Monday, December 20, 2010

You're Making Your Wedding List and Checking It Twice-What Have You Forgotten?

You're Making Your Wedding List and Checking It Twice-What Have You Forgotten?

You're Making Your Wedding List and Checking It Twice-What Have You Forgotten?
By Marilyn Woodman

Preparing for a wedding, large or small, is overwhelming! A way to combat that feeling is to break down the required tasks, divide the responsibilities and assign deadlines. Ok, all that is fine--but what have you forgotten?

A wedding is a public affair, and it's everyone's fear that somewhere, somehow, despite all the planning, arrangements, expense, and hard work, something will happen to make one or more of the principles appear foolish in public.

Let's look at a scenario for a moment. It's a beautiful day and a beautiful wedding. Everything is in place. The site of the ceremony has been decorated appropriately and beautifully, all major participants are playing their roles correctly and are properly dressed, the groom and his best man have arrived and are in place, and the wedding party are about to begin the walk down the aisle.

The music starts, and the bridal attendants proceed down the aisle. They're nervous, and when nervous, people tend to both rush and "herd." The attendants are following that instinct, and they're so close together that no one can get a separate picture of each one! The organist is trying to keep up with the fact that the attendants are in place far too soon, so she/he speeds up the music. The bride then starts to proceed down the aisle before the music has changed; the organist quickly switches the music, which now has the tempo of a rock opera. No one has been able to get photographs of the bridesmaids. The bride is beautifully dressed, but she's so close to the maid/matron of the honor or flower girl that no one can see or photograph her properly either--she's nervous too!

As the bride and her escort pass, you notice that her train, which is probably at least as beautiful as the rest of her gown if not more so, is twisted and to the side. Because in most ceremonies the bride and groom stand facing the officiant, you can see her twisted train all throughout the ceremony!

After the ceremony, the bride and groom proceed back down the aisle, followed by the attendants and the couple's parents. Because of the emotion of the moment, some of the members of the bridal party have cried during the service, and it now appears that most female members of the party, including the bride herself, has made themselves up to look like circus clowns because their mascara is running and their foundation is streaked! The guests are asking themselves if the bridal party looked that way at the start of the ceremony, because of course they couldn't see them very well--they were too close together.

There's a sudden downpour outside in the middle of the ceremony, and it doesn't let up. When the time comes for the bride, groom and wedding party to be transported to the reception everyone gets wet and soggy and arrives at the reception looking unhappy, uncomfortable, wrinkled, soaked, and with their hairdos in disarray. It's all recorded on those expensive once-in-a-lifetime wedding photographs and videotapes too!

So how can all this be prevented? First, if you don't have a professional wedding planner, you need an assistant! It should be a close friend or relative who is not supposed to be sitting in the reserved seats at the front, and so is available to help you manage the last minute necessary details. You should prepare a kit in advance of the ceremony that contains things like a needle and thread in black, white and the wedding colors, toothpaste and chalk to deal with any stains that might appear on the wedding dress, asprin and an extra pair of stockings in a neutral shade, a small bottle of water, tissues or handkerchiefs, etc.

Your assistant's first task is to hand out the tissues or handkerchiefs--almost every bridal party forgets them. She should hand these out just before the mothers and then the bridal party proceed down the aisle. The bride and bridal party can hold them under their bouquets so that they are not seen. If you hand them out any time before that, you'll find that at least one person--and more often a few people--will forget to bring theirs--and a wedding ceremony is no place to take chances! Tissues will serve the purpose, of course--but do you really want the bridal party photographed during the ceremony with tissues--perhaps shredded by a nervous owner? Men's handkerchiefs will do, and of course, pretty lace-trimmed handkerchiefs are even better--just make sure they're sizeable! You may be able to find reasonably priced lace handkerchiefs locally or online, or you can always buy men's linen handkerchiefs and hand-sew lace on them--it doesn't take that long to do.

Your helper's second task is to space your attendants as they go down the aisle. When the organist (who has used unrolling the aisle runner and the placement of the groomsmen as a cue) begins the processional music, your helper should stand to the side of the lined-up bridesmaids, using the door as a shield so that she will not be seen by your guests. While proper spacing is a matter of judgment, a good guideline is that the next bridesmaid should not proceed down the aisle until the bridesmaid in front of her is AT LEAST 1/2 way up the aisle in a medium-sized church or hall. If the church is the size of a cathedral (as in The Sound of Music), it could be 1/3 of the way. Remember--they can't start without you!

The maid/matron of honor should not start until the last bridesmaid is in place, and the flower girl and ring bearer should also not start down the aisle until the maid/matron of honor is in place, regardless of the size of the church. In other words, there should be a little more spacing between these two members of the bridal party.

The bride should wait until the first few bars of the music for the bride has been played. The organist is waiting for the placement or seating of the ring bearer and flower girl to switch music; do not rush her! Again remember: it won't start without you! Your helper is there to calm you and your escort down, wait for the music, make sure the bride is on the left,and slow you both down if necessary.

When the last bridal attendant or flower girl/ring bearer "step off" and are on their way down the aisle, your helper should slip behind the bride and her escort, again, taking care not to be seen. On the very first step that the bride and her escort take, the helper should pick up the train at least a foot but no more than two feet off the ground, and give it a "flip." This action is similar to smoothing out a sheet on a bed. The "flip" will ensure that the train will ride on a curtain of air and stay spread correctly as long as the bride keeps walking.

Next, how to handle the sudden downpour. As part of your preparations, the bride should obtain enough umbrellas (three is plenty) for the bridal couple and the bridal party. Some limousine services also carry umbrellas, but if so, they usually only have one, and you need to consider at least your bridesmaids as well. If you find that you have too many, the parents and relatives of the couple would appreciate them, too! While any color umbrella will do, white umbrellas would be lovely. Consider getting a large golf size umbrella for the bride and groom and folding umbrellas do nicely for your wedding party and parents. Your helper should have the umbrellas at the back of the hall or church near the door and be ready to hand them out after the ceremony.

Arrange to give your assistant the umbrellas and your emergency kit a day or two before the wedding, and make sure that she knows what her role will be. A good friend is priceless! Remember that she is doing you a favor. It would be a nice gesture--and one that will be remembered--to present her personally with a special and thoughtful gift at the reception, as well as your thanks. You can put the gift in a parent's car, or possibly the best man's car, in advance of your wedding day.

Attention to these little but important details can help to assure memorable pictures and a worry-free wedding day!

Marilyn Woodman is the owner and webmaster of, a wedding website that features wedding articles, books, ebooks, gifts and accessories for the bride, groom, and their wedding party, wedding ceremony supplies wedding parties, Save the Date magnets, keepsake marriage certificates, wedding and shower favors, custom candy wrappers, rolls, wine and water bottle labels, white umbrellas, blank wedding invitations, programs and other wedding stationery, wedding stationery templates, organza pouches and ribbons, and much more!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Planning Your Wedding - How To Get Organized

Planning Your Wedding - How To Get Organized

Planning Your Wedding - How To Get Organized
By Maggie Puertas

You have purchased the latest bridal magazines from your local grocery store and there are pages and pages of photos of beautiful wedding gowns, rings and articles on weddings. Some give you a brief idea of what you need to do to plan your wedding, but you're still not sure how to begin the process.

The key is to start organizing and planning earlier than later.

You first need to create a system to keep all the details in one place. You may choose to use a binder with a tab for each category you will be using. Examples of categories are: Bakery, Ceremony, Catering, Florist, Music, Reception, Photography, Transportation. An accordion file is another choice, using the same category tabs. You will be able to see each category at a glance.

Whichever system you choose, use it to keep track of all receipts, pictures, brochures, business cards etc. that is related to each category.

Once you have your system in place, you can then do some research. There are many wedding planning books out in the market, even online websites (like this one). Visit your local bookstore or library to pick up a book to help your with the entire planning process.

Find a "wedding timetable" layout. This timetable will include a list of to-do's for the entire months/year before the big day. Some of the first things on this timeline may be: Consulting with fiancé and parents to decide budget and financial support. Another may be deciding the number of guests to invite to your big day (always dependent on budget $$ available), deciding what type of wedding - formal or informal or even interviewing wedding coordinators. This timetable is a basic guideline. You can recreate on your computer to fit your wedding and time line.

