Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How Soon After We Got Engaged Should We Register for Gifts?

Ask yourself these questions:
  • Is it assumed that relatives, friends and friends of your parents, or your fiance’s, will send you engagement gifts soon after you’ve announced your engagement?
  • Are you planning an engagement party in the next month or two?
  • Do you just want to start one because you got engaged?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions then go ahead and start your wedding registry now. You can go online and begin creating it or call the stores you want to register at (remember to pick two or three online and brick and mortar options) and find out if you need an appointment or can walk in and start scanning.

Once you’ve created your wedding registry you can spread the news of where you’ve registered on your wedding website or through word of mouth.

There’s no such thing as registering too soon, however you should edit and delete items as the seasons change and items are discontinued or no longer available. Remember that your wedding is probably 12 months away and the stock in stores will change so you should revise your registry a few weeks before your bridal shower and around the time you mail out your wedding invitations to ensure there are enough items for guests to choose from.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How Soon After We’re Engaged Should We Take Engagement Portraits?

First ask yourself why you're taking engagement portraits. Are you planning on sending an engagement announcement to your local paper? In which case you need to schedule a shoot sooner rather than later. Are the shots going on save-the-date cards? Then you have a few months because you don’t have to send out STD cards until six to nine months before your wedding. Or are you just taking them because you want to have some nice photos to display in your home. In this case you can take them whenever you want -- and with the winter weather blowing in you may want to wait until spring or even summer arrives.

If you’re not in a rush then I would wait until you’ve booked a photographer for your wedding. Using your wedding photographer will give you a chance to get to know each other so on your wedding day you’re both a little more relaxed in front of his camera. You may also be able to get a deal on an engagement shoot since you’ve booked him for the wedding.

When you meet with prospective photographers ask them about including an engagement portrait session in your contract -- how much it will cost, how many prints you get and what they will cost and when he or she recommends doing them. You also want to see some of the engagement portrait sessions they’ve shot.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Do We Decide Who Sits Near the Band, the Kitchen and the Bar at Our Reception?

Creating your wedding’s seating chart can be tricky, but after you’ve decided which table everyone is sitting at you then have to determine where in the room the tables should go. Someone has to sit near the band or the kitchen or the entrance so think carefully about who may take offense to each location. Here are some tips to guide you:

  • Don’t put grandma and grandpa’s table near the band or the DJ’s speaker. They won’t enjoy the loud music or get to speak with their relatives and friends sitting with them. It’s safe to put them toward the back of the room, away from the dance floor.
  • While you should put the kids’ table near their parents, you don’t want to put them right on the dance floor, especially if they’re younger than 10. Put them towards the back of the room but not near an exit where a little one can run out quickly and unnoticed.
  • The bride and groom’s parent tables should be right on the edge of the dance floor where they can be seen by the other guests.
  • Your friends, and the groom’s, may not mind sitting right next to the bar. Another idea is next to the band since older generations may take it as an insult to be so close to the music.
  • If someone has to be right next to the out/in doors of the kitchen ask the location manager or caterer to put up a decorative screen so it’s not so obvious that the kitchen is there.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We Just Got Engaged and Everyone We Run Into Says, ‘They Can’t Wait for the Wedding,’ But We Don’t Know If They’re On the Guest List. What Should We Tell Them?

At this stage I would just thank them for the well wishes and don’t mention the wedding at all. Since you don’t know any of the details yourself you don’t want to blurt out, “Thanks, but you’re not invited.”

Once you have firmed up the guest list and know who made the final cut and who didn’t you can tell people who aren’t on the list that you’ve decided on a small wedding. But don’t send out an email, only say something if someone asks you directly if they’re invited or not.

People are excited to hear about your engagement and are only asking about the wedding details to show their interest. It’s most likely not a way to “score” an invite.

When someone asks you about the wedding details, and you’re still figuring them out, be honest and tell them you’re just enjoying being engaged and haven’t started planning yet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What are Some Dessert Ideas We Can Have in Addition to a Wedding Cake?

Talk to your caterer about serving a medley of desserts, offering a different dessert to every other person at the table so couples can share. If you want to offer more than two options (plus wedding cake) you can server buffets in a variety of ways.

Does the space allow you to move back to the cocktail hour room where you can set up a dessert hour? Offer several sweet stations, passed mini-desserts and a selection of dessert wines, cocktails, coffees and teas -- you could even throw in a shake or malted station too!

Or create one dessert buffet with a variety of desserts and invite guests to help themselves. Are you pie-lovers or cookie-fanatics? Make the buffet all about your favorite treats -- a cookie bar, brownie bar, pie buffet, etc.

Some guests may want to take dessert home with them so set up bakery boxes and/or bags on the side so they can make their own goody bags or have a waiter nearby to help them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We Have a Lot of Nieces & Nephews Coming to the Wedding, How Do We Ensure They're Entertained and Their Parents Have a Good Time Too?

Many couples will reserve a room at the reception venue for a babysitter to watch and entertain kids so their parents can enjoy the reception. Or you can also have the kids watched in a room at the hotel everyone is staying at.

I wouldn’t create a mini-reception for the kids with a DJ, but you can have a room with kid-friendly food, a TV with DVDs and video games. Make sure you have a babysitter to watch them. Having the kids close by means moms and dads can check in on them and if there’s an emergency the sitter can notify the parents quickly.

If you do decide to have the kids at the reception ask the parents before putting their kids at the kids’ table -- some may feel their three year old is better off with them then on his own. Tell the caterer how many children (under the age of 16) will be there so he can prepare enough kids’ meals and set-up the kids’ table with some activities. Coloring books or sketch pads with colored pencils will keep them busy, but don’t be surprised if they take over the dance floor.

Friday, December 09, 2011

My Friend Hated the Bouquet Her Florist Made for Her, How Can I Avoid a Similar Situation?

Don’t be afraid to dictate to your florist exactly what you want. You can show her photos of the flowers you definitely want and don’t want as well as photos of styles you like and don’t like.

When you meet with your florist to see centerpiece samples ask for them to provide bouquet and bout samples too. A floral sample is similar to a tasting with your caterer. You get to see exactly what you’ll get on your wedding day.

If you feel that the sample is good then make sure that you and the florist take a photo and write down the names of the flowers used. Remember that flowers are seasonal, so if your preview is months before your wedding the flowers may not be available on your wedding day or may cost money to fly them in from another region.

On your wedding day make sure you see the bouquet before the florist and her team leave your venue so if you aren’t happy they can fix whatever is bothering you.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Besides a Basket with Flowers What Other Floral Items Can Our Flower Girl Carry?

For really little girls I think you’re better off with having a small posy (very little bouquet) or a pomander (a small-ish sized ball of flowers) with a ribbon handle instead of a basket where she drops petals down the aisle. You can also choose one bloom for her to carry instead of several.

If you’re not insistent on her carrying something floral have her carry a “magic wand” -- a stick covered with ribbons that she waves down the aisle -- or you can have her blow bubbles.

Is she your only child attendant? Have her be your ring bearer and carry your “bands” on a ring pillow.

Think about your wedding’s location and theme and see if there’s something you or your florist can create that coordinates well.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Should the Groom’s Cake Be a Surprise for the Groom Or Should He Be Involved With the Design?

Some brides like to surprise their grooms with a themed cake, while others want to include the groom in every wedding detail.

If your groom has no idea what a groom’s cake is there’s a great opportunity to make it a complete surprise. The groom’s cake can be any design - tiers or a theme - and the groom’s favorite flavor. Traditionally it’s a chocolate cake.

Talk to your baker about your ideas and the budget for the groom’s cake. If the price of the cake is out of your budget you may want to bring the groom into the discussion, otherwise he may wonder what those additional funds were used for.

The groom’s cake can be on display throughout the reception or you can have the maitre d bring it out at a specific moment. You can also tell the band or DJ to play a certain song.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Should I Wear a Veil?

When trying on your wedding dress put on a few different veils to see what style looks best on you.

Veils come in a variety of lengths from caged covering just your face to floor-length with a train that is longer than the one on your wedding dress. You can also choose the type of edge treatment from none to ribbons of various widths and embellishments such as lace, flowers and crystals. You can also opt for a blusher -- the part of the veil that covers the face and stops at about your waist.

A veil is a very traditional bridal accessory and while you can wear, or not wear, whatever you want, I would suggest that you try on a few different styles to see if you can find the perfect veil for your wedding-day look.

And if you do choose to wear a veil you can remove it for the reception.

Monday, December 05, 2011

I Thought It’d Be Fun to Wear a Color Other Than Pink On My Nails But My Manicurist Is Advising Against It. What Do You Think?

I always say do what you want but I would definitely listen to advice from experts, such as your manicurist. A neutral color -- whether pale pink or an ivory -- may be best for a few reasons.

First, a dark color will look like black in black and white photographs and you don’t want to have black nails in your photographs. They’ll look weird next to your white or ivory dress. You can ask your photographer’s advice too.

Second, I wouldn’t suggest choosing a “wild” nail color as it would distract from your dress.

Painting your toenails a bright color may be a better idea because they won’t be seen as much, if at all, and then you have them for your honeymoon.

Friday, December 02, 2011

I Hired a DJ But Now I’m Having Second Thoughts and Think We Should Hire a Band. How Do We Decide What to Do?

First ask yourselves why you hired a DJ in the first place. Was it because it would save you money? Did you go to an event where he played and you liked the way he got the crowd on the floor? Was it because you thought a wedding band may not play the songs you want? Is it this particular DJ that you’re having second thought about or just the idea of a DJ in general.

Before you cancel the contract, lose your deposit and start the music search over again you need to figure out what your alternative options are -- is there a band you like that’s free on your wedding day? Will you have enough time to find someone new? And secondly, what entertainment do you really want for your wedding?

It’s fine to change your mind but just make sure you’re making the decision for the right reasons and before canceling the contract you need to know that the alternative you’re looking for is available.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

If No One Will See My Shoes Does It Matter What They Look Like? I Want to Be Comfortable.

