Category Archives: Ceremony

Let’s be ReaLISTic

Creating your guest list is no different from many other projects as you will start with a monumental idea only to realize the need for a more practical outcome. Whether you are planning a small, intimate ceremony or one to which you invite hundreds, there are some that should NEVER be included and others whom there is no obligation to extend an invitation to.  Here are just a few of those….

Certainly, there are people you see often and seemingly know every detail of your life, whether your manicurist, co-worker, boss etc. Therefore, you have had conversations about your upcoming marriage and perhaps each aspect of the planning process. However, neither that knowledge nor the amount of time spent together necessitate an invite.

There is no need to include all members of your family as, most likely, you have relatives with whom you don’t keep in contact with unless via holiday cards or see every few years if you happen to pass through their town or attend a family reunion. A great way to include them in your celebration (while alleviating feelings of guilt) is to send them an announcement along with a photo and personalized note.

It goes without saying that you exes belong in the “should NEVER be invited” category even if you have been apart for years and remain friends. Perhaps he/they has moved on as well but there is no assurance that seemingly long gone emotions won’t be stirred up. However, you can likely guarantee that his/their attendance would create an uncomfortable situation for your fiancé.

Plus ones are often expected to be included as some feel more comfortable attending an event which is a celebration of love, happiness and unity with their significant other rather than going alone. Of course, you should encourage your close family and friends to bring a guest. However, if you are not including certain relatives or others with whom you spend much of your time, there is no requirement to surround yourself with people you have never met.

Friends from high school with whom you only exchange occasional hellos with on social media, neighbors and friends of friends also fall into the “should NEVER be invited” category as you would not expect them to attend, mind if they didn’t or notice if they did. Also, it may seem as if their inclusion is merely an attempt to get more gifts as many do feel obliged to respond to an invitation in such a manner.

Chances are that you have heard all about weddings that you were not invited to and probably didn’t even give a second of thought to it. It is your day to be surrounded by those who mean the most to you. Including many who are either strangers or acquaintances casts a shadow over the value of ones you hold nearest and dearest.

Some Rules Were Meant to be Broken

Weddings are often planned around age old traditions, some of which you may feel comfortable making slight variations to but don’t want to appear as if you are either stepping too far outside the box or not taking your commitment seriously. Thankfully, times are changing and, after all, it is YOUR day so here are some ideas you may not have considered….

You don’t need a theme and not everything has to match. It would not only be unique but an honor to let your bridal party choose their own gowns. One may be pink, long and satin while another could be short, causal and floral. There’s an element of fun in letting those closest to you show their individual personality (not to mention that it makes for great photos).

Customarily, your parents pay for the wedding and your fiancé’s do so for the rehearsal dinner although the two of you may be on your own. One way to save money and set yourself apart, regardless of who is contributing, is to have your bridesmaids wear corsages. Opting out of bouquets not only significantly reduces your budget but makes it easier for them to help you both in preparation for but as well your ceremony.

Maybe white isn’t right whether it comes to your ring or your dress. If there is a stone you love and would prefer over a diamond, select it as you will be wearing it for countless years to come. What matters is the meaning behind it to you. Additionally, in reference to your dress, a selection of white paired with another color is one option or, if you have your heart set on red, blue pink etc., any gown can still be made to look as elegant and special despite not being white.

Weddings are celebrations and meant to be fun. Not only should you show off your individuality/personality but allow everyone else to do the same.

Unite Me

Many couples getting married choose to personalize their wedding by incorporating a unity ceremony.   A unity candle is what one thinks of most but there are a number of other options that have the same meaning.  Customarily these are performed immediately following the exchange of vows and rings but occasionally they will take place earlier in the wedding. Soft music is often played during this time.

The sand ceremony is a modern and unique alternative to the unity candle. You and your groom pour a different color of sand into a clear container. Each color represents your past lives as individuals and the blending of the sand provides the visual representation of your coming together as one.  This is a perfect opportunity to include children and other family members if you choose to.  As each person pours a different colored sand into the vase, they are making a commitment to become one family.

The cross ceremony is beautiful way to celebrate the joining of two people. It is most often used in church weddings. The outer portion of a multi-pieced cross represents the groom and the inner portion, the bride. When put together, the pieces form a beautiful cross which represents your togetherness in marriage through God. Once the cross is assembled, it is placed on a stand on which your names and wedding date have been inscribed.

The love letter ceremony is one in which you and your finance write letters to one another before the wedding telling each other why you fell in love.  During the wedding ceremony, the letters are placed in a wooden box to be opened at a later date, usually on an anniversary.

Rose ceremonies are a lovely addition to any wedding and are another alternative to the unity candle. A single red rose has always meant “I love you.” Occurring before the final prayer and marriage pronouncement, you and your groom exchange two red roses which symbolize both your first gift to one another and your love for each other throughout your married life.

Although a unity ceremony is not necessary in order to symbolize the joining of two people, it is a beautiful and meaningful addition to any wedding.

