Posts in the 'wedding advice' Category

BAB Throwback: What Not To Wear – Wedding Guest Fashion

As a wedding guest, the dress code has a tendency to be tricky. You want to read between the lines and give it your best go without having to consult a fellow nuptial-goer for fashion advice, but sometimes it can just be plain confusing. BAB tackled this issue way back in 2011 and while there seems to be a bit less rigidity these days (can guest wear white if the bride is wearing pink? Martha says yes.), many of the old tropes still apply. So here’s a refresher from the Broke-Ass archives!

I’m switching gears a bit this week to discuss something that comes up over and over on wedding forums and blogs — what to wear as a wedding guest.

Wedding Guest Fashion: What Not to WearSource

Nowadays, finding something to wear as a wedding guest is almost as stressful as finding your own wedding dress! There are so many etiquette rules, so many stipulations and so many vague dress codes (“festive casual?” “dressy resort?”) that it seems that guests can never figure out which fashions are appropriate for someone else’s wedding.

There are no hard and fast rules, but I’ve been to a lot of weddings and I’ve gotten a feel for these things. So, here is my advice for what a women should and should not wear as a wedding guest.

DON’T wear white or ivory. It wouldn’t bother me personally, but it’s frowned upon in general, and some brides get so upset that they actually ask women wearing white to leave the wedding. As ridiculous as that may sound, it’s better to avoid the situation altogether. There are a ton of other colors out there — choose one of them!

DO dress for the venue. If the wedding is on a lawn or on the beach, those strappy jeweled stilettos might not be the best idea. You might want to consider flats, kitten heels or wedges instead. Or if the wedding is in a fancy hotel ballroom, you might not want to wear a casual sundress with flip flops.

DON’T wear the same exact color as the bridal party, at least not intentionally.

DO dress comfortably. I think that anyone who subscribes to the “fashion before function” philosophy is glutton for punishment! You’re going to be wearing this outfit for several hours — why would you want to suffer in a dress that’s too tight or shoes that pinch? Nowadays, it’s easy to find clothes and shoes that are stylish and comfy!

DON’T wear anything that’s too flashy and/or revealing. This is a wedding, not a nightclub. The bride’s great-aunt has no desire to see your butt cleavage. Trust me.

DO keep in mind that some houses of worship have dress codes. For example, one is not supposed have bare shoulders in a Jewish synagogue. If you’re unsure about ceremony dress codes, feel free to ask the bride, groom or their families. And you could always bring a wrap or pashmina with you just in case.

DON’T dress for the wrong time of day. A slinky LBD would be inappropriate for daytime, and a pastel floral sundress wouldn’t quite work for evening.

DO remember that if you have to ask “Is this appropriate?” it probably isn’t. But also remember that even if you make a screaming fashion faux pas as a guest, it’s not the end of the world. All eyes will be on the bride, not you!

What rules do you follow when dressing for a wedding?

-Dana F.

Ask Heather: Receiving Line and Food Delivery Timing

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Image courtesy of Simone

Dear Heather,

How much time should I plan for the receiving line immediately after the ceremony if there are about 80 guests? I really don’t know how to ballpark this. Thanks!


Dear Stacy,

A general rule of receiving lines is about 20 seconds per guest, so yours should take less than a half-hour. However, there are definitely alternatives to doing a receiving line, especially with such a small wedding. If you and your spouse are attending the cocktail hour, you’ll be able to talk to a lot of the guests during that time. Plus, during the reception, right after you finish eating your food (because you WILL eat during your wedding [Ed. note: See No. 3]), you can make the rounds and visit each table. Unless you’re having a super-short wedding, this should give you plenty of time to chat with all of your guests.

Dear Heather,

When should the food be delivered for an outdoor wedding?


Dear Tiffany,

In part, this depends on whether you’re doing a buffet setup or a sit-down meal, how much space you have on-site for food that needs to be kept cold or hot, how many guests you’ll be expecting and how much preparation needs to go into getting the food ready to serve. If you’re using a caterer, I’d definitely talk to them about how much time things will take. Since you’re asking the question, though, I’m going to assume that a lot of the food effort is DIY and you don’t have the option of asking a caterer.

