The 'Official' Officiant Viewpoint
Today is the perfect day for gardening, and I am hurriedly trying to get through what needs done today to spend a few hours outside, for the first time this Spring, to have a look at what Mother Nature has miraculously created after such a harsh winter.
Each time I get to the garden, I cannot help but reflect on the sheer genius that is around us- often overlooked. Somewhat of a philosopher in my thinking, each time I patiently remove weeds from the flowers I so hopefully tend each year, I am amazed and somewhat in awe of the tenacity and, frankly, brilliant evolution of the lowly weed in its ability to survive.
In my mind, the garden is a reflection of our lives. We plant the best seeds or small plants (our hopes, our dreams for the future, our ambition) and take all the necessary precautions to give them the best chance of survival- placing the plant in the right spot to get the sunlight and shade it needs to thrive, carefully mulch, fertilize and water it and, despite our best efforts, combat the 'pests' on a daily basis. In life, as in gardening, we do our best to insulate ourselves from the 'outside' world- we protect our families, try to provide the healthy ingredients to a happy life. We, in short, try to eliminate the 'pests' that deter us from our dreams for the future, for ourselves and for those we love.
In gardening, as in life, there are the ingenious 'weeds' that wrap themselves around us- like the sneaky weed that takes on the appearance of the host plant in order to avoid detection. Sometimes, these weeds are so remarkably like the host they slip by, undetected, unless we are vigilant.
There is the key- constant, daily vigilance. In this hectic, fast-paced world, it is so easy to not notice when a weed begins inching its way toward us. Because it looks so remarkably like the host plant, we don't notice when those cute little tendrils begin slowly and gently to wrap themselves around us- creating a stranglehold that will, eventually, choke out the host plant and move on to the next.
What are the 'weeds' in your life?
I take great pleasure in seeing other things besides sneaky little pests in the garden as well. As you can see in the pictures from the garden outside my back door, many of my plants have 'volunteered' new growth. What started out as a few salvias have, without any coaxing from me, dropped healthy seeds and, despite the odds, are flourishing into beautiful, proud, colorful plants. Instead of the 8 I began with, I now have dozens of salvia plants, in various stages of growth. Left to their own devices, I am confident the area will, one day, be completely filled with a beautiful sea of purple.
There are a few oddballs in there as well, the Columbine that is literally growing alongside the salvia plants, and both seem to thrive, despite what I assume would be competition for space and nutrients. Peaceful coexistence in action!
Thus, my confidence in regrowth, renewal and beauty are restored.
Despite the 'pests' that threaten us at every turn, with careful attention to detail, nurture and a little love, any garden can not only thrive, but flourish. No matter how sneaky and beautiful the pests look, they are a constant danger.
But not one that cannot be overcome.
One of the lines I use in our Promotional Materials is 'We believe in love and love what we do!' This is not just some sound-bite for Marry Me In Fort Wayne. It is true and reinforced on a regular basis. Almost daily, I am happily amazed and mildly surprised at the maturity, commitment to family, and earnestness of the younger generation I meet to discuss their weddings.
While we perform weddings for any age group, a large percentage of the couples reaching out to us are in their twenties and early thirties.
That is a loaded phrase: 'younger generation'. For me, that is a good percentage of the population as I face a milestone birthday. I always say you know you are getting old when the 'authority figures' i.e. Doctors, Lawyers, Police Officers, Fire and Emergency Personnel are young enough to be your children!
All morbid thoughts of mortality aside, I have been blown away by the young couples I encounter as they plan their futures. It has been inspiring, brought hope to my somewhat cynical world-view, gratifying, and frankly, humbling. I certainly was not anywhere near as grounded as these young couples seem to be today when I was in my early twenties.
Each week, I meet with couples who eschew the overblown, hyped, 'showy' weddings for more intimate, family-centered ceremonies. Often, it is because they are saving for a home, have put a down payment on a home, or simply want to save to begin a family.
I have performed hundreds of weddings over the past fifteen years and have learned a great deal about people by spending a bit of time at rehearsals with not only the Bride and Groom and wedding parties, but with their families. There certainly is something to be said for the support, guidance, friendship and love of the family. I am both proud and humbled by the good ole' Midwestern values exemplified time and again as I observe family dynamics. We Hoosiers, as far as I can see, 'get it'.
I met with a young couple yesterday that met when they were 18. Now 21, the young man, a true sentimentalist, shared a bit of their story. "When you meet the person you cannot live without, you know it. You just know. I knew when I met her, right away... I knew I was marrying her. I HAD to marry her. She was the one."
I hear the most fantastic stories, and am honored to witness love in action- from the Groom who surprised his Bride with his Grandmother's antique engagement ring from the turn of the century (she didn't think she would get a ring at all- and that was perfectly fine with her), 'tough guy' type men who normally don't articulate their feelings publicly that unabashedly speak through tears as they recite their hand-written vows, to Brides who surprise their Grooms with impromptu vocal solos.
So, yes..... I do believe in love. And, I do love what I do. I see love everyday: Love between the Bride and Groom, love between family members, love between friends.... what could possibly be better than that?!
*Disclaimer: this blog entry is in no way an attempt to offend. Some of our best family memories revolve around Christmas. I will not pretend otherwise to pacify. For blog purposes, this entry is simply to share the joy of the season, namely Peace on Earth and Good Will To Men. Conversely, I am not offended by other salutations offered this time of year as long as they are said in the spirit of the season.
Psychologists say traditions are important for a variety of reasons: it identifies us as individuals and as families. Rituals provide a constant in an uncertain and constantly changing world. Happy traditions foster feelings of security, stability and belonging. Traditions are, in short, conducive to happy and healthy families.
At this time of year, I find myself returning to the 'constants' of the season: hauling out the Christmas decor the day after Thanksgiving then agonizing over which ornament to purchase for each of my children this year. Since the day they were born, they have been given a very personal ornament each year that reflect their unique personalities and interests. It is so much fun to gently remove these from their box and reflect on their interests, symbolized by the choice of ornament, from long ago. Early on, my son was a sports fanatic. There are Santa's with basketballs, and more Santa's with basketballs. While living in St. Louis, he developed an intense interest in The St. Louis Blues. That year he received an ornament of a hockey player, complete with stick and puck. My daughters tastes usually revolved around music, so there are a variety of instruments representing all the particular ones she plays. There is a Scottish fiddler (she plays the violin and viola), guitar, musical notes, and keyboard. There are also ballet slippers, a camera and a Volkswagen (her dream car). She is eclectic and her ornaments reflect it.
Hopefully one day, when both children have their own homes and begin their own traditions, they will begin collecting ornaments to reflect the tastes and interests of their own children. And the annual ritual will continue.
As I posted pictures of our unique family traditions, I was a bit chagrined at the number of pictures of...FOOD! Seems Christmas is our time to indulge. Chili is a must every Christmas Eve (not sure how that started); my Grandmother always had those chocolate stars; I used to make Cherry 'Flips' or cordials (that went out the window a few years ago) and Chex Mix is a must. My children are addicted to my cherry pie- something I mastered after years of attempts and now people clamor for my recipe (sorry, no Christmas spirit here- NO WAY I am giving that out!). I don't think we are alone with the food-tradition-thing. From hot wassail to Mexican wedding cookies, holidays seem to bring out the self-indulgence of us all. Funny thing: as I scanned my downloaded pictures to include in this blog, right after 'Christmas Tree' was an instructional on 'Crunches'. As in SIT UPS. Coincidence? Ha! I think not. I get it, I get it.... that will be my tradition AFTER Christmas!
I have included a few other traditions from years past as well: the requisite dubious visit to Santa (notice how unsure my son appears about that guy!) ; a picture of my brother and I at our first visit with Santa (I am simply mesmerized!) ; Advent By Candlelight Dinners- an annual tradition started at each church I attended- a wonderful evening of fellowship with the women of the congregation (with the men of the congregation preparing and serving dinner!). Yes, I know the hairstyle is very '80's....but it was the '80's! My daughter's annual Holiday concert (with the instrument of the moment- she is very gifted that way) ; sledding and letters to Santa which, unfortunately, I have no personal pictures of ; a futile attempt to celebrate the holiday in Florida (notice my son's Mickey Mouse ears?- it's not the same without snow).... the list of traditions goes on and on.
What are your holiday traditions? We'd love to hear from you.
In the meantime, we wish you- especially those of you that allowed us the privilege of marrying you- a very Merry Christmas (your first as a 'married couple') and a wonderful, tradition-filled New Year!
Every Christmas, as I pore over the multitudes of beautiful Christmas cards, I find myself returning time and again to those with the sentiment of Peace.
As I pondered what content to include in today's post, it seemed only fitting that it reflect something about the Holiday season. Specifically, I wanted this post to reflect our wish for us all for peace- and, fittingly for a wedding-related business, love.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, I was drawn to one of my favorite songs. There have been many renditions on this holiday classic (my personal favorite is Natalie Cole's version), it speaks to us today as relevant as it was the day it was written.
For the 50+ couples we married this year, consider this our well-wish to you and yours this holiday season. And for those reading this post who we may not have had the honor to meet, Jodi and I wish you a very happy holiday season filled with all of these, our Grown Up Christmas Wishes.
Be sure to scroll to the end of the post for some heart-warming images of what I hope capture the youthful exuberance of the wonder of Christmas.
Merry Christmas! Noel!
Chris and Jodi
Music by David Foster
Lyrics by Linda Thompson
Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies
Well, I'm all grown up now
Can you still help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream
So here's my lifelong wish
My grown-up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need
No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Every man would have a friend
That right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up
What is this illusion called
The innocence of youth
Maybe only in their blind belief
Can we ever find the truth
There'd be no more lives torn apart
And wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Every man would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list
This is my only lifelong wish
This is my grown-up Christmas list
Ever wonder where the tradition of wearing a wedding veil originated? Well, lucky you! I have too and, this being a blog about weddings, we have the perfect forum to clear this question up for you.
The ancient Greeks and Romans outfitted Brides in a veil to ward off evil spirits and demons. These veils were brightly colored, but they were difficult to see through, so a new tradition took hold: Since the bride could not see well through her brightly-colored veil, she needed escorted down the aisle. Usually, her Father was the chosen escort, leading to the time-honored 'giving away of the bride'.
For arranged marriages, the veil 'screened' the bride's face from her prospective husband. Prior to the 'unveiling' it is probable that the bride and groom never laid eyes on each other! Can you imagine?
This tradition continued, although the symbolism changed over the years. It morphed from repelling demons to a sign of chastity, submission, modesty and obedience.
In another blog, I wrote of the history of the white wedding gown, representing the virginity of the bride-to-be, and the white veil followed suit. The origins of wearing a white veil is rumored to be an American tradition beginning when George Washington's step-granddaughter, Nellie Custis, married his nephew in a ceremony at Mount Vernon. She wore a lace veil because Lawrence saw her once through lace curtains in an open window and repeatedly commented how beautiful she was in that setting.
Today, the veil is more of a traditional accessory and has lost much of the symbolism of years past.
Veil styles have changed a bit as well, here are the most common types of veils:
* Blusher: A shorter veil that covers the bride's face
* Flyaway: A short veil that ends at the shoulder
* Fingertip: Extends just below the waist, brushing your fingertips
* Sweep: Ends at the floor
* Chapel: Measures 9 feet long and trails along the ground, Maid of Honor beware: you need to 'fluff' this as well as the train of the wedding gown
* Cathedral: Measures 12 feet long and has a significant train, most likely for more formal weddings
When deciding on a veil, remember this rule of thumb: choose the gown first; then decide on the hairstyle, then the headpiece and veil.
Thinking of having a wedding rehearsal? Good! We are ecstatic when a couple plans to have a rehearsal. We see, each weekend, how a rehearsal eliminates most 'surprises' on a wedding day. Conversely, we are sometimes a bit wary when a rehearsal is not on the Bride or Groom's radar.
A wedding rehearsal focuses on the most important part of your wedding day; your ceremony. More important than the music at the reception, what the Bride wears, or how the centerpieces look on the dining tables is the sacred and solemn ceremony that binds two people together for life.
Marry Me In Fort Wayne's Officiants partner with you and your Bridal Party to conduct an efficient run-through of perhaps the biggest day of your life to ensure your wedding day flows as smoothly as possible. We will put you at ease so you may enjoy your wedding day and not 'sweat the small stuff' on your special day.
Here are a few ideas on what should be practiced at your rehearsal:
*Where the ladies and the men will each gather and wait for the ceremony to begin (is the groom allowed to see the Bride prior to the ceremony?)
*Will ushers escort guests to their seats? If so, they will need to be familiarized who sits where, the path they are to take and so on
*What is the lineup for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen? How will they walk, pair up and stand for the ceremony? Will the men stand with the groom or walk with the bridesmaids at the recessional? How will they walk for the processional?
*How high should the bouquets be held?
*What are my cues to walk?
*Where do I stand? Will there be 'markers' for me?
*If there are children in the wedding party, what are their special instructions? Where will they walk? Will they stand for the duration or are they to be seated?
*How does the Bride wish for her parent or parents to give their consent?
*When does the Maid of Honor need to arrange the Bride's train?
*Are there to be readings or solos? If so, which microphone is the participant to use and when?
*When are religious, spiritual or cultural elements introduced into the ceremony?
*Will the couple choose to run through their vows or keep them a 'secret' until the wedding day?
*When will the ring exchange occur? Is this to be acted out with the actual rings?
*How will the couple be introduced?
*How will the Bride and Groom walk back down the aisle together? Bridal party members that are walking in the processional, and the process by which the groomsmen will return to the front row to escort parents' turn in the recessional will need to be worked out.
*Will there be a receiving line? If so, where is the location and order?
WHO SHOULD ATTEND THE REHEARSAL?
To avoid confusion as to who should be in attendance at the rehearsal, below is a quick run-through:
Those who should attend: The entire wedding party (that includes ring bearers, flower girls, ushers, etc.), the Officiant(s), families of the couple, and anyone else taking part in the ceremony will be asked (and expected) to be present at the rehearsal.
People who are not normally at the rehearsal include any musicians you hired for your ceremony and the photographer (unless you already booked your photographer for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner). If you did not book a photographer for the eve of your wedding, you will want to appoint someone to take pictures.
