Posts Tagged: new wedding etiquette
Welcome to Team SB&G’s favorite time of the year – Engagement Season! December is the most popular month of the year for your beau to pop the question, and we’re so excited for all of our newly-engaged brides-to-be who found sparkling diamond rings under the Christmas Tree!
But now that you’re engaged (yay!), what’s your next step? Well, first things first, you need to chat with your parents, your fiancé, and his parents (if they’re helping to foot the bill) and establish a budget. Remember to be realistic and budget the most generously for the categories that are most important to you. Also note that generally, the food and venue account for at least half of your wedding costs. This process of budgeting will set the stage for the rest of your wedding planning – from the size to the style – so it’s a must as a first step!
If you’re going to hire a full service wedding coordinator, here’s where he or she comes into the picture! Get in touch with one of SB&G’s awesome planners and they’ll guide you through the rest of the process!
Then it’s time to start compiling your guest list, which trust me, takes a while! Reach out to your parents, your fiancé’s parents, and your friends for suggestions on who to invite. It’s easiest to create a list of everyone you’d invite if you had an unlimited budget, and then cut it down to meet your needs. Remember, traditionally, the groom’s family may choose one-half of the guests.
Next, you need to select and reserve your venue. I know your wedding date may seem far away, but popular locations book 10 – 18 months in advance, and you don’t want to miss out! Be sure to keep your tentative guest count in mind when selecting a space, as it may lead to other needs, like a sound system for the ceremony. Use our venue guide to ease the stress of this process and search by location, seating capacity, catering & more. If you’re not hiring a full service planner, consider reaching out to day-of coordinators to reserve your date.
After you’ve got your venue, you should have a pretty good idea of what you want your big day to feel like, and it’s time for the most fun part – selecting the bridal gown! Believe it or not, many designer dresses can take up to nine months to come in, and then there is still the process of alterations. Check out SB&G’s favorite Triangle bridal shops for a dress on a budget, or a couture masterpiece.
Another service that books out quite early these days is photographers, so get on this as early as you can. Use SB&G’s list of preferred wedding photographers and check out their websites. Then, after getting a feel for their style, set up a meeting. Remember that you want to be incredibly comfortable with them, they’ll be interacting with you several times throughout the wedding process! Then it’s time to book your photographer!
Photo Credit: Renee Sprink Photography
There are so many sources available to brides these days, but none of the advice seems to match up, and it’s easy to get too caught up in the thought process, which guarantees your head will be spinning before you stuff envelopes and start doling out gratuity!
So, you’ve got your wedding budget, and so far, you’ve stuck to it! The big ticket items like the venue, catering, dress, flowers, photography & more are all taken care of, but you’ve still got that nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something…and it’s probably factoring estimated tips into your big day spending!
In general, you should tip any wedding service that you would tip for at any other time. For vendors who own their own businesses — like photographers, florists, and wedding coordinators — tipping isn’t standard, but it’s certainly greatly appreciated. Remember that while a cash gift is wonderful, the best thing you can give your vendors on your wedding day is a smile & a grateful attitude, and a thank you note follow-up is the icing on the cake.
So when you’re ready to start labeling envelopes, be sure to check out these tips from The General Guideline for Exceptional Service:
For the DJ — for a great job of keeping your guests entertained and on the dance floor, the guidelines recommend 10%+. Have the tip prepared to hand out (by you or your wedding planner) before they pack up and leave the reception.
For the catering or wait staff and bartenders — first, check to see if the tip is included in the contract. If it’s not, tip between 15% and 20% of the total catering bill and/or the alcohol bill designated for team of servers and staff. Have this envelope prepared by the end of the reception as well.
For the hair and makeup services – tip as you normally would at your salon, around 15%. Give this tip to your stylist after they’ve made you and your ‘maids gorgeous!
For the ceremony musicians – five to 10 dollars per person, per hour is appropriate. Make sure you have this tip prepared to dole out directly after the ceremony, as the ensembles usually clear out soon after their part in the big day is finished.
For the officiant — you may offer a tip or a contribution to the church to express your appreciation. This tip is best given at the rehearsal dinner or the reception.
