Mother of the Bride Vs. Mother of the Groom Wedding Fashion Contest – #wedding

imagesIt started at the dinner.  My son and her daughter had announced their engagement two weeks before.  They invited my husband and I, parents of the groom, her – the mother of the bride, and her ex-husband and his new wife to dinner.  The dinner was the first we were to hear about their wedding plans, the vision they had for what they wanted, and what role we were all to play.  We talked first about the location.  Then we talked about different things that needed to be done, and we talked about the finances of all of it.

I thought we were all cooperative and supportive through all that.  After all, isn’t money the thing that gets people in a tizzy?  Not us.  It was her.  And the mention of the mother of the bride’s and the mother of the groom’s dresses.  Joanna, her daughter and the bride, wanted us to have a dusty blue hue – a warm and inviting grey colour.  That was her only request.  Joanna was leaving it up to us to discuss further coordination, but she made it clear she wanted us to feel comfortable and like ourselves.  She did not want the dresses to match by any means – which came as a relief to me.  I was nothing like her – Ulrika – Joanna’s mother.

Erik, my son, was wisely staying out of these details of the planning.  And in truth, at the dinner, Ulrika said nothing too provocative.  It’s looking back on it that I can see the mention of the dress, the way she looked at me up and down, critically, that I understand she was starting the competition there and then.

We left the dinner with plans for Ulrika and I to meet and shop together after the wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses were chosen.  She was helping her daughter through that, then we would meet to choose our dresses.  She had the upper hand already.  We both knew it.  I tried to be polite, but I could already see she was determined to control the outcome.  She had her dress picked out, finding it in a boutique with bridesmaid’s dresses.  She wanted me to choose another she had picked out.

I’m all for being agreeable but she was suggesting a style I knew looked awful on me.  I had to decline.  I would be self-conscious the whole wedding day.  We shopped together for a few more hours, and the tension just continued to build between us.  Finally, I suggested that now I knew what she was wearing, I would shop for something that was of the same hue that Joanna wanted on my own.  I didn’t need to waste her time, I said, and alluded to how busy she was.

In the months leading up to the wedding, it became a real fashion contest for us.  Shoes were another big deal.  I had shown the dress I found to Joanna, who approved, but I kept it from Ulrika’s critical eye.  The shoes I thought I could show her.  It was a bad decision.  She insisted we both have a substantial heel, but closed-toe.  I had bought open-toed shoes.  She showed me her handbag that matched her dress.  It was exquisite and far more money than I would want to spend.  I found an equal exquisite hand-bag and had a big argument with my husband over buying it.

The jewelry was the next thing.  We unofficially decided to not show each other anything more, and save the ‘revealing’ for the wedding day.  I knew I would have to have earrings that bedazzled as much as the handbag.  My husband would just have to forgive me.  I was getting more and more determined that I had to get more compliments than Ulrika from the guests.  She would give me that self-righteous look of contempt forever if I didn’t.  I bought diamond earrings, a beautiful diamond necklace, and I booked an elite makeup artist and hairstylist. I wanted to win the wedding fashion contest!

The day of the wedding, it turned out, we were both outshone by the stepmother.  And not only did I learn a lesson in humility, but I also learned what it was like to loose perspective to what was really important – my son getting married.  He, at least, thought I looked fantastic.

How to word an RSVP card

DSC_3686Response cards make keeping track of your guest list much easier.

According to Emily Post, the response card is inserted with a wedding invitation and is engraved or printed in the same style and paper stock as the invitation. Most people pre-address and stamp the reply envelope to make as easy as possible for guests to RSVP via mail. If you would like to receive replies via email or telephone, that’s fine, just include the necessary information on the response card.

Regardless of the medium, RSVPs are essential tools to help you organize and monitor your guest list. So here is a guide to how to word an RSVP card.

Below is an outline of how an RSVP card should look.


will ____________ attend


accepts _______
regrets  _______

The “M” precedes the space where the guest(s) write their name(s) and the name of the guest, if they were invited to bring one:

Mr. and Mrs. James Bailey


The favour of your reply is requested by Jan. 8, 2012

accepts _______
regrets  _______



Remember, Music Box Invites can help you with all your invitation needs!

