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Taking a hands-on invitation approach

nvitations are a key component of wedding planning. Not only can invitations set the tone for a wedding — giving guests an idea of whether it is formal or casual while offering clues to the theme — but also they are essential for conveying important information about the festivities. While it was once common to work with a specialized printing and engraving company when ordering wedding invitations, couples tying the knot now have more options. Due in large part to computer and internet access, and myriad user-friendly design applications, it’s easier than ever to design high-quality wedding invitations. According to the wedding industry survey site, the average price for 150 invitations and response cards is $245. To maximize efficiency and come away with wedding stationery they will love, couples can employ the following tips and techniques.

START WITH THE PAPER The heavier the stock, the more luxurious the invitations will feel. Quality stock also costs more. Wedding invitations should be printed on substantial stock so they don’t bend or feel flimsy. Industry experts say that 100 percent cotton paper is the most costly paper. Couples can choose from linen stock and textured surfaces as well. Expect

elements and then have the invitations printed and shipped to their homes. Companies may provide stock samples and examples of lettering so that couples can touch and see the invitations prior to placing an order.


Couples have many options to design and produce their wedding invites.

to pay more for natural or handmade papers. Those concerned about price can choose the highest-quality stock within budget and then play with other invitation elements to conserve funds.

ENGRAVING AND LETTERPRESS Engraving and letterpress techniques are an art form and create unique wedding invitations. Engraving creates raised lettering while letterpress presses the lettering into the paper. Many people do not have the equipment

necessary to produce these designs at home, and if they want a truly high-end invitation, they’ll need to use a professional printing service. Thermography is an alternative that can deliver raised print using heat and special inks.

PRINTING COMPANIES Options abound in regard to in-store and online printing companies. Many companies offer self-service design templates that enable customers to tweak text and placement of some graphic

One of the more accessible invitation production methods is at-home printing. However, there are some limitations when printing at home. For example, couples who do not have a high-end printer may find that the text on their invitations is not as crisp and the ink may smudge. Also, paper options may be limited to what the tray feeder can accommodate. Stock that is 80 pounds or 12-point stock is preferable, but anything more may jam around the print head. It may take some trial and error (and wasted paper) to perfect alignment and achieve the desired look. DIYers also need to know about “bleed” designs. According to the advice site A Practical Wedding, bleed is a printing term for design elements or images extending beyond the trim edge so that unwanted white space is eliminated. Again, it may take some practice to get the desired look. Couples have many different options when designing their wedding invitations, and some may even be able to design and produce their own.



Planning tricks the professionals use

edding planning can be an exciting undertaking, but couples who have already walked down the aisle can attest that wedding planning also can be stressful. Ensuring all of the details come out right can prove overwhelming at times. Hiring a wedding planner is one way to alleviate some of the stress associated with wedding planning. Couples

who do not have the money to hire a wedding planner can borrow some of the tips and tricks professionals rely on when planning weddings.

MAKE GUESTS THE FIRST PRIORITY Even though it may seem like weddings should be geared around couples tying the knot, many wedding planners advise couples to focus on accommodating their guests. Having a handle on

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the number of people who will be attending, any of their specific needs (allergies, mobility issues, etc.), providing a comfortable environment (addressing bugs, weather, seating shortages), and knowing how much space guests will require can make choosing a venue that much easier.

RENT WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE Renting rather than purchasing items can save couples money. Wedding planners do not stockpile items such as tables, chairs and decorations. Instead, they rely on rental companies to provide what is necessary. Even couples working with small budgets can enhance or elevate their weddings by working with rental companies.

FLUSH OUT FOLIAGE Wedding planners know that flowers cost a great deal of money, especially


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5 flowers that are not native to the region where couples are getting married. The process of making arrangements can be time-consuming. Also, many flowers no longer produce strong scents because they’re bred for longer stems and a lengthy vase life. Interspersing potted plants with arrangements that are lighter on blooms and heavier on filler can help cost-conscious couple stick to budget.

know which DJs or bands are best at getting guests on the dance floor.

NEGOTIATE BEFORE SIGNING THE CONTRACT Wedding planners understand that vendors may be more willing to offer perks or extras rather than adding up a la carte pricing before the contract is signed. This way they secure the reservation on good will. Negotiating for more later on may be difficult.



