Planning Your Menu

Planning your Menu
Eat, drink, and be married! Believe it or not, the food at your wedding is often just as important as the dress you wear! You and your guests will remember this delicious part of your wedding for years to come. There’s a lot of fun planning your menu.
If the catering is provided by the venue, you should start talking specifics and having tastings about three months prior to your wedding date. This is important if you are having a seasonal menu and utilizing local ingredients. Create a signature menu that matches your season. Identify four or five key items that are easily identifiable as seasonal foods. For example, serve a strawberry and walnut salad during a spring time wedding or butternut squash soup in the fall. Ask your caterer for a list of fruits that are in season during your wedding.
On the other hand, if your venue does not provide catering in-house, you’ll want to start interviewing as soon as you have the location booked. Look for caterers who are familiar with and knowledgeable about your venue, or type of venue. Your venue may have a list of recommended or preferred vendors that they enjoy working with and there are no additional fees.With a variety of guests and taste buds at the wedding, planning your menu needs to appeal to a wide range of people, so here are things to keep in mind:
– Avoid overly spicy food
– Consider allergies and dietary requests-such as shellfish, gluten, dairy, and nuts
– Consider Vegetarians – make sure the caterer can offer a vegetarian meal
– If you’re reception is outside, make sure the food you serve won’t spoil quickly
Enjoy the tasting; this is a part of the planning process that you and your fiancé can truly enjoy together and have fun with. Make sure to sample everything from the hors d’oeuvres to the wine (if you’re serving alcohol) when you interview caterers, and take notes!Once you’ve finalized the menu, it has become a popular trend to print it out and place it on the table. This is a great décor addition, but is also a nice way of letting guests know what they will be eating.
Some people even include a teaser in their invitations and/or on the wedding website. This can be handy especially if you are sensitive to your guest’s food allergies.
Planning the menu for your wedding can be loads of fun. It is your opportunity to be creative and personally expressive.

Mother-in-law

Monster-in-Law/Mother-in-law
In-laws can be challenging in the first place. But, when you throw in a temperamental and unstable mother-in-law
(MIL), things can be exponentially challenging. A few years ago, there was an email that echoed around the world from the most spiteful and venomous MIL.
Here are some snippets from the email:
It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you. Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:
 
* When you are a guest in another’s house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat – unless
you are positively allergic to something.
 
* You do not remark that you do not have enough food.
 
* You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.
 
* When a guest in another’s house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early – you fall in line with house norms.
 
It is tragic that you have diabetes. However, you aren’t the only young person in the world who is a diabetic.
 
I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is
nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over
the years for their daughters’ marriages.) If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.
What would your reaction be to that email? Quite shocking, right? If you would like to read the email click here. Not all mother-in-law’s are that bad, but it sometimes can be challenging to deal with overbearing, has to have the last word or is always right, or I’m his Mother, I know best-types. Some tips to always rise above and not stoop to her level is:
1. Remember the “mere exposure affect”
Contrary to the well-known saying that “familiarity breeds contempt,” in fact, familiarity breeds affection.
The “mere exposure effect” means that repeated exposure makes people like faces, music—even nonsense syllables—better.  The more often you see another person, the more intelligent and attractive you tend to find that person. Instead of avoiding your mother-in-law, take the time to see her and talk to her. You may start getting along better if you engage with her more often.
2. Do something nice for the difficult person
It’s really true: Do good, feel good. You’ll also inspire the difficult person to feel more loving toward you.
3. Act in accordance with your own values
One of the mysteries of human nature is that when we accept ourselves, other people tend to accept us. When we don’t accept ourselves, people tend to pester us. If you know your own values, and live according to them, pointed remarks don’t sting nearly as much and the other person begins to realize you have your own life and will live it accordingly.
So, don’t let the mother-in-law or any in-law take you for granted or make you feel inadequate. Your significant other chose YOU, so let that speak for itself.

