How To Announce You Aren’t Changing Your Name

Your DJ works for you and should follow whatever script you give them. [Via ]

Your DJ works for you and should follow whatever script you give them. [Via]

Recently, A Practical Wedding had a question for a reader about how to let her vendors know she wasn’t changing her name and how she and her husband should be announced at the reception. And like so many etiquette and wedding questions, the solution felt obvious to me. For the vendors, you simply tell them (although, most of them won’t really need to know as they are doing most of the work prior to the wedding?). They are people you have hired and should therefore address you as you prefer.

For the wedding and reception itself, during the ceremony, you can always skip the “I now present Mr. and Mrs. HisLastName” part. And as for the reception, personally I find the big boxing match style introduction with much clapping of hands and stomping of feet to be tacky (especially when you pair up the bridal party and announce them as couples when they are not and make them run in doing some stupid dance or cheer…), but that is a personal preference and it certainly not wrong by etiquette, so you can skip it if you want to skip the whole issue. If you DO want to do a big entrance to the reception, you can have the MC say something like “the happy couple!” or “the Bride and Groom!” or just your first names. It’s your wedding, everyone knows who you are, so no need to get formal with last names!

Of course, none of these options are informing your guests that you are keeping your last name. You don’t HAVE to make an announcement, simply just keep using your name they way you like it. You can give strong hints by using a return address sticker or stamp with your full names on it. Or perhaps include a little card with your thank you notes that says something like “our marital address” with both your full names and your address (this is especially good if you weren’t living together before the wedding or if you are moving shortly after.) You can also just correct people as things come. Like, getting a check addressed to Jane HisLastName when you are Jane YourLastName- call them back and be like, oh, by the way, I’m keeping my last name, luckily the bank was very understanding about depositing the check.” Or just be a little abrasive and say, “Hi Grandma, I’m soooo sorry, but since my last name is Jones not Smith, the bank won’t take the check you sent…”

Now, the be perfectly honest, you are probably going to have to fight assumptions for a few years unless you happen to have really awesome friends and family. Just be firm and consistent with correcting your name and they should get it down eventually. (And you will definitely still get junk mail addressed to the wrong name, but just throw it in the trash and get your anger out!) Or not- my grandma still calls my mom by her childhood nickname that she hates even though she has been going by another name for 30+ years, so.

How to Make Thank You Note Writing Painless

If I had infinite dollars, I would only buy  fancy stationery.

If I had infinite dollars, I would only buy fancy stationery.

So in the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about who writes the wedding thank you notes with a poll and the results of that poll. As we were doing it, I was thinking a lot about what I would do if I had a wedding’s worth of thank you notes to write (NB I am not married but I am good at writing thank you notes and organizing large tasks.) Here are some ideas for making the process pretty painless:

  • Write them all on the plane ride to your honeymoon- what else do you have to do with all that time? (cons: you might lose them!)
  • Address and stamp all the envelopes ahead of time, it will save you a step later.
  • Write the notes as gifts come in. It’s reasonable to expect that wedding presents will start being sent to your house about 3 months before the wedding. If you write each note the day you receive each gift, you will hardly notice the time spent! And actually, you REALLY should be writing notes as soon as you get gifts, don’t leave people hanging for 6 months. Emily Post has a great story about a society bride who was getting hundreds of gifts and wouldn’t go to bed until she had written all the notes for the gifts that had come in that day.
  • Make your significant other write half! There is no reason you shouldn’t be splitting the thank you note writing exactly in half. (Make it a contest? The first person to be done with their half gets treated to dinner by the other person? Or gets to pick the date of their choice?)
  • Use thank you note writing as a fun newlywed date night- get some delicious takeout, some wine, and get cracking! You can even share your memories of seeing each guest at the wedding with each other.
  • Just buckle down- write 5 the second you walk in the door every night and you will be done in no time.

Do I Have To Say Thanks But No Thanks To Wedding Vendors?

[Via Wikimedia]

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

After talking with potential wedding vendors and stuff, am I supposed to send a thank you or follow up? These would vendors I have decided not to use.


