small weddings

How to NOT Have a Big Wedding

When did weddings become one size fits all?  For as many websites, blogs, and magazines dedicated to solely dissecting every single detail of all things wedding, it seems pretty rare to hear anything about alternative routes to the big wedding bash. Even destination weddings, once notorious for small, intimate gatherings have become over the top events chalk-full of logistical planning and weekend-long events. And as much as we literally spend hours swooning over these luxe “I do’s” we can’t help but be completely enchanted with the simplest of weddings where the Bride and Groom opt for no guests at all.

smallwed

A few years ago, a hauntingly beautiful indie film called “Like Crazy” had one of the most romantic moments with a super modern couple who share an enduring love story going to the court house and spending the rest of their night drinking champagne, dancing, and celebrating their nuptuals…alone. And while some brides might feel like they are missing out on a huge party with all of their closest friends and family, I think many couples would agree, that they are longing for that intimate moment lacking in a day overwhelmed by details and personalities.

like crazy

And how about the world’s most adorable celeb couple Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell? After a super long courtship, the couple finally made it official at the Beverly Hills Courthouse last month with just a minister present. They were later presented with a cake that said “ World’s Worst Wedding” as an homage to the understated event and were able to celebrate in private. The couple said they felt like they have enough attention on them, attend plenty of parties and are dressed up way too much in real life that they reserved their wedding day as a time for them to be together- just them.  And the best part of this approach for those brides and grooms worried about breaking the bank? The total for this Hollywood duo’s big day? Including gas, $125 out the door! Even celebs are mindful about overspending on weddings!

kbell

The most important factor is that your wedding be a reflection of who you both are. If you aren’t really into the big hoopla and flashing lights, maybe a sweet and intimate wedding is right for you!  And there are varying degrees of downsizing as well. Just because you don’t want a big wedding doesn’t mean you have to call a Justice of the Peace. Having a handful of close friends and family to your home for a wedding cocktail party can be super chic and also ultra romantic. Whatever you choose, just remember that it’s your day and whatever you decide, it should be whatever makes you feel special!

4 Little Legalities of Marriage

4 Little Legalities of Marriage

The question has been popped, the invitations sent, and the dress bought—but what about all of the boring, legal stuff? Here are 4 little (but important) legal matters to consider when you tie the knot.

scale

The Pre-Nup

Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to turn off the romance here. Pre-nups (formally, pre-nuptial agreements) aren’t just for the rich or pessimistic anymore. Talk to your fiancé about creating a pre-nup, or you can talk about a post-nup after you are married. A pre-nup will help protect you and your spouse should there be some problem with marriage in the future.

While this sounds like a “glass half empty” approach, here are a few situations that might cause you to call a lawyer: One (or both) of you

  • Own assets such as a house or stocks.
  • Owns all or part of a business.
  • Is expecting to receive an inheritance.
  • Is supporting the other through college.
  • Foresee a large increase in income.

If any of these situations apply to you, think about signing a pre-nup. It will not jinx your marriage, I promise. You can even create a “sunset provision,” which is basically an expiration date—if you last, let’s say, 10 years, then the pre-nup will be void. Some provisions you can include in an agreement are division of property, spousal support, provisions for specific ground of divorce (different results if you divorce because of infidelity versus just not getting along), treatment of future earnings, and the possession of assets. When drawing up the agreement, make sure you both have lawyers present and there is full disclosure between both parties.

The License

This part is pretty easy: you have to get a license to get married. Each state has slightly different rules regarding marriage licenses, but you will usually need two forms of identification and cash or check to pay a processing fee. Both the bride and groom need to be present. While it’s good to think ahead, don’t jump the gun too much on getting your license—most licenses will expire 30 to 60 days after issue. Also, some counties have exclusive licenses, meaning they can’t be used outside the county. So, check your county’s website to find more information on fees, expiration dates, and any other restrictions.

The Name Change

If you are going to opt for the tradition of taking your husband’s name, here are a few points to remember. (If you’re choosing to keep your name… just skip this section.) You need to change your name as soon as possible on all government and financial forms. This includes social security, bank accounts, credit cards, driver’s license, and any other identification cards. Doing this right after your wedding will save you a lot of time and confusion when you mistakenly sign your married name on an account still laden with your maiden name (from personal experience: it’s not fun). Look at the websites or call the offices of your accounts and government agencies to find out the specific actions needed for each change. Most of these changes will require a copy of your marriage certificate (which should be mailed to you the week after your wedding, from the license-granting county) and identification.

