Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MUSINGS ON THE MISCELLANEOUS: BACHELORETTE PARTIES AND OTHER "ADD ONS"



It's hard to believe, but my shower/bachelorette party are in less than a month.

Insane!

I JUST feel like I got engaged -- how is it possible that this is happening so quickly?!?!

Don't get me wrong -- I'm super psyched -- I just can't believe how time has flown.

As I look forward to my shower and bachelorette, I've been trying VERY hard to keep my friends in mind.

A long time ago, I talked about "add ons" -- and how it's not simply the wedding present that creates cost to friends/family invited to and attending the wedding and related activities.

It's the shower gift. The $100+ ladies plunk down on bachelorette "stuff" (drinks, dinner out, etc. etc.) Flights or train tickets for out of towners. Hotel stays.

The cost can become immeausrable, in some respect. And I understand it. I've been through it!

In terms of my shower/bachelorette weekend, I'm THRILLED that 90% of the friends I invited will be attending.

Many of these friends are from out of town, which is another complication, since NYC hotels cost at least $250-300 a night if you don't want to sleep in a rat-infested box.

Here is how I am trying to avoid being "THAT BRIDE"

1. TallGuy and I are going to stay at my parents' place the weekend of the shower/bachelorette -- and I have invited 3 of my friends (flying/traveling from out of town) to stay at my apartment (beds, air mattresses, or however it needs to happen). This will cut any hotel costs, which is a HUGE add-on -- at least in NYC.

2. I've made it very clear to my sister (who is planning the bachelorette party) that we need to cap the amount that dinner/drinks will cost. Although it's a NYC affair, we're trying to find places that are REASONABLE--relatively speaking.

3. I've asked my sister to not have the others pay for my dinner/drinks out -- even if she includes it on her tab, I told her I'd pay her back. I don't need people paying for me, as gracious as it is for people to try and do it. Plus -- I'm such a lightweight, one or two martinis will do me in -- and that's FINE BY ME. No need to have drink after drink after drink....although I plan on having a lot of fun, I know my limit!

These are some of the ideas I have so far in terms of how I can cut others' costs.

We'll see how the weekend goes, and what it actually ends up being in terms of dollars. I am gratified that so many of my friends are making the trip to celebrate--whether it be from Brooklyn or Atlanta---so I really hope that these ideas will help make people feel like they aren't paying for too many "add ons".

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

ADDRESSING ENVELOPES FOR YOUR INVITATIONS: THAT OLD "PLUS ONE" CONUNDRUM (PART III)

As I re-read many of my posts, I realize, once again, that there is absolutely no black or white when it comes to these issues. That's why I love writing this blog -- while I have opinions as The Wedding Fairy, based on my own experiences, I realize that many, many others out there have different ideas on the same subject.

No matter WHAT you end up doing in terms of the "plus one" issue, the bottom line is HOW YOU APPROACH the situation -- more so than WHAT DECISION YOU ACTUALLY MAKE in the first place.

With my friend who snubbed TallGuy, there were a number of things that made me angry. Was the fact that he wasn't invited to the wedding one of them? Sure. We had to rearrange our whole trip in order to be there. But it was ALSO about circumstance--and HOW SHE HANDLED the situation--not only the mere fact that I had to go to a wedding alone.

If I weren't led to believe TallGuy would be invited, I certainly wouldn't have cared as much. Regardless, if she had simply called me to apologize after the fact, it would have left a better taste in my mouth.

But an email meekly attempting to apologize - and rationalizing it by telling me WHY she couldn't invite him (because he didn't fit into one of the "categories" -- i.e. engaged/married or someone the couple knew well) -- that was the icing on the wedding cake for me.

I recognize that it may not be 100% YOUR choice as to whether to invite the "plus ones" -- and it may be dependent on your parents, too, if they are footing the bill.

However, it's the way you go about the situation -- and every situation is different. Treating your friends on a case-by-case basis, in my mind, is a more honest and thoughtful approach then lumping engaged/marrieds in one category and non-marrieds in another.

No matter what the end result, it's really the path you take to get there that is important. Your friends will thank you for it (even if they don't outwardly do it, I promise you they will think you are a very thoughtful and generous bride) :)

Stay tuned!

Friday, January 18, 2008

ADDRESSING ENVELOPES FOR YOUR INVITATIONS: THAT OLD "PLUS ONE" CONUNDRUM (PART II)



I had put up a poll regarding what you guys think has been the most stressful part of the planning process.

One of the categories up there is trying to figure out guest list issues - to me, this has been one of the most difficult tasks to deal with.

Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, depending on your experience) this has particularly been the case as relates to my colleagues at work.

What to do?

I have one good friend at my firm, but everyone in my department (about 15 people in a company of about 100) is very friendly, and it's difficult to know where to draw the line.

I decided to invite my good friend-colleague/her husband and my main boss/his wife as the work-related guests.

But what about my other colleagues who I see/talk to every day? And who ask me about the wedding all the time?

Unfortunately, there's not much I can do here. As I'm sure some of you have found, it's either doing the major cut-back with work people -- or inviting too many of them.

Since I'm all about the "PLUS ONE", I would also have to expect that inviting 10 people could inevitably lead to 20 additional folks at the wedding (presuming all were attending).


I think the key is scaling back how much I talk about the wedding at work, and who I choose to talk to ABOUT the wedding. I never share details unless someone asks me, and if colleagues bring up the wedding, I try to downplay and not get into too much discussion. I think that's really the fair way of going about things.

