Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Addressing Invitations 101 // How to Address Invitations

:: Addressing Invitations 101 // How to Address Wedding Invitations ::

The great song writer/poet Bob Dylan sang in 1964, “The times, they are a changin”. These words are truer than ever today. When it comes to invitations to formal events, there are an array of partnerships that need to be addressed.

MRSter offers the following guidelines on addressing invitations:

:: Married couple with the same last name :: 

                        Mr. and Mrs. John Sanders.

                                          Or

                        Mr. John and Ms. Mary Sanders.

Note :: that the term “Mrs” is used to refer to a person’s wife, so technically using “Mrs. Mary Sanders” is actually incorrect, as it literally means the “wife of Mary” when you really mean “the wife of John”.

:: Married couple with different last names ::

                    Mr. Frank Jersey

                    and Ms. Laura Jackson

:: Married couple – both males using different surnames :: Simply list them in alphabetical order:

                     Mr. Richard Campbell

                     and Mr. Frank Sanger

:: Married couple – both males using the same surname ::

                    Mr. David Henderson

                    and Mr.James Henderson

:: Married couple – both females using different surnames ::

                   Ms. Diedra Jones

                   and Ms. Francine Tuckman

:: Married couple – both females using the same surname ::

                  Ms. Betty Frankfurt

                  and Ms. Alesha Frankfurt

:: People who are living together but unmarried ::

   Just use their actual names and title:                             

                   Ms. Samantha Gilbert                

                  and Mr. George Gomez

                                 Or

                   Mr.Seymour Smith

                   and Mr. Henry Bookman

:: Addressing a single individual :: Write their title and first and last name:

                   Mr. Ray Passmore

:: Addressing a family :: Just use : ‘The’ followed by their last name:

                  The Bridgefields

          If the family has two last names, use them both with a hyphen:

                  The Bridgefield-Jacksons  

:: Addressing a single, divorced or widowed person with an invited child ::

                   Mr. Steven Bloomfield

                   And Master Kent Bloomfield

                                        Or

                   Ms. Barbara Delfino

                   And Miss Isabel Delfino

Note :: If you are having an adult only event; etiquette dictates you should not say “adults only” on your invitation. Instead tactfully state on the RSVP, “We have reserved 2 seats (or a seat) in your honor”. Or print the name(s) of the invited guests with a “will” or “will not” check mark by the name. Hopefully this will be enough for guests to recognize that children are not invited.

:: Addressing people with professional titles :: As a rule, the person with the title is usually the first to be addressed.

                     Dr. and Mrs Jose Sanchez

                                        or

                     Dr. Jules Kingman

                     and Ms. Mary West

                                       or

                     Professor Susan Kingston

                     and Ms. Kingston

                                     Or

                     Councilwoman Frances O’Malley

                     And Mr. O’Mally

                                     Or

                     Captain James Goldstein

                     And Mr. William Zeplin

An exception to this rule is when you are closer to the non-titled person, but are inviting the titled person as a courtesy. In that situation, it is okay to list the person your are closer to first. The same is true for the “alphabetical order” rule.

That about covers most situations. If you have a different situation, send us a note in the comments below, and we’ll help you figure it out!!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Registry Do's and Don'ts for the Engaged Couple

:: Registry Do’s and Don’ts for the Engaged Couple ::

Many couples feel like it’s a selfish act to sign up on a gift registry. But the fact is, that most if not all of your guests will want to get a gift for the two of you. So really, you’re helping your guests, and eliminating confusion by signing up at at least one store and indicating the items you’d like to have. This process also helps immensely in curbing duplicate gifts.

Wedding Registry

Gifts” by Selbe Lynn is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

:: Do give some thought to the store or stores in which you register. A nationally located department store is a good choice, especially if guests are traveling in from other states. We recommend registering at more than one store in order to increase choices for your guests. These days of course, mega online stores are an excellent option.

:: Do register as soon as possible after your engagement. This way, people can utilize the registry for shower gifts as well.

:: Do include a range of purchase prices with a number of gifts under $50, some in the $50- $100 range, and a few over $150. Typically, these ranges should cover the buying power of the majority of your guests.

