Category Archives: married life

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.

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.

I Take You….Just Not Your Name

In the past, it was expected that you would take your husband’s last name upon getting married. Times have changed and there are many reasons why you may elect not to do so, none of which are either offensive or based in past traditions. However, you should consider some things before making that decision.

Identity: Beginning as a child, you have responded to, written and signed your last name throughout your life thus far. Perhaps you feel as if you would lose part of your individuality which is something partners in marriage should keep. Upon choosing your spouse, you are opting to make many compromises but need to feel as if you aren’t completely surrendering your entire self.

Preference: Possibly you have a unique surname and that of your fiancé doesn’t seem to match in conjunction with your first name or is is just too common. Maybe you just don’t like his at all. Many women practice being addressed by “Smith,” for example, and just cannot acclimate or become accustomed to it.

Professionalism: Chances are you graduated from college prior to getting engaged and your degree(s) has/have the inscription of your birth name. Unfortunately, the working world is much tougher for women in terms of gaining credibility, respect and the opportunity to advance. In addition to the difficulty required in making the alterations, much confusion would be involved.

Children: Because you select to keep your maiden name does not mean that your offspring must do the same. While a necessary conversation to have before walking down the aisle, typically babies do take the father’s name as hyphenation is nothing other than complicated to them but increases in complexity as they grow.

Your decision is your own and is not indicative of your level of love for your spouse. Your vows, pledges and responsibility to one another are what indicate the future the two of you have planned.

I (Un)expected This


Getting engaged is one of the most important days in any woman’s life. However, chances are your engagement will not go as you’ve always dreamed of due to things that have never crossed your mind.

Chances are the proposal won’t happen the way you’ve dreamed of. It might not occur in a fancy location or even close to where you’ve imagined. You may be at home in your pajamas with your hair a complete mess but the moment is all that matters.

There’s no specific time between a proposal and marriage. Enjoy whatever period you opt for in between the two whether it be a month, a year or even longer. Spend time just enjoying the fact that there’s now a difference in your relationship and acknowledge that you will spend your lives together.

While enjoying the time, however, take everything seriously in terms of the future. After all, you have committed to spend the rest of your life with someone and must discuss details such as children, finances, family relationships, holidays etc.

Recently married friends may suddenly feel like experts and dispense advice as quickly as a Pez container does candy. Graciously thank them, consider it but do no more or feel obligated to follow it. After all, every relationship is completely different so what works for one doesn’t work for another.

Your engagement period can be limitless. The importance is that you take the time to ensure you get what you want and deal with issues that may have not have been mentioned but will strengthen the forever bond you are preparing to make.

A MEmento to YOU


For the most part, brides and grooms exchange gifts (through third parties) on their wedding day both as a way to calm one another’s nerves and to remind each other of the excitement and preparedness for the moments, days and years to come. It is the meaning which is important and not the opulence or cost but it serves as a lasting reminder of the commitment made. While many brides choose gifts such as cuff links or watches, it’s fun to think outside of the box and give something one of a kind.

Go to a paint-your-own-pottery location and spend time creating something unique which would be representative of a memorable moment in your relationship. You can guarantee that, while it may not look perfect (unless you are an artist), it will be significant and the thought, time and energy invested are what make it sentimental. It could be anything from a bowl for him to eat cereal or soup out of to a monkey that reminds you of a date at the zoo. Most places have countless options to choose from.

Find a small box (perhaps with a personalized charm) and fill it with small one-sentence reasons why you are so excited for your future. Many can fit into the container and it’s a gift that he will be able to keep, open in the future, randomly select one and be reminded of your love for him.

Gift him with tickets to see his favorite team play with some of his friends. That way, he can relax and remember that, while marriage is complete devotion to one another, neither of you has to lose your individuality in the process.

Personalize a key chain. It doesn’t have to be ornate or flashy. Engrave your wedding date, a special message or something as simple as a heart. It’s just another way to provide a daily reminder of what your relationship and marriage mean to you.

No matter what you choose, it will be a representation of your union and the meaning behind the decision to spend your life together. Whether you’ve been married a day, a month, a year or twenty, it’s always nice to have a keepsake of the love, happiness and devotion you feel.


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.

Let’s Book It

Planning a wedding is an overwhelming task but also something you will want to recall every moment of in the future. Keeping those times in your mind often isn’t easy as they will fade and most likely disappear at some point. Many brides don’t realize that notebooks, journals or diaries are wonderful ways to preserve every facet and later look back upon. Each one contains different information, is done in a distinctive way and is unique solely to you.

One option is very simple in the sense of just scrawling your thoughts and feelings as you go through the planning process. You don’t have to be specific but can plainly write a sentence or two about what you are thinking or feeling on any given day whether something particular or solely excitement, a recollection of your relationship, the moment of your proposal and so on.

Another idea is photographing each step from selecting flowers, shopping for a gown, finding your venue etc. and writing a few words on the back of every one. This way, you can make a fun and interesting collage of the months that went into your big day and the people who shared those moments with you not only on that day but on each one leading up to it.

