Category Archives: Ceremony

Trickle Down Effect

Your bridal experience is likely limited to attending weddings and, even if you have been in a bridal party, you are probably unaware of the scope of work planning requires. Therefore, what should be a fun, exciting time often becomes overwhelming and sometimes even dreaded. A great way to avoid this is by figuring out the single aspect most important to you and, surprisingly, everything else will fall into place with much more ease and less stress. A few examples follow:

Dress: Perhaps you can’t get a very casual, informal gown that could double as date night dress out of your mind. From that, without even knowing, you have made the rest of your planning infinitely simpler. It has lessened the likelihood of formal venues, fancy stemware, over-the-top decorations and many of the formalities that go along with ornate, unduly embellished ball gowns.

Flowers: If, for example, you are determined to surround yourself with blush peonies, you have automatically narrowed down the time of year (as they have limited availability) and homed in on a range of complementary colors for both your wedding party and decorations. Also, you have unofficially set a welcoming and familial tone.

Venue: Most important may be exchanging vows in the large, gilded cathedral you were raised in. Accordingly, gone are the less formal dressing options, bohemian style details and whimsical, DIY additions many brides who opt for less formal/less expensive weddings include.

There are exceptions to everything. You may decide to mix and match a bit of everything and, of course, it will come together flawlessly. However, choosing a focal point from which to branch out is a method to save time, energy and help you enjoy the planning process as much as possible.

He’s My Man (of Honor)

The person standing next to you at the altar (aside from your fiancé) is meant to be the one who is closest, knows you best and whose friendship is most cherished above all others. No rule says it must be a woman and, while often expected by guests, if that person for you is a male, there’s nothing wrong with him taking on the role. However, typically, his duties will differ in some ways than that of a Maid of Honor.

While he likely won’t be at your floral appointments or help you pick out table runners, your Man of Honor can still help you decorate and his handyman skills may be an added bonus. While he may not share the enthusiasm a girlfriend would for every little detail, he certainly will provide the listening ear and offer assistance which is the most important part of anyone in the coveted position.

Additionally, gender is no issue when it comes to rehearsal roles. Man or woman, the duties are primarily to provide you with a practice bouquet, make sure everyone shows up on time, is paying attention and to give a toast (if appropriate).

The day of is where things typically get a little bit different. Because he won’t be cinching your corset or pinning on your veil doesn’t mean he has to be excluded from the festivities. Put him in charge of grabbing anything for emergencies that may arise and getting food and drinks that he can enjoy with you and the ladies as you all relax and prepare.

Ideally, your Man of Honor will wear something that matches your bridesmaids but, keep in mind that he will probably be in some photos with just the guys too. Electing for something that meets in the middle is the safest and best way to go.

No matter who you choose to stand directly next to you during your ceremony, the selection should be based upon your history, trust and value rather than be constrained by gender or the expectations of what is considered “normal” or “acceptable.”

An Overview of All Things New

Each year, the world of weddings experiences growth in the form of new trends, ideas and possibilities for brides to add to their already infinite number of options. 2017 is no exception and brings with it some exciting and fresh alternatives for just about every aspect of your big day. Some of the notable highlights are below….

Do Things Separately: Bridal stores will be filled with an increased number of both two-piece gowns and traditional ones with detachable skirts to remove for your reception as customizable dresses are the latest “must haves.” Separates are appropriate for all seasons as skirts exist to match the bottom of any wedding dress. In the winter, pair one with an elegant, embellished sweater or match it with a sleeveless, lacy top during the warmer months. Detachable skirts give you two dresses for the price of one so your ceremony can be formal with a floor length gown that you simply remove when the reception begins and it’s time to let loose and celebrate.

A LITTLE Bit of Glitz: Gone are the radiant, bright colors that flooded every aspect of weddings last year. More popular are bouquets made of ivy, local succulents and other greenery and color palettes based on tones of beige, creams and shades of gray. To add some elegance and glamour, the trend is to add gold or metallic accents through stemware, table runners, bouquet ties, ribbons, etc.

It’s All About Location: The general tendency of late to promote local businesses is spilling over into the wedding industry leading more brides to “keep it local.” Opt for decor that is representative of your community (while keeping in line with your personality). Choose a menu that celebrates what sets your area apart and gives your out-of-town guests a feel for what your life is truly like. Not only does it give back to local vendors but you will be guaranteed to have a comfortable, relaxing day.