There’s a scene in Father of the Bride (the Steve Martin one) where the bride, Annie, is ready to go to the church and she shows her dad her shoes underneath her full skirt -- they’re white sneakers with ribbons and bows. Her father owns a sneaker factory and had them made special for her.

You can wear any comfortable shoes you want -- ballet flats, flip-flops, decorative sneakers or even Crocs -- but remember that you’ll be dancing at your reception so you want to choose a pair of shoes that will stay on your feet as you twirl around the dancefloor.

It’s up to you if you want to wear a pair of stylish pumps for the purpose of a few photos for the album or wear comfy shoes all day and night.

If your wedding shoes will show because of the hem of your dress I would recommend choosing a stylish pair of comfortable shoes and forgoing the flip-flops or Crocs, except maybe if you’re getting married on the beach.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Lieu of a Gift Please Make a Donation to...Obama’s 2012 Campaign

I was directed to a couple’s wedding website and there was a menu selection that read: Registries and Donations so I clicked it and the couple listed several links:

REI Camping
A children’s charity
Obama 2012

Politics aside, I have never heard of a couple suggesting that guests donate to a political cause and I was quite amused.

They gave a lot of options for a traditional or charitable gift so guests do have a choice and it’s one step above asking for a cash donation. I don’t think I’d recommend political organizations in a list of places to register but it’s definitely original.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Mom Says Our Wedding Cake Has to Be White, Does It?

Traditionally wedding cakes are white but that doesn’t mean your cake has to be white. Many couples are working with their bakers to create unique designs with colorful fondant or buttercream or colorful details on a white cake.

Have your mom go with you to the baker to see his portfolio and what non-white cakes look like. Your mom’s concern may be that a non-white cake would be too wacky for a wedding. A look at some traditional designs in a variety of colors may help her understand that color isn’t a weird option.

If you feel that you need to have a white wedding cake because it’s important to your mom, or because she’s paying the bills, you can always opt for a groom’s cake which is traditionally chocolate but generally accepted in any color, design and flavor.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Think My Guests Will Say I Copied Kate Middleton’s Wedding Dress, But I Just Love the Style. Is There a Way to Make It More Me?

If your guests are so familiar with Kate’s wedding dress then they’ll know that her dress was inspired by Grace Kelly’s wedding dress. Bridal gown designers are inspired by a variety of things, including wedding dresses worn by celebrities. Many of the wedding gowns at the most recent bridal market mimicked Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, her sister Pippa’s bridesmaid dress and Reese Witherspoon’s pink wedding gown -- so you won’t be the only bride wearing sleeves or lace on her big day in 2012.

If you love the dress wear it and don’t worry about what others may say. Wedding guests will comment on a variety of your details but remember that the only opinion that matters is yours.

To make the dress more personal to your style shop for unique bridal accessories such as a fabulous headpiece or hair pins, a dramatic veil and fabulous jewelry.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Want to Be as Eco-Friendly As Possible, Are Emailed Wedding Invitations Okay?

Since a wedding is a traditional event, no matter how untraditional your wedding may be, I would suggest you send your wedding invitations via the post office, but choose an invitation that is eco-friendly.

There are many stationery companies that create invites that are 100% green. A quick Goggle search will bring up hundreds of results. Some companies will offer invites printed on paper sourced from cotton (Crane & Co), while others will use recycled paper. They use inks made from vegetable dyes as well as embellishments, like ribbons and bands, made from recycled materials.

An e-vite may seem like both an eco and budget-friendly option, and while I think that evites are fine for save-the-date cards and the rehearsal dinner invitation, a wedding invitation should arrive in a real mailbox not a virtual one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For My Something Blue I Want Something Creative, Any Ideas?

There are a lot of ways to include blue in your wedding-day look. Garters are the go-to option for many brides and it’s no surprise, it’s traditional and easy to hide under layers of tulle. Today’s garters aren’t limited to frilly lace. Brides can shop for modern to retro-inspired designs as well as customize their garter at e-boutiques like The Garter Girl by Julianne Smith and La Gartier.

Other options can be divided into two categories -- private and public something blues. Here are a few ideas for both:

For All the World to See:
  • Blue-hued shoes
  • Something blue tattoo
  • Nail polish in a shade of blue
  • Sapphire jewelry
  • Blue accent or detail on your wedding dress
  • Blue colored flowers in your bouquet or ribbon on the stems
  • Carry a handkerchief with a blue design or embroidery
For Your (and His) Eyes Only:
  • Something blue tattoo, yes this can be in both categories
  • Light blue panties
  • A monogram sewn into the lining of your dress

Monday, November 21, 2011

Does the Formality of the Rehearsal Dinner Have to Match the Formality of the Wedding?

No it doesn’t. Your rehearsal dinner can be as formal or as casual as you and your groom (and the hosts, traditionally the groom’s parents) want it to be.

If your in-laws are hosting the dinner and feel very strongly about the style of the event give them some leeway in planning, after all they are paying. But you should feel free to give them your thoughts and suggestions.

As for the rehearsal dinner’s setting, some couples may opt for a formal dinner, while others may prefer a casual BBQ. No matter what the setting the rehearsal dinner should feel relaxed and the entertainment is usually several toasts from members of the wedding. Today, many bridesmaids, groomsmen and even parents may opt for an interactive toast -- which is more appropriate for this pre-wedding even then at the reception.

Don’t make it a late night since everyone will have to get up early to prepare for the wedding. And definitely don’t plan a bachelor or bachelorette party for the night before the wedding.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Should We Be the Last Ones to Leave the Reception Or Should We Leave Early and Have a Getaway Moment?

I understand the idea of staying till the last moment but it’s kind of sad being the last people in the ballroom when the lights are on, the band is packing up and the tables are bare.

A getaway moment is a great photo-op and a lot of fun to walk through -- your family and friends cheering you on to your married life together.

Talk to your reception venue about creating a getaway near the end of the wedding, but not so near the end where you’ll see the vendors cleaning up.

Choose a festive getaway prop -- sparklers, confetti, flags -- and have them arranged near the exit area. Tell your band leader or DJ what you’re planning and they’ll coordinate the best time for you to make your exit and notify guests to head for the doorway.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I’m Worried That No Matter How Careful I Plan Our Wedding Something Might Ruin Our Big Day? What Can I Do to Make Sure It’s Perfect?

You sound like you’ll be looking for things to go wrong when on your wedding day you should just enjoy the day and let others worry about any mishaps. Ask your location manager to handle all inquires from vendors and guests. Or hire a wedding planner to work with you starting a month before so she knows all the details, players and can handle anything that may come up.

While you can plan for everything you can think of, somethings are out of your control -- the weather, a medical emergency relating to a vendor, traffic.

I would suggest that the day of the wedding you put all the responsibilities in the hands of others and try to enjoy each moment because before you know it the day will be over and you’ll be off on your honeymoon.

If you spend your wedding day looking for problems, that’s all you see. When you return from your honeymoon get together with the bridal party or the point person you chose and find out what, if anything, went wrong. You may be surprised to learn nothing happened or you’ll get a good laugh at what did.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What’s the Difference Between Having a Wedding Band or a DJ?

Many will say cost, but there are DJs that cost as much as a band. The question you and your fiance have to ask yourselves is: What type of music do you want at your wedding?

A wedding band will play a wide range of songs and can get your guests moving but the songs won’t sound exactly like the original artist. A DJ can play a wider range of songs, can get the crowd moving and their music will be the original recordings.

You can also hire the reception band or DJ to play music during the ceremony and cocktail hour, making it one entertainment company you are working with.

And while I’m not making the case for either one as detailed as a wedding band musician or DJ would, the simple question is what do you want to hear -- the exact song by your favorite artist or can you live with a cover of it?

I’ve been to weddings that had a band and weddings with a DJ and both were great parties. Do your research and try and see the musicians/DJ perform live if possible to get a feel for their sound, energy and how the crowd reacts to them. If the audience is having a great time then your guests will probably enjoy them too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What Are Some Places We Can Cut Costs With Out Our Guests Noticing?

There are a lot of ways to save money on your wedding and except for maybe the most popular items -- wedding cake, a wedding dress, food -- your guests won’t know something is missing unless you tell them.

Generally I usually say the following can be cut: save-the-date cards, wedding programs, wedding favors, dessert course if you’re serving wedding cake, a limo, a valet if a parking lot is at your venue.

There are some things you will need but there are still ways to save money:

  • Food. Even if it’s just appetizers and cocktails you have to serve guests food and drinks.
  • Music. A DJ is less expensive than a band and if you aren’t planning on having guests dance then an iPod is acceptable for background music.
  • Photography. You should have someone capture the ceremony and special moments at the reception. If it’s a friend make sure you like their work and have an agreed upon number of shots they will take.

Once you know your wedding budget put set amounts on the areas that mean the most to you and meet with vendors who are in your budget. Don’t be afraid to ask vendors what their prices are during your initial phone call or email, and don’t be afraid to tell them what you can afford. It just wastes your time, and will also make you feel bad, if you fall in love with a vendor who is out of your price range.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Our Wedding Photographer Didn’t Capture Some Key Moments at Our Reception, What’s Our Recourse?

Check your contract before you do anything. Did the time on your contract end at a certain point and therefore the photographer left when he was told to/said he would? Or did he not fulfill his contractual obligations by leaving early?

If you feel the contract was broken you can ask for a refund or take him to small claims court to recover some money, but that’s the most you can do. (Though a bad review on Yelp is another option.)

Of course the bigger issue is that you don’t have those once in a lifetime moments for your albums. If you hired a videographer ask him if you can make some still photos from parts of the footage he shot. You can also ask your wedding guests to send you their photos to see if there’s a great photo one of them took you can frame or add to your album.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Have Eight Bridesmaids, Should We All Go Shopping for a Bridesmaid Dress Together?

While you do need everyone to try on dresses to see the fit I would suggest taking your maid of honor and maybe one other available bridesmaid for the first round of shopping. This should give you a chance to see the styles and colors available, and night fight with seven people over what they each like best.

