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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Southern Etiquette posts remain some of our most popular to date, so after a brief hiatus, I’m happy to say they’re back! You can expect one a month from here on out. By far the most common query I get is about bridal showers and the etiquette surrounding them. It seems like the basic etiquette is understood, but there are an endless number of slightly different “situations” hosts and honorees find themselves in (and like to email me about). Let’s take a look at one recent note from a mother of the bride, Dea:

My daughter is newly engaged to a boy who grew up in the small town to which we moved about four years ago. His parents grew up here as well. The moment their engagement was made public, several women at our mutual church volunteered to be shower hostesses, which is a part of the local generous Southern tradition.

Between the couple, they have over 80 family members who will be invited to the wedding. This includes siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. They want to limit the wedding to that group and a dozen or so close friends, most of whom will be members of the wedding party.

Should my daughter decline the offers of these women to host a shower, since they will not be invited to the wedding? The groom’s mother feels that the appropriate solution is to have a 300 – 400 person guest list, including people neither the bride nor groom really know, but this is not only outside the limits of our financial ability, it is also not what the bride and groom want for their special day.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this matter!

Dea

Photo by Amy Moss

I think the situation Dea is describing is extremely common in the South. (Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments!) I am with Dea that the appropriate solution is not to invite 300-400 people to the wedding if that’s not what the couple wants or what is in the cards financially. There is never an excuse to go into debt for a wedding, and while family opinions should be given considerate weight by the bride and groom, they should never be pressured into an event with which they’re not comfortable.

I think the first step is to offer the gracious potential hostesses an effusive thank you. Then, make it clear to them that the couple is planning a small wedding and that a traditional shower might not be the most appropriate choice. If they still insist on hosting, I actually think that’s just fine and a lovely gesture, but I would consider calling the event something like a “luncheon in honor of the bride” or a “meet the bride breakfast” instead of a shower, and I would insist on no gifts.

In lieu of gifts, you could ask each guest to bring a favorite recipe for the bride. Or, since it sounds like most guests have known the groom for most of his life, they could each write out a favorite or funny memory from his childhood, a volume I’m sure any bride would cherish!

Belles, what do you think? What would you advise in this situation? Any other ideas for a non-gift shower?

P.S. Have your own etiquette conundrum? Feel free to email me!

emily Written with love by Emily
9 Comments
  1. avatar Alicia reply

    I have to disagree. My husband and I both grew up in Tennessee. Our home churches BOTH gave us bridal teas/showers before our wedding. Very few of the people who came to the tea/shower were invited to the wedding. They were both the kind of event where it was announced in the Sunday bulletin as an open invitation for whoever wanted to come and it was a come and go type of thing. It’s just an accepted practice here that the churches give a shower/tea and that all are invited (whether by formal invitation or a group one in a bulletin). I will say though that there were more invited to the wedding from my church than my husbands….just because the wedding was at my church and my husbands home church was almost 2 hours away.

  2. avatar Hayley reply

    I ran into this exact same problem! My fiance is from a very small Tennessee town and the town basically raised him! While I would love to invite all of his townsfolk to the wedding- it would be close to 300 people and we want to keep our wedding relatively small. We have decided to do an evening themed “party” which will be more of a cookout to meet everyone and celebrate our upcoming nutials! I am so glad to hear it isn’t just me with this problem! :)

  3. avatar Maggie Goodell reply

    A polite “thank you” with a decline seems the most appropriate. I too believe that weddings should reflect what the bride and groom prefer. Inviting extra people the couple doesn’t know, or don’t know well, can be awkward and distracting.

  4. avatar Dee Shore reply

    I agree 200% with you Emily. Inviting everyone and their mother is not financially smart. I’m from NYC so I know first hand that the average per plate here is about $150-$200. I’m sure in the South, though cheaper, I don’t think it differs by much. Also, keep in mind that not everyone gives a monetary gift, and it’s rare to get back every cent you’re spending. Now as per the shower, since they all seem to be eager to help, let them and do a ladies pot luck brunch at the church. This way all feelings are spared and everyone takes part of the union some way.