If you’re doing any of the cooking on-site, I’d suggest having everything ready to go one to two days before the wedding, so you have time for any last minute errands to pick up something that was forgotten. Obviously, this will also require that you have the space to store everything overnight, as well as store items as they are prepared the day before and day of your wedding.

For food that’s coming in already made for a sit-down meal, you’ll need a kitchen big enough to accommodate all of the food, as well as a refrigerator to keep the cold stuff cold until the last minute. You’ll also need enough time to plate all of the food. This is probably the hardest option to do, caterer-free, for an outdoor wedding. If you’re going this route and are having a wedding of around 100-150 guests with salad, main dish and dessert, I’d suggest having things delivered about 4 hours before the wedding, to leave enough time to plate multiple courses and figure out which dish is going to what table; meaning that if 4 people from table 3 want chicken, you actually end up with that many chicken dishes at that table. If you’re having a huge wedding, you might need to adjust these times.

Last — the buffet, which I think is the preferred thing to do for an outdoor wedding, especially if you’re doing a lot of DIY catering. One of my favorite weddings I coordinated actually had their food cooked by Chipotle. I had to pick up the food, and the couple had hired two servers to set everything up (Sternos, food, napkins, etc). For that particular event, because picking up all of the food for a 110-person wedding would have been too much for one carload, I went in the morning to pick up all of the refrigerated items and stacked them into the one on-site fridge. The servers left just before the ceremony started to pick up all of the heated items and set it all up during the cocktail hour. If you aren’t hiring servers, I recommend nominating someone (an usher, perhaps) to pick everything up an hour or two before the ceremony, or asking the restaurant making the food to deliver it then. That should give you enough time to get it all set up, but still have the Sternos keeping things warm by the time the guests get to the food. Obviously, leave the refrigerated stuff in the fridge for as long as possible, and have someone in the wedding party put it out during the cocktail hour.

Did you do a receiving line? How long did it take? And, if you’re having an outdoor wedding, when is your food scheduled to arrive? Let me know in the comments below!

Rules to Survive Your Wedding Day with Sanity and Grace

Guys, first, I’m not really a rules kind of gal — more like guidelines, ideas, tips. But these? These are definitely rules.Or at least they are if I am anywhere near your wedding. See, as a gift to friends of mine, I tend to take the reins and act as what I like to call a “couple’s coordinator” on their wedding day (after chatting with them about this, of course. Because: Boundaries). This role of mine allows for any planner or coordinator they’ve already hired to do their job fully, and I simply liaise: if the bride needs a drink, I’ve got it; bouquets are nowhere to be found and the planner is wrangling caterers? On it; Wayward groomsman still hanging out in his towel, drinking a beer? Have no fear, Bossypants is here! But in order to do this, I need certain agreements from the couple. These rules are all things that will help you keep your cool, be present and enjoy your wedding day with intention, grace and panache.

rules to survive.jpg


Photo of bride courtesy Davy Landman via Flickr Creative Commons. Graphic made with PicMonkey.

1. Give up your damn phone. – Broke-Asses, I can’t stress this one enough, regardless of how Type-A must-have-it-and-be-in-control-at-all-times you are. You, as the bride/groom, will get bombarded with phone calls and text messages and Snapchats and while many of them will be well-wishes, there’s also a large chunk that will serve as stressors, and you don’t need that. Nope. So, talk with a trusted and semi-bossy friend who knows how to say “no” to you, regardless of how you’re the bride and it’s your biiiiig daaaaayyyy. Tell (ask) her that she’s in charge of your mobile device, and that means she can answer any and all questions necessary, but by no means are you to have your phone in your possession until the end of the night or the morning after. This conversation should, ideally, take place at or before the rehearsal dinner, and the phone should be in his/her hands no later than the night before the wedding. Bonus if you can wrangle the mother of the bride’s phone from her, too.

2. Appoint your bridesguard. – This person could, potentially, be the same as the cell phone bearer or it could be someone else all together. But you’ll want someone who can nicely but firmly tell your well-intentioned but slightly needy guests or family the information they need without disturbing you. Give your bridesguard a pre-determined list of who can and cannot talk to you while you’re getting ready. Prepare your bridesguard to field any questions that may come her way, either with vendors or family. Make sure your bridesguard is someone nice but strong, vocally, who can command respect and who people will listen to. This person can also be helpful in quelling any potentially dramatic / out of control situations.