Thankful, Really


Official Etiquette:

We couldn’t find any official etiquette, but many people on this forum felt that it was nice to send a quick email.


Our Take:

Jaya: Oooh. I guess it depends on the type of interaction you’ve already had.

Victoria: So she says they had a three hour tour of one venue and then decided not to go with it.

Jaya: I never followed up with the venues I didn’t choose. I’m not sure if that’s right. But no one emailed me asking where I’d gone

Victoria: I said that it’s probably fine, since it’s a business transaction. And, like, if you are going to go with them, you will let them know.

Jaya: Exactly. Like, it’s easy for it to feel really personal, since it’s your wedding day, and that’s sort of what they’re trying to sell you.

Victoria : Plus you might talk to tons of vendors, so that’s a lot of following up. And even though reading an email takes 20 seconds, if they have 100 people emailing them to let them know they won’t be using their services, that’s actually a lot of time reading emails that aren’t for anything.

Jaya: Yeah, I think it’s only good to respond if you’ve gotten to a certain point. Like if you asked them to hold a date and then say you don’t need it anymore.

Victoria: Oh yeah, definitely! Or in general if you’ve told them yes and then you change your mind.

Jaya: Yeah, thinking back, I didn’t email any vendor just to say I wouldn’t be using their services The only time I can think that you may want to do this is with something more personal, like hair and makeup. If you get trials done by a few people and choose one, you can probably email the others and say you won’t be using them. Though even then, you’ve probably paid them for the trial, so it’s not like they did it for nothing.

What Do I Do With This Non-Invitation?

Is it okay to do this before it happens?

Is it okay to do this before it happens? [Via]

Dear Uncommon Courtesy,

I have a friend who is getting married. I don’t see her very often, so I found out about the relationship and the engagement via Facebook (which is fine, that is what Facebook is for). Via social media I also know that her wedding will be small and intimate, and that they can’t afford to invite everyone they would like, which I totally understand, and I did not expect to be invited, as we  don’t see each other very often. Today I got what I guess is an announcement card.  It’s not a save-the-date, it basically says “we’re getting married on X date but you’re not invited, we’ll send pictures”.  I was resigned to not being invited, but when I saw the envelope for a minute I thought maybe I had made the cut, so seeing that I hadn’t was a wee bit of a let-down.  But I have also never encountered a formal “you’re not invited to our wedding, but here’s when it is” card before, and I wondered what you guys thought of them and what the etiquette is as the recipient of one.

Not Invited


According to the Emily Post Institute: “Printed or handwritten announcements are sent to those left off of the guest list, or to acquaintances or business associates who might wish to hear the news. Announcements carry no obligation to return a gift, and they are never sent to anyone who has received an invitation. Ideally, they should be mailed the day after the wedding but may be sent up to several months later.” The bolding is theirs, so you know they mean business.


Jaya: So this is wrong, yes? So very wrong.

Victoria: Traditionally you CAN send an announcement after the wedding, to anyone who was interested but perhaps not invited, for whatever reason. But it’s really fallen out of favor. And you definitely don’t send it before, because thats like na-na we are having a wedding and you aren’t invited. I guess after it seems better because it’s already done, but it still seems like a weird concept to do a formal, printed announcement. Everyone now will know from Facebook pictures anyway.

Jaya: Yeah, it definitely seems like a tradition that used to be very practical but isn’t really necessary because of modern changes. Before, it’d be really good to let people know about new addresses or name changes, but the point was the information, not the way the information came. I wonder if they somehow think this is akin to an announcement in the paper, but just for people they know.

Victoria: I also wonder how common the wedding announcements really were to begin with, honestly. Just because there are official etiquette rules doesn’t mean people did it.

Jaya: That’s true! It may have worked backwards–a rule is written just in case you do it, and then everyone reads an etiquette book and thinks “Oh shit, I have to do this.”

Victoria: Also, people get really confused about announcements, even if they’re sent after! A lot of people think it means you have to send a gift, which you most certainly do not. I mean, you can if you want, but they should NEVER have registry information on them.

