As an invitation designer, I am often asked numerous questions about wedding invitation etiquette. (It comes with the territory!) Although the overall structure of an invitation has remained the same over decades, modern brides have done away with the “Emily Post” etiquette standards. Traditional styles and etiquette has slowly evolved to allow for modern designs and today’s way of thinking. A classic example of this etiquette evolution is the introduction of online RSVPs while doing away with the paper RSVP.
The issue of what brides should and should not do with regard to their wedding invitations can get quite tricky and sometimes abundantly confusing for all those involved. I have compiled a small list of basic Dos and Don'ts when it comes to today’s invitation designs. One thing I always remind my brides is “this is your Day. Do what makes you feel comfortable!”
Do consider your color scheme and theme. If you're opting to use a pop of color (say green or orange), try to incorporate that color into your invitation theme. If you are doing a vintage lace or rose theme, opt for invitations that have those items on them. Keep in mind that no one actually brings the invitation to the wedding to critique your decorations versus the invitation – you don’t need to be matchy-matchy! Although Pantone color tiles are my best friend, don’t limit yourself to a specific shade of purple.
Don’t opt for a casual style if your wedding will be formal – and vice versa. I can't repeat this enough - your invitation sets the tone for the wedding. This is the first clue to your guests what to expect at your wedding. If your invite is casual, and your event is held at a Country Club, don't be shocked when your guests arrive in jeans.
Do place postage on your RSVP envelopes. It's a simple gesture that'll help in getting your RSVPs back on time. Also be sure to have a USPS-approved address on the return envelope. It’s easy to check the correct USPS recommended address by visiting www.usps.com and use their Zip Code Lookup. When you input your address, it will give you the legal USPS address.
Don’t use address label stickers to address your invitations. You never know how such labels will handle with the postal service. Moisture of any kind may cause the letters to run and corners of the stickers may pick or rip in transit. It’s a safer bet to forego this option entirely. Most invitation designers offer addressing services and, if they do not, can direct you to a local calligrapher.
Do choose a style that’s really you. Browse Pinterest, blogs, stationary stores, etc. Try to narrow down what you like to 5-10 main invitations. There are so many ideas floating around so don’t try to overwhelm yourself. I often tell my brides to bring me a few pictures of invitations they like, their wedding dress, and flowers. These help me in finding out more about my bride and what sort of “feel” she’s going for. Finding your perfect invitation is like finding that perfect dress!
Don’t put your registry information on the invitation itself. It’s understandable to want to include your registry information for your guests, especially if you opt to not have pre-celebration events (Bridal Shower, Couples Showers, etc.) It’s bad form to include registry information on the invitation itself. By simply adding an insert with your wedding suite, directing them to your wedding website, this can be avoided.
About Ashley Barado, Owner of Invitobella, LLC
I grew up in small town Ponchatoula, Louisiana with big town dreams. Although I have a BS in Psychology from Northwestern State, I was always drawn to the arts. I could never draw pen to paper to save my life (I can’t even draw a straight line, and that’s not a joke!), but found my artistic niche in graphic design. I'm a mommy, bookworm, and gymaholic that devotes my time to my two rambunctious boys, Caleb & Jax, and my amazing husband, Jason. When I’m not at a soccer field, baseball diamond, or the gym, I can often be found playing board games, refereeing Xbox battles and most brotherly arguments (mommy always wins 😉). I have a minor obsession with magnolias and anything gold. My favorite design aesthetics are calligraphy and watercolor.
Honeymoon for foodies
Food can be very romantic and sexy. Dinner and ambiance create a setting for two people to connect on deeper levels. Enjoying a leisure meal together watching a sunset with candle lights flickering set the mood for the night. Taste buds dance as you share a bite by feeding each other. Eye contact is made more during a special dinner than normal conversations. Maybe there is slight brush of her foot on his leg under the table. Spirits are sipped, laughter is shared as you decide to share dessert or maybe even get it to go. This can happen on any given night at any given restaurant or home. The power of a romantic dinner is un-measurable. The power of a romantic dinner on your honeymoon for the next 5-10 nights is on an entirely different level.
