Broke-Ass Tag: wedding etiquette


One thing you may or may not know about me from my writing is that I do my very best to have a positive attitude in all parts of my life. It’s something I adopted at a time in my life when I was particularly miserable in a former job and it surprisingly has been making my life happier ever since. This is far from an easy task, especially when it feels like life is always throwing wrenches in your plans (such as the full four years that I was engaged before getting married right up until the big day itself) but in many ways, it’s what has helped me keep my head above water, even in the worst moments of my life. Sometimes I find myself indulging in negativity and I need to remind myself that that gets me nowhere. Other times I need an external reminder and I’m blessed enough to have an awesome husband and family that are able to bring me up when I fall into that.

When I first found out I was going to be writing as a Real Bride for the Broke-Ass Bride, I did what I do for everything in my life … I Googled resources for how to be the best I could at it. Specifically I think I Googled “how to blog about your wedding in a way that would be helpful to other brides.” One of the first results I found said that it was important to stay positive, and not use it as a space to air grievances about loved ones. Given my predisposition I had already adopted years earlier, this was not difficult for me to do. Some might think by not going negative with some of the stories of where I was at in my wedding planning at a given time might be giving off a false pretense that things are better than they really are or that somehow, I’m being less “real” in what I have to say, but I’d argue that’s not really the case. For one thing, being negative about the process as I was going through it isn’t helpful to anyone. ALL brides face challenges when they are planning their wedding, whether they have all the money in the world or are trying to plan on a shoestring. Constantly focusing on the things holding me back wasn’t going to help anybody. Talking about what I could do and had done to be proactive about solutions on the other hand is helpful because it shares an idea with someone else and maybe even gives them the inspiration to keep trying to find solutions for that work best for them despite any adversity they might find themselves facing.

Not getting negative about friends, family members, vendors and others related to your wedding is just a good practice to keep in all aspects of your online life. I see people do this a lot in Facebook wedding groups and it’s a big reason I’ve stepped away from those sites, and also why I’m writing this in the first place. I know it can feel great to get your frustrations out in writing and hey, it’s even better when other people commiserate with you because they’re going through the same thing, but that relief might be short-lived while what’s written on the Internet lives forever, even if it’s deleted. What happens when the person you’re talking about discovers what you’ve said? Even if you’d say the same thing to their face, who wants to be talked about on the Internet when they don’t have the opportunity to defend themselves? You might be shocked at how quickly something you say gets back to your Great Aunt Sally, despite the fact that she doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer. As for complaining about vendors, you also have to be careful as your comments could be taken as defamation, even if you’re just trying to warn other brides.

matt299Could we have relaxed and had fun like this if we had the weight of worrying about negativity on us? Photo By SK Photography

Positivity helped me get through wedding planning (along with writing about my wedding planning) but not just straight up blind positivity. I am not Pollyanna by any means. Sometimes circumstances do suck. Sometimes people fall short of your expectations, or hurt your feelings or do any number of things that would make you upset at them. Sometimes you might feel like you’re not getting what you paid for from a vendor. It is very likely that over the course of your wedding planning you might find yourself faced with these frustrations, whether they are based in reality or wedding fever-induced paranoia. Instead of focusing on how wrong things are going, seek out answers to make things better. Focus on the things you have going right. Sit down and list out what you’ve got under control if you have to. When you find yourself in conflict with people, instead of rushing to the Internet to complain, step away from the situation for a moment. Ask yourself what role you play in the conflict. Did you communicate your expectations clearly with this person? Is there a chance there is a miscommunication? Are there things going on in the person’s life that might be making them act differently? Try to see things from the other person’s point of view. In the case of vendors, go back over your contracts to see if you might be misunderstanding something. Give yourself some breathing room and maybe even write a letter that you never send. Talk to them when you have cooled off and talk in a way that isn’t accusatory, but reconciliatory instead. Talk in person, or over the phone so you can hear their tone and don’t lose any of the social cues we miss when we talk via text or emails.

It’s very easy to fall into negativity when you’re planning your wedding, especially with how insurmountable it can seem at times. I got married about six months ago. When I look back on it, this time last year, part of me still didn’t believe we were really going to pull it off between money, time and yes, even personalities, but here we are today. We made it work. We found the silver lining in every cloud that came our way and we managed to keep just about everyone in our life happy. Falling in love and getting married are a few of the most positive choices you can make these days in the cynical world we live in. Continue the trend of positivity throughout your wedding planning too and it’ll make the celebration of your love even better.

