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Here's What You Need to Know About Charitable Wedding Favors


At a loss for what to choose to give out as wedding favors to your guests? If you're absolutely over Jordan almonds and can't rationalize paying for 200 personalized toothpick holders, why not consider handing over that cash to a worthy cause? Nowadays some couples are skipping wedding favors and instead donating that money to a charity that is near and dear to their hearts.

"Donations in lieu of wedding favors is a growing trend that speaks to a general desire to make a difference in the world by giving back to the community," Lena Koropey, etiquette expert and founder of Gramercy Protocol, says. "It is a meaningful way to thank your guests for their presence, and to share the spirit of kindness and helping others with them."

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If this sounds like something you'd like to do, read ahead for five key things to keep in mind when going this route.

Don't Mention It on Your Invites

Myka Meier, founder and director of Beaumont Etiquette, suggests skipping mentioning the charitable donation on your invitations or save the dates. Instead, you can include a mention in the program or wedding website, Meier says. "You might wish to say something along the lines of 'On our special day, we've chosen in lieu of wedding favors to donate to a charity that is near and dear to both our hearts, the XX Foundation,'" she says.

Koropey says she has also seen couples opt for small favors like a small edible treat with a ribbon and card indicating the name of the charity.

Protect Your Guests' Identity

If you want to make a donation instead of buying favors, that is totally A-OK, but don't take any liberties with providing your guests' information to the organization, says Kathleen Cover, certified etiquette consultant. "For identity protection and to prevent organizations from possibly contacting your family members and friends for future donations, it is best not to release individual names or contact information without obtaining prior approval," Cover says. "Donations may be issued to the charity organization by the bride and groom in honor of their wedding guests without releasing the names of guests." Bottom line: Don't hand out any guest info!

Prepare to Explain Your Choice

Even though you're doing something kind for someone else, some very traditional guests may not be on board with your choice, according to etiquette specialist Rebecca Black, known as The Polite One. "Wedding favors are, somewhat, like a gift to guests," she says. "In the past, most etiquette professionals would advise—and some may still—that it is impolite to give that gift to another. However, with so many in need, it is becoming more acceptable with most everyone to give, rather than receive a small token, which most favors are." She adds, "Some guests may have an issue with this decision. However, if the couple openly discusses their decision with guests, there should be minimal repercussion." Bottom line: Some old-school folks may not opt to go this route, but no sane person will complain about you doing something nice for others.

Steer Clear of Controversy

It doesn't matter what side of the (political) aisle you're on—keep politics out of the day you're walking down the aisle. Cynthia Grosso, owner and founder of the Charleston School of Protocol, recommends avoiding donating to any controversial or political organization. "The cause [you donate to] isn't necessarily going to be everyone's cause, but it should be one that the bride and groom believe in," she says. Grosso added, "I would be careful with political [or other controversial organizations]. It's not the time, and I would steer clear of anything that could be divisive." More neutral choices like organizations that support the arts or help animals or children are good options, experts say.

Remember That Favors Are Totally Optional

If wedding favors are stressing you out, though, keep in mind that you can always skip them. "Party favors, just like gifts, are optional always," Grosso says. "You don't have to give party favors at all." (Phew, one less thing on your to-do list!)

At the end of the day, you should do whatever feels right to you and your other half, including introducing your guests to a cause that matters to you. "It is always nice to share and introduce others to a charity that is close to the bride and groom's hearts," Cover says. "…In today's world there is such an awareness to reach out and help others. Your guests will appreciate and remember that you chose to honor them on your special day by helping others."

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03:23 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding, dresses | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


The prom-dress fashion on “The Bachelor”

The January premiere of the newest season of The Bachelor—the twenty-first for the ABC ratings hit—got off to a more awkward start than usual.

When the 30 women contestants arrived to greet the smiling young bachelor, Nick Viall, the mostly floor-skimming evening dresses they wore showed an alarming preponderance of red. Mostly it was a bright rose red, but there were also a few in a deeper cherry or crimson. While hardly a cause for panic in most situations, on The Bachelor it stirred anxiety and became a talking point on the episode.

