The Handmade Wedding Blog

Category: etiquette

How to (Easily!) Address Invitations in a Straight Line

If you ask any wedding etiquette expert, he or she would tell you hand-addressing your wedding invitations is a must. Traditionally, hand-writing or calligraphy is used to address invitations because it looks more polished than a printed label and adds a personalized touch. This means you can either a) hire a calligrapher, or b) give it a go by hand-addressing it all yourself. But what if you have trouble addressing invitations in a straight line? Don’t worry — we just found the super easy way to address invitations in a straight line thanks to The Lettermate!

Address Envelopes in Straight Lines

The Lettermate is created as “an envelope addressing guide for those of us that have trouble writing in a straight line.” Which, let’s be honest, is pretty much most of us. It’s not just about writing in a straight line, though: it’s a plastic guide that is designed to give you a consistent and evenly spaced lines every time.

tool for writing in straight lines

by the lettermate

Which Return Address to Use on Wedding Invitations?

Hello, hello! Happy Thursday! Did you enter this week’s wedding giveaways yet? You should. They’re FREE and pretty amazing. Click here!

Which return address should you use on your invitations and reply cards? That’s what bride-to-be, Kyra, wanted to know in our most recent Ask Emmaline question! She writes,

Dear Emmaline, I am ordering invitations right now but I have a question. What return address am I supposed to use? My parents? Mine? Help!Kyra

We’re here to help! Read on for the answer!

return address invitations

by chicks and hens

10 Wedding Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid

When you’re planning your wedding, no matter what you do or where you get married or how many guests you plan on inviting, there’s bound to be wedding etiquette mistakes or issues that arise or some questionable thing that sneaks its way in. And despite your best efforts, stuff happens.

That’s where we come in!

Since we’re helping you plan the Best Day Ever, we’ve rounded up the most common wedding etiquette mistakes that happen so you can avoid them! Besides, it’s not fair to assume that once you become a Bride-to-Be you automatically know all of the unwritten, unspoken rules.

Now, some of these are pretty obvious, while others may surprise you. And there are a few GIFs along the way because it adds a little fun. One must not take wedding planning too seriously. Mistakes can accidentally happen — such is life! — and if you make one, don’t start freaking out or turning red or thinking it’s the end of the world. Most things can be fixed or made right — Promise! — so if you’re guilty of one of these just shoot us an email and we’ll try to help you make it right.

10 Wedding Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid via

Wedding Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid

10. Don’t mention registry information on your wedding invitation.

People know that it’s tradition to give the couple a wedding gift. So, rest assured: they get it. Don’t mention where you are registered or how you have a preference for cash or that you prefer ‘no boxed gifts’. Sidebar: That’s the tackiest thing I’ve ever heard. No boxed gifts? You’re kidding. Anyway, keep that info far, far away and let guests pick and choose on their own accord.

Oh, and just as a note: it’s perfectly acceptable to include registry information on the bridal shower invitation. But still, don’t ask for ‘cash gifts please’.

9. Don’t over-share on social media.

Facebook makes sharing your big day so easy; too easy, in fact, and now some couples tend to overshare. As proper etiquette, don’t mention any wedding specific details (“we registered here!” + “here’s what the invitation looks like!”, etc.) unless every single person on your friends list is invited. Of course, “we’re engaged!!!!” with eight thousand exclamation marks, the ring, the proposal story, etc. is all definitely welcome and appreciated. People love a good proposal story.


Want to share more of the specifics? Instead of putting it all on blast, consider a closed group where only the people who are invited to the actual wedding are in the private group.

8. Don’t tell guests about a morning-after brunch…

… unless they’re invited to it. Story time!

A friend of mine went to a wedding across the country. She asked the bride where she should stay, you know, what hotels are nearby and such. The bride suggested the one where the reception was held — a rather pricey one, might I add — and coincidentally told her where ‘we’ll all be having brunch will be the next morning’. Apparently “we’ll all” didn’t include my friend, because she never got the invite. Whoops.

