How to Plan Your Wedding: When To Do What (Part II)

The last blog post I wrote was all about how to plan your wedding — from moment of engagement until the final steps. What I didn’t include were things to know for the day of and miscellaneous things that come up whilst planning your wedding. That’s what I’m going to do here!

For the Day

  1. Put other people in charge! Your wedding party and friends and family should be able to help you with some last minute things that need to happen. Also, be sure that you don’t forget any of the top 5 things people forget! This means that you should make sure you have things like safety pins, bandaids, and tissues. But also make sure someone takes care of your personal stuff (like your camera).
  2. Someone will need to: set-up the guestbook, give money to vendors (and be sure to tip the vendors!), transport flowers, hold emergency items, put out the favors, and place cards with the info on your online photo album website!
  3. Remember to EAT during the reception!
  4. Clean-up & Recycling. Make sure you put people in charge of cleaning up and/or recycling. This should be planned for in advance, but someone in the wedding party should make sure it gets done — especially if it’s not something the venue does for you. By the way, consider donating leftovers to a foodbank.
  5. Stay calm, have fun, and enjoy the moments! Here are some tips for staying calm & tips to make sure you enjoy every moment.

Miscellaneous Wedding Planning

I referred to some of these aspects of wedding planning in the Part I, but here’s everything compiled:

  1. Children-free weddings:
    1. whether to have children or not
    2. how to tell your guests that their children may not attend.
  2. Registries:
    1. what to do about wedding gifts (generally – for both you & the guests)
    2. tips on the gift registry
    3. how to tell people where you’re registered
    4. how to ask for gift cards or money instead of gifts
    5. how to deal with anonymous or unlabeled gifts
    6. what to do if you need to return or exchange a gift
  3. Wedding insurance
    1. All about wedding insurance
  4. Showers, Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties, Rehearsal dinners, Afterparty, Honeymoon: While this blog focuses on wedding planning, it’s important to think about these aspects of the pre- and post-wedding. Some families and friends assume that all five will take place. Others don’t find them necessary! You should do what YOU want!
  5. Staying together the night before: Consider whether you want to stay together the night before the wedding or not. Tradition says you should stay separately, but some couples find it more soothing to be with the love of their lives on one of the most stressful nights.
  6. Thank you notes
    1. when to send thanks especially when gifts come before the wedding date
    2. tips on writing thank you notes!
  7. Being charitable: How to get married AND be charitable at the same time!
  8. Wedding photos: Many times, the best part of the post-wedding is seeing the candid shots that your friends and family took. But a lot of times they’re all over the place on different websites. Make sure all your guests’ upload their photos into ONE online photo album! Give out the website info at the wedding, sign up in advance so The Wedding Lens can send reminder emails, and write the info into your thank you notes! Either way, make sure your photos are easily accessible, viewable, and downloadable!

Remember to check out our Green Wedding Tips and our Cheap Wedding Tips to help save your wallet & save the environment!

Still have questions? Email me! natasha@theweddinglens.com

~ Natasha

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Weddings, Marriages, & the Law – Part II

In Weddings, Marriages, and the Law – Part I, I discussed what it means to be married and what happens to your rights and obligations upon marriage. I also promised a few other parts that discuss prenuptial agreements and wills (both of which can alter the rights and obligations that arise when getting married) and legal agreements, like contracts with vendors, that might require guidance so you know what to look out for.

This blog will discuss prenuptial agreements and (briefly) wills.

Again, as a lawyer, I have to include a disclaimer. The following should not be considered legal advice. This is only legal information; if you need legal advice that is relevant to your own situation, you should talk to a lawyer.

Second, both The Wedding Lens and I disclaim any agreement with links that I’ve included. Most of them have legal information; some also contain an opinion. I link to them for informational purposes only.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”) is a contract that an unmarried couple signs prior to marriage or lawful union.  The contract explains what happens to property and money if the marriage or union ends.

Why should I?

Because if you don’t, the state will.  In other words, if you and your significant other do not come to an agreement prior to marriage about how your assets will be divided and the unwanted, unexpected divorce/split up happens later on in life, then the state gets to decide how your assets will be divided. Why does that matter?

Well, let’s say that before you get married, you bought a house.  You used your own money and the house is your pride and joy.  You don’t sign a prenuptial agreement.  You get married.  Something goes wrong (which yes, I know, you don’t want to think about right now) and you end up filing for divorce.  You want your house back. It was yours and you paid for it, after all.  Guess what? You don’t get it. In most states, you only get half of it.  I know what you’re thinking – you paid for it! It doesn’t matter…. You get to split it. Along with everything else.

So that’s why.  If you have real property or any kind of assets, a prenuptial agreement is helpful to ensure that you get what you had – or at least what you are comfortable with getting back.

You don’t have assets? Well, what if one of you makes more than the other or you are planning to have kids?  You might want to agree to a certain amount of alimony so that you each are able to sustain yourselves.  You care about each other and you wouldn’t your significant other to be destitute, even in the unmentionable time of divorce.

