you find the right bra or bra alternate is the bridal salon seamstress, so don’t be shy about asking questions. There are a number of foundation options you may have -- sewing cups into the dress, strapless, convertible, stickers to keep fabric from moving. It’s important that you get the proper support you need so you’re not pulling the neckline of the gown on your wedding day.

Take the months before the first fitting appointment to visit several lingerie stores and try on, and purchase, multiple styles. Bring everything with you to the fitting -- and leave the tags on -- to try on what really will work best. After you have found the right bra you can return the other items.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Shameless Promotion: Download the Vera Wang Weddings App Because It’s Fabulous

If you follow me on Twitter (@annechertoff) you will have seen my tweets about the new Vera Wang on Weddings app. This must-have app is both informational (100+ planning articles) and inspirational (1000+ photos of dresses, cakes, flowers and real weddings). And there are some really cool tools: An Inspiration Board, Guest List Manager and Wedding Task List, that pre-populates your to-do’s based on your wedding date!

The app is free through the end of the month and then the price goes up to $9.99 on March 1st. Click here to download it now and save $10 you can spend on another wedding detail!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Will Having a Destination Wedding Discourage People From Coming to Our Wedding?

Not necessarily. If you're planning a destination wedding because you don’t want to have a lot of people then don’t invite a lot of people to your wedding.
If pressure from your parents is causing you to grow the guest list offer this compromise: A small wedding ceremony and reception then go on your honeymoon and allow your parents to host a post-wedding reception bash in your honor when you're back. You can also have a small ceremony in your hometown and then a few days (or weeks) later have a reception with the larger guest list.

The bottom line: Only invite the people (or number of people) you want to celebrate with you. Never assume people won’t come. Everyone loves a wedding, especially if it's at a fabulous location.

P.S. Remember that couple who invited 200 people to their wedding in Barbados I wrote about. They thought maybe 80 people would fly Mother’s Day weekend to their wedding and in the end 180 RSVP’d yes. Everyone had a wonderful time, but the couple’s budget ended up being a lot bigger than they had planned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Who Gets Invited to the Post-Wedding Brunch?

The bridal party and your immediate families should receive an invite and so should guests who have travelled from out of town. When you know there are guests staying at a local hotel the night of your wedding I recommend inviting them to the post-wedding brunch. It’s the polite thing to do.

If somehow they find out there’s a brunch and they weren’t invited they may be insulted and now you’ve turned the wonderful memory of your wedding into an awkward/uncomforable situation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do We Have to Walk Down the Aisle?

It’s tradition but if you don’t feel like it then don’t do it. Talk to your officiant and ceremony venue manager about other options based on the location -- is there a side entrance near the altar you can walk in from? Is there a trap door you can pop out of? (I'm kidding, unless of course you're into theatrics.)

I would also ask yourself what is it about walking down the aisle you don’t like or want to avoid. If it’s the attention then skip the wedding and elope because as the bride (and groom) all eyes will be on you all night long.

There are ways to make the processional simpler: skip the large bridal party, don’t adorn the aisle with a lot of decor, play a light song.

As for walking up the aisle after the ceremony I would do it and not slink out the side door. Your guests want to celebrate this wonderful moment with you so take your time making your way up the aisle and acknowledge their cheers and best wishes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How Many People Should Give a Toast at Our Wedding?

I suggest limiting the toasts to three or four -- father of the bride (especially if he’s hosting), the best man, maid of honor and the bride and groom together. And all toasts should be kept to a few minutes in length.

A wedding reception tends to include a list of traditional elements: first dance, parent dances, blessing over the food, cultural dance (such as the hora), bouquet and garter tosses, cake cutting ceremony, plus toasts. Cutting the toast list down is one way to ensure that your guests have time on the dance floor as well as time to speak with each other and the bride and groom. I would also suggest cutting the bouquet and garter tosses if you want more dancing time.

If you have other relatives and friends who want to say something, and especially if their speech is more of a roast than a toast, I would ask them to speak at the rehearsal dinner.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Looking for something to do on Sunday? Check out Williamsbrides!

