By Ivy JacobsonYou may have anticipated some tricky trade-offs when creating your guest list, but have you thought about plus-ones yet?No one understands better than we do the stress and nuances of planning a beautiful, personal wedding within your budget. One of the first big steps in creating that budget is putting together a guest list that works for your venue—plus-ones included. So how do you tackle this hot topic? Start by going back to the basics: Each head count costs money, and venues hold only a certain number of people. You’ll need to tread carefully and follow these tips so everyone will have a wonderful time at your wedding.Who should get a plus-one?Anyone Who’s MarriedAlthough we love to break some traditional rules, it’s always best to invite both parties in a married couple, even if you’re closer with one person than the other, or if you’ve never even met someone’s spouse. Think about it—would you want to attend a wedding without your spouse? It’s polite to acknowledge that even though you’ve never met your aunt’s new husband or your future father-in-law’s boss’s wife, you respect their union.Anyone Who’s Engaged, Lives Together or is in a Long-Term, Serious RelationshipAny couples who are engaged, live together or who have been dating over a year should get a plus-one. In this day and age, lots of couples live together before they get married—or never get married at all—so acknowledging their commitment is the right thing to do. While you can use your judgment with couples who’ve been dating over a year—say, your 16-year-old cousin and his girlfriend—you and your partner should be able to tell if it’s a serious relationship. If not, err on the side of caution and give them a plus-one.Your Wedding PartyExtending a plus-one to everyone in your wedding party is a courteous move they’ll definitely appreciate. This doesn’t mean you have to force each bridesmaid and groomsman to bring a date to your wedding if they don’t want to (there’s a chance they’ll decline anyway), but it’s important to make the offer because they’ve been there for you from the start. Shopping, planning your bachelorette party, fastening the 150 buttons down your wedding dress, ushering your grandparents down the aisle, calling the limo company last minute—the list is endless, which proves just how much these friends have mattered throughout your wedding prep process. It’s important to remember they’ve not only given you their time, love and energy, but they’ve also spent a lot of money on attire, lodging and transportation, maybe for multiple events. Trust us on this one—they deserve a plus-one.A VIP Guest Who Won’t Know AnyoneSay one of your very best friends from childhood who lives across the country is a VIP guest, and single. While she knows you and maybe your parents and partner, none of you are likely to have much time to spend with her. Give important guests who fit this description a plus-one so they can feel comfortable and have fun too.Who doesn’t need a plus-one?Guests Who Are Casually DatingIf the guest in question seems to have a new significant other every few months or hasn’t been dating the same person for more than a year, giving them a plus-one isn’t a priority, although it is thoughtful if you have the budget to do so.CoworkersCoworkers can be a tricky guest list category altogether, even without the issue of plus-ones, so let’s back up for a moment. The easiest way to avoid any drama is to not invite any coworkers at all. That way nobody feels left out. But if you’re close to some of your coworkers (you socialize outside the office and text or call their cell phone) and everyone knows it, it’s fine to invite them. Just don’t hand them their invites at work or make a big deal out of it. Keeping wedding talk to a minimum at the office is smart anyway. However, if you work on a smaller team and are considering inviting a handful of coworkers (that you aren’t friends with outside of work), invite the entire team or skip them altogether. This goes for plus-ones too. Whether you invite your work besties or your team, if one person gets a plus-one, then everyone else should too.As for your boss, invite him or her if you have a friendly relationship, along with a plus-one. If you don’t, you’re certainly not required to ask them to attend. Often, unless you’re close, your boss will acknowledge your thoughtfulness, decline, and send a gift.Single Guests You’re Not Especially Close to and Who Will Know Other GuestsIf your mother-in-law insists that cousin Olivia needs an invitation (even though your partner hasn’t seen her in 10 years), it’s okay to not give her a plus-one if she’s not married or in a serious relationship. While you may not be able to afford extra guests for everyone, it may start a fight if you want to cut people from your guest list just because you can’t let them bring a date (especially if they’re on your in-laws’ list). Deal with this problem on a case-by-case basis, then carefully consider where to seat them at the wedding if they attend.But if your budget just won’t allow certain guests to have plus-ones (and you want them to bring someone), this is where having a B-list comes in handy.Let’s Talk About Your A- and B-ListsHaving two lists is how you’ll be able to invite the most people without increasing your budget or having to find a larger venue. Here’s how it works: Your A-list consists of the must-have invites you couldn’t imagine not having at your wedding, like your family members and close friends, and their plus-ones. They’ll receive your first round of invitations. Anyone not essential (no, we don’t mean people you don’t like, but rather colleagues you might be able to skip) should be added to the B list, and their plus-ones. These are people you would enjoy having at your wedding but who cannot be extended an invite in the first round. It’s completely fine to add plus-ones to your B-list too, and if it turns out that you do have the budget for your nephew’s new girlfriend to come, you can always invite her at a later date.If you start getting RSVPs and