How to Decide Who Does and Doesn’t Get an Invite to Your Wedding

Thanks to the good folks at for this great article!

What’s a party without guests? One of the hardest (but most important) parts of planning your wedding is creating the guest list. It’s a little more complicated, though, than simply making a list of everyone you’d like to celebrate with. There are people you’ll have to invite, others you really want to skip, and those who may or may not make the cut, depending on your venue’s capacity. So how do you decide who does—and doesn’t—get an invitation to your wedding? Here are six guidelines to help you and your families figure it out.

1. Make a preliminary list with just your partner.
Before you involve your families, sit down with your partner to start the guest list. Begin with your immediate families, then add those close family members you really want to have there. Next, move on to your closest friends—the ones you simply can’t imagine getting married without. This probably won’t be your entire guest list, but it’s a good place to start, and should cover those must-haves your parents will be looking for. But don’t involve your families just yet—you’ll want to get this starting point ironed out first so you can make sure everyone is equally represented down the line.

2. Decide where you’ll cut off family invitations—and stick to it.
Extended family invitations are tricky. Who even knows the difference between second cousins and first cousins, once removed, anyway? The general rule of thumb is that, if one uncle gets an invitation, all of your aunts and uncles need to get an invitation—the same goes for cousins or second cousins, too. This isn’t much of an issue for small families, but with a large extended family, this can take up the bulk of your guest list. Start with your closest relatives first, then work your way out until you reach a level you’re comfortable with, one that (hopefully!) leaves room for a few friends, too!

3. Give both families the same number of extra guests.
After your families have been invited, determine how many extra spots you have left and divide it evenly between both of your families. Let your parents use these seats however they’d like—and make it clear that there are no more seats available. This way your mom can invite her best friend, while your father-in-law can include his business partners (you know, the same ones who invited him to their son’s wedding last year).

4. Make the call about children.
It’s entirely up to the bride and groom whether or not children are invited to the wedding. Decide whether you want little ones there or would prefer an adults-only celebration, and then put your foot down. That means no exceptions! Not sure what counts as a “kid”? Most caterers consider children guests under 12, so you can definitely skip your cousin’s teenaged kids but still include your college bestie’s toddler—just make sure you’re applying that age rule across the board. And if someone calls to ask if they can bring their kids along, let them know what you’ve decided, and stick to your guns!

5. Return the favor.
This one’s tricky. If a friend invited you to her wedding five years ago, there’s no need to invite her to yours—even if you were a bridesmaid. However, if you attended a wedding in the past 18 months (and especially if you or your partner was in the wedding party!), that couple should be on your guest list, as well.

6. Follow modern “plus one” protocol.
You’re not obligated to offer every one of your guests a “plus one” to your wedding, but if they’re in a serious relationship of any sort (dating, living together, engaged, etc.), their partner should be included. Buh-bye, “no ring, no bring” rule!

Best Pacific Northwest Venues for a Fall Wedding!

With thanks to CBS Seattle for this great article!

Fall in the Seattle area is an absolutely beautiful time of year, with the tree leaves changing from greens to bright yellows, oranges and reds. Seattle weather during the fall season is somewhat unpredictable, but there are still enough sunny days left over from summer to plan the wedding of your dreams. If you’re looking for outdoor wedding venues, you’ll certainly have plenty of options. However, if you want the best of the best to make your wedding the most memorable, then look no further than these amazing wedding venues and locations.

Salish Lodge And Spa
6501 Railroad Ave. S.E.
Snoqualmie, WA 98065
(425) 831-6590

The Salish Lodge and Spa at Snoqualmie Falls is about a 35-minute drive east of Seattle. It is one of the most breathtaking landmarks in the Pacific Northwest and such a beautiful location that it has been used as a shooting backdrop for various television shows and movies, such as “Twin Peaks.” What better place to say “I do” to the one you love than right next to the roaring and misting almost 270-foot waterfall. The Salish Lodge features two prime venues to hold your wedding ceremony, including the Hidden Terrace, which keeps you indoors, but gets you and your guests as close to the falls as possible. The Centennial Green is a completely outdoor option, featuring an expansive lawn area for both your ceremony and reception, and offers views of Snoqualmie Falls, as well as the river and surrounding valley.

