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Invitation Drama – Part 3 (final) – Should you have back-up invitations for a back-up guest list?

It’s been awhile family. The years are catching up to me. I saw an interesting post on Facebook the other day about how different your body responds when you are in your twenties than in your thirties. Listen, I fell in the shower (more like bust my ass in the shower) and I am in my thirties. I can remember the times I fell over my bicycle head first and were not affected. There was also a time I fell out of a tree face first (very long story) and was up and going in less than 10 mins. But, a fall in the shower in my thirties… I now have weekly scheduled visits with my chiropractor to realign my spine. So I was out of commission for a bit – seriously, it was like I was the poster girl for Khia’s song, without the pleasurable bits… my neck, my back..

But, here we are again, and I am so sorry for leaving you hanging without closing this series on invitations. So let’s get into it.  We had a lot to say about deciding who we are going invite and knowing when to draw the line with mom. We talked about what to include and what not to include on the invitation. But we haven’t actually talked about sending out the invitation. Now, why should there be any drama about that?

You would think that sending out an invitation is simple. The number of guests was decided long ago, and invitations ordered either via online do-it-yourself invitation builders or an invitation company. Now it is two to four months before the wedding and it’s time to send out the actual invitation. So, it is simple - write the guest name and address and post – what’s so hard about that?

No drama to speak of right? Well, a bride forum that I follow (written by real brides-to-be) opened my eyes to this new system. Many brides track their invitations using a numbered RSVP card system. I thought wow, this can be pretty efficient. Imagine it for a minute, you already have your guests numbered anyway, why not the number the RSVP card in the invitation? This number corresponds to the guest name. When RSVP cards come in, you already know who sent the cards. Trust me, there is always that special somebody, that one person who is so excited to accept your invite that they check the “yes we will attend” box without filling out the Mr /Mrs/Miss line to say who they are.

However, some brides take it a step further and have two lists, one that they call an “A” list and “B” list. Now, as I alluded to before, this can lead to DRAMA (please read as if I am snapping my fingers and twirling my neck). Can you imagine the fallout?

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The comments about the fallout when this was first introduced were astronomical. “I was number 122 on your list? Out of 150? I thought we were closer than that! Sorry I won’t be attending.” Not only that, but, now the friendship is affected or if it was family, a rift in the family. Not to mention the persons with the numbers on the “B” list. Even worse.

Luckily, as this idea developed and took root. Most brides state that they found it to be most helpful when managing their guest list and invitations. And this is how. They used, wait for it… invisible ink (available at a Walmart or Target near you). Now, this is not some episode of science fiction. Even I (wedding planner extraordinaire) was skeptical. Who knew that they sold pens that can to do this?

Totally awesome because, if you are not aware that this ink is on a card, you wouldn’t be able to know where to look. And let’s think of the list now. The number of invitations ordered would have included a few extras to make allowances for list “B”. Once the responses start to come in, it is easy to track who will be able to come and who will not, allowing for the next wave of invitations to be sent out. The “B” listers that didn’t make the cut for the “A” list (first invitation wave), now get a chance to be invited. 

That sounds so daunting. Let’s say instead, the persons whom the bride and groom really want to attend from the second list can now get the second wave of invitations. But this is only for the scenario when there is a lot of people to choose from. As a wedding planner (and please pardon me if I made it sound icky), I can see the advantage to this system. Coming from a big family myself, there are still family members who are upset about my wedding (seven years later). It is hard to choose who comes and who doesn’t, so it can be a huge relief to know that some other persons who you feel close to can now come. I am also concerned about the two lists though. If is it just a few friends then I understand, but a whole other list?

What are your thoughts? How are you handling your invitations and RSVPs? Please discuss…inquiring minds want to know 😉


Invitation Drama - Part 2 – Don’t be tacky!

Today’s issue is about being classy with your invites. We already know that there are so many things out there that we may want for the wedding or for our futures. Sometimes the traditional gift is not what we want. Who wants another toaster, or another set of towels. You already have two households that you are combining into one. That’s already two different color schemes and towels, a compromise can surely be found with the towels or sofas. Everything will surely not be thrown out when you move into one house (although ladies, sometimes the majority of the stuff that they bring, surely should not only be thrown in the trash but actually burnt. Live fire, Melissa McCarthy in Life of the Party style). 