A Toast

A Toast

 

What’s in a wedding toast? All eyes are on you. This is not the time to make a farce of the moment and pull a“Bridesmaid’s” sing-a-thon, who-sung it better. To avoid common mistakes: don’t pick up your glass until the very end; don’t cover your face with your notes; and don’t bring up reams of paper. Here are some additional tips to delivering a heart felt and memorable speech.

LEAVE THE EX’S BACK IN TEXAS If you remember one thing from this list, please remember this: Don’t talk about past lovers (yours or theirs), don’t talk about past proposals (even if they were turned down) and don’t talk about past spouses (“Mary is so much prettier than your last wife”).
NO SEX PLEASE, WE’RE GETTING MARRIED Everyone knows that sex is part of awedding night, but no
body wants to be reminded of it at the reception. And we certainly don’t want to hear about that drunken night in Cancún, or that morning in the conference room at work, when you walked in on the couple, ahem,updating their Facebook status.
STICK TO THE SCRIPT Tangents are not your friend. DON’T MAKE AMENDS While boasting about how close you are to the bride or bridegroom is déclassé, the opposite is even worse: apologizing for not being close enough. A wedding toast is no place for a laundry list of your failings as a friend or relative.
DON’T DRINK AND CLINK If you’ve had more than one drink, think twice before you clink. As any nutritionist would tell you, booze and a toast don’t go well together.
So what should you say? We advise to use a simple formula: 3-1-2. First, speak for a few minutes in third
person, sharing a funny story or a warm memory about the bride.“Let me tell you something about Becky you may not know.”or “I knew she had found true love that time she called me and said.” Next, say a few genuine words in first person, explaining your own feelings. “I have always admired my sister /friend for.”Finally, speak directly to the couple, using second person. “May you have a life filled with…”or “May you always find joy in…”
As for an ending, do as the British do for a wedding toast -raise your glass and offer a simple salutation,“Ladies and gentlemen, to the couple.”

Kid Free Zone

Kid Free Zone
Sometimes a wedding is for adults only. A kid free zone just makes it easier on the bride and groom and the place hosting the event. If an invitation says to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Schmoe, that does not mean Mr.and Mrs. Joe Schmoe and Sally, Suzy and Sam. We should assume (rather, we should know) that kids probably aren’t invited to this wedding since their names are not specifically address on the invite. Similarly, if you, your significant other, and your son are addressed and invited to attend a wedding as guests that does not mean your son’s girlfriend is granted a free ride to the party.
Make it clear to all others, definitely on the invitation and verbally if necessary, that sorry sir but no kids allowed.Weddings aren’t a throw together high school bash, but instead the result of months and sometimes years of planning and need I point out the obvious, they cost lots of moolah.  Perhaps money was tight, or the guest list was already over capacity and the groom had to invite his stepsister’s husband. Whatever the reason, respect the bride and groom’s wishes and don’t try to smuggle in your kids like it’s no biggie. Once they get there, they are guests and will need somewhere to sit and something to eat. And people will notice. Remember being a guest at a wedding is not a right but a privilege.

 

There is always another side too. Here’s the scene: a 20-year-old single mother are invited to your college roommates wedding. She has a six-year-old son who Grandma and Grandpa can’t possibly babysit and doesn’t see any other alternative to the situation. What to do? She should call the bride and explain her situation. Ask her if there are any exceptions she’d be willing to make. Some people don’t want kids at their wedding because kids can be sticky, disruptive, and loud, etc. However, and this is a big however, most brides don’t want kids at their wedding simply because they said so. They’re the bride, that’s what they want, and there doesn’t have to be a reason.  Whatever the issue do it with class and dignity and if all else fails, everyone usually understands that moms have to stay at home with the kids. Unless you’re in the wedding, this is just as valid an excuse as the bride requesting her wedding be a kid free zone.