Woodland Park Zoo
West Entrance
5500 Phinney Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 548-2590

The Woodland Park Zoo may not seem like the ideal location to share your nuptials with family and friends, but it actually offers several settings that are quite beautiful and exotic. For instance, you can choose from Beech Grove with its lush trees and greenery as a backdrop, Jaguar Cove with its large rock formations and jungle-themed foliage or the zoo’s two-acre rose garden with a lily pond, a gazebo and blooming flowers completely surrounding you and your guests. Additionally, there are many other locations to choose from within the zoo’s 92 acres and there is even roaming wildlife like the brightly colored peacocks that can add some unexpected pizzazz to your once-in-a-lifetime event.

Ballard Bay Club 
6413 Seaview Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 524-4918

Just imagine having the beach and the Puget Sound, as well as miles of mountains, as the backdrop for your wedding ceremony. At Seattle’s Ballard Bay Club, you not only will have unparallelled views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, but also access to its private beach area and large, outdoor patios where you can hold your ceremony and reception. This waterfront club offers two built-in bar areas, a large dance floor and customizable floor plans and seating arrangements to fit your needs for up to 500 guests.

Related: Best Wedding Stores In Seattle For The Vintage Shopper

The Canal
5300 34th Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107
(206) 524-4918

Also located in Ballard, The Canal is a versatile wedding venue that offers an older world style combined with elegant decor. The Canal sits on the waterfront of the Salmon Bay waterway, just west of Lake Union. It features a custom-built bar and over-sized dance floor, as well as a huge, heated and covered outdoor patio. Whether you plan a day or evening wedding event, The Canal’s wrought-iron sculptures and glowing lights gleaming and reflecting off the pristine blue waters will make the perfect backdrop for any time of day.

Thornewood Castle
8601 N. Thorne Lane S.W.
Lakewood, WA 98498
(253) 584-4393

If you’ve ever watched the Stephen King mini-series “Rose Red,” then you’ve caught glimpses of the timeless and beautiful Thornewood Castle, located in Lakewood, WA. The castle is about 40 minutes south of Seattle and has a lush, expansive outdoor garden as well as a lakefront area where your wedding ceremony can be held. It also features front doors that are more than 500 years old, and was reconstructed with bricks gathered more than 100 years ago from a Welsh castle. During your event, you’ll be surrounded by antique sculptures and fountains, as well as beautiful stone steps, walkways and brickwork that only add to the romantic ambiance of the estate. If for any reason the weather takes a turn for the worse, the Thornewood Castle staff can have your ceremony or reception moved indoors within minutes.

Honesty Time: Are You Becoming a “Bridezilla?”

“BRIDEZILLAS are a new breed of soon-to-wed women who abuse the idea that weddings are their ‘day.’ They TERRORIZE their bridal party and family members, make greedy demands and break all rules of etiquette, to insure that they are the single most important person on the planet from the time they are engaged to the time they are married.”

Frankly, as every wedding vendor knows all too well, it’s impossible to be in the industry without occasionally running up against one of these monsters…and, lucky us…this week was OUR week!

In our 12 years as Seattle Wedding Officiants, we know all too well, how easy it is for everyone to get so emotionally invested in the big day that if things don’t go perfectly (and let’s face it, they rarely do), it can create frustration, disappointment and even some anger. This is why we always bend over backwards to ensure the couple comes away happy, whether or not things go exactly as planned. We never forget who, and what we’re working for!

The Bridezilla, however, is a breed apart from other humans…by design. She comes to the process already hugely angry about something, usually some slight or insult, either real or (more likely) perceived. Every small setback, every minor inconvenience or innocent misstep, whether real or imagined, will just give her another reason to be furious.

Rather than taking it in stride, staying flexible and retaining her sense of humor (the “adult” approach), she responds to these perceived “indignities” like a spoiled child, with rude, thoughtless, condescending or bullying behavior toward whoever is unlucky enough to be in her field of vision at the moment. She goes out of her way to have a miserable time, and seems determined to make sure everyone else does, as well.

