Showing posts with label Etiquette. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Etiquette. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

{tips & tricks} TUESDAY :: technology and your wedding day.

{image & article via southern weddings}
whether or not y'all have seen this topic discussed elsewhere in the media {like the above southern weddings article that also quotes this ny times article or the practical wedding article}, this is an increasingly tense subject for some brides & grooms.
as such, I figured I would add in my thoughts on the matter, no-nonsense-style:
{} no matter what, I suggest hiring a professional photographer for - at the very least - your ceremony. it is downright rude for guests to have their iphones out while your ceremony is taking place, even though their intentions are likely pure and they are recording the ceremony {not texting - heaven forbid!}. if you have a professional photographer present, there is no need for guests to take pictures!  inform them of this ahead of time via your wedding website, the ceremony program, or even have the people passing out said programs {hostesses, your planner, etc.} or seating guests {ushers, groomsmen} give guests a gentle verbal reminder to please put their phones away during the ceremony.
{} technology at your reception, on the other hand, is an entirely different ballgame. unless your reception is an exceptionally formal seated dinner, this is the time for your guests to really enjoy themselves! if you're using an instagram hashtag to document the reception, this would be the place to display that to your guests. instagram is a great way for guests to document your wedding and capture moments that even the best photographer may not be able to, particularly if you only have a single shooter who can obviously only be in one place at a time. for your reception, I wholeheartedly recommend not only allowing guests to incorporate technology but to encourage it!
that's it, guys. no need for a long, drawn-out explanation {though those are fun for some, I guess} - it's as simple as that!
do you have thoughts to add to this topic as well? if so, let me know in the comments!
have a beautiful tuesday;)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

be merry.

dear brides- and grooms-to-be: 
this article is a must-read. 
written from an authentic wedding photographer’s perspective, it elucidates the true meaning of your wedding and encapsulates my feelings about what is most important to remember on your big day. 
is it more important to record evidence of the hand-embroidered vintage lace handkerchiefs that you tenderly folded and placed in a specially-crafted galvanized metal tin with a personalized chalkboard tag at the entrance to your ceremony with the handwritten message signifying guests should take one to “dry happy tears” or is it more significant to take a photo of your mom using said hankie to wipe her eyes as she sees her husband, your daddy, hand you over into your future spouse’s loving care? 
would you rather look back on pictures of your custom ribbon chandelier strung with handmade fabric florals, or the image of your grandparents dancing under it after celebrating over fifty years of marital bliss as the longest married couple in attendance at your wedding? 
you get the idea. 
if i could give modern brides just one piece of advice, it would be the following: don’t let the crafty genius of pinterest, the ingeniousness of wedding blogs or gorgeously styled wedding magazines ruin your day. 
what do i mean by that? 
simply this: feel free to use all available media sources as inspiration when planning your wedding, but don’t allow yourself to feel bad if you do not have the resources {whether financial or time} to recreate every look and detail that you want.
at the end of the day, the tiny details – while obviously adorable and meaningful in their own right – are not what matter the most. it’s the connection that you have with your future spouse, the love with which your family and friends surround you, and the fabulous time you have celebrating your brand-new marriage with everyone you care about. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

how to cultivate a guest list & the world’s smallest post service

i just love these tiny little save the dates from leaf cutter designs!
however, while the whole button thing is unique and crafty, it is a tad impractical. you can’t exactly cultivate a guest list of buttons, now can you? and more than likely, all of your guests are not singles living in separate households, which makes the red/blue button method a bit too simplistic for your response needs.
there are a myriad of ways to determine your guest list, but some are certainly better than others. following are a few points to consider as you embark on the harrowing journey of choosing whom you would like to include in the celebration of your big day:
{} the ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ list method: this is where you would slice up your invitees into groups ranked in importance; i.e., the ‘A’ list is your closest family and friends {mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, bridal party}, the ‘B’ list is your close family and friends {cousins, non-bridal party besties, etc.}, and so on. the theory with this is you automatically invite the ‘A’ and ‘B’ lists {and the ‘C’ list depending on your budget} and draw from the ‘D’ list as people from the first lists respond that they cannot come to your wedding.
    proyou can keep a better handle on your budget, you can be truly honest with yourself about who you want at your wedding, and it really opens up communication between you and your spouse-to-be about how you are slicing up your guest list.
    con: living in this social media-laden world as we do, this method doesn’t exactly work. imagine this: your friend from college {a ‘d’ lister since you have kept up with each other’s lives very minimally, but you did go to her wedding and you invited mutual friends so you wouldn’t mind seeing her at yours – phew, the reasoning!} sees that your mutual friend {a ‘b’ lister – you guys were, and still are, best friends from college!} put up a picture of your save the date/invite on facebook. said ‘d’ lister thinks to herself, ‘what a gorgeous invitation! too bad i’m not invited. oh well.’ a month or so passes, you’ve heard back from a few people that they won’t be able to attend, so you move on to your ‘d’ list. said friend receives a belated invitation, realizes that she is a “second-choice” attendee, and rsvp’s an emphatic no, thank you and you wonder if you did something wrong when she harbors a grudge {albeit a petty one} against you.
     verdict: i wouldn’t recommend this method unless you use it cautiously. that is, perhaps group your potential invitees using the a/b/c/d lists, but go about eliminating individuals from the first few lists in advance of sending out any official paper goods. you can do this by calling up your uncle {a ‘b’ lister, in this case}, who you know has a kid graduating from high school. your wedding happens to be on a saturday in june {the only available date at your absolute must-have venue!} – the very same saturday that your cousin is graduating from high school, and at nearly the exact same time. since you called your uncle to ask in advance, you just had two spots open up – his and your aunt’s –  so you can slide some ‘c’ or ‘d’ people on over and not hurt any feelings in the process! congrats. 
{} ask yourself a few questions: 
– has the prospective invitee met your fiance? if you live an unreasonable distance away or if you had a short dating period prior to your engagement, this may not be a good measure. if you have a friend who lives in your town  has never met your fiance, however, that could be a determining factor.
– when was the last time you spoke to them? if you lost touch with your freshman college roommate {sad – i’m sorry}, don’t feel obligated to invite her to your wedding. your wedding should not be a reunion: it is a time for you and your loved ones to celebrate your life as a couple, not a time to rehash old inside jokes with people you haven’t spoken to since your last college/high school reunion.
– would you be offended if you weren’t invited to their wedding? now, if you’re overly sensitive {and hopefully you can self-identify;)}, this doesn’t necessarily apply to you. for most of us, though, this is a good question to ask yourself when deciding whether or not you should invite someone to your wedding. 
– do they really need to be invited with a guest? while it is generally courteous to include a plus-1 for all invitees to a destination wedding {who wants to sit in a hotel room all by their lonesome?}, if that’s not you {or if you are inviting a large group of mutual friends who would stay in a hotel together and know plenty of people at the wedding}, consider not including a plus-1 for your little sister who is constantly on/off with a multitude of sketchy characters. not only are weddings a great place for singles to mix with other singles and potentially get together themselves {has anyone seen the five-year engagement? love that movie!}, but it will free up a seat for one of your friends and likely keep your event more drama-free.
– will they be a part of your lives forever? when deciding between cutting a relative or a friend, it usually makes more sense to cut the friend from the list rather than the relative who will forever be curt with you at family gatherings.
to read more advice & points to consider, the knot has an excellent article all about the subject that you can readhere.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Etiquette Question: Bridal Party Gifts

