Posts in the 'wedding etiquette' Category

Ask Liz: Do You Have To Use Your Venue’s Preferred Vendors?

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 I have my heart set on a florist that my best friend used in her wedding, but they’re not on the list. Am I required to stick with the suggested companies or can I choose my own? Is there a benefit to using the companies that are being recommended to us? I am afraid that the only reason they are on there is that someone is getting a kickback.


Off the Grid


Dear Grid,

Ah, the “K” word, “kickback.” Nope, most of the time preferred vendors are on a venue’s list because they’ve worked there enough times to be trusted to not trash the place. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but it does come down to those with more experience at the venue and a good relationship with the venue. I’m a preferred vendor for several sites in L.A., and have never had to pay a dime to any of them. I have been known to drop off pastries, though. :-)

I can’t tell if the list they’re giving you is a “suggested” preferred list, or if it’s a list of the only vendors you can use. Either way, use Wedding Rule #2 – Ask. Explain that your florist is a professional, that she did the flowers for your best friend’s wedding, and you’d like to use her. They could say “No,” in which case you’ll have to move on. They could say “Yes, but with conditions.” Maybe your florist needs to have insurance, maybe they need to talk to your venue manager first or schedule a visit, maybe you’ll have to pay an extra fee (I’m going through outside bakery vs. venue right now, myself), and you can decide from there. Or, they could just let you have your florist, which means that your problem is solved. But you’re not going to know until you ask.

So, how about you? Are you stuck with a vendors list, or having trouble getting your vendors waived in? Let us know in the comments below! And if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to

See you at the end of the aisle,


Liz and Etiquette Guru Lizzie Post Chat About Dividing Up Wedding Costs

Got a question for Liz (Coopersmith)? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

So, last week, the crew here at BAB  was offered an interview with Lizzie Post, the Great-Great Granddaughter of Emily Post. Yes, that Emily Post. Lizzie has put her famous last name to good use, tackling taboo etiquette topics on TV, radio, in magazines and online. She’s also authored and co-authored three books out of the Emily Post Institute. She recently partnered with Bank of America to provide advice on how to reduce stress and budget wisely during the holiday season. Reduce stress and stick to a budget? We’re all about that over here, right? So, how long did I have to talk to her, I asked. “Ten minutes,” was her representative’s reply.



It takes me ten minutes to finish saying a sentence, and you know, just by reading this column, how much trouble I have being succinct.  I  took a deep breath, took a look at the Post Institute’s wedding etiquette page, thought a bit, boiled that thought down, and very, very early on Wednesday morning, after a couple of tech glitches (mine) this is, more or less, how it turned out:

Liz C.: I read a little bit on your website about the traditional division of wedding finances, of who pays for what. A lot of the breakdown was familiar; the bride’s family pays for the engagement party, the ceremony, the reception, her dress, the groom’s ring. The groom and the groom’s family pay for the cheapest parts of the wedding,  the marriage licence, the officiant, the rehearsal dinner.  He’s also supposed to pay for the honeymoon, but that still seems a little inequitable to me!

Lizzie P: (Laughs) Sure.

Liz C: That article was written in 2009, and it did point out that those rules didn’t really apply any more - 

Lizzie P.: That’s so true.

Liz C.:   – And couples finance their weddings in various ways: they pay for it themselves, or their families divide the costs right down the middle, or the couple and each side of the family each pay for a third.  But, even in the past four years, the demographics of engaged couples have changed. Thinking about the clients that I work with as a wedding coordinator, a lot of them are older, not as many are walking out of college one weekend and down the aisle the next. A lot of them are professionals that are making good money on their own. Some of my couples are gay, so there might not be that expected separation of “bride’s” responsibilities and “groom’s” responsibilities. 

Lizzie P: Of course.

Liz C: But, even given those circumstances, weddings can be expensive. Nationwide, the average cost of a wedding is between $20-25,000. That can double or triple, depending on where you live. A lot of couples, no matter where they are in life, could use some help with that.

