Wedding Wednesdays Q&A: The Best of 2014

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events

As we celebrate the last few hours of 2014, we wanted to revisit some of your favorite Wedding Wednesdays Q&A posts of the year.  So, pop some bubbly and enjoy and we’ll see you in 2015!

January 29, 2014 – Invitations

Q: I’m starting to think about my invitations and I’m nervous about people bringing more people than we intend.  Our venue doesn’t hold that many people and we are also trying to keep the wedding on the smaller side, so we aren’t giving plus ones to everyone.  How do you think we should approach the invitations to make sure we don’t have any unexpected extra guests?

Great question!  Invites can be confusing and there are so many invite questions I get all the time that I should probably do a whole series on it.  But, let’s answer your question specifically.  So, there are two places where you would indicate to your guests who is invited.  The first is the envelope.  When you address the envelope you’d say, “Mr. Jon Snow” if it’s just the one person invited, or you’d say “Mr. Jon Snow and Guest” if they get a plus one.  If you know who they’d be bringing (e.g. a significant other) then you should put their actual name on the envelope as opposed to just the word guest.  So, putting the guest’s name on the envelope is the formal way to invite them because who the envelope is addressed to is who is getting the honor of the invitation.  However, some people don’t take the time to really read the envelope, so to make things perfectly clear it’s also good to indicate the number of invitees on the RSVP.    Beneath the blank line where the guest fills out their name, you’d have a line below it that says something like, “We have reserved __ seats in your honor” and then what you do  is fill in the number for each invite.  You can, of course, play with the wording to fit with your particular invitation, but this way there is no confusion on how many people are invited.   Doing these 2 steps will politely let your guests know who and how many people are invited and prevent any awkward conversations as you tally your RSVPs.

March 12, 2014 – Wedding Registry

Q: My fiance and I picked out where we want to register, but we’re having a hard time figuring out what to register for.  We didn’t really want a registry originally (because we have everything we need), but we wanted to make it easy on our guests.   So, we’re starting the process but are just having some difficulty.  Do we choose items in a certain price range?  Or do we just choose anything?

As you mentioned, registries are meant to make it easy for your guests to pick out a gift for you, so the goal of picking items is to also make it easy for your guests.  Your guests will have an amount they would like to spend in mind and what you want to do is pick items to easily help them get to that point.  So, you want to pick items in a variety of prices.  You’ll want some lower priced items and some higher priced items so that someone who wants to get a gift for $50 can find something (or somethings) and someone who wants to spend $200 can find something.  Many times guests will pick out multiple items to get to the total they are looking for and other times they can find something right on the money (pun intended).  So, you want to make sure to register for a good number of items in a range of prices.  As people start to send you gifts, you’ll also want to check back in on your registry to see if you need to register for more items in the price points that are getting chosen.  This all helps to make picking out a gift easy peasy.  Now one last thing to mention is while items at different price points are important, you also want to register for items you want, so keep both in mind when you register.  And have fun with it!  How often do you get to pick out your own gift?

May 21, 2014 – Destination Wedding Locations

Q: My fiance and I have decided to have a destination wedding, but we are struggling to find the right location.  We want a remote location that our guests have never been to and most likely will never go again so that it’s really special.  But, we do have some older guests and we’re worried about them being able to make it out to our location since there are a few hops to get there.  Is there a way to have both?  Or should we think about our guests first?

I think it’s wonderful that you are thinking about your guests because it is important especially if it makes it particularly difficult for them.  While your wedding is about the two of you, you want to have the people you love with you and if they can’t make it because you decided to hike up a hill to get married, that defeats the purpose.  However, I do think you can find a place that has both.  I don’t know what your particular requirements are, but there are so many great destinations that you can find something that pleases both your wants and will make your guests happy too.  Every destination has areas that are more remote, so I think your best course of action is to pick a place that is relatively easy to get to initially, but on that island or area, find a wedding location that is a little more remote.  Your guests can make a home base in the major town/city center and then you can pick a wedding location in an area outside of the tourist spot that most people don’t travel to.  You can shuttle your guests there and back to make it easy and then you get the best of both worlds.  And for your other wedding events, you can also pick activities in other more remote areas to get your guests exploring.   This way, the travel portion is easy for your guests, but you also get the chance to share and experience things they wouldn’t have on their own.

