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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.

Planning Same Sex Weddings

If you’re planning a same-sex wedding or civil ceremony, there are a lot of ways to adapt traditional customs to suit your celebration. Here are some tips for making your wedding day special and personal:

Walking Down the Aisle: If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of one of you meeting the other at the altar, there are ways to remedy the problem. If the ceremony site only has a center aisle, consider walking down the aisle together. If you’re planning to be escorted by a parent, relative, or friend, you can each walk down the aisle, one after the other. If the site has two or three aisles, consider entering at the same time down different aisles and meeting at the front.

Seating the Guests: Before the ceremony, designate which side of the altar you’ll each be standing on. Notify your ushers so they can seat guests on the appropriate side. Depending on the layout of your ceremony site, you can also arrange the seats to the sides of the altar to create a half-circle around you and your partner, surrounding you with loved ones.

Choosing an Officiant: While many churches and religions are accepting of same-sex marriage, you may prefer to have a personal friend or relative conduct the wedding ceremony. If they’re not ordained, fear not. There are many nondenominational or interfaith ministries that offer online ordainment. The process is relatively easy, allowing anyone to become legally equipped to perform your wedding ceremony.

Wedding Vows: The vows you recite to one another during the ceremony summarize the commitment you are making to one another. You can either opt to use traditional vows (which may require a bit of editing and tweaking) or write your own. Writing your own vows is a great way to honor the uniqueness of your relationship and express your love to one another.

Exchanging Rings: The ring is one of the most important symbols of the marriage covenant. If you and your partner have already exchanged rings and aren’t planning on adding a second ring, you may want to reenact the ring exchange during the wedding ceremony with a few words about love and commitment. Many gay couples choose to wear commitment rings on their right hand instead of on their left hand or wear a nontraditional band on their left hand.

How to Be a Great Best Man

Standing next to your buddy on his wedding day is a great honor, and assuming the role of an even greater Best Man is probably weighing heavily on your mind. Generally speaking, grooms have it easier than brides; they just have to show up, right? Wrong. Keep the tips below in mind on your friend’s wedding day; it will make his trip to the altar much smoother.

Be the buffer. There are a number of loose ends in need of tying up on the wedding day: paying the caterer, making sure the DJ is set up, coordinating the groom’s arrival time with the bride’s, etc. Whenever possible, make sure all questions and concerns bypass the groom and go straight to you. The last thing he needs is a group of people coming at him with demands. Help him out by diffusing his stress level.

Keep track of the essentials. Little-known fact: the groom is usually responsible for the essential wedding day items. While the bride has her “something old, something new, etc.” the groom is in charge of bringing the big ticket items to the ceremony, like the wedding rings and the marriage license. Avoid a wedding catastrophe by making a list of “must haves” for the wedding day and keeping track of them. Everyone involved will thank you.

Provide a reality check. It is no secret that nerves run high in the hours before saying “I do.” If the groom is looking a little peaked, pull him aside and talk him through it. If he has stage fright, remind him that the bride is the only person he should be looking at. If he’s worried about stuttering through his vows, have him practice with you a few times to loosen up. Bottom line: keep him cool and collected until he is standing at the altar. The first sight of the bride will take him the rest of the way.

Keep the bride in mind. Yes, you are there to support your friend, but supporting your friend’s choice of mate is equally important. Be respectful of the bride by delivering her fiancé at his best. Don’t plan a wild bachelor party the night before the wedding – no one wants to see the groom hung-over. If you are running late on the wedding day, call the Maid of Honor and ask her to relay the info to the bride. A Best Man is someone who minimizes drama rather than facilitating it. Bring your A-game, let the bride and groom know they can count on you, and you’ll do just fine.

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.

Ceremony Music Tips

Ceremony Music Tips

Ceremony Music Tips

Hiring Your DJ to Play During Your Ceremony Makes Sense and Saves Money. A string quartet will run you between $300 and $500 per hour. Your DJ will charge you between $100 and $300 to run your ceremony.

When it comes to planning your wedding, a lot of attention is paid to the reception part of the day, but there’s also quite a bit to be considered when it comes to the ceremony itself.  One key question you may be asking yourself is, “Who will be providing the music for the ceremony?”  If you are having your ceremony at the same site as your reception, chances are your DJ will gladly provide music of your choice for your ceremony for considerably less (or at no charge) than it would cost to hire a string quartet or other musicians.

Live music is beautiful, but when you are on a budget, prerecorded high-quality digital versions are just as effective.  Your DJ will also have the microphones needed for your officiant and any readings you may have during your ceremony.

In terms of the music, you have unlimited options.  Some couples prefer traditional music and others prefer more contemporary options that reflect their personal taste.

The following are some examples in Ceremony Music Tips:


Traditional

Canon in D
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Ave Maria
The Four Seasons: Spring
Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus
Midsummer’s Night Dream: Wedding March

Contemporary

Storybook Love from the movie “The Princess Bride”
When I’m Sixty-Four: The Beatles
Over the Rainbow: Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
All I Want Is You: U2
Lovers in Japan: Coldplay
Lucky: Jason Mraz
Into The Mystic: Van Morrison

For a great mix of traditional meets contemporary, look into the Vitamin String Quartet.  They perform classic string versions of music for hundreds of artists – from The Beatles to Guns ‘N’ Roses.

Also, be sure to check out Fred Benedetti for some great instrumental guitar selections.

To make your ceremony easier to envision, the following is a sample of a timeline including notes where a special song is typically played.

Ceremony Timeline

Guests arriving and seated by ushers (ushers distributing programs) Prelude music playing

Ceremony begins

1. Groom and officiant processional Select a Song
2. Grandparents then parents processional (Select a song – usually same song as number 1)
3. The parents will light the candles (if you decide on a unity candle)
4. Bridal party processional Select a Song
5. Bride’s processional Select a Song
6. Bride and groom give flowers to the parents (optional) Select a Song
7. Readings (this is not as popular these days)
8. Vows
9. Unity candle or sand ceremony Select a Song
10. Bride and groom recessional Select a Song