It is acceptable to invite spouses and significant others of the bridesmaids/groomsmen to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. In fact, it is considered rude not to invite them.
It is customary to invite your family members and very close friends to the rehearsal dinner but not to the rehearsal itself.
*Practical Tip: Wear the same shoes to the rehearsal that you will wear in the wedding. Practice walking in them to eliminate any stiffness or awkwardness on the big day.
*Stay sober! You do not want to be 'THAT PERSON' that ruins a wedding because you didn't catch all the important information at the rehearsal.
*Be on time! The Bride and Groom most likely have a time frame to complete the rehearsal and proceed to the rehearsal dinner location.
I wanted to name this blog 'Yeah, Toast' in honor of Heywood Banks' famous ode to toast of a different variety: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7NqSu1Wk0Y but did not because, much as I find his ditty amusing, I am not sure of the wide-range appeal to the general public.
Jodi and I are routinely invited to many wedding receptions which, unfortunately, we cannot always attend due to scheduling conflicts. It did set me to thinking about...the requisite wedding toast.
The wedding toast is a chance for the bride's and groom's closest family members and friends to express their joy for the couple, share a funny story or two, and impart words of wisdom. Sometimes, though, nerves, alcohol, or a not-so-secret disapproval of the matrimony leads to a speech that leaves everyone aghast. Here are real wedding toasts that made guests want to cower under their chairs rather than raise their glasses.
Taken from two different sources (credits below), here are some of my favorite 'bad' toasts:
1. "At a friend's wedding a few years ago, the best man made it apparent that he wasn't such a fan of the bride. The speech went something like this: '(Groom's name), man I love ya, you know I do. I hope you thought about this and that this is what you really, really, really want.' Then he said the bride's name, hit his fist against his chest twice, and pointed at her."
2. "A friend of mine from college got married, and his best man said in his speech: 'Finally John has found someone with low enough self-esteem to marry him."
3. "The maid of honor (the bride's sister) not only talked about herself during the whole speech, she also mentioned the possibility of an affair between herself and her sister's new husband."
4. "At my cousin's wedding, the best man ended his toast by saying he wanted the groom to know that he'd be there for him at his next wedding when this one didn't work out."
5. "The best man at a wedding I was in said during his toast, 'Congratulations to the new parents!' No one except a select few knew the bride was pregnant -- not even her parents!"
6. "I was a bridesmaid in a wedding where the best man gave a toast about how cheap the groom was and how they'd been friends all their lives but the wedding was the first free meal he's ever been offered by the 'cheapskate.'"
7. "The father of the bride stood up and said, 'I'm Jill's dad. I just want to say that I met David before Jill did because of my other daughter.' And he sat down."
8. "My cousin gave a horrible toast at her younger sister's wedding a few years ago. She began by saying that she never liked her sister's new husband throughout high school and that 'today he's still at the level of slightly below the scum on the bottom of a dirty waste pond.'"
9. "I attended a wedding where the best man commented on how the bride used to work at Hooters (which her family didn't know about) and how he was jealous of the groom for 'bagging her.'"
10. "During the toast the groom's dad (after many drinks) said that he was so happy for his son and his beautiful wife Sara. But his wife's name wasn't Sara, his ex-girlfriend's was."
11) "I've got a better one! Went to a wedding where the bride's brother toasted- he said they never thought the bride would get married because she was so flatulent as a child. So embarrassing for everyone in the room".
12) "I attended a friend from high school's wedding last summer, and it was highly entertaining. On top of other long, bad toasts, the MOH (and sister of the bride) started her's with, "So I guess that you're in love, or whatever." Continued to ramble on about how she was still the "cute one" and ended it by saying, "I hope that your kids are cute at least."
13) "At my cousins wedding, her maid of honor started her toast this way: "Last year in Mexico on spring break, the bride and I had a fight, ending with her hands on my throat and her trying to strangle me. So I was a little surprised when she asked me to be her maid of honor."
14) "Here's one for you: at a wedding I attended a few years ago, the bride got up to toast her groom and said, "Well [groom's name], I've been looking all my life for a man with charm, brains, and a six-pack. Too bad you don't have any of those." !!!!!! I was stunned! I hope she was joking, although I hear now that their marriage is somewhat shaky. Not very surprising!"
15) "I was put on the spot ( I was just a BM, not the MOH) at a rehearsal dinner for my best friend and rambled on about how Joanna and I used to have farting contests when we were younger. It was horrible, and her future in-laws were not amused".
16) "At a friend's sister's wedding a few years ago, nobody had told either of the two best men that they would be expected to make a toast. The first one mostly stammered, but the second one said to the groom, "Well, Levi, you've wanted to be married since we were in the third grade. And now you are." And then he sat down".
17) "For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the groom’s cousin. We’ve been through so much over the years that words alone don’t feel adequate for describing the kind of guy he is. So I’ve prepared a brief PowerPoint presentation—can we dim those lights, please? And DJ, can you cue up that CD I gave you? Right. Track two. Oh, crap, my laptop battery is low. Need an outlet to plug into. Cue the fog machine. Is this mic on?"
18) "Donna, I’m honored to stand here and congratulate you on this beautiful day. And what a beautiful couple, right? So gorgeous. You two remind me of how I felt with Barry. Remember when we’d joke about who would get married first? Then he ran off with that Olive Garden hostess and here I am, dateless at my best friend’s wedding. Who saw that one coming? Ha! I mean, awkward, right? Anyway, that dress, Donna. I’m speechless. Partly because you knew that’s the one I’ve dreamed about since we were kids. But really, I couldn’t be happier for you two. Could. Not. Be. Happier."
19) "Hey hey everybody! I’m Tim, the groom’s college roommate and partner in crime [wink wink] and I want to talk about the moment when I knew these two crazy kids were perfect for each other. But before that, let me tell you about what it was like living with this guy [double air-guns]. What a slob! I mean, clothes everywhere, Taco Bell wrappers—oh, that reminds me of the time we all went to Tijuana for spring break and drank the tap water. Bad scene, folks! Trust me on that one. Guys in Hazmat suits were called in. Sorry for getting off track here. I wrote up 17 pages worth of material but scrapped it, so bear with me, people! Hope you refilled those drinks …"
20) "…so there we are, in the Pi Kap basement, and Jake is like, “Dude, I’m gonna bust out the Prairie Dog!” If you could have seen this dance, you’d be laughing hysterically like I am right now, trust me! We also used to do this thing when we worked at that hedge fund together and we’d email dirty pics to each other with fake subject lines, like “New client” or “Quarterly forecast.” One click and WHAMMO! Right, bro? High-larious! Maybe you had to be there. Anyway, Maria, you’re so great for him. Like the time you went out and bought us Dunkin’ Donuts the morning a after that Nickelback concert! We were so hammered that night, bro!"
21) "When I first met the groom, I didn't like him all that much."
22) "We were beginning to worry that you were never going to get married
23) "The last time you guys broke up, we were all sure it was over. But look how wrong we were."
24) "To a thrilling lifetime together spent watching thousands upon thousands of hours of television!"
25) "I'm really happy that we're all here to celebrate today, but I'd like to take a moment of silence to remember the 1 billion people who live in chronic hunger everyday."
26) "Remember that time in college when we made out?"
27) "I know shouldn't say this, but it's really great that your husband is so rich."
28) "If it doesn't work out, I know a really good lawyer."
29) "May this marriage turn out better than your first one."
30) "I remember when you said your ex-boyfriend was the love of your life, and I'm happy you found another one."
31) "I honestly don't know how you snagged this guy. You're so lucky, I can't believe it."
32) "Congratulations on the baby! Oh wait, have you started telling people?"
33) "To my sister, I'm so excited to share some wonderful news with you on such a special day: I'm pregnant!"
Most of the time while writing this blog, I try to remember to ask something from you. Usually I ask for an opinion or feedback. In my last blog, I alluded to the fact that blog comments are private, waiting for our approval prior to being published on the website. I also mentioned this is due to the many SPAM blog comments we receive from around the world.
It has been a slow process for me to learn to use specific keywords to drive more traffic to our site. As our website expands further around the globe, (interesting note: our best followers are in China, Russia, The Netherlands, France, Ireland and Poland) we receive more and more attempts to sell something. These SPAM messages are sometimes funny, manipulative and rudimentary, but always entertaining.
I have visions of SPAMMERS sitting in front of their keyboards in these various countries, sending out their attempts to sell whatever it is they are selling. Or, for the technologically gifted ones, I envision an elaborate system wherein computers automatically spread these sales pitches all over the internet at lightening-fast speed.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite blog posts (all spelling and punctuation kept as-is from SPAMMERS). My responses are tongue-in-cheek:
'Very well-written. I hope next time will be good'. (a Handbag company from U.A.).
- Gee, that sounds like a back-handed compliment. I will try to do better next time, OK?!
'A very good article. Do you want to know more about it?" (watch company)
-Ummm, I am the one that wrote it?! While I am always eager to learn new things, on this one I think I'm good.
"Thank you for sharing, I really like, but my home page there are more related content, you can refer to. I expect better next time. Good luck". (watch company).
- Again, I will do my darnedest to be better next time, I promise!
'I consider he laid out an elaborate system of scheming and discussed the distress that awaited us". (foot products)
-I have NO idea!
"Outstanding website! I essential to ask if I might pages and use a component of the web internet site and use a few aspects for just about any school process. You should tell me through email whether that would be excellent. Several many thanks". (foot products)
- I don't think I need another pen pal, but thanks!
"Do you people have a myspace enthusiast internet internet page? We looked for a single upon tweets but could not actually find out one, I would like to turn out to be a supporter".
-I will endeavor to prove myself worthy of your support. Alas, we do not have an 'internet internet' page. If we get one, would you then support us?
"Thank you for the good writeup. It actually was once a leisure account it. Glance complicated to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?"
-I am getting to work as we speak on making my glances less complicated.
"In every wedding their are lot of factors you can do relevant to design and all.and in that situation songs is the best way have fun with the whole environment.thanks" (photographer)
-As a result of this SPAMMER, I have decided to sing while the Bridal Party has their pictures taken. Stay tuned for feedback.
"Paragraph writing is also a fun, if you be familiar with then you can write if not it is difficult to write". (frames)
-I will re-familiarize myself with the whole writing-in-paragraphs-thing.
"In a hurry hang up telephone, the Shao is fine afraid oneself tears run off, since make leave thus and far, put line through Shao mother also can feel that her circumstance isn't that right.While being discommoded, the person towards a side person's probably delivering not to come out, but towarding own nearest relative's affirmation will cry will say that he or she exactly has to discommode more, she F through endure, that absolutely can not send out"
-I don't know about you, but 'discommoding' sounds downright uncomfortable! Not sure who 'the Shao' is, but am thinking of steering clear...
"Show how the example leads to more general conclusions about the topic. (If possible, relate to material from the introduction to round the essay off.)"(dissertation writing help)
-This sounds like constructive criticism to me. Gheez, first the whole 'writing-in-paragraphs-thing' and now THIS?
"This website online is mostly a walk-via for the entire information you needed about this and didn't know who to ask. Glimpse here, and also you'll undoubtedly discover it". (watches)
-What, exactly, is a 'walk-via' anyway?
"After successfully delineate a flashy religious ceremony, one quite straightforward to tough to remain the angle of a true come to my strength. Derived from the inner temperament rigid certainty, confidence and life skills gently abandoned to stay".
- I certainly hope my life skills don't gently abandon me... Or, wait! Are they supposed to stay? It's hard to know...
"Agent X experienced gotten to us on a private level. She experienced the X issue: The ability to get folks caught up".
-Is this code for some devious international spy-ring? I want to go on record that I had NOTHING to do with this. Really!
"What i don't realize is actually how you are not really a lot more well-liked than you might be now. You're so intelligent. You already know thus significantly in terms of this matter, made me personally believe it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like men and women are not involved unless it' something to do with Lady gaga! Your individual stuffs outstanding. At all times deal with it up!"
-Gee, I didn't realize I wasn't 'not really a lot more well-liked'. This kind of ruined my day. Thanks a lot!
"Unless you appear to be visually captivating to your target audience, there is actually no impact that you are making on the minds of your customers".
-Well, this is just downright mean. I do the best I can, you know!
Our thoughts have turned to Autumn here in the Midwest, as the leaves are already crispy and some already falling.
It is interesting to me how Autumn has become the 'new May' in terms of weddings. Wedding-related businesses are scrambling to handle the demands of the 'new' wedding season- August, September and October. We at Marry Me In Fort Wayne are no exception.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. I find myself wanting to 'nest' in the way most people do their Spring Cleaning in April and May. I purge unneeded items, clean for the long, dreary, dark and cold days I dread, and feel....renewed. Interesting how one can feel renewed when, in essence, the flowers and trees are essentially dying- at least for a short while. But, invigorating it is for me and, I suspect, many others.
William Cullen Bryant said of Fall: "Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile".
I like that. It is lovely.
With the surge of Autumnal weddings looming on our calendar, I did one of my favorite things: found some lovely (see how I tied 'lovely' in to the quote above? I try to do that for you) images of centerpiece and table- scaping ideas for Fall weddings. The images I selected are some of my favorites (hey, it's my blog!) because they are pretty and practical. Most are downright frugal. Pretty important to those of us pinching pennies. And, what Bride and Groom doesn't pinch pennies?
Let me know if you decide to use any of these, or if you are inspired to create your own, unique ideas as a result of these images. NOTE: all blog comments are private. They are sent to MMIFW for approval. Trust me, it is necessary. You would be amazed at the SPAM we receive via blog comments. But I digress.
Here for your viewing pleasure are some of my favorite inspirational ideas for this Fall:
I came across this article (and am reprinting it for your thoughtful consideration) and found myself thinking: 'Really?!"
Still being a newlywed, the whole gift-giving scene at weddings is still fresh in my mind. And, being in the wedding business, Jodi and I see the gift table at almost every event. Some tables groan with the weight of largess, while others humbly await with less grandiose but still meaningful, thoughtful and well-chosen tokens of affection.
Say what you want about the Midwest, but we still believe in graciousness. We don't expect a gift at any occasion. We don't plan elaborate honeymoons, counting on benevolent friends to fund it for us with wads of cash after having suffered through an elaborate display of excess at our reception. The Hoosier in us is grateful for tokens of affection, but certainly not demanding you 'prove' to us the worthiness of our relationship by a high-value gift.
