Wedding Question: RSVP by Email?

One of my college friends is getting married in the Virgin Islands this summer. She sent out a Save the Date and I already know I wont be able to make it. Is it inappropriate for me to email her and let her know now that I wont be able to make it? I say email rather than phone call because we mostly stay in touch via email and pretty much never talk on the phone. 

photo from The Wedding Lens!

Interesting question! Well, there are two aspects to this question. First, there’s the idea that no invitation has been sent. Second, there’s the email communication question. Let’s take ’em one at a time….

It sounds like you’re reasonably close with this person, but not close enough that you would drop everything to be at her wedding in the Virgin Islands. (To be fair, I tend to think that most people who get married a long distance away (have a destination wedding, if you will) don’t really want or expect everyone they invite to be there. So don’t feel bad if you can’t make it. It’s a long way away and they can’t expect everyone to be able to travel so far.)

Ok, so no invitation was sent yet. It’s a little odd to send an RSVP when you haven’t been invited yet. On the other hand, I’m sure that your friends would appreciate knowing as early as possible that you can’t make it (and that they might be able to invite someone else in your stead…. not that anyone can replace you!) I think it boils down to how close you are and your relationship with your friend. You know her better than I do. If you think she’d appreciate knowing now, go for it.

As for email communication, I also firmly believe that you and your friend are FRIENDS. Etiquette aside, you are friends who communicate via email. So yes, go ahead and email her. Better to let her know via email than not at all, right?

In sum: Go ahead and let your friend know that you can’t make it via email, even though they haven’t sent out an invite yet. I’m certain some of my readers will disagree…. comment below! I’m curious to see what you all have to say.

Good luck!

~ Natasha

Wedding Question: How to Help a Friend Budget

One of my friends is getting married in about six months, though she just got engaged. She hasn’t booked anything yet but she keeps talking about how she wants the perfect dress, amazing flowers, and a ton of food and alcohol. And she wants to have 500 people! I just don’t get how she can do that given that she doesn’t have money and neither does her family. How can I help her budget this in a way that makes sense?

a bride shares her big moment with her close friends! photo from The Wedding Lens!

Good question! Wedding budgeting is a bit overwhelming and it’s easy to just skip that part and get on to the fun planning parts! But budgeting is key!

Explain to your friend that you really need to work out a budget for everything. Some people think this means sitting down and deciding how much they have to spend on each thing. And that’s fine! But it’s a good idea to know what may be expected. So start by checking out our guide to create a wedding budget.

Help your friend by taking a look at the average cost of weddings in the locale where she’s getting married. The average cost of a wedding in the US is probably around $30,000, but it depends on where you are. Some regions it will be higher, some lower. If you can help her see that her idealistic dream is going to cost her a pretty penny, maybe she’ll either change what she wants OR she’ll find a way to afford it all.

Get an idea of what the expenses will be and how many things there are to plan and pay for. This will also help shed some light on a realistic budget.

The most important thing that you should do is help support your friend. When she realizes that she wont be able to afford what she’s dreamed of, she’s going to be pretty upset and sad. It may sound ridiculous, but it’s not and how she feels about her wedding is real. Be sure you make her feel good about the positive things — the friends and family who will be there to love her and share in the joyful occasion.

Hope that helps! And if she’s needs some good cost-cutting tips, check out our cheap wedding tips.

Got other wedding planning questions, just ask! Email natasha@theweddinglens.com.

~ Natasha

Wedding Question: Should I invite someone because she invited me? Part II

Photo from The Wedding Lens

We received another question that builds upon one of the previous question/answers that I recently wrote. I think it’s an interesting topic because it comes up in almost every wedding planning situation. So here we go:

I read your recent blog post called “Should I invite someone because she invited me?” But it doesn’t really answer my question. Your answer focuses on weddings that happened years ago, but what if the wedding you were invited to was really recent? My fiance and I were invited to a wedding very recently and we decided not to go. We like the person, but my fiance has only seen his friend twice in the past ten years. He was surprised we were invited at all. We would rather not have to invite this friend and his now wife because we barely know them now, though we don’t want to lose them as friends either. Help!!!!

Wow, you’re right! I didn’t really answer that question directly in my post about whether you should invite someone because they invited you, but I started out with some of the things you should consider when figuring out the guest list.  I still think the “use your best judgment” is the most sound advice, though I recognize that doesn’t give you much to go on!

Again, you should consider 1) the size of the wedding (both yours & theirs); 2) the closeness of friendship; 3) the desire to have them present.

It sounds like in your case it’s not that you DON’T want them there per se, but you have other people who you are close to. And it sounds like you decided not to attend their wedding because of how you’ve already grown apart — especially if your fiance was so surprised he was invited at all. After all, talking only a few times over the course of 10 years is a pretty good indication that you’re not that close anymore. I think that your fiance’s friends would be hard pressed to be “offended” if they’re not invited.

Consider putting these people on your B list as an alternative solution. You have your primary list of folks you want to attend and if enough of them don’t attend, put couples like this on the B list. (Or even a C list, if you want!) That way you haven’t completely eliminated them from consideration until the very end of the process. It gives you time to keep mulling it over.

Here’s another blog post on how to develop a guest list – hopefully that will answer any other questions!

Good luck! And if you have other questions, please email me at natasha@theweddinglens.com! (Or check out our link to submit wedding questions)

~ Natasha

Wedding Question: Should I invite someone because she invited me?

 

Photo from The Wedding Lens!

