Thursday, December 10, 2015

Top 3 Wedding Films of All Time

Watching a Wedding Movie at HomeWhen you’re planning your wedding, there’s nothing like watching a wedding movie to give you some inspiration; or sometimes just add a bit of levity to a situation! Wedding planning takes a long time and can be very stressful, and movies are notoriously a great way to unwind and relax. However, over the years there have been a lot of terrible movies made in every niche, and wedding movies are no exception. The problem has become even worse over the last few years with movies going straight to DVD, streaming, or digital download because movie standards have precipitously fallen as a result. So, without further ado, here are 3 wedding movies that are considered all-time classics and will always be a great choice no matter what the circumstances happen to be.

Bride Wars


Starring two of the most loveable Hollywood leading ladies; Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, this movie knows how to cheer you up regardless of what wedding planning woes you’re facing. The plot consists of two best friends who are planning weddings at the same venue and, through a series of circumstances, have the same date booked. I won’t spoil the entire plot, but the “war” that follows between them is hilarious to say the least, and it will make you smile even if you are going through a very rough patch during your wedding planning.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding


An all-time classic that never disappoints, this one will make you laugh and cry at different times during the film. Incredibly heart-warming, My Big Fat Greek Wedding celebrates all that is wonderful about love and family while always embracing your heritage. This is always my go-to movies for friends who need a little sappy joy in their lives.

Wedding Crashers


Okay, so it’s not really a movie about your wedding and it could possibly get you thinking about hiring security guards for your reception, but you just have to love this movie! Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are a classic duo in comedy, but in my opinion they never did it better than they did in Wedding Crashers. Just take my word for it: watch the movie, laugh your butt off, and go to bed with a big smile on your face.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Michigan

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Michigan
If you and your partner are planning a wedding in Michigan, you’re not alone. In fact, Michigan is one of the most popular places in the United States to get married; per capita, of course. Michigan offers couples many things that you can’t find anywhere else in America, and that means there is a cozy little niche built right into the state’s natural wonder and beauty.

For couples who love snowy weather, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is by far the area that sees the most snow in the continental United States. Michigan’s weather in the U.P. is much more reminiscent of Canada versus the rest of our country, and that adds to the charm and attraction for young couples planning their wedding. Also, with so much great hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities in general, Michigan is a dream wedding destination for any couple who adores the outdoor lifestyle.

For couples who are more into a traditional style indoor wedding, there are also options for you. Detroit features some of the finest upscale wedding venues in the country, so you won’t have to look hard to find something you love. You can even hire a professional fireworks crew to light up the Detroit skyline, or you could just buy some wedding sparklers to avoid hiring the pros. However, you can’t just run out looking for where to buy wedding sparklers in Michigan; there are a few things you need to know first.

Michigan Fireworks Laws


Fortunately, the rules in Michigan for using sparklers and other fireworks are actually quite lenient. Obviously, you need to be over 18 years old to buy fireworks, but there are other regulations that must be followed. A quick review of the Michigan fireworks laws will tell you that it’s okay to use sparklers at your wedding along with other small fountains and novelty item, but launching big fireworks into the air is only left to the professionals. If you want the big stuff, you need to hire a company. If you’re okay with just wedding sparklers, then you’re able to buy and use them at your own discretion.

Best Places to Shop


Shopping for wedding sparklers in Michigan is also quite easy because there are many year-round fireworks stores throughout the state. Choosing where to buy wedding sparklers in Michigan is as simple as finding your closest store. However, I always suggest heading to the store to see what they’re selling and what their prices are. With that knowledge in hand, you can head home and shop online because you can buy wedding sparklers on the internet for much cheaper than in a local store.

Whether you’re planning an upscale wedding in Detroit or a scenic outdoor wedding in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan offers couples sights and attractions that no other state can. Plus, to make your big day even more spectacular, finding where to buy wedding sparklers in Michigan couldn’t be easier.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

6 More Songs to Avoid At Your Wedding Reception

Songs to Avoid at your Wedding Reception
When you hit the dance floor at your wedding reception, you’ll probably give your DJ a list of songs you’d like to have played. Odds are you’re already choosing songs that will really sum up your relationship with your spouse, remind you of your romantic history, and fill you up with good cheer to keep you dancing through the night. Just do yourself and your guests a favor: if you have any of these songs on your playlist, ditch them now.

Hoobastank, The Reason

People seem to think that this is a romantic song, maybe just for the lyric “and the reason is you.” But at its heart, this isn’t a song about a healthy relationship. It’s more a half-assed apology than a love letter. The singer is sorry that he hurt his lover, but seems more concerned with his own suffering. Hurting her is “something he must live with every day.” Poor guy. Hasn’t she considered how hard it is on him, having hurt her like that?

Anything Mentioning Romeo and Juliet

There’s a meme making the rounds on the Internet, which goes something like, “stop saying Romeo and Juliet are romantic. Their relationship lasted 3 days and caused 6 deaths.” We’ll add to that, “including their own.” Romeo and Juliet were a pair of teenaged twits who end up dead at the end of the story. So skip the Taylor Swift.

Dave Matthews Band, Crash

If you take even a cursory listen to the lyrics, this song is just kind of...well, gross. It just makes you feel grimy, once you get past the sugary violins. “you’ve got your ball, you’ve got your chain / tied to me tight, tie me up again,” Dave sings. He’s all about being “tied up and twisted,” and later describes how great it is to peek through his crush’s window to watch her undress. Ick. For a less gross DMB tune, try “You & Me.”

Eric Clapton, Tears in Heaven

We’ve been to several weddings where this ends up on the playlist, and we’re still not sure what would possess anyone to play it. Is it just that it’s a slow song? That the guitar is kind of pretty? They were trying for “Wonderful Tonight” and hit the wrong track? Whatever the reason happens to be, this song is about the death of a three-year-old child. Not romantic at all.

Billy Idol, White Wedding

Sure, it’s a wedding, and people are wearing white, so why not play White Wedding? Well, for starters it’s not a great song for dancing to, either slow or fast, so it’s likely to clear the dance floor. And more importantly, it was written as an anti-wedding song, with Idol sarcastically making fun of his sister for marrying too young.

Whitney Houston, I Will Always Love You

Sure, the chorus says, “I will always love you,” over and over again ad nauseum, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a romantic celebration of eternal love. Simply put, it’s a break-up song. It’s about letting someone go and walking away because you know it’s best for them, and you’ll never see them again no matter how much you love them. So it’s pretty much the opposite of the sentiment you want for a wedding.

In the end, of course, what you choose for your wedding music should reflect you and your partner’s musical tastes. But if it’s at all possible, avoid these six tunes. Your wedding guests will thank you.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Great Quotes for your Wedding Vows

Quotes for your Wedding Vows
It’s becoming more and more popular to replace the traditional wedding vows with some heart-felt promises from one partner to the other. Most couples are writing their own vows, for better or for worse (ha!). If you find yourself at a loss for words when you’re thinking about those vows, consider these quotes for inspiration. You can include one in your vows--they’re nice and brief--or just let them be a guide to show how you can talk about love in an honest, sincere, but not overly-sentimental way.

