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All Your Wedding Etiquette Questions Answered

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Now that you’re planning a wedding, your Google search history is going to fill up with things like, “How to address an invitation to two doctors?” Or, “Is 15 minutes too short for a wedding ceremony?” It’s amazing how many obscure questions can pop up during this process. From writing your own wedding vows to rules on inviting (or not inviting) children to your wedding, Jacy Mullings of Weddings By Stardust is here to help by getting you answers to some of the most popular etiquette questions, and more!

All Your Wedding Etiquette Questions Answered

Photo // Ryan O’Dowd Photography

How long is a typical ceremony?

It truly depends on the type of ceremony you are having. For most secular and Christian ceremonies, they tend to last between 20 and 30 minutes from the time of the processional (the walk down the aisle) to the time of the recessional (the walk up the aisle after being pronounced). For other religious ceremonies, such as Catholic, Jewish and Hindu, they could last between 45 minutes and one hour. 

What’s the proper processional order? What about the recessional?

There are many ways a processional can be composed depending on the family, attendants and any religious traditions. For a secular or traditional Christian processional, the officiant is often sent first, followed by family, wedding party, and then the bride and her escort last.

The groom’s side always precedes the bride’s, beginning with grandparents followed by parents. Unless you want your wedding party entering in as couples, the groom and groomsmen would typically enter at this point, with the bridesmaids entering single file, in reverse order, after them. The flower girl and/or ring bearer would be the last down the aisle before the bride.

Same-sex couples often like to enter a ceremony together or have both partners escorted in, but otherwise follow “traditional” processional and recessional guidelines.

What are the rules for inviting children to weddings?

Although there is no written rule for inviting or not inviting children, there are etiquette guidelines to follow when doing one or the other.

Making the decision to have children included or excluded from the wedding is up to the bride and groom and/or hosts of the wedding. If you choose to have children invited, you would include their names on the invitation envelopes (i.e. first line: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith; second line: Dylan and Katie OR simply address to “The John Smith Family”). To limit the number of children invited, you may choose to only invite the children of close family members and/or children of the wedding party.

By etiquette, the envelope dictates who is specifically invited, but if you are worried your guests will not get the memo, you can make a note of “Adults Only.” This would go on your details card in your invitation suite or on your wedding website since it is inappropriate for it to be written on your invitation. Whichever decision you all decide on, stay firm in it.

Can I walk down the aisle to any song I want or should it be more traditional?

If you are getting married at a church or house of worship, the selection of music may be limited since most religious sites forbid secular music and require their couples to use in-house musicians. If you are not having your ceremony at a place of worship, then you may select anything secular, classical, instrumental or recorded music for your walk down the aisle. Consider mixing traditional songs with instrumentals of pop music or classic love songs. Select things that are meaningful and have fun with it!

Where should immediate family sit?

Starting with the parents, the parents of the bride are seated on the left side of the front row with the mother in the center aisle seat and the father beside her. For the parents of the groom, it is reflected the same on the right side. In Jewish ceremonies, these sides are often reversed. If there are any divorces amongst the parents and new marriages or relationships, it is dependent on family dynamics where everyone would sit. If amicable relationships, they may all want to share the first row.

If there is any animosity, the mother would keep her seat in the first row and the father and partner would sit in the second row. Grandparents and siblings of the couple would be seated in the first row with other extended family seated in the remaining rows behind the parents of the couple. If a parent is widowed, then they have the option to choose a close family member or friend to sit next to them in their respective row.

Should we write our own vows?

This is another question to check with your officiant and/or ceremony site coordinator when planning your ceremony since most places of worship do not allow personal vows. For those ceremony sites that do allow them, now-a-days, more and more couples are writing their own. It elevates your ceremony by adding a more personal and emotional touch.

You get a chance to briefly tell your story and the reason you are standing in front of each other in that moment.

If you choose to write vows, I have two big pieces of advice. Be sure to really take the time to make it come from your heart. To try to put into words all the hopes, dreams and challenges you are excited to take on with your partner for the rest of your life in just a few short words is not an easy task.

Start the process early, take your vows through a few drafts and edits (and even verbal practice rounds!), and embrace the vulnerability that will become so cherished in the moment. It is an overwhelming process and can feel so much harder if you are on a time crunch.

Secondly, know and hold on to what you are vowing to. These are the commitments that you are verbalizing to your life-partner in front of all of your closest witnesses. As sweet as it is to promise the moon, it is more meaningful to give an actual commitment. This does not mean that all of your vows have to be heavy, you could still include bits of humor such as to always remember their favorite Starbucks order.


