It happens to all of us once or twice a year. Our mailboxes seem to receive an influx of letters that aren’t credit card bills or mailers from coupon companies. It’s the time when we find ourselves receiving more wedding invitations and save the dates than we have free time or a disposable income to attend.
We’ll do everything we can to say yes to attend those weddings and make it there in person, but once in a while, we have to say no. Whether it’s because we have another commitment that weekend or it’s just too pressing on our budget to attend, we find ourselves looking for an easy and painless way to let the couple know that we can’t be there to celebrate one of the biggest nights of their entire life.
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Sounds stressful, doesn’t it? If you find yourself glaring at an RSVP card, trying to figure out how to put an “x” next to “I regretfully decline,” here are five ways to RSVP no to a wedding without feeling guilty.
1. Do it ASAP.
If you can’t make it and you know you can’t make it, give the couple a heads up as soon as possible. When the save the date flies into your mailbox, call or text the couple letting them know you can’t go. That way, you won’t find yourself teetering on the edge of the RSVP deadline, feeling bad that you can’t make it.
2. Send a gift.
Sending back an RSVP card marked “no” may have you feeling some guilt in your gut. You can curb that feeling by sending over a nice wedding card with a gift inside. That way, you’ll let the couple know that even though you can’t be there in person, you still wanted to give them a little something to remind them that you’re part of the celebration.
3. Plan a night out.
Make it up to the bride and groom by taking them out to dinner before or after their wedding. If you live in another state or country, take them out to dinner in a more unique way by sending them a restaurant gift certificate.
4. Give a specific reason.
No means no but when it comes to sending your RSVP for a wedding, you’ll feel less rude if you give a specific reason why you can’t make it. Have another wedding? Is it the weekend after your big exam for school? Would travel arrangements cost you an arm and a leg? Be honest about why you can’t make it in person.
5. Don’t change your mind.
Once you’ve made a decision, stick with it. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you become indecisive on whether or not you should go, after you’ve already responded no. Spend quality time with yourself and your calendar before making your decision and once you’ve made it, stick with it. Even if your friends tell you you’re missing the wedding of the century.
Survivor winner and cancer survivor Ethan Zohn is a married man!
Surrounded by 160 guests, Zohn and New York City interior designer Lisa Heywood were wed on Saturday in North Bennington, Vermont. "There was an overwhelming sense of love," the couple tell PEOPLE exclusively. "Our families and friends came together in the most perfect way and the love and happiness could be felt and seen on the smiles on everyone's face in the room."
The wedding celebration began the night before at the couple's family-only rehearsal dinner at the Taraden Bed and Breakfast. Guests dined on pizza, salad and homemade pies from Classic Crust as well as wine from Mercer Estates.
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REGINA FLEMINGThe following afternoon, Zohn and Heywood, who converted to Judaism, were married in a Jewish ceremony in the formal gardens of the Park-McCullough House, a 35-room Victorian mansion built in 1864. Officiated by Rabbi Robin Nafshi and Cantor Shira Nafshi from Temple Beth Jacob in Concord, N.H., the wedding took place under an arched chuppah covered in flowers and a cloth handmade by Heywood.
During the ceremony, Zohn, who wore an ivory linen and silk custom made suit by Aspetto, and Heywood were wrapped in the tallit (prayer shawl) of Zohn's late father, Aaron, for the Birkat Hakohanim – a blessing of peace. "My mom, Rochelle walked to the chuppa and wrapped us in my dad's tallit," Zohn says. "For both Lisa and I to feel and touch and smell the prayer shawl that my dad used his entire life to begin our new life together was truly a blessing."
Heywood, who wore a champagne beaded lace mermaid gown by Israeli designer Inbal Dror from Mark Ingram Atelier, also hand-crafted her headpiece using beads given to her by Zohn's mom.
After the wedding, guests enjoyed a cocktail hour on the mansion's wrap-around porch with passed hors d'oeuvres featuring corn and lobster fritters, smoked trout and buttermilk fried chicken.
Boston Rustic Wedding Rentals built a "sign-in bench" for guests that the couple will keep in their new home in New Hampshire. Heywood created much of the décor for the reception, which was held in the carriage barn, including making more than 2,000 yarn tassels from Zohn's mom's knitting collection that were draped over the windows.