Jaya: I wonder if their sending this out has to do with guilt over having a small wedding. Like, this idea that you must explain yourself if you’re not inviting every person you’ve ever met. And I hope we can get over that idea.

Victoria: That’s a good point. Besides, if you really do feel guilty about say, not inviting the close group of friends you hang out with- it would be better to explain the situation on the phone or in person or something anyway.

Jaya: And yeah, the writer explains she had no presumptions of being invited anyway. Most people have a handle on who they’re really close to and who they’re not, and don’t get all butthurt about it.

Victoria: I would probably get this and be like “Well, I wasn’t expecting to go to your stinky wedding anyway :-P”

Would You Hire a Bridesmaid?

We recently read about this new service, Bridesmaid For Hire, who, as described, will fulfill many of the traditional duties of a bridesmaid: help with planning, keeping peace with your family and friends, and a shoulder to cry on. We thought this was an interesting concept, especially given the blowback brides have gotten from demanding too much from their real bridesmaids, and had a lot to say about it:

Jaya: So this is just a wedding coordinator? Can we talk about this? And also that a lot could be solved if you talked with your bridesmaids about expectations beforehand?

Victoria: Yeah, I mean I guess it is slightly different than a planner or coordinator, it’s almost more the old fashioned social secretary, except mixed with a therapist. I guess it’s a fine idea if people want to shell out for it. And super great if it means no one is expecting a bridesmaid to deal with every little issue.

Jaya: I’m weirded out that one of the packages involves her actually walking down the aisle as a bridesmaid.

Victoria: THAT is REALLY weird. Like you are showing your wedding pictures to your grandkids and “oh that lady is someone I hired to come.” You can definitely do all that stuff and not be IN the ceremony!!!

Jaya: And also I think it just frustrates me that we’ve gotten to the point where this is what’s expected as a bridesmaid.

Victoria: Yeah, omg the crazy expectations.

Jaya: It’s more the bigger picture that now you expect your best friend to be an expert party planner. So instead of lowering your expectations, you hire a better friend?

Victoria: Yeah, seriously. I mean the thing is, no one should be expecting their bridesmaids to do ANY of this. Bridesmaid expectations: show up, wear prescribed dress. Anything else is extra (not that there aren’t very heavy cultural expectations at play!)

Jaya: Yeah, and I mean, that’s why you talk about it! Don’t just throw all this stuff on somebody, because they might be busy with other things, or maybe they’re just not good at planning showers.

Victoria: The bachelorette party and stuff is generally expected, but honestly if your bridesmaids are too broke, spread out, or busy, then tough–you don’t get that. Or you take what they CAN give you.

Jaya: I just feel like most of it could be solved with like “this is what I’m hoping happens, is that something you think you could do?” and then everyone is just honest with each other.

Victoria: Yeah, for sure, and like also omg, it doesn’t HAVE to be the MOH who does it all. Like if MOH lives far away, and Bridesmaid A is interested and wants to plan, then duh she should. The whole thing is so bizarre.

Jaya: Yeah! When I was a bridesmaid, the maid of honor would start an email chain and then everyone figured it out together based on our budgets and schedules.

Victoria: I do like this Bridesmaid for Hire the more I think about it- if you need THAT level of service and hand holding, it’s definitely better to hire someone than force it on your friends. But don’t dress them up and march them down the aisle, that’s creepy and weird.

Jaya: I’m trying to figure out how I feel. To me, it’s more like, a wedding coordinator and a therapist would probably be more beneficial in the long run. You get the coordinator for planning, and you get your friends for emotional support. And with “forcing” it on your friends, obviously it depends by relationship, but I’d hope that my friends could take maybe a few late night freak out phone calls. I don’t wanna push the boundaries of what friends are for, but sometimes that’s what friends are for! OR YOUR SPOUSE MAYBE??? Like if you’re bonding yourself for the rest of your life to a person, maybe they can be an emotional/planning support??

