H&H Weddings

Planning a wedding is stressful enough without having to worry about etiquette guidelines. Let us help you out!

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etiquette / article Jul 13 2016

Kids Free Wedding

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Kids can be a great addition to weddings; they are adorable when they dance, they make almost every picture better and they are the perfect ring bearers and flower tossers. However, not everyone wants tots to attend their marital ceremony. We’re here to help you make it clear to your friends and family that you are excited to spend the day with them, but not their rug rats.

Children tend to be a touchy subject, so in a situation like this, we suggest being overly polite about things.  

First and foremost, this is your day and if you don’t want kids there, that’s your prerogative. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about that decision. Besides, depending on the location and setting of your wedding and reception, children might not be appropriate guests.  

If you are inviting many people who have children, the best first step is to make the invitations straight forward and firm. Stating, “You and one guest are invited,” or, “We love your munchkins, but this is a grownup shindig,” makes the message clear; this won’t be romper room.  

If the invitation isn’t explicit enough and you get the sense that a guest may be planning on bringing their children, it’s best to face the problem head-on. You or your partner (whoever is closer to the guest) should call to cordially uninvite the little ones. Chalking it up to a misunderstanding keeps things copasetic. Another option is to make it about the kids and parents. “ I just don’t think they’d have a good time,” or, “We want to spend quality time with you, without the distraction of children.” Both of these convey the message you are trying to get across.  

Ultimately, if the guest is not getting what you'€™re trying to say, you may just have to be blunt. It's the least favorable option, but you reserve the right to have your wedding the way you want it and no one should get in the way of that.

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Tagged: etiquette, engagements
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etiquette / q & a Jun 22 2016

Q

I'm curious about how the bridal shower situation will work with me and my fiancé. Having two showers seems greedy and gratuitous.

A

Firstly, I would like to make this about wedding showers, not just bridal showers. Grooms deserve showers as well, full of silly games, booze, and gifts.  

I think there are two ways that this situation can be approached. You and your wife-to-be probably have many friends in common, but probably also have friends (from work or elsewhere) that are significantly closer to one of you than the other. Many couples experience multiple showers. Your work friends likely won’t be invited to the shower that your mom and aunt throw you, so make use of the separation in your lives!  

It could seem greedy to have two showers, so have one big one with all of your family and closest friends. Ask your wedding party to include your lady’s family and close friends as well. It’ll make for a great soiree and it’ll be a good way for everyone to mingle before the wedding day.  

In this situation, I would presume there would be a few smaller showers with people who either aren’t in the wedding or are not as close to your core group. These smaller showers can be kept separate from those for your fiancée.  

If you are not interested in sharing the spotlight, then don’t! Especially if this is your first marriage, you have every right to be the center of attention. There will be people that will get an invite to both parties, but make it clear that they are not expected to double gift, just participate fully in all (drinking) games!  

This is a joyous time in your lives, one which you’ll both remember for years to come, so make it special!

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etiquette / q & a Aug 13 2014

Q

I love my sister, and I was thrilled when she asked me to help her and her fiancé plan their wedding, but my sister’s wife-to-be is a total bridezilla and it’s straining my relationship with my sister. What do I do?

A

Generally, being asked to help plan the biggest day of someone’s life is an honor and you should treat it as such. Your job is to make sure that you’re there for your sister. Obviously there will be decisions that they will make as a couple, but for the most part, you are emotional support (& maybe an invite addresser) for your sis.

Assuming this is taking too much of a strain on your relationship, a last resort would be for you to back out of your wedding duties, but I would avoid this at all costs.  

If your sister-in-law-to-be just knows what she wants, let her have it! It’s her day to shine and she deserves it! If she is mistreating your sister or anyone else, it might be time to have a talk with her. Many times, people get overzealous while planning their wedding. It could just be that she is very excited about the big day and wants everything to be perfect for her and your sister.  

Regardless, it’s a touchy subject, so approach it with caution. As long as everyone is being treated fairly, let your sister’s fiancé be the decision maker, sometimes it makes the situation easier if one partner takes the lead.  

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Tagged: etiquette, engagements
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etiquette / article Jul 30 2014

LGBT-Friendly Vendors

Regular

Many couples worry about finding LGBT-friendly vendors as they plan their wedding. Nothing sucks the excitement and romance out of organizing your big day like walking into a caterer’s for a tasting and realizing that they did not expect a same-sex couple.  

I have heard it both ways, some couples say that a vendor or venue never used assumed pronouns until they met the couple, other people have had to fill out contracts labeling one person the “bride” and the other the “groom.” All-in-all, I think the best thing anyone has said to me is this, “We decided to let our money do the talking.” As you should. This is probably the biggest chunk of change you’ll ever spend on one day and it should be the best day ever. If a vendor doesn’t expect a same-sex couple, but quickly adjusts and takes it in stride, I can deal with that, especially if their contract is gender-neutral. But if you, for any reason, feel uncomfortable, take your business elsewhere!  