Are there new rules of etiquette  for the division of wedding finances? Given that etiquette is basically what you should expect to do, and what you should expect from others, as a couple planning their wedding in 2013, what should those expectations be?

Lizzie P: What we suggest is that Brides and Grooms sit down and have a very open and candid conversation with both sets of their parents, or whoever they think would be open to helping out, or has said that they want to. Sometimes the conversation is about the traditional financial divisions, and their parents might say, “We’re happy for you, we love you, but you’re on your own.” That does happen.

Liz C.: Yeah, sometimes parents aren’t able to give anything at all.

Lizzie P.: But, no matter what, it’s very important that a couple starts out with a budget that they’re comfortable with, that they believe is going to work for everyone. And, we also suggest that they set up a banking account just for the wedding. And what I love about our partnership with Bank of America is that they have a mobile app, that allows you to check your bank account any time, day or night. So that when you’re shopping for  your dress, or at catering options, or looking at different venues, you can check your bank account and know what’s pending, what’s already been paid, what amount you have left in your budget. You can even set up alerts, to ensure that you pay vendors on time. It’s really easy, and it makes sticking to your budget a lot easier, too, and you don’t have to worry about it. Less worry creates less stress, and less weirdness about the whole thing!

Liz C.: So, branching off of that, if you do need help, how should you ask for it? What should you say? 

Lizzie P: (Laughs) “Hi, I need money!” You can be a little more tactful than that! I think that the best way is to say, “We just wanted to check and see if the wedding budget is something you feel that you can can contribute to, or if it’s something you don’t think you can or even want to contribute to.” Understanding that you might get a “No” is a great place to come from, so you won’t feel so heartbroken if it happens.

Liz C: And from the other side of that, as parents, can you offer financial help, but still set limits on how much, and for what? Should you expect to have control over how that money is spent?

Lizzie P: (Laughs) Right! This is the other part of that candid, respectful conversation that you have with your folks. Not just about the amount, but the expectations of  what comes with that money. So, if Mom says, “I want to pay for your wedding dress,” you can reply, “That is such a generous offer, but I need to find out what you have in mind. Because if you want me in a specific dress that might not be what I want, or what I’m comfortable with, that’s not going to work.”  It’s okay for you to say, “Thank you, but I think I’m going to cover this on my own.” (Laughs) The polite turn-down. And parents should be aware that could be the response they’ll get!

Liz C: A  lot of it is just about simple communication.  People are afraid to say these things, because they think they’re going to offend the other  person.

Lizzie P: But, the more open and honest you are, on both sides, the better off everyone’s going to be.


True, so true – I tell you so all the time. Lizzie was wonderful to talk to ,and, yes,I did mail  her a handwritten thank you note  for the interview. :-)

So, how are you dividing up your wedding finances? And did you get a “No” from your parents, or a demand to do it their way, if they said “Yes”? What do you think of Lizzie’s advice? Let me know in the comments below! And, if you’d like to find out a little more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit t

Also, we have one lovely hardcover copy of Emily Post’s  Etiquette, 18th Edition to giveaway this week! If you want it, give us a shout-out in the comments (and if you really want it, leave a wedding planning/etiquette question for next week’s edition of “Ask Liz”)!

See you at the end of the aisle,




Ask Liz: Thank You Notes – Short, Early & Often

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

Send ‘em out. Because, it was really nice of them to give it to you, wasn’t it? It sure was!
(Photo courtesy of Lily & Val Cards)

Dear Liz, 

We’re getting married in a month, and we’ve already gotten a few gifts. Should we send out Thank You Cards now, or wait until after the wedding? What if additional thanks is needed?


Early Bird 

Dear Bird,

Oh, my God, YES. What an absolutely fantastic idea, do it now, and get as many out of the way as you can. If you do get another gift from the same person(s), then send another thank you card. That shouldn’t happen enough to be a problem, though.

