Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Accuracy of Your Wedding Guest List Helps You Stay On Budget

Filed under: Guest List — Larry James @ 8:00 am

It’s never too early in the wedding planning process to start talking about your guest list. Setting a realistic budget always comes first. Who is paying for the wedding?

guestlistIf your parents are paying the bill, you should talk to them about how many people they want to invite; some sensitive negotiation may be necessary here if they have 100 people, but you wanted to have a small wedding or vice versa. Depending on how much you trust your parents, letting them list out everyone they would ideally like to invite to the wedding gets everything out in the open.

Next, who is so important that you can’t imagine getting married without them there? Take your time on this one. Cuss and discuss it with each other. The size of the wedding venue may limit the amount you can invite.

The biggest mistake that guests often make is not returning RSVPs. Anyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows the importance of a punctual RSVP — from plotting your seating chart to giving the caterer a final headcount, it’s hard to proceed without a firm grasp of who’s coming. After about 10 days it’s time to give them a call. Recruit your maid of honor and several others in the wedding party to help you with phone duties if you’re really struggling with missing RSVPs. Or, better yet, send out a group e-mail (be sure to use a blind CC) saying that you need to know by a specific date if they’re planning on attending. Keep the tone nice, but firm.

RSVPWhen you put your deposit down on a venue for your wedding it is a good idea to have an accurate account of your guest list. It is easy to assume that you think you know the number you are going to invite but when you finally sit down to start listing the guests, it can change and usually increases. This can impact your budget.

WeddingGuestConnection.com is a free website that allows the bride to add, edit and delete her guests. You can start out with just the name of the guest but you can add the address, e-mail and phone at any time. Of course, phone and e-mail are optional. The website does have the ability to e-mail guests in different ways. If you know the e-mail, it doesn’t hurt to list it. Even if you want to stay with the traditional snail mail invitation, there may be other reasons to e-mail your guests. If an emergency happens where you have to postpone the wedding, it is easy to go in and e-mail the guests with this change.

The site keeps an accurate account of the headcount before and after the responses come in. The website includes the bride, groom, their children if any and the host and family. They often get forgotten when adding the number for meals. Meals become the big expense. There is a place to track seating and tables which is so appreciated by your venue.

The website, has a check list and a budget planner. It has a way to print invitations from 7 different free themes. It prints invitation envelopes along with response envelopes. It has a place to keep track of your gifts for thank you notes.

Copyright © 2012 – SAM S Sites. SAM S Sites is the owner and website designer/developer since 1995 for transNETMedia.com. When she became the mother of a bride for her only daughter she started WeddingGuestConnection.com and decided it was a great tool for brides and planners. She now shares it with the world.

Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Two Controversial Ideas Clarified for Wedding Guests…

#1. In a little European village many years ago, it was absolutely not possible for a family to entertain their neighbors and friends at a wedding, providing food and drink for everyone. They simply did not have the money. Few people did. It soon became a tradition that since every wedding celebration was a village affair; everyone who came brought something to contribute. Essentially the wedding meal became pot luck. Thus became the tradition that very few today call, “Cover-your-plate.” My research tells me that this idea is still practiced in some areas of the Northeastern United States.

CoverplateIn so many words, some brides – who have a low budgets – are suggesting that all guests have cash included in a wedding card as a gift to her wedding to “cover their plate” at the reception. When I first heard of this, my first thought was: “How ridiculous! That’s utter nonsense! Cut the budget – do anything – but don’t ask the guests to pay for their own meal.”

Let’s be clear this is NOT a reception norm. As a matter of fact some say the cover-your-plate custom is a myth perpetuated by greedy brides. This idea is largely disparaged and denied by every single etiquette expert, including Emily Post and Miss Manners.

Columnist, Carolyn Hax says, “How ridiculous — and grabby, and rude — the cover-your-plate requirement really is.” She continues, “It’s also not a requirement at all but instead a corrupt little myth. You are under no obligation to reduce your love and support for your friends into a quid pro quo with the wedding couple and their caterer.”

I agree!

coupledancing#2. What about “Plus 1?” Single bridesmaids and groomsmen do not get an automatic Plus 1. It’s not okay for guests to ask the bride to make exceptions. Unless your invitation says “and guest” it’s rude to ask the bride if you can bring your boyfriend or girlfriend. Wedding invitations are non-negotiable.

As another way to trim their wedding budgets, “many couples are not including ‘plus ones’ for their single guests,” says Claudia Lutman (etiquette expert). This goes against the once-standard rule that unattached guests of a certain age should be allowed to bring a date. The tricky part about breaking this rule is deciding what constitutes “single” – for example, a couple may have guests who are unmarried but live with their significant others. Sharon Naylor advises making a rule of inviting only “the non-married couples with whom you socialize.” Though some guests might be offended, “it’s one of those sticky things that is necessary in today’s financial era,” she says.

