Are You Ready For Marriage?

Must-Ask Introspective Questions Before Your Wedding

Ask yourself these essential questions to determine whether you’re emotionally prepared for the wedding and, more importantly, for marriage

A newly engaged woman certainly has a lot on her wedding planning checklist: Floral schemes? Check. Fabric swatches? Check. Vegan menu options? Uh..check. Emotionally prepared for wedding and marriage?……….Uh, am I?

Engagement and marriage is one of the most significant psychological transitions in our lives, packed with an assortment of tangled feelings. An engaged woman must face these internal details if she ever hopes to arrive at the altar psychologically prepared to say “I Do.” But instead, the “essential” details of planning a wedding monopolize the thoughts of even the most consciously aware brides. So let’s tear ourselves away from the 5th revision of the seating chart for a moment to ponder just what it means to get married and emotionally prepare for a wedding. Bring your focus back to the real you, and ask yourself these introspective questions before the big day.

To Prepare Emotionally for Your Wedding Day – Ask Yourself:

1. How do you plan to cope with the added stress that comes with planning a wedding?
Your to-list doubles the moment he pops the question, so some added stress is to be expected. Take a deep breath, and mentally prepare for the whirlwind that’s to ensue. As you do this, tell yourself that a little added stress is ok – but losing sight of what’s really important is not.

2. Who will be in your wedding party?
Choosing the women who will surround you on your wedding day is one of the most important wedding-related decisions you will make. This milestone marks a profound personal transformation, and the women by your side on your wedding day should calm and sooth.

3. How can your loved ones best support you throughout your engagement and on your wedding day?
What type or level of support will you rely on during this transitional phase? Will you need help with wedding planning details, or are you looking more for support on an emotional level. After you have explored your wishes, you should share them with those around you.

4. What are you happiest about when you think of your wedding day?
How can you make the most of this excitement and revel in it?

5. What is your biggest fear when you think of your wedding day?
How do you plan to cope with any wedding day jitters or potential mishaps?

6. How do you want to feel on your wedding day?
In such an overly stimulating environment, many brides report having to be perpetually “on” during their wedding, instead of being themselves in the moment. What are your expectations for how you will feel as a bride? How will you deal if the reality differs from these expectations?

Now Dig Deeper – To Prepare for Marriage – Ask Yourself:

7. Why are you getting married?
It’s natural to get swept away in the excitement of getting engaged. But before hopping on the wedding planning fast train, take some time for a gut check and evaluate the reasons behind your engagement. Are you really in love with your fiancé? Marriage for any reason other than love – such as a ticking biological clock, financial security, family appeasement, or to avoid being the last lone single in your social circle – is a bad idea.

8. Do you stand to lose more than you gain?
Look at the cost of your current relationship and potential marriage. If you have to sever ties with friends and family or give up a flourishing career, for example, the cost is too high. Once the idea of being married wears off, reality – and resentment – will set in, and your frustration will grow like a cancer to your marriage.

9. How do you see your personal relationships changing after marriage?
Be prepared for marriage to impact the key relationships in your life. It’s natural for your relationship with your parents, your friends and your fiancé to evolve with your engagement and throughout your marriage. Determine your expectations, and discuss them with others.

10. How do you see your role as a spouse?
Your identity will inevitably change after you get married. How will you transition from the role of girlfriend to the role of wife? How do you see yourself fulfilling your new role(s) as a spouse? a professional? a mother?

11. How do you feel about changing/keeping your last name?
Many engaged women struggle with the notion of the impending name change. How do you really feel? If you take his name, what are the implications for your identity? If you decide to keep your maiden name – or some combination of both – what are the potential ramifications?

source: elegala.com / wikipedia



Formality Dances and Tradition

Formality Dances and Tradition

As you are planning your wedding reception, there is no doubt you will put a lot of thought into your first dance.  The song may reflect your personal taste and can stand the test of time as “your song”.   Your first dance is a moment you will never forget, but the dances that come immediately after your first dance are also important moments that require some planning.

Traditionally, after the first dance, the groom escorts his bride to her father for the father-daughter dance.   Most of the time, the bride and her father rock back and forth with tear filled eyes to something like Heartland’s “I Loved Her First”, but perhaps a slow dance with your dad does not fit your style.  Remember, it’s your day, there’s no such thing as a wrong choice, there’s only YOUR choice.  Take for instance a recent wedding where the bride was a self-proclaimed cowgirl.  Prior to the father daughter dance, the bride and her father changed into cowboy boots and danced an upbeat two-step to Chris LeDoux’s “Cadillac Cowboy”.   The dance was reflective of their personal taste and unique relationship and is sure to be a moment neither of them will ever forget.