July 30, 2014 – Beauty

Q: When my fiance proposed last year, I decided to grow my hair out so that it would be long for the wedding.  I’m not really a long hair kind of gal, so it’s been hard for me and I’m starting to hate it.  I’m trying to convince myself to not cut it off to my shoulders, but it’s so hard to avoid the temptation.  How important is having long hair for the wedding?  Could I just do a short hairstyle instead?

Great question and a very important one at that.  So, most brides grow their hair out so that they can achieve a particular hairstyle, which is usually an updo.  With an updo, longer hair is ideal because it gives the hair/makeup artist more to play with and to create the look you are going for.  So, if you want a particular updo that requires longer hair, I suggest you hang in there so that you can look the way you want to at your wedding.  To help, put a picture up of the hairstyle you want to remind yourself why you are growing out your hair.  It will keep you motivated!

Now, if you don’t need an updo or as you said you aren’t a long hair type of woman, then going short is totally ok.  I actually think short dos are quite cute and you can still do some great styling with a short cut.  Do what feels right for you and if that is cutting your hair, then go for it.   If you do go this route, just make sure you talk to your hair/makeup artist so that your hair cut is in line with what you are planning for the hairstyle on the wedding day.  You don’t want to end up cutting it too short.

December 3, 2014 – Seating Chart

Q:  I’ve been toying with the idea of having open seating at my wedding.  I’ve been to many weddings where I wasn’t super thrilled at my table and I like the idea of people being able to pick their own seats and sit where ever they want. But are there downsides to open seating that I should take into account?

Good question!  Open seating can be a wonderful idea for not only the reasons you mentioned but because then you don’t have to worry about things like a seating chart, seating cards or place cards.  It definitely lends itself to a more casual wedding as opposed to a formal one, but that isn’t a rule you have to follow.  I wouldn’t say there are “downsides” to an open seating plan, but there are few factors to consider before choosing it as it might not work for your wedding.

First off, when you have an open seating plan, you need to provide extra tables and chairs in order to make sure that everyone can find a seat and sit with who they want to.  Your guests won’t make perfect 10 person tables, so if you have 100 people, you want more than 100 seats.  With this in mind, you’ll need to make sure that your venue has the room for extra tables and chairs.  In addition, if you are renting your items, keep in mind that will add to your total cost as besides extra tables and chairs you’ll also need more linen, flatware, glassware, and china.

Another thing to think about is the seating for your immediate family, wedding party and those you are particularly close to.  If you don’t have assigned seats, where they sit will also be unplanned which means they may not be close to you.  That may or may not be an issue for you, but it is something to think about.  Now you can have a few reserved tables, but that does make it a bit tricky so I’d suggest you either go all assigned or all not assigned.

If you are someone who likes things to look perfect, having an open seating plan might not be your cup of tea.  Since you won’t know where people will sit or how they will sit, from a photography standpoint you will have empty seats and possibly even open tables.  It’s a minor thing as it’s just aesthetic, but for some that might be an issue.

The last thing to think about is what meal you are serving.  If you are doing a plated meal where your guests chose their entree, that is a deal breaker as the serving staff won’t be able to tell who had what since you won’t have seating cards.  If you are doing a set plated meal where everyone has the same meal, then open seating is an option.  If you are having a family style meal, that is not a deal breaker, but it does make it a bit tricky for your catering team as they won’t know how much to serve per table.  It’s not insurmountable, but it’s not ideal as you may end up having to pay for extra food.  If you are doing a buffet, or stations you are a-ok with an open seating plan.

Now is an open seating plan right for you and your wedding?  Besides our one deal breaker, it really just depends on your wedding and what works best for you.  Take into account the different factors and I’m sure you’ll make the right decision.

Do you want to be a part of the Wedding Wednesdays Q&A family?  Don’t be shy!  Come and join us in 2015, it’s never too late for some wedding planning help.

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