Wedding vendors tend to know one another and can be good sources of information. A wedding photographer, for example, may be able to tell couples which reception venues photograph particularly well, and a reception manager may

Organization is key. Brides- and grooms-to-be may want to enlist friends or relatives with a flair for organization to help with details. Borrowing tricks from wedding planners can help couples save money and avoid stress.


Choosing wedding colors

ome brides may feel beholden to the color white on their wedding days, at least in regard to their gowns. Those who do often embrace the opportunity to showcase their personal styles and set the mood for their nuptials by embracing various colors throughout their ceremonies and receptions. Color can be a critical component when establishing the ambiance for a wedding. Color can evoke certain moods and set the tone for the day. Some colors work better together than others, so while choosing a color scheme may seem like an easy undertaking, some couples may find it requires more careful consideration than they first imagined.

According to the bridal guide A Practical Wedding, wedding colors can give couples a starting-off point for all of the other details of their weddings. This ensures the wedding ultimately has a cohesive look. Colors need not necessarily match, but borrowing on similar hues can make it easier to plan wedding party wardrobes, flowers, table linens, and much more. Colors can come from anywhere, but many couples try to coordinate their color schemes with the season in which the wedding takes place. In fact, couples who are finding it difficult to decide on a palette can look to seasonal colors for inspiration. For example, pastels and blooming flowers can set the scene for spring weddings, while

jewel tones and rich reds and greens may be fitting for winter ceremonies. Some couples opt for more loosely defined color palettes, such as neutral and natural colors. Country and garden weddings can borrow ideas from the landscape, with natural linens paired with wildflowers. Using whites, grays and beiges enables couples to add a pop of color without overwhelming the setting. Brides magazine suggests that couples avoid choosing too many colors. A maximum of three with one metallic can ensure that things look cohesive without being over-the-top. Also, brides and grooms needn’t

See COLORS, Page 7


Factors to consider before choosing a venue


nce couples become engaged and share the good news with their friends and families, the next step is to begin planning their weddings. While couples must make a myriad of decisions during the wedding planning process, perhaps none is more significant than where to tie the knot. According to The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding for couples who married in 2016 was $35,329. That’s a sizable amount, and a big portion of that was spent on the wedding venue. The Real Weddings Study found that couples spent an average of $16,107 on their wedding venues in 2016. That figure easily dwarfs the next biggest expense, $6,163 for the engagement ring, for couples tying the knot. Because the wedding venue comes with such a potentially high sticker price, couples should give ample consideration to a host of factors before choosing where to get married.

SIZE Until they can agree on a guest list,

couples might want to delay even looking for venues. However, some couples might want to first look at some venues so they can determine just how many guests they can afford to invite. Whether they’re hosting small affairs or large parties, couples should choose venues that can comfortably accommodate all of their guests. If possible, look for venues with multiple reception areas, which might allow for some wiggle room if the guest list grows or dwindles during the planning process.

cies, including the policies the venue has to protect itself. In addition, ask if the venue requires couples to have their own wedding liability insurance for protection in the event of injury, property damage or incidents related to alcohol. Couples may also want to make the investment in cancellation/postponement insurance, and some venues may even require it.


AVAILABILITY Some couples might have an ideal time of year they hope to get married. Some even know the exact date they hope to get married. While that can help with the planning, it can also limit couples with regard to their venue options. Some venues may be booked for as much as a year or more in advance during peak wedding season. The Real Weddings Study found that the most popular months to get married in

were October and September. Couples may need to book their wedding venues well in advance to get their venue of choice. Those who can be more flexible regarding their wedding dates may find it easier to book their dream venues.

INSURANCE Ask about the venue’s insurance poli-

It’s easy for couples to be focused on the bottom line when choosing wedding venues, but it’s also important that they get a complete grasp of the financials before choosing a wedding venue. Ask about the amount of the initial deposit and if that deposit is refundable. In addition, ask when the deposit is due and when each subsequent payment is due until the balance is paid in full. This can make budgeting easier and planning less stressful. Couples should have fun choosing their wedding venues while recognizing that certain factors must be given ample consideration before signing any contracts.