:: Do feel free to include some speciality items like camping gear, for instance, or any items that hold special interest for you and your partner. Since many about-to-be married couples are already sharing living quarters, you probably don’t have a need for typical household items like toasters or blenders.

:: Don’t list highly expensive items on the registry. If you have a need for an expensive item and have a rich aunt, grandparent or parent who would be inclined and have the resources to fulfill a large gift request, ask them directly, or leave hints, or enlist a friend to help share the need. An alternative would be to get a friend to take up a collection among your friends for a large ticket item.

:: Don’t list personal items like clothing or toiletries. However, it is acceptable to register for a couple of gift cards in addition to tangible items. In that way, you can have a little extra buying power to pick up some personal items.

:: Don’t procrastinate about sending out thank you notes. Keep a record of who sent what and send out handwritten notes that mention the specific gift no later than 3 months after the wedding. For wedding shower gifts, thank yous should be sent within 2-3 weeks of receipt. It’s a lovely thing to receive a gracious, heartfelt and sincerely written thank you note, so consider your words carefully. Your guests will be pleased.

Happy gift getting and thank you-ing!

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ways to Get Fit Before Your Big Day

:: Top 5 Ways to Get Fit Before Your Big Day ::

A few of us may have a body that is a perfect ten. Good for you! Others may be a little on the pleasingly plump side, but confident. Good for you too! But for many of us, the approach of our wedding day can cause a bit of intimidation (all those people will be looking at us), and a desire that we look our absolute best. We asked MRSter co-founder and fitness expert Drew Coleman for his advice about getting fit before your big day…

1 :: Boost your metabolism. Get active and fuel your body! Your metabolism speeds up when you are burning more calories and fueling your body with enough of the right foods regularly. Diet and exercise are both important. One is not very effective without the other. If you starve yourself, your metabolism will slow down. Same happens when you sit on the couch all day. So, kickstart your metabolism by eating 5-6 small, healthy, evenly-spaced meals per day and exercising 3-4 days per week.

Fitness

2 :: Eat good food and avoid the bad.  The Best foods to eat are a good mix of protein {lean meats, eggs, egg whites, dairy, soy}, complex carbs {veggies, whole grains, brown rice, some fruits, oats, quinoa and other ancient grains} and healthy fats {olive oil, avocado, nuts}. You really want to avoid sugar and quick carbs {white bread, white potatoes, white rice, white pasta, anything “breaded”} as much as possible. Those foods spike your blood sugar levels, which leads to a chain of events that ends in fat storage.

3 :: Hydrate! Very important! Proper hydration makes all of your systems run smoothly and you want all systems in tip top shape so you can lose weight effectively. Most people should drink somewhere between a half gallon and a gallon per day.

4 :: Exercise!  If I had to pick one category of exercises to make you fit overall, I would choose plyometrics, or “jump training”. Plyometrics uses explosive movements which gets your heart rate up and burns a ton of calories. Combining these exercises with Tabata-style timing (8 rounds of 20 seconds on/10 seconds rest) and completing 30-40 minutes of exercise 3-4 days a week will get you in wedding shape in no time! Note that you should always check with your doctor before starting any program of exercise.

How To Get Fit For Your Wedding

5 :: The best course of action for quick results. If you’re short on time, you need to focus on cardio. This can be running, rowing, swimming, elliptical, stairmaster, or circuit training. Cardio should be completed a minimum of 30 minutes, but no more than 45 minutes and your breathing should be at a pace where you could say a few words, but not have a sustained conversation. Train as often as you can, but be sure to take 1 or 2 active rest days per week. Active rest could mean going for a walk or a leisurely bike ride but at a pace you could easily have a conversation the entire time.

Do you have any wedding fitness tips or motivation of your own?! Share them with us in the comments below!!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: How To Handle Common Wedding Planning Disagreements

:: How To Handle Common Wedding Planning Disagreements ::

Teamwork is super important for any joint effort. When it comes to planning a wedding, emotions tend to run high and passionate disagreements may arise… Especially when it comes to budgets and choices.

We asked expert event planner Chanda Monique Daniels, Creative Director and owner of {MRSter Approved} A Monique Affair, how to handle common wedding planning disagreements. Here are her valuable insights:

MRSter ::  Assuming parents are paying for the wedding, should they have final say, or should precedence be given to the couple who are getting married?