3. Eat. And hydrate. – I mean, maybe gorging on a burger isn’t the best route (trust me, I did it), but have something that’s high in protein and won’t cause a sugar crash — and if you’re worried about some bloating, maybe go easy on the dairy — but also feels slightly indulgent, because it’s your wedding day, and it’s nice to feel luxurious. In the same vein, by all means pop some bubbles with your gals, but switch it up with some water — just be keenly aware of how much you’re taking in, because peeing in those dresses is no easy feat. Also, read this. At your reception, ask the caterer to prepare you and your partner a plate and sit down to dig in before anyone else gets served. This ensures you actually get to try all that tasty food you’re paying for.

4. Know when to make the slip. – Now, I’m not talking about pulling an Irish exit, but this is definitely true for the rehearsal dinner especially. While you may be inclined to party all night with your homies that just got in from the far reaches of the earth, remember that you’ve got something pretty big happening tomorrow, and the chances that you’re actually going to get a super restful night of sleep (especially if you’re anything like me and get anxious before big things) are minimal. Ask your maid of honor / bridesguard / the bartender to cut you off after a couple drinks and replenish your stores with a festive non-alcoholic beverage, such as seltzer with lime and a squirt of cranberry / grapefruit / pineapple juice. Ask them to cut you off completely and tell you to go home at 10 with a gentle reminder around 9:30 so you can prepare. And then follow through.

5. Steal away with your new spouse. – Your wedding day will be so full of fun and excitement and people and dancing and toasting and photos and hugs and laughter and it will go by in a flash. So ask your photographer to pull the two of you aside, and then stay at a far distance so you two can enjoy five minutes together as a married couple. It is a great opportunity for some candids, plus with the photographer’s presence, guests are less likely to intrude on the portraits, allowing the two of you to be fully present in the moment.

Do you have any tips that will help fellow Broke-Asses survive their wedding day? Tell us in the comments below!


Ask Heather: Seating Chart Drama and a 3-Hour Wedding

Seating chart

Jennifer Yin via Flickr Creative Commons

Dear Heather,

How do you handle a seating chart with multiple family situations and conflicts making it mind numbingly hard!?


Dear Shelby,

You have two main strategies here: (1) Seat people wherever the hell you want and assume that they are grown-ups and can handle themselves for a single day; (2) Knock yourself out and do your absolute best to cope with various family drama. I will warn you right now: No matter which strategy you choose, you will piss someone off. The key: Don’t let this bother you. Weddings breed craziness. Don’t get sucked into it.

Since you’ve written to me, I’m assuming  you’ve decided to not go with Option 1. My suggestion: Post-It notes in many different colors. Use one color for the drama-free folks. Use different colors for each “warring faction.” Seat like with like and use the non-drama folks as buffers. Do a sweetheart table so you don’t have to deal with offending folks who aren’t seated at the head table. Put as many tables equidistant from the sweetheart table as possible, so you don’t have to deal with Uncle Jack complaining about how Aunt Jane was seated closer to you than he was. And use table names rather than numbers, so Phyllis can’t throw a fit that Margaret’s table number was lower, and therefore better, than hers.

Again, you’ll likely make someone angry. Know that you did the best you could and if they can’t put their differences aside for one meaningful day in your life, they can suck it. So neener.

Dear Heather,

My ceremony and reception are both at the same garden, and I only have three hours to do everything. We’re doing a buffet, and this amount of time doesn’t include set-up or clean-up. How do I fit it all into a few hours?


Dear Tiffany,

That’s a fairly tight amount of time, which will make sticking to a timeline absolutely critical. First off: Make sure you start your ceremony when you’re scheduled to start it. Brace yourself, though, as guests will inevitably be late. Unfortunately, those folks will just end up missing part of the ceremony. I’d also suggest doing a first look, so you can get most (if not all) of the posed pictures out of the way prior to everything starting. This will obviously need to be done offsite, but this isn’t the end of the world. You’ll get plenty of non-posed onsite shots during your shindig.