Rather, we value the mere presence of our loved ones. We agonize over the high cost of inviting friends, family and coworkers (because we would not want to offend anyone by leaving them off the guest list) because we genuinely enjoy their company- and could not care less about their checkbook. We don't rank our value to others and correlate it to the amount they spend on us. Their presence is their gift.
Didn't get the silver candlesticks you registered for? That is okay, because your favorite Great Aunt flew all the way across the country to attend her favorite niece's wedding. It's priorities, baby! We choose the Aunt over the candlesticks any day, no contest! THAT is the gift- and we value that more than any silver that tarnishes or appliances that eventually break down.
So, we ask you: Would you respond to a wedding guest who never sent you a gift?
Here is the article, let me know what you think:
By ABBY ELLIN
Published: August 23, 2013
Lisa Kaas Boyle, an environmental lawyer in Los Angeles, knows exactly who gave her what for her February 1994 wedding. The silver serving utensils? Courtesy of Uncle Michael. The magnificent Waterford vase with the doors of Ireland etched into the crystal? That came from Jimmy Murakami, the Oscar-nominated animator.
For that matter, Ms. Kaas Boyle can also recall, in elaborate detail, which guests relished the five-course dinner at the ornate Rex Il Ristorante (now shuttered), and still failed to give a present.Nineteen years later, it still irks her. Never mind that initially Ms. Kaas Boyle and her husband, David, wanted guests to make charitable donations rather than give gifts, but were talked into the more traditional approach by their parents.“One of our groomsmen, a childhood best friend who was already quite famous back then, forgot to gift,” said Ms. Boyle, now 48 and the mother of two. “So did a studio head. So did one of my favorite directors. I cherish every wedding vase, every serving utensil, every time I use them, recalling the gifter and the best night of my life. Then again, while I’m filling up a wedding vase with flowers from my yard, sometimes I wonder, ‘How could those miserly moguls have forgotten us?’ ”
Ah, yes: In the hierarchy of social transgressions, the wedding-gift omission, for some, is a sin of the highest order, the cause of relationship breakdowns and unwavering resentment.“You could talk to a 98-year-old woman and she won’t be able to tell you what song she danced to at her wedding, but she can tell you who didn’t give her a gift,” said Jodi R. R. Smith, an etiquette expert in Marblehead, Mass., and consultant for the wedding industry.
Ms. Smith understands why the oversight is considered such a slap in the face. “Gifts are symbols of the relationship,” she said. “It’s hurtful if this is someone I really cared about, who I thought was a great friend, who made the cut to come to my wedding, and she doesn’t do the right thing. For them to be so blasé about their relationship with me makes me think that maybe they’re not as good a friend as I thought.”
These lapses in manners (and judgment) occur more often than one might imagine. Ms. Smith estimates that between 7 and 10 percent of guests fail to give a gift.The London-based event planner Mark Niemierko, who works in England, Europe and the United States, has also noticed that few people donate to charity registries, a now-popular option that couples give their guests. At one elaborate wedding, only 10 guests contributed to the charities; the rest gave nothing. “I was really shocked,” he said. “I think it goes back to the old-fashioned thing that people are used to giving gifts, physical objects. They want to come to the house and see the decanter they bought you.”
Many agree that these slights usually aren’t deliberate. “Most of the time not bringing a gift is not out of malice,” said Anja Winikka, the site director for the Knot. “People forget. They go to a wedding over the weekend and they move on. Your wedding is not their wedding.”
Still, when it happens, it can sting. Kate Sawyer, 28, a project manager in Medford, Mass., is lacking three gifts from her October 2012 wedding. While the errant items technically fall within the oft-cited one-year window (more on that later), she is insulted. “Before your wedding you look at these etiquette books and these old traditions, and it’s kind of fun,” she said. “And you’re so careful and spend so much time opening gifts and writing down who gave what to you so you can send them a proper thank-you note. And then you don’t get a gift and it’s like: ‘Really? How do you do that?’ ”
There are levels of annoyance, depending on who the guest is. Less affluent guests, for example, may be given more leeway than wealthier ones. As may be the case for men, both single and married. For example, Wendy Kaufman, 54, who gained fame as the Snapple Lady, has never forgotten the three people who did not give a present at her lavish, 300-guest wedding in May 2004. She gives a pass to one of the offenders: the 22-year-old son of Ms. Kaufman’s college sweetheart, who was barely able to support himself and brought no gift. On the day of her wedding, in fact, Ms. Kaufman and her groom ended up peeling off five $100 bills for him. “We’ve been kind of surrogate parents to him, and he needed the cash,” she said, chuckling. While she didn’t mind the lack of a gift, she was a little miffed that he never wrote a card. “That would have meant more to me,” she said.
Ms. Kaufman is less forgiving with her parents’ millionaire friend who “drank her face off at the wedding” and never gave a gift. And she can hardly be in the same room with another couple, business colleagues, who didn’t attend the wedding but did not send a present, either, despite the generous gifts Ms. Kaufman and her husband had given them for their engagement, wedding and first child (all three gifts were from Bergdorf Goodman).But it’s not the husband who angers Ms. Kaufman; it’s the wife. “I don’t hold the man responsible,” she said. “He was out working, and she was a stay-at-home mom. I know it’s sexist, but she should know better. When I see her at events I want to blurt out: ‘You cheap jerk. How can you sit here and have a conversation with me?’ ”The way Ms. Smith sees it, it’s acceptable to confront those guests who have failed to send even a token. The best way to do so is with a delicate, in-person conversation. “You tell them that you’ve been writing your thank-you notes and realized that you haven’t written one to them: it’s an ‘I’ statement,” she said. “Then you let the other person talk. Either they’ll say: ‘What are you talking about? I gave you the serving platter off your registry.’ Computer glitches happen. You can then say, ‘I’m happy to follow up.’ If they look at you like deer in the headlights, count to the beat of three and move the conversation along to a totally different topic. Then you wait and see if the gift card shows up.”
The goal, she emphasized, is not to humiliate or embarrass the failed gift-giver, no matter how tempting. Nor does it mean you can reciprocate when their wedding rolls around.“Two rudes don’t make a right,” she said. “If someone doesn’t give you a gift, that doesn’t mean you cannot give them one at their wedding.”Nor must you shell out the same amount on gifts, just because the bride and groom have spent thousands of dollars on lobster, caviar and a pink Champagne waterfall. “I give a gift based on my budget, not yours,” said Ms. Smith, adding that the rules are even more relaxed with destination weddings, when it’s O.K. for guests to give something symbolic, because they made the effort (and paid money) to show up.
While it’s understandable to hold a grudge, some experts suggest couples try to get over it. Karen Elizaga, an executive coach in New York, believes that giftless couples should move past wounded feelings. “There’s so much heightened emotion around the importance of a wedding day,” she said. “Of course it’s important, but not cause for grudges. It’s a crime to let something material get in the way of the history of the friendship.”
Peggy Post, a director of the Emily Post Institute in Burlington, Vt., who writes a wedding etiquette column for The New York Times, agreed. “It’s a custom to give a gift if you attend the wedding, but I’m not sure I like the words ‘have to,’ ” she said. “The short answer is for couples to take the high road, not to get upset and graciously let the matter drop.”Lest the happy couple think they are the only ones wrestling with insensitive behavior, newlyweds can offend, too, especially when it comes to showing appreciation for their guests in written form. And the resulting rancor can last a lifetime.
In the early 1950s, Michael Berrick and his wife, Frances, who celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary on Aug. 5, sent a Tiffany crystal jam jar and sterling silver spoon to one of Dr. Berrick’s students at Brooklyn College, where he was a professor. But Tiffany confused the order with items the Berricks had bought for themselves, among them a crystal vase and decanter totaling about $180, a large sum at the time.“The bride never acknowledged that there might have been some question on why she got these odds and ends,” said Ms. Berrick, 92, who lives with her 91-year-old husband in a senior residence. “She must have known it wasn’t the gift she was supposed to get. She never sent us a thank-you note. We have never forgiven her for it.”
A version of this article appears in print on August 25, 2013, on page ST14 of the New York edition with the headline: When You Can’t Forget the Gifts You Didn’t Get.
FIELD NOTES Tom Bloom Published: August 23, 2013 297
Wedding Traditions & Superstitions: 50 Wedding Facts & Trivia
Snooping through one of my Twitter connections, I found this fun and probably-not-so-useful Tweet from The Knot (theknot.com). Deciding it is silly to attempt to improve on a good read, I am swiping it without any hesitation, editing or shame (*note: images added by Marry Me In Fort Wayne).
Have fun and enjoy being a trivia master when you are complete!
Everyone's got a know-it-all in the family: the uncle who spits out World Series stats at the drop of a hat, the sister who can list all the James Bond flicks in reverse chronological order, the reptile-enthusiast cousin. We're proud to be your wedding equivalent -- here are 50 wedding facts to ponder as you plan your big day:
Good Luck and Bad Luck
1. Hey, brides, tuck a sugar cube into your glove -- according to Greek culture, the sugar will sweeten your union.
2. The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck. Yikes!
3. In English tradition, Wednesday is considered the "best day" to marry, although Monday is for wealth and Tuesday is for health.
4. The groom carries the bride across the threshold to bravely protect her from evil spirits lurking below.
5. Saturday is the unluckiest wedding day, according to English folklore. Funny -- it's the most popular day of the week to marry!
6. Ancient Romans studied pig entrails to determine the luckiest time to marry.
7. Rain on your wedding day is actually considered good luck, according to Hindu tradition!
8. For good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day. Ouch!
9. Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye.
10. Peas are thrown at Czech newlyweds instead of rice.
11. A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she'll never do without.
12. A Finnish bride traditionally went door-to-door collecting gifts in a pillowcase, accompanied by an older married man who represented long marriage.
13. Moroccan women take a milk bath to purify themselves before their wedding ceremony.
14. In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds' home as a symbol of fertility and luck.
It's Got a Ring To It
15. Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
16. About 70% of all brides sport the traditional diamond on the fourth finger of their left hand.
17. Priscilla Presley's engagement ring was a whopping 3 1/2-carat rock surrounded by a detachable row of smaller diamonds.
18. Diamonds set in gold or silver became popular as betrothal rings among wealthy Venetians toward the end of the fifteenth century.
19. In the symbolic language of jewels, a sapphire in a wedding ring means marital happiness.
20. A pearl engagement ring is said to be bad luck because its shape echoes that of a tear.
21. One of history's earliest engagement rings was given to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. She was two years old at the time.
22. Seventeen tons of gold are made into wedding rings each year in the United States!
23. Snake rings dotted with ruby eyes were popular wedding bands in Victorian England -- the coils winding into a circle symbolized eternity.
24. Aquamarine represents marital harmony and is said to ensure a long, happy marriage.
25. Queen Victoria started the Western world's white wedding dress trend in 1840 -- before then, brides simply wore their best dress.
26. In Asia, wearing robes with embroidered cranes symbolizes fidelity for the length of a marriage.
27. Ancient Greeks and Romans thought the veil protected the bride from evil spirits. Brides have worn veils ever since.
28. On her wedding day, Grace Kelly wore a dress with a bodice made from beautiful 125-year-old lace.
29. Of course, Jackie Kennedy's bridesmaids were far from frumpy. She chose pink silk faille and red satin gowns created by African-American designer Ann Lowe (also the creator of Jackie's dress).
30. In Japan, white was always the color of choice for bridal ensembles -- long before Queen Victoria popularized it in the Western world.
31. Most expensive wedding ever? The marriage of Sheik Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum's son to Princess Salama in Dubai in May 1981. The price tag? $44 million.
32. In Korea, brides don bright hues of red and yellow to take their vows.
33. Brides carry or wear "something old" on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past.
34. In Denmark, brides and grooms traditionally cross-dressed to confuse evil spirits!
35. The "something blue" in a bridal ensemble symbolizes purity, fidelity, and love.
Food and Family
36. In Egypt, the bride's family traditionally does all the cooking for a week after the wedding, so the couple can…relax.
37. In South Africa, the parents of both bride and groom traditionally carried fire from their hearths to light a new fire in the newlyweds' hearth.
38. The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where revelers broke a loaf of bread over a bride's head for fertility's sake.
39. The custom of tiered cakes emerged from a game where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over.
40. Queen Victoria's wedding cake weighed a whopping 300 pounds.
41. Legend says single women will dream of their future husbands if they sleep with a slice of groom's cake under their pillows.
42. An old wives' tale: If the younger of two sisters marries first, the older sister must dance barefoot at the wedding or risk never landing a husband.
Show Off at a Cocktail Party
43. In many cultures around the world -- including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings -- the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple's commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase "tying the knot").
44. The Roman goddess Juno rules over marriage, the hearth, and childbirth, hence the popularity of June weddings.
45. Princess Victoria established the tradition of playing Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" during her wedding processional in 1858.
46. The bride stands to the groom's left during a Christian ceremony, because in bygone days the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors.
47. On average, 7,000 couples marry each day in the United States.
48. Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve are the two busiest "marriage" days in Las Vegas -- elopement central!
49. The Catholic tradition of "posting the banns" to announce a marriage originated as a way to ensure the bride and groom were not related.
50. Stag parties were first held by ancient Spartan soldiers, who kissed their bachelor days goodbye with a raucous party.
Statement Back Wedding Gowns
Without fail, the highlight of any wedding is the big 'reveal' of what the Bride is wearing. Will it be a long or short gown? Train or no train? White, ivory or another color?
We at Marry Me In Fort Wayne are unabashedly 'girly-girls' (except Clark, he is definitely a macho kind of guy- there you go, disclaimer done on Clark's behalf!) and cannot wait, without fail, to see what the Bride is wearing at every show. Each time we exclaim that this is the dress we love the most so far.
When we are planning the ceremony with the happy couple, we always give the option of allowing the couple to face us while committing their vows, or to face their friends and family. By and large, most couples find the notion of making eye contact with their loved ones too overwhelming on what is an otherwise overwhelming (in the best sense of the word) day and opt to face away from the crowd.
So, guess what your friends and family are staring at for the next ten to twenty minutes? Your back!
Luckily, dress designers are paying attention. New 'statement backs' are the trend for Fall, 2013 giving your loved ones something to stare at besides your backsides.
