Ask Team Practical: Accomodating Guests

How do I stop stressing out about where all of my out-of-town friends are going to stay for my wedding? I live in a studio apartment with my fiancé, and while we are very comfortable, we can fit about one guest, and I really don’t want to have anyone on the floor the week of our wedding. All of my bridesmaids and most of my friends (we are in our early twenties so all of our friends are dealing with student loan debt and not-awesome jobs) are flying in. I wish, oh how I wish, I could afford to rent a house for them to all crash in, or have them stay at my place, but I can’t. I know it will be expensive for them to get hotel rooms and I keep stressing about it. How do I stop feeling like this is my burden?

~ Sara Judy

Oh, Sara Judy, I know you, and you are the best kind of friend. You always have our favorite snacks available when we visit, you let us have the window seat on the bus and you always know when we’re having a bad day, don’t you?  You are a lovely lovely person. And I say this because I’m about to yell at you for forgetting a basic APW core belief—”Your wedding is not an imposition.”

Your friends are lovely people also, which is why you invited them. They are also grown folks (even if they are young grown folks) and can handle their accommodations themselves. They are coming because they want to come to your wedding, not because the trip is free. You will have enough to do without entertaining guests you are not prepared for, so invite them and then move on to other things. You can be helpful by reserving a block of rooms at a cheaper rate at a nearby hotel (you may be required to give a credit card to hold them, but you should NEVER be charged for this) or suggesting mutual friends’ couches they can surf on, but in the end, it is your friends’ duty to figure our their own accommodations. Think about it! They go places all the time without a block of rooms to help them out. They use Trip Advisor! They use Airbnb. Block of rooms or not, they are going to be just fine (and if they won’t be fine, they don’t have to come).

Of course, I’m assuming your stress is self-inflicted. Now if the stress is coming from the friends in the form of “Oh, I don’t know if I can AFFORD it, WHERE will I stay?!?” comments, well that’s terrible and they should be ashamed. But my advice is still the same. If they can’t come because they have nowhere to stay, that’s very sad, but tell them you understand. Sometimes such comments are sneaky sneakerson ways of getting a free ride; when faced with empathy but little else, you may be surprised how fast they’ll find a place to stay.

P.S. Under no circumstances should someone sleep on your floor during your wedding. Not to be obvious, but for god’s sake, weddings are for getting laid.


My mom’s best friend (and close family friend) is highly allergic to perfumes and colognes to the point where she’s been hospitalized and wears a mini air purifier clipped to her shirt so that she breathes in clean air. My mom wants to add something to the invitations to the effect of “Please refrain from wearing perfume or cologne” so that her friend doesn’t have any issues. I don’t mind doing this—quite frankly some people don’t know how to stop at one spray—but what is the best way to word this on the invite so it doesn’t seem awkward or rude?


Christina, your question is way more universal than you might think. It’s also a situation that, when it pops up, can stop you in your tracks—how to accommodate guests with unexpected allergies or health issues.

Etiquette isn’t about governing behavior, it’s about helping set a standard so that everyone knows what to expect and no one’s feelings are hurt. However, when it comes to the comfort of your guests, there are times you can do things that others might see as a breach of etiquette. Might Aunt Melba think, “For the comfort of our medically sensitive guests, please refrain from wearing perfume or cologne,” written in your invitation is gauche? Possibly. But unless you add bathing stations to your budget, how else are you supposed to let people know to lay off the Jovan Musk? A kindly stated request or signage at your reception is never rude or awkward if it is in the best interest of a guest. Just keep it short, simple and make sure it includes words like “guests” to keep it ambiguous as to who actually has the issue. Also, remember that just because you request it doesn’t mean it will be honored. People forget or may not think of it as that big a deal. In order to offset that, make sure to think ahead in regards to things that would affect the guest, like finding a well-ventilated area of your venue where she can sit. And don’t underestimate the power of family and friends; a few words about the importance of the request in well-placed ears can go a long way in spreading the word.


One thing I’m struggling with is our registry. As much as I’m all “I LIKE STUFF!!!” I also hate the idea of people dropping a ton of cash to travel to our destination-type wedding and then in addition having to bring us a gift. Especially a gift that was on sale when we registered for it but has since gone up over seventy dollars in price. Oh. My. Lands! And I know there’s the whole “people want to bring you a gift, people WANT to celebrate your day” argument and I appreciate that. I really, really appreciate that. But here’s the thing—I’m a bargain shopper. Like a hardcore bargain shopper who almost never buys anything full price. So when I see my china on a deal-a-day site selling for one hundred dollars less than the department store price? I kind of freak out because that means one of my people may be overpaying.  So… I guess my probably totally inappropriate question is: Is there anyway to pass the word about deals like this? I feel like it’d be a huge no-no but I’m in the Forest of Wedding Land and having a hard time seeing the forest for the trees.

~ It Best Be a Bargain! Bride

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? Way back when, APW’s tagline was “Creative. Thrifty. Sane.” so you know getting a good price is in the site’s DNA.

HOWEVER. (You knew that was coming.)  This is not really okay. A registry is a suggestion, and informing your guests when a particular item is on sale edges into the “Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee” territory and that’s not you. (Right? Right. Good.) While it is a strange but sweet gesture, I don’t see any way it can be perceived as anything but rude. And if your guests are anything like me, an email letting me know your china is 50% off on Groupon is a sure way for you to make sure that I spend your wedding gift money on a pile of Sham-Wow’s.

What would be okay, is if you used those bargain sites as a way to purchase your registry items yourself and then remove them from the list. It’s very rare for people to get everything on their list anyway, so you are more than likely going to have to buy that KitchenAid anyway. So get it, and hog that bargain high all to yourself. It’ll be our little secret. And, you know, your mom can spread the word to her best girlfriend and your favorite aunt, if they love a bargain as much as you do. But leave that to your mama and the phone.

And relax. Your guests are totally adults. Seriously. They are perfectly capable of googling a bargain, just like you. So let them do their thing. Chances are, lots of them have been buying wedding gifts longer than you’ve been alive, and they know a thing or two about how to do it. Now stop worrying, and go plan a wedding already!


Alrighty, Team Practical. How did you/would you handle accommodating guests? We know you have some stories you’re dying to share, so let ‘er rip!

Photo by Emily Takes Photos from the APW Flickr Pool.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com or use the submission form here.  If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh). However, don’t let thinking up a sign-off stress you out; we’ll love you regardless. You’re already writing in for advice, don’t you have enough to deal with, sweetie?

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  • Oh, Bargain Shopper, we are kindred spirits. We didn’t really need new cookware when I got married, but really, why I never registered for any was because it killed me to think of people purchasing a dutch oven at Crate and Barrel full price when I could get one at TJMaxx for way less. I’m with Alyssa- take it off your registry if you can get it for less!

