Prioritizing Family

Prioritizing with Family
Congratulations on your new engagement! Prioritizing family as a new bride-to-be can be stressful since you have a lot of decisions to make in the near future. Welcome to the exciting, fast-paced, chaotic, and busy world of wedding planning. Time is of the essence when it comes to planning a wedding and as cliché as it sounds, the early bird truly gets the worm.
First thing is first. You must decide what kind of wedding you and your significant other want. Is prioritizing family something you both agree is important? Do you have kids from previous marriages? The best way to gauge this is not only a discussion with your fiancé, but it is also helpful to include either set of parents – that is if they are involved or you want them to be involved. Determining the type of wedding you desire will play into everything else for your big day. Is a Sunday afternoon backyard BBQ or a Saturday evening country club wedding more the style you imagine?
Eating pulled pork sandwiches with red and white checkered table clothes lining picnic tables and Chinese lanterns glowing above your or golf course views in a giant ballroom illuminated by canned lights in your wedding color palette. So many choices…so little time.
As you can see, there is a pretty vast difference between the two soirees mentioned above. A backyard BBQ could quite easily cost less than $5,000 while a country club wedding may as well have another zero added to the earlier figure. Perhaps as much as $50,000. Aside from budget, which is a topic for another day, there are four major decisions that must fall to the top of your priority list. These four are the most crucial aspects to discuss at your family meeting include the following:
– Ceremony location
– Reception location (this may be the same location as above)
– Photographer
– Music
To secure these four, possibly two areas/vendors, you need to have a date in mind. Will you have your event during high wedding season (i.e. May through October) or off-season (i.e. New Year’s Eve bash)? These are all things to consider and should be some of the first decisions made. Prioritizing family in all these decisions can be easy if both sides of the family are willing to do whatever it takes for you both to have a great wedding day. If not, just remember that this both of your days and you can do things that make you comfortable, not the other way around.

The Second Time Around

The Second Time Around
Is this your second time around on the marriage thing? Not that long ago, popular thought dictated that second weddings should not be elaborate, formal or extravagant; rather, one should aim for smaller, quieter and more intimate. Today however, more than 30 percent of today’s weddings are second weddings and decidedly more commonplace. The focus is on celebrating two people who have found each other, discovering love again and embarking on a new beginning. In truth, celebrations can be as elaborate or as intimate as we desire,without fearing social stigma.
Announcing your engagement is supposed to be fun! When planning your second wedding, one of your major concerns will be the effect it has on your children, if involved. They should be the first to know of your decision to remarry. After all, you will be uniting two families, and two sets of children will naturally experience stress.
Your parents should be informed next, followed by your ex, if you have joint custody. Your ex may be an asset when it comes to reassuring your children about their role in the new family. The second time around can be tricky but hopefully everyone has moved on and is happy for you.
Tips:
  • Don’t wear engagement rings from the past. Once you begin planning and announcing the news, all signs of former loves should disappear.
  • If hosting your engagement party, do not expect gifts. We don’t host gift giving events for ourselves.
  • Whom to Invite? When planning your special event, realize that you can invite anyone you want to your wedding. You may want to avoid inviting former in-laws and ex-spouses, even if you’re on good terms. It could be socially awkward.

 

For a couple entering into a second marriage, wedding plans aren’t necessarily less elaborate. Many brides and grooms pull out all the stops for their second‘I do’s. If you are planning a second wedding, here are some things to keep in mind:
  • If you want to wear a traditional white wedding gown, go for it. The‘no white’rule has been abolished.
  • Registering for gifts is perfectly acceptable. If you already have all the household items you need, consider setting up a honeymoon registry.
  • If you are divorced and want to have a church wedding, check with the cleric well before your wedding date to make sure the church permits second weddings. If you get turned away, try a nondenominational minister.
  • Consider a destination wedding. They are a popular option for second weddings.
  • If you have kids, involve them. This is a great way to prevent them from feeling alienated and to help them get excited about your nuptials.

The Second time around in marriage can be a great new beginning for you and your groom!

Muslim Wedding

Muslim Wedding Traditions
Muslim couples plan weddings which reflect their unique cultural backgrounds. Muslim marriages throughout North America often reflect the diversity of the Muslim population. In the United States, only about 19 percent of Muslims are African American or Anglo American. The rest are immigrants or people with family ties to the Arabworld, South Asia, Iran, sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, and other regions in the world.
If you are celebrating a traditional Muslim wedding, chances are you will want to incorporate the following into your big day. This includes the marriage contract, a divine injunction, and the marriage banquet to seal the deal.
Al-Nikah: the Islamic Marriage Ceremony
Marriage is a solemn and sacred social contract between the bride and groom. Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. In this contract, any terms and conditions seen fit by both the bride and groom are made apart. The contract is written and signed by the bride and the groom and their two respective witnesses. This written marriage contract is then announced publicly.
Mahr
Following the contract signing, the marriage-gift (Mahr) is presented as a divine injunction. The giving of mahr to the bride by the groom is an essential part of the contract. Mahr is a token commitment of the husband’s responsibility and may be paid in cash, property or movable objects to the bride herself.
The Marriage Banquet (Walima)
After the consummation of the marriage, the groom holds a banquet called a walima. The relatives, neighbors, and
friends are invited in order to make them aware of the marriage. Both rich and poor of the family and community are
invited to the marriage feasts. It is not unheard of to have hundreds of people at a Muslim wedding.
Muslim weddings are viewed as social events that are not to be missed! Family, friends, and acquaintances are invited to celebrate the newlywed’s new life together as man and wife.

