Broke-Ass Tag: family drama


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.


  • 1/22

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewMinnesota State Letterpress Print by paperparasolpress

    Minnesota Letterpress Print on Etsy by paperparasolpress

    Most couples planning a wedding have been there at some point: Just when you’ve come up with The Perfect Wedding Plan, family finds a way to foil it! One of our BAB readers has such a dilemma:

    Dear BABs,

    I am hoping you can help me out. I am from Houston, TX, my fiance is from a small town in northern MN (near the Canadian border) and last year we relocated to South Dakota. Because we don’t really have any connections here yet, we have opted to have the wedding in his hometown where it’ll keep the costs down, compared to Houston. My friends and family are going to have to travel, and my family seems to be the most upset about it. I know that for any wedding, you can’t make everyone happy, but I feel like they’re going above and beyond to not be excited about this. They would have been okay with a destination wedding to Colorado or Montana, but are just being completely horrid about it being in MN. Is it because his family doesn’t have to travel or because they won’t be able to help as much with planning (not that they would if it was where we live or another destination)…? I’m just over trying to plan things and everyone being angry with me for my choices. We’re getting married in September and are really just getting things planned out, ceremony and reception venues have been chosen, photographer is good, we do catering and tent choices next month and it’s done. But they’re making me second guess all of my decisions. Any advice you can offer?


    Wedding Doubts


    Dear Wedding Doubts,

    I’m so sorry that your family is being uncooperative about your plans. Of course you’re questioning your decisions! Family is your own flesh and blood, you love them, and you want them to be happy! But … do they feel the same for you, your partner and your wedding day?

    Some families do get very upset when it seems that wedding plans are being made more in favor of “the other side.” The reality is that wedding plans rarely work out to be 100% equitable for both sides of the families, so although we can understand a bit why they might feel that way, it’s just a fact that life ain’t fair.

    Do you know for certain that your family would have been okay with traveling to Colorado or Montana? If they’ve said so in so many words, then you’re absolutely right — it’s very possible they’re just being horrid. Family does not get to pick your wedding location! (Unless they’re paying for it, then all bets are off.) On the other hand, if you don’t really know why they’re acting the way they are, then the first thing to do is have a sit-down with the anti-MN-ers. Meet with the people who oppose the destination, but also bring along an ally — your partner, or someone in the family that supports your decision. Ask what the concerns are, and just listen. You don’t have to defend your choices — and doing so might make matters worse. Just let them vent about whatever their issues are, and remember to filter their responses before they make their way to your ears! Whatever concerns family has about your wedding decisions are not about you — they’re about them. Be a duck, and let it all just roll off! (like water off your back)

    It’s not your responsibility to please everyone (or anyone) on your wedding day, but it can help to let the naysayers know you hear and understand them. You don’t have to change your plans — just let them know that while you’re sorry it’s an inconvenience to them, it’s the best plan for your own needs, and you’re the one footing the bill. (Or even if not, you’re still the ones getting married, though the waters get murkier if they are the ones footing the bill.)

    If you do happen to learn something in talking with family that you didn’t know or hadn’t considered and you decide you’d like to make a change to better accommodate their needs, take some time to think through the options before changing your plans. Enlist help from your partner and family in brainstorming creative solutions — most of the time the one that works best isn’t their way or your way, but a third way that hasn’t been discovered yet, and it might not even require any changes to the plans you’ve made.

    Here are a few possible solutions that might help if you’re considering this route:

    • Help your family to find discounted airfare — Maybe they’re not yet aware of sites like Priceline, Expedia, or Orbitz, so send ’em the links. (But don’t get involved in making all the family travel arrangements – you’re not a travel agent!) 
    • Help them find deals on lodging — Ask your in-laws to provide some suggestions, or try AirBNB.
    • Come up with a solution for ground transportation — Book a local shuttle, ask the in-laws to help with airport pick-ups or help to organize car pooling for anyone who needs a rental car.
    • Help them get excited about traveling — Create a wedding website and include links and images to local landmarks, attractions, hot spots, historical sites and more.
    • Create a “who’s who” graphic –– Add photos for both sides of the immediate families and the wedding party, along with names, hometowns and roles in the wedding. Families love this because it they can study faces before ever meeting!
    • Consider “comping” close relatives — If there are only one or two close relatives upset about the decision and you can manage the additional expense, consider comping their hotel room or some other portion of the travel. Let me be clear here: You are not expected or required to cover the expense, so it would be a generous gift if you choose to offer it.
    • Give them VIP treatment — If they’re feeling jilted, you can spin it your way by making family feel special with travel care packages (for the flight), welcome bags (for their lodging upon arrival) and with special shout outs during the wedding events. Thank them publicly for traveling all the way to Minnesota for your wedding. Often that’s enough of an olive branch to satisfy traveling guests.
    • Give family an out –– Sometimes people get (understandably) cranky because they feel stuck between a rock and a hard place — missing a close friend or family member’s wedding vs. struggling to find the cash to pay for the travel. If the destination issue is really about money, give family a couple of “outs.” Let them know that their presence is their gift to you, and that you don’t also expect them to offer gifts. And also, if some of the family members complaining about the travel are extended family, it really is okay if they can’t (or don’t want to) attend. Let them know that while you’d greatly miss them at your wedding, you understand if they can’t make it due to the distance. Just the reassurance that you won’t hold it against them (but would still love to have them there) might be enough to ease their minds and let them make the decision that’s right for them. Then consider an informal backyard get-together in your home town for those family members, during which you can share photos and stories about the wedding day.

    It’s my experience that when guests (including family) feel like their needs are understood and taken care of, they’re less likely to create drama. It might be that if you can figure out what those needs are, you can get creative to help meet them without changing any of your existing plans or taking any extraordinary steps to accommodate your family. Of course you can’t please everyone, but at least you can sleep easy knowing that you’ve tried your best — and then just relax knowing your planning is ALMOST DONE!

    Party on!

    – Lisa 

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

    Have you come up against any pushback from family? How have you been dealing with it?

  • 9/10

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