    • Agreed – and even though I’m sure this is a super-tacky thing to say, plenty of people give money as a wedding gift. Even though you shouldn’t count on that, you can feel free to not register for items you know you want that you would rather bargain hunt for, and then go hunting for them after the wedding.

      • Bargain Bride said her wedding was a destination type. Well enough said — few guests will probably even bring things from your registry as gifts! I would bet that they’ll mostly receive gifts of money.

        About half our guests had to drive somewhere between 4-6 hours for our wedding, and we only received one thing from our registry. The rest brought checks and gift cards.

  • Ali

    I think the “your wedding is not an imposition” was the single most important thing I got from reading the Practical Wedding book. Whenever I start to feel bad about everything people would have to do to come to my wedding I just repeat that to myself! Its also so important to remember that the guests are adults and they can figure these things out for themselves!

    • Me too! when I get really stressed about something the repetition in my head gets shortened to “my guests are adults, my guests are adults, my guests are adults….”

      • E

        Me three! I’m getting hitched at a ski resort 2.5 hours from the nearest airport, because FH and I are mountain people and it wouldn’t feel like our wedding if we did it anywhere else. I have spent inordinate amounts of energy freaking out about how to make the trip more convenient for people, from renting condos to getting a party bus to pick people up at the airport (both are sadly out of our budget).

        My mom, who has done a ton of conferences and annual meetings for her job, gave me really good advice. She said that if 2.5 hours is a deal breaker, those people probably wouldn’t have come anyways. And if only 50 people come, it will be the RIGHT 50 people, and it will still be beautiful and amazing and everything a wedding should be, namely a giant love-fest.

        Yes, you obviously want to be sensitive to your guests’ budgets, but as Alyssa said your guests are grownups and they will figure it out, even if it means cramming 8 people into a hotel room.

        • DanEllie

          You are echoing my EXACT freakouts!
          We too are mountain people getting married far from an airport (though we did change our mountains to be somewhat closer to older relatives). Now we’re headed to the Green Mountains of VT, and are excited, but worried about our friends scattered around the country, and our non-New England relatives.
          I definitely feel like I’m asking a lot of people to come as far as they are, but I keep hearing the excitement about making the trip and visiting the area instead of the travel stress.

          Your mom is a wise lady!

        • Patrick

          We’re having a similar conversation. We’re inviting a handful from the other side of the country, and I suspect a few will balk at the scope of the trip. I’m already anticipating/dreading a chat or two where I have to explain that it’s an imposition… we’ll miss them.

        • Ashley B

          I went to a wedding last Memorial Day weekend that was in the middle of nowhere, and half the fun was getting there! And it was awesome knowing that everyone that was at the wedding really, really wanted to be there, because you really had to work hard to get there!

      • Yes, JessaMarie, I was just thinking that the theme of today’s column is adulthood. In a wedding, a few people will reveal themselves NOT to be adults, but that is really their problem, not yours.

      • Patrick

        I’ve been making that my mantra, and every day I catch myself slipping. Just this morning we were talking about how people would manage – like someone else mentioned, charter bus to/from the hotel and/or booking a B&B – and it wasn’t for quite a while that I realized, “Well, they’re getting to the hotel on their own, right? If the venue is 6 blocks or 6 miles away, they can manage, including even, gasp!, public transit!”

        We’re in Maine and the vast majority of our guests are coming from Boston, NYC, and CT. A lot of folks seem to think that’s it’s a three day drive, but I’ve made the trip from the furthest guest address in just over 5 hours. If that’s an imposition, then so be it. I think. Uh oh, I’m slipping again!

  • For the first person who is busy playing travel agent – don’t worry so much. Friends find friends to stay with, or they pile into a hotel room together and share the cost, or they save up far enough in advance to be able to afford it. I felt so guilty about this, but my friends made it work and I loved them for it. Definitely book a room block at a local hotel, especially if they will give you a good rate (and preferably one with free breakfast), and you can also check and see if there is a local hostel that you could recommend for the truly strapped. Do NOT offer your house. We had four people staying with us the week before the wedding and it was pretty stressful because I can’t help playing hostess.

    For the bargain shopper, I had the SAME problem. We registered at Bed Bath and Beyond, which unlike a lot of stores, doesn’t really put stuff on sale. This is a disadvantage, but we put a link to a registry on our wedding website with a reminder that guests should remember their 20% off coupons, which everyone did use and made me feel less guilty. It is also important to remember that when your guests are buying you a present, they aren’t looking for a great deal. They are usually looking to spend a certain amount of money on a gift – if you save them $100 by finding them a bargain, they are still going to spend that $100 on you, so yes, telling them an item on sale sounds like you are telling them to get you more stuff, even though I know you don’t mean it that way – every wedding guest I have ever talked to about buying gifts has a price point in their head, and they try to find a gift that suits that price point. It’s really not about the bargain or value they get for the gift, so you may as well let it go.

    • KW

      I agree with the BBB coupons — also, Macy’s regularly has sales on their home merchandise, so savvy guests intent on saving money wait for those moments. Like Ellie said, I had a dollar amount in mind, and ended up buying three things for almost a full 50% off, instead of just one item.

    • ellabynight

      They are usually looking to spend a certain amount of money on a gift – if you save them $100 by finding them a bargain, they are still going to spend that $100 on you

      This is exactly what I came here to say. I know before I even look at a registry how much I want to spend, and I will buy a gift (or several small gifts) that fits into that price range–regardless if it’s on sale.

      • Agreed – the buyer sets the price first and then buys something they’re happy with to fit with the value they had in mind.

        Maybe it would be worth going through your registry and just removing anything that is particularly stressing you out. You might find there have been one or two key items repeatedly on your mind, and just removing those could help – also echoing what others have said above about just buying them yourself. Good luck!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Yup, I set a budget and buy what interests me from the registry. However, I’ll go over what I’d buy for those things for myself only so far. I will not, for example, pay $30 for a single machine-made wine glass. (real example from a friend’s registry)

        Linens were trickiest for me. I ultimately removed the crazy-expensive blankets that were the only ones available in our agreed-upon colors from our Macy’s registry. It was hard, because we both have twin beds and don’t live together, so we actually need blankets. But I ultimately calmed myself down, “Your fiance will not let you freeze every night. Even if you don’t get blankets as a wedding present, you will work something out.”

  • Alyssa! Good to see you back :) Congratulations!!

    The sanity of this site never ceases to amaze me. How do you take such everyday but track-stopping speed bumps and make them make sense?

