Posts in the 'ettiquette' Category

Ask Liz: Wedding Tradition Breaks & How To Swing Them

Wedding Registry -- Wine Glasses

Hi Liz,

My fiance and I will be married next year. We’ve been living together for a few years in a large metro area and have been working on making our rental our home. We feel we don’t really need the traditional items for a registry, and, not to sound greedy, we would really rather have money for a down payment for a home. I’ve heard of down payment registries before, but I don’t know how to present this to family and friends. I would love to know your thoughts on this!


Mortgage Minded

Dear Mortgage,

Oh, we are big fans of the cash registry around here. And, seriously, more couples are living together before they get married, so less couples need plates and kitchenware. Deposit A Gift, Hatch My House, Our Wishing Well, and other websites are available to help you out with this. As far as letting people know after you’ve registered, I’ve found that a two-pronged attack works. Get a free wedding website and put a link to your registry on there. And then, put a note in your invitations with the link to your website. Keep it as the only option, be enthusiastic about it, but remember to promote, as opposed to recruit. More “we’re asking” less, “can you/do you want to … ?” Which means, no signs or prodding on your actual wedding day. As with a “traditional” registry, you get what you get, and you remember to say “Thank You!”

Dear Liz,

I am getting married next April and I am very excited. My fiance and I are still in college and we are a very laid-back couple (on a budget!) so we thought it would be perfect to have a nacho bar for our reception however, everyone around us thinks that a nacho bar is too informal and a little tacky and that we should opt for a more formal sit down dinner. We really like the nacho bar idea but I don’t want to take away from the importance of our day. Help!


Nacho Problem

Dear Nacho,

Having more “informal” catering, like a taco bar, or a food truck, is becoming a really popular way to save some cash on your wedding day. I say load up on the Shout wipes and go for it, especially if you feel that it reflects who the two of you are as a couple. But, you can also “formalize” other aspects of your reception, too. Serve it all on real plates, with real silverware and real cloth napkins, centerpieces at each table. Add anything else that feels like a wedding to you, or anyone else whose opinion you care about. Pinterest, has a slew of  cool – and pretty – examples. Show those to the doubters, too.

What’s been your experience with registering for cash? Are you having a food truck wedding, or have you been to one? Pretty cool, huh? Or not. Let us know in the comments below!

Got a question of your own? Go to the contact page and let us know what’s up.

See you at the end of the aisle,


{Ask Liz} Invitation Impasses

Dear Liz,

When my fiancee and I got engaged, we asked his sister to help us make wedding invitations.  She’s really into that scrap-booking thing and Martha Stewart-like crafts.  Since she lives far away, it was decided that when she came to visit in the summer, we would work on the invitations.  She told us a couple of weeks ago that she had done some “mock ups” for us.  The thing is, last weekend, fiancee and I were in Michael’s and found DIY invitation kits for $16!  Normally they’re like, $60.  And they include everything!  All we have to do is shove them in a printer and print them off .  I really don’t think we could make the invitations for cheaper, especially after buying all the supplies, not to mention saving a headache.  But, what do we tell his sister?  She seems really flattered and excited that we asked.  I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I have also seen how DIY projects can go over board and the next thing you know you’re $100 over budget because the glue you thought would work doesn’t (or something like that), and you have to start over.


Buy not DIY

Excellent. But find something else for her to do.

Dear Buy,

There is no way to avoid hurting her feelings at this point, unfortunately. Be straightforward and tell her that you found other invitations that you really love, so she doesn’t have to make them. Thank her strongly for her support, love and help, too.
>However, before you tell her, I strongly suggest that you find her a smaller project to do, and offer that as an alternative. Table numbers? Place cards? Something that she can still use her creativity on.

Dear Liz,

My mom is driving me crazy. I always expected her to put in her two cents about everything from the venues to the dress but now she is trying to strong arm the guest list. My fiancé and I are a bit of a vintage couple, and we’re paying our own way. That would automatically oust mom from the situation, but she is a professional calligrapher and will be doing (and paying for- with the exception of stationery) all of the invitations. It is a wonderful gift and something we could really not afford otherwise. However, recently she has tried to hijack the guest list and invite friends that I do not care for and do not want at my wedding. She is aware of the space constraints so has these people on the back burner. She offered to pay for them as well. My concern is that she will go behind my back and send an invite out to them. My mom respects no boundaries and I feel as though this is just the beginning of this. What should I do?

Got the MOB Blues

Take control - Have them sent to YOU.

Dear Blues,

Yeah, Moms are hard. She thinks she knows what’s best, and you’ll regret not having these “friends” at your wedding, and that she’ll regret not pushing to have them there. You’re afraid that if you give her this inch, she’ll take it to Mars. I get it.
It would be better if she would listen to you and back off.
Odds are, she won’t.
Remain calm, which I know can be the hardest part. Then, take control. First of all, make sure the RSVP address on the invites is yours. Then, tell your Mom that you’re going to be mailing them out yourself. You will pick them up from her when they are ready, plus any extra blanks that are left. If she’s supposed to pay for postage, tell her that she can reimburse you. If she asks about sending out more invites, just say, no, you’ll handle it. Again, remain calm, and keep it short. That should work, although I can’t guarantee she won’t keep some on the side.
If she asks how many RSVPs have come in, be vague – “not that many”, or “a lot more than I expected right now.” Remind her that the RSVP date isn’t for a while. If she’s still pushing it after the RSVP date, tell her you don’t have room for any more people/ you don’t feel right about her paying for any more guests, which you clearly don’t. And always change the subject as quickly as possible – maybe to the venue or your dress? Good luck.