For the parking attendants – you may post a sign for your guests if you are taking care of the tip, which should be approximately a dollar per car.
Assign a friend, family member, or your wedding coordinator to be in charge of handing out the tips. Trust us, in the whirlwind that will be your wedding day, the last thing on your mind will be doling out envelopes!
Photo credit: Photo by Dara Blakeley Photography
Creating your registry with your fiancé can be one of the
most fun and exciting parts of the wedding planning process, but also one of
the most overwhelming. SB&G is here to provide you with some simple tips to
ensure that you register for things you will love and actually use!
Consider Your Guest
It’s best to register at two to four places to give your
guests a range of options in price and selection. However, don’t register for
the inexpensive items for fear of looking gluttonous – most items that are
cheap are have low price tags for a reason and won’t hold up, so you’ll just
end up replacing them in the long run.
Know How You Live
Registry items are totally personal preference! If you’re
not the best cook, or never even think about baking from scratch, a Kitchenaid
mixer probably shouldn’t top your registry list. First of all, it’s expensive,
and those generous dollars from your friends and family are better off going
towards something you’ll actually enjoy receiving. Second, you probably thought
about registering for it because it’s “expected” or “popular” to do so. Toss
out these notions of who you “should be someday”, and instead focus on how you
and your groom-to-be live day-to-day. If you’re a casual couple, embrace it,
even if it means there’s not a single piece of china on your registry. And
we’ll bet the set you inherit from your family will not only mean more
sentimentally, but will also be more timeless.
Items with one specific purpose – like a rice cooker, panini
press or ice cream maker – are often chosen for registries and then discarded.
So again, know how you and your fiancé function. Do you dread cooking? Do you
secretly prefer Eggo frozen waffles over homemade ones? If so, choose items
you’ll actually use, even if you think your guests will question your decision
(maybe your maid of honor LOVES her electric knife, and that’s totally
fine…each couple is different.) Remember: expensive cooking tools will not make
you a better cook! However, if you’re all about preparing meals and
entertaining, go for it – register for things you will use and love for years
Also, if you’re a couple that tends to err on the side of convenience, choose items that you wouldn’t mind leaving out — like a nice stainless steel coffee maker. Skip the crazy colors that might clash with your decor tastes later in life, and forgo the super-cheap option for something attractive enough to sit on your counter until you get around to putting it away.
Scott Faber Photography
When In Doubt, Go
Now, I don’t mean register for popular items that are on
many advice sites checklists, I mean opt for classic styles that will never
outgrow your tastes as a couple. Style-specific items you love in your twenties
can seem incredibly outdated once you hit the big 3-0. It’s too expensive to
re-buy everything a second time around, so choose timeless pieces that you can
dress up or down with more inexpensive details.
Some kitchen items we think never go out of style:
-White everyday dishes
-Basic, durable flatware
Listen To Couples Who Have Gone Before You
Chat with your married friends, parents and coworkers about
their registries – what do they still use? What did they register for and later
regret? What do they wish they’d put on their list? Hindsight is 20-20, so ask
Some items we think are great staples (though they may not
be for everyone!):
-Set of knives in a knife block
-Quality set of pots and pans
-Nesting mixing bowls
-A crock pot or slow cooker
-White, fluffy towels
-White, high thread count sheets
-Frames for your wedding photos!
-Set of quality tools
How about y’all…what did you register for that you still
love? Anything you regret? What about things you wish you would’ve known you
Enjoying the great outdoors may be part of your wedding plants. Whether you are having an outdoor ceremony, reception or both, you need to be prepared for any weather surprise the South may throw at you!
Protect your wedding against the elements:
From rain: A tent is a must for park, home, lakeside and garden weddings. Tents are available from party rental companies for any size event. With lights and decor, a tent can be a stunning event location. In case of a sprinkle, guests can be escorted to and from the event by your helpful groomsmen with pretty golf-sized umbrellas! Musicians and DJs need a dry, protected surface within the tent or outdoor area where they can set up their instruments and equipment.
