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Month: March 2023

How do I include my divorced parent’s names on my invitations?

ALL TOPICS | Stationery Questions

Q: How do I include my divorced parent’s names on my invitations?


Working with my couples on selecting the wording on their invitation can sometimes be a stressful, uncomfortable part of the design process. That’s because we are oftentimes dealing with unique family dynamics. Whether we have divorced parents, divorced and remarried parents, parents who are no longer with us, we’re trying to really everybody feeling honored. We want everyone to feel comfortable, and we want to present the names and the family in the best light possible to fit the tone and vision of the couple themselves. So I feel you. If you’re in a situation where you’re not sure what to do, there’s lots of options. No matter what your family situation may look like, one of the easiest entry points is to use the phrase together with their parents or together with their families. This works for married and divorced parents. This works for married, remarried, divorced parents. No matter what your combinations are, we have stepparents, we have unique family blended moments. Both of those phrases. Great entry points, keeping everybody feeling respected, honored, and included. If you do want to put true notation of full parent names, whether or not you have all of your parents with you or we have divorced parent situations, this is a great time to have a clean, clear, transparent conversation with your families. Ask them how they feel. If everybody is on board with having their names presented, you simply take both of your parent names. They would not be Mr. And Mrs. But they would be Mr. James Apple, Mrs. Sally Orange, and whoever else the parent name is. So we’re going to just separate them as their own unique entity that they are, but they’ll be listed on one line as your parent. If you’re doing traditional format where it’s brides parents request the honor of the marriage of bride, they would go first. If you’re listing all parents together, keep the bride’s family together separated if they’re divorced. Keep the grooms family together separated if they’re divorced, and we just proceed from there. If you’re working with a custom stationary artist, they should be able to walk you through many revisions and variations of this presentation until it looks and feels appropriate. Bottom line do what feels right for you and do what feels comfortable for everyone involved together with their parents, together with their families, or listing out the names. Anyone invited to your wedding knows you, knows your family. So this is not some amazing shock we’re throwing out them. Present your family the way you want it to be seen, in whatever way makes you feel comfortable. And remember, this day is about the two of you as a couple and everybody who loves you coming together. They’re just going to be so excited to be invited to this day. Trust yourselves. Go with what feels right.

What do I need to look for (specifically) when proofing my wedding stationery?

Q: What do I need to look for (specifically) when proofing my wedding stationery?


Okay, let’s talk about proofreading 101 with the help of some visual aids. First, what are you looking for? You’re looking for typographical, errors, mistakes in content, layout, format, and punctuation. First thing you want to do is forget everything you know about reading. When you’re proofreading a document, you want to start from the bottom them and from the left. You want to read left to right, bottom to top. That will stop your brain from being able to autocorrect any mistakes and change it to what it should be. When you read bottom to top and backwards, you’re isolating each word by word, and you can easily identify anything that’s a mistake, that’s out of order, that’s out of syntax, that’s spelled wrong, or just doesn’t belong where you see it. So, bottom to top, left to right, reading completely backwards, isolating, don’t allow your brain to autocorrect. You’re going to be looking for every single detail. You can go back to your basics. Is this your correct wedding date? Time, location, year? When you start looking at the enclosures, you want to make sure that every element reflects exactly what your wedding information needs to show. As a wedding stationery person, I am working with thousands of documents any given day. Six brides with the same name, four weddings on the same date. I can make mistakes. You can make mistakes. We all make mistakes. But proofreading is our key to making sure those mistakes don’t go to print. So you’re looking for anything that’s out of sorts, spelled incorrectly, formatted incorrectly, or presenting the wrong content. And you want to read it backwards and bottom to top. Good luck.

Do I really need boutonnières?

Q: Do I really need boutonnières?


No, you do not have to have a boutonniere. This is only traditional, and it’s a tradition that has been going on for many, many years. But I’m actually kind of sick of this tradition, to be honest with you. And the reason why is because when the guys put on these boutonnieres, they don’t mean it, but they are so not careful. And when they are put on before ceremony, oftentimes they are already broken or the flower is dead. And it’s just such a pain in the ass when this happens, because you want it to be pretty and perfect and look good for photos. But a lot of times they’re already ruined before ceremony starts. And they’re not cheap. They’re at least $15 to $25 each. So if you want to save cost, just take out the boutonnieres. I don’t think anyone’s going to miss them. In fact, I think the guys would really appreciate not having to wear a boutonniere or pinholes through the suits that they probably bought for so much money. I actually think that if it’s a black tie affair and you’re wearing this black tie, expensive suit, that you don’t put nothing on it. Just leave it clean and simple and with no boutonniere. So, no, you do not have to have a boutonniere.

I don’t like being the center of attention. How can I set up my wedding day so I can feel more comfortable?

Q: I don't like being the center of attention. How can I set up my wedding day so I can feel more comfortable?


