Category Archives: guests

I Guest You’d Want to be Included

Your guests enjoy witnessing you and your fiancé commit your lives and futures to one another. Weddings are often reminders of how special one’s own relationship is, and celebrations of love bring joy to all.

However, some ceremonies are lengthy, uninteresting to those who are easily distracted and unrelatable to guests who don’t have religious ties. Incorporating your guests is a great way to keep them engaged and add special meaning and fun. There are many special ways to do so.

Ring Warming: Everyone rubs your rings and gives you blessings to carry with you. You can do this during the ceremony, but it may cause a delay. Instead, put them near the entrance with a note asking for rubs, well wishes and prayers. They can either be written or shared with you privately during the reception. When everyone is seated, your ring bearer gets them to bring up the aisle.

Showing Love: At the beginning of your ceremony, after the guests are welcomed, have your officiant request everyone blow a kiss in your direction. It is a sweet, easy gesture that will instantly make you feel surrounded by love.

Community Vow: Relationships aren’t always easy and knowing you have the support of those closest to you is invaluable. Work with your officiant to create a unique affirmation to which your guests will respond “We do.” It should be done after you exchange your personal vows. An example is “Do each of you promise to support us, offer love, encouragement, guidance and your secrets for happiness?”

Speaking Up: As tradition goes, most weddings include a variation of “Anyone who objects to this wedding should speak now or forever hold their peace.” Why not flip the script and request “Anyone who supports this union speak now.” Guests can provide brief sentiments, anecdotes or milestones in your relationship if they choose. For larger weddings, it is recommended you designate only a few people to contribute for the sake of time.

Sing-along: Select a song you love that your guests are familiar with. Print the lyrics and include them with your program. After you are pronounced husband and wife and are ready to walk down the aisle together, cue the music and get serenaded by everyone in your life you love. It helps to designate someone to act as a conductor to minimize confusion and is fun for all.

Of course your wedding is about the new stage of life you are embarking on with your spouse. However, you wouldn’t have gotten to that place, nor will you be able to grow and thrive without the love and support of those who care about you most. An invitation is wonderful but including them in sentimental ways shows your gratitude and makes for a unique and special experience.

You’re My Favor(ite)

Your guests are honored to be invited to your wedding as much as you are to have them share one of the most important days in your life with you. Each token of your appreciation can be given at the end of your reception or placed in front of your invitees’ seats.

Spread the Love: Rather than giving gifts, choose a charity meaningful to you. Leave “in lieu of cards” at each seat or table to let your guests know you’ve donated on their behalf.

Potted Succulents: Even those who don’t have green thumbs can take care of one and they last forever. Succulents come in endless varieties and can thrive indoors or outside. Add a personalized note saying, “Let Love Flourish” or “Grow Together.”

Share the Luck: Lottery tickets are fun, unexpected and something many people don’t often buy. Add a clever touch by sealing them in “For Richer or Poorer envelopes.” Maybe your special day will bring luck to your guests.

Plantable Wish Cards: These are something your guests probably haven’t seen. Write a wish or leave it blank so everyone can make their own. Then, they just plant, water and watch them grow. Each card contains annual and perennial wildflower seeds.

Measuring Spoons: If you or your guests love to cook, silver heart shaped spoons are an ideal favor. They are accurate in size and can be inscribed with clever messages. Perhaps “A dash of love or “A spoonful of laughter.”

Thoughtful, lasting tokens with meaning serve as reminders of your connection with those close to you for years to come. Additionally, personalization with a unique message about love or well wishes are preferable over inscriptions with your wedding date. All are easy on the budget but will show your gratitude in special ways.

Give it Your Best Shot

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Capturing every moment from beginning to end of your special day is of utmost importance and you don’t want any detail to be missed. Some take longer than others. Most don’t impact your guests as they are done during preparation, the ceremony or reception. Of course you want perfect pictures with your family. However, your guests don’t want to wait long while you do so. Minimizing the time can be done very simply.

Shot List: Give the names of those you will include to your photographer, so no one is left out during formal poses. It speeds up the process so he or she can be prepared. Also, ask a friend to assist in gathering everyone. It reduces your stress and makes everything more expeditious.