Here are some of my favorites. They are just lovely and will, hopefully, inspire future brides to pay a bit more attention to what all others will see (but she will not) on her big day.
I have been doing much thinking lately on character. As I mature (Like that? 'Mature'? Not 'Age'...makes me sound O-L-D), I fight the tendency that tends to happen as we 'mature' to harp on the 'young whippersnappers' and what they do wrong as opposed to what WE did right at their age.
Character is defined as such:
Quite often, I am described as a 'character' (definition number 2), and I am not always sure it is a good thing. Labeled as such usually follows some goof ball comment or absent-minded blunder on my part, but it is my nature to take the moniker in stride. Long a people-pleaser and someone that needs to be liked, I strive to find humor in even the most upsetting or unsettling moments.
Maybe that is not such a good character trait after all. In an attempt to be authentic, is it really someone of good character who laughs and smiles while inwardly seething or smarting?
We, at Marry Me In Fort Wayne, see couples in extreme stress situations. Don't believe me? Just for kicks, pop in unexpectedly the day before a wedding while the Bride, Groom and wedding party are preparing for their big event. Tempers run wild and anxiety is palpable.
We have been uncommonly fortunate in that we have yet to encounter even one 'Bridezilla'. We may be tempting fate here by boldly proclaiming this feat, but we have been fortunate. We have had, for the most part, extremely laid-back clients. Boy, oh boy, do we want THAT trend to continue!
We have had a large number of couples uniting who are in their 20's. I gotta tell you: they are pretty doggone neat people! Many are members of the Service (Thank You!), are committed to their friends and families, attending University, and working hard.
I see a lot of wonderful character traits in these youngsters.
That is pretty neat, in my humble opinion.
Our hope for these, and all couples embarking on a lifetime together is this: that they fully develop character traits (definition number one) to sustain them through the ups and downs that come with married life.
*under promise and over deliver
*stay true to their word
*deliver on promises made
*take responsibility for their actions
*tell the truth, even when it is difficult and there will almost certainly be consequences
*put the needs of loved-ones equal to or greater than their own
*stand up for their beliefs without offending others
*take satisfaction from a job well done
*strive to learn from mistakes
*not let fear sideline them from life
*believe in others a bit more, but not become gullible
*expect the best
*love without reservation
*not make excuses for themselves or others
*allow others to grow, even if it means letting go of your grasp on them
*build others up
*strive to be authentic in all situations
*never stop trying to improve, learn and experience life
*acknowledge negatives, then work to change them
*express yourself in constructive ways
*keep getting back on your feet when life knocks you down
*remain faithful- to yourself, your spouse, your family, your country, and your God.
What about you? We have already established my need to work on my character (and believe me, there are MANY more traits that need 'fixin' (pretty much all of the above) but I am not sharing any more!). What traits do you find exemplary in others? In yourself?
We love feedback! Then, we know someone out there is actually taking the time to read this blog. OK, now you have me! My ego needs some stroking here- guess I need to work on that one, too!
What a character, eh?!
Because of the popularity of our last 'Top Ten List' we are creating a 'new' list of our favorite quotes about love. We think it was popular a few months ago because those seeking David Letterman's list accidentally stumbled upon our Top Ten list- giving our views a 'spike' for a few days. But hey, we are not proud and certainly not above creating another list to drive more traffic to our site!
All punctuation and patterns of speech are taken directly from the source, so all editors with red pen in hand please take note.
Our second list of our Top Ten Favorite Quotes About Love:
1) 'Love doesn't make the world go around. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile'. -Franklin P. Jones
2) 'Love reminds you that nothing else matters'. -Amy Bushnell
3) 'Love is the emblem of all eternity: it confronts all notion of time; effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end'.
-Germaine De Stael
4) 'Spouse: someone who'll stand by you through all the trouble you wouldn't have had if you'd stayed single'. -Unknown
5) 'Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is an eternity'. -Henry Van Dyke
6) 'Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart'.
7) 'Newlyweds become oldyweds, and oldyweds are the reasons that families work'.
8) 'Love works in miracles everyday; such as weakening the strong, and stretching the weak; making fools of the wise, and wise men of fools; favoring the passions, destroying reason, and in a word, turning everything topsy-turvy'. -Marguerite De Valois
9) 'We are born for love...it is the principle existence and it's only end'. -Benjamin Disraeli
10) 'A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time'. -Anne Taylor Fleming
If you are reading this blog, most likely you are preparing for marriage and are in the midst of that heady, romantic and thrilling stage in your relationship where everything is 'coming up roses'.
Congratulations! That is a wonderfully intoxicating time we all wish would last forever.
Alas, it does not. At least, not with the same intensity as during the courtship. Face it: we are all putting our best face forward when we are dating. We show our 'best selves' and everything appears sunny on the horizon while in the throes of early passion.
Too quickly real life settles in and we revert back to ourselves-usually after the glow of a new relationship begins to wane. Somehow cleaning up pet accidents, looming work deadlines and a depleting savings account begin to bring out the monster in us.
Have you ever spoken to older couples married for years and years? I mean really quizzed them on what made their lasing union successful? I have and received some interesting responses. Usually the older gentleman will ruefully exclaim his marriage lasted because he learned two words: 'Yes Dear" or "You're Right!". Others of that generation credit the coffee pot and kitchen table as the 'glue' that held them together; mornings slowly savored drinking coffee and discussing the previous day and the one ahead at the kitchen table as a bonding or strengthening ritual that keeps them together as a unit.
We at Marry Me In Fort Wayne are not representing ourselves as experts here. Admittedly, we have transgressed in one or more of these areas (but we will never tell!), but are simply passing along some sage advice from those in the trenches so to speak, and are happy to pass along their pearls of wisdom.
All jokes aside, there is something to be said from learning from our elders. Here are some nuggets of wisdom I have garnered over the years from long-term married couples:
1) Laugh often. Remember when you were dating? You probably laughed all the time at even the silliest things. Life tends to get more stressful when faced with the daily routines we all suffer through. Keeping a sense of humor and fun while facing these daunting challenges goes a long way to retaining joy. Joy keeps people together. Getting into a rut is dangerous and robs you both of joy. Remember: true character shines through in the tough times more clearly than in the happy-go-lucky moments.
2) It is not your job to change your spouse. You married this person because presumably you liked this person. Why try to change him/her? It is your job to build this person up, not criticize and perfect them. Any changing your spouse wants and needs to do is up to them. It is your job to encourage attempts at improvement. Remember: lavish praise and restrict criticism. When criticism is needed, keep it private. No passive-aggressive posts on Facebook, no public criticism that embarrasses. Loving and constructive criticism in private is the only healthy choice.
3) Don't keep secrets. Period. A wise man told me once: "The truth always comes out". I cannot stress this enough: It does! It may take months, years or even decades, but the truth always surfaces. There is, perhaps, nothing more important than trust in a relationship. Don't blow that trust by keeping secrets.
4) Show affection. Remember when you were dating and held hands all the time? Keep doing that. Remember when you kissed hello? Kissed goodbye? Kissed because the clock struck 3:00? Keep kissing. Keep holding hands. Keep touching-even if it is a hand on the shoulder. The importance of keeping intimacy alive in the marriage is paramount to keeping everything else alive in marriage. There are a lot of lonely people out there starving for affection. Don't let your spouse be one of them.
5) Keep trying to look attractive. When dating, we all wear our best clothes, spend extra time grooming ourselves- we smell good, our hair looks good. How many married couples continue this? How many of us fall into the sweat pants and baggy sweatshirt trap after we are comfortable in our relationship? Guess what? It is not flattering to you or your spouse if you smell bad, have nasty teeth and ratty clothes. You don't look good and your spouse begins to feel taken-for-granted.
Make an effort to not only respect yourself but your spouse as well. There is a reason ZZ Top's 'Sharp Dressed Man' was penned. It is true. Women do go crazy for a sharp-dressed man (and vice versa, I am sure!).
6) Don't yell and don't call names. This should go without saying, but yelling and name calling are counter-productive to strong relationships. The obvious name-calling such as 'stupid' or 'lazy' are just plain mean. But what about more subtle name-calling? Things such as 'stubborn' or 'impossible' or 'high maintenance'? Those are sometimes just as hurtful as the more obvious and blatant insults.
7) Retain some semblance of privacy. My husband was hospitalized for a little more than a week last year. When I left the room to give him some privacy for some personal matters, the nurse was flabbergasted we did not share some of the most personal and intimate 'private' time together. She gave a play-by-play account totally unprovoked by us, I might add about how she and her husband (excuse my less-than-delicate phrasing here) use the washroom in the presence of each other all the time.
"Hey? Remember when you used to clip your toenails, floss your teeth, relieve yourself of flatulence and scratch in disgusting places in front of me? I miss that!" said NO-ONE EVER!
There are some things that destroy intimacy and are to be kept private.
Quiz: what kind of bride are you?
Today's blog is from the UK's Wedding Magazine. Rather than 'gild the lily' I have simply entered the entire fun quiz onto our website. For more information, go to: www.weddingandweddingflowers.co.uk
Take our quiz to discover exactly what type of bride you are!
Are you loving every second of organizing your wedding or breaking out in cold sweats every time someone mentions it? Answer our questions - not forgetting to note down how many 'a's, 'b's, 'c's or'd's you choose along the way!
1. What is the most important aspect of your wedding?
a) We want our day to be all about throwing the best party possible for our friends, with great live music and oodles of champagne.
b) I’m so excited about being a princess for the day. I’ve dreamed about my wedding since I was little and I just know it’s going to be like a fairytale!
c) It's all important! And I'm going to make sure it all runs like clockwork.
d) The ceremony is the most important aspect to me – a wedding's about getting married not all the hoo-haa that goes along with it.
2. Are you on a wedding diet?
a) Yuhuh. All my friends looked toned and gorgeous on their wedding days – I'll be darned if I don't too.
b) Nope. If my groom loves me enough to propose when I look like this, why would he want someone smaller walking down the aisle towards him?
c) Of course! As soon as the engagement ring was on my finger, I cut out carbs, dairy, and alcohol and joined a gym. Surely all brides are the same!
d) Not exactly but since I started planning the wedding, the weight's just falling off.
3. How much input do others have into planning the wedding?
a) I've hired a wedding planner to make sure it's the event of the year!
b) It's very much a team effort for us. My groom's pretty hands on and I've asked both our families to help out too. I wouldn't trust strangers to organize my dream day.
c) None! If you want a job done properly, do it yourself!
d) I've let my mum take charge. She's much better at organizing and bossing people around than I am. Plus I wouldn't know where to start.
4. How many people are coming to the wedding?
a) 150+. I want the biggest, best wedding ever!
b) 100-150. We want all our friends and family there to see how happy we are.
c) 50-100. Enough for a great party. Not so many it gets out of hand.
d) Less than 50. I want to keep it all quite low-key.
5. What is your wedding budget?
a) Money is no object!
b) 25-30K. It might be a little more than average but it's worth it to get the wedding of my dreams.
c) 20-25K. And not a penny more!
d) Less than 20K. There are more important things to spend money on than throwing a party.
6. What does your dream dress look like?
a) I'm splashing out on a gorgeous designer gown – I want everyone to gasp when I walk down the aisle!
b) I'll be wearing a beautiful frothy tulle creation with a long train and an antique lace veil.
c) I want something totally unique so have decided to work on designing my own dress then have it custom-made.
d) 'm not sure the big white ball gown look is for me, I'm going to wear something a little more understated that I can wear again.
What kind of bride are you?
Mostly As - You're a competitive bride!
Mostly Bs - You're a romantic bride!
Mostly Cs - You're a control-freak bride!
Mostly Ds - You're a reluctant bride!
Face it: We all love wedding receptions largely because we all love an excuse to eat cake! Cake is a 'feel-good' food associated with celebrations- birthdays and, for blog purposes- wedding receptions. We love cake. Wedding cakes have come a long way from the boxed mixes that taste similar to cardboard (trust me, I know what cardboard cake tastes like!).
Ever wonder where the tradition of having cakes at wedding receptions comes from? I knew you did! So, here is a not-so-brief history of the wedding cake, complete with the explanation of the symbolism and all. Stick with me, there are TONS of pretty images as a reward for reading the tutorial afterwards. Many thanks to Wikipedia for making my job of explaining the history. Gives me time to contemplate eating some cake!
