Mar 1, 2008

Filene's Basement's Running of the Brides

If you’ve never heard it, you might be surprised to know that The Running of the Brides is its official name. Think The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. It’s crazy, it’s fun, and it’s memorable.

Since 1947 the store Filene’s Basement has held an annual bridal gown sale. You can read about its history here. Imagine getting the dress of your dreams for $249- they make it possible!

Every dress is one of three prices: $249, $499, or $699. These dresses might have originally cost thousands more than what they are being sold for. Because of the prices, these sales are immensely popular, and world-famous. One woman flew to Boston from Argentina this year, and that’s just one example of many.

The doors open at 8, but the crowds start gathering much earlier. Brides and their families and friends show up in the wee hours of the morning to get a good place in line. Once the doors open, everyone RUNS to the racks and grabs as many gowns as they can. If a dress is the wrong size or style, it becomes a bartering tool;
trade until you find the gowns you actually want to try on. Pick a spot as the gathering point for your troops, and that’s where you try on the dresses. Wear whatever you are comfortable stripping down to; don’t plan on using a changing room. Some women wear bathing suits, some wear tight fitting gym clothes, others just strip to their underthings. The first hour is crazy, but after that it settles down a bit. There are still plenty of dresses, still people waiting anxiously for a certain dress to be discarded, still some hoarding, but the frenziness is lessened.

A good game plan

Go with a team. Mickey’s advice to me was “Go with any female you feel comfortable with.” It was great advice. In general, the more people you have, the better. It’s a great bonding experience. You can share it with your mom, your sisters, your bridesmaids, friends- it’s especially great if you have another friend who is a bride-to-be to go with.

Dress so that you can find each other in a crowd. Have everyone where the same colored t-shirt, hat, bandana, etc. Some groups wear headbands with antennae or bunny ears. Some wear funny hats, or simply matching plain hats. Some people go all out with team t-shirts, with “Bride” “Made of Honor” “Mother of the Bride” etc. written on the backs.

Take turns. You’re going to want to try on as many dresses as you can. Tell your team members what you’re looking for beforehand, and have them scout for dresses for you. You also will probably want to look for dresses yourself, so having others to stay in one spot is a good idea. Always have someone who can stay with the dresses you haven’t tried on yet, or that are maybes, and guard them. Mirrors are prime real estate. Standing near one is good, but so is sharing.

Bring water. With all the running around, and possibly the lack of sleep, you don’t want to get dehydrated.

Bring a camera. One, it’ll be a very memorable experience and there will be fun pictures. Two, you can have your team members take pictures of you from all sides so you can evaluate a dress you like..

Bring phones. The sale takes place in such a large area that you’ll want to be able to call each other if you get lost, or if you find the perfect dress. It really helps to be able to stay in touch.

Put your belongings into a fanny pack or backpack worn by someone other than the bride. As the bride you want to be as unencumbered as possible. Have somebody else hold your belongings, including your clothes. This is one of the events where a fanny pack is acceptable fashion-wise. Purses will definitely get in the way.

Have fun. This is a once in a lifetime experience. You’ll be able to say you did it- you might even leave with an “I survived Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides” t-shirt. You’ll bond with other brides-to-be. You’ll be part of the group excitement and cheers every time someone finds a dress. And, you might just find your dream gown at a miniscule price.

Keep in mind- You can buy up to 2 dresses, but there are no returns. If you love the idea of this but don’t want to deal with the craziness, go later in the day. There are so many high quality dresses that there will still be plenty whenever you show up. If you go at 9 or 10 the crowd will still have high energy, but will be much saner. You can have a great time whether waiting in line at 2 AM is your style, or you’re more the type to stroll in at 10.

Upcoming Running of the Brides events are:

March 21 in Atlanta

March 28 in Paramus, N.J.

April 4 in Tyson’s Corner, VA.


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Sample Wedding Vows #4

Sample Twelve
I love you, ______, and I thank the Lord for the love that has bound our hearts and lives together in spiritual fellowship of marriage. I will love, honor and cherish you always. As we enter upon the privileges and joys of life's most holy relationship, and begin together the great adventure of building a Christian home, I will look to Christ as Head of our home as I have looked to Him as Head of the Church. I will love you in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in sorrow as in joy, and will be true to you by God's grace, trusting in Him, so long as we both shall live.

