The Proper Way to Set a Table

Do you know the proper way to set a table?  Do you need to know?  If you’re having a catered “sit down” wedding dinner, your caterer will take care of it for you.  But it would be nice to know where each fork, knife, spoon, plate and piece of glassware is located and what it’s for, wouldn’t it?


The chart above shows an “informal” and “formal” place setting. For our purposes, you will not need to know anything else. But through my research, I discovered there were many more serving pieces than I ever dreamed.  Just get a gander of the photo below of all the knives, or the chart depicting all the forks available!  REALLY…does one really need a FISH knife?




And seriously, have you ever heard of an ice cream fork?  I’ve heard of a plastic “spork” for your ice cream eating ease…but never a formal ice cream fork…  🙂


Above is another chart, this time including European dinner service. Notice that there are more wine glasses on this chart.  🙂


And speaking of wine…notice how many different glasses are available.  I like to drink red wine at home out of a chardonnay glass, as it’s smaller and more comfortable for my hands.  But wouldn’t do so in public!


And what about napkin etiquette?  I also didn’t realize that there was so much formality in how you fold your napkin, and where you place it DURING your meal.  And yes…I have gently  dabbed my mouth with my napkin during dinner.  It has, sigh… left my lap!


And after all your research, perhaps your wedding reception tables will look something like the photo above… and maybe not.  Remember, you want your guests to be comfortable and all the grandeur of the formal table may be a little much…


And after you’ve completed your dining experience?  Well the chart above tells you what to do then!


Wedding Guest List

Oh…the wedding guest list… if there is one single thing that causes strife between the two joining families…this would be the one…

The contention is mostly based on finance.  Weddings are expensive – very!  The line MUST be drawn somewhere.  And if you have a smaller budget, you must cut people.  You just must.  But then again…feelings can be damaged if someone thinks he/she should be invited, and they’re not.


Please enjoy a few photos from Kathleen and Maggie’s weddings.  These shots are candids of some of the out of town guests and family who made the great time and financial investment to attend our ceremonies/parties. (Above photo: My darling cousin, Kim, bridesmaid at our wedding, and my maid of honor, Annie.  Both flew in from California).


Above: my cousin, Janet’s husband, Mike, Janet, and cousin Kim’s husband, Dan.


It meant so much to the brides AND to us.  Thank you.  In the above photo, Maggie’s godparents, Cheryl and Tom, made the flight from Texas!  Of mention, but not pictured, are our great friends, Craig and Mary from Chicago.  Julia and Tess, (our younger two daughters), were flower girls in their daughter, Mollie’s wedding — a great honor.


In the picture above, the girls’ cousins, Alayna and Dylan, who traveled from Colorado and California respectfully.  It was a long way, but so glad you made it.


And a sweet photo of Tyler and KK surrounded by all those who love them.  Thank you for being there, my friends.  I’m glad we extended the invitations!  One never really can go wrong to be inclusive.  Better to spend a little more and be a gracious person.

The Etiquette of a Wedding

The Etiquette of a Wedding …



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So you’re chosen your venue, your menu; but how will you set your table?  Well, whether it’s a “formal” affair, or less so, rely on your venue site coordinator, your caterer or your wedding planner to guide you. Just in case they are uncertain, you can reference the chart above.  If you choose the more formal setting, just remember…you probably can’t seat as many guests per table as you could at a “less formal” setting — too many serving pieces!


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And how will you advise your guests for their attire on your big day?  Once again, listen to your consultants.  But the above chart is a good one.  It even advises a woman on her hair and make-up!


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And oh!  Don’t forget the all important wedding/new married couple monogram!  I’m not sure I know how to decipher that.  But never fear…if you really want to know how to break this code, there is a handy chart above.


Still in a daze when it comes to all the subtle niceties?  Then I highly recommend reading an iconic book such as the “Post Book” above.  When I was a girl, Emily Post was the the social guru.  Then her daughter, Peggy, who writes the Foreword in the book above.  The present day authors are maybe her daughters?

Yes, wedding etiquette is a slippery slope, but there are wonderful resources out there.  Use them.



Worst Wedding Guest Mistakes

In the process of looking for blog ideas, I ran across this article, showcasing worst wedding guest mistakes…

33 Worst Wedding Guest Mistakes …Sadly, I realized I had made a few of these faux pas myself – I didn’t realize there were so many rules!

1. Forget to RSVP.

That date is there for a reason. Couples need to tell their coordinators and caterers how many people will be attending so they can plan accordingly. Don’t force your friends to harass you for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The postage is pre-paid—just check a box and send it off.

2. Ignore the registry.

You may have an inside joke about a certain board game or your eyes set on the perfect stemware, but your friends made a registry for a reason. I know a set of spoons or that Martha Stewart spatula may not be very exciting, but they need them. Make sure whatever you purchase is checked off the registry and you always provide a receipt.

3. Forgo a gift if you can’t go.

If you’ve been invited to a dozen big days, this one is hard. But you have to send a gift or check to the couple—even if you’re not attending.

4. Bring the gift with you.

Unless you’re slipping some cash into a card, do NOT bring the gift with you. Use the shipping address provided on their registry. No one in the bridal party wants to spend an hour stuffing gifts into their car at the end of the night.