From extreme temperatures: Here in the NC Piedmont, the most moderate weather for outdoor evening events is during Mid-April, May and early June, and then again in September, October and early November. You can check the almanac, but nothing is guaranteed by Mother Nature. It is a good plan to include fans, air-conditioning or heaters in your budget, which are all available from your party rental store. Cold bottled water is a cool welcome in hot wearer as guests arrive and are escorted to their seats by the ushers. Fan-shaped programs may offer a welcome breeze during a ceremony under the sun. Throughout the reception, serve plenty of nonalcoholic drinks like lemonades and teas along with alcohol to keep your guests feeling refreshed (and hydrated!). For a chillier evening, treat guests to warming foods such as soups and perhaps a spicy entree. Serve hot tea, cider and coffee after dinner.
From wind: Rather than using a unity candle that may blow out, mixing two colors of sand, pebbles or rice into one vase is an alternative outdoor ritual. Avoid tabletop items such as unweighted place cards, which could easily blow away on a breezy evening. Secure everything! When dining alfresco, choose flatware that is stylish and sturdy.
From insects: A few mosquitoes may find their way past a citronella candle barrier, so supply some individually wrapped insect repellent skin-wipes for sensitive guests.
From the darkness: Lighting is important, especially in walkways to the seating, restrooms and parking area. Choices include hurricane lamps, lateens, tiki torches, candles, garden lights and specialty lighting from a rental lighting company. Uplighting can be used to enhance the look of the tent, ceremony site, or even the trees themselves. If using an open flame, be sure to check with the venue to ensure there are no restrictions.
From the rugged terrain: Just as formal invitations sometimes not Black Tie, you may suggest on your invitation that guests wear comfortable foot ware. High heels do not work well on grass, stone or sand. Renting a dance floor is always a plus. Consider a shoe check where high heels can be traded for flip flops, which also make a fun wedding favor! Rent the supplies you need to power your event, including a backup generator.
These days, the rules of who pays for what when it comes to a wedding are a little more in the grey area than in years past…for quick and easy reference, SB&G has provided a short and sweet list of new wedding etiquette so you know what to expect from whom!
Old Rules: Wedding and reception expenses for a first marriage are traditionally the sole responsibility of the bride’s family. When paying, they get to determine the size and style of the wedding and reception. The groom’s family my offer to share in the cost of the reception, and the bride’s family may accept in order to accommodate a larger wedding.
New Rules: Both families may divide the expenses as their budget allows, or each family can contribute a set amount to the total expenses. This may be supplemented by the bride and groom. As the average age of coulees rises for marriage, many working duos today host and pay for their entire wedding and celebration themselves, and issue the invitation for their personalized wedding on their own. For encore weddings, the couple is always responsible for the costs.
The Bride’s Family:
-Church and reception site rental
-Cake, catering and beverages for the reception
-Invitations, announcements and stationary
-Services of a wedding consultant
-The bridal attire and trousseau
-Photography for the engagements, bridal portraits, ceremony and reception
-Flowers for the church, reception and the bridesmaids
-Corsages for special helpers
-Music at the ceremony and reception
-Limousine for the bride and family to the church, and cars for transportation
-Lodging for out-of-town bridesmaids or arrangements with friends
-Security and insurance
The Groom or His Family:
-The bride’s engagement and wedding rings
-Officiant’s fee and travel expenses
-Bride’s bouquet and going-away corsage
-Corsages for the mothers and grandmothers
-Boutonnieres, gloves and ties for the men of the wedding party
-Wedding gift for the bride
-Limousine expense leaving reception — or for the day
-Wedding night accommodations
-Gifts for the best man and groomsmen
-Shipment of the wedding gifts to the couple’s home
-Lodging or arrangements for out-of-town groomsmen
-Groom’s wedding ring
-Gifts for the bride’s attendants
-Thank you gift for parents
-Bridesmaid’s luncheon (optional event)
-Engagement parties may be hosted by each set of parents or friends
-Groom’s family or engaged couple may co-host or host the entire wedding event
-The groom’s family or friends usually give the bachelor dinner or party
A new trend in wedding photography is the first look — an opportunity for the bride and groom to share a private moment before the ceremony and really drink in seeing each other for the first time in their wedding day duds. While some couples opt out of a first look to stick to tradition, many are taking to this trend with gusto and embracing the chance to share a quiet, romantic moment with their loved one before the hustle and bustle of the big day!