Twenty to 30 minutes is probably a fair amount of time for a garden ceremony, assuming you aren’t doing a bunch of readings or an elaborate unity ceremony. You’ll likely need to cut the cocktail hour down to a cocktail half-hour. This leaves you with about two hours to go. Appoint someone to emphatically shepherd guests from the cocktail area to the reception, and have your wedding party announced as soon as possible. Trust me: Once you start entering, people will get their butts into their seats. If you can skip toasts, that’s great. Otherwise, do them while folks are in line for the buffet. Ideally, guests would be seated for toasts. Realistically, you’re on a timeline here!

Obviously, you and your spouse should be first in line for the buffet, or someone should have already put your food-laden plates where you’ll be sitting. If you can, have multiple buffet stations, since this will cut down on waiting time for your guests. As soon as you and your spouse are done eating, segue into the cake cutting. Yes, some folks will still be eating while you’re cutting your cake. That’s okay. Right after cutting the cake, move into your first dance and parent dances. After a couple of songs where the dance floor is open, do your bouquet and garter tosses. This will hopefully leave about a half-hour of dancing after the official traditions are done.

I’d also suggest doing some sort of no-host party after the reception is over. My husband and I went to a local bar after our reception had ended, and there’s nothing quite like walking into a bar wearing a wedding dress. This also has the advantage of continuing the party without you having to pay for it. Our guests were thrilled to have somewhere “official” to go, and my husband and I were happy to have somewhere we could go, have one drink, then head back to our hotel and collapse.

How about you? Did you struggle with your seating chart? How did you eventually make it work? And what sort of timeline would you use if you only had your venue for three hours? Let us know in the comments below!

Ask Heather: Corkage Fees and Photobooths

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Photo courtesy of Shannonsl

Dear Heather,

How reasonable is corkage if your venue is not supplying glasses or service? They’ve admitted it’s essentially to cover “loss of revenue” which, considering we’ve paid for the venue itself, is surely only a loss of “potential revenue” and therefore not really my concern? Thoughts?


Quite frankly, I think charging a corkage fee when the venue is providing neither glasses nor service is bullshit. Alas, I’m not the owner of the venue you’ve chosen and therefore cannot eliminate said corkage fee. If you’re set on this venue, I do think it’s worth bargaining over this aspect of the contract. However, go into these negotiations realizing that the venue has already decided to be a bit of a jerk on this particular point and be prepared to not get your way. Essentially, this venue is saying, “We’re letting you bring your own booze, but we want to make money off of this somehow.” Rather than trying to get them to drop the corkage fee, you could maybe try to talk them into providing glasses or service. My fingers are crossed that you’ll come out with at least something in your favor!

Dear Heather,

Is it worth getting a photo booth for the reception when I already have a disco? I just love the crazy photos you get!


If you can afford a photo booth, you’ve already answered your own question with “I just love the crazy photos you get!” I had a photo booth at my wedding, and I love some of the photos obtained there more than the actual wedding photos. Would my wedding have been perfectly fine without a photo booth? Of course. But did I enjoy the results from having one? Absolutely.

Dear Heather,

I’m holding my ceremony and reception in the same space — an art gallery. Guests will sit at the reception tables during the vows. The ceremony will be right before the reception with no cocktail hour. How do I break this up in a way that makes sense, gives gravity to the ceremony, and allows my guests to maximize party time?


I addressed this scenario in a previous post. In brief, do the normal recessional and find somewhere to go for 5-10 minutes. Go sign the marriage license, give your new spouse a high five, hug your wedding party — find something to celebrate what you just did! Trust me — your guests will manage to entertain themselves for a brief period of time. Then, do the standard wedding party announcements, re-enter the party space, and have a fabulous evening!

How about you? Would you pay a corkage fee if your venue didn’t provide glasses or service? Did you have a photo booth and get some good shots from it? And how would you break up a ceremony and reception being held in the same space? Let us know in the comments below!