To give is better than to receive...

So you’ve chosen your ladies, your favorite people who will stand up with you while you marry the man of your dreams! It’s pretty important! It’s also important to get them something to thank them for buying a dress, throwing showers, a bachelorette, traveling, etc. There aren’t any set rules as to how much or what you have to give them, but here are some guidelines to help you figure out the the details. 

How much? I think it’s fair to have the presents make sense within your budget. If you have a very small budget then the presents should be less expensive, whereas on the flip side if you are have a massive, high budget wedding I think the gifts should most definitely worked into the total cost of your wedding. I also think you need to take into account the amount your girls are spending on your wedding! If there is traveling and a very pricey dress involved you want the gift to reflect that. 

When to buy? The earlier the better! That gives you time to shop around and figure out what you want, order it, and have it shipped if necessary. The best part about getting it done early is that you have one less thing to worry about when the wedding madness kicks in. 

Separate gifts? I think it’s great if you can do individual gifts that are all comparable in cost, but it’s also a lot easier to just find a great gift to get all your girls. It’s appropriate to spend more on the Maid/Matron of Honor, it’s also appropriate to spend less on you junior bridesmaids. 

When to give? It’s traditional to hand out gifts at the rehearsal dinner, but I also like doing it at the bridal luncheon or while you’re all getting ready the day of! If you spent more on the Maid/Matron of Honor I think it’s special to pull her aside and give it to her privately. 

What to give? There aren’t any rules, but with sites like Etsy there is an unending supply of cool options! Jewelry, personalized everything, vintage knick-knacks,etc. It’s great if the gift reflects something about you or your wedding. The real test is do you think it’s ah-mazing!?! If you love it, your girls are going to love it.  


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Etiquette Question: Cash Vs. Paid Bar

Photo Geoff L Johnson Photography 

This is a long debated issue when it comes to weddings and it has a simple answer. Never ever under any circumstances do you want to do a cash bar!! Inviting your guests to come to you wedding and then making them pay for their drinks is just not the ideal scenario. I understand that sometimes it’s a budget issue, but rather than having a cash bar find a way to cut your alcohol costs. Here are a few of my tips for making the budget go farther!!! 

Leave out the Liquor. Consider serving only beer and wine. You can also have one signature cocktail so that those who want liquor have an option. This can cut costs without having your guests pay for their drinks. 

BYOB. If allowed by your vendor to bring in outside alcohol, purchase your booze from a wholesale provider to save lots of money while still providing a full bar! Keep in mind you are still going to have to pay for a one or two people to work the bar. 

Cheers. Think about not doing a champagne toast. Most people cheers with whatever drink they have in their hand, so save some dough! 

Rearrange the budget. Find the money elsewhere in your budget. If your guests are anything like mine, they would rather an open bar than favors. 



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Etiquette-- Kids: To invite or Not to invite

Photo Via

The debate that started a million tiny squabbles amongst family everywhere. Kids verses no kids. People take this issue very personally, so it’s important that whatever decision you do it respectfully and tactfully. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to help you with this tough decision. 

Is your venue suited for children? Okay, so if you are having a super fancy ta-da at a uber chic hotel or urban loft it might be best to leave the kids at home. But any outdoor occasion would be perfect for children and you could even provide coloring materials or various easy and clean crafts to keep the little ones entertained. 

What time of day is your wedding? If you are having an evening wedding it’s smart to take into account the sleeping habits of the wee ones. So if your wedding starts later, you might want to cut out the munchkins. Lots of tired and unhappy babes off schedule does not sound like fun!! Plus, you definitely do not want your vows overshadowed by screaming chillins. 

What is the vibe of your event? If you want a very chill, family vibe then you should definitely invite the lil’ ones because kids will keep it fun and light. On the other hand, if you really want an elegant party with drinks and a really sophisticated feel, then perhaps children would be best left at home with a sitter. 

Do you need to cut numbers? Are you crunching the numbers something fierce?? If you are really needing to trim the guest list then perhaps you should start with the miniature people. While little, they still count as a guest and even with a less expensive child’s plate they still cost money. 

Inviting some and not others? The queen of all things fabulous Martha Stewart suggests keeping your decision uniform and not picking and choosing certain children, but instead have an age limit, 10 and over, 18 and over, etc. 

Is it a destination wedding? If you are far from home it’s going to be difficult to ask family and friends to find sitters for your wedding. You could always offer childcare, have guests who wish to use your provided childcare rsvp for their little folks and hire 2-3 sitters to watch them based on numbers. If you are really against it, know that many people might not be able to make it to your wedding.

So these are just a few little ways to think about what’s best for your day... All that to say, you have to go with your gut. It’s about what YOU want for your day, not your sister with 4 kids or your bitter child hating single bridesmaid. You make the decision. The queen of all things polite, Martha Stewart, suggests whatever your decision you call the families with children and explain your choice. Sorry, Martha said it! And you DO NOT argue with Martha!!! 


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Advice: Keep Calm and Carry On

Some of us freak out and become bridezillas, some of us become emotional nut-cases and shave our heads, some of us have too much pre-wedding drinks and can barely remember the ceremony... Now, these might be the extremes, but alas, they happen and come on, no one wants to be the bride that went cray cray. So here are a few tips to keep you sane on your wedding day. 