I love you, ______, and I thank the Lord for the love that has bound our hearts and lives together in spiritual fellowship of marriage. I will love, honor, cherish and obey you always. As we enter upon the privileges and joys of life's most holy relationship and begin together the great adventure of building a Christian home, I will look to you as head of our home as I have looked to Christ as Head of the Church. I will love you in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in sorrow as in joy, and will be true to you by God's grace, trusting in Him, so long as we both shall live.

Sample Thirteen
(sample of personally written vows)
______, as we stand before both God and man making public our commitment to one another, I wish to make it known that I recognize God's authority over my life which is exercised from His loving heart . He has chosen me to be one of His own, and has since been my life. I recognize also that He has blessed me, and entrusted to me your life as an unearned gift. In recognition of these things, I, _____, take you, _____, to be my wife. I purpose to love you with His love, to provide for your needs through His enablement, and to lead you as He leads me, as long as He gives me life, regardless of circumstances. ______, I look forward to establishing a home where Christ is glorified. Toward that end I promise to allow God to use you in my life as He sees best in building me into His person. I thank Him for your love and friendship.

I ______, take you, ______, to be my husband. With the greatest joy I come into my new life with you. Today I am reminded of James l:17 which says "Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." Besides the gift of salvation, you are the most precious gift God has given me. I know that along with the new joys God has given me, I face new responsibilities that I cannot fulfill in my own strength. But by God's grace and power working within me, I desire to be trustworthy as your wife, to serve and love you in all circumstances, to obey you, to allow God to use you to build His qualities in me, as long as God give us life on this earth. I praise God continually for you, ______, and for your love and friendship.

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Destination Wedding: Singapore

Singapore is a beautifully diverse city in a the midst of a great region. It offers an eclectic array of venues and locations to host any sort of Destination Wedding. With a highly diverse population or incredible people Singapore offers an at home feel in an exotic locale. Here are some of the best venues the city has to offer for all your Wedding needs.

The British Club

Make your own history by promising your love in the unique setting of the British Club.

Caressed by forest and guarded by hills, the British Club is perhaps one of Singapore's most desirable wedding venues. It is situated on the second highest peak of Singapore Island, away from the crowd of the city. Imagine arriving in style at the beautiful splendour of this well renowned Club for your glamorous and romantic wedding.

The British Club offers you the opportunity to get married in a venue that has a mix of original British Heritage beauty and modern luxuries. It offers you a wedding set against a spectacular landscape excellent for photography. They have variety of locations, whether for an Al Fresco or a Regal wedding, which will be styled for your individual ceremony and function.

They pride themselves on delivering the highest of standards, aiming to achieve as near perfection as is possible, honing in on the small details that add the finishing touches to make your wedding the most memorable ever.

Swiss Hotel Stamford

An implicit promise of service beyond the ordinary, Raffles Romance ensures that every detail is taken care of. From ballrooms, buffets, table settings, tapestry and flowers to favours - our Wedding Concierge will guide you along the way, making your special day a relaxed, worry-free and truly unforgettable celebration.

Together with its central location, impressive ballrooms and exquisite cuisine, SwissĂ´tel The Stamford proves to be the choice venue. Simply revel in the glory of holy matrimony as we celebrate with you your dream wedding in immaculate elegance and style.

M Hotel Singapore

Location, flexibility, technology and service define the meeting spaces at M Hotel, making it the ideal venue for any occasion. With a variety of meeting areas to choose from, the Wi-Fi connected rooms are well equipped with the state-of-the-art audio and visual facilities quintessential for high-powered business and social events. From cocktail parties to weddings, seminars and conferences, leave the planning of your event in the capable hands of our dedicated Catering Services team, who are available to ensure its spectacular success.

Jurong Birdpark Singapore

Weddings in the Birdpark are splendid. The Birdpark offers a few options.

Wings of Love (Afternoon Solemnisation)
You and your loved one are joined by family and friends at the Jurong BirdPark's Waterfall Aviary for ceremonial solemnisation and the Lakeview Room for an afternoon tea. Let the world's tallest man-made waterfall cascades down to bear witness to your love as you exchange your vows of love eternity.You may release lovebirds to symbolize this matrimonial bond. You may opt for Mandarin Ducks, highly considered auspicious to keep the love forever, in the Mandarin Ducks exhibit.

Wings of Elegance (Wedding Banquet)
Dining with the people you love is truly a memorable moment for you and your special someone. Our Wedding Banquet at the Lakeview Room surrounded by a Lake and 1001 Flamingos is beauty to everyone's eyes. As you and your loved one wine and dine, you will also get a chance to select unique offerings from the park such as a mini-birdshow, a cockatoo for a ring bearer, or even a photo opportunity with birds and a wide range of entertainment packages available for you.