Interfaith Weddings

Interfaith Weddings: Tips and Recommendations
We’re a melting pot of different ethnicities, cultures, races, etc. and it only seems fitting to intertwine these
traditions be included in your wedding day. Interfaith weddings are a wonderful way to bring together not only yourselves but your cultures and religion too.  Whether it’s a prayer or dance, these small details can enhance your guests experience and hold powerful meaning for the two of you.

 

While the obvious differences in an interfaith marriage should be discussed way before your wedding day(how to raise the children, what do Mom and Dad think), in the engagement period you need to go over any conflicts the two of you have.
DO
– Have family members from each side read a blessing or prayer from their religious tradition.
– Provide translations of any rituals performed in other languages.
– Conduct a“unity”ritual from both faiths, such as the sharing of a cup of wine (Judaism), lighting a unity candle (Christianity), wearing crowns (Greek Orthodox) or hand fasting (Celtic).
– Illustrate each family’s support by having both sets of parents walk their children down the aisle.
– Determine who will officiate the wedding: Some interfaith couples opt for two clergy members, one from each person’s faith, to perform the ceremony. Others look for interfaith officiants who haveperformed interfaith weddings in the past.
DON’T
– Step on toes: respect each family’s strong ties to their own religious traditions and tactfully and carefully explain how rituals from both heritages will be included.
– Forget your guests: describe the different religious rituals in your program and provide translations.
– Try to do too much: you can’t replicate the entire wedding ceremonies for each tradition; your guests will be bored or confused and your ceremony will lose some of its intensity. Careful editing of the ceremony elements is pertinent to a good ceremony.
Creating an interfaith wedding that is meaningful,memorable and perfectly you starts focusing on personalizing the ceremony to reflect the needs, beliefs, and values of you as a couple and your families.

Courthouse Wedding

Five Details That will Make a Courthouse Wedding Special
Couples that opt for a courthouse wedding typically are looking to either save some loot or don’t want to be bothered with the minutia of details. A small wedding at a courthouse or city hall can still be special,romantic, and fun. You should still feel like a bride- so dress the part! You don’t have to spend a lot, but the ideal attire for the bride is a white or ivory dress to the knee. There are many fabulous options. Most bridal gown designers have at least one or two short gowns in their collections, and some even have entire collections devoted to short dresses, such as Amsale’s Little White Dress. A hot white suit, a la Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City marriage is another option.
Still yet, you can always wear a dress that makes you feel beautiful and special that’s already in your closet. Invite your closest, most significant friends and family to help support you. A courthouse wedding does not necessarily mean an elopement. You might very well wish to have at least your immediate family and a couple of close friends there to witness your vows. The entire ceremony may not last much longer than a few minutes, so it would be a little strange to pack fifty people into a judge’s chambers to see it.
Invitations for a small gathering or reception are a nice touch for groups more than 10. You will definitely want to have some sort of celebration after your ceremony. Couples generally opt for a limited menu and a selection of beer and wine served at the tables. It can be very pleasant and also very affordable. Naturally,the hosts will pay for everything, just as they would at a more traditional wedding reception.
If you can afford to hire a professional photographer,that would be ideal. If not, at least have one family member with a good eye who is designated to capture the key moments of your wedding. You will certainly want to have some beautiful photographs to remember your special wedding day.A DJ is not necessary, but perhaps an iPod playing some soft music or if it’s possible, hire a pianist or violinist to play some soft,ambiance music.
With these small touches, you can still have simplicity, keep the budget low, and enjoy your special day with the most important loving, supportive people around you on your new journey of marriage.

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.”

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.