Six Ways to Better Prepare for Your Wedding Day

Your wedding day is one of the happiest of your life, and should be spent enjoying yourself rather than sweating details. These six simple but often overlooked tips can help you feel prepared and calm on your big day.

Experiment Early

A few weeks in advance, style your hair and do your makeup the way you think you want them for the wedding. This gives you plenty of time to make any changes, so you’re not scrambling to replace the wrong shade of lipstick on your way to the ceremony. Consider a visit to Pembroke Pines smile makeovers for a tooth-whitening as well, and if you want a tan be sure you do it early so you can look more natural and less orange the day of.

Remember Your Vendors

Remember your photographer, band members, and other vendors when calculating how much food you will need and make, a plan with your caterer for feeding them. Prepare any tips or payments in advance, and delegate the task of paying vendors to someone in the wedding party or a family member. You don’t want to be safeguarding cash or writing checks at your reception.

Plan the Day

Make a schedule of your wedding day tasks and leave plenty of time for each, including a nutritious breakfast. Knowing what time you will be at the hair salon, and when the photographer is coming will help you feel organized and confident. Be sure to stay organized so you don’t overbook. A written schedule keeps you and your helpers on the same page and eases pressure. Music Box Invites is happy to share a FREE excel spreadsheet timeline to any Bride-to-be who emails us for it.

Layout Clothes

The night before the wedding, select the outfit you will wear before your ceremony. Choose a zippered sweatshirt or button-down top you can easily remove without pulling over your hair or makeup when you change into your gown. Pick something comfortable and relaxing that will look good in the pre-glamour pictures your family will snap at home.

Prepare the Paperwork

Paperwork isn’t romantic, but is important and easy to forget. Get your paperwork in order before the wedding and pack it with other wedding day essentials. You will need your marriage certificate and should have identification and passports ready in a carry-on bag for honeymoon traveling.

Surrender Your Phone

Give you cell phone to the maid of honor the night before your wedding. This way you can enjoy your day calmly, instead of fielding calls from lost relatives or confused vendors. Let her know what calls you want to handle yourself and have her filter out the others.  You can also put alerts on your phone calendar for what things should happen at what time and when that alert goes off, she can inform the band or banquet people what should happen next (for example, time to cut the cake, etc). And if you want her to share your event on Facebook or other social media, she can take pictures and post them for you.

After you do these things, take a deep breath and relax – enjoy your wedding day!

Essential Wedding Invitations Do’s and Don’ts

Here are some wedding invitation do’s and don’ts from Emily Post and other Wedding Gurus.


  • Do allow plenty of time. Custom wedding invitations take a lot longer than ones you can purchase on line. Allow at least 8 weeks for design and production. Plus, Plan enough time in your schedule to carefully address, assemble, and mail your invitations. Invitations should go out at least 6-8 weeks before the big day, so therefore you probably should be ordering your invites at least 5 months before your wedding day. Rule of thumb, once you have chosen the date and the venue, send your Save the Dates and begin the invite process. After all, having people come to your wedding is a very important part of the day!lindsay-sq
  • Do design your invitation to match your wedding theme. If you are having a very elegant wedding make sure the invitations are not casual. The right invitation can give your guests insight on what to expect at the wedding.
  • Do use RSVP cards with stamped return envelopes or consider a card that has the phone # and/or email address to RSVP to if you want to save on the postage costs but don’t expect your guests to pay for a stamp to return the RSVP card to you.
  • Do get organized. Develop a system for addressing and mailing your invitations. Prepare by gathering the names and addresses of everyone on your guest list.
  • Do ask for help. Invite friends, family or bridal attendants to help assemble invitations.
  • Do use the names of all guests when possible. It is much warmer and more welcoming to use the correct names of those who will accompany your guests on invitations instead of “and guest.” Plus, it eliminates the awkwardness of having people respond with someone you are not expecting at your wedding.
  • Do use Correct Titles. It’s flattering when invitations are addressed correctly. This means using appropriate titles and spelling names correctly. When in doubt, ask before addressing.