The contemporary wedding cake has grown out of many traditions. One of the first traditions began inAncient Rome where bread was broken over the bride’s head to bring good fortune to the couple. InMedieval England cakes were stacked as high as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over, if they successfully kissed over the stack they were guaranteed a prosperous life together. From this theCroquembouche was created. The myth behind this cake tells that a Pastry chef, visiting Medieval England, witnessed their tradition of piling sweet rolls between the bride and groom which they would attempt to kiss over without knocking them all down. The pastry chef then went back to France and piled sweet rolls up into a tower to make the first Croquembouche. The modern croquembouche is still very popular in France however it is common to place the croquembouche tower on a bed of cake and make it one of the top tiers of the wedding cake. This traditional French wedding cake is built from Profiteroles and given a halo of spun sugar. Traditionally the bride would place a ring inside the couples portion of the cake to symbolize the acceptance of the proposal. During the mid-17th century to the beginning of the 19th century, the “bride's pie” was served at most weddings. Guests were expected to have a piece out of politeness, it was considered very rude and bad luck not to eat the bride’s pie. One of the traditions of bride’s pie was to place a glass ring in the middle of the dessert and the maiden who found it would be the next to marry, similar to the modern tradition of catching the Flower bouquet. Bride’s pie eventually developed into the bride’s cake. At this point the dessert was no longer in the form of a pie and was sweeter than its predecessor. The bride cake was traditionally a plum or fruit cake, the myth that eating the pie would bring good luck was still common but the glass ring slowly died out and the catching of the flower bouquet took that meaning. The action of throwing the bouquet has its roots in the Ancient Greek myth of the Apple of Discord. Fruit cakes were a sign of fertility and prosperity which helped them gain popularity because all married men wanted to have plenty of children. The bride’s cake eventually transformed into the modern wedding cake that we know today. In the 17th century, two cakes were made, one for the bride and one for the groom. The groom's cake eventually died out and the bride's cake turned into the main cake for the event. When the two cakes were served together, the groom's cake was typically the darker colored, rich fruit cake and generally much smaller than the bride's cake. The bride’s cake was usually a simple pound cake with white icing because white was a sign of virginity and purity. In the early 19th century, when the bride’s cakes were becoming more popular, sugar was coincidentally becoming easier to obtain. The more refined and whiter sugars were still very expensive therefore only the wealthy families could afford to have a very pure white frosting, this showed the wealth and the social status of the family. When Queen Victoria used white icing on her cake it gained a new title, royal icing. Tiered cake with calla lilies. Calla lilies are often used for weddings as a symbol of purity The modern wedding cake as we know it now originated at the wedding of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, in 1882; his wedding cake was the first to actually be completely edible. Pillars between the cake tiers did not begin to appear until about 20 years later. The pillars were very poorly made from broomsticks covered in icing. The tiers represented prosperity and were a status symbol because only wealthy families could afford to include them in the cake. Prince Leopold’s wedding cake was created in separate layers with very dense icing. When the icing hardened the tiers were then stacked; this method had never been used before, and it was a groundbreaking innovation for wedding cakes at the time. Modern wedding cakes still use this method, but because of the size of today’s cakes, internal support is added to each layer in the form of dowels.Symbolism Royal Wedding Cake 1858: Princess Victoria ‘Vicky’ (Queen Victoria’s oldest child) and Crown Prince Frederick William ‘Fritz’ of Prussia Wedding cakes have been present at wedding ceremonies for centuries. They were not always the focus of the event and often came in different forms, like pies or bread. There has always been a lot of symbolism associated with the wedding cake. The earliest known sweet wedding cake is known as a Banbury cake, which became popular in 1655. During the Roman era unsweetened barley bread was used as the wedding food and the groom would break the piece of bread in half over the brides head symbolizing “breaking of the bride’s virginal state and the subsequent dominance of the groom over her." One of the most obvious symbolic traditions is the cake’s white color to symbolize virginity and purity. The white color has been attached to wedding ceremonies since the Victorian era when Queen Victoria chose to wear a white wedding dress at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. Queen Victoria accentuated an existing symbol, the color white is frequently associated with virginity and purity. The wedding cake was originally known as the brides cake therefore the color white became common because the cake needed to reflect the bride.
The cutting of the cake is a task full of symbolism. The cake was originally intended to be distributed among the guests by only the bride because consuming the cake would ensure fertility. As weddings grew and the number of guests increased this task became a joint venture, the groom needed to help cut the growing cake and distribute it among their guests. Layers of cakes began to pile up and the icing would need to support the weight of the cake making is very difficult for one person to cut. The groom would assist the bride in this process. Once this tradition began the bride and groom would share a piece of cake before distributing it to the guests to symbolize their union and their promise to forever provide for each other.Superstitions
The wedding cake is surrounded by superstitions. In a traditional American wedding, maidens would be invited to pull ribbons that are attached to the bottom layer of the wedding cake. Out of all the ribbons, only one contains a charm or a ring, and whoever gets the charm will be the next person to marry. In other countries, the wedding cake is broken over the bride’s head to ensure fertility and bring good fortune to the couple. Also, some people today think that eating the crumbs of the wedding cake would give them good luck because the wedding cake symbolizes happiness and good life to the newlywed couple. There are also myths that most bridesmaids have on dreaming their future husbands. Hopeful bridesmaids would take a piece of cake home and place it under the pillow. Some bridesmaids would sleep with the pieces of cake in their left stocking and the rest are under their pillows after passing the pieces of cake through the bride’s wedding ring. In the medieval era, wedding cakes were constructed in rolls and buns that were laid on top of each other. The groom and bride would attempt to share a passionate kiss on top of the stack of rolls to ensure fertility and have good fortune. In the 18th century, newlywed couples would try to keep the cake until their first anniversary to prevent them from marriage problems in the future. This is one of the reasons why cakes in the 18th century were made of fruits and blended with wine.
With so many couples planning their weddings and the economy so hard-hit, this article may be helpful to keep the costs down.
7 Tips to Reduce Wedding Costs
June 9, 2013
By Ric Edelman
Education >> Wedding TipsJune 2013
By Ric Edelman
Know anyone getting married this year? The wedding day is sure to create lots of memories. For many it will also create substantial cost.
TheKnot.com surveyed 17,500 brides in 2012 and found that the average couple spent $28,427 to get married — a 5.2% increase over 2011. Weddings in some locales — like Manhattan — cost an average of $70,000.
These figures exclude the cost of a honeymoon, which typically adds thousands of dollars more to the tab.
Here’s the breakdown:Engagement ring - $5,431
Wedding gown - $1,211
Ceremony site - $1,711
Reception venue - $12,905
Rehearsal dinner - $12,135
Catering - $63 per person
Wedding cake - $560
Ceremony musicians - $554
Reception band - $3,084
Reception DJ - $988
Photographer - $2,379
Videographer - $1,619
Flowers/décor - $1,997
Weddings are meant to be joyous occasions, but they can produce regret when people discover they spent more than they could afford. (One of our clients still has $10,000 in credit card debt from wedding expenses incurred eight years ago!)
Parents who pay the bulk of the expenses for their children may also experience regret when they realize they put their own retirement in jeopardy to finance the party.
Here are ways you can reduce the cost and still enjoy a wonderful wedding:
- Reduce the guest list. The biggest factor in the wedding’s cost is the number of people invited. Limit the event to certain family members and closest friends.
- Hold the wedding on a Friday or Sunday. Venues are cheaper to rent then than on Saturdays.
- Fire the wedding planner.
- Hold the wedding and reception at the same place — ideally at a place (like your church) that doesn’t charge for its use.
- Buy (or rent) a pre-owned wedding gown.
- Avoid the cost of a band and DJ by using smartphone apps.
- Hire less well-known photographers who charge less than others. Or skip the pro altogether and ask guests to use their smartphones to record photos and videos for you.
Whenever I ask brides-to-be if they prefer to spend $30,000 on a wedding or a down payment on a house, they almost always choose the wedding. But when I ask wives, they often say they wish they’d chosen the house. After all, the wedding is just a four-hour party, while the home is something far more.
If you need help determining how the wedding bill could impact your overall financial situation and thus how much you can reasonably afford to spend, contact us.
People renew their vows for many reasons, but usually it is for one of two reasons: to celebrate a successful long-term relationship or to begin anew after a troubled 'season' and breathe new life into a once fractured marriage.
If you are planning to renew your vows for the celebratory aspect, you already know you have much to be grateful for; maybe a landmark anniversary, an excuse for a family reunion or restored health.
Renewing your vows is not only a public statement of your love and commitment, it is also an inspiration to younger married couples. In these days of rampant divorce, it is encouraging to have role models of commitment, perseverance and dedication to the wonderful institution of marriage.
I am often reminded of the trials of marriage while watching reruns of the Dick Van Dyke show. Remember the episode when Rob was convinced Laura was up to something because she had her own bank account after snooping through her dresser drawer and finding a bankbook? Worse, she hid it from him! His mind was overloaded with various nefarious, sinister activities Laura was up to because of his 'discovery'. Turns out, she was simply socking money away to, one day, surprise him with 'something important'- an 'important gift' like the car of his dreams. Rob was chagrined (as he should have been for snooping through her belongings) but was touched when he discovered the simple truth that she was socking money away for him.
That was make-believe of course, but overcoming those kinds of experiences comes only with commitment to the long-haul. Sharing similar experiences while remaining faithful to your marriage gives others hope that, in spite of significant odds, it is possible to sustain a long-term, happy partnership.
Alternatively, some choose to renew their wedding vows to heal a damaged marriage. Renewing your vows can be a great way to publicly acknowledge your recommitment to a stronger relationship and commitment to honor your vows until your 'last dying breath.'
Some things to consider when writing your renewal vows:
How is our relationship (and love) different now than when we were first married?How have we changed (individually and as a couple)? Are we better people?What are our best qualities?What am I willing to promise for the future?
We are delighted when asked to be a part of renewal/recommitment ceremonies! We so often see the beginnings of lifelong commitments. It encourages us when we can see the other end of the spectrum- to witness 25, 30 and 50 years later that 'spark' that holds two people together in spite of everything. Whether celebrating a milestone or healing of a fractured relationship, we believe in the power of renewal, regrowth and the rejuvenation of commitment. We welcome the opportunity to be a small part of that enormous commitment!
So here you are, wondering how you got to this point of having to come up with some ingenious idea for personalizing your wedding vows. How in the heck did that happen? When you began planning your ceremony, perhaps it was assumed (by you, anyway) that a traditional order of service would be the route to go. Why not? Traditional is 'traditional' because is is timeless. Classic. Never failing. We at Marry Me In Fort Wayne are fans of the traditional ceremonies because they are timeless and classic. They are also reverent and sacred.
However, not everyone wants traditional. Some prefer a unique ceremony to reflect their unique relationship and their unique individual personalities. We have 'tweaked' the traditional marriage ceremony in many wedding services- added some personalization here and there while keeping true to the time-honored feel. Other times, we have customized an entirely non-traditional theme for the truly unique couple. All have been beautiful, thoughtful, sacred reflections of love.
Why would you write your own vows? Maybe it is to show you are free spirits, you don't want your ceremony to be like anyone else's. After all, you are not like anyone else! The vows you choose on your big day reflect who you are, both as a couple and as individuals. Writing your own vows allows you the opportunity to focus on certain aspects of yourself and your fiancee in ways that a traditional service may not. Writing your own vows also allows you to express yourself in ways that pre-constructed ceremonies do not.
Some thoughts on why you may choose to write some or all of your vows:
Have fun: this is not amateur night at the local comedy club, but amusing and tasteful anecdotes about your relationship (the kind that bring a warm smile, not a startled gasp) always make your friends and family feel they have a personal interest in seeing your marriage succeed. Telling the story of how you met, something amusing about the engagement or about how you proposed would be a good starting off point. Exchanging vows is serious, so keeping things respectful is in order. But getting married is also one of the best of life celebrations, and laughter and smiling is a natural reflection of that celebration.
Surprise: if you are more spontaneous, maybe you can surprise your fiancee with a seemingly unscripted declaration. Of course, you can always be literally unscripted but I don't recommend this. More often than not, nerves crowd out the best intentions. You can still pull off a surprise but have your pre-written vows handy, just in case.
Readings: an easy way to inject your personalities into your service without the nerve-wracking public speaking is to select scripture, unique poetry or other meaningful passages dear to the Bride and the Groom.
Music: well-chosen music, like well-chosen words, has the ability to transform your wedding into a truly spectacular representation of the feelings you are trying to convey. Music can transform an atmosphere, enhancing the mood and the meaning of your ceremony from the moment it begins to play. This can be done through live musicians (soloists, string quartets, etc) or by a carefully selected soundtrack. Think beyond 'Here Comes The Bride' and consider interspersing other appropriate music at key points of your ceremony.
Involve the entire family: with more and more blended families, the marriage often involves more than two people. Including children from previous relationships fosters cohesion- emphasizing they are becoming a family 'unit'. Children are, essentially, giving their blessing to this union. Something as simple as including the children in the sand ceremony or reading a quote from Scripture gives them a sense they are important in the new family structure.
Weddings are one of life's most poignant events marking one of the most important decisions of your life. The wedding ceremony has a purpose; publicly proclaiming your love and commitment before God and your guests. It is also a day of festivity, a day to cherish. You will want to look back on this day again and again. A bit of planning, whether you choose a traditional or non-traditional service, will make it an unforgettable experience.
Ultimately, it all comes down to making a public promise, one of the most important promises of your life. And ultimately, it doesn't matter if that promise is made in a traditional or non-traditional way as long as it is sincere. Still wondering how the heck you got to this point of having to write your own vows? Relax! Use some of my suggestions, do some research and search your heart. It brought you to this point. Keep going with it!
Choosing a wedding officiant, the person who will perform your wedding ceremony, is one of the most important considerations when planning your wedding. In an effort to streamline the process, we have compiled a handy checklist to assist you in this very important decision.
We at Marry Me In Fort Wayne endeavor to make this aspect of your planning as stress-free as possible. Some points to consider when interviewing prospective Officiants:
1) Does the prospective Officiant perform both traditional and customized ceremonies? Once you have chosen the type of ceremony you like, it is important the Officiant is 'on board' with it. At Marry Me In Fort Wayne, we are happy to perform Traditional ceremonies as well as customizing a ceremony per your instructions.
2) What is your budget for the Officiant? It is important to know exactly what the fees are as well as what they include. Is there a deposit required? We are up-front with our pricing. It is as simple as we can make it. Check out the website for full disclosure of our fee scale.
3) What experience do they have? Are they comfortable performing ceremonies at your location of choice? At Marry Me In Fort Wayne, we have more than 12 years of experience in hundreds of venues.
4) What are your expectations for the person performing your ceremony? What will you require? What would you like them to wear? Be upfront when seeking an Officiant to be sure he/she is comfortable with your expectations.
5) Do you have a backup plan? What if it rains on your outdoor wedding? Will the Officiant 'roll with the changes' at the last minute? What if the Officiant is sick on your wedding day? Do they have a backup plan? At Marry Me In Fort Wayne, we have a number of Officiants who can 'step in' for dire emergencies. We have not had the need to utilize this option, but it is comforting for all concerned to know there is a backup plan in the case of an emergency.
6) Will the wedding day affect availability? If you are married on an 'off' day i.e. not a weekend, will the Officiant be available? At Marry Me In Fort Wayne, we will perform your wedding any day of the week (unless we are already booked at the specific date and time you choose).
7) Is your Officiant legally capable of performing your ceremony? We are all legally licensed to perform weddings in the United States.
8) Is there a contract drawn up to protect your rights? This contract should include the price, cancellation policy and backup plans. We provide a contract with this information to every couple we marry.
9) Is the Officiant someone you are comfortable with? Just as wearing an unflattering or uncomfortable wedding dress can spoil the day for the bride, a grumpy or dour Officiant can ruin the day for everyone. We love all things wedding-related and it shines through in our interaction with the bride and groom as well as with the wedding crowd. We love our jobs!
10) Will they allow your day to be your day? At Marry Me In Fort Wayne, that is our motto. It's YOUR wedding YOUR way!
