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What To Expect At A City Hall Wedding (Ceremony & Budget).

Although getting married in a city hall is fairly simple to arrange, it will probably require a little more planning than you realize.

As laws differ from state to state, the process for applying and getting married in a city hall depends on the specific laws of the state in which you’ll get married. You will, therefore, need to take a bit of time to ensure you have everything prepared accordingly.

So what is it like planning a city hall wedding?

The most important step when getting married in a city hall is getting your marriage license. This is your permission to get married, and all US citizens need a marriage license to prove they are legally allowed to get married. Also, be mindful that it’s a public place & a place of work for most.

There is no doubt that a city hall wedding is far from the traditional wedding most of us see on TV, but it’s also just as meaningful.

Lea and I had both a city hall wedding and a more traditional family wedding, and I much preferred the former due to several aspects of the planning. Below is a guide to what you should remember if you go down this route.

States with waiting periods

In most states you are allowed to get married the moment your marriage license is issued, however, in some states, you’ll need to wait a day or even possibly two.

You will, therefore, need to find out what the law is in your state regarding this, before you apply for your license, or even before you decide on a city hall.

Most city halls will have all this information up on their websites, but it is also a good idea to phone your hall of choice and get some personal advice too.

The following states have waiting periods.*

One- day wait:   Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, and South Carolina
Two-day wait: Maryland.
Alaska, District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Mississippi, and Washington.  
Five-day wait: Wisconsin and Minnesota.  

*As laws can change, use this information as a guide only.

The above information was provided by FindLaw and NOLO.

Getting a marriage license

Some city halls allow you to fill in your application online however, you will both still have to complete the application in person, together at the city hall. City halls that offer an online application will have a link on their website, and then you’ll just need to follow their prompts.

If you don’t apply online you can get an application at the city hall but find out if you need to make a prior booking before you go, as some city halls require this. Additionally, be careful not to apply too far in advance. In most states, a marriage license has an expiration date and you don’t want to have yours expire before you get married.

The expiration date of a marriage license

10 days Oklahoma.  
20 days South Dakota.  
30 days Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin. 
33 Days Michigan.
35 Days: Colorado.
60 days Arkansas , Florida , Illinois, Indiana , Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia , Washington, West Virginia. 
65 days Connecticut.  
90 days Alaska , California,  Maine, New Hampshire,Rhode Island , Texas. 
6 months Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey.
1 year Arizona, Nebraska, Nevada , Wyoming.
No expiration District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina.  

US Marriage Laws.

What you’ll need for a marriage license

Although the documentation may vary between states, generally you will need to take the following with you when applying for a marriage license.

  • Photo identification (passports, or licenses).
  • Proof of citizenship or residency.
  • Your birth certificates (to prove age).
  • A divorce decree or death certificate if you have been married before.
  • Your social security numbers.
  • Your parents’ names and place of birth.
  • Money to pay the fee ($10 – $115 depending on the state). Make sure to check what is the acceptable form of payment.

Some states also require blood test results and a witness, so double-check this information before you go.

Normally the application will be processed while you wait and you’ll be able to take it home right away, but some states will post it to you. Make sure you check all your information is correct before you leave.

States that allow same-day marriage

For those who just can’t wait any longer to say I do, you can get your marriage license and get married in just one day in the following state.

States that allow you to marry right away.*

Florida (Only for residents who have both taken a state-sanctioned marriage course within the last 12 months.)
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Dakota
West Virginia

 The Spruce

*Remember to use this as a guide only, you will still need to verify the laws with your city hall.

Booking and choosing a city hall

Although getting married in a city hall is fairly simple to arrange, it will probably require a little more planning than you realize.

As laws differ from state to state, the process for applying and getting married in a city hall depends on the specific laws of the state in which you’ll get married. You will, therefore, need to take a bit of time to ensure you have everything prepared accordingly.

Remember you are allowed to get married in any city hall so you don’t have to opt for the first one you find. Look around to find one that suits your date and requirements best. If you look, you can find some gorgeous looking city halls which could provide some unexpected magic to your day.

A city hall wedding is still a wedding after all, and even though it is going to be simple, aesthetics does make a difference to how it will all feel on the day, especially if you are going to take some pictures.

Please note. Apart from a few exceptions, you must get your marriage license in the city where you’ll get married.

How to prepare for the day

The day you get married, there are three things you will need with you. Both of your valid government IDs, your marriage license, and a witness. A witness can be anyone over the age of 18. (Some states will require two)

Both you and your partner will also need to understand and speak English. However, if either you or your spouse require sign language or an interpreter this can usually be arranged, but you’ll need to notify the office beforehand.

Security will be tight at the City Hall so be prepared to have your bags searched and you’ll need to go through a metal detector.

You should watch out for items you may have on you such as a corkscrew, a nail file, or nail scissors, etc. Don’t take a lot, it will be far easier for you to just take the necessities.

You should also arrive dressed and ready to get married as there probably won’t be anywhere to do it at the hall, and you may not have the time either.

What to expect: the wedding ceremony

A public ceremony will be quick and last just 5 minutes. Normally bookings can be made between 9 am and 3:30 pm during the week and usually there is time available on Saturdays too.

If you are required to make a booking, it is advisable to get to the city hall 30 minutes before your appointment to avoid being late. If you are late you probably won’t be able to get married that day.

The procedure will go as follows.

  • Firstly before your ceremony, you will go into the office for your documents to be checked.
  • You will then have to wait for someone to call you so you can meet the judge and for your witness to sign the license. Here they will ask you if you are exchanging rings and saying your own vows (if it is allowed).
  • Once the paperwork is done you will usually go straight to the ceremony, but you may have to wait a bit depending on how busy a day it is. (Make sure your guests are ready for this. Once you have met with your judge, no one should go wandering off).
  • During the ceremony, you’ll be allowed six guests including the witness and a photographer.
  • The actual ceremony will usually take about 4-5 minutes.
  • Usually, couples will take some pictures in the city hall after they are married.

The total cost

The Licence

The cost of a marriage license ranges between $10 to $ 110, but the cost varies depending on the state and city, and can sometimes be reduced if a couple completes certain premarital counseling or programs.

Texas, for example, gives a $60 discount after the completion of a program and Oklahoma gives a $45 discount.

The ceremony

While the average cost for getting married in the USA at the moment is $38,700, a city hall wedding ceremony will only set you back about $25 to $107 depending on your state. Now that should put a smile on your dial!

