Category Archives: Ceremony

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.

I’m Your Biggest Fan

The fun begins when planning the smallest details of your wedding as your individuality and personality begin to shine. Consideration should be taken, especially if in the summer or guests are from out-of-town, that the temperature can possibly have an immense impact on overall experience. Therefore, you can not only be fun and clever but provide your invitees with a way to comfort themselves as well. Here are a few ideas….

Fans can be made in any shape or size despite the formality or lack thereof while providing as little or as much information as you want. Use a wooden craft stick and a whimsical silhouette in heavy paper with your names and date on the front and program data on the back, whether the order of the ceremony or members of your party. Add some embellishment with a ribbon or a bell that jingles as you exit the venue. Alternatively, print the details on the front, while providing markers for each guest to write personal messages on the blank back of their fans which can leave for you to read.

Opt for a simple stick (such as bamboo) to which you can attach a personalized packet of your favorite flower seeds. If so, they will both serve to keep the temperature down if an invitee gets warm but also as a unique, creative and fantastic gift for everyone present at your union to take home as a sentiment of the beginning of a new stage in life.

Why not have a panel wedding fan? It is an entertaining option to include infinite material and may be condensed in to the size of an inch.  Card stock with a simple hole punch in the bottom and some ribbon or a brad makes for a cost-effective, informative way to not only provide your names and the wedding date but also directions to the reception, information as to the procession as well as those who are involved in the ceremony.

Most brides don’t have fans as part of their ceremony and those who do don’t give much thought to them. They can serve many purposes, lower your cost and decrease your budget. Therefore, it is something to most definitely give thought to.

Best Kept Hidden Secrets

It goes without saying that every detail of your wedding, from the smallest to the largest, comes with a cost although it may be surprising that the price tag you see or are quoted is not the price you will actually be expected to pay. Many times, fees are added that either aren’t mentioned or that you certainly wouldn’t expect (although later you can be told that you should have). Here are just a few….

Invitations are representative of your motif and you want them to appear engaging, charming as well as welcoming. It is very easy to be sold on more decorative invites, heavier cardstock or are simply bulkier. What may not cross your mind is that you have to pay extra postage for each of those, not to mention the costs for RSVP cards and thank you notes all of which quickly add up. The message is the same and may be presented equally creatively in a simpler and more cost effective fashion.

While your dress should be the first (if not only) item to splurge on depending on your budget, it’s important to consider that the listed price is not the amount you are going to veritably spend.  The vast majority of dresses require alterations which are not included in the cost of the gown but your veil, jewelry, undergarments etc. must be accounted for as well. Modifications alone can set you back up to $500 unless you are lucky enough to find a bridal shop where everything is included for a set fee.

Customarily, when you pay for a service, whether a photographer, DJ, coordinator, use of your venue etc., the quoted amount is for a specific period of time. It may take you longer to get ready than expected, causing the wedding to run late and it’s easy to lose track of time during the subsequent celebration. Be aware that, just as with any other profession, additional charges accrue for overtime. Either you need to be exceptionally aware of your schedule or set aside a portion of the budget in anticipation to cover overages.

Although your wedding day is one of the most special in your life and has tremendous meaning to you, at the end of the day, to most vendors, it is a way to make a living and a means to an end. It is important that you don’t spend every penny allocated without being aware of unforeseen expenditures as almost every aspect of your special day will include them.

I’d Rather be Apart from You

Each guest at your wedding realizes their meaning solely based on having been invited (even those who are plus ones). A kind gesture is to take it a step further to both demonstrate your personalities and uniquely individualizes your union from any other.

  1. As each person arrives, have a fresh flower pin or hair clip for women and miniature boutonniere for the men each with a personalized name tag. Doing so shows thoughtfulness and creates a sense of congruency for group photos.
  2. Rather than a rose or sand ceremony, plant the seeds of your favorite flower together during your ceremony. It’s a fantastic recognition of the new journey you are embarking on and will serve as a reminder as you watch it grow and flourish.
  3. Provide a variety of colored pennant flags as your guests enter along with markers so as to write a single word on. It will fill the gap prior to the ceremony beginning but, more importantly, while you typically imagine leaving the venue to flower petals or rice, your married life will begin with waving of personalized and handwritten wishes.
  4. Rather than opting for typical banners, consider making your own. While needing to know the dimensions in order to hang them, the options are limitless in terms of what they could show. You could create collages of images with all of those you invited to make them feel appreciated or solely two of special moments with your fiancé.

When you start to plan your wedding, your mind goes immediately to what you’ve seen on TV, what you grew up dreaming of etc., but there are so many ways you can blend both tradition and personalization in ways that not only make it feel like your special day but also as if a very special day for each of your invitees.

I’d Like to Place an Order


When it comes to your bridal party, you may not give much thought to who stands where although there can easily be insinuations made by those you have chosen to include which can either be flattering or hurtful. It goes without saying that your matron of honor is traditionally your sister (if you have one) or best friend. That should not be offensive to anyone.