Use this checklist when interviewing prospective Officiants. It is our effort to make this one of the smoothest choices of the thousands you are making to plan the wedding of your dreams. Thank you for choosing Marry Me In Fort Wayne: Weddings Your Way!
Here is a beautiful picture of Jamie and Justin, to be married by us this fall!
The trend lately in weddings is vintage and I could not be happier! A long-time lover of vintage furniture, fashion, movies and music, I love the vintage-inspired wedding themes.
Todays blog is a compilation of some of my favorite vintage and vintage-inspired gowns. Have a look for yourself and, who knows? You may just be the next Garbo-inspired bride in the Fort Wayne area! Be sure to scroll down to click on Louis Armstrong's 'Wonderful World' as you peruse the beautiful gowns- enjoy!
Feel free to post your favorite or a picture of your vintage or vintage-inspired dress. We would love to hear from you.
Our Top Ten List of Love Quotes
1) "The loving are the daring" -Bayard Taylor
2) "A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seem too short" -Andre Maurois
3) "Find the person who will love you because of your differences and not in spite of them and you have found a lover for life" -Leo Buscaglia
4) "Love reminds you that nothing else matters" -Amy Bushnell
5) "Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate" -Barnett R. Brochner
6) "Grow old with me! The best is yet to be" -Robert Browning
7) "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage" -Lao Tzu
8) "Love is that in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own" -Robert A. Heinlein
9) "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love" -Mother Teresa
10) "It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life" -Rita Rudner
Any one of us, at any time, is juggling many plates in the air. And, just as the circus performer deftly adds yet another plate to his act, we gingerly continue adding more and more plates to our ever-growing collection. Some of us learn to not only handle an impressive amount of plates at one time, but learn to spin them too.
Sometimes, the sheer amount of plates spinning in the air leaves us feeling 'hamstrung' and stressed out, kind of like the poor man in the picture.
It can seem overwhelming, but how many of us really would change our lives?
What would we lose if we led the 'simple life'?
On any given day, my home is controlled chaos. I have the best intentions: Keep the house clean. Everything in it's place (yeah, right!). Work on the business. Make time for my family. Plan and prepare healthy meals. Write a chapter in my book. Paint furniture (I 'repurpose' vintage furniture). Walk the dog. Exercise. The list goes on and on.
So does the list for upcoming brides and grooms. A seemingly endless 'to-do' scroll looms, ever-present, for the happy couple. It can be overwhelming and stressful and, if not controlled, can steal the joy of the process. But what would you consider eliminating to make life easier? Of course we wouldn't give up the major complications-our much beloved families and friends-for all the tranquility in the world. But what about the rest? As we work through a mental checklist, easy solutions come to mind: source out some of the workload, find a less demanding occupation. Forget gardening and entertaining. Hire a painter to deal with the peeling paint in the entry way. Eat more carry-out food. Let someone else volunteer.
It might make life easier, but personally I find some of these solutions unacceptable. I chose these activities. I like the satisfaction and pleasure most of the things on my to-do list bring. The truth? I, and most likely you, thrive on the activity. We like being busy. But, judging from the popularity of books with titles like Simplify Your Life, many people don't feel that way. Books such as this sell upwards of a million copies, which leaves me wondering: would these stressed out seekers of serenity find the simpler life as boring as I would? Or, do we like the idea of a simple life?
Maybe we can see the sanctity of everyday life amidst the chaos. We may not have weekends full of time to devote to things other than responsibilities and commitments, but we are able to find the beauty in stolen moments of laughter with our children. Or serenity as we kneel in prayer on Sunday mornings. Maybe hearing an elderly woman idly 'tickling the ivories' at the community piano at the nursing home where we volunteer weekly gives us pause. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the mad-dash in that nursing home, the soft sounds of a beloved piece of music gives us pause to stop and reflect. And appreciate.
We have never been bombarded with so many demands on our time, but personally, I have never been happier. I know if I simplified my life, I'd lose what counts.
Maybe the trick is balance. Just as the juggler knows his limitations, when a new plate is added to my life another plate must fall by the wayside. What plates are you balancing? Which ones stay and which ones go? The neat thing about those performers who so deftly juggle all those plates? They are smiling. Smiling! Look at the jugglers face in the image above. Then look at the other guy. Which one are you? Maybe it's not the number of plates after all, maybe it's all about enjoying the process itself.
So, keep on juggling.
Jodi and I have been speaking with many couples preparing for their wedding with so many lists and tasks to complete, they are missing out on the fun! As enjoyable as wedding planning can be, it is also somewhat stressful.
We began to discuss how important it is for all of us to be good- to each other and to ourselves. In the mad-dash to complete the 'to-do' list, sometimes doing those things that rejuvenate, refresh and recharge us are the first things to go by the wayside.
Funny picture over there on the left, eh? Inevitably, whenever I have a 'beauty day' such as the one pictured, I get busted. Someone stops by that was scheduled to be out of town, hubby gets home early from golf, whatever. It happens.
Or does it?
Getting 'busted' only happens when you are pampering yourself and, according to statistics, we don't do a lot of that anymore. We work too many hours, have to run children to events, have household chores to squeeze in somewhere...the list goes on and on.
Being nice to yourself is more than getting a facial and having your nails done. It is also about what you don't do.
I came across a 30-point checklist (don't worry, I am not posting all 30!) that may set the wheels turning in those brains of ours. It is called "30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself." I don't have the name of the author, but this person is a genius. It kind of makes me mad, actually. I wish I had thought of these. Don't you hate it when someone thinks your thoughts before you've had a chance to think them yourself?!
Anyway, I am only posting 5 today, so relax. Warning: there may be more to come in subsequent blogs. You are welcome.
5 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself:
1)Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting you are special too.
2) Stop holding on to the past. You cannot start the next chapter of your life if you are re-reading your last one.
3) Stop being scared to make a mistake. Doing something and getting it wrong is ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is a stepping stone towards success. You end up regretting what you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
4) Stop being jealous of others. Jealousy is the art of counting someone else's blessings instead of your own.
5) Stop trying to make things perfect. The real world does not reward perfectionists. It rewards people who get things done.
So, there are 5 'marching orders' for all of us wanting to be a tad bit more kind to ourselves. It takes a few weeks to change habits and patterns of thinking, so you may not see more of this list until next month.
I just realized I gave you 5 more things to add to the ever-present and ever-expanding 'to-do' list. That's kind of ironic, isn't it?!
I will be practicing what I preach, hard as that may be for my Type-A personality.
Now where did I put those hair rollers? And the nail file? Oh! And the bon-bons?
NOTE: If accessing blog from our website, please click on specific blog you wish to view to avoid multiple songs being played simultaneously.
As St. Patrick's Day approaches, I am giving my dear readers (all 3 of them!) a break from my dialogue (think Charlie Brown's teacher: "Whaa, whaa, whaa, whaa in a monotone voice) and giving you a delight for the senses. Yes, I know Rod Stewart is, technically, Scottish. BUT, this song is a beautiful Celtic/Gaelic (hey, I don't speak the language!) melody with lovely lyrics and, well, I couldn't resist. It is one of my all-time favorite pieces.
I should also mention I am one-quarter SCOTTISH (Clan MacDonald, thank-you-very-much). So, although not an Irish Lass, I am 'pretty close' to being Irish for the day. Have a look and listen to the sights and sounds, then have an interesting read on the history of St. Patrick's Day.
The Luck Of The Irish (Scottish!) be with you this week!
Who Was the Man Behind St. Patrick's Day? (From The National Geographic)
For starters, the real St. Patrick wasn't even Irish. He was born in Britain around A.D. 390 to an aristocratic Christian family with a townhouse, a country villa, and plenty of slaves.What's more, Patrick professed no interest in Christianity as a young boy, Freeman noted.At 16, Patrick's world turned: He was kidnapped and sent overseas to tend sheep as a slave in the chilly, mountainous countryside of Ireland for seven years."It was just horrible for him," Freeman said. "But he got a religious conversion while he was there and became a very deeply believing Christian."
St. Patrick's Disembodied Voices: According to folklore, a voice came to Patrick in his dreams, telling him to escape. He found passage on a pirate ship back to Britain, where he was reunited with his family.The voice then told him to go back to Ireland."He gets ordained as a priest from a bishop, and goes back and spends the rest of his life trying to convert the Irish to Christianity," Freeman said.Patrick's work in Ireland was tough—he was constantly beaten by thugs, harassed by the Irish royalty, and admonished by his British superiors. After he died on March 17, 461, Patrick was largely forgotten.But slowly, mythology grew around Patrick, and centuries later he was honored as the patron saint of Ireland, Freeman noted.
St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Shortage: According to St. Patrick's Day lore, Patrick used the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the Christian holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.Today, St. Patrick's Day revelers wear a shamrock out of tradition. But people in Ireland hoping to wear an authentic shamrock are running low on luck.Trifolium dubium, the wild-growing, three-leaf clover that some botanists consider the official shamrock, is an annual plant that germinates in the spring. Recently, Ireland has had two harsh winters, affecting the plant's growth."The growing season this year is at least as delayed as it was last year, and therefore there is the potential for shortage of home-grown material," John Parnell, a botanist at Trinity College Dublin, said in an email."We have had frost and snow showers in parts of Ireland within the past week," he added.Other experts pin the shortage of the traditional plant as much on modern farming methods and loss of traditional hay meadows."The cold winters we are having here lately are just another nail in the coffin,"Carsten Krieger, a landscape and nature photographer whose books includeThe Wildflowers of Ireland, said via email.To make up for the shortfall, many sellers are resorting to other three-leaf clovers, such as the perennials Trifolium repens and Medicago lupulina. According to the Irish Times, these plants are "bogus shamrocks."Trinity College's Parnell agreed that Trifolium dubium is the most commonly used shamrock today, which lends credence to the claims of authenticity.However, he added, the custom of wearing a shamrock dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and "I know of no evidence to say what people then used. I think the argument on authenticity is purely academic—basically I'd guess they used anything cloverlike then."What's more, botanists say there's nothing uniquely Irish about shamrocks. Most clover species can be found throughout Europe.
No Snakes in Ireland: Another St. Patrick myth is the claim that he banished snakes from Ireland. It's true no snakes exist on the island today, Freeman said—but they never did.Ireland, after all, is surrounded by icy ocean waters—much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Britain or anywhere else.Since snakes often represent evil in literature, "when Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying he drove the old, evil, pagan ways out of Ireland [and] brought in a new age," Freeman said.The snake myth, the shamrock story, and other tales were likely spread by well-meaning monks centuries after St. Patrick's death, Freeman said.
St. Patrick's Day: Made in America? Until the 1970s, St. Patrick's Day in Ireland was a minor religious holiday. A priest would acknowledge the feast day, and families would celebrate with a big meal, but that was about it."St. Patrick's Day was basically invented in America by Irish-Americans," Freeman said.Irish-American history expert Timothy Meagher said Irish charitable organizations originally celebrated St. Patrick's Day with banquets in places such as Boston, Massachusetts; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina.Eighteenth-century Irish soldiers fighting with the British in the U.S. Revolutionary War held the first St. Patrick's Day parades. Some soldiers, for example, marched through New York City in 1762 to reconnect with their Irish roots.Other parades followed in the years and decades after, including well-known celebrations in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, primarily in flourishing Irish immigrant communities."It becomes a way to honor the saint but also to confirm ethnic identity and to create bonds of solidarity," said Meagher, of Catholic University in Washington, D.C.. Dyeing the River Green for St. Patrick's Day: Sometime in the 19th century, as St. Patrick's Day parades were flourishing, wearing the color green became a show of commitment to Ireland, Meagher said.In 1962 the show of solidarity took a spectacular turn in Chicago when the city decided to dye a portion of the Chicago River green.The tradition started when parade organizer Steve Bailey, head of a plumbers' union, noticed how a dye used to trace possible sources of river pollution had stained a colleague's overalls a brilliant green, according togreenchicagoriver.com.Why not use the dye to turn the whole river green on St. Patrick's Day, Bailey thought. So began the tradition.The environmental impact of the dye is minimal compared with pollution such as bacteria from sewage-treatment plants, said Margaret Frisbie, the executive director of the advocacy group Friends of the Chicago River.Rather than advising against the dye, her group focuses on turning the Chicago River into a welcoming habitat full of fish, herons, turtles, and beavers. If the river becomes a wildlife haven, the thinking goes, Chicagoans won't want to dye their river green."Our hope is that, as the river continues to improve, ultimately people can get excited about celebrating St. Patrick's Day different ways," she said.
Pint of Guinness on St. Patrick's Day: On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness, the famous Irish stout brand, are consumed around the world.But on St. Patrick's Day, that number more than doubles to 13 million pints, said Beth Davies Ryan, global corporate-relations director of Guinness."Historically speaking, a lot of Irish immigrants came to the United States and brought with them lots of customs and traditions, one of them being Guinness," she said.Today, the U.S. tradition of St. Patrick's Day parades, packed pubs, and green silliness has invaded Ireland with full force, said Freeman, the classics professor.The country, he noted, figured out that the popularity of St. Patrick's Day was a good way to boost spring tourism."Like anybody else," he said, "they can take advantage of a good opportunity."
Faithful readers to this blog (thanks to you both) might notice that I reference varied authors on topics spanning a multitude of interests. I read. A lot. And I love quotes. I use these topics and quotes as a source of inspiration to write. Today's blog is inspired by an unusual source: Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Assuming Oriah is Native-American, some of the references in the article are a bit out-of-the-mainstream, so I have taken some liberties to make it my own.
The purpose of this daily blog is not to appear as 'Miss-Know-It-All' because, as anyone who knows me will attest, I am still (always) learning. The purpose of this blog is to inspire. My life has always been about relationships. People. Now that you are embarking on perhaps the most significant relationship of your life, it may be worth pausing a minute to reflect on your expectations, dreams and ideology pertaining to this relationship- and yourself- to reevaluate, reaffirm or renew what matters most. And what doesn't.
Some thoughts to ponder:
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you hold sacred, if you dare to dream of meeting that which your heart longs for.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of life.
It doesn't interest me what you have accomplished. I want to know if you have known great sorrow, if you have been opened by the sorrows of life or have become shriveled, bitter and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can reconcile pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, run from it or bury it. I want to know if you have dealt with it.