 

First of All

When wedding planning, regardless of the hours spent or attention paid to details, it is almost guaranteed there will be glitches and unexpected occurrences you won’t be prepared for. Neither micromanaging nor being completely obsessed will ensure flawlessness.

You can easily be consumed with every facet which detracts from the joy when walking down the aisle as you may obsess thinking of every detail you are seeing. It is not a reflection of your lack of love and should not make you question your decision. It should instead be a sign that you need to take a deep breath, relax and realize that, even if everything that could go wrong does, you’ve made the absolutely right choice for you.

Despite having a photographer, some guests will want to take photos or videos on their phones and get in the way of the professional shots. One recommendation is to include in your invitations that there is a “no photos” policy. It is simple to kindly say that photos will be distributed once developed but someone has been hired to take on the task and, while you appreciate the interest and effort, you have control of that aspect.

Often, you will have a recently married friend who is now an expert on everything involved and suddenly become a dispensary of unwanted/inappropriate advice without regard to the fact that it is YOUR day. Sweetly tell her that, while her wedding was lovely and you appreciate her advice, you have a different style and have made choices that are perfect for you.

Unfortunately you will likely find someone who is consumed with jealousy and bitterness over their own relationship history. The best way to handle him/her is to have a private conversation, ask if they would like a particular song played or find other small ways to make them feel special and included.

No wedding will be exactly as you’ve dreamed of but it will always turn out perfect in the end and it is the mishaps that you can look back on which make it even more than what you imagined.  

Getting Trendy

Every year, wedding trends change and, while they may be a jumping off point when it comes time to begin planning, there is no need to base your entire day solely on what is currently in style. Many brides want to fit in with what is “hip” and “chic” in the moment and fear getting caught up in the past or seeming too far out of the box. However, here are some trends for 2016 and years to come.

Patterns: Have some fun. Not everything has to match nor does your color scheme have to solely consist of one or two colors. You can select the colors you want for flowers, decorations and bridesmaids dresses, making beautiful combinations of each for your save the date cards, invitations, napkins, etc. Color blocking/random combinations are both expressive and creative.

Sleeves: Although strapless, sweetheart neckline gowns were the rage for years, the creativity with both short and long sleeves is growing. Having either, especially with an open back, is very popular due to exuding femininity, sensuality and elegance at the same time. They can be made of lace, crystals or other beading and accentuate your dress whether simple or the most extravagant.

Incorporation: If you opt to have a reading included in your ceremony, rather than being performed by the pastor, give short portions to certain chosen guests where they can stand up and read them from their seats. Not only would each be honored to do (those won’t be chosen will not feel left out) but it creates an intimacy and an unspoken symbol of value to everyone you invited.

Personal Moments: Personal photo shoots have always been a tradition but now, rather than being intimate, it has become more stylish to take pictures as you get dressed with your bridesmaids, your mother and those nearest to you buttoning your dress or perfecting your veil because the most beautiful images are those which silently express your anticipation and excitement.

Smaller, more intimate unions are not only more meaningful to each person involved but make any sort of variety of old and new both fun and memorable, and that, perhaps, is the biggest new trend of all.

Flower (Girl) Power

One concern that may not immediately come to mind is the type of dress your flower girl should wear as you may think people will not notice the outfit but solely the entrance she is making in anticipation of yours. That is not true and there are things that should be considered when making the settling on one.

Typically, flower girls wear white dresses that are small versions of your gown but should incorporate an element which ties in with the wedding whether a sash matching the bridesmaids gowns or a floral headband in harmony with your bouquet.

Be careful of the length of the gown as well as the material it is made of. She needs to feel comfortable as her responsibility is a very important one to her. Therefore, it is imperative that her dress is not too long because her concentration is on the task at hand and she shouldn’t have to worry about getting her shoes caught and tripping. Additionally, you don’t want anything made of a fabric that could irritate her soft skin as, that too, would be a distraction.

The outfits can be purchased from many places whether bridal salons or any number of stores at your local mall. Something to consider is that, most often, the parents of your chosen flower girl are responsible for the cost of the dress. Children grow quickly and, it goes without saying that it is something she will probably only wear for your special day.

She will be nervous as well as filled with excitement. Don’t put any pressure on her and allow her parents to sit in an aisle near the front so she can both see and focus on them as it will calm her nerves. No matter what, any little girl feels honored to take on the responsibility and does so with the hopes of carrying it out with absolute perfection.

I Want to Include Fur(ry) Friends

 

Everyone with a dog considers him/her to be a member of the family and it has become increasingly popular for brides to find ways of including them in their wedding. Unfortunately, most venues are not willing to accommodate animals during ceremonies. However, there are many ways you can do so either subtly or obviously while avoiding conflict.

If you want a more understated acknowledgement, consider having cake toppers made which resemble you dog(s). That way, anyone who knows you will automatically recognize the significance and those who may not be aware will ask and be impressed by the sentiment. As well, your fiancé could wear a personalized pocket square with an outline of your furry child sewn on it.