Some states are luckier with this than others (you know who you are!). If you are looking for LGBT-friendly vendors, one great place to turn is our very own Crème de la Crème vendor list. It is full of vendors who not only want to work with same sex couples, but who have experience with them, which is key.  

If you don’t have luck there, and you have an idea of which vendors you’d like to work with in your area, book appointments! Here are a few things you should never be afraid to ask…  

1. Have you worked with same sex couples before? (A florist’s answer might not matter so much, but a photographer’s will, you want to make sure that the person capturing your wedding day understands the dynamic of your relationship and never makes you feel uncomfortable.)  

2. Can we use a gender-neutral contract? (It is 2014, after all!)  

3. Can we see samples of your work? (Whenever you hire a vendor, for a wedding or other event, you should always see samples of their work to make sure it’s what you are in the market for.)  

Keeping all of this in mind, I hope you are better prepared for the task of finding vendors to make your wedding day perfect! 

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Tagged: etiquette, engagements
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etiquette / article Jul 8 2014

Vendor Relationships

I was talking to a couple recently and they mentioned that a vendor had asked them an inappropriate question. They were pretty sure it was meant to be a joke and they love the vendor’s work, but they were made uncomfortable. I was outraged at first, but then realized that there was a better solution to this problem.  

Often, couples have close relationships with their wedding vendors. Not only are these vendors involved in one of the most monumental times of your life, they help you make decisions and collaborate with you. It can almost seem like a team effort. However, couples should remember that these relationships are professional and should stay that way. My friend’s vendor crossing the line was probably not an uncommon occurrence.  

My advice was this; if they made you so uncomfortable that you don’t want to see them now, fire them. If it made you slightly uncomfortable in the moment, but you could use this as a teaching experience, do that. As we learn more about gender identity and sexual orientation (and people in general), the politically correct terms change. Not everyone is privy to these changes. A vendor making a comment about one of you being the bride and one of you being the groom is totally inappropriate, but could be out of ignorance, not malice.  

My friend decided to go with the latter and school the vendor. Via email, my friend explained to the vendor what was said and why it was offensive, then mentioned that they should just put the incident behind them rather than let it tarnish the relationship they had built.  

Of course, the vendor felt terrible, and immediately apologized. Instances like this can seem frustrating. It can make you feel like we, as a society, have not made the progress we thought we had. Overall, if you feel as though someone is coming from a good place, these actions are opportunities to educate.  

All of this being said, and this applies to every couple out there, if you feel as though a vendor is not maintaining the level of professionalism you are seeking, you can usually find someone else to work for you. What's most important is that you are at ease and enjoy your wedding!

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Tagged: etiquette, engagements, vendor relationships
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etiquette / article Jun 5 2014

Billy & Pat Vlog

It seems like every day gay marriage is becoming more and more prevalent, especially with it's legalization in a growing number of states. So, assuming you're gay and live in a state where it's legal, you should get married, right? Well, maybe...check out what Billy & Pat have to say!

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Tagged: billy and pat, engagements
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etiquette / article Jan 29 2014

The Wedding

I was recently talking to a parent whose son is about to be married. This father is incredibly supportive of his son’s same sex relationship, but just like any parent, he worries. Thankfully, these are good worries that he’s having! The father (we’ll call him Joe) is concerned about how his son is going to pay for the wedding. The planning process has just begun and no one has had a conversation about the financial side of the ceremony yet. I had a few suggestions for Joe!  

First, I think it’s better to talk too much rather than too little. I told Joe that although his son is an adult, this is certainly a conversation worth initiating.  

Secondly, things are rarely as cut and dry as they used to be. We (probably) aren’t paying dowries, so the financial burden of the wedding can be spread across the board a little more depending on the economic situations of both sets of parents (assuming they are supportive) and the couple.  

My idea for Joe was to ask his son how he was planning on covering the costs. If they seem to have it under control, Joe could offer to pay for one specific element of the wedding (the catering, transportation, flowers, etc.) OR Joe could just write out a check to help pay for whatever the grooms might need a little extra money for.  

Many couples, straight, gay and otherwise, pay for their own weddings these days. But if you are a parent who is in a position to help out as your child plans their wedding, it's always an appreciated gesture that lets your baby know you love and support their union!

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etiquette / q & a Jan 22 2014

Q

I recently lost my job and I feel horrible, but I don’t think I can be in my friend’s wedding party. Although I have been close to the grooms-to-be for years, I simply cannot shell out the cash required for being in a wedding party. What do I do?

A

It’s such an unfortunate situation, but don’t worry, you’re not the first member of a wedding party who has had to back out. Although it’s not an easy thing to break to the grooms, they should be understanding of your economic hardship.  