Do your research

Whether you’re planning to elope, or just wanting a simple and small ceremony that avoids all hassle and cost, once you have an understanding of the laws and procedures, a city hall wedding is easy and simple to arrange and won’t cost you very much at all.

However, this doesn’t mean that it has to be dull and boring. A city hall wedding can feel just as memorable and as lovely as you’d expect a traditional one to be. With far more freedom on your day to do as you please, a city hall wedding planned wisely can be fun, exciting and incredibly romantic. Regardless of your budget.

The ceremony extras you haven’t thought of

While getting married in a city hall won’t require too much planning, it is still a wedding, and it should still be exciting and memorable. Here’s how, with just a little bit of effort, you can make it feel like the special day it is.

Phone beforehand

Before you book your time and date, it’s a good idea to phone and find out when your city hall has its quiet days.

With a little bit of hindsight, you could book or go on a quieter day which will give you more time to enjoy the ceremony, without feeling rushed. Similarly, if you prefer the thrill of a buzz, phoning ahead will allow you to enjoy your day amongst the rush of a crowd.

VIP treatment

Some city halls also offer an option to reserve a private space, where you will be allowed more time (an hour or even more) and you can have as many as 100 guests present.

It will cost a little more of course but still, it won’t be nearly as costly as a traditional wedding. The San Francisco city hall, for example, offers one-hour wedding packages for $1,000. Rental includes up to 100 guests, chairs and other equipment.

Regardless of your preference, phoning your city hall and taking the advice of someone who knows will put you in the best possible position on the day.

Hire a photographer

As you’ll be saving a lot of money on your wedding, why not consider spending some money on hiring a professional to capture the memories for you.

Hiring a professional photographer means you’d get the best quality pictures of your wedding day, instead of the snapshots your friends and family may take for you – despite being taken with lots of love. However, there are effective ways to DIY your wedding photos, see my guide here.

Having a good camera doesn’t mean you’ll be able to capture a perfect image, there is a lot more that goes into taking great wedding photographs and professional will know-how. It is worth some consideration. If you have any doubts, why not read my full article about hiring a videographer.

Wear something special


Since it’s not the traditional big white wedding, you can wear whatever you’d like, and in any color, you would like. Get creative and make it fun.

From an ultra-chic pantsuit to a simplistic short dress, or even the traditional long gown, a Courthouse wedding dress can vary from the traditional to just simple streetwear. The key is probably to find something in the middle. Make it special but practical, especially if you plan to head out into the city afterward.


Generally, the best attire for a Courthouse wedding is semi-formal to formal, but you should match your partner’s dress code. For formal wear, opt for a tailored suit, for semi-formal opt for a nice pair of trousers, a collared shirt, a tie, and formal shoes. You could choose to wear a suit jacket too. Use Instagram for inspiration. 

Get some flowers

Weddings have always gone together with flowers, so why stop with a city hall wedding. A fresh bouquet for the bride and a boutonniere for the groom, even if they’re simple, will add some beauty to your ceremony. It’s a small way to make your ceremony feel personal and special. You could also get some spring corsages for all your guests to make things shine.

  • Opt for a classic bouquet of calm and soft colors that won’t stand out too much if you’re shy or unsure of what you want. You really can’t go wrong with a classic bouquet.
  • For something more romantic, choose wildflowers as your bouquet. They will last longer too.
  • If you like bold, add a splash of bright color. Make it bright pink, yellow or even green to reflect the excitement and joy you feel. There are no rules so make it fun.

Invite close friends and family

Think about who you’ll want to invite. You may want to invite a few special people who mean a lot to you. Sharing a wedding day with your loved ones will make it far more memorable and personal and you will probably have a lot more fun too.

Just remember the whole point is to make things small so limit yourself to four or five guests. Remember to confirm the number of guests you are allowed to take in with you.

If you’d prefer to be married alone, remember you’ll still need a witness, however, you could ask your photographer to be one.

Plan post-ceremony activities

Make the most of the day and plan something special. Whether it is with or without your friends and family, your marriage ceremony will be over pretty fast, and you don’t want to be left unsure of what to do next.

Plan a special meal at your favorite restaurant, or book a special table at a fancy restaurant you’ve always wanted to visit.

A simple meal in your home can also be made celebratory and if you enjoy parties, you may consider hitting the town for a bit of a party, with a few of your close friends. The point is to feel special on your big day and to make some great memories you’ll cherish.

Don’t leave your post-ceremony activities to chance, you don’t want to be disappointed on such a special day.

Questions to ask the city hall

Phone the city hall and ask detailed questions to ensure you’ve covered all of your options.

Ask questions such as:

  • Will we be allowed a photographer?
  • Will we be allowed to have flowers?
  • Can we exchange rings during the ceremony?
  • Will we be able to say our own vows?
  • How many guests are we allowed?
  • What days are the quietest/ busiest?

Can you provide your own officiant?

Traditionally, a wedding officiant is a member of a religious group who is also legally recognized by a state to perform weddings. Ordained clergy, such as a minister or a priest, are officiants.

In some city halls, if you are having a private ceremony, you can use your own officiant. I wrote a complete A-Z guide of how to do this in my article: How To Choose A Wedding Officiant To Make Your Day Perfect

However, it is best to contact your city hall to inquire about what your options are regarding this. Almost all ceremonies at a city hall will be conducted by a judge and the marriage is considered a civil marriage, as it will be without any religious affiliation.   

The most beautiful city halls to get married

  • Austin (Texas) City Hall.
  • San Francisco City Hall. (Absolutely stunning.)
  • New York County Supreme Courthouse.
  • Santa Barbara Courthouse.
  • Philadelphia City Hall.
  • Pasadena City Hall.
  • Marylebone Town Hall.
  • Dublin City Hall.
  • Certaldo Town Hall.
  • Cleveland city hall.
  • St Louis City hall.

Destination weddings

If you like the idea of combining your wedding and your honeymoon, you may want to consider getting married in a foreign city hall.

Regardless of whether it’s somewhere nearby or far away, having a destination wedding will leave you feeling very very special and romantic. 

Getting married outside the US

There are, however, some important things you should know before you book your tickets to take the plunge.