7. Don’t send out B- or C-list invites after A-list guests decline.

The funny thing about sending wedding invitations is, you will want to send them all at one time. In one giant stack. All with the same postage and ready to go, addressed and stamped. A wedding invitation is like a spark, setting social media and text messages and phone calls ablaze with quick two minute convos of, “I got invited to so&so‘s wedding, did you? Are you going?” People love to talk about weddings and typically if someone doesn’t get the same invitation within a day or two they assume they didn’t make the cut.

So, suppose you had a guest list and people RSVPed and some couldn’t make it. You may be thinking, hey, open seats! Let’s fill them with people we kinda-sorta weren’t sure about inviting in the first place. So you send late invitations to B or C list people… right?

Don’t do it. They’ll be able to tell and they’ll feel like an afterthought.

6. Don’t assign jobs to your guests at your wedding.

A friend attended a wedding where the bride sent out a photo of the wedding invitation and made a group on Facebook, invited all of her friends list to it, and then didn’t even realize how awkward it would be since not all 250+ Facebook friends were invited to the wedding. Whoops. But wait, there’s more…


And then in this group on Facebook, she asked people to bring dishes to pass at the reception.

And, to add insult to injury, when guests arrived at the reception with dishes to pass, the bride and groom assigned the task of serving the food to a few guests who arrived early.

Don’t do that.

5. Don’t send a save the date to someone unless they’re invited to the wedding.

Seems easy enough, but you’d be surprised at how often this happens. It happens usually because the couple is so excited to send the save the dates out and tell everyone they know and then they realize that, holy crap, that’s going to be expensive. But by that time people are already thinking they’re invited…

Sticky situation indeed. Instead, keep your save the dates limited to very close friends and family.

Ooh, this rule also applies: don’t invite someone to the bridal shower who isn’t invited to the wedding. That’s a big one!

4. Don’t forget to set a place at dinner for your wedding vendors.

Of course, you don’t have to but I think it’s only polite to do so. Your wedding photographer and planner and officiant get hungry, too!

3. Don’t forget to send thank you notes.

It’s a requirement. Have you ever not received a thank you note for a wedding gift? I’ll bet you still remember that.

2. Don’t treat your bridesmaids like dirt.

Bridesmaids are not your hired help!

Luckily, the brides whom I’ve had the honor of being a Bridesmaid or Maid of Honor always treated me nicely.

But a friend of mine stood up in her friend’s wedding and here’s how it went down: the bride asked her to be a bridesmaid; she accepted. Weeks later, the bride started demanding things. Come here, do this, help me with that, call the vendors about this.


That’s so not the way it’s supposed to work.

Bridesmaids are like the bride’s crew. They’re a support system, sure! A helping hand, at times, yes! A friend to talk to and share in your wedding excitement? Of course! To do things for you at a moment’s notice and be here and there and respond to your demands and put the rest of your life on hold? Nope. (Read this and this one, too! It’ll keep things in perspective.)

If you want help with your wedding, hire a wedding planner!

1. Don’t invite someone over text.

Another funny thing with technology: it makes people lazy. Proper wedding etiquette dictates that invitations ought only be sent via postal mail. Even if it’s your second cousin twice removed or your casual friend from work, send an invitation via mail.

♥ | ♥ | ♥


What are the worst wedding etiquette mistakes you’ve encountered?

Share with a comment!

Guest List Flow Chart

One of the biggest wedding etiquette issues comes down to the guest list. Who should you invite? Does so-and-so have to be invited? Do I have to invite my co-workers? It’s a sticky situation, that’s for sure. And that’s where this guest list flow chart comes in. It will help trim the guest list fat, so to speak, so you can keep your budget in check and keep smiling. This is not the end-all list (and it won’t help with each guest) but it can help for a few of those guests where you’re completely unsure whether to invite. Take a look…

Guest List Flow Chart

guest list flow chart

spotted via pinterest

Are you having trouble trimming your guest list? Need advice? Ask us below. We’re here to help!