  • Don’t forget to include any appropriate inserts, such as maps, directions or hotel information for out-of-town guests.
  • Don’t include registry or gift information with your invitation. It is in poor taste to insert a list of places where the bride and groom are registered or a checklist of the things they want and don’t want.
  • Don’t put “no kids” on the invite if you want a kid-free wedding. Instead properly address your invitations so that you put ONLY the full names of the people you want to attend. The outside address might say Mr. and Mrs. Smith but the inside envelope (or tag if you are using a box) should say John and Karen Smith.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something different and unique – For example, a custom made musical invitation is so special, you really wouldn’t need to do a favor as well – your guests would save the boxed invite for years!
  • Don’t forget to take pictures of the invitations (or have your photographer during your engagement session) – that makes a GREAT first page in all wedding photo albums!

Formal Wedding Invitation Wording

According to Emily Post, in accordance with long-standing traditions, the following etiquette guidelines apply to formal wedding invitation wording.

Yellow Swirl text altNames and Spelling

  • A wedding invitation is issued by the host(s). The hosts’ name(s) are spelled out and include middle names and titles.
  • Titles such as Mr. and Mrs. are not spelled out. Doctor should be spelled out, unless the name would be too long to fit on one line.
  • The phrase “the honour of your presence” is used when the ceremony will take place in a house of worship. Honour is spelled with a “u” in the British fashion. For other venues “the pleasure of your company” is the traditional wording.
  • If the bride shares her parents’ last name, only her first and middle name are used.
  • The groom’s name is spelled out, and is preceded by a title. For example: Mr. Stephen Eugene Hall.

Time and Date

  • The date is also spelled out, as is the year. Note that there is no “and”: two thousand twenty-three.
  • The day of the week and the month are capitalized; the year is not.
  • Use the phrase “half after” when indicating time, rather than “half past” or “four-thirty.”
  • The phrases “in the afternoon” and “in the evening” are not necessary.
  • Provide the city and state of the wedding location. The state is spelled in full, but may be omitted if all guests are local.


  • “RSVP,” which is an abbreviation of the French repondez s’il vous plait, means “please respond.” Each of the following usages is correct: RSVP, R.S.V.P., r.s.v.p., R.s.v.p. and “The favour of a reply is requested.”
  • RSVP is only used on reception invitations or combination wedding/reception invitations; it’s not used on wedding-only invitations. When used, it goes on the lower left.
  • RSVP isn’t necessary to put on the invite itself if you’re including stamped addressed reply cards unless you’d like to give your guests another way to respond, such as an email address or a phone number.

Details and Differences

  • The wording for a Jewish wedding invitation differs only in that “and” is used instead of “to” between the bride and groom’s names.
  • When a Roman Catholic mass is part of the ceremony, invitations may include “and your participation in the offering of a Nuptial Mass” beneath the groom’s name.
  • Do not mention gifts or attire on the wedding invitation. If necessary, “Black tie” may be written in the lower right on a reception invitation.

How To Find The Best Photographer For Your Special Day

You’ve already decided on tablecloths and little shapes for your napkins. Choosing a wedding photographer, however, is a bit more time-consuming. With so many studios and freelancers clamoring to capture your big day, how do you look past the lens and know which one is right for you?

Here are a few tips for choosing a the best photographer for your wedding day.

Choose A Photo Style

The easiest way to find a good wedding photographer is simply to flip through portfolios until you see something you like. But what if you don’t have time for that?

Start by narrowing your search and focusing on a particular style. Different photographers specialize in different areas, like outdoor weddings versus traditional settings, black-and-whites versus color photos, etc. Some studios like Lasting Expressions do them all. It doesn’t really matter what you decide to focus on so long as you have that focus: Construct a detailed vision of what you want your wedding photo album to look like, then search for a portfolio that matches it.

Know Your Limits

Once you’ve found your niche, you can eliminate more options by setting a price range and deciding the extent of your required services. How much of your wedding budget can you set aside for the photographer? Will you be asking for physical prints or just a CD/film roll? Do you only need someone for a few wedding portraits, or do you want them cataloging every step of the rehearsal, reception and ceremony? Can you afford it?

