Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Just enough PDA (Public Display of Affection)

Have you ever seen a couple so affectionate to one another that it ignites a feeling of love and encouragement in your own heart? Most people love to see other people that are genuinely in love...hand-holding, smiling, couples sneaking a kiss.  PDA (Public Display of Affection) is a way of letting your partner know you love them and are proud to be with them...all without saying an actual word. But is there such thing as too much PDA?  Is less actually more?  

It depends on you and your partner's comfort level.  Some couples are shy or reserved, and would prefer not to show affection in public at all.  Other couples are not shy and can't keep their hands and lips off of each other,  Is there a happy median? Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to show affection to your partner, but generally keeping it "PG" in public is a good idea.  Affection comes from the heart and people show it in different ways, but whatever you do, make sure you don't make your partner feel uncomfortable.  The last thing you would want to do is embarrass them.  That would defeat the purpose.  

Here's a Tip:  Keep it classy.  Save the extra mushy, extra sappy stuff for a more intimate setting.  I'm not saying anything's wrong with a playful pop on the butt and the chase that may ensue afterwards.  I'm saying if it's turning into foreplay, get a room.  

I've always believed that there's a time and place for everything. Corporate parties, religious celebrations and children's functions are probably places you want to tone down the PDA a little bit.  Goal is not to get arrested, LOL. Remember, PDA is natural, so just be mindful of your surroundings and of your partner's feelings.  
#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com







Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pick a Seat, Not a Side

At most wedding ceremonies, the front rows are reserved for the Bride and Groom's immediate family. Bride's parents typically sit on the left and the Groom's parent's sit on the right. For same sex couples, sides may be labeled at the discretion of the couple.  So does it matter what side your guests sit on? Do your guests have to follow suit and sit on designated sides? What if the family sizes are uneven?

A wedding celebration is the blending of two families, so I think it's perfectly fine to have your guests 'pick a seat, not a side'.  This way, they can mingle and get to know one another while they wait for you to make your grand entrance.  Open seating may also aid in loosening your guests up before the reception.  It's true most people enter the wedding looking to sit beside someone that they know, but since everyone will be one big happy family in about 30 minutes, they may as well get acquainted early!  Remember to let your ushers know of this arrangement in advance so they can pass along the correct instructions to your guests.  

Here's a tip: Place a friendly sign near the entrance-way that let's your guests know that they can sit on either side.

You should be able to tell from the RSVP responses how many people from either side of the family will be in attendance.  If the numbers largely differ then mixing sides is definitely a great idea. If someone asks or insists on sitting on either side, then they can be directed to sit on the traditional sides. But for your other guests, consider letting everyone get in where they fit in.  Trust me, the majority will love your not-so-traditional style. #behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com




Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hello Date Night!

After you get married, whether you have children or not, you should continue doing the things that drew you together in the first place.  Make that a priority.  I understand that 'life happens' but if you want your married life to continue on a happy course, if you want the fire of passion to keep burning, then you should try really hard to fit 'date night' into your schedule.  Scheduling date night will take joint effort, so it's not up to one partner to schedule it every time.  Take turns initiating and coming up with ideas of things to do and places to go with your sweetheart.  You did it while you were courting, so keep the romance going! Do it often!  

Here's a tip: Make date night REAL by putting it on both of your calendars.  You wouldn't cancel a doctor's appointment, or a business meeting unless it was a dire emergency...and if you had to cancel, you would probably set a new date right away.  Treat your date night with the same respect.  

Remember, it's the little things that count, meaning you don't have to dip into your savings to have a good time, and you don't have to do anything lavish.  Use your imagination to come up with something you'll both enjoy. Date night with your partner doesn't have to last all night, especially if you have young children, (we understand booking a sitter can be challenging) but try to schedule it for a few hours at a time. Check your local newspaper to find friendly events in your area. Make sure your surroundings are quiet enough for you and your sweetheart to have good conversation....flirt with each other...laugh at one another's jokes...for you to finish each other's sentences.  

Here's another tip: Coordinate with your partner to both leave work early so you can get your date started early.  Date night doesn't always have to be at night...it can be anytime of day you want it to be.  If nights are not convenient due to sitter or work issues, then have a 'date day' with your partner instead.  You both need a break from everyday life, from the bills, from the kids, from the job, so make time.  It's important.  

