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Waiting for Responses

Although my prince and I are about to mark a significant wedding anniversary, I still have strong and vivid memories of waiting for responses from our wedding guests in the weeks leading up to our wedding. Each day, I would rush to see if the mailman had brought any more of those little response cards to me, which would tell us just who we could expect to be seeing in the pews at our wedding ceremony. Each “yes” was a thrill and every “no” was a disappointment, but I was happy to receive each and every envelope in the mail.

Once upon a time, wedding invitations were not sent out with response cards included (and, indeed, some wedding invitations today go out sans response cards). Back then, etiquette frowned upon such enclosures with the invitations, but in those days, wedding guests automatically wrote little notes on their own notepaper to accept the invitation. In today’s very busy and fast-paced world, those little personal notes simply were not getting written, so wedding etiquette evolved and now give the okay to send out response cards with invitations.

Beyond that, etiquette regarding response cards isn’t really terribly strict. You see, there isn’t a “correct” way of response card wording. Instead, there are styles that are more appropriate for a formal wedding, and those best suited to a casual affair. Taking the time to ensure your response card matches the type and tone of not only your wedding but wedding invitation as well is a nice thing to do…and, happily, part of staying in-line with wedding etiquette, as well.

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Etiquette Applies to Guests, Too!

Brides and their grandmothers aren’t the only people involved in a wedding who should be taking wedding etiquette into consideration. Believe it or not, there are wedding etiquette guidelines for your wedding guests, as well. After all, etiquette is really just consideration for your friends and family, so it’s not really surprising that there’d be etiquette for guests, too.

Fortunately, a guest’s wedding etiquette is none too difficult or outrageous. In fact, it’s actually quite simple and very often things or approaches that one would be doing on their own anyhow. For instance, etiquette says that guests shouldn’t interrupt a wedding ceremony with their late arrival, so be sure to be on-time (although a little early is even better).

Another incredibly simple part of a wedding guest’s etiquette is to RSVP to the invitation in a prompt and timely manner. Again, you may have already been planning on responding to the invitation promptly, regardless of etiquette. Similarly, unless your wedding invitation specifies that you may bring a guest of your own to accompany you (e.g., a date or a friend), etiquette strongly discourages that unexpected guests tag along with invited guests to a wedding.

Above all, wedding etiquette stresses the importance of enjoying the event itself, responsibly and happily. The newlyweds worked very hard on planning an enjoyable and pleasant wedding for their guests, be sure to let them know they achieved that goal. It will please them to know you enjoyed their wedding day.

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Cakes, Perhaps the Sweetest Part of a Wedding Day

It’s not unusual during wedding planning for brides to find their grooms aren’t terribly enthusiastic about much of the hard work involved. But even the busiest groom typically finds one part of the wedding planning process to be his favorite: the cake-tasting appointment at the bakery (or, better yet, multiple appointments at multiple bakeries!).

Wedding cakes have been a part of weddings for just about as long as brides, grooms, and even wedding etiquette. Did you know, for instance, that many hundreds of years ago, wedding guests each brought a small cake, which were stacked on the table in levels and layers. This wasn’t just potluck dessert: if the bride and groom were able to kiss over the top of the stack it was considered good luck.

Nowadays, it’s not unusual to find a second cake at a wedding reception: the groom’s cake. The groom’s cake can serve many purposes, from dessert at the rehearsal dinner, to an alternative choice to the wedding cake at a reception. It’s customary for the groom’s cake to be displayed next to the bride’s cake, and later cut and put into boxes for guests to take home. Legend says that single women are supposed to sleep with a slice under their pillow the same night they receive it — and if they do, they will dream of their future husband. Boxed slices of groom’s cake can also serve as wedding favors.

While wedding etiquette doesn’t specify who may cut the groom’s cake, you and your groom may decide to honor the groom’s cake as they do the wedding cake, and cut the first piece together.