Dear Liz, 

We got a bunch of cash from different relatives at our wedding – do I have to write thank you cards? How do you write a thank you card for cash?


Note Dash for Cash?

Dear Dash,

Enthusiastically! No, but seriously, you should definitely send a card, and mention how you’re going to use the money. Downpayment on a house? Filling out the rest of your registry? Buying a 62″ HD screen TV? Thanks, Aunt Carol and Uncle Mike!

Dear Liz, 

I’ve seen all the stories about brides and grooms getting pissed at guests who gave them bad gifts. What are you supposed to do when someone gives you a bad gift??


Right Responder

Dear Responder,

I dunno, say “Thank You?” and move on? Don’t ask them why they sent it, don’t insult them and make them feel bad. It’s a gift, they meant well, and that’s all they needed to mean. If  you don’t like it, don’t use it. Okay, that was a bit of a rant, but gahh! Those stories make me cringe. Just, be a person, already, people! Anyway, what was I saying? Right: Try this, card wise, “Thank you so much for the lava lamp/basket of caramel corn/$20 gift certificate to Olive Garden. It was very thoughtful of you, and we appreciate it.” Full stop. Is that so hard?

Got a Thank You gripe of your own? Or are you having a problem with one of these? Let me know in the comments below! And, if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to

See you at the end of the aisle,




{Real Bride: Carrie} The Lost Art Of The RSVP

Excuse me while I rant for a moment, BABs, but maybe some of you can relate.

Send ‘em in, yo!

Why the heck will hardly anyone RSVP for our wedding?

Sure, we did go the non-traditional route by sending out video e-vites instead of paper invitations.  But still!  We included the link to our wedding website at the end of the video AND in the original email!  Our wedding website, if I do say so myself, is awesome, functional, and has a bright and shiny RSVP button in clear view!  The button leads to what I thought was an easy-to-use RSVP form for the majority of our guests who are young and tech-savvy.

Le sigh.  It is now officially six days away from our RSVP deadline and literally LESS THAN HALF OUR GUESTS have responded.  Granted, some have talked to us over the phone or email and we know they’re coming.  But I worked so hard on the wedding website that I kinda wish people would give me the satisfaction of USING THE DAMN THING!!!

I’ve heard of other brides having similar trouble getting peeps to “respondez-vous.”  It’s just weird to me because an RSVP seems like a common courtesy and I know I’ve RSVPed to every wedding to which I’ve been invited!  Is it really a lost art?  Since our wedding involves travel for most our guests, the easy solution is to assume anyone who doesn’t RSVP isn’t coming.  I certainly don’t feel like calling all those people and pathetically begging them to come!  But some may have genuinely forgotten the invite in the shuffle of their busy lives. So, the question is, what should I do now?

{Ask Liz} Wedding Paths Of Least Resistance

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

Pro…or Con?

Dear Liz,

I’m waiting for my fiancé’s visa to be approved (he is not a US citizen) so we have a while before making most of our wedding decisions but I am already stressing about my wedding party! I’m the youngest of four and not close with any of my siblings. I’ve been engaged since August and I made sure to call each one of my siblings to tell them the news but was disappointed to get apathetic reactions from all of them. They don’t share many of my beliefs and are very much opposed to the “institution” of marriage.

Because my fiancé does not live in the US only a few of his family members will be able to come. I have several friends who are very important to me and I’d like to honor them by having them as bridesmaids. I am thinking we will have to ask my two brothers to be groomsmen and maybe some other male cousins of mine to have some symmetry in the bridal party.

My question is: do I have to ask my sister to be a bridesmaid? We are very close in age and she has never committed any particularly egregious offense towards me so I know it would seem a bit strange to my family. On the other hand, I recently made a trip to visit her that didn’t go very well and she didn’t ask me anything about my fiancé or our wedding plans. I would rather honor one of my friends who has been particularly supportive than give the place to my sister after years of coldness. How much will I regret it if I don’t include her in my bridal party? Will it be strange to have my brothers involved and not my sister?