But the similarity among the contestants’ dresses wasn’t really so surprising. Particularly during the big rose ceremonies, the elimination events in which the show’s lead hands out roses to the women he will keep another round, the gowns the women wear—and they are pretty much always gowns—might vary in their color and details, but they are all figuratively cut from the same cloth.

Body-hugging, usually one solid color, and conventional in design, they suggest an adult version of prom, and help play out a limited, conservative view of femininity that casts women as part sex object, part princess in The Bachelor’s addictive and regressive fantasy-reality welter.

At this point, 21 seasons in, The Bachelor style is pretty much codified, even though the contestants mostly dress themselves. Producers only approve dresses on the first night, according to a former cast member who spoke with Fashionista, or occasionally tell women if something looks bad on camera. (Solid colors are a safe bet, which is why they’re so common.)

The women are costuming themselves for a quite specific role on the romance-themed television show, says Linda Grindstaff, a professor of sociology at the University of California-Davis and an expert on gender roles in media and popular culture. “They’re all being informed by a similar cultural sensibility of what it means to perform a sexy yet respectable young woman,” she says. And that role, Grindstaff points out, is “a particularly narrow vision of femininity.”

It is remarkable how uniform the women can look in a scenario where cast members, who vary at least slightly in age, race or ethnicity, and background, will otherwise resort to all sorts of displays to stand out. The cast members are always thin, usually with long hair done in a similar style, and plenty of makeup.

The show has also drawn criticism for being overwhelmingly white, though it just announced it’s first black lead on The Bachelorette, in which a woman selects from a group of male suiters. Fashion gimmicks, including a shark suit recently (in the back row of the image at the top of this post), do pop up, but you’re more likely to see a woman in trousers on a Hollywood red carpet.

“I think people have watched the show before,” says Emma Gray, executive women’s editor at The Huffington Post and host of a podcast about The Bachelor and its spin-offs. “So you tend to have people evening dresses uk similarly, in a similar vibe to what they’ve seen before.”

Caila Quinn, who made it to the top three on season 20, told Fashionista that she shopped with clear intentions for her stint on the show. “I looked for things that showed skin on some part of the body, whether it’s the legs or the cleavage,” she explained. “It’s a flirty moment, and it’s just that kind of show.”

Gray calls the style “prom-dress chic,” and adds that “there’s an element of traditional fairytale and fantasy, but it’s also a little bit reality-TV gaudy.” Cast members spend a large portion of their time in bikinis. (The men’s equivalent plays out on The Bachelorette, where the men are often in similar-looking suits or in swim trunks and a tank top or no shirt.)

04:16 Publié dans Fashion | Tags : prom dresses, fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


19 ways to save on a wedding


First comes love, then comes paying for the wedding.

Weddings cost an average of $35,329 nationally -- excluding the honeymoon -- according to The Knot's 2016 Real Weddings Study. That's the highest reported average cost since the survey began in 2006.

But you're not obligated to spend that much, and many couples don't. We asked experts how you can set a reasonable budget and cut costs on some of the most expensive elements of your upcoming nuptials.

The budget

1. Be realistic

Don't start your marriage in debt, says Anne Chertoff, a trend expert for WeddingWire. "Most couples don't anticipate how much a wedding is actually going to cost, so they end up underestimating what they're going to spend and then going over their budget," she says. Set realistic spending limits from the beginning that account for all areas of your wedding. If you overspend in one area, cut back in another.

2. Use a credit card -- responsibly

It can be smart to use a credit card for wedding-related purchases -- as long as you're not taking on more debt than you can afford to pay off. Chertoff recommends using accumulated points toward your honeymoon, particularly if you have a card with travel rewards.

The date

3. Consider a winter wedding

Not all wedding dates are created equal. Find out which are most popular on WeddingWire's wedding date calendar. If there's more demand for a given date, you'll usually pay a higher price for a venue. You could score a discount for choosing a less popular month, such as January or February, Chertoff says.

4. Book a Sunday

Saturday is a popular day for weddings, but it's also generally the most expensive day to get married. You can likely reserve your venue at a lower price if you hold your wedding on a Sunday, or even a weeknight.