Once you have an idea of all the details involved in planning a wedding and all the dedicated time you will have to spend, you can start recruiting help from family and friends. Delegate tasks to help you check off all the to-do's on your list and by the time you know it, it's wedding day.

Maggie Puertas is founder and owner of Wedding Dreamz. Offering full service wedding coordination & consulting services for brides in Northern California, SF Bay Area. We dedicate ourselves to providing a personal touch combined with detailed organization and individual attention to plan, design and coordination to fit your personalities, style, vision & budget. Visit us today at [] and request your complimentary consultation.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

How to Make Your Wedding Vows Something You'll Remember Forever

How to Make Your Wedding Vows Something You'll Remember Forever

How to Make Your Wedding Vows Something You'll Remember Forever
By Chris Simeral

If you're going the increasingly popular route of personalizing your own wedding vows, you're probably looking for some tips to make your vows as special, meaningful, and eloquent as you can. This is something that will take time beforehand so that you can prepare yourself and become completely comfortable with what you're saying. Remember, you're not just saying pretty words, you're stating your wedding vows -- words from the heart that aim to express if only a fraction of how important this bond of love is to you.

The most important thing you can do is to rehearse your vows until you know them like the back of your hand. Work towards making the words sound as though they are as natural as if you'd thought them up right there, and were speaking from that little touch of Shakespeare in your brain. This will diminish hesitancy and constant note-reading, and will give a much more heartfelt impression.

Here are some other tips:

* Come up with certain "landmarks" within your vows that will act as mental cues to help you to continue without pausing to remember what comes next.

* Rehearse your vows out loud, until you feel completely "conversationally comfortable" with them. This will make you feel secure in your words, and will help you to concentrate more on the way you are saying them, instead of just remembering what you are saying. Rehearsing your vows out loud will also help you to trust yourself more with the words you've chosen, and you will feel much less artificial when the time comes that you are saying them to your future spouse.

* Keep eye contact with your future spouse. This is not only romantic to watch for those attending the wedding, but it will be all the more meaningful to your true love. And what's more, you'll find yourself feeling the full emotional force of your words as you gaze adoringly into the eyes of the one who is gazing adoringly back at you.

* Speak clearly, and be sure of your pronunciation before you get up in front of everyone.

* Remember that you aren't the only one who is nervous. Smile lovingly, hold hands if it is appropriate, and truly feel the words that you're saying. Let your future spouse feel at ease because you love him or her just that much.

* Keep a good mental attitude. Don't think to yourself, "How am I going to survive this?" Instead, think, "This is it; I'm joining with the person I love. This is the best day of my life."

* Vary your voice tonality and speed as you say your vows. This helps you to convey energy when you need to, and when you slow down a bit, you'll show true heart.

Practice your vows, be ready to say them, and you'll find that you'll be much less frightened, much more thrilling and, above all, a true romantic. You'll enjoy yourself a great deal more and will remember this tremendous moment forever.

Chris Simeral is the creator of The Ultimate Wedding Vow Toolkit, the wedding-coordinator-approved home-study course for couples personalizing or renewing their wedding vows. Couples from all over the United States, Great Britain, Canada and New Zealand have used the kit to create truly memorable and romantic wedding vows. Sign up for the free wedding vow mini-course at

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Wedding Flowers

Wedding Flowers

Wedding Flowers
By Tenley McDonald

The selection process of your wedding flowers will usually begin with a discussion of the Bride's bouquet. You will have a choice of several basic styles. These are cascade, crescent, contemporary, nosegay, hand tied bouquet and arm or presentation style. You can better prepare for your first meeting with your florist if you bring the following;

o A list of those in your wedding party that will need flowers.

o A list of what flowers you will want at the ceremony.

o A list of what flowers will be needed at the reception, including table count, size and shape.

o Color/fabric swatches and pictures of your dress and bridesmaids dresses, if you have them.

o Feel free to also bring pictures of flowers that you like.

Your florist will also have pictures of flowers, bouquets and arrangements to help determine exactly what will create the wedding of your dreams. If your wedding has a "theme", let your florist know before the consultation, as they can prepare suggestions to fit the style of your wedding. After style, the next thing to consider is if there are any specific flowers you want.

Keep in mind that some flowers are not in season year round. The flowers that will give the best presentation are those in their season prime. Make sure you let your florist know if your ceremony and/or reception will be held outdoors. Certain flowers do not hold up in hot/humid conditions. Consider color, shape, and fragrance when selecting your bouquet flowers. A note of advice on color choice, avoid all white flowers, they do not photograph well.

It is important that you are upfront with your florist about your budget. Not just for your bouquet but for all of your flowers. Be realistic. You may want a $200 bridal bouquet, but if you only have $400 for a flower budget, you will not have enough left for 3 bridesmaids bouquets, 2 corsages, 3 boutonnieres and 15 centerpieces for your reception. Choose similar flowers to be used throughout your wedding. Using 20 different kinds of flowers will quickly increase the cost. Your florist can balance your needs with your budget. They can offer alternatives. Exotic flowers such as Orchids are very pretty, but they are more expensive. Consider more affordable flowers if you are on a budget. Don't plan your wedding near big flower holidays, such as Valentine's Day, Easter and Mother's Day. If you do, expect to pay more for your flowers. Not because the florist's want to charge you more, but due to the fact that the wholesalers charge more during these busy holidays based on growing and demand.

Once you have chosen your Bouquet you have selected the "center" of your wedding flowers. The other pieces can be used to incorporate your bouquet flowers throughout your entire wedding. The following is an example list of the flowers you may need for your "Special Day"...

o Bride's Bouquet

o Toss Bouquet for Bride to Throw

o Maid of Honor Bouquet

o Bridesmaids Bouquets

o Grooms Boutonniere

o Boutonnieres for Best Man and other male attendants in the wedding

o Boutonnieres for Father of Bride and Groom

o Corsages for Mothers/Grandmothers and/or Guests of Honor

o Boutonniere for Ring Bearer

o Flower Basket (with petals?) or small bouquet for flower girl*

o Ceremony Arrangements (can serve double duty at your reception perhaps at your buffet)

o Vase at Guest Book Table

o Centerpieces for Reception Tables (make sure you get an accurate count)

o Centerpiece for Head Table (usually larger than other centerpieces)

o Flowers or Petals for Cake Table (Flowers for Cake if necessary)

*If you are considering petals for the aisle at your ceremony, make sure your accommodations allow them. Also remember that roses with color petals will stain the carpet if stepped on. White petals are recommended for carpeted areas.

A very important detail is to make sure your florist knows exactly when and where your flowers will need to be delivered. They will also need to know ahead of time if you will need them to set up the flowers. If you have someone else handling set up, make sure your florist knows who they are and how to reach them. You will probably want your flowers to arrive at least an hour before you need them. Make sure you have somewhere safe and cool to keep them until you use them. Always leave your florist a phone number of someone you trust (preferably with a cel phone) that can handle any last minute decisions regarding your flowers.

Finally, when it comes to your wedding flowers, don't skimp! I have heard many sad stories about bride's trying "do-it-yourself" flowers or having a friend design them, only to end up with bouquets falling apart minutes before the wedding! Don't risk it! Experienced florists process and design your wedding flowers for optimum presentation and performance. Your flowers are one of the most important elements of your wedding! You want them to be beautiful. They compliment you, your wedding party, your wedding photos and provide an elegant atmosphere for you and your guests on your special day!


Tenley McDonald- Former Florist- Now Co-Owner of [] (Online Directory of Real Local Florists) Ms. McDonald has over 14 years experience in ~Consumer Relations/Marketing ~Customer Service Management ~Floral Design. Please email the Author directly for reprint permission of this article.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wedding Rings - Through the Ages and for All Eternity

Wedding Rings - Through the Ages and for All Eternity

Wedding Rings - Through the Ages and for All Eternity
By M J Plaster

The exact origin of the wedding ring is uncertain and is rife with superstition and mythology. Papyruses dating back to the ancient Egyptian civilization depict wedding rings, and historians credit the land of the Pharaohs with originating this tradition. Engagement or betrothal rings were in use as far back as prehistoric times, but the wedding ring is a relatively new tradition, and unlike the engagement ring, is steeped in religious ritual.

