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.

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.