We learned over the years that such childish treatment is much more about the Bridezilla, and her frustrations, insecurities and emotional immaturity, than about those she abuses. And, while it’s always regrettable when things don’t go perfectly, no vendor who knows they’ve done their best takes it personally.

Sadly, the person who ultimately loses is the Bridezilla, herself, by draining all of the spontaneity, joy and fun out of what should be one of the happiest days of her life.

So…that said, what about you? Are you morphing into a Bridezilla?”

Nobody ever thinks so. After all, you just don’t fit into the stereotypical, frothing at the mouth, fighting with the bridesmaids “Diva” mold. Or do you?

Wedding planning is challenging, and stress can make it worse. It can change even the calmest bride into a raging, self-obsessed monster!

See if any of these ring a bell. If they do, you might want to take a step back, fix a drink, and let your fiancé work on the wedding plans for awhile.

1. You feel angry with everyone. Everyone is annoying you. It’s your special day not theirs, surely they ought to be grateful to even be involved?! Why can’t they just do exactly what you say?

2. Your wedding invitations are militant checklists. No children, no slip-on shoes, no heavy make-up, no short skirts, etc., etc. ad nauseum! Buy gifts from Registry only. And no-one must wear black, white, or anything bright. Why do they argue, when you’re so reasonable?

3. You request NO BOXED GIFTS in all caps on the invitations. Nobody needs the 80 sets of table mats you’re sure to receive if you don’t provide a gift list. Sure, some of your guests might want to give you something personal and meaningful. Others might be struggling financially. Well, too bad for them!

4. Your budget is way out of control. Bridal magazines are deadly. You hadn’t even heard about chair sashes before you got engaged and now you’re spending $400 on them! You need seven courses for the sit-down meal. And that designer wedding dress just felt right didn’t it? Oh well, that’s why there’s VISA!

5. You start to resent your guests for how much they’re “costing” you. Why isn’t everyone GRATEFUL that you’re throwing this massive expensive party FOR THEM?! They’re acting like you should be GRATEFUL that they’re prepared to come all that way to spend the day in uncomfortable shoes grinning at near-strangers or something just to make you happy!

6. You’ve chosen a ridiculously expensive venue. On another planet. Whatever, it’s your wedding right? It sucks that your less well-off friends can’t afford the travel and accommodation. If they really loved you, they’d CANCEL THEIR HOLIDAYS OR GO BANKRUPT for you!

7. You’ve fallen out with your bridesmaids. Sarah is too fat for the dresses you really liked thanks to her stupid thyroid. Laura can’t afford them anyway because she didn’t get that second job you advised her to get. They’re not responding to your hourly emails. No-one has offered to cover your airfare and accommodation at your three-week honeymoon in the Bahamas and they’re generally just being unsupportive DORKS!

8. Your wedding has become the event of the year…for EVERYONE! Expectations are extremely high, because it’s all you talk about. You keep adding more and more bling, entertainment and special touches. DJ? Kanye! Venue? Westminster Abbey! Bridesmaids’ gifts? Diamonds, of course!

Are you starting to get the picture? Time to be honest with yourself. If any of these apply to you, or even if they just sound like something you’d consider doing, you need to re-evaluate your priorities. Wedding planning should be joyful, imaginative, fulfilling, and above all…fun!

Ten Great Summer Wedding Ideas

With thanks to Taylor Tru-Value Rental Center of Belmont, NH

Wedding season is slowly starting to pick up. The sun is starting to stay out longer and shine brighter. The hot, summer weather is quickly settling in, making for beautiful wedding conditions. Summer weddings can be some of the most beautiful and enjoyable weddings to have because of the weather, but there are also some considerations to be had. While bright, sunny and warm weather is desirable, it is important not to let your guests get too hot, or otherwise uncomfortable because of the elements. Here are 10 of the best summer wedding ideas to keep your guests comfortable and enjoying the wedding while also enjoying the weather.

1. Provide Sunglasses
Providing sunglasses for your guests can be a very fun and fashionable way to add some style to your wedding, while also adding brilliant practicality. Sunglasses can also make a great souvenir for your guests to take home, while being able to see the ceremony in style without much trouble.