  5. avatar Liz reply

    I just got married a little over a month ago and had this same scenario pop up during our engagement. Both my husband and I are from small towns with sweet churches that we grew up in. For us, we knew it was poor etiquette since not everyone was invited to the wedding and went ahead with home church showers anyways. I think a “simple thank you” would’ve offended the women trying to host the shower, as well as more of the church members. Sometimes, even though things are “proper” etiquette, you just have to go with Southern rules and send nice thank you cards!

  6. avatar Maddison reply

    Maybe have the shower after the wedding.

  7. avatar Lauren reply

    I guess I’m definitely a southern girl. I loved the fact that my small church wanted to throw me a shower. In my mind, this is their way of celebrating with us since most won’t be invited to the wedding. Same goes for my office. Although I’ve recently accepted a new position elsewhere, they insisted on hosting a wedding shower before my last day.

  8. avatar lisa reply

    I am recently married and we ran into the same problem. We have large extended families and many friends, however we wanted a small wedding, mostly due to finances and not wanting to go into debt. However, we had two engagement parties that our parents hosted and invited all of our friends and family. Therefore, we invited them to our showers. Several of my MIL’s friends wanted to host and attend b/c they care for her and her family.
    Southern Weddings have changed. They used to be simple and receptions held in church fellowship halls or sometimes at someone’s home, therefore they were not expensive and everyone could attend.
    If you have had a wedding in the last 10 years, I believe people are more understanding b/c they know the cost.

  9. avatar Fletcher reply

    I think that this happens more often than not. I love the idea of having a luncheon or afternoon tea- the hostesses are pleased that they are giving the party but there is no pressure for gifts!

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Em said to me yesterday as she was putting the images in for this post, “Nicole, you are going to love this wedding.” The bride called it a “turquoise and Southern backyard pizza party,” so I knew I was going to be a goner once I saw the photos! Y’all know I love me a fancy and formal wedding once in awhile, but I find that I relate much more closely to Angela + Tom’s personalities. For them, the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of married life was through a casual party in the backyard of their friend’s home and a creative spin on tradition. (Y’all make sure you read the story behind Angela’s adorable dress!)

We’re sending big hugs to Riverland Studios for sharing A + T’s big day with us!

Describe your wedding flowers: Beautiful and natural. We used white hydrangeas, creamy garden roses, lisianthus, white ranunculus, herbs and scented geranium.

Did you write your own vows? Our life coach, Keith Sudano wrote most of them and I edited and refined them. One of my favorite parts was, “Marriage is a commitment to God. It is an opportunity to feel the joy of taking care of someone who takes care of you, to be challenged towards growth yet gently nurtured, to love deeply and receive it in return. It is about trust, friendship and having a partner to share all life has to offer. It is a place to evolve; so that you can go out in the world and make a difference by spreading the joy and wisdom that you have found with each other. Together in this marriage, you shall contribute more fully, for you both shall be more full.”

I had always loved my mother’s wedding gown but it was a little too ‘70s for me and the entire top was stained yellow due to age. Not to mention, my Mama was a size 2 and they had to take it in! I thought it would never fit in it but then I met with Caroline Baker of Maude Couture and she sent several drawings over. After a few meetings and some amazing design work on her part, I got a shortened, very BHLDN-esque version of my mother’s dress and an awesome (envision Carrie Bradshaw) skirt made from the bottom part of my Mother’s dress. It was one of my FAVORITE parts of the wedding and I’ll wearing both the dress and skirt 100 times over! It’s not just a wedding dress look.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We had both recently moved back to Charleston, SC and we’re modeling in Charleston Fashion Week. I was backstage talking to a group of people and Tom walked up to introduce himself. We saw each other thereafter at gatherings because we had mutual friends. Tom was always such a Southern gentleman…polite, courteous, well-mannered, and just plain sweet. We were friends and I enjoyed seeing him out in circles. We talked about yoga, books we were reading, fashion and life. Sooner rather than later, we had our first date, which was sushi at his house. Previously, I had been talking to one of our mutual friends and Tom about wanting a vintage pair of black cowgirl boots. That night, our first date gift, he gave me a vintage pair of black cowgirl boots that fit perfectly! I knew he was a keeper!!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? Sweetgrass baskets, seersucker bowties and cowgirl boots!
What was Southern about your wedding? Everything the location with the big oak trees on Wadmalaw Island, the local beer from Westbrook, the brick oven pizza from Crust in Columbia with all local ingredients and the down-home family feel of the entire affair.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Mosquito-worries and weather. I always hoped it would be beautiful and it was!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Everything! There were so many intricate details, but I guess the theme of our “turquoise and Southern backyard pizza party” is our favorite detail.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: It was a vanilla cake with salted caramel and dulce de leche creme from Wildflour.