“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with,” --Mark Twain

“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” —When Harry Met Sally

It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. — Rita Rudner

Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” —Franklin P. Jones

“To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness.” —Robert Brault

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” —Mignon McLaughlin

“I have a paperback heart, dog-eared and creased by the world,
the color is faded and the spine is worn,
but I’m glad to see it’s finally in good hands.”--Unknown Author

“You don’t marry the person you can live with … you marry the person you can’t live without.” —Unknown Author

“Remember, we all stumble; every one of us. That is why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” —Emily Kimbrough

“Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself.” --Andre Breton

“Love is a game that two can play and both win.” --Eva Gabor

“Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real love to be silly.” --Rose Franken

“I love you not only for who you are, but for who I am when I am with you”--Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“I love you. I am at rest with you. I have come home.” --Dorothy L. Sayers

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.’” --Erich Fromme

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.” --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“When you like someone, you like them in spite of their faults.
When you love someone, you love them with their faults.”--Elizabeth Cameron

“Do you want to know how great my love is? Count the waves.” --Unknown Author

“You may only be one person to the world
But you may also be the world to one person.”--Unknown Author

Whether you’re an expert wordsmith or need help putting together a sentence, these quotes can provide a jumping-off point for a heartfelt set of vows. Just keep it sincere, simple, and honest, and you’ll do fine.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Quirky Wedding Songs

Quirky Wedding Songs
There are plenty of well-worn grooves that wedding music falls into. For the walk down the aisle, it’s the Wedding Processional or Canon in D. For the first dance, it’s a crooner singing “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet” or “Fly Me to the Moon.” There are a ton of safe, thoroughly vetted songs to play during your wedding. If the classic tunes don’t quite fit your style, though, there’s no reason why you can’t indulge your love of indie music throughout your wedding day. Here are a few quirky selections to play during your wedding.

Cat Power-Sea of Love


This song is a crooner classic, but the arrangement couldn’t be less traditional. It’s an agreeably lo-fi color, tinny and old-timey-sounding, with just an autoharp and Cat Power’s gorgeous, silky-smooth voice. The stripped-down sound is sure to get guest’s attention whether you use it as aisle music or for your first dance.

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel


Any indie music lover worth their salt knows the album The Aeroplane Over the Sea, by Neutral Milk Hotel. There’s plenty of weirdness and psychosexual cosmic energy in the album, but this particular track is a kind of lovely, straightforward musing on love and life and even death. “And one day we will die and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea / but for now we are young, let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see,” Jeff Mangum sings, and it’s a perfect benediction for a wedding day.

We Are Gonna Be Friends - White Stripes


This one makes for cutesy, adorkable aisle music. The simple tune and the wistful sentiment are a great reminder that the most successful marriages are between two friends who also just happen to be in love with each other. It’s got an agreeable simplicity that lets go of grand romantic gestures in favor of the image of two kids walking to school together, planning to spend the rest of their lives with each other.

Fade Into You - Mazzy Star


For a doozy of a romantic first dance, you can’t go wrong with this luscious, dreamy tune from Mazzy Star. It’s a perfect slow dance, not too draggy but not too quick either. And for the nerdy types, there’s an added reference -- it’s the song that Buffy and Angel danced to at the Prom at the end of season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hey, if it’s good enough for the Slayer, it’s good enough for us mortals.

Luna- Smashing Pumpkins


If you’re getting married in the 2010’s, odds are you were born in the 90’s, and we old folks are just going to have to make our peace with that. You see, children, once upon a time there was a band called the Smashing Pumpkins. And when they weren’t singing angry songs about being trapped in a cage, they wrote some lovely little ballads. Luna is one of them. It’s a great song for the end of the reception, when everyone’s had a few too many drinks and are ready to drape themselves across their dance partner and sway.

When you’re planning music for your wedding ceremony, don’t be afraid to get away from the traditional music and into some of these less conventional choices. Your guests will thank you for not making them sit through Canon in D again.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Massachusetts

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is one of the oldest states in our country, and that means there are many great historic and colonial buildings throughout the state. That of course means that many couples choose to head to one of many great regions of Massachusetts to get married. Known as the “Bay State”, couples looking to get married can also expect first class seafood that all of their guests will love. Whether you’re planning to have a wedding on Martha’s Vineyard or you prefer something in downtown Boston, you really can’t go wrong having your wedding in Massachusetts. However, it’s not all wine and roses; there are a few things that you need to know about before you start planning your wedding.

Wedding sparklers have recently become part of an overwhelming number of weddings in the United States. Over 30% of weddings now include sparklers as part of the celebration, and that number is going to rise now that many areas of the country are beginning to legalize the use of sparklers that have been holding out for years. So, I’m sure there are many couples out there are wondering where to buy wedding sparklers in Massachusetts since you don’t see them on the shelves at your local grocery store around the 4th of July. The short answer is: not locally.

This can be a really big downer for couples to hear off the bat, but it’s better to know the truth than drive around endlessly looking for something that simply isn’t there. The bottom line is that your local stores aren’t going to be carrying them regardless what time of year it happens to because they are prohibited from selling them.

Unfortunately, Massachusetts is one of those states that have a law prohibiting retailers from selling fireworks of any kind; even though sparklers are technically “novelties” and not considered “fireworks” by the federal government. There is legislation in the works to change the Massachusetts fireworks laws, but it’s still unlikely in the near future. So what are you supposed to do if you want to buy wedding sparklers in Massachusetts?

Well, there are plenty of places to buy wedding sparklers online, but that isn’t the best solution for many of the readers out there today. You could hire a professional fireworks company to come out and put on a huge show for you and all of your guests, but that would be really expensive and it doesn’t really tackle the underlying problem. Your choices are actually pretty simple; either purchase wedding sparklers online or find an alternative that will work instead.

At the end of the day, your wedding is going to be memorable ad spectacular; regardless of whether or not your guests send you off using wedding sparklers. Wedding sparklers certainly add a lot of flash and dazzle to your wedding experience, but you can easily find alternatives that will fit the bill. But for those who are wondering where to buy wedding sparklers in Massachusetts, the only real answer is to shop online or give up on your search.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Wedding Songs for Your Recessional

Wedding Songs for your Recessional
Music is a huge part of the wedding experience. The songs that you play on your wedding day will forever remind you of your nuptials, so choose them wisely. There are so many times throughout the ceremony and reception where the perfect song choice can really enhance the situation that it makes sense to focus on each separately. Here are a few songs that we think are perfect for walking down the aisle for the first time as a married couple.

Dave Matthews, You & Me
The DMB gets a bad rap for being bro-rock or dad-rock, but there’s no denying that ol’ Dave knows his way around a love song. This one starts off simply, then builds to a giddy chorus that should have everyone in the audience singing along by the end of it.

Sample lyric: “You and me together, we can do anything/ You and me together, yes, yes.”

Lick the Tins, Can’t Help Falling in Love
The most famous version of this incredibly romantic tune is Elvis Presley’s crooning slow-jam cover. But we much prefer the infectious energy of this track from Celtic band Lick the Tins. Complete with pennywhistle and adorable vocals from Allison Marr, it’ll have you practically skipping down the aisle.

Sample Lyric: “Take my hand, take my whole life, too / ‘cause I can’t help falling in love with you.”

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You
Speaking of songs that start slow but build to a huge climax, this Frankie Valli song is practically two different tunes. The first one is a romantic murmur, and then the horns and strings kick in as Frankie practically shouts his love to the heavens.

Sample Lyric: “At long last love has arrived, and I thank God I’m alive, you’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you.”

Buddy Holly, “Every day”
For a quieter, sweeter recessional, consider Buddy Holly’s slight but beautiful song. With its gentle guitar and twee little glockenspiel accompaniment, it’s as charming as it is minimal. If you’d like the guests to hush and wipe away tears when you walk down the aisle, it’s a perfect choice.

Sample Lyric: “Every day it’s getting closer /coming faster than a roller coaster / love like yours will surely come my way.”

Beatles, “I Will”
The Beatles are masters of the romantic song, especially once they hit their peace-and-love mid-60s stride. If you have an army of musician friends you can recruit, a la Love Actually, then you can consider “All You Need is Love.” But we still prefer the more laid-back vibe and gorgeous harmonies of this tune.

Sample Lyric: “Who knows how long I’ve loved you / you know I love you still / will I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to, I will.”

