Friday, July 27, 2007

Problem Bridesmaid - Kick Her Out Of The Wedding Party?

Q: One of my bridesmaids is driving me nuts. She criticizes every decision I make and is ruining the whole process. Can I kick her out of the wedding party?

A: Ideally you two should sit down and talk it out. Ask what's bothering her and try to determine why she has issues with the decisions you're making. Perhaps she's jealous? If this is the case, a good talk between two friends may solve the issue. If she continues to behave badly, you have two choices: 1) tell her that while you value her friendship, you feel it would be best if she were no longer in the wedding party (tread lightly here though, as this may be a fatal blow to the friendship) or 2) assuming that you really do value her friendship, ask your maid-of-honor to run interference with bridesmaidzilla until after the wedding.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tipping Wedding Vendors

Q: If you are have a reception package which includes a DJ, caterer, servers, and coordinator in the price - are you supposed to tip these included vendors, and if so - how much?
~ J. Wolfe – Edmond, OK

A: You’ve already thrown down a fortune for this one day, but as with any other service industry, you still need to take tipping into consideration when calculating your overall budget. Although generally thought to be a voluntary act, tipping is a wonderful way to express your generosity. Still, shelling out wads of cash is probably the last thing you will want to deal with while you are trying to focus your attention on your friends and family. If you are using a wedding coordinator, make it his/her responsibility to tip your vendors on the day of your wedding; if not, elect your best man to do the deed.

So just how much should you tip your vendors? Here’s a basic guideline:

  • Beauty services (hair, makeup, nails): 15-20% of fee
  • Wedding coordinator: not expected
  • Officiant (if officiant does not charge a fee): between $100 and $200. If you didn’t have a lot of involvement with the officiant, you can contribute a lower amount.
  • Transportation: 15-20% of fee, unless it’s been included
  • Parking attendants/valets: about $1 per car
  • Coatroom and restroom attendants: $.50 to $1 per guest
  • Musicians (ceremony and reception): $20-$25 per musician
  • Photographer/videographer: Optional; $20-$25 each
  • Banquet manager, Maitre d’: $200-$300, if gratuity isn’t included
  • Caterer and waitstaff: total tip ranges between $250-$500 (depending on total cost and nature of event), if gratuity isn’t already included
  • Bartenders: 10% of total liquor bill (to divide amongst bartenders), if gratuity isn’t already included. *note – do not allow bartenders to place tip jars on the bar; let bartenders know that you’ll be handling the total tip and guests should not feel obligated to tip.

Of course, these are all just guidelines and the amount that you give should reflect your level of satisfaction. In general, tips should be given in cash just before the vendor leaves, and no one single person should get more than $150. And no matter how much or little a vendor contributed to your celebration, everyone will appreciate a thank-you note.

Get more Wedding Budget Advice at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Monday, July 23, 2007

How to Plan an Interfaith Wedding Ceremony

Let’s face it – the world just isn’t as big as it used to be. As a testament to the earth’s seemingly shrinking waistline, more and more young men and women are finding true love outside their faiths – and making it work. Yet no matter how progressive you and your families may be, the peaceful merging of two religions can prove an ambitious undertaking. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that love is the end goal, and get ready to celebrate a marriage made in heaven, er, make that two heavens. Interfaith wedding ceremonies pose a few planning challenges. Here is some advice to get you started:

Do Some Soul Searching
If you’ve been neglecting your spiritual side, it’s time to get reacquainted. Assess your beliefs and the role you see them playing in your life. How important to you is it that your wedding ceremony reflects your religious background? How willing are you to compromise for your fiancé’s beliefs or family? Know your personal stance on faith and religion, so you can speak candidly with your fiancé and your families and make decisions accordingly.

Talk it Over
After you’ve come to terms with your own spirituality, you and your fiancé need to have an honest discussion about religion. Although you should have broached the topic at some point during your relationship, now a wedding ceremony and marriage loom, adding a sense of urgency. During your internal reflection, you may have discovered your own views altering a bit, and he may feel the same. Discuss together your values, and identify what traditions are most meaningful for each of you to incorporate into your wedding ceremony and marriage.

