expert Q& A
Q Are all-inclusive resorts really a better deal than a traditional resort? A It depends on the resort—and you. Sometimes, all-inclusive really means it includes everything, from each item you eat and drink to all the activities you do. Other times, resorts will still charge you for top-shelf liquor, higher-priced food items (think: lobster and steak) and extras like motorized water sports. Not only do you want to look for a resort that includes all the stuff you want to do, you should also consider how much you really drink or eat. If you’re more likely to order a salad or burger and a glass of house white or a beer rather than the surf and turf with a bottle of champagne, you might be better off going to an à la carte resort. This is particularly true if you don’t drink alcohol.
Q My friends say because I’m an older bride (I just turned 32) I should have a smaller wedding. Is that really true? A Um, your friends are kind of rude—and a little wrong! You’re not actually an older bride—the average age today is 29 for a bride and 31 for a groom, and that number is growing every year. But regardless of how old you are, your age should have no effect on the size of your guest list. In fact, you may have a bigger budget because you may have more money to contribute as a couple.
guest list query
Q How do I let my bridesmaids know they have to pay for their own dresses?
A The key is to be totally up front about it from the beginning. Bring your bridesmaids dress shopping with you, and when you’re looking at a particular dress, ask if you think it would be out of their budget. If you’re genuinely concerned that being in your wedding might be a financial burden for someone, look for dresses that are relatively inexpensive, or choose a color you like and have them select their own dresses in the same shade, so they can spend as much as they want.
of Knotties are 25 or older
Q What age do you consider too young— or too old—to be a flower girl? A As a rule of thumb, flower girls should be between four and eight years old. Sometimes “mature” two- and three-yearolds pull it off quite charmingly with a parent escorting them down the aisle. Trust us—even goofs like dumping all the petals at once or falling asleep make for pretty adorable photos. If the girl is a bit older, you might consider making her a junior bridesmaid. She can wear a dress in the same (or similar) style as the bridesmaids, walk down the aisle in the procession and stand at the altar with the other attendants.
flower girl age limit
of couples honeymoon at all-inclusive resorts
Q Years ago, my dad said he wanted to pay for my wedding. Now that it’s here, my fiancé and I both make a better salary than he does. Should I still ask him even though I feel guilty about taking money from him? A Budgeting for your wedding is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. You should have a heart-to-heart with your dad, telling him how much you’d appreciate anything he’d want to contribute but that you also have conflicting feelings about it. He may really want to help foot the bill for your wedding, or may feel comfortable letting you pay for it yourselves entirely. The most important thing right now is to talk about it and figure out exactly what everyone is contributing so you can set a budget—and get started with the more fun parts of planning!
Q When is the best time of day to shop for our wedding rings? A In the afternoon or evening. You definitely don’t want to finalize your wedding ring size first thing in the morning (because you retain salt from the night before), after you’ve just worked out or walked a lot (your fingers may swell), or when you’re extremely hot or cold. When you’re calm and relaxed (aka not after paying your catering deposit) and when your body temperature is normal is the best time to try on wedding bands.
Q Our friend says he wants his reading to be a surprise. Should we be worried? A Maybe. Let him know you’re working out the specifics of the ceremony, like how long it will run, and ask if he can give a loose overview of what he’ll be saying. If you’re concerned he may recite something totally inappropriate (and it sounds like you are), request that he speak with your officiant about the reading prior to the ceremony. Tell him you don’t want to ruin his surprise, but say something like, “Reverend Smith likes to have some control over his ceremonies.”
Q If only I attend the shower, should the thank-you notes be from just me or should they come from both of us? A Yes, the notes should be from the two of you. Whether or not you both attend the shower, these gifts will be used by each of you in your home. The exception might be for any gifts that are very clearly just for the bride, like a ring holder.
Q Who sits next to whom at the wedding party table? Is it boy/girl, or all the bridesmaids on one side and all the groomsmen on the other? A Traditionally, the bridal party head table is seated boy/girl, starting with the best man next to the bride and the maid of honor next to the groom. But you definitely don’t have to do it that way. You could seat all the women on the bride’s side and all the men on the groom’s, or just let everyone sit wherever they want.
bridal party seating
Have a question for Carley? Tweet her @carleyroney