In light of the multitude of questions The Broke-Ass Bride has received as of late regarding alcohol and your reception, specifically how much, we’ve decided to bring back this classic post by Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events. Plus, you get the bonus of etiquette surrounding inviting your office crowd!

Beer for Everyone! Seriously.                         (Courtesy of One Love Photography)

Dear Liz,

Our wedding is next weekend, and we’re providing the alcohol. We’re just serving wine and beer for 100 guests, but how much should we get?


Bar Verklemptkeeper

Dear Bar,

More than you need. But start here: On bottle of wine per two people per hour; two beers (bottle or keg pour) per person per hour. I use Martha Stewart’s calculator, and it hasn’t let me down, yet. But let’s talk about  “hours” for a minute. Hours and ice. If you’re shutting down the bar early to assure that your guests get home alive, my recommendation is to buy enough alcohol to cover that last hour, anyway. Better to have too much than not enough. You can always return what you don’t use – ask your bartender not to open any bottles before he or she pours them.

Ice. Ice melts, which is only one of the things that drives me nuts about nature. Martha calls for one pound of ice per person per hour, but  if using for both cooling and pouring, I’d get another half pound.  Ask your bartender to go a little easy on the ice, too.

Dear Liz,

I work in an office setting and I am getting married in 42 days, I want to give out invites but I don’t want anyone to be offended if I don’t personally invite them, so I was going to just give one to the office staff as a whole rather than personal ones. What do you suggest?


The More the Merrier

Dear Merrier,

Ooh, that sounds like a fantastic idea! Probably the best way to keep of track of who’s coming is to send out email invitations, through e-vite or pingg, or one of those. Not sure what Emily Post (or Martha) would say about that, etiquette-wise, but I’m down with it.

So, what do you peeps think? Would you send a wedding e-vite to your office guests, or give them all an individual one? Are you inviting anyone from work at all? Let’s talk about it in the comments…

See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 10/11

    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 www.silvercharmevents.com.

    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,

  • 7/5

    Got a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let us know what's up! Photos by Lou Stein Dear Liz:     We live in Los Angeles, and got officially engaged last month. We finally decided to get married out here, although we met in New York, he's from Philadelphia, and my family is in Sacramento. We want to settle on a date before…

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    Got a question for Liz? She's taking a little break from dispensing her sage wedding wisdom this week, but she'll be back on duty next week, so go to the contact page and let us know what's up! In the mean-time, enjoy this "vintage" post from 2011! This article originally appeared on The Broke-Ass Bride on May 20, 2011 So, my maiden name is “McNamee.” Try…

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    Dear Liz, My fiance and I are both getting married for the second time. I love the idea of wearing a beautiful dress and sharing this day with my closest friends and family, but I'm not sure the etiquette for a second wedding. I am content with court-house nuptials and a low-key party afterward. I have spread the word that I don't expect or want…

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    Dear Liz,  I am living in the Netherlands right now, and about to begin planning our wedding back around my hometown in Maryland, near the summer camp where we met when we were both working there. Money is super tight, so simplicity in planning is key. It is safe to assume that I will have two visits to America, for about 3 weeks each,  when…

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    "Pepper-crusted rack of lamb, where did you go??" - Marshall, How I Met Your Mother I only have three rules for the couples I work with (only three) and other than that, they are never going to hear the words "can't" or "must" come out of my mouth. Rule #1 you've heard from me a thousand times - Have the wedding you want. Have the…

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    You can face the day with anticipation ... or fear and worry. Choose option A. Photo: Liz Coopersmith Your wedding day is here. You can hear the DJ tuning up outside. Your fiance is in the building. Everyone is helpful and excited and happy ... Except you. Instead of gearing up to enjoy this cool day that you’ve created,  you’re still worried that you should have…

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    How about a schmancy Valentine's date in? Every Last Detail has some great inspiration on having a romantic dinner in your back yard with your love. For bridesmaid dresses on a budget and in every color of the rainbow, head over to Kiss My Tulle. Potted succulents are a wonderful wedding favor -- especially for those friends of yours stricken with brown thumb syndrome. Brenda's…

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