The music you play during your wedding recessional can put a lovely capper on the whole proceeding and serve as a transition into the celebration portion of the day. Whatever song you choose, make sure it’s one that has special meaning for you and your partner.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Some Honest Wedding Advice

Some Honest Wedding Advice and Answers
For the purposes of this article, let’s say that we get plenty of email from people who are planning a wedding, seeking our sage advice on everything from selecting music to tactfully telling someone they’re not invited. Most of the time, we just ignore those emails, because we don’t usually do an advice column. But now we’ve finally taken pity on the actual real people who totally sent in these questions, and decided to print our very first wedding advice column. Read on to get told.

Q: Can I have my female friend be my best man? How does that work?
Absolutely! You can have a best woman/lady/girl if the mood strikes you, just as you can certainly have a Man of Honor if you’d like to. If the bro who’s been there for you through thick and thin is actually a sis, you shouldn’t hesitate putting her on the groomsmen side of the wedding party. We’ve seen Best Women dress in the same tuxedo the groomsmen are wearing, dress like the bridesmaids but stand on the groom’s side, or just wear a stylish dress that matches the wedding colors. But yes, definitely go for it.

Q: Can I wear white even if I don’t “deserve to?”
Who exactly is going to be checking whether or not you “deserve” to? Honestly, this is a tradition that just doesn’t have any place in a 2015 wedding. If you’ve slept with no one or everyone, it shouldn’t be anyone’s business but your own. So go ahead and wear white. Wear yellow. Wear red! You do you.

Q: Do I HAVE to invite kids to my wedding?
Well, of course not. It’s your wedding; you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Grandma and Grandpa would slow the reception party down? Don’t invite them! Little sister’s a better dancer than you and makes you look bad on the dance floor? Don’t invite her! Don’t like kids? Leave them off the guest list! It’s your day.

On the other hand, though, it’s also a day for your friends and relatives to gather around you and celebrate you. Are there people on your guest list who would have trouble getting child care, but that you would definitely miss if they didn’t show? If the answer’s yes, then you might have to overcome your fear of children and have the little tykes attend. If your budget allows, just hire a babysitting service to take care of the kids while the adults get down. It’s your day--but do not overlook the other people, too.

Q: Do I HAVE to do a bouquet or garter toss?
Oh, heavens no; especially not the garter toss. Plenty of brides are opting out of both of these antiquated traditions. There’s just something about throwing flowers so single women can make a mad scramble to pick them up that seems demeaning, somehow. And while we all can agree that the groom should take the bride’s clothes off on the wedding night, he doesn’t have to get a head start at the reception. We say pack up both of those old traditions and replace them with something everyone can enjoy, like more time to hit the open bar.

We hope you enjoyed the first installment of our advice column. We’ll be back with another after we’ve had time to collect another vast and totally real selection of email messages from readers like you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Funny Wedding Readings

Funny Wedding Readings
Some weddings are traditional, solemn affairs. But if you and your spouse to be don’t do the whole “reverent” or “sanctimonious” thing, that’s perfectly okay by us. There’s nothing wrong with adding a little--or a lot--of levity to the proceedings. Just swap out the over-used Bible verses on love with a few of these humorous, but still thought-provoking, quotes.

"I Rely on You," by Hovis Presley
I rely on you
like a camera needs a shutter
like a gambler needs a flutter
like a golfer needs a putter
like a buttered scone involves some butter
I rely on you
like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
like an HGV needs endless derv
like an outside left needs a body swerve
I rely on you
like a handyman needs pliers
like an auctioneer needs buyers
like a laundromat needs driers
like The Good Life needed Richard Briers
I rely on you.

"I love being married. It's so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." -- Rita Rudner

Love is a lot like a backache, it doesn’t show up on X-rays, but you know it’s there. -- George Burns

Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby- awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess. -- Lemony Snicket

You could empty the trash and my love for you still wouldn’t fit inside. But just because it won’t fit, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t empty the trash. -- Jarod Kintz

Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery. -- Erma Bombeck

Before I met my husband, I’d never fallen in love, though I’d stepped in it a few times. -- Rita Rudner

"I Wanna be Yours" by John Cooper Clarke
I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
Breathing in your dust,
I wanna be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust,
If you like your coffee hot
Let me be your coffee pot,
You call the shots,
I wanna be yours.
I wanna be your raincoat
For those frequent rainy days,
I wanna be your dreamboat
When you want to sail away,
Let me be your teddy bear
Take me with you anywhere,
I don’t care,
I wanna be yours.
I wanna be your electric meter
I will not run out,
I wanna be the electric heater
You’ll get cold without,
I wanna be your setting lotion
Hold your hair in deep devotion,
Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
That’s how deep is my devotion.

We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong.
Why is this?
Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. It isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems – the ones that make you truly who you are – that you’re ready to find a life-long mate.
Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person – someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.” -- Andrew Boyd

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Maryland

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Maryland
Maryland is a state with many different facets and a wide variety of different areas. From the large cities such as Baltimore and Annapolis to the rural farming areas throughout the state, Maryland is truly a melting pot of every culture that one could imagine. With such as diverse and large population of people, Maryland is also home to tens of thousands of weddings each year. On top of the cities that lie within Maryland’s borders, it is also the neighbor to another large population center; Washington D.C. This means that people from D.C. also flock to the less-political areas of Maryland to have their wedding which makes it a prime target for destination weddings as well.

Furthermore, since the primary US Naval Academy resides in Maryland, there are thousands of military weddings held their each year. Military personnel make up a huge segment of the economy in Maryland, and they also get married at a much higher rate than regular US citizens. Since sparklers are very patriotic and included in many military weddings, finding out where to buy wedding sparklers in Maryland is a hot-button issue on many couple’s minds. Fortunately, the laws in Maryland are much more accommodating to couples who want to include sparklers in their ceremony than some other states in our union, but there are still things you need to consider. Here is everything that you need to know.

Local Laws


One of the most important things that you need to be aware of before you decide where to buy wedding sparklers in Maryland is that there are actually laws governing what type of sparklers you can use. The Maryland fireworks laws are very clear that only sparklers containing no chlorates or perchlorates are allowed to be used and not all sparklers fit these criteria. Fortunately, there are plenty of online shops that offer sparklers which contain no chlorates or perchlorates so you can legally use them without fear of hurting the environment or receiving a fine at your wedding.

Venue Restrictions


On top of the local laws that restrict the type of sparklers that you’re allowed to use, many wedding venues have their own restrictions. For instance, if you choose an outdoor wedding venue, you likely will be able to use them without any issues. However, if your wedding venue is indoors, you may need to get special permission to use sparklers or they may be prohibited all together. If you’re having your wedding on the military base, you should be able to use sparklers as part of your ceremony; but you’ll definitely need permission from your commanding officer. Just make sure you check with your venue before you run out and buy wedding sparklers to avoid any potential hang-ups.

One of the biggest benefits of having your wedding in Maryland is that the laws allow you to do things that many other states prohibit. With that said, you need to check the local laws and the restrictions at your wedding venue before you seek out where to buy wedding sparklers in Maryland to ensure you have a fun, safe, and lawful wedding day experience.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Sample Wedding Sermon

A Sample Wedding Sermon
With the growing trend of couples asking a friend to be an officiant, the odds are higher than they used to be that you’ll be asked to perform the service for one of your buddies. When that day comes, there are plenty of resources online to help you structure the ceremony, tell you what to do in what order, that sort of thing. But what they can’t tell you is what to say before the ceremony proper begins.

When I was called on to officiate a friend’s wedding, we realized that without some kind of introduction--the secular equivalent of a sermon--the whole ceremony would last less time than it took for the guests to get seated. So I sat down and wrote a message to deliver on the day. If you get tapped to be an officiant, you can use this as inspiration, or a template, or a cautionary tale of what not to do. Just make sure to run whatever you write by the bride and groom before the ceremony, and you’ll be good to go.