The same is true for the mother-son dance.  Don’t be afraid to customize your moment.  Traditionally, mothers and sons may choose a slow song like Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”  This is a beautiful song which usually makes its way into a wedding reception at some point in the evening, but does not necessarily need to be used for one of the formality dances.  We recently worked with a groom who wanted a less traditional song.  They selected Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like a Rock.”  As is the case with a lot of Paul Simon’s music, “Loves Me Like a Rock” is a fun, upbeat, playful tune that allows a mother and son to put a twist on the traditional slow dance.

Whether you choose a slow dance or an alternative, be sure to make the most of your special moments and don’t be afraid to customize your day and stray from tradition.

Networking Groups vs. Consumer Resources

In today’s DJ wedding market, many DJ companies boast of all their ‘professional affiliations’ as a way to establish credibility within the marketplace. As an engaged couple, determining which affiliations warrant respect is a difficult task. In this blog, we will simplify your DJ selection process by helping you sort through and understand the difference between a ‘Networking Group’ and a real ‘Consumer Resource’.

Groups Defined

As you search for your DJ, you will notice that many DJs have logos on their website that represent all of their affiliations. Each affiliation can be sorted into two main groups; Networking Groups and Consumer Resources.

Networking Groups

Networking groups (trade associations) are simply a group of wedding vendors that have scheduled meetings to discuss, learn, and collaborate with each other. There are no ‘standards’ or barriers to entry. Being a member does not guarantee the customer anything at all. When wedding vendors advertise that they are a member, customers may feel the company has more credibility because more than one vendor displays a logo on a website. Eventually, potential customers feel a sense of comfort when they see the logo.

For example, The ADJA (American Disc Jockey Association) is a networking group that thousands of DJs have embraced. Many DJ companies proudly advertise the ADJA logo on their websites because many customers like to see professional affiliations. Yet, the organization itself does not have any credible standards for membership. To become a member, all you have to do is pay their membership fee. The ADJA is not a credible resource for an engaged couple to distinguish the quality of one DJ from another. It is only a resource for the customer to learn what questions to ask and the DJ to learn about new products and marketing techniques. The ADJA does not have any credible membership standards or barriers to entry. We actually know of two existing members of the ADJA that are banned from local area banquet facilities for inappropriate behavior. A reputable affiliation or ‘consumer resource’ will either dismiss members that are not ‘up to par’ or grade members based on some type of scale. The ADJA does nothing to guarantee the quality of members to potential bride and grooms.

For dedicated members of networking groups, their overall awareness and customer service should improve over time. Many members of networking groups do receive high levels of customer satisfaction. However, it is important to be aware that being a member of a networking group does not distinguish the quality of one member from another.

Other well known networking groups include: N.A.M.E. (The National Association of Mobile Entertainers); N.A.C.E. (National Association of Catering Executives); ISES (International Special Events Society).

Consumer Resources

A consumer resource is an organization that exists to protect and inform consumers about the legitimacy/professionalism of a business. Ratings and customer feedback are generally the platform used to evaluate each business. Engaged couples can learn a lot about wedding vendors from an organization like the BBB (Better Business Bureau). It is not that easy to become a member and their system of ‘reliability reports’ is very effective. The BBB assigns grades from A to F with pluses and minuses. A+ is the highest grade and F is the lowest. The grade represents BBB’s degree of confidence that the business is operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer concerns filed with BBB. They also have a platform to investigate customer complaints and post those issues online for the general public.

Other well known consumer resources include: The Bureau of Consumer Protection and The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

In addition, searching for online reviews is a great way to view the legitimacy/quality of your wedding vendors. Wedding Wire and The Knot are two great resources for online testimonials.

Cash Saving Tips For Your Ceremony

Great Ways to Save on Your Wedding Ceremony

Site Savings

Two in One
Many reception venues also host on-site ceremonies. The ceremony fee may be built into the cost of the reception or tack on a minimal expense.  Hosting both events in the same location will also save on transportation expenses.
Honor Your Faith

If you have a strong religious affiliation, your house of worship will likely host your wedding ceremony. This is good news for your budget, since members of the organization can usually rent the space free-of-cost (although a donation is a nice gesture).

Décor Deductions

Something Borrowed
Plan your wedding near a major religious holiday when your place of worship is decked with festive décor. “Borrowing” your ceremony décor means one less detail to plan – and one less item to purchase.

