Monday, July 26, 2010

Guest List Etiquette - When Are Plus Ones Appropriate?

One of the biggest concerns among engaged couples is, "who gets a plus one and who does not?" From an outsider's perspective, many might not think it's a big deal, but if the wrong decision is made, things can get a bit dicey.

Guest lists are one of the very first items couples must complete when they start planning their wedding - it helps determine the wedding budget, the size and how much a couple can spend on their event.

Here are a couple simple tips to follow when determining who gets invited and who doesn't:

Where to Make Cuts - a guest list is obviously a numbers game and every head is an extra cost incurred to the couple. They should remember that the wedding is about them and not about making everyone else happy. With that said, inviting family, close friends and spiritual mentors are all at the top of their list. If you have to make cuts, try to subtract work colleagues and friends that you haven't seen or heard from in years.

Who get plus ones - plus ones should ALWAYS go to friends and family who have spouses, domesticated partners and long term girlfriends/boyfriends. They should also always be extended to their wedding party attendants. Regardless if the couple knows their closest friends' other halves or not, it's in poor taste not to invite them. Believe me, if the person you're inviting has a long term boyfriend/girlfriend that you decide not to include as a "plus one", there's probably a good chance that couple will get married and will remember the lack of the plus one on your part. How would you feel about receiving an invitation to their wedding that DOES NOT include your wife or husband? Not good and it happens. On the contrary, if the friend or family member you are inviting has only been dating their significant other for a short period of time, you aren't obligated to extend a plus one to their invitation.

Determining your guest can be an arduous task so be selective, be consistent and be fair.

Happy planning!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Peony - The Queen of Flowers

Since they say the Gardenia is the King of Flowers, in my opinion, the Peony is Queen.

Unlike roses, Peonies are only available two months out of the year - May and June - which make them some of the most sought after flowers on the market. Many brides plan their weddings during the early summer season for that very reason. Who could blame them?

With their soft feather like blossoms, they truly are a poet's dream and the quintessential symbol of true femininity. Whether used in a simple bridal bouquet, or part of an extravagant tablescape, they add a touch of elegance, refinement and luxury to their surroundings.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Celebrity Wedding Profile: JFK Jr. & Carolyn Bassette

American Royalty and Understated Elegance

The story is a tragic one, but this couple still is one of my top ten favorites.

JFK Jr. & Carolyn Bassette
Cumberland Island, Georgia
September 21, 1996

Carolyn Bessette and John F. Kennedy Jr. were married in a secret ceremony on Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia, on September 21, 1996. The evening ceremony took place in the wood-frame Brack Chapel of the First African Baptist Church. The 40 guests included Ted Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy and her husband Edwin Schlossberg. The wedding was planned by Gogo Ferguson, a Cumberland Island resident who also designed the couple’s wedding bands.

The bride walked down the aisle in a $40,000 pearl-colored silk crepe floor-length gown, hand-rolled tulle silk veil and long silk gloves by Narcisco Rodriguez. She also wore beaded satin Manolo Blahnik sandals. Her hair was pulled back away from her face and styled by George Kyriakos. A bun at the nape of her neck was pinned with a clip belonging to Jackie Kennedy. She clutched a lily of the valley bouquet, arranged by Rachel “Bunny” Melon, the same woman who designed the White House rose garden. The groom wore a single-breasted, midnight-blue wool suit, with a white piqué vest by Gordon Henderson and his father’s wristwatch.

The Economy vs. Your Wedding

How has the economic slump impacted your big day?

A new study released by The Knot shows wedding budgets are down more than 5% from last year across the US. According to, the average cost of a San Francisco based wedding this year is $30,000 -- which is a pretty big decline from the $38,000 reported average cost in 2009. That means more couples are planning their own weddings with longer planning periods and incorporating many "DIY" elements to their special day.

According to the survey, the list below outlines what couples paid on on average last year:

Cost Category * Average Spend 2009

Reception Venue $12,838
Reception Band $3,288
Reception DJ $892
Photographer $2,444
Videographer $1,481
Wedding/Event Planner $1,728
Wedding Gown $1,134
Florist/Decor $2,093
Invitations $509
Wedding Cake $559
Ceremony Musicians $451
Catering (cost per head) $63
Wedding Day Transportation $692
Favors $292
Rehearsal Dinner $1,163
Engagement Ring $5,847

With the economy in the tanker, gone are the days where the bride's family picks up the tab -- couples are trying to make every dollar stretch and now-a-days both families pitch in to cover associated costs.

Here are a few tips that many couples are following to ensure their day is their dream day, is within budget and goes off without a hitch:

1) Hiring a "Day-of-Coordinator" - this may be one of the best decisions a bride could make. The following people will thank you: the Mother-of-the-Bride, the Mother-of-the-Groom, the bridal party, the caterer, the florist, the photographer, the videographer, etc., etc.... you get the point. Why? "Day-of-Coordinators" are insurance policies for a successful wedding. They are more affordable than you think, and to be honest, let someone else sweat the small stuff. No brides should be on the phone with her florist because her shipment of hydrangea never arrived and she's at the wholesale market purchasing another batch two hours before the ceremony. Brides should be focusing on getting ready, staying calm and looking beautiful. Also, many venues require you to have one stated in their contract. Wouldn't you rather hire your own who you trust has your best interest at heart rather than someone who is "appointed" to your event?

2) Downsize Your Guest Lists - your wedding day is about YOU, it's not about making everyone else happy. To ensure you get that delicious cake, the venue of your dreams, and/or the perfect honeymoon, sometimes you need to keep your guest list limited and intimate. Wouldn't you rather have an exceptional intimate affair that your guests remember rather than a large generic one guests don't?

3) "DIY" (Do It Yourself) Elements - there are a lot of ways to save money planning a wedding and some of them are fun and easy to do. For instance, try creating your own invitations using arts and crafts stores like Michaels, or ask to have your invites printed digitally instead of opting for costly thermography or letterpress techniques. If you have an Aunt Jane who loves to bake, ask her to bake a "rustic" wedding cake "to cut" and order designer cupcakes for your guests. For more fun and easy "DIY" wedding project ideas, visit