Victoria: Yeah for sure, but if you need someone like…every day. I mean, I guess that maybe means you have bigger problems, lol.

Jaya: Anyway, yeah it does sound useful if your friends and spouse are gonna be no help and you’re prone to getting overwhelmed.

Victoria: Yeah, and if you were going to hire a wedding coordinator anyway, maybe you want that extra level of service.

Jaya: But if you take away the wedding coordinator duties, you’re sort of left with just needing the emotional support. and ideally you have friends that can provide that. I know bridesmaids are just supposed to show up in a dress, but I also think they’re supposed to be a bit happy for you and supportive when you need them, like friends are.

Victoria: Yeah, absolutely. But I guess looking at her packages she does do a lot of coordination type stuff, like between a full on wedding planner who deals with vendors and a “day of” coordinator who isn’t really there to help you make to-do lists and stuff.

Jaya: I feel like a lot of planners offer packages like that too. At least when I was researching there were lots of in between options.

Victoria: Do they? I have no idea.

Jaya: So I guess this girl is just good at branding/marketing. And sometimes wearing a dress and standing next to you.

Victoria: Not to mention the creepy thing of your MOH hiring this person secretly to plan your showers/bachelorettes.

Jaya: Yeah!!!!! That is weird. Like, if you’re a bridesmaid and you’re thinking of hiring help, please talk to the bride first.

Victoria: Seriously, omg that is so strange. Unless I guess you are super rich and would outsource all that kind of thing anyway.

Jaya: It’s just frustrating that it’s gone far enough to justify this, instead of people maybe trying to work together with their friends to make an enjoyable time.

Victoria: Haha yeah, but I do get, I guess, that weddings are more “stressful” now than maybe they used to be. And so maybe you do need to hire some form of planning help, in whichever iteration is more pleasing to you.

Jaya: Yeah. Though it still is about expectation. If you planned a 300 person wedding 100 years ago, you’d probably need a social secretary or assistants and such, but now, the expectation is that everyone will have a big wedding and know how to plan it by themselves.

Victoria: Yeah, plus your mom would be planning it and had probably planned dozens of parties for 300 people.

Jaya: Hahaha yeah. And yeah there’s the WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex) and all that, whatever. [ed. Jaya is not very into the term Wedding Industrial Complex] [other ed. IT’S A STRAWMAN]  I guess what bothers me is people tend to use that as an excuse for having no control over their weddings, like there are no other options. Hellooo you’re an adult, stand up to your parents’ expectations. And we have the internet, I can find you a white dress for under $100 like yesterday.

Victoria: Haha yeah, exactly, but I mean, it does seem like a lot of people go in with great expectations about keeping control on things and then it just spirals and they throw their hands up. So I can see getting in over your head.

Jaya: It is easy to be convinced things are necessary when they’re not, by family or by vendors. That’s definitely an issue. Why can’t everyone else just have a will of steel??

Victoria: Plus you have to have a pretty strong sense of self and what you want to do that. And that is just not easy for…probably most people. Especially if they hadn’t really thought much about their wedding besides, “it will be lovely and pretty and the happiest day of my life.” And not everyone spends as much time reading about weddings as us. For some reason.

Jaya: WHY NOT?! They have no excuse then. I say that as a joke but also kinda mean it???? Like, even if you haven’t read a lot about it, it’s not ridiculous to go in thinking it’ll take planning and decisions. So if you don’t research how to do that and then get overwhelmed, idk.

Victoria: Haha yeah for sure. I mean there are tons of resources.

Jaya: I certainly got overwhelmed, and it’s hard dealing with everyone’s opinions. But if it’s too hard for you then go to City Hall. If you agree to do a wedding, you sorta have to agree to planning, and making decisions, and saying no, and all this stuff. Or that you’ll pay someone to do it for you.

Victoria: Lol yeah for sure. Anyway, it’s certainly not rude to hire a bridesmaid, but maybe it would be best to talk to your actual bridesmaids about their expectations first. And, hey, if anyone wants to hire etiquette consultants to make sure you are doing everything above board, we are probably available!