After your maid of honor and one additional bridesmaid try on a few styles you can get an idea of what style dress you want and maybe even the color and fabric too.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to three possibilities bring the rest of the group with you to the bridesmaid dress shop, or send them some options to see on -- an e-bridesmaid dress store.

Trust me, fewer people mean fewer opinion, and that equals less stress for you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Free Tickets to The Wedding Salon Event in New York City November 14th

Want to get expert wedding planning tips from the industry’s top vendors? The Wedding Salon is holding its semi-annual showcase in New York City next Monday, November 14th at Manhattan Center Studios (311 West 34th Street) from 4-8pm.

This season’s show will feature Colin Cowie, the Cake Boss, Shawn Rabideau and brides will have the chance to audition to appear on Say Yes to the Dress!

Brides and their gusts will also get to enjoy cake tastings, reception menu tastings, a couture fashion show and meet with the tri-state areas top talents in photographry, stationery, floral design, beauty and more.

Tickets are $50 for a bride and her guest (register at , but if you email me at I have a promo code for 10 FREE sets of tickets.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

We Want to Get Married Abroad. Should We Hire a Wedding Planner in the States or from the Country We’re Getting Married In?

If you can’t find a wedding planner in the States who has experience working at the destination and who doesn’t speak the language you should search for a planner at the destination.  Someone who also speaks English. You have to be able to communicate clearly with the planner and vendors.

The Internet of course is a great search tool but just because a planner shows up #1 in a Google search doesn't mean they’re the right planner for you. If you’ve decided on a venue ask them for recommendations.

You may also want to look online and in magazines for destination weddings in your area and if there is a credit for a planner search them out.  Another great resource is Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine. They should have both real weddings from around the world and advertisements for planners you can research.

And if you do hire a planner in the States know that you will have to cover their travel costs to the destination and accommodations, so get all of their costs and responsibilities in writing.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I Really Love My Bridal Consultant, Should I Invite Her To My Wedding?

While it’s natural to grow close to your bridal consultant you don’t have to invite her to your wedding, though you can if you want to.

When it comes to creating your guest list you’ll find that your list may grow and grow as you become friendly with fellow brides-to-be and mom and dad feel the need to invite everyone they know, along with relatives you’ve never heard of, to the wedding.

It’s important to create guidelines to help you keep your guest list to the limit both the space allows and your budget.

Now, back to your bridal consultant. If you don’t socialize with your bridal consultant, meaning your time together is limited to the dressing room at the bridal salon, don’t add her to your final guest list.

Monday, November 07, 2011

I Bought My Wedding Dress Online, It Never Arrived and the Site is Down. What Do I Do?

Whenever you shop online you have to check out the site and not just its return policy. While customer reviews are important you never know who those reviews have been written by. And always use a credit card or PayPal so that if you do get ripped off you can get your money back.

But now that the sale has been made, assuming your purchase was made with a credit card or via PayPal, contact either the credit card company or PayPal and explain the situation. They should be able to credit you the amount.

Friday, November 04, 2011

My Mom Wants a Parent Album of Our Wedding Pictures But the Cost Puts Us Over Our Budget. Can I Tell Her She Has to Buy It?

If your parents are paying for part of your wedding then it’s a moot point. Get them the album. If you are covering all costs don’t be afraid to tell mom that you need help paying for it.

It is probably less expensive to put the cost of a parent album in your photography package then to order it after the wedding, but ask the photographer to be sure. You could also limit the number of photos in the parents album to help cut the final cost.

And remember, it's customary to give your parents (and his) a thank-you gift at the wedding.  You could make the parent album the gift.  Or gift it to them for their anniversary or for the holidays.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Do We Put Our Wedding Bands on the Ring Pillow, Leave It Empty or Get Fake Rings?

I would not put your real wedding bands on the ring pillow, no matter how “responsible” your ring bearer is.

It’s up to you if you want to put fake rings on the pillow or leave it empty. If you can find a pair of cheap rings then buy them but if you can’t then just tie a nice bow at the top of the pillow and send the ring bearer down the aisle. No one is going to know if the rings are there or not.

Now, if you want the photographer to shoot the rings, the real rings, on the ring pillow then make sure someone you trust is there to place them on the pillow, remove them and return them to the groom or best man for the ceremony.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Not That I’m Planning on Divorcing My Fiance, But Does the Couple Keep or Return Their Wedding Gifts If the Marriage Lasts Less Than a Few Months?

While I hope you are not going into marriage with the though that divorce is on the horizon – calling off a wedding is a much better idea than going through with it and then calling divorce lawyers a few weeks later - but in the instance that you and your new husband decide you made a mistake, it’s only appropriate to return all of your wedding gifts.

Etiquette dictates that if the marriage lasts for less than six months, though some will say less than a year, it’s appropriate for the couple to return the gifts they received – cash and products – unless the product has been used.

Each returned gift should be accompanied by a personal note stating why you are returning the item to the gift giver (ex: you’ve separated).

It’s important to remember that there will be life (with your fiancĂ©) after the wedding, and you should be focused on your married life plans as well as your reception details during your engagement.  It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning a wedding, but you want to make sure the person you're marrying is right for you.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Do You Have Any Suggestions for New Places to Find Wedding Ideas?

I recently created an account with and I have a small obsession with it. I have been able to find great ideas and products through various searches, wedding related as well as non-wedding related. I highly recommend creating an account and doing some searches, both vague and specific terms, and you’ll find some creative results that are sure to inspire.

Another site to sign-up with (it’s free) is This site is basically Google Images for weddings. The editors of the site have curated wedding images from a myriad of resources and, while I haven’t used the site, I’m looking forward to testing it as I’m sure the search results will be very detailed.

Colin Cowie Weddings ( recently launched with both new editorial content as well as a gallery of images from Colin Cowie’s library of event work.  And is a great resource too.

Remember that you can find inspiration from anywhere so another option is to use Google Images.  Just search for something and scroll through the results.  Maybe an image you find could come from another good inspiration resource that's filled with exactly what you're looking for.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Is It Okay to Ask My Bridesmaids to Wear the Same Shoes?

You can ask them to do whatever you want but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to do it. Not every shoe will fit each girl and the issue of the heel height is another variable that may not make your identical bridesmaids look possible.

If the dress you’ve chosen is long chances are the shoes they wear won’t be seen so does it really matter what they wear on their feet? (As long as the style coordinates with the formality of their dress, of course. ie; no sneakers)

For shorter dresses, where shoes will be seen, you can ask your bridesmaids to wear the same color but let them choose a style that’s comfortable for them, especially regarding heel height. Remember, they’ll be walking, standing and dancing for hours so they should be in comfortable (and complimentary) shoes.

This is why dyeable shoes were invented.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Read That Bridal Market Is Coming Up What Does That Mean to a Bride?

Bridal Market is like Fashion Week in that wedding dress designers present their latest collections to bridal salon buyers and members of the press.

These gowns, that you’ll be seeing on wedding websites and blogs over the next week or so, will not be available in your local bridal salon until January/February at the earliest.

Some designers may hold special trunk shows at select salons or their own salon a week to a month after market but that will be for a very limited time and there still may be a long wait for the dress to be delivered.

If there’s a dress that you see in bridal market coverage that you want to try, take the photo to your local salon and see when it will be in the store. If the dress’ delivery date is after your wedding date see if the salon carries a similar design in stock.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I’m Planning on Having a Cookie Bar for Dessert, Where Can I Find Milk Bottles to Go With It?

I recently came across plastic and inexpensive (how’s $1.50 each!) plastic milk bottles. They look just as good as the glass ones but they’re affordable. Shop Sweet Lulu sells them. They’re 5.5” tall and hold 8oz of milk.

I think it would be fabulous to serve a cookie bar with milk for guests at the end of the night.  You can also find striped and polka dot straws in a rainbow of colors to put in each bottle at Shop Sweet Lulu.

Friday, October 07, 2011

I Fell in Love with a Shoe and Want to Use it as Inspiration for Our Wedding but Everyone Thinks I’m Nuts. Am I?

Not at all! Wedding inspiration can come from anywhere -- art, a movie, a piece of fabric, a building and even a shoe.

Don’t let people turn you away from the place you are drawing inspiration from. When you show the shoe to vendors, mom, your fiance and bridesmaids make sure to explain what it is about the shoe that attracts you to it.

Is it the color(s)? Specific detailing or embellishment? Is it the overall style? And what do you see that inspiration developing into? The wedding's color palette? A trimming on some wedding details? Are you planning on wearing the shoe on your wedding day?

It’s important that you articulate what you’re getting from your inspiration, whatever that inspiration may be, so that your vendors can see your vision and bring it to life on your big day.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

My Mother is Insisting on Wearing Black But I Want the Bridal Party and Immediate Family in a Color, What Should I Do?

You should talk to your mom and explain why you want everyone in a color and then suggest you go shopping together. Take her to several stores -- some she has been to before and some she hasn’t.

Department stores offer personal shopping services at no additional charge. You may want to make an appointment so a stylist can help her find a dress in a color that you both agree on.

But take her concerns seriously. Remember that your wedding day is a big day for her too. She is playing hostess and should feel comfortable and beautiful.

If in the end she won’t budge, not even to gray or navy, then you might have to suck it up and let her wear black. But maybe the style of the dress will be something you can put your stamp of approval on.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

My Three Year Old Niece is Adorable But I Really Don’t Want Kids at My Wedding, How Do I Tell My Sister?

I would be honest early so that she has enough time to find a babysitter. If you don’t feel comfortable saying that the wedding isn’t really appropriate for children, due to the menu, time and other factors, you can phrase it in a way that sounds like you’re thinking of her and her spouse.

For example: “I don’t think you and Bill will have fun if you’re worried about Sara. Why don’t you hire a sitter to watch her so you can celebrate with us.”

You may also want to add that you want her in the family photos and then the sitter can take over.

