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When we go to weddings and even plan our weddings, we incorporate traditions to the ceremony or during the reception.  Sometimes we don’t even know the meaning of them, but we do it because it’s fun.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue – The most common thing, we brides keep in mind.  The meaning of the old is to keep your family history, ancestry close to you; remember where you come from.  The meaning of new represents your new beginnings with your new spouse, family, and life.  The meaning of borrowed is supposed to represent the happiness of another’s marriage.  The meaning of blue is supposed to represent loyalty and fidelity.

The Bouquet Toss – This is targeted for the single women at the wedding.  Whomever single lady catches the bouquet, it is said that they will be the next to marry.

The Garter Toss – This is target for the single men at the wedding.  Same concept here.  Whomever single man catches the garter is said to be the next man to marry.

Throwing the rice after wedding – The rice is a symbol to wish the couple with blessings of fertility in they marriage.

The White Dress and Wedding Veil – This represents purity and virginity.  Since the custom started with Queen Victoria, it seems that white is the classic uniform color for brides; first or other marriages.  In present times, ivory and cream is not also being accepted as part of the bridal color.

Unity Sand Ceremony – This is performed during the wedding ceremony.  There are two containers for the wife and for the husband.  Now available to have their own colors.  They each pour the sand in a unity or single container.  This shows their unity and they also can keep the finish container as a decorative keepsake in their home.

Unity Candle Ceremony – This is performed during the wedding ceremony.   There are three candles; one for the wife, one for the husband, and a main candle (which is usually decorated).  They both will take their candles and light the main candle together.

Feeding Eachother Wedding Cake – Both the husband and wife take turns feeding each other a piece of wedding cake. This represents the new union of the husband and wife.  Also shows their responsibility to take care of each other.

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Taking your engagement photos. This is the funnest part of the whole wedding process.  For me, it felt like a break from all the chaos of my planning and a chance to have some fun (and also posing) with my future spouse.  You can add the engagement shoot as part of your photography package.  That benefit can either be discounted, included, or even free.  Also, it would have the same feel as your wedding pictures because the same photographer will be taking the them. Sure, we have plenty of pictures with our partner, but it’s the artistic playfulness of the photographer which makes it a beautiful keepsake.

The traditional way of thinking about engagement pictures is: it’s all just posed.  All mostly serious and doesn’t show personality.  Yes, of course you still want those soft and romantic poses for your formal printed material, like your program or the displayed picture during your reception.

So, when the time comes to decide where you want to take your pictures, keep in mind the scenery around the environment and also what time of day you want the pictures taken.  **Remember, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.

  • I can only speak for California because we have the ocean, desert, forest, and mountains…so we can literally pick any scenery.  But think about nature, like the beach or a place where you go hiking. Nature is great and can be very romantic, especially during sunrise or sunset.
  • If those locations are not available near you, think about the park.  There’s grass, trees, and maybe a fountain or statue feature.  Even the jungle gym area, with the swings and see-saw, will give you playful and fun pictures. If this suits your personalities, this location is a gem.
  • Think about an art museum or a local visual monument.  There are many interesting features that are visually appealing.  You can climb statues or act like you’re part of the scene.  For example, the library in Cerritos, CA has statues of big books that you can pose with.  This would be a great location of you love to read or for the physical and visual aspect of it.
  • Have your engagement shoot during a dinner date.  It can be fun feeding each other with finger foods and having pictures of that.  It can also be romantic with the dark ambience with candle lighting or twinkle lights.
  • Go to a festival or carnival. You have many opportunities for different styles and many candid moments if you like spontaneity.  You also have interaction with many people.
  • Take your engagement pictures while cooking a meal, like breakfast.  This can be creative in your own element, your home.  Take action in daily activities. It’s fun to be domesticated with your partner.
  • Go to a winery. It’s a beautiful scenery and you can get plenty of romantic pictures.
  • On a boat or on a bridge.  The thinking is how the picture would relate with water or if you as a couple have a connection with water.  The reflection can add to photography tricks.
  • Take pictures with your pets.  They are part of your family and why not include them in your pictures?  Chances are, they might not be able to be at your wedding, so this is one way of keeping them in the process.

Whatever you choose, make it personal, fun and stress free.

Because we are still hurting a little from the economy and possibly still paying for the wedding, a grand honeymoon may be out of your budget.  Never fear.  There are so many great options to explore.  The whole point of your honeymoon is to spend some time with your hunny and it shouldn’t matter where you go as long as you’re together.

