Etiquette & Guests • Official TopWedding Blog
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Wedding gifts etiquette

Gifts form an integral part of weddings. From the gift registry to the favors, presents circulate quite freely on wedding days, which is why it’s extremely important to remain courteous and establish a few rules of etiquette. Indeed, merely accepting a wedding gift with a quick “thank you” is not at all enough. There are certainly a few rules of the thumb to follow both during and after the wedding reception.

Wedding reception

For example, it’s an all too common occurrence to stack the gifts in a corner of the wedding reception hall. However, while this certainly adds an air of festivity to your special day, a blatant display of presents might be embarrassing for any guest who got you a smallish parcel. Most importantly, as alluring as gifts are, a wedding should be so much more than just presents. So, be sure to assign someone who will either stack the presents in a different room or place them in a car, ready to be driven to your place after the reception.

Stacks of wedding gift

Of course, we all know that a thank you note is in order after the wedding. Unfortunately, after the high merriment of the ceremony followed by a peaceful and relaxing honeymoon, most couples blissfully forget about thanking the people who took the time and funds to buy them a wedding present. Bear in mind that you don’t have to send thank you notes right away: your guests will certainly understand that the first few days are the wedding are going to be quite hectic will a lot of readjustment from your part. But, a month later, after the honeymoon and after you’ve settled into your new life, it’s really crucial for you to address a note to each guest. Phone calls are obviously too time consuming and texts are too impersonal. Emails are acceptable but, honestly, most people would rather receive an actual handwritten card which will look and feel much more personal.

Small thank you gifts to your guests

During the reception, it’s not a bad idea to give your bridal party and guests a few inexpensive tokens as a thank you for their gifts and presence.  Of course, you already have the wedding favors on hand but a cheap albeit tasteful memento of the wedding is always an appreciated touch. Think simple items like gourmet recipes of every food at your reception, homemade soap or sachets of potpourri. You can also attach a handwritten note to each thank you gift which reads something along the lines of “Thank you for thinking of us.”

Couple and bridal party

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsTopic WeddingWedding Planning on Feb 11th,2015
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Traditional wedding rituals with a twist

Circular seating arrangement

Wedding traditions form part of the entire charm of the ceremony. From the rice shower to tossing the bouquet or even sharing a first dance with your new spouse, weddings are certainly brimming with the sort of traditions and rituals that add to the overall romance. Still, with the emergence of new trends and contemporary lifestyles, it’s not a bad idea to add some innovative twists to your traditional wedding rituals. More and more couples are tweaking with classic rituals, with some of them even going for circular seat arrangements instead of the classic side by side ones.

Wedding doughnut cake

The wedding cake, for example, is another easy element which you can use to add a refreshing twist to your special day. Indeed, forget about the boring sponge cake and don’t hesitate to let your imagination run wild as you find some handy substitutes. While the Croquembouche is certainly different from the classic cakes, it is increasingly growing in popularity and therefore lack that particular original touch. On the other hand, something unique like a pancake or doughnut wedding cake will not only bring a twist to an age-old wedding ritual, but it’ll also impress your guests who were undoubtedly expecting boring slices of sponge cake! Don’t be afraid to explore new boundaries as well: for example, if you’re having a summer wedding on a really hot day, there’s no reason why you can’t create a giant ice cream sundae and, instead of slicing into the cake, you reach for a scoop of ice cream.

Toasting the guests instead of the couple

Another innovative twist is through the wedding toast: while the parents and the in-laws normally toast to the happy couple, it would be quite a nice touch to direct the toast to the guests or to the bridal party instead. After all, bridal parties provide an extremely firm support on your special day, which is why it’s important to thank them through a surprise toast. The toast can be followed by an energetic first dance– a wonderful twist on the traditionally slow dance. In fact, couples can even take some salsa, cha-cha, step or even Charleston dance lessons prior to the big day and wow their guests with some rapid moves on the reception night.

Energetic first dance

The ritual of tossing the bouquet has been present for ages. It is commonly thought that whichever single woman catches the bride’s bouquet will be the next to walk down the aisle, but does it seem fair that only one-out of so many- female wedding guest gets to grab the bouquet? In fact, to tweak this ritual and give more than one lady a chance, why don’t you toss several bouquet or a multitude of flowers over your shoulder instead of limiting yourself to just one single bouquet? Indeed, this fresh idea is bound to impress your guests while bringing a deep touch of fun and merriment to your wedding day.

