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Wedding Guest Etiquette 101: How To Be Perfectly Polite

by Lisa Beth Miller It is so much fun to be invited to a wedding! From the time the elegant invitation arrives in the mail, guests feel flattered and honored to be included in such a momentous occasion. It is important, however, to show your appreciation by following proper guest etiquette! Here are a few critical rules to keep in mind: 1. The first rule should be obvious, but many guests ignore it. Be sure to send in your RSVP for the wedding by the date specified on the invitation, whether or not you plan attending. Failure to do so can be considered rude since the bride and groom must provide a head count to the caterer a week or two before the wedding. The bride and groom have plenty to do in the days before their big day; they should …

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Shopping For Your Wedding Gown: Say No The Chaos Of A Crowd

by Lisa Beth Miller If you are addicted to the show Say Yes To The Dress like I am, you may have noticed a shopping trend. Many brides seem to find it necessary to gather a large posse of friends and family members to join in the fun of wedding gown shopping. But is it really wise to bring so many different people along for this momentous shopping occasion? My answer is no. Here is why: Save the surprise! Your wedding gown is special and unique. It will have much more of an impact on your guests if they see it for the first time as you walk down the aisle. Isn’t this fashion moment the real reason why the bride walks slowly and deliberately down the aisle? Not everyone knows fashion. Let’s be realistic here. Uncle Phil and cousin Carlton are …

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What You Should Really Ask Your Photographer

Rob Jinks Photography

By Rob Jinks Finding the right photographer isn’t always the easiest part of your wedding planning. Having photographed over 100+ weddings over the past six years, I can confidently say that I have been asked every question in the book. Today I want to share with you questions to ask your photographer to help you find out if they are the perfect choice to capture your day. Questions Before You Start #1: Find out what photo style you like best before you contact a photographer Take a few minutes to Google photographers in your area, or use wedding repositories like Wedding Wire or The Knot to get a quick view of the different types of photo styles that exist. Some photographers edit their photos to be very warm, others very bright, and others colorful and contrasty. Some photographers shoot in a very posed manner, others in a …

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Wedding Day First Look

Provided by Rob Jinks It used to be that the first time a couple would see each other was at the start of their wedding ceremony, as the bride walked down the aisle with her father. However, today many couples are opting to see each other before the ceremony, taking advantage of what is called a “first look.” As a wedding photographer, I encourage my couples to consider doing a first look, as there can be some advantages, but how should you choose which is right for you? Here are a few reasons to say yes to a first look and a few reasons to stick with tradition. Reasons to say yes to a first look: 1. Get out the jitters. Enjoy a private moment together before being in front of your family and friends. If you feel that seeing each other for the first …

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Should I Buy a Wedding Album?

By Rob Jinks A few years ago around Christmastime, my grandmother brought out the album of photos from her wedding in 1958. This album had rounded corners, gold page decoration, and thick pages inlaid with photos. It wasn’t your typical modern wedding album. Today’s albums offer a huge range of options, namely full page printing without a gutter between pages, and clean flat spreads no matter where you open the book. I love being able to see a crisp client album, sometimes up to 24 inches wide, and see a beautiful image in a way that no computer monitor or tiny phone screen can display. But what I loved about my grandmother’s wedding album and what I love about the albums I am able to provide to my clients are the stories. My grandmother didn’t just show me photos – she used them as an opportunity …

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Plus-One Wedding Etiquette

by Lisa Beth Miller As if brides do not have enough to worry about…along comes the task of actually compiling the guest list for the big event. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. Remember all of those people that you want to invite who are unmarried? You are going to have to figure out if it is acceptable for them to bring dates to the wedding. This is a tricky situation for a few reasons. 1. Nobody likes to go to weddings alone (OK maybe those guys in the Wedding Crashers movie, but not most people). 2. If you have a lot of single friends, giving them ALL the green light to bring dates could substantially impact your wedding costs and pack your special day with strangers. So…what to do? The trick here is to come up with rules and actually stick to …