Be sure that you break the news in person, it’s the most genuine way to do it. If you live too far apart to have this conversation face to face, do it over the phone, not via email or text.  

See if you can offer help in other ways! Maybe you won’t be at the bachelor party, but you could help address invites, assist with any shopping or organizing that needs to be done in advance or you could aid in day-of coordinating.  

As long as you show your support for the couple, they’ll surely realize that having you there as a loving member of their inner circle is most important.

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etiquette / article Jan 15 2014

The Wedding Planning Binder

So, you decided to save some money and not hire a wedding planner. Many people have chosen this path before and lived to tell the tale! There are a few keys in a self-planned wedding.  

First, you’ll need an incredible support system, a crew of go-to people who know you and your soon-to-be spouse very well. These should be people that you trust to make decisions in a bind and who are willing to be up at dawn on the big day to help with the coordination! Second, you’ll need a killer honeymoon (a.k.a. light at the end of the tunnel!). And, finally, you’ll need a wedding organizer. Sometimes they go by binders, sometimes by wedding planning book, but whatever you call this catalogue, you’ll be relying on it heavily!  

Recently, a couple of lovelies asked us where they could turn for a great wedding planning binder. We scoured the interwebs to no avail! Our best suggestion is using Etsy. There are plenty of customizable options that would make these organizers LGBT friendly. There are empty binders in which you can place three-hole-punched pages and there are planners, complete with pages that guide you through the process. We think these are a better option. Regardless of whether this is your first wedding or not, they are complicated affairs and a pre-labeled planner can alleviate the stress of potentially missing details.  

A few of the keys in a good wedding planning binder are pages on budget, seating, guests, vendors, inspiration and a general checklist. With all of these elements together in one place, you’re bound to be able to stay coordinated. We encourage you to customize and personalize this binder. It should be something that makes you excited, not filled with dread.  

As much fun as it is planning a wedding, we suggest that you and your partner take one day a week where the wedding is not mentioned. This allows time for you to stay connected as a couple and set aside the stress of the event!

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etiquette / q & a Oct 2 2013

Q

With gay couples, does the person who was proposed to have to “propose back” with a ring?

A

This Q&A is brought to you by the fabulous Bernadette Coveney Smith of 14 Stories. Across the nation, she is the leading same-sex wedding planner. She trains wedding professionals around the world, showing them how best to service LGBT couples. Bernadette is doing a three part feature for H&H Weddings. The first part is a commonly asked question in regards to engagements of LGBT couples.

With gay and lesbian couples, there’s no right answer about who proposes, who gets a ring, and what that ring looks like.  

I’ve seen rings that are a mirror images of each other, rings that had a fingerprint imprinted on them, rings that were formed from family jewelry; and simple platinum or steel bands. I’ve noticed that many lesbian couples don’t want a “rock”—a big diamond engagement ring. I’ve seen femme lesbians present their butch partner with cuff links instead of an engagement ring. That’s a very cool idea!    

If you and your partner are talking about marriage, don’t be afraid to have a conversation about the ring. It’s better to know what your partner likes so you can be prepared.
 

In many cases, gay and lesbian couples have been together for so many years that they already own rings that symbolize the permanence of their relationship, and those are the rings that they will continue to wear after their marriage. Conversely, many couples that wear rings that are a symbol of their relationship choose to pick out new wedding bands together—bands that symbolize the next chapter in their lifetime journey. In my experience, couples who’ve been together for a while are less likely to have had a traditional “pop the question” proposal experience, and hence they don’t buy or give engagement rings.
 

So while there is no standard “gay-engagement ring” or “gay-wedding band,” this can be one of the first areas where you as a couple can express your personality through your wedding. In my observation, many men will wear only one ring, not two. In this case, the engagement ring will often double as a wedding band.   

I’ve found that younger lesbian brides (those under forty) are likelier to wear two rings. For example, my wife Jen, like many lesbians, wears her engagement ring and wedding band next to each other on the same finger. This is very common, and of course, traditional. My engagement ring doesn't have a stone (my choice), so my engagement ring is now on the ring finger of my right hand, and my wedding band is on the ring finger of my left hand.   

Whatever decision you choose, walking into a jewelry store with your fiancée or fiancé looking for a wedding band can be intimidating to say the least, particularly if you would like a nontraditional band. Call around ahead of time to gauge the attitude of your local jewelers about working with same-sex couples. They may be great, or you may encounter an awkward pause, or even outright homophobia—but at least you are dealing with it on the phone rather than face-to-face. If you do have a great phone call, make sure you catch the name of that associate so that you can work with the right person when you stop by the store.

- Bernadette Coveney Smith

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Tagged: engagements, etiquette, 14 stories
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