Throwing several flower

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Feb 05th,2015
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Overnight wedding receptions: Taking care of the guests

If you’re having a destination wedding or if you’re getting married in a hotel, there’s a huge chance that your guests might stay over. Whilst this is certainly a case of ‘the more the merrier’, couples should make a few arrangements to ensure the well-being of their guests for overnight wedding receptions. In all fairness, they did make quite a trip to share this special day with you, so, it’s your duty as the newly-weds to ensure their comfort. Overnight wedding receptions can be draining, so before you retire, be sure that your guests have everything they need.

Destination wedding

For example, if you’re having a farmhouse wedding, the very first thing that you should do is make sure that every guest or couple has their own individual rooms. Everyone will be tired after all the drinking and partying and the last thing that they’ll want is share a cramped room with Great Uncle Alfie and his incessant snoring! If the farmhouse, inn or lodge of your choice doesn’t have enough rooms available, try to cut back on the guest list until you manage to get everyone a room. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to pre-book the rooms at least three months in advance to guarantee that your guests will each have a comfortable place to stay.

Farmhouse wedding

Comfortable inn or hotel room

Of course, comfort is the order of the day when it comes to catering to overnight wedding receptions. A few personal touches can go a long way, so, don’t hesitate to take some extra steps to make friends and relatives feel ultra-welcome. For example, if you’re throwing your reception in a hotel backyard, be sure to ask the management if they can decorate the place in fairy lights and Chinese Lanterns for a magical feel. A more considerate touch, however, would be to buy a good stock of individual chocolate squares and ask the inn concierge to place each one on your guests’ pillows as a special surprise.

Wedding reception in hotel backyard

Chocolate on pillow

Couples who are not on a limited budget can also invest in some personalized gifts, other than the wedding favors of course. Imagine your guests’ reactions as they walk into their room to find monogramed towels, throws or blankets which they can take home with them. To make the wedding even more memorable, why don’t you print your names and wedding date on the towel? To give the parents some alone time together, you may even ask the hotel to provide a suite just for the children and hire a babysitter to look after them.

Monogramed towel or throw

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Dec 22nd,2014
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Sweet gifts for your flower girls

Who doesn’t go ‘aawww’ at the sight of a sweet little flower girl walking cheerily down the aisle in her gauzy dress and flower basket? Indeed, as the miniature stars of the show, flower girls certainly deserve to be applauded for their efforts. After all, it’s not easy for a child to face such a huge crowd with what they deem to be the serious task of sprinkling rose petals down the aisle. These days, the new emerging trend is to reward these adorable little girls with a gift, not unlike the customary bridesmaid present.

Personalised shirt

The good news is that it’s extremely easy to find a couple of sweet gifts for your flower girls. Kids are extremely easy to please and they’re probably going to be happy with whatever you choose to gift wrap. Still, as the adult and- more importantly- the bride, it’s your duty to present them with a memorable token that they will be able to take out in years to come and remember your special day with fondness. A piece of jewellery, for example, is exactly the sort of token that can last for decades to come.

Pendant

Fortunately, the wedding market is practically brimming with jewellery options for flower girls. Whether you’re looking for a child’s ring, a locket, pendant or even a bracelet, be sure to get it engraved with your wedding date. Or, failing that, you can purchase a special ‘Flower Girl’ box from a gift shop to pack your gift. Popular options include flower girl pendants or personalized bracelets. Otherwise, why don’t you buy a collection of small, inexpensive gifts like dolls, teddies, puzzles and candies? To really wow your flower girl, don’t hesitate to put all the gifts in a single basket for a more dramatic impact.

Personalised bracelet

Alternatively, consider giving your flower girl a brightly painted treasure chest with the wedding date engraved on it. Girls love treasure chests and since these can also double as jewellery boxes, you might even consider giving one to each of your bridesmaids as well! If you can afford it, however, an absolutely fabulous option would be to simply purchase flower girl dress for the little one. This will not only help her parents cut back on a few expenses, but it will also be an extremely generous gesture from your part. Couples who are trying to stick to a limited budget may gift the flower girl a pair of shoes for the wedding, instead of the dress.