So, how did you guys deal with any of these problems? Any advice to add to mine? Let us know in the comments below!

See you at the end of the aisle,


Ask Liz: FMILs and the Brides That Love Them

Got a wedding dilemma for me? Go to our contact page, and let me know what’s up.

It can be com-pli-caa-ted...

Dear Liz:
Here it goes. Hubby to be and I are pretty shy introverted types. We are starting to think about our rehearsal dinner and who to invite. Our constraints: almost everyone, including us, will be from out of town. Hubby to be’s mother is planning and hosting the rehearsal dinner. The wedding guest list will be about 100. Everyone on our guest list is someone we like a lot.

So, how do we narrow down the rehearsal dinner guest list? The thought of two long, big parties, two nights in a row makes us…not excited. Do we just do our informal thing 7-9 pm and leave promptly? Do we have to invite some of Future Mother In Law’s friends to keep her happy?

Dinner Dinged

Dear Dinged,

I totally get what you’re saying! The easiest way to do this, since so many people are coming from out of town, is to stick to inviting your wedding party and immediate family. Let your mother-in law know that is what you would like. If she says, “I want to invite so and so, too,” then let her, since she’s paying. And, it gives you an excuse if someone says anything, “Yeah, we kept it to the wedding party and family, and and my mom-in law – who hosted – invited a couple of people she knew.” Simple, easy, and true.


I only got one new question this week (send them in!), so here’s an oldie but goodie:

Dear Liz:

What’s bugging me about my wedding? To be honest, not much yet, except for something that came up again today during a recent visit with my fiance’s parents. My FMIL is aware that we are intending to have a “casual” wedding. We are very laid back people, so  the term “casual” is a reference to the vibe we want to maintain for the event. Our reception is outside and  I’m not walking down the aisle to the traditional wedding piece, but rather one of our favorites songs. Instead of our dudes wearing tuxes, they’re wearing suits or perhaps no jacket at all. And my chicks are wearing black dresses of their own choice/brand/store.

Yeah, No. Not Even if They're As Cute as these. (Courtesy of The Gap)

Now, I’m not saying our guests have to black tie it up for this shindig, but we aren’t really TELLING people it’s casual. While I’m very open minded, I’m still traditional in the thought that you dress up for weddings unless it’s otherwise noted. The problem here is that when my FMIL hears “casual” she relates this to blue jeans. She’s actually asked if she can change into them for the reception.  And she told us today that she informed her sister of our “casual wedding” and her sister plans to wear jeans. Yeah, this bugged me.

I realize I cannot control what people wear, but I don’t want my FMIL going around telling people to wear jeans. Am I crazy for letting this bother me? Up until this point, I’ve been extremely relaxed about all details of the wedding, so I don’t want this one to set me off. What would you do?

Not as Casual as I Thought

Dear Casual,

Well, first I would put my head on the desk and bang it against the surface a few times. Oy. Then I would inform your FMIL that odds are she’ll be the only one wearing jeans, and you expect that every other woman there will be wearing a dress, from the time the ceremony starts to the end of the reception. Repeat as often as necessary. That way, if she does show up in denim, she can’t say you didn’t warn her. Have her son talk to her, too.  Encourage him to use the words “Have to wear a dress.” No one wants their mother looking like a fool at their wedding. And if all else fails, you can always put “dressy casual” on the invitations so there’s no confusion.

So, how’s your relationship with your FMIL going? And how did you handle that rehearsal dinner dillema? Let us know in the comments below!

See you at the end of the aisle,





The Big Kiss… or the Big 51 Kisses

Something you need to understand about wedding planning is that it is OK to shamelessly steal from other people’s weddings.  You NEED to steal other people’s wedding ideas.  In the world of weddings, there is nothing new under the sun.  Don’t waste your energy trying to be original.  You are going to need to conserve that energy just to pick exactly what wedding ideas you are going to steal.

My favorite stolen wedding idea? It wasn’t my brooch bouquets or any other material detail.  It was something we did with our ceremony that was lifted directly from Collin’s twin sister Carrie’s wedding:  instead of waiting for the grand finale of our ceremony to kiss, we kissed each other whenever we felt like it during our ceremony.  Which means we kissed AT LEAST 51 times during our wedding ceremony (it’s possible I missed a few due to edits in our wedding video).

When I saw Carrie start her own wedding by kissing her almost-husband, I knew that I’d be doing that on my own wedding day.  It wasn’t just that it was a sweet moment that wins over the hearts of the crowd, even though kissing before the universally-expected kiss cue absolutely does that.  I realized that like Carrie, I’d be unable to hold myself back from expressing my love with a kiss when I get to the end of the aisle.  And moreover, at that point I already expected to be marrying Collin, and Carrie and Collin are as much alike as you’d expect former wombmates to be, so any chance that I could restrain myself would be made moot by Collin’s enthusiasm for kissing.  [I mean, seriously, 51 times people.  In about 10 minutes.]

Kissing during your ceremony lets you express yourself, and gives you a release for the intense emotions of being married that isn’t breaking down in attractive sobs.  And maybe the greatest gift of all?  It takes so much pressure off “the big kiss” at the end.  Why agonize over having one perfect kiss in front of all your family and friends, a perfectly-timed kiss that strikes exactly the right balance between passionate and family-friendly, when you can give yourself 51 chances (or more!) to hit that mark?

As an added bonus, your photographer gets more chances to get this sort of money shot:

Can you see yourself kissing your partner all throughout your wedding ceremony? Or will you be saving up your kiss mojo for the big finish?