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Top 8 Wedding Gift Etiquette Questions and Answers

Apr12

There are many questions regarding wedding gift etiquette; many of which are cut and dry, others that are not. Here are a few questions clarified:

If I am invited to a wedding and cannot attend, should I still send a gift?
This is one of the most common wedding gift etiquette questions. The answer is, yes! If at all possible, you should absolutely send a gift.

What if I do not know where the couple is registered?
In this case, make a phone call. Call someone you think would have this info, as this sort of thing usually spreads by word of mouth. If not, you should call a family member, or ask the couple themselves.

If the bride and groom specify that they do not want gifts, should I still send a gift?
Yes, you should still send a gift. Some people do not want guests to feel obligated to spend money on them, but proper wedding gift etiquette would encourage you to ignore this. The good news is, if the couple does not have a registry, you can either 1) give them cash, or 2) be creative with your wedding gift! Sometimes it feels impersonal to get them something off of their registry (like the couple will never remember who gave them what dishes), but if you give them something unique that you personally picked out, they will likely always remember it. If it is the case that the couple is extremely wealthy, then write them a nice card and donate to a charity on their behalf. The point is: Do something that they will appreciate.

What is monetary wedding gift etiquette?
Some couples request cash, and some guests prefer to give money.  If you are bringing a card with the money inside to the wedding, it is probably fine to include cash. Depending on the amount, it might be best to address a check to the couple.

If I am invited to the shower, do I need to get a shower gift and a wedding gift?
Yes! Being invited to a wedding is an honor, and being invited to a shower is actually even more of an honor, because the guest list is shorter and more intimate.

How much do I need to spend on a wedding gift?
This is a point of much debate. Most wedding gift etiquette experts say that across the board, it should be a minimum of $25 for a shower and $50 for a wedding. One thing to keep in mind is that a wedding is an opportunity to practice generosity. You should give what you can afford.

What if I am invited to a deluge of weddings in the same month and cannot afford them?
If you absolutely cannot afford to spend money on all of these wedding gifts, consider doing it in increments. Technically, you can send a gift up to a year after the wedding (which is when most registries close out), but it is recommended that you send the gift within six months. For example, if you are invited to three weddings in one month, set up a personal payment plan over a six-month time period, purchasing a gift every two months. Remember that the bride and groom would not want you to go broke on their behalf, so you do not need to bring them an expensive or elaborate gift. In this case, do the very best you can.

When should I send the gift?
Ideally, you should send it before the wedding if possible, but this is not required.  All gifts should be received before the couple's first anniversary, however.

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Thank You Card Time Frame

Mar07

You’ve said your I do’s, and gone on your honeymoon, now it’s time to sit down and thank all of your friends and family for their generous gifts. Even though it may be a time consuming task, sending wedding thank you cards is important because it lets your guests know their gifts were appreciated, and is a great opportunity to check in with everyone post wedding. In order to adhere to wedding thank you etiquette, make sure to send out your cards within the proper timeline.

It’s proper etiquette to send thank you notes as soon as possible. If you receive wedding gifts prior to your wedding then make sure to send a thank you note for that gift before your honeymoon (unless it’s the day before). The rule is that if you have ample time to write a thank you note prior to your wedding for gifts already received then you are expected to do so.

Another rule of thumb is that thank you notes should be sent out within three months of receiving the gift. If you send out thank you cards longer than three months after your wedding ceremony for gifts that were received at your wedding, then you’ve waited too long.

Also keep in mind that even if you open a gift in front of a wedding guest, friend, or family member, that it is still proper etiquette to send them a hand written thank you note.

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Engagement Announcing Etiquette

Feb24

Congratulations on your wedding engagement! You’re probably overwhelmed with excitement and anxious to tell anyone and everyone you’ve ever met, which is why you should take a deep breath in through your nose, out through your mouth and be aware of the proper wedding announcement etiquette. There are countless wedding planning services online that can also help you get through this step, ensuring you don’t hurt any feelings and go about spreading the news the right way. So before you even begin planning your wedding, make sure you know the proper etiquette when announcing your engagement.

It is customary, and many other wedding planning sites would concur, that the bride’s parents are informed of the engagement first. Make sure you share the news with the groom’s parents on the same day. An in-person visit is ideal, but if that’s geographically impossible, then a phone call works just fine.

Next you’ll want to inform extended family and friends all around the same time. A fantastic way to do this is by throwing an engagement party. For those who are closest to you, a personal visit prior to the engagement party would be best. For more distant friends, an email or phone call or “save the date” card is sufficient. Another option is to run a newspaper announcement.

Keep in mind that it’s also customary for you not to wear your engagement ring until the engagement has been officially announced. I’m sure you’re dying to wear it right off the bat, but it’s proper etiquette to refrain from doing so, at least outside the privacy of your own home.