Tradition

Going with Tradition
We’ve all been raised on what our wedding day should be, so what is tradition anyway?
Traditionally, wedding ceremonies are held in a church or other place of worship and have strong religious significance for the bride, groom, and their guests. Depending on the couple’s religious preferences, their ceremony may include prayer, Scripture reading, hymns, or other religious observances. This type of ceremony is almost always officiated by a minister, priest, rabbi, or other clergyman.In traditional wedding ceremonies, the bride’s family sits on the left side and the groom’s family on the right.The groom will enter with the clergy. The number and types of attendants will vary between different wedding ceremonies. The bridesmaids, usually escorted by groomsmen, enter next and can either stand flanking the altar or take seats in the second or third row.
When it is time for the bride to enter, most wedding ceremonies include lively music such as the traditional”Here Comes the Bride” or “Canon in D.” The bride is escorted by her father or another family member who”gives her away” at the altar. The bride and groom, of course, stand next to one another as they face the clergyman.
At the reception it begins with a receiving line consisting of both mothers, the bride and groom, and the
female attendants. It is distinctly non-traditionalto skip the receiving line or to hold it at the church. Theannouncement of the bridal party is garnered with special theme music of the wedding party and parents are
also not a tradition from mainstream etiquette. Waiters can circulate with drinks and hors d’oeuvres while the receiving line is in progress.
Toasts should begin at the end of the guests’ time to eat. If the wedding cake is the major refreshment, then the bride and groom should cut the cake before any toasting takes place. The first toast is the best man’s toast to the bride. This may be followed by other toasts or not.
If there is to be a dinner followed by dancing, the”first dance” occurs after dinner. If food is to be served after dancing begins, the “first dance” is the first major event. In the most traditional format, once the bride and groom have danced, other guests are allowed out on the floor while the bride dances with her father, the groom with his mother, and so on.

Last thing before she exits, the bride tosses her bouquet to the single women in the room. (There is no garter toss at a “traditional” wedding.) The bride and groom change into their “traveling clothes,” return to the party, and exit through a shower of rice, rose petals, or bubbles. And that’s it! The only thing left is to write the thank-you notes.


Going Green

Going Green
So you want to save some green by going green? By going green we are not necessarily referring to money, but that can play an integral part. A green wedding is any wedding where the couple tries to decrease the impact of their event on the planet -and there are many ways to do it without sacrificing style or elegance! Green weddings are eco-chic, which means they are every bit as gorgeous as conventional weddings, but without the waste. And, amazingly enough, going green can save you money. Whether you incorporate just one or two earth-friendly elements, or go completely organic from the silk of your dress to the food you serve, remember that every green choice makes a difference.
Did You Know? 2.3 million is the number of couples that get married in the U.S. each year. That breaks down to more than 6,300 weddings a day. $28,000 is the average budget of a wedding in the U.S. 80 percent is the percentage of gold minded each year that goes into jewelry, out of 2500 tons. 50 years is the length of time the current amount of already-mined gold could satisfy demand; much of it currently sits in bank vaults and in old, unused jewelry.
Going green on your wedding day has environmental, social, and economic benefits.
1. The environmental benefits:
Each one of the 2.3 million weddings this year in the United States will produce an average of 62 tons of carbon dioxide and 400-600 lbs of garbage. That’s a lot of waste! Consider all of the stuff that goes into conventional weddings: single-use bleached white dresses, chemically treated imported flowers, toxic makeup and skin care products, mined gem-based jewelry, to name a few. It adds up quickly! Picture this: if every wedding this year used a disposable aisle runner and they were laid end to end,they would circle the globe twice. Similarly, the amount of paper used for invitations could cover the entire island of Manhattan. If every engaged couple made just one small green choice, which would be 2.3 million greener choices a year and that is an amazing impact.
2. The social benefits:
Weddings are a $60+ billion industry. Having a green wedding is an opportunity to make a difference by supporting companies that actively in corporate social and environmental responsibility into the way they do business. When you start talking to vendors about green choices, and explain your choices to your guests, you support the green economy and change the way people in your community think. You can showcase how easy it is to be eco-chic and share your favorite eco-friendly products with your guests.
3. The economic benefits:
Being green usually saves you money, and in today’s economy this is probably reason enough to do it! By making simple substitutions and eco-conscious decisions, like choosing a location central to the majority of your guests, you can easily decrease your impact on the planet and the cost of your event simultaneously. This is your day to show the ones you love your passion for the environment.
There are many great reasons going green for your wedding is a great idea! Experiment with a few and you can always mix and match to tailor it to your day!