However, there are many ways to select an order for the remaining participants and the following are just a few ideas. While it can be potentially construed as hurtful, you can assign positions based on the nature of your relationship. It should not be lost on anyone you ask to stand next to you that they hold a special place in your heart and mean a great deal or else they wouldn’t be there.

One idea is that those who are closest to you (while each one is) stands nearest. That may be based on the number of years you have known them, the nature of your relationship or many other factors. Another option is to create an alignment in congruence with age.

It is completely appropriate to delegate who stands where based upon maturity. If you choose to do so, there will be no hard feelings as it would be difficult to find fault with any bride with that preference. If photos are one of the most important elements to you, a great way to appoint positions is height based in descending order so as to maximize the pleasance of each picture while keeping the focus on you and your husband.

The list goes on in reference as to how to determine who will stand where. It is yet another thing that brides don’t typically think requires any sort of consideration but, in actuality, does. Your decision is your own and is made because of your own personal reasons which are of the utmost importance.

My Site is Set on You

Likely, your initial thought when choosing who to celebrate your marriage with is to include everyone who has ever meant anything to you in your life. Then reality sets in, you realize your fiancé has a guest list as well and that, as the number goes up, so do your expenses, forcing you to reallocate your budget.

There are many reasons for selecting a venue among those being a place with sentimental value, somewhere you just happened upon and had a feeling about or a location which may not be your first choice but will accommodate the numbers of guests you have invited.

While every person you do invite most likely hopes to attend, not everyone will be able to. Some may immediately let you know via your RSVP cards but others cannot predict unforeseen circumstances and cannot inform you until much closer to the date.

One thing to consider is the number of guests coming from out-of-town. If they are family or very close to you, the likeliness of attendance is much higher than if they are friends from college for example. Typically, when averaging the two, approximately 55% of those coming from different locations will actually be present.

Local invitees are much more prone to commemorate your day with you so expect relatively 90% of those to attend. However, something may occur which keeps them from attending as well.

Therefore, your site should be chosen not by the capacity it is able to accommodate according to the number of invitations you send out (given it is not significantly less) but rather by what feels right and seems to be the ideal location. After all, if your heart is set on one particular place, modifications can always be made so as to execute what you’ve dreamed of.

Making a Blueprint

You chose your partner, said yes when you were proposed to and decided to devote your life to your fiancé for a reason. There is an emotional investment and most of your free time is spent together but your knowledge is primarily based on life experiences, likes and dislikes etc. Getting caught up in love, the future, compatibility and how special you feel makes you forget the inevitable differences which certainly will arise.

Relationship stages differ but even more so after you exchange vows. Pre-marital counseling (usually conducted by your officiant) improves marriage success rates as it involves learning tools to handle uncomfortable situations. Another advantage is that the sessions are completely private and the words will not leave the walls in between which they are spoken.

Making a plan of action:  It is important to be on the same page as far as the future is concerned. Once things become real, locking down the number of children you want, how and with whom you will spend holidays, who will play what role in the home among many other things will change once you realize that you’ve now made fun, flirty and exciting a lifelong commitment.

Outside source:  An officiant is typically older, wiser, been married for many years and has wisdom that you may not yet. He/she can provide advice based on the issues they have already treaded through. You will learn ways of communicating that maybe haven’t crossed your mind or not been needed so far. Perhaps topics have been approached but often one responds in ways they feel will please their partner instead of what they actually want. Conversation tools will certainly benefit in minimizing future difficulties.

You need to keep an open mind as chances are you will hear things that you may not want to. The goal is not to win but to be completely honest and be willing to change things that maybe your fiancé has seemingly been fine with but actually always been irked by. It is also a time to show gratitude for being able to put everything out on the table and address the matters that could easily manifest themselves and lead to deterioration as time passes.

Knot Going Overboard

Many brides feel as if a more expensive wedding showcases a greater amount of love for their fiancé, more of a commitment or an increased amount of sincerity to their guests. Weddings, however, are not competitions and you can easily be just as happy paying the small filing fee at the courthouse for your license and that being the end of it.

Despite the growth of the wedding industry, studies show that as the amount spent on ceremonies decreases, the likelihood of marriages being successful and lasting increases. There are many reasons this could be the case and here are a few…

Spending a great deal on a particular day (although being the most important barring having children), will begin your new life with a huge amount of debt. The beauty is that intimacy, commitment and a lifelong promise are each actually free. The only cost is that is of being willing to give your heart and all that you have to someone else.

Favors are most often left behind as, without being unkind, in a short amount of time, no one really wants a match book with your wedding date inscribed on it nor do they care about personalized wine glasses. If you choose to give gifts, make them edible, seeds to plant in their yard or a meaningful reminder which will be lasting neither of which cost very much.