Flower girl dress

Treasure box

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Dec 11th,2014
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Post wedding celebrations to thank your guests

There’s no question about it: your entourage certainly makes the entire wedding planning process much less strenuous. Indeed, bridesmaids and groomsmen are usually chosen on the basis of their relationship with the bride and groom because they are the ones who will support the happy couple every step of the way. This is why etiquette dictates that it’s considered good form to hold a small gathering or party after the wedding to thank your closest guests.

Bride and groom

Of course, the wedding reception is a chance to thank everyone while showing them how grateful you are for all their help. But, since it can be quite impersonal, it’s not a bad idea to host a post-wedding celebration to thank a few select friends and relatives. A personalized gift for each of them is a nice start, but the new trend nowadays is to invite your most special friends to a small post-wedding gathering where everyone can finally have a chance to put their feet up, relax and talk about the celebrations.

Wedding reception

Since you’ll probably be exhausted in the days after the wedding, be sure to stick to a simple gathering. For example, if you’re honeymooning at a hotel, why don’t you invite your maid of honor and best man over for a post wedding brunch? Casual, albeit elegant, a hotel brunch will not only display your gratitude towards these important people in your life, but it will also provide you with a cozy environment where you can reminiscence about the wedding. If you want, don’t hesitate to ask your parents and in-laws to drop by for brunch as well.

Post wedding brunch at hotel

Another relaxed post wedding celebration that won’t strain you out is taking your closest friends and relatives out for a casual picnic in the great outdoors. Indeed, if it’s spring or summer, don’t hesitate to make the most out of the weather by taking the bridal party to lunch on the beach or next to a lake. Remember to keep things casual by packing light fares such as salads and cold cuts. To really show your appreciation for their help, make it clear that none of your picnic guests will have to contribute anything because you will take care of everything.

Casual picnic among closest friends and relatives

If you can afford to splurge and if you want to do something extra special for everyone who’s been by your side during the entire wedding, think about taking all of them out to dinner in an elegant restaurant. The posh setting, the soothing atmosphere and the glamorous air will be more than enough to show these special people that you do recognize everything they’ve done for you.

Taking your bridesmaids and groomsmen out for an elegant dinner

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Dec 01st,2014
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A bride’s guide to the perfect bachelorette party

Undoubtedly one of the most memorable moments before the wedding, the bachelorette party is the best time to relax, let your hair down and forget about all the stress and planning that have led up to this moment. After all, a bachelorette party is so much more than celebrating your last night out as a single lady. It’s also about hanging out with your friends, having fun and being wild, which is why you should make the most out of every single minute. After all, who knows when you’ll have another night like that one?

Bachelorette party

While etiquette usually dictates that the matron of honor hosts the bachelorette party, we all know that the bride is the mastermind behind every move. You’re the one who’ll ultimately give instructions to the maid of honor, so, it’s important for you to take certain things into consideration. For example, you should decide whether you want a really wild, all-hells-break-loose party or a more toned down and elegant affair. Afterwards, it’s important to determine whether the party will last all night or just for a few hours. Most bachelorette parties usually last all night, whereby the bride and her bridesmaids rent a hotel room to continue the evening.

Bachelorette kit

If you decide to go with the hotel room, don’t hesitate to make the most out of the private setting to show the special ladies in your life how thankful you are for their support. Some brides make a general speech while others address each bridesmaid individually. It’s also a good idea to bring along a small bachelorette party kit for each lady. A bachelorette party is also the best setting to give your bridesmaids their bridesmaid’s gifts. Another wonderful idea for the party is to ask everyone to dress up in bright and colorful wigs and costumes which will add some extra panache to your big night.

Costume party

Some couples decide to skip the entire stag and hen do in favor of a joint bachelor and bachelorette party. This isn’t such a bad idea since it allows both the bride and the groom to spend their last single night together with their friends and relatives. However, since this is not such a common occurrence, you should probably send out invitations stating that your party is going to be a joint one. The one thing that you should bear in mind, though, is to avoid hosting your bachelorette party on the eve of the big day. Indeed, the last thing you want is to be drunk over and harassed on your wedding day, so it’s safer to have your fun night out at least two weeks before you walk down the aisle.

