Wedding Bell Blues

Gail Garceau
Photo courtesy of Karen French Photography

By Gail Garceau

Color Bar

Dear Gail,
How do I tell my father that $5,000 is not enough money to cover a wedding with 200-250 people? I want it to be special. He would rather have it in Grandma's backyard and himself at the BBQ!

How do I explain to him I need MORE or ideas on having a wedding and reception for 200 on $5000?
Placentia, California

Dear Krista,
Well, with everything involved in planning your wedding, at least you still have your sense of humor! A reception at Grandma's with Dad in an apron behind the BBQ is wonderful if that is what you've envisioned for your wedding. If not, there are many ways to plan a beautiful wedding on a limited budget.

First, you need to do your homework. Research all of the expenses involved in a wedding, and actually do a budget for your father. You need to present this budget to him for a reality check. He honestly may not know the expenses involved in this type of undertaking - few people do. Your wedding presentation should include various options. One option would be for a champagne and cake reception following your ceremony. You can certainly do this within the $5,000 that your father has allotted. Another option is to cut down on your guest list. Also include the figures for the wedding that you and your fiancé really desire.

If your father does not offer additional funding after you have presented the various options, look to other resources. In this day and age, many weddings are funded collectively by the Bride's family, the Groom's family and the Bride and Groom. You will need to have a frank financial discussion with all of the parties involved, and then proceed to plan your wedding based on the financial resources available. Please remember that the most beautiful weddings often are based on creativity - not capital!

Color Bar

Dear Gail,
After reading several newsgroups, I have concluded it is appropriate for the bride and groom to open wedding gifts as they arrive. The issue of thank you notes is less clear, however. If thank you notes are sent shortly after the gift is received but prior to the wedding, how does the not-yet- married couple sign the notes? Is it okay to wait until after the wedding and send them with our married names?
Los Angeles, California

Dear Susan,
It is perfectly acceptable to send out thank you notes prior to the wedding if you follow these guidelines. If you are using monogrammed thank you notes, they should be in the Brides name only. Use the brides name and address only as the return address on the envelopes. The notes can be signed by both you and your fiancé, with your first names only, i.e. " Mary and Steve", or if you would like to be more formal, "Mary Smith and Steve Jones". You should never use your new married name on any social correspondence, until after you are married.

Another option is to write your thank you notes as gifts arrive, but wait and mail all of the notes after the wedding. This allows you to keep up with the task, and still use your married name as a monogram, return address and signature.

Either way you choose, congratulate yourself on thinking ahead!

Color Bar

Dear Gail,
We are having a big party after the formal reception at my parents' house. There will be a DJ and food and drinks. What is the proper way to invite people to the party that aren't invited to the reception?
Jenn, Massachusetts

Dear Jenn,
Unfortunately, I can't think of an appropriate way to invite guests to a second party without offending them that they weren't invited to the first party. You run the risk of hurt feelings when a guest arrives for a party that is following a major event from which they were so obviously excluded.

Is there any possibility of planning this second party as an open house on the day following the wedding? Out of town guests would still be available, and it would be more appropriate to invite friends and neighbors that were not invited to the wedding to this type of party. Just a thought.

Color Bar

Best wedding wishes to all,


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A Note from the Publisher - Thanks to all of you for submitting your questions to The Wedding Bell Blues. Gail makes every attempt to send a personal response to each and every question. We have had a number of responses returned to us due to incomplete, or incorrect email addresses. If you do not receive a reply to your question within 1-2 weeks, please email us with your name, the date of your question and your email address so that we can make sure that you receive your response. Thank you!

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