In ancient times, accepting a wedding ring constituted a legally binding agreement between husband and wife. The wife became property of the husband, a holding of sorts. It also represented protection to the wife--a protection against challengers seizing her legal and rightful position in a power grab.

Early Egyptian wedding rings were simple circular bands, crudely crafted from indigenous materials such as hemp and reeds. The lifespan of the average wedding ring was approximately one year. It's a safe bet that the average marriage outlasted the average wedding band, since the eternal circle signified eternal love and devotion. The circle also represented the joining of two halves to create a whole. The hole in the center symbolized the gateway to the unknown--the future. Wedding bands of ivory, leather, and other sturdy materials were crafted by those who desired a more permanent token of eternity.

Metals replaced the earlier hemp and reed wedding bands. The early Romans moved to lead, while other civilizations chose brass and copper. Eventually, gold emerged as the metal of choice. In fact, early Irish couples insisted on gold, as any other material was thought to bring bad luck at best, and constitute an illegal marriage at worst. For couples unable to afford gold wedding bands, gold wedding rings were secured for the service and returned immediately afterward.

Early crude designs were adorned with semiprecious metals in an attempt to disguise the handiwork. The color of the stones also held significance. The red ruby signified the heart, the blue sapphire signified the skies and the heavens, and the rare diamond's indestructible nature signified the indestructible bond of marriage.

Fit played an equally important role in the realm of superstition surrounding the wedding ring. The fit had to be perfect. Too loose a fit would lead to a sloppy marriage, carelessness, and even cause the couple to grow apart. Too tight a fit would doom the couple to a suffocating, painful marriage.

In ancient times, wedding bands occupied the third finger on the left hand just as they do today. The significance of the third finger was the belief that the vein in the third finger, the "vena amoris," led directly to the heart. This was a thought propagated by the Egyptians and adopted as truth by the ancient Greeks and Romans, until later disproved.

Even after the discovery that there was no vena amoris, the custom of wearing the wedding band on the third finger survived. Early Christian marriages included a ritual that landed the wedding band on the third finger: As the priest recited, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy Ghost," he took the ring and touched the thumb, the first finger, and then the second finger. When he said, "Amen," he placed the ring on the third finger, sealing the marriage. The wedding band has occupied the third finger into the 21st century, except for a short period during the Elizabethan era, when whimsy decreed that the wedding ring reside on the thumb.

Double-ring ceremonies gained popularity during World War II as young soldiers shipped off to war. The token of the marriage contract took on new sentimentality during those troubling times, and that custom remains intact today. Ceremonies differ, vows are often unique, but the tradition of the wedding band has survived through the ages, and probably will--for all eternity.

M J Plaster is a successful author who provides information on shopping online for wedding bands, wedding rings for Jewelry 4U and for Savvy Cafe []. M J Plaster has been a commercial freelance writer for almost two decades, most recently specializing in home and garden, the low-carb lifestyle, investing, and anything that defines la dolce vita.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wedding Speeches Made Easy: Wedding Speech or Best Man's Speech Tips

Wedding Speeches Made Easy: Wedding Speech or Best Man's Speech Tips

Wedding Speeches Made Easy: Wedding Speech or Best Man's Speech Tips
By Thomas Murrell

Have you ever had to give a wedding speech? As the groom or best man?

Do you remember that feeling? A knot in the stomach, sweaty palms
and a panic attack!

Not a very pleasant experience. And yet, I'm sure your wedding speech has the potential to be a great success because 90 % of a typical audience want the speaker to succeed.

Yet according to the Book of Lists, speaking in public is one of our greatest fears.

Much of this anxiety is due to a lack of confidence in writing and preparing a speech rather than in the delivery.

What are the secrets of giving a great wedding speech?

Here are 10 tips for giving a great wedding speech:

1. Have a plan and set some objectives & outcomes.
There is nothing worse than not knowing what you want to achieve. Do you
want to be funny, thank the caterers or touch the emotions of your guests? Before anything work out what you want to achieve.

2. Have a formal structure - beginning, middle and end.
Audiences love structure and the best speeches stick to this tried and true
rule. Have a welcome (especially acknowledging those who have travelled a long way to be at the wedding), have three personal stories (eg how you met your wife) in the middle and an end (eg thanking and toasting the bridesmaids).

For Example:

· Greeting/Welcome (acknowledge special guests)

· Personal Story #1 - how we met

· Personal Story #2 - most memorable moment together and why

· Personal Story #3 - funny habits and why I love her

· Something nice about the future

· Call to action: Toast Bridesmaids

3. Avoid having too much to say.
Hands up those that are guilty of this sin. I know I am. Keep your speech short at a wedding, between 5 and 7 minutes.

4. Keep it Positive.
Keep the content of your speech positive, avoid negative comments about previous wives or girlfriends or other 'black sheep' family members. Remember it is a celebration.

5. Research your speech using personal stories.
Personal stories help connect with an audience. From your deep well of life reflect on three events that demonstrate how much your care for and love your wife.

6. Keep the personal stories short.
Keep these very short and use them to demonstrate a point. Try and take people to that moment in time by describing the place, situation and even what time of day and what the weather was like. Paint the picture and take people back to that moment.

7. Have a strong opening and closing.
People remember the opening - first impressions count! The closing is important as it should reinforce the key message you want the audience to go away with in their head after they have heard the presentation. Ending with a 'call to action' can be a powerful way to get your audience to act on your message. In the wedding speech the call to action is easy, ask people to stand, then charge their glasses and toast the bridesmaids.

8. Avoid alcohol until after the speech.
You need to be on the ball. Save the celebrations until after your speech.

9. Keep eye contact and use simple notes.
Use hand cards with key points. Avoid reading a speech and keep eye contact with your audience.

10.Practice and Rehearse.
Practice the speech or at least get some feedback from someone you trust. Recording and listening back to a presentation is the fastest way to improve your skills.

Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries.

You can subscribe by visiting Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. Visit Tom's blog at

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Butterfly Releases

Butterfly Releases

Butterfly Releases
By Tammy Spivey

Butterfly Releases offer the viewer the chance to see beauty in flight. The viewers have the opportunity to experience the beauty of one of nature's most symbolic and beautiful creations.

The butterfly symbolizes new beginnings and rebirths. What better way to celebrate the beginning of a new life together than with the releasing of butterflies at your wedding. There is an old Indian legend that tells the story of why the butterfly was created. It is often read at butterfly releases as the guests make a wish and release their butterflies.
Butterfly Releases are both magical and momentous. Every release is unique and special just as every wedding, every anniversary, every birthday, and every moment of our life is unique and special. Each of us has been given a beautiful gift of life that we must take the opportunity to experience and enjoy.

Butterflies can be released from the shipping envelopes they arrive in, with every guest having their own butterfly or with only the wedding party having their own release envelope.
You may also choose to have a mass release with all of the butterflies placed in one container. Either option is special depending on the effect you are trying to achieve.

Butterflies should only be released outside during daylight hours on a sunny or overcast (not rainy) day with a temperature above 60 degrees. The butterflies should be set free no later than two hours before sunset. This allows the butterflies time to eat and find a hiding place for the night. Releases should be held in areas protected from the wind or the butterflies will quickly disappear. A warm, sunny flower filled area or garden is best.
No matter how you choose to release your butterflies, a butterfly release is a beautiful, unusual, and exciting way to celebrate your new life together.

At Butterflies Abound, we offer you the opportunity to experience Beauty in Flight. We offer Wedding Butterflies and Butterfly Releases for Weddings, Anniversaries, Graduations, Memorials, and All of Life�s Memorable Moments. Remember Your Moments and Watch Your Dreams Take Flight.


Butterflies Abound "Watch Your Dreams Take Flight"

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Monday, December 13, 2010

7 Stupid Wedding Mistakes Even Smart Couples Make

7 Stupid Wedding Mistakes Even Smart Couples Make

7 Stupid Wedding Mistakes Even Smart Couples Make
By Chris Simeral

"What in the world could they have been thinking?"

Definitely words you DON'T want to hear your guests uttering at your wedding. But despite your best intentions, sometimes things slip through the cracks. Sometimes you make a really silly mistake that, if you had just stopped and thought about it for a few minutes, never would have happened.

The problem is that many brides and grooms are so darn busy trying to manage everything else that's going on - from housing out-of-town guests to dealing with last-minute cancellations or additions to the guest list -- they simply overlook the obvious. That's when smart people wind up making really stupid mistakes. Here are seven common slip-ups that can ruin an otherwise perfect ceremony.

