Broke-Ass Tag: wedding etiquette


“Is that too weird?”

Every time I hear the question I just want to reach over, squeeze the person’s hand and smile.

In a word, nope.

Listen closely here, friends: Weddings are all about celebrating who you are as a couple and we all have little things about our relationship that are weird. Some couples hurl insults at each other that just turn out to be their signs of affection. My husband and I refer to each other as “potato” when we’re not functioning at a particularly high level (or *coughcoughhungovercough*). Family traditions might seem weird anywhere outside of your family, but since weddings are literally the start of a new family, it sounds to me like they’re one super appropriate place to show off that weird.

There’s a good reason the Dr. Seuss quote about mutual weirdness is one of the most re-pinned quotes on Pinterest. It’s heartwarming and it hits home for so many of us. It’s been a great last few years for the nerds and the geeks and the off-center. Weddings don’t have to be all white fluff and a few basic colors. Adding personal touches or inspiration from your favorite fandom is just as natural as all of the quotes on love you can find.

My own wedding had a few moments of, “Wait, what are they doing?” that fit seamlessly within an overall traditional feel. My wedding band was a twist tie. Since my father was no longer present in my life, my mother walked me down the aisle and because I knew I didn’t want to make that walk alone, but had certain ~feelings~ about the whole being “given away” thing, once we reached the end of the aisle, my husband’s mother stood up, took my other arm and finished the walk to the altar where we met my husband and his father (who was serving as best man) and we exchanged a big group hug to signify the idea of our joining as a family. Just because it was different doesn’t make it weird.


Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

Just in case you were wondering, here are a few other things that we’ve as a part of Little Wedding Extras that even a few years ago may have been “weird,” but are now special ways to meaningfully celebrate your day.

Having a woman officiate (Thank goodness the “weird” has worn off that one!)

Woman as officiant

Forgoing fresh flowers for paper, fabric or unique items

Skipping children as flower girls or ring bearers and having grandparents step in

Potluck meals

Using personal items in lieu of a bouquet wrap (This was a piece of a baby blanket and the father of the bride’s watch.)

personal bouquet wrap

The couple walking down the aisle together

Wedding couple trivia

Fun alternatives to guest books

alternative guest book

Photo: Shaina Sheaff Photography

The only things you really have to consider come down to legality. Does it violate a city ordinance and will your venue and other vendors allow it per your contract? As long as there aren’t any conflicts there, you are free to make your own choices. Your wedding doesn’t have to be some crazy source of entertainment for your guests, but if something sounds fun and it’s in your budget, do it! Even if it’s just a tiny detail that doesn’t cost money, do it! The more personality you add to your day, the more memories you’ll take away.

Are you doing anything weird for your wedding day? Share in the comments!

  • 5/27

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    Just Married Wedding Announcement by BlissPaperBoutique

    Just Married Wedding Announcement, $6.50 by Etsy seller BlissPaperBoutique

    Hey BABs! Wedding etiquette can sometimes feel overly formal and antiquated, but we’re here to help you navigate the ins and outs. This week’s advice request is about sending wedding announcements:

    My fiance and I are planning a wedding in April of 2017. All of his family is in town and most likely all will attend, but most of my family is out of state. I have half of those who are able to travel as a definite, but may not come, some that will come no questions asked, and then there are some who I know will not come but will be very angry if they did not get an invitation. I’m wondering the worth of wedding announcements. I just don’t see the point of sending an invite and keeping them in mind for the budget when I know they won’t come. However, after some googling there are definitely opposing views on these — whether or not they are worth it or even rude to send or when to send. I would appreciate your opinion. Thank you!


    Guest List Half Empty


    Dear Half Empty,

    First, a word about invitations vs. announcements:

    Invitations vs. Announcements

    Invitations are sent to anyone you would like to attend the wedding, whether or not you expect them to attend. It’s a good idea to send an invitation even if you’re almost 100% sure someone cannot attend — in part because something might change and suddenly your guest can attend, but also because the guest’s response is unrelated to the invitation. Sending the invite just means you’d like them to come.

    Announcements are sent as a courtesy to family and friends that you could not invite. Although it’s not traditional to do so, some couples are adding a line stating that they regret not being able to invite everyone they would have liked, and that line can help to ease your guilt as well as to smooth over any hurt feelings from the uninvited. Announcements should be sent after the wedding, sometime between 5 minutes (yep, some people mail them on the way to the reception!) and two weeks following the wedding. Definitely do not send announcements in advance of the wedding.

    On that note, some people confuse Save The Dates (aka STDs) with announcements, but they have completely opposite purposes. Announcements are sent after the wedding to those who were not invited, and save the dates are sent before the wedding to anyone you will invite. Sending an announcement before the wedding to someone who will not be invited can create serious awkwardness, as can sending save the dates to anyone you aren’t sure you’ll invite. (Asking someone to save the date for your wedding and then not inviting them is universally understood to be rude.) 

    Note, too, that many announcement designs assume an elopement. That’s great if you’ve eloped, but if you don’t consider your wedding to be an elopement, look for more general wedding announcements.

    Order for Sending Stationery

    So getting back to your question, you don’t have to send anything other than invitations, but if you do, the order should be:

    • Save The Dates (to invited guests),
    • Invitations (to invited guests & their S.O.s), then
    • Announcements (to people who were not invited). 

    Are Announcements Rude?

    Announcements might be considered rude by some who don’t know or understand the etiquette, or by those who are miffed they weren’t invited. But sending announcements isn’t a rude gesture — just the opposite. It’s a nod to those who weren’t able to be there with you. But they’re also not essential to send, and you could choose to skip them.

    What To Do?

    One suggestion is to skip the announcements altogether and only send invitations — to all of your closest family and friends who would otherwise be invited. This saves you some time in designing and mailing stationery, at the very least, although you might end up spending around the same as if you ordered the announcements instead. It’s a safer option for avoiding hurt feelings, though.

    If you’re concerned about allocating so much of your budget to the reception, here are a couple of other options:

    • Trim that guest list, hard core! Start with plus-ones, coworkers, third cousins thrice removed whom you’ve never met, and dare I say it, possibly even friends you haven’t seen in over a year.
    • Consider using an A list and a B list. Don’t worry, you won’t be telling anyone which list they’re on. If you go this route, make sure your RSVP date for the A list is much earlier than you need for your caterer and other counts (rentals, bar, etc.), and then any time you receive a declined invitation from someone on the A list you can immediately extend an invitation to someone on the B list. It’s a bit controversial for obvious reasons (ranking friends and family blows, for sure), but it allows you to cut it closer to your max guest count number.

    And to save costs on stationery in other ways:

    • Consider leaving out RSVP cards and asking guests to RSVP via your wedding website or by phone. You’ll save on the cost of the RSVP card and also the envelope and postage.
    • Choose stationery without bells and whistles. Leave out the envelope liners and belly bands, skip the vellum leaflets, hand calligraphy and even the inner envelopes.
    • Skip printed maps and other inserts. Put all that stuff on your wedding website, and include the link at the bottom of your invitation.

    Whatever you decide, my recommendation is to find a way to invite your flesh and blood, even if it means cutting expenses elsewhere. And a final word to the wise: Calculate your expenses based on the maximum number of guests, not the minimum, and you’ll always come out ahead! 

    – Party on!

    Planning a wedding in Northeast Ohio? Here’s where you can find me for wedding planning assistance.

  • 5/24


    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…

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    Etsy BeforetheGown Turquoise Gift Box

    Gift Box available from Etsy seller BeforetheGown 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.…

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    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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  • 8/25


    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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    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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  • 8/8

    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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