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Tips For Planning A Fabulous Rehearsal Dinner

by Lisa Beth Miller The rehearsal dinner is traditionally planned to take place the evening before the wedding. It is meant to be a way for the members of the wedding party and immediate family members of the bride and groom to get acquainted before the actual wedding ceremony. A good rule of thumb for the rehearsal dinner is to invite all people who are required to attend the rehearsal. If they traveled from out of town with a guest or date, that person should also be included! Beyond this collection of guests, it is really up to the bride and groom to decide who else should be invited. Don’t feel pressured to invite everyone you invited to the wedding, though! The rehearsal dinner is meant to be a much more intimate affair than the reception. Ideally, the rehearsal dinner …

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Alcohol-Free Wedding Receptions: Don’t Apologize!

by Lisa Beth Miller A question was posed to me this week regarding how to inform guests that no alcohol will be served at a wedding reception, so I thought this should be addressed! My answer is simple. Your wedding is your event. Your guests should be honored to be included, but are not entitled to know every aspect of your plans before the event. Therefore, absolutely no explanation or apology is needed if you decide not to serve alcohol! Brides and grooms make this decision for a variety of reasons. Some plan weddings for early in the day and feel that alcohol is not necessary at a simple brunch reception. Others have a quick reception in a church hall that does not permit alcohol. Some simply do not wish to spend money on alcohol and instead serve a lavish meal. Still others …

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I’m So Fancy: Figuring Out Wedding Formality

by Lisa Beth Miller Wedding invitations should always include a hint as to how formal the event will be. As a bride, groom, or guest, you need to actually understand this terminology in order to appropriately select what you and your guests will wear. Here are some helpful guidelines: Semiformal daytime- This level of formality indicates that men will wear suits, usually in a color such as charcoal or navy if the weather is cooler, or in shades of white or khaki if the weather is warm. Four-in-hand ties are also traditionally worn (this means long ties, not bow ties). Women would usually wear daytime-appropriate dresses or suits for a semiformal daytime wedding. Semiformal evening- At this type of wedding, men may wear dark suits or tuxedos with ties and vests. Women would wear cocktail style dresses. Everyone would look a bit more dressed up …

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What A Father Of The Bride Or Groom Should Wear To The Wedding

Photo by Sikora Photography

by Lisa Beth Miller This week, I was approached with a question that I thought was important enough to be addressed: What exactly should a dad wear to the wedding of his son or daughter? Seems simple enough to tell dads to dress up, but should they match the actual wedding party? No! Dads are not to be dressed exactly like the groomsmen, as they are not technically members of the wedding party. The key here is to dress dads in keeping with the appropriate level of formality for the event. So if the groomsmen are in black tuxedos with green accessories, dads should wear tuxedos, but not the same one and not with the exact same accessories as the groomsmen. The dads are also not required to match each other. So using the previous scenario (black tuxes and green vests and ties for the groomsmen), perhaps the …

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How to Plan an Amazing Bridal Shower

by Lisa Beth Miller Bridal showers are a traditional and fun part of any bride’s wedding preparations. The typical shower involves a ladies’ luncheon and lots of shower gifts, but some hostesses are going the extra mile and come up with more creative and interesting ideas for their parties. Here are a few ideas to make things both fresh and fun. Go retro! Ok, maybe you like the typical formula for an old-school bridal shower. Go with it! Plan lots of fun games, serve retro cocktails (whiskey sours, anyone?), and serve classic appetizers like meatballs and mini-quiches. Looking for a place to purchase the perfect bridal shower games or favors? Check Etsy for some unique options! Go somewhere fun! Bridal showers do not have to be held in Mom’s living room! A restaurant or country club can offer a “mini-getaway” for the …

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Cheers! All About Wedding Toast Etiquette

by Lisa Beth Miller So, the wedding reception is going fabulously well. Your guests are relaxing, enjoying the food and drink, and admiring the style and décor of your event. Sounds like it is the appropriate time to propose a toast! The purpose of wedding toasts is twofold. The traditional toasts given by the best man and maid of honor (and sometimes others who wish to express their thoughts) are meant to pay tribute to the newly married couple and wish them a lifetime of happiness. These toasts should be brief, respectful, and only contain stories and references that everyone will understand and appreciate! Now is not the time for private jokes, inside stories, and reminiscing about the bride’s or groom’s wilder days! After the toasts from the attendants and guests, the groom and bride also traditionally take the floor. …

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