  1. A destination wedding is more complicated than a city hall wedding in the United States.
  1. In general, marriages that are legal and valid out of the USA are also legal and valid in the United States, however, you should check with the embassy of the country in which you’ll be married to be sure, to avoid unnecessary disappointment.
  1. Most countries will require proof of a valid U.S. passport, birth certificate or other proof of residency before you’ll be able to get married, but you may also be required to get a medical test. 
  1. You will more than likely be required to obtain a marriage license in the country in which you’ll be married which may mean a lengthy waiting period so be cautious with your planning.
  1. You may need to apostille or legalize documents. This can be time consuming and expensive.
  1. Most countries require proof that you are legally able to get married, in the form of certification. As no document exists in the United States, you will need to get an affidavit at the American embassy or consulate in the country where you’ll be married stating this. This is called an affidavit of eligibility to marry. You may also need a witness and there will be a fee to pay.

A list of possible requirements.

  • Valid U.S. passports.
  • Copy of the U.S. passports.
  • Birth certificates.
  • Divorce decree (where applicable)
  • Death certificate (where applicable)
  • Parental consent (If either you or your partner are under the age of 18)
  • Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry.
  • Blood or medical test (possibly)

Websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions

Marriage of US Citizens Abroad

Getting married in another state

Of course, the United States has it all to offer and you don’t even have to leave the country to get a real authentic destination wedding feel.

I’ve looked into the best states to get married in and why in my article here.

 Related questions

Can you say your own vows at a courthouse wedding?

Yes, you can exchange vows, and more than often even write your own. Phone the courthouse to enquire to be sure.

Why have a city hall wedding?

  1. Many City halls offer the chance to get some really beautiful pictures, as the buildings are generally beautiful.
  1. A city hall wedding is budget-friendly, at only a fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding.
  1. It’s short and sweet
  1. A city hall offers an opportunity to have a stress free wedding.
  1. Many people today don’t want the hassle of a traditional wedding.
  1. More money will be available to spend on the honeymoon.

The best time to get married in a city hall

Generally, the busiest hours are between 11 am and 2 pm. If you want to avoid the crowds, go in the morning or late afternoon. Most people have left by 3:30 pm.

What can I wear instead of a wedding dress?

The options are endless for a city hall wedding, and you are free to choose to go in whatever you choose ( with discretion in mind). If it’s an unconventional wedding dress you choose, the most important thing to consider is, ‘does it make you feel beautiful?’ 

Go for a splash of your favorite color or opt to rock it out in black. Floral prints are very popular at the moment, as are chic pantsuits, and two-piece outfits with a full skirt.

For simple yet pretty, try a dress with a high-low hemline, or make it fun with something short and cute. You could even just buy something gorgeous, that you’ll love for many years to come, from your favorite clothing store or brand.

How To Plan For Or Deal With Rain On Your Wedding Day

The risk of rain for an outdoor wedding can be worrying but with the right preparation, you’ll feel ready for any weather that comes your way.

Keep in mind a few important tips and you’ll be ecstatic for your wedding day rain or shine.

For a rainy wedding day, communicate with your bridal team and guests about a rain plan. Rent a tent to protect your guests from the elements, order customized towels as wedding favors, and choose a hairstyle and makeup that is rain resistant.

Continue reading for tips on how to plan for, and embrace, rain on your wedding day.

Expect the best, prepare for the worst

As frustrating as it can be, the weather is completely out of our hands. Every outdoor wedding should have a rain plan.

Act like there will be a 100% chance of rain on your wedding day so you will be mentally prepared in case the weather takes a turn for the rainy.

While many brides dread rain on their special days, rain can actually make a wedding one of a kind.

Rain adds a romantic atmosphere and will create unique wedding photos. In some cultures, rain on a wedding symbolizes good luck and cleansing. My tips below outline exactly what you should do in case of rain on your big day.

Of course, you could minimize this altogether by moving your wedding to somewhere with more sunshine, ever considered eloping to Las Vegas? if you have then you should read my full article on this great alternative to a rainy wedding.

But, if that’s not an option, then read on for my top tips for dealing with a possible washout on the most important day of your life!

Get First-hand experience

A rainy wedding, when done right, can be a fantastic experience despite the miserable weather. However, you need to know what you are getting yourself in for.

If you are planning a spring wedding or are getting married in a state where summer showers are common, making sure you cover your bases is just good common sense. Also, getting married in the winter (see my amazing article about this) could risk rain also.

Next time the weather turns to rain, go visit your venue and scout out exactly where your ceremony will be. Where is shelter already available? What happens to the ground, does it flood, does it get muddy? Where is it windy or sheltered from the wind?

It may sound a little extreme, but having this personal experience may help you create a perfect rain plan which makes the best use of the facilities you have available to you.

Communication is Key

If your wedding is advertised to your guests as being outdoors, make sure to keep your guests in the loop for a rain plan. Many of your guests will be wondering what the plan will be as they will not want to get soaked either.

Send out wedding invitations with a note in case of rain and direct guests to your website with the rain plan. Everyone likes being in the loop, and this will save you the stress of answering individual rain questions.

Communicating with your wedding team and vendors is also extremely important. Make sure the venue is aware of the forecast on your day. Have your wedding planner, venue, and venders up to date about rain plans. Your venue may have an indoor section they will be able to move you into in case of rain.

If you are having an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception, it could be possible to use both for the wedding. If you have a large team of people, staff should be able to flip the room in an hour or an hour and a half while you and your guests enjoy snacks and drinks.

It’s important that your DJ/ musician, caterers, and florist know about the possibility of rain. Your DJ may not be able to perform in the rain, and the guitarist that had plans to sing during the ceremony is not going to want to get their guitar wet. Trust your vendors’ input and be prepared to be flexible with their needs as they will certainly be mindful of yours.

If you are still undecided between having a live artist or a DJ, then you will probably find my article on this dilemma very informative, read my take on the decision here.

Rent Equipment

If your venue does not have the space to bring your wedding inside, it is time to rent a tent! Tented weddings create a wonderful ambiance and your guests will enjoy the sound of rain while you say your vows.

Ask your wedding planner and venue if they recommend any particular venders.

Tents can provide amazing wedding photos and can be decorated with flowers and lights to add to the magic of the wedding.

Tents are an added expense and can get pricy depending on how many attendees you will have. Make sure to allocate money in the budget for your tent so you’re not scrambling last minute.

The average tent rental ranges from $1,500-$4,000 per day. Research prices and vendors in your area beforehand and choose a vendor that delivers.

Get Creative

Rain on your special day is another opportunity to make your wedding stand out from the rest. The weather will provide a unique opportunity for fun giveaways, photoshoots, and more.  

Rain creates softer lighting that is ideal for pictures. And who doesn’t love to cuddle up for a photo when the weather isn’t great?