Now if you told any of my friends that I’d be a calm bride they would’ve laughed in your face, yet despite my love of worry I managed to stay completely calm on my wedding day. Here’s my list of ways to keep yourself calm and avoid 

  1. Accept that hiccups will happen. The sooner you realize that details might change and issues will arise the easier it will be to deal with them. The best thing you can do is take deep breaths and let it go. You’ve spent months and months planning and now you get to enjoy all of your hard work. Don’t let the fact that there are crab cakes instead of crab rangoon ruin your night. Odd example, I know. 
  2. Hire a wedding planner. The joys of hiring a planner are too many to count, but one of the best things is that you don’t generally have to hear about any of the hiccups, so if you are prone to a good freak out you should definitely consider hiring a wedding planner. Their job is to make your day glorious... so they’re not going to tell you that the flowers arrived 10 minutes before the ceremony or that the first batch of crab cakes were burnt to a crisp... there I go again with the crab cakes.  
  3. Make sure to eat and keep alcohol to a minimum before the ceremony. This is huge. You must eat!! I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry I get angry... I get HANGRY. Not to mention you have no energy or can even develop full blown headache. This is not the way you should spend your wedding day. Under no circumstances will you sub alcoholic beverages for food because a drunk bride is never a calm bride. My best advice is to have a giant berry non-dairy smoothie with tons of protein for your meal. You will feel full and satisfied, but not super bloated. And if you must pre-game your wedding I highly suggest alternating between drinks and water. 
  4. MOST IMPORTANT-Never lose sight of what the day is about. Always keep in mind what this day represents. This is the day that you choose to spend eternity with your best friend. It’s literally the most glorious day ever. If you just remember why you are there then everything else just seems to fade away. We all want a perfect wedding day, but if you simply take the time to appreciate what is going on you will definitely be able to keep your cool if a mini-disaster pops up with those pesky crab cakes. 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Question: How do I include family more in my wedding?

Sometimes it’s difficult to ask every single second cousin to be a bridesmaid or groomsmen in your wedding, well, unless you plan on being one of those crazy weddings with 50 people standing at the alter. You know what I’m talk about?!? That’s cray!! This doesn’t mean you love your family any less, but to keep any of them from feeling left out there are plenty of ways to include them in your big day. 

Read a Passage or Poem. Have a family member, or multiple, read favorite poems or bible versus during the ceremony. 

Use Their Talents. Ask someone with a fabulous voice sing a song. If you have a gifted writer in the family, ask them to write something special for your big day which can be recited.

Ushers. You can ask any outgoing male relatives to escort the ladies to their seats. I love ushers. It gives this little formal touch and the guys really seem to enjoy themselves. They always end up cracking me up.   

Cultural Touches. If there are any additional people needed for cultural traditions, ask another family member in lieu of an attendant. For example, in my wedding we had a Filipino cord and veil ceremony and asked our marital godparents daughters, who are also two of our best friends, to take part. 

Make the Rehearsal Dinner a Family Reunion. Now I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but I think you should invite all of your family to the rehearsal dinner. Since the rehearsal dinner is usually the most important folks, they will feel special that you thought to invite them! And you don’t have to go super fancy either, just being around all of your family will be a blast and really help them to feel included!!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Question: What advice do you have on guests lists?

The guest list... Oh dear, the guest list. The cause of much anguish and strife. The cause of many arguments. It’s not always fun narrowing down your friends and family to fit your budget or your reception space. While it’s not always fun, it is a very necessary part of planning your wedding... Last I checked you sorta need guests for the wedding. Here are a few pointers on how to compile the perfect guest list.  

Who Chooses the Guest List? 
First, it’s important to think of the number. The total number of guests you can afford. Second, who’s paying?? If parents are paying then they will get a say in who gets invited. Sorry. Try and remember balance in all things. ALL THINGS. I think it’s fair to give both sets of parents a certain number of guests and perhaps a few more slots to the paying parents side. If you are paying for the wedding yourself, you should still offer the parents a number of slots to invite whom they wish. At the end of the day it’s your wedding, but try and show your parents some respect. 

Who to Cut? 
You never want to cut people, but I feel it’s best to start with the people you are least connected with your co-workers, acquaintances, and distant relatives. Great Aunt Ruth twice removed who your mom hasn’t talked to in 10 years should probably be among the first to get cut. And if you really have to get down to it, eliminate your old high school and college buddies, unless you still see them on a regular basis that’s a large group to cut. So it’s no fun, but it has to be done... yeah, that rhymed... 

And Guest? 
Now, if you are really crunching the numbers you can definitely eliminate the “plus 1” without breaking any etiquette laws. Friends in very serious relationships, engaged, or living with their significant other should definitely have their guest invited even if you don’t know them. I think it’s tacky not to invite them.

Kids or No kids? 
This one is tough because you get a lot of people who will make gripes about their child not being invited, but c’est la vie. Kids still count towards the final head count. I think it’s best to choose an age 10 and up, 15 and up, 18 and up, etc. If you have a flower girl or ring bearer they should be invited to the wedding. You can also decide if you will only have immediate families children invited. 

There are no set of rules out there telling you who you should invite. Keep your guest list personal and happy!! You want to be surrounded by your closest and dearest friends and family. Be open and communicate!!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Etiquette Question: Bridal Shower Etiquette

photo via

Presents are fun, but let’s face it. The logistics of a bridal shower are not always quite so fun. I know you’re thinking, “but come on Lauren, it’s always a breeze to get a group of females most likely scattered around the country to agree on and plan something together.” Well, just in case it doesn’t work out like that here are a few tips so your shower goes off with a hitch. 

Who Throws it. The etiquette gods state that “the maid/matron of honor” and perhaps a few close friends or bridesmaids are the lucky winners. Nowadays it’s super common to have multiple bridal showers. I say try and make the cap no more than 3, and if more people want to throw you showers, you can politely suggest that a few of them group together and throw a shower together. At the end of the day, it’s what you want, but you don’t want to disrespect friends or family either. 