A special thank you to Jacy Mullings of Weddings By StarDust for sharing all these amazing insights on wedding etiquette and how to make the day truly personalized to the couple. To learn more about how Weddings By StarDust can help you plan your dream wedding, contact them directly through their Brides of North Texas vendor profile.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Changing Your Name After the Wedding

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Were you the kind of person who doodled your married name while you were in middle-school or is this a total surprise to you? Either way, we’re here to help simplify the process of changing your name in Texas — and help you go from Miss to Mrs. 

Whether you’re modern or traditional, there is something for everyone when it comes to name changes, from the simple switch to the hyphenated options, we’ve got you covered. 

Your Comprehensive Guide to Changing Your Name After the Wedding

Photo // Pharris Photography & Philms

How to Change Your Name 

Each state has their own laws about changing your married name. Fortunately for Texas brides, the state acknowledges a valid marriage certificate as proof of a name change. 

If you are hyphenating or switching your middle name to your maiden name, your process is slightly different. You will file a petition in a probate court in your county. (There are more details below.) 

 

How It Works

Fill in both your current legal name and the name you will be changing to after marriage on your Texas marriage license application. 

 

Alternative Name Change Processes 

If you are hyphenating, blending or switching your middle name, you will go through a court-ordered name change process. You will need to file a name change petition in state court in the county you live in. Visit the county courthouse office during regular weekday business hours to get your form. 

 

Getting Your Wedding License in Texas

Both you and your fiancé will need to go to the county clerk’s office during regular weekday business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Be sure to bring proof of identity and age, such as a birth certificate, driver’s license or passport. The fee ranges between $71 – $88, but can be reduced to as low as $11 if the couple attends an approved marriage education class. You will present the certificate for this course when you get your marriage license. While some counties may accept card or check payments, many require cash only. Be sure to call your County Clerk’s office ahead of time to confirm what forms of payment they take. 

There is a 72-hour waiting period after getting your license, but it can be waived by a court-order. Active-duty military are exempt from the waiting period. The license is valid for 90 days.

 

Making it Official 

Once you officially say “I do” and it’s time to sign your marriage certificate, you will use your new married name. Your officiant will be responsible to return that marriage license to the County Clerk’s office within 30 days of your wedding and you will receive the official marriage certificate as well as your certified copies by mail.  At that point your marriage certificate will be proof of your name change. You will want to request multiple copies (3 is a safe amount) of the certified marriage license to send to vendors like your insurance company and others that may require it.  

 

Cost to Change Your Name 

There are varying costs, but here are the general expenses you can expect. 

Marriage License — $71 – $88 (or as low as $11 with approved education classes)

Certified Copies of Marriage License — $3-$15 each (based on county)

Passport Update — $110

 

Things to Consider with Changing Your Name

There are other options when it comes to updating your name after your wedding and those include hyphenated names or keeping your maiden name as your middle or second middle name, which are the most common variations. (There is another option where you create an entirely new name.) The benefits of those two options can be in retaining a connection to your old name or even being easier to find on social media. 

 

Places You Need to Change Your Name

1. Social Security Card 

After your certified marriage license is sent to you (or you pick it up), you will want to apply for a name change on your social security card.

Download your application and get more information on this step here. 

 

2. Driver’s License

This will require a trip to the DMV, but you’re married to the love of your life, so it’s worth it! You will want to bring all the required forms of identification which include your current driver’s license, your updated security card and your certified marriage certificate.

 

3. Bank Accounts 

Whether you’re sharing accounts with your spouse or simply changing your own accounts, you’ll want to go into your local branch with your marriage certificate and your newly acquired driver’s license. You will want to request all new checks and/or debit cards with your married name. If you have a mortgage/loan out with this bank, take this opportunity to switch your name on those as well. 

 

4. IRS

A name change can impact your taxes, so it’s important to make sure your tax returns match your Social Security records. 

Find more information on how to change your name with the IRS here. 

Note that part of this process will also include making sure your employer/payroll records have your new name, so that it will be correct on your W-2 and other documents.

 

5. Voter Registration

This one doesn’t come up often, but you don’t want to miss out, so be sure to tackle this one right away. 

Click here to get your voter registration application

 

6. Passport

Fortunately, this is a very straightforward process similar to the IRS and voter registration. 

Click here to get detailed passport update instructions from the State Department. 

 

7. Post Office 

To be fair, this is more of a change of address than a change of name, but the likelihood is that you are moving, so let’s cover all our bases. The USPS has made this very simple with an easy online process. 

