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.

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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!

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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!

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

Fido at Your Wedding

For many people, pets are like a family member, so having that pet be a part of their wedding day seems like the right thing to do. But are you and your pet ready for your wedding day? Here’s a few things to consider before you and Fido walk down the aisle:

Your Pet’s Temperament:  Is your pet easily excitable in large groups? Or have they mastered sitting on command? A wedding will be a new experience for them so be sure they will be able to behave and not make a scene on the big day. Even though you may want your pet there, they may feel more comfortable at home.

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Check With Your Venue:  It’s important to make sure pets are allowed at your wedding venue before you start planning their grand entrance. If having your pet be apart of your day is a must-have, you may need to consider pet friendly places only when you are in the planning stages and picking a venue. This is definitely an area where you must plan ahead.

pets welcome

Check With Your Guests:  A lot of people have allergic reactions to certain types of pets, so informing your guest beforehand that your pet will be apart of the wedding will help those guest to take the necessary precautions.

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Preparing Your Pet:  If all is a go with Mr. Whiskers, then it is essential to prepare him for the day. If you are having him wear some type of clothing, or plan on strapping a ring pillow on his back and walk down the aisle, it’s best to start practicing weeks before the wedding day. If possible,  take him to the venue and allow him to get use to the new space. Allow your pet enough time to get use to his role and reward him with treats for being well behaved.

dog weddingJoe Mikos Photographers

Hire a Pet Handler:  This can be someone that you know or a professional, but having someone at the wedding that is responsible for your pet is vital. You will not have the time or  energy to worry about your pet during the rest of your wedding commotion, so having a person assigned to your pet will make the day go much smoother.  Make sure the pet handler has everything they will need to properly care for your animal on the day, including a home to take them to when the celebrations are over.

pet wedding

Wedding Programs 101

The wedding programs can be a creative detail that also helps guests feel like active participants in your wedding ceremony. The opportunity for creativity and personalization are endless, but here are a few tips on how and why to create wedding programs:

What They Should Say:

Ultimately, what you do or don’t include in your wedding programs is up to you. Some couples opt for a simple, one-page list of the wedding events, while others use wedding programs as an opportunity to get personal and creative. Consider adding some or all of these details when creating your wedding programs:

  • Full names of the bride and groom, along with the date and location of the festivities
  • A full list of the members of the bridal party with the option of including a short bio, sweet or humorous, about the person’s relationship to the happy couple
  • A personalized note of thanks to the bride and groom’s families, as well as a message to all of the guests in attendance
  • Include a special mention, letter, photo, anecdote, or poem dedicated to any deceased loved ones
  • Order of the wedding ceremony, including details about specific readings or music selections
  • Explanation of traditions, rituals, or customs being performed during the wedding
  • The bride and groom’s new address
  • Favorite quotes, poems, song lyrics, or religious scriptures
  • Photos of the happy couple, the bridal party, or late family/friends that you’d like to honor

How They Should Look:

Like every other detail of the wedding, the programs should be unique and complementary to the theme. Consider adding fun embellishments or photos to them to personalize them, or get creative and think outside the box. Try making paddle fan programs for outdoor weddings, scrolls in bottles for a beach affair, or craft paper booklets for a rustic event. Use stamps, ribbons, unique papers, and colored card stock to add personalized touches.

How They Should Be Made:

Wedding programs are a great DIY project that is easy and can help you stick to your wedding budget. Ask everyone to pitch in by scheduling an arts-and-crafts night for a group of creative girlfriends. By creating specific stations and an assembly line, you can get all of your programs made in no time. If you’re looking for something slightly more structured, consider purchasing a print-at-home kit from a local paper or craft store with guided instructions on how to design and assemble programs. Lastly, if you don’t have the time or energy, you can pay to have programs designed and made at most stationery stores.

How They Should Be Distributed:

How you arrange and hand out programs is yet another opportunity to be creative and thoughtful. Assemble them inside baskets, tucked into wooden crates, laid along trays, or sticking out of pails—whatever complements your wedding theme. Having a close friend or family member pass them out as guests arrive adds a personal touch and allows you to incorporate another person into the wedding festivities. You can also have programs laid out on seats when guests arrive.

Outward Facing Ceremony

Your wedding day has arrived, your friends and family have gathered to share in the celebration, and they spend the entire service staring at the back of your head. If you’ve ever attended a wedding as an average guest, you know that you spend the majority of the ceremony seeing the backside of the wedding party and the expressions on the officiant’s face. Change things up a bit and let your guests get a good look at the happy couple with an outward facing ceremony.

What is it?

Basically, instead of standing with your back to the crowd, you and your spouse-to-be face them. The minister or officiant stands in front of you or below you (if you’re on a raised platform or alter) and conducts the ceremony with his/her back to the crowd while you are able to see (and be seen by) your guests.

Why it’s great?

