Q's & A's {Ask Cassandra}

Cassandra dattoli. springfield, il wedding planner.

Hi sweet cheeks! Before I launch into today's questions - I want to thank all of you who emailed me last night and today sharing your journey and being honest about needing encouragement. I can't begin to tell you how nice it is to know that I'm not the only one needing a restart button. Some goodies from the (soon to be) Cassandra Shop are on their way to you!

Today's questions are some goodies that I really enjoyed answering for these sweet ladies. Let's all help them out shall we? Read on!


  • Is it okay to skip the cake? We love brownies. - Sarah, IL

Sure! I suggest skipping the whole cutting ceremony altogether and having the DJ, or best man just announce dessert is being served. I also recommend adding a note on your menus simply saying the two of you prefer brownies over cake. Something like "we hope you enjoy brownies as much as we do" or In lieu of wedding cake, enjoy our favorite brownies." Just so guests don't expect a cake cutting or worry they missed the cake cutting. Another idea is to have a brownie bar. Yum!

  • Cass, I am under a guest list attack! I want to keep it under 150, but everyone keeps asking me when they are getting their invitation. How can I make cuts, I don't even know where to start? It seems like everywhere I go I keep running into more people asking about their invite and how excited they are about the wedding! Help! - Renee, NJ 

So many couples struggle with their guest lists. It's only natural to want to invite everyone to celebrate this special day, but the hard truth is, you just can't. (Unless your resources are unlimited, then I say go for it!) The good news is, that most people will understand. I have my couples make a list starting with their wedding party. Bride, Groom, Best Man, MOH, BMs, GMs, Flower girls, ushers, ring bearer, parents and grandparents. By now couples can have 20 guests without even starting a guest list and that's why I have them list out the wedding party first - the numbers and seats go fast. Then I have them make their A list. Their inner circle of family and friends. Then I have them make the dream list keeping the wedding party and inner circle out. Everyone you think you want to invite. The dorm roommate from undergrad? Write her name down - the guy who gave your guy the answers to the test - if he suggests the guy - write him down too. That list is pretty long. I have them take a couple of days away from it and then we re-visit that long list going over each name asking the couple how close they are to the person, the last time they chatted with them, and why it's important they share in their special day. I have found this has been beneficial to my clients and helps alleviate any of that "guest-list guilt" that comes with nixing would-be guests. Your guest list is your biggest contributing factor to your budget - the more guests: the more everything is. Every venue has a limit and so does every budget. Think of your guests as "seats" and you only have so many tickets. And when you run into those pesky guest list questions, gently tell the inquirer that as much as you would love to invite everyone; your budget is limited. The majority of people will truly understand.

Congratulations Sarah & Renee on your engagements and upcoming weddings! Everything will all work out!

Big hugs and thank you's to Sarah and Renee for their questions. Some Cassandra fancy mail is on its way to you both! Please share your thoughts and any advice for these lovely brides in the comments below. Happy Thursday loves, Friday is just a day away!

xoxo Cassandra

Amazing photo above by the very talented Miller + Miller Photography.

Q's and A's {Ask Cassandra}

Hello lovelies! It's cloudy here in the Land of Lincoln but it’s a lovely cool spring day. I am so excited to share with you these questions today - I received these a few weeks ago and responded to the brides shortly after, but couldn't help myself from sharing since these seem to be such popular questions among brides.

I'm having trouble incorporating something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. My dress, shoes, and accessories are all new, and not blue - now I'm stuck. Why do I even have to do this and is there anything I can do? – Jasmine, IL

Customs and traditions – if I had went with all the traditions from my family's homeland, I would have been spat on (oh yes, you heard me right!) and rolled around in my wedding dress by my aunt's on our honeymoon suite bed! The poem you speak of: 

Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.   

Although this has a Victorian Era source, it is followed by many brides today. Each item represents a good-luck token for the bride. If she carries all of them on her wedding day, her marriage will be happy & long-lasting. "Something old" symbolizes continuity with the bride's family and the past. "Something new" symbolizes optimism and hope for the bride's new life ahead. "Something borrowed" is usually an item from a happily married friend or family member, whose good fortune in marriage is supposed to carry over to the new bride. The borrowed item is to remind the bride that she can depend on her friends and family. It can be daunting looking for pieces to meet the expectations of these traditions and really – how much can a bride truly carry on her person? The good news is you've got the something new covered! I personally like finding & suggesting things that can pull double duty for my brides. Try a swatch of ribbon, lace or fabric from someone's wedding close to you – old & borrowed. For something blue, you can easily have your seamstress or sewing savvy friend embroider your wedding date or a sweet message in blue thread on the lining of your wedding dress or go vixen and have them put on your wedding day petticoats (rawr!).  You can also find all sorts of blue stickers and rhinestones at nearly any craft store and literally stick them anywhere.  Etsy has an amazing marketplace to meet some of these traditions; try some of my favorites LaGartier garters, Bella Mia Design, and Equine ExpressionsIf dainty charms and bobby pins aren't your style, you can always be brave and go bold with a blue pedicure. I've seen it done and it can be a fun addition and pop of color in your photos.