How about spending time at Williamsbrides, a unique wedding event at The Space at Fifty North Third in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Starting at 11am VIP ticket holders ($50/couple) can attend a panel discussion with some of New York’s top wedding vendors moderated by me - so you know the questions will be good, I even fit one in on pigs in a blanket!

After the panel, doors open to the public at 1pm ($25/per or $40/couple) to meet and greet dozens of wedding vendors including photographers, planners, entertainers, musicians, stationers, locations/venues and more!

Visit williamsbrides.com for more information and to order tickets -- the price is higher if you wait to get them at the door on Sunday. After the event you can wander around Williamsburg, one of the city's hippest neighborhoods, or nabes if you're really cool.

And don’t forget to stop me and say hi -- I’ll tell you why I’ve been MIA for the last month -- you’re gonna love the new app I’ve been working on. Whoops, did I say too much?

Monday, January 09, 2012

How Do We Know If We Need a Wedding Planner?

A wedding planner can help you find your vendors, manage all the logistics on the big day, take care of your wedding to-dos (there are over 150 of them) and in many cases act as your BFF when your mom, fiance and friends stop replying to your emails.

Some experts will suggest that you hire a wedding planner early in the process but you can book someone at any time. You may start planning on your own and then decide a few months in that you need some help or decide the month before that you need help the last few weeks and on the day of. Just know that great planners book up fast and not everyone offers day-of services.

Talk to friends who have worked with a wedding planner about their experience and schedule appointments with a few planners to learn more about their services, prices and how they can help you.

Make sure to check references and view portfolios. Don’t hire someone who you don’t feel comfortable with and make sure you can afford their services. Read the contract carefully so you understand what they will and won’t do.

If a deal seems to good to be true, such as a really low price, it may be someone with limited experience. That doesn’t mean he or she can’t do the job, but double check their references and try to learn as much as you can about their background/experience before signing a contract.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

When Should We Have Our Guests Reserve Their Hotel Rooms?

Once you’ve secured a block of rooms you can share the hotel information and discount code with your guests. Post the information on your wedding website and if you’re mailing save-the-date cards, include the details.

The hotel will probably include an end date on the hold in the contract, which will state how long the rooms will be on hold for your guests. Some hotels will cancel the hold on unbooked rooms four weeks before your wedding date to be able to sell them to other customers, so it’s important your guests book their rooms as soon as the information is available.

You may reserve blocks at multiple hotels -- based on price points and style. You can choose both a budget-friendly and high-end option to allow guests to choose the hotel they want.

If you know the hotel is booking up fast don’t be afraid to email or call specific guests to inform them that if they don’t make their reservation soon they may not have a room to book at all.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Do I Really Need to Buy a Wedding Organizer?

No, but it’s important to keep all of your wedding information and inspiration in one place and a wedding organizer will help you do that, as well as help you plan along the way with planning advice and checklists. If you don't buy one you can use a folder and notebook that you keep your vendor notes, ideas and contracts in.

There are a variety of wedding organizers and each one has pros and cons but here are a few things you should look for in one:

Three-Ring Binder: It’s important that you can easily add and remove information and a bound book will not allow you to do that.

Folders & Pockets: Make sure they will fit 8.5” x 11” paper since most notes you’ll be taking and contracts will be printed on that size.

Checklists & Timelines: It’ll be helpful to you to have planning guides to keep track of all the wedding to-dos. You can print them from websites and add them but if they’re already there it’s one less thing for you to do.

Sturdiness: Buy an organizer that will be able to carry all the paper, ribbon, invite samples and other items you want to hold on to. You want a binder that’s strong and not made of paper, plastic or other weak material that may warp or break with the weight.

I recommend The Wedding Organizer  by russell + hazel that I co-authored, but if you visit your local book store you can see a sample of other organizers by Martha Stewart Weddings, Emily Post, Mindy Weiss (available Jan 15th) and theknot.


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