I want to know if you can share in joy- mine or your own. I want to know if you can live life without caution, if you are realistic, if you remember there are limitations to our humanity. I want to, conversely, know if you believe nothing is impossible.
It doesn't interest me if your story is complicated. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear betrayal and accusation and not betray your soul. I want to know you are trustworthy.
I want to know you see beauty, even when it is ugly.
I want to know you can live with failure and still get up- each time. I want to know you can shake the dust of disappointment off, shrug and say: "Let's try this again!"
It doesn't interest me where you live or how much money you make. I want to know you can get up, after a night of despair, weary and bruised, and smile.
It doesn't interest me whom you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will walk through the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't matter to me where or what or with whom you studied. I want to know what sustains you when everything else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep.
It doesn't interest me how strong you are. I want to know you believe in someone stronger than yourself- that you believe in God.
I hope you take this as your own launching pad to ask the questions important to you.
What matters most to you? What doesn't interest you?
NOTE: If accessing blogs from the website, please click on a specific blog you wish to see to avoid multiple songs being played at the same time.
I have a friend who, at the end of each year, emails friends asking for lessons learned during the past year. He compiles these nuggets of wit, wisdom and lessons to distribute to those that contributed to the effort. There are sometimes hilarious, sad, heartwarming and pertinent jewels in this compilation, and it is always enjoyable to be a part of the process. Similarly, I recently came across an excerpt from the book "Lessons at the Halfway Point: Wisdom From Midlife" by Michael Levine. Because I am also at the 'halfway point' of life, I was drawn to what he had to say. Not limited to only those approaching mid-life, I hope you find some useful and thought-provoking insights as well.
What I've Learned So Far:
If you don't defend your honor, people will assume you have none.
Nothing is as stressful as trying to be a different person from whom you are.
When you stop spending time with real friends, you lose your balance.
Amazingly, people think the things that happen to them happen only to them.
The lies we tell ourselves are more pernicious than the lies we tell others: "I'm nothing like my mother"..."I'm too busy to exercise"..." I don't need therapy"...."I don't want to get married."
Those who are tentative about making plans are often unsure of their ability to show up.
If you don't personally get to know people from other racial, religious or cultural groups, it's very easy to believe the ugly things about them and make them frightening in your mind.
The majority of overweight people I know skip breakfast, and the majority of thin people don't.
Some men spend more time maintaining their lawns than they do their relationships.
The most absolute dictator's power is not as great as a typical parent's power over a child.
I still place emphasis on appearance, even though I've run across a few well-dressed idiots.
When you make a mistake, write down what you've learned before a week passes. The process of writing it and reading it can help you avoid repeating it.
Three things that all children must know: who's the boss, what the rules are, and who is going to enforce them.
Some days for no perceptible reason I feel scared, lonely and hopeless. After a good night's sleep or a talk with someone who holds my hand and tells me to keep going, I am usually just fine.
I believe that people who work 12 hours a day should go home with bigger loaves of bread than people who work eight.
Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them.
Decide early in any situation exactly what your bottom line is, then stick to it.
Far more often than poverty breeds crime, crime breeds poverty.
It's better to be 0-for-20 than 0-for-0.
The older I get, the more heartfelt my prayers become.
People who don't work are often more exhausted than people who do.
It is vital to give yourself credit for the agony you have survived throughout life.
As you look at history, it's apparent that human behavior is much easier to predict than the weather.
A few thoughts I have added to the end-of-the-year-lists over the years:
Life does not come with guarantees, sometimes you have to go out and grab it.
You only live once- don't forget to do it.
There are many things more important than your pride.
Sometimes it is okay to let dreams escape you to make room for better ones.
Choose to live rather than simply exist.
I would love to hear some of your 'lessons' learned over the years. Feel free to post here or inbox me: email@example.com
Now, I am off to blast Rod Stewart some more and get on with the business of living! Hope to see you on the journey!!
If you are an avid reader of my blog (thanks to you both!), you may remember the exercise equipment mentioned a few days ago. It is broken, relegating me to other, less preferred methods of pumping iron. Because I am such an exercise fanatic (she says, in no sincerity), I also read Women's Health Magazine. According to the 'Love Coach' at Women's Health, 'Mr. Right Is Not Real'.
This article got me thinking... what are our expectations for our 'Prince Charming' or 'Mr. Right'? I once gave someone a 'Mr. Wonderful' (a talking, 6 inch stuffed man-doll) on Valentine's Day. Long divorced, this woman had not received a token of affection on February 14 for many years. 'Mr. Wonderful' was a not-so-schmaltzy way to let her know she was remembered without being overly sentimental or maudlin. 'Mr. Wonderful' said all the right things when dropped heavily or poked in the gut. That word picture makes me laugh to this day. After all, how many guys out there would blurt out: "Whatever you want to do tonight is fine with me honey, I can watch the ball game anytime" after being punched in the stomach?
If you read my blog on expectations, this blog expounds a bit more on the subject. The Love Coach from Women's Health says Prince Charming is a no-show because...wait for it.....men are people. Gasp! They are not fictionalized characters. In other words, the fantasy man culled from romance novels and sentimental movies is not realistic depictions of the real-life model known as man. Your handsome hunk may look like a movie star, but may listen to your analysis of the pro's and con's of hair extensions with one ear cocked towards ESPN. You may feel a little less 'heard' than you prefer.
After all, isn't Prince Charming supposed to be hanging on our every word?
You might have a check-list that looks a bit like this: Handsome. Smart. Rich. Sweet. Sensitive. Treats his mother and dogs (not necessarily in that order) well. Likes children. Tall. Has Hair. Don't get me wrong, I am all for lists. So much so, in fact, that I have been given The Book of Lists several times. Lists are a great way to see, in black and white, what is important and what can be let go. On some issues, thoughtful editing is in order. Honestly, if your potential Prince Charming is funny, courteous, intelligent and treats you like a Princess, how important is the amount of hair on the top of his head?
As unrealistic as it may sound there are, evidently, a great number of women who bypass perfectly wonderful men because they do not meet every bullet point on their list. These are the women bemoaning 'there are no good men out there'! It is hard to let go of the notion that 'Prince Charming' , the man meeting all bullet points, is out there somewhere. It is so prevalent that some women feel they are 'settling' if they are brave enough to give mere mortal men a shot and relax on some of the bullet point traits.
Our modern dating methods may also be contributing to the problem. With the click of a button, an infinite number of other options give the hope of better prospects. The problem? According to the article, the Mr. Right Fantasy isn't really about holding out for excellence. It is an excuse to avoid intimacy. Relationships can be messy and scary. If we focus on an unattainable ideal, we have the perfect excuse for not trying.
The point of all this? By developing a realistic expectation of the man of our dreams, we may find the man who fits us personally, rather than some idealized version that doesn't exist at all. And who knows? By overlooking a few minor and, in the long run, irrelevant flaws you may just find your Prince Charming.
Not to brag or anything, but I did. Well, if you don't count dirty socks on the floor. And a time or two he forgot to stack his dirty dishes. Oh! And.......nevermind. I'm keeping him. He is my Prince Charming.
And he is very real!
We at Marry Me In Fort Wayne: Weddings Your Way met hundreds of potential brides last weekend at The Bridal Extravaganza. It was so much fun! Jodi and I were impressed with the amount of pre-planning going on. (Maybe I should clarify: I guess I was impressed- I was married in September and didn't do as much preplanning. I regret this. BIG time. But that is another story for another time). We spoke with brides who have set a wedding date for October. 2014. Yes, 2014!! I was duly impressed with the October, 2013 brides.! The 2014 brides blew me away. But I digress.
Our booth was nestled in a quad at the end of the convention hall. There were so many beautiful booths with so many impressive displays this year that it was hard to take it all in- a veritable feast for the eyes and, in many instances, for the taste buds. Local vendors trotted out their best menu items in teensy-tiny little samples served on these nifty little spoons to quite literally whet the appetites of attendees. The smells? Tantalizing! Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on where we are in our weight loss journeys) we were stationed next to the 'pork tenderloin- garlic mashed potatoes and perfectly steamed asparagus with 4=different-kinds-of-scrumptious-cakes ' vendor. They are our new best friends. And, as friends do, we 'helped them out' when they were packing up to leave. Did I mention there were 4 different types of cake on those neat little spoons? Seems they are kind of difficult to pack. And, it would be a sin to throw them away. So much hard work went into making them: gingerly loading them, displaying them, lovingly serving them... So, they needed 'help' polishing off those buggers. Just because we are good friends, we obliged. Hey, it's what friends do. We are there for you. Especially when cake is involved.
As previously mentioned, we were located at the end of this cacophony of sights and smells. Some brides did not make it to the end of the convention hall before the show ended. If you did not have a chance to meet us or pick up any of our materials, we would be delighted to hear from you. Call us, text us, or email us. We will be happy to share our materials to help make your wedding day extra special. We love weddings. And friends. And cake. And friends with cake. Hey, give us a call when you are sampling desserts for your wedding- we will do that with you too. After all, what are friends for?
Here's a little something I found while reading this weekend. A bit of seriousness to ponder after you are done dreaming of cake:
To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
― Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them
Take on the day!
Welcome to the second blog of the morning! You know what they say about the best laid plans? Today was to be a 'new' start for me: up by the crack of dawn. Exercise. Clean up. Have a healthy breakfast. Write today's blog. Begin working with Jodi at 10. In the hectic days leading up to The Bridal Extravaganza last weekend, I had little structure to my days. That is fine with me, sometimes. But, I like the discipline of a '9 to 5' job. I work best with clearly defined goals. I like attaining those goals.
So, when I went to bed last night I was secure in my belief that today would be the welcome beginning to a more structured and productive work week.
Proud of myself for waking up hours before my planned start, the achiever in me welcomed the opportunity to have a few more hours in the day to complete more tasks than originally planned. Yay!
As I trudged into the guest room/library/receptacle-for-all- the-stuff-we-don't-know-what-to -do-with-so-we-should-just-probably-pitch-it-but-don't room to get my 'Lateral Trainer' I was justifiably proud of myself. It felt good to get my exercise out of the way so I could take on the world earlier than anticipated.
My trusty 'Lateral Machine' was broken. Kaput. What the heck?! It was just sitting there- how could it get broken? But broken it was. There is a chain off and it is a mess. A hot mess, in fact. With my sunny disposition, I took it as a bit of a challenge for all of thirty seconds. With the 160 lb dog breathing down my neck and generally getting in my way, I soon became impatient with aforementioned hot mess and gave up. Maybe hubby can fix it. Later. On to the next....writing my blog before Jodi gets here at 10.
I spent an hour on a blog about The Wedding Extravaganza and cake. I was proud of it. Witty and full of anecdotes. I hit the preview button and- POOF- it was gone. Unable to retrieve it, I was flustered and not-just-a-little grumpy. TWO setbacks in the span of an hour and a half. What a great way to start the day.
I was reminded of a text I received from my daughter a few months ago. We were commiserating about some challenges she was having at the time and she repeated some sage advice I gave (swiped!) her a few years prior: "Don't let your setbacks set you back". Wow. I said that? I didn't remember saying it but was more than happy to have that pearl of wisdom attributed to me. Moms are so wise, aren't they?
I took the mysterious disappearance of my blog efforts as a sign that, just maybe, it was not quite as informative and witty as originally thought and began anew. My setbacks got me to thinking of setbacks as they pertain to wedding planning.
At The Bridal Extravaganza last weekend, I encountered countless brides planning their October 2014 weddings. I was impressed. Wow. That is a long way away. However, for brides wanting their day to be 'perfect' (pretty much every bride), this is probably not too early to begin the planning process. As important events go, getting married ranks right up there with childbirth. It deserves all the time and attention you can give it.
But, there will inevitably be setbacks. The key to this, as with most life events, is not letting those setbacks set you back. Having good humor, finding alternatives, rolling with the punches, being open and flexible are all good attributes to load into your arsenal when beginning the planning process. There will be things that happen that you will be unprepared for. They may be better than originally expected, so go with it. Things will go wrong, no doubt about it. Letting these 'mistakes' ruin your day is a choice. Taking that 'mistake' and making something better (albeit different) is also a choice. Ultimately, setbacks can derail our day or make it better. It's all about choices.
I chose to write a different (perhaps better?) blog. I will exercise later in the day. Most importantly, I am trying not to be grumpy as my best laid plans fall to the wayside. Who knows what today will bring? And, let's face it: the earth is going to continue orbiting the sun whether my blog is completed by 9 AM or 10 AM or whether I exercise at 7AM or 5PM. With that in mind, I re-wrote my 'to-do' list for today. Want to know what is first on the list now?
"Give thanks for setbacks. Look outside- the sun is still shining. Nobody knows or cares that your plans were ruined the first 5 minutes out of bed. Make the best of this sunny day. Do what you can today. Choose to be happy."
Will I make another list for tomorrow morning? You know I will. I will also keep in mind that it is a very fluid thing, susceptible to change by me or by circumstances. And who knows? That change may just herald in something more wonderful than I could have anticipated.
Bring it on!
Jodi and I spent the better part of yesterday agonizing over which photos to include in the 'About Us' section of our website. Which has me thinking about your photos for your special day. Hopefully, you won't go through the frustrating process I experienced yesterday. Somewhat technologically challenged and a bit camera-shy, I don't have many photos of myself. That, coupled with the fact that I rarely approve many pictures of my mug, means I have 'slim pickings' to choose from. As you may notice, I settled on a sepia-toned shot my daughter and I took together a couple of years ago. Thank goodness for sepia-tone! The fine lines are much less noticeable! Note: I would have loved to include some sample pics from Jodi, but she is too smart for me. I have none! I am ashamed to admit that it took the better part of an hour to figure out how to crop the photo to include only my face. And for the sheer ginormous size of the pic? Forgetabboutit! There was NO WAY I was spending another hour figuring out how to minimize it! So, you are stuck with it. You are welcome.
The photo with my dog (then just a baby- he weighs more than 160 lbs today) will forever be sideways. I was able to correct it on Facebook, but unable to navigate the editing and cropping on the website to 'right' it. And the goofy picture with my daughter? I just threw that in because I love to tease her. She, unlike her mother, is extremely photogenic. As many bad photos that I have of myself, she has ten times the number of lovely pictures of herself. Then again, she is just lovely. It is rare to find a bad photo of that girl.