Timing: Strike a pose before the ceremony if you aren’t concerned about seeing your spouse prior to walking down the aisle. Everyone will look their best and most fresh and it adds to your time celebrating. If you’d rather wait until afterwards, consider choosing only a few formal photos. Often, the random shots are more enjoyable as they are candid and surprising.

Expectations: Formal photos are tricky for any occasion and even more so if there are many people. It is difficult to capture everyone focused, smiling and with their clothes and hair just perfect at the same time. Likely, you will find quirks in many of them.  While formality may be important, perfection shouldn’t be expected. Embrace the snafus. They capture personality and add charm.

Typically, the time allotted for formal family photos is between 15 and 30 minutes. It is surprisingly short but very doable if you prepare in advance. Cameras will be clicking from the time you get ready until the time you call it a night. There are countless photos to go through once the day is done. Hence, the number of formal ones doesn’t need to be excessive and can be done quickly with a bit of forethought.

Backing Out

Some of the first things when preparing for your big day is to choose your pastor, the wedding party and who will give toasts and speeches. All are very important roles requiring time, energy and forethought both on your part and theirs. Unfortunately, there are occasions when one or more will back out at the last minute leaving you to wonder what to do.

Don’t get upset. Life happens and those who accepted their positions did so out of care for you. While it may throw you for a loop, there is surely a good reason behind his/her decision.

If a member of your wedding party, replacing them is not the best idea. Who you choose will likely feel as if a backup and be hurt. It is perfectly acceptable to have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. However, if it’s your maid of honor or the best man, feel free to ask someone already chosen to change roles.

As far as toasts and speeches go, people put time and effort into saying what they will deliver. There’s no reason to ask someone new. It also puts a lot of pressure on anyone to compose anything meaningful at the last minute.

For piece of mind, you should (at some point in time) inquire why things changed but no wedding is perfect and such questions should be addressed after your ceremony. The best thing is that, at the end of the day, you have married your life partner.

Can You Hear Me Now?

You may not realize music is a sizable portion of your wedding during the ceremony and reception. There are many things to consider when choosing what songs, the number, timing, length etc. you opt for. In fact, sometimes your decisions have an impact on your guests as many things can easily go wrong.

Sound Check: Whether a pianist, violinist or MP3 player, it is imperative you check out the acoustics prior to your ceremony. Doing so ensures the songs you want are familiar, the sound system comes across to your liking and, if not, can be adjusted prior to your big day.

Timing is Key: Many guests arrive early and don’t know one another. That leads to an uncomfortable silence while sitting with people you’ve never met. It’s important to elect music to diffuse the awkwardness.

First Dance: The song you select for your first dance shouldn’t be too long. It is a special moment for you, your husband and guests but it shouldn’t be more than two to three minutes.

Give Me a Break: You should have downtime in your music as well. When eating, it is a good chance for quiet conversation as you likely have seated people who know one another together and too much volume equals overload.

Including Everyone: You and your husband my be huge fans of jazz (for example) but it’s important to mix up the genres so your guests are pleased. Whether dancing or not, you don’t want monotony and people getting bored from what sounds redundant.

While the ceremony and reception choices are quite different, each are equally important and shouldn’t be put off until the last minute. Some venues have regulations which could keep you from having music if you don’t plan ahead. It also makes people smile, enjoy themselves and perhaps even make new friends.

Guest Dressed

Your primary focus is on your dress, what your fiancé is going to wear and the clothing for the wedding party. However, there are things to consider regarding your guests as it is YOUR day and some things aren’t appropriate.

White: Wearing white (or even a shade of it) should not be done which goes without saying. Unless you have a black and white theme or specifically request certain people to wear it, doing so is unacceptable.

Black: No one wants a color associated with funerals and grief. If someone feels more comfortable wearing a darker hue, a shade of blue or dark green is fitting. After all, it’s a celebration and colors should be cheery and upbeat.

Sparkles: Guests might want to add a little accent to their outfit but going overboard is disrespectful. That should be saved for their own wedding day as lighting and photography will catch the glimmer and outshine you even if not intended.

The best way to avoid any mishaps is to include a dress code on your invitations. Even if you say semi-casual, your guests should dress up rather than down. To avoid any confusion, include an option where you can be contacted with questions.