Who Pays. Whoever is throwing it. End of story. If the Maid of Honor takes charge unless various bridesmaids are helping plan, then she should in no way feel like those girls are responsible. If someone offers to chip in, then awesome, but sending out a mass email to the bridesmaid saying, “you all are helping me and I require 2 million dollars and your first born by sundown,” is not cool. 

Who to Invite. Good rule of thumb, unless it’s an office party, only invite people who are guests at the wedding. Can we say awkward!?!? It’s like hey... I like you enough to get a gift from you, but not enough to actually invite you to the wedding. Boo. Not acceptable. As far as the appropriate amount of guests I prefer small intimate groups 30 max, but anything goes, it’s all about personal preference. 

When. No more than 2 months before the wedding is a good rule of thumb. As the wedding approaches you and your girls are going to be very busy, so it’s best to keep at a few months out. Oh and good ole Martha Stewart suggests invites be sent out a month to six weeks in advance. Oh and this is the only time I deem it okay to include your registry information, but if you can get away with just sending people to your wedding site that’s even better. 

And hey bride, we talked about this already. Don’t forget your thank you cards. See here. We're all learning, aren’t we?!? Awesome. You’re all awesome. 


Thursday, September 20, 2012


Your wedding day tends to be exactly that, your day, it’s all about the happy couple!! But it’s always a good idea to take a step back and thank all of the little people!! Not only have friends and family traveled from near and far to celebrate the happy occasion, they have shelled out lots-o-dough. Cash. Monies. You get it. On top of that, they’ve bought you presents!! PRESENTS, I say!! And here’s the thing, all you have to do is send a thank you card!! Now, writing 350 thank you cards might seem overwhelming, but alas, here is my easy guide to thank you card etiquette. 

Organization rocks. Organizing who got you what can be very taxing, but my suggestion is to keep a spreadsheet of all of your guests info on your computer and as gifts arrive fill in next to their name the gift received. If you’d rather have it written down, print out the sheets and keep them on the fridge and just jot down each gift as it arrives. 

Send a Handwritten Card. This means nothing electronic or printed out. Nod your head to show that you understand! I know it’s been a decade since you sent a handwritten letter, but trust me, the gift giver will be delightful upon receiving your note!! Side note. Please use your most legible handwriting, it doesn’t have to be perfect script just not undecipherable. 

Personalize Each Message. Since you are so organized you know exactly what you’ve received from whom and you can easily personalize each note. The best method is to keep the notes fairly similar in format, but take the extra time to add a sentence or two that really speaks to that specific person. 

Thanking for Cash. When thanking for cash, refer to the money as a generous gift and let them know exactly how you plan to use the money. They’ll appreciate hearing how they have contributed to your new life together. 

Don’t Forget to Thank EVERYONE. Don’t stop at the guests. I like sending thank you cards to your vendors, especially if they did an outstanding job!! I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love hearing that they did brilliant work!! I think it’s a nice gesture. 
Send in a Timely Fashion. Now there’s some debate amongst the etiquette world, but I say 3 months is the appropriate amount of time and most etiquette snobs agree. Sure, it would be best to get back from the honeymoon and get those puppies churned out in a matter of weeks, but let’s face it, we have crazy jobs, busy lives, and the transition to marriage is different for everybody. So I say 3 is best, but please don’t wait longer than 6 months because anything beyond that is just plain tacky. For reals. 

*Pretty Paper Bonus* I am absolutely obsessed with all the vintage and romantic thank you cards on wedding paper divas site. Colorful and quirky is very in!! They are sweet and chic and I think the perfect way to say thank you!! I know how happy I get when I receive a handwritten thank you card on beautiful stationary, so these are sure to please!!! And score, they offer beautiful coordinating invitations, save the dates, and more. So be sure to check out their ah-mazing site!!!! 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Who’s Paying for This???

This is a serious one... Trying to figure out who is paying for this and that can be awkward and downright difficult, but here is an easy guide to who pays what... 

When it comes to the traditional wedding, the who pays for what is pretty simple. The bride’s father usually pays for just about the entire wedding. Sorry pops! 

*Wedding Planner 
*Engagement Party
*Invites & other paper goods 
*Brides & Bridesmaids bouquets
*Gown & accessories
*Travel & Lodging for Officiant (if needed)
*Ceremony & Reception venue
*DJ or Band
*All Reception Expenses (ie, floral arrangements, linens, chairs, dance floor, food, bar)

The groom’s parents generally take care of the entire rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon, while also taking care of the Officiant’s fees, the marriage license, family corsages and boutonnieres, and the groomsmen’s boutonnieres.

So you aren’t have a traditional wedding!?!? This is where it gets tricky. In modern weddings there aren’t any rules... and when it come to family and money no rules can equal mass destruction! When both parents offer to pay or when the couple wants to chip in it can be a little confusing! I think the best way to approach the budget is to keep open communication with all contributing parties and for all to be honest about how they want their funds to be used. It will be a lesson in patience and compromise, but I assure you, it can be done. I highly suggest writing up spreadsheets so that everyone can see exactly where and how much is being spent. Did I mention you’ll need a boatload of patience?? So do we all understand? Patience, honesty, and spreadsheets, oh my!!!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Let’s not be Tacky...

never-guess-wedding-ecard-someecards As most of you know I don’t care much for wedding etiquette... I think most of it is antiquated and plain old silly, but there is something that I am a firm believer in... and that’s NOT blabbering constantly about where you are registered... And even furthermore, putting anything in your invitation that suggests where you are registered is just beyond tacky!!!! I think that sometimes people do it thinking they are making life easier for their guests, but I think it can easily be misconstrued as only being concerned with gifts and that is just so not-fabulous. When doing research on the post I found that most people agree with me... but just in case you don’t believe me...

The’s Q&A states, “ information should be included with your wedding invitations. Tell your wedding party, parents, and close friends where you are registered, and let them fill guests in. Guests know that they are supposed to ask your mom, your maid of honor, or even you where you're registered. Putting it in the invite is still considered bad form because it suggests that the gift is more important than the potential guest.”

Peggy Post, an expert on etiquette says, “Gift registry information should never be included in a wedding invitation. Tradition still holds that the practice of including lists of gift registries with wedding invitations is considered tacky and inappropriate. Why? It puts more emphasis on the gift and less on the request that the recipient join you on your special day. Gift registries are wonderful tools. But get the word out the old-fashioned way: word of mouth (and don't email gift registry information, even if you're listed on a registry Web site). For shower invitations, however, it's okay to include wedding gift registry information -- a list of stores, mail-order catalogs, or Internet addresses -- on the invitation if the hostess prefers.”

