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Love and manners 

Wedding planner Claudia Habib shares her words of wisdom for wedding games, thank-yous and awkward apologies.

How can you shake up the traditional wedding games during dinner?
In my experience not all couples want to eliminate the kissing game entirely, they just don’t want their guests clinking their glasses all night (which is far too easy and can get annoying). So they usually ask me about other ways to get the guests to make them kiss. The more creative the better! There is the ever-popular sing a song with the word “love” in it, or tell a joke (but depending on your guests, this might get out of hand!).

I have used a small putting game where the guest would have to sink a hole in one to get the couple to kiss. Many couples use this as an opportunity to raise money for their favourite charity with a minimum donation of $10 or $20 to get them to kiss. But my favourite has got to be the “Show Them How it’s Done” game. This is where the guests have to kiss in front of everybody and the bride and groom have to copy the kiss. If you have a fun group this could be quite entertaining. The best wedding where this happened was an Irish/Italian wedding and the guests got up on the tables and kissed, swept cutlery off the tables and kissed, did a little dance before they kissed---it was the most memorable kissing game I have ever seen and I have worked over 120 weddings in the past eight years!

When you receive gifts prior to the wedding, should you open them and immediately send out a thank-you note, or wait until after the wedding?
I knew the answer to this question already but I wanted to check my handy-dandy etiquette book. According to Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette by Peggy Post, thank-you notes should be sent out promptly upon receipt. “This is particularly true when gifts have been sent in the mail or delivered by a store; it lets the sender know his or her gift has arrived safely. The bottom line is that a separate, handwritten thank-you note must be sent for each wedding present you receive.” Thank-you notes should be written as soon as the gift arrives and all thank-you notes should be sent out within three months of your wedding.

How do you tell a friend or family member who is expecting to have a role in the ceremony that they don’t?
I believe the only way to deal with this situation is to be as honest and yet as gracious as possible. If someone is expecting to be asked to be an attendant in your wedding, and you have already asked all the people closest to you, then this person is not as close to you as they think! Obviously the situation requires tact.

It depends on the type of relationship you have with this person and how you think they will react to the news that they will not be standing for you in the wedding. You may say something like, “The groom didn’t have another groomsman he could have stand with him so we decided to keep the numbers to four instead of six.” Or if you think they would be really hurt by the fact they aren’t in the bridal party, you could give them another job, such as performing a reading, being an usher or handing out programs. That will still make them feel important and included without you having to add them to your bridal party.


A Halifax-based wedding planner, Claudia Habib has been doing weddings since 2003 and enjoys watching the planning and hard work all come together on a couple’s special day. She offers consultations, wedding month coordination and complete wedding planning packages.


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