My fiance and I were trying to figure out a guest list for our wedding, but the numbers are out of control! We are the last of most of our friends to get married and we’ve gone to a ton of weddings (both together and separately). Some of the people we keep in touch with and we consider them to be true friends, who would obviously be invited to our wedding. But there are a few people whose weddings I went to year ago and I haven’t talked to the people since. Is it wrong for me to leave them off our list? We would love to invite everyone, but obviously we can’t do that! We’re just trying to figure out where we can cut some people, without being rude.

Well, I would guess that a lot of couples have this problem. You were invited to their wedding, but now you haven’t talked in years – still have to invite them to yours? I think the answer, like most answers, is that “it depends” and “use your best judgment.” Things to think about:

Size of the wedding. Was their wedding enormous? Is yours going to be? The larger your wedding is, the more awkward it is that you didn’t invite them — at least if you ever run into them again! 

 If you can’t invite someone who you do genuinely want to stay friends with (and they invited you), consider having a conversation. Most people who have planned their own wedding know the difficulties of developing a guest list and are likely to be sympathetic.

How much you’ve grown apart. Is this someone who you talk to once a year? Or, like, never?

How much you really want/don’t want them there. Some people who you’ve grown apart from, you may want to reconnect via your wedding invitation. It’s an easy way to get back in touch, but it is not obligatory! You can always get back in touch on another, non-wedding day.

Make sense? Good luck! Have a wedding question? Email me! natasha@theweddinglens.com. Remember, regardless of the size of your wedding, take pictures!

~ Natasha

Wedding Question: Memorizing Vows?

 

Couple saying their vows, photo from The Wedding Lens!

Here’s the latest wedding question from our reader:

I am getting married in a couple weeks! I can’t believe it. My fiance and I decided we each want to write out own vows to say to each other during the ceremony. But I’m so nervous that I’ll forget something that I want to say, I’m not sure what to do. Do you have any suggestions? Is it inappropriate to have a piece of paper to read from? Help!

Take a deep breath! Remember your partner is standing across from you, loving you, regardless of what you actually say (unless, of course, what you say is that you don’t want to be there! But since you’re asking, I dont think that’s what you’re planning!).

This is your wedding and you should do what makes you feel comfortable. So, if you and your fiance are committed to sharing vows that you’ve written, do it in a way that makes you feel at ease. For some, this means just talking off the cuff and saying whatever comes to mind in whatever manner it gets said. For others, this means memorizing a speech that says what you want to say. And others find that it’s more comforting to have something written down. I’ve seen people do both!

If you decide you need something in front of you, of course you can just use paper or note cards or whatever works best for you. If you use note cards, NUMBER THEM! Just in case you drop them! That way it’s easy to put them back together.

You can also use technology to have your vows in front of you. One friend ditched the paper idea and used an iPhone application for her wedding vows. Similarly, most phones have a “notes” section that you can write on too. My only request for the technological route is that you not take your computer up there with you! It can be heavy. 🙂

Good luck! And congratulations!

~ Natasha

Have a wedding question? Email me! natasha@theweddinglens.com

Wedding Question: Champagne or Sparkling Wine?

A lovely "champagne" toast! Photo from The Wedding Lens!

As always, we love getting questions from readers. Here’s the latest reader question:

My fiance and I are trying to buy champagne for our wedding toast. Most of them are so expensive, though. Is it too cheap of us to get sparkling wine instead? Or do other people do this too?

Good question! I think this comes up a lot. You should know that “champagne” is sparkling wine that comes from Champagne, France. So anything that’s not from Champagne, France can’t be called champagne — but they can be just as tasty! California and Italy have delicious sparkling wines that are perfect for the “champagne” toast. Most people will not know the difference, you’ll save a few bucks, and everyone gets to toast you & your signifiance other!

Good luck! And congratulations! And don’t forget to share photos of your toast!

~ Natasha

Got wedding questions? Ask me! Email natasha@theweddinglens.com.

Wedding Question: We’ll Already Be Legally Married….

Photo from The Wedding Lens

Photo from The Wedding Lens

My fiance and I are doing a destination wedding in Cabo- SO EXCITED. BUT one issue- it will NOT be a civil ceremony, meaning it wont be legal. SO, we have to also set a court date as our “legal date” which we plan to do right before we leave (3 days before the wedding).
 
All of this in OK, it’s just that I feel like the “legal date” MIGHT take away from our big day in Cabo! Any advice on this…??? I am sure with everything going on the Cabo Wedding will be OK- it’s just in my head that we will already legally be married before we get to Cabo… 😦

 

Don’t fret! This will be a great day! And you will be in CABO! 

Remember that there are two things going on: a marriage and a wedding. They aren’t the same thing, though people often get them confused. Your marriage will be legal when you go to the courthouse, but your wedding is still your wedding!

Your wedding is a celebration of your marriage, of your love for each other. You get to bring together all your family and friends who love and support you both AND you get to share your love for each other in front of them. (I’m guessing ALL of them wont be at the court house with you three days prior, right?)

You should also know that most weddings aren’t legal marriages. Most people have to spend a day at the courthouse, either before or after the wedding day so that the state recognizes them as married. Even church weddings aren’t legal marriages recognized by the state; still gotta go to the courthouse.

So dont let the legality get in the way! You and your fiance(e) are going to have an AMAZING wedding day! And you’ll get to show everyone your love for each other — which you cant do at a courthouse.

Congratulations and have fun in Cabo! (And share pictures!)

~ Natasha

Got a wedding question? Email me! Natasha@theweddinglens.com