    Since this is my second wedding and we both already have a household full of ‘stuff’ we are registering for our honeymoon instead. We’re doing it, but I’m still terrified people will think it’s gauche. We just don’t *need* anything else and I can’t waste the money of people I love by registering for stuff we probably won’t use.

    • ellabynight

      I wouldn’t worry too much about people thinking it’s gauche. Most people just want to get you something you’ll enjoy.

      I don’t know if you’ve already set up your registry yet, but one thing I really liked when a friend of mine registered for her honeymoon was that their registry allowed guests to gift money for specific activities. So instead of just giving them general funds for a honeymoon, my husband and I were able to purchase a wine tasting in Tuscany for them. Being able to choose between different activities made the gift feel much more personal, and it was really fun to hear about the trip in their thank you note.

      • We are using Traveler’s Joy so we have definitely chosen to ask for speciifc experiences rather than lump fundage so that makes it a little easier for me to take. Hopefully our guests will like it as much as yours!

    • Carissa

      My husband and I registered for our honeymoon on Honeyfund. We had a really good response to it from our guests, and it was fun to write descriptions of specific experiences and things we wanted on our honeymoon. We got to spend the money exactly how we wanted, and our guests got to feel like they were actually giving us a concrete thing. A few gave us other things, and a few gave us money, but most went through the Honeyfund site.

    • Sarah H.

      We are doing the honeymoon registry too! My fiance is the money-conscious one and didn’t like the high fees some honeymoon registry websites take. To get around this we created our own registry using Google Checkout and embedded it on our wedding website. It’s definitely more complicated than the registry sites, but if you or your partner is a techie, it’s a great system. I think Honeyfund is basically the same thing, but I’m not sure about the embedding and I think it had ads. In any case, honeymoon registries rock!

    • Totally agree with you about a honeymoon registry. It’s not gauche! Imagine how many traditional registry items are discarded or returned? Why not give the couple what they want and if that’s towards their honeymoon, then it’s even more of an emotional gift. We’re seeing couples create honeymoon registries on because they can also save travel cash in addition to being gifted. Weddings are stressful enough without hunting department stores :)

  • For the bargain bride – I registered for china at Macy’s and almost immediately thereafter my mom found it cheaper elsewhere – somewhere I couldn’t register. I gave her the password to my registry, and she organized with my grandma and all of my aunts and cousins so that as they bought things from the cheaper place, she could remove the items from the registry so we didn’t get extra. I ended up getting almost all of my china from the less expensive place and felt much better about it – lots of my family are on a fixed budget and I’d much rather they not have to spend as much on my wedding! My mom was key, though – I couldn’t have told everyone to go buy my china at X store, but she could suggest it and offer to coordinate since it was off-registry, and no one would have called me up and said “We just bought you a place setting and butter dish elsewhere, so you’d better take it off your registry,” but they were perfectly comfortable calling my mom saying the same.

    If there’s someone you’re close to – your mom, a best friend, a sister – who would be comfortable taking on such a role, I’d suggest discussing it with her to alleviate your guilt and save your guests some money.

  • PA

    Regarding the registry – I had the same idea, thinking that some people probably had things like stand mixers or crockpots that they had never used, and so on – I was going to make a Google Doc, but then that was one thing too many and we ended up using Amazon. And THEN I found out (and this is amazing) that Amazon wedding registries let people click a button that says, “I bought this somewhere else,” and then it’s off the list!

    So, we are using Amazon and putting a note on our website that says, “we do not at ALL object to upcycled or re-gifted items.”

    • Jo

      Good idea!!!

    • streamnerd

      I was also going to mention the “I bought this somewhere else” button on amazon registries. It is also a universal registry which is great.

      PA, I really like your statement about “upcycled and re-gifting”. I had not thought of that but I think it sounds great.

      Our wedding webpage says in carefully chosen words that we prefer money to help us save up for a down payment on a house and traveling for our honeymoon. We do have an amazon registry but there isn’t much on it. We also suggest that charitable donations (with a list of selected charities) or just helping us out with setting up and cleaning up for the reception would be great gifts.

      Alyssa, thanks for the reminder that my wedding is not an imposition, I need to remind myself of this more often.

      • Rachel C

        So uh…what are the carefully chosen words letting people know you prefer money for a down payment or honeymoon? Because that’s what we’d prefer (since we’re paying for the wedding all by ourselves), but I can’t think of a tactful way to say that. I’d love to see what you came up with!

        • liz

          Rachel C- it’s usually a better idea to not say anything about gifts at all. Most people are going to give money anyway. You can let close family (like your mom. like CLOSE CLOSE) know so that they can pass on the word to anyone who asks. (And they will. People always ask, regardless of registries and doo dads)

          Even well-meant or seemingly helpful comments about gifts can come off as a little rude. People totally want to know what you want! And a great way to tell them- IF they ASK- is by word of mouth. But mentioning gifts at all in a blanket statement (even if just mentioning a preference) can sometimes come off as though you expect a gift. I don’t want anyone to feel like a gift is expected when they come to anything I plan!

          • Class of 1980

            Snap! Same thought at the same time.

          • Rachel C

            That’s basically what we’re doing already. We haven’t registered or mentioned anything on our website and are just hoping people will get the hint ;) Both our parents know we are saving for a down payment so they can let people know if asked!

        • Class of 1980

          I hate to sound preachy, but etiquette-wise there is no tactful way to say it.

          Even though gifts are customary, as the recipient, you aren’t supposed give the slightest impression that they are expected. Even registry information is only given out if requested or on a shower invitation.

          If you express a preference for monetary gifts, you’ve implied that you expect a gift and told people how to spend their money on top of it.

          The only thing you can gracefully do, is instruct family members to say (if asked) that you already have everything you need … and then hope people give you checks or cash. Then you can allocate the funds wherever you want.

        • streamnerd

          Our website says this: “If you would like to offer us a gift to celebrate our marriage, we would prefer a financial contribution to our honeymoon or house down payment funds.”

          I am a very honest person (sometimes bluntly so) and I do not think anyone we know would think that phrase is rude. I could not stand the idea of giving a percentage of each gift to a honeymoon registry website and we really are trying to save up for a down payment on a house. I’d rather have an empty house than an apartment full of stuff. Plus we have been living together for a few years and already have pretty much everything we need.

          One of my fiance’s aunt asked me over the holidays where we had registered and I said: “Actually we would prefer money is that’s ok?” She smiled and said “oh great, that makes it easy”. So I have not had any issues with people being offended when i tell them we prefer money as a gift. I think it makes more sense when you tell them why.

          • streamnerd

            Liz & Class of 1980 –
            Maybe I am just not that worried about offending people. There is no mention of gifts on the invitations and I am not having a shower specifically because I think they are just about gifts. I really really would rather see people at our wedding than receive gifts.