Wedding Diet

Doing it the Right Way vs. Crash Diets
So, you are officially on your wedding diet. Congrats! Successful weight loss takes hard work and commitment, but there is no lack of fad or crash diets on the market that claim to promote fast weight loss. With the rising trend of obesity around the globe, fad diets,which are diets that trigger fast weight loss, have become increasingly popular. Not all weight loss diets arefad diets. There are also healthy well-balanced diets used to promote weight loss.
Healthy lifestyle habits, as the name suggests, include and means eating a balanced diet and ensuring proper amount of exercise on a regular basis. Eating healthy means that you eat everything in the right portions. In other words, with these kinds of diet plans, you eat everything, but limit your intake of relatively unhealthy foods. A healthy lifestyle habit is realistic as it’s based on long-term goals and is phased out. In other words, when opting for a healthy lifestyle, you are in for the long haul, promising to follow its principles, irrespective of whatever temptation you may face. The perks far out weight simply being on a wedding diet for only five months.
Crash diets, on the other hand, are diets wherein you avoid certain kinds of food while eating certain others. There are several such diet plans available today from which you can take your pick depending on your preferences, requirements, and needs. This is usually coupled with intense workouts, where your body is pushed beyond limits right from the outset.
It is important to understand that both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Pro
Common practices for weight loss and fitness include healthy diet plans, as well as lifestyle habits on one hand.
Con
Research suggests rapid weight loss can slow your metabolism, leading to future weight gain, and deprive your body of essential nutrients. What’s more, crash diets can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of dehydration, heart palpitations, and cardiac stress.
Pro
Fitness builds muscles, increases energy levels, and can increase your mood because hormones are released during workouts that cause happiness, energy, and sex-drive.
Con
Many fad or crash diets are programs that last for just a few weeks, and they often do not promote regular exercise. These types of plans do not offer long-term solutions to weight loss. Fad diets or quick fixes cannot replace a lifetime of healthy eating and regular physical activity.
In a world where weight gain is easy and weight loss is difficult, it is hardly surprising that there are several options and choices available for ultimate fitness. Being on a wedding diet can be good long term for you if you find the benefits rewarding.

Perfect Palette

Choosing the Picture Perfect Palette
Aubergine. Blush. Aqua. Charcoal. Apricot. Navy. So many colors so little time. Determining the colors of your
wedding palette play into much more than one would assume. As we’ve discussed before, a theme carries throughout a wedding day, and your color palette should as well. So, what things should you consider when choosing a perfect palette for your wedding day? We have a few ideas!
Time of Year
It’s important to consider the season when choosing wedding colors. For example, would you pick hot pink and lush
green in the dead of winter? Or how about a burnt orange and mocha during spring? That isn’t to say you can’t do these things but it is helpful to have a perfect palette to blend things together.  This doesn’t mean you’re stuck with prissy pinks or greens just because it’s spring, but you can consider Mother Nature as a helper that can somewhat dictate the perfect palette.

 

Perfect Combo
It’s nice to consider colors that you both find equally pleasing. Keep in mind your palette can be many more than just
two or three. Choosing shades that lift your mood and you are drawn to make the most sense. Trust your gut!
Consider the setting
Look at the colors your venue has. Do you absolutely love the gold embellishments on the door handles or chandeliers? Using metallic colors like gold, champagne,etc will bring these adornments out. If your venue has
white and black carpeting, fixtures, etc keeping with that theme and adding pops of color such as red, purple, pink, or any other inspirational shade!
Create an Inspiration Board
A color wheel or picking out images that you find inspirational can be your first step to helping guide you through
picking the perfect palette. There are many tools out there that can help including:
Finding the right balance and complimentary colors is what to keep in mind. If color matching isn’t your thing, then you can always consult a wedding coordinator or stylist. Friends are always a helpful sounding board as well! They can help you choose your perfect palette for your wedding day!