Try something new, like a new restaurant, or a new lounge, or drive further to check out a new theater. If your sitter cancels and you absolutely cannot leave the house, put the kids to bed early, sit on the porch together and count fireflies.  As long as you're together... #behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant ~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com











Thursday, October 22, 2015

Will You Wear Your Engagement Ring On Your Wedding Day?

Many Brides-to-be have asked me what they should do with their engagement ring during the wedding ceremony.  Should they wear it on their right hand?  Should they put their engagement ring back on during the wedding reception?  Should they keep it on during the wedding ceremony? Should they just leave their engagement ring at home? 

My answer is "any of the above", meaning there is no right or wrong answer.  It is completely up to you so please don't be pressured by the opinion of others.  If your engagement ring can fit on your right hand, then feel free to switch it until after the ceremony.  If you want to leave your engagement ring at home, go for it!  If your fiance' decides to place both your wedding ring AND your wedding band on your finger during the ceremony, more power to you!  Some people go so far as getting both welded together so the rings become one. Whatever makes you comfortable is fine.  

Here's a tip: If your band interlocks with your engagement ring, you can have your fiance' practice hitching the rings together in advance of your wedding day.  Also, think about your wedding photographs.  Do you want just the band in your 'exchanging rings' pictures or do you want the entire set to be shown?  It really is up to you.  

When I got married almost five months ago, I thought about switching hands until my reception but my right ring finger is a different size so switching hands wasn't an option. In the end my husband placed both my engagement ring and my wedding band on my left ring finger during the ceremony.  I was very happy with our decision and my photos were awesome! 

Be traditional or be original...but mostly importantly...#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~







Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Merging Households After Your Wedding

Two living room sets, two microwaves, two dining room sets, multiple TVs, family heirlooms...as you and your partner combine lives, you will have to combine households too.  If either partner is a pack-rat, this may become more of a challenge.  What if you don't have enough space to store everything?  So how will you decide what stuff will stay and what has to go?  If one partner is not tied to their furniture, great- problem averted! Otherwise, keep reading...

It's important that your relationship doesn't become strained over furniture.  People's histories are sometimes connected to their furniture so be respectful to each other feelings by not referring to anything as ugly...even it is a little grubby LOL. As much as you and your partner may have in common, when it comes down to decor, your style may differ. Here's where communication and negotiation will play a big part in your relationship. 

Here's a tip: Try not to label items "his" or "hers".  After the vows, your blended possessions should be referred to as "ours".  No one wants to feel like a guest in their own home so do whatever it takes to make each other comfortable.  Be open to change.  If it takes both of you getting rid of both living room sets and buying a new set TOGETHER, then so be it.  Transform the house so that everything old looks new.  It doesn't have to take a lot of money, but it will take a lot of imagination. Develop a plan, make it a family project and do it together. Don't look at it like it's a chore, view it as an opportunity to get your new life organized.  

Here's another tip: Get rid of duplicate items.  Start with little things like cutlery, table lamps, sheets and linen. Work your way up to bigger duplicate items like furniture sets and large appliances. Figure out what you actually need and what you don't need, create a "keep" pile and a "give away" pile. Maybe even consider having a yard sale.  

Learn how to share space. It's only stuff.  Take it one day at a time and everything will come together. #behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com








Friday, October 16, 2015

Choosing Your Wedding Venue

Before you book appointments to tour local wedding venues...before you start ordering wedding favors or invitations...you and your partner need to determine your entire wedding budget. The first thing you need to establish is the approximate number of guests you plan to invite to your wedding. Since so many venues charge by-the-person, the number of guests is key to seeing how far your money will go. Here's a tip: Add a few hundred $$ cushion to your wedding budget to account for hidden fees or last minute emergencies.  

Next, you and your partner need to determine where you would like to get married and what type of wedding you want to have.  In the city?  Rural area?  A country wedding? A garden wedding? Traditional or modern? 

Once you have those questions answered, you can begin looking at venues online.  Look at their picture galleries very carefully.  Do those cross-back chairs come with the venue? Do those 8-inch round or rectangle tables come with the venue?  How many guests can be seated in a room at the same time?  Pay attention to small details like 'seats 100 people ballroom style' versus 'fits 100 people standing room only'. There's a big difference so pay close attention!  