it turns out you have enough “regrets,” (between 10 and 20 percent of those invited will decline) then you’ll start sending invites to your B-list in order of importance. That said, one of the dangers of a B-list is sending invitations out with a too-tight RSVP date for your new additions. To avoid this, consider sending out your first set of invitations a little earlier (instead of six to eight weeks before the date, aim for 10 weeks). If this is impossible, consider ordering some invitations with a later response date.And so things don’t get sticky…Order extra invitations.If you think you might be sending a second set of invitations for a B-list, prepare for it ahead of time. Not only will it make the process smoother, it’ll save you some serious cash since buying invitations in small batches is much more expensive than ordering them in a single shipment.Be realistic about the number of guests and plus-ones to avoid stress later on.Crunching the numbers isn’t the most glamorous part of wedding planning, but there is a figure you really can’t avoid: your guest list count. Your budget and the venue size are the main factors that should play into this decision. Each guest adds to the number of plates your caterer will prepare, favors, chair rentals and how much cake you’ll need. Choose a number that’s larger than your venue’s capacity and you’ll be holding your breath every time you open an RSVP. It’s much better to keep your number on the conservative side. If there’s room in the budget or you end up having more space than you thought you would, add later on. Make it easy on yourself and use The Knot Budget Calculator to play around with the numbers and see how much you can save or spend by subtracting or adding from your guest list.Include names on the response cards.Yours wouldn’t be the first wedding where a guest crams two (or three or four) plus-ones onto one line, even though the invitation was made out to one person. The way to avoid this problem is to print the guests’ names onto the RSVP card. Do this and there’s almost no way anyone can force an invite on you. If for some reason you still get an extra write-in, don’t take their faux pas personally. Instead, politely call and tell them the deal: You’d love to have everyone, but budget and space mean it’s just not possible. Then take the conversation in a totally different direction.Make sure you know the name of every plus-one.Play detective and know the name of every plus-one so you can have it written and spelled correctly on the save-the-date, invitation and escort card. Even if you have to fall down a Facebook rabbit hole or make a call, it’s 100 percent worth it, and the polite thing to do. It looks so much better than “and Guest” on all stationery, and all parties will appreciate your extra legwork.
By Amanda BlackHere’s what you need to know to get your wedding invitations addressed, packaged and in the mail.We hate to break it to you, but picking out your invitation design and placing your order is just the first part of the invitation process. Next comes the nitty-gritty of putting each suite together in an envelope, addressing them (properly) and figuring out the right postage. We broke it down in six easy steps to walk you through it. Continue reading
By The KnotYou should definitely take your time celebrating your engagement—but when you’re ready to officially start planning, here’s how to dive in.Once the initial shock of being engaged wears off (and you take a second to peel your eyes away from the new ring on your finger!), you’ll need to start making decisions. Here are the 11 most important things you need to do to really kick off your wedding planning.Set a TimetableThe minute you get engaged, everyone will be asking for your wedding date. But in reality, you won’t be able to set an exact date until other major decisions—like choosing (and booking) your venue—are made. So first, focus on determining a range of dates that’ll work for you. The average engagement lasts 15 months, but also think about what season you’d prefer, any major holidays or family events you’d like to avoid conflicting with, and how long you predict you’ll need to plan. Continue reading
by Stephanie HallettIt’s the night before your wedding and you’re sitting down for one last meal with your nearest and dearest before the big day. You already know that a rehearsal dinner can be casual or formal, a dinner, lunch, or even breakfast, and that it’s a chance for you to give thank-you gifts to the members of your wedding party and spend more intimate time with your loved ones. But do you know who’s allowed to give a toast? The short answer is, basically everyone.The list of toasts to be given at your wedding should be short—you don’t want to cut into that dance floor time! — not to mention the toasts themselves should be kept to a maximum time of three minutes. But the rehearsal dinner offers a chance for anyone to speak and share a story, since the setting is more relaxed. Here’s a list of possible rehearsal dinner speakers — consider it, and revise according to your own needs and desires. Continue reading
by Lauren RodrigueThere are two types of wedding party attendants out there. There’s the type who will think of your wedding as a symbolic culmination of your and your partner’s love and devotion to one another, and a dramatic step forward into a new phase of your relationship, and then there’s the type who will think of your wedding as a chance to get totally insanely wasted! It’s not that those in the former camp won’t let loose on your big day, or those in the latter camp aren’t super psyched on you and your soon-to-be spouse’s love—it’s just that some bridesmaids and groomsmen really like to get totally insanely wasted. Continue reading
by Lindsay Pietroluongo
You’ve been asked to make a speech at a wedding and you want keep things funny, not sappy. The good news is that you don’t have to be Kristen Wiig or Chris Rock to give a toast that’s hilarious. Here’s how to write a wedding speech that will get your audience laughing aloud.