Get all your bridesmaids together with matching umbrellas and matching rainboots for an adorable photo shoot. Kiss under an umbrella with your significant other, and embrace getting a little wet.

Be sure to communicate with your photographer about specific rain photoshoots. Your venue might also have a place in mind that will be great if it rains like a gazebo or partially covered area. Think outside the box and you’ll love how your photos turn out!

Keep an Eye Out

Just because it does or doesn’t look like it’s going to rain on your special day doesn’t mean it will or won’t.

Keep an eye out for the weather a month, week, and the day before your wedding. You might be able to get away with having your outdoor wedding run as normal if the rain will miss the ceremony by an hour.

A one hundred percent chance of rain doesn’t always mean rain. Forecasts can change at any minute, so make sure you’re not shocked if it doesn’t rain on your wedding.

If you rented a large tent and the sky blue as can be, try not to dwell on money wasted. You can still use the tent for some shading for guests or use it during drinks and hors d’oeuvres before your reception.

Wedding Favors

Rain grants a chance to have fun wedding favors that your guests will be happily surprised at getting. You can get really creative with wedding favors and give favors that guests will keep forever.

For your bridesmaids, look into monogrammed umbrellas. Personalized matching umbrellas will make for the cutest wedding photos. Check out Etsy for some sellers who will work with you individually to create the perfect umbrella for your bridesmaids. 

If umbrellas aren’t your thing, matching or monogrammed rain boots is another option for a killer photoshoot. Pick out colors based on your wedding theme and walk down the aisle in style! MarleyLily has some cute monogrammed boots starting at $45 per pair.

Your guests will likely be a little wet, so order custom towels for everyone. Customize the towels with your wedding date and you and your fiancé(e)’s names.

They will love the extra warmth and will think about your wedding every time they use the towel. You can get personalized towels at BedBathandBeyond.

Create an Ambiance

Rain makes a lot of people feel cozy, so embrace the rainy day to make for a great wedding ambiance. If you are having your wedding in a tent, consider renting some heat lamps to help keep your guests warm.

Consider having warm apple cider guests can sip on during the ceremony. After you say “I do” when you’re waiting for the reception to start, have your wedding team set up a hot chocolate bar to really get into the comfy spirit.

Have Extras

Having extras during the rain is very important. Pack extra towels for you and your bridal party. Ask everyone to bring an extra pair of socks or two to have in a bag. Your wedding planner, maid of honor, or mother can be tasked with keeping a bag of the extras close at hand.

If it is a cold and rainy day, be sure to pack blankets for everyone in your wedding party. You can choose matching blankets or order customized blankets for an extra special look.

For you and your fiancé(e), order a blanket with your names and your wedding date or choose a favorite picture of the both of you to get printed on the blanket. Get your photographer to take some nice pictures of the two of you snuggled up. You can order customizable blankets at Shutterfly.

Be Realistic

Having a realistic idea of what your hair and makeup will look like if you have a rainy wedding date will save you a lot of stress.

Talk to your stylist about looks that are low maintenance and will not be ruined if they get a little wet. A curled and messy low bun or a half up-do will be better than a full head of curled down hair getting rained on.

Consider your makeup options especially if it is going to pour on your wedding day. Choose mostly waterproof makeup and a more simplistic look as you will require more touch-ups during the day. Have your makeup bag nearby and don’t go too crazy with the eyeshadow.

Have a Positive Outlook

Your wedding is happening rain or shine, and the best thing you can do is have a positive outlook on it. While you can definitely be upset for a little bit, it doesn’t do you or your wedding planners or party any good to be caught up about the rain.

Think of all the bright sides of having rain on your wedding day: an especially cozy ambiance, cool wedding favors, and amazing wedding photos. Prepare for a rainy wedding day plenty in advance and you will be happy about how your day goes rain or shine.

How Many Wedding Napkins, Favors, Koozies, Programs To Order

There are so many things to take into account when planning a wedding. After you get a general idea of how many people will come, you have to plan and order everything for the wedding. How many of each you need to order can be tricky. 

You should order 10% more than the guests that have sent in the RSVP. This is to be safe and have enough of everything.  Every item will have different numbers and you will be left with extras, but that is much better than not having enough of something and having to stress about it on your big day. 

10% percent seems like an arbitrary number but there is thought and logic behind it. Don’t fret, reading below can help you with how many of each item to order so you won’t be stuck with 200 extra programs.

Quick Reference Guide For Ordering


For drinks

No. Guests No. Per hour
25 50-75

For snacks

No. Guests No. to order
25 50-75

For dinner

No. Guests No. to order
25 25-50

Favors & Koozies,

No. Guests No. to order


No. Guests No. to order

How many napkins do I really need? 

A lot, even if you are using cloth napkins. You will be surprised at how many different types of napkins there are for the different parts of the wedding.

Depending on the formality of the wedding, you will have different ones for each segment.  This is not a place where you want to skimp and cut costs. A wedding could get messy, these napkins are used for dinner, drinks, cake or just clean-ups.

Here are the different types of napkins and how many you should get. 

Cocktail/Beverage Napkins – These are the most popular size for paper napkins for a wedding reception or party.

They are small and measure around 5 inches square. They are used for serving drinks at the bar during your cocktail and/or social hour.  It is recommended 2-3 per person, per hour, depending on your guests.

If you have big drinkers or a lot of heavy hors d’oeuvres budget for 3-5 per person, per hour not for the whole wedding. 

Luncheon Napkins – These are medium-sized paper napkins and more durable than the cocktail napkins.

They are usually used for brunch, luncheon wedding receptions. reception tables at each place setting or at the head of a buffet table, the sweet table and wedding cake. It is recommended  1-2 per person for the whole wedding. 

Dinner Napkins – You have two options for these, either cloth or paper.  The paper ones will be the largest ones for the wedding.

Again, it is recommended to get 1-2 per person for the whole wedding.  Some people choose to use these napkins as well if there is a buffet. If you choose this option 2-3 napkins per person would be best. You would have 1 napkin on the table and the rest stacked on the buffet table. 

Should I use cloth or paper napkins? This depends on the formalness and location of your wedding. The more formal the wedding, the more the need for cloth napkins.

The reception site may include these in the place setting, so check with them first.  If you are renting the table cloths and napkins they will get the number from you and will have extras so you do not have to worry about it.

If you do get cloth, it is a good idea to still get extra paper napkins. Getting 1 extra luncheon or cocktail napkin per person will cover you in case of accidents. 