8 Simple Rules for Planning an Engagement Party

Planning an engagement party? You might be wondering who hosts, where it is held, and when you should have an engagement party. There are so many questions when it comes to engagement party planning and we’re here to help! In this post, you’ll find out eight simple rules for planning an engagement party, right down to what you should wear. Ready to get started? Let’s begin…

8 Simple Rules for Planning an Engagement Party

Planning an Engagement Party

If you’re wondering what an engagement party is, you’re not alone: an engagement party is not a requirement or a formal party of the wedding planning process. However, an engagement party can be a fun way to celebrate a couple’s engagement and get families and friends together to mingle.

1. Who hosts an engagement party?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents or groom’s parents host an engagement party (but they can co-host the event, too). For a more informal engagement party, friends or relatives can throw an engagement party for a couple, but it is encouraged to wait until after the official formal engagement party to do so. The couple can host their own engagement party, if they prefer. (Want to throw an engagement party for a friend? Find out if they’re having one by their parents first, just so you don’t step on anyone’s toes, so to speak.)

2. When is it held?

An engagement party is typically held nine to twelve months before the wedding. Guests should have a one-month head’s up before the party.

3. Where should an engagement party be held?

If you’re getting married in your hometown, and friends and family live nearby, a local engagement party is perfect. If you live out of state (and your wedding is being held there), have a party on your (new) home turf and another in your home town, if you wish. However, this rule applies: wedding guests or wedding party attendants should not expected to attend if it is out-of-state, since they’ll be expected to travel for the wedding itself. Wedding etiquette dictates you shouldn’t expect people to travel to an engagement party and your wedding. If they can come — great! If not, it’s really not worth fretting over. In terms of venue, a backyard, house, restaurant, or bar are a few perfect places for an engagement party.

4. Should you register for gifts beforehand? Do guests give gifts?

Gifts are not expected at an engagement party. A guest can give a gift if he or she wishes to, but it is certainly not an expectation. If you do register before the wedding, guests will know specific items to buy (if they wish). However, you should never include registry information on the engagement party invitation. Guests: if you do wish to give a gift, here are a few suggestions:

top – necklace | coffee mugs | journal
bottom – canvas | bicycle print | engagement print

EB TIP: Make a photo area as decor and show pictures of the couple’s courtship.


5. Who is invited?

If the engagement party is informal and hosted by friends, there is no set rule (since they won’t really know who is on your wedding guest list yet). However, if you or your parents are hosting an engagement party, invite only those who are going to be invited to the wedding. This is one reason why you may want to keep your engagement party fairly small, since you might not have the guest list nailed down yet.

6. Do you need formal invitations?

No, formal invitations are not required. Engagement party invitations should be simple. You can even email invitations, if you prefer. If you’re sending invitations in the mail, the colors or style do not need to coordinate with the wedding (since the colors or theme probably aren’t even picked out yet). The invitations should be thematic to the type of engagement party being thrown, however, such as a cocktail party or outdoor bbq bash.

7. What should you wear?

The bride should wear attire that coordinates with the location of the engagement party. For instance, if it is a cocktail party at a restaurant, the bride can wear a cocktail dress. Outdoor bbq? A white sundress is a perfect option. The groom should dress in the same formality as the bride: a suit & tie for a formal setting or dress pants and a button-down shirt for a more casual location.

8. Should you send thank you notes after an Engagement Party?

Yes, the couple should send thank you notes to guests after the engagement party to thank them for attending. If a guest gave a gift, be sure to include a thank you for the gift in your note.

thank you notes

paper street press

Questions on Planning an Engagement Party?

Ask us below or offer any tips you have!


P.S. Another great gift idea? A wedding planning book! Grab a copy of The Handcrafted Wedding and/or The Inspired Wedding!