Disappointed Little Sister

Dear Disappointed,

No, you don’t have to ask your sister to be a bridesmaid. But it sounds like your REAL question is whether or not you should. Yes, your family and friends will wonder and ask why your brothers and your cousins, who aren’t close to your fiance, are members of the wedding party, and your sister isn’t. Yes, It will look like a deliberate snub. Will there be long-term consequences to that? Probably, since no one is just going to shrug that all off.  And, not just on your wedding day, but leading up to it, and after it, believe me. There are obviously issues going on between you and your sister, and leaving her out will not smooth them over. If you really don’t want her as a bridesmaid,  you should make it look like less of a hit job, and take your male family members out of the wedding party, too.  If it was me, though, I would make her a bridesmaid. Short-term pain, long-term gain.

Yeah. It’s pretty much a done deal.

Dear Liz,

My future in-laws are helping my fiancé and I pay for half the wedding as their gift to us.  When we started to make our invite list we kindly told his mom that we were not going to include her sisters plus four each, (totaling 25 additional people) As my fiancé and I have been together for almost three years and I have never met them, and his Mom never visits or has contact with them.  She understood at first but is now insisting that they be invited, and wants to put in an additional two thousand dollars to cover it.  But the point was that we didn’t want an enormous wedding and only wanted people there who know us love us and wanted to be a part of the day…help!!!


Too Many Seats At the Tables

Dear Seats,

Truthfully, by this point, she’s already told them that they’re invited! If she’s willing to pay for them, then you should let it go because, a. It will make her happy, b. It won’t make her…unhappy, c. It’s a couple of tables of people that you will only see briefly and not deal with all that much, and d. It’s a couple tables of people who will now, even after only seeing you briefly and not dealing with you all that much,  will know you a little bit better and bring a little bit more love to the day. With presents, even. Don’t forget the presents. :-)

What sibling and future in-law drama are you going through? Anything to add to my advice? Let me know in the comments below! And if you’d like to find out a little more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to

See you at the end of the aisle,


{Ask Liz} Nixing New In-Laws From The Guest List & Calculating The Cost Of A Park Wedding

Got a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let us know what’s up.

The Wedding Advice Box is OPEN. Dive in!

Dear Liz,

My fiance and I are planning a wedding with an extremely tight budget and agreed that we would limit our guests to immediate family to cut cost. My fiance’s family is relatively small and scattered around the country, so most of them probably wouldn’t be able to make it anyway. By inviting only parents, siblings, and grandparents, I get pretty much everyone I would want to see on my wedding day, minus my step-cousin’s screaming toddler. Sounds like a great plan, right?

Not as easy as it sounds. When my mom remarried I inherited a large, unruly mob of opinionated aunts, uncles, cousins, and one particularly pushy grandmother. A few of my cousins have already asked me about the wedding date and sound like they’re planning to attend. But, I’m not planning on inviting them. I’m a people pleaser and I dread having to turn them down…so far I’ve just been non-committal, but I know that can’t last.

Do you have any advice on a tactful way to let friends and extended family know that they won’t be getting an invite?


Guilty Conscience

Hey Guilty,

Start with your mom. Tell her that because of your budget, you and your fiance are only inviting immediate family. Make it CLEAR that this includes her and her husband, but doesn’t include her new extended family. Be nice, but stay firm. She will, hopefully, spread the word. If one of your new cousins asks again, tell them the same thing, that the wedding has to be small, so you’re only inviting immediate family. Be gracious and kind, in the “We wish we could invite more people, but we can’t.” If they keep pushing, repeat it, until you can safely change the subject.


Fill ‘er up?

Dear Liz,

As a fellow broke-ass bride, I’m considering having my wedding in a state park. Though I’ll save money on venue fees, I know it will cost me more to bring in all the equipment necessities like tents, tables, lights, restrooms etc. So in the end I’m wondering – will this really save me money? If I do go this route, do you have any suggestions/advice to pull it off?