How do you manage to stay positive when wedding planning gets you down?

  • 5/23

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewEtsy BeforetheGown Turquoise Gift Box

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    You may have seen a the story circulating in the media recently about a UK couple who contacted guests from their wedding because they weren’t satisfied with their gift. According to the story, a couple wasn’t happy with the value of a gift they received from one of their wedding guests, and they sent them a note telling them so. Mr. & Mrs. Rude even went so far as to suggest they send an additional amount, and said they expected more based on the guest’s “circumstances.” According to the guest’s account of the story, she had recently come into some money from an inheritance. As I was reading the story, I was thinking how little the gift could have possibly been — maybe they gave $25 at a black tie soiree.

    But here’s the kicker; they gave the US equivalent of $145!  That’s nothing to sneeze at, and dare I say, a pretty decent sum for a wedding guest. Not to mention, the guest was a former co-worker. Not a family member, not a best friend. A former co-worker. I can’t think of any circumstance where the couple’s actions would be acceptable. I’ve known plenty of people who received only an empty card from a guest, or in some cases, not even that! Sure, rant about it to your new spouse while writing them a “thank you” note and gritting your teeth. Maybe you even write a snarky note commenting on their gift, or lack thereof, to give yourself a laugh, but then you promptly tear it up and toss it. Beyond being uncouth, this totally misses the point of a wedding.

    The whole idea is that people you care about celebrate your marriage with you. Your guests take time out of their lives, often traveling, arranging childcare and making other accommodations to participate in your celebration. It’s not a venture to get gifts and earn money. If you can’t afford your wedding and you need to recoup your losses that badly, that is no one’s fault but your own. Inexpensive gifts are one thing, but I do think it would be very frustrating to receive absolutely nothing from a guest. I don’t think you should ever attend a wedding empty-handed; a small gift card is easy and accessible, or something homemade like a collection of your favorite recipes or a nice frame are nice and affordable ideas. If your circumstances make you unable to give a gift, you should be up front with the bride and groom. At least give a card, and include a nice note with well wishes.  No matter what, though, I don’t see any scenario where it’s okay for the bride and groom to confront the offending guest.

    Would you ever bring up a cheap or non-existent gift to one of your guests? What would you do if you received a letter like this from someone whose wedding you attended?

  • 12/9


    Sure, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn made light (and hilarity) out of swooping in on an unsuspecting wedding or two. But wedding crashers can be a legit issue -- you've likely worked really hard to plan this wedding and if everyone who actually RSVP'd shows up, then your number count is super firm. Add in a couple of Joes in it for the kicks and…

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    As a brand new Real Bride Contributor, I thought I’d share with you how I became a Broke-Ass Bride in the first place. As a teenager, I worked at a hobby shop with an enormous magazine section covering every possible topic you can think of. I would cautiously walk past the bridal section but wouldn’t dare flip through any for some inane fear of jinxing…

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    Confession: I suck at writing thank you notes. It wasn't something that was a thing, really, as I was growing up -- I suspect my mother wrote them for me. Though, admittedly, this is NO excuse for not extending appreciation for someone else's graciousness. I've recently been trying to change my stubborn ol' ways (30 does that to you, y'all) and I found that if…

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  • 10/10

    Wine Glasses

    Dear Heather, I have an etiquette question for you. Someone sent me a gift in the mail, and it was off registry. It is a kitchen item I already own. It didn't have a receipt, so I don't know how or where to return it. What do I do? Ansley Dear Ansley, Hopefully there was a card with the gift, so you at least know…

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    Image courtesy of Creature Comforts Dear Heather, I just got a notification that a wedding guest pledged a large amount of money towards my honeymoon fund registry. This person is a new friend of my fiance; I've only met them once. Do I thank them right away or just send a thank you after the wedding, which is in two months? Is it weird to…

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    Flutes from Beau-Coup, Made with PicMonkey Dear Heather, The next thing on my list of things to do for the big day is make a list of people giving toasts. But it feels awkward to ask people to toast to you, right? I'm uncomfortable asking. But then again -- the last wedding I went to as a bridesmaid, I wasn't asked ahead of time to give…

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  • 12/6

    Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what's up! Dear Liz,  My fiancé and I have finally (!) picked our wedding venue and now we are to the point where we are selecting our photographer, caterer, and florist. Our venue has a list of their preferred companies, but I don't know if I want to use them. For instance…

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