Sentosa Island

Beaches: Sentosa has three beaches and they are easily the most accessible beaches on the island if you are staying anywhere in the downtown area. Tanjong Beach is a quiet and relaxing are most of the time. Siloso Beach is themed around sports activities like volleyball and canoeing. It is man-made and has an artificial flavor. Palawan Beach has a more secluded feel and includes beach bars and wireless Internet access on the beach.

Four small islands south of Sentosa provide visitors with lots to do and see. Kusu Island ("Tortoise Island" in Chinese) is home to three Malay shrines, a Chinese temple, two swimming areas, and hundreds of tortoises. St John's Island is larger (39 hectares) and has a natural coral reef. You can stay overnight in a bungalow. Sister's Islands are two small islets that provide some great snorkeling. Pulau Hantu is similar (and supposedly haunted). Camping is possible on Sister's and Hantu.

Sentosa Island has five hotels. Costa Sands Resort near Siloso Beach is pretty affordable and includes Malay-style beach huts with air conditioning. Rasa Sentosa and the Sentosa Resort and Spa are both 5-star resorts. Sijori Resort is located inside some renovated, pre-WWI buildings and has a historic feel. Siloso Beach Resort includes family suites, villas, and a tree house in its accommodations offerings.

This is just a sampling of the venues and ideas for a destination wedding in Singapore, for more details please visit Singapore

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Wedding Readings #9

I Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Matthew 5:1-10

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

John 4:7-16

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

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Destination Wedding: Southern California

First in our Destination Wedding Series: Southern California offers a wide range of venues to choose from. It is a great place to be wed; whether or not you live in this region, the options seem endless.

Southern California

From the numerous sun-drenched beaches to a magical wedding at Disneyland, Southern California has it all. Consider these familiar settings and not-so-familiar settings:


Southern California has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to beautiful, breathtaking beaches that serve as beautiful and tranquil backdrops to your wedding ceremony. From the smaller communities of La Jolla, Laguna Beach, Malibu, Newport Beach and Oxnard, to the larger communities and beaches of San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Ventura and Santa Barbara, you're sure to find a beach that has what you're looking for - beautiful scenery for your wedding and perfect hotels for your honeymoon.

If you're trying to keep your wedding within a smaller budget, consider having your ceremony at one of the many public beaches. One such public beach is La Jolla Cove, 1100 Coast Boulevard, a very small beach in La Jolla (15 minutes north of downtown San Diego). La Jolla Cove claims to be one of the most photographed beaches in Southern California. (Having been there, I don't doubt it for a moment). For permit information call Coastline Parks at 619-221-8901.

If you have an expanded budget, you might consider the Surf and Sand Hotel in Laguna Beach, 1555 South Coast Highway, a fabulous resort hotel with their own private 500-ft. white sandy beach. Their Grand Pelican Ballroom can host receptions of up to 250 people, or provide an intimate sit down dinner wedding reception with dance floor for up to 160 people. Call 888-869-7569 for reservations.

Disneyland Venues

The Disneyland Hotel
Walk down the aisle amid 800 breathtaking rose bushes that lead to a beautiful gazebo where your prince awaits your arrival. The private setting of The Rose Court Garden is the ultimate in Fairy Tale romance.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Say "I do" in the secluded outdoor Wedding Garden - a magical setting that captures the majesty, romance and timeless style of the early 20th Century. The magnificent Sequoia Ballroom and the intimate elegance of the Trillium Room also provide enchanting surroundings.

Disneyland Park
Bring little girl dreams to life when you arrive at Sleeping Beauty Castle in Cinderella's coach beneath the twinkling stars. Your imagination is the only limit to the possibilities at this most magic of locations.
You can start now by calling the fine folks at Disneyland's Fairy Tale Weddings at 714-520-7005.

Wine Country

No, not Napa or Sonoma. Southern California has its own wine producing region, and it’s called Temecula, located approximately 85 miles south of Los Angeles, 60 miles north of San Diego and 20 miles inland from the cities of San Juan Capistrano and Oceanside (other great beach wedding locations). Numerous wineries in the area host weddings, including Callaway Vineyard & Winery (800-472-2377) and Falkner Winery (951-676-8231), both with beautiful landscaped grounds.