The guests

5. Put a twist on 'plus one' etiquette

Instead of giving all guests older than 18 a "plus one," limit them to couples you socialize with regularly, says Sharon Naylor, author of dozens of wedding books, including "1,001 Ways to Save Money ... and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding." To avoid awkward questions, explain how you're determining the guest list.

6. Mix up your invitations

You'll probably want to mail out traditional invitations, says Stephanie Cain, an editor at The Knot. But you can post wedding weekend itineraries on your wedding website and email save-the-date alerts. That'll save you the cost of printing and postage.

The evening dresses uk

7. check out a prom shop

Brides aren't finding dresses at just the bridal shop these days, Naylor says. You can pick up a white dress in the prom or party dress section of any department store. The popularity of colored dresses makes formal gowns a nice substitute, too.

The national average spent on a wedding dress was $1,564 in 2016, according to The Knot's latest Real Weddings study. A simple Google search for white prom dresses pulls up options that cost a fraction of that.

8. budget for your accessories

There's more to your dress budget than the dress. Cain suggests taking extras such as tailoring fees, shoes, jewelry and a clutch into account when setting a spending limit. To save on your veil, Chertoff recommends making it your "something borrowed" and wearing a family member's.

The venue

9. negotiate

Lots of unexpected expenses can pop up during planning, including cake-cutting and corkage fees or power for your DJ and photo booth. Naylor says you don't have to take them as they are. If a cost seems unreasonable, respectfully request to have it removed.

10. Use the venue's resources

Some venues provide tables and linens, Cain says. If you opt for a backyard wedding, you'll have to rent items like these. Always read a venue's contract in its entirety before signing so you know what is and isn't included.

And keep an eye out for requirements. You might not want to be obligated to use the venue's caterer, for instance.

The decor

11. communicate with your vendors

Naylor says some floral designers have warehouses with excess inventory they're willing to give away or lend out for free. Once you've placed an order, ask about expanding your options.

12. borrow from other newlyweds

Ask friends who have recently gotten married if you can borrow centerpieces or other items that they have left over.

13. Scout out decorations at craft stores

Look for wedding decorations -- especially light-up decor -- in places like craft stores. They have "more than glue guns and glitter," Naylor says.

The flowers

14. Stick to in-season blooms

You might have your heart set on pink flowers to accent your bridesmaids' bouquets, but consider settling for a different shade or variety. Local blooms that are in season at the time of your wedding are generally less expensive. Also, "local flowers tend to look fresher because they didn't have to travel for days," Cain says.

15. Get the most out of your flowers

A larger flower, such as a hydrangea, naturally looks fuller and takes up more space with fewer stems, Cain says. And you can repurpose ceremony flowers for the reception, instead of buying more. For instance, use a ceremony arch to adorn your sweetheart table at the reception.

The menu

16. Go for a shorter cake

The more tiers on your cake, the more it'll cost you. Cain suggests sticking to two tiers and having sheet cakes to serve. The cake you cut for your pictures doesn't have to feed all of your guests.

17. Cut down on drink sizes

Arrange for the bartender to serve your signature drinks in smaller glasses. "Most people will go and try the signature drink, take a sip, put it down and go back to their regular drink," Naylor says. Minimize the cost of your bar tab by opting for shooters.

The rest

18. Choose a charitable favor

Don't want to buy a favor for each wedding guest? Make a charitable donation on behalf of all your guests, Chertoff says. That way, you can set the amount you're comfortable spending, donate to a cause you care about and write off the contribution on your taxes.

19. Limit your photographer's hours

Save money by shaving off some of the time your photographer and videographer are present, Naylor and Cain suggest. You'll likely want them there for the ceremony, but you might not need footage of the end-of-reception dancing.

Bottom line, these experts suggest keeping a close eye on your wedding spending. "Anybody -- whether they have a $10,000 budget or a $500,000 budget -- is still working on a budget," Cain says.

Devote the biggest parts of your budget to the areas that are most important to you and be willing to compromise on the rest.

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03:49 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding, dresses, ways | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)