Click here to learn more. 

Bonus to updating your address? People start to send you amazing coupons because they think you’re new to the area. From Pottery Barn to Office Depot and the local car wash, you’re about to get special offers from all of them. 

We’ll talk about this in the pro tips later, but just a quick reminder that if you’re changing your name, make sure you take time to also update your address where appropriate. 

 

8. Credit Cards

First, you will need to have your name changed on your Social Security card and your driver’s license. Changing your name on your credit card(s) isn’t a difficult process, but it may be time consuming depending on how many cards you have. From typical credit cards like Via and MasterCard to store cards like Ann Taylor and Macy’s — each card issuer may have a slightly different process.

First you will want to look up the name change policy for each credit card. This can be found on their website. This is where you will get the list of required items such as new ID and legal documentation of your name change. Some may require your Social Security card update, which is why you need to tackle your government-issued ID documents first.

The good news is that for some cards, you can do this process entirely online or by mail. There are some unique cards, perhaps from your local bank,etc. that will require you going into a local branch. The best thing is to gather your cards and make a comprehensive list of their policies in advance.

 

Now that we’ve covered the most urgent places to update your name, it’s time to review the rest. There are many, many places your new name needs to be updated that will vary based on your current lifestyle. 

  • Insurance companies
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Car title and/or mortgage/landlord
  • School/university 
  • Professional or educational associations, clubs and organizations
  • Attorney’s offices
  • Airlines 
  • Electric and utility companies
  • Phone, cable and internet companies
  • Financial institutions
  • Online shopping sites
  • Other service providers
  • Social media accounts (That may be the most important — am I right?) 
  • Printed items like personalized stationary and business cards.

Last, but not least, be sure to update friends and family about your name change. 

 

Letting Friends and Family Know 

While your close friends and immediate family may know about your name change, there’s a lot of people that won’t — and it’s important to get the word out there. 

1. Announce it on social media. 

Update your name on your social media accounts. Even if your handle isn’t your name, the account is under your name. Then have fun and make a post about your new name with an “it’s official” post. Example: “I’m officially Katie Ann Smith now!” Let it reflect your personality, and mainly just have fun! 

The name update alone will help people start using your new moniker. But the post will help bring it to people’s attention as well as give you a reason to keep celebrating your love — bonus! 

2. Share your updated contact information via your phone. 

This is a super easy way to help people start updating their contact information and all you have to do is share it with your contacts after you update it on your phone. 

Here’s a quick tutorial video for the iphone users. 

3. Send out an official announcement — old-school style. 

It’s true! There was a time when it was common for newlywed couples to announce their marriage — including the bride’s name change — and their new location (i.e. what city they would reside in now). 

While you are still very welcome to announce it through your local newspaper, the more effective route would be sending out announcements. This could go to friends and family — especially those that may not have been at the wedding.

You have all the technical information to change your name now, but we’ve got some pro tips to make the process even easier. 

 

Pro Tips 

  • Use this guide to make your personalized name-change list and find out how many of these places will require a certified copy of your marriage license, so you will know how many to request. This saves having to order multiple times.
  • It’s recommended that you keep your old identification in case you need to prove your previous name. 
  • Double, triple, quadruple check the spelling before filing the new name! 
  • Don’t do things too early — that could cause logistical issues.
  • If you are moving too, be sure to use this opportunity to change your address on things like your driver’s license, insurance, credit card, etc. 
  • If you’re traveling internationally for your honeymoon, it’s recommended to keep your maiden name, so you don’t run into any issues with your ticket not matching your official name. 
  • Professional help is available if this task seems overwhelming. Companies like I’m a Mrs, HitchSwitch and even Legal Zoom can help you with the process! If you’re working with a planner, consider asking them for recommendations. 

Whether you’re just engaged or you’re planning your honeymoon, we’re here to simplify your search for great local vendors — and more! Click here to browse the talented vendors in your area.

Tips on Supporting a Friends Who Had to Postpone their Wedding

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So the wedding was planned, every vendor was booked and the bridal showers happened but now the big day is postponed. Our team at Brides of North Texas understands how disheartening this can be, especially during times like these. We put together a guide on how to support and care for a bride who had to postpone their wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Expert tip: utilize the businesses in your community.

Tips on Supporting a Friends Who Had to Postpone their Wedding

Photo: Bash + Vibe, Nate and Grace Photography

Something Personal

First and most importantly, call her and make sure that she feels loved, supported and understood during this challenging time. If you’re looking to do something a little extra, we’ve compiled a few ideas below.

