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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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

Listing the Guests

Do you want a small wedding? A huge wedding? How many people will you have? And where does the list end?  Obviously guestlists can be a contentious subject!

A friend got engaged and listed her status on one of the popular social networking sites.  Within minutes, a friend from high school who she hadn’t been in touch with for YEARS, emailed her and said “Congratulations! Can I come to the wedding?”  I recommended that she write back “No” if only because I thought that was incredibly rude! How could you assume you would be or should be invited?!

Apparently, people requesting or assuming they are invited to weddings is a very common occurrence. (And I’m guessing those people have not read my previous blog on assuming you’re not invited!)

So what can you do to cut the list down a little bit? 

First, don’t allow your close friends to bring a random date.  Obviously married folks should be allowed to bring spouses.  And it’s up to the bride and groom about how to handle long-term significant others.  But your close friends who are not in a serious relationship probably don’t need a random date. Why? Because your close friends can hang out with your other close friends!

Before I met my boyfriend, I was invited to a number of weddings alone and they were a LOT of fun. All my close friends were there — some with boyfriends/girlfriends and some alone too. It was great and a date would have only been one more person there. He wouldn’t have made the night any better!

Sure it’s not a lot of people, but it’s something! (And when you’re allowing or not allowing a guest, remember how to address the envelopes!)

Second, keep in mind that 10-20% of guests decline the invites. Ususally.

Third, you can cut the people who you haven’t talked to in years.  I know you were invited to their wedding once-upon-a-time, but if you haven’t talked to them in the past year, then don’t feel guilty about not inviting them.

Fourth, don’t invite kids. I know! But there are pros and cons to this suggestion.

Fifth, don’t invite co-workers.  This depends on how close you are to your co-workers, but a lot of times this becomes a slippery slope and suddenly you feel obliged to invite a LOT more people from work.  Cut it at the source!

Another suggestion: Create a list of absolutely non-negotiable must-be-there people. Then you can work backwards from there… You don’t need to invite people who, 10 years from now, you’ll say “wait, why did we invite them?”

Remember, it’s your wedding and your guestlist!

~ 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