A first look is not only a special moment for the newlyweds-to-be, but also for their photographer, who is there to capture the roller coaster of emotions the couple experiences upon seeing each other for the first time.
Here’s a sneak peek at one of the couples we’re featuring in the upcoming edition of Southern Bride & Groom – Caitlin and Chris, who’s stunning Bay 7 wedding was planned by Erin McLean Events. Check out these super sweet first look photos by Kevin Milz Photography taken after the bridal party got ready at The King’s Daughters Inn. Get excited for the full feature coming soon!
I’ve been to countless weddings – those of some of my closest family
members, my parents’ second weddings, and distant friends I’m surprised invited
me – yet they all seem to run together because each ceremony and reception are
chock-full of outdated traditions!
Here’s a list of the wedding traditions that you’re totally
allowed (and encouraged) to skip:
the bride and groom’s families during the ceremony: This one kills me – I mean
really, assigned seating, are we in grade school? Didn’t think so. Let people
sit where they want during the ceremony! And I bet your sweet coworker doesn’t
want to sit next to Aunt Mildred just because they both don’t know anyone else
at the wedding – so don’t make her!
the entire wedding party at the reception: I think it’s awesome to recognize the friends and
family who helped make your big day extra special…but I bet your wedding guests
– especially the out-of-towners who don’t know anyone – don’t want to hear
every name of your gigantic wedding party announced by an overly eager emcee
and see them enter to their personal theme song.
garter toss: OK, I am not against wearing a garter. I mean, I love frilly, pretty little things. But I
am against your new hubby digging up
your skirt to pull it off your thigh – especially when the DJ insists something
ludicrous– like taking it off
with his teeth! Do you really want your groom under your layers of tulle and
crinoline in front of your grandparents? Didn’t think so…Not to mention, I’ve
never heard a guy say “Aw man, I was really
hoping to catch that garter!” at a wedding where this humiliating ritual was left out.
cake in each others’ faces: Alright, this is one tradition that really gets
under my skin – I have warned my fiancé that if he even attempts to mush cake
on my face, I will be one unhappy bride! I mean really, you spend all this time
and money to look perfect on your big day – why ruin it with buttercream and
fondant? And let’s be honest, the photos of this age-old tradition aren’t
exactly flattering. You can find a way to be silly without mashing cake – I promise.
“Dollar Dance:” This is one I hadn’t heard of until I began planning my own
wedding. Guests literally “donate” money to the newlyweds to get a minute-long
dance with the bride or groom. I think it’s nice to want to give a little extra
cash to the couple as they start their new life together, but this tradition is
extremely outdated and borderline creepy. Guests usually come bearing wedding
gifts and take on the burden of
travel expenses to be there for your big day, don’t you think we can save them
some dignity and the few spare dollars in their pockets?
Alright, brides? Can we handle that? But, in all
seriousness, do whatever makes you happy – and if that means incorporating some
of the traditions I claim are outdated, by all means, do it. But don’t say I
didn’t warn you.
Who Uncle Bob is and How to Tell Him (and Other Guests) to Put Down the Technology and Let The Pros Handle it
Your big day has finally arrived – you are the image of
bridal perfection from your coiffed ‘do down to your French-mannied toes, and
you are about to step into the aisle and see your groomie for the first time.
Then, Uncle Bob steps in front of the professional photographer you hired to capture a photo on his
fancy-schmancy new camera. And you get this:
Who is Uncle Bob
exactly? Well, he’s photographer-speak for that family member that has nice
photography equipment and volunteers to take some pictures to give the bride
and groom as a gift. He truly, truly means well (well, most of the time.) But
really, he gets in the way of the professionals and photo-bombs the would-be gorgeous
shots of your big day (see above.)