For starters, it gives your guests a chance to truly witness the wedding ceremony. They can see your facial expressions and the reactions of your bridal party to every part of the wedding ceremony. It also prevents guests from straining to hear your vows, especially if you’re not miked, and it allows them to experience the emotion accompanying those sacred words. An outward facing ceremony doesn’t only benefit the guests, though. It also allows you and your spouse-to-be the opportunity to really take in the moment. As you look out over a sea of faces, you’re seeing the men and women who love you, have supported you, celebrate with you, and will be an active part of your life as a married couple.

Personalized Wedding Vows

Not only is it incredibly romantic and meaningful to write your own wedding vows, they can add a personal touch to your big day and sprinkle the ceremony with laughs or poignancy. If you and your soon-to-be spouse are thinking about crafting your own wedding vows, follow these five easy steps:

Step 1: Get Approval

Before you get started, be sure that your wedding officiant will allow original vows. Certain denominations require traditional vows, so before you do all the work, ask if personalized vows are permitted. Often, houses of worship will allow you to combine traditional vows with your own written vows. Regardless, be sure to let the officiant review your vows before the big day.

Step 2: Establish Expectations

While it’s understandable to keep certain aspects of your vows under wraps until the wedding, it’s important to discuss your expectations with your fiancé before the big day so you’re both on the same page. Some couples opt to write their vows together to guarantee cohesion and eliminate any potential for disappointment. If you do decide to write individual vows, discuss the length and style ahead of time to guarantee vows that are similar in style and depth.

Step 3: Determine Your Style

Like every couple, every wedding is unique and it should be a reflection of your individual personalities. Original vows are a wonderful way to add a personal touch to the wedding and create a certain atmosphere. Some couples take a light-hearted approach to vow-writing, crafting promises that are humorous and charming, while others opt for something more traditional, serious, or romantic. Whatever your preference, decide on a voice that’s fitting for you as a couple and write vows in the same tone.

Step 4: Create an Outline

To guarantee cohesion between the two sets of vows, establish an outline that you and your fiancé can both follow when writing. Structure, length, and flow are an important part of the vows. Talk about how you might want to organize your thoughts so that they make sense and complement each other’s. For example, begin your vows with a personal anecdote about your relationship, a story of how you met, or when you knew you were in love before moving onto your promises and commitments.

Step 5: Get Help!

There’s nothing wrong with seeking a little assistance when it comes to writing your vows. This is one of the most important moments of your life: you want it to be perfect! Find a trustworthy friend or relative to read over your vows and give you honest feedback. Or go online and find samples of vows that you like as inspiration for length, layout, and voice.

Wedding Vow Prompts

Writing your own wedding vows can be a daunting task so we’re here to help! If you’re stuck on where to begin or can’t seem to figure out what’s important to say, start by answering these 20 questions to get the creative juices flowing:

How did you meet him/her? What was your first impression? What went through your mind the first time you saw or talked to him/her?

At what point did you first realize you had fallen in love? Did a specific event trigger the revelation? How did you react?

How have you changed as a result of the relationship? What has your partner taught you about life, love, or yourself?

What new things have you experienced thanks to your mate? How has he/she changed your worldview?

What is the thing you miss most about him/her when he/she isn’t around?

How do you envision your future together? Where do you think you’ll be in 10, 20, or 40 years?

What facet(s) of your partner’s personality brings you the most comfort, joy, encouragement, or security?

Is there a movie quote, song lyric, or book excerpt that reminds you of your relationship or sums up how you feel about him/her?

What do you love most about your mate? What are the things you hope he/she will never change about themselves?

What moments in your relationship caused you to see your mate in a new and surprising way? At what moments have you been most impressed with his/her character, outlook, or response? Has your bond been strengthened by any difficult or harrowing experiences?

What goals or values does your partner have that you admire or respect?

In what ways does he/she inspire or encourage you to be a better person?

What unique promises can you make to him/her? Beyond vowing to love, honor, and cherish, what are some specific tasks or commitments that you’re agreeing to in marriage?

How will you make your mate a better person? How will he/she make you a better person in the future? What will be better about you as a married couple?

Why do you want to marry him/her? What unique things will he/she bring to the marriage?

What made you realize he/she was The One? How did you know you wanted to spend the rest of your life with this person?

How will you strengthen and protect your marriage? What will you do to make it stronger in the coming months and years?

What are you most excited about as it pertains to married life? What things are you looking forward to as a husband/wife?

What are your expectations of marriage? What do you hope it will look and feel like?

In what ways will you show your love, devotion, and faithfulness to your partner throughout your marriage?

The Herrington Inn

Selecting a Venue: Questions to Consider

Choosing the venue for your wedding ceremony and reception is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the wedding planning process. Not only does the location set the vibe for the entire wedding, it will also influence the date of your nuptials, the size of your wedding, and the decorative theme of the day. As a result, you should choose a venue carefully. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you set out to select the perfect setting for your I Do’s…

Home or Away? First and foremost, you have to settle on a city before you can choose a venue. Do you plan to get married in your hometown, your current city of residence, or do you want to plan a destination wedding?