The Policies

Hey, remember those insurance policies? You don’t want to be caught driving your husband’s car without your name on that magic slip of paper. Often, combing car insurance policies will save you money. There are some cases where you’ll want to keep them separate, though—if your hubby-to-be has a bad driving record (or maybe you do…), or if one of you has a pricy ride, keep the policies separate. After deciding on car insurance policies, check on any other policies you might have. If you have life insurance, it is customary to name your spouse as a beneficiary. Look into buying a family plan for medical insurance, an option which might be cheaper than two individual plans.

Okay, the boring stuff is over now. Just remember these 4 little legalities of marriage as you prepare to walk down the aisle, and there will be a lot less stress after the honeymoon bliss!

Author Byline:

Victoria Ramos studied business and now blogs about developments in the field, as well as her other interests in law and marketing. She stays busy consulting for Lawyers in Barrie, socializing, hosting parties, decorating, and writing.

Oktoberfest Weddings by SimplyBridal

Oktoberfest Weddings

Oktoberfest originated in Munich, Bavaria, Germany in 1812 to mark the marriage between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. All the citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the royal wedding and give their well wishes to the newlywed couple. Since then, Oktoberfest has evolved into a celebration of all things beer, and more than 6 million people from all over the world attend the 160-day festival every year.

If you’re considering a fall wedding, and love to indulge in a few fine brews, then you might want to get into the Oktoberfest spirit and have your big day at a microbrewery. Falls temperate weather and amazing foliage make it an ideal time of the year to celebrate in a intimate outdoor location, which makes a charming microbrewery the perfect venue.

Aside from finding your dream wedding venue, selecting an alcohol package for your big day can also be a tough decision. Whether you want a full bar or beer and wine only depends on a few different factors, and to help make the decision easier SimplyBridal has created this helpful infographic.

Oktoberfest Weddings

 

wedding reality tv

Wedding Reality TV Shows by SimplyBridal

Wedding Reality TV

We are all guilty, all very very guilty for giving into reality shows. Why wouldn’t someone be interested in watching a show that features ordinary people and their actual lives? Whether you’re normally a fan of Keeping up with the Kardashians, Project Runway, or The Bachelor, the moment you get engaged the wedding reality TV shows are on your mind. SimplyBridal has compiled a list of shows for brides to get their daily dose of drama from and to help them gain a bit of inspiration.

Wedding Reality TV

Bridal Jewelry

Planning the Head Table by SimplyBridal

Planning the Head Table by SimplyBridal. A seating chart at your actual wedding ceremony isn’t always necessary, traditionally all of the members attending in support of the bride sit on one side and the members attending to support the groom are on the other side. Many couples have chosen to abandon this tradition, as they believe that though their union, everyone is family so there shouldn’t be a seating plan.

Now, putting together a seating arrangement for the reception is a whole other ball game. Does the happily married couple prefer a sweetheart table, or would they rather be surrounded by their bridal party, or their family? Any of the following options is acceptable, but which one is right for your friends and family?

planning the head table

summer wedding

Midwest Destinations: Summer Edition

Midwest Destinations: Summer Edition. Summer vacation season is in full swing and as Chicagoans, most of us have a more local spot that we have been frequenting for years or just recently discovered. It’s easy to forget that even though we live in or around one of the greatest, most dynamic cities in the world, we are also surrounded by stellar beauty and summer is the time to highlight some of the most gorgeous spots around. And if you are anything like us, every time you hear Tim Allen’s voice urging you to check out the many tourist spots in Pure Michigan, you almost can’t believe someplace so close could be so incredibly beautiful. So we’ve singled out some of our favorite spots for girl’s getaways, local destination wedding locales, and daytrips!


Lake-Michigan-Sunset_pz

New Buffalo Michigan:  Just about an hour and a half outside of Chicago, this is the go-to vacation spot for so many life-long Chicagoans. Perfectly perched on a grand strip of Lake Michigan, this harbor town in known for its gorgeous waterside properties, quintessential shops, and delicious hotspots for everything from ice cream to burgers and high-end seafood fare. And for those of you who are full-time city dwellers, when we say Lake Michigan, you might as well forget everything you know about our idea of the “Lakefront.”  Although we love our city water feature, this water is much more beach friendly and seemingly more accessible. This could be THE spot for a scenic semi-destination wedding or a perfect firl’s getaway bachelorette party weekend! Our friends over at Glossed and Found recently feature New Buffalo in their annual vacation issue and listed the following as must-see, must-try and must-stay picks!

