Controversial Query: Wedding Gifts vs. Cold Hard Cash

Your friend is getting married. She’s 31, has lived on her own for the past 10 years, and likely has a toaster.

And a few spatulas, a rice cooker, a mini cupcake pan, and a trendy set of silverware she found at a Flea Market in ’07.

She simply doesn’t need the same amount of home-goods as your little sister’s 20 year old, high-school-love-story BFF.

So, what do you do? What do you do if you’re a bride who has already built her life and doesn’t need her guests help? What do you do if your bride friend asks for cash only on her wedding invite? Let’s discuss.

(PS – In case you’re wondering… here are some things I must have on my registry).

Yellow KitchenAid Mixer (duh)

His & Hers Bikes :)

Comfy Blankets via Pottery Barn

Cool Art – How amazing is this piece by Jennifer Sanchez?

If You’re a Bride:

Believe it or not, it’s somewhat impolite to blatantly ask for cash. Understandably, you may have a lot of the things average couples put in their registries, but you still have other options. You can ask guests to donate to a honeymoon fund, donate to a charity, or help you build other aspects of your life (besides your kitchen).

Don’t forget to think outside the box with your registry. At stores like Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, etc., you can get a lot more than you think. Candles, mirrors, cool new cushions, you get the gist. Your registry doesn’t have to be huge, but be sure to give your guests some options.

If You’re a Guest:

If a bride + groom ask for cash, you have to give cash. Sad, but true. A lot of people say that you should match the amount of money you give with the amount the couple spent on having you. This is a great proxy (about $70-$80 per person), but isn’t set in stone.

As a general rule of thumb, though, just give what you can. Whatever you’re comfortable with. I would say don’t dip under $100 for couples who you consider acquaintances, and adjust upward as people climb in friend status.

But here’s the catch. If you’re in the wedding party and have spent tons on attending bachelor/bachelorette parties, flying out for bridal showers, and buying duds for a couples big day, the rules change. Here, give whatever you can afford. It’s appropriate to take into account the amount you’ve already spent. The couple will completely understand. If you’d feel more comfortable, team up with other people in your situation to give a larger sum/gift. But don’t over-think it. Your love and support through this process is likely pretty priceless to them.

In a few words: Don’t be stingy, but don’t go broke.

I’d say that’s about right.



Controversial Query #3: Men + Perpetual Bachelorhood

On the eve of our favorite lovey-dovey day, I’ve decided to move the conversation from women-based topics to something a little different.

Our topic of the day is men. And since I really can’t completely abandon my sense of self (girly girl who loves weddings but has a bit of a potty mouth), it’s also about weddings. So Men + Weddings. Here we go.

I distributed a survey to the guys in my life (haha random sample to the wayside) late last week to get a really loose, anecdotal understanding of men and the concept of marriage. I think the results are pretty interesting.

Here’s a bit of the Q&A:

1. Have you ever imagined what your wedding would be like? If you’re already married, did you ever imagine it beforehand?

Almost 3/4 of the men said yes, they had. My favorite response was “Yes, but I’m a closet hopeless romantic, and have been taking the thought of marriage more seriously lately.”

Anyone want an introduction? Haha!

2. What do you absolutely want a hand in choosing for your wedding?

Most men wanted a hand in everything! It’s their wedding too, afterall! Specific callouts were music, booze (open bar, duh!), food, and the overall design. Go boys!

3. What freaks your out most about your wedding day?

Listen close girls..

“The finality of selfishness. Being married is being selfless, and putting the other person first. If both husband and wife do that, it is a successful marriage. Plus, men don’t hear much positive feedback of marriage from other men. It’s almost always negative. Much different from the female experience.”

Apparently this is a "Manly Man" Image

I think this is really interesting. Clearly men are just as invested as women in the entire wedding process (not that any of us doubted this), but the gendered social norms are so different. Based on this comment, it seems that guys sometimes feel the pressure to take a more “masculine” stance on marriage – conveying that they’d prefer a life of perpetual bachelorhood (aka rendezvousing with different women all the time) than committing to the love of their life.

Now I’m lucky to have some pretty upstanding, uber-respectful guy friends, so I haven’t been as exposed to this sentiment as others might be. But what do you think? Is this a problem? Where did this “real men don’t get married” sentiment originate? Is it just a load of BS?