            My statement says “if you would like to offer us a gift” not “your gift should be cash money”.

            Also how in the world would our friends not related to us know how to get in touch with our mothers? Just sounds silly and complicated to me.

          • Class of 1980


            We only mentioned what etiquette advises in response to a poster who asked the question. Don’t shoot the messengers! This stuff has been around since before we were born.

            If your friends don’t have contact with your mothers, I assume they still have contact with you, right? The solution still applies. If they ask you where you are registered, you can say you don’t have a registry because you have everything you need. Presumably, your friends will still want to give you something and they will then choose something original or they will give you cash.

            Any gift should be their choice.

            BTW, it’s not even considered correct to say “No Gifts”. Even though it’s kindly meant and a noble sentiment, it still IMPLIES that the recipient was automatically going to receive gifts in the first place.

            It boils down to a graceful concept. Etiquette discourages even the slightest mention of a gift by the recipient of the gift … because the recipient isn’t supposed to let on that they’re thinking about gifts. ;)

          • liz

            Streamnerd- My suggestion wasn’t voiced out of concern of offending people, but of making people feel uncomfortable. I also mentioned to make sure to tell someone CLOSE- so that may mean mom and bridesmaids or college roommate. From there, word travels.

            We had somewhere between 150 and 200 guests and I felt confident that there was no one running in panicked circles, “BUT WHAT DO I BRING THEMMM?” (Typically, if I don’t know what to get someone, I get them cash anyway.)

            In the end, it’s not about old traditions or stuffy etiquette books or tip-toe-ing around offending Aunt Flo (because, honestly, sometimes Aunt Flo needs to be offended) it’s about being a gracious host who makes people feel comfortable.

            And regardless of ALL of that. I wasn’t making a comment on what anyone else has done to make them feel guilty for already-made decisions, but offering a suggestion in response to a question. :)

    • Nicole Arnold

      The other cool thing amazon does is allow you to register things from any website (like their wishlist does) – we used this to put season tickets to a theatre on our registry! It’s a great alternative for ‘I found this cheaper but I can’t register there /too/’ sort of situations.

      We did get some odd looks when we told people that we registered on Amazon, but that’s the one store (out of three) where we received almost everything we registered for. It’s easier for a lot of people (especially if they’re shipping) and the tools listed above make it awesome.

      • I came to say this as well, well, almost this. Sites like kaboodle allow you to register for items rather than specific things at a specific store. You can link to a specific version, or you can say something like “a food processor, get us one you think is good” or “we would like more homemade quilts” or maybe “donate to Planned Parenthood”…

        Of course, these can be confusing, so it is good to have a backup registry at a place like Bed Bath and Beyond so that the non internet-savvy and those who like the experience they are used to can go to a store and buy an item off your registry there.

    • Jo

      I just want to second the Amazon registry –
      The “I bought this somewhere else” button is key, plus you can get competitive prices on Amazon itself, and use the “Universal Registry button” to register for things elsewhere. Especially worthwhile for those of us who already have housewares and would rather get tix to a baseball game or a new bike or whatever.
      Seems to me to be a one-stop-shop!

    • MDBethann

      Agreed. I’m not a fan of Amazon, but upcycling (that’s a new word for me!) is a fantastic idea, and we’re doing that at least with my grandmother – she’s moved to an assisted living facility, so Mom’s having her look over the registry to see what she’d like to share with us. As long as it works, I’m all for reusing appliances!

      Also kudos to the person who suggested giving your mom (and future mother-in-law) the passwords to your registries. I did that too so that they can take stuff off to avoid duplication.

  • Jo

    Sara Judy, I hear you. You get it. You know your wedding is expensive for some of your guests. Don’t forget that in their shoes, you would gladly spend the money/time to find a place to crash for THEIR wedding. So it’s a mutual thing – something we do for our friends, you know? And it’s once. So, that helps. You’re not asking them to do this every year.

    That said, I think you can find ways to share some of your incredibly sweet “want to be a good host” energy with your guests without letting anyone crash on your floor (perhaps the night before the wedding, if you’re doing a girls only thing, but god not on the wedding night – unless of course you’re not going to be there, but then there’s that whole getting the house ready for company thing which you don’t want to be doing!). If you are doing a wedding website or any pre-wedding emailing to your guests, you can include links to those great sites that Alyssa just mentioned. You could also, if your friends are into roughing it, find a (pretty, well-amenitied) camping area nearby for them to set up a fun group camping adventure. You could even, if you’ve got loads of free time (who are you?), figure out with them who wants affordable lodging for the weekend and organize the group around a good deal you find – you know, collecting money from them and all that. But don’t pay for it. Please don’t.

    And please know that Alyssa is right – of course – booking a block of rooms somewhere semi-affordable will allow them to go in on rooms together and save themselves dough and would be more than enough effort on your part. Good luck, lady! And kudos for being so thoughtful!

    • Amy

      Also – if you live in a larger city, play the hotels off of each other. If you’re able to set up a room block with a hotel that guarantees them 20 rooms, once those rooms are booked they should at least throw in a free hotel room for you and your new husband. Or offer to upgrade one of your VIP guests. If you book more rooms than that (or if you host your wedding in a hotel) they should get more aggressive on what they’re offering you. Hotels loooove booking sleeping rooms – if you’re able to guarantee them rooms negotiate with them on rates, amenities (ie – will they set up your block of rooms with welcome baskets/give your guests free wifi, etc.), and give you one or two free rooms or free room upgrades.
      We got upgraded to a suite at a lovely hotel in a major city because we had 20 people staying there for our wedding during an off month. It never hurts to ask!

    • We also put a note on our wedding website that we’d be happy to connect people who wanted to share a hotel room but didn’t necessarily know many other people coming, or who might want to carpool but not know other people heading out from the same area. A solid handful of friends took us up on it, and it was easy enough to say, “Hey, Lisa–Jen & Sara would love to hitch a ride and split the gas costs. Interested?” and add folks looking for a roommate to an email list. It easily saved that handful of people upwards of $100 a head, but it didn’t cost us anything or take too much time to coordinate. (This would also be a great thing to ask an organized family member or wedding party member to spearhead if that feels appropriate.)

  • Sara C.

    Hola Travel Agent! We are also kindred, hospitable spirits…I strongly recommend the thought of asking a close friend or two in town (the laidback, happy to help type) if they have space for 1-2 persons on the wedding weekend. I was able to find rooms for my bridesmaids that way (note: the two parties knew each other, but not very well) and they were both thrilled that the offer was made.