BAB Classics: Ask Liz: The Wedding Things You Just Can’t Do

Food and money. Man, oh, man. Isn’t that the broke-ass life? You always try to have enough of both, but what about when you’re trying to throw a big ol’ party? That’s where the stakes get raised, and some good, timeless advice from erstwhile BAB team member Liz, of Silver Charm Events, swoops in to soothe the nerves.

Dear Liz,

My fiance and I LOVE a good party. We have budgeted for 150 guests at our wedding, but there are more than 150 people that we want to celebrate with us. The long and short of it is: we cannot afford to feed everyone. We are having a great local cover band, and we would like to send out secondary invitations for those acquaintances to join us, after dinner has been served at the reception. Is is tacky to ask an additional chunk to come at 8:00 for dancing and drinks but not the ceremony and dinner? How should we word those invitations so as not to offend anyone?


Down to the Count

Make ‘em fit, or leave ‘em out. Anything else is asking for trouble.
(Courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Designs)

Dear  Down,

Not to be harsh, but I don’t really see that going over very well. Basically, you’re saying that you don’t like them enough to invite them to your wedding and pay for their meal, but just enough to hang out with them when it’s going to cost you less money. It’s not what you mean, but it’s definitely what you’re saying. And I don’t know if you sent Save the Date cards to them, too, but if you did, eyebrows are definitely going to rise, just like their expectations did.

So, what to do, what to do? A couple of things, I think. Figure out how much each additional person would cost you, and look at the various pieces of your budget to see where you can make some cuts to accommodate. One step down for your meal, or one less appetizer? Stick to beer and wine and a specialty drink? Don’t go top shelf on the liquor? I don’t know what you’re doing now, but there are almost always places where you can cut and still be comfortable with what you’re getting.

And, realistically? Not everyone is going to be able to attend, anyway. I’m not the biggest fan of B-listing potential guests, mostly because it’s a lot of work, but try and make it work for you. Send your invitations out early enough to the 150, and then for every “No” you get, send one out to the B list.

But, I would definitely do a budget check, first.

The only other option is to not invite them, period. And, yes, this means that you won’t have everyone you want at your wedding, but most couples face that reality, sooner or later. You’re really not doing them, or yourself, any favors by sending out a half invite. Invite or do not invite. There is no “try.”

“That’s so funny! Together, we spent over $3,000 to be in our friend’s wedding!”

Dear Liz, 

 I am a bridesmaid in my childhood best friend’s wedding. I knew I’d have to shell out some bucks, but I had no clue how much I was expected to spend… until now. She’s had an engagement party, a bridal shower, a honeymoon shower, and now her two-day destination bachelorette party is coming up. I told the Maid of Honor that I wasn’t sure I could go if it’s going to cost me more than $300. She has already booked the hotel, but every time I ask her for the total amount I am expected to shell out, she dodges my questions. This has happened three times, so far. It’s getting to be frustrating. I’d hate to cancel last minute on it, but she really won’t communicate with me. Plus, it’s a surprise for the bride, so I can’t talk to her about it. I also have to have a minor surgery a week before this shindig. I don’t want to jeopardize my recovery process by going on this weekend trip, either. My question is, do I stay or do I go? I feel that I will risk the friendship of not only the bride, but also the Maid of Honor (who is another childhood friend) if I didn’t show up. I wasn’t at her bridal shower (same day as my grandma’s 90th birthday party) so I feel obligated to go to this bachelorette party. Yet at the same time I don’t know how I will be physically after this surgery, and I do not want to go broke because of this bachelorette weekend. If I do not go, how do I break the news to the maid of honor? This is really stressing me out!


Bridesmaid Bummer

Dear Bummer,

Bottom line? You can’t go. I’m really sorry, I know you want to celebrate with your friend, I know you’re worried about your relationship with her and your other friends. But you will be a week out from SURGERY, and if you’re talking about a “recovery process”, then it isn’t that minor. Not only is it a really good excuse, it’s a really good reason. Plus, it’s not going to help your stress level, before or after surgery, if you’re worried about how you’re going to cope, financially.

Being a bridesmaid is expensive. The last time I was one, about 4 years ago, it cost me over $1,000, and I see girls in my weddings spending that and more. I was honored and thrilled to be a part of my friend’s day, as are all the other bridesmaids I’ve met and known. I’m not saying that it wasn’t worth it. But, that’s not a small amount of money — it just isn’t — and that should be taken into consideration.