Let them eat wedding cake

edding receptions culminate when the happy couple stands before their tiered and towering wedding cake to cut the first slice. The tradition of wedding cakes has endured since ancient times, and cakes have been presented in many incarnations since their introduction. In fact, some have not been cake at all. One of the first wedding “cakes” was made in ancient Rome and was comprised of bread. This bread was broken over the bride’s head to symbolize future fertility and good luck for the couple. Until the 19th century, wedding cakes

were actually bridal pies. A “bride’s pie” was made of flaky pastry and filled with oysters, pine kernels, cockscombs, lambstones, sweetbreads, and spices. According to Gastronomica, a journal of food studies, humble versions of wedding cakes were also created with mutton and mincemeat. Bridal pies eventually gave way to sweeter offerings, including fruited cakes that served as symbols of fertility and prosperity. Today, wedding cakes run the gamut from all-white, fondant-covered confections to simple sheet cakes. Some couples even opt to serve their guests cupcakes or cookies.

COLORS: Seasonal inspiration FROM PAGE FIVE

feel pressured by the “hot” colors of the moment. As with clothing and hairstyles, trends change. It is better to select colors that will stand the test of time and look good for years to come. Couples may have to incorporate colors already at their wedding venues into their style. Fortunately many reception sites are outfitted in neutral tones to enable customization. The wedding resource The Knot also

says having a basic knowledge of the color wheel can help. Typically, colors that pair well together are those that are opposites on the color wheel. Also, colors that share proximity on the color wheel will have similar tones and play well together. Examples of opposite colors include purples and yellows, reds and greens, and oranges and blues. Couples should not be afraid to take some chances with their color palettes, especially if they want to make a bold and modern statement.

Although white is the preferred color of wedding cakes, couples may opt for hues that evoke the color schemes of their weddings. Queen Victoria of England was one of the first people to have pure white icing on her wedding cake. It is believed that this is how “royal icing” received its name. Wedding cakes are usually priced by the slice, and prices can range anywhere from $1.50 per slice and upward.


Couples can budget around $300 to $500 for moderately priced wedding cakes for parties with 150 to 200 people. According to the wedding resource The Knot, the most expensive wedding cake commissioned to date was made by Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery. At the request of New York City socialite Devorah Rose for her diamond gala event, the $30 million cake was topped with jewels.


Hiring local wedding vendors brings big benefits


ocal vendors are often a go-to choice when couples are planning their wedding ceremonies and receptions. As the “shop local” movement grows in popularity, weddings present a prime opportunity to embrace this movement. Couples may have different ideas regarding where to tie the knot, but local vendors can be hired regardless of geography. Brides magazine says the biggest factor influencing wedding location is the

size of the guest list and the number of people who wouldn’t be able to attend if the wedding was in a particular locale.

FAMILIARITY Local vendors are familiar with the area and possibly even the location where the wedding will be held. That can help couples avoid having to give directions, discuss venue protocols, and handle other tasks that must be worked out with non-local vendors. For example, local

photographers familiar with a particular venue will know all of the best places to get shots, and some vendors may have preexisting relationships with venue representatives that could ensure wedding day operations go smoothly.

PROXIMITY Local vendors can meet with brides and grooms more readily throughout the planning process, making things less stressful on the happy couple. This also makes it easier Local vendors have intimate knowledge of the area, to drop off deposits, attend and that can make for a more personalized, eco-friendmeetings, make fitting aply wedding. pointments, or attend styling sessions. cal is beneficial. Local vendors are more likely to source their materials from other SAVINGS local businesses, reducing their carbon Couples who travel for their weddings footprints along the way. For example, loand employ local vendors will not have cal caterers may rely on local farmers for to pack as much. Using local vendors their foods, affording couples the chance eliminates the need to bring along bulky to host eco-friendly or even farm-to-table dresses, decorative items, flowers, and weddings. much more. Plus, couples needn’t pay to transport and house vendors brought CUSTOMIZATION along from back home. Working with local vendors often translates into getting more personalized ENVIRONMENT service and attention than mass retailers Individuals who take great strides to or merchants can provide. conserve resources by reducing their Going local when choosing wedding energy consumption and protecting the vendors is an increasingly popular choice environment often find that shopping loamong couples about to tie the knot.