Look, Up In The Sky…

Say “I do” in an aerial wedding above Palm Springs. Call “Balloon Above the Desert” at 760-776-5785 to inquire about their special wedding package. And, don’t worry, if you wish they can use smaller, more private balloons so you don’t have to share the balloon with strangers.

Whether you get married at the beach, Sleeping Beauty's Castle, or flying high above the desert, a Southern California wedding is truly a memorable one.

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Wedding Invitation Wording

The proper wedding invitation wording is critical and we tell you everything there is to know. Whether it be a Church wedding, home wedding, second marriage or whatever, the proper etiquette and wedding invitation wording are essential. Here follows sample Wedding Invitations Wording for your use in Invitations. Keep in Mind there are no rules, feel free to use the wording you like best.

Wording by category

Wedding hosted by
Bride and Groom

Elizabeth Marie Stenson
and John Joseph Smith

request the honour of your presence

at their marriage
on Saturday, the sixth of June

two thousand nine*

at five o'clock in the evening

St. Patrick's Church
Ithaca, New York

Bride, Groom and both families

Elizabeth Marie Stenson
and John Joseph Smith
together with their parents
invite you to join them
in celebrating their marriage
on Saturday, the sixth of June
two thousand nine*
at five o'clock in the evening
St. Patrick's Church
Ithaca, New York

Bride's and Groom's families

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Stenson
and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith
request the honour of your presence
to witness the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony
uniting their children

Elizabeth Marie to John Smith
on Saturday, the sixth of June
two thousand nine*

at five o'clock in the evening

St. Patrick's Church

Ithaca, New York

Groom's family

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith
request the honour of your presence

at the marriage of
Elizabeth Marie Stenson
to their son, John Joseph Smith
on Saturday, the sixth of June

two thousand nine*
at five o'clock in the evening

St. Patrick's Church

Ithaca, New York

Divorced Parents

Mrs. Audrey Jones
and Mr. Paul Stenson

invite you to join them

in a celebration of love

as their daughter, Elizabeth Marie

is united in marriage to

Mr. John Joseph Smith

son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Smith
on Saturday, the sixth of June
two thousand nine*

at five o'clock in the evening

St. Patrick's Church

Ithaca, New York

By the Children of the Bride and Groom

Jean Marie
daughter of Elizabeth Marie Stenson
and Robert Smith
Son of John Joseph Smith
invite you to join them
in a celebration of love
as their parents are united
in Holy Matrimony

on Saturday, the sixth of June
two thousand nine*
at five o'clock in the evening
St. Patrick's Church
Ithaca, New York

When one parent is deceased

Elizabeth Marie
daughter of Audrey Stenson and the late Paul Stenson

and John Joseph Smith
invite you to join them

in celebrating their marriage
on Saturday, the sixth of June

two thousand nine*
at five o'clock in the evening

St. Patrick's Church

Ithaca, New York

*An important note to keep in mind, although it is commonplace to see the year 2009 written as Two Thousand And Nine, it is incorrect (this describes 2000.9); The correct wording is Two Thousand Nine (and represents a decimal)

Quotes to use for header or ending

"Share with us Our Wedding Day"

"Share in our Friendship and Love"

"One does not fall into love; one grows into love, and love grows in him." --Karl Menninger

"All love is sweet, given or returned. Common as light is love, and its familiar voice wearies not ever.'
--Percy Bysshe

"At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet."

"The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart."

"A heart that loves is always young."
--Greek Proverb

"Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts."
-- William Shakespeare

"True love is but a glimpse of heaven."

Feb 29, 2008

Mother-Son Wedding Dance Songs

Here is a compiled list of Mother-Son Reception Dance songs. This is in no way a complete list but it does include some of my favorites.

"You are the Sunshine of My Life" by Stevie Wonder
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Memories" by Elvis Presley
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"In My Life" by The Beatles
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Hero" by Mariah Carey
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Forever Young" by Rod Stewart
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Perfect Fan" by BackStreet Boys
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Through the Years" by Kenny Rogers
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"A Song for Mama" by Boyz II Men
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"A Song for My Son" by Mikki Viereck
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Sunrise Sunset" by Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"The Rose" by Bette Midler
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"The Man You've Become" by Molly Pasutti
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"I am Your Child" by Barry Manilow
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Beautiful In My Eyes" by Joshua Kadison
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

"Sweet Child O' Mine" by Sheryl Crow
Listen to This Mother and Son Wedding Dance Song Here

This is in no way a complete Mother Son Wedding Dance Songs list. It is a starting point. The most important part of finding your Mother Son Wedding Dance Song is in listening to a wide range of Mother and Son dance music. You can also find lists of Wedding Ceremony Songs, First Dance Wedding Songs, Father-Daughter Wedding Dance Songs, and Last Dance Songs in the Music and Dancing Category.