Invite the Families
Combining two sets of traditions while keeping the peace with both families can be tricky. Invite both sides to listen to your ideas and contribute their expectations for your wedding day. You’d be surprised how an honest group discussion can bring about solutions once deemed elusive. As the happy couple, you and your fiancé should be prepared to discuss openly your choices, but you should also be receptive to their viewpoints. Be honest, open and supportive, and make sure that your ceremony plans are agreeable (or at least livable) for everyone.

Get the Right Officiant(s)
While many officiants do not perform interfaith weddings – or only do so with restrictions – just as many specialize in interfaith wedding ceremonies. If either of you has a relationship with the clergy at your respective place of worship, consult with that him or her first. Even if your clergy is unable to perform the service, he or she should be able to evaluate your situation with an open mind and make suggestions and recommendations. Many religious and interfaith organizations maintain lists of clergy who will officiate at interfaith ceremonies. Search the wedding vendor directory for a list of interfaith wedding officiants in every state and region.

Get Counseled
Counseling sessions, often recommended before a wedding regardless of the couple’s religion, offer a good opportunity for a bride and groom to not only learn about the other's faith, but also to consider ways to merge traditions or celebrations during the ceremony. Since religion won’t disappear after your wedding day, counseling sessions also offer insight to other situations that may arise in your marriage, including raising children.

Plan a Fusion Ceremony
Consult your officiant(s) and families for advice in designing a ceremony that incorporates both faiths and cultures. Determine which customs are personally significant, and select rituals and readings together. Continue this blending of cultures into the reception, and design a menu of personalized fusion cuisine – think egg rolls with a side of Spanakopita.

Reassure the Family
As your wedding plans unfold, remember to pause from time to time and check in with your families, especially if the news of an interfaith wedding was an initial shock for either side. Continue to keep them involved and informed throughout the planning process. Spend quality time together, and, if logistics allow, plan some group get-togethers.

Reassure Yourselves
Along those lines – don’t forget to reassure each other along the way, as uncertainty can creep in with potential roadblocks and planning challenges. Don’t stress that you’re losing your religion, because your not. Remember to always keep the focus on the marriage of two people in love, and rejoice that you now have two great traditions from which to draw your spiritual inspiration. Delight in a spiritually rich life and future to come!

For more advice to help you plan your wedding ceremony, visit the complete wedding ceremony guide at - Elegant Galas Made Simple

Friday, July 20, 2007

Get in Shape for your Wedding with the Latest Workout Trend for Brides

New Bridal Bootcamps Help you Get in Shape for Your Wedding

Sometimes we need a little motivation to transform a bootylicious bod into a bride-a-licious bod. So you’re not a gym bunny? Enlist in boot camp! Many boot camps are owned and taught by women and offer specific training sessions geared towards brides. These pre-nuptial programs can range from intensive weekend or week-long regimens to long-term fitness plans. So report to duty, and shape up for your wedding.

Where to find: These bridal boot camps are popping up all over the country. Here are some local suggestions around the US, as well as some at-home options, to get you started. As with all fitness programs, please consult your physician before starting a new exercise regimen:

1) Adventure Boot Camp for Women - Locations throughout the US - Offers four week programs that include one hour sessions Monday through Friday. Cost is $299 for a regular 4-week camp or $199 for a three-day-per-week program.

2) FitBoot - Boston, MA - This program has a realistic military approach, but a supportive environment for women of all fitness levels. The course ($375) consists of 45 minute sessions every weekday for six weeks, and recruits must pass a physical fitness test at the end of camp.

3) Fit to Be Wed Live - West Los Angeles/Beverly Hills, CA - Camp features 60-70 minute workouts 3 days a week for 4 weeks. Geared towards brides, bridesmaids, and mothers of the bride and groom, workouts include lots of shaping and toning in those "key wedding gown areas" -- the arms, back, and shoulders.

4) Operation Boot Camp - Atlanta (Piedmont and Buckhead), GA - The 30-Day boot camp program includes 18 group workouts - each about 45 minutes. The program intersperses outdoor workouts with indoor studio sessions, providing a well-rounded, cross-training approach. In addition, instructors monitor your daily food intake, helping you learn how to incorporate nutrition into an overall healthy lifestyle.