Pensively Yours,


Controversial Query #2 – The Little Black Dress

Top of the morning, Honeys!

Anyone have a wedding to attend this weekend?

My lovely friend Nancy emailed me the other day asking one of the most eternal wedding-attendee questions.

“Is it a faux-pas to wear a black dress to a wedding?”

Now, of course, what your little old friend who simply writes about wedding planning (me) says isn’t law, but feel free to quote me on this.

It is NOT a faux-pas to wear a black dress to a wedding. There is quite a difference between how you’ll look in a gorgeous black dress on a wedding and how you’d look in black while attending a funeral (excuse my crass morbidity), and there always will be. And in case my word doesn’t hold enough weight (and shame on you!), here are some ways to jazz up your favorite black dress to make it wedding-worthy.

Pick Three:

1 Black Dress

1 Bright Nail:
1 Bright/Shiny Lip:
These will help inherently brighten your look without screaming “LOOK AT ME, I’M AT A WEDDING, NOT A FUNERAL!” Pair these finishing touches with some jazzy earrings, a cool (not too sinister, steer away from anything too dark) cocktail ring, or a statement necklace (like this one) to complete your totally peppy, depression-prone wedding look.
Oh, and smile. Yes. Even if you’re single.
Your Wedding Planner to-be,

Controversial Query #1 – The Ex-Factor

Morning guys + gals, and happy Monday.

To wake you up from your weekend stupor and you thinking, I’d like to present you with the first of many Controversial Queries.

I’m starting this stream of posts in order to help Wedding Go-ers and Wedding Throwers with some of the hardest (both to navigate and to ask!) quandaries. The first of these, will be familiar to many. The question of inviting an Ex to your wedding (via fellow Gautam Girl, Smita). Let’s face it, these situations are always, without fail, absurdly sticky. You don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the happiness of your bride/groom on THEIR big day (please remember it never has been, nor will it ever be a “MY day” type of occasion – this is where you and your partner become an everlasting team!), but at the same time, you really want your dear friend (who just happens to be an ex) as a part of the smiling crowd.

This wikihow (which cracks me up that because it’s a guide on HOW to invite your ex to your wedding rather than IF) does a great job of outlining the mental steps you should take before sending out that invite. I’m using this forum as a guide for this post. It’s a really great gut check.

1. When it’s okay to even think about inviting an ex to your wedding:

If you and your ex are now just friends (aka this is a platonic relationship to the point where you’d consider them more like a sibling than a lover – haha sounds weird, but really), and you’re certain that they have moved on (because it’s absolutely clear that you have!), and you truly think of them fondly (again, in a totally asexual, you’re cute like a really ugly dog that just holds a teeny place in my past heart type of way), THEN you can begin to think about inviting them.

2. When it’s not okay to even think about inviting an ex to your wedding:

Do not invite an ex to your wedding to rub it in their face, or because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Trust me, your wedding day is not about your Ex’s feelings. It’s about yours and your partners. In this situation, always put your partners feelings first. It’s their wedding day too afterall, and you don’t want to leave a single trace of a bad taste in their mouth. This should be the most wonderful, worry-free day of their entire life. Unfortunately, if your fiancee has any problem with you inviting your ex to your big day, your hands are somewhat tied.

3. Foresee any consequences of inviting your ex:

How did your relationship end? Did your ex cheat on you with a good friend? Will they both be at the wedding? Will this create any negativity on your end? If so, steer clear. You want to be fresh, and happy, and frankly, bull-shit free on your wedding day.

Is your ex the type to act out? Will he/she sit with a scowl on his/her face for the majority of the evening? Will they get sad and drunk because they’re alone and end up falling over on the dance floor? Will anyone in your wedding party have to help handle them? If so, and sorry to be selfish, do not invite them.


I’m not going to get into the darker side of this topic, but as a general rule of thumb, don’t invite your Ex if you have cold feet. This is not the time to resolve your issues with someone from your past. Focus on the person you’re with and remember why you love them. If you’ve made it this far, it’s pretty likely you have something wonderful and real.

What are your thoughts? Do you think there are other cases in which it’s okay/not okay to invite an Ex?

Your Wedding Planner to-be,