A new trend in honeymooning is traveling for the love of food. Couples that have a love for culinary art and enjoy exquisite cuisine then food is a priority for your honeymoon.
Below are 3 places to visit for a gourmet honeymoon.
Mexican cuisine is more than just tacos. Mexico is about flavor, sizzle and spice. Mix in a tequila tasting and the sizzle sparks the romance. The Riviera Maya has offerings to the honeymoon couple that has expert taste buds by having gourmet all inclusive resorts. Enjoy the ease of all inclusive , the luxury resorts, the amenities, the beach and the fine cuisine at a several resorts in the area. One resort in the Riviera Maya hasa Michelin-starred chef's restaurant. Another resort line is pegged with their tag line "gourmet inclusive."
The mountains, the beach, the volcanoes, the lush tropical flowers filling the air with sweet aroma is a classic honeymoon retreat. The flair of Hawaiian culture reflects in their love cooking. The dynamic of food here is compelling. From having fun with local food trucks, dining at restaurants with Japanese influence and participating in a traditional luau couples are sure to relish in the romance here. Island hopping, food tasting, luxury resorts, beach relaxing, all make for a honeymoon to remember.
Being a bridesmaid is exciting and an honor -- the bride picked you, whether you are the groom's sister, her sister, a cousin, or one of her closest friends, you get the privilege to stand beside her and her fiancé on their wedding day to help celebrate their marriage. It’s easy to say “Yes! Of Course!” right off the bat upon being asked or proposed to, but before you heartily accept the position, there are quite a few obligations you should take into consideration and talk about to make sure you’re on the same page as the bride.
THE TIME OBLIGATION
As a bridesmaid, there are numerous events and invitations you’ll have to respond to, and that’s not including the showers and a rehearsal. More times than not, the bride is going to ask for your advice or thoughts regarding décor, request help in crafting or making decisions regarding colors, fabrics, and hairstyles. Though that may or may not be of your interest, it’s a general expectation that because the bride reached out to you and values your opinion, that you take the time to respond back and participate.
Outside of the time assisting in planning, there is the unspoken expectation of attending any and all events. The bachelorette party, bridal shower, and rehearsal and subsequent dinner are certainly mandatory, you may also be asked to attend trips to dress appointments or send photos or video of dresses you’ve looked at and tried on. Carving out the time in your schedule, or acknowledging that you can’t attend, and letting the bride or hostesses know of your attendance (or lack therefore) in a timely manner is not only considerate, but a must, as it will prevent hurt feelings and your relationship with the bride.
THE DRESS AND HOW YOU LOOK
Speaking of apparel, with the trend of having bridesmaids pick their own dress as long as it's a certain color and fabric, you have a relatively good chance of ensuring that you get to wear a flattering dress (or not a dress!). The reality is however that the bride gets the final say on what you wear and how you are presented, as you will be heavily photographed that day.
With this being said, talk over with the bride about your appearance, and let her know about your comfort levels and things that would be ideal (example, wearing a complimentary pant suite rather than a dress, or perhaps having your tattoos exposed rather than covered in makeup). While most friends are understanding and know of these needs or requests before they ask you, I would remain cautious and follow "expect the worst, hope for the best".
According to sources like Weddington Way and Bustle, the average cost of being a bridesmaid today is between $1,000 and $1,500. Not saying that all weddings will insist on a financial commitment that large, but when you break it down for an average of $250 dress, $100 for a shower gift (including wrapping), $100+ to go towards the bachelorette, $300 for traveling, $150 for hair and makeup...the expenses can add up quickly. If you struggle with procuring funds, be honest to the bride about it and upfront before you accept the offer of being a bridesmaid. It’s awkward having the money conversation, but being honest with your friend from the onset about your financial situation or what you would be able to commit will go a long way in avoiding or preventing hurt feelings.
Regardless though if money is a little tight for your bridesmaid budget, do keep track of expenses and what you’re spending throughout your bridesmaid experience. Let the bride and Maid of Honor know when things are getting a little out of hand; do not be discouraged from being the voice of reason in the midst of the wedding-spend craziness s that can often occur. There’s no reason for frivolous spending, or if something seems off (as in, suspiciously, the MOH used your funds or contributions towards the bachelorette to pay for her portion…).