Additionally, everyone close to you who has seen the growth and development of your relationship could compose a note addressed to the two of you that could be put together in a logbook or folder. In that case, the memories would reflect things that perhaps you didn’t know or hadn’t seen.

Whether you opt for an uncomplicated and handwritten diary of random moments, a plethora of photos separated in a binder, a combination of the two or special notes, you will have something personal and timeless to look back on for countless years to come and is definitely worth spending time investing time in doing.



Most likely, you have been the one planning your wedding, making the decisions and insuring that everything will go off without a hitch. That certainly doesn’t mean that your fiancé either isn’t interested or that the day is any less important to him.  Most likely, he will let you take charge because what is most important to him is that you have the day you’ve dreamed of since you were young as most men don’t do the same thing. While memories are the most important things that come from your union, typically brides and grooms exchange special gifts on the day of the wedding to have tangible reminders.

If you want to DIY, make a scrapbook of the notes, cards and photos that have been significant portions of your relationship and played a part in getting you to the altar. You can also create a journal of the entire planning process, why you chose the things you did, how it made you feel, expressing your excitement etc. as that can be kept forever and looked back on.

If there is someone important to him who cannot make it to the ceremony, convince them to rearrange things based on the importance to your future husband so he will be pleasantly surprised. This also can be done if that person actually can make it as you could conspire with whomever it to say they cannot as the result will be the same and perhaps even more sentimental because of the thought behind it.

There are many things that can be engraved such as a money clip or cuff links (which most men rarely wear),  but by far the most special and meaningful would be having something written on either the outside or inside of his wedding band whether it be the date you met, got engaged, your wedding date or just something personal and special between the two of you. That way, he can always be reminded of just how important and special your relationship is.

Most couples are on a tight budget and don’t have too much to spare and there are many very inexpensive things you can give as well. If he is an avid tennis player, for example, he’d appreciate a new racket or a few lessons. You could easily arrange dinner plans for him and his closest friends or even have an embroidered tie patch that can be worn on his way to work.

While it is not necessary to exchange gifts and the tradition of doing so isn’t applicable to everyone, no matter how large or small, they are indications of your commitment and how meaningful your relationship and marriage are.

Don’t Kid Me


Children can be an issue at weddings and receptions, therefore some brides choose to request they not be present. However, if there are children involved either together or on either side from a prior relationship, they are obviously an exception and will most likely play a part in your ceremony in a special and meaningful way. Depending on age, there are many ways to do just that.

If young, the most obvious option is to have your daughter be the flower girl or son the ring bearer. If older, you could include them as part of the wedding party as a bridesmaid/maid of honor or groomsman/best man.

Another choice is inclusion by having them stand at the altar, verbally acknowledging their importance in front of your guests or being given a ring to seal your commitment as that indicates you’re not only making a pledge to your husband but to a family that he/she plays a part in making happen.

It goes without saying that brides are customarily accompanied by their father when walking down the aisle. If you’d rather, an option would be to be escorted by your child. Of course, this would be a conversation that would need to be had with your family (especially your father) so as no one feels less important or uncomfortable. While your family innately knows their importance and value in your life, sometimes children need to be reminded and that is another way to do just that.

It is imperative that everyone at your wedding feels appreciated and included and more than anyone else, your children. Despite the number of ways to incorporate them into your day, it is important for them to feel their importance as well as grasp that they are integral in your future.

Will You Marry Me?

Many couples don’t have a church they regularly attend but feel it is important to hold their ceremony in one. If you are not using or don’t have a pastor you know, get to know the one who will marry you. It is not uncommon for pastors to require at least a few sessions of premarital counseling so as to provide some insight into a variety of things that may not have ever crossed your mind in terms of your relationship and the life changes that come along with being married. Often, family and friends provide support, encouragement and give advice but have a somewhat biased perspective due to their affinity for the two of you. Someone outside of your life and circle can be very helpful and most often, the fees for the counseling are included in the amount charged to perform the ceremony.

One thing your friends and family usually feel much more at ease commenting on is the length of your relationship prior to your engagement or marriage. Sometimes, because your parents got married after two years or your best friend was engaged after six months, the expectations for you are the same. It is imperative to remember that every relationship is different from any other and what is right for you is just that, regardless of what someone else felt was appropriate for them. Marriages can be successful after having only known one another for a few weeks just as much so as after dating for ten years. It is very easy to question yourself and the decisions you and your fiancé make based on what those close to you say. You probably also feel much more inclined to take their advice, whether right or wrong, and dismiss what it is you feel in your heart, especially coming from those who have already made the commitment to their partner.

Pastors are people who have experience with all sorts of couples and have heard all sorts of difficulties and trepidations. They go into every ceremony with both the knowledge that it is different from any other and the assurance of having contributed to making you as prepared for your future and as successful as it can be. Advice and ideas should be welcomed from any source but pastoral counseling comes from a place that is unbiased and born out of wisdom. Therefore, if you know your minister or not, be open to taking time to speak to him/her honestly and openly prior to committing yourselves to one another. After all, it would be uncomfortable having someone you have never met and doesn’t know you joining you and your husband on one of the most important days of your life.