Category Archives: guests

Let’s be ReaLISTic

Creating your guest list is no different from many other projects as you will start with a monumental idea only to realize the need for a more practical outcome. Whether you are planning a small, intimate ceremony or one to which you invite hundreds, there are some that should NEVER be included and others whom there is no obligation to extend an invitation to.  Here are just a few of those….

Certainly, there are people you see often and seemingly know every detail of your life, whether your manicurist, co-worker, boss etc. Therefore, you have had conversations about your upcoming marriage and perhaps each aspect of the planning process. However, neither that knowledge nor the amount of time spent together necessitate an invite.

There is no need to include all members of your family as, most likely, you have relatives with whom you don’t keep in contact with unless via holiday cards or see every few years if you happen to pass through their town or attend a family reunion. A great way to include them in your celebration (while alleviating feelings of guilt) is to send them an announcement along with a photo and personalized note.

It goes without saying that you exes belong in the “should NEVER be invited” category even if you have been apart for years and remain friends. Perhaps he/they has moved on as well but there is no assurance that seemingly long gone emotions won’t be stirred up. However, you can likely guarantee that his/their attendance would create an uncomfortable situation for your fiancé.

Plus ones are often expected to be included as some feel more comfortable attending an event which is a celebration of love, happiness and unity with their significant other rather than going alone. Of course, you should encourage your close family and friends to bring a guest. However, if you are not including certain relatives or others with whom you spend much of your time, there is no requirement to surround yourself with people you have never met.

Friends from high school with whom you only exchange occasional hellos with on social media, neighbors and friends of friends also fall into the “should NEVER be invited” category as you would not expect them to attend, mind if they didn’t or notice if they did. Also, it may seem as if their inclusion is merely an attempt to get more gifts as many do feel obliged to respond to an invitation in such a manner.

Chances are that you have heard all about weddings that you were not invited to and probably didn’t even give a second of thought to it. It is your day to be surrounded by those who mean the most to you. Including many who are either strangers or acquaintances casts a shadow over the value of ones you hold nearest and dearest.

You’re My Favor(ite)

Despite the fact that your guests should and probably do feel honored to be a part of your wonderful day, it is only appropriate that you give them favors as a token for their attendance, any gifts they have given you and especially if they have traveled or rearranged their schedule to attend. However, that is not an indication which requires spending a great amount of money nor be typical or easily anticipated.

One inexpensive way to kill two birds with one stone is to use small and economical containers, each filled with different sorts of succulents. On the front, you can put labels with the name of each guest and simply the number of their table at the reception. Therefore, not only does it keep you from making seating assignment cards but is a token of your appreciation which can grow and is long-lasting.

Select something meaningful and useful to which you can attach a card letting each guest know that you have made a donation to a charity on their behalf. No matter the organization, each attendant would be both surprised and humbled by the thought behind your decision to do so.

Find something local and unique to your area, whether candy, granola, tea etc. and package them in modest containers. If you wanted to extend yourself, cover the containers with local maps giving extra meaning to guests who have traveled for the occasion. If you choose not to use a map as a cover, simply fold it into a uniquely styled tag with a hand written message.

Any favor would be appreciated but there are many ways you can show your gratitude while both remaining in your budget and thinking outside the box.

First of All

When wedding planning, regardless of the hours spent or attention paid to details, it is almost guaranteed there will be glitches and unexpected occurrences you won’t be prepared for. Neither micromanaging nor being completely obsessed will ensure flawlessness.

You can easily be consumed with every facet which detracts from the joy when walking down the aisle as you may obsess thinking of every detail you are seeing. It is not a reflection of your lack of love and should not make you question your decision. It should instead be a sign that you need to take a deep breath, relax and realize that, even if everything that could go wrong does, you’ve made the absolutely right choice for you.

Despite having a photographer, some guests will want to take photos or videos on their phones and get in the way of the professional shots. One recommendation is to include in your invitations that there is a “no photos” policy. It is simple to kindly say that photos will be distributed once developed but someone has been hired to take on the task and, while you appreciate the interest and effort, you have control of that aspect.