Believe it or not, years and years ago I made a pretty decent living as a model. Taking pictures became second nature to me. You get used to learning tricks to maximize your appearance and look leaner, stronger, faster- oh wait! I almost went off on a Bionic Man theme there....but back to you and your wedding pictures. A few things I have learned from the eons-ago modeling experience and subsequent work with wedding photographers that may help you look your absolute best in your wedding photos:
Posing, Work the Angles: I cannot stress this enough: straight-on shots are the least flattering pose. Whenever possible, turn sideways (even if it is only an inch or two) and you will look thinner. If turning your entire body is not an option, then turn your head a few degrees to the right or the left. It helps, believe me. Turning your body 3/4 away from the camera is usually most flattering.
Remember to keep the chin up. Even the thinnest person may appear to have a double chin when the face is aimed to the floor. It's shadows, baby. They are the enemy! Tilt the chin up, up, up- but not so much that you look imperious (think Morgan Fairchild from Flamingo Road-am I showing my age here?). Just a few centimeters helps.
Here's Looking At You, Kid: This goes without saying, but keep the peepers open. Maybe even open them a bit wider than usual. Not so much that you are bug-eyed or come off looking like your creepy neighbor just goosed you, but slightly more open than you normally would. And, remember the advice about tilting the head slightly? Remember the eyes stay in the general direction of the camera. Tilt the head sideways, but keep the eyes on the camera. If you notice from old photos that you have an issue with 'red eye', a few eye drops prior to picture time is a must. Or, try looking at a bright light source (no, not the sun) long enough to reduce the pupil size to minimize the Zombie look. Zombies are only popular in Hollywood and with the National Emergency Broadcast System, not weddings. Sorry. Oh! Probably the most important thing: smile with those eyes. There is a big difference between a forced smile that never reaches the eyes and a real smile that includes the eyes. Someone should do a study on that. I'll keep you updated.
Relax! Don't like your picture taken? Breathe. Taking a good, long, cleansing breath just before the 'click' will show you relaxed and happy. Whatever you do, don't hold your breath! It conjures up the idea of the creepy neighbor mentioned above. Remember to relax the lips. Concentrate on your breathing if you find yourself tensing up.
Posture: Want to look thinner? Who doesn't?! Stand up straight. It seems silly to include this, but I am constantly amazed how the simple act of standing up straight can make people appear as much as ten pounds thinner! Try this: In your normal posture, walk to the nearest wall (at this point I am tempted to tell you to do something really silly, but I will behave). Turn your back to the wall and back into it. Remember: you are going to be standing in your usual posture. Put the backs of your heels against the base of the wall. Standing normally, press your backside to the wall. How much of your back and shoulder blades is actually touching that wall?
Now, stand as straight as possible and repeat the exercise above. The goal? You should not be able to easily fit a hand between the small of your back and the wall and the entire length of your spinal column should be touching the wall- as well as your shoulder blades. And remember to keep the chin in line. It would look pretty funny to stand ramrod straight but have the chin jutting out half a foot!
Amazing, isn't it? This is the correct posture- and one that will make you look thinner. Guaran-darn-teed.
A good rule of thumb: keep the weight of your body the furthest from the camera. What does this mean? No, you don't have your photographer at one goal post and you at another. If you are standing with one foot slightly in front of the other, put the weight of your body on the back foot. Or, if you have one arm up and another down put the arm in the background up. It appears thinner. Trust me. I'll wait why you try this out in the mirror. Actually, this is a good idea. Practice posing in front of a full length mirror to determine your best angles. In these days of digital cameras and cameras on cell phones, it is easy to identify those poses that display your best attributes. Maybe enlist the help of a trusted advisor to assist in this endeavor. OK, now go! Get some music going- 'Freeze Frame', 'Vogue' or 'Photograph' and 'glam' it up, have some fun! Check it out for yourself, I'll wait.
Back? Good. Hopefully you now know the most flattering poses and angles to suit your particular face and frame. Keep these in mind when working with the photographer of your choosing. Most photographers are skilled in posing for the most flattering pictures, but don't hesitate to speak up if there is a pose suggested that you know is not quite so flattering. Remember, it is your day. And, you have to look at these pictures for years to come. Might as well like what you see!
As we here at 'Marry Me In Fort Wayne: Weddings Your Way" are preparing for our debut this Sunday at the Fort Wayne Bridal Extravaganza, many brides are likewise preparing for their upcoming nuptials. There are so many things to consider: choosing the perfect dress, the color scheme, a dazzling cake that also tastes good (who wants a beautiful cake on the outside that tastes like cardboard on the inside?) The list is endless. And, pretty obvious. I doubt many brides need reminded of the foot-long checklist and time lines of when to do what.
I want to take a slight detour and get beyond the obvious and suggest doing a bit of reflection prior to tackling the daunting time lines and to-do's mentioned above. It just might clarify things and streamline some of the decision-making process.
I was married in September and felt completely overwhelmed by the vast amount of wonderful ideas encountered. I devoured Bridal magazines and found countless ideas I loved. That was the problem: I loved them all! An Internet search for wedding ideas compounded the issue- so many beautiful and creative ideas! Color schemes I never would have dreamed of but adored. Food choices, centerpieces (towering or demure?), favors for the guests... so many ideas and so difficult to choose! Had I taken the time and asked myself some basic questions, I am convinced I would have found the process much easier and much more enjoyable.
If I had it to do over, I would spend much more time in the beginning planning stages to make the entire process much more fun and less stressful. I plan to include a future blog addressing this issue: What would you do differently? Learning from brides after the fact and heeding their advice just may prove to be more helpful than that foot long scroll I envision the pre-wedding checklist to look like. You know the one I mean, where the list is let loose and rolls past your feet?! That is how it seemed to me- and what I want to alleviate for you.
Some things to consider in the beginning stages of planning one of the most poignant days of your life:
To incorporate your style and personality into your wedding ceremony, ask yourself this: What three adjectives (only 3!) describe you as a couple? Use these three descriptive words to begin the planning process.
If 'fun' or 'lighthearted' is one of the adjectives used, you may consider a beach wedding. Or, a backyard BBQ. See? Now you have the 'theme' or 'tone' of your wedding. And, most importantly, you have eliminated dozens of other themes (and eliminated some stress in the process!).
What memories do you want to make? This is two-fold: what memories do you want to make as a couple and what memories do you want your loved-ones taking away from your special day? By further defining your wishes, you have further narrowed the field of options.
What is most important to you? Is including family and friends in your day a top priority? Including more loved ones in the ceremony may be the option you choose. Are you looking for a more intimate experience? Then a more scaled-back theme may be more suitable.
What are the top three priorities important to you and your fiancee as it concerns the wedding? This may be hard to narrow down as there are so many important things going on all at once on that day. Is sticking to a budget a priority? Begin the planning process accordingly. Perhaps incorporating social time with family and friends is of utmost importance to you. These days of travel ease often puts significant distance between loved ones. If you plan to spend a lot of time catching up with friends and family flung far and wide, then a lot of activities at the service and reception may not be for you. This may be the time for a more sedate music source to facilitate conversation. Conversely, if dancing is important, more lively (and loud) music is the route to go.
Are there traditions you wish to incorporate? I performed a wedding ceremony in Indianapolis a number of years ago for a bride with Native American heritage. I will never forget that service. Although the explanation of this particular cultural tradition escapes me now, the action remains with me to this day. Traditionally, the person performing the ceremony holds a thick loop of rope with large bells attached. For exactly 30 minutes prior to the ceremony, I stood on a podium ringing those bells. With friends and family milling around exchanging hugs and kisses and generally getting caught up with each other, I stood in the hot sun ringing bells. Looking back, it causes me to chuckle because I was, then and now, unaware of the cultural significance of that act and felt rather silly. However, the entire bridal party and most of the guests found this to be an integral and sacred aspect of their day. It was important to them. What is important to you?
Lastly, ask recently married couples for advice. What was helpful in the planning process? What would she change? What would he keep the same? What went well and what was a challenge? Learning from the experiences of others, both triumphs and challenges, can be most beneficial in steering clear of potential disappointment.
Remember: this is your day. We remember that at Marry Me In Fort Wayne. It is your wedding your way! If you want us to ring cow bells on a loop of thick rope, we will do it! This time, I plan to remember the reason behind the particular tradition. Oh, and I will remember to wear cooler clothing. Black robes are hot in the sun!
So you are getting married- Jodi and I wish you all the best as you begin making important plans for your future together. There are so many choices as you plan your wedding- where to have the ceremony, who will stand up for you, where will we go on the honeymoon?
Your wedding day ranks right up there with all of the big events in life. It deserves all the careful planning and thoughtful consideration you are giving to it. Your future requires as much or more planning as your ceremony.
A young, newly married friend of mine commented to me recently: "You know, I think the most detrimental thing that happens to relationships are unexpressed and undefined expectations." Only now are she and her husband navigating the tricky waters of defining their individual and shared goals for their life together. A great deal of confusion, conflict and disillusionment may have been avoided by having some frank conversations prior to the marriage ceremony.
Contrary to what some believe, these matters don't always take care of themselves once married. Often, undiscussed issues crop up after marriage resulting in disillusionment, anger and even bitterness.
Some things to discuss prior to taking those first, tentative steps down the aisle:
Money: This issue ranks hands-down as the number one conflict among married couples. How much to spend? How much to save? You may have grown accustomed to being wined and dined during your courtship but he may believe this is a luxury reserved only for special occasions once married. He may prefer to put that money in savings. You are left feeling under-appreciated and taken-for-granted while he thinks he is doing his part to secure a healthy financial future for you both. He may want to save for a dream home while you want a fancy new sports car. Your philosophy is to enjoy life now because you only live once, while he may think he needs to provide long-term security for your future.
Discussing these issues now and setting both long and short-term financial goals alleviates a lot of the confusion and resentment that are the most common source of conflict for married couples.
Make Peace With The Past: Have baggage from the past? Now is the time to deal with it. Speak to a professional counselor, your family, friends or member of the clergy to come to terms with issues. Exercise to alleviate anxiety. Journal to express those emotions buried for so long. Deal with jealousy over your future spouse's past relationships. Make peace with your past, your fiancee's past, yourself. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
Make Yourself Vulnerable: Reveal more about yourself. Talk about what is important to you, even if it feels uncomfortable.Speak in a calm and caring manner. Argue fairly- no insults and no accusations. Practice active listening. Hold truths told to you by your spouse in your heart as if they were sacred, because they are. Make yours a 'safe haven' where you both can share the most vulnerable aspects of your personality. Be trustworthy. Protect the sanctity of that trust by not airing dirty laundry outside the marriage. Spend ten minutes each day not talking about the everyday- no talk of work, child-rearing issues, duties. Talk about those things that draw you closer together. Expect this daily from your spouse.
Boost Each Other: Affirm what he is doing right, gently speak to her about issues troubling you. Sincerely and regularly compliment each other. Continue to hold hands. Kiss and hug as often as when dating. Schedule date nights. Continue trying to impress your spouse- dress well- no soiled, torn and baggy sweats now that you are in a 'secure' relationship! I have a dear friend who recently lost her husband of more than 60 years. Until he died, she would not allow him to see her until she had her hair styled (she still goes to the salon twice a week), makeup applied and her clothes adjusted 'just so". I went to a movie with them once and he, being hard of hearing, thought he was whispering a rather provocative comment in her ear. Unbeknown to him, his 'whisper' came out more as a stage whisper for all to hear, bringing a smile to the faces of all seated near them. They had, after more than 60 years of marriage, their own language of love. The lovely part? Because she never failed to want to look good for her husband, never forgot that keeping romance in their relationship was of utmost importance, he likewise never failed to continually try to reciprocate. They chattered away constantly about more than just the usual household issues- she talked baseball to the die-hard Cardinals fan in him, and he discussed Weight Watchers lemon pie recipes with her. They cooed and snuggled like high schoolers and had the best real-life love story I have had the privilege to witness.
Our wish for you as you embark on your own love story? That sixty years from now, you are stage-whispering sweet nothings to the delight of those sitting around you, bringing smiles to the romantic in all of us, speaking your own very special language of love.
Now you have some talking to do. Happy chatting!
"In marriage we marry a mystery, an other, a counterpart. In a sense the person we marry is a stranger about whom we have a magnificent hunch. The person we choose to marry is someone we love, but his depths, her intimate intricacies - we will come to know only in the long unraveling of time. We know enough about our beloved to know that we love him, to imagine that, as time goes on, we will come to enjoy her even more, become even more of ourselves in her presence. To our knowledge we add our willingness to embark on the journey of getting to know him, of coming to see her, even so wonderfully more. Swept up by attraction, attention, fantasy, hope, and a certain happy measure of recognition, we agree to come together for the mysterious future, to see where the journey will take us. This companionship on life’s journey is the hallmark of marriage, its natural province, its sweetest and most primal gift.In promising always, we promise each other time. We promise to exercise our love, to stretch it large enough to embrace the unforeseen realities of the future. We promise to learn to love beyond the level of our instincts and inclinations, to love in foul weather as well as good, In hard times as well as when we are exhilarated by the pleasures of romance.We change because of these promises. We shape ourselves according to them; we live in their midst and live differently because of them. We feel protected because of them. We try some things and resist trying others because, having promised, we feel secure. Marriage, the bond, makes us free to see, to be, to love. Our souls are protected; our hearts have come home."
Daphne Rose Kingma
The quote (above) selected for this, our first blog for Marry Me In Fort Wayne: Weddings Your Way, was carefully chosen to reflect our belief that the journey you are embarking on- making a lifelong commitment to another person- is a source of great joy. With that in mind, thank you for considering us to be a part of your celebration.
Our first foray into the 'wedding world' in Fort Wayne is close on our heels! This Sunday, February 24, 2013, we will be at the Bridal Extravaganza at The Grand Wayne Center from Noon until 4:00 PM. We welcome the opportunity to meet you and hear a bit about your upcoming event. While you are there, register to win our door prize: an overnight stay at Fort Wayne's beautiful La Salle Bed and Breakfast- a $179 value!
While you are preparing to make a commitment, we at Marry Me In Fort Wayne are making another kind of commitment: to make your wedding ceremony truly memorable and, oh yes- filled with the joy that reflects the love you have for each other. We love our jobs!