Most venues will give you a little more than just a roof over your head, but please understand that all-inclusive does not always mean ALL-inclusive.  You need to find out if the venue supplies a wedding coordinator, caterer, DJ, florist, photographer, chairs and chair covers (how many?), tables and table linens (how many?) and cake.  Is there an extra fee for cake-cutting? Can you bring your own cake? Can you bring your own anything?  Is there a separate room rental fee if you are having your ceremony in the same location. Are plates, chargers and eating utensils included? Is there a break-down/clean-up fee?  You may be surprised as to the things that are not actually included in an all-inclusive venue.  

Here's a tip: Ask if there will be more than one wedding on your date.  This may determine how much setup time you will be allowed and if you will be rushed out of your space once your time has lapsed.  If you are the second wedding for the day in the venue, what will happen to your event if the first wedding runs over time?  Make sure you nail down setup/breakdown times and know if that's included in your overall time.  If you have selected an outdoor venue, ask about their bad weather protocol.  Ask if you can drop off decorations the day before and if the answer is yes, ask how your items will be stored.  Can you imagine items coming up damaged or missing on your wedding day? Ain't nobody got time for that!

Here's another tip: Try not to sign the contract immediately. Don't be pressured.  Ask for a copy so that you can have time to read it over.  These venues are first come, first serve, so I'm not saying you should sit on it for days.  I'm saying you might want to take it home, read ALL the fine print before signing.  Make a list of questionable items and go over the questions with your venue before you sign. Make sure you get an executed copy of your contract as well as any other supporting documents. Go over the cancellation policy in detail.  Remember, no question is a dumb question, so ask away! Good luck on your search!
#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com










Thursday, October 15, 2015

Wedding Rehearsal Time!

Hey Lovebirds! Your wedding rehearsal is important, especially for people who have never been in a wedding before. Although it's important to get down to business, you should schedule enough time for everyone to socialize first so that there will be less chatting throughout the actual rehearsal.  Try not to make rehearsal long and drawn out.  If you (or your wedding planner) stick to the wedding timeline, time will be well spent.  There is no need to go through the actual wedding ceremony and any additional readings word for word. Try using keywords, phrases or cues instead.

Rehearsal is a great time for laughter. Let your bridal party dance down the aisle to loosen everyone up.  Then practice the real bridal procession. Remind everyone to smile!  Have everyone line up in the actual order in which they will walk down the aisle.  Let your bridal party know each song that will be used.  Let your parents know where they will be sitting once they reach the end of the aisle. Let the bridesmaids know how they should hold their flowers, and let the groomsmen know how they should rest their hands once they are at the alter.  If everyone is doing something different, it will be obvious in your wedding pictures, so make sure everyone's on the same page. After the wedding ceremony, the Bride and Groom will exit first.  Have everyone practice walking out after them, typically in pairs with about 20 feet between each couple. Again, remind everyone to smile!

Here's a tip: Women should practice walking down the aisle in their wedding shoes.  This will help them break the shoes in and get a feel for any imperfections (rises or dips) that may be on the floor.  

If the Bride is being given away, the escort(s) should practice the hand-off. Typically, the escort(s) will shake the partner's hand, give the Bride's hand to the partner...the Bride will hand off her bouquet to the Maid of Honor, and then the couple will go stand before the Wedding Officiant.  

There is no right or wrong way to arrange a wedding procession.  Modern ceremonies can have all types of variations.  Again, just make sure everyone is on the same page.  I highly suggest having the rehearsal at the actual wedding location so that everyone can practice walking down the actual aisle and know where they need to stand at the actual alter. Children in the bridal party need to practice their part too.  It's important that everyone understands their role, but you can still make it fun because this is a pre-wedding celebration. Wrap up the evening with a toast to "family". Congratulations! Your big day is right around the corner! #behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~

 


Embracing Your Mother-In-Law

I consider myself fortunate to have such a loving and supportive mother-in-law.  But others may not be so lucky.  If there is conflict with your mother-in-law, chances are the issues will trickle over into your engagement or marriage. For the sake of your relationship, it may be up to you to 'be the bigger person' and try to keep the peace.  It may not be easy but it will be worth it.  

When mothers have a very close relationship with their child, they may feel resentment to the person that their child wants to marry, feeling like their child is being 'taken away' from them.  This attitude can turn them into a Monster-In-Law, and they may not like you right away no matter how hard you try.  Do your best not to make your partner have to choose. 

Here's a tip: Consider including your mother-in-law in your bridal shower and wedding planning process. Specify a task for her to make her feel involved. After all, it's her son/daughter's special day too.