Be understanding and open to the bride about your ability to commit to being in a member of the bridal party, and stay true to yourself throughout the process while being there for the bride. It’s ok to say no and question, but also keep in mind that this is not your event, and there are some things that you will have to comply with despite your personal tastes. Expect though to have an amazing time with your soon-to-be-married bestie, and enjoy being there by her side throughout the process.
A honeymoon is possibly the most special and romantic trip that any couple can make. Honeymoons are once in a lifetime experiences that newlyweds remember forever. Although there are certain destinations that are considered more romantic than others, a couple can have a wonderful honeymoon anywhere in the world as long as they are able to relax, reconnect and have the time of their lives. Want to know how to make your honeymoon rock? Read this:
Surprise gifts daily
If you truly want to make your honeymoon rock, consider giving your sweetheart a gift each day that can be enjoyed by both of you. The gift that you select does not have to be fancy or expensive because you may already have spent thousands on the wedding. The gift can be as simple as a box of chocolate made from the local area, a local bottle of wine or a bubble bath. The point is to pick something special and thoughtful.
On those days that you have both been traveling from place to place and are too tired to make it to the restaurant, you can opt for room service. This will allow you to relax and wind down together, and it is also a great opportunity for you to cuddle in bed as you watch television.
If you want to make your honeymoon more enjoyable, you can ask the resort in which you are staying at to set up a private dining or dinner table for just the two of you. To make it extra special, you can request for a secluded area with a view of the skyline or the stars which will allow you to enjoy a romantic dinner together as you make plans for your future.
Take a sunset cruise
One of the best ways to elevate your honeymoon is by taking a sunset cruise. Most packages catering to honeymooners often have dinner offers attached to cruise packages. During a cruise, you can enjoy amazing vistas of the coastline as the sunset provides the perfect background for your honeymoon adventure.
Try something new and daring
During your honeymoon, you can try something new and daring that you and your partner have never done before. It can be anything from zip lining to paddle boarding as long as it is a new activity that you can experience together for the first time. The thrill that you experience will allow to bond and you will have something to consolidate your honeymoon.
Author-Shannon Cunningham LeBlanc
Owner of Paradise Vacation Escapes and Author of Say Yes To The Honeymoon, The Expert's Guide To Planning The Perfect Honeymoon
The question “Is this a good deal?”, the statement “I’m paying X dollars for a photographer and second shooter for eight hours, 1000-1500 edited images, and engagements, is this fair?”, and “I’m suffering sticker shock – the venue I just looked at just cost X. And that’s not including the food minimum!”. Most of these statements are followed by the comment “Well, when you attach ‘wedding’ to anything, the cost goes up”.
When you’re looking at venues and photographers and caterers and invitations, and you’re reaching out and getting quotes and suddenly there’s a lot more money involved and it’s surprising you, here are few things to keep in mind.
There’s a lot more than just the wedding day for your vendors. Leading up to a wedding I am coordinating, I spend roughly 50-75 hours speaking with vendors, clients, and everyone involved in a wedding. Broken down to regular work days, that’s about 6 to 10 days spent on the phone, coordinating site visits and final walk-throughs, rehearsals, and the day itself (which for a 5:00 pm wedding, starts at about 9:00 am for my staff and I). For a photographer, not only are they making sure their equipment is ready, but purchasing additional cards, straps, repairs, talking with vendors, and after the day itself (if they’re starting as early as I am for a 5:00 pm wedding), editing and culling thousands of photos to present you with the very best. On average, most photographers in the Baton Rouge area spend 6-12 weeks editing photos and galleries, and more so if they’re assembling prints and albums.
The vendors that you're getting quotes and proposals from are full of knowledge, but everyone's knowledge is different, and that's a part of the cost. A caterer fresh out of culinary school, or even if they’re based in their home without formal training, is going to provide a menu and offerings than a caterer who has been in the field for 25 years, has a diverse staff, and gives advice or includes floor plans and food displays. With photography, live music, calligraphy, and other fine arts that are services, generally the more you’re paying should be reflected in the quality, service, and presentation. You will be hard pressed to find next to free photographers that have experience in the wedding industry, provide fully edited images, process culling, and best and most importantly of all, ensure that every shot you want on your wedding day is taken.