Kristen Klett over at is also on my side saying, “While we like to consider ourselves modern gals, there are some new trends that we just can’t get behind.  The practice of including registry or other gift preferences on one’s wedding invitation is still a big ‘no-no’ in our book.“Now come on!” you might say.  “Everyone knows that you’re supposed to give gifts at a wedding and aren’t we making things easier on our guests by providing them with our registry information?”Nope.  No way.  Even on occasions where gifts are appreciated, or even expected, in our opinion it’s just plain tacky to imply that you require a guest to bring a gift as “admission” to your celebration.  Weddings are an excellent example of “expected” gift-giving occasions.  And while we certainly appreciate and take advantage of the convenience of gift registries, etiquette dictates that references to our gift preferences must be carefully chosen and discreet.

So, yes. I hate to break it to you... I’m right. If you are having a shower, those in charge of throwing in are more than welcome to list the stores you are registered at to get the word out. If you have a wedding website, make a page devoted to pointing your friends and family to your registered stores... Just avoid putting that information in your invitations... I know how old school wedding etiquette has become, but this is just one rule I like to see followed.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ask Morgan: Savannah Square Wedding-Weather Permitting

Savannah Wedding, circle ceremony Q: We want to reserve a square in Savannah for our wedding but are worried about the weather because we hear it rains a lot in April. Can you help me come up with different options just in case it does rain? --Avery

A: Hi Avery, Mother nature is always unpredictable and I am a terrible gambler. Hence why I had my wedding indoors…but always wanted to have it outside. Maybe on my vow renewal in a few years!! But there are options if you have one of Savannah’s beautiful squares on hold for your wedding:

1. Reserve a backup. There are a number of churches, hotels with empty ballrooms, or indoor facilities that will allow you to reserve their space as a back up option.

Pros: You will have a separate space for your ceremony that is free of rain/wind that can easily be set up with enough advanced notice that day.

TIP: as long as you cancel the park before your time starts, you will get your park permit fee back and will not have to pay for your security.

Cons: You will incur another fee for the additional facility and you or your wedding planner will need to arrange for all vendors to delivery/set up at the new site.

Savannah Wedding (135) 2. Rent a tent. If you do not have a wedding planner be sure to contact your rental company ahead of time to make sure there is enough inventory for your wedding!

Pros: You will still be able to have your ceremony outdoors surrounded by the amazing oak trees, you and your guests will remain dry!

Cons: The tent can be expensive…and the rental company will need more time to set up your rentals to include the tent now. Regardless if the weather changes, you will still have to use the tent. If the wind is bad or if there is lighting, a tent will not be sufficient for guests or your safety and you will have no choice to but to hold off on the time of the ceremony or move to your reception site. This could add additional fees onto your officiate, ceremony musicians, security, etc if your time you have contracted with your vendors goes over and i have seen ceremony musicians leave because they had

TIP-Extend your park permit and security to cover about 6 hours. The decision to put up a tent will need to take place early AM to allow enough time for the rental company to schedule this. 

3. Use your reception location.  If you have a wedding planner, then get with them to have them set up the details and arrangements with your reception site. If you do not, you will need to contact the reception site ahead of time to ensure they can accommodate your request since they would be the ones turning over the space. If your reception site is large enough, we have been known to separate the space to allow to two distinct visions (ceremony/reception) without guests hanging around waiting. 

Pros: You will not incur any additional costs since you already have your reception space booked. You can wait until the last minute to decide this but you will still lose your permit fee, security and your rentals….but at least you know you waited until the very last minute to give the weather a chance to pass!

Cons: You will either have to adjust your layout and decor to make the room look like a ceremony site instead of the reception site, or you can just have a place for you to stand with your bridal party and your guests to stand around you. If you pick the first option, you will need to give your venue enough time to turn back over the space. Generally, our team needs about an hour to do this…(a good time to have a cocktail hour)

Hope this helps! But remember if it does rain, “It is harder to untie a wet knot” and if it makes you feel better…there was not only rain but a tornado on my wedding day! HEY it is a good story for later on…you have to laugh it off. The most important thing is you are marrying the love of your life. All the other things…do not matter.



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ask Morgan: Receiving Line or Not?


Question: When my mother and I were talking about thanking guests for coming to the wedding on the day and she thinks I should have a traditional receiving line. I hate the idea of standing around for 20 minutes shaking everyone's hand and hugging people I have never met and wouldn't know when to do it during the day so it doesn't interfere with the other activities of the day. What do I do? --Lynn

Answer: Hi Lynn. Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding. I think the big question to answer first is how large of a wedding are you having? I would NEVER suggest a receiving line if you have over 50+ guests. You are correct-it would take FOREVER to get through and guests would be standing in line for a long time. However, if your numbers are under 50, then if you want to save the time you would have used during the reception going around to tables, then sure! Regardless of the option you chose, proper etiquette says that you should thank your guests and show your gratitude face-to-face, that they have attended either by thanking them in a receiving line or at some point during your reception.

With that said, here are some tips that help from the knot.