Simplfy Your Site
Overdone decorations are unnecessary for a brief ceremony. Keep décor elements simple (and cost-effective), and save the pricey arrangements for the reception – as this is where your guests will spend the majority of time. For example, strategically placed candles set a romantic ambiance and cost considerably less than flowers.

Go Natural
Cut décor costs further by exchanging vows in a naturally beautiful location. A garden wedding hardly needs additional floral arrangements, while an ornate church may be breathtaking on its own

Music Markdowns

Alternatives
Ceremony musicians can tack on an extra $500-$1000 if you’re not careful. Consider some alternatives and pocket the extra cash for your reception entertainment.

Hire your reception DJ to accompany your ceremony as well. Vendor pricing is much easier to negotiate when you purchase multiple services or package deals. Music By Design, Ltd. charges $100 for a ceremony ‘satellite sytem‘ – this compares to $300 to $500 per hour for a string trio.

source: elegala.com

5 Tips That Could Save Your Honeymoon

5 Tips That Could Save Your Honeymoon

All Inclusive Resorts May Not Be Your Best Bet

All inclusive resorts are a great idea of a lot of couples or families when traveling because they are extremely convenient and save you from the surprise you get upon check out when you have been charging cocktails and poolside snacks to your room the entire trip.  But, be sure to consider how much time you plan on being at the resort.  Do you plan on lounging in your bathing suit by the pool sipping frozen cocktails and visiting the resort’s restaurants, or are you the type of couple that plans on booking day long excursions (which may include a meal and drinks)?  If you like to explore and do not plan on spending a lot of time at the resort, perhaps an all inclusive is not the best bet.  If you do go the all inclusive route, research the food options available.  If you are paying for an all inclusive and have 7 days of fried food buffets, you may not be too happy.

Take Online Reviews With a Grain of Salt

Nowadays, we don’t buy anything or eat anywhere without reading a series of online reviews.  Websites posting consumer reviews are an invaluable resource, but should be taken with a grain of salt.  As you are researching your honeymoon, check out Tripadvisor.com, for example, for reviews on your resort/hotel, restaurants, and activities.  Don’t panic if you have booked something that has a negative review.  You never know what may have motivated that person’s review or what their expectations where.  I’m sure if you looked up your favorite restaurant in your home town, you are sure to find negative reviews.  When in doubt, consult a travel expert like viking travel.  While online reviews are helpful, they are not written by people staking their professional reputation on the outcome of your trip.

Money Matters

Find out if you need to exchange your money to the local currency before leaving.  Credit cards are usually the best bet, but it never hurts to have a little cash on hand for tips and shopping in the local markets.  You can visit your bank, which should exchange your currency for free, or you can always visit a currency exchange, which will likely charge a fee to exchange.  When it comes to your credit cards, call your credit card companies before you leave and let them know when and where you are traveling.  Most credit card companies scan for suspicious transactions and may inactivate your card if they assume it has been stolen.  Most cards are widely accepted in all areas, but it never hurts to check with your credit card company before leaving.  A couple recently told us that they traveled to Cancun Mexico assuming their Discover Card would be accepted, but it was not.  Don’t get stuck, call ahead.  NOTE: Your transactions will automatically be exchanged to US dollars, but your credit card company will charge you a fee.  Generally the fee is between 2 and 3%.

The Name Game

As an engaged bride to be, you plan for months, if not a year or more, for your wedding day and honeymoon.  If you are assuming your husband’s last name, be aware of the implications. When it comes to your travel plans, it’s best to wait just a little bit longer.  If you are leaving for your honeymoon immediately following your wedding, it is impossible to get a new driver’s license and/or passport to reflect your new last name.  The solution: book everything under your maiden name.  It’s no secret that airline security is tight and having an itinerary that does not match your ID can give you an unwelcome headache and can make it difficult, if not impossible, to travel.

Avoid The Allure of the Freebie

On your honeymoon you will encounter savvy salespeople that will offer you dinner, drinks, or a complimentary cruise in exchange for a moment of your time.  Beware: these people are trying to get you to come to timeshare presentation.  You may think, “Hey, we’ll claim our prize and sit through this, no big deal.”  Unless you want to spend hours of your precious honeymoon time wrapped up in a high pressure sales presentation, pass on these every time.  If any perk they are offering sounds that cool, book it yourself, it will be time and money well spent.

All About Wedding Flowers

Aside from the bouquet you spring for each Mother’s Day, chances are you’re a novice when it comes to flowers. However, now you are a bride–to–be planning your dream wedding, and suddenly you must make decisions on bouquets, boutonnieres, reception centerpieces and ceremony arrangements. Overwhelming? We know! Fortunately, we are here to guide you through this process so you can enjoy planning your wedding flowers without wilting from the stress. Read through these useful tips gathered from experts in the field.