    But I do biggest quandary is that I feel the need to provide dinner the night before the wedding and breakfast the day after for all of our out-of-town guests (all 200 of them…) ayayayahh!!

    • I’m struggling with that too. Even though our wedding is where we live, almost all of our friends and family live out of town, so we are basically throwing a 250 person destination wedding.
      So, what are we supposed to do about wedding weekend events? Anything we do will basically be like throwing the wedding all over again, at least the reception part, because everyone is from out of town.

      • Class of 1980

        Don’t stress.

        If you live there, it’s not a destination wedding. You are having a regular wedding with lots of out-of-town guests, which isn’t unusual.

        You are not obligated to do anything above and beyond the wedding reception for your guests. (That’s enough stress!) Your guests should know to budget for their own meals and entertainment the rest of the weekend.

      • Elsie

        Don’t feel obligated to do more hosting on top of your wedding. You might put together a page of favorite (or touristy) things to do and places to eat to help them out, but they can surely keep themselves entertained exploring a new town on their own! (We did that, though as it turned out, people mostly ended up socializing the the hotel the whole rest of the weekend.)

        • DanEllie

          Friends did this – created a list of their favorite spots in town for all their out of town guests. It included restaurants, tourist spots, off the beaten track ideas, mixing free and a range of other budgets. Although I was familiar with the area, it was fun to be reminded (and to visit one of the favorite restaurants the morning after the wedding with other guests.)

          This way you’re “hosting” but not personally. And you’re helping your guests know why you live in the cool place you do.

      • Jo

        Potluck picnics in the park?

        • Hypothetical Sarah

          I wanted to do something along those lines! But I got scared off by the fact that I couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t rain.

          • Amy March

            Also remember people don’t need to be entertained the whole weekend. They may be thrilled to explore the town, hang out with friends, sleep late etc. I know I have had occasion to be relieved there is no post-wedding brunch to attend- socializing with 200+ people takes a lot out of you!

      • I vote for putting a list of favorite things to do/places to eat on your wedding website and calling it a day. I’m definitely of the hostess-with-the-mostest persuasion, but I also know that when I travel for a wedding, I either want to explore the city with my husband (if it’s a new to us place) or catch up with family and friends (if it’s one of our hometowns). In neither case do I expect to be hosted/fed by the couple getting married. And honestly sometimes it’s a relief not to have multiple wedding-related events to attend.

      • emma

        We got married where we went to college so it was destination for 90% of the guest list. Since it’s a beautiful place in the summer we had a list of places to see, stay and eat in a variety of price ranges. There were a few events planned but my mom helped delegate the organizing and overseeing – ie my grandfather was in charge of the sat am tennis tourney, my husband the fri night hockey game, grandmother and aunt sun am brunch. We also rented my sorority house for a cheap alternative for those strapped for cash (we were also early 20s). I think we charged $20 for the weekend to cover what the sorority asked for us to pay. Fewer people took advantage of it than expected but we at least felt we had helped guests out and finances didn’t jepordize attendance.

      • Kat

        A very awesome thing to do, maybe on a wedding website, or as part of invites or in the out of town guest welcome package, is include a little map or a list that shows some interesting things to do in and around where the wedding ceremony, reception and hotel are. You could make it super cute and have all the points of interest be favourite places you’ve been on dates/have meaning for the two of you, but definitely include places to eat. Think of that list of local amenities/things to do book that all hotel rooms have… but much cooler and with more insight.

        Planning a wedding is enough. Your guests are adults. People will probably be too tired, too hungover, or need to travel anyways. Suggesting cool ideas is the easiest.

    • CW

      I live away from most of my friends from high school and college, so their weddings are always “destination” for me. Maybe on your wedding website, or with invitations, or in a separate email include a list of “top 10” things to do and restaurants in the area, particularly if you really like them yourself. I’ve also had friends who emailed out “the bride and groom will be hanging out at this bar Thursday night and this place Friday night and having breakfast here Sunday morning if people want to join.” As the guest, I assumed that I was paying for myself and that it was up to me which other weekend activities to participate in.

      • Class of 1980


      • That’s great that worked for you, CW. Just to offer a different perspective – dreaming of the quiet breakfast I would have the morning after with only me and my new husband was the only thing that got me through all of the insanity. That quiet breakfast was divine. I did not do out-of-town bags, pre-or-post-wedding brunches, or pre-wedding bar hangouts aside from the rehearsal dinner, and it was fine.

        • Class of 1980

          That’s good too.

          These “wedding obligations” have gotten out of control in the last 20 years.

        • CW

          True- I’m sorry if it came off sounding like a “must” or “obligation”. It was truly in the spirit of “here’s an idea if you want it.” Like so many others have said, your guests are adults and can figure it out. What matters is what you want to do, with shame-blasters at the ready for the decisions and paths not taken.

          • No you came off sounding just fine, CW! You just made me think of how it was for me. :)

    • E

      I totally hear you on the need to feed people situation. FH’s family is paying for our rehearsal dinner, and so I want to be really sensitive to their budget restrictions. This means that only people who are directly involved in the wedding get an invite: wedding party and their plus-ones, plus the parents of anyone in the wedding party. This has already created some friction with family members who won’t be invited, but we came up with a compromise.

      The dinner is going to be at a bbq joint/bar, and we’ve invited everyone to join us there after a couple of hours. We’ll buy a couple of kegs so everyone can have a good time, and if people want food they can order it. My other rationale is that it’ll be nice for a lot of our out-of-towners to NOT feel like they have to take a day off work in order to get to our location by Friday at dinnertime.

    • We’re feeding people from the night before to the morning after because our wedding is in the middle of nowhere, so there’s no option to stop by a diner in the morning. Also food is how I show love and I just can’t imagine not doing it. But it’s not at all mandatory (my parents and grandmother have been trying desperately to talk me out of it), especially if you’re in a town or city. Don’t worry.

  • saveroomforpi

    Regarding the allergies – my situation was slightly different – we knew that we needed to accommodate a few immediate family members with food allergies, so I put a note at the end of the invite booklet to please let me know if there were any dietary requirements or other concerns that we should know about in planning the weekend, and I did get a few responses about other allergies and health issues that it helped to know about ahead of time.

    The synagogue I attend puts a note in their weekly bulletin about not wearing strong perfumes or colognes. I agree with Alyssa’s advice about the kindly stated request and thought about seating arrangements (and well-placed ears).

  • melissa

    Sarah Judy, I think the easiest way you can help is to try to match up people for hotel room sharing. Maybe just make a page for it on your wedding website, if you have one, and let people match themselves up!

  • Anonymous

    This was awesome. I really needed to be reminded of “your wedding is not an imposition” because I’m having basically the same problem as letter writer #1.