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Many Thanks for Many Gifts

One thing that my wedding (and related events) taught me about was writing thank-you notes. I must confess, before getting engaged to my prince, thank-you notes were not a very high priority to me. But as the engagement, bridal shower, and wedding gifts started arriving on my doorstep and the UPS and FedEx deliverymen started calling me by my first name, I realized that the etiquette of thank-you notes really do serve a purpose.

To begin with, when out-of-town guests send you wedding gifts, many times they truly have no idea if that meaningful and possibly valuable and/or pricey gift they selected, wrapped, and shipped to you even arrived on your doorstep. It’s absolutely not unheard of for gifts to be lost or mis-delivered while in the shippers’ possession. By sending your thank-you note for that bridal shower gift (in a timely manner, of course), you’re not only conveying your gratitude for the gift, but also relieving their minds that their gift ended up right where it was supposed to be.

Don’t forget, though: wedding etiquette does say that wedding gifts aren’t the only things that should trigger you to reach for your notecards and favorite pen. Friends and family members who help you, financially or otherwise, with your wedding are also due a thank-you. Included in that general “otherwise” grouping would be someone who hosted your bridal shower, your grandmother who said she’d take care of the wedding flowers bill, and even your bridesmaids and groomsmen. You’re just as grateful for these gifts as those super-soft bath towels, right? Be sure to let them know!

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Rain, Rain, Go Away…or Maybe Stay!

The weather on a couples’ wedding day is one of those issues that, try as hard as you might, just cannot be controlled. While most brides dream of a beautiful, sunny day for their wedding day’s weather, the truth is that a rainy wedding day could actually be even more desirable. After all, there’s a superstition out there that says it’s good luck for the newlyweds to have a rainy wedding day. Even better? Seeing a rainbow on your wedding day…and it’s hard to find rainbows without first having rain.

Of course, not every wedding takes place on a sunny Saturday afternoon in June. There’s a great many weddings in other seasons and times of day. I’ve been to snowy weddings, evening weddings, even an early-morning wedding (that one was very challenging to be on-time for). The weather – good or bad – had practically zero negative effect on the weddings, ceremonies, or even the marriages. Well, okay, maybe there was that one time the caterer slipped on some ice and dropped the wedding cake, but the odds of that happening again are astronomical.

Wedding etiquette doesn’t really have a position on wedding day weather, but wedding planners would advise – especially for brides and grooms having an outdoor wedding – that a backup plan be in place in case of foul or even merely unpleasant wedding-day weather. Shortly before my brother’s wedding, massive rainstorms filled the weather forecasts, and we bought every umbrella in town so that his wedding guests could enjoy the ceremony. In the end, the rain stopped almost exactly an hour before the ceremony and didn’t start up again until the happy couple was off on their honeymoon.

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How Did He Propose?

The purpose of this category is for brides to have an opportunity to win 50% off their wedding invitations by telling her story of how her fiancé proposed. Just give us your story here on our wedding invitation blog and we will randomly pick a winner the 1st of every month. If you have already purchased your invitations and you end up being the winner, we will refund you 50%. Winners will be posted here on the blog and be notified by email. Since we are just getting started with this and it will take awhile to get the word out about this, our first winner will be announced June first.

Just tell us your story by leaving a comment. Anyone, feel free to make comments on any of the stories. It would be great to get a dialog going here. Just click on the title above and you will be able to leave a comment or your story.

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Need help with you wedding invitations - Ask our Wedding Consultant

The purpose of this category is to offer an opportunity for readers to ask pertinent questions relating to wedding invitations, wedding invitation wording, wedding etiquette and wedding planning in general. We have been helping brides for over a decade with various wedding planning issues, with wedding invitations being our specialized expertise.

We get so many calls and questions via email and so many of them are so similar, that we thought that by starting this Question and Answer category on our blog, it would give an opportunity for brides to post their questions for other brides to see and to see our answers as well. It should help the overall community of brides to be to see what common (or not so common) questions are and our answers. Our hope is that this can become a FAQ tool to help all brides to some extent.