2. Provide Umbrellas
Similarly to the sunglasses, umbrellas can also be a great option to help your guests see the ceremony without a problem. Additionally, umbrellas can also provide a cooling shade, and can even potentially service more than one person. These may also be preferable to some over the sunglasses, and there may even be some who cannot effectively wear sunglasses.

3. Use Programs as Fans
Another clever way to beat the heat during a summer wedding is to double your wedding programs as fans. Attach your wedding program to a handle so your guests can use the program as a hand fan when it gets too hot.

4. Provide Sandals
Open toed footwear can be a great way to keep cool during outdoor summer weddings. Provide your guests with some flip flops or sandals to wear to keep cool, especially if the ceremony is on the beach!

5. Have a Lemonade Station
What’s better on a hot summer day than a cold glass of lemonade? Do your guests a favor and ditch the coffee and tea for a lemonade station. Allow them to help themselves to cold glasses of lemonade, water, and even other cold beverages that you deem appropriate.

6. Seasonal Fruits and Berries
What reflects the season better than locally grown seasonal fruits and berries? Provide these perfect summer treats for your guests to snack on during the ceremony.

7. Decorate with Local Wildflowers
Similar to the seasonal fruits and berries, make use of the local seasonal wildflowers to decorate your ceremony. This will bring the same summer vibe and energy of your locale to your summer wedding.

8. Organize Light Outdoor Games
Simple but fun and social games such as bocce ball, sandbag or horseshoe toss, or even beach bowling can prove to be a great way to keep your guests occupied and having fun in the sun!

9. Use Fruit Centerpieces 
Have fun with summertime fruits and use them for decoration at your summer wedding! Try using different colorful seasonal fruits creatively to create a unique, edible centerpiece for your ceremony.

10. Use Summertime Colors
Don’t forget to use appropriate summertime colors throughout your ceremony. Light, fun colors like pink, yellow, orange, and light blue and green can go a long way to give a summer wedding that signature summertime feel.

If you are throwing a summer wedding, adhere to these 10 useful tips to make your wedding that much better!


Nine Reasons Autumn Weddings Are Totally Underrated

Originally posted by De Elizabeth on Sep 19, 2016 in “Engagement, It’s Wedding Season”

When it comes to planning a wedding, the very first thing you have to decide, literally before anything else, is the date. And before you pick the specific date on the calendar, you probably have a good idea as to which season you prefer. While all seasons have their benefits, many factors come together to make autumn truly the best. Objectively speaking, there are many reasons why fall is the ideal time of year to tie the knot. Here are nine of them, all of which will add up to an insanely memorable wedding.

1. You truly cannot ask for better weather.
If Mother Nature behaves herself and the weather plays according to the rules, chances are, you’ll end up with a perfectly crisp day. This will come in handy when you spend several hours crammed into a small room with your bridesmaids while getting ready. There’s literally nothing worse than sweating – or freezing – your ass off at a ceremony.

2. The colors.
There are so many options when it comes to color schemes. You could go orange and red, or blue, or gold, or navy. Almost anything looks amazing against the changing leaves. Which brings me to….

3. The scenery.
If your ceremony is outdoors, you will barely need to decorate at all. The turning leaves will do the job for you. The orange and red trees will look amazing as a backdrop to your nuptials, and there’s something so romantic about falling leaves (not to mention crunchy ones).

4. Think of all the ‘grams.
The colors and symbols of fall are endlessly Instagrammable. And, okay, they’ll look great in your professional photos too.

5. Pumpkin and apple everything.
If you’re a fan of Pumpkin Spice, this is a perfect excuse to make all of your appetizers autumnal themed. Think: pumpkin soup, or apple sausage, or a pumpkin dip. At one wedding, the couple had an apple cider mimosa as the signature drink and guests told them it was pretty much the best thing they’d ever tasted.

6. So many decor options.
Between pumpkins, gourds, wheat, and candles, there are endless options for fall decorations. The best part about this is that you can craft centerpieces from these items without paying extra for flowers. Which results in saving money. Yes, please.