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5 Irish Wedding Traditions

Feb15

What are some popular Irish wedding traditions? Read on to learn more about wedding customs from the Emerald Isle:

  1. In Irish wedding traditions, the ring of an Irish bride, called a Claddagh ring, is a heart with a crown on top, held by two hands. The heart represents love, the crown represents honor, and the hand stands for faith. “Let love and friendship reign” is the motto of the ring. (A woman who wears the ring on her right hand with the heart facing outward is telling the world that she is single and therefore open to giving her heart away. If the ring faces inward, then she is engaged. If the ring is worn on her left hand, she is married).
  2. An Irish bride often wears a blue wedding dress, as blue represented purity in ancient culture. It wasn’t until the 16th century that white became the symbol of virginity and purity.
  3. In Irish wedding traditions, a bride often braids her hair on her wedding day, a symbol of luck and feminine ingenuity.
  4. An Irish bride and groom walk to the church together before exchanging their Irish wedding vows. As they walk to the chapel, townspeople will throw things like rice (and sometimes larger items) to celebrate, and to impart good luck.
  5. English lavender is often a part of the bride’s bouquet, as it is a symbol of devotion and loyalty. This helps to ensure that the marriage will last.


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Irish Wedding Traditions, Toasts & Blessings

Feb02

If you’re looking to add something unique and special to your wedding, you might want to consider exploring Irish wedding traditions, toasts, and blessings. The Irish not only have some pretty humorous and fun traditions, but also offer wedding toasts that combine heartfelt messages with a splash of humor.

Traditions
It might seem silly, but the following Irish wedding traditions could add that unique twist that makes for a memorable wedding.

  • Lucky Horseshoe: It was customary for Irish brides to carry an actual horseshoe during their wedding ceremony for good luck.
  • Magic Hanky: Irish brides would often carry a handkerchief during their wedding that doubles as a christening bonnet for their first-born child. The handkerchief is eventually passed down to that same child on his or her wedding day.

Toasts and Blessings
Irish wedding toasts and blessings are becoming more popular at weddings these days, because they are heartfelt as well as humorous. Choose one of the common Irish wedding blessings for your big day:

  • "Health to the men, and may the women live forever!"
  • “Wherever you go and whatever you do, may the luck of the Irish be there with you.”
  • “May you both live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.”

Irish Wedding Toasts: Humorous & Religious Variations

Jan19

A wedding toast can make or break the mood of a wedding reception, so make sure you research and find the wedding toasts, blessings, or prayers that give the right message for the occasion. It can be difficult to find the perfect words that express love, marriage, and a strong message for the happy new couple. If you’re stumped on what you’d like to say then turn to the Irish! There are countless Irish wedding toast quotes that will leave any crowd of people with tears in their eyes and love in their hearts.

Humorous Toasts
If you’re looking for funny wedding toasts, the following is one of the most popular Irish quotes that’s ideal for any wedding reception.

There are 4 things you must never do: lie, steal, cheat, or drink.
But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love.
If you must steal, steal away from bad company.
If you must cheat, cheat death.
And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away

The next Irish toast is more humorous than heartfelt, but great nonetheless.

Here's to you and yours and to mine and ours.
And if mine and ours ever come across to you and yours,
I hope you and yours will do as much for mine and ours
As mine and ours have done for you and yours!

Religious Toasts
Another option is to use an Irish wedding prayer like these below:

By the power that Christ brought from heaven,
mayst thou love me.
As the sun follows its course,
mayst thou follow me.
As light to the eye,
as bread to the hungry,
as joy to the heart,
may thy presence be with me,
oh one that I love,
'til death comes to part us asunder.

Another common Irish religious toast:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon the fields.
May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one another
trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle from your eye.
And when eternity beckons,
at the end of a life heaped high with love,
May the good Lord embrace you
with the arms that have nurtured you
the whole length of your joy-filled days.
May the gracious God hold you both
in the palm of His hands.
And, today, may the Spirit of Love
find a dwelling place in your hearts.
Amen.

Regardless of what quote, prayer, or famous saying you choose, it’s important that you relate to it. It’s one thing to say someone else’s words, and another to believe them. If you truly relate to the quote you choose, the bride and groom will know that the message is coming straight from your heart.

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Wedding Etiquette: How to Politely Throw a Small Wedding

Jan12

Is it possible to have a small wedding without offending your friends and family who aren’t on your wedding invitation list? It is possible, but you have to be conscious of who you are excluding and take the appropriate measures to make sure they aren’t offended. Even though it is proper wedding etiquette to invite your nearest and dearest, doing so may not be an option if you plan on having a small and intimate wedding. Follow these tips and you’ll be in good standing both at the altar, and with your friends and family who don’t make the cut.