Describe the proposal. It was on a weekend getaway to Cashiers, NC. We had just come back from canoeing and were having some snacks. Tom asked if I wanted some candy. I said, “No, I’m good.” Then he said, “Angela, just open the bag!” and there was the ring!
In what month did you get married? November
How many guests attended your wedding? 50
Did you decide to do a “first look”? No, we didn’t. However, at the last minute, standing in my turquoise corduroys and Ugg boots directing friends and vendors of our wedding day, Tom saw me. But he never saw me in my dress until I walked down the aisle.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did the Hands Ceremony and read Numbers 6:24.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Our friend played Spanish acoustic music on his guitar.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Photography!!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The vows and talking to family and friends right after.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Listen to your family and friends but ultimately do what makes your heart flutter. I knew I wanted brick-oven pizza and searched high and low for a vendor. Everyone was worried about transit from another city, but it worked out! I also knew I wanted to get married in a short dress and wear boots at the reception. My dad never liked the idea of a short dress, but the idea grew on him and ultimately, I was happy with my decision.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? I see surfing in a tropical place in our future! We are hoping to honeymoon this year but right now we are just enjoying life together. John’s Island is where we call home and we love it!

Ooh! Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
16 Comments
  1. avatar Ashleigh reply

    Oh my stars! I am swooning over everything in this wedding. LOVE the groom’s attire, the ceremony set up with that stunning old tree, oh it’s so perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar Karin reply

    What a fabulous wedding! Personal, intimate, awesome!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    I adore this bride’s gown! What a lovely way to honor her mama!

  4. avatar Angela & Tom {Southern Weddings} » Riverland Studios reply

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  5. avatar Bianca reply

    I LOVE their drinking glasses! I cannot find them anywhere, any help?

  6. avatar Marisa reply

    Beautiful and thoughtful wedding. Any idea where the groom got his suit? Or where to find a similar one? Thank you.

  7. avatar Angela reply

    Hi Sweet Girls, my husband’s suit is vintage and he got it from Lori Wyatt in Charleston. She has many amazing vintage finds!

    http://loriwyatt.com/

    The cups are from Etsy:

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/PoppyandPearlCo

    Enjoy and Congrats!

  8. avatar Sarah Beach reply

    This wedding is adorable!! Everything is SO cute! Can someone tell me where they got the groom’s suit? I have looked everywhere for a Khaki suit separates for my fiance and vests and pants for the groomsmen! I cant find them for a good price anywhere!! Help Please and Thank you!!

  9. avatar Kelsey M reply

    Love this wedding? Any idea where the cake stand is from?

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  15. avatar Leanne reply

    Wondering where the venue was and what the name was! Thanks

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Leanne! Angela and Tom were married at a friend’s home on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina!

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Have y’all started planning for Valentine’s Day yet? My boyfriend and I just made dinner reservations yesterday (terribly late for such a big day!). With two weeks left until Valentine’s, there’s plenty to think about: dinner reservations, cards for family, baked goodies to bring to work. We’re happily adding a new idea to your list with our latest print in the Southern Weddings shop!

When we thought about the daily reminders we love hearing and the beautiful creations we’d want on our walls, we couldn’t help but make up this “Oh my stars, I love you” print. We adore the calligraphy and beautiful flourishes that Kelly Cummings of Spindle Photography hand lettered for us and knew that it would make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, whether it’s for your best friend or your mom (my mom was my Valentine for a couple of years when I was little, after all!).

This digital print is now available in our online shop! We suggest ordering before February 6 to get them in time for Valentine’s Day!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
3 Comments
  1. avatar Marissa reply

    Oh MY stars, I love THIS! ; ) So cute, and amazing job, Kelly!

  2. avatar Kat reply

    AH it’s gorgeous! I can’t wait to order one… or two… or five :)

  3. avatar Alana Olsen reply

    Oh my goodness! I have been meaning to order for days and days! Cannot wait to give to my darling daughter for Valentine’s day! So wonderful!!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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