1. Failing to Thank the Guests

They came to the wedding. They brought gifts. They stopped and congratulated you and took time out of their busy lives to help you celebrate the joining of you and your beloved in a new life together. Don't leave the reception hall without saying thank you!

2. Speaking While Intoxicated

This one should be a new form of misdemeanor. If your wedding traditions include the bride or groom making a speech to the assembled guests, do it before you enjoy the free bar. You'll be thankful later when you watch the wedding videos, and you won't have to apologize to people you don't remember insulting.

3. Beware the Infamous "Wardrobe Malfunction"

Black underwear, white dress. It was a bad idea in elementary school, and it's still a bad idea today. Check in a mirror in various lighting situations to make sure that your dress isn't sheer or invisible in certain conditions prior to the ceremony. If you are renting a tux, check it for rips and make sure you have it fitted before you bring it home. Also, black is the only acceptable color for a tuxedo.

4. Late to the Altar

Not only is this one inconsiderate to the guests and your soon-to-be spouse, but it also wreaks havoc on your vendors. Ice sculptures melt, food gets cold, and photographers lose needed time to pose people and get those still shots for memory albums. The only reason you should ever be late to your own wedding would be something completely beyond your control - like a force of nature.

5. Running out of Food/Drinks

You made the guest list. You know how many people you expect to be there. Running out of food is a good way to make sure your guests feel unappreciated and is inexcusable. This is not the place to save money. Make sure you have enough dinner and drinks for all who are expected to attend; it's better to throw some away than have hungry guests and nothing to feed them.

6. Know Where the Ring Is Before Walking Down the Aisle

It happens more than you might think. The best man is supposed to be holding the rings, and he leaves them in his other coat. The bride expects them to be brought on a pillow but the ring-bearer is only eight and thought they were golden Barbie doll crowns. Do one more spot check for the rings before you start down the aisle and you won't have to worry about an awkward moment and a ruined ceremony.

7. Inviting Your "Ex" - Without Telling Anyone

Unless there is an extremely good reason for inviting your ex-boyfriend or ex-wife, don't do it. It makes everyone uncomfortable. A close corollary to this is not letting members of the wedding party know what your betrothed's name is (yes, it sounds unbelievable but it DOES happen). If you have not been engaged for a long time, or you recently ended a long-standing relationship prior to your wedding and your wedding party isn't familiar with your intended, make sure you introduce them. You don't want to deal with a wedding toast to you and your ex-girlfriend because the best man didn't know your bride's name!

Chris Simeral is the creator of The Ultimate Wedding Vow Toolkit, the wedding-coordinator-approved home-study course for couples personalizing or renewing their wedding vows. Couples from all over the United States, Great Britain, Canada and New Zealand have used the kit to create truly memorable and romantic wedding vows. Sign up for the free wedding vow mini-course at

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ten Ways to Have an Irish Wedding

Ten Ways to Have an Irish Wedding

Ten Ways to Have an Irish Wedding
By Jackie Duescher

Honor your Emerald Isle heritage with traditions that are romantic, clever, and a couple that are downright strange. Uncover here how to fill your wedding with all things Irish save the Blarney Stone.

Harvest Knots

According to history, Irish men declared their intentions of marriage by giving their fiancee harvest knots of straw decorated with flowers or bells to wear in their hair or around their neck. Make a harvest knot to wear on your wedding day, or place one in your bouquet to symbolize your Irish heritage.


The steps of Irish folkdances are called ceilidh. Treat your attendants to an Irish dancing lesson, and then "perform" a jig to traditional Irish music at the reception.


A way to incorporate Celtic pride into your wedding attire (besides hand-beading four leaf clovers all over your gown) is to adorn yourself with beautiful Irish lace. Known for its intricate patterns and zenith quality, wear a veil or carry a handkerchief made of this intricate Irish decoration.

Playin' o' the Pipes

Infuse your ceremony with the strains of the Irish pipes. Although bagpipes have Celtic roots, they are traditionally Scottish. For a truly Emerald Isle affair, locate an Irish uillean piper to lead the processional or recessional.

Irish Wedding Feast

The customary wedding feast in Ireland was a potluck hosted at the bride's family's home. Each guest brought traditional Irish dishes such as soda bread, coddle, and stew. Even if you're having a more formal reception, you can still celebrate this Irish tradition by having a "feast" for your bridal shower or rehearsal dinner.

The Wedding Cake

Old custom dictates that the Irish wedding cake (usually a dense fruit cake with white icing) was cut by one of the bride's sisters or bridesmaids. Where would they cut it? Over her head, of course. The bride remained seated while the groomsmen held the cake over her head while her sister or best friend did the honors. Our only concern: this tradition works best and safest when the cake is NOT a four-tiered confectionary concoction. Eeeek!

Noise Makers

A noisy way to ring in your nuptials with the luck o' the Irish is to have a recessional like those in Celtic history: instead of throwing rice upon exiting the church, men would fire rifles or other firearms into the air to signal that a couple is wed. Not your traditional exit (most churches would frown upon guns in the parking lot), if the men use blanks in their guns, and if you are getting married in an area without noise ordinances, then fire away, Irish style.

Giving the Claddagh

Two hands holding a heart underneath a crown is the Irish symbol for "Let Love and Friendship Reign". Share your Irish heritage with your attendants by giving them Celtic-inspired gifts marked with the claddagh. Give your maid of honor a candle gift engraved with the "faith ring", or jewelry made of claddagh. Buy claddagh wedding rings, or wear the Irish symbol around your neck on your wedding day as a reminder of your heritage.

Tokens of Hair

A more unusual Irish tradition is for the man to give the woman he loves a bracelet woven of human hair. Symbolic of acceptance, when the woman wears the circle of hair, she is linking herself to him for life. There's no mention of exactly who's hair it is, however, so if wearing hair jewelry gives you the heevies, see "Harvest Knots" for the same idea, using straw instead.

Lucky Dates

The traditionally superstitious Irish believed that the last day of the year is especially lucky, since the couple would wake up on the first day of their new life on the first day of the new year. Plan your wedding for December 31, the luckiest of Celtic days.

Jackie Duescher provides the customer service for Keepsake Favors as well as inspiration for many of the favor creations on the site. Jackie has a special knack for finding Irish themed favors [] for weddings other occasions, and she firmly believes that a favor doesn't have to be expensive to impress your guests.

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A Tale of Two Weddings

A Tale of Two Weddings

A Tale of Two Weddings
By Carol Bremner

Families today are spread all over the globe. When it comes to planning a wedding and including the family in the decisions, what would we do without the help of computers?. Wedding plans without the advantage of the Internet and email would be a long, difficult process.

To get my point across, let's visit the homes of Miss Modern and Miss Pre-Computer as they prepare for their special days:

Miss Modern has an idea of the venue she would like for her wedding and spends an evening doing research on the Internet. She looks at pictures of different halls, along with prices, menus, and features included. After deciding on three possibilities, she emails to ask if they will be available on the wedding date. One hall is booked, so Miss M. and her future husband will go to see both halls before making a final decision. Communication and menu changes are done by email.

Miss M. designs a database for her guest list. Additions and changes are easily made. Invitations are created using special wedding software and elegant blank cards. Easy, attractive and inexpensive.

Again using the database and a signature font, Miss M. creates mailing labels (using transparent labels) for 200 people in less than an hour. To create personalized reply cards, she uses mail merge and the computer inserts names on each card.

A relative in another country would like photos of the couple for a special wedding gift. Using a digital camera, the photos are taken and emailed in plenty of time for the gift to be made.

There are constant questions from the guests about accommodation nearby, what is everyone wearing, what do the young couple need? Emails answer many of the questions and guests are given a website for the bridal registry. Items still needed are listed here, can be purchased without leaving home and will be delivered to the reception. This is a big help to people coming from a distance.

Miss Modern relaxes while she and her future husband look at honeymoon spots - on the Internet of course. There is even an option to allow their guests to see the desired destination and give the gift of a cash contribution toward the trip!

Miss Pre- Computer, on the other hand, has had a headache for days. Too many things to do and not enough time.

After weekends spent looking at various halls, she and her fiance can't take it any longer and book the next one they visit.