Something Sweet

A yummy pick me up is something that anyone can enjoy. Pick a local bakery that will deliver desserts to her doorstep. Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop in Frisco and Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery in Arlington are the places to go for Instagram-worthy sweet pick-me-ups. They taste just as good as they look. If your bride is a macaron connoisseur, we highly suggest Savor Patisserie. This Dallas based bakery specializes in the French macarons and is happy to deliver or ship!

Something Floral

Sending someone flowers is a love language. Find your favorite local florist and have them put together an arrangement for your favorite fiancée. To go the extra mile – find out what her wedding colors are and have the blossoms mimic what her wedding florals will look like!

 Something Healthy

Working out is a great way to eliminate stress, which is something a bride with a postponed wedding has a lot of right now. Pure Barre – Coppell is offering at home workouts from its website platforms and Bells & Barbells Wedding Fitness is offering virtual personal training. This is a great opportunity to Facetime or Skype your friend and do the class together! By the way, overall health helps to boost immune systems and promote positivity.

Something Sparkly

Flowers aren’t her vibe? What about a piece of jewelry from a local jeweler! The True Gem is known for their jaw dropping creations and a gem from here will last her a lifetime. Need advice on the perfect piece? We think that the Gold Signet Ring and the Large Pearl Hoops are the right pick-me-up and under $500 staples!

Something Beauty

Make her excited for what’s to come! Get her a gift card to her favorite salon, like The Styling Stewardess or WZ Beauty Studio, that will be good for a blowout or facial once the virus slows down! Remember that gift cards help to support local businesses now and they are good for use later!

Something Artsy

Has she picked a new date? Send her a calligraphy note from Bethany’s Letter Shop or Lonestar Letter with the updated wedding date. Both she and her significant other will cherish this forever!

Something She Wants

Log on to her wedding registry and send her a sweet gift! Or create a custom gift box from Bash + Vibe with all the goodies you know she loves.


We’re also sharing tips for postponing your wedding here!

Giving a Big DFW Welcome to Loot Rentals: Specialty Vintage Decor

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The decor and rental landscape for North Texas brides is about to get a lot brighter, thanks to Loot Rentals’ arrival in DFW! We’re SO thrilled to welcome Loot Rentals, a specialty vintage decor shop, to Dallas/Fort Worth brides. Loot has been a bright spot on the Austin bridal scene for many years, and we’re so excited they’ve made their way north!

DFW, you will LOVE the niche specialty rentals Loot has to offer. They’re the absolute experts in sourcing vintage pieces and modern, trendsetting decor from all over the world. They pride themselves on great customer service, of course, and on their selection of one-of-a-kind, unique pieces you won’t see anywhere else (which means your guests won’t, either).

Scroll through and see just a few of the incredible setups Loot has helped create. Once your juices are flowing, peruse their Lookbooks (also organized by vibe/style – so helpful!) and contact their team to set up a showroom tour. You won’t regret it!

 

Traditional With a Twist

dfw specialty vintage rentals loot rentals

Photo: Kayla Snell Photography

Earthy Boho

dfw specialty vintage rentals loot rentals

Photo: Feather and Twine

Feminine Vintage

dfw specialty vintage rentals loot rentals

Photo: Virginia Ann Photography

Peachy Keen Retro

dfw specialty vintage rentals loot rentals

Photo: Robert Bradshaw Photography

Boardroom Goes Al-Fresco

dfw specialty vintage rentals loot rentals

Photo: The Edges


From tables and bars to tabletop pieces, seating and styled lounges, the ultra-creative design experts at Loot can help you formulate a vision or bring your dreams to life. Their goal is not just to provide a one stop shop for the coolest pieces around, but to create an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. For Loot Rentals, it’s about more than tables and chairs – it’s about cultivating community!

Loot invites you to explore all of their DFW wedding rental options – no matter your style or the vibe of your wedding, they can provide the pieces you need to bring people together. That’s what weddings are about, after all!

#delish | Insta-Worthy Dishes from the Best DFW Caterers of 2020

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In the age of social media and stunning food photography, it’s not enough (yet, critical) for food to just be palatable, but also aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Let these Insta-worthy dishes from DFW’s best caterers be your guide when it comes to picking the perfect wedding menu. Chefs around the DFW area have curated the best culinary creations, and we’ve compiled them for YOU. Take a peak at these delightful dishes below!