If your wedding is at a hotel you can have the sitter stay in a hotel room so the parents can run up if they want to. And you should splurge on a few kid-firendly DVDs, snacks and toys -- a kid-friendly guest room gift of sorts.

If your sister insists that her daughter attends the wedding don’t fight her on it, just order a kid's meal and make sure there’s room at her parents’ table for her.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

I Want an Edgy Photographer to Capture Street-Style Shots of Our Wedding, Do We Still Need a Traditional Wedding Photographer?

You need to hire a photographer who has experience in shooting weddings and whose work you like. A street-style photographer may be able to capture some great shots but if he hasn’t shot a wedding before, you risk the chance of him missing some key moments since he doesn’t have the experience to know what to look for and when. And a photo shot list will only help so much.

Why not look for a photographer who can do both, and not someone who just says they can do both but who has shot weddings and you can see a complete wedding album to know for sure that you’re getting what you’re paying for.

You don’t get a do over on your wedding day so don’t risk missing the moments you want photographed.

Monday, October 03, 2011

When Addressing Wedding Invitations Can We Write “and Guest” and “and Family” on the Outer Envelope?

If you can, find out the name of the guest and address the invitation to both your friend/relative and the name of their guest. But if you don’t know and can’t find out the name -- and email asking should suffice -- “and Guest” is fine.

I remember learning that “and Family” was a no-no but I think times have changed, especially if space on the outer envelope is limited. Whether you’re having your envelopes calligraphed by hand or machine ask the vendor if it would be possible to fit parents and children on the outer envelope, and if you can then do so. If you can’t “and Family” won’t get you in trouble with the etiquette police.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Grandmother Said She’d Buy Me My Wedding Dress and Then Gave Me $200. Can I Tell Her the Dress I Want Costs More?

I think you have to base the answer to your question on what you know about your grandmother. Is she living solely on social security and $200 is a lot for her? Or do you think she’s just not aware that the wedding dress you want costs more?

Grandma was probably married 50+ years ago and may not have gone wedding dress shopping in a long time, and therefore not aware what prices are. Why don’t you invite grandma to go shopping with you and let her see the style of dress you want and the price tag that goes with it.

If she can afford it maybe she’ll give you more money towards the dress, but if she can’t, thank her graciously and pay the balance without telling her.

Above all, make sure grandma knows that you appreciate her gift.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do We Need to Provide Ceremony Seating? We Want a Really Casual Ceremony Setting Where Our Guests Stand Around Us.

You should provide some seating for your guests, especially if a number of them are older (think grandparents' age), pregnant or children. Mark these chairs as reserved so an able-bodied adult doesn't take a seat from granny.

You may even want to assign an usher or two to guard the chairs and escort guests to their seats to ensure that they know they’re there for them.

Friday, September 23, 2011

We Can’t Agree on a China Pattern to Register for, What Should We Do?

Why not register for both! These days most fine china patterns are dishwasher and microwave safe so there’s no reason you can’t use it every day.

If the two patterns are complementary you could register for five or six settings of each pattern so half of your 10-12 set is made up from the design you like and the other half what your fiance likes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Fiance is Reluctant to Take Dance Lessons, How Can I Convince Him to Take Them?

While you can’t force him to take lessons you can explain how important it is to you and hopefully he’ll agree. If he won’t see if you can make a deal. Is there something he really wants for the wedding, your honeymoon, home? Would you be wiling to give in on that issue if he agrees to take the lessons?

Also, find out why he’s adverse to it and maybe you can work around the issue. If he feels uncomfortable in a class environment opt for private lessons. Maybe he’d be more comfortable with a certain dance style.

You can also talk to the dance school to see if they have any ideas -- you’re not the first bride to have this issue.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Do We Need to Supply Toiletries in the Restrooms at Our Reception Site?

No you do not. While it has become customary for the host to leave a basket with various toiletries -- tampons, pads, tissues, hairspray, floss, a sewing kit -- for guests in case they needed something, I really don’t think this is necessary.

Think about it, if you have your period you’ll bring your own tampons/pads. How many times have you gone somewhere and needed a sewing kit or hair styling supplies?

While the gesture is appreciated, you can put your money towards another detail or just save it for the honeymoon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Can We Email Our Wedding Invitations and Supply an Email for RSVPs?

I would say no, though my usually answer of you can do whatever you like also applies. But I really do think a wedding invite should arrive in someone’s mailbox, and not in their inbox.

Save-the-date cards, in my opinion, are fine for email, but make sure granny and her generation get a hard copy, or at least a phone call, if they don’t have an email account.

If you’re making a green statement by emailing your invitations you can also make it with a wedding invitation that is made from recycled paper or cotton and uses eco-friendly inks.  A number of wedding invitation companies are eco-friendly including Oblation Papers & Press and Crane & Co.

Another e-invite don’t is the emailed RSVP. Maybe I’m old fashioned but it’s appropriate to include an RSVP card and envelope set for guests to send their replies or you can send an RSVP postcard and save on the extra printing and a few cents on the stamp.

Monday, September 19, 2011

We Mailed Our Save-the-Date Cards and a Few Guests Told Us They Wouldn’t Make the Wedding. Can We Save Some Money By Not Mailing Them an Invitation?

The general rule is if someone receives a save-the-date card a formal wedding invitation should follow. Regardless of what they told you you should still send them an invite. What if their reason for not attending changes?

Knowing they can’t make it can also allow you to move some B-list guests to your A-list. You can either send some B-list guests an invite when you mail your wedding invitations or just hold them until the no RSVPs arrive.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Fiance and I Can’t Agree on a Wedding Favor, Can We Have Two?

Yes. You can decide to give everyone two favors or give half the guests one favor and half the other. Splitting the two favors among your guests may save you money since you’re buying one per guest total instead of two items for everyone.

But before you order either figure out if one can be used in another part of the wedding. For example, would one item work well in a guest room gift bag? How about as favors at the rehearsal dinner?

If you’re not adamant about it, let your fiance have the favor he wants -- how many things has he asked for anyway?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We’re Looking for a Hotel for Our Out-of-Town Guests. Do We Need to Give Them Several Options?

You may want to since your guests may have different needs. A family may want something more casual with family-friendly restaurants, while a couple without kids may want a more romantic setting to make it a short vacation from home.

Price is another factor. Whichever hotel you choose you may be able to score a discount for your guests (10% is the usual for group bookings) but that may still leave the price too steep.

Try to choose two hotels -- one family-friendly and more affordable -- and one a little more luxury. Make sure to tell the hotel when you block the rooms that it’s for a wedding and get the discount and end date for the block in the contract. Double check the spelling of the name for the discount code, it’s usually your last name, your fiance’s or a combination. And then make sure all this information is correct on your wedding website and save-the-date cards.

In rare circumstances you can choose three hotels, at three price points, but that’s probably not necessary.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We Want to Have an After Party, but Limit It to Our Friends, Not Our Parents’ Guests. Can We Do That or Does Everyone Get to Go?

You can limit your after party to a select number of your wedding guests and inform them of the details with a separate invitation to the party. You can slip a card into your wedding invitation -- like Kate and Wills did -- or send an invite on its own.

Make sure the DJ or band leader doesn’t “remind” guests that the night’s not over as they play the last reception song, just move to the next room and keep the party going.

Your parents, and his, should be invited and if they insist on having a couple of friends on the guest list I wouldn’t fight them on this, especially if they’re still hosting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thinking of Being a Wedding Planner? There’s a School for That.

Actually, it’s an Academy – capital A for The Niemierko Wedding Academy at The Dorchester. Yes, it’s in London.

And while the expense of the trip may make you stop reading, remember that it’s for business so it’s tax deductible. Or plan a trip across the pond and attend the Academy while you're on vacation.

The 5-day “master class” on wedding planning features advice from luxury planner Mark Niemierko and some of the top vendors he works with from flowers to cakes to dress designers. This October’s series will feature Bruce Oldfield, a favorite designer of Princess Diana.

Over the course of five days you’ll learn everything involved in the wedding planning process, including budgeting, etiquette, bridal fashion and beauty, tastings and design. You’ll learn how to create mood boards, get a lesson in production design and how to select the right rentals and use lighting to enhance the venue’s look and feel. Meals and of course champagne will be served.

Below is a video of Mark explaining what wedding-planners-to-be will gain from the experience and you can apply (just like with any school) here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Our Parents Haven’t Offered to Host the Rehearsal Dinner and We Can’t Afford to Do It. Do We Have to Have One?

No you don’t. While the rehearsal dinner is a lovely tradition, don’t feel obligated to host one if you can’t afford it.

You can still have a rehearsal even if you don’t have a rehearsal dinner. Make it clear to your bridal party that after the rehearsal everyone is on their own for evening activities. You don’t have to share that it’s a budget issue. If you’re not sure what to say you can explain that you have too much to do the night before the wedding and decided not to have one.

And even if you make it an early night you can invite a few girlfriends over to spend the night and make it an old-fashioned slumber party.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One of My Bridesmaids is Pregnant and Due the Week of My Wedding. Should She Step Down?

You should have a frank discussion with her and ask her what she wants to do.

There’s no reason she needs to resign from your bridal party. They make maternity style bridesmaid dresses and she can sit in the front row instead of stand at the altar if she wants to.

But if she’s due the week of your wedding she may not want to take the chance of spending hundreds on a dress and accessories if there’s a good chance she won’t be able to make it to the wedding.

And just because she decided not to be in your processional doesn’t mean she can’t be involved in the bridal shower and bachelorette party.

When you bring up the topic don’t make it about your wedding, but rather her comfort level. And if she wants to remain as a bridesmaid don’t discourage her. Make a backup plan for who the groomsman she is scheduled to walk with would walk with if she’s not there - remember, he can join another pair of bridesmaid and groomsman

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I Saw a Wedding Dress Online But It’s Not Available at My Local Bridal Salon. How Can I See It and Try It On?

Bridal salons will generally buy select pieces of a collection, not the complete one. Find out if your local salon is having a trunk show for the designer of the dress you're interested in.