The guest list has been typed out, but some important people were missed and there are duplicates on the list. Miss Pre-C is not a fast typist when she's stressed, so has to re-do the 200 guest list a number of times before it's right.

Her days are constantly interrupted by phone calls from guests with questions about the wedding. The long distance bill is growing every day.

A friend recommends a good printer for invitations, but he is out of town, and another search begins. After more stress filled days, the printer is arranged.

When the invitations finally arrive, they are beautiful, so Miss Pre-C begins addressing the 200 envelopes. Never praised for her handwriting, the last of the envelopes is barely readable. She decides to try again tomorrow.

Relatives need pictures of the couple for a special gift. The photos are mailed and after frantic calls to the post office, are finally delivered, too late to use.

More long distance calls so gifts aren't duplicated.

A frantic call from Gramma at the border. Customs officials are questioning her and are taking apart the gifts. Through her tears, Gramma explains that the 50 items had been individually wrapped.

Miss Pre-C takes a deep breath and considers eloping.

P.S. If you still need convincing, my son met his bride on the Internet. After five years, they are still happily married.

And now I invite you to join me at and to explore more of the computer world we live in.

From Carol Bremner, a computer loving member of the gray generation.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Summer Wedding

A Summer Wedding

A Summer Wedding
By Craig McGinty

The sunshine had come out to ensure the wedding of footballer Benji and his wife-to-be Sabine had the perfect backdrop. For the month before the excitement had been growing amongst the players and supporters of St Cernin de l'Herm, a village in the south west of France, as the day came ever closer. We had already been out for a meal and made the bride and groom walk around the restaurant whilst eating a banana - with no hands. A large poster of the team picture had been printed and everyone had signed it and written a good luck message. So by Saturday afternoon the junction of the small crossroads in Frayssinet-le-Gélet was busy with people waiting for Benji and Sabine to walk by.

In France many wedding ceremonies will take place in the village Mairie and then move on to the local church for a blessing. And we were lucky that the two buildings were close by so that a short procession through the village could take place. As we waited friends spread out cuttings from roses and other bushes across the pavement on the route the bride and groom would take to the church. This is meant to bring the couple good luck and fortune and in other areas of France neighbours will lay down sheaves of corn. Then the moment arrived as the couple stood at the top of the steps outside the Mairie and slowly made their way to the church, escorted by their parents.

Traffic came to a standstill as the procession of guests followed behind and walked the 150 meters to the church. In the afternoon sunshine people slowly made their way into the church filling up the pews and taking up positions in the aisle for the chance to take a picture. Once everyone was inside, and we must have numbered 200 or more, the bride and groom slowly made their way through the church.

Camera flashes lit up the dark entranceway as the couple made their way along the aisle; the organist played a tune that softly filled the church. The priest opened the blessing with a short passage from the bible and then Sabine walked up to the microphone to deliver a short speech. She thanked the many people that had turned up to see the bride and groom and that it had been an incredible day. Then the priest delivered a short prayer and a musical interlude with saxophone and accordion was played. The ceremony of the passing of the rings was undertaken with the assistance of the son of Sabine and Benji. He carried the rings up to the alter of the church in a small, padded heart shaped bag and passed them to the priest. The couple spoke a few words and placed the rings on each other's fingers as the cameras again flashed a whirred. Everyone then began to make their way out of the church waiting for the bride and groom to stand outside the church for some more photographs. But the players of St Cernin had one more trick up their shirts as we donned our kit and picked up a football each.

We made a guard of honour outside the church and held a ball high over the guests as they made their way out into the village square. But it was Benji and Sabine who everyone was waiting for. People passed around rice and confetti waiting for them to leave the church and run under the footballs, as they did the place exploded. The church bell tolled and rice cascaded down on our heads covering the players and the newly married couple from head to toe. Then it was time for more photographs, car horns sounding and the children throwing rice and confetti at each other. As the day drifted into late afternoon it was time for a small aperitif and a few nibbles in the grounds of the Mairie. Watching the sun slowly slide behind the church tower as the celebrations moved on into the night.

For more articles by Craig McGinty on living in France including tips on buying a home, the legal process and more, visit his website and live life the French way.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Extramarital Affairs: What Everyone Needs to Know and What You Can Do to Help

Extramarital Affairs: What Everyone Needs to Know and What You Can Do to Help

Extramarital Affairs: What Everyone Needs to Know and What You Can Do to Help
By Dr. Robert Huizenga

Recent statistics suggest that 40% of women (and that number is increasing) and 60% of men at one point indulge in extramarital affairs. Put those numbers together and it is estimated that 80% of the marriages will have one spouse at one point or another involved in marital infidelity.

That may seem like a very steep number. However after two decades plus of full time work as a marriage and family therapist, I don't believe that number is off the charts. I worked with a great number of people involved in infidelity who were never discovered.

The possibility that someone close to you is or soon will be involved in an extramarital affair (any of the three parties) is extremely high.

Maybe you will know. You will see telltale signs. You will notice changes in the person's habits and behavioral patterns as well as a detachment, lack of focus and reduced productivity. Maybe you will sense something "out of character" but be unable to pinpoint what it is.

It is not a given that he/she will tell you. Those hiding the affair will continue to hide. The "victim" of the extramarital affair often, at least initially, is racked with anger, hurt, embarrassment and thoughts of failing that preclude divulging the crisis.

It might be important to confront the person with your observations, depending on the status of your relationship with the person.

It is important to understand that extramarital affairs are different and serve different purposes.

Out of my study and experience with hundreds of couples I've identified 7 different kinds of infidelity.

Briefly, some extramarital affairs are reactivity to a perceived lack of intimacy in the marriage. Others arise out of addictive tendencies or a history of sexual confusion or trauma.

Some in our culture play out issues of entitlement and power by becoming "trophy chasers." This "boys will be boys" mentality is subtly encouraged in some contexts. Some become involved in marital infidelity because of a high need for drama and excitement and are enthralled with the idea of "being in love" and having that "loving feeling."

An extramarital affair might be for revenge either because the spouse did or did not do something. Or the revenge may stem from rage. Although revenge is the motive for both, they look and feel very different.

Another form of infidelity serves the purpose of affirming personal desirability. A nagging question of being "OK" may lead to usually a short-term and one-person affair. And finally, some affairs are a dance that attempts to balance needs for distance and intimacy in the marriage, often with collusion from the spouse.

The prognosis for survivability of the marriage is different for each. Some affairs are the best thing that happens to a marriage. Others serve a death knell. As well, different extramarital affairs demand different strategies on the part of the spouse or others. Some demand toughness and movement. Others demand patience and understanding.

The emotional impact of the discovery of infidelity is usually profound. Days and weeks of sleeplessness, rumination, fantasies (many sexual) and unproductivity follow. It typically takes 2 - 4 years to "work through" the implications. A good coach or therapist can accelerate and mollify the process. I don't recommend "marriage" counseling, at least initially.

The devastating emotional impact results from a couple powerful dynamics. Trust is shattered - of one's ability to discern the truth. The most important step is NOT to learn to trust the other person, but to learn to trust one's self. Another is the power that a secret plays in relationships. THE secret exacts an emotional and sometimes physical toll that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with.

How can you help?

Those in the midst of their affair crisis told me they need this from you:

1. Sometimes I want to vent, get it out without censor. I know sometimes I will say what I shouldn't be saying. It may not be nice, pretty or mild. Please know that I know better, but I need to get it off my chest.

2. Every so often I want to hear something like, "This too shall pass." Remind me that this is not forever.

3. I want to be validated. I want to know that I am OK. You can best do that by nodding acceptance when I talk about the pain or confusion.

4. I want to hear sometimes, "What are you learning? What are you doing to take care of yourself?" I may need that little jolt that moves me beyond my pain to see the larger picture.

5. I may want space. I may want you to be quiet and patient as I attempt to sort through and express my thoughts and feelings. Give me some time to stammer, stutter and stumble my way through this.

6. I want someone to point out some new options or different roads that I might take. But before you do this, make sure I am first heard and validated.

7. When they pop into your mind, recommend books or other resources that you think I might find helpful.

8. I want to hear every so often, "How's it going?" And, I may want this to be more than an informal greeting. Give me time and space to let you know exactly how it IS going.