Fun fact: you’re paying for the experience of working with these vendors. That’s right – the way that they treat you is something you’re paying for. You’re investing into your vendors, you’re giving them a substantial amount of money to work with them, and how fast they respond to emails and phone calls, send back and forth contracts and edits to floor plans, menus, and timelines, how little stress you feel while working with these amazing and awesome folks…that’s a big part of what your money is going towards. You’re paying to work well with a vendor, and if there are bumps in the road or in your relationship, then you are most certainly not getting your value in with them.
But wait, what about when someone is offering a deal or discount? What does that even mean?Well, it can mean a variety of things. It could be just a celebratory discount to appeal to clients who normally couldn’t afford their services, or maybe they just want more bookings. It varies, and you can’t put a lot of stock into why a discount or deal is being offered other than it is. However, when this deal or discount is repetitive is when you need to be cautious about the vendor, and take a hard look at their portfolio and what others are saying about them (especially other vendors).
At the heart of it though, what does it mean when you’re getting a deal or there’s a lot of value? Value and deals are subjective to who is looking at the overall cost; for instance, the services of Poppy Lane Events may seem like too good of a deal to some, but other potential clients may see them as a great value for the cost. Keep it all relative to what your budget is, what you’re looking for as an experience, and what is all included in the overall cost (asking for an itemized and detailed quote is a great idea). With that in mind, what’s a good value and deal will be easily answered, and you’ll be well on your way to having the wedding of your dreams.
A Not from the Photographer:
"Regina just turned two years old and had an amazing surprise!! A Magical Pony ride for a complete session of photos!! She was BEYOND HAPPY!! She loves animals and ponies are her favorite. We brought all the decoration and we had a special designed dress. The crown flower was all made by her grandmother and well you just have to see the "Magical experience" she had during this portrait session celebrating her second year.
This farm is full of ponies, the owner let us do at his farm the shooting so we could have enough space for the shooting and Regina's ride. He owns more than five ponies, and a white adorable donkey!!!"
Photographer: Mir*Salgado Photography
Dress Designer: Isalia Exclusive Design
Entertainment: Kids Ride Ponies
Getting married is always very exciting for new couples, but planning a wedding is quite overwhelming and energy consuming. Nevertheless, it's quite a special moment, especially for the ladies who are always putting in the extra work to make sure that everything is perfect. After going through all that planning, the wedding ceremony and reception, you are just about ready to relax and spend some quality time with your spouse. So then, why not start your honeymoon as soon as the last guest goes through the door?
Some persons will spend their honeymoon at a local hotel, while some will travel half way around the world. Some will also go on cruises in the Caribbean, the Americas, and the United Kingdom and so on. Whichever category you fall in, you can start your honeymoon right after your wedding reception.
It is always a good idea to do a research on the journey to your resort, especially if it's somewhere you've never been before. That way you will know the different islands that you will fly across. You'll also get know the shape of the islands you're passing so that when you actually reach it, you will know where you are. It's lovely to be able to see all these islands that are so big, looking so much smaller from the sky. Enjoy the view together. Ensure that you have your camera also and take pictures from your window!
After you've landed, you're going to want to check out the places you will pass while driving to your hotel. You can even request your driver to stop at certain points and take a lovely picture together. Make every moment of your honeymoon something precious.
It's good to also learn a little history about the country you are going. To make your sightseeing a little fun, do an on the spot quiz with your partner. Tease each other's minds with questions based on what you've learnt about the country and the different places you are driving through.
Depending on where you are, you can be very creative and do something fun with your partner on your way to your honeymoon destination. I'd encourage you to also take some of your favorite games with you, especially if you are on a very long flight. Spend as much time as you can relating to each other.
Let me share one last activity you can do together. Write questionnaires for each other. You can both ask anything you like in the questionnaire, even if it's silly and bizarre. Put stuff in it that will put a smile on your partner's face, or even something that makes them laugh. Set the timer to, for example, five minutes for fifteen questions and both of you must finish before the time is up. You can always come up with other games of your own.
You should always do your best to keep each other happy. And this isn't so hard to do when you are both in love with each other.