A trunk show is where the designer and/or a sales representative from the company brings the complete collection to a salon -- that’s every dress for the season and probably a few other best sellers.

Call your salon and ask when the trunk show for a particular designer will be held and make an appointment. Trunk shows book up fast so be sure to make an appointment as soon as you learn the dates.

If you missed the trunk show dates for the season visit the designer’s website and look for another trunk show near you and schedule an appointment for that one. You can either purchase the dress .at that salon or see if your local salon can order it for you and this way you won't have to travel far for alterations, which you may have two to four of.

And remember, a trunk show usually offers a discount on the purchase of a gown, it's usually 10% off.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Wedding Planning To-Dos for After the Wedding

Just because you’ve said “I do” and have returned from your honeymoon doesn’t mean your wedding to-dos are done. There are a number is tasks to tend to including: writing thank-you notes, changing your name and editing your wedding album.

I gave an interview to LifeShield Security on what newlyweds need to do after the wedding, plus a few married life to-dos you may find helpful, including how to keep the romance alive throughout your first year as husband and wife.

You can read it at

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Be Your Own Best Editor -- Vera Wang

Martha Stewart Weddings Fall issue just hit stands and the issue celebrates iconic wedding gown designers -- Reem Acra, Amsale, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Vera Wang among them.

During the photo shoot they filmed interviews with some of the designers who shared their advice for brides still shopping for their wedding dress.  Here's what they had to say:

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Do I Have to Tell the Caterer How Many Vegetarian, Vegan and Other Dietary Restricted Meals We’ll Need?

Your caterer will probably prepare a certain number of vegetarian meals based on his experience of the percentage of guests who usually ask for one. If you know that there will be X-number of vegetarian guests at your wedding you can share that information so he’s aware of a minimum number of vegetarian meals to offer.

Vegan, gluten-free, kosher and other special meals should be ordered in advance since your caterer may not include them in his usually tally. Some of these meals may cost an additional fee.

Be sure to tell your caterer how many of each special meals there are, and if you can which table each guest will be at so the waiter brings the right meal to the right table.

You may not be aware of every guests’ dietary restrictions, including allergies, but your guests do. They’ll know to ask if something is made with nuts or has mushrooms in it and will take care of themselves. You don’t have to prepare for every possible situation.

I also suggest talking to your caterer about what they can do for guests with dietary restrictions and if they should prepare a few dishes on the side just in case or if you need an exact number to order in advance.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Want My Bridesmaids to Choose Their Own Dresses, What Guidelines Should I Give Them?

It’s important that your bridesmaids know what shade of color their dress should be and the formality of the wedding.

I write shade instead of color because each color comes in a range of shades. For example, blue can range from navy to royal to sky blue. Pink can be fuchsia, bubble or pale pink. You can give each ‘maid a swatch or paint chip or send them images of dresses in colors you approve of so they get the idea.

Formality is important because it will dictate the dress’ hemline. The more formal the wedding the longer the hemline. You also want consistency so giving them a guide as to what length is okay will ensure a more cohesive look in your photos.

Make sure each girl knows if her arms need to be covered or not for the ceremony. Some houses of worship may ask for arms to be covered, which means no strapless dresses.

If you’re still nervous, tell them that while they can choose their own dress you have the right to veto it. Plan some shopping dates or shop together online and you’re sure to find something that makes you and each of your bridesmaids happy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We Want to Have a Photo Booth at Our Wedding, When and Where Should We Set it Up?

My concern with entertainment like this is that you don’t want your guests to spend the entire night taking photos -- whether in an old-fashioned booth or the modern day digital set up.

I would recommend limiting a photo booth to cocktail hour so your guests spend the reception time enjoying the meal and dancing the night away.

Have the booth set up and ready to go as your guests enter the cocktail hour and encourage them to use it by locating it in a space they can clearly see and get to. Let the operator know that once the party moves into the reception room they should begin breaking it down, and if guests are to return for their photos have them arranged on a table as they leave at the end of the night.

Whichever style booth you choose props are always a fun way for guests to let loose.  For slome creative prop ideas check out Bkyln Bride's list of the Top 10: Photobooth Props

Monday, August 29, 2011

What Should We Have Engraved On Our Wedding Bands?

There was a recent story in The New York Times on tattoos and one of the tattoo artists interviewed gave the following advice (I’m paraphrasing):

If you go into a tattoo parlor and ask the artist what should you get, don’t get anything.

The same goes for jewelry engraving.

You don’t have to have your rings engraved but if you want to do some research and find something that is meaningful to you and your fiance go ahead.  You don't have have a lot of room so keep it simple. Some timeless ideas are your names, initials, married monogram and/or wedding date. Ask your jeweler how much space you have, and remember that character count means the limit of space you have using any combination of letters, numbers, symbols and spaces.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

We Want to Serve Cupcakes But Still Want to Have a Cake-Cutting Ceremony, Can We?

Since cupcakes became popular at weddings a few years ago many couples have opted to cut and share a cupcake together.

Another option is to have your baker make a small cake that is either one tier or multiple, and cut into a cake but serve cupcakes.

It’s up to you and your groom if you feel comfortable cutting a cupcake or if you want to cut a small cake together. Ask your baker for some ideas, he may have come across a similar situation in the past.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Does My Wedding Band and Engagement Ring Have to Be Bought and Worn as a Set?

It’s up to you if you want your rings to match and be worn on the same finger. Some brides will buy a wedding band to wear on a different finger or hand than their engagement ring. Or buy a plain band to wear with their engagement ring and buy a second eternity band for their right hand.

Many jewelry designers make wedding bands that match an engagement ring, which is great if your engagement ring’s design makes it difficult to find a band that lies flush against your engagement ring band.

Always check with your officiant if your wedding ceremony calls for certain types of wedding bands to be exchanged. For example, Jewish ceremonies require that the rings exchanged are solid metal with no breaks, meaning no stones. In this instance some couples will buy two bands or borrow their parents’ or grandparents’ bands for the ceremony and after put their, what I call the, fancy ring on.

Just as you did when you shopped for your engagement ring, take your time browsing and trying on wedding bands. See what feels comfortable and looks right either with your engagement ring or alone, and don’t rush the purchase. Just like your engagement ring you’ll be wearing it everyday for many, many years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My DJ Asked If We Were Having an In-Laws Dance. What Is It?

An in-laws dance is a special dance where the bride dances with her father-in-law and the groom dances with his mother-in-law. You choose one song for both couples to dance to at the same time. You can have the in-laws dance at any point during the reception but I would suggest after the first dance, father/daughter and groom/mother dances.

Choose a song that appeals to all four people instead of one that’s about daughters or mothers. Your DJ (or band) should have recommendations for you.

It’s not a very common special dance so make sure your photographer and videographer are aware that it is taking place and when so they capture it on film.

It’s entirely up to you if you want to have one. Base the decision on the feelings and relationships of all four people involved. For example, if it’s known that the groom and your mom don’t get along you may not want to force them to dance together.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Do We Really Need to Reserve a Tent If It Never Rains Where We’re Getting Married?

Yes, I think you really do. It’s better to be safe than sorry, even if safe will cost you some money.

While you may think it never rains, your wedding day could be the one day your never-rains location gets a storm and you don’t want to risk having to cancel or postpone your wedding.

Talk to your location and see what their policy is in case of rain - whether a sun shower or thunderstorm. Do they have tents available or do you have to go through a tent rental company?

Ask how far in advance of your wedding you would have to make a decision re: constructing a tent. Can you make the decision day of or a day or two before? And what if the rain lets up after your wedding has started -- are there walls you can remove or roll up?

There’s also the jinxing factor. By not reserving a tent you could be jinxing yourself.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Should I Act Like a Bridezilla to Get Better Service From My Wedding Vendors?

Have you ever heard the saying: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? Well the same is true for wedding vendors.

Besides the fact that you should treat everyone kindly if you want your vendors to go that extra mile for you be courteous. No one is going to want to go above and beyond for someone they dislike. Would you?

The vendors featured on “Bridezilla” are not going above and beyond because their clients are mean and rude to them. I would bet that they go above and beyond because they want their best work featured on TV. Also, reality shows are scripted so either the bride and vendor are told to act the way they do or it’s edited to look like that.

When dealing with your wedding vendors be polite. Don’t demand but ask, even though you’re paying. Don’t bombard them with emails and phone calls -- remember you’re not their only client -- and respect their hours.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is There a Way to Liven Things Up as We’re Getting Ready?

Whether you’re getting ready at home, at a salon or in the bridal suite of your ceremony venue the atmosphere can be as calm or as energized as you want it to be.

Bring an iPod and plug it into the speaker system or bring your own to set the mood. You can create a special playlist just for the occasion -- soft and relaxing to create a zen setting or high-volume party tunes to get everyone pumped for your big day. Another idea is to play wedding-themed or love songs because it is, after all, your wedding day.

It’s important that everyone eats and stays hydrated (and sober so stick to non-alcoholic drinks until cocktail hour) so create or order a few things -- bagels and donuts, fruit and crudite, cheese and crackers, etc… from a local deli/market or your caterer.  But eat before you get into your dress -- after you're in your gown stick to water so you don't get any stains on it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Do I Really Need All the Things on the Emergency Kit Lists?

The emergency kit list you read in wedding books and on wedding sites covers ever possible scenario -- fashion repairs, stains and everything in between. The truth is you never know what can happen so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

A wedding planner friend once told me about the bride who caught on fire -- her train was ignited by candles close to the floor and they used the safety pins in the emergency kit to conceal the scorch marks on the dress, so you never know.

Before you run to the drugstore to stock your kit ask the location manager if the venue has some of these items on site. If you’re hiring a wedding planner he or she will have everything so you don’t need to think about it.

If you have to buy everything you can either buy one of those all-in-one kits that are sold specifically for brides or buy each item you think you need.

First, look through your medicine cabinet and grab what you already have -- pain relievers, antacid, nail file, hairspray, etc… Then ask mom if she has any of the other remaining items.