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7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say

Hi, loves! Emma here. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a bride-to-be who is a) planning her wedding and b) curious about bridesmaid etiquette for the bride. I read this cringe-worthy article about a bridezilla with a capital B that really struck a chord. It’s hard to believe a bride could be such a crazed lunatic (to put it loosely), but I’m sure it happens more often than I think. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but it needn’t break character. The bridesmaids you’ve asked to be a part of your day are presumably your best friends. Sisters. Cousins. Loved ones. Don’t let this wonderful time in your life bring out the worst in you. We’ve prepared this post to keep things in perspective and stay on the good side of your wedding party. After all, it’s one day — one amazing, totally memorable and awesome day — and you’d like them to remember it just as fondly, right? Exactly. Read on to see seven things your bridesmaids need to hear you say…

7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: ashley caroline) via

photo: ashley caroline photography via real wedding

Bridesmaid Etiquette

7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: johnstone studios)

johnstone studios via real wedding

1. “Thank you.”

Be specific. Say it often (and mean it).

bridesmaids in purple dresses | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: stephanie craig)

stephanie craig photography via real wedding

2. “Wear any ______ you’d like!”

Fill in the blank with something — anything — of which you are willing to offer flexibility. Some major examples include shoes (honestly, will it really ruin your wedding if Jessica can’t wear stiletto heels?), jewelry, or, if you’re willing, dress. Some brides are adopting a more laid-back bridesmaid dress approach where they pick a particular color and ask their bridesmaids to pick any dress they love in that shade.

bridesmaids in different types of dresses | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: leah marie landers)

photo: leah marie landers photography via real wedding

A little black dress, for instance, is another awesome idea: chances are each bridesmaid already has a favorite in her closet and, if not, it gives her an excuse to get a dress she’ll actually wear again. Bottom line: give a little and you’ll get a lot of respect.

bridesmaids in little black dresses | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: jeannie guzis)
jeannie guzis via real wedding

If you want to pick a specific dress, you can always choose something like this and she can wear it however she likes best.

3. “If you can’t _______, that’s okay.”

A good way to live your life is without expectation for perfection. If you don’t have expectations, you won’t be disappointed if something doesn’t go your way. The same applies to planning your wedding. Don’t expect bridesmaids to be perfect or to fold to your every whim because, you know what? While you’re busy planning this huge day, your girls keep on keepin’ on, just like the rest of us. They’re just out there living their lives. Be gracious. Be kind. Be understanding. Yes, it’s your big day — but every day from your engagement until the wedding day can’t be all about you. Otherwise, it would take away the fun of the big day! Oh, and when you say that’s okay, mean it… don’t just say it and then email your other bridesmaids about her being unreliable (not cool). For example, if she can’t…

○ afford the dress
○ wear high heels since she never, ever does
○ go on a lavish bachelorette party weekend
○ travel out-of-state for her bachelorette party, bridal shower, or other wedding events
o go to twelve dress fittings

Of course, if a bridesmaid can’t be present and supportive, and can’t afford to (or doesn’t plan to) participate in any part of the wedding festivities, she might not want to accept the role of bridesmaid. Being present (literally and figuratively) comes with the territory.

4. “Please help me with _______ “

The number one thing bridesmaids want to be? Helpful! However, they don’t always know what to do or where they can offer assistance. Being specific is a great way to communicate with her and help you tackle your to-do list — within reason, of course. Here are some examples:

○ ask to write down gifts and recipient names at your bridal shower
○ go dress shopping with you and let you know if your __(noun)__ really does look too __(adjective)__ in that dress
○ go to your makeup trial and give her opinion on your hair and makeup before the big day
○ help her pick out centerpieces / decor / drink menus by browsing Pinterest
○ help with the seating chart or guest list
○ pick out fun ideas for entertaining guests (see also: entertaining kids at a wedding)
○ help you with easy DIY wedding projects or shopping for DIY supplies
○ decide on songs for your perfect wedding playlist

5. “What’s new with you?”

Skip the wedding chatter at least once in awhile and find out what’s new in her life. What’s happening. What’s good. What’s bad. What’s the funniest video she saw on YouTube this week. What picture made her laugh out loud. Be present in her life and don’t treat every conversation as an opportunity to babble about bridal stuff.

6. “Here’s the itinerary for the week of the wedding.”