Should I personalize my napkins?  This a personal choice and if your budget allows it. The plus side is that it looks nice and you can match them with the decor.

The downside is that the extra ones you have after the event will be a bit out of place. If you don’t have them personalized you can reuse them for other events or even sell/give them away to someone else. 

How many favors do I get? Do I need to give favors?

The 10% rule applies here too. By getting that much more it covers you in case the favor breaks, someone wants an extra one, someone who didn’t attend wants one.

A lot of times these gifts will not be used, unless you choose a very practical one. The best idea is to have a table where the guests can choose whether to take one or not (not all of them will). 

It is not mandatory that you even have to give a favor, you can save yourself some worry and not get them at all. 

Who doesn’t love a cold drink? 

Koozies, cozy, stubby holders, whatever you call them are a great gift to give at the wedding. These are especially good for outdoor weddings and groups that enjoy imbibing. 

The 10% rule applies again but for different reasons. As some people do not drink they will not want one and drinkers may one to take more than one (as long as they are of higher quality).

Putting these on a table again for people to make a choice again will save you from not getting enough. If you are a big drinker, getting, even more, could be an idea to have them around your house for parties and events. 

Do I need that many programs? 

No, no you don’t. This is the exception to the rule. While everything else you will want to have more than 10% or more, with programs you do not.  Having around 75% to 80% for the guests that are supposed to attend will suffice. You have to take into account here that couples will be attending and people that won’t even take one at all. 


These are often overlooked and either not ordered, or just supplemented with napkins. If you are having a wedding that will have a lot of people that drink, it may be a good idea to get some. If you do, you can subtract at least 2-3 napkins per person for the whole wedding.  Also, these could be markers for the servers not to take away the drinks, as this happens often when people get up to dance. This could save you a bit of money on alcohol and beverages. Getting 1 coaster per person is enough. 

Bathroom Towels  

Some venues will have you supply or buy your own for the bathrooms if they do not supply them. Having 1-2 per person is a good amount, but where you place them will be different. Having 75% in the women’s bathroom and 25% in the men’s is best. Make sure someone checks both bathroom midway to check the numbers. 

Stir Sticks/ Food Skewers 

If you are having a full bar these would be recommended. Getting 1 per person is going to be enough. By getting reusable ones and not cheap plastic, you will not only save the environment but your wallet. 

The 10% rule goes for food skewers as well. One way to save money and resources is to use these as stir sticks as well. 

Place Cards

Maximum 1 per person if they are printed on ahead of time if you are handwriting them get 10% extra to account for errors. To save some money, have couples on one place card use their titles instead of first names. 


If you are having the event catered they will take care of this. If not, 1-3 cups per person is a safe amount. This all depends on again on what types of cups you use and your venue. More durable plastic cups you can get 1-2 per person.

Another idea is to get cups personalized and the guests can take them home after. This can save you on cups and favors.  If you do this still get an extra 10% for breakage and people losing them. 

What if I don’t have enough? 

Plan so that this does not happen. The numbers above should cover you in almost all situations.

The most important task is to get as accurate a guest list as possible, this involves chasing up those RSVPs. If you are struggling with this, then check out my full article on the best ways to deal with late RSVPS.

If you feel uncomfortable with any of the numbers just get more. Your piece of mind is more important than a few dollars in most cases. If you are really worried, have a number of a local catering company on hand to call if a situation arises. 

I don’t want the extra stuff? What do I do with it? 

  1. Multi-Use- Can you use these napkins again? Can I sell these after? 
  1. Pick something meaningful-  For gifts choose something people will use so they take it such as locally roasted coffee, luggage tags, candles, etc. 
  1. Donate– Give them to charity or another good cause. They may even come and pick them up from the venue for you. 
  1. Don’t get them customized-  If they are customized they cannot be repurposed or sold after.
  1. Sell- There is a big market online for this. 
  1. Throw another party-  You can always just use them again. Save the extra stuff for a party, it would be nice to have it on your anniversary.
  1. Give to another bride-  Sharing is caring if you have a friend that is also having a wedding you could give it to them. Better yet share the costs of everything. 
  1. Contact wedding professionals- Ethier locally or online you can find a professional that will probably be able to buy them from you. 

Are Wedding Bands Supposed To Match? Bride & Groom Ring Tips

There are a lot of unwritten rules when it comes to weddings, and which ones to follow and not can be confusing. Whether to have matching wedding bands is no exception as they can show off what type of couple you are striving to be. 

In the U.S., it’s still more popular to have a matching set of rings, worn on the ring finger. This is steeped in tradition and dates back many centuries. However, there are no rules or laws regarding this. Moreover, it is becoming more popular to have rings that don’t match or even no rings at all. 

While it is your choice to have matching bands or not, it can say a lot about what type of couple you are and how you want to be viewed. Or even if you don’t want rings at all, this speaks volumes of the type of couple you are.

If you do want rings there are endless options to choose from and what suits you best can be accomplished by reading below.

Why do we exchange rings? 

There are many reasons for exchanging rings dating back centuries from all over the world, mostly in Europe.

One was that the ring finger had a vein that was connected to the heart, and this showed true love. Another one was to show the exchange of values. It was not always that the couple always truly loved each other,  it was more of a business transaction. 

As with most traditions, this is not the case now. Rings have many different meanings now, such as to show a bond between a couple and their commitment to each other.

Some get them to show fidelity and purity.  Putting on a ring also shows that while following traditions, you are looking at the future together. 

For me personally, I would fall into the camp of ‘showing a bond’. I have never worn jewelry before and always thought I couldn’t bear to wear a ring, but for the right person, it’s no burden at all.

What is best for you?

Just like the wedding or honeymoon, couples agree on somethings and don’t on other things.

Most of the time there is a happy medium that can be met. But when it comes to wedding bands, it’s important both of you not only like the band, you love it. You will be wearing it every day and everywhere.

So whether you get matching, non-matching or nothing at all, you will have to live with it so really think about your choice. It’s up to both of you to understand the other’s view whether it’s the same or different.

Reasons for matching bands:

  • Rings show the world that you and your spouse have come together and are now one. 
  • It demonstrates that your beliefs are aligned and you value tradition.  
  • You and your spouse have the same style and tastes.

Reasons for non-matching bands:

  • You want to show off and express each of your different tastes. 
  • Your skin tones and sizes are different, so matching rings wouldn’t look right. 
  • One of you doesn’t love the ring and you don’t want to pressure them to get something they don’t love. 