Whatever you purchase keep it in its packaging and hold onto your receipt. Don’t open anything unless you need it on your wedding day and then return what was unopened when you get back from your honeymoon.

And remember that some items can actually be used on your honeymoon such as travel-size toothpaste and floss, so you may want to make a list of what is good for both and shop once instead of making two sets of purchases.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Do I Have to Wear a Veil?

A veil is a wedding tradition but it’s up to you if you want to wear one. Some religious services may require one so ask your officiant.

I personally love veils. It’s so bridal and when in your life will you ever wear one again.

There are a variety of veil styles and lengths so if a long chapel or cathedral-length veil is too long for you, opt for a shorter one that is fingertip, elbow-length or even a birdcage that just covers your eyes. A veil has two parts: there’s the longer tulle that covers the back of your dress and the blusher which covers your face.

As for styles, veils are made from tulle but can be trimmed with ribbon or adorned with crystals. Your bridal salon will probably sell a number of options for you to try on with your wedding dress.

You can remove your veil right after your ceremony but practice doing so before your wedding day so you don’t create a hair emergency.

But as I always say, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. It's your day.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How Do I Judge How Big My Bridal Bouquet Should Be?

Trust your florist, but your bouquet should complement your wedding dress and formality of your wedding.

If you’re wearing a ball gown with a full skirt your bouquet should be bigger in size than if you are getting married in a sheath on the beach.

To get a fuller bouquet, and save some money, opt for bigger blooms such as peonies and opened roses. Smaller flowers that are considered “bridal blooms” -- stephanotis, lily of the valley -- are lovely but you need a lot of them make a substantial bouquet.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Instead of Getting Stuff We Don’t Need We’d Prefer Cash Gifts So We Can Buy What We Want. Can You Recommend a Cash Registry?

No, I cannot.

In order to get stuff you want instead of “stuff you don’t need” register for items you want, whether they be for your home or for a hobby.

Since most couples will have acquired many home items before tying the knot it is perfectly acceptable to set up a registry at a wine store, sporting goods store or use Newlywish or Registry360 to create a unique registry of items from various retailers.

When you don’t set up a registry, that’s when you risk getting stuff you don’t need and may not be able to return or exchange.

You can always spread word through your parents and bridal party that you’re hoping to buy a home soon and that may encourage cash gifts, but under no circumstances is it appropriate to register for cash.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

My Mom Doesn’t Think I Should Wear a White Wedding Gown Since My Fiance and I Live Together. Is She Right?

Long gone are the days when a white wedding dress confirmed a bride’s virginity. It’s perfectly acceptable for a bride to wear white regardless of her virginity status -- I’ve seen second-time brides with children in white dresses.

You can explain to your mom that her way of thinking is an old-fashioned and out-dated policy, but I would explain it to her in a nice way so you don’t make her feel old fashioned and out dated.

And since we’re on the topic of wedding gown colors, today’s brides can wear any color dress -- white, ivory, pink, blue, red or black. You can also choose to add a splash of color to a white or ivory dress if an all-over colored dress is too much for you.

Monday, August 08, 2011

We Want Live Music at Our Wedding But Can’t Afford a Full Band. What are Our Options?

Contact an entertainment company that represents both bands and DJs and discuss the option of hiring a DJ and a singer plus an instrument or two to play for part of the reception.

You can have a singer, accompanied by a keyboard and/or guitar and/or horn instrument, to sing and play the music for special dances. Another option is to have live music, such as standards, being sung during dinner instead of canned music and have the DJ play music that gets the crowd on the dance floor.

Be honest about your budget and what you want for your wedding and the vendors you’re meeting with will better be able to help find the right solution for you.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Do We Have to Have Assigned Tables at Our Reception?

If you are having a small guest list, less than 75 people, you can probably get away with people sitting wherever they want. Also, if you are not having a formal meal but a more casual cocktail style party you don’t need assigned seats.

When your guest list is rather long (75+) it can get awkward for guests to have to find their own seats. Some may find it hard to find enough seats for their “group” at one table. And when I write “group” I don’t just mean a party of 2 or family, but rather the group of guests who would like to sit together -- your college friends, your mom’s siblings and their spouses, the groom’s colleagues, etc…

While creating your seating chart can get tricky, and stressful, it’s a courtesy to your guests to create one, even if you know that one or two people may not like their seat. Just try your best to make it work for as many people as possible.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Someone RSVP’d That They’re Bringing a Date, But We Didn’t Invite Them With a +1. How Do We Uninvite the Date?

It’s important to be direct. Remember, you didn’t do anything wrong. Your guest did.

Since email tone can be misinterpreted I suggest calling and explaining that you’re sorry for the confusion - again this is not your fault - but due to spacing and budget issues you didn’t invite him with a guest and can’t have his date at the wedding.

You have two choices at this point. Either stand firm and don’t allow the date to come or you can offer that if enough people reply they won’t be able to make it you’ll make room for his date.

If this guest is from the groom’s part of the guest list you can have your groom make the call, but if your groom feels uncomfortable about it you can make it.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How Can I Avoid Offending a Guest by Seating Them at a “Bad” Table?

I always think of the needs of a guest when seating them at a table. You can safely assume that your grandparents and guests of their generation will not want to sit next to the band or DJ speakers, so you can seat them towards the back.

Ask your parents and the groom’s if they have a preference. They may want to sit together at a “family table” or they may wish to sit with close relatives and friends. I would sit your parents’ tables close to the dance floor. If you’re dividing the room between bride’s guests and groom’s guests, the parents’ tables can be at the center of each side of the dance floor so they have a good view of your first dance, toastmakers and other special moments.

The bride and groom, whether they sit by themselves or with others, should be at the center of the room - across from the band/DJ - and clear for all to see. You can sit your bridal party and friends on either side of you.

Flank your parents’ tables with tables made up of their family and their friends -- you and your parents will know the “importance” of which guests should be nearer to your mom and dad and who can be a little further away.

As for a bad seat, near the band or speakers may not be a desired spot but your friends (and their ears) can handle it. Another spot is near the kitchen, so try and get as much space as possible between the table nearest to it and the kitchen door. Or see if your caterer/location can throw up a standing divider, an attractive one, so your guests don’t feel like they’re in the kitchen.

And always remember that you can’t please everyone so just do your best and don’t worry so much.

Monday, August 01, 2011

We’re Having a Few Kids at the Wedding, What Should We Serve Them?

If the kids are under 13 you should talk to your caterer about having kids’ meals made. Young children will probably not enjoy what the adults are eating and why should you pay $100+ for each child to not eat their food.

Many caterers offer chicken fingers and fries, pasta with butter or marinara, mac n cheese and other kid-friendly dishes at a fraction of the cost of an adult meal.

Give your caterer a head count of how many kids are coming and decide with him if you should offer more than one option. It may or may not effect the price.

Cocktail hours usually offer enough of a variety so you don’t have to plan a special kids’ menu for it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

We Want to Include Our Dog in Our Ceremony, But What Do We Do With Him During the Reception?

I would suggest having a friend or relative who the dog is familiar with either drive your dog to someone’s house or if that’s not possible, bring a cage to your reception venue and place the dog in it. Make sure you bring food, a bowl for water and a leash and garbages -- someone will need to walk him at some point.

I can’t imagine that your reception venue will be okay with your dog mingling with your wedding guests so double check with the location manager on what their animal policies are. For instance a couple may be allowed to have their pet bird in a bird cage at the reception.

Another idea is to hire a dog walker or pet sitter to come to your ceremony and take the dog with them back to your home, their's or a pet daycare center.  Make sure someone will be able to pick him up either that night or the next day if you are leaving for your honeymoon right after the wedding.

The most important thing is to make sure you have a plan in action and confirm with all involved a few days before the wedding.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Much of a Say Can a Bride Have in Her Bridal Shower?

A bridal shower is thrown in honor of the bride, so the hosts get to plan it. The hosts are usually the bridesmaids and one or both moms.

It is not uncommon for a bride to share some ideas with her mom and bridesmaids as to what she may want or not want at her shower but I wouldn’t recommend a bride planning the whole thing and then send the bill to her ‘maids.

If you have strong feelings about certain details, especially things you don’t want, it’s okay to share that information. But since the event, many times a surprise, is planned and paid for by others - who I’m assuming will enjoy planning this very special day - I’d let your bridesmaids and the moms take the lead and the bride should sit back, relax and enjoy it. After all, there are plenty of other things on your to-do list.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Mom Wants Me to Hire a Talented, But Not My Style, Florist. How Do I Tell Her No?

I think you should meet with the florist your mom suggests and bring her your ideas to see what she comes up with and what her budget is. Then take your mom with you to meet with two or three vendors whose style is similar to your own.

It’s important that your mom feels that she is part of the process, especially if she’s paying for your wedding. Remember that your wedding day is just as important to her as it is to you.

Once you’ve met with all the possible florists sit down with your mom and go over what each one proposes aesthetically as well as their budget. Review with her why you like or don’t like each one and you may be able to convince her to support your choice of florist.

As the bride you can put your foot down but if mom’s writing the checks this may not go over well. Instead of starting World War III see if you can compromise and hire her florist for another event such as the bridal shower or rehearsal dinner.

And you never know, in the end you may decide that mom’s florist wasn’t such a bad option after all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our Reception Venue Requires a Guest Minimum and We Don’t Have Enough People On Our Guest List. What Do We Do?

If you’ve already signed the contract there’s not much you can do but either add to your guest list or pay the per person rate for the number of empty chairs.

It’s very important that you review contracts with all of your vendors and make sure you really understand what’s in them. Don’t be afraid to have your parents, his or a friend with experience in contracts review them too.  I’m not suggesting that you hire a lawyer.