5) The Healthy Bride’s Boot Camp Workout - DVD - This DVD features four 45 minute workouts, including cardio, abs and push ups, stretching, and weight training designed for the style of your dress. Get in shape for your wedding - all in the comfort of your own home. $21.95 - available at or other retailers

6) Bridal Bootcamp – Paperback – by Cynthia M. Conde - This book is a fitness and nutrition guide created especially for women, with a focus on looking fabulous on your wedding day. It includes 6 month, 3 month and 4 week programs you can follow to lose body fat, increase lean muscle and make healthy lifestyle changes. $14.95 - available at or other retailers.

For more tips and advice to help you physically, mentally, and emotionally prepare for your wedding, visit the Emotionally Engaged Guide

-Cori Russell, Style and Etiquette Editor

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wedding Invitations & Stationery - Include Travel Info. on Save-The-Dates?

Q: My mother is suggesting that I include all of the hotel information for out-of-town guests in the save-the-date/announcement card. Is this common or can it simply be a part of the invitation?
- Jamile -

A: It is best to provide your out-of-town guests with travel and lodging information prior to sending your invitations, since they don't go out until 6-8 weeks before the wedding. The earlier your guests can begin planning their travel arrangement, the easier it will be for them to attend your wedding.

You have a few options:
1) You can include lodging information with the save-the-date, - either printed directly on the card or on an insert.

2) You can create a wedding website that includes travel/lodging information - and include a link to the website with the save the date.

3) You can also send a separate mailing - in between the save-the-dates and invitations - that includes detailed information about your wedding, such as travel, lodging, things-to-do, weekend itinerary, etc. This doesn't need to be anything formal or professionally printed - just a typed list will suffice.

-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Get more ideas to plan your wedding stationery and browse a comprehensive gallery of unique wedding invitations, save-the-dates and other products - visit the Wedding Invitation and Stationery Guide or the Wedding Invitation and Stationery Search.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wedding Flowers - What are the Least Expensive Flowers?

Q: I'm a bride on a budget; what are some inexpensive wedding flowers?
- Heather -

A: Although individual flower prices vary depending on location, season and your individual florist, certain blooms tend to be more moderately priced than others.

These are: Orange Blossoms, Lavender, Daffodil, Daisies, Chrysanthemum, Carnations, Roses (due to huge variance in kind, quality, and color) and Greenery – such as ivy.

On the other hand, flowers that tend to be expensive are: Lily of the Valley, Calla Lily, Orchids, Magnolias, Peonies, Gardenia and Hydrangea.

Regardless, in-season flowers are often less expensive and easier to find. You can find a list of common flowers for each season at the seasonal flower guide.

As always, you can ask your florist to review your options with you and determine which specific blooms will fit into your budget.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wedding Invitations - Going Digital?

Q: Instead of sending traditional paper save-the-date cards, I want to send a classy contemporary digital invitation - perhaps a flash email or a link to an online invitation informing guests of our coming wedding date. Is this acceptable, and if so, how can I go about doing this?
- Suliat -

A: Inspired by the YouTube generations, digital "webitations" and save-the-dates have made a debut. Videographers can create customized DVDs to accompany paper invites or stand alone as digital invitations. Couples can then upload the video online or send via email, and guests can share and replay at any time.

How it Works: You meet with your videographer to discuss style, inclusions (wedding party photos, hotel recs.), and the paper suite for the invitation package. He or she then tapes your story in an informal interview. You’ll receive the finished DVDs and invitation packages plus web access for online video sharing.

What it Costs: Prices vary, but expect to pay between $500-$1500 for production costs and about $5 per DVD.

Where to Find: Reel Invitations (NYC, and Cinematic Studios (Sonoma County, both work with clients nationwide. Or inquire with your preferred local videographer.
-Cori Russell - Style and Etiquette Editor

Get even more ideas to plan your wedding stationery and browse a comprehensive gallery of unique wedding invitations, save-the-dates and other products - visit the Wedding Invitation and Stationery Guide or the Wedding Invitation and Stationery Search.