Honorable Mention: An increase in couples will be asking for less for themselves and more for others. More infrequent are registries of household items, money for a honeymoon or wish lists filled with fun, new gadgets. Instead, brides and grooms are compiling options of charities from which each guest can choose to donate to in their honor. Most likely, you already have most of what you need and there’s immense gratitude and satisfaction knowing that those who require help are able to receive it because of your special day.

The fun and innovative ways to plan your big day that are emerging for the new year are endless. Take some time to explore all the possibilities because you may very well fall in love with some ideas that have never even crossed your mind and will turn your current vision upside down.

What a PURRfect Idea

Many people have pets with whom they have spent many years, treated as children and shared some of the most important moments of their lives. There is no reason your wedding, from beginning to end, should be any exception as not only does it trump any special time as of yet but would ease your stress load and add to the fun of the entire process. Following are just a few ways to do so….

Engagement: Although it would be out of your control, how wonderful would it be if your fiancé proposed to you by tying your engagement ring around your pet’s neck with a bright ornate bow or fancied a “Will you marry me sign?” for him/her to walk into the room and surprise you with?

Ceremony: Have your furry friend escort the flower girl down the aisle on a leash or with a collar adorned with flowers that match your bouquet. Alternately, let your little one act as the ring bearer (assuming they are the type of animal who can do so). Even if they don’t make it directly to you, it would provide comic relief and entertainment for all your guests.

If your animal is small enough, forgo your bouquet all together and carry him or her down the aisle instead, whether in your arms, a basket or any other type of bag.

Photos: If you want your special one to partake in your wedding but worry about their temper, guests with potential allergies, restrictions from your venue etc., you can add them every step along the way beginning with your Save the Date cards, including them in your engagement photos and even make arrangements for their presence during your day of photos taken outdoors and away from your invitees.

Added Extras: No matter what species your beloved pet is, consider having bride and groom replicas as that type as your cake topper. You could also choose something reflective of your someone who plays such a special role in your life and incorporate it into your reception, whether it be paw print stones leading to your reception space (if you have a cat or dog), using feathers in your centerpieces if your favorite friend is a bird and so on.

The options are limitless as is the amount of fun you can have and just how much of a difference including your animal will make not only to you but to your guests and to him/her as well. It is important, however, to ensure that someone is available to tend to their needs so, while you are able to share your wedding with them, you and your groom are not constantly distracted by looking after your little one.

It’s All Suitable

While the options for your wedding dress are so many and easily customizable that they may seem overwhelming, those for your groom’s attire are relatively few and, honestly, not very easy to individualize.  Thankfully, there are ways to play with accessories to help him both stand out from the crowd and show a glimpse of his personality.

If you decide on a tie, let him choose one that is fun, unique and sets him apart whether in shape, color or style. Perhaps he could wear a skinny tie or a bowtie while the groomsmen wear regular ones or he can opt for a playful color or even a print (as long as it stays within your color scheme and doesn’t cause a distraction of course).

Pocket squares can be either formal or casual, are often unexpected and come in every variety you can possibly imagine. They are a great way to add a whimsical touch to what is not (unlike your dress) the most exciting outfit your groom will ever wear. They can also be used as a handkerchief to wipe away any tears and kept as a special memento of your wedding.

Leave behind the boring, plain colored shirt and deck your fiancé out in stripes or some type of print. Depending on how far you want to go, let the stripes be diagonal or zig-zagged and the print be checkered or even floral. Again, it’s important not to cross the line and become obnoxious or completely clash with everything else but, if executed correctly, it’s a great way to show your husband’s personality and let him shine.

Should you opt for boutonnieres, make sure his is special in some sort of way, whether size, type of flower or by letting him wear one created as an ode to things he loves. For example, if he is an avid cyclist, have his flowers sitting in the basket of a miniature bicycle or, if he has been obsessed with comic books since childhood, craft his boutonniere into origami flowers made from comic book pages.

Suits are never a man’s favorite outfit, no matter the occasion, as many men are required to wear, at least most elements of them, every day for work. Therefore, a lack of excitement over your fiancés wedding garb should not be taken personally. That is why thinking outside of the box and adding personal touches is both important and a wonderful way to make him feel special and included.

Tis the Season

If your heart is set on a particular day, choosing your wedding date is one less thing to worry about. If you aren’t one who falls in that category, selecting the right time can be more challenging than you think as there are factors to consider. Breaking down the pros and cons of each season is a good place to start and, at the very least, helps narrow down your time frame.