Regretfully Speaking

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When planning your wedding, excitement takes over and it may seem like you’ve covered every detail due to the sudden obsession that kicks in. Unfortunately, there is remorse that brides have looking back on their big day that should be considered. Here are just a few:

Ceremony: It is easy for your pastor to get carried away or for you to write long vows, but many brides wish their ceremonies were shorter in retrospect as not only did they get bored but worried their guests did too.

Time Spent: Brides often lament getting caught up in making everything perfect, taking photos, feeling overwhelmed at their new life change that they wish they had taken more time to have one on one time with family and close friends. When you are in a rush, it is difficult to focus anything other than what you’ve tried to make perfect but some of the most meaningful moments get left out.

Social Media: It should go without saying that people would turn cell phones off and not take personal photos, but many don’t think to do so. Also, sharing of your wedding pictures on social media is not often appreciated as they are for you do to so when you are ready.

Invitation Obligation: Inviting people out of guilt raises your costs and possibly makes you feel uncomfortable. You should be surrounded by people you love and care about. Inevitably, there will be a few people who will be on the guest list without choice, but you should only invite people that you genuinely want to be with.

Perfection Expectation: Every bride puts in so much time and energy to make everything perfect and many regret that their expectations weren’t met. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. Anticipate snafus and go with the flow. At the end of the day, you will be with the love of your life as a wife forever.

It’s important that you look back on your wedding day without disappointment. It will be as it should be despite what you’ve planned and it is one of the most important days in your life. That alone makes it perfect.

Engagement Advice

  1. Enjoy the moment before spilling the beans. There will be plenty of time for everyone to congratulate you, wish you well etc. but the biggest moment in your life is between you and your fiancé. Spend some time just cherishing the proposal before announcing it to everyone.
  2. Don’t get lost in your wedding day. So much time, energy and planning has gone into it that it’s easy to get caught up with you guests. You don’t want to look back and realize that you didn’t have any special moments with your new husband.
  3. Be yourself. You would be so upset if upon reflection, you realized you didn’t have what you wanted because you wanted to please your guests.  It’s YOUR day and should be exactly how you want it to be. Those who love you will be over the moon with anything you choose.
  4. Remember that it’s not all about you. Your fiancé is just as important and what he wants should be considered. Even if it doesn’t fit into your vision and some grooms don’t have any interest, if he wants something included, you should make a point to do so.
  5. Communication is very important especially before you get married. It is the foundation of every relationship and you need to be open with one another about everything to ensure your marriage will last. If you don’t start off on a solid foundation, your chances are greatly reduced.

Marriage is so important and it is easy to get caught up in the moment. However, there are things that need to be established and considered prior to walking down the aisle (and during your ceremony) in order to increase the chances of lifelong happiness.

You will get advice from all angles and some will be fitting and some won’t work for you but there are fundamentals that set you up for a strong, long lasting marriage.

Don’t Forget the Small Stuff

On your big day, it feels like every moment will forever be ingrained in your memory and many of them will. Like everything else though, time will blur and erase some of them. As life progresses and other monumental events happen, memory banks are replenished, hence the importance of photographs. There are pivotal shots every bride focuses on but some that are equally important that may not be considered. Here are a few of those:

Before Shots:  You will have countless glamorous photos looking more beautiful than you ever have. The moments before you start getting ready will highlight your inner glow, undeniable excitement and the naturally beautiful woman your fiancé is committing his life to.

First Look: The first time your fiancé sees you walking down the aisle is priceless as his emotions are unplanned, can’t be hidden and are as heartfelt and unfiltered as can be.

Decorations: While you will never forget the time spent planning every detail, the vision of exactly how it all came together will likely fade. While most brides focus on their guests and festivities, as the saying goes “it’s all in the details” and reminders of those are equally important.

Your Gown: Snap your dress on the hanger before it’s been worn. The instant you put it on, dirt, makeup, food etc. will leave marks that are nearly impossible to remove. Take time to memorialize all its glory after it’s been prepared for you to step into.

Candid Moments: Some of the best shots are those that aren’t posed or planned. Capture everyone when they think no one is looking. Perhaps not the most flattering, these are the most realistic and fun reflections of your special day and the wonderful time had by all.

There are standard photos expected of every couple that every photographer takes. While those are important, equally so are ones that document the smallest details, unplanned moments and emotions that cannot be found in a posed picture.

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.