  • Great to see Alyssa and her sass back, yay!!

    Re the first issue, we reserved a block of rooms, one of which the bride used to pre-pre-prepare with her ladies — a good time was had by all and it helped chill some of the wedding jitters. And, yes, early APW Rule that your wedding is NOT an imposition should be on a post-it note on your bathroom mirror.

  • I tend to think of registries as helpful suggestions. Usually I like knowing if a couple needs dishes or a toaster or any other item, since lots of couples these days might already have any number of random home items. But it’s certainly not a requirement. My husband and I registered, but we also got awesome gifts that weren’t on the registry–some cool art by our artist friends, some nice liquor, Christmas ornaments, a beautiful journal, etc. Just because you have a registry doesn’t mean your friends will think you’re a gift grubber. If they want to go outside of that list, they totally will. Or maybe they’ll even be able to find something on your list that’s on sale elsewhere.

  • Abby J.

    What we did to make our big ticket items more doable for our budget-minded guests was set up a cash registry on

    Now, I realize that cash registries are not always thought of well, but the way we did it was to input different funds with pictures and pieces of our big ticket items and allow people to do group gifts. So that stand mixer got broken into 4 “parts” for the purchase. People did use it, and in fact I got a lot of compliments later for being sensitive to people’s budgets (which was my intent) so yay!

  • CW

    Sarah Judy, I think the comment about maybe suggesting people who could split a room is a good one. You know your friend groups the best and who might know whom. This could also help avoid the super-awkward conversation amongst friends along the lines of: “Hey do you want to split a hotel room for SJ’s wedding?” “Oh, I actually wasn’t invited.” Insert foot in mouth (yep, true story, happened to me twice in the past year).

  • Elsie

    Regarding wanting to find cheap places to stay for your friends– we felt similarly. We also had almost everyone coming in from out of town, and most of our friends were in grad school or teaching. As Alyssa suggested, we reserved a block of rooms at a discounted rate at an inexpensive hotel (I’ve also seen friends book blocks at two different hotels to accommodate different preferences for nice vs. cheap). Also, we helped friends get in touch with other friends coming to our wedding for sharing rooms and carpooling. I love the fact that our friends who didn’t know each other before became friends because of our wedding. (It only makes sense, of course, since they’re all awesome people.) Perhaps you can help cash-strapped friends get in touch with others with whom they can share a hotel room or long car drive, or with a local friend who might offer a couch.

  • Shelly

    And for those of us who know and live by our own Sara Judy, let’s help her out by volunteering to help out where we can around their wedding! Last summer I hosted 2 people that I’d never met before that were attending a mutual friend’s wedding. I was worried that it would be a bit awkward to have random house guests for 2 days, but we had a total blast and the bride & groom were ultra-relieved to have out-of-towners looked after.

  • While I like the idea of reserving a block of rooms in theory, keep in mind that you’re not always getting the best price for your guests when you do this. Sometimes the rate at websites like hotwire, priceline, expedia, etc. are actually better than the rate that the hotel gives you. For that reason, we decided to let our guests figure out where they wanted to stay–they’re adults, and they can use the internet. Some decided to stay near our house, some stayed downtown (near the venue). I also like the idea of finding friends/family members who have guest rooms and might be willing to host guests. My sister let several of our young, cash-strapped friends crash at her apartment while she stayed at my mom’s house.

  • I am in the same position as Sara Judy right now. We’re having a pseudo-destination wedding (in that we’re getting married in the big city where we live, but 80% of our guests do not live here). We found out that there’s a huge conference in town the weekend of our wedding, which made hotel prices skyrocket. We did what we could to book hotel blocks at low rates, but the lowest rates we could find are still over $200/night. I feel terribly guilty about this, even though it’s not my fault that some medical organization booked their conference at the same time we decided to have our wedding. “Your wedding is not an imposition” shall be my new mantra.

  • Jovan Musk. Hahahahaha hoooo, boy.

  • Bethany

    To Christina: We were in the same situation, though the sensitive guest was my future mother-in-law! Obviously we needed to accomodate.

    We included a small separate paper in our invite envelope that asked guests to please refrain from wearing strong scents to our wedding, due to sensitivies. I’m not sure if everyone did it, but mom-in-law seemed ok so it must have been enough. We heard a couple of complaints/questions about it, but most people seemed to be understanding. At least we weren’t asking them to all dress in a certain style or color as some infamous weddings have done!

    It probably helped that most of the wedding was outside (on an organic farm); the few bits that were indoors were in a barn with the doors wide open, so at no time was a space enclosed. (Not that we chose to have our wedding outside for her, it fit our personal preferences and happened to be good for her.)

    Good luck! Do not feel awkward about this at all. It’s such a little thing in the grand scheme of the wedding.

  • Alyssa, you are one smart cookie. Just reading those questions made me step right back into the etiquette minefield of the wedding. And get rightfully terrified. It’s tricky stuff but you broke it down in such a logical manner that it’s impossible to argue. Because it’s just good sense. I only wish Ask Team Practical had been around when I was navigating this!

  • Newtie

    To Sara Judy: Once I had to decline an invitation to a good friend’s wedding because I truly couldn’t afford to fly, stay in a hotel, and buy meals for myself for two days. Was I sad? Yes, because I love my friend and I would have liked to have been there for her. But did it, ultimately, matter very much that I wasn’t there? No. She had an absolutely amazing wedding and now has a wonderful, happy marriage, and we are still just as close friends as we ever were. I didn’t tell her I wasn’t coming because of cost because I didn’t want her to feel bad, but even not knowing the reason I had to decline the invitation really hasn’t changed a thing in our friendship. I was able to send her a gift she loved, and the next time I saw her we spent a long time going over her wedding albums and I got to hear every detail of the beautiful day. And she liked getting a chance to tell someone all about it who really cared to listen. So: yes, it IS possible that some of your guests might not be able to come because of cost, but that’s not your responsibility, and it also isn’t going to materially alter your happiness, their happiness, your friendship, or your wedding. You both might feel a little sad if they can’t be there, but it will just give you a good excuse to get together and spend a long, delicious afternoon pouring over pictures!

    • I had the same thing happen! My friend got married in September, and I had been unemployed all summer and absolutely could not afford a flight and hotel.

      She was disappointed, but it really wasn’t a big deal. And she and her husband ended up coming to visit me a few months after the wedding, which worked out beautifully because I was able to spend more time with them than I would have during her wedding.

  • Amanda M.

    Oh Sara Judy, I am in the same position! I love our hotel, and really want everyone to be in one place, but I also wish I could pay for everyone’s room, or have them all stay at our house. I hate the thought of anyone spending money for something I’ve asked them to do. I’m now writing on a post-it note ‘Our wedding is not an imposition.’ and putting it on my bulletin board!