Chanda ::  If parents are investing in the couple’s wedding, a compromise of power should be reflected. The parents should be encouraged to understand that the couple, whose day it is ultimately, should have the final say. The couple is creating their love story, not the parents. Unless it’s something the parents have strong feelings about, such as inviting a distant cousin, which really has little bearing on the outcome of the wedding, the couple’s desires should be given preference.

A Monique Affair

Chanda of {MRSter Approved} A Monique Affair

MRSter :: What if the wedding is being paid for by the couple and they are in disagreement?

Chanda :: For the couple, I tell each person to decide early on in the planning process to pick one thing each that they absolutely must have, or have strong feelings about, such as music or food choices. Then, when, and if, these disagreements come up – there can be a check in, like, “Is this your big feeling item? If not, let’s keep it moving!”

MRSter :: Should the person who is contributing most to the wedding have the final say?

Chanda :: No! I can totally say that because the planning process is actually a good test to see how your marriage will be, because you are going through the money conversations, which often require compromises, etc. The wedding is about the couple and not just about the person who is paying. That would be totally unfair and a complete opposite of what a marriage is about.

“Money – Savings” by 401(K) 2012 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Money – Savings” by 401(K) 2012 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

MRSter :: What is your primary suggestion for solving disagreements over budget/choices involved in wedding planning?

Chanda :: Have solid conversations in the beginning! Find out what those items are that you have strong feelings about. What is the solid investment amount that makes you both feel comfortable? Once you have those conversations and things come up, you can go back to that original conversation as reference. Meet with a planner so you can know what a realistic investment for your wedding should be. That’s where the drama comes in – not knowing the true costs.

Did you and your significant other run into any disagreements during the wedding planning process? How did you handle them?! We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding

:: Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Your Wedding… Without Anyone Missing a Thing ::

As we all know, weddings are expensive! For the budget conscious engaged couple, having a wedding with family and friends may seem like an impossible dream, but never fear! There are ways of having a lovely wedding without breaking the bank (or robbing one)…

1 :: Check out inexpensive venue options :: Your venue does not have to be some fancy pansy hotel with impossibly high rates. Choose a place where you can have your ceremony and your reception. How about a beautiful park or a community clubhouse like a senior center or a VFW hall, or even a friends backyard? Get married at the courthouse, then celebrate with friends and family at a local hangout. Think outside the box and take note of what is available in your neighborhood.

2 :: Avoid guest book bloat :: Be thoughtful about your guest list. How many people can you afford to invite? Be prepared to make some tough decisions. Be cognizant of your budget bottom line and develop your guest list accordingly.

3 :: Supply your own beverages and food :: Buy your booze at a cut rate liquor store. Or just serve beer, wine and soft drinks. Make sure you have plenty though… Nothing spoils a party like running out of spirits. Are you having an outdoor wedding? Consider a barbeque. Or how about a relatively inexpensive Italian feast of spaghetti, meatballs and salad? Or a Mexican meal with big containers of rice, beans, shredded beef, tortillas and condiments so guests can put together their own plate?

4 :: Save on wedding attire :: Scout for sales, or display items, or gently used, or discontinued clothing lines. Check for buys after high school prom nights. Think beyond “wedding attire”. How about after Christmas holiday dresses that can be fabulous substitutions? Wear a suit instead of a tux. Or, go casual and comfortable and leave tradition behind.

5 :: Enlist the help and talents of friends and family :: Do you know any musicians who could play at your wedding or during the ceremony? Can someone with a good PA system act as a DJ utilizing your pre-planned song list? Does anyone you know know someone who is an excellent baker and can make your wedding cake for a bargain price? Put out a call for help. Ask for ideas. You can even suggest that friends help with the wedding instead of buying gifts!

How did you, or are you, saving money on your wedding?! We would love you to share your suggestions in the comments below…

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: How To Deal With Rain On Your Wedding Day

:: How To Deal With Rain On Your Wedding Day ::

Your wedding day has arrived! You wake up, luxuriously stretch with a big smile on your face, look out the window and gasp! Oh no! Fast dark clouds are approaching… It’s going to rain! Even though you checked the weather forecast, sometimes Mother Nature does not cooperate. It happens. But, you planned an outdoor wedding! So now what do you do?