So how do you avoid
Uncle Bob? One option becoming increasingly popular is to simply have an
unplugged wedding – no phones, cameras, video cameras…anything electronic. At
all. Except, of course, for the photographer you booked. This allows you to
generalize the rules to the entire crowd, so your own Uncle Bob won’t feel
targeted or left out, and trust me, your professional photogs will be thrilled!
Ask your guests – via invitations or day-of programs – to
truly be with you during the day (the
ceremony, at least – maybe not the reception), not a spectator from behind
their iPhone screen. Come on, you’ve seen it (and most of us are guilty of it
ourselves) – the bride begins her walk down the aisle, arm in arm with her
father, and a hundred digital cameras, video recorders and smart phones pop up
to “capture the moment.”
Not only does this hamper the view, it disconnects you from your guests – who are most likely your closest friends and family – and whenever you look back at the professional’s photographs of your ceremony, you’ll see all your beloveds staring down at their screens, not enjoying what weddings are supposed to be about — the love between the bride and groom.
I know this isn’t for everyone — especially if the couple is relying on friends’ photographs and didn’t hire a professional, but for those who can splurge on a photographer for the day, why not ask your guests to enjoy it with you?
The Plus One Situation
As if wedding planning isn’t stressful enough, brides-to-be are constantly plagued by questions from their soon-to-be guests and wedding party about bringing dates. And trust me, it’s easy to let the plus ones blow your guest list completely out of the water. But don’t pull your hair out, there are several ways to handle the situation to keep everyone (or most everyone) happy and out of your well-styled and sprayed-to-perfection hair.
1. Everyone who is invited gets a date – Be it their spouse, fiancé, boyfriend or best friend, every guest gets to bring a significant (or not-so-significant) other. This CAN work, but it is fairly uncommon in the wedding biz, simply due to cost restraints or limited venue space.
If you want to keep your wedding on the small side or happen to have an incredibly long list of family members, it’s probably not the best idea to allot all of the guests a partner — unless your daddy is prepared to shell out some big bucks for people you may never see again.
On the same token, if you’re from a small town where everyone knows everyone, it’s somewhat unavoidable to not invite well, everyone. In this case, or a situation in which your parents (or you!) work jobs that require courtesy invites for a slew of coworkers, allowing every guest to bring a date is simply not practical. Which brings me to option two…
2. Everyone who is married or engaged gets a date – Most brides (understandably) need to keep their guest list under control. In this case, only guess who are (legally!) bound to a significant other get to bring them along.
The good thing about this option is that it’s a hard and fast rule — there really can’t be any arguing about who qualifies. This is ideal for the bride who just doesn’t ant to deal with conflict.
But of course, all rules need to be bent sometimes. If someone is coming from outside your close circle of friends and family, it might be a good idea to let them bring a friend or significant other along for the simple fact that they will be more comfortable. And if your 200-guest-maximum hasn’t been reached with priority members — best friends, family, and office buds — give out some plus ones! Friends with serious long-term relationships would love to bring their significant other, and if there’s space, why not let them? (I am also a fan of allowing the wedding party to bring dates, but that’s personal opinion!)
So really, it’s nice to let as many people as your guest list allows bring dates. Your guests will appreciate it and be more likely to get out on the dance floor. But if you’re under the constraints of a tight budget or small venue space, remember that etiquette-wise, doling out dates is NOT mandatory — it’s up to the bride and groom to make their choice based on the kind of wedding they have envisioned!
An old German wedding custom, the tradition of cutting a log represents the first obstacle that the couple must overcome in their marriage. They must work together to “overcome the obstacle” by sawing through the log. Using a large, long saw with two handles, the couple demonstrates their teamwork to friends and family, and their willingness and ability to master the difficulties that inevitably arise in a marriage. Hopefully the log will not take too long to saw through! SB&G tip: Try to find an old, dry log that is not too big, so you will still have time to enjoy the reception!
Below, newlyweds Anne Keefe and Tyson Lewis are cheered on by guests as they tackle their first “obstacle” during their reception at Duke Gardens in March. Anne’s father found the log in the woods, and her brothers held it in place during the sawing. Photo by Dara Blakeley Photography.