A few weeks before the wedding day, I asked the couple what love meant to both of them. Sam said, “She makes me a better person, because I try to be a better person for her.”

Rachael said, “We've helped each other grow and become who we are today, and will continue to grow with each other to become what we will be tomorrow. We have come to unconditional love.”

Sam and Rachael have come to unconditional love. They’ve build a home together with one another.

Next, I asked what marriage meant to them, and they both had the same answer (which is for the best): It’s just a public profession of what already is there. They don’t think it will change anything.

Now, I won't argue whether marriage changes something or what importance to place on it. But for me it was like this:

I've lived in a lot of places since moving out of my parent's house.

I've rented a lot of apartments.

You wake up, you eat, sleep, you have routines in that place.

And it feels like home.

And when you buy a house, it's the same thing, really. You don't anticipate any change. You do the same things you always do.

Then you stand late at night in the living room and you think, "Mine. This is mine."

I submit that marriage is changing your rent into a mortgage. Even if you were in a 50-year-lease before, it's something exciting and new.

When I married my wife, when we left the beach where we got married, I looked at her, and she looked at me, and we both thought, "This is ours."

So maybe your mileage will vary on this. But please, do this: tonight, look into your partner's eyes, and in your mind, say "Mine." And say "Ours."'

And I'm sure you've done that very thing before. You may be doing it now. But I hope you feel even a fraction of that sudden rush we felt.

Welcome home.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

7 Great First Dance Songs

Your first kiss as a married couple is definitely the defining moment of the wedding ceremony. But for the reception, the big deal is the first dance with your freshly-minted spouse. If there’s a song that means a lot to the two of you, definitely go with that (unless it’s Nikki Minaj’s “Anaconda.” Don’t want to shock Aunt Gertie). But if you find yourself looking for that perfect first dance song, here are seven to consider:

“If I Ain’t Got You,” Alicia Keys

This song has it all--lovey-dovey lyrics, a bouncy piano line, and some serious soul when the chorus kicks in. It has more of a groove to it than most ballads, so there can be some twirling if you’re into it.

Sample lyric: “Some people want it all, but I don’t want nothing at all / if it ain’t you baby / if I ain’t got you baby.”

“Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green

There’s no denying the knock-down drag-out soul of Rev. Al Green, and the lyrics are a great match for kicking off a marriage. Just be aware that this one might fill up the dance floor; it’s got an undeniable get-up-and-sway beat.

Sample lyric: “Let’s stay together, lovin’ you whether times are good or bad, happy or sad.”

“Forever and Ever, Amen” Randy Travis

Lest you think we’re overly partial to soul ballads, here’s a lovely little two-steppin’ ditty from the peak of 90’s country. It’s a little bit corny, but not overly so, and there’s some genuine emotion in there.

Sample lyric: “They say time takes its toll on a body / makes a young girl’s brown hair turn gray / but I don’t care, I ain’t in love with your hair / if it all fell out, I’d love you anyway.”

“The Luckiest,” Ben Folds

If you want to make sure there’s not a dry eye in the house for your first dance, this quirky piano-driven ballad is definitely a tear-jerker. Nobody does plaintive like Ben Folds, and this one’s a doozy.

Sample lyric: “Where was I before the day I first saw your lovely face / Now I see it every day / And I know that I am the luckiest.”

“You Might Think,” the Cars

If you’d rather hop and bop instead of sway for your first dance, this bubbly 80’s new wave track is a great pick. It’s got sugary-sweet synthesizers, slightly nerdy lyrics, and a cool little breakdown in the middle.

Sample lyrics: “You might think it’s foolish, or maybe it’s untrue / you might think I’m crazy, but all I want is you.”

“Fly Me to the Moon,” Tony Bennett

Most couples who go for a crooner to start the reception go with Frank Sinatra and “The Way You Look Tonight.” But we’ve always been partial to this one--it simply soars, and by the last chorus your guests will be ready to get up and join you.

Lyrics: “Fill my heart with song and let me sing forever more / you are all I long for, all I worship and adore.”

“The Things We Said Today,” the Beatles

This song has a lovely dark, introspective tone. It makes for a nice pause to catch your breath before diving into your crazy reception dance party. And the lyrics couldn’t be more appropriate for a wedding.

“Someday, when we’re dreaming / deep in love, not a lot to say/ then we will remember the things we said today.”

Whether you want your first dance to be a romantic slow dance, sexy slow jam, or party-starting up-tempo number, one of these seven songs is sure to kick off your marriage right.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Four Romantic books for Pre-Wedding Inspiration

Doctor Zhivago Book Cover
As you prepare for your wedding, take some time to immerse yourself in romance and really get into the spirit of your upcoming nuptials. Reading thoughts on love from the great writers of the ages is a wonderful way to get into the mindset. Here are a few of the most wonderful works about love that we know; complete with an excerpt to get you started.

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


The Little Prince is a lovely and strange little book, with plenty of astute observations about youth, old age, humanity, and the nature of imagination and creativity. There are plenty of enlightening thoughts about love in the mix as well.

Excerpt:

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte


BrontĂ«’s titular heroine suffers much throughout the course of her novel, but by the end she finds comfort in the arms of the only man she ever truly loved: the dark and brooding Rochester. By the end of the novel, the two have been happily married for ten years.

Excerpt:

“I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you. You are my sympathy–my better self–my good angel–I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”

Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak


It’s difficult to sum up Pasternak’s sprawling epic--just a summary of the events involved could run over a thousand words. But central to the plot is Dr. Zhivago’s love for Lara, a spark that burns when they first meet, and drives them to be together when they meet again years later.

Excerpt:

““They loved each other, not driven by necessity, by the "blaze of passion" often falsely ascribed to love. They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet.”

Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez


There is plenty of loss and yearning in Love in the Time of Cholera; it’s composed mainly of the main character’s aching after the woman he loves but can never be with. He waits fifty years to be with her, until finally they have a chance to find happiness together. Make sure you keep the tissues handy when you get to the final chapter.

Excerpt:

“Together they had overcome the daily incomprehension, the instantaneous hatred, the reciprocal nastiness, and fabulous flashes of glory in the conjugal conspiracy. It was time when they both loved each other best, without hurry or excess, when both were most conscious of and grateful for their incredible victories over adversity. Life would still present them with other moral trials, of course, but that no longer mattered: they were on the other shore.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015

4 Great TV Wedding Episodes

Turk and Carla Wedding from Scrubs
On the night before your wedding, as you’re fighting the last of the pre-nuptial jitters and trying to sleep, you’ll want something to take your mind off the big day to come. That’s when it’s time to watch some classic wedding episodes of your favorite TV shows. TV weddings tend to be the climax to years’ worth of build-up, and they frequently feature ceremonies where everything goes wrong but it turns out alright in the end. Which is a good thing to keep in mind as your ceremony starts--no matter how many little things go awry during your wedding, it can end up being as romantic as these.

Lily and Marshall, How I Met Your Mother (Se02Ep21)


Marshall and Lily are the steadfast, in-it-for-the-long-haul couple on How I Met Your Mother. It’s surprising it took them two full seasons to get to the altar. When they do finally hold their nuptials, their storybook wedding plan goes south pretty quickly: Marshall has a freak-out and shaves a patch of his hair; the florist doesn’t show; the photographer is replaced by a camera phone. Despite all the setbacks, Lily and Marshall manage to have both the small intimate wedding and the grandiose ceremony they each wanted.