Need to find some inspiration? Brainstorm ideas while watching your favorite sitcom or funny movie, or listening to a stand-up comic. You don’t want to copy the jokes you hear word for word, but they may spark your own creativity. While it’s tempting to steal a great punch line, remember that you’ll get a better response from a joke that’s original.
Make it quick
Wedding speeches only have to be two or three minutes long. If you go any longer, you’ll start to lose people’s attention, causing your humor to land flat. Continue reading
Some brides-to-be might find it hard to think beyond the intense planning that a wedding requires. But beyond the pomp and circumstance of the big day, it’s important to think ahead to mergers — not the corporate kind, but the merging of styles and décor to set up a home the bride and groom will both love.Forget Mars and Venus. Men are from the planet of mismatched furniture and floor coverings, while women accessorize their home with as much care and finesse as they do their wardrobes. Ideally, decorating a first home together begins with the furniture and accessories near and dear to both the bride and groom.But if a bride-to-be can’t live with her fiancé’s 1970s thrift store coffee table and orange bean bag chair, chances are he won’t be thrilled with her antique oak hope chest and ornately carved sleigh bed. Can these two conflicting schemes co-exist after the couple has crossed the threshold? Continue reading
There are a few big purchases in life that you really don’t want to mess up — a first house, a health care plan, a new car, and especially, the engagement ring for your loved one.According to The Knot, a popular wedding inspiration magazine and planning website, the decision is so important it takes consumers more than three months to find the perfect ring, and the average cost is $5,000.If you’re starting to sweat under the pressure, here’s a step-by-step guide to make your decision easier:
- Determine the Metal
* Platinum is a naturally white metal, meaning it will never fade, change color, or need to be re-dipped or re-plated.* White gold, on the other hand, is a created by adding an alloy mix to yellow gold. As the white color fades, the ring will need to be re-dipped a few times each year. Continue reading
- Vision!It helps to figure out everything you’re dreaming of for your wedding day. Do you visualize a formal affair with a sit down dinner or something more social like unique food stations? Every vision will require a different layout.
- Location, Location, Location!Your wedding might be held at your home or at a venue, so knowing as much information about the location is a great start when planning your wedding. Where are the closest hotels? What is the plan for parking? Are there local ordinances that will effect a tented wedding?
- Temperature!You want your guests to be comfortable! The weather can vary depending on what month, or even what time of day, you’re getting married. A wedding mid-summer may be super warm, so be sure to rent fans to keep your guests cool! If your wedding is during cooler months, you’ll definitely want to have your guests be cozy. Renting a heater can warm the tent, and your guests, right up!
- Be an Early Bird!When booking a tent, it is best to do it sooner rather than later!
- Have a Rain Plan!While we hate saying the “R” word but…having a rain plan is the best way to keep your special day completely worry-free so that your guests, tables, florals, and décor can all be kept safe and dry from any rain storms that may roll through! If indoor spaces aren’t an option you could consider a rain plan conditional tent rental.
- Finding the Perfect Flooring!There are so many choices when it comes to flooring! If your crowd will tend to be more subdued maybe you want just a small dance floor, if your family is known for their dancing “skills” then maybe you’ll want a larger floor to give Uncle Joe plenty of room to do his signature moves. If you’re worried that grass + high heels = bad news, you might want to consider a full floor for your tent.
- Reserving the Right Tent!A tent that is too small can impact the overall flow of your wedding, and some factors, such as the amount of people attending or, if you’re having a plated meal or a buffet, contribute to the size tent that you’ll be needing. It helps to talk through all these things with your tent company to make sure everything will have a place in the tent for your wedding day.
- Shine Bright!Lighting is an easy way to add a dramatic touch to your wedding. Be sure to ask us about the lighting options available to you!
- Sound Check!If you’re having a DJ or a Band play at your wedding, be sure to do a sound check so that it can be heard throughout the tent. Some towns have requirements on how loud the music can be or how late it can be played until, so be sure to find out that information and share it with your entertainment beforehand!
We buy almost everything online, nowadays, from clothes to accessories, even groceries and electronics. That’s why some people are even browsing diamond rings online in hopes of finding the perfect engagement ring, at the perfect price.
So if you’re committed to ditching store hopping for online browsing, here are 6 things to know before you press the buy now button on an engagement ring you found online.
- Do Your Research
Just like you would for a brick and mortar store, be sure to do your research on the online store. Read reviews from past customers and search credible sources to find out more about them. Continue reading