True, it's possible that you may never be best friends with your mother-in-law, but it is important to at least be on good terms with her. When you feel the need to correct or address something with her, try starting the conversation with something positive and then give her a chance to explain her behavior. Be honest with her letting her know that this shouldn't be a rivalry and you care for her and want to get along.  You both love her son/daughter and will do anything to make them happy.  

Here's another tip: Until you bury the hurt of the past, you and your mother-in-law will not be able to move on.  So exercise forgiveness.  

Last tip: Do not include your mother-in-law in your relationship or marital disputes.  What you say can and will be used against you at a later date.  Seek advice from a Pastor, marriage counselor or another happily married friend instead.

Your goal is to have a healthy relationship with your mother-in-law which is part of having a strong family.  Be patient and be stay committed to the goal. Communication is key, so talk to your partner. Best of luck!
#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com





Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Domestic Violence Awareness

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and occurs when one partner in a relationship tries to dominate and control the other partner.  It can happen in same-sex or heterosexual partnerships.  No one (men or women) should live in fear of the person that they are in love with.

Abusers use tactics like guilt, fear or even intimidation to keep their partner 'under control'.  Abuse can be psychological or physical.  Either way, it's not acceptable and it's definitely not love. No one should be made to feel less than a person. 

6 Signs that you are in an abusive relationship:

  1. If you have to walk on eggshells, constantly watching what you say and how you say it, in order to avoid an argument.
  2. If your partner constantly belittles you in private or humiliates you in public to make you feel bad about yourself.
  3. If you feel afraid of your partner.
  4. If you feel like everything is your fault and you deserve to be hurt or punished.
  5. If your partner threatens to commit suicide if you threaten to leave.
  6. If your partner isolates you from your friends and family or you have to ask for permission to go anywhere.

Knowing is half the battle, so if you are in an abusive relationship, whether it be physical or psychological, start making steps to break free.  Or if you have a friend in an abusive relationship, talk to them in private to try to help them. If you see something, say something.  Break the cycle. Abuse is never okay. #besafe
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com





Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cold Feet Before Your Wedding?

As you get closer and closer to your wedding day, you may begin to develop cold feet.  You may begin feeling nervous about becoming a good husband or wife.  When the nerves kick in, you may feel 'knots' in your stomach, or even have a few bad dreams.  Subconsciously something is making you nervous and you should really try to get to the root if it before your big day. Try to warm up those cold feet!

If the thought of being the center of attention is worrying you, try doing some relaxation and breathing exercises. Here's a tip: Ask your Wedding Officiant to provide you with a copy of your ceremony in advance, so that there will be no surprises and you can practice.  Schedule wedding rehearsal so that everyone can go over the entire days' schedule.  Remember the loved ones that you have invited are happy for you and are there to support you and share in your special day. Friends shouldn't make friends nervous. :)    

Are you nervous because you are about to become a step-parent?  True it's a huge responsibility and can be a challenge.  Hopefully everyone already gets along and the family dynamic and boundaries have already been established.  There should already be mutual respect between the parents and the children.  Remember this 'combined family' will affect the children too so be sure to include the children in the wedding planning process. Communication is key so if you are nervous, please voice this to your partner-to-be.

Are you anxious because you've been told that sex changes after marriage?  Well, it shouldn't change for the worse.  Sex should improve after marriage and the attraction become more intense, because you will be graduating from boyfriend and girlfriend to 'life partners'. You compliment each other. You are soulmates. Again communication is key so if  this is why you are nervous, talk to your partner.  

Here's a tip: Talk to your Pastor or Wedding Officiant to see if they offer pre-marital counseling or pre-marital mentoring. Marriage is a big step and forever is a long time, so it's important to know that you and your partner are on the same page. Don't ignore 'gut' feelings...address them...BEFORE your wedding day. Good luck!
#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~





Wednesday, October 7, 2015

No! You're Not Invited to my Wedding...

Chances are as soon as you reveal your engagement, everyone will start inviting themselves to your wedding.  Truth is, most of us can't afford to invite every person we know to our wedding!  I don't know about you but I have 855 Facebook friends! And I know each of them personally. You get where I'm going with this?  