Often, you will have a recently married friend who is now an expert on everything involved and suddenly become a dispensary of unwanted/inappropriate advice without regard to the fact that it is YOUR day. Sweetly tell her that, while her wedding was lovely and you appreciate her advice, you have a different style and have made choices that are perfect for you.

Unfortunately you will likely find someone who is consumed with jealousy and bitterness over their own relationship history. The best way to handle him/her is to have a private conversation, ask if they would like a particular song played or find other small ways to make them feel special and included.

No wedding will be exactly as you’ve dreamed of but it will always turn out perfect in the end and it is the mishaps that you can look back on which make it even more than what you imagined.  

Getting Trendy

Every year, wedding trends change and, while they may be a jumping off point when it comes time to begin planning, there is no need to base your entire day solely on what is currently in style. Many brides want to fit in with what is “hip” and “chic” in the moment and fear getting caught up in the past or seeming too far out of the box. However, here are some trends for 2016 and years to come.

Patterns: Have some fun. Not everything has to match nor does your color scheme have to solely consist of one or two colors. You can select the colors you want for flowers, decorations and bridesmaids dresses, making beautiful combinations of each for your save the date cards, invitations, napkins, etc. Color blocking/random combinations are both expressive and creative.

Sleeves: Although strapless, sweetheart neckline gowns were the rage for years, the creativity with both short and long sleeves is growing. Having either, especially with an open back, is very popular due to exuding femininity, sensuality and elegance at the same time. They can be made of lace, crystals or other beading and accentuate your dress whether simple or the most extravagant.

Incorporation: If you opt to have a reading included in your ceremony, rather than being performed by the pastor, give short portions to certain chosen guests where they can stand up and read them from their seats. Not only would each be honored to do (those won’t be chosen will not feel left out) but it creates an intimacy and an unspoken symbol of value to everyone you invited.

Personal Moments: Personal photo shoots have always been a tradition but now, rather than being intimate, it has become more stylish to take pictures as you get dressed with your bridesmaids, your mother and those nearest to you buttoning your dress or perfecting your veil because the most beautiful images are those which silently express your anticipation and excitement.

Smaller, more intimate unions are not only more meaningful to each person involved but make any sort of variety of old and new both fun and memorable, and that, perhaps, is the biggest new trend of all.

Minimal Assistants


It goes without saying that, as a bride, you likely have a plan (or at least a clear vision) in place regarding most of your wedding day details. Making your ideas come to life may be challenging for many reasons leaving you wishing for sole responsibility over every component. Unfortunately, that is an impossibility as outside help, whether from friends and family or hired professionals, is required. However, every decision including the amount of assistance you want or need and from whom it comes is yours to make.

Remember that the period leading up to your special day is not just exciting for you but for those close to you as well. Many will offer their time, advice and skills to ease your burden and lower your stress level. While usually successful, occasionally their good intentions lead to uncomfortable situations and hurt feelings.

One objective of your wedding is for your guests to enjoy themselves which includes being able to take in everything going on around them. If someone offers to provide their services on the day of for something other than what you want, kindly pointing out some of the special things they would miss is a great way to decline the offer while avoiding being offensive.

Unsolicited offers will not just come for your ceremony and reception but may arise throughout the planning process too. Fortunately, those are easier to handle. During this time, you can include the individual(s) in different yet equally meaningful ways making it seem as if you are not being dismissive. For example, if your mom is determined for you to wear her veil and your heart is set on a birdcage, invite her to help you choose just the right one and offer to sew a piece of the veil inside your gown or to use it as a wrap around your bouquet.

All intentions are good when those who love you offer a lending hand as difficult as that may periodically be to keep in mind. However, it is the one day that all attention is on you and your future husband. Therefore, while always doing so kindly and with consideration, you should not feel guilty for ensuring that what you envisioned is exactly what materializes.

