Inviting Children to Your Wedding

If you have children of your own, obviously they will be included in the wedding party, or at the very least they will be present. But what about the children of your friends and family?

Couples decide not to invite children to their wedding reception for many reasons. Perhaps they wish to cut costs. Or, maybe they want to avoid the problem of young children fussing and running around. Once you have made your decision, remember that this is YOUR wedding, and don’t feel the need to over-explain.

Regardless of your harmless intentions, some guests are likely to be offended, so think it over carefully. If cost is the only factor, investigate the possibilities of children’s dinners for much less than you’ll pay for the adults. If you are concerned that the children might misbehave, hire someone to look after them in another room if they become bored or wild.

If you do decide to exclude children, let everyone know well enough in advance that they can hire a sitter. Many couple like to use a family wedding as an excuse for a date night!

It is not correct to handprint anything on the invitations, so the printer must add the words “Adult reception” to the invitations. “Adults only reception” is also permissible, but “No children” is not considered proper.

It should go without saying that the flower girl and ring bearer cannot be excluded from the reception; I once heard of a bride who expected the ring bearer’s parents to take him home right after the ceremony. They did, and haven’t spoken to her since!

Despite your efforts to have guests show up without their children, you may have someone disregard your request and bring them anyway. This is the height of poor manners, but there is nothing you can do at this point. There may be a provision for extra food; if not, the parents will have to share their meal with the child. Under no circumstances should you allow anything to ruin your memories of the day. Let it go.

Wedding Gifts: When is it Okay to Ask for Cash?

Emily Post is rolling in her grave. There appears to be a new practice of sending cute poems to wedding guests, ASKING FOR CASH IN LIEU OF WEDDING GIFTS. Make no mistake: these poems (or any other requests) are not cute… they’re rude.

And it seems to be spreading. A bride-to-be who is now claiming to be a wedding expert is using her blog to tell her friends that it’s a smart thing to do. Especially if you, like she and her fiancé, already own their own home filled with everything they need.

There seems to be a departure from the true spirit of receiving wedding gifts — your friends and family are celebrating their happiness for you with a gift. They know your situation. If you can’t use another toaster, blender or microwave, they will often give wine, theatre tickets, or –my personal favourite — a donation in your name to charity.

Sometimes, couples ask for money in order to pay for a wedding they couldn’t otherwise afford. It’s fine to put any cash gifts toward the wedding expenses, but to plan a wedding beyond your means and expect your guests to pay for it is unacceptable.

Always ready to cash in (pardon the pun) on a new trend, brides can now use special wedding registries that claim to “let you ask for cash without sounding tacky.” Even that sentence sounds tacky!

Other couples consider this to be similar to a traditional gift registry. In fact, some go far as to set up Go Fund Me accounts to pay for their weddings and honeymoons! Often this is to help pay for a destination wedding to which the donor won’t even be receiving an invitation!

Gift registries play an important role. They allow guests to chose a wedding gift that will coordinate with the vision a bride has for her home, and they are particularly useful for those who live far from the couple. However, it is in very poor taste to ask for gifts, and printing anything to that effect on the wedding invitation is the highest breach of etiquette.

There is only ONE acceptable way to potentially receive more cash than gifts. That is to not register. Guests will often do what is easiest for them, and if they are unsure of what you want they will often give you cash or a cheque.

Honour Your Celtic Roots with a Hand-fasting


Hand-fasting is an ancient Celtic marriage tradition, from which we get the expression TYING THE KNOT. As Celtic culture spread from Ireland and Scotland through Britain and into western Europe, hand-fasting evolved to the point that it was incorporated into the religious marriage ceremonies. In some remote areas, hand-fasting became a form of temporary marriage until it was followed up by a real wedding.

The traditional hand-fasting “chord” was made of rope or dyed cloth; it was a status symbol to have an embroidered chord. It was approximately a yard long, and was wrapped about the hands to mimic the Celtic knot, which symbolized unity and everlasting.

When performing a hand-fasting ceremony, I allow the couple to choose between two variations. One is a non-religious version that involves 4 ribbons, and a blessing of their marriage with gifts from the north, south, east and west.

The other is a Christian version, that uses 3 ribbons, representing the Trinity. This is a variation of a traditional ceremony, in which the priest will wrap his stole around the couple’s hands “Those whom God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” William and Kate were handfasted at their wedding by the Archbishop of Canterbury.


The colour of the ribbons is up to you. Some brides like to choose their wedding colours. Others prefer the traditional hand-fasting colours of white for purity, red for passion, and blue for loyalty. Some couple prefer silk cord, which can be found in craft stores. Many add tassels or charms. Use your creativity!

For both versions, I do a blessing of the hands:

These are the hands of your best friend, full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or sadness fills you. These are the hands that will wipe the tears from your eyes; both tears of sorrow and tears of joy.  These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And these are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving the you same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.


A Bride’s Guide to Wedding Laces

There are so many different lace patterns, it shouldn’t be difficult to find the perfect one for your wedding gown! Here are a few of the most popular:

Battenberg: A heavier lace with the feeling of a Renaissance fabric

Battenberg Lace

Brussels: Raised lace resembling a flower; very delicate with subtle patterns; also called “daisy lace”

Brussels Lace

Alencon: A design of leaves and rose clusters on a net background, often with an “eyelash” edge

Alencon Lace

Chantilly: Similar to Alencon lace, but without the net; very expensive

Chantilly Lace

Lyon: A fine lace of floral patterns

Lyon Lace

Cluny: A lace of fine linen thread, featuring wheel or wheat designs

Cluny Lace

Venise: A roseleaf pattern featuring heavy stitching and a three-dimensional effect

Venise Lace

Schiffli: A machine-made lace of a cotton/polyester blend

Schiffli Lace

Guipure: Lace with a bold pattern and few connective stitches

Guipure Lace



What is Your Bridal Personality?

Before you can plan your perfect wedding, you must determine your personal style. It will shine through everywhere on your wedding day, so don’t try to be someone you’re not.

Traditional: You like timeless looks and understated elegance. When planning your wedding, you will follow the etiquette books to the letter.

Romantic: You want your wedding to be straight out of a Jane Austen novel. You love bows, flowers, embroidery, lace−all the trimmings

Dramatic: You love the glamour of Hollywood, and you have what it takes to pull it off. Red roses, slinky gowns, and diamonds give you the look you want.

Free Spirit: You prefer wildflowers to red roses. Your gown will be comfortable and flow freely. You wish you could get married in bare feet!

Sophisticated: You feel at home in Paris and New York. You can spot a Chanel a mile away. “Exquisite” is the word that comes to mind when describing your wedding.

Modern: You believe that “less is more,” and your wedding shows it. You may not be a minimalist, but you certainly like to keep things simple. Ornamentation and excessive decoration is not for you.

Girl Next Door: You are not interested in outdoing anyone. You are comfortable just being yourself. You may want to wear your mother’s pearls on your wedding day.