Anna Post writes in the Emily Post etiquette guidelines, “It’s not okay for guests to ask you to make exceptions, so it won’t be rude in the least [for brides] to stand by their guest list.” It may be an awkward conversation for the bride, but she shouldn’t hesitate to reach out and politely let the guest know that her wedding budget (and/or the size of her venue) doesn’t allow for any guest list additions.

Some generous brides invite their whole bridal party with dates or invite many of their single friends with dates. It may be an exception to invite a friend with a date when she is the only single friend in the wedding party. If you are a bride and groom on a budget, you may want to make a rule that you are only inviting guests with dates who are married, engaged or you may want to stretch it to people living together (no matter the sex). As for long-term boyfriends and girlfriends, it’s more or less up to the bride, but it’s smart for her to go with a hard and fast rule – all or none – to keep things fair across the board.

BONUS Article: Cover-your-plate Requirement a Myth by Greedy Brides

Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

10 Blunt-But-Loving Ways to Tell People They’re Not Invited to Your Wedding!

Filed under: Guest Authors,Guest List — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Ariel Meadow Stallings, Guest Author

NOTinvitedOh, the trials of the wedding guest list. Especially if you’re throwing a smaller wedding, dealing with frustrations from family and friends who aren’t invited to your wedding can be grueling. I wrote about this in my book — dealing with your wedding’s guest list can make you feel like a big mean club bouncer, deciding who’s in and who’s out of the VIP line.

While there’s no way to make everyone happy, I do believe that there are a few key phrases you can use to let uninvited guests to that you love them, you SO appreciate their interest, but no, they’re still not invited.

Read the rest of the article by Ariel Meadow Stallings at: http://offbeatbride.com/2011/09/tell-people-theyre-not-invited-to-wedding. Copyright © 2011 – Ariel Meadow Stallings.

Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Making Your Guest List Budget-Friendly!

It’s never too early in the wedding planning process to start talking about your guest list. First things first. It’s all about the budget! The best way to cut the cost of your wedding is by managing the guest list.

Know what your budget is for food at the reception. Decide how many you want to invite then use the following list to help. If you’re on a tight budget, a smaller wedding may be the way to go. Each guest you invite translates into dollars spent on your wedding.

Here are a few things to think about when you are building your guest list for your wedding and reception. If you are paying for it yourself, you can pretty much invite as many as you can afford. If someone else is paying for the wedding, consult with them about a budget – and stick to it.

Who is so important that you can’t imagine getting married without them there? What can you afford? What is the wedding venue charging per plate? Sometimes a buffet is more economical. Who is absolutely not welcome?

Budget-Wedding-GuestlistRemember: family first!

1. Bride’s list (Family) – Must be invited

2. Groom’s list (Family) – Must be invited

3. Our list (Friends) – Should be invited

4. Would be nice to be invited. If you’re no longer friendly with certain people from your past, don’t feel obliged to invite them.

Narrowing down the wedding guest list is never an enviable task, but since a lot of your major wedding planning decisions are dependent on the number of guests you’re inviting, it’s a good idea to not wait until the last minute to finalize your list. Go through it with a red pen. It is better to first write up a preliminary list, then after a bit of consideration, have a second meeting to finalize the details. There is only one way to include everyone on your wedding guest list and that is increase your budget, which is usually unrealistic. 😉

If your wedding guest list already approaches your budget’s limit, take a step back. You might want to consider making your wedding an adults-only affair. You can trim the reception budget quite a bit if you eliminate having children at the reception. You do, however, run the risk of some close friends who have kids deciding not to show up for the wedding, either because they are offended by your choice or because they have no babysitter. You might want to consider providing guests with the names and numbers of local babysitters.

Kids look cute at weddings in their dress-up duds, but they don’t need to be there if you need to make cuts. It is inappropriate to write “No Children” on the invitations. Note on the reception “RSVP” card that an adult reception will be held after the ceremony. The only correct wording for your “save the date” cards is “Adult Reception,” “Adults Only Reception” or “Adult Only Ceremony and Reception.”

guest_listConsider limiting the amount of people you allow to bring dates. Forget about adding “and guest” indiscriminately to single friends’ invitations.

Will your ex and their date be excluded? Inviting an ex to a wedding is generally considered taboo, however, in some cases it might be acceptable, especially if one partner has an ex with whom he or she shares children.

How about people who are known to always drink to much?

If you see you will be over budget, begin your trims with business associates, then parents of your attendants. The people on your wedding guest list should be people you truly care about, not people you feel obligated to invite.

The first stage of planning your wedding is excitement! Yippeee… it’s FINALLY my turn! You can avoid hurt feelings if you hold off on the big announcement to everyone except your immediate family. I know you’re excited but resist the urge to tell anyone else until you know the wedding’s approximate size and your budget. Remember this is YOUR wedding, not your parents or in-laws. Set limits. I know that may be difficult if one side of the family is paying for the wedding and the other side insists on inviting a bigger share of their friends.