As early as possible, provide a schedule for the week of the wedding, including any events (a rehearsal dinner, rehearsal, getting ready, girls day at the salon, etc.) that you’d like her to participate in. Include times, locations, and specifics (“I’d like everyone to meet at the salon by 9am on the wedding day. Please call ahead and have your hair appointment made with Monika.”) This way, she can be sure that you’re all on the same page. It also helps her to know what is expected and gives her ample notice to make any necessary plans. (EB TIP: This is a great time for you to make your must-have getting ready photos list, too!)

bride smiling surrounded by bridesmaids | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: daniel fugaciu

photo: daniel fugaciu via real wedding

7. “Thank you for being awesome.”

Seriously. It is so important it’s mentioned here twice. Say it, mean it. Don’t take anyone for granted! And, be sure to give her an amazing gift that shows your appreciation.

bridesmaids kissing the bride | via Bridesmaid Etiquette: 7 Things Your Bridesmaids Need to Hear You Say (photo: matthew steed wilson photography)

photo: matthew steed wilson photography via real wedding

Have Bridesmaid Etiquette to Add?

So, what bridesmaid etiquette would you add to this list? Include your tips + advice + thoughts in the comments area below.


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P.S. If you liked this, please give it a share below! Who knows, it might be a gentle reminder for a bride-to-be!

How to Write a Thank You for Cash Gift

It’s time for another Ask Emmaline question! We received this message from Anna who asks, “I’m writing thank you cards as I receive wedding gifts. I received a gift of cash and I don’t know what to say in the card. Any advice?” Writing a proper thank you for cash gift is easy to do and requires just a few tips. Read on to see a sample thank you for cash gift, see a few thank you cards, and enter for a chance to win a set of forty thank you cards for your big day!

How to Write a Thank You for Cash Gift (cards: ponto mountain paper)

ponto mountain paper

How to Write a Thank You for Cash Gift

If you receive a cash gift, the number one rule is to write how you plan to use it. Guests like to know that their gift of money will be enjoyed. For example, you can say something like, “Thank you for the gift of money. We plan to use it as part of our down payment on a house.” Or, “Thank you for the generous check. We are saving for a new car and this will help us reach our goal.” Most importantly? Be honest and sincere. Here’s an example:

Example Thank You for Cash Gift

Dear Aunt Louise and Uncle Fran,

Thank you for your generous gift of money. We are saving for a new home and we will be able to use it towards our down payment. Thank for you thinking of us and sharing our special day. Love, Mary and Tom

Example Thank You (If They Couldn’t Attend)

Dear Aunt Louise and Uncle Fran,

Thank you for your generous gift of money. We are saving for a new home and we will be able to use it towards our down payment. Thank for you thinking of us. We are sorry you could not attend our wedding but we hope to see you soon. Love, Mary and Tom

Hope it helps!

Have a question for us? Just Ask Emmaline! It’s free and your question could appear in an upcoming post.

If you’re looking for thank you cards, we spotted these over at Ponto Mountain Paper (we’re giving away a set!) and love ’em. Pick a design you love that coordinates with your wedding theme.

How to Write a Thank You for Cash Gift (cards: ponto mountain paper)

ponto mountain paper

Giveaway: Thank You Cards

Now that you have an idea of how to write them, it’s time to win them! We’ve teamed up with Ponto Mountain Paper to give away a set of 40 thank you cards (and envelopes) to one lucky reader. The design is shown below:

thank you cards kraft paper

ponto mountain paper

o Enter between 4/29/14-5/5/14 (11:59pm EST)
o Prize: 40 Thank You Cards and Envelopes by Ponto Mountain Paper. Design shown above. Not customizable.
o Winner will be randomly selected and announced on 5/6; winner announced on this blog post and emailed
o Winner has 72 hours to respond to email or new winner will be selected
o FREE shipping included to U.S.
o No purchase necessary
o Winner has 3 months to claim prize
o Prize value: $60 | No cash value
o Past giveaway winners within 30 days not eligible to win
o Use entry form below to enter

Good Luck!