Indoor or Outdoor? When you picture your magical day, are you dancing the night away under a canopy of stars or twirling around a marble dance floor under the dim glow of a chandelier? Are you beachside and barefoot or cozy and covered? Choosing between an indoor or outdoor wedding will instantly edit your options for possible rentals.

Large or Small? Is your heart set on an intimate gathering of close friends and family or a massive party of merry well-wishers? Before even considering a venue, think about whether your guests would even fit inside or if the size of the place would make your close-knit nuptials feel sparse and empty. Put together a rough idea of a guest list before previewing venues to ensure that you’re only considering places that are properly sized.

Ceremony, Reception, or Both? Choosing a locale that can accommodate your wedding ceremony and reception often saves time and money, but it can also eliminate several locations you might love. Figure out what’s most important to you before settling on a decision. Did you always dream of getting married in your family church? Do you envision yourself driving away from the ceremony with a lavish send-off? Or would you prefer to get the party started right away just a few steps from the ceremony? Whatever your desires, it’s important to know how you plan to use a venue before you start considering one.

Formal or Casual? When you picture your wedding day, is it all luxury and sophistication or comfort and charm? If you’ve got your heart set on fancy formality, scope out hotel ballrooms, lavish country clubs and resorts, or opulent historic homes. For a more relaxed atmosphere, consider local gardens or parks, a private residence, or an unexpected interactive locale, such as a museum, zoo, or art gallery.

Deciding on a Destination Wedding

One of the first—and most important—decisions you need to make about your wedding is where to hold it. There are a number of factors that weigh into this decision including your budget, guest list, location of friends and family, and residence of the bride and groom. A destination wedding gives you the opportunity to hold your nuptials anywhere in the world, but is it right for you? Here are a few factors to consider…

Dream Locale: The most appealing benefit of a destination wedding is that it affords you the opportunity to have the celebration in a location of your dreams. Whether you’ve always envisioned your wedding ceremony along a romantic beach, in a boisterous city, amid a foreign countryside, or atop a snow-capped mountain, your wish can come true. You can literally choose any place, near or far, for your upcoming nuptials.

Intimate Ceremony: If you secretly long for a small, intimate gathering, a destination wedding is definitely the way to go. Due to costly travel expenses and time off work, you can expect only the closest and most committed of your friends and family to make the trip. However, one thing to consider: if you come from a particularly wealthy family or circle of friends, you may garner more interest than most brides anticipate when planning a destination wedding. Don’t extend an invitation to someone that you don’t wish to attend your ceremony in the hopes that they’ll RSVP no.

Budget Concerns: A destination wedding can prove to be a costly alternative to a lavish and large hometown affair. However, the cost for a destination wedding can add up rather quickly. Depending on the location, length of stay, and whether or not you’ll be paying for any guests’ accommodations, the bill can tally up faster than you expect. Carefully plan out a budget and check on pricing before making a firm decision. Also, be sure to research any additional (hidden) fees associated with the wedding ceremony. Some resorts or locales have strict requirements on conducting wedding ceremonies that come with a hefty price tag. Wedding Budget

Friends/Family’s Feelings: One thing that’s especially important to consider, especially if you or your fiancé come from a large extended family, is how a destination wedding will impact your loved ones. Yes, this is your wedding day, but it’s also important to your friends and families too. Before deciding on a destination wedding, consider whether or not it will severely hurt the feelings of those you love. If you decide that a destination wedding is your dream, consider the possibility of hosting a small hometown reception after the honeymoon for anyone who was unable to make the trek to the wedding.

Wedding Vows

Writing your own wedding vows can be an incredibly romantic gesture and a creative way to make your ceremony unique. While personalized vows can make the nuptials more touching, they can also add to the stress leading up to the big day. If you and your fiancé are planning to craft your own vows, discuss it ahead of time and devise a plan.

Before you begin writing, make sure personalized vows are accepted by your officiant. Certain denominations require couples to use traditional vows during their ceremony. Once you get the green light, talk to your fiancé about your expectations. A lot of couples decide to write their vows together for cohesion. Writing your vows together will take the pressure off of each of you to live up to the other’s expectations. Plus, as an added bonus, it’s a great time to join together and reflect on your relationship, love, and commitments to one another.

If you decide to write your vows separately, discuss your plans ahead of time. Determine the style, length, and outline of the vows. Do you want humorous and charming vows, or serious and romantic? Figure out these details prior to writing to ensure that you and your fiancé are on the same page. Structure and flow is an important part of the vows. Figure out an outline that you both can follow. For example, maybe begin by discussing how you met, when you fell in love, or the wonderful traits your partner possesses before moving onto your promises and commitments.

To help keep you on track and guarantee uniformity among your vows, find samples online that you like. Use them as a reference for length, layout, order, or voice. Be sure to set aside an ample amount of time to compose your vows. This is a great opportunity for you to publicly profess your feelings, adoration, and devotion to your soon-to-be spouse. Give yourself enough time to gather your thoughts and clearly communicate your heart to your fiancé and wedding guests. Personalize your ceremony. Ceremony readings and vows.