Phoebe and Mike, Friends (Se10Ep12)


We always knew that Phoebe’s wedding to the equally quirky Mike would never be anything but unconventional. This episode doesn’t skimp on the whimsy--prevented from getting to their wedding venue by a blizzard, Phoebe and Mike end up celebrating their nuptials on the sidewalk in front of Central Perk, with a dog for a groomsman and Joey standing in for the officiant. It’s off-kilter and strange, but sweet--much like Phoebe herself.

Alex and Izzie/Meredith and Derek, Grey’s Anatomy (Se5Ep21)


Grey’s anatomy gives us two romantic tales for the price of one: terminally ill Izzie is planning Meredith and Derek’s wedding to be the fairy-tale extravaganza she always wanted, while Meredith and Derek secretly conspire to have Izzie walk down the aisle with Alex. While Izzie and Alex get their elaborate wedding, Derek and Meredith exchange vows on Post-It notes. Everyone gets what they want--at least temporarily--which is rare for Grey’s Anatomy’s usual melodrama.

Turk and Carla, Scrubs, (Se03Ep22)


Fans of Scrubs always knew that Turk would get married--but they had assumed it would be to J.D., his “bro-mantic” partner of three seasons. But Turk and J.D. were not to be--their friendship transcends a mere marriage--instead, Turk walked down the aisle with girlfriend Carla. This episode is memorable for having the groom completely miss the wedding, because he’s doing an appendectomy and complications with the procedure make him late to the church. Fortunately, his patient is a priest, and marries Turk and Carla after the reception and before the honeymoon.

There are plenty of other great wedding episodes out there if you’re still feeling those jitters after these four. Every show from Boy Meets World to Sex and the City to Full House feature weddings to make you laugh, cry, and be glad that yours is likely to go far more smoothly than its televised counterparts.

Monday, April 6, 2015

8 Slow Songs for Late in the Reception

Journey Record Cover
Wedding receptions tend to go through stages as the party progresses--there’s the slow filling of the dance floor, the peak dance phase where even the toddlers are jumping around, the “woo” phase when everyone’s feeling the three or four drinks they’ve had. These songs are for the tail end of the reception, when couples want to snuggle up and pretend it’s Senior Prom all over again. Here are some great slow jams to keep them swaying.

“Faithfully,” Journey
Sure, Journey’s cheesy. But they’re also kind of awesome. Early in the reception you can get everyone singing along to “Don’t Stop Believin’,” but Journey won’t desert you when it’s time to slow dance. Either this one or “Open Arms” has all the soaring balladry your guests need to keep on dancing.

“I’ll Stand By You,” The Pretenders
There’s a lot to say for the honesty and simplicity of these lyrics--”even though you suck sometimes, we’re in this together,” is a good theme for a wedding dance. This is one of those great rock ballads that just keeps building and building until people are singing along wiping away tears.

“What a Wonderful World,” Louis Armstrong
By this stage of the festivities, your guests should be feeling drained, tired, and blissfully happy. It’s a great time to throw on this simple, beautiful tune about the wonderful world we live in.

“Come Away with Me,” Norah Jones
There’s something inviting and entrancing about Norah Jones’s sleepy-sultry sound, and it’s in full effect on this tune. Perfect for hugging your significant other close and whispering in their ear.

“My Life,” The Beatles
You can’t go wrong with the Beatles at a multi-generational gathering like a wedding. This song has a sense of sweet nostalgia for the good times that have passed, but it also has the perfect wedding sentiment for a new couple.

“Such Great Heights,” Iron & Wine
The original by the Postal Service is an upbeat, electronica-tinged tune that might be a good way to get the dance floor filled at the beginning of the evening. This cover, though, keeps the adorably romantic lyrics but turns the energy down to an acoustic, half-speed, quiet and contemplative mood.

“I’ll Be,” Edwin McCain
This one was overplayed when it came out in the late ‘90’s, but it’s aged well. There’s a nice twist to the lyrics that keep them from sounding generic, and McCain’s voice has enough whiskey-tinged soul in it to keep the song from sounding too slick.

“Like Real People Do,” Hozier
The lyrics have an appealing darkness to them, and Hozier’s got pipes to spare, but he holds it in check for this quiet, intimate tune. The chorus’s “we should just kiss like real people do” should inspire some smooches out on the dance floor.

When the hour grows late and the party settles into a mellower vibe, make sure your DJ is equipped with slow-song suggestions to get couples hugging each other on the dance floor. A little sentiment and a little cheesiness is more than okay at this stage--everyone’s bound to be feeling a little sentimental after celebrating your special day. So give them a chance to hold each other and sway.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Maine

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Maine
Though it may not be the very first place that pops into mind when you think of places to get married, Maine is both popular and breathtaking if you book the right venue at the right time of year. Remember, there are millions of well-off city slickers just a few hours south of Maine in cities like New York, Boston, and Newark, and many of them jump at the chance to get out of the city for a little fresh country air; especially when it’s for their wedding! On top of that, Maine is very wedding-friendly by offering a wide variety of accessories to legally be used including wedding sparklers and other small fireworks. This has led many couples to wonder where to buy wedding sparklers in Maine, and it can be a little trickier than you might anticipate.

The biggest obstacle is that most fireworks shops only sell for a few weeks out of the year. Running a year-round fireworks store isn’t very profitable since demand sharply drops after the most obvious holidays have come and gone, so what is a bride and groom to do? If you find yourself struggling in your search of where to buy wedding sparklers in Maine, you can always do a little shopping online. Having a full box of beautiful wedding sparklers shipped right to your door only takes a few days, so this can be a real life saver if you’re on a time crunch.

However, knowing where to buy wedding sparklers in Maine is only half the battle; you’ll still need to get it approved by your venue. Most of the best wedding venues in Maine are outdoors on rock cliff beaches and near lighthouses, so you shouldn’t get too much resistance from the vast majority of wedding venues. However, it is still important that you call ahead to make sure so you don’t waste your money on a full case of wedding sparklers only to find out that they can never be lit.

Additionally, thought the state completely allows their use, some regions may have different laws. Most towns and cities follow the Maine fireworks laws precisely, but they always have the option to add restrictions such as when fireworks can be used and if you need to get special permits or insurance in case of an incident. Chances are you won’t have any strange hoops to jump through in order to use sparklers at your Maine wedding, but it’s always better to lean on the side of safety instead of chancing it and receiving a possibly sizeable fine or even jail time.

By knowing that you want to use wedding sparklers before you choose your wedding venue in Maine, you stand the best chance of pulling it off. You’ll be able to ask all the right questions from the start and can change the time of year for your wedding based on when they are consider acceptable to use. Most venues will allow you to use wedding sparklers all year and you won’t have and friction, but there are a few exceptions so you need to make sure you do the legwork and everything will be fantastic.

Monday, March 23, 2015

5 Long-Form Wedding Readings

Long-Form Wedding Readings
For your wedding ceremony, odds are you’re writing your own vows and may even have customized the proceedings with your officiant. But there comes a time in any wedding ceremony when it’s good to let someone else’s words take over for a bit. When you hit that special moment in your ceremony, any of these long-form passages about love will add luster to your special day.

“"Benediction of the Apaches"
"Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness for you.
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one Life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth"

“On Marriage
Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?"
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”
- The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

“Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…
Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love, in friendship…
Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…
Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…
Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.” “Why Marriage,”
- Dena Acolatse

“You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks — all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will and you will and we will"- those late night talks that included "someday" and "somehow" and "maybe"- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, " You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife.”
- Union, Robert Fulghum

“Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.
Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life's most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other's best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child.
Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly.

Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing a love that is deeper than life. When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves, which binds them, closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.” “Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Love,”
-Edmund O’Neill

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

4 Secular Wedding Readings

Secular Wedding Readings
There are many great wedding readings to be found in the various scriptures of the world’s religions. But if you and your spouse don’t have a strong faith, there are plenty of secular readings that speak to the beauty and permanence of love, too. Here are five marriage readings that are perfect for a wedding without that spiritual component.
  1. "We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does anyone life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.'" -Shall We Dance?
  2. “This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.” -- David Levithan
  3. Blessing for a Marriage: “May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding. May you always need one another — not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete. The valley does not make the mountain less, but more. And the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you. May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all-important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back. May you enter into the mystery that is the awareness of one another’s presence — no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.” --James Dillet Freeman
  4. “The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite. Love participates of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is the divine spark; like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable. It is a point of fire that exists within us, which is immortal and infinite, which nothing can confine, and which nothing can extinguish. We feel it burning even to the very marrow of our bones, and we see it beaming in the very depths of heaven.” -- Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Whether you have a full-on church wedding, a non-denominational spiritual affair, or a completely secular ceremony, these great readings will help you celebrate your love.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Songs to Avoid at Your Wedding Reception

Songs to Avoid at your Wedding Reception
A wedding reception is a unique kind of party. Sure, it’s all about the bride and groom, but it’s also the only raging party you’re likely to throw and invite your parents, grandparents, extended family members, all your friends, and a random smattering of children. As such, when it comes to picking music for the reception, you’ll need to keep in mind what’s appropriate for the majority of the audience. That’s not to say you need to stick to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to avoid freaking out grandma, but you definitely should put the following songs on your “Do Not Play” list.

Nelly, Hot in Herrre

There are plenty of sexed-up club jams that don’t belong at a wedding reception, but we include this one because DJs seem to love it. We attended a wedding where the bride had put it on the Do Not Play list, as she didn’t want her Baptist grandmother hearing it. But the DJ played it anyway, because he was “feeling the crowd,” and Mema was quite taken aback. So if you’re picking your own music, don’t put songs like this in the mix, and if you’ve got a DJ make him pinky-swear to leave this one off.

Los Del Rio, The Macarena

Yes, everyone between the ages of 25 and 50 will know how to do this dance. But does anyone ever have any fun doing it? It’s the same 8 bars of dance over and over again until the song stops. You may have one wacky uncle that gets way into it, but that’s embarrassing for everyone, too. Send this one the way of the Chicken Dance (did we mention not to play the Chicken Dance?).

The Police, Every Breath You Take

Okay, look. We know this is a slow song and it sounds kind of romantic and sexy. But the lyrics are creepy. And we’re not alone in saying the lyrics are creepy--the guy who wrote the song says that he wrote it to be an obsessive, unhealthy, stalker-ish song. Please choose something else for the slow dance.

The B-52s, Love Shack

It’s annoying. The back-up singers are annoying, the shouty guy is annoying, the drunken relatives who will insist on shouting along with the shouty guy are annoying, the “Tin roof! Rusted” is annoying and no one knows what it means. Give your guests a welcome break from this song--it’s played at far too many weddings.

Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton, I Will Always Love You

IT’S A BREAK UP SONG. It is a song about a relationship ending and people play it at their weddings. That is pure madness. Might as well throw in Tammy Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” for good measure. Just kidding. Please don’t do that.

Of course, taste in music is objective, and there are plenty of songs you might pick for your wedding that we’d never consider in a million years. But can we all agree that oversexed jams, lame line dances, creepy songs, overplayed cheeseball songs, and breakup songs are off the list?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Decorating with Wedding Flowers

Decorating with Wedding Flowers
When planning your wedding, the decorations are going to make up a significant part of your reception budget. Other than the reception hall rental fee and the cost of food, your wedding decorations will likely be the next most expensive thing on your list. Fortunately, you can get a lot of beauty for a small price if you use flowers as your decorations, and there are some fun ways to pull this off. Below, I will go over some important tips to keep in mind when decorating with wedding flowers at your reception.

Types of Flowers

One of the most important things to consider once you’ve decided to use flowers as part of your decorations is what type of flowers to use. There are literally hundreds of different flowers available, and each variety has its own benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the most popular choices along with some of the perks they bring along when they are used.
  • Roses are by far the most common flower one would consider when thinking about a wedding. Though they are classic and beautiful, they are also very expensive and can be financially out of reach for many brides.
  • Lilies are another popular choice for weddings because they are less expensive than roses and nearly as beautiful.
  • Orchids are very popular when a couple is looking for something unusual. Orchids are very elegant and complex in their appearance, but they can also be difficult to find in certain parts of the world.
Budgeting

Making room in your budget for your flowers is only half the battle; figuring out the total cost of your flowers is just as important. When you are planning to use flowers as part of your wedding decorations, you will need to figure out exactly how many you will need to get the look right. Once you know the type of flowers you want and how many you need, you can start crunching the number to figure out how much they will set you back.

Once you figure out all the details around your flower purchase, you will want to find the right florist to get the order processed correctly. Some things to consider when choosing your florist is reputation of the florist and the amount they charge compared to their competition. Most florists are priced very close to each other, but sometimes you can get a lot more for your money if you choose the right company.

Also, you want to make sure that the florist is located near your reception hall. Not only will this ensure your flowers are very fresh, but it also makes putting your wedding decorations up easier since you likely will decorate the day before your reception. As long as you keep these things in mind, you can usually have a good experience using flowers as wedding decorations at your reception hall.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Louisiana

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Louisiana
Whether you’re interested in going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or taking in the culture in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is one of the most history-rich states in the entire country. We’ve all heard of the Louisiana Purchase that lead to the United States growing drastically in size, but many people who have never visited Louisiana really don’t understand what came along with that deal. One step into the French Quarter will reveal just how historic this state truly is and how much influence the French had in the way it was designed and built.

With so much history all around you, there is no shortage of people who want to have their wedding in Louisiana. You won’t find more appealing architecture anywhere in the world and most of the buildings in New Orleans have been there since the 1700s. Additionally, Louisiana is well-known as one of the last remaining states to allow many of the freedoms that have been prohibited elsewhere including that ability to use fireworks such as wedding sparklers during a wedding. This leaves many couples wondering where to buy wedding sparklers in Louisiana, a question that is easily answered the minute you step foot on their soil. There is no shortage of places to buy wedding sparklers and other fireworks year-round in Louisiana, so just bring along your wallet and some cash and you’ll have no problem finding a great source for your wedding celebration.

Venues Allowing Sparklers

Though many of the wedding venues in Louisiana allow couples to use wedding sparklers during their ceremony or reception, many of the most popular venues are inside historic buildings that are protected by federal regulations. This means that you won’t be able to use wedding sparklers if you choose an historic venue for your wedding, so make sure you check with them ahead of time before you place a booking. Most wedding venues have an outdoor area that can accommodate the use of wedding sparklers for smaller groups, but unless you ask in advance you may be setting yourself up for disappointment in the long run.

Fireworks Laws

Though most consumer-grade fireworks such as wedding sparklers are allowed year-round, there are still Louisiana fireworks laws that regulate other types of fireworks from being used. Since sparklers aren’t the only popular type of fireworks used at weddings, you’ll want to make sure that whatever you plan for your celebration is in accordance with local laws. Additionally, some parishes have their own regulations regarding where to buy wedding sparklers in Louisiana, so make sure you do your homework before heading out to your favorite fireworks store.

Time of Year

Like everywhere else, there are certain times of the year when planning a wedding in Louisiana will either be very expensive or difficult to accomplish because of high demand. Given its geographical location, most couples who want to get married in Louisiana choose the winter so they can escape their colder region for the warmth of the Gulf coast waters. However, this idea is far from original and leads to a huge amount of demand in a relatively short timeframe. If you want to save money and still have a fantastic Louisiana wedding, you should consider booking your venue for the summer months or start planning your wedding at least a year in advance.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wedding Traditions: Jewish Ceremony

Greaking a Glass as Part of a Jewish Wedding Ceremony
There are as many variants of the wedding ceremony as there are cultures around the world. Weddings worldwide are steeped in tradition; each of those unique elements has hundreds of years of practice to back them up. In this article, we’ll explore the traditions of the Jewish wedding ceremony and highlight the history behind them.