Creating and finalizing a guest list is no easy task. You and your partner will probably each start with a large list of family members and close friends and then have to shave that list down a few more times in order to fit your budget. Hopefully you and your partner won't argue too much over the guest list.  Don't feel pressured to invite people to your wedding simply because they invited you to theirs. Here's a tip: Before your parents get a chance to start inviting every great-aunt and third and fourth cousin that you've never met, give your parents a set number of people that they can invite. Even if your parents are helping you pay for your wedding, don't let them get carried away with the guest list. Try setting specific guidelines for them because it's YOUR special day.  

What about all your old friends from high school?  I think David Tutera hit the nail on the head when he spoke about this topic on his TV show, "My Fair Wedding".  He said, "Have I seen or spoken to this person in the last year?  If the answer is no, odds are you can keep them off your must-have list."  

What about your coworkers?  Truthfully, some people spend more time with their work family than their real family.  So I won't say that coworkers shouldn't be invited.  What I will suggest is creating different lists for potential wedding guests in order of importance.  By this I mean start with your must-have list (i.e. grandparents, siblings, first cousins). Then move on to closest friends and family members that had an active part in your life recently. Then move on to your mentor and people that have helped you become the great person that you are today.  

What about the 'plus-ones' and guests that have children? You know cousin Charlie will want to bring his new girlfriend to your wedding. And Aunt Maddie will probably want to bring her 2 small children too.  If you would rather not extend a plus-one to cousin Charlie, that's fine, just be up front with him.  Remember, you have to stay true to your set wedding budget.  Also, if you and your partner agreed to have a kid-free wedding, then stick to your guns.  Just remember to be specific on your invitations stating that the invite is for 1 person only, and that this will be an 'adult only celebration'. Let me warn you:  This will probably not go over well with some guests, so be prepared for some push back. Guests may even try to write in their plus-one or somehow edit the RSVP.  Be sure to address those issues immediately so that there will be no confusion come wedding day.  

Your goal is to have a beautiful wedding day, shared with the most important people in your life. Do your BEST to keep the number of guests manageable.  Best of luck!
#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~ 
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com





Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wedding Planning Can Wait

Dear Newly Engaged Couples: Congratulations on your engagement! Although you just announced your engagement, you don't have to rush to begin planning right away. Here's a tip: Enjoy being engaged!  Agreeing to be life partners is a huge step, a huge change. Let your engagement sink in.  Take engagement photos.  Live in the moment. Enjoy showing off your new ring. Enjoy each other. 

Don't let family pester or pressure you into planning your wedding immediately.  Take a breather! After budgeting for the engagement ring and planning the perfect proposal, your partner deserves a moment to breathe. Wedding planning takes money.  Wedding planning takes time, even if you hire an event planner... time away from your partner while doing online research or visiting bridal boutiques.  

So continue dating and having date-nights or game nights. Work together to choose a wedding date. Continue doing thing to keep your relationship fresh. Continue being open and honest with one another and lean on your partner if you are feeling overwhelmed.  When you are BOTH ready to proceed with planning your BIG DAY, go for it! Good luck! Happy planning!

#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com 



Monday, October 5, 2015

Bridesmaids Accessories

Dear Brides: Every wedding has a theme, no matter how simple.  If you want your bridesmaids to be uniformed, wearing  matching accessories, consider gifting the jewelry to them before the wedding. Everyone loves gifts!  Covering the cost is a great way to avoid having to make an announcement of things you don't want them to wear (i.e. flashy jewelry, head-pieces, noisy bangles, etc.) on your wedding day. You can blend colors, or have a more traditional look. It's YOUR day so while their input will be appreciated, the decision is ultimately up to you.   
Let's not forget about shoes!  If you're not asking your bridesmaids to wear matching shoes, then you should be specific about the color and style of shoes you expect them to buy to wear down the aisle, down to the heel type. Although these are your best friends, everyone's feet are different, and everyone's style may not match yours.  These beautiful ladies will be in most or maybe even all of your wedding pictures, so don't leave it to chance. Here's a tip: Encourage the ladies to bring a comfy pair of shoes to change into at the reception. 
One more thing...Nail polish!  For the sale of uniformity, feel free to ask your bridesmaids to wear matching nail polish on their hands and their toes, especially if they will be wearing open-toe shoes. French manicures or plain white polish go beautifully with most styles.  Good luck!
#bebeautiful

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com







Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ring Bearers...Look-alike Rings