When & Where?
Generally the receiving line is formed immediately following the ceremony or at the beginning of the reception. You'll want to take spatial constraints into consideration when choosing where to line up so that family and bridal party members aren't standing on top of each other and guests have room to move in a smooth, orderly procession (which in turn makes the line go faster so you can all get on to the party). Proper ventilation is also crucial to avoid sweaty brows and swooning bridesmaids. The most commonly used ceremony site areas include the hallway or vestibule at the head of the aisle, outside the entry doors, down the front steps, or on the front porch. At your reception site the options are many, depending on the party space: consider the cocktail lounge, the lobby, just outside the doors leading into the main room, or the reception room itself, perhaps on the dance floor. Ultimately, pick a spot where you and your guests can stand comfortably for the duration.
Who Stands in it?
Traditionally, the bride's parents -- as hosts -- head the receiving line and are first to greet guests, followed by the bride and groom and then the groom's parents. Many lines we've seen also include the entire bridal party (if there's room), and sometimes even grandparents (if they're able). Today, however, with more couples contributing to or paying for their own weddings, the lines have blurred (so to speak). The couple may wish to stand alone, especially if the majority of guests are their friends, or they may stand with just the moms while the dads circulate among and welcome the crowd during the cocktail hour.
Divorced & Remarried Parents
This may be one of the stickier situations you'll encounter when orchestrating the big day, and the resolution often depends on the relationships between the relevant parties. If your parents are divorced, they should not stand next to one another in line -- even if they are sharing hosting duties -- as this gives the impression that they are still a couple. Instead, place Mom on one side of you and the groom, then the groom's parents, then Dad. If this arrangement doesn't sit well, consider placing another family member or an honor attendant between them. And what about stepparents? Should you include them too? That depends: Do you have a good relationship with them? Is your mom/dad capable of sharing this duty with your stepmom/dad with civility and grace? You should strive to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible. If this arrangement gets the green light, simply have your father stand with his new wife, and your mother with her new husband. This way guests will understand the relationships.
Introductions All Around
The receiving line is where your hosting duties as the bride and groom kick off. It'll no doubt be a whirlwind of faces, but as much as possible you should introduce your new spouse and your parents to all the guests they have not yet met. First names and the guests' relationships to you should suffice. Likewise all guests should take it upon themselves to offer this same information as introduction to attendants and family members whom they've never met as they proceed down the line; simply shake hands, offer congratulations, and keep moving. The bride and groom need only accept everyone's hugs, kisses, and best wishes, and thank them for coming. It's that simple. And yes, you'll end up with a lot of lipstick on your cheeks, but fear not -- you're allowed to make a bathroom pit stop before heading to the party.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

So you just got engaged?!?!? This is what you need to do now!

Congratulations first and foremost! Try to sit back for a few weeks and truly enjoy the experience of being engaged! Then when you are ready to start your planning, here is a great “get you started” guide to being newly engaged!

A majority of the years engagements take place during these holidays and the average engagement time is 12 months. This is a good amount of time to allow for all planning and decisions without the added stresses of rushing or loosing the vendors you want to hire. With that said, here are the things that need to happen within the first month or so of being engaged to ensure you are going to have everything you envisioned your wedding to be and more!

Savannah Wedding Rings 1. Announce your engagement: Let everyone know that you gotten engaged! Etiquette wise, believe it or not, there is an order to do this.

First: Let your parents, siblings and grandparents know. DO NOT SEND A TEXT MESSAGE! Give them a call! This is a very special occasion and they probably want to ask you all the fun details! Then you can send an email or an engagement announcement  to extended friends and family.

{TIP: Keep in mind, when you send engagement announcements, those that you send them to, will likely expect an invite to the wedding. Be sure they do not mistake that for an invitation though!}

Then: Publish an Announcement in Your Local Newspaper. Their requirements are usually listed online. It should tell you if they accept pictures, have any specific guidelines, deadlines, fees, or regulations about the announcement.  Typically, announcements include information on the two of you, including career and education credentials, and your parents names. If your parents live in a different town, you should also include their hometowns.

2. Pick a date: Pick Carefully!

There are a number of things you need to consider when picking a date:

  • In Season vs. Off Season: These months will vary depending on which area of the world you pick. For Savannah weddings, Hilton Head weddings, Jekyll Island weddings, and Charleston weddings the in season months are: April, May, June, September, October and lately November is becoming quite popular. But if you go to DC and your in season months would be different due to weather and tourism peak times. But the biggest thing to note is that your wedding costs will be less during the off season.
  • Location: What kind of atmosphere do you want for your wedding and guests? Do you want historic homes, museums, water access, mountains, etc? You should research the locations you are debating to the fullest. If you want to get married at a winery, unfortunately Savannah wouldn't be the area for you! However, if you want ocean, history, charm and beautiful weather…then Savannah or the Low Country is for you!
  • Weather: If you want the festivities to take place mainly outside, then I wouldn't recommend humid , rain prone, or cold months! Every city and location is different, so do a little research on what the average weather report is for each month.
  • Holidays: Will it be easy for your guests to travel? This can go both ways. On the up side, they would have more time to travel and make a mini-vacation out of it. but on the downside they can incur more costs due to high travel times.

3. Hire a wedding planner: A No Brainer!

imageThe average wedding takes 250+ hours to plan and this day in age with the hectic schedules we keep, who has the time to do a thorough job? Think about how much you get paid for an hour of work, now think about how much you get paid per hour. By the time you add up all the time you spent researching vendors, sending emails, making phone calls, and tracking details you could have paid for 4 planners! As a wedding planner,   I not only offer my expertise and share priceless information and knowledge with you, I am a sounding board, friend and liaison when it comes to vendor details and negotiations. It is very hard planning a wedding from another city in which you are not familiar. How are you supposed to know, of the hundreds of vendors listed, which ones will provide you with the quality service you deserve?  Wedding planners are also privy to discounts, that you as a private party wouldn’t normally be entitled to, based on the strong and constant working relationships they share with vendors. Thus, saving you even more money!  At the very least you should have a wedding planner for your day of. The last thing you want to think about when you are getting ready in your room, is whether or not the cake was delivered and having to get up extra early to lay linens and set your place settings. Just as you want to enjoy your wedding day, as do your friends and family. You want a professional who has experience with all the things that can and will go wrong, handle the most important day in your life.

4. Establish your Budget: Know your limits!

Before you can really start any type of planning, you really need to discuss this touchy subject with prospective contributors to your wedding budget. Your wedding planner can help you establish what you spend and which vendors will fit in your budget, based on what you have envisioned for your big day.

This will help determine decisions like:

  • Reception space options (Hall, Ballroom, Museum, Historic Home, etc)
  • What type of chairs you can rent (plastic, wood, chivari, etc)
  • Band vs. DJ
  • Passed Hors d’oeuvres vs. a Sit down Dinner
  • Bar options
  • Linen options
  • and much more!

You really need a number in your head before you begin to book vendors. You do not want to be stuck looking and falling in love with venue spots that do not fit in your budget!

{TIP: Depending on which location you pick for your wedding (beach, mountains, east coast, west coast, etc) will fluctuate in the price per person (PPP) number. On average you should plan to spend}

5. Start compiling your guest list: Be reasonable!

Knowing how many guests might attend will help determine what venues you can consider and how much you can plan to spend per person.