Creative ways to incorporate flowers

eddings are special moments for couples and the guests they invite to share their happiness on their big days. Beautiful weddings require substantial planning, as every last detail must be considered for couples to enjoy the wedding of their dreams. Flowers play a big role in many weddings, and couples can add beauty and ambiance to the event by using floral arrangements in various ways. Modern floral arrangements are stunning, and many couples may not know that herbs, spices and flowers have been used in weddings for centuries. Today, flowers are used to decorate wedding venues, impart sweet fragrances and complement formal attire, but in ancient times they were used differently. Flowers were used to bestow good luck on the couple and keep bad omens away. Brides carried aromatic flowers and spices to keep evil spirits from spoiling the festivities, and some even tucked bulbs of garlic into their bouquets. In ancient Greece and Rome, both the bride and groom wore garlands made out of strong-smelling herbs flowers around their necks or heads. These wreaths were considered gifts of nature, and thus extremely appropriate for a wedding. Traditionally, bridesmaids would be responsible for

fashioning these floral components. In ancient Sweden, young girls would carry small bouquets of fragrant herbs down the aisle and the groom would put thyme in his pocket. These aromatics were thought to help keep trolls at bay. Besides warding off spirits or hungry trolls, flowers also served more practical purposes throughout history. During the Middle Ages, people bathed less frequently than they do today. Bathing might only have occurred twice a year, once during summer and then again at Christmastime. Because many weddings took place in the spring, flowers were used to mask bodily odors. Not only were flowers and herbs carried, but they also would be sewn into clothing. Modern brides and grooms may no longer see their wedding days as times for opportunistic evil spirits. But that doesn’t mean that couples cannot borrow from ancient traditions and incorporate flowers into their weddings in various ways. • Wreaths and garlands: Ask the florist to weave small flower buds, berries and vines to a headband, wreath or piece of twine so that the bride and groom can wear these flowers in the way they were worn by ancient Greeks and Romans. When coupled with

Apart from bouquets, flowers can enhance weddings in several different ways and take their cue from historical traditions.

Grecian-styled wedding gowns, brides can look like beautiful goddesses on their wedding days. • Fragrant favors: Tuck dried rose petals and other fragrant flowers into sachets that are embroidered with the wedding date and couple’s names. Guests can use these sachets to keep clothing smelling fresh in drawers or as subtle air fresheners around the house. • Edible flowers: Ask the caterer to

make meals flower-friendly by including some edible blooms in the salad or as a garnish on meals. • Raining petals: In lieu of bubbles or birdseed, guests can shower the newlyweds with rose petals after the ceremony. • Memorial: Some couples like to honor departed family members. Floral arrangements with small placards can make for fitting memorials.


12 wedding tricks add ease to planning and fun


rides and grooms understandably feel a little stress when planning their weddings. Adding to the pressure is the fact that, according to a report, the average couple in their 30s spends $32,000 on their wedding. That is a lot of money riding on one day. But planning a wedding can be even more fun than it is stressful, especially for those couples who employ a few tricks of the wedding planning trade. 1. Fake the cake. Save some money by asking the bakery cake artist to decorate a foam-tiered “mock� cake for pictures and dis-

play, and serve guests from an inexpensive sheet cake in the kitchen. 2. Use labels. Once the guest list is finalized, create a database of guests’ addresses. Print out two sets of labels: One for addressing the invitations and the other to address the thank-you cards. 3. RSVP tricks: Number the back of RSVP cards and correspond the numbers to the guest list. If one or more responses is illegible, refer to the number to figure it out. 4. Embrace inexpensive decor. Dollar stores and craft stores are great places to find inexpensive decorative items. Empty