The ring bearer is typically a small boy that walks down the aisle right before the flower girl (or with the flower girl), carrying a small pillow with two rings tied to it. Here's a tip: Tie fake rings (look-alike) to the pillow. Reason: Untying the rings at the alter, in front of all your guests, while you're feeling nervous and anxious may not be an easy task. The bow may get knotted.  The rings could fall to the ground. Another reason:  Trusting a small boy to stay still and not lose your real, gold and diamond rings, is taking a real chance. Kids will be kids :)

May I suggest giving the real rings to your Best Man and/or your Maid of Honor. Better safe than sorry.  If you don't have either, then you can ask your Wedding Officiant to hold the rings. Allowing a trusting adult to safeguard your precious rings takes the pressure off the ring bearer...so he can just enjoy being a dressed up kid and focus on being adorable!

Recently, I've noticed an uptick in "ring security boys" who carry a secured case with the real wedding ring boxes inside.  Once at the alter, they bring it to the best man, who opens the case and takes out the ring boxes.  This is a very cute way for the ring bearer to get the wedding rings to the alter in a secured manner.  

Please be sure to talk with your ring bearer ahead of time. Prepare him for what's to come.  If you are having a rehearsal party, be sure to include him.  Or just rehearse with him one-on-one.  Let him know in advance that there may be a large crowd at the wedding...and to just smile and walk.  Your guests will be so busy cooing about how cute he and the flower girl are, they will never notice the look-alike rings on his pillow. Problem avoided!
#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com 







Friday, October 2, 2015

'Til DEBT Do Us Part

Here's a tip: Don't let financial skeletons fall out of your closet after the "I do's". That can get really ugly, really quick. Your debt and your partners' debt will become shared debt after you are married so it's important to be honest with one another up front.  No matter how small the debt may seem, (i.e. child support, car loans, credit card debt, personal loans, judgments, IRS debt, school loans, liens, etc.) put it all on the table in a no-judgment setting.  

Think future. 'Til death do us part' is part of the marriage vows.  As gruesome as that may sound, death is a reality, so be prepared.  Update your beneficiary information as soon as you get married.  Protect each other and your children with life insurance.  Life insurance not only takes the burden off your loved ones for burial costs, but it also allows your partner time to grieve while trying to figure out how to take care of everyday bills without your financial contribution. Establish retirement accounts that you can both contribute to. Keep all financial information in an agreed up location, with easy access to the both of you. If you have assets, you both may want to consider writing a final will.   

Split the bills...or not?  Be sure to discuss who will cover each monthly bill?  Will you split the bills down the middle?  Or will there be one breadwinner?  Who will cover the day-to-day expenses?  Will you maintain separate bank accounts or joint accounts?  Try to figure out who has the best saving habits or the worse spending habits. Opposites attract for a reason :)

Discussing finances may be a touchy subject to some, so try to be patient and understanding while discussing.  Be calm. Work together as a team to come up with a good financial plan for your family. 
#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com 



Thursday, October 1, 2015

When Should You Mail Your Wedding Invitations?

So...when should you mail out your wedding invitations? This is a significant portion of your wedding planning process.  If you mail your invitations out too early, your guests may put the envelope to the side with the intention of RSVPing closer to the date, and intentionally forget to reply altogether.  Oh dear!  On the other hand if you send it our too close to the wedding date, you may not be giving your guests a fair amount of time to make arrangements to attend.  

Therefore, wedding invitations should go out about eight weeks before the wedding.  This gives guests plenty of time to clear their calendars for the day.  If you plan to invite guests from out of town, this will allow them sufficient time to make their travel arrangements.  

Eight weeks notice will also give your guests time to put aside gift money for you. WINNING!!!  For your guests with small children, this gives them plenty of time to find a sitter.  

Here's a tip: Have your envelope labels done and stamps ready at least 2 weeks before your invitations are set to be mailed out.  This will help streamline the process so that you can get everything sent out on time.  Easier said than done, I know.  Don't be afraid to ask your bridesmaids for help!  More hands on deck will get the job done faster!

Typically, if you send the invitations out on time, you should ask for an RSVP date no later than 3 weeks before your BIG DAY.  Happy planning!  #behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com 





Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Groomsmen Attire

Great news! Choosing your groomsmen's outfits isn't nearly as hard as choosing the bridesmaids dresses! LOL! But seriously, in general, while your groomsmen's outfits should match and mimic the groom's attire, they shouldn't match the groom exactly.  The grooms outfit should have obvious variables that will make him stand out (i.e. different color/style vest, tie, bow-tie, boutonniere) from the other guys.  After all, it's HIS day.  