So, how to tell the MOB? Tell her that you’re having surgery the week before, and you don’t know how you’re going to feel after it, or what you’ll be physically able to do. So, you can’t go. If you think you can pull it, give her $50 – $100 to buy a round of drinks at the party, or figure out how to get it to the bride, with your name on it.

What are the tricks you used to afford all the guests you want? And, what do you think about Bummed’s predicament? Let me know in the comments below! And, if you would like to find out more about me and my little part of wedding world, visit my website at

See you at the end of the aisle,


Real Bride Peach: The Fiancé Confessions

The fiancé were enjoying  a rooftop lunch in our brand new ‘hood when a friend innocently asked how the wedding planning was going. After glossing over the usual “oh, we booked the DJ and the officiant, so yay!” it was soon revealed that things are getting a little, uhm, stressful.  “Did you fight?” she asked.

I looked down at my shrimp po’boy and stuck my lower lip out. Jersey sheepishly admitted into his beer, “Yep. Bad.”

She smiled and leaned over her plate and said, “Alright, you two. Lemme have it. What’s going on?”

And we confessed.


My side: With Jersey traveling nonstop for work, plus the recent move to a new apartment, I was feeling very much alone in the planning process. Which is normally FINE for someone as independent/hardheaded/strong-willed as myself. But his absence seemed to multiply the complexity of everything – decision-making and appointment-scheduling were impossible, on top of handling all the moving arrangements, plus working? It’s been extremely stressful on me without him here. But I’m doing my best to involve him, communicate *everything* and ask for his opinions on all the decisions. Still, he seems unhappy with the results. I just feel like I’m the only one making an effort. It’s frustrating.

His side: Being gone all the time is incredibly difficult. Not only am I dealing with a high-stress job and the travel that goes with it, I feel completely useless to my fiancée. Even when she *does* ask for my opinion on a decision, we mostly wind up going with her choice anyway.  It’s like my input doesn’t matter, so why bother asking me in the first place? Let her tell you about the time we got into a fight over a font. Not kidding. A FONT. I’m doing my best to be there for her and stay involved, even from afar, but I feel like she’s ultimately going to do what she wants anyway. It’s frustrating.

Before things escalated into another bickering match, our friend interrupted the rebuttals we kept trying to make.

“You guys. STOP. Take a minute. Drink your beers.”

We did. And maybe stuck our tongues out at each other. #yeswearetwelve

She continued over our antics, “Now, let me tell you a little secret. This? *circling her finger at us* This thing right here that you’re doing? Every single couple I know who has gotten married has this SAME ISSUE. They bicker, because she feels like she’s doing all the work and he feels like he’s not allowed to have an opinion.” She laughed and said, “Don’t worry. You two are SO not alone.”

We gawked at her, me with my Blue Moon halfway to my mouth. “WHAT?” I said.

Yep. She went on to explain that yes, Jersey’s travel and the big move are making our situation even stickier, but in the grand scheme, what we are going through is 100%, absolutely, positively, completely and utterly NORMAL. Which on one hand was a huge relief. And on the other, was … Damn, why can’t we be not normal because this is all kinds of sucky?  I will also add that she pointed out that our situation is made a little hairier by the fact that we are BOTH stubborn creatures. <–HolyShitYesWeAre.

We sat there, stunned. We’d been so stuck on only seeing what was right in our faces, forest for the trees and all that jive, that we failed to clearly see the bigger picture. But the question hung unspoken in the air … Now, how do we get around this?

Our beautiful friend suggested that we try a wee bit harder to keep everything in perspective. Because while yes, we are fighting over ridiculous things like fonts, at least we are not fighting about being unsure about getting married. Or about trusting each other. Or about our commitment to stand by each other no matter what hits the fan of Life.

And if that knowledge bomb didn’t whack us both upside the head, I don’t know what did. Because she’s right.

I love Jersey. Jersey loves me. And we are going to get married, no matter what font is chosen or what shade of roses I carry down the aisle or if our DJ plays the damn Chicken Dance. And until our day in October comes, we need to do better at being gentle with each other and practice compassion. Empathy goes way farther than blame or resentment.