:: Round up your wedding party and enlist their ad in calling/texting guests to bring umbrellas… And extra umbrellas.

Red Riding Hood Wedding

Photography :: Due West Photography

:: Consult with your photographer, who will likely be excited about taking advantage of the mystic light that a rainy day provides. We asked professional photographer of {MRSter Approved} Alyssa Campbell Photography for her take on a rainy day shoot. Alyssa says:

“Rain isn’t actually a bad thing. Clouds diffuse the sun, giving everything a softer light, not to mention give the sky a dramatic, moodier look. Umbrellas can be fun props to incorporate into portraits. And rain, especially at night, give wonderful ambiance to portraits when you place a light behind the couple and ‘backlight’ the rain. I think it makes things look wonderfully romantic and cool, and not many couples get portraits in the rain! These portraits can be done under umbrellas as well, so you won’t get your clothes and hair wet.”

:: Trust that your venue will help with a contingency plan. Contact them right away. Most venues have indoor space that can be utilized in a pinch. If it’s a little crowded, so what! Afterall, everyone is there to support the two of you and a crowded spot may cause some additional merriment.

:: If you’ve hired a wedding planning firm, contact them. They are professionals who will know how to make everything work. They may choose to utilize plastic tarps to protect ceremony chairs, which can be removed right before the ceremony. They will know how to contact a tent vendor, if it is necessary. They are experts who are used to engaging a backup plan.

:: Make the most out of your rainy day wedding. Rain can add beauty and intensify the romance. Dance in the rain. Play “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head”. Keep smiling. A little wet weather cannot dampen your love, and if you maintain your happiness, your guests will keep smiling too.

Did it rain on your wedding day? We would love to hear from you!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: How To Word A Same-Sex Wedding Invitation

:: How To Word A Same-Sex Wedding Invitation ::

Wedding invitation wording varies depending on who is hosting the wedding, and can be formatted in a casual or formal style. Many unique situations are the norm rather than the rule, but the invitations should always include essential information that follows the who, what, where, and when rule.

MRSter consulted with FABuLIST invitation expert Mattie Tomasik of  {MRSter Approved} Lola Lee Invitations for her advice when it comes to how to word same-sex wedding invitations.

Mattie says: 

“My advice would be to word the invitation in a way that represents the couple’s personality & style. When you choose to use the wording ‘invite you to witness their marriage’ or ‘request the honour of your presence at the marriage of’, I think it sets the tone for a more formal or traditional event. There are so many ways to word your wedding invitations now, that a couple could also choose to use one of the following:

:: Celebrate as we pledge our love and commitment

:: Celebrate our union

:: We invite you to share with us the joy of our union

:: Express our commitment to each other”

MRSter adds that while invitations via e-mail or websites such as Evite are fine for many types of get-togethers, a wedding demands an invitation with substance and longevity, so a snail-mailed invitation is the way to go. Besides, the wedding invitation becomes a keepsake for the most important day of your lives. This blogger knows someone who keeps her immigrant grandparents wedding invitation from 1917 framed in the living room! Fabulous!

Are you a same-sex couple planning your wedding? What wording did you, or are you thinking of, using for your wedding invitations? We would love to hear some of your suggestions!

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ways To Deal With A Windy Wedding

:: Top 5 Ways To Deal With A Windy Wedding ::

Mother Nature as we all know, can be fickle. No matter how many times you consult an almanac or the weather forecast for your wedding day, Mother Nature can sometimes sneak up on you and completely change her mind about what kind of day she has in store for us. If you are planning an outdoor wedding, there are a few things you need to consider…

1 :: Create a Plan for Inclement Weather :: We consulted with expert event planner Jillian Smith of {MRSter Approved} One Touch Events who advises, “When planning any outdoor portion of your event, consider your weather factors and create an inclement weather plan. This can be wind, rain, sleet, lighting, etc. If your venue has an indoor option, this is an easier solution. Watch your weather map at least 48 hours prior to the event to gauge what Mother Nature has in store for you. For windy days specifically, items that can topple over easily such as aisle treatments, pedestals, vases, etc. should be weighted down. Work with your Wedding Planner and Designer to develop creative ways to “sand bag” or strongly tie items that could easily blow away.”