Six of One, How Many Thousand for the Other?

Dear Six,

This is a really good question, and something that my brides run into all the time. Not knowing anything about your overall budget, I can only sort of give you an idea of what it would cost here in Los Angeles. Costs here can run about 20-25% higher than the national average (example: I just gassed up at $3.78/gal, how much did YOU last pay at the pump?). So, best case scenario, with deals I’ve been able to find, for 100 guests? Everything that you would have to bring in, starting with tables and chairs, ending with the salt shakers and porta-potties, would run you close to $3,000. That’s not even including a tent, and God help you if your caterer needs to build a kitchen.   It does include delivery, though. So, figure out how much it would be for you, and add that to the park fee. Don’t forget that you have to feed everyone on what’s left of the first half of your budget, after venue fees and rentals.

How to save? First of all, the number one rule of saving money is to invite less people to your wedding. Less people = less tables, chairs, plates, cups, centerpieces, food, alcohol, you see where I’m going with this. If that’s not possible, the good news is that you get to decide what “everything” looks like. So, think higher-end paper plates and plastic-ware, as opposed to dishes and silverware. Remember to get 3 times as many plates and silverware as you have guests.  Ask the state park for rental company recommendations, they’ll have them. Food and alcohol…look for restaurants that can drop off and set up the food as opposed to a full-service catering company. That comes with its own complications, since caterers come with catering staff, which is often a necessary evil as far serving, busing, and general reception maintenance.  Comparison shop the two options and decide from there. Alcohol? Wine, beer and/or a specialty drink. Before you go for dirt cheap anything, taste it, test-drive it and look at it in person. And don’t settle for ugly. This might take some time, but most informed decisions do.

So, what’s giving you a guilty conscience about your wedding? And how did you save money on your park wedding? Let us know and ask your questions below. If you would like to find out more about me, go to

And, hey, join us for a live chat with Liz on Twitter next Wednesday, 1/23 at 11:30 am PST, and bring along your best wedding planning questions! @brokeassbride, hashtag #livewithliz.

See you at the end of the aisle,



{Ask Liz} Exes On The Guest List, & Save-The-Date Dilemmas

Got a questions for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

Dear Liz,

I am starting the process of planning my wedding, and I keep thinking about my fiance’s guest list. I know its going to be long (close to 100, easy).  We are on a tight budget, and my side of the family and friends are maybe going to be 30 at most. My concern is two- fold…

1. I have never met most of the people he plans on inviting and I’m  socially awkward when it comes to meeting new people, and…

2. Some of them are a part of the dreaded ex’s family, since they are “friends of the family.”  I have said something, which has gone ignored or forgotten about, but do I make a stand to say “No” to the ex,  or do I take it with a grain of salt?


Over Guest-ing


…just not for everyone!

Dear Over,

If you two haven’t written the list out, yet, then you’re doing a little bit of “future tripping” here, worrying about a problem that’s not a verified problem yet. Get his list, and then see what issues there actually are. It’s not unusual to invite a bunch of people that you haven’t met before – there are probably a few on your side that he’s not familiar with either. But seriously, if your numbers have to be tight, start with saying NO to inviting his ex’s family, for starters.

If he starts to complain about it, counter with numbers. I.E., five more people x $79.95 = a lot. Firm, but calm. Keep in mind that if they are family friends he probably feels pressure (from somewhere) to invite them. Still, NO.

Dear Liz,

I’m getting married this summer, and we just booked our venue. My mom says that I need to send out Save-The-Dates, but aren’t you supposed to use your engagement photos on those? We don’t have a photographer yet! Are save-the-dates necessary, and if so, how do we do it if we don’t have pictures?


 Out of dates for save-the-dates

And booze! Don’t forget free booze, too!