Chuppah

The chuppa is a wedding canopy, usually four simple posts holding up a fabric roof. It’s open on all sides, which symbolizes unconditional hospitality. The bride and groom stand underneath the chuppah with the officiant during the ceremony, and it symbolizes the home the new couple will make together.

Ketubah

The ketubah is a traditional marriage contract, and it is read in full during a Jewish wedding. It mainly concerns the rights of the bride, and how the groom must attend to them: he must provide his wife with clothes, food, and shelter. He must also see to her emotional needs as well. After it’s read and signed, the ketubah belongs to the bride. It’s usually written out by hand, with plenty of artsy flourishes, and is meant to be framed and hung up in the couple’s home.

Breaking the Glass

After the ketubah and a reading of blessings, the bride and groom share a glass of wine. Then a drinking glass is wrapped in fabric and placed on the floor, and the groom stomps on it to break it. The breaking of the glass symbolizes the destruction of the Temple in Israel, and is meant to be a somber reminder of Jerusalem even during this most happiest occasion (although now it’s also the source of a joke that it’s the last time the groom gets to put his foot down).

Yichud

After the breaking of the glass, the wedding ceremony proper is over. The newlyweds then go to a small room by themselves for a few minutes, giving them some time to reflect on the day and grab a quick snack before the reception. It symbolizes their new status of living together as a married couple.

Reception

While the main point of a Western wedding reception is for the guests to get their party on, a Jewish wedding reception is focused on entertaining the bride and groom. There’s a tradition called the “gladdening of the bride,” in which the guests dance in a circle around the bride and entertain her. There’s also a traditional garlanding of the mother of the bride with flowers, and the horah, a lively circular dance.

Chair Dance

Interestingly, one of the elements regularly associated with a Jewish wedding isn’t fraught with deep symbolism. The chair dance, in which the bride and groom are hoisted up while seated in chairs and paraded around the venue, seems to have evolved for the sheer fun of doing it. Some claim that it symbolizes the community supporting the new couple, or lifting the couple closer to the Almighty, but those meanings were added after-the-fact. It seems to be a tradition just because it’s great fun.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Overlooked Wedding Flowers

Calla Lilies as Wedding Flowers
There are a few standard go-to flowers for weddings: roses, irises, lilies, and the like. Those are all solid choices and beautiful in bouquets. But if you’re looking for something a little unexpected in your centerpieces and bouquets, there are plenty of less-conventional choices. If everything else about your wedding is unusual, why not throw in some oft-overlooked flowers? Go beyond the front row of the florist’s cold case with these striking blossoms.

Wildflowers

For a rustic or Western-themed wedding, it just wouldn’t look right to carry a bouquet of roses and baby’s breath down the aisle. Daisies, bluebells, and lavender might not be as highbrow, but they’re beautiful. Plus a lavender bouquet smells absolutely wonderful.

Calla Lilies

These creamy white flowers, cup-shaped with a bright yellow stamen and a bright green stem, make a bold choice for carrying down the aisle. They don’t really need a bouquet to make them stand out, either: a simple bundle of only calla lilies tied with a white ribbon makes a statement all by itself.

Clematis

Clematis grow on vines, not stems, so they wouldn’t work for a long-stemmed bouquet. But these marigold-esque blossoms are full and vibrant. The white blooms are stunning, but they also come in purple, red, and blue.

Columbine

Columbine have a very unique look to them. They’re almost like a flower within a flower; the central petals are framed by another ring of petals in a different color. We’ve seen beautiful Columbine in white and pink form the center of a very eye-catching bouquet.

Peonies

Peony buds are glued shut with a sugary sap-like substance. They open when ants climb onto the buds and eat away the glue. When they’re fully open, they’re almost round; it’s a lavish explosion of petals in white, pink, or red. There are inevitably a few ants hanging around deep in the petals, so we don’t recommend using this one in a bouquet, but a single blossom floating in water makes a fine centerpiece.

Nigella

Nigella pods are often dried and used for fall arrangements. That’s a shame, because the actual blossom is gorgeous. They come in white, blue, purple, and pink, and all feature a double-ring of flowers around twisting green tendrils.

Zinnias

Zinnias have a nice full blossom like peonies, but they come in more saturated hues and vibrant primary colors. They’re perfect for a really striking summer bouquet, or any wedding that has bold colors as part of their theme.

Blue Delphinium

Delphiniums are available in other colors, but the deep blue delphinium is our personal favorite. The stalks with rows of blossoms on them are great for table decorations, and you can use just a flower or two for boutonnieres.

When it comes to choosing wedding flowers, your options are as wide open as the whole green earth. It might be worth taking a trip to a plant nursery or a botanical garden in addition to the florist’s shop for inspiration. With a little extra searching, you can find the perfect beautiful but overlooked blossoms for your bouquets and centerpieces.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

5 Non-traditional Men’s Wedding Bands

Waveform Wedding Rings
When it comes to wedding rings, men get the short end of the stick. The bride gets an engagement ring with a diamond or two, then a wedding band with some sparkle to pair it with. Men’s rings sometimes seem to come in two options: gold or white gold. Sure, a few other metals are becoming popular, like titanium and tungsten, but they still only come in black, silver, or gold tones. If you’d like a little more style in your wedding band, check out these five truly original wedding bands.

Meteorite

A four-billion-year-old chunk of star stuff, having crossed the vast expanses of space, is now ready to become part of your wedding band. It’s a potent metaphor for the vastness and durability of love, and the meteorite stone has a beautiful pattern that isn’t found on any terrestrial metal. Stylish, sci-fi, and sentimental: what’s not to love? Plus, any time someone asks where your ring came from, you get to say, “SPACE.” We recommend saying it with as much bass and reverb as you can muster.

Wooden

Sure, it’s no meteorite, but wooden wedding rings have a beauty all their own. They have a softness and warmth to them that is a stark contrast to a cold metal ring. Since wood comes in all shades and colors, and can be finished with hundreds of shades of stain or mineral oil, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from. Wooden rings can also be inlaid with bits of metal or precious stone for an even more unique and beautiful piece.

Industrial

A men’s wedding band doesn’t have to be a simple band, either. You can add ornamentation without it feeling too fussy or feminine, as the example above shows. Industrial rings have features like rivets and studs that provide visual interest while remaining undeniably masculine. We especially like the steampunk-y feel of the copper rivets on some industrial wedding rings. Other industrial rings play with the traditional ring shape, opting for a hexagonal nuts-and-bolts design or a rugged square.

Waveform Ring

These rings are made from conventional materials, but the decoration on them is anything but typical. The ring features a cutout in the shape of a waveform, the visual representation of a sound. Each waveform is completely unique--your voice is just as one-of-a-kind as your fingerprint. You can choose the sound that’ll be represented on the ring. It can be the “I Do” that you say on your wedding day, or your spouse saying “I Love You,” or a snippet of your recession music. It’s an eye-catching ring and a beautiful memory combined.

Twig Band

These sterling silver bands are cast to look like a circle of twigs around your finger. They’re a little bit nature, a little bit elvish--you would expect to see it around Elrond or Celeborn’s finger. While they don’t have the warmth of a wooden ring, they definitely have a beauty all their own.