In the case that you received a larger number of regrets than you expected, and that’s the reason you won’t hit your minimum, don’t be afraid to invite additional guests. You can either be honest and explain that the space had a very limited number of seats so you were very limited with the number of people on your guest list or fib a bit and tell them their invitation came back in the mail and you want to “resend” it to them.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Win Bridesmaid Dresses for Your Wedding

Still shopping for your bridesmaid dresses? Alfred Angelo stores will be celebrating Girls Night Out this Thursday, July 28th from 6-8pm where your bridesmaids can save $20 on their dress and you can enter to win a giveaway to win your bridesmaid dresses -- that's right free dresses!

In addition to shopping, there will be stylists and wedding experts on hand to answer all your wedding questions. Complimentary beauty services will also help you find the perfect look for your big day.

For more information and to find an Alfred Angelo store in your area, visit

Friday, July 22, 2011

Do I Have to Have My Future Sister-in-Laws in My Bridal Party?

While I always say that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, it may be easier on you to ask your groom’s sisters and sister-in-laws to be your bridesmaids.

If they are assuming they’ll be in the bridal party and mention it, you may have a difficult time explaining -- without hurting their feelings -- that they’re not being asked. Especially if you’re planning on having a long list of ‘maids -- five or more.

For brides just asking one or two people to stand as their maid or matron of honor, you can explain to your future in-laws that you’re keeping it small and not having bridesmaids just your own sister(s), closest cousin and/or BFF.

In the case that his relatives are not officially bridesmaids you may still want to invite them to the bachelorette party. After all, they will be your family soon.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Is a Choreographed First Dance Now a Wedding Must Have?

Of course not. There’s nothing unromantic about a bride and groom holding each other on the dance floor, swaying to their favorite love song and even doing an impromptu dance move, such as a dip.

Couples who plan a choreographed dance should do so because they really want to. It takes a lot of time and some money out of your wedding budget to learn a few dance moves (fox trot, waltz) or to have someone choreograph a whole dance for you.

Choose a first dance song that really speaks to both of you, whether it is a great love song or a party song that gets you moving. If a bride and/or groom feel uncomfortable putting on a show for their guests then don’t do it. You don’t need added stress on your big day.

And while some first dances have become YouTube sensations, fortune doesn’t come with this particular type of fame so your fancy moves won’t help cover the cost of your wedding.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Fiance’s Parents Didn’t RSVP and My Mom is Very Upset and Thinks They Should Have. Is She Right?

Anyone who receives a wedding invitation should send back the RSVP card, after all it’s usually fill in the blank and already addressed and stamped. Easy, right? But sometimes RSVP cards get lost in the mail or the guest gets busy and forgets.

In the case where the groom’s parents, or another key member of the wedding like a bridesmaid, doesn’t reply but you know they’re coming I don’t think there’s anything to say to them about it. You could mention that you were still waiting for their reply because you’re collecting them for your wedding scrapbook if you want to.

In the case of parents and grandparents, they may not send an RSVP because they want to keep the complete invitation suite together as a momento.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where’s the Best Place to Find Wedding Vendors?

Recommendations from relatives and friends who have either recently gotten hitched or planned a party are the best resources because you can get an honest opinion from a recent customer. But if you don’t know anyone who recently got married you may want to ask your parents and their friends who have been to weddings and large events in the past year because they may be able to lead you to newlyweds you can talk to or email with.

If you’re not going to hire a wedding planner, who is also a great resource, I would recommend looking through a local wedding magazine -- both editorial credits and advertisements -- for leads. Both The Knot and BRIDES have local issues for areas across the country but in the past few years a number of independent local magazines have hit newsstands -- Washingtonian Bride and Groom, Charleston Weddings, New York Weddings magazine, D Weddings and Portland Bride & Groom are some of my favorites

There are also a number of blogs and websites dedicated to specific regions (Beantown Bride and Landlocked Bride come to mind) that feature real weddings, with credits, as well as vendor directories, which you should be aware are usually paid to-be listed directories but the editors have probably vetted them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Not to Sound Greedy but Some of Our Guests Gave Us $20 gifts. Do We Say Something Or Let It Go?

Write them a thank-you note just as if their gift cost $100 and forget it. It’s not your place to look in other people’s wallets. It’s possible that $20 is all they could afford.

While wedding gifts are expected at a wedding there’s no rule as to how much a guest must spend, it’s at their discretion. And while some will say that a gift should equal the cost of what the couple spends per person there’s no way to figure that because it would include a total of the food, invitation, favor, program, wedding cake, flowers on the table, music, etc…

Thursday, July 14, 2011

YouTube's Greatest Proposal Videos Ever

Are you a sucker for a great proposal video?  I am.  While at I was always posting funny and romantic proposals that always brough tears to my eyes.  I tink it's the moment she realizes he's proposing and brings her hands to her face that tugs at my heart strings.

Singer Tony DeSare's The Best You Can Give is set to some of the most surprising and touching proposals ever captured on video, and uploaded to YouTube.

Grab a hankie, you're going to need one:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We Want More Than the Classic “I Do” Wedding Vows, Where Can We Find Ideas for Our Wedding Ceremony?

First talk to your officiant to find out what other options he or she may have. There may be a number of vow styles your officiant has used in the past that are available to you. You can also research alternate vows online and in ceremony planning and vow books -- yes, they do exist.

Relatives and friends as well as film and TV weddings are also good places to look for inspiration. You don’t have to copy these words verbatim but you may get an ideas for your own vows -- style, formality, etc…

If you want to write your own vows to talk to your fiance about your comfort level in sharing these intimate words in front of a crowd. Some people are more comfortable than others.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How Do I Make My Wedding Personal?

Every decision you make is personalizing your wedding -- the wedding vows you say, the menu you serve, the music on your must-play list, the flowers, the cake.

In the early stages of the planning process you should talk to your fiance about what is important to you and what details you want to include.

Do you want a wedding program? Do you want to distribute favors? Is a guest book, in some format, important to you? Do you want a specific type of music played? What kind of entertainment, besides music, do you want to have?

After reading wedding magazines, scanning blogs and searching wedding planning websites you’re sure to get a good idea of what can be done. Make a master list of all the ideas you both like and then cut it down to your top 5-10. You probably can’t have everything on your master list so save those ideas for pre-wedding parties or other special occasions.

And for details that are items (favor, program, cocktail napkins, etc…) you can add your personal “stamp” by choosing your favorite color, including your names, wedding date or monogram, or a saying or lyric.

Monday, July 11, 2011

When Would I Change Into a Reception Dress?

Brides can change into a second dress right after their ceremony and before the reception begins or you can change during the reception. It’s entirely up to you.

A reception dress is usually a gown which is not as traditional and modest as the gown you wear for your ceremony. Bride who need more coverage for a religious ceremony may opt for a more modest design for the ceremony and a sexier gown for the party.

If your reception will begin with a meal and dancing to follow you may want to wear your first dress through the dinner and then change right after your first dance or before the party gets started. If your reception will have dinner and dancing alternating you may decide to change during the second course or right before your cake cutting.

For couples having an after party, since the night will last longer than four hours, you may opt to change for the cake cutting and continue the celebration in your second dress until the wee hours of the morning.

Whenever you decide to change make sure your photographer gets photos of you in both gowns with and without the groom.

Friday, July 08, 2011

FREE Tickets to The Wedding Salon Event in New York City July 20th

The Wedding Salon will be held on July 20th at Capitale (130 Bowery) from 4-9pm.  Some of the biggest names in bridal will be there including Sylvia Weinstock, wedding planner Shawn Rabideau and Kleinfeld Bridal.

You'll taste delicious hors d'oeuvres, sip cocktails, browse wedding invitations and floral arrangements and of course enjoy some wedding cake!

The event costs $50 for a bride and guest but I have 10 sets of free tickets to giveaway.  Just email me at and they're yours!

You can also use the code on the image shown here (WSBP) for discounted tickets -- $15 for 2! 

Thursday, July 07, 2011

My Groom Doesn’t Want to Wear a Wedding Band. Does It Mean He’s Going to Cheat On Me?

Not at all. Not every man wears a wedding band -- my grandfathers didn’t, nor does Prince Phillip, Prince Charles or Prince William.

Don’t be afraid to ask your fiance what his hesitation is to wearing a band, for all you know he’s allergic to gold or the feeling irritates his skin. I wouldn’t assume he is planning on having an affair.

If he won’t wear a wedding band maybe he’ll agree to a tattoo wedding band. Several celebrities have gone the route of having a decorative band inked around their left ring finger. The design can include your wedding date and/or names just like the inside of a metal band.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

If We Decide Not to Get Married Who Gets the Engagement Ring?

The engagement ring goes back to the person who owned it originally.  Here's a list of who gets it:

  • If the groom bought the ring and proposed with it, it’s his. 
  • If the bride bought the ring, she keeps it. 
  • If the ring was a family heirloom it goes back to the family. 
  • And if the groom tells his former fiance to keep it, then the bride can keep it, but to avoid a lawsuit I’d get that in writing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Do I Have to Wear a Garter and Do the Garter Toss?

The answer to both questions is, not if you don’t want to. If the idea of wearing a garter doesn’t bother you but the toss does than wear one and skip the toss.

Some brides will wear a garter with a blue detail for their something blue or a family heirloom as their something old.

If you want to keep the tradition you’ll easily find garters online in both frilly and fashion-forward designs.  (I recommend designer/shop Garter Girl by Julianne Smith) There are garters in every color as well as every color combination and you can find themed garters too. I recently saw garters in college colors with mascot charms (not at Garter Girl).

If your fiance wants to do the toss you should tell him to keep it G or PG-rated because of your comfort level.

Friday, July 01, 2011

My Wedding Dress is Very Difficult to Get In and Out of, What Do I Do If I Have to Go to the Bathroom?

At your final fitting you should bring a close friend or relative with you to learn how to get you in and out of your dress as well as how to bustle your train. This person should not be your mom. Have them practice several times to ensure that they know how to do it, especially if your dress has more than just a zipper.

As for the bathroom, I’ve scene this scenario several times. In the event that you can’t use the restroom on your own bring the person who knows your dress with you. Think of her as your bathroom buddy.