One person wants matching bands and the other doesn’t: 

  • For one spouse the ring may not be sentimental as to the other. So a compromise could be the answer.
  • Getting complementary rings rather than matching rings could be a solution to the issue.  
  • You could get two bands of different styles but identical metals or different metals but the same style. Mix and match with, different stones, colors, and metals. 

Reason for no rings:

  • It is can be very expensive to get rings and then have them customized. A lot of people would rather spend this money elsewhere. 
  • You don’t like the tradition and want to mix things up.  
  • Getting a different piece of jewelry or another matching item to wear as a couple, suits you two better. 

How to choose a ring? 

Choosing a ring by yourself can be a daunting endeavor, and when two people are involved even harder.

Rings are works of art and no two are alike. The more you understand the components that make up a ring, the easier it will be to choose a quality piece.

Before you go to your jeweler it is good to have a good idea of what you are looking for. 


Gold is the most traditional of the metals for bridal jewelry. But you don’t need to buy a gold ring or even a variety of gold like rose or white. Some other options include but are not limited to platinum, palladium, steel, tungsten, silver, ceramic, titanium and zirconium.

Titanium and tungsten are newer materials that have become popular recently. Some people have skin sensitivities and may not be able to have certain metals, so they need to need to choose a hypoallergenic one. 


This doesn’t just apply to the metal, but also to the stone and inlays. Thinking about your complexion and skin tone. It can play a big factor in how the ring looks on you and your partner. 


For a more subtle look, a matte or satin finish would be best and they also don’t show scratches as easily. A polished finish, on the other hand, is highly reflective and more noticeable. It also shows off scratches easier, but you can get this polished out and a pattern applied again if need be. 

Diamonds and Gemstones/ Setting

A diamond as a center stone is still the most popular one to get. Though it is waning in popularity, and people are choosing different gemstones or none at all.

If you don’t want to follow tradition or want something more personal you can choose a gemstone with special meaning. The stone could be the birthstone of your birthday or a month with special meaning.

Another way to be a bit different is to have it set differently. You want to choose your metal first to see what stone will match the best. 


This speaks to what kind of person you are and your style.  Are you more traditional, contemporary or somewhere in-between? Think about what clothes you wear, the styles you like, the art you enjoy. 

Draw ideas, styles, and looks from your daily life and create a ring that is you. 

Types of Ring/Motifs


You can look for something with geometric shapes, strong bold lines, diagonals, and asymmetry.  These factors will give it an ultra-modern feel with a set center stone. 

Browse on Amazon for more inspiration.


Most wedding rings have a lot in common and look similar, so when they are a little different it can catch the eye. A stone that is horizontally set instead of in a traditional vertical setting would look good. Any small amount of asymmetry will do the trick while still looking great. 

Get more ideas about the perfect ring by shopping on Amazon.


Take a look at nature and how vines and flowers grow. There are many bands with this look. You can have it be simple and look lines vines wrapping around your finger. For a more intricate look, a flower stem with stones arranged to look like flowers.

You can find more ideas like this on Amazon.

A Metal band

Many couples choose to have simple metal bands. These can be of any materials and are very durable. Some even opt to get engraving etched on the inside with a special message. 

This is just one amazing new design I found, there are more on Amazon to get your creative juices flowing.

A Stack

You may have gotten an engagement ring that you want to incorporate into your wedding ring or this was the plan all along. Having a combination of rings that fit together or that you can mix and match is fun and modern.

You can find more ideas easily by shopping with Amazon.

Eternity bands

Usually, they are diamonds that are set around the whole ring and can be very expensive. If you have the diamonds spread out or supplement them with a different stone it can be accessible and fashionable to all. 

There really are some great deals to be had on Amazon these days.

A Combination

Mix them all up, get a natural-looking silver ring that looks like a vine. Have it stack with a subtle looking gold offset diamond. It is your ring have fun with it. 

Ring Alternatives

Not everyone wants to have a ring and with so many other options out there today you don’t have to. 

For 41 great alternatives to wedding rings, check out my article for inspiration.

A ring on a necklace or just a necklace

You still have the traditional aspect of the ring, but just aren’t wearing it on your finger. These necklaces can be customized just as the ring would be, it could include birth gemstones or engravings. You could also put a locket on it with a picture of your spouse. 

Charm bracelet/ anklet

This is similar to a necklace but it more adaptable and customizable. You can add and subtract things to these as time goes on. This could be charms for things like anniversaries or the birth of a child. 

A tattoo of a ring

This is perhaps the ultimate symbol of your love and commitment, but physically marking your body and declaring your devotion to the world.

However, this option gets a very bad rap, as people say tattoos are forever. While most tattoos are, one on your finger will wear relatively quickly and need to be touched up every few years. Also with laser removal, it is removed fairly quickly if need be. 

Matching/ Set pieces 

Having something that when you combine them, it makes one. This could be done with furniture, clothing, pillowcases, artwork, etc. 


Show that you are making a future together by planting something such as a tree.  You both will have to take care of it and can watch it grow together as you both do as well. 

Final thoughts

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your wedding band. If you want them to match, that’s fine, if you want something more individual, that’s great too. At the end of the day, the rings or any alternative you choose will all symbolize the bond you have with your spouse.

Military Wedding Guest Attire – Civilian & Veteran Rules

Having a military wedding is a special event for many reasons, it’s not only the joining of two people. It means one or both of them has or is associated with the armed forces.

This adds more gravity to the situation, as you want to be respectful of the service of all. 

Guest attire for a military wedding is similar to a normal wedding. The only difference would be for those that have or are currently serving in the armed forces. An officer or enlisted man/woman should wear a uniform in accordance with the formality of the wedding & seasonal regulations.

While the guest attire is similar to a wedding, it is not all the same. There are some rules to follow for enlisted and retired service members, knowing those and the nuances will be very helpful on your special day.  

How formal do I want the wedding? 

If you are the bride or groom then you will decide on what level of formality and tradition that you want the wedding to be. 

It’s not the location that makes it a military wedding; it’s the uniforms. If you choose civil service as opposed to being married in a military chapel, you can wear dress uniforms.

If you are thinking of a destination wedding within the United States, then check out my article on the best places to get married in the USA.

Some people just want elements of a military wedding, but which ones you can have are subject to military rules and regulations.