11 wine bottles can be painted or glazed to serve as vases. Candle lanterns can be picked up at low cost at many retailers. 5. Create an email address. To have all of the wedding-related details in one place, create a separate email address exclusively for wedding correspondence. 6. Use veil weights. These weights can be sewn into veils to prevent fly-aways during outdoor ceremonies or photoshoots. 7. Keep bugs at bay. Spray chair and reception table legs with insect repellent. Dryer sheets also can be tucked into inconspicuous spots to keep bugs away. 8. Save money on favors. Unless the favor is something to eat or something especially practical, you may consider skipping the favors altogether, as many guests tend to forget to take them home anyway. 9. Use page markers for seating. Use multicolored, self-

sticking page markers to create easy seating arrangements. Each color can represent a category: His, Hers, Friends, Work. 10. Make a photo clothesline. A clever and inexpensive idea is to pin photos of the couple to a string, cataloguing how they met and their time together leading up to the wedding. 11. Use loose flower centerpieces. Loose flowers in a vase are easier to sort and transport home for guests who want a memento. Make precut butcher’s paper or cellophane available to make bouquets. 12. Stock up on string lights. Lights can be wrapped around trees outdoors, strung indoors around windows or draped along buffet tables to create a romantic ambiance. Weddings can be expensive and stressful; therefore, couples can use all the tips they can to corral their expenses and tame their nerves.


Rehearsal dinner planning pointers

ehearsal dinners are customarily held after couples and their bridal parties walk through the wedding ceremony. Rehearsals may occur one or two nights before the actual wedding, depending on the availability of the wedding venue. Rehearsal dinners tend to be less formal than wedding receptions, but couples should still prioritize planning to ensure their dinner goes off without a hitch. • Confirm who is paying for dinner. Tradition once suggested that the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner while the bride’s parents foot the bill for the wedding. But perhaps due to the rising cost of weddings, many couples no longer feel beholden to such traditions. If couples are financing their own weddings, parents of both the bride and groom may want to pay for the rehearsal dinner. If parents are splitting the cost of the wedding, then couples themselves may want to pay for the rehearsal dinner. Confirm who is paying and if there is a budget to work with before booking a restaurant. This way there is no confusion once the bill is brought to the table. • Give consideration to bridal party members’ dietary restrictions. Couples may not want to book a seafood restaurant if a handful of guests have shellfish allergies. So before booking a restaurant for the rehearsal dinner, couples can ask members of their bridal party and other attendees if they have any food allergies. • Emphasize location. Couples whose bridal party includes out-of-towners should look for

a restaurant that’s close to the wedding hotel and/or the ceremony site to host their rehearsal dinner. Ideally, one that’s within walking distance of both makes getting to and from a lot easier. Regardless of where the restaurant is located, make sure to arrange for transportation for any out-of-town guests who are not planning to drive to the wedding. • Inform guests about the dress code. Rehearsal dinners tend to be laid back affairs, but members of the bridal party may be uncertain about what to wear. Couples should inform rehearsal dinner guests well in advance of the wedding if the dinner will be casual, semiformal or formal. This gives guests the time to shop for and pack their attire for the night, and saves couples the trouble of answering wardrobe inquiries in the busy final days before the wedding. • Toast the guests. Brides and grooms are toasted at their wedding receptions, but rehearsal dinners afford happy couples the chance to thank their closest friends and family members for their love and support. Plan to give a brief toast to loved ones at the dinner. Grooms may also want to use this opportunity to toast their brides-to-be, thanking them for all their efforts planning the wedding. Rehearsal dinners typically are fun, less formal affairs. But even the least formal dinners require some planning.



Wedding costs: What to expect

ewly engaged couples may experience an array of emotions when they sit down to plan their weddings. Some couples cannot wait to jump into planning and want to catalog every aspect of the process, while others may proceed with caution because they don’t know what to expect — particularly in regard to cost. Many couples find it difficult to create their wedding budgets because they have no previous experience to draw on. The wedding planning advisor indicates the average wedding cost in the United States is $26,720, with most people spending between $20,000 and $34,000.Such costs can vary greatly depending on couples’ preferences, including where they hope to tie the knot. By breaking down wedding expenses, couples can get a clearer picture of how much they may need to pay for their

weddings and where they may need to cut costs. • Reception site: According to The Knot, a premiere wedding planning resource, couples can expect their receptions to eat up the largest chunk of their wedding budgets. Wedding reception venues may cost between $10,000 and $15,000. The average price for catering per person is roughly $70. Bar service may be around $2,000 for a three- to four-hour party. Some reception sites combine the room cost with the food and beverage costs, while others have à la carte fees. • Cake: Wedding cakes tend to be multitiered intricate designs, so they will cost more than birthday cakes. According to Statistics Brain, wedding dessert will come in around $390. • Music: The Knot says wedding bands cost around $3,500, which is more than twice as much as hiring a deejay

Some couples cannot wait to jump into planning and want to catalog every aspect of the process, while others may proceed with caution because they don’t know what to expect — particularly in regard to cost.