The solution that has been the latest trend is, “keep your gift, just give me the money', (thanks Pink!). The sad fact is, many brides want to include this on the invitation. A big NO NO. Not only is it tacky, it makes you look like a beggar. In a recent article on, it highlighted a bride that took it an extra step and canceled her wedding because she asked each of the attendees for a whopping $1500 per person. Like, she seriously wanted the guests to pay for her wedding because her dream wedding cost upwards of $60,000 CAD. She and the intended groom had a son. After a while even he thought that the request was insane, and when he agreed with the guests that invitees that basically said “Hell-to-the-NO” (and that she was insane), she got mad and literally called off the wedding ladies (read the full article here). Bear in mind, they have a son together. Maybe it was for the best...who knows?

I digress, but you see how it would seem like, (in the terms of my grandmother) “you are helping up yourself” with things you can’t afford. Basically asking for them to pay your way through your wedding. Especially when there are stipulations on the amounts that will be accepted. So back to my original reason for this piece. It is acceptable to want monetary gifts, or that you have a gift registry or maybe you’ve even scored coupons that will save guests some funds. Never, ever, include this on your invitations. There are so many beautiful types of invitations and weddings are usually classy, emulating your style. The whole excitement and perception of receiving the invitation is changed when we start asking for monetary gifts in the very same thing that we say “you are cordially invited to”. It is like we are saying, you are invited and by the way, we want some of your money. Not your gift, because we may not like your taste.  Or, you can come, but make sure you bring some money. You get what I mean right?

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Of course, there are ways to be cute and clean about it. Some of the masters of wedding planning in The Association of Bridal Consultants suggest that it is better to have a specified space where your invitees can get additional information about the wedding. If you haven’t a website, maybe you have the emails of all your attendees. Create a nice single sheet and send them what you can call a wedding newsletter. It would be so fun for them because here, you can include places where your out of towners can stay, coupons for hotels, your gift registry (if you do have one), and of course, your preference of money over gifts. Your guest would enjoy this because they are invited and feel like this is something only the persons who have agreed to come are privileged to obtain. It also leaves the choice of bringing a gift or giving money completely up to them. Check out this wonderful list of places where you can create a monetary donation wedding/honeymoon registry compiled by here.



Invitation Drama - Part 1 - Telling your mom "NO"

Here it is Y’all. The drama surrounding the invitations. Invitations shouldn’t be a big problem because generally, you have an idea of how many people you want at your wedding. This most often comes as a result of knowing how much you want to spend, because, let’s face it, the cost per plate can run up really fast. So, the idea is sometimes that there will be, let’s say, one hundred guests at the wedding, yet to be safe you will send out one hundred and ten invitations, because, some people wouldn’t be able to make it anyway.

Then, you tell your mom about your plans.  This is where you find out that she wants you to invite all of her friends. The reason being, they followed you and stood by her through all of your growing up years. And don’t forget Aunt Susan, who really isn’t your aunt at all, but she was somehow attached to one of your Uncles years and years ago. She has to be at the wedding because she always sent you the sweetest gifts whenever your achieved something ---kindergarten graduation, first tooth came out, middle and high school. Doesn’t matter that you hadn’t seen her since you spent your summer looking toward college. The years don’t seem to signify with your mom, Aunt Susan absolutely has to be there.

The question then becomes, how is this combatted?  In my experience, this is as much mom’s wedding as it is yours, yet, there is a line that has to be drawn. This is generally not easy and I often envision it being something like Bugs Bunny drawing a line with Elmer Fudd and saying that that is his side, and this is his, but with a happier ending.

So how do you “draw the line” and come to a solution? The most helpful solution is to talk to your mom and express your feelings about the cost and see if there are some of her friends that you feel closer to. Then ask her if she is okay with you only invited those friends. This way you both meet with a happy medium, some of her best ladies are there, and you don’t have the extras, the ones that you only be nice to because they are your mom’s friends.  Of course, a conversation like this would take some reflection. You would have to think back and ask yourself, whom did you feel helped you the most, and with whom you felt you have the best relationship with. And as for Aunt Susan, if it was years since you had spoken to her, she is not a priority invitee. Create a nice card once you have the wedding photos and write her a special note stating how much you appreciated her throughout the years, and as a thank you, you wanted to share a few pictures of your wedding celebration with her.  She would then still be included, and you have only the people that you enjoy, helping you to celebrate your wedding day. What is more fun than speding time with the persons you love the most?

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