Meet The Photographer

Be sure to actually meet your photographer in person before committing to their services. They’ll be sticking to you like glue during the most important day of your life, so you’ll want your personalities to mesh! You can also take the opportunity to really hash out the details of their employment and re-negotiate any complicated points.

Know Who To Avoid

Don’t ever hire a relative! Not ever! Just don’t do it!

You should also watch out for anyone who has an insanely busy schedule. They’re either overworking themselves, which means they won’t be at their best for you, or they’re handing off events to assistants and associate photographers.

Seek Unbiased Opinions

A good way to vet any potential photographers is to figure out what previous customers have to say about them. Don’t trust the reviews on their personal website; look for third-party ratings and rankings. The best review anyone could give goes something like, “I was having (X) problem but my photographer managed it efficiently and got my portraits back on track in a minute!”

You should also be wary of photographers recommended by your venue or wedding coordinator. They may, in fact, be great at their job, but chances are high that they’re paying to be networked and endorsed by other industry professionals.

100_2018Trust Your Instincts

You can’t be sure how your pictures will turn out until you actually have them in your hands, so choosing a photographer is by necessity an act of faith. Once you’ve browsed, classified and analyzed all your options, all that’s left is to go with your instincts.

They led you to your spouse, after all. They can lead you to a wonderful wedding photographer as well.

And once you have found the perfect photographer, make sure to give him a list of the shots you want him to take. One great shot is a picture of your wedding invitation bring it to your engagement session or have some at the wedding venue.

Impressive Presents – 5 Unique Gift Ideas for the Bride’s Special Day

Weddings are tough. If you’re like most adults, you find yourself spending much of your discretionary income and vacation time on them. There’s a lot to think about, especially if travel is involved. But one thing is non-negotiable, and that is a gift, particularly if you’re planning to attend. But what if you want to give a truly special gift instead of buying off the registry? Try one of these unique gift ideas.

1. Etched glass

Wine glasses, serving dishes, or fruit bowls with the couple’s initials etched into it is a great way to personalize a somewhat generic gift. Etching creams are available at craft and hobby stores so you can make the gift yourself. However, if you’re giving expensive Daum crystal or Waterford crystal, it’s best to leave the etching to the pros.

2. Experience gifts

How often will the couple really use the melon baller or chef’s toque they registered for? An experience they can share, such as a hang-gliding excursion or wine-tasting trip, is a memory-maker that they can enjoy together.

3. Fancy spices

Your favorite couple may have all the cookware and serving dishes they’ll need, but you can add a little flavor to their meals by giving them a set of exotic spices like saffron, coriander, and Himalayan pink sea salt. These are flavors they will love but may not think to get for themselves.

4. Disaster preparedness kit

It’s never fun to think about a tornado, earthquake, or other disaster on the couple’s happy day, but this practical gift can help keep them safe in an emergency. You can buy an emergency kit or put one together yourself depending on the most likely scenario for the couple’s geographic area. They won’t think to register for this, but they will thank you for it.

5. A handmade gift

What are you good at? A couple you’re close to might appreciate a handmade gift from the heart, whether it’s gourmet chocolates, a hand-stitched quilt, or a case of your best hand-crafted beer. If you’re handy, you might build a piece of furniture that fits their style, or if you’re a baker, you could offer to create their wedding masterpiece.

Wedding gift decisions can be stressful, but they’re also a great way to show how much you care. By offering a unique gift, the special couple will know how much you love them and will be thrilled with how much thought you put into their gift.

Great GIft Ideas for Your Spouse-to-Be For Your Wedding Day

Your wedding day is one of the most exciting moments of your life. When you dream about standing in front of your spouse and exchanging vows, you probably don’t stop and think about a gift for your spouse to be. Purchasing something for your new spouse lets that person know that you look forward to your future together, and you can use any of the following gift ideas for your spouse.

Decorations for the Holidays
Even if you lived together before the ceremony, you might still lack some holiday decorations. Treat your future spouse to holiday decorations that you can use together. You might fill a box with an inflatable snowman for the front lawn, Christmas lights for your bushes or porch and an ornament with your names on the front. You can even find fun decorations that you can use for Halloween, Fourth of July or other holidays.