Photography Via :: {MRSter Approved} OneTouch Events

Photography Via :: {MRSter Approved} OneTouch Events // Jillian Smith

2 :: Windy Day Attire :: If you plan on being married on a beautiful beach, you can almost count on some wind, or if you are reasonably sure the day will be windy, give some consideration to “wind proof” attire. Jillian states, “Wedding attire for a beach wedding should be light and airy. If you are most certain that you will have a moderate to severe windy ceremony, brides should consider a birdcage veil or hair piece as longer veils will be sure to blow unflatteringly all over the place. Same would go for dresses that could cause a Marilyn Monroe affect. Not cute! When it comes to hair, consider more structured hairstyles that are pinned so that your long tresses aren’t turned into a very bad hair day for photos, during and after the ceremony.”

3 :: Tent It :: Consider renting a canopy or tent in order to provide protection from the wind. Tents are available with sidewalls that can function as a wind barrier. This may eliminate many windy day problems and lessen the stress of your wedding day.

4 :: Music, Video and PA Systems :: Wind has absolutely no respect for sound systems. Wind screens are available, however, and can be quite useful in cutting back wind noise. Discuss the potential sound issue with your videographer and sound system person. They should also be able to assist with little tricks like placing speakers upwind.

5 :: Emergency Kit :: Every wedding should have an emergency kit, but if you are expecting wind, include such items as zip ties, glue, velcro, clamps and string.

Did you experience a windy wedding day and have some tips of your own to share with us? We would love to hear from you!

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Relationship While Wedding Planning

:: Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Relationship While Wedding Planning ::

Planning a wedding is an incredibly exciting time in your life, but it can also be incredibly stressful. You two have to make many decisions, and you probably don’t always agree. Family drama, finances, and all manner of anxiety can enter the mix and create unsettling situations. We asked relationship expert Lynda Bishop of {MRSter Approved} Relationship Insurance for her advice on ways to protect your relationship while planning your wedding (and really all the time).

1 :: Resolve the Disagreement :: Take a breath and look at your partner with fresh eyes.  See them as the person you love and reframe the disagreement as something to be solved or understood TOGETHER. Consciously get on the same team in your quest to understand two different points of view. Ask yourself if this disagreement is more important than your relationship and love for each other (it likely isn’t!). Step back, consciously get back on the same team, and choose to work together.

2 :: Compromise :: All good teams require some level of compromise. A solid couple understands that both partners opinions, wants and needs have value and all deserve consideration and input into decision making. Compromising is not the same as “giving in”. Compromising is the result of valuing each person and finding the best solution as a couple.

3 :: Enjoy Routine Date Nights :: A routine date night doesn’t need to feel routine. It is an important tradition to start and uphold because life can be busy and our relationships are too important to take a back seat every time. Relationships are strengthened through making memories together; spending time together; discovering new things together; making each other a priority. This is the basis for intimacy and growth together. Don’t skip out on date night! Your relationship is your greatest investment and date night keeps that investment growing!

4 :: Decompress :: Decompression is absolutely necessary for a healthy relationship because life sometimes get too full or feels overwhelming (and planning a wedding is right up there!). One of the main reasons we choose to be in a relationship is because it gives us a support system for harder times, and the support we give each other makes us stronger. That being said, if your relationship spends too much time in “work mode” or focused solely on a list of tasks, it is easy to fall into the habit of everything being about handling issues, resolving problems, or coping instead of enjoying. Decompression is vital to getting back to the special connection, love and fun without the pressures that wedding planning can bring. Get away and see each other with fresh new eyes again.

5 :: Build your Relationship :: Truly respect each other by making a conscious choice to connect and listen well. This means that when your partner walks into a room and talks to you, (or calls you on the phone), you stop what you are doing and really listen to what they have to say. Listen without judgment; listen to understand. What emotion are they feeling? What experience are they sharing? Get into their world right there in that moment and really SEE them. Acknowledge their experience. Show them that they matter. Make it a habit to show them that they are more important than whatever you were doing. Listen to experience and understand (not to solve, not to judge, not to criticize or argue). Truly listen.

Wow, thank you for the fantastic advice Lynda!! How are you, or did you, protect your relationship while planning your big day? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!