($1,200). Soloists or ceremony musicians may cost around $650. • Wedding planner: Many couples employ wedding planners to make planning their weddings easier. Wedding planners cost an average of $1,300, says Thumbtack, a company that matches

professionals with people who require their services. • Transportation: Limousines and other transportation prices vary depending on the vehicle(s) couples choose. The Knot notes that budgeting between $400 and $500 for transportation might be wise. • Wedding gown: Brides-to-be should expect their gowns to cost around $1,100 and the veil or headpiece to be roughly $120, according to the Association of Bridal Consultants. • Photography and Video: Preserving wedding day memories costs around $2,800 for video and photography services, based on data from Statistics Brain. The smaller details, such as accessories, gifts, officiant fees, stationery, spa services, and favors can quickly add up as well. Couples should be sure to leave some wiggle room in their budgets for incidental expenses that may pop up.

Looking beyond gender for wedding parties



ouples are increasingly bucking long-established trends to make weddings uniquely their own. One of today’s more popular tradition-busting trends is not adhering to gender lines when couples select friends and family members for their wedding parties. Until recently, the vast majority of wedding couples selected members of the same sex to fill the roles needed for the ceremony and reception. For example, grooms would choose fellow males to serve as their groomsmen while brides choose other females for their bridal parties. The wedding resource The Knot says the days of having men on one side and women on the other are gone. Coed wedding parties enable brides and grooms to have their favorite people by their side, regardless of gender. According to The Daily Mail, over the past year, weddings across Australia and other areas of the world have seen a rise in “groomswomen” and “bridesmen,” blurring the lines of wedding traditions. Couples have often said that choosing whomever they desire to stand beside them during the wedding is more authentic than separating people simply because of gender. Take for example a groom-to-be who is especially close to his sister. Such siblings may serve as bridesmaids, but grooms may want to have their sisters by their sides on their big day. Foregoing gender roles may make for a unique, customized wedding. However, it does create the question of what wedding party members will wear. Again, there are no firm rules, but coordination can make for better photos. A woman standing on the groom’s side can coordinate with the color of the bridemaids dresses, but wear a different style. Or she can wear

Couples are increasingly bucking long-established trends to make weddings uniquely their own. One of today’s more popular tradition-busting trends is not adhering to gender lines when couples select friends and family members for their wedding parties.

a dress that matches the color of the groomsmen’s suits. A man standing with the bride can have accessories, such as tie, vest and pocket square, that match bridesmaid dresses. One of the areas where mixing and matching genders may get a tad sticky is with older, more traditional guests. They may not understand the freedom of choice in the wedding. However, couples can discuss their bridal parties to select people who they think

might prefer couples adhere to tradition. Another possible snag is with bachelorette parties and bachelor parties. A solution to this dilemma may be to simply organize a getaway weekend for the entire bridal party, and not separate parties for each side. Couples are increasingly deviating from tradition for their weddings by looking beyond gender when picking wedding party members.

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Did you know?

n adherence to traditional wedding wardrobes, brides wear white and veils to complete their ensembles. While many people may view veils as a symbol of purity and chastity, various sources indicate veils had a more prominent purpose. Cosmopolitan magazine indicates that veils first became popular in ancient Roman times, when brides were covered head-to-two in a red sheet called a flam-

meum. The sheet was intended to scare off any evil spirits that might ruin the wedding. Veils eventually replaced the flammeum to disguise the bride from those naughty spirits. Veils also were used to hide brides’ faces from grooms in an era of arranged marriages when grooms had never seen their brides before their wedding days. Thankfully, today’s veils are more about fashion than function.