A Guys Night Out
When a man announces his engagement, his friends immediately tease him. Show him that you’re a cool chick by giving him some freedom after your wedding day. Make a gift certificate on your home computer that entitles him to one night out with the guys. You can even create multiple coupons that give him a quiet night at home without you or free cooking for his guys night.

Home Security System
A great idea for a wedding gift is a home security system.. A security system will keep your home safe and protected even when you aren’t there, and you can even arrange for the installation of your security system before you leave on your honeymoon according to a Henderson home security company . With the new security system, you’ll both feel safe while on vacation. Your loved one will see the practicality and thoughtfulness behind the gift and will be glad.

Digital Goodies
Treat your spouse to be to digital goodies that you can both use on your honeymoon. A digital camera lets you capture the amazing sites that you see, while a digital camcorder will help you make videos that you can share with loved ones back home. You might even opt for a new smartphone for your future spouse. A smartphone helps him stay connected, but he can also use the phone to check email, play games and surf the web. If you already have these items, consider purchasing a tablet, laptop or other computer.

With everything you experience on your wedding day, you don’t want to worry about what gift to give your spouse. Digital devices, a home security system, holiday decorations and a night with friends are all fun gifts that you can use.

Party Time: Five Unique Ideas to Make Your Reception Memorable

During the year, many people attend several different weddings that often all have similar decor, styles, and food, making it important to throw an event that is both memorable and unique. By incorporating different elements into the reception, it can make for an unforgettable experience that is fun and truly different than all the rest and make your reception memorable.

photobooth_header1. Photo Booth

Allow guests to get playful in front of the camera with an old-fashioned photo booth. Photo booth rentals are becoming an increasingly popular party favor. Guests can enjoy playing with props that are provided while taking photos together for a printed souvenir that can be taken home or placed in a guestbook for the couple. Different backdrops can also be used in the photo booth, as well as monogrammed designs that are printed on each photo strip to mark the special event.

2. Ice Cream Truck

Gelato and ice cream trucks are a great way to provide dessert at a reception for an informal and unique food item that is fun. Guests can enjoy requesting different flavors, which will work to complement the cupcakes or cake slices and can be hand-picked by the bride and groom beforehand. The ice cream truck will bring along the spoons, bowls, or cones for a great way to make a formal event feel less stuffy.

3. Games

When hosting an outdoor reception during the summer, several games can be provided to allow guests to mingle and have a bit of fun. Horse shoes, large chess board games, and checkers have a high amount of aesthetic appeal, while preventing family and friends from getting bored with small talk.

4. Confetti Bar

A confetti bar is a fun way to allow people to mix their own confetti with different shades and sizes available to throw on the dance floor, or when the bride and groom make their big exit. Large glass jars and bowls are great party rentals that can be used to hold the different amounts of confetti for an attractive display that will be exciting to browse.

5. Cameras on Tables

To allow guests to interact and have a bit of fun, disposable cameras can be left on each table with a sign that asks guests to photograph themselves and the party throughout the evening. The bride and groom can then have the cameras collected at the end of the night for dozens of candid photos that will make for great memories.

And if you really want your wedding to stand out from the crowd, consider sending custom MUSICAL wedding invitations – your guest will be wowed and know that they are going to the BEST wedding of the season!

How to be the perfect Best Man

Being a Best Man is a challenging and often daunting undertaking. Below Lawrence Bernstein and Anna Quayle of share their advice on how to tackle the responsibilities of the day, and also deliver the perfect speech and be the perfect best man!

He’s your best friend. You’ve known him since you were kids. You’re his wing-man: the Dynamic Duo, Maverick and Goose (he’s Goose of course). You were there the night he met his girlfriend. You encouraged him to go and talk to her. And now, five years later, he’s finally popped the question: Will you be his Best Man?

No doubt there’ll be man hugs, handshakes, and slaps on the back. After all, it is the ultimate accolade. The greatest honour a man can bestow on a friend. The pinnacle of your long, fruitful bromance.

Then the Groom puts the fear on. It’s going to be a massive wedding. Marquees, fireworks, swing bands. They’ll be hundreds of people. The Bride’s millionaire parents are pulling out all the stops. It’s costing tens of thousands of pounds. And your speech as “The Best Man” will be the main event. After all, you have always been “the funny one”.