9. I want you to understand and welcome the ambivalent feelings and desires. I would like you to be fairly comfortable with the gray areas and the contradictions about how I feel and what I may want.

10. I want you to be predictable. I want to be able to count on you to be there, listen and speak consistently or let me know when you are unable to do that. I will honor that.

Extramarital affairs are powerful. Affairs are costly. They affect family, friends, colleagues and employers. Infidelity is also an opportunity - to redesign one's life and love relationships in ways that create honor, joy and true intimacy.

Dr. Robert Huizenga, The Infidelity Coach, has helped hundreds of couples over the past two decades heal from the agony of extramarital affairs and survive infidelity. Visit his website at:

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

How to Choose a Pearl Necklace for Your Wedding Day

How to Choose a Pearl Necklace for Your Wedding Day

How to Choose a Pearl Necklace for Your Wedding Day
By Yan Berry

The elegant beauty of a strand of pearls has fascinated brides for centuries. People believe that wearing pearls on their wedding day will bring bliss to their marriage.

Pearls are classic wedding jewelry. How do you choose that perfect pearl necklace?

Here are some tips:

There are four types of pearls:Akoya pearls, Tahitian pearls, SouthSea pearls, and freshwater pearls. Akoya, Tahitian and South Sea pearls grow in oceans. They are more valuable than freshwater pearls for their rarity and high luster.

Akoya pearls are the most popular. These pearls are valued for their rich color, mirror-like finish,and appealing roundness.

As with any other gemstones, the value of pearls is determined by their quality.

A pearl's quality can be A, AA, AA+, AAA, AAA+. The last two, AAA and AAA+ pearls, have the best quality and they are most valuable. For pearls of the same size, an 'A' quality pearl necklace costs only a small fraction of AAA quality pearl necklace.

The quality and value of pearls are based upon six criteria: luster, nacre, surface, color, shape, size and matching. The educated buyer uses his or her preferences to decide which criteria are most important.

Nacre: Most buyers of pearl jewelry pay most attention to the pearls' nacre thickness. Nacre is the coating that a pearl oyster produces to cover the pearl's nucleus; it is the key to how long pearls last. You should look for pearls with nacre thickness over 0.4mm.

Luster and Surface: Luster is the amount of light reflected from the pearl's surface. A strand of pearls with high luster, mirror finish and clean surfaces is most desirable and valuable.

Color: It is a personal choice. Consider buying a pearl necklace whose color will complement your clothing and your skin tone.

Size: The price of pearls that are larger than 7mm varies greatly. People usually buy the largest pearls they can afford.

Shape: Round pearls are most desirable and valuable.

Matching: For a pearl necklace or bracelet, matching refers to the ways in which all of the pearls are similar. It is difficult to find enough identical pearls to make a well-matched pearl necklace; therefore such a necklace commands a top price.

After you have decided the type, color, size and quality of pearls that you want, think about your budget. Take your time to shop around and find that perfect pearl necklace for your wedding day!
Provided by

About specializes in quality cultured pearl jewelry including pearl necklaces, pearl earrings, pearl bracelets and Tahitian pearl pendants.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thoughts from Deik and Kim's Wedding, for You and Your Marriage

Thoughts from Deik and Kim's Wedding, for You and Your Marriage

Thoughts from Deik and Kim's Wedding, for You and Your Marriage
By Douglas Cowan, Psy.D.

Deik and Kim, remember that marriage is a COVENANT relationship. It is not merely a contract of convenience, nor a promise to live together as long as each still feels good about the other. It is a COVENANT to love and care for each other until parted by death, or until the coming of our Lord. Throughout history, covenants have been made between Nations, between Kings and their subjects, between individuals (as in marriage), and even between God and Man. When such a covenant was established, there were rights and duties on both sides, and the covenants were sealed by gifts, by a kiss, by a handshake, or by the sharing of a common meal. Today, as DEIK and KIM make their COVENANT of marriage to each other, you will see and enjoy these elements:
· they will hold each other's hands,
· they will give each other their gifts of rings,
· they will kiss to seal the covenant,
· and they will invite you to share a meal together with them at the reception. All because their Marriage is a covenant relationship of love and faith. To put this in context, back in Genesis, after the Fall of Mankind, when God was declaring His judgments, and passing out the consequences for the deception and the sin, He pointed out that one of the consequences of a fallen human nature would be that husbands and wives would have conflict in their marriage relationships, as wife would seek to take over the husband's leadership position, and the husband would respond to the challenge forcefully. God pointed out to Eve, with Adam right there listening, that, "Your desire will be for your husband, but he will rule over you." Now our first thought might be that God is telling Eve that she will have a pure love and desire for her husband, but that he will be some cave man and just want to be the boss, ruling over his wife. But that is not the sense of what God is saying. God uses the exact same phrase, the same words, when he is speaking to Cain in Genesis Chapter Four and warns him that, "Sin is crouching at your door, and seeks to devour you, but you must master it." What God is saying to Eve is that she will seek to conquer her husband, but that he will respond by mastering, or ruling over her. As a consequence for their sin, they will not have the loving marriage relationship that God had originally intended for them to enjoy. Now, fast forward several thousand years, and God gives us the remedy for this problem in marriage. In Ephesians chapters Four and Five, St. Paul gives us great instruction on how we should live in society as Christians, what our attitudes and behaviors should be, how we should treat each other. He begins this section with these words, "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling that you have received. Be 100% humble, and gentle. Be patient with each other and make allowances for each other's faults because of your love. Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace." He continues with other powerful, life-changing instructions. And then comes to the place of addressing this specific problem with marriages that we just talked about. God's remedy for the problem caused by Eve's self-centeredness, that the wife would "desire to conquer" her husband, is this... Paul writes... "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." Submission is God's remedy for a heart that seeks to be in charge and be in control.

Then, Paul addresses the husband's response of wanting to forcefully rule over his wife. God's remedy for this is... "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and willingly suffered and died for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

His summary is... "... each one of you husbands must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Paul is telling husbands that they are not to rule over their wives, but rather that a husband is to love his bride in the same way that Christ loves His Bride, the Church. And that each husband is to be preparing his bride for eternity in Heaven. So Kim, I challenge you to not allow your "inner Eve" to try to conquer Deik, but instead willingly submit to him, in the same way that Christ submitted to the Father, and work with him as the partner and lover that God always intended a bride to be for her husband. And Deik, I challenge you to love Kim with the same intensity of self-sacrificing love that Christ has for his bride, the Church - never seeking to dominate her, but rather always working to prepare Kim for eternity. And I challenge you both as a couple, to use your marriage to bless others, and to proclaim to others that "God is Love."

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of Incorporated.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How To Hire A DJ For Your Wedding

How To Hire A DJ For Your Wedding

How To Hire A DJ For Your Wedding
By Matt Campbell

Hiring music entertainment can arguably be the most important booking made for your wedding. Guests remember whether or not they had fun at your wedding. What you pay for is what you get is a good rule of thumb. However, I would like to educate the consumer, future brides and grooms, of how to hire a DJ and things to consider. The following are 9 important factors to consider when hiring a disc jockey BEFORE you sign the contract.

1. Who would be the DJ for your occasion? Many DJ companies are a multi-system operation. Be sure to have in writing of who your DJ will be at your event. I would recommend meeting your DJ before hiring the company at a neutral place, like a restaurant.

2. How many years experience does your DJ have with your type of function? Anyone can pretend to be a DJ. If you are having a formal event, does your DJ know how to organize a wedding reception or a grand entrance? The DJ should perform the type of show that you want!

3. Does the DJ get everyone involved dancing or do they just play music? You have to ask yourself if you want a DJ that will get everyone dancing? For example, will the DJ involve guests by playing and conducting motivational dances like the Chicken Dance, Hokey Pokey, Cha Cha Slide or just play music?

4. Will the DJ be dressed appropriately? Formal means tuxedo or dress. Semi-formal means dress pants, shirt & tie or slacks and blouse. Casual means polo shirt or company shirt. Be sure the DJ is dressed appropriately during set-up and takedown of equipment. Some guests do arrive early and stay late.

5. What is the DJ's fee? How much is overtime? Is a tip included in the fee? Will there be an extra charge for lighting-what does the lighting include? How much is travel to your location? Are you ONLY paying for the time the DJ performs?

