This handy guide, created by Emily McCarthy of Emma J Design, supplies any host with the dos and don’ts on properly wording an invitation. Suited for weddings, showers or parties, this invitation etiquette road-map will help you to navigate all the formalities.








I’d like to think I’m a modern type of girl, but when it comes down to it, there is something to be said about the traditions of marriage – from the vows to the day of customs to the special gifting on your anniversary – and all those who have come before me following the same handed-down practices.


I love this cultivated list designed by Emily Ayer over at Southern Weddings Magazine. It gives both traditional and modern gift examples for your highly anticipated wedding anniversary. An interesting fact by Emily: each material has a symbolic value in the traditional anniversary gift list and the value increases every year to symbolize the increased investment each partner makes in the other.


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My sixth year anniversary is coming up in November. Candy – this one is a cinch! Shelvie loooves Hershey Reece’s. Although, for me, I think he should jump right on down to the 60th gift idea every year! easy peesy.. He’ll never have to guess about whether going traditional or modern again! ha!

** Learn about the meaning behind each item over at Search: *year* Anniversary: Traditional Gift Ideas and More. There are a ton more gift giving ideas! **




In this installment of Helpful Hint Wednesdays, I thought I would talk about how to change your name after marriage:



01     Marriage License

Your wedding officiant usually sends this off to the local county court. You will get the certified section back in the mail, signed by a county clerk or county recorder, a few weeks later. It’s good to get a few copies to keep on hand.




02     Social Security Card

Download and fill out an application for a Social Security card, then head over to your local Social Security Administration office.  Make sure you take with you the proper documentation to get your new card. You will need several original documents besides your marriage certificate, proving your age, identity, and U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status (like a driver’s license or passport).




03     Driver’s License

You must first change your name with the Social Security Administration then, within 2 weeks, notify the NJ DMV and get an updated NJ Driver’s License.


You’ll need:


•  At least 1 document from the primary ID document list, such as:

•  Civil birth certificate.

•  U.S. passport (current or expired less than 3 years).

•  Current NJ digital driver license, CDL, or non-driver ID card.



•  At least 1 document from the secondary ID document list, such as:

•  Marriage certificate

•  Proof of your New Jersey residency, such as a:

•  Utility or credit card bill (issued within 90 days).

•  Checking or savings account statement (issued within 60 days).

•  Original lease or rental agreement.

•  A verifiable Social Security number (SSN).



•  Payment for the transaction.



04     Everything Else


Once you have your new forms of ID in hand, you’ll want to check:


• Banks

• Credit card companies

• Passport

• Insurance companies (health, home, fire, flood, vehicle, renters, life, etc.)

• Doctors (GP, ob/gyn, dentist, etc.)

• Utility companies (cable, phone, Internet, gas, electric, etc.)

• Cellphone company

• School, if you are actively enrolled

• Student loans

• Alumni associations

• Club memberships (Costco, gym, grocery store cards, etc.)




With all the planning, you may want one less thing to think about, consider a legal name change service:


Miss Now Mrs will do most of the work for you.  Supply all your information and they fill out the name change forms (tailored to your state). You then verify that everything is correct, print the forms with detailed filing instructions and send.


HitchSwitch will fill out all the necessary paperwork for you and then will send you a packet in the mail with all of your completed name change forms, along with pre-stamped and addressed envelopes.  All you have to do is drop it in the mail once you’ve verified each forms.


Name That Bride allows you to access all of the name change forms you need, for free! automates the completion of the required forms to change your name in New Jersey. Simply complete a quick questionnaire, print out the forms and file them.. easy-peesy!




** A QUICK NOTE: You will want to book your honeymoon under your maiden name as some of these (license, passport and social security card) will take two to three weeks to process.






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If you haven’t heard of Grey Likes Weddings you’re in for a real treat. Summer Watkins – or Lady Grey – complies a blog full of stylish finds the modern bride not only dreams about but, let’s face it, can realistically afford.



I especially love her carefully curated resources for the newly engaged:


PLANNING TOOLS: a collection of resources – what to play for your first dance to information about the big ‘ol film vs digital debate to beauty tips. This section is chock-ffull of helpful tips, advice and information to help answer all those questions you didn’t even knew you had!


BLOGSTRESS MAVENS: With a nod to the past, The Ladies’ Society of Matrimonial Finery, is a social network built with community in mind. BM is comprised of 9 hand-selected brides – REAL brides, planning REAL weddings, facing REAL issues – walk with them through the trials and triumphs of their own wedding planning.


GREY COLLECTIVE: Need help finding wedding vendors? This master collection will have you swooning!


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In an article about the Jersey shore, a planning tip suggested having insurance for unpredictable weather. With damage from Sandy still lingering, it’s a thought worth considering.


It’s something I never considered, nor did I know existed, when I got married. It probably would have been helpful considering $300 was stolen from my purse the night of my reception.


Here are some other wedding mishaps to consider:

1     A tornado rendered the venue uninhabitable.

2     The seamstress lost the bridal gown.

3     The tuxedos were double rented.

4     A drunk guest got into an auto accident.

5     The DJ went out of business.

6     The wedding gifts were stolen at the reception.

7     The groom’s previously approved military leave was revoked.

8     The bride’s father had a heart attack.

9     An elderly guest was knocked over and broke both of her hips.

10   The guests got food poisoning.


To read more mishaps and see the associated costs lost, go to Wedsure.



The Knot New Jersey (Fall/Winter 2013) p268