Photos // Bethany Erin Photography

#delish | Insta-Worthy Dishes from the Best DFW Caterers of 2020

Grilled Sea Bass from Wendy Krispin Caterer

“Table side waiter served meals are so chic and allow for guests to choose exactly their desired items and portions.”

burrata

Burrata Salad from Beyond the Box Weddings

“We love customizable action stations! Guests get to choose their own ingredients with chefs there to bring their vision to life. A Mac Bar with toppings such as barbecue pulled pork, hatch chiles, truffle breadcrumbs and lobster add a fun and elevated touch to a favorite dish.”

appetizer

Beef Tenderloin on Crostini from Edison’s Dallas by Eddie Deen’s

“I would have to say a trending appetizer would be the apple smoked bacon wrapped in chicken.”

catering

Jalapeño and Bacon Stuffed Lockhart Quail from Food Glorious Food

“Most couples are opting for matching their menu to a personal recipe or restaurant connection to their family or to how the bride and groom met. As a caterer, we love to help bring this personal touch to such a special date for our couples to share with their family and friends!”

catering

Large Grazing Platter from Gather & Graze Events

“Customizing your grazing platter is a breeze and can be done via phone call or meeting in person. We follow up in writing to confirm all the details.”

catering dessert

Crostatas from Vestals Catering

“These adorable individual crostatas would be great on guests’ plates with escort cards, they would be gorgeous as a dessert display and they could also make the cutest parting gifts for your guests as they leave your reception! These beauties really have limitless possibilities in how they could be incorporated into your big day!”

catering drinks

Assorted Mini Paletas from COHOST – Arepa TX

“We love these mini paletas right now as a fun twist on popsicles. Since they are mini, they can be passed, displayed or served from the bar inside of champagne or other bubbly cocktail.”

catering fajitas

Fajita Platter from Vidorra

“Serving family style meals is a great way for the family to bond over a wonderful meal together and make fond memories!”

chicken

Smoked Chicken from STIRR

“STIRR is truly an approachable neighborhood restaurant and bar, suitable for all of life’s gatherings; a business lunch, a happy hour cocktail, an intimate meal or a relaxed place to eat and unwind with friends on our rooftop patio, while enjoying stunning views.”

joule

Scallop Crudo from The Joule

“An ‘Insta-worthy’ dish has the visual impact to represent the couple’s style while showcasing the culinary team’s talent and creativity – exceeding expectations for a memorable experience for all.”

catering

Salmon in Phyllo from Gils Elegant Catering

“I think the most important thing about creating a one-of-a-kind menu is spending a little time with the client, to really understand and know what they like. I try to learn as much as possible to be able to create a menu that reminds them of those special times — full of their favorite flavors, textures, memories.”

steak catering

Herb Crusted Prime Rib from Soulman’s Catering

“We recommend serving prime rib from a full service buffet with a carving station!”

catering

Mini Ahi Tuna Taco, Mini Pork Gordita and Watermelon & Feta Skewer from Culinary Art Catering

“We love extravagant cocktail hours! We believe it sets the stage for what the guests will experience throughout the event. We encourage our clients to offer a variety of crowd pleasing items that are one to two bites for ease of mingling.”

catering

Pan Seared Halibut from Fearing’s Restaurant at The Ritz Carlton, Dallas

“We can personalize the wedding in many ways: from creating menus that include their favorite ingredients and that have been part of their history as a couple to ensuring the colors in each and every dish match their theme and create a perfect symbiosis of the couple and every part of their menu. ”

blue fire

Five Pepper Smoked Beef Tenderloin from Blue Fire Catering

“I love the colors and flavors of spring/summer seasonal fruits and vegetables. One of my favorite dishes is to pair fresh heirloom tomatoes and watermelon with creamy burrata. I season it with the most amazing minus 8 vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to bring it all together.”

steak macklins

Herb Crusted Sirloin from Macklin’s Catering Co

“Trends I’ve been noticing are more stations and action stations. People seem to enjoy a variety of food that they can sample a little bit of each. Including themes are really fun. Dessert bites are a big hit as well… mini brownie bites, banana fosters shooters, chocolate chip cookies with milk.”

Duck Carnitas from Magdelena’s Catering

“We love when couples bring us ideas of destinations they have traveled and ask us to recreate the food! Food reflects the couple’s style and to recreate a special moment or time they celebrated is a fun challenge we get to do! We can recreate a certain food item or cuisine they had, a spice they tasted or a plate full of color that ties in somewhere they traveled to! The skies the limit and it’s really fun for us to give them that special food style for their wedding!”