6. Does the DJ include a contract? Be sure to have all details of your function in writing. The DJ must know the date, place, and time! You must know each other's names and phone numbers including the DAY of the occasion.

7. Is the DJ company professional? This may sound silly, but does the DJ have insurance? Accidents do happen. It's better to be prepared. Also, is the DJ a member of a national DJ association like ADJA or NAME? If they are, then they care about what they do and are a better chance of being professional.

8. What kind of equipment does the DJ use? Typically, if a DJ is using a brand of equipment you can buy at your local retail store, then that's what you will get. Excellent brand names include: JBL, Community, Denon, Gemini, QSC, Crown, etc. Always, and I mean always, ask if the DJ has back-up equipment WITH them for your function. Also, be sure the DJ brings the right amount of sound for the number of guests expected.

9. What music do you play? How many music selections will the DJ have WITH them? Be sure your DJ takes requests before and during your function. Also, give them a guideline of what you want played. However, this is what the DJ is paid to do. Don't limit the DJ by saying you want all of one kind of music or a list of 100 songs they must play. The best scenario is to play any type of music that gets people dancing and having fun. By the way, it should be understood the DJ does not play any offensive music.

I hope this helps!

Matt Campbell owned and operated DJ Express in Montana and now is the owner of helps future brides and grooms plan, book and rate their wedding day. Come see us at or email Matt, � 2004

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Wedding Planning 101: Create a Wedding Planner

Wedding Planning 101: Create a Wedding Planner

Wedding Planning 101: Create a Wedding Planner
By Crystal Paine

Did your wonderful husband-to-be recently "pop the question" and now you are wondering what on earth you have gotten yourself into with trying to plan a wedding? Don't panic! I was there once and I remember the first few weeks of having no idea what to do or where to start. Our wedding date was only five months away and I was completely clueless as to what type of ceremony I wanted, what colors I liked, who would officiate, where the wedding would take place, and on and on the endless unknowns went. There seemed to be an enormous amount of details to figure out, and time was running out.

Before you do anything, make up a "wedding planner." This was literally the best thing I did and it saved me so much hassle and allowed me to have a beautiful, stress-free wedding day. There are all sorts of lovely pre-made wedding planners available, but I recommend you make your own. Get a 3-ring binder and notebook paper. Title a separate sheet of paper for each month until the wedding. For the last month, make a separate page for each week. For the last week, make a separate page for each day.

As you are thinking of the 1001 things which need to be done before the big day, instead of letting them overwhelm you, write it down in your wedding planner on the appropriate page when you would like to have that item figured out, done, or taken care of. Use these monthly, weekly, and daily lists to help keep you on track. As items are finished, cross them off your list. If something doesn't get done one month, move it to the next month.

In my wedding planner, I not only had a whole section with these lists, but I kept everything else needed for the big day. There was a section for receipts (I put some clear plastic pockets to hold these in), a section which listed everyone who was involved in the wedding (so no one would be overlooked on the program), and fabric swatches (so we could match the dresses, the flowers, and the decorations). Another section listed all the out-of-town guests, where they were staying, when they were coming in, and if they needed transportation. There was a section for wedding and shower gifts and thank you cards which still needed to be written. As we met with various individuals (florists, wedding coordinator, and so on), I took notes and kept these notes in my wedding planner for future reference. There was also a section which listed all the contact information for the key people/businesses involved in our wedding (from cake decorator to officiator).

Your wedding planner will be different than mine, because no two weddings are the same. Customize your planner to fit your exact needs for your special day.

As you plan your wedding, make sure and take time to enjoy preparing and looking forward to it. Don't get so caught up in all the details that you drive yourself and everyone around you crazy! In the end, everything will work out and it will be a beautiful day!

Crystal Paine is the owner of Covenant Wedding Source, LLC, an online retail bridal business specializing in custom-made gowns and other unique wedding products. She lives with her husband in Kansas. For more information on her business, visit her website: []

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

How to Select a Wedding Photographer

How to Select a Wedding Photographer

How to Select a Wedding Photographer
By Juan Carlos Torres

Selecting a wedding photographer can be a daunting task. Not only does the photographer need to be able to produce outstanding memories of your wedding day but also has to be able to fit into the celebration and be highly professional every step of the way.

Often couples make the mistake of basing their decision on wedding photography entirely on price. At the end couples that decide on price get what they pay for.

It is wise to keep your budget in mind when selecting a photographer but it should not be an excuse no to do your homework and evaluate the quality and professionalism of the photographer. Remember, you will have to live with the consequences of your decision.

How to evaluate a wedding photographer?

The style of the wedding photography is very important. Is the photographer a photojournalist with heavy emphasis in documenting the wedding without directing? Do you prefer posed photographs with preplanned posing and controlled lights? Most couples these days prefer a combination of journalistic and traditional wedding photography. They look for a photographer that can capture the true emotion and spirit of the celebration as well as portraits that deserve to be framed.

Whatever style you prefer the photographer has to be a master of the craft. Take a close look at the photographer's portfolio. Is the work consistent? Insist on looking at a complete wedding. After photographing 20 weddings, it is easy to have 20 lucky shots. Very few photographers have the guts to show you a complete wedding. Only the good ones do.

Are the photographs a true representation of the photographer's work?
If you are considering a studio that has several photographers insist on looking at the work of the photographer that is going to photograph your wedding.

Does the studio or photographer offer high quality albums and custom printing? Nowadays it is common for some photographers to offer to photograph the wedding and hand you the proofs and a CD or the negatives with the photos and be done with you. Are you going to be happy with a set of proofs or would you want a fine album with custom printed photographs?

Has the photographer been in business for a considerable amount of time? Is this his first wedding? Is he a commercial or sports photographer beginning wedding photography? There is nothing wrong with starting out in a different photography field but you, as the client, need to know this. Wedding photography requires special artistic, technical, and people skills and a wedding it is not the place for a beginner to learn. Somebody interested in learning wedding photography should perhaps accompany a seasoned pro to weddings for some time before venturing out on his own.
Does the photographer carry good quality equipment and backup of camera bodies, lenses, tripod, lights etc? You will be surprised to learn that many photographers go to weddings with only one camera. God help you if that camera breaks in the middle of your wedding.

Personality plays a very important role in wedding photography. Hire the wrong photographer and you and your guests will suffer the consequences. Does the photographer listen to you? Does he have a controlling personality? Does he abide by the rules of the church, temple, or synagogue? Does he want to steal the show and be the center of attention? Does he have people skills? Does he dress professionally? Does he look and smell clean?

Before hiring your photographer please make sure that you answer all the questions above. As a last precaution check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are unsolved complains against your potential photographer.
Have a happy wedding and enjoy your beautiful photos. Please don't forget to feed your photographer he or she will be working hard to capture your wedding memories.

Juan Carlos Torres is a one of the most respected and awarded wedding photographers in Oregon. He has a Masters Degree in Remote Sensing with a strong background in digital image processing and photography. His wedding photographs are unique and very artistic and have been featured in national and international magazines. For a sample of his works please visit and

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rockland: Maine's BestKept Secret for A Wedding Destination

Rockland: Maine's BestKept Secret for A Wedding Destination

Rockland: Maine's BestKept Secret for A Wedding Destination
By Norm Goldman

In 2004' Rockland Maine celebrated its 150th anniversary, yet very few in the past would have ever considered it to be a place for a vacation, let alone a romantic getaway experience or wedding destination.
Perhaps, this is a draw back to the time when visitors would experience the unpleasant whiffs emanating from the SeaPro fish-rendering plant. In fact, it was not uncommon to hear the jingle: "Camden by the Sea, Rockland by the Smell."

All has now changed in Rockland as SeaPro, along with the town's two sardine-packing and other fish processing plants, have departed along with their odors. There is now a handsome harbor- front with a walking trail extending over four-miles connecting several points of interest as Snow Marine Park, Harbor Park, where the annual Maine Lobster Festival is held, Rockland Fish Pier, Coast Guard Pier, Maine State Ferry Service Terminal, North End wharves, Marie H. Reed Memorial Park and the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse.

The latter two are often venues for some spectacular wedding ceremonies.

It is also home to The Historic Inns Of Rockland, a consortium of six independently owned inns that are dedicated to historical preservation, as well as providing their guests with a memorable experience within a locale that has reinvented itself as a mecca for the arts and outdoor activities.