You don’t have to please anybody on your wedding day.

Yes, you can definitely have a fantastic wedding day with 240 guests without having their eyes on you all damn day.

You don’t want to be in the spotlight. You’re really big wedding. I understand that being the center of attention can be really uncomfortable. But you want to have all your friends and family you love there. I’m Nicole, a wedding officiant. So let me talk about some ideas for your ceremony.

Specifically, the spotlight’s not for everybody, and that’s okay. I completely sympathize with this. That’s why I’m a planner and handle all the behind the scenes. Let’s talk a little bit about how you can navigate your reception and be comfortable in that scene. 

Listen, if you don’t want a 250 person wedding, don’t have one.

What are some easy things we can do to minimize waste for our wedding?

Q: What are some easy things we can do to minimize waste for our wedding?


There are so many fun and easy things that you can do to minimize waste for your wedding, so start with decorations and buy them pre loved. Things like table, number holders, signs, frames, cardboxes easels, all these little things that get bought for one day and they have no other purpose but to be used for a wedding. Get them pre loved instead of new on Amazon and Etsy, there’s so much of this stuff already floating around out there, and you can find it in Facebook groups or here in Chicago, we have the Green Wedding Alliance ReCyclery, which is a big wedding decor garage sale with stationery. A lot of sustainable couples will go the digital route, and that’s great for save the dates because it’s just an announcement like, hey, we’re engaged. We’re getting married in this city on this date. But with invitations, you run the risk of people opening these invites, and then they get busy and they forget to open it again and respond. So you might have to do some more work getting those rsVPS. So I recommend going paper. Just make sure you’re using paper made out of recycled materials, biodegradable materials like cotton, handmade papers, seed papers, and for both of them with the elders, make sure you are sending paper copies for them, because we don’t want to make things hard on them. If you are giving your guests favors or gifts, make sure it’s a consumable item like foods, drinks, candles, plants, things that are actually going to be used instead of some decorations that have your names and date on them. And only provide enough for about 50% to 70% of the guest count because most people don’t take these things home at the end of the night. If you’re having a wedding party which is bridesmaids and groomsmen, or you’re people of honor and you’re not particular about the look of your wedding, or you want to get creative, have them go into their closets and reuse things from past weddings or just things that they have in their closet already. So many of us, by the time we’re 30, have dresses from past weddings, suits, tuxes. So just give your wedding party guidelines on color, formality and seasonality and let them have fun with it. And then your wedding is going to have a look that is so unique and not found anywhere else. All right, that’s it. Bye.

We don’t have any eco-friendly vendors near us. What should we do?

Q: We don’t have any eco-friendly vendors near us. What should we do?


So this is interesting because if you don’t have eco friendly vendors near you and you want to be sustainable, you’re going to have to get creative. So if you can hire a composting service, you can have them come to your venue and they will manage the waste sorting happening during the event. They’ll haul away the compost and then they handle the actual composting itself. And if you can’t do that, or in addition to that, you can get creative with your design. Flowers are not the only way to wow your guests. So things that you can do that are design related are things like upgrading your linens to something that’s nicer, thicker, it has a nice weight to it so it doesn’t show wrinkles. Things like different textures, like velvet are really nice. Also, pick out unique dinner wear and glassware. Use a mix of different sized and colored candles. Don’t forget about Led candles. Work with a lighting vendor that can emphasize certain areas in the venue. They can really work with you to create the atmosphere you want and create the energy that you want. And also this is a fun one if you’re getting married on a Saturday or a Sunday, see if the venue can connect you with the decor company, helping the couple getting married the day before you. So you can reuse any hanging decorations like greenery installations, flower installations, depending on the type of flower. If it’s something dried, like baby’s breath, drapery, lighting for your event as well, see if you can reuse it. And this way you split the cost with that couple, saving you both money and you’re giving the decorations and greenery a second life before it gets taken down. All right, that’s it.

What can we do to make our wedding eco-friendly?

Q: What can we do to make our wedding eco-friendly?


This is a great question. Here are my top three tips. Number one, consider the venue very carefully. Think about the location and how convenient it is for where most of your guests are coming from and to where you want to be located for all the things on your wedding weekend. Also, think about if the venue has most things in house, like tables, chairs, linens, lounge furniture, tabletop items, and the food and drinks. If that stuff is in house, then you don’t need a bunch of trucks coming and going on your wedding day to make deliveries and pickups. This will significantly cut down on carbon emissions. Number two, book local wedding vendors with ecofriendly practices, especially caterers and florists. If they are eco friendly, they will have smart waste management and prioritize composting. They source their ingredients and flowers locally and seasonally, and they don’t use things like flower foam styrofoam to transport. Number three, provide a shuttle for your guests. This will significantly cut down on the number of cars coming and going on your wedding day. All right, that’s it for now.

Do we really need an engagement photo session?

Q: Do we really need an engagement photo session?