One of the most important first steps is to clearly define your parents’ involvement in the wedding. Odds are, if they’re the ones coughing up most of the cash for your nuptials, then they’re going to be eager to invite everyone on their guest list. And its only proper for the two of you to extend that courtesy.

The easiest way to satisfy everyone and avoid conflict is to set an equal number of guests that each family is allowed to invite. How they choose to select those guests is up to them. Make things clear to both your families early on. Once you have a final number of guests in mind, it’s a good idea to divide the number of invitations by thirds. One for your family, one for the new in-laws and one set of invitations for your friends. Determine how many guests each set of parents will be able to invite. Ask them for a list of names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail that does not exceed the number of guests they are allotted.

Most wedding consultants agree that if you invite 100 guests, about 20% may not respond or show up. Have a small back-up guest list ready for those who decline the invitation. Once the guest list and the budget are determined, you may have to make some adjustments to one or both to accommodate everyone.

It is impolite for a guest to ask if he or she can bring a date, however, it is not impolite of you to refuse. Say, “I’m sorry, Erica, but we have very limited seating at the reception and we just can’t accommodate any additional guests.”

Allow for errors when you order your wedding invitation. By the way, it is always a courtesy to send invitations to those people you know will probably not be able to attend due to great distance or illness. Mail your invitations out at least two to three months in advance for a normal wedding and six months or more if you’ve selected a holiday weekend. Be patient waiting for RSVPs, and don’t hesitate to call unresponsive guests at least two weeks before the wedding.

Plan your wedding guest list according to budget, guest importance and stay with it!

BONUS Articles: Wedding Guest List Mistakes
No Rugrats (Children) Allowed!
6 Questions to Ask Before Inviting Your Ex
The Stages of Wedding Planning on a Budget
Does Your Wedding Guest List Include Out of Town Guests?

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Ceremony. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 460 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Guestimating Your Wedding Guest List?

Filed under: Guest Authors,Guest List,Wedding Tips — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

Melissa Stark Baldwin, Guest Author

A guest estimate is vital in choosing an event space that is comfortable for your wedding and can be very – if not extremely – confusing for any bride. Not to worry! With a little bit of effort, organization, and guess work, you should be able to come to a workable conclusion for a guest count to aide you in choosing a spectacular venue that is the perfect size for your wedding.

The first step is to list everyone that you intend to invite to your wedding, and then separate that list into local guests and out of town guests. Of your closer friends and family, you can assume that 85% to 90% will attend. Out-of-town guests are a whole other estimate; about 50% to 55% of them should be anticipated to attend. If your guests live more than a few hours drive from your Albany, Saratoga Springs, or Adirondack wedding venue, they will likely fall into the out-of-town category.

The secret to getting this kind of turn out is to send out your invites well in advance (about 8 weeks) and to use save the dates if you can (about 6 months prior). If these numbers confuse you, don’t worry about it, here’s a quick breakdown:

weddingguestsYour Guest List: 175 guests
In-Town Guests: 125
Out-of-Town Guests: 50

In-Town Guest List:
125 guests x 85% expected turn out ratio = 107 guests (always round up 1 for decimals)

Out-of-Town Guest List:
50 guests x 50% expected turn out ratio = 25 guests

Your low estimated guest turnout is: 132

If you like you can also use the higher percentages to estimate a higher count, and average the two together to provide yourself with a median. This can be useful if you have a lot of out-of-town relatives that you know like to travel.

Your Guest List: 175 guests
In-Town Guests: 125
Out-of-Town Guests: 50

In-Town Guest List:
125 guests x 90% expected turn out ratio = 113 guests (always round up 1 for decimals)

Out-of-Town Guest List:
50 guests x 55% expected turn out ratio = 28 guests

Your high estimated guest turnout is: 141

Average Guest Count:
132 smaller estimate + 141 larger estimate= 273
273 ÷ 2 = 137

Your total average guest count is: 137

Of course, these numbers will always vary by event and guest type. However, these numbers can be well worth your time if you want to pick the right size of venue. It is also a great way to get a head start on address collection for your invitation list. It’s never too early to hire a wedding planner! Getting a wedding planner involved early on is key to getting your guest list and your wedding plans organized so that both of you can really enjoy your big day!

MelissaStarkBaldwin

Copyright © 2011 – Melissa Stark Baldwin. Reprinted with permission. Melissa Stark Baldwin, Allied Member ASID and Consultant with ABC is Owner of Weddings by the Mis’ess, an event design and wedding coordination company in Clifton Park, New York. Her Weddings by the Mis’ess blog is a compilation of wedding trend and design tips meant to assist couples throughout their planning processes. By covering a variety of topics, Melissa provides inspirational ideas to couples for consideration while establishing their wedding needs. The blog provides an insight into the services, creativity, and value that Melissa provides to all of her clients. Visit Melissa’s Website and Blog.

Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 455 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
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