In addition, three of these inns, LimeRock Inn, Berry Manor Inn and Captain Lindsey House have created a sub-consortium that inter-change and leverage their facilities offering a combined wedding venue that take full advantage of their unique attributes.

As all are in walking distance of one another, you can avail yourself of anyone of them for the rehearsal dinner, afternoon bridesmaid's tea, wedding reception, and any other functions.

The gorgeous outdoor gardens of The LimeRock Inn make it an ideal choice to exchange vows providing plenty of space to move around.

The stately Berry Manor Inn with its drawing room, spacious parlor, dining room, and grand stairway, all presenting a Victorian flair, make this inn a most attractive wedding venue.

You can even engage the services of Captain Ken Barnes to perform the wedding ceremony. He and his wife Ellen are owners of the Captain Lindsey House. The intimacy of the Captain Lindsey House, that incidentally resembles a European style hotel, along with the Barnes' wonderful collection of décor, relics, and authentic antiques acquired during their many years of travel, will surely provide the wedding guests with some interesting topics for animated conversation.

The combined number of rooms of these three inns is twenty- nine, and if you add the other three inns, Old Granite Inn, Waterman House & Gardens, and the Lakeshore Inn, you have a total of forty- four rooms to call upon. All total with roll-aways and cots you could conceivably accommodate about one hundred guests.

What is also noteworthy is that all, with the exception of the Lakeshore Inn, are in walking distance of one another. It should be mentioned that the latter is within an easy ten- minute drive from the others.

What is also interesting about these inns is their close proximity to many outdoor venues where wedding ceremonies can be celebrated. Here is a sampling:

· As mentioned above, the Marie H. Reed Memorial Park and the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, is a very popular wedding venue offering spectacular panoramic ocean views of mountains, islands, Penobscot Bay, as well as schooners, island ferries, fishing boats depart and enter the harbor. There is also a small sandy beach leading to the historic Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse.

· Mt Battie located in Camden Hills State Park offers spectacular views of Camden, Penobscot Bay, and surrounding islands. During the autumn the foliage is breathtaking. If you are in the mood to add a little poetry to your ceremony, it should be pointed out that the famous poet and playwright, Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was born in Rockland, was inspired by the view from the summit of Mt. Battie when she wrote her poem "Renascence" which opens "All I could see from where I stood / Was three long mountains and a wood; / I turned and looked the other way, / And saw three islands in a bay."

· One of the most popular venues is the non-denominational Vesper Hill Children's Chapel, set atop a rock ledge overlooking unbelievable lush gardens. The chapel can seat fifty, however, there are other spots nearby where you can exchange vows that will accommodate a larger party.

· Don't forget to check out the Merryspring Horticultural Nature Park with its herb and rose garden, the Perennial Border, and the Birds and Bees/Winter Color Garden. In late summer, the 250-foot long annual border is the star of the show, with some flowers blooming well into October.

· Last but not least are the many lighthouses that attract couples from all over the globe. There is the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, the Owls Head Lighthouse and the Marshall Point Lighthouse

In order to reach these various venues and at the same time keep the wedding party together, many couples rent a trolley from the All Aboard Trolley Company.

In addition, the trolley provides you with the added feature of having some great photo opportunities.

No doubt, with all of these resources available and a little imagination, weddings in Rockland Maine can easily compete with the best of them at any other destination. One last important mention, in most instances it is necessary to contact the officials of your chosen venue in order to arrange a date and time for the celebration of your wedding.


If you are looking for that special gift for the bride, mother and daughter getaway, mother-in-law, or wedding attendants, the Lakeshore Inn, a member of the Historic Inns of Rockland, offers a reasonably priced Ladies Only Spa Weekend during the months of Mid-October through June. From their arrival on Friday evening until they depart on Sunday, groups of 4 to eight ladies experience a wonderful line up of mind and body presentations with learning sessions with spa treatments that include facial, massage, manicure, pedicure and paraffin wax treatments. In addition, owner Pam Masson serves mouth-watering gourmet meals.


A great place to pick up some excellent wines produced in Maine is Cellardoor Winery & Vineyards located in nearby Lincolnville.

For delicious sandwiches, soups, breads and pastries check out Atlantic Baking Co. You won't be disappointed.

Norm and Lily Goldman are a unique husband and wife team, writer and water colorist, who write and paint about romantic destinations.

Basically, they meld art and words to create an unusual travel story, which generates interest, particularly because of the fact that each painting appears to have been �custom made� for the story � original story and original art.

You can view all of their articles and art work on Norm and Lily have collaborated with several Convention Bureaus and Public Relations Companies visiting many romantic travel destinations, resorts and inns throughout the New England States and Florida.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Jak wybrać fotografa na nasz ślub? How to choose a photographer for our wedding?

Jak wybrać fotografa na nasz ślub?

Autorem artykułu jest Kreatywnie-Fotoślubnie

Decyzję o wyborze naszego fotografa ślubnego musimy zaplanować ze sporym wyprzedzeniem przed datą dnia naszego ślubu. Co jednak decyduje o naszym wyborze, podczas gdy wybieramy fotografa na nasz ślub?
Kreatywna fotografia ślubna Oczywiście całkiem normalne jest to, że przeważnie ogranicza nas tutaj cena. Wiemy przecież, że ślub to nie tylko fotografie ślubne, lecz także cały szereg pozostałych usług i związane z nimi stale wzrastające wydatki.
Ok, ustalamy sobie górną granicę sumy, jaką możemy przeznaczyć na fotografa. Ale jaka to granica? Kwoty, jak można zauważyć, są całkiem rozbieżne. Trzeba jednakże wziąć pod uwagę to, iż decydując się na niedrogie usługi, narażamy się na mizerny rezultat, bardzo często nie zgadzający się w sporym stopniu z tym, na co się nastawialiśmy.
Pragnąc mieć naprawdę niepowtarzalne zdjęcia ze swojego ślubu, jesteśmy zmuszeni docenić starania fotografa oraz tym samym zrozumieć, że solidna fotografia ślubna to o wiele większe kwoty. Każdy, kto docenia jakość, zdaje sobie doskonale sprawę z tego, że to kosztuje.
Naturalnie nie ma odgórnie ustalonej jedynej adekwatnej kwoty za fotoreportaż ślubny. Każdy fotograf ślubny ma ustalony osobisty cennik podporządkowany według jego kunsztu artystycznego, często też zależny od wymagań klientów oraz pakietu fotograficznego, jaki wybierają.
W istocie wskazane jest się nad tym zastanowić, czy chcemy mieć pospolite zdjęcia ślubne, czy naprawdę wyjątkowe i wybitne fotografie mocno różniące się od powszechnej fotografii ślubnej. Wystarczy tylko wpisać w internetowej wyszukiwarce takie słowa jak: kreatywny fotograf ślubny lub też fotografia ślubna kreatywnie, żeby otrzymać ciekawe i pożądane oferty.
Łukasz Mikuć - kreatywny fotograf ślubny

Artykuł pochodzi z serwisu

How to choose a photographer for our wedding?
The author of this article is Creatively-Fotoślubnie

The decision to choose our wedding photographer we have to plan well in advance of the date of our wedding day. But what determines our choice, while choosing a photographer for our wedding? Of course, this is quite normal that we are here mostly limited price. We know that the wedding is not only a wedding photographs, but also a whole range of other services and the associated ever-increasing expenses. Ok, we set the upper limit of the amount we can spend on a photographer. But what is the border? Amount, as can be seen, are quite divergent. We must however take into account the fact that opting for affordable services, we risk the meager result, very often not consenting to a large extent with this, what happened nastawialiśmy. Wishing to have a really unique pictures from their wedding day, we are forced to appreciate the efforts of the photographer and thus to understand that sound wedding photography is a much greater amount. Anyone who appreciates the quality, is well aware of the fact that it costs. Naturally, there is no single adequate arbitrarily fixed amount for a wedding photojournalism. Every wedding photographer has a personal set prices according to his subordinate artistic craftsmanship, often depending on customer requirements and photo package, which elect. In fact, it is advisable to think about whether we want to have a common wedding pictures, or really unique and outstanding photographs very different from the ordinary wedding photography. Just type in the website for words such as: creative wedding photographer or wedding photography creatively, to get interesting and desirable to offer.