Dear Out,

I’m not the hugest fan of save-the-dates, but the “Wedding World” has overruled me on that one. It takes too much time and money and stress, when you could just send an email to announce your engagement, and then send invites in enough time for people to get their plane flights. Save the $100+ for stamps and favors. But as I said, overruled. There are a ton of non-picture based options out there, including the one on the right that I’m pretty much in love with (click to find out more). There are a couple more on my Pinterest board too. That being said, you’re still probably not going to get them for another week or two, another week or two to package them and ship them out…and then you’re sending out actual invites only a couple of months after that. You and your mom are the only ones who can say if it’s worth it.

Do you have exes on your guest list? Did you even bother to send out Save-The-Dates? Let us know below! And, as always, you can find out more about me and my part of wedding world at

See you at the end of the aisle,


{Ask Liz} Your Wedding Guest List VS. Your FMIL’s Guest List. Go!

Got a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let us know what’s up!

Dear Liz,

Hi! My problem starts with the fact that my future hubs has a lot of guy friends from high school. All of the moms (including his) get together every month to catch up, which is super sweet. Apparently they also throw/host a bridal shower for each bride-to-be of their sons, which is also very kind of them. There are only 3 of these moms that I have met (their sons are the ones my fiance is closest to). There are 9 moms in total. When his mom sent me a rough draft list of their guest list, all of these moms (plus their husbands) are on there. She told me she doesn’t know the etiquette about inviting those who host showers. Neither do I. I’m not a stickler for Southern wedding etiquette, but I don’t want to be rude and just invite some moms and not all. But I don’t want to have to leave them all off because of this. Our guest list doesn’t need to exceed 100 and his side is almost 90!! This is all very frustrating.



Aww, she’s not going to be so tough! (Photo by Ryan Price Photography(

Dear S.O.S.,

Yeah, it’s time to have a conversation with your groom’s mom. My first instinct is to just invite the three moms that you’ve met, or just the mom(s) that threw a shower for you,  but if the others are women that your future MIL runs into all the time AND she put them on the list, then not so much.  So, start with figuring out how many people are coming from your side. Then, talk to you fiance about the situation if you haven’t already, and tell him you’re going to talk to his mom about it.

When you do talk to her, explain it like you did to me – you are trying to keep it under 100 people, her list is 90 people, you have (insert # here) people, are there ( relevant # between 20-40) that she can cut off the list? Emphasize that you don’t know most of her guests, so you can’t really choose without the risk of putting her in an awkward position with someone. If she tries to defer and tell you to choose anyway, insist, politely, that she does it. Give her a firm deadline, no more than a couple of weeks in the future. Thank her profusely and apologize for the hassle. Check in a week before the deadline if you haven’t heard from her.
I know, sounds like fun, right? It really is the easiest way to get it done. I would do it for you if I could. :-)

So, whaddya think? Are you in the same dillema and/or how are you handling it? let me know in the comments below! And, Happy Holidays!

See you at the end of the aisle,


{Broke-Ass Hard Truths} How To Not Be A Completely Selfish Idiot About Someone Else’s Wedding

HI! If someone referred you here, it may be because they don’t feel they can adequately explain to you why you’re being an asshole about their wedding. Maybe it’s because they simply love you too much, or maybe it’s because they can no longer stand the sight of you! It’s probably some combination of both. You obviously haven’t noticed it yet, but your words and actions are causing them bucket loads of needless stress and anxiety. And as planning a wedding is one of the most stressful situations a girl will ever voluntarily put herself through, that shizz needs to stop right now.

In any case, don’t be mad at them for directing you here and sort of implying that you’re being an idiot. They never said you were an idiot! DISCLAIMER: I am not explicitly calling you an idiot either (except when I am). I’m sure you have an excuse for your behavior that sounds completely reasonable…in your own mind. But please,  let me try and explain why your selfish actions are at risk of totally bogarting someone’s big day. Read these options and see which one applies to you.

This is what we’d like to avoid.