7. Your guests will likely be available.
With summer weddings, you run the risk of choosing a date that interferes with an annual family vacation, or, just as likely, another wedding. People are generally more free during the autumn months, and you won’t have to compete with seventeen billion other June weddings.

8. Think of all the bouquet options.
With an autumn wedding, you can go the unconventional route with your bouquet (which also results in less money.) Your bouquet can be composed of peach and orange roses, but it could also have wheat and berries in it, and be wrapped with burlap!

9. It’s just undeniably romantic.
Think of that quote – “Life starts over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Maybe it’s the routine of starting school in the fall, or feeling like the autumn is equated with “new,” but there’s something so quintessentially hopeful about the beginning of autumn. And what better beginning than the words, “I do.”

Do You Really Need a Rehearsal?

(Reposted from Wednet)

Your ceremony is the beginning of the most wonderful day of your life. It sets the tone for the entire day; it is the smile on his face, the lump in his throat, the look that takes his breath away as he sees you coming down the aisle. This is your day, your moment in time, a moment that will forever be cherished and remembered. As important as this day is, many brides neglect to give their wedding rehearsal the time and attention it deserves.

It is amazing there is so little information regarding the rehearsal. Beautiful ceremonies do not just happen. So often, you hear, “I wish I would have done this or said that” or “I was going to do, whatever but I wasn’t sure when to do it”. Unfortunately, actions may appear hesitant, awkward or sloppy; romantic words or gestures can easily be overlooked or bypassed because it is unclear when and how to proceed. The day of the wedding, nerves and emotions are at their peak and so many things are going on; this is not the time to leave things to chance.

Everyone from the bride and groom, their families and wedding party are expected to know exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it and yet there is very little available on how to organize a rehearsal and what to include. Unless the bride has a coordinator to oversee the rehearsal, she is pretty much on her own. Even with a coordinator, the bride may only get the very basics, the seating of mothers, processional, attendant placement and recessional with no attention given to form or actual timing.

Some will argue that if you rehearse, the ceremony will not be fresh and the romantic gestures or words will not be spontaneous, which is a valid argument if you are attempting to rehearse every word and detail of your ceremony. However, the wedding rehearsal is not to practice dialogue, it is to block and stage your ceremony as if it were a theatrical production. In theatrical terms, blocking is directing the positions and movement of the actors; it is choreography of movement.

The choreography of the ceremony begins with the seating of family by the ushers or groomsmen and concludes with the bride and groom leaving the ceremony and may extend beyond the ceremony depending on the couple. Most people know the basics, it is the style and manner in which something is done that makes the difference. The attention to that type of detail is what will set a ceremony apart from all the others and it will show in both photography and video. If you are comfortable with what you are doing, you will be more relaxed and able to enjoy this wonderful time in your life.

Here are a few brief suggestions for your rehearsal:

When to Schedule
If possible, avoid scheduling a rehearsal for right after work. If your wedding party has to fight rush hour traffic, you can be almost certain the rehearsal will not start on time.
Wedding professionals including the minister, judge, photographer etc. whom you have requested attend the rehearsal may charge a fee and give you a specific block of time. Some professionals charge an additional fee when asked to stay longer than scheduled.
Rehearsals on weekends or holidays may be difficult for wedding professionals to attend and if they are charging you a fee, it may be higher.

Allow at least 1 hour for your rehearsal.
The rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner are two separate events. Schedule a time for the rehearsal and a time for the dinner. If the rehearsal and dinner will be held at different locations, make sure to allow for travel time.

Who Should Attend
Invite only those who will actually be in the wedding ceremony and parents of the bride and groom to the rehearsal.
Invite everyone else to join you later at the rehearsal dinner.

What to Bring
Bring the wedding music to the rehearsal.
If the bride will wear gloves during the ceremony then bring them to the rehearsal.
Bridesmaids should have the shoes they will wear for the ceremony with them, especially if your ceremony is outdoors.

Common Sense
Show up sober. You would be amazed at how many times the bride, groom or members of the wedding party have shown up drunk. The rehearsal should be fun but it does serve a purpose; if you want to party wait until after the rehearsal otherwise you are just wasting everyone’s time.