Stay-cations come to mind for mini honeymoons.  It’s affordable and local.  For the most part, you may not need your passport and pay all those overseas taxes.

Of course, my vote is for taking many mini vacations and when you have enough saved up, take a luxurious and grand honeymoon on your anniversary.  (I use the word “honeymoon” when it pertains to taking a vacation with your spouse.  I think you should be able to use the term “honeymoon” all the time, not just after your wedding.  This sets the mood of your romantic vacation.)  Here are some tips of great honeymoon ideas starting from the farthest you can go, for deals, to the most local and hidden gems.

  • Visiting our neighboring countries.  You don’t have to go to cross the Atlantic Ocean to enjoy a different culture.  Depending on where you live (East Coast or West Coast, North or South), you are still able to use your passport.  Say you live in New Jersey, you can always cross the border to Canada and visit a specific province.  Another example, if you live in California, as I do, I know there are great deals to visit Mexico by plane or boat.  I guess in the East Coast, the tropical deals would be for Jamaica or even Puerto Rico.
  • Fly Domestic or drive to a different state.  Ever think about visiting New York for the first time, visiting New Orleans, or even Seattle?  Maybe you have been always wanting to visit a city or a town for a specific reason or maybe you want to be spontaneous without having to rely on a big budget.  Whether wanting to see the Grand Canyon in Arizona, or the wineries in Napa Valley, CA, you can always think of plenty to do.  Engage yourself in the local activities or tourist attraction.  Maybe look for museums, gardens, a national monument. A great thing to do is to look online first for the local surrounding and restaurants to make an itinerary.  Also look into the city’s tourism website.
  • Driving locally.  I say this means only traveling for a few hours or less and maybe staying in your own state.  Since I live in Los Angeles, CA, a stay-cation honeymoon for me would be to drive to Santa Barbara,CA or San Diego, CA.  It’s not too far, but not too close.  If you’re worried that you might feel like you never left for vacation, then I can definitely tell you that even a few hours distance, you already could sense a different environment.
  • Within your own town.  Get away by staying in a 5 star hotel or bed & breakfast.  Make it as special and romantic for you.  And just think, if you every need a quick getaway when you’ve already had your family, you can always sneak out for the weekend at that special place where you had your honeymoon.
  • This may sound funny, but pull out a map of the united states and with your eyes closed, pin point to somewhere you’ve never been or thought of.  I think that would be for a more adventurous couple.
  • For the practical couple, watch the Travel Channel or other travel show.  They always feature a location for its local treasures, like Walt Disney World or Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.  Your honeymoon can be educational too.
  • For the food or wine lovers in you, plan a honeymoon based on reviews you’ve heard or maybe follow the seafood trail.  For example, driving up the California Coast to Monterey and Half Moon Bay to try out all the clam chowder and wine.

The lesser known cities may have deals for you, they have plenty of promotions so you can visit them.  Also, the big cities may have other deals to help people spend more money in this economy.  You have a lot of great options and great websites you can use.  My favorite sites are:

In all, you shouldn’t limit yourself because you’re short on your budget.  You’re slight dilemma only brings out your creativity and also fun.  You might realize sites you’ve never thought of visiting or trying new activities also.

One of my friends just got a wedding invitation from her cousin.  It was transmitted through one of those e-cards/online invitations/email sites.  My friend was really upset because she feels like since she’s planning her own wedding and took the time to create her invitations, people should also take  the time to do the same.  I totally agree with her.  I feel like when people send e-card invitations for weddings, it’s a slap in the face for the wedding industry.

Couples will take the time to plan the wedding, look for a place, the flowers, catering, the dress, even favors, but neglect to put any effort into the invitations and leave it to the internet to do the job.  What message are you sending out?  You’re supposed to be promoting your wedding, setting the mood, dictating if it will be classy not trashy.  the Correct wedding etiquette is to send an invitation, whether written, printed, or on a postcard….a hard copy invitation is valuable to show importance of the event and the importance of your guests presence. Thank you cards also  need  to be written as they show your sincerity and your thoughtfulness as the invitation.

When is the  e-card/online invitations most appropriate?  You can send them out for save the date cards and RSVP’s.

Prior to the wedding, a bride must always think about her own back up plan.  Yes, sometime things can go wrong.  If you don’t have your own wedding coordinator to help you think about these things, take a tip from me.  You need to pack a Bride’s Emergency Kit.

Emergency kits for brides are readily available for purchase, but they can be costly and you may already have all the stuff on hand.  It’s just a matter of packing and organizing, which will make this task successful.

