Archive for April, 2012

April 25, 2012

20 Things You Should Never Say to an Engaged Couple

Usually when I discuss weddings, I talk to the bride. But this time I decided it’s time I do something a little different and address  the friends and family of the newly engaged.  Don’t ask me why, but for some reason people seem to see an engagement ring as a sign to intrude. Once news of an impending nuptial spreads like wild fire, there’s no stopping the unwarranted comments the couple is bound to receive. Being on the other side, I get to see first hand how rude and upsetting well meaning comments from close ones can be. And trust me, they do get extremely irritating even if the person means well. Unless the couple looks like the newly engaged, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, they probably aren’t prepared for a ton of prying questions and comments.

So do yourself and the engaged couple a favor by reading this list and striking these phrases from your vocabulary. Not only will it get you that much closer to the guest list, it will help you live to see another day since the bride and groom won’t have any reason to kill you.

1. Am I invited to the wedding?

Of course you are excited and want to be supportive of your friend. Asking about your impending invitations just puts the engaged couple in an awkward position.

2. Wow, your ring is so big! How much is it?

Not only is this inappropriate, it’s simply none of your business. Finances are a very personal matter and don’t need to be discussed freely with others.

3. Why get married? You’ve already been living together for years. What’s the point of it now?

This is just rude and plain intrusive. It also diminishes their excitement. No need to question the motives. Just be happy for them.

4. Did you know that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce?

Not only will you be passing around slightly false information, you’ll also be raining on the couple’s parade. Don’t be the one to make them apprehensive or less excited about the big decision.

5. I’m so broke because I’m going to your Caribbean wedding.

Chances are the couple are aware that a destination wedding will not be feasible for some guests, but there is no need for you to make them feel guilty about the decision. If you can’t go, just tell them. They are probably expecting a lot of declines anyway.

6. You should think about going to bridal boot camp.

This may be meant to be seen as helpful, but it might just make the bride self-conscience about her weight. The last thing you want to do is stress her out.

7. You’re engaged already? Didn’t you just meet?

Don’t question motives. A simple, “Congrats”, will do. Remember what’s right for you may not be right for them.

8. Are going to start having kids right away?

This is a very personal decision. Even if the couple does have an idea of when they’ll start family, give them some time to enjoy this major life change first.

9. Why aren’t you wearing a white gown?

Maybe the bride just didn’t want to wear a white gown. Are you trying to imply something?

10. Why wasn’t so-and-so invited?

There may be reasons you are not aware of such as financial hardship or family issues. Either way, it is inappropriate to ask and puts the couple in an uncomfortable situation.

11. Are you sure he/she is the one?

They’re probably already feeling a bit nervous about their leap into marriage. Don’t give them another reason to be.

12. Too bad (deceased relative) couldn’t be here.

A wedding is a joyous occasion. They last thing you want is to be the mood killer by reminding the bride that her mom isn’t celebrating with her. Keep spirits up and just enjoy the moment. Keep mention of deceased relatives to yourself.

13. But chicken is so boring.

Don’t complain. Just refrain from eating it and go for the side dish. It’s rude to criticize the couple’s choices.

14. Have you picked a date yet?

Seems like an innocent enough question but when asked by 20 people 20 times a day it gets very annoying. Trust when the couple decides on a date, they’ll let you know.

15. Who  is paying for all of that?

Personal finances are never any one’s business but the bride and groom. Just know that it’s not you so stay out of their wallet.

16. Can I be in the wedding party?

If they didn’t ask, than it’s safe to assume you are not in the wedding party. Accept it and move on.

17. Are you sure you want that to be the theme of your wedding?

It’s ok if you don’t like their theme, but you should try to hide your opinion a little better. It may further stress out the bride .

18. I can’t believe you’re eloping. That’s not fair to your parents.

In all honesty, it is their day. They’ve probably taken the possibility of hurt feelings into consideration. They don’t need to be constantly reminded of it.

19. At least, he/she looks better than your ex.

Any mention of an ex is totally not necessary even if it is an underhanded compliment.

20. I’m RSVPing… with guest

Unless your invitation says, “Plus one” don’t assume you were given the option to bring a guest.

Did I miss something? Have you been on the receiving end of rude comments? Or have you been the one to say something inappropriate to the bride and groom?

April 11, 2012

The Problem with Including Business Cards in Thank You Notes

It alters your message and wastes money. There’s a time for blatant self-promotion and there’s a time for expressing your deepest gratitude. The two shall never meet. If you do, the recipient of your note will surely wonder if you have a hidden agenda. Unfortunately, that could mean less than desirable results for your efforts. The last thing you want is to have your clients wonder how grateful you really are.

So how do you let the recipient know what you do and how to contact you? You do a little thing I like to call soft self promotion. I usually scribble a note at the bottom of the card saying something like, “Let me know if you ever need anything” or “I’d be happy to return the favor”. Right after my signature, I either include my phone number or e-mail address. This lets the person know I am a business woman who genuinely cares about the recipient’s well-being as opposed to being a business woman who only cares about the recipient if there’s something in it for me. Get it?  It’s one of the major differences between soft self-promotion and blatant (hard) self-promotion. Plus it seems to be more inline with proper business etiquette.  Think about it. Are you really going to think favorably of a holiday card from your accountant with a business card in it? You just might be prompted to roll your eyes at it and immediately trash it. Once a business card gets placed in a note or holiday card the intentions may immediately be skewed.

I learned this the hard way. After sending hundreds of holiday and thank you cards with my business card enclosed with little to no response it dawned on me that I was doing it completely wrong. Not only was I was wasting time and money on stamps, I was connecting with my audience the way I had hoped.  I analyzed my approach and realized I was sending the complete opposite message than what I wanted to communicate.  The hallelujah chorus sounded once I replaced my business card with jotting down my contact information. Suddenly, the responses and words of gratitude kept pouring in. It’s amazing what a small change can do for business and how much money it can save!

Do you respond favorably to cards with a business card placed inside? Do you receive responses from placing business cards in thank you note?