Choose a pair of shoes you already own and feel comfortable in. Most gowns are long enough that your footwear won’t even be seen and, as you will be spending many hours of the day on your feet, chances are you’ll end up taking them off/changing out of them anyway. Additionally, pain or discomfort can be noticeable and add an unwanted quirkiness to your gait as you walk down the aisle. Doing so not only makes you have one less thing to worry about but will often save several hundred dollars.

Paper seems a minimal expense as it is never something very costly. However, most likely, individualized place cards and menus are produced on card stock, will have to be duplicated (one for the menu and another for the seating location) and the cost increases infinitely as the number of guests does. To be more cost-effective, have a single menu at each table listing the names of every invitee at the table, as typically, it is unnecessary for each person to have their own list. Menus and place cards are other items that no one is going to take home, hold on to nor will most likely even recall.

The one element of your wedding day that matters doesn’t cost a single penny, won’t put you into debt, won’t be remembered by your guests and won’t cause you a single minute of stress or anxiety. Sometimes, that gets lost in the mix but it is very important to keep in mind as, in an industry that makes brides so easily get caught up in the smallest details, the sole reason the event is happening is temporarily forgotten.

 

Stand By Me

As society changes and modernizes, what is and isn’t acceptable does as well, weddings and just about every detail that goes into them being no exception. It has become appropriate to wear virtually any color that suits your fancy, opt for tennis shoes or cowboy boots instead of heels or even have your dog act as your ring bearer. Something else that has become admissible is choosing a man of honor in lieu of a matron of honor. If you make that decision, there are some things that you should give some thought to and here are just a few….

It is imperative that you discuss making that selection prior to doing so to ensure that your fiancé is okay with the idea, doesn’t feel disrespected or caught off guard. You also don’t want him to get the sense that the attention is taken away either from how wedding parties usually appear or by distracting or offending your guests by having a man at your side.

It goes without saying that donning a dress is not an option but a connection with your side of the party is paramount so as not to appear as if he is just standing in the wrong place. He should wear the same suit as the groomsmen. However, if they have ties on, his should differ by matching the color of your bridesmaids’ dresses and if boutonnieres are selected instead, his should coordinate with your bouquet in a different way than that of the others. In the event that neither are incorporated, a shirt in a matching shade to your bridesmaids is appropriate.

Your man of honor (also referred to as a male attendant) often takes on the duties that a maid of honor would such as helping you in your dress selection, deciding even the smallest details and holding your bouquet as you say your vows. The sole difference is that he is not a female.

You should not feel tied to appointing someone to the position due to a sense of obligation as, if someone is closer to you and their being the one standing next to you on your most important day would be more meaningful, that’s exactly what you should do. After all, you never want to look back and wish you’d made a different choice and certainly not one that was solely based on the influence of others.

Polite Guestures

Expectations are placed upon everyone both consciously and subconsciously in everyday life and the closer those individuals are to you, their significance increases and the more disappointing it is when they are not met. Under many circumstances, such expectancies are unwarranted but there are occasions when they are absolutely reasonable. One of those times is your special day and no one should be either angered by or less than accepting of your requests.

You don’t typically invite people to your wedding unless they mean something and/or are close to you. Each guest is chosen thoughtfully and for a particular reason especially if you’re getting married in a small venue but even if you’ve chosen a larger one as the numbers go up the costs do too.

While most people don’t immediately respond or even give much thought to what they get in the mail, it is appropriate for guests to RSVP promptly to your invitation as the attendees are a large factor in the size of venue required, number of favors to be purchased, amount of food necessary etc. Even if you do quickly receive an RSVP, conflicts sometimes may arise but it is only polite to be given notice if something comes up rather than simply not take part in the festivities. On your part, no offense should be taken on if it turns out that someone cannot attend despite the fact that your guests are chosen wisely and hold special meaning to you.

Aside from the obvious inclusion of your ceremony time on your invitations, it is always a good idea to add (in the fine print) a separate expected arrival time for your invitees. Unlike dates or family gatherings, tardiness to your wedding is both disrespectful and distracting as it takes the focus off your vows and the permanent merging of your life with that of your fiancé.

Consider suggesting appropriate attire (no matter how formal or relaxed your ceremony may be) as it is YOUR day and the focus should be on YOU. Unless you specifically request so, it is not appropriate for women to wear white for example. Additionally, perhaps someone just purchased a new and beautiful gown they’ve been waiting to wear and opt for your wedding as the place to do so. That is completely inappropriate so you need to kindly insinuate the motif of your affair so as to insure you are not outshined.

Let it be known that the only one taking photos of the ceremony is the photographer. If attendees want copies of their favorite moments, they can get them at a later time. If guests are taking shots during your ceremony at random times, flashes will be going off from every angle and not only distract and you and the officiant but also interfere with the professional pictures.

It goes without saying that one of the most important days in your life is one to be shared with those who are closest and most important. Being that they are just that, all should understand and even appreciate how important each (even the smallest) details are to you. You should not feel any sense of guilt, embarrassment or regret for assuming adherence to those things which will help make your day play out as flawlessly as you dream of.