She will either get you out of the dress in time to use the loo or hold up your skirt if need be. Remember this is supposed to be one of your closest friends.

And the reason I don’t suggest your mom is she is probably in a very elegant dress and it is not wise for her to be getting on her hands and knees to bustle your train. Though if she’ll just have to hold your skirt I’m sure she’d be honored to be your bathroom buddy.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

How Do I Find the Perfect Hairstyle for My Wedding?

When deciding on your wedding-day look it’s important to keep in mind that you want to look like yourself. You can follow the latest trends and get inspired by celebrities, but that doesn’t mean that you should have an extreme makeover for your wedding.

Schedule an appointment with your hairstylist to discuss what you’re thinking as well as his ideas. Bring photos of styles you want to try. A trial will give you an opportunity to see what a specific ‘do will look like on you.

If you’re not 100% on the first one try another one. Your stylist wants you to feel beautiful. Remember that if you don’t you probably won’t recommend him to your engaged friends.

Since your wedding dress is a lot fancier than jeans and a tee-shirt, plan a night on the town after the trial. Get dressed up. Wear a shirt with a similar neckline to your wedding dress’ and you’ll get a better feel for it.

Once you’ve finalized the style schedule any necessary appointments -- coloring or highlights, trims or cuts and of course time on your wedding day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do I Have to Wear a White Wedding Dress?

Whether this is your first marriage or fifth you can wear white to your wedding. First time brides will usually wear white or ivory because it's traditional, but they don’t have to. Bridal designers have created colored wedding dresses ranging from pale pink to celadon green to charcoal grey. Each bride has to decide for herself what she feels comfortable in.

If an all-over colored dress is too daring for you, choose a white or ivory dress with color adornments -- a sash, beading, embroidery, etc…

Or if you are planning on wearing two wedding dresses, choose a white or ivory dress for the ceremony and a colorful one for the reception.

Whatever style wedding dress you choose make sure that you feel beautiful in it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How Should We Coordinate the Mother of the Bride and Groom’s Attire?

Once you have determined the formality of your wedding and have chosen the color or color range you want your bridal party in -- your parents are part of the bridal party -- you should talk to both your mom and the groom’s mother about their attire.

The formality of your wedding will dictate the formality of their dresses, specifically the length. A black-tie wedding requires a floor-length gown. Also, the formality of the wedding may dictate the type of fabric and look of a dress.

As the mother of the bride and host of the wedding, your mom gets first dibs on the dress re: color and style. She may want to chose a color and the groom’s color may need to avoid that color, unless you tell everyone to wear the same hue.

Don’t be afraid to take your mom and his mom shopping -- together or separately depending on geography, scheduling and the relationship.

Be clear as to what shouldn’t be worn. If the church requires arms to be covered make sure everyone knows.

If you’re not clear on what is and isn’t appropriate you risk not just bad wedding photos but an embarrassing moment or making someone close to you feel very uncomfortable.

Monday, June 27, 2011

How You Can Win a $1,500 Wedding Prize Pack

One of the great things about being a bride is that there are a lot contests you can enter to win fabulous prizes! I just learned about a joint one I’m sure you’ll want to enter.

Gigmasters, Greenvelope, SmartBride Boutique, The Man Registry and Wishpot are offering one lucky couple a $1,500 Wedding Luxuries Prize Pack including free e-invitations for wedding events, a harpist for the ceremony, $300 towards a wedding dress, a stunning veil and a fabulous groomsmen gift package.

For all the details visit Gigmasters. The contest ends July 13, 2011. 

To enter, simply “like” the Facebook pages of the sponsors involved. You can “like” as many of them as you want -- the more you do the more likelihood you’ll win!

Friday, June 24, 2011

New York Approves Gay Marriage

Tonight, in a historic vote, the New York State Senate passed the same-sex marriage bill with four Republicans joining 29 Democrats in supporting the measure.

Gov. Cuomo signed the bill into law about an hour later and in 30-days same-sex marriage will be legal in New York state.  There is no residency requirement to get married in New York so couples from around the country can say "I do" in any New York county starting mid-summer.

For more information on the vote and the moving speeches on both sides of the aisle, specifically Sen. Duane, Sen. Grisanti and Sen. Saland, visit the NY State Senate official website where the feed from tonight's floor session will soon be updated.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We’re Having a Semi-Formal Wedding, Should We Use Titles When Addressing the Invitation Envelopes?

I would. Unless your wedding is really casually you should use appropriate titles when addressing the outer, mailing, envelopes. The male guest’s name should be spelled out, but not the female’s.

For example: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

If he’s a doctor, judge, in the military, the format would be the same with his title being Dr. or The Honorable or Captain, etc… Ex: Captain John Smith, U.S. Navy and Mrs. John Smith.

If the female guest is the one with a career title her name would go first with his underneath: Dr. Jane Smith and Mr. John Smith. But the “and Mr. John Smith” would be written beneath hers.

It’s technically not proper to put The Smith Family on the envelope if you’re inviting the whole family, but no one is going to call the etiquette police on you. When inviting a family put the parents’ names on the outer envelope and each person’s name on the inner. Another option is to send one invite to the parents and the second to adult (over 16) children in the household.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Do I Have to Pay for My Bridesmaids’ Hair & Makeup?

You don’t have to pay for their hair and makeup to be professionally done but you can’t demand that they pay for a stylist either. Remember that everyone’s financial situation is different and one or more of your bridesmaids may not be able to afford a stylist after co-hosting your bridal shower, bachelorette party, paying for a bridesmaid dress and matching shoes and gifts for you and your groom.

If one of your bridesmaids tells you she can’t afford to have her hair and makeup professionally done you can offer to gift it to her as her thank-you gift, or just as a friend, but don’t fire her or treat her badly.

Some brides want their bridesmaids to have a special hair or makeup look and if you feel this is very important than you may have to cover the expense of it.

If this is something that you’re thinking about start pricing salons and stylists in your area to ensure that you get a great deal whether you’re paying or your bridesmaids are.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Fiance and I Want to Write Our Own Vows, How Do We Get Started?

First talk to your officiant to find out if you can write your own vows or if your religious service won’t allow you to. Once you get the greenlight you can look for inspiration anywhere: songs, poems, the Bible, the movies, your own love story.

It’s most important that you speak from the heart and share with your fiance, and your guests, why you love each other, what this day means to you and your wishes for the future.

It’s important to remember that your vows will be spoken aloud so you don’t want to say something that’s embarrassing to you, your fiance or any of your guests.

You may want to come to an agreement with your fiance as to the length of your vows and if you want to include or omit anything specific. It’s up to you if you want to write your vows together, write them separately but share them with each other before the big day or surprise each other.

Make sure you write out your vows (or type them) carefully so that you won’t have any trouble reading them. If you’re planning on memorizing them write them out anyway just in case the emotions of the day make it hard for you to remember them.

And save the printed copy in a safe place because this is one wedding detail you’ll cherish.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Parents, Who Are Paying for Most of the Wedding, Want to Invite 50 People I Don’t Know to the Wedding. How Can I Talk Them Out of Inviting Them?

If your wedding is over 150 people and your parents paying let them invite them. When you’re having a large wedding you can’t use the excuse that you want an intimate one.

Since you’ve accepted money from your parents, and I’m assuming the groom’s too, you have to accept some strings.

Remember that your wedding day is just as important to your parents as it is to you. In fact I’d bet they’ve been thinking of it for longer than you have. Just as you want to share it with your friends, they want to share it with theirs.

Review the list with your parents and if money is not a point of debate because your parents are willing to pay the added cost (catering, invitations, cake, rentals, favors, flowers for five more tables are some of the added costs you can mention), think of the space. Can it accommodate another 50 people?

Go over each name and if you’re not sure who someone is ask who he or she is and why it’s important for him or her to be there. Don’t have an edge in your voice, just speak quite frankly.

If on the other hand you’re only having immediate family and your closest friends explain to your parents that the style of wedding you and your fiance want won’t accommodate more people and maybe when you return from your honeymoon there can be a post-wedding reception: a brunch, cocktail party or formal dinner.

Tune In: The Price is Right's Wedding Special

We grew up without cable so if we were home from school the highlight of the day was watching The Price is Right. My sister became so addicted to the show that before flying to Hawaii for her honeymoon she stopped in LA to try and get on the show.

She wore a shirt which read that she was a newlywed on her honeymoon and she got picked in the second round, won the initial prize, played Plinko and ended up winning the showcase showdown.  (This is the shirt I made with an iron on material and a computer.)

Today The Price is Right is airing a special episode for engaged couples to try and win up to a quarter million dollars in prizes. The show partnered with and the prizes will range from wedding bands to honeymoons to cars and cash.

The wedding-themed episode will air at 11am ET/10am PT on CBS.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Parents are Paying for the Wedding and My Fiance’s Parents Want Their Names on the Wedding Invitation Too, What are Our Options?

The wording of a wedding invitation is broken into several parts:

Host Line (who is hosting a/k/a paying)
Request Line (the invitation to come to the wedding)
Bride and Groom Line (the name of the couple)
Date and Time Line
Location Line (where the ceremony will be held)
Reception Line (where and when the reception will be held or a separate card)
R.S.V.P Line (on the lower left corner or a separate card/envelope)
Attire Line (lower right corner, optional)

Since the groom’s parents are not hosting or co-hosting the wedding you can put their names under the groom’s. Example:

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Jones
invite you to the wedding of their daughter
Samantha Louise
John Smith
son of
Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Smith
Saturday, June 18, 2011
at six o’clock in the evening
Tribeca Rooftop
reception immediately following

If your parents don’t really care you can add the groom’s parents names to the host line if it’s a bigger deal to them. Remember, it’s important to not have World War III break out as it gets closer to your wedding day so try and accommodate your future in-laws if you can.

The invite with the co-host line would read something like:

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Jones
Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Smith
invite you to the marriage of their children
Samantha Louise
John Smith
Saturday, June 18, 2011
at six o’clock in the evening
Tribeca Rooftop
reception immediately following


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