String lights and paper lanterns adorned the ceiling while marquee letters spelled out the couple's favorite saying, "We should never be apart," on the hallway in the barn as well.
With catering by Heirloom Fire, chef Jim Gop created a farm-to-table buffet that included spit-roasted aged leg of beef, handspun heritage chicken and husk-grilled striped sea bass. Food was served in 14 individual wrought iron and wood horse stalls.
The band, The Hair Farmers, performed for guests and the couple's first dance was to Eva Cassidy's version of "Fields of Gold" sung by Cantor Nafshi.
The celebration concluded with a fireside after party at the Taraden Bed and Breakfast offering guests beef empanadas, popped corn with pecorino cheese and a s'mores station.
"Everything exceeded our expectations," says the couple, who left the wedding in Zohn's father's restored 1963 Vespa. "We feel like it was the best celebration of our marriage we could have ever expected."
Zohn, who was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2009 but is now cancer-free after receiving a stem-cell transplant from his brother in 2013, most loves his new bride's "quiet confidence, creativity and gentle loving soul that shines through her eyes," he says. "There are not enough hours in the day to spend with her."
Does it take an advanced degree to plan a wedding?
Our longtime contributing writer Emily Myron claims equivalent credit to a master’s in strategic planning for organizing her upcoming October wedding. She’s been working on it since April 2015, when her guy dropped to one knee at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. It didn’t take much longer to earn her first master’s degree, in environmental management, at Duke University.
Obsessive Type A personality that she confesses to be, Emily has turned her well-documented planning into a how-to that will guide couples through the complex geography of getting married.
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If that’s not you, don’t feel left out. We get the fun of peeking into her story.
On the how-to side, she sets up seven categories — Where to Marry, Caterer, The Dress, Photography, Flowers, Music plus Hair and Makeup — and tells you how she and her fiancé (replaced by her mother for dress shopping) researched and decided in each.
In most of those categories, we readers will have to wait until after her big day to find out what her choices were and how they worked out. Location the couple know well, as they courted in that garden back in their days at Duke. Dress is bought, but despite my editorial blandishments, she refused to send photos before her wedding day, lest Bay Weekly readers know more than her groom. Everything else is pretty much a gamble. You make your study, pay your money and hope for the best.
That’s where Bay Weekly’s advertising partners take over.
In this issue, 30-some local businesses with special wedding qualifications step in to describe how they can help you. Thus you’ll learn that family-owned Willow Oak Flower and Herb Farm is a close parallel to the North Carolina, mother-daughter cottage garden business that is growing and designing Emily’s wedding flowers.
Emily’s wedding venue is the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham. Where is yours? Chesapeake Country is so rich with wonderful options that I’m glad this choice is yours and not mine. In these pages you’ll read about the outdoor settings of Annmarie Garden, Darnall’s Chance House Museum, Friday’s Creek Winery, Historic Sotterley Plantation, Maria’s Love Point Bed and Breakfast, Running Hare Winery, the Town of North Beach and Two Rivers-Maryland Yacht Club. Each offers unique, spectacular settings.
You’ll also learn about favorite Chesapeake Country places with special ambiance and good food both casual and upscale: Babes Boys Tavern; Brick Wood Fired Bistro; Pirates Cove; The Old Stein Inn; Two Rivers Steak & Fish House, The Reserve, Catering, & Bakery.
Of course you may have your own dream spot. A half dozen more of our wedding partners describe how they’ll set the stage for a party or wedding in a garden, on the beach or a favorite back yard.
Other partners, including DJ Dave and Last Call Entertainment, will satisfy your musical tastes. Diamonds and dresses are here too, to set your imagination spinning.
We’d like to help you eat your cake, too, for Cakes and Confections and Kirsten’s Cakery have set our sweet teeth longing, while Kilwins Chocolates has us dreaming of sugarplum favors.
If you can’t fit us on your guest list, do send photos — or, better still, your wedding painted on the scene by live-event painter Amy Moreno. (Without reading about it here, who would have thought of a painting of your wedding, done on the spot?)
You’ll also find framing and preserving helpers in these pages.
Send us your wedding photos, like the 26 readers whose wedding memories start on page 18 in “I Do”, and we’ll include you in next year’s Wedding Guide.
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