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Sometimes in the mid of planning their wedding, impressionable couples can have a tough time sorting out the good ideas from the bad. Just because you have seen something done at another wedding does not necessarily mean that it is okay to include at your own. Ten tacky things to avoid are:
1. A dollar dance with the bride. I do not care how many times you have seen this done, it is never acceptable. And no, you should not have a "money tree" either.
2. A cash bar. These people are your guests – you can not expect them to pay for your reception. You did not call them up and ask them to pay for your wedding gown or bridal jewelry, did you? Graciously serve what you can afford. If that means beer and wine instead of French champagne, that is perfectly fine. Or create a signature drink; it is a very stylish way to avoid the expense of a full open bar.
3. Speaking of the wedding gown, be very wary of lace-up or corset backs. Unless they are done extremely well by an expert in corset construction, they just look trashy. Also beware the danger of back fat squishing through the laces – very unsightly, and it can happen to almost anyone, no matter how slim she may be.
4. While we are on the subject of the bridal ensemble, let's talk about accessories. You will certainly want to be fully bejeweled on your wedding day, from your hair on down to your feet. Remember, though, to keep it tasteful, and to balance your bridal jewelry with your other accents. For instance, if you are wearing a grand and opulent tiara, choose a delicate pendant instead of a three inch wide rhinestone choker to adorn your neck. You want to wear your accessories, not to have them wear you!
5. For the gentlemen – do not try to get too creative with your black tie. A vest or cumberbund in a color that ties in with the bridesmaids' dresses is fine, but one covered with cartoon characters crosses the line. And need I even mention that a tuxedo print t-shirt is frightening, not clever?
6. This one is for the guests: the invitation is meant only for those to which it was addressed. That means that you can not bring your children or your cousin visiting for the weekend, unless they were specifically invited.
7. Bridesmaid abuse. Please remember that your bridesmaids are not indentured servants. Being close friends of the bride, they are likely to volunteer to help her go gown shopping, assemble favors, etc., but a bride should not demand that for the one year precedent her wedding these women dedicate every spare minute to preparing for her wedding . Nor can you make unreasonable demands regarding the appearance of your friends. If you liked your someone enough to ask her to be in your wedding in the first place, you should like her enough to let her be herself at the wedding.
8. Including registry information with the wedding invitation. Putting the details about a bridal registry on the invitation makes it look like the guest must bring a present in order to be admitted to the reception. While most guests will probably be happy to give the newlyweds a gift to help them start off their new life together, it is not mandatory.
9. And while we are on the subject of gifts, here is one of the tackiest things of all: neglecting to send thank you notes for each and every gift. Handwritten notes, not some generic pre-printed thing left on the tables at the reception, and for heaven's sake, no e-mails! There is a common misconception that a couple has a year after the wedding to send out thank you notes. This is inaccurate – the year is the time span during which it would have considered proper for a guest to send out a wedding gift. The easiest way to handle thank you notes is to write them within a week of receiving the gift. That way, the excitement of opening the package is still fresh in your mind, and it is much easier to be sincere.
10. This last one is also for the guests: no snickering about when the bride is "pure" enough to wear white!