Discover Your Style

Close your eyes and envision the perfect look to your wedding. Will it be formal or casual? Elaborate or simple? Bold or neutral colors? Are you a traditionalist in favor of roses or lilies, or do you favor a more contemporary floral theme incorporating grasses, fruits and herbs? Your wedding flowers are more than eye candy; they set the ambiance for the entire event. Knowing your wedding style is a start in the right direction, because you’ll want to choose blossoms that match the formality of your wedding day. Get tons of wedding flower ideas.

Pick Your Palette

Your color scheme should flow directly from your desired style. Today’s floral trends embrace an anything goes mentality, from wedding flowers in traditional whites and pastels to modern and adventurous dark hues and citrus shades. Flowers in matching shades or cool contrasts are breathtaking, but make sure they coordinate with your overall wedding theme. Choose your wedding colors accordingly, and your wedding will express your spirit. If you are still not sure where to begin, bring a bridesmaid dress fabric swatch when you meet with your florist and choose coordinating shades.

Seasonal Wedding Flowers

You know your floral theme and you’ve chosen your color scheme. When deciding on the specific blooms your want in your arrangements, be sure to consider the season in which you are marrying. Consult the following seasonal flower guide for tips.

Hiring a Florist

Even the most creative and artistic bride will benefit from a florist’s professional capabilities. Your wedding day will be full of activity, and you won’t want to spend vital hours fumbling with the wiring of each bouquet. A florist is not necessarily a budget breaker; a good one should be able to work with any floral budget. Check out Town & Country Gardens in Geneva, IL.

Your Floral Budget

Let’s face it: Determining how much wedding flowers cost is probably not the aspect of your wedding you’ve been dreaming of since grade school. You may see your floral budget as the biggest nemesis between you and your wedding flowers. If you plan wisely, however, you should have enough money to create the floral theme of your desires. Expect to spend about 8-10% of your overall budget on wedding flowers.

source: Elegala.com



first three steps of wedding planning

First Three Steps of Wedding Planning

First Three Steps of Wedding Planning

Here’s the first three steps in your countdown to “I Do!” Get started now by tackling these first wedding planning tasks.

So he popped the question…now what?

Unfortunately, for most newly engaged women – the excitement of finally finding “the one” is dampened by a hard dose of stress and anxiety. Sure, you’ll find about a gazillion wedding planning checklists out there, but they all tend to overwhelm more than they help, and all essentially fail to address the fundamental question: “Where do I begin?”

We’re here to help. After you’ve announced the exciting news and taken some time to bask in your newly engaged glow, it’s time to get cracking. Here are the first three wedding planning tasks you absolutely must accomplish before anything else.

Cross these items off your wedding checklist – and you’re on your way.

First Steps of Wedding Planning:

Step 1: Determine Your Budget

Every decision stems from the wedding budget. Before you can plan anything, you must know how much you can spend and who plans to contribute. Your budget will determine the type of wedding you can have – from how many guests you invite, to where and when you host your wedding, right down to the specific blooms in your bouquet. And with the ever increasing cost of weddings, financing the event is often a group effort; the bride’s parents no longer need to take out a second mortgage just to fund the upcoming nuptials. You’ll need to talk to your families about who will pay for what, and arrive at a total wedding budget. This complete wedding budget tracker will walk you through the process.

Step 2: Tackle the Guest List

Some “checklists” suggest setting a date and commencing other wedding plans before this step, but Elegala considers the guest count is the most vital decision after the budget. Here’s why: Capacity is one of the most important criteria in finding a suitable wedding venue – more so even than style and vision – and you must secure your location before you can successfully plan anything else. Trust us, cramming 300 people into a venue that seats 150 will not go over well. You don’t need to have the list finalized just yet, but you’ll need an estimate from both sides of the family (and yourselves) right away to avert countless planning headaches down the road.  This complete wedding guest guide will help you get started.

Step 3: Set a Site and Date

Only once you have an estimated budget and guest count can you begin searching for a place to hold your event with any accuracy. Remember – many reception sites book over a year in advance, so you really can’t decide on a wedding date until you have officially booked your venue with a signed contract. Find as many reception sites that meet your budget, capacity and overall style quotient as you can. Use our wedding reception site search to find venues in your area, and narrow down your list. Then schedule appointments to tour each wedding venue and meet with the manager. After that—it’s decision making time.