Your groomsmen are expected to pay the fees for their attire.  Most groomsmen will either rent or buy a tuxedo. They should be the same style, by the same manufacturer. Keep in mind that most rental companies require the outfit to be returned the next day so please read the contract carefully. If renting, designate one of your groomsmen to return everyone's tux the next day.  The groomsmen should also have matching accessories so that they look unified.  

HERE'S A TIP: Schedule a day with the 'fellas' to all get fitted at the tuxedo shop or boutique of your choice.  If renting, all groomsmen should try on ALL pieces of the outfit, including the shoes to make sure everything fits because last minute changes may not be feasible.  Enjoy your "Guys Day Out!" Happy shopping!  #behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~
www.sweetheartweddingvows.com







Proposing to Your Bridesmaids


Congrats! You got the ring! Now what? You get to choose which of your closest friends and family members you want to stand up for you on your wedding day!

Here are a few creative ideas on how to "Propose to Your Bridesmaids".  

Too cute!

Who can say 'no' to wine?

How sweet!

Nice!

For the 'creative' bride

LOL! This is my favorite!

How thoughtful!

Traditional, yet elegant!

#behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~

Monday, September 28, 2015

What's a Wedding Officiant?

Hey Lovebirds, if you're not already familiar with the term 'Wedding Officiant', you soon will be. Simply put, a Wedding Officiant is the person who leads your wedding ceremony.  They have to be legally recognized by the state in which your wedding takes place. Your Wedding Officiant will have a HUGE influence on the tone of your ceremony, so it is important to find someone who has a style and belief system similar to yours and your spouse-to-be.  Who will you choose to marry you on your special day?  Here are a few tips to consider when looking for an Officiant:

  1. Search for online reviews and testimonials to help establish their credibility or ask for references.  
  2. Ask how they will dress for your ceremony.  
  3. Ask if pre-marital counseling is mandatory or optional or if it's required at all.
  4. Ask for their fee structure and if a deposit will be required.
  5. Ask if you can review their contract terms before you make a payment.  
  6. Try to get a feel for their ceremony style and make sure you are comfortable with them.
  7. Be specific with your wants and requirements.  
As 'Your Favorite Wedding Officiant', I take my title and responsibilities very seriously because my company name is on the line.  I put my heart and soul into creating a personalized ceremony that you and your guests will enjoy.  I don't turn the ceremony into 'church' because I believe the ceremony, whether it's religious or non-religious, should be centered on the couple getting married.  I believe the ceremony should concentrate on the couple's love and commitment to each other.  While my couples' are interviewing me, I am interviewing them at the same time. This is important so that I can make sure I'm a good fit for them too.  I ask pointed questions so that I can get to know my couples.  How else can I personalize each ceremony?  If my couples need help with writing their vows, I have templates to get them started.  If my couples need me to attend and lead their wedding rehearsal, I will schedule it based on my availability.  If I am not available, I give them direction and suggestions by phone.    

The bottom line is your Officiant should be personable, flexible and willing to listen to your wants. After all, it's YOUR SPECIAL DAY, so your ceremony should be customized to fit YOU. 

If you live in the DMV and would like for me to officiate your wedding ceremony, email me at nicole@sweetheartweddingvows.com to check availability.  We are booking into 2016 so contact us as early as possible! Visit our website www.sweetheartweddingvows.com to see links to our 5-star customer reviews.  #behappy  

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~ 



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Wedding Favors

Wedding Favors are a creative way to thank your guests for their support in attending the celebration of your special day.  They can be an extension of your wedding theme, or a small token that reflects your combined personalities as a couple.  I don't think there's a right or wrong wedding favor, and nowadays, wedding favors aren't mandatory.  