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So I feel pretty torn on this one if you need an engagement session or not. So first off, on the end of needing an engagement session, it can be helpful just in eliminating some stress. On the wedding day, your photographer is going to come into the room. You’re going to have worked with this person before. That’s going to make you feel a little bit more comfortable. Outside of that, your photographer is going to have a better idea of how to work with you to as a couple. This is going to speed up your portraits a lot just because the photographer is not trying to figure out, okay, how does this couple work? What do they respond to? So it can be helpful in that way, and then it’s also helpful in that when you put all your photos on the wall, you’re going to have just pictures of you and your wedding garb. An engagement session gives you some great photos on your wall where you’re dressed more like normal people. Now, on the end of needing an engagement session, you don’t need anything when it comes to weddings. That’s just a lie that you’re being sold by the wedding industry and photographers like myself. It’s a way we can make more money, so that’s great for us. I would never do an engagement session if it’s not something you actually care about or are excited about it’s, you know, you’re wanting some photos for your walls for save the dates, wanting to feel a little more comfortable on your wedding day or it’s included in a photographer’s collection, absolutely, go for it. But man, don’t do anything just because a bridal blog told you you needed it. You don’t need an engagement session. It’s not going to ruin your wedding. You’re still going to get great photos if you hired a competent photographer. So I hope that helps.

Are second photographers really necessary or are they a way for the photographer to increase the price?

Q: Are second photographers really necessary or are they a way for the photographer to increase the price?


My answer to this question might surprise you.

No, I don’t think having a second photographer is absolutely necessary. I also don’t think having a first photographer is absolutely necessary or having a wedding in the way that we do them now is absolutely necessary. These are luxuries, is the truth.

Whoever started the myth that whether or not you should get a second photographer depends on the number of your guests. They weren’t a photographer. It makes no sense.

70% of the time on this, my answer is going to be no. You don’t need a second photographer.

How I would answer this question depends on what your wedding timeline looks like.

What should I expect my bridesmaids to spend to be in my wedding party? Dress cost? What else?

Q: What should I expect my bridesmaids to spend to be in my wedding party? Dress cost? What else?


So to say that a bridesmaid should expect to spend a certain dollar amount at a wedding, it’s an unfair expectation to set, right? It totally depends on you, on what type of day you want. And every couple is different. And some couples, they want to pay for everything for their bridal party, and other couples s expect their bridal parties to cover things, and there’s no wrong way to do it. I think the important thing is to outline what those expenses are and then be very upfront. When you ask someone to be a part of your bridal party and they say yes, let them know, here’s what I have planned, here’s what I expect the expenses will be. And then you don’t have unrealistic expectations going into it, right? Because a bridesmaid who may have never been a part of a wedding before, she might not have any idea that she’s got to buy shoes, she’s got to buy jewelry, she’s got to buy a dress. Maybe it has to be a certain dress. If you’re requiring a certain dress and you’re requiring certain jewelry and you’re acquiring certain shoes, you need to be upfront about that. So I think that whatever your expectations are, it’s just super important to be upfront with them and to have good planning yourself so that you don’t set anyone else up for failure and then you don’t have any hurt feelings down the road. So.

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Ready to answer our couple’s burning questions?

Here are some tips and tricks to film a great video that stops the scroll:


Start with a hook.

You’ve got 3-5 seconds to stop the viewer’s scroll. Be creative… start with a phrase like:

  • Oh hell no, just no…
  • Absolutely not…
  • Yes, yes, yes! You should do this…
  • It depends on one very important thing…


Give a super quick intro.

We’ll put your name and bio in the title and links, so you can say something more general like:

“I’m Robin, a photographer in Chicago and after shooting 500 weddings…”
“I’m not only a wedding planner in Chicago, but a newlywed myself…”


Answer away!

Give them your hot take, and don’t hold anything back.

Examples of what we are looking for:

check out how Sal nailed it in this video and so did Megan in this one and Nichole told it straight (from her car).

Tips for filming

Filming vertically on your phone.

TikTok is vertical for good reason - Gen Z have spoken!

Good audio is more important than good video.

Find a quiet room (that isn’t an echoey bathroom!).

Make sure your face is bright enough.

Standing near a large window or lamp is helpful - You want to be brighter than your background.

Nothing works better than a good story.

If you have any experiences you can share to help answer the question, go for it!

the energy!

Down an espresso, pump yourself up, and let the answers pour out! Our couples want as much honesty as they can get.

Featured Question

Q: Is there really a wedding mark up?

Do you feel like the industry charges more “because it’s a wedding” and they know it’s an emotional purchase?

Do companies think that they can charge more for weddings since the bride and groom may be willing to spend more on their dream wedding?

Hey wedding pros – is this higher price tag justified? Why? Do you charge more for your service if it is a wedding?

This is a taboo topic, whispered but not discussed… until now.

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