Join My Party???

When choosing who to include in your bridal party, issues must be considered other than who is closest to you or who you feel obliged to ask.  The position entails more than simply standing by your side at the altar and may be more than some are willing to/can take on.

There is a cost that comes along with the duty. While you select the dresses, shoes and accessories, it is typically expected they purchase them on their own. Additionally, each commonly split the charges for the bachelorette party and bridal shower. As much as some may love to fill the position, it is just not feasible for them and you should not be offended by that.

Time and availability must be contemplated too. Most arrangements can be made via email or phone but some should be done in person to ensure everything is just as you want. However, it is not inappropriate to include someone who is unable to participate in every activity (depending their significance) without offending those who can.

Because someone accepts an invitation from a mutual friend yet declines yours is not indicative of importance or lack thereof. Circumstances change, other obligations have arisen and so on. They should still be invited as a guest though.

No wedding is going to go off flawlessly and there will undoubtedly be disappointments. They should not be taken personally nor create a cloud over what should be the shiniest day of your life.

I’m Your Biggest Fan

The fun begins when planning the smallest details of your wedding as your individuality and personality begin to shine. Consideration should be taken, especially if in the summer or guests are from out-of-town, that the temperature can possibly have an immense impact on overall experience. Therefore, you can not only be fun and clever but provide your invitees with a way to comfort themselves as well. Here are a few ideas….

Fans can be made in any shape or size despite the formality or lack thereof while providing as little or as much information as you want. Use a wooden craft stick and a whimsical silhouette in heavy paper with your names and date on the front and program data on the back, whether the order of the ceremony or members of your party. Add some embellishment with a ribbon or a bell that jingles as you exit the venue. Alternatively, print the details on the front, while providing markers for each guest to write personal messages on the blank back of their fans which can leave for you to read.

Opt for a simple stick (such as bamboo) to which you can attach a personalized packet of your favorite flower seeds. If so, they will both serve to keep the temperature down if an invitee gets warm but also as a unique, creative and fantastic gift for everyone present at your union to take home as a sentiment of the beginning of a new stage in life.

Why not have a panel wedding fan? It is an entertaining option to include infinite material and may be condensed in to the size of an inch.  Card stock with a simple hole punch in the bottom and some ribbon or a brad makes for a cost-effective, informative way to not only provide your names and the wedding date but also directions to the reception, information as to the procession as well as those who are involved in the ceremony.

Most brides don’t have fans as part of their ceremony and those who do don’t give much thought to them. They can serve many purposes, lower your cost and decrease your budget. Therefore, it is something to most definitely give thought to.

I’d Rather be Apart from You

Each guest at your wedding realizes their meaning solely based on having been invited (even those who are plus ones). A kind gesture is to take it a step further to both demonstrate your personalities and uniquely individualizes your union from any other.

  1. As each person arrives, have a fresh flower pin or hair clip for women and miniature boutonniere for the men each with a personalized name tag. Doing so shows thoughtfulness and creates a sense of congruency for group photos.
  2. Rather than a rose or sand ceremony, plant the seeds of your favorite flower together during your ceremony. It’s a fantastic recognition of the new journey you are embarking on and will serve as a reminder as you watch it grow and flourish.
  3. Provide a variety of colored pennant flags as your guests enter along with markers so as to write a single word on. It will fill the gap prior to the ceremony beginning but, more importantly, while you typically imagine leaving the venue to flower petals or rice, your married life will begin with waving of personalized and handwritten wishes.
  4. Rather than opting for typical banners, consider making your own. While needing to know the dimensions in order to hang them, the options are limitless in terms of what they could show. You could create collages of images with all of those you invited to make them feel appreciated or solely two of special moments with your fiancé.

When you start to plan your wedding, your mind goes immediately to what you’ve seen on TV, what you grew up dreaming of etc., but there are so many ways you can blend both tradition and personalization in ways that not only make it feel like your special day but also as if a very special day for each of your invitees.