Wedding Weight loss

Abs are Made in the Kitchen, Not the Gym: Wedding Weight loss
Did you know that diet is the most important aspect when aiding in losing weight? Both are very important; however, eating the right balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates is essential to building muscle,
shedding fat, and slimming down for the big day. So, get started on your wedding weight loss today!
We suggest making small changes over time rather than going cold turkey with a diet. You are much more apt to cheating and failure if you treat it as a punishment rather than a lifestyle. If you can start with six steps to creating a better physique, here are our list toppers in matter of importance:
 cut out store bought treats (i.e. junk food!)
 cut way back on white flour and refined sugar
 add healthy fats to diet such as nuts, avocados, and coconut oil
 track calories to make sure food consumption is less than
calories burned in exercise
 add more lean protein to diet such as lean chicken, fish, and Greek yogurt
 increase water intake and cut out sugary drinks Figuring out your caloric needs without exercise is the first step.
Here is a quick trick from Fitness Guru, trainer, and model, Jamie Eason.
 Multiply your goal weight by 10. Example: 130 pounds x 10 = 1,300 calories. This is the bare minimum amount of calories your body needs just to survive.
 Consider your activity level. If you’re sedentary, add 300-400 calories to the bare minimum number. If you weight train on a regular basis, add 400-700 calories. If you’re extremely physically active on a daily basis then add 800-1000 calories.
Example: 1,300 calories (bare minimum) + 700 (for weightlifters) = 2,000 calories.
Remember, these need to be CLEAN calories. Jamie Eason also recommends eating 5-6 small meals per day. So if you’re eating 1,800 calories a day divide that by 6. Your meals should roughly be around 300 calories. Think Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, and almonds or apple with almond butter. A great tool to track your eating habits is with sites like My Fitness Pal. This app seems to have the best balance of pre-loaded meals, takeout, and chains. Although, we aren’t highly recommending you eat out all that often. Speaking of which, cooking from scratch or cooking light is the best way to handle portion control and butter/fat intake. Some wonderful, low-fat/low-calorie, nutrient dense sites include:
Get friends involved and your wedding weight loss journey will be easy! Don’t sweat the small stuff, and keep it in perspective.

Bachelorette Pole Dance Party

Bachelorette Pole Dance Party
Technically, it’s the maid or matron of honor’s job to scout out the bachelorette party but there’s no harm in hinting! If you’re bold, sassy and sexy–and hey, you are–why not try something unique and perhaps a little risqué? There’s a hot work out called Pole Dancing, and while the name may be tied to strip clubs, this dancing fantasy is not about taking your clothes off. Pole dancing can be more of a gymnastic art form than stripper girl. It’s a total body work out that also lets women’s inner kittens come out to play. A bachelorette pole dance party is more for you and your girls to make great memories and also tone those bodies!
Dance studios such as Naperville’s Tease Dance and Fitness or Geneva’s Tiger Lily Vertical Fitness offer private sessions on the weekends for bachelorette pole dance parties. You’ll be instructed in the fine art of pole dancing by a certified pole instructor. Learn how to strut around the pole and do spins that make you feel like you’re flying. It’s a great way to burn those calories off as well as get your sexy on! You can go barefoot or bring heels to show off those legs. The attire is usually general work out style–shorts, tank and a sports bra. Or, you can spice it up with boas, sparkly bras and bride short shorts. There’s no such thing as too much glitter here. If you’re not into dancing around a pole, they also offer strip tease classes that give you moves to make your man melt.

Call each studio for more information on pricing. It’s a lot of fun and a safe, woman empowering environment. Check with the studio about how many girls are able to fit in one dance room but there’s usually room for up to 6. They have candles, large mirrors and teach you stretching before warming up the poles. It doesn’t hurt that you burn a lot of calories in addition to it being the best bachelorette pole dance party ever! You may even find you pick up a new work out hobby.

Go give it a chance or, if you’re the one planning it, give your bride a night they won’t forget!