Gifts for the special ladies

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Jun 12th,2014
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Touching song options for the mother-son dance

There’s no bigger pride for a mother than seeing her son all dressed up as a groom on the most special day of his life. It should come as no wonder that mothers often tear up as they watched their sons reciting his vows in front of the entire bridal party and guests. After all, he is starting a new life and hovering on the edge of a new horizon. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the first mother and son dance is always a memorable moment, which is exactly why it’s important to select a mother-son song that will summarize the adequate emotions of the day.

Mother of the groom and the groom

The mother of the groom, for example, will undoubtedly share a touching moment with her son if they both waltz to the soft beats of ‘Because of You’ by Celine Dion. Indeed, what parent wouldn’t want to see the love reflected in their son’s eyes as they both slowly dance to lyrics such as “You were my strength when I was weak?” So, if you’re more of a sentimental person, it’s best to select your mother-son dance according to the lyrics and then work your dance moves around the song. Other such touching songs include ‘Wind beneath my wings’ by Bette Miller, ‘Child of Mine’ by Carole King, ‘In My Life’ by the Beatles, ‘Blessed’ by  Elton John, ‘I hope you Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack, among others.

Touching moment between  mother and groom

Of course, there’s no reason why the dance between the mother and groom song can’t be upbeat as well. Some upbeat tracks with a sense of humor include ‘Your Mama Don’t Dance’ by Loggins and Messina, ‘Mama Tried’ by Merle Haggard and ‘Take your Mama’ by the Scissor Sisters. If you’re more a fan of rock-like songs, you’ll most certainly appreciate tunes such as ‘Simple Man’ by Lynyrd Skynrd’ and the iconic ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns and Roses.  However, bear in mind that upbeat and rock songs are a little bit tougher to dance to and might ask for a few dance lessons.

upbeat song between groom and motherDance between mother and son

Grooms who don’t stand on tradition might even give their guests a preview of their song choice by playing this very track as the mother walks her son down the aisle to wait for the bride. Whilst unconventional, this custom is being adopted by quite a few contemporary grooms because they want to celebrate that wonderful lady who gave them life and led them to where they stand today.

Mother walking son down the aisle

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Jun 05th,2014
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The basics of wedding transportation

Planning your wedding transportation is never a boring task. In fact, it can even be considered as one of the most entertaining and stress-free aspect of the entire planning process. So, whether you want to go for a stretch limo or antique car, read on to learn the basics of wedding transportation.

Wedding limo

White or Black stretch limousines are the bridal transportations by excellence. Exquisitely elegant, tasteful and sophisticated, these cars are bound to make a stunning impression as you arrive at your wedding venue. In fact, limo packages even offer other services such as decoration and a glass of champagne for the bride and the groom to clink after the ceremony.

Wedding carriage

The good thing about limos is that you’ll have enough space for a couple of your close friends or relatives. The bad thing: they can be quite pricey and you’ll have to book it quite a few months in advance.

Vintage wedding car

Another expensive but just as elegant option is to hire or borrow a vintage car for your wedding. This is definitely the sort of car which will not only look spectacular in pictures, but, it will also add a lovely rustic charm to your special day. If you’re getting a vintage car, try to avoid over-decorating it so as not to distract from the antique-like impact.

Walking bridal procession

Of course, if you live close to the church or your wedding venue, you may even hold a walking bridal procession. In this case, however, be sure to pay close attention to the wedding forecast: you definitely don’t want to walk to the venue if it’s about to rain or snow. If it’s too sunny, don’t neglect to take a nice lace umbrella to protect yourself. A nice touch would be to have ushers or waiters walk with the bridal party and hand over cool drinks to the guests during the procession.

Bride arriving by boat

If you’re lucky enough to get married next to the sea or river, don’t hesitate to arrive by boat while your groom waits for you on shore. Ultra-romantic couples may even consider a horse-drawn carriage to drive them to and from their wedding venues. For an ultra-dreamy touch, try to find a rounded, fairytale-like carriage that will make you look like Cinderella at the ball. These can be quite expensive too- sometimes even more than limos- so, if you’re on a restricted budget, consider hiring it just for the going-away part.