Spring is the time of year associated with rejuvenation and newness as colors begin to reemerge and the climate warms following the drabness and cold of winter. The lush landscaping and countless flowers beginning to bloom make for wonderful photos and beautiful bouquets. Chances are your friends will be thrilled to get together and celebrate after the hullabaloo of the holidays is over.

Because it is not the most popular time for a wedding, you may be able to get lower rates with vendors but, with summer approaching, the competition will increase for venues, available dates and prices will begin to rise. Additionally, the weather can be finicky and occasional showers do occur without warning.

Summer is the most popular time to wed for a variety of reasons. With children out of school, parents often plan on a more relaxed schedule including vacation time which would allow your friends and family separated by distance to share in your special day with you. Also, due to the hectic nature of the first half of the year, chances are your guests haven’t been spending much.  Therefore, they may have a bit in their budget for extra special wedding gifts for you.

On the negative side, the first thing is the weather. Regardless of how cool the inside of a venue may be, the heat can cause issues with your hair and makeup during outdoor photos, not to mention the discomfort for those who either just don’t like the heat or cannot tolerate it well. On another note, because it is the most popular time for a wedding, prices will be at their peak and there is a chance that some of your guests may be invited to another ceremony on the same day.

Fall is ideal for you if you are a fan of oranges, gold, rust and darker colors as well as falling leaves and cooler, brisk temperatures. It is a time that brings with it a sense of togetherness and tranquility. With fruits, vegetables and leaves being abundant, there are numerous ways to create one-of-a-kind decorations that are not only elegant but incorporate the sentiments of these months.

Unfortunately, if berries and greenery won’t replace your heart’s desire for bright, vibrant flowers, this may not be the time of year for you unless you are willing to have flowers shipped in from wherever they may be available (at a very steep price). Also, school begins again, people have plans for Labor Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving so you need to keep those dates in mind.

Winter might not be your first choice (as it isn’t for most brides) but, with it comes an air of coziness and romance unmatched by any other time of year. Not only is everyone already feeling a sense of togetherness, the sun sets earlier and there is nothing warmer in the world than closely holding the arm of your new husband. Vendors are more likely to be available and because there is less competition, not only are prices typically already lower, there is often room for negotiation.

Despite the unexpected pros, there are some drawbacks. One is that the cold and lack of foliage can make outdoor photos less desirable so many of them may have to be done indoors. As well, your guests are probably saving money for the holidays, have preexisting plans and travel arrangements are much more expensive and difficult during this time.

Your wedding will be wonderful regardless of the day you choose but, realistically, no matter the day, there are always factors and possible conflicts that may arise which are out of your control. A seasonal breakdown is an easy way to quickly eliminate large spans of time so you can begin focusing on the particular day.

All in the Families

Your wedding symbolizes the beginning of a life with your husband filled with new adventures, traditions, memories and, most likely, children of your own. It is also a blending of two existing families as you become a member of your husband’s and he does yours. This special time is a very appropriate one to remind your family that your bond and loving relationship will continue to grow.

When making your registry list, casually ask your parents what they would want if they were to get married again. Keep the response in mind and purchase it for them as a surprise (don’t add it to your list or they will likely find out). Doing so is a fun way to include your parents in your planning while giving them a keepsake of their own choosing without their even knowing.

Personalized handkerchiefs are appropriate for both of your parents and come in handy to wipe away tears during your ceremony. Additionally, thoughtful embroidered messages show your gratitude for the role they have played in your life to date as well as remind them that you will continue to nurture and treasure that relationship.  

One way to demonstrate the joining of your family with that of your husband’s in a creative and sentimental way also requires a bit of secrecy and snooping. Each of you need to ask friends and family which song your respective parents played for their first dance. After the two of you have danced to the one of your own choosing, play each of theirs. This shows that, as your new life begins, it does not do so as a party of two, but as a party of too many to count.

Your future in-laws should not be forgotten and perhaps the most meaningful token of appreciation is a handwritten note. Express to them not only your excitement about what lies ahead with their son, but your gratitude for their acceptance of you, and most importantly, for the wonderful job they did raising the one person who makes you complete.

Parents sometimes fear that they are “losing” their son or daughter once he/she gets married (perhaps it comes from the notion of “giving away”) rather than seeing it as gaining another child. With time, that fear dissipates but, small gestures on your part can keep it from ever arising.