This is just the basics of how it would work though, you would want to ask someone that knows all the rules and regulations. But don’t worry, the guests at the wedding that are not military can dress just as they normally would. You should be sure to make this clear to them in your invitations.

Protocol Expert

For those that are not familiar with the  U.S., there is a government-issued manual for most things including weddings and uniforms.

This protocol is something civilians probably won’t consider, but members of the military need to follow these rules and regulations.

You can turn to the Protocol Red Book or go to the protocol office and seek help from a protocol officer. If you have any doubts or questions you should just ask. You don’t want to worry about these things on our big day. 

The Groom 

An officer or enlisted groomsman of the Army, Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard should wear a uniform in accordance with the formality of the wedding and seasonal regulations.

If they are in the Marines, they should also wear white gloves and carry a saber. For members of the Navy or Coast Guard,  they should have a sword as well. Men in uniform can only be adorned with military decorations. They should not wear a boutonniere on their uniform. 

The dress of the groom may differ if all of his ushers were or weren’t in the service as well. He would probably choose to wear a uniform if all of the attendants were all in the same branch of the service. 

He might not if the attendants were mixed with civilians and or men from other branches. You have to think about ascetics as well, it is not just about the rules and regulations.

The groom can always dress down to match the rest of the party, and of course, he cannot wear military uniforms if he was or is not associate with the military. 

The Bride 

A female officer from any branch can wear a traditional bridal gown, or she may be married in her uniform.

Most brides in military service choose to wear a traditional wedding dress. If she does wear a military uniform, she is allowed to walk down the aisle holding the bridal bouquet (as opposed to the groom who cannot have flowers). 

If the bride chooses not to wear a uniform, she should complement the formal style of the military uniforms. For the bride and her bridesmaids wearing something that is matching, a long, flowing and elegant train could really look nice.    

Grooming Standards/ Code of Conduct 

These are for enlisted/ active duty service members and not enforced when a veteran/retired member wears their uniform.

They will probably still follow the standards that are set out, it would be common courtesy to conform to them. These would entail all the hair, facial hair, fingernails, and other grooming standards of the military branch you represent. 

While in uniform you would also be subject to the code of conduct. At the wedding, if the groom kept his dress uniform on all night, he would be very respectful of what that uniform signified.

Drinking in moderation, dancing with dignity, and not doing anything to disgrace or dishonor of the uniform that they wear. This is not always the case and you can be reprimanded if this is not upheld. 

Can you wear someone else’s uniform or medals to honor them?

It is illegal to wear a uniform or any uniform part that is not issued by the branch of the armed forces in which you serve.

In most cases, if this is done and is reported, the person who is wearing the article of clothing can be arrested and charged. They would be charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for wearing an unauthorized article of clothing. 

This is true even if you are trying to honor a fallen soldier or deceased family member. If you want to include these items, such as medals, then consider displaying them in a frame or on a mannequin. Be sure to keep any family heirlooms safe if having a wedding in a public place.

Uniform Rules for Veterans and Retirees

There are rules for wearing military uniforms as a retired member or a veteran that has discharged. They are similar to all the services. You do have certain rules to wear the uniform for formal functions such as a wedding or any other special events.

Only the service dress uniform may be worn to these special events, this excludes the work, battle dress or PT uniforms. These are not permitted to be worn at formal events. For non-formal events (e.g other parts of the wedding) they are allowed to wear other uniforms as deemed appropriate, but it would best to check with the protocol manual or the office.  

Quick Guide to Military Wedding Attire 

Please remember that wedding requirements change and vary depending on rank, branch, and season. Be sure to check with your base protocol office and officer to find out what you need to do to wear. Also, what is allowed because every situation is different and this is not all-encompassing list.  

  • Mess Dress– This uniform is worn for both ultra-formal and formal weddings. Most branches have a dark-blue uniform, but in the summer months, the army and navy may wear white pants.
  • Class-A/Service Dress- This uniform is appropriate for semiformal events,  think of it like a suit. They are also dark-blue and sometimes have white pants.
  • Different Branches-  Depending on if they are an attendant or a guest, they can just wear a uniform that is comparable to the other branches (look to the protocol office for guidance).
  • Fathers/Mothers of the Bride- If they are active or retired officers, they may wear their uniforms as would any other retired members, though it is not required. 
  • Officers- The evening dress uniform equates to civilian white tie and tails. The dinner or mess dress uniform is equal to the civilian black tie.
  • Non-Commissioned Officers- The dress blues or dress green uniforms are suitable for formal or informal weddings.
  • Saber Bearer- White gloves are a necessity for all saber bearers. 

How to have Cohesiveness and Unity

You will probably have guests and service members that are going to wear civilian clothes. It will still look great if only the wedding party is in uniforms, but adding some continuity throughout the whole wedding would look even better. 

You can include the colors of the specific branch of the military they are representing, but not the insignias. You can splash these colors everywhere; the flowers that are carried, the to the shades of the bridesmaids’ dresses, chairs at the venues, even the table settings or the gifts for the guests. 

If you do choose to have a degree of cohesiveness within the members of the wedding party and/or other guests make sure that advice before the wedding. That they are informed about what the bride and/or groom will be wearing, and what level of formality is expected. 

What to put on the invitations

First, check with the protocol office for the exact wording, but an example for what to wear would be: Military members that are going to be in attendance, you may wear your “uniforms or traditional formal attire”.

For a very formal wedding switch it to, “Mess dress uniform invited” and for a semiformal wedding “Class A/Service uniform invited” 

Can We Have a Saber Arch?

If one or both of you are commissioned officers, you may have your ceremony exit beneath an archway of sabers.

This would be held by other military members and known as the Arch of Sabers. If you are a noncommissioned officer or enlisted, you will have a variant called the Arch of Rifles. 

Where Should We Seat Other Members of the Military?

For the ceremony,  the commanding officers should sit near the front, with or directly behind the couple’s families. During a reception, the military members should be seated by rank. You could also set up a table of honor near the head table.

What To Do If Wedding Guests Don’t RSVP – Methods That Work!

Planning your big day can be a tricky process, you have to account for so many factors such as how many chairs, meals, drinks to get. Knowing those numbers is essential to ordering and planning everything. What happens if guests don’t respond to your RSVP, what do you do?

The best way to get a response from someone who hasn’t returned the RSVP is to simply call them. You can try more subtle ways such as asking a question, sending an email or having a friend ask them. But with all your time constraints & deadlines, you do not want to be waiting around for a response. 