 

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Mar 31st,2014
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The most common wedding planning problems and how to overcome them

While we all dream of a smooth sailing on your wedding day, the unfortunate truth is that wedding planning is dotted with various problems and challenges. There are, thankfully, quite a few easy measures that you can adopt to overcome the most common wedding planning problems. The main thing to remember is that you should first be practical and try to think outside the box: just because your best friend got married in a huge hall doesn’t mean you should do the same if you can’t afford it.

Inviting too many guests

One of the typical problematic encounters that most couples have to face is the fact that they invited too many guests. This can cause quite a challenge to you, especially if you’re on a restricted budget. Indeed, too many couples get carried away as they draw up the guest list and they end up inviting everyone from Great-Uncle Alf to your boss’s ex-girlfriend. Not only will this present you with some serious monetary challenges but it will also be quite rude to your guests because you won’t be able to properly welcome each and every one. Besides, if you have too many guests and not enough funds, you’ll end up skimping on important things such as the wedding buffet and favors.

Not asking to RSVP

Speaking of which, it’s extremely important to attach an RSVP card to your invitation or send it separately. This will help you draw out a proper budget and prepare the approximate number of seats and favors for your guests. Another common wedding planning problem that you’ll have to face is the location. We all want to get married in a wide, airy and dreamy area that will look great in pictures. But, to avoid straining your budget to the maximum, be sure to skip overly expensive locations in exchange for a cheaper albeit cozier place. Good ideas include farmyards or ranches or even cozy B&B’s.

Renting an overly expensive location

Pay close attention to the wedding buffet as well. A very popular mistake is to include hard to handle and messy dishes such as lasagna, overly-creamy salads and the likes. This can be quite problematic to guests because most of them will be decked in their most expensive attires and would probably want to avoid any spills and stains. Remember that toothpicks are your best friends in such cases: hors d’oeuvres and other such finger snacks can hence be easily picked up without staining the fingers. Steaks, roast chicken and fried fish are other easy options.

Easy to handle wedding buffet

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Mar 17th,2014
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Bridesmaids gifts to thank the special ladies in your life

They’ve taken care of all the fussy little details like the cake, seating arrangement, aisle decorations and maybe even your wedding dress. They’ve helped you plan the wedding and reception and have most likely thrown a stupendous bridal shower for you. They’ve even agreed to wear whatever puffy, cupcake-like bridesmaid dresses that you’ve chosen for them! These special ladies have been there for you every step of the way and they certainly deserve a gift as a token of your appreciation for their support.

Bridesmaid gifts collageBridesmaid gift ideas silver charm with initials

Indeed, no bride will be able to keep a cool and collected head without the unflinching support of her bridesmaids. The tradition of giving a special present to each bridesmaid dates from quite a long time and it’s an excellent way of showing these ladies how grateful you are for their help. Best of all, the wedding industry is practically brimming with a wide assortment of presents that are especially destined for bridesmaids and maids of honors. So, whether you want to gift them something sentimental, engraved or humorous, you can be sure to find something that your bridesmaids will forever cherish.

Close bond between bride and bridesmaids

Bride and bridesmaids

One of the most popular- and useful- present is the matching bridesmaids’ bathrobes. Available in a plethora of colors, designs and fabrics, this is the one gift that certainly represents the unity and harmony that usually links your special girls together. If you can afford it, don’t hesitate to have a discreet monogram as well as the date printed on the sleeve of each bathrobe. Other memorable presents that you can give to your bridesmaids include elegant pieces of jewelry. Lockets bearing each bridesmaid’s initials, for instance, will definitely please the ladies. Charm bracelets or even anklets are other bridesmaids’ gifts which they’ll certainly appreciate.

Bridesmaid gift ideas matching bathrobes

To illustrate the close bond between the bride and her closest friends, why don’t you ‘officially’ invite each lady to be your bridesmaid by sending them a personalized invitation? Indeed, the invitation is the best time to present them with their bridesmaids’ gifts: you can either pin the invitation to the present or, more elegantly, hand them their gifts before presenting them with the invitation. Don’t forget that the presents don’t have to be identical either, especially if your bridesmaids have different tastes. Whichever gift you choose to go for, bear in mind that it has to reflect your appreciation and love towards these ultra-special women who will turn your wedding ceremony into a positively magical day.

Personalised bridesmaid invitation

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Feb 27th,2014