Tradition vs Modern Wedding Planning

As I was gathering information for an upcoming blog post, I started wondering how much people are turning to traditional etiquette and how much they are creating their own, new & modern etiquette. Help me out!

Share your traditional photos and your free flowing friends’ photos with a FREE online photo album!

~ Natasha

How to Tell Your Guests that You Don’t Want Kids to Attend

Long long ago, I wrote a blog post about whether or not to have children at a wedding. There are lots of pros and cons, but if you’ve already decided you dont want kids in attendance, how should you tell your guests?

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

There are a few steps to take along the way to make sure that you tell your guests gently (but firmly!) that you do not want kids at the wedding. You can try all of these, or some of these, depending on what you feel comfortable doing.

  1. Before you send the save the dates, spread the word through your family, wedding party, and friends.
  2. Address the STD and the invitation ONLY to those you want to attend.
  3. Include the words “Adult reception” in the invitation. Such as “Adult reception to follow” at the bottom of the invitation. (Do NOT write “no children” – that is considered anti-etiquette.)
  4. In the RSVP, include “X number of seats have been reserved for you” or put in the names of the guests who are RSVPing on that card.
  5. Provide babysitter information to out ot town guests so that they can come and not have to worry about who to call and how to take care of the kids.

Be prepared that some people may RSVP for the children and you might have to call them to let them know that it is a no children event!

Obviously this can be a touchy situation, so just handle it with grace and try to understand where parents are coming from. Good luck!

~ Natasha

Round-Up: All Things Gift Related

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Because I’ve written so much about gifts and gift-related things, I thought it might be nice to put it all in one nice little blog post for easy access! AND if you, dear readers, have questions I didn’t cover, ask me! and I’ll cover it ASAP!

How to Ask for Gift Cards or Money (instead of gifts!)

Tips on the Gift Registry

What To Do About Wedding Gifts (for both the couple & the guests)

Green Wedding Gift Ideas

Gift-Giving Etiquette

Etiquette on Giving Bridal Shower, Wedding Shower, AND Wedding Gifts

Gifts for the Best Man

Maid of Honor Gift Ideas

Out of Town Gift Bags

How To Deal with Anonymous or Unlabeled Gifts

Writing to Say Thanks!

Did I miss anything? Wanna give the gift of an online wedding photo album?

~ Natasha

Wedding Question: A Reception That’s Weeks After the Ceremony?

We just received this question from a reader….

My husband’s nephew is getting married this October. Only 20 people are invited to the ceremony (we are NOT being invited). We were advised they will, however, be holding a large reception two weeks after the ceremony, to which we ARE invited. My husband feels that the only reason we are being invited to the reception is to give a gift, and does not want to either attend or send a gift. Since his nephew lives in another state, I am tending to agree with him about not going to the reception – it would cost us several hundred dollars in travel expenses. Are we obligated to either attend the reception and/or give a gift? Is it common practice to not be invited to the ceremony, but be expected to attend a later-date reception?

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

First, you are not obligated to attend and you are not obligated to give a gift if you do not attend — contrary to popular belief. It is common practice to give a gift if you do not attend to show the couple that you are supportive of them. It’s completely understandable that financial limitations might restrict your ability to attend the wedding.

Second, although it is not common to have a separate ceremony and reception, more people are doing that these days. People want to do a simple, personal ceremony and then they want to celebrate with their family and friends. While I don’t know your family dynamics. I’m guessing that you weren’t invited just for a gift — more likely you were invited because you’re family! In fact, if you were just wanted for a gift (and not to celebrate) they could have just invited you to the ceremony and not the reception since the reception generally costs a lot more than a ceremony. (Note to couples reading this: do NOT invite guests only to a ceremony and not to a reception)

Hope that helps!! Good luck!

~ Natasha

Need to give a wedding gift? How about an online wedding photo album so that the couple can collect all the photos from their guests?

Wedding Etiquette: Last minute cancellations & invites

I received another wedding question:

If people bail late, how do you fill their spots? or should you? We are getting married next week and we had to turn in our final catering numbers last week. Now we’ve found out that there are 3 people who may have to cancel! Since we’ve already for them, we’d like to fill their spots. But then of course the people we’ll be inviting will know they didn’t make the A list or even the B list. Etiquette?

In researching this, there seems to be a resounding: don’t fill spots last minute.

However! I have a different philosophy on this that might work for some people. If you are inviting people who you like and who know that they weren’t invited to your wedding, I think they would be flattered to be invited — even if last minute. (Though I also know a few people who would be really hurt that they were invited last minute, so go figure.) I think you do this with candor: 

“Hey, you know we were really having a hard time fitting in as many people as we wanted to during this whole wedding planning process.  It actually turns out that we have room for a few more people and we would LOVE it if you would join us.” 

Either they say yes or no and are offended or not. I tend to think that you cant be offended by candor & honesty. And really? If they’re THAT offended that you wanted them there at the last minute, I wonder if they’re really destined to be your friends.

Good luck! And I’m certain someone disagrees …. comment below!

~ Natasha

Want ALL of your friends’ and family members’ photos of your wedding day? Check out our free wedding albums!

Wedding Question: Do I Tip My Hairdresser for the Trial Run?

As you know, we accept questions from our readers — either via our site or via email ( I recently received the following question:

I’m going to see the stylist who is doing my hair for my wedding.  He’s doing a trial run so that I can see what it will look like for the big day. When I go for the wedding hair trial run, should I tip him?

This question also applies if you’re doing a trial run for your makeup! There are two schools of thought on this:

  1.  Yes. Tip them because they’re doing a job that you would ordinarily tip for if it were any other day. But also tip them because you want to make sure that they do the same, great, wonderful job on your wedding day!  
  2. No. Don’t tip them now because you’re tipping them on your wedding day! The trial run is for them to sell you on their services and if they do a great job, you’ll give them a bigger tip at the wedding.

I know, that’s not helpful. So here’s my answer: YES. Always tip. You want them to do a good job on your wedding day. You want to show that you appreciate their work. You would tip if it were your wedding day — and if you were planning to tip bigger on your wedding day because of the trial, why not make the stylist feel good (and appreciated!) by tipping them at the trial run too.

 Have a question? Email us:!

~ Natasha

Gift Giving Etiquette


If you’re having trouble figuring out what to do about gift giving, here’s a guide for you to follow.

Timing: When do I send the gift?

Gifts can be sent as early as the wedding invitation arrives. Early, right?

The wedding has come and gone and you still haven’t sent a gift? No worries! Most resources say that you have one year after the wedding before you’re really out of etiquette code.  That said, one source says that you really only have three months — which may have more to do with you remembering to send the gift rather than the etiquette of gift giving!

Gifts & Cash: What should I give and how much should I spend?

All the good gifts from the registry are gone?! No problem! You are NOT obliged to give the couple something from the registry. In fact, we have some suggestions for alternatives to registry gifts. How much do you have to spend? Whatever your budget allows + how much you like the couple.

If you want (or the couple requests), you are permitted to give cash to the couple.  The amount? Whatever you’re comfortable with giving.  For cash gifts, check out these handy tips about the etiquette of cash gift giving.

Absence: If I can’t attend, do I still have to send something?

Contrary to popular belief, you are only obligated to send a congratulatory card if you can’t attend the wedding; you don’t have to send a gift. Despite this, many people feel obliged to send something — in part because it further shows your congratulations, support, happiness, and regret that you cannot attend.  

Looking for more info on gift giving — either as the couple or as guests? Check out our other tips on gift giving. And hey, why not consider giving the gift of a free premium photo album?

Do you have other etiquette tips you’d like to share?

~ Natasha