There is one wedding planning truism that we hold dear. As you may have heard it said, once you find your wedding venue, everything else falls into place. Once you have accomplished these steps, you will find the rest of your planning task list a piece of, ahem, wedding cake.

source: elegala.com

 

Wedding Flowers By Season

SpringWedding Flowers In Season

Apple or cherry blossoms
Daffodils
Dogwoods
Forsythia branches
Hyacinth
Iris
Larkspur
Lilies
Lilacs
Lily of the Valley
Pansies
Peonies
Sweet Peas
Tulips

Summer Wedding Flowers In Season

Asters
Calla Lilies
Dahlias
Daisies
Delphinium
Geraniums
Hydrangeas
Iris
Jacobs Ladder
Larkspur
Queen Anne’s Lace
Roses
Shasta daises
Stock
Sunflower
Zinnias

Fall Wedding Flowers In Season

Asters
Chrysanthemums
Zinnias
Gerbera daisies
Marigolds
Roses
Sunflowers

Winter Wedding Flowers In Season

maryllis
Camellias
Forget-me-nots
Jasmine
Orchids
Poinsettias
Holly

sources: elegala.com / wikipedia.com

trash the dress

Trash The Dress

trash the dress
Trash The Dress…Looking for a way to put your wedding stress and anxiety behind you now that the big day is over? Photographer John Michael Cooper has an unlikely remedy: trash your wedding dress. The modern photographer created a concept that’s become a nationwide trend and is stirring up a bit of controversy.

John Michael Cooper’s ” trash the dress ” idea is exactly what it sounds like. Sometime after the wedding day is over, brides meet up with their photographer or videographer for an edgy, symbolic, or disturbing film session where they literally destroy their wedding gown. Many brides who participate in the new tradition say that the destruction of their dress signifies their freedom from the stress and anxiety of planning a wedding.

Each woman’s “trash the dress” day is unique and different. Some women choose water as their source of destruction, having their photographer snap pictures as they climb into a city fountain, roll on a sandy beach, or even wade into a dirty swamp. Others choose to have their new husbands help in the destruction, opting to be cut out of the dress with scissors or a knife or, in some extreme cases, set the garment on fire. Still others have chosen to rely on nature to ruin the gown by rolling in mud, sitting in dirt, or even hiking a dusty trail.

While it’s an unconventional method to overcome wedding-related stress, many brides find the “trash the dress” festivity to be cathartic and therapeutic. They also enjoy having a unique photo or video to remember their dress rather than preserving it in a box in their attics or closets. Not surprisingly, critics find the act offensive and irresponsible arguing that if brides no longer want their dress, they should donate them to charities or less-fortunate individuals. Here is a great place to donate your dress – White Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Style Me Pretty – Little Black Book

January  10, 2011

Music By Design was selected to be a member of Style Me Pretty’s exclusive 2011  Little Black Book.

What is the Little Black Book?

Our Little Black Book is a thoughtfully edited listing of only top quality vendors. Because our style-savvy, sophisticated readers deserve a chic resource they can trust, our book is created with them in mind. Our Little Black Book offers our readers a worry-free browsing experience while our Very Important Vendors enjoy a showcase in keeping with our firm commitment to quality vs. quantity. More than simply enjoying elite advertising space, our members are a handpicked community of artistic experts. In an industry saturated with long lists of anybody & everybody, our book is the most thoughtfully edited resource on the planet: a refreshingly couture idea.

How do you choose the vendors for your Little Black Book?

The process to become a Little Black Book member is actually quite extensive.

First, they need to have been recommended by an SMP reader, a recent bride or an industry professional. We don’t simply look for a referral but rather for a passionate reason as to why a particular vendor deserves to be in the book. Perhaps the designer worked with a reader’s best friend when she was getting married, perhaps they have already designed the world’s most beautiful invitations for a particular bride and groom, perhaps an event planner that we know shares with us the one photographer that she will work with. Whatever the connection, it must be strong and based on a real knowledge of the vendor’s work.

Second, we dive head first into the vendor’s business. Their portfolio, their experience, their time in the industry. We look at press that they’ve received, we chat with their industry neighbors, we get to know who they are and why they are good at what they do. We spend hours on the phone with each vendor, getting to know them, figuring out if they are honest, have a high level of integrity and are truly devoted to their craft. For highly competitive industries, like photography, we also have vetting teams. An unbiased group of style savvy vendors who can fairly, objectively, and accurately evaluate other’s work.

And finally, after feeling completely confident that a particular vendor is fabulous, we invite them to be a part of our book! It’s an invitation only book that truly prides itself on it’s commitment to quality above all else.