Stay: Grand Marina Resort (wow!)

Eat: Redamak’s, Bentwood Tavern, Oink’s

Geneva

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: Ahh, The Hamptons of the Midwest, right? Well, maybe not quite as pretentious, but all the same this place is gorgeous! So what’s new in LG, since this spot has long been touted as the place just north of the border and again, about an hour and a half from the city? How about the amazing Livingsocial deals from the iconic Abbey Inn and Spa? A steal for those of us who know how ideal the setting of the Inn is located right on the water and full of charm and a top notch spa. They also are no stranger to hosting super chic weddings. This is a perennial go-to for wedding venue shopping and we must say, we wouldn’t mind being a guest and forcing ourselves to take a nice long weekend vacation!

Stay: Grand Geneva or The Abbey

Eat: Fontana Grill, Ristorante Brissago, Hunt Club

AbbeyMarina

 abbey

Gay Marriage Timeline 2013

Gay Marriage Timeline 2013

Gay Marriage Timeline 2013. Issues like equal rights and gay marriage are ever growing and developing, often with a long and detailed history of pivotal events behind them. To coincide with the new ruling against the Defence of Marriage Act (DoMA) in the U.S, we have created an up-to-date timeline documenting the LGBT community’s battle for equal marriage rights so far.

The U.S Supreme Court has recently attracted a lot of attention for its involvement in a movement of increasing momentum as, though opinions were divided, the majority ruled against a law defining marriage as a strictly heterosexual process, giving hope of more rights for many same-sex couples.

This is the latest milestone of a journey that dates back thousands of years, as our timeline shows; the fight is perhaps not over but another important step has been made as opinions slowly turn and support gathers. To those fighting for their rights, we salute you!

Due to the recent news, SimplyBridal has revamped our Gay Marriage Timeline for 2013, new and exciting changes are constantly occurring in the LGBT community. We are so excited to be covering it them, and reminding people of the long struggle for equal rights. Chicago Gay Wedding DJ.

Gay Marriage Timeline 2013

3 Ways to Avoid Wedding Day Regrets

3 Ways to Avoid Wedding Day Regrets

3 Ways to Avoid Wedding Day Regrets. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but you’re wedding day will go really fast. When it is all over with, you want to be able to look back and know that you made the most of the day and captured as many memories as possible. While planning the wedding, it is easy to get caught up in the budget and traditional must do’s, but there are some reoccurring things that brides often say they regret. Here is how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

Splurge on the videographer

Most couples skip the videographer due to budget restraints. They figure the photographer will capture all the major moments, so there is no need for a videographer. The truth is photos don’t let you relive your tear-filled vows, or re-listen to the speech given by your best man or let you re-watch your best friend’s attempt to do a split on the dance floor. If you can’t afford a videographer, at least ask someone who is good with a video camera to capture some of the most important moments.

REM Video Photography

R.E.M. Video & Photography

Don’t only order a few prints

Photographers offer a variety of packages with the option of prints, a disk with all the photos, or a combination of the two. Even if you decide to have the photographer print and assemble your wedding album, you should splurge on the disk with all the images. It can be overwhelming to choose from all the pictures and you might later wish you could print other images you didn’t originally choose.

whaley picture

Timothy Whaley & Associates

Take plenty of family photos

You may be tempted to rush through photos so you can enjoy the cocktail hour and start the reception, but don’t forget to take plenty of family photos. It isn’t that often that you have the whole family together (with everyone dressed up), so don’t miss the opportunity to get some great pictures.

hazelton photography

Hazelton Photography

These are just a few of the regrets brides often have. The key to avoiding regret is taking the time to enjoy every moment and capturing as many memories as you can so you always remember your special day. While you don’t want to blow your entire life savings on one day, you do want to make sure it is special, so do the things that are most important to you.

What’s in a Name?

The time honored tradition of a woman taking her husband’s name once they are married is a beautiful way to mark your entrance into a new family and for a couple, the beginning of your own family.  For years now, the options of how , when and if you change your name at all leave a lot of room for personal decision.  Whatever you choose to do, whether you change your name or keep your maiden, both are more than acceptable by today’s standards.

maiden name

If you should decide to change your name, the task can be daunting. We have pulled the latest to-do checklist to help out our brides and get them organized for legally binding themselves to a new husband AND a new name. But, before that, we have a few new ideas and maybe even a few compromises for those brides who are on a the fence.