What about you guys? Do you find that inviting people/not inviting people from work becomes a difficult issue? Or do people have blanket rules about not inviting work colleagues?

Every experience is different - again, I have to stay true to what I believe about inviting friends WITH GUEST -- and how that will affect the overall number of people I can end up inviting....

Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

ADDRESSING ENVELOPES FOR YOUR INVITATIONS: THAT OLD "PLUS ONE" CONUNDRUM

So you all may remember why, back in the early days of my posting, I started this blog in the first place.

For those of you who don't feel like doing back-reading, the gist is this: TallGuy and I had planned an exotic trip abroad. My then-good friend from work told me the weekend of her wedding would fall on one of the days we would be away. TallGuy and I re-arranged our trip plans to be able to attend her wedding, which meant losing the hotel we had really wanted. My then-good friend was really appreciative, and told me she was looking forward to our being at her wedding. Months pass, and I hear less and less of my then-good friend (who decided her planning was more important than anything else, including keeping up her friendships). I eventually get an invitation in the mail addressed to ME - with no mention of TallGuy OR "and Guest". A feeble e-mail followed 2 weeks later from my "ex" -- "apologizing" for not inviting TallGuy, and telling me that because we were not engaged or married, she and her then-fiance could not invite us, as they had to only invite others in this category.


OK - that wasn't really a gist. BUT, I had to give some background so we can have a good disussion of the "PLUS ONE" CONUNDRUM.

When TallGuy and I initially sat down to draft a guest list, one of the important things for us was to make sure that all of our friends--whether single, dating, engaged, or married--were invited with a guest.

This meant that our parents had to cut down their lists accordingly. We had a target number we wanted to reach, and our parents were understanding about the fact that our friends would come first, WITH guest.


I know that inviting people with guests is not always possible. Budget plays a major role.


However, how you TREAT your friends is really the key to ensuring that they won't be offended if they are not invited with a guest.


My "ex" friend didn't bother to tell me that TallGuy would not be invited--even though she intimated he would be after we re-arranged our trip for the wedding. And her lame attempt at excusing her actions, in an email no less, did nothing to ameliorate the situation.

The last straw? I never saw her at her wedding, which I decided to attend. She and her fiance never came by each table to say hello.

Pretty apalling.

I'll re-visit the PLUS ONE CONUNDRUM in another post - particularly as how it has related to my own wedding invitations.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

REVIEW: SAY "YES" TO THE DRESS (TLC)

Hi Everyone-

TallGuy and I had an opportunity to watch a marathon of episodes called "Say Yes to the Dress", a program on The Learning Channel (TLC).

Anyone seen this show? The series gives a "behind-the-scenes" view of Klenfeld's, the "superstore" of stores in Manhattan which carry upscale wedding gowns and related accessories. I think it came out a few months ago, but since I had an opportunity to watch so many of them, I thought it was time to make a comment.

Not only does TLC interview brides about what type of gown they are looking for, but it chronicles their experiences in the store -- AND provides the point-of-view and perspective of the salespeople at Klenfeld's who are working with that particular client.

What's interesting is that the show does more to make the STORE look bad than it does the BRIDES shopping in it.

Sure -- there were plenty of "entourages" and annoying wedding planners featured. I still don't understand how having 8 family/friends with a bride helps her make a decision. The wedding planner on the show basically took over the bride's appointment -- by the end of a marathon trying-on session, I don't think even the bride knew what she was looking for.

But "Say Yes to the Dress" is really a commentary on how big the bridal market really is -- and how important it is, particularly for this store, to "make the sale".

I certainly can understand that point of view. Stores like Klenfeld's, Saks, Bergdorf's, Mark Ingram, and others in Manhattan need to make sales in order to thrive.

What I picked up from the show, however, was the undertone of aggressiveness in terms of making sure a bride walked out buying something.

I went to Klenfeld's several months ago - and what was funny is that they were taping this show while I was in the store. I wasn't asked to be featured (thank goodness), but I still had a concern I'd be seen in the periphery looking at dresses on racks! (I wasn't - at least not that I saw!)

When I was at the store, I was shown several dresses, and the salesperson tried to convince me that one that I liked a lot (but not LOVED) was "the one" -- my mother and I were not at all sure, but we were encouraged to "go to lunch" and then come back and try it on again. We left and never went back.

I can't really explain it, but I really did feel that undertone of "buy buy buy" at the store which was sort of underlined on the show. People may think it's like that at every bridal salon, but I felt completely comfortable (and NOT pressured) at Bergdorf's -- which I had originally thought would give a lot of attitude if we didn't buy right off the bat. Instead, I went back twice to try on and think about the dress I loved -- and we ended up buying it -- without feeling an ounce of pressure -- or guilt about having to come back and think about it a few times.

I guess the bottom line of my "review" is that while it's important to focus on the behavior of brides, it's also important to see that there are intense pressures facing them--because this is such a huge market, with big $$$ attached.

Brides spend an upwards of thousands of dollars for this dream dress - to feel pressured outwardly or implicitly (if I were a bride watching the show, and THEN going to Kleinfeld's, I think I'd feel this way) - is unacceptable.

In the end, I'm sure "Say Yes to the Dress" will drum up big business for Kleinfeld's - but it raises a lot of interesting questions and issues for brides in search of "the dress" - at this store - and others.


Stay tuned!