  • So… you don’t need to play travel agent. You just don’t. But if you want to, here are some things friends of mine have done.

    One friend set up a housing registry for her wedding: local people signed up to host and described their accommodations, out of town people indicated their needs, and she helped people connect. I also ended up hosting one friend and finding an empty house where six other friends stayed.

    Another got her parents a hotel room for the weekend of the wedding, and crammed her closest friends into her parents’ house. If you have friends who have a multi-bedroom house or apartment and would be willing to take a small vacation, you could ask your friends to kick in for the displaced hosts’ hotel room, which might still be significantly cheaper than getting hotel accommodations for everyone.

    Under no circumstances should you let someone sleep on your floor that week. Obv. You need your sleep and sex.

    • Irene

      Two more options! The first worked for a bunch of our friends when we got married: they rented a house via vrbo or a similar site for the weekend… most of them were friends already, but a few extras stayed there too, they had a BLAST, and I think it ended up being about $50 per person per night. Which isn’t super cheap but really isn’t too bad, especially since the house had a pool table. Anyway just saying, if you’ve got at least four people, you can get pretty good deals with the vacation house rental scene.

      If you’re in a big city, hostels could work well for the younger super budget-crunchy crowd… city hostels generally not very glamorous, and way pricier than non-city hostels, but a hell of a lot cheaper than hotels!

  • I’ve been struggling with the whole hotel accommodations thing myself – most of my extended family lives partway across the country, and while I know my relatives are grownups who can deal with their own travel and hotel arrangements, I still feel a bit bad that it will cost a lot for them to attend.

    Since my job involves managing events that use some hotels in the area, I know of some hotels that have a good cost-to-amenities ratio, and plan to arrange for a block of rooms using one of them. The main hotel I am considering will also provide a free room to have breakfast (they provide a really great hot breakfast in the morning) so your guests can eat together either before or after the wedding, which is a nice way for my out-of-town relatives to see each other and hang out (while in substantially comfier clothes than they might wear to the wedding!). Some hotels might give your guests a small discount (depending on the time of year and other factors) if they are booked as part of a block of rooms. If you feel like doing some research and making some phone calls, this might be a way for you to feel a bit better about your relatives coming from out of town (you know they are staying at a nice place in a safe area, will get to spend more time with each other, and might save a tiny bit on cost).

  • Abbie

    Not sure if it was already said (only scanned the the comments! :-/)….

    Bargain Bride, If you see things from your registry on sale BUY THEM. Then if someone buys them off your registry, just return the registry gift and use the money to fill other things on your registry. As someone else said, usually people are buying gifts that fit their price point. Plus Aunt Sue wont know that the plates you have in your kitchen aren’t ACTUALLY the plates she bought you, but you will still think her her every time you use them…. just a thought!

  • Remy

    I was amused by the registry question because I had a similar experience yesterday. While our registry is relatively small (like our wedding will be), we have a few splurge items like a silk comforter, massage table, and this adorable dining table with two stools and drop-down edges that would fit so nicely into our dining nook. And yesterday I saw that the table and stools set was on sale at like 30% off. I just want to buy it myself at this point! ’cause what if it’s NOT on sale by the time my thoughtful and generous relatives look at it? *sigh*

    Since we’re registered with Amazon, I added the listing with the sale price using the Universal Registry button, and deleted the old one. That’s about all I can do, and I’m sure there will at some point be an affordable table that will fit our apartment and our lifestyle… even if it’s not that one.

  • SMW

    I cannot speak highly enough of this website:

    It may not be the most glamorous online registry but it was absolutely perfect for us. My husband and I did a non-traditional registry — we registered for help for our wedding! People were able to “register” to bring a cake, a centerpiece, behind-the-scenes help, etc etc. It was 100% perfect for what we wanted for our wedding.

    That being said, if you want to register for stuff, this site would work, too! You can just list an item you want and even include a link to it and suggest to your guests that they can buy it wherever is convenient for them!

    • Tragically, they’re not taking new users for now, and probably not for a while.

  • KA

    Sara Judy and others with the accommodations issue—

    Alyssa is 110% right, as usual. But for anyone wishing they *could* do the house rental thing, here is how we did it: we rented a big house for us and all of the out-of-town friends because that was *really super important* to me. But we still asked ppl to chip in (it was something like $50/person) to stay in the house. As far as I know no one had a problem with this, a few people who wanted to stay elsewhere did so, and several people even scolded me for planning this on on top of everything else! It was still a better deal than hotel rooms for everyone and way more fun. We did cover a lot of the food and booze because it was the least we could do for our super DIT crew. (Costco FTW.)

    My advice to anyone whose out-of-town guests would like this approach, but isn’t as committed to it or as much of a control freak as I am, would be to assign an organized and responsible friend with planning it.

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  • Ashley B

    Just wanted to say welcome back Alyssa, and how happy I am to have your sage (and sassy) advise back to brighten my Friday!

  • To the travel agent bride – I hear ya!

    My fiance and I live in NYC, and his family/my dad’s side of the family (and all of my siblings/stepsiblings), and most of our friends from college live in the same state in the Midwest. We reallllly wanted to have our wedding in NYC (because NYC is awesome), but felt terrible about how much that would cost for our loved ones to come. Like, it would be financially impossible for a lot of them. So this week, we decided to have our wedding in the Midwest (which, bonus, costs about 1/3 as much as a NYC wedding).

    I know my wedding’s not an imposition and all, and I totally get that concept- but isn’t it also equally important to be surrounded by all of the people who are special to us?

    • Umpteenth Sarah

      My husband and I had similar agony over our decision. I’m from a place that is mondo expensive to get to (like, 800$ plane tickets from the east coast, where we all live), but it was really important to me that we have the wedding where I grew up. My birthplace is so important to me that I cried when I finally (10 years after I moved) changed my driver’s license to *ugh* icky-east-coast-state. So, we had the wedding in my home state — and lots of people didn’t come. The whole shindig ended up bittersweet — yeah, my home-state was there (in full force! And amazing!), but some key people were missing. “Your wedding is not an imposition” was helpful, but we did have to deal with guests — who came — basically telling us that it WAS an imposition, passive aggressively. Brats.

      Would I change how we did it? No. I loved our wedding, every bit of it. Was it a hard choice anyway? Absolutely — and there were costs.