Then there’s the other stuff: Getting measured for suits, not losing the wedding ring. You read something once about the bridesmaids’ toast (but no one seems to know how or why this happens). And of course, you have to organize the all important “Stag Do (bachelor party)”. Like Napoleon surveying the vast Russian Steppe in 1812, the enormity of your task starts to sink in.

Measuring up
The Groom might ask you for help in choosing the wedding attire for the groomsmen. In most cases this will involve selecting a suit hire company that is conveniently located, arranging a fitting session for the group and organizing the collection and safe return of the suits.

Planning the Last Night Out
Remember this is not your stag do. Whatever fantasies you might have about flying helicopters, racing dune buggies or carousing in the flesh pots of Amsterdam need to be put to one side. Ask the Groom what he wants to do and who he wants to invite. Do not impose an agenda on him. Will it be a Stag weekend, day or night? Decide on a reasonable budget for the event and a location. Oh and PLEASE do not plan this the night before the actual wedding – we need the groom to present and sober, thank you!

Once the outline has been agreed you will need to organize invitations for the stag party, make the hotel and other reservations and think about mundane issues like transport and logistics. Check that any bars you might be planning to visit are happy to take stag parties. If the plan is to go abroad you will need to ensure that the group have valid passports, visas (possibly) and insurance. Check the Foreign Office website for travel advice to make sure you are not going to a war zone, somewhere with a revolution in progress, or any location where Brits are especially vulnerable. Remember that the best stag dos are planned carefully in advance, not improvised by a group of well-meaning drunks on the streets of Newcastle, Dublin or Riga at 2 o’clock in the morning!

The “Do” itself
Contrary to common wisdom on a stag do, it is not the job of the Best Man to get spectacularly drunk, humiliate the Groom by shaving, tattooing or otherwise exposing their private parts, or to live out their own stag fantasies.

Primarily, your job is to ensure the day or weekend runs smoothly, the Groom has a fantastic time and eventually he gets home safely. Any problems that emerge during the day will be your responsibility to resolve. Everyone else will look to you for leadership. Expect little help from other party members, especially once the alcohol starts flowing.

Wedding Day Duties
It is your responsibility to get the Groom out of bed, cleaned up and dressed presentably, and importantly transported to the church in good time.

He will undoubtedly be nervous so be supportive and don’t make things worse! Make sure that you have the wedding rings safely secured in your inside jacket pocket. You will be asked to present them during the service. Also ensure you know where the church is  – a good suggestion is to drive the route beforehand at least once.

You may also be responsible for organizing the Ushers, and for getting the guests seated in the right place. This will vary from wedding to wedding but try to take as much pressure off of him as you can.

The Speech
So it’s already D-Day and Zero Hour is fast approaching. Everyone has told you repeatedly how much they are looking forward to your speech. Some have asked you to make last minute changes reminding you of some hilarious incident or other that MUST be in your speech. Be strong and resist their requests. Your speech was (hopefully) written well in advance.

It begins with a thank you on behalf of the bridesmaid and for the Groom’s generous toast (hopefully he remembered to give it in his speech!).

Your comments are well structured, funny and poignant. You have not included anything offensive.

You have avoided clichéd wedding jokes, you have included some stories about the Groom as a teenager, described the night he met his bride to be and incorporated a carefully worded report on the stag do!

You have practiced your delivery in front of a trusted friend. You have written it onto hand cards which are securely placed in your inside pocket. You are sober, focused and ready to deliver!

To conclude
These are your main responsibilities. But the specifics will vary from wedding to wedding. Being a Best Man is a major undertaking and your reward will be the appreciation of the Groom, his wife and family. You will have the undying gratitude of the stag party. You will bask in the acclaim of the reception audience for your brilliant speech. And you may even have the honour of the first dance with the chief bridesmaid!

Our guest blogger, Lawrence Bernstein of has always loved writing, and made the move to a professional speech writer in 2005 after placing an ad in a magazine offering his services. Since then he’s written for clients in politics, business, charity and sport, as well as special occasions such as weddings and birthdays.


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