Bridesmaids & Groomsmen’s Gifts – Avoid Envy!

I’ll never forget a wedding rehearsal dinner I attended where the proud groom beamed as his groomsmen opened their gifts: (then brand-new to the market) ipod shuffles!  I stole a glance at the bride across the room gifting garnet jewelry to her dearest friends, matching the maroon dresses they’d wear the next day. Dresses they’d paid dearly for, and would likely be on their way to Goodwill within 48 hours of the bouquet toss.

Gifts that mean something will touch Bridesmaids more than matchy matchy jewelry.

The groomsmen were gleeful as they  tore open the little boxes from Apple like kids on Christmas morning, and high-fived one another.  The girls sat drinking champagne quietly.  Let this be a lesson, brides. Chances are, your bridesmaids already own lovely jewelry they can wear to your wedding. So what if it isn’t matchy matchy? They’ll all show a bit of personality. That leaves you free to give them something that really reflects how much you care, and is not made of Swarovski crystal. Best of all, you get to see your girls high-fiving at your rehearsal dinner. Christmas morning here we come!

Be well and love well,


Going the Distance: Marathon prep wisdom for your Wedding Day

Brides Running On The Beach
Image by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

How can 26.2 miles help with going down the aisle? Well, like wedding planning, training for a marathon starts months in advance. Wise runners are methodical and have some simple race day routines that, if followed, can ease the minds (and feet, and nerves..) of brides.  We’ve picked out some winners:

  • Get a good night’s rest before the big day.  Runners know that if you don’t go to sleep at a decent hour, your energy won’t hold out the whole race.  Make sure you don’t stay out too late at the rehearsal dinner, or hanging with your girls.
  • Eat breakfast.  Runners eat light, and early so as to digest, but food=fuel=crucial.  As for brides, eat small snacks throughout the day and hydrate.  The last thing you need is a headache or a fainting spell.
  •   Test all your gear, and don’t try anything new.  Marathoners stick to what they know – even new sunscreen on race day is a no-no.  Brides should follow suit – shoes should be ‘broken in’ and make-up tested for allergic reactions.  The hairstyle should have a trial run.  Let your motto be “No surprises.”
  • Comfortable, well-fitting shoes are non-negotiable.  You just can’t run 26.2 miles in uncomfortable shoes.  You shouldn’t get married in them either. Don’t make blisters your most vivid wedding memory.  Pretty and comfortable are not mutually exclusive
  • Breathe, stand up straight and enjoy your moment. Marathoners have always followed what we give as our essential bridal advice.   So keep your eye on the finish line!  Born to run, baby!

My Little Etiquette Shop: Places please! This is a rehearsal dinner, people!

What the heck? Who needs to rehearse how to eat, right? May is here and from New York to San Francisco, wedding guests are digging through drawers trying to find invitation maps they buried under receipts and take-out menus.  Many will discover that they have been invited to a rehearsal dinner, whether or not they are in the wedding party.  We had some etiquette queries come in about rehearsals and the associated dinners, so we’re going to take them on. Do you have questions about being a wedding guest? Write us! We love questions, rehearsed or not.  Please put the word “Etiquette” in your subject line.


Why was I invited to my friend’s Rehearsal Dinner? I’m not in the wedding party, and I’m not family.  Is it rude to decline the invitation?


A:   Well, Barbara, rehearsal dinners have changed over time.  Many are still intimate affairs where the people who are at the actual rehearsal go out to dinner.  Others, however, have become parties practically as elaborate as the weddings themselves.  Many couples have decided that with guests traveling from afar, it’s nice to invite out-of-towners to the dinner so as to have an activity their first night, and see friends and family.  Others choose to invite those closest to them who are not in the wedding party to join the group to recognize their special place in the bride or groom’s life. Regardless of what your friend’s reason was, it’s a nice invitation, and chances are the food will be better than at the Motel 6 coffee shop so hey – why not?  As to declining, no it’s not rude, as long as you actually decline according to the invitation’s instructions.  If it says to call your friend’s future Mother-in -Law, you should call her, and not just drop your friend an email.  People are dealing with caterers and the bride may not have time to communicate (or remember) all such details. She’s a little busy right now. And, needless to say, thank her FMIL for the invitation.

Let the toasting begin!  More on wedding guests to come.

Malin / Balestriere Rehearsal Dinner
Why am I here? For the party, of course! Photo by Sean O'Shaughnessy