  1. Make two lists—one with those who are on your wedding invitation list and another for those who are not on the list. The key to protecting your uninvited guests feelings is communication. People get their feelings hurt when they aren’t included in your life, especially your wedding, but if you are open and honest with them as to why they aren’t invited the better. Keep this list close by, as you will need it for sending invites to other events, wedding photos etc.
  2. Send out a tasteful note to those who are uninvited letting them know that you’re getting married, but that you’re having a small wedding that won’t permit many guests. Let them know you’ll be either mailing or emailing them wedding photos and honeymoon updates to ensure that they feel included and up to date.
  3. Throw a wedding celebration dinner or cocktail party for those who are not on the wedding guest list. This will give those friends and family an opportunity to congratulate you and to meet your fiancé if they haven’t already.
  4. Create a wedding blog, update it regularly, and email it to those invited and not so that everyone is able to share the excitement of this joyous event from beginning to end.  Your personal wedding website can easily be used for this.

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Bridesmaid Etiquette and Wedding Seating Arrangements

Jan06

Depending on how large your wedding is, plotting out the seating arrangements can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the reception planning process. Here are a few things to remember—as well as some tips on groomsmen and bridesmaid etiquette—as you make your wedding seating arrangements:

  1. Decide whether or not you will have a bridal party head table or a sweetheart table. Traditional wedding and bridesmaid etiquette dictates that either one is fine; it just depends on your personal preference. Otherwise, you can put your bridesmaids and groomsmen at another table, but they should be nearby. Because they are your wedding attendants, they should be at a table near to you (in theory, because you may need them at some point).
  2. With reception seating etiquette, the main thing to remember is proximity. Closest and immediate family members—parents, grandparents and siblings (if they are not in the bridal party)—should be near to the bride and groom. Otherwise, you have creative license to put guests where you think they will have the most fun!
  3. Treat your seating arrangement as you would if you were planning a party at your own home. Use your intuition. Who would get along well? Use your seating chart as an opportunity to introduce people you think would have a lot in common by putting them at the same table (not necessarily in a romantic sense, though you never know what can happen at a wedding!)


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Sending Thank You Cards After Your Wedding

Dec14

After the time and energy your wedding took, it might be hard to imagine sending out a hundred or more thank you notes with detailed and personal hand written messages, but trust me it’s worth it. Once you take into account how generous your guests were with both gifts and their attendance at your wedding, simple wedding thank you cards suddenly don’t seem so hard.

Organization is Key
The more organized you are from the beginning of your wedding planning the easier it will be once you return from your honeymoon and start writing thank you notes. Create a binder or excel spreadsheet on your computer solely for thank you notes and keep an up-to-date guest list with addresses. After you open gifts make sure to add a detailed description of the gift next to the person who gave it to you.

Dive In
Why wait until after the wedding? You’ll receive a number of gifts even before your wedding, so take care of thank you notes as the gifts come in. This will significantly lighten your workload later.

Class It Up
When searching for thank you cards that strike your fancy, look for designs and colors that fit your personality. If you’re a bold go-getter then choose colorful cards with punch. If you’re a bit conservative and love classic styles then choose elegant cards with clean text and as simple design. Regardless of the card design make sure to buy quality cards that get you to your wedding finish line in class.

Get Crafty
If you’re a passionate scrap booker—or an every day Martha Stewart—you’ll jump at the opportunity to make your own wedding thank you cards. Find a stamping store, card making or scrapbook-making store, or even a Michael’s in your area and get to work. Have the exact number of cards you’ll need to make handy so you know how many supplies to purchase. Buy enough supplies for around ten extra cards in case you make any mistakes and have to scrap a few cards. You will need to pick out base paper, stamps, stamp pads, and if you want to get fancy then you’ll need to pick out ribbon and other card decorations. You have the freedom to create cards that are as simple or elaborate as you like. Pick an adhesive that’s easy to use, like a glue stick or roll-on tape. The roll-on tape works better since you won’t need to wait for it to dry and won’t cause the surface to curl. Making your own thank you cards is the perfect opportunity to invite your closest friends over to help out and to catch up on everything that’s happened post-wedding.

Words with Meaning
Wedding thank you wording is important because your message should be genuine and from the heart. Receiving personalized thank you cards is always heart warming and speaks volumes about the sender’s character.

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The Many Occasions to Send Wedding Thank You Notes

Nov24

One thing is certain: before and after your wedding you will be writing a lot of wedding thank you notes. While this process can be time consuming, it is absolutely essential. It is not necessary to write long and involved wedding thank you messages on each card; a sincere sentence or two should suffice. What is most important is that you take the time to write the card and send it. Here are a few instances to write wedding thank you cards that are often overlooked:

  • After Your Bridal Shower: Make sure that you take the time to write wedding thank you notes for the gifts that you receive at your bridal shower. Also, write a thank you to the people who hosted the shower. Note: If someone puts a lot of time into organizing your bachelorette party, thank them as well.
  • To Your Wedding Attendants: Remember that being in a wedding demands a lot of extra time and cost, so write your bridesmaids a thank you! A small gift is also a nice gesture. These gifts are typically distributed at the rehearsal dinner.
  • To your Vendors: You want to have a good business relationship with each of your vendors, including your photographer, caterers, florist, and DJ. A short thank you note goes a long way.


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