With so many cool options to choose from, why should the bride have all the fancy rings? Get a ring that’s as unique as you are. After all, it’s a symbol of your love that you plan to wear forever--make it something you’ll want to show off. For more great ideas, check out my wedding blog by clicking here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Kentucky

Where to Buy Wedding Sparklers in Kentucky
Kentucky is one of those states that are often overlooked by couples looking to get married, but Kentucky certainly has a lot to offer anyone looking for a beautiful outdoor wedding. Not only are there an abundance of great places to get married outside in Kentucky, but the prices are much lower when compared to the national average. You see, the cost of living is rather low in Kentucky so by having your wedding there, even if it’s a destination wedding, can save you thousands on your entire wedding budget while still providing an unforgettable experience.

Best of all, Kentucky has very loose fireworks laws which means that couples are free to use sparklers during their wedding; provided of course that the venue allows them to be used on their property. Since the biggest draw to Kentucky is for outdoor weddings, almost all of the popular wedding venues allow you to use wedding sparklers as part of your ceremony or reception. This combination of fireworks laws and acceptance by the venue means that there are a lot of couples wondering where to buy wedding sparklers in Kentucky.

Which Sparklers to Choose

Since your Kentucky wedding is likely going to be outside, it opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for you. Most wedding sparklers are made for indoors use, but some of the best ones have too much color pigment to be considered smokeless and safe to use inside a reception hall. However, this isn’t at all a concern when you are outside so you’re free to use any type of sparklers you wish!

With that said the most popular choice for outdoor weddings are #36 wedding sparklers. Also known as 36 inch wedding sparklers, they are the longest-lasting and most enjoyable for the user. They are rarely used indoors because they are way too long if there are low ceilings, but overall they are the best quality and the best value.

Local Fireworks Laws

In general, almost everything is legal under the Kentucky fireworks laws unless it contains over 200 grams of powder. Things like sparklers, bottle rockets, and even firecrackers are totally legal to use and are available all year long. Each city and county, however, does have the right to enact their own regulations regarding the use of sparklers and other small fireworks. Though this is rare and likely not the case in your area, it’s always best to check with your local fire department or city hall to find out the regulations just to be safe.

Origin of Kentucky’s State Name

Kentucky was named from the Kentucky River. While some sources say the etymology is uncertain, most agree on a meaning of "(on) the meadow" or "(on) the prairie". Like most states, the some of the borders of Kentucky are defined by natural water barriers; the Ohio River to the north and the Mississippi River to the west. Kentucky also border seven different US states; West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Only Missouri and Tennessee touch more states (each border 8).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Surprising Global Wedding Traditions

Sake Glasses Designed for Weddings
Odds are your wedding day will be filled with traditional elements, from the bouquet and garter toss to “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Weddings are all about tradition--in fact, having a wedding ceremony at all instead of just going to the Justice of the Peace is down to tradition. Here are some lesser-known traditions from cultures around the world. These practices may not be as familiar as a ring and a kiss, but they’re all part of the rich global heritage of wedding tradition. Which one will you add to your big day?

Italy: A different kind of confetti

In Italy, the term “confetti” referred to a little bag of candied nuts and other sweets that the couple would provide to each of the guests. Like paper confetti, the candies used to be thrown at the bride and groom--ouch!--but today, the confections are more likely to be eaten than used as a projectile.

Japan: A Sake-Sharing Ceremony

In Japan, family is important. The bride and groom’s parents become family just as the bride and groom join together. To symbolize that, the bride and groom share sips of sake from the same cup, after which the in-laws on both sides do the same. Nothing brings a family together like a little good booze, after all.

Korea: Goose the Mother of the Bride

If you hear that someone got goosed at an American ceremony, that most likely means the groom pinched the bride’s behind as they walked down the aisle. In Korea, though a goose is the traditional gift a groom gives to his new mother-in-law. The custom was that it was a live goose, but these days an ornamental wooden one (that doesn’t require feeding and doesn’t poop all over the front lawn) is used as a token of the old custom.

Mexico: Two Bouquets

And you thought American brides had their hands full! In Mexico, Catholic brides carry two bouquets. One is for the bride, and the other is a tribute to the Virgin Mary. Only the bride’s bouquet gets tossed for the bridesmaids to fight over, though.

France: Charivari

Traditional weddings in France have more in common with New Year’s celebrations thanks to the custom of Charivari. The friends and family of the newlyweds gather outside the couple’s new home on their wedding night to make noise. They bang on pots and pans, stomp, shout, clap and sing. Traditionally they don’t stop until the wedding couple comes out and gives them some refreshments as a bribe.

Korea: Balaka

In Korea, the groom’s friends want to make absolutely sure he doesn’t waste time standing around on his wedding night. They expect him to spend the entire time in bed. To make sure that he does, they take off his shoes and socks and smack the soles of his feet with dead fish until they’re tender (and probably not-so-pleasant smelling). One would think that if the groom has to be incapacitated to want to spend time in bed with his new bride, the marriage is in trouble already, but the custom remains.

While we don’t expect anyone to line up to get hit with a fish any time soon, some of these traditions could definitely add some charm to your wedding day. And if your friends come Charivari at your house after your wedding, at least you can start planning on what you’ll do when it’s their turn.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

5 Non-Traditional Bachelor Party Ideas

Bachelor Party
We all know the trappings of a traditional bachelor party: booze, strippers, and more booze. Whether it’s a private party with a girl jumping out of a cake or that strip club downtown, bachelor parties tend to be on the raunchy and debauched side of celebration. If nudity and alcohol don’t seem like the right way to celebrate your impending nuptials, though, you’re not alone. Here are some ideas for bachelor parties that keep it a little classier.

Brewery Tour

Yes, there’s still alcohol involved with a brewery tour, but the point is to taste a lot of delicious craft beer, not pound cheap shots until you pass out. Small breweries have been cropping up like crazy over the past decade, so odds are there are three or four near where you live. Grab your best buddies (and a designated driver) and tour through all of them. You’ll learn how beer is made, taste some one-of-a-kind brews, and even pick up a few growlers (that’s a 64-oz to-go bottle to drink later; preferably not all in one go).

Virtual Mayhem

Arcades have changed a lot since the 80’s and 90’s. Now instead of taking quarters for simple games, they take dollars--or fives--for cool, immersive experiences. Some arcades have massive machines designed to simulate the cockpit of a battle robot or a tank. Some have full virtual-reality options with goggles and 360-degree treadmills. Most of those machines are networked together so you can play against your friends. Presumably, your wedding signifies a step into maturity: what better way to mark it than by playing video games with your bros?

Poker Night

This one’s cheaper than a night on the town and easy to arrange. Just pick your buddy with the biggest living room to host, have a $20 buy-in to make it interesting, and make sure to have plenty of snacks and beer on hand. Green visors are not required, but they’re encouraged; ditto fancy cigars.

Rent a Cabin or Beach House

If you can get your buddies to buy into a weekend trip, vacation rentals divided enough ways are far cheaper than a bunch of hotel rooms. Most vacation homes have amenities hotels don’t, either, like private pools and hot tubs (you know, for male bonding). Make sure the rental you’re looking at has options for entertainment during the day--or pack your cards, video game consoles, board games and a whole lot of booze and plan on staying in. Even if you end up doing what your crew always does when you hang out together, it’s more fun in a different locale.

Go See a Game

Sure, you may occasionally go to a baseball, football, hockey, or basketball game, but this is an excuse to pony up a little more cash for good seats, or a sky box, or that third $10 hot dog. Maybe even pack up the grill and a couple of coolers and tailgate beforehand, so you get the most out of the day.

It’s About the Groom

The goal of a bachelor party should be for the groom to have a great time and for all of you to connect as friends. If the groom loves paintball, slap on your gear and go to war. If he’s really into nerdy board games, an entire uninterrupted evening playing Twilight: Imperium or Arkham Horror is better than a trip to a strip club. If he likes golf, make it a golfing trip. If you take something you all enjoy doing together and take it to the next level, the bachelor party can be a great bonding time without risking bodily injury or a jealous spouse.