I don't have to tell you that the less guests you have, the farther your budget will go. You know that! Wouldn’t you rather the fun details like beautiful chargers, luxurious linens, lush floral decor, dramatic draping, amazing lighting and one more course to your meal, rather than 50 more guests? I know I WOULD! But, I can tell you that having a large number of guests is exhausting for you and your fiancĂ©. You will spend most of the night making sure you talk to each guest and less time dancing and enjoying the festivities! It is no fun talking to people you have met once in your life when you were 10 not to mention you are paying a pretty penny for them to be there.

{TIP: Keep in mind this general rule of thumb--If your wedding is an out of town wedding 60-70% of guests will attend. If your wedding is an in town wedding, 70-80% of guests will attend. This number with the economy with the way it is now tends to lean more to the lower end of these numbers and holiday weekends will also affect your attendance.}

6. Start your wedding website:The ultimate information source for guests.

The best way to keep your guests informed and actively involved in your wedding is to create a wedding website. This day in age, with technology at everyone’s fingertips, it is easy to make a one-stop-shop for your family and friends. There are a number of free wedding website options and ones that have a month to month or yearly fee. Depending on the features you are looking for out of your website, will determine  the price you will end up paying. I suggest you find one that has an online RSVP option, external links to your registries, enough pages to add for hotel, travel, timing, things to do, and gallery information. My favorites are Wedding Window, Wedding Wire, and MyWedding. Check back next week for a more in depth overview and comparison of the most popular wedding website options to help you make an informed decision!

Save the Date 2

Photo by Thistleberry Press

7. Send out Save the Dates: A smart move.

I recommend, if you are planning a type of destination wedding where most of your guests will be attending from out of town, sending out a “Save the Date”.  Sending this card will allow your guests to make travel plans, hotel arrangements and make sure they mark their calendar to ensure no other future plans coincide with your wedding day! The more time they have to plan, the better the chance they will be able to come.

{TIP: If you have a wedding website, be sure to add that to the card. Providing information on hotels, important times, travel options, and giving them access to wedding registries, will help you in the long run as well!}

{TIP: You might want to include some travel brochures and visitor’s packets of the city you will be getting married in. This might entice your guests to make a mini vacation out of your wedding weekend and will prompt more guests to attend. Your wedding planner can help you gather these from a the local CVB.}

I know it seems overwhelming, but it never hurts to get started early and ask for help! planning your wedding is supposed to be fun and stress free and I assure you, having a wedding planner will guarantee this!  So ask me how I can help you love every minute of your planning in a luxurious fashion!


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Popping the Question-The “Do’s” of proposing-Part 1

marriage proposal So you want to “Pop the question” to the love of your life? And…you are searching online to find advice…well, you have come to the right place! Up until this point, the most important day in your life might have been when you walked across the stage at your college graduation, or maybe when you landed that dream job you were interviewing for or maybe even when you became the proud owner of a 69’ Mustang. Well none of that will compare to what you are about to do. That being said, here are the ultimate guidelines for the “Do’s” to proposing!

Be Certain

The ONLY answer you should or want to here is “YES”….This is not an instance when you don’t want to be unsure of the answer you are expecting to receive. This could turn out to be upsetting and humiliating for both of you and that is no way to end the evening or continue the relationship. Avoid the awkward situation by wading the waters and casually discussing the future of your relationship. (But…don’t wait until just before you want to propose!)

The Element of Surprise

She should in no way be expecting or anticipating this! This is part of the game right! You want to sweep her off her feet and take her by surprise. SO…keep it quite! No one needs to know what or when you will do it. Don’t facebook or twitter it, tell family and friends, or leave receipts laying around. If she gets suspicious, throw her off or even lie (this is the only time I condone this!)

Talk With Her Parents

While it is not necessary this day in age, to ask for permission, it is always a good idea to talk with her parents about your intentions.  Asking for their blessing is not only nice to have, it is form of respect.

Be Unique

You don't want to be a copy cat! You want this to be a moment that you both remember forever! The more thought you put into it, the more it will mean to her.   After all this is one of the stories that you will be asked and tell more than any other in your lifetime together! Make it count. if you are stuck and just don't know what to do, that is OK because some wedding planners offer services now, where they will help you plan this momentous occasion with you!

Make it Personal

When you think of how to ask your girlfriend make them feel like the whole affair was designed around them! Have her favorite flowers, food or wine with you, invite her family to join you as it is happening, bring her to a spot that means the most to the both of you, cook her special meal…you get the picture! And most importantly add more to the “Will you marry me?” Start the proposal off by telling her why you want to marry her or what you love most about her and then ask the ever so important question.


More than likely you are going to be so nervous! You need to think about what you want to say, write it down, practice in front of a mirror, use a tape recorder, say it to a friend…whatever you can do to make you feel more confident in asking. These words should flow right out of your mouth without hesitation! Practice does make perfect!

Get on your Knee

Every little girl has dreamt about this day. She has seen it in movies, read about it in books and heard many stories all of which include, YOU getting down on one knee and proposing to her. While this might seem corny or even petty to you, this is something that means the world to her!

Ask the Question

Getting on your knee and showing her a ring doesn’t imply that you want to marry her and it shouldn’t be a given when you do so. You need to ask her “THE” question.  These words are indicating you are ready to take the next step in your relationship and you want her to be your wife. She shouldn’t have to assume anything and hearing it from you are words that will linger in her head and heart for the rest of her life.

Pictures are a Must

You want to be sure you have memories of this amazing moment in your life! Aside from your wedding and children’s birth, this will be a one of the most important memories that you will share with friends and family for years! Take it from me, I have personal experience with this one! When my husband asked me to marry him, he didn't think to have a camera or anyone take pictures afterwards. The only thing we could get our hands on was this little Polaroid camera that the restaurant had and the picture was so blurry and small it didn’t even matter. I was so upset that the restaurant let me take the plate home so i could photograph it but we still had no picture of us! Arrange to bring your camera and hand it someone to take a picture, have friends and family join you right after, or have a professional photographer there to capture it all! Whatever you do, get pictures!

Tune in tomorrow for the every so important “Don’ts” to popping the question!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tattoos. To cover or not to Cover.