Though we don’t like to think that people we know and invited wouldn’t respond, it does happen. We all have those friends that are not the best at communication though they mean well.  They may just need a reminder or friendly nudge to jog their memory. 

However, there is a lot more to think about than simply this, which is why I’ve put together this article for you!

The RSVP is the key

With a thorough, detailed, well thought out RSVP it may eliminate the need to have to contact someone at all.

The RSVP is not just for knowing who is going to attend your wedding. It gives you the detailed information of what you need for all the vendors, lets you create the seating arrangements and even the lodging if need be.

Below are some helpful ways how you can politely remind guests to RSVP and get back to you in a timely fashion. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that RSVP is simply an abbreviation of ‘Répondez S’il Vous Plaît‘ which is French for please respond.

When should I send the RSVP and save the date?

Send your wedding invitations to all that are going to the wedding, six to eight weeks prior to your wedding date.

For the save the date notices, which are not always required, 12 weeks should be enough. You only send the save the dates to guests you are sure that you want to come.  This is a good amount of time for them to get their affairs in order and get to your wedding. 

International Guests and Destination Weddings 

International guests should be given an ample amount of time. Six to eight months out would be best, it often takes a lot to travel and set up arrangements.

To be kind, sending out an email or friendly message to them earlier would be even better.  This timeframe also goes for weddings that are at a destination other than where you reside. 

When Lea and I got married we told my family, who would be the ones flying in, about 10 months before the big day just to be on the safe side.

When should they return the cards by?

Four to five weeks out is the norm to get back a response. To get them to respond, so you don’t have to hassle them you want to make an effective card. This is more time-intensive upfront but will pay off when you don’t have to track people down. 

  • When making the cards, one which is handwritten tends to get a better response. 
  • To make sure they receive the RSVP cards check the address twice. It can be an annoyance for everyone involved if they never even receive the card.
  • Also, the wording is key, you want the guests to understand that a response is needed even if they are declining the invitation.
  •  To aid in response and engage your guests, ask them to write something on the cards like some personal advice on marriage.  You could even have them make a drawing to use as their place cards. 
  •  Make it different and stand out by switching the standard response options. Instead of yes or no have, “Definitely, see you there” or” Nope, sorry got plans.”  This is a fun way to get more engagement, but make sure it is clear and they don’t get confused.
  • You do not want to give a long time frame for the response.  You want them to feel the urgency of the card. 
  • Lastly, you want to give them options. In this day and age, the mail is not the quickest method of communication. By listing an email address, phone number and your website as a means to respond you will definitely improve your rate of response. If you do choose to use the mail, putting in a return envelope will help as well. 

This is just going to be a headache you need to minimize at much as possible. Sometimes you just know that there is a certain someone who is going to be trouble at your wedding, even though you actually want them there.

If this is the case for you, then you should probably read my articles which gives you tips on dealing with troublesome wedding guests, especially those who would forget to RSVP.

What are some methods to get them to respond? 

  1. Join the 21st Century-  Now many people want to stick with tradition and send out paper invitations, which is fine. You can do that for the elder guests, but for everyone else make e-cards. By doing this you can set up automatic reminders to be sent out to people if they have not responded. This takes the burden off you having to and the computer will do all the work. 
  1. Time Your Reminders – As with most things you need to be tactful when corresponding with people. Timing these reminders will give you a high rate of response without bothering the guests. You do not want to contact the person on the exact day the response is due. Three to four days after is acceptable. If you can up to a week, people may actually be trying to see if they can make it. 
  1. Cater to the individual- No matter which way to choose to send out invitations following up with them personally shows that you care. So, don’t use the group chats, mass emails, and group texts. This way no one is offended or embarrassed. Try to think of a talking point as well so it does not seem like this is the only reason you are contacting them (even though it is). 
  1. Just Call Them- Yes, we all love the text or voice message, but you want to be polite. The guests probably didn’t even know that they missed the deadline, these things happen. If you are very agitated, which you have every right to be, don’t let them hear your frustration. 
  1. Call Your Own Guests-  You want to call your friends/ family and your spouse calls theirs. This shows that you care and you can also relate to them better if they have a real issue and just didn’t forget. If it is a mutual friend whoever is closer will suffice.  
  1. Ask for Something-  “ Hey, you know that great song I wanted to play at my wedding, what was the name?,  Where did you get those/that plates, flowers, DJ, etc? “ This can be a reminder and show that you care about their opinion. It could actually be a real request such as a song that you can use. 
  1. Keep in Touch- This doesn’t mean you have to call them or text every day but just a hello and how are things. If you have to, talk about and show your excitement over the wedding. This will hopefully put it in their minds and you won’t have to bring it up directly. You should start this right away after you send the invites, you probably already know who is going to be the procrastinator. 
  1. Get Help- Your friends and family can be a valuable asset.  Usually, all you have to do is just ask. Most of the people that have not responded probably have friends in common with guests that have already responded to the RSVP. Just ask them to message or talk to that person, it is a nice roundabout way to do it without directly asking them. 
  1. Blame it on Tech- It is not the nicest way, but sometimes you just want an answer if you have been waiting a long time.  you could send a cold sounds email that basically just asks if they are coming. At the bottom of it put “This is an automated message from___”

What if we have an uninvited guest? Or someone brings a plus one? 

If you are asking this question, you probably have a situation or person in mind. The best thing to do would stop it before it happens.

Call multiple times if need be to get a straight answer from the person you. If you don’t trust them, then you can plan for it by having a spare seat and meal.

Expected or unexpected,  the courteous thing to do is to welcome them and make it work. You don’t want to make a scene or even stress about it. Most venues will have extra setting arrangements and caterers usually prepare a certain amount of meals for extra guests that may show up. 

Again, check out my article on dealing with difficult wedding guests.

What to do if they add a name on the RSVP and you didn’t have that option? 

Call them right away, let them know whether you can accommodate them or not. Do not feel obligated to meet their request.

It is your wedding and you have figured out who you want there and what you can afford. If you make special one exception, there will be many more requests and feelings of others may be hurt later. 

This happened to us and unfortunately, Lea caved and we were down one important seat which is a lot when you are on a tight budget.

How many times do I ask?

The initial RSVP, a follow up and the final call. Three should suffice, you don’t want to be bending over backward for someone who doesn’t have the decency to answer. 

What if my wedding isn’t formal? 

While you may not want to, this isn’t a time to be nonchalant. You want to make sure that you have all the numbers so you can organize your venue and food. Formal and concise wording is the only way to get this done.