  • Kari

    Bargain Bride: I haven’t had time to read all the comments, but I wanted to throw in my 2cents. I really had issues with the registry for the same reason you did, that I would never pay full price for these things that I know you can regularly get on discount somewhere else. So, the thing is: as others have said, let them spend the money on your (usually a pre-determined amount), and then you can return/exchange things to reallocate that money to be used in ways you are more comfortable. This requires a store with generous return policies, but most in-store registries have those.
    For example, I didn’t know what to register for on cookware–the large set was clearly a better deal, but the individual pieces were more in a guest’s price range. When you register for both the individual pieces AND the set, you can view a purchase of an individual piece as a contribution toward the set, which you’ll get eventually with enough returns and the inevitable gift cards you receive. Also, FYI, some Bed Bath and Beyonds actually let you use the 20% off coupons for the items that are listed as prohibited on the coupons. (Hello, my shiny set of All-Clad! Woohoo!)
    Another example: my flatware. I registered for them at BB&B, but they were cheaper on Amazon AND they were on a 4-for-3 pricing special. I brought all of the BB&B sets back for cash or gift credit, took them off my registry, and then purchased the drastically cheaper items myself after the wedding. We had to eat with plasticware for a few days until the flatware actually came in, but we saved 100s of $ on that move alone.
    In summary, I totally agree with Alyssa–don’t freak out on what people buy you, and use your bargaining prowess after the wedding, when you have less crazy wedding planning going on!

  • Ange

    “Under no circumstances should someone sleep on your floor during your wedding. Not to be obvious, but for god’s sake, weddings are for getting laid.”

    Best. Advice. Ever.

  • I worried way too much about where people would sleep and what they would eat. (We had an immediate family only wedding.) My husband’s parents stayed with us for NINE DAYS. And they are not helpful, to put it mildly.

    DO NOT DO THIS. Do not let your in-laws stay with you during your wedding week. They will drink all your booze, eat all your good cheese, and get mad that you don’t offer to make them oatmeal even though they are already eating cornflakes.

    • PS Weddings are for getting laid, but we were way too tired and it’s not like the pullout sofa bed in the basement is the ideal location. (His parents were in our room because they can’t take stairs.) ((We bought a house before we got married for many reasons, but I did make sure that we had joint tenancy. Making financial investments with a man you’re not married to – not a good idea, so get a lawyer involved.))

      Anyhow. No sex on our wedding night, but I got something better: the promise that his parents would never live with us.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Oh, gosh, this sounds awful. But much joy and happiness to both of you now that it’s past!

  • ElisabethJoanne

    One thing I’ve seen (but admittedly not for years) was a shower invitation that said something like “The bride’s colors are green and yellow.” Obviously, this was a bride (like me!) who wasn’t concerned about matching precise shades, or having luxury brands.

    I’m hoping to do this less formally for our bed linens. It just didn’t make sense for us to register at Target or Wal-mart, where I’d usually buy blankets, but, as I said above, I couldn’t keep the $200 blankets on our Macy’s registry. So hopefully we can use word of mouth to tell people we need queen size blankets in beige and sky blue.

    • I did this with a family member — she asked if there was something special she could get us that wasn’t on the registry. I am not a great home decorator, but my relative is amazing. I told her we liked blue and brown, and we wanted a bedset for our bedroom. She came through with something amazing. No idea how much she spent, but obviously it worked for her. And it has been wonderful having a gorgeous bedset without having to go through all the work of picking out and comparison shopping.

  • The hotel block is a great idea, but for your own sakes, reserve fewer than you think you will need. Typically, hotels will hold a certain number of rooms but ask you to guarantee a certain percentage. We did a block for exactly what we thought people were going to reserve and then a bunch made other arrangements. The hotel ended up charging us whatever we were under for the guaranteed amount. If the hotel block fills up, it fills up, and they can do kayak or hotwire or something else. If the hotel block doesn’t, you may be left holding the bag. (Is that the right metaphor? It probably isn’t, but it’s also Friday, so I’m braindead)

  • Hope

    I have a little input for all three of these issues:

    #1. I feel the exception to providing a place to stay for friends is for members of your bridal party. If someone who you KNOW has financial stresses has taken it upon themselves to purchase airfare and your selected bridesmaid dress, I feel it is only the reasonable thing to do to make arrangements for them to stay, even if that means rented a hotel room for 5 women or asking local friends for a couch. Everyone else is responsible for themselves.

    #2. Think of erecting a sign on the corner or edge of some seating that says, “Fragrance Free Zone.” That way, there is a safe(r) place for your sensitive guest. But I believe it is perfectly acceptable to include it on the invitations.

    #3. I bargain shop too, and I used, which allows you to link to all different sites (e.g. if you want specific china, link to the item on Amazon or wherever you find the best deal).

  • Kristin

    For the Bargain Bride there’s one more option that she could try. Cash gift registries might sound a little greedy, but they can actually be a fantastic way to ask your guests for what you want, but get straight cash, which you can then take on your own bargain hunting. We’re using, which lets you set up a really tasteful wedding website, and on your registry page you add all the things you really want. Your guests can purchase any gift, but what they really give is just cash and you can spend it anyway you want. It works really well. You should look at their testimonials (it’s what convinced us!):

  • I didn’t read through all of the comments (I know, for shame), but I did want to point something out about the fragrance allergy guest.

    Long time readers know that my day job is HR. A couple of years ago, the ADA was modified to expand on the definition of disability, and fragrance allergies were added. This has added many layers of complexity to HR practitioners.

    Why do I bring this up, you ask? Because sensitivity and allergic reactions to artificial fragrances don’t stop at perfume. Our office had a case recently where a woman was allergic to certain types of laundry detergent and couldn’t be in the same room as people who had used this detergent. (We worked it out, fortunately, but it was a sticky area.)

    In short, your guests may honor your no perfume rule happily … but if your mother’s friend is as sensitive as you say she is, she could potentially be allergic to their hairspray, their shampoo, their … well, their laundry detergent … you get the idea.

    SO. Make sure you have a backup plan. Seat her with people she knows well and you know there will be no allergy issues. Mention the issue to your venue and see if they have ventilation suggestions. Etc.

    And, also, keep this in mind, too – your mom’s friend is an adult. She knows what she needs to do to keep herself safe.

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  • Cortney

    This is the very first post I’ve read–found you by googling “picnic beach wedding”–and I freaking love this site already…

  • Lindsay

    I’ve been perusing your blog since this am, and this is such a great resource!

    I agree with Kristin, re: the cash wedding registries. If the bargain bride is stressing out that much about how much her guests could be saving, maybe be best to give your guests a visible wish list with the amounts that you are willing to spend on each item and have them contribute the cash!

    My friends have use Wedding Republic, it’s great and even let’s you add bigger items that you can break down into smaller amounts for guests.

    • Danielle

      I agree with Lindsay – my sister also used for her wedding this summer and it was great. I tell everyone about it.

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  • thomas

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