I know how I feel on this subject, but I thought I would reach out to my facebook compadres to see if the general public felt the same. So perhaps I surround myself with friends like me, but it seems that most rule in favor of “not” covering up. I know it can be a touchy subject. Perhaps it’s mom or dad who is requiring the cover up or maybe it’s something you don’t want to share with the in-laws just yet. Surprise!

tattoos.001   My personal take is do exactly what YOU want because you are the one looking at the photos for the rest of time.  I love my tattoos and nothing in the world would’ve made me cover them up. I have more now then I did then, but I wouldn’t cover them either! My facebook buddies mostly all agreed saying, “Why would you have them in the first place if you’re just gonna cover them?” and “Personally I’m letting aaallll mine show...well the ones I can show anyway.” One friend, who I wouldn’t expect this from, said she is going to get a tattoo on her beack before she’s married saying, “if I have to change my awesome last name(King), I get a crown on my back to keep a part of it.” It’s going to be her last single act! I love it.

I only had one buddy chime up in favor of covering. Saying that while she loved her tattoos her vision of a bride is “simple, pure, classic kind of look... and tattoos aren’t really in the picture for me.” I once had a friend tell me that she would cover up at any formal event where all eyes were on her because her tattoos weren’t for other people, they were for her only. I dig it. And I can totally understand covering a tat that you hate or plan to remove. Brands like Dermablend make ah-mazing coverups for tats. But the best advice I can give is to pay someone to airbrush them away. It may be expensive and time consuming, but it will look the most natural and it will stay put ALL day! tattoos.002

Another friend sent me a like to the Offbeat Bride site. It’s a great site for anyone who is looking to do anything a bit different at your wedding. It’s full of spunky brides and rad ideas. tattoos.003

Until we meet again, stay bridal and let your body art shine!!!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Ask Morgan: To First Look or No First Look?

Q. Morgan, I have been told by my photographer that we should considering seeing each other before the wedding. But I am somewhat traditional and don't know if I like the idea of ruining that first moment as I walk down the aisle. What is your take on it and what are the pros and cons of each?—Tonya Savannah Wedding (65)

A.Tonya, I am for the first look! But this is ultimately up to the couple. However, before you make your decision, let me explain why I am PRO-First look!

Logistically here are some pros:

  • More time for you both to enjoy your cocktail hour after the ceremony, as you aren't rushing off to take an hour worth of pictures.
  • Guests aren't waiting for your arrival for too long. If guests wait longer than 45-1 hour, then it is almost considered rude and inconsiderate. They are there to see you….there is no need to keep them waiting that long.
  • Breaking the tension and ice before. This can easily calm nerves and allow for better pictures in general!
  • More one on one pictures. You don't want to get caught in the photography game of making sure your great Aunt Betty has a picture with you guys and cut down on your time to take pictures as a couple and only a couple.
    • I say this to all of my couples all the time: I feel that the pictures you two take together are some of the most important aspects of your wedding. I loved my wedding photographer but we have only a few pictures of Tim and I together due too much going on and lack of time. It is one of my biggest regrets at my wedding that we didn't do more or have this moment. (that is a different blog post for a different day!)
  • THE BEST pictures: Let me explain and I am sure my photographer friends would agree:

There is this moment when it is just the two of you…no one else……(no priest, no guests looking at you, no bridesmaids or groomsmen laughing or nudging him as you walk down the aisle to him) that happens. It is magical and the moment ccan only be caught in its entirety in a first look. Of course this moment will happen when you walk down the aisle but it is MUCH harder to capture in its entirety and the moment is shorter lived because you are now entering the moment of the actual wedding. And while you might be able to exchange a few words under breath, it doesn't get to come full circle until after the wedding ceremony and you have a private moment. But not…it is almost now a different moment. The moment of “sharing together for the first time as husband and wife”. Savannah Wedding (9)

Logistically here are some Cons:

  • You would need to scheduled your appointments for hair and makeup a little earlier
  • Your photographer would probably need to start earlier so it could mean more hours essentially if you want them to go to the end of the night.
  • You would need about 30 minutes for the first look so that means you might want to schedule to touch up makeup/hair afterwards if the weather is a bit sticky outside!
  • You are now alternating the first time you see each other from when you walk down the aisle to now and some parents might have a issue with this non-traditional concept. 

I would most definitely opt for the more intimate and lasting moment when the two of you see each other and only each other for the first time in a first look. Trust me you wont regret it and you wedding will mean just as much as you thought it would (pending you dint didn't do this) to you both and there will still be those butterflies the minute you begin you walk down the aisle towards him. I PROMISE!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ask Morgan: The DJ song list is HUGE! Help…..

Q: Morgan, do I have to pick out all my reception songs? My DJ gave me a huge list of songs but it is daunting to go through! -Mandy

A: Hi Mandy, it is quite a 0655simple answer of NO, but the explanation might be more of what you are looking for. Here is the thing…a GOOD DJ will be able to gage your audience throughout the night and pick the appropriate music accordingly. If he sees that a particular genre of music is keeping the dance floor busy…they will continue with something similar to ensure that it continues to be the case. The last thing you want to do is limit and dictate exactly what they must play because it just might not flow or be what entices your guests to get their boogie ON!

My advice is simple:

-Pick the songs you want your important dances to be to as well as a genre of music if you are having a cocktail hour. (IE. Soft Rock-Michael Buble, Jack Jonson or Jazz-Etta James, Duke Ellington, etc)

-If there are songs that you know you HAVE to hear before the night is over, jot them down and give them to your wedding planner or the DJ ahead of time to ensure they can get the song and fit it into the night for you.

-List the songs you most definitely DO NOT want to hear played (chicken dance, polka, etc) This list will be pretty easy compared to picking out each and every song you want to hear. TIP: Ask the DJ to let you know if a guest happens to request a song you have asked him not to play and then make the call.

-Allow your guests to make requests if they would like. Merely let your DJ know it is ok as long as it falls into your realm of what is OK to play. (Granny is going to be there don't forget and you might not want her hearing “Baby got back!”

-Let your wedding planner create your reception timeline with you and let them discuss with your DJ. I know that we go over all names, pronunciations, and timing of all events with them prior to the wedding to ensure things go perfectly smoothly!

Then get your dancing shoes ready…because if your guests see you on the dance floor having fun---they are going to join you! There is nothing worse than an empty dance floor…