Archive for May, 2009

My Bridal Party is Lopsided…help!

Friday, May 29th, 2009 | etiquette, media, Q&A, weddings | No Comments

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE CALGARY HERALD, SEPTEMBER 2005, IN LISA HANSLIP’S COLUMN “I DO, BUT DON’T…”

The long road from happy engagement to wedded bliss is paved with potential etiquette faux pas. Wedding planner Lisa Hanslip is here to help you resist your inner Bridezilla along the way.

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Q. I’m having trouble choosing my attendants (or support team, as I like to think of them). I originally wanted only a Maid of Honour (my sister) without any other attendants. Unfortunately, my fiancé really wants 3 groomsmen and has already asked two of them. So I now feel stuck. I’ve narrowed it down to 4 people (one is a guy) for two spots. Two are a husband and wife. He and I have been through a lot together and have known each other much longer than his wife and I, but she has become a good friend too (and I was a bridesmaid at their wedding so I feel obliged to include her). The other two are good friends from when I was in school. How does one make this decision? Please help.

A. Choosing attendants seems to fall into two categories: it’s either easy and clear cut – you have three sisters, you have a tight knit group of four that you’ve known since childhood, you have one sister and your fiancé has one brother, etc. – or, more likely, the whole idea of having to choose more than one, but less than 12, bridesmaids is more challenging than an advanced Sudoku puzzle.

Countless brides juggle choosing who they really want vs. who they feel obliged to ask, simplicity vs. having everyone you know in a matching dress at the front of the church with you…it’s rarely easy.

Just because you were a bridesmaid at someone’s wedding, does not mean you have to ask them to be your bridesmaid in return. Some women have had the (un)fortunate experience of being a bridesmaid a dozen or more times – it would be completely impractical to reciprocate. Sometimes it’s a case of – if you ask Sally, Jane will be upset, and vice versa, so you need to ask both or neither.

You could still make your friend’s wife feel included by asking her to be an usher, or do a reading during the ceremony. However, this depends a lot on her personality. You don’t want your wedding to be a cause of strife in their marriage – so if you really want him as an attendant – and you think she’d be completely insulted to be left out – then ask them both and get your other two friends to participate in some other way.

The other option is to avoid the whole mess by doing what you had originally planned – just ask your sister to be your Maid of Honour and leave it at that (don’t worry about it looking slightly lopsided).

When all is said and done, it is your day, and you should have the “support team” you want, not the one you felt obligated to have.

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The Bride, formerly known as… To Change or Not To Change?

Thursday, May 21st, 2009 | etiquette, trends, weddings | No Comments

You’re getting married and there’s still that unanswered question; do I change my surname? Changing your name is a very personal decision, and should be considered by both you and your significant other.

Here are some pointers to help you in your decision if you are still unsure of what to do!

- tradition; if you have been following tradition from the beginning of the planning process, this would be the logical decision
- if you have an established career and everyone knows your maiden name, how hard would it be to let your colleagues and clients know that you have decided to change your name?
- there are some brides that use their maiden name professionally, and change their name personally
- if you and your spouse are planning on having children, it would be easier to have the same last name, especially in situations involving their school, travelling abroad, going to the doctor etc.
- if you’re worried about dropping your maiden name because you are the last in your family’s lineage with that name, consider passing it on to one of your children as a first or middle name
- how does your first name sound with his? Does it roll off the tongue, or does it rhyme, making it sound like a children’s book character?
- your maiden name has always been apart of you, but who’s to say that you have to drop it all together, more brides are opting to carry it over as a middle name
- some grooms are even taking their bride’s last name!
- you can always hyphenate your names
- if you are still unsure, a good old pros and cons list can help immensely

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Quickie Anyone…??

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 | etiquette, media, Q&A, weddings | No Comments

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE CALGARY HERALD, SEPTEMBER 2005, IN LISA HANSLIP’S COLUMN “I DO, BUT DON’T…”

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The long road from happy engagement to wedded bliss is paved with potential etiquette faux pas. Wedding planner Lisa Hanslip is here to help you resist your inner Bridezilla along the way.

Q. My fiancée and I just got engaged about a week ago but we’d really like to get married this fall. Is there any way to plan a nice wedding for about 50 guests in less than two months?

A. Absolutely! Whether you have five weeks, six months or two years to plan your wedding it is possible to have a lovely memorable event. However, when you’re planning a wedding in a short time frame it is imperative that you be flexible (we’re talking major, look like a pretzel, contortionist flexible).

Regardless of how much time you have to plan your wedding, when you are inviting less than 75 guests your options are immensely greater than if you are having a fête for 300.

If you’re having a wedding in the spring or fall there’s a chance that traditional venues like hotels and community halls may have an opening. You might want to consider having your wedding on some day other than Saturday – which will give you more options, whatever your time frame.

Don’t overlook all the great restaurants that can accommodate 50 or 60 people and provide both great ambience and great service. Restaurants are often the most amenable to special requests for weddings and are best equipped to deal with last minute bookings.

As for all the other vendors you’ll need to figure out which ones are available and go from there.

If getting married soon is your priority be prepared for the possibility that your wedding won’t look exactly as planned (What do you mean I can’t have 500 tulips by next Thursday? Yes…I do realize it’s October…). So, get your dialing finger ready, start chanting your “I am flexible” mantra, and in less than two months you can be ready to say “I do!”

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The Marvels & Mishaps of Marital Melting Pots

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 | etiquette, media, Q&A, weddings | No Comments

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE CALGARY HERALD, SEPTEMBER 2005, IN LISA HANSLIP’S COLUMN “I DO, BUT DON’T…”

Q. My fiancé & I have been engaged for a few months now but we haven’t planned anything yet because we don’t really know where to begin. I am Catholic and he is Hindu and we both plan to continue in our respective faiths after we’re married. We have no idea how to incorporate both of these things into one wedding so that we honour our families and our traditions but also reflect us as a couple. What should we do?
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A. According to statistics, at least one-quarter of all marriages in North America are considered interfaith (which can mean anything from a Baptist-Lutheran union to your impending Catholic-Hindu nuptials).

Sometimes it can be quite easy to incorporate the two ceremonies: Two officiants can be present and share in the duties, for example, have the bride’s officiant perform the actual ceremony and the groom’s officiant can say the opening comments and the final blessing; or, if the two officants are amenable you can have them alternate back and forth throughout the ceremony providing equal components from both backgrounds (if they’re not so agreeable make sure they duke it out well in advance of your wedding day – the black eyes might frighten your guests).

Sometimes it requires a bit of imagination, but is still completely feasible: A priest and a rabbi (no…there’s no duck or rowboat involved…) can each perform the pertinent marriage rituals – as long as all involved are open to the situation you can still have the Catholic liturgy and vows, followed by the Jewish seven blessings and the breaking of the glass.

However, there are those situations where it is virtually impossible to blend the two ceremonies (yes – this means you…): No matter how much negotiation goes into this dual ceremony it will be very difficult to appease everyone (at the very least your parish priest might be a bit startled by the fire on the altar).

The best idea when uniting two diametrically opposed wedding ceremonies is to keep them separate. Instead of having six or seven days of Hindu events you might consider scaling it back to three or four days. Have the two ceremonies a day apart – or if you don’t mind foregoing one of the receptions (but remember that means only one wedding cake) have the Catholic ceremony in the morning, begin the Hindu ceremony early afternoon and then have one very festive reception that evening.

Best wishes & Namaste!

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