I’m so, so grateful to our wonderful friend, for being our voice of reason. How about the rest of you out there? Did you have some wedding planning rough patches? Have you ever felt frustrated with your fiancé ? Do you agree that Jersey and I are not alone in this conundrum?

Send us love and peaceful thoughts. :)

Till next time,

Real Bride Jess: Inspiration for My Marriage

I know that most of us here at The Broke-Ass Bride are in the whirlwind of planning our big days. I also know how easy it is to get caught up with the wedding and forget to focus on what you want out of marriage. Most of us have at least one role model in our lives of a “good” marriage –something we aspire to – otherwise we probably wouldn’t be getting ourselves into this lifelong commitment. Both Michael and I are very fortunate to come from families where our parents are still married. In this post, however, I want to go back a generation to these lovely people:

These are my maternal grandparents, Rick & Jan, and this year they celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary. Sixty-three! They have been married about 75% of their lives!
My grandpa came back from the Navy to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, when he was 23. My grandma lived in the same city and their families attended the same church, which is where they met. They dated casually until my grandpa asked her to go steady. {Eds. note: OMG. The cutest!}
Side note: My favorite story includes: “I borrowed my dad’s car so I could take your grandma out on a date. At the end of the date I leaned over to kiss her and I missed! I was so nervous I almost knocked her hat off.”
As far as the engagement goes my grandpa will say: “Well I never asked her to marry me, but going steady basically means you’re engaged, so since everyone was assuming we were engaged we went along with it”.
And the wedding itself? “I had this whole backyard garden wedding planned … and then it was pouring rain. We got married in the basement of his parent’s house and set the cake on the dining room table.” His parents weren’t even at the wedding! They were on vacation. My grandparents originally planned their wedding for after the vacation, but had to push it up because my grandpa got a job offer in Hawaii.
If their story isn’t one that shows that the quality of your wedding doesn’t dictate the quality of your marriage, I don’t know what does.
What’s so easy to forget — but important to remember – is that your marriage is so much more important than your wedding. Things will go wrong on your big day – but that’s only one day. As long as you and your partner have a firm foundation, a lasting marriage is greater testament of love than a perfect wedding.

Ask Heather: Guests Are Trying to Bring Kids to a Child-Free Wedding

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Image courtesy of Bridget Coila

Dear Heather,

Do you have any suggestions how to tactfully respond to this? Invitations went out in March for an adult-only wedding and reception. They were due last week and one of our guests just responded now, telling us they are bringing their kids without even asking. Should we feel bad for saying no kids? This is my finance’s cousin, who we don’t even talk to. Not even one other person with kids even asked. Any advice would be great.

Kid-Free Wedding

Dear Kid-Free,

I totally feel your pain. My husband and I had a child-free wedding, and we definitely got some flak for it. However, as long as you’re applying the same criteria for everyone (i.e. absolutely no kids unless they’re in the wedding party), there’s no need to feel bad about your policy. Trust me – plenty of folks have child-free weddings. In this regard, at least, you are not a unique snowflake. Which is good, since there’s strength in numbers!

For the guest in question – I’m assuming you addressed the invitation specifically to “Name1 and Name2 LastName” and not “The LastName Family.” If you used the latter, you actually did invite the whole family, which will make the etiquette surrounding this issue quite a bit more challenging. For the sake of simplicity, though, I’m going to assume you went with the former.

And now, what to say to them! I’d simply call them and explain that you’re having a child-free wedding. Feel free to blame it on the size of the venue, but try to avoid saying anything about finances. I’ve heard horror stories about couples blaming the budget for not including kids, and having some rather oblivious guests offer to pay for their children to attend. Don’t set yourself up for this situation. But prepare yourself for said cousin to not attend because of this policy, and a potential guilt trip. As you don’t talk to them, I can’t imagine this will keep you up at night.

Above all, and as I already stated – do not feel bad about having a child-free wedding. There are plenty of us like-minded souls out there, and we all totally get it.

Did you have a child-free wedding? Did you have any renegade guests who took exception to your policy? Tell me about it in the comment section below!