5. Show up last-minute.

If you RSVP’d ‘no’, you cannot just show up unannounced. It will not be a “nice surprise.” If you realize you can attend a week before, notify the bride or groom and accept their response no matter what.


6. Bring kids to a kid-free wedding.

If your children are invited, your invitation will say “Smith Family” or have every name listed. If it’s not clear, do not make assumptions! Contact the bride and ask.

7. Bring a date when you weren’t given a plus-one.

Did you know one guest can cost the newlyweds almost $100? Showing up with a rando is a definite faux pas.

8. Wear white, ivory, or even blush.

White and ivory are pretty obvious, but bridal gown colors are expanding! Lots of brides wear blush, nude, or even icy blues. If you can, get the gown color from a bridesmaid before you buy your attire. You may want to get the bridesmaid dress shade too, unless you want to be mistaken for a member of the bridal party all night.

9. Dress like you’re going to a funeral.

Black used to be on the lists of colors to avoid, but I think it’s acceptable with certain dress codes. If the nuptials will be celebrated in the middle of summer, outside in a casual atmosphere, you should avoid black. If you’re attending a more formal affair, then go ahead and rock an LBD

10. Compete with the bride.

You can look good, but don’t go over-the-top. Avoid any attire that will draw too much attention—good or bad. All eyes should be on her, not you. You’ll have your day…


11. Bombard the bride before the ceremony.

Many close family members and friends think it’s acceptable to crash the bridal suite before the ceremony. Um, no. If you weren’t personally invited by the bride or bridal party to stop in and say hello, then wait until the ceremony like every other attendee.

12. Skip the ceremony.

Don’t just show up for the free food and drinks! You’re sort of missing the whole point of the wedding if you do.

13. Show up late.

Don’t be late to any part of the day. It’s just plain rude.

14. Chit chat when you’re not supposed to.

Don’t whisper (quite frankly, no one can do it quietly) during the ceremony, speeches, or any other part of the day when you’re supposed to be quiet.

15. Text, Snap, Tweet, Insta, etc.

Put that phone away and pay attention! How sad would it be if the couple looked out at their guests and saw faces glued to screens? Also, turn it off. We wouldn’t want that embarrassing ringtone to go off during the vows.


16. Ignore every religious ritual.

If you don’t share the religious views of the couple, that’s OK. Just try to follow along and take part when you feel comfortable. You don’t have to kneel with the other guests if you don’t want to, but stand and sit when asked and always remain respectful.

17. Get in the photographer’s way.

They’re getting paid a lot of money to capture as many memories as possible, so stay out of their way! Don’t block their shot or walk in front of every photo you can.

18. Share photos on social media.

A lot of weddings have an assigned hashtag so guests’ photos can be saved. If that’s not the case, don’t share pictures of the newlyweds until they give you the go-ahead. They may want their professional shots to be the first ones the public sees.

19. Criticize.

Try to keep those negative comments to yourself. If you don’t like the food, flowers, or décor, just don’t use them at your own wedding.

20. Blow off the receiving line.

This may be your only chance to congratulate the newlyweds! Don’t blow it off.


21. Change into casual clothing.

No, you can’t throw on jeans or shorts for the reception. Dress in comfortable attire you’ll love all night.

22. Pick your own seat.

The seating chart took that poor bride a long time. Please stick to it!

23. Switch food orders.

Remember that RSVP card you sent in so long ago? That box you checked determined the exact amount of food the expensive caterer would prepare. Switching will cause some serious headaches.

24. Get stupid drunk.

This one is obvious, right? An open bar is not an invitation to see how much you can drink before passing out. Some big days even restrict shots for this reason. Have fun, but know your limit.

25. Have an emotional breakdown.

An open bar and steady intoxication can often lead to intense emotional sharing. I’m sorry your partner hasn’t proposed yet or you just got dumped, but tonight is not the night to share it with everyone you meet.


26. Leave ridiculously early.

The unwritten rule is to stay until the cake is cut. This is most often done before the dancing even starts, so you’ll make it.

27. Opt out of every tradition.

Maybe you don’t feel like catching that bouquet or garter, but you can’t be the only one who sits out. Stand in the back and let those over-ambitious guests dive for their luck.

28. Make an informal toast.

If you weren’t asked, do not make toast! Just don’t. Have I made myself completely clear? DON’T DO IT.

29. Request songs unless asked.

Many couples will create a “Do Not Play List”. More often than not, these lists include songs like “Electric Slide,” “Chicken Dance,” or “Y.M.C.A.” If the DJ asks for requests, go ahead and make them. But he may deny you of your cliché group dance.

30. Grab the mic.

The DJ will have a microphone for announcements and the like. You are not allowed to use this for any reason.

31. Propose.

Talk about stealing their thunder! If you’d like to propose at someone’s reception, you must ask permission.

32. Steal décor.

Sometimes centerpieces and random décor is up for grabs at the end of the night, but make sure you get permission before snagging that vase or flower arrangement.

33. Ditch without saying goodbye.

Always pull the bride or groom aside to say a quick “goodbye.” Do not forget to say “thank you” as well!


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