Woodland Weddings

Woodland Weddings
A reoccurring trend for this year has been Woodland weddings. Whether it’s a destination or just in your backyard, summer is a perfect time of year for this trendy theme! Brides, you can bring the outdoors inside with simple touches like branch center pieces and combining natural colors like whites, olives, golds, silver and jewel tones.
We are also loving how affordable mother nature can be! If you have a special tree, why not consider getting married under it? Or had a great memory in a park or forest preserve, why not check out that space as the venue for your ceremony? Weather is certainly something to consider so if you’d rather not chance it, then bring the beauty to your tables, chairs, décor or bouquet. Deep plum colors contrast very well with beige and brown, making your decorations pop.
You can even think about making the food match the Woodland wedding theme with a s’mores bar! Go have fun with summer colors and if you’re a more rustic bride but don’t want the standard barnyard, then consider the Woodlands wedding theme.
Asian Fusion

Asian Fusion

Asian Fusion

While the mixing of cultures in America is a given, sometimes fuses these traditions can be tricky. But, they don’t have to be – let’s take a look at customs that you can incorporate into your big day that is both Asian Fusion and American.

From China to Japan to other Asian countries, each culture has their own set of customs that have been passed down from century to century. Some modern couples opt to do two ceremonies, one honoring their parents and traditions, and one that is more modern to suit today’s culture of weddings.
In Chinese tradition, the wedding date is picked carefully according to astrological signs and birth dates, and the ceremony begins on the half hour to cement the couple’s good fortune. Chinese weddings are chock-full of colorful customs, often accompanied by the sound of firecrackers and gongs. Many modern brides change their bridal outfit up to three times! Who wouldn’t want more than one spectacular dress to debut? The three dresses include a traditional white dress, a traditional Chinese bridal dress for the tea ceremony, and a cocktail dress to send off the guests.

In Japanese culture, there are many symbols and customs ingrained in their wedding traditions. While the Western custom of exchanging rings has become increasingly popular over the years, the ritual of “san-san-kudo”, the three by three exchanges are rich with meaning. It is performed by the bride and groom and both sets of parents; each person takes three sips of sake from each of three cups. The first three represent three couples, the bride and groom, and their parents. The second three represent three human flaws: hatred, passion, and ignorance. “Ku,” or nine is a lucky number in Japanese culture. And “do” means deliverance from the three flaws.

In many cultures such as Pan-Asian, symbols, colors, and different types of food mean good luck or fortune for the newlyweds. The different foods served all have special meanings, for example lobster might be served because redis a lucky color or clams served with both shells symbolize the couple’s union. Honoring your tradition is important, but so is staying true to your likes and dislikes of what you want on your big day. Honor is a big part of Asian culture, but what big day isn’t about giving a shout out to your parents an the people who’ve shaped who you’ve become? If you and your fiance are from different cultures, try to incorporate as much tradition as you both feel comfortable with. We guarantee your guests who are not familiar with them, will be dazzled by the Asian Fusion!
Aruba, jamaica, Oooo I wanna take ya

Aruba, Jamaica, Oooo I Wanna Take Ya

Aruba, Jamaica, Oooo I Wanna Take Ya

Are you looking to say “I Do” on a tropical island, sandy beach or private beach? Do you want a small, simple wedding? Do you want something different than the normal wedding affair? Whatever your reason, you have come to the right place. Toes in the water, tush in the sand, salty sea air whipping through your hair, these are just a few of the highlights of a beachy fun wedding. From Cape Cod to the white sandy beaches of the Virgin Islands, beaches come with some details that you need to consider when planning your love fest.

1) Pick an Off-Season Date

This may seem like a no-brainer, but pick a date in the off-season. Peak times may include Memorial Day through Labor Day. Off-peak is anything outside that window of time. The weather will still be stunning, but you’ll hear a lot more “yes” if you’re not trying to pull off a huge event in the middle of local business’ bread-and-butter season. Also, they’ll probably be more flexible in off-peak pricing than if you were trying to get married over 4th of July weekend or something.

2) Privacy

Once you pick a date, you’ll need to decide if you’re going public beach or private beach. The reality of getting married on the beach is that beaches very rarely offer the same freedoms as private property. Also, some people have serious aversions to sand, and consider it a glorified form of dirt. But beach weddings are possible, and not all of them require you to throw a large chunk of cash at an all-inclusive beach resort place.

Also, keep in mind that you may have a lot of gawkers that watch your wedding on the sidelines. There is really no way to avoid this unless you have bouncers or something.

3) Permits

If you choose a public beach, literally memorize the city ordinances governing that beach. Some beaches require permits for bonfires, food services, etc. Also, know THERE IS NO WAY TO AVOID OPEN CONTAINER LAWS. This may depend on the state, country, etc that you are having your beach wedding at, but know this could be a costly mistake if not adhered to.

According to many travel and wedding magazines the following 10 spots are the best locations to get hitched on the beach, in no particular order:

  1. Petit St. Vincent, Grenadines
  2. East Hampton, NY
  3. Watch Hill, Rhode Island
  4. Coronado, California
  5. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui, Hawaii- Kapalua.com
  6. St. Tropez, South of France
  7. Sitges church, Catalonia, Spain
  8. Mount Irvine Bay, Tobago
  9. White Beach, Boracay Island, Philippines
  10. Anse Chastanet, St. LuciaAruba, Jamaica, Oooo I wanna take ya