What? You don’t have assets and you aren’t having kids? Great! Are you getting an advanced degree? A Bachelors degree? A Masters? An MD? PhD? JD? MBA?  Maybe you’re not sure right now, but you might pursue one later? Well, in some states, your spouse is entitled to the value of your degree and/or the increase in your earning potential.

For example, say after you get married, you go to law school.  You graduate at a time when the average attorney makes $100,000 (I’m making this up; I have no idea what the number is.). BUT you want to do public interest work, so you only make $45,000 – which happens to be exactly the same salary you were making before law school. Because you’re working constantly and not making any money, your spouse wants a divorce (I know, I’m sorry, it’s just an example!). In some states, he/she is entitled to half of your earning potential, not your actual salary; in this case $50,000! (Even though you only make $45,000!)  In addition to that, depending on the state, your spouse may also be entitled to additional financial support for helping you through law school — even if the support was purely emotional.

It’s kind of amazing how the state can determine these things! But, like I said, you can alter this by signing a prenuptial agreement. Then you can do whatever you want!

Why shouldn’t I?

I don’t know why you shouldn’t. Here’s why YOU think you shouldn’t (and my responses).

“We’re never getting divorced!” – Great! Then what’s the harm in signing the agreement? Even better if it never gets used.

“It’s uncomfortable to talk about this!”  or “It makes me feel like he/she doesn’t trust me!” – Talking about money matters and financial well being will bring you closer together. You shouldn’t be afraid to discuss dicey topics with someone with whom you’re spending the rest of your life. The agreement isn’t for NOW and hopefully it NEVER applies, but it can’t hurt to have one in place — especially if you have any assets (as I discussed above).

“I don’t have any assets.” – Okay, then there’s probably no reason to agree to how your nothing will be divided. I still encourage you to do your own research and talk to an attorney about the possibilities.

But We’re Already Married!

That’s quite all right! You can do the same thing in a post-nuptial agreement.  Same idea, but POST marriage (hence the name).

We’re Not Worried About Divorce

You dont have assets, you dont want a pre-nuptial agreement or a post-nuptial agreement, but you’re worried about what happens to your assets, children, etc if one or both of you happens to die. What do you do?  Well, that is all taken care of in a will or a trust — or both!

Because all of these laws vary considerably with the state in which you live — especially if you are creating a trust or some other form of a will, I won’t go into great details about wills. But a will allows you to determine where your stuff will go and who will care for your children.

A lot of people are terrified about talking about wills; it requires talking about something quite worse than divorce. But if you have children, PLEASE write a will. PLEASE. Not only should YOU (not the state) decide who your kids go to, but YOU should be able to make sure that they have the money and financial stability that they will need to continue on the planet without you.

I know, harsh topics today!

Do you have questions?  Feel free to email or post here. 

~ Natasha

Kid Free Weddings – Yay or Nay?

Since I don’t have kids, I haven’t been conscious of people’s wedding invitations including or not including the children.  But I know a lot of people feel very strongly one way or the other about whether kids should be included or not.

kids

Until I spoke with a few friends about the kids issue, I didn’t really understand what the issue was. As I’ve said before, your wedding is a day to celebrate you and your partner’s love for each other. It does not need to be “perfect” and not everything will go as planned. And my perception was that a child at your wedding was not going to change that! After speaking with people about this issue, I can understand both sides.

If you don’t include children and you have close family members with kids, the family members may be very offended that their children are not invited.  If you include family members’ kids but not friends’ kids, then your friends might be hurt or have to make a difficult decision. Some guests may decide not to attend if their kids can’t come.

But as my friend said, “anyone who doesn’t come to a wedding because they’re offended that their infant wasn’t invited is about as mature as the infant.”  Unless, my friend disclaimed, it is a childcare issue.

My friend’s concern was that the kids would end up being the center of attention and that the parents of the kids would end up leaving the wedding early because of the children.  I know other people are worried about budget issues with including the kids in the wedding.

So if you decide not to have kids at the wedding, what should you do?  Perfect Memories Wedding Blog gives advice on how to prepare guests for the idea that their kids are not included and what to do to help make this easier on your guests (such as by providing babysitter service information for out-of-town guests).  If it is a financial decision, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to make a phone call to explain the situation. It avoids hurt feelings and might make your guests feel more welcome! Another solution is to have an age cut-off so that children can come, but babies cannot come.  That may be helpful depending on the ages of the kids.

You may not care if kids are there and may be sliding on the dancefloor during your first dance. I have another friend who wanted all of the family members’ kids and friends’ kids there to enjoy the celebration. She knew that the kids might be loud but she also felt like it was a family event and that she didn’t want to exclude family members because of their youth.

You have to do what’s right for you. Just be sure you handle the kids issue sensitively.

Do you plan to allow kids at your wedding or not? Tell us!

~Natasha