My fiancé is not helping with any wedding planning. When do I need to include him and when should I draw the line? He just seems so uninterested, what can I do? – Ashleigh, OH

Oh the ever NID, MIA groom. Not into details and missing in action. This may or may not surprise you; but I hear this a lot from my clients. Rarely have I heard a bride complain about her groom driving her crazy with his involvement. It can be so frustrating when your fiancé isn't as interested in the planning process as you are. Don't fret; where there is a will, there is a way! Don't mention how unhelpful and uninterested he is. Instead, approach the topic by telling him how important and how much it means to you, that the two of you make decisions together. Tell him you feel alone in the decision making and you want to share this special time with him. Even better, ask him what area of the planning he cares about. Perhaps the music, photography, liquors & microbrews or the honeymoon planning? Always remember he asked you to marry him, so maybe he doesn't necessarily care what color the napkins and chargers are, or the texture of the linens, but he cares about making you happy and ensuring the wedding is what you want. Sometimes grooms feel if they keep out of decisions their bride will be happier and can pick what's best without his interference. I too often hear from grooms "she knows what she wants, I know I don't have to worry about anything – she knows what's best." More often—than not; grooms are quick to point out things they don't like or things they disagree with. Start with expressing how important it is to you that he is included in the planning, then find out what part of the wedding is important to him.

Big hugs and thank you's to Ashleigh and Jasmine for their questions. Some Cassandra fancy mail is on its way to you! Please share your thoughts and any advice for these lovely brides below in the comments! Happy Thursday loves, Friday is just a day away!

For questions of your own, feel free to send me some sugar at cass@cassandradattoli.com.

Amazing photo above of that lovely couple by the oh so talented Miller + Miller.          

Vintage shoes photo by the amazing Aves Photography.


Q's & A's {Ask Cassandra}

Hello there sweets!!  I took a breather from social media this week and over the weekend; it was much needed. I want to truly focus on what matters and keeping my head looking forward to see what goodness comes my way, rather than buried in my phone looking down. This week's installment of Questions & Answers are some goodies that I really enjoyed chatting about with friends & colleagues.  I can't tell you how much I love, love reading them and connecting with you all. It warms my heart and makes me want to just do a happy dance!

This week's questions:


"My fiance' and I {decided} to postpone our wedding. I am really freaking out and embarrassed: how and what do we tell people?"          -Diane, NY

This may surprise you; but my husband and I postponed our wedding. My May couple, postponed their wedding. It happens. The first step you need to take, is to let everyone know about your decision. Do not use e-mail. If you need friends and family to help with phone calls, go for it; but every guest needs to know ASAP. If you haven't sent out save-the-date's or invitations, then a phone call is completely sufficient. If you have sent out invitations, a postponement card, would be proper traditional etiquette. It's also; always a nice touch. Something simply stating "due to unforeseen circumstances", or "due to an illness in the family" and saying you will announce a new date ASAP. To give you an idea here is a pic of our announcement cards looked like this: (I added the sparkles and ribbon with some DIY magic before they were mailed out to guests)


If you are in the planning stage between save-the-dates and invitations; sending a postponement announcement is optional and your call. I always recommend sending something, even a handwritten card - it's just a nice gesture to your guests. Everyone's circumstances are different - choosing to postpone is always difficult - it was for us - even for a happy (& long awaited) reason.

"I'm not sure if I want to change my last name once we are married; is it wrong to keep your maiden name?"    - Jessie, Chicago

To change your name or not? So many brides are torn about this question. I reached out to some of my sweet and lovely social media friends and received these responses:

"Kept my name, but never planned to. When the time came to change it, something inside me said to keep my maiden name. My parents are divorced, and I don't have any brothers, so it just felt right"

"Taking his! I think it adds family dynamic. I wan{t to} be able to say the Denton's."

The decision to change your name or not, is a very personal one and varies from one bride to another. For me; I couldn't wait to take on this new identity, share his last name and to be a "Dattoli." For a long time, my maiden name just didn't fit with me - it's like it wasn't who I was suppose to be. Now with my husband's last name; I feel like it just "fits", as if I am finally the person I was born to be. Maybe it's cheesy, maybe its all fantasized in my head - but it's how I feel when I say it & it's how I feel when I write it. I see a lot of people saying: "it binds you as a family to have the same last name." I don't disagree - but I also believe what truly binds you as a family - is the love you share and the commitment you keep to each other. Whether you decide to hyphen your maiden & married name, keep your maiden name or take on your husband's last name; is a decision only you can make. It's not permanent, you can always change it later - and change it again if you don't like it. However you feel, that will be the right decision. You are not less married by keeping your maiden name, nor are you more married by taking his last name. Whatever decision you make; do what feels right to you.

Big hugs and thank yous to my sweet brides for sending in their questions. If you have a question you'd like to send me, hit me with your best shot at cass@cassandradattoli.com. For last week's Q's & A's click here.