I prefer to have one small travel bag to carry the bigger items and a smaller case to hold your makeup and other necessities.  The travel bag should be the size of a weekend travel bag.  It’s not too big or too small either.  One that you can just stash and carry in a moment’s notice.  Here are some suggestions you should keep in mind, but according to your preference, you might need some other things, so create your own check list.

In your travel bag, you should pack:

  • Comfortable shoes or slippers
  • Hairspray
  • A water bottle (to drink)
  • Baby Powder
  • Extra underwear
  • Extra nylons (if you are going to wear any)
  • Feminine pads or tampons
  • Lotion
  • Perfume
  • Energy bars

Depending on size,  medium  items should be placed in freezer bags for the travel bag and small items should be placed in sandwich bags.

The smaller case is going to be your mini kit.  It’s small enough to have one of your bridesmaid or a close friend to carry for you.  In you mini kit, you should pack:

  • Makeup powder
  • Lipstick
  • Bandage
  • Aspirin or any headache pills you prefer
  • Travel toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Antacid
  • Emergen-c or Airborne
  • Tissue
  • A stain remover stick or towelette
  • Gum or hard candy

The smaller items should be placed in sandwich bags for the mini kit.

Wanna Candy Bar?

For the past few years the popularity of having a candy bar has been on the rise.  There are benefits to having a candy bar at your reception.

  • We love sugar.  Whether it’s hard candy, sour candy, chocolate, and jelly beans, it’s all good.  You will have no complaints about that.  On the contrary, your guests will remember the candy bar as one of the highlights of the reception.
  • A candy bar can be elegant and beautiful as a compliment to your wedding and reception. You can get candy to match your color scheme or candy to match your nostalga theme.  You can also get your favorite candies to to share your personality.  Most importantly, you can get personalized candy to commemorate you big day!
  • Little to no work at all.  Yes, we love that.  No hours of packaging and tying up little ribbons.
  • Well, this is a fact.  Your guests will be at your ceremony and will also be a little drained from waiting, so the sugar rush will be exactly what they need.

DIY instructions:

  1. No matter the size of your table, make sure you use a table cloth. It’s the most basic instruction to the “wow factor” for your table.
  2. Get containers (glass, ceramic, terra cotta, silver, wood, baskets).  I think getting the same type material is more attractive, ie. all glass.
  3. Arrange your containers from tall is the back to shorter ones in the front.
  4. Buy candies and over flow your containers.  Don’t forget to have your little scoopers.
  5. Make your baggies, take out containers, or paper bags readily available on the side.

Here are some of my favorite candies for the candy bar.

  • Rock Candy
  • M & M’s
  • Dum Dum’s
  • Button Candy
  • Jordan Almonds
  • Jelly Beans
  • Hershey Kisses

Here are some sites to buy candy in bulk:

Here are some ideas for different kind of “bars”.  Mix & match.  For the backed goods, don’t forget the milk.

  • Cookie
  • Doughnut
  • Candy Apples
  • Popcorn Balls
  • Brownies
  • Cupcakes
  • Potato Chips
  • Pretzels

I have a true story to tell.  One that involves my aunt, uncle, and grandfather.  They were invited to a wedding in San Diego and had to travel from Los Angeles.  They didn’t have a GPS system, so they pretty much have to rely on written directions.  No map was included in the invitation.  They were lost for 3 hours, never made it to the reception, reluctantly made it back home.  They didn’t get to share in the memories of a cousin’s wedding.

When you’re about ready to send those invitations out, you should always keep in mind to attach a map.  Those from out of town will surely appreciate it.  If your wedding is out of town, everyone will appreciate it even more.  I can’t stress the importance of having a map included in your invitation or even emailed out.

Now that I made you think about that, consider having your your map made.  I have found 2 in mind:

  • www.weddingmapper.com – this is a free service and a great tool. It’s very easy to use, it does all the research and you can also make a free wedding website.  The concept it DIY. You can also map sites of hotels, local amusements, restaurants, you name it….great for out-of-town guests.  I even used it for my wedding.  In my experience, I did get a little stuck trying to figure out how to print it though, but through their customer service and emails, they helped me out in no time.
  • www.idoweddingmaps.com – this service is a little different.  They create map for you and you can purchase a pdf file of a map or printed ones already, so you don’t have to worry about the technicalities.  Some people just want to have it all done for them without  the hassle.  On the downside, you can’t target all the local spots on the map like weddingmapper.com.  But if it’s basic info that you want on a map, then this website is for you.

I hope you got some idea or direction (LOL) as to how you want to map your wedding location out.  Please don’t forget the map!