Oh, you think this bridesmaid dress makes you look fat/pregnant/too old/too young? Your opinion has been noted! And renoted. Highlighted, and put in ALL CAPS. Please stop kvetching about how much you hate your dress, and let your friend get back to enjoying her wedding planning journey. Consider the expense of a single dress you are not-so-secretly not in love with versus the price of friendship. (And if you’re secretly thinking the price isn’t worth it — DON’T use one of life’s happiest occasions as an excuse to broach the subject. Chalk it up to a life lesson.)

Are you using this wedding as one giant excuse to stir the pot and re-incite old family tensions? Seriously, if you can’t be a damn grown-up and sit through a meal surrounded by a few people who rub you the wrong way, maybe just sit this one out.  But don’t act like you’re making a statement by doing so either, you asshole.

You can’t comprehend why your children aren’t invited to this wedding? It’s because they’re tiny assholes. No, the bride didn’t say that. She probably doesn’t even think that. I think that. Some people are all about big, loud, raucous family weddings. Others would rather foster a more sophisticated, adults-only atmosphere.  Just because you’re used to big family weddings, doesn’t mean someone is slighting you or your children by not inviting them. Would you take your kids to a cocktail party? No. So leave your tiny assholes at home, and relish in the opportunity to enjoy some good old fashioned adults-only fun for a night, or stay home. And if you do decide to decline on the RSVP, SEE ABOVE.

Are you of the opinion that because you or your party are helping the happy couple pay (or are paying in full) for their wedding, you have final say on everything? I say this with love … you’re kind of a horrible person! I’m sure being parented by you was trying enough, so maybe loosen up a little and let your children plan their own damn wedding? You’re lucky they still love you at all, because it seems you have serious control issues, and/or are unbelievably selfish. If you absolutely do expect to have the final say on everything, but disagree with me on that last little bit, then you also need therapy.

You’re paying for, or financially contributing to the cost of the wedding, so you think you can invite whoever the eff you want? Well the good news is, you’re not horrible (and you’re not at all alone). The bad news is, you should probably just let your kids decide who gets to share in one of the most important days of their lives. I know your baby’s big day is the perfect opportunity to show off and assert your superiority over distant cousins, coworkers, and whoever else, but don’t. Just don’t. You can show them all the pictures later. Having a bunch of people at your wedding that you barely know is both horribly awkward, and a needless expense.

If none of them resonate, it’s VERY likely that …

You don’t care enough. Dammit, your son/daughter/sister/brother/best friend is getting married. It is a BIG DAMN DEAL, and you treat it like it’s mostly a major inconvenience, if you bring it up at all. Maybe you’re too young and stupid to get how serious this whole affair is, or maybe you’re too old and stupid to remember how crazy and stressful and wonderous and joyful the whole wedding experience can be — but suffice it to say, you could care more. You could do more.

Maybe you’re sad and a little bitter because love hasn’t found you yet — or maybe it’s found you four different times and you’re just sort of over it. That doesn’t change the fact that these two people have found each other, love each other, and have to decided to JUST GO FOR IT, statistics be damned! And that is worth celebrating every time.

You care too much. Holy hell, back off already. This isn’t your wedding. These aren’t your decisions. If the bride wants you to take the reigns and plan her entire wedding, she will ask you, pointe blank. If she hasn’t asked you, don’t just assume the job is yours! And don’t get on her ass just because she’s not planning her whole shindig based on some wedding planning timeline you read about in a magazine.

Again, I say this with love: Find another hobby. Maybe you’re just jonesing to plan your own wedding, there’s no groom in sight, and you’re just living a little too vicariously through her. Maybe your wedding was a gajillion years ago and you’re just trying to recapture your former bridal glory, while totally annoying her with all your terribly dated decor suggestions. Your day will come —or your day has come. Hard lovin’, I know. Find something else to obsess about.

“But, but, but…” you say, “the bride in my life has morphed into a completely unruly, wedding-addled wackjob!” Well, look out for my follow-up piece “Oh, You Think You Fancy? Your Wedding Is Ruining Everyone’s Lives!” on the blog soon! And hang in there.