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  1. Don’t change. Whoever says you HAVE to have the same name as your husband is seriously living in the dark ages. Women are heads of households and heads of corporations- either way they have earned their right to keep the name that helped them get there. For professional reasons, a lot of women simply don’t have the option to change their name due to years of hard work and PR to gain name recognition in their respective fields. Many doctors, lawyers, and well known figures opt to keep their names professionally and change their name for things like banking, tax filings, and personal use. Others go for a hyphenated version of their name where both names are proudly represented.  Which brings us to our next option…
  2. When in doubt- Hyphenate! Hyphenating your name is a very modern way to go and can be quite convenient if you decide to share both of your last names with your kids.  The hyphenate 2 last names almost become like one name for your entire family and equally represents both sides for your children to carry on.
  3. Name change Anniversary gift? We have heard of many women changing their name on their first, fifth or even tenth anniversaries! We think this is a really cool way to honor your husband and show the journey to becoming one.  Some gals also like the idea because they want to really emphasize the importance of giving up their name for their husband’s and also marking the big accomplishment of the years they have already put in.

And here is our name-changing checklist courtesy of The Knot ( For whatever way to decide to go!)

1. Get your marriage license 
Before you can change your name, you’ll need the original (or certified) marriage license with the raised seal and your new last name on it. Call the clerk’s office where your license was filed to get copies if one wasn’t automatically sent to you.

2. Change your Social Security card 
Visit the Social Security Administration’s website and fill out the application for a new Social Security card. You’ll keep the same number — just your name will be different. Mail in your application to the local Social Security Administration office. You should get your new card within 10 business days.

3. Change your license at the DMV 
Take a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a new license with your new last name. Bring every form of identification you can lay your hands on — your old license, your certified marriage license and — most important — your new Social Security card.

4. Change your bank accounts 
This one’s a biggie, especially if you’re setting up a joint bank account, or if you have one already set up. The fastest way to change your name at your bank is to go into a branch location — bring your new driver’s license and your marriage license. You should request new checks and debit and credit cards on top of changing the name attached to your accounts. Something to note: You might get hit with fees for requesting a new debit card.

4. Fill in the blanks 
Once you have a social security card and driver’s license in your married name, other changes should be fairly easy. Some places only require a phone call; others may ask for a copy of your marriage certificate or social security card. Be sure to notify:

Employers/payrollSS card
Post office
Electric and other utility companies
Credit card companies
Schools and alumni associations
Landlord or mortgage company
Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
Doctors’ offices
Voter registration office
Investment account providers
Your attorney (to update legal documents, including your will)
Passport office

 

Don’t Be a Bride-to-be Who Misuses Social Media

Social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family and to share and find ideas. However, there are always those people who abuse social media and annoy their followers. If they aren’t careful, brides-to-be can easily become that friend. Here are a few ways to avoid becoming the annoying bride on Facebook.

Wait to Change Your Relationship Status

Of course you are excited to change your status from “in a relationship” to “engaged,” but don’t do it too quickly. Make sure you share the news with close friends and relatives before posting it online. People who are important to you should hear the news from you and your fiancé not the internet.

 

Go Easy on the Ring Pictures

We know you love the new diamond engagement ring sparkling on your hand, but your Facebook friends don’t want to look at constant pictures of you modeling the rock. A close-up or two to share with friends and family who won’t get to see the ring in person is fine, but don’t become obsessed with modeling your new accessory.

Beware the Countdown

An occasional update on the nearing date is fine, but don’t be the bride who writes a countdown post every day. Also, on the day of, fight the urge to give minute by minute countdowns. No one wants to read their news feed and find “Three more hours until I get married” followed by “Two more hours until I get married.”

Send Thank You Cards

Posting about your shower and all the great gifts is fine, but don’t forget about thank you cards. A thank you on Facebook is not the same as a handwritten thank you in the mail.

A Few Pictures Will Suffice

Everyone wants to see pictures of your big day, especially people who weren’t able to attend, but they don’t want your photos constantly showing up in their newsfeed. Create one album and fill it with your favorites. You don’t need to include every single photo.

Enjoy Your Honeymoon

After the wedding, you should be looking forward to quality time with your new hubby not uploading photos and creating a new status every ten minutes. Take a break from social media while on vacation and share some photos and details when you return. No one expects constant updates while you’re honeymooning.