The best way to select a favor that is right for your wedding is to first determine your budget and number of guests.  If you're having a large wedding, it's cheaper to buy the favors in bulk.  Also think about what you might enjoy receiving if you were a guest. Here are a few ideas to consider as you're trying to decide what your favor will be:
  • Choose a wedding favor that matches your design (theme) and decor.  If your decor is pink and white, you could set up a candy bar to match those particular hues. 
  • Signature. A personalized monogram or wedding logo can be added to just about any party favor.
  • Location & Season. Think about the wedding venue or destination and let that be your inspiration for your wedding favors. For instance, if you're having a beach wedding, favors like inscribed seashells or message in a bottle favors come to mind. For an outdoor summer wedding, you could consider favors like sunglasses or monogrammed sunscreen. If your wedding is in the fall, neatly packaged candy apples would be a sweet favor. Crystal bells and candles are fitting for winter weddings.   
Check out the favors at myweddingfavors.com and orientaltrading.com  Be sure to include a message with each wedding favor that thanks the guests for sharing your special day.Guests often look forward to receiving a keepsake favor to take home with them.  The best received wedding favors are those that are well packaged (presentation is everything), create a personal connection, and most importantly are given with love.  Best of luck!  #behappy

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~ 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Is That Your Final Answer?

Once you and your spouse-to-be make a wedding-related decision, stick to it!  Don't go back and rethink it over and over again because you'll drive yourself insane. Final answer! 

Planning a wedding does not have to be stressful. There are many variables to consider before making huge decisions as it relates to your special day (ie. nailing down the date, the season, church or banquet hall, who will be in your bridal party, tux rentals, etc.) and your budget will be the deciding factor. So, first things first...agree on your wedding budget and do everything in your power not to exceed it.  

The world is full of naysayers, and a few might even be related to you. Try not to worry about what other people may think about your wedding decisions. It's YOUR day so have it YOUR way.  That old saying about having too many cooks in the kitchen...applies to planning your wedding day. Stay positive and trust your gut (and your partners' gut too). Whether your budget is $100 or $100,000, concentrate on the things that will make your day memorable and don't stress about the rest.

Make lots of lists.  Theknot.com offers pre-made checklists, and Buzzfeed.com has a collection of diagrams for planning every aspect of your wedding day.  

Your wedding in general, will be a big blur after all the excitement, and only the smallest, most important details will stand out the most. So enjoy the planning phase and have faith that it will all work out and your wedding will be one of the most memorable days of your life.  And that's my final answer! #behappy 

~Your Favorite Wedding Officiant~





Tips on Hiring Wedding Vendors

Dear Couples, it is always wise to check references before hiring your wedding vendors and before you sign any contracts. There are plenty of reference check questions on the internet to help guide your conversation. References will help you better understand the work ethic of the vendor you may hire.  Most vendors require a deposit to secure the wedding date. Please don't hand over any $$ without a written contract, or at least a detailed receipt.  Never let a vendor fast talk you into signing a contract that you haven't had the chance to review.
If you are uncomfortable calling references, then at the very least, do a quick internet search to see if your potential vendor has online reviews from past clients.  Certainly people can improve over time, so be sure to look at their most recent reviews. You should also do your due diligence when searching for a wedding venue. Search using sites like Yelp, Google, Wedding Wire, Thumbtack, etc., to get feedback from past clients. 
Questions to consider: 
1. How long has this vendor been in business and how many weddings have they done?
2. How much are the services and how much is the deposit? Any additional fees?
3. What is the vendors cancellation policy?

Once you decide to hire a vendor, be sure to discuss all the details of the services that you are expecting, and make sure the vendor is flexible enough to roll with the punches if s few details are tweaked. 
Be sure to check out our 'Vendor Resources' page for suggested vendors (DJs, Florists, Caterers, Makeup Artists, Photographers, etc.) in the DMV http://www.sweetheartweddingvows.com/vendor-resources.html 

Best Wishes.  #behappy

Walking down the Aisle

Hey Lovebirds! After you say your beautiful wedding vows to each other and after Your Favorite Wedding Officiant  (Yours Truly) pronounces you together...forever, enjoy your walk down the aisle. Make it last! We understand you may be nervous, so take your time. As you're walking up the aisle, smile for the cameras, dance a little, wave, shake a few hands, and even hug a few guests! Soak up all the attention! Cherish every moment of your wedding day because it goes by so fast. Throw tradition out the window just for one day! Enjoy! #behappy

P.S. Here's a picture of my husband and I dancing and celebrating our way down the aisle. #weddingday


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tip of the Day

My Dear Brides, try not to get pressured into buying a wedding dress that you don't love, by well-meaning loved ones.  It's not about designer labels or the latest trends.  It's about you, your body and what looks and feels best.  Go with your gut feeling and try not to second-guess yourself.  When you find that perfect wedding dress, trust me, you'll know!  Happy Shopping! 
~ Your Favorite Wedding Officiant