‘Plus one’ etiquette for weddings

ouples tying the knot typically want to share their excitement with as many friends and family members as possible. Preliminary wedding guest lists can be quite extensive, but many couples ultimately shorten such lists in adherence to their budgets. One fuzzy area in regard to guest lists is whether or not to include a “plus one” on the invitation for single friends or family members. A “plus one” refers to single guests’ dates. Party planners may extend the courtesy of giving single guests the choice of whether they would like to bring someone along to the event or attend solo. The rules concerning plus ones are flexible, and ultimately, it may be up to the couple to create their own plus-one rules. The following tips can help couples determine which way to go.

LENGTH OF RELATIONSHIP One way to set limits on plus ones is to look at invitees on a case-by-case basis. Think about unmarried guests and the type of relationship status they currently claim. For example, a cousin who has been dating someone for several months can be encouraged to invite this serious boyfriend/girlfriend. Recently divorced or widowed

NUMBER OF SINGLE FRIENDS Another consideration is how many single people will be invited to the wedding. If it’s a small number, a blanket plus-one rule can be established. However, if many guests are single, which tends to happen when young couples are getting married, the cost can be prohibitive. Single friends and family can be seated together so that they can converse and have fun.


Party planners may extend the courtesy of giving single guests the choice of whether they would like to bring someone along to the event or attend solo. The rules concerning plus ones are flexible, and ultimately, it may be up to the couple to create their own plus-one rules.

guests may not feel comfortable bringing a date along, but because this person was in a committed relationship so long, it may be well worth the courtesy to allow these types of guests to bring someone along so they can feel more comfortable.

Etiquette experts at The Knot say that, whenever possible, all guests should be addressed by name on the invitation. Couples can ask single friends whether they plan to bring a date to the wedding and who their dates might be.

It’s important for people on the receiving end of a wedding invitation to understand some key plus-one rules as well. • If the invitation does not say “plus one” or “and guest,” that means you have been invited alone. It is rude to bring a guest unexpectedly. • Avoid asking to bring someone to the wedding if you were not originally given the option. • If you were given plus-one status, be sure to respond with your guest’s name. If you can’t confirm who you will be bringing or don’t know if you will have a date for the evening, it is better to come alone. • Don’t use the plus one as a chance to bring a friend only for the free food and drinks. Weddings can be complicated to plan, and negotiating plus ones for single guests is part of that planning.


Affordable bachelor and bachelorette party ideas


eddings can be expensive. Various sources estimate the average cost of weddings is anywhere from $26,000 to $31,000. Couples and their parents may bear the brunt of wedding expenses, but those who have accepted a role in the wedding party also can expect their share of expenses. Taking into account gifts, wardrobes, makeup, bridal showers, and travel, including getting to and from the bachelor/bachelorette party, bridal party members are on the hook for a lot of money when their friends or family members tie the knot. Many men and women like to travel for their bachelor/ bachelorette parties, and cost-conscious bridal party members may be concerned about how expensive such parties can be. Pulling out all the stops can be exciting, but there’s no guarantee these types of parties will be more enjoyable than simpler soirées. Taking steps to control costs can help cost-conscious couples and their friends. The following are some affordable ideas that can be fun for all involved. • Bar or winery crawl: Partygoers typically want to enjoy a night out on

the town, and traveling from one establishment to another can be a fun way to do just that. Everyone invited can set themselves apart with a signature item (hat, T-shirt, or colored clothing), and make the rounds. • Attend a group event: Group events include sporting events, concerts, theater shows, or a night at a comedy club. Investigate discounted tickets for large groups. • Belt out the tunes: Open mic nights at restaurants, bars and other establishments around town may make for a fun way for friends to share a few laughs together. Participants need not be professional singers to join in on the festivities. • Camp out: Get in touch with nature by enjoying a camping trip, complete with a campfire and a few brews. Spending time in the wilderness can restore focus and let stress melt away. • Poker or game night: Groups can gather around the poker table to test their skills in poker and other card games. With some free-flowing beverages and snacks galore, games can get pretty animated. • Dinner party: Hire a chef to visit your house and prepare a meal for guests. Serve a signature cocktail and let the conversation flow. Bachelor and bachelorette parties can be affordable without sacrificing fun. Many men and women like to travel for their bachelor/bachelorette parties, and costconscious bridal party members may be concerned about how expensive such parties can be.

Wedding 2018  
Wedding 2018