Perhaps you would prefer to show your love in a more noticeable manner. One, perhaps the cutest way, is to have life-size topiaries (no matter their size) at the entrance to your venue. You can form flower collars matching your design that will make each guest feel just as welcome as you do every time you get home.

Another idea to show how important your dog means to you is by making them a part of your engagement photos. That takes some planning as you must ensure that pets are allowed at your location choice, they will be comfortable there and that the photographer doesn’t take issue with their inclusion. It is also important to bring treats along so as to help with focus, give them time to acclimate to the environment and have a family member or friend who is willing to come along and take care of your baby so you can get some wonderful photos which solely include you and your fiancé.

Dogs are just like children, are a reflection of your personality and hold a very special place in your heart. Wanting to incorporate them in the most special day of your life is understandable but does require thought in sense of to which degree so as to make you, them and your guests feel comfortable.

Cover Me Up….but Barely

No decision in reference to your wedding is easy despite some seeming crystal clear, one of which being whether or not to wear a veil. You may feel as if they are antiquated, add a sense of formality to a ceremony you’ve planned to be casual or will detract from your dress and accessories just to name a few.

If your ceremony is laid back and/or your dress includes accents and embellishments, a short veil (typically only sweeping your shoulders) with some detailing along the edges is a wonderful way to mimic and emphasize the design elements in a subtle yet noticeable way.

If you are looking for something a bit longer, consider one that reaches your elbow. Most often, they are perfect matches for ball gowns, princess style or ones with full skirts as they end right where your dress begins to expand and become full. Therefore, the flow between the two appears seamless.

The most popular veils are those that are fingertip length (meaning that they touch your fingers when your arms are expanded) but are not cumbersome or restrictive in any way. The reason is because they easily can be individualized so as to work flawlessly with any style or formality of dress. If sheer, they won’t detract from any notion of simplicity nor will they cover any detailing, embellishment or an open back. At the same time, they add a sense of tradition and, if being used as your “something old” or “something borrowed,” it will most likely be the length you will be given.

Regardless of the length you opt for, you can play it up or down by adding tiers for additional coverage to a strapless gown, include matching details around the edges, make it extraordinarily simple so as to continue the element of custom etc. The number of options is limitless and just another aspect you can have fun playing around with.

Minimal Assistants


It goes without saying that, as a bride, you likely have a plan (or at least a clear vision) in place regarding most of your wedding day details. Making your ideas come to life may be challenging for many reasons leaving you wishing for sole responsibility over every component. Unfortunately, that is an impossibility as outside help, whether from friends and family or hired professionals, is required. However, every decision including the amount of assistance you want or need and from whom it comes is yours to make.

Remember that the period leading up to your special day is not just exciting for you but for those close to you as well. Many will offer their time, advice and skills to ease your burden and lower your stress level. While usually successful, occasionally their good intentions lead to uncomfortable situations and hurt feelings.

One objective of your wedding is for your guests to enjoy themselves which includes being able to take in everything going on around them. If someone offers to provide their services on the day of for something other than what you want, kindly pointing out some of the special things they would miss is a great way to decline the offer while avoiding being offensive.

Unsolicited offers will not just come for your ceremony and reception but may arise throughout the planning process too. Fortunately, those are easier to handle. During this time, you can include the individual(s) in different yet equally meaningful ways making it seem as if you are not being dismissive. For example, if your mom is determined for you to wear her veil and your heart is set on a birdcage, invite her to help you choose just the right one and offer to sew a piece of the veil inside your gown or to use it as a wrap around your bouquet.

All intentions are good when those who love you offer a lending hand as difficult as that may periodically be to keep in mind. However, it is the one day that all attention is on you and your future husband. Therefore, while always doing so kindly and with consideration, you should not feel guilty for ensuring that what you envisioned is exactly what materializes.

Join My Party???

When choosing who to include in your bridal party, issues must be considered other than who is closest to you or who you feel obliged to ask.  The position entails more than simply standing by your side at the altar and may be more than some are willing to/can take on.

There is a cost that comes along with the duty. While you select the dresses, shoes and accessories, it is typically expected they purchase them on their own. Additionally, each commonly split the charges for the bachelorette party and bridal shower. As much as some may love to fill the position, it is just not feasible for them and you should not be offended by that.

Time and availability must be contemplated too. Most arrangements can be made via email or phone but some should be done in person to ensure everything is just as you want. However, it is not inappropriate to include someone who is unable to participate in every activity (depending their significance) without offending those who can.

Because someone accepts an invitation from a mutual friend yet declines yours is not indicative of importance or lack thereof. Circumstances change, other obligations have arisen and so on. They should still be invited as a guest though.

No wedding is going to go off flawlessly and there will undoubtedly be disappointments. They should not be taken personally nor create a cloud over what should be the shiniest day of your life.