Please feel free to post you questions or comments here and we will do our best to answer them promptly. We welcome any comments. Feel free to let us know how we have done as well in assisting you and handling your order. We appreciate any feedback we can get to help us serve others better in the future. Just click on the title above and you will be able to leave a comment or question.

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Wedding Invitations…and More!

For most brides planning weddings, choosing a wedding invitation to send out to their guests is standard. Yes, some brides send emails or write letters or make phone calls to invite their guests to their wedding ceremonies, but for the most part, the majority of couples stick with mailing tried-and-true wedding invitations out to their guests.

But don’t forget that your wedding invitation isn’t the only invitation that you might need need to select. Bridal showers need invitations, engagement parties need invitations, rehearsal dinners need invitations. Many couples are now putting together a full weekend of events for their guests in addition to the wedding, with such things as casual barbeques the day before for their attendants, or day-after family style brunch as a sort of sendoff for the honeymooners. And those events need invitations, too!

As with any invitation, wedding-related or otherwise, etiquette dictates that the basics of the event be crystal clear for the guests. Time, date, location, and perhaps any dress code or suggestions should absolutely, without fail, be appearing on an invitation. And, of course, it’s best to be absolutely sure to send out invitations well enough in advance of your bridal shower or wedding for your prospective guests to plan accordingly (especially any guests who are coming in from out of town). Even those who like to defy wedding etiquette can’t argue with the wisdom of making it easy for their guests to attend.

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Coming Attractions…of Your Wedding!

Brides, I’m sure this is only the 150th time this week that you’ve heard this advice in some form – online, in a book or magazine, or from a friend or relative – but when you set out to select your wedding invitation, it’s important to have it ‘go with’ the rest of the wedding. I’m not necessarily talking about themes, but it is a good idea to have it play nicely with the rest of the wedding details.

For one thing, it’s a preview of coming attractions of sorts for your prospective wedding guests. Even if you have a wedding website, blog, or message board set up for your guests, trust me, there are going to be guests who wouldn’t know a blog if it bit them. For these guests in particular, your wedding invitation gives them a very good idea of what to expect from your wedding. An invitation with seashells and a casual font would imply that the wedding might be a laidback, maybe even barefoot, wedding on the beach. Conversely, an invitation with engraving and the most formal of formal wording, describing an evening wedding ceremony and a sit-down dinner reception at the swankiest hotel in the city would suggest that the guests should probably dig their tuxedos and long evening gowns out of the closet.

Your wedding guests will certainly appreciate getting advance notice of what to expect from your wedding. Remembering your guests and their comfort is part of your wedding, after all. Etiquette, weddings and otherwise, is not just for grandmothers, it’s for all of us.

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The Story Behind the Custom

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” It seems as if just about everyone has heard that old saying, but do you know the history behind it? Take a moment out of your busy wedding planning or etiquette researching to learn some more about this age-old bridal custom.

To begin with, you may not know this, but in the original saying, there’s a final line that often gets omitted here in the United States: “put a sixpence in her shoe.” While I was planning my own wedding, my grandmother sent me a sixpence and it’s a good thing she wasn’t there to see me open up the envelope because I honestly could not figure out why she was sending me loose change (and from another country, no less!). A little internet research quickly told me that custom says that a sixpence placed in the bride’s shoe on her wedding day is a wish for good fortune and prosperity for the newlyweds.

Similarly, the big four (old, new, borrowed, and blue) each symbolize other wishes for the newlyweds. Something old represents continuity, something new offers optimism for the future, something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness, and something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity. All very welcome and worthy wishes for any bride and groom on their wedding day!

Some brides worry that they won’t be following wedding etiquette to the letter if they assemble the items themselves, but experts assure that the items need not be presented by the bride’s sister or mother or aunt in order to “count.”

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