More Wedding Music

Discover Open Road

Feb 28, 2008

Wedding Readings #8

Ephesians 5:1-2, 21-33

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Psalms 127:1-5

"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Lo, sons are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

Matthew 7:21, 24-29

"Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it." And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

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Feb 26, 2008

Wedding Ring History

The original article is on

I hope you enjoy.

Why do people wear wedding rings?

The meaning of the wedding ring can be traced back almost 5,000 years. It is said the wedding ring tradition was first originated by the Egyptians who some 4,800 years ago twisted plant material (such as hemp) into rings and bracelets.

They believed the round symbolism of wedding rings was linked to an eternal love with no end. Use of the wedding band symbol is mentioned in the hieroglyphics on the walls of Egyptian tombs as translated by archaeologists.

Some 2000 years ago, Asian puzzle rings were commonly used as wedding bands. It is said that sheiks and sultans required each of their wives to wear one as a pledge of fidelity while he was away.

If for some reason, the woman removed her ring, it would fall apart and be very difficult to put back together without knowing the answer to the puzzle.

My goodness but we’ve come a long way since then!

Traditions of Wedding Rings:
The Wedding Ring Exchange Ceremony.

Before 1940, only about 15% of bridegrooms received rings. The tradition of the double ring ceremony first started to become popular during World War II where around 60% of couples exchanged rings. This percentage rose to 70% during the Korean War.

Although it is not known what the percentage of wedding ring exchange ceremonies exist today, one can only assume that it has increased steadily over time. What can be more romantic than two people who promise to love and honor each other, using wedding ring symbolism as an acknowledgement of that pledge?

The Proper Way to Wear a Wedding Ring:
Is there such a thing as wedding ring etiquette?

Ancient Egyptians and Romans believed that the ring finger of the left hand follows the”vena amoris” or vein of love, which is directly connected, to the heart.

Therefore, many wedding rings were worn on the left ring finger, as it was believed to link a couples’ destiny. Even though Science discredits this theory – many romantics at heart still follow this practice today.

Another theory suggests that during the 17th century, wedding rings were typically worn on the thumb and then moved to the 4th finger of the left hand during the wedding ceremony.

It is believed that during a Christian wedding, a priest presents the ring to the 4th finger after touching three fingers on the left hand and saying, “In the Name of the Father – Son – and Holy Ghost”.

In Summary:
There is no other piece of jewelry more tied to emotion than the wedding band. The wedding ring symbol transcends into an extension of the wedding ring vow itself…

“To have and to hold From this day forward For richer — for poorer In sickness and in health Forsaking all others… Till death do us part.”

Isn’t it amazing how a small circle of metal, an unbroken circle, symbolizes eternal love, continuing its endless flow through time? This universal symbol has been an important part of the wedding ceremony for many generations.

While there are no hard and fast rules on the exact science of wedding ring wearing, most people opt for wearing theirs on the ring finger of the left hand.

One Last Wedding Ring Tip:
Which goes on the finger first… engagement ring or wedding band?

After the wedding ring vows are exchanged, and the Bride is officially married, she often chooses to put the band on her wedding ring finger first and then the engagement ring on top of the band. The symbolic nature of this order is so that the wedding band is closest to her heart:)

More Wedding Readings

Jewish Wedding Traditions

Prior to Wedding Ceremony

The Jewish wedding ceremony is full of joy and beauty - the happiest and holiest day of a couple’s life.

The Kabbalat Panim, the week preceding the Jewish wedding, the chatan (Hebrew for groom) and kallah (bride) refrain from visitation.

Then comes the cherished wedding day, which is like Yom Kippur for the groom and bride because they are forgiven for past mistakes as they prepare to become a new and more complete soul. They fast from dawn until the after the marriage ceremony.

The couple attends separate receptions before the Jewish wedding ceremony. The bride sits on a throne in one room and receives guests. The groom is surrounded by guests who sing and toast him. At the groom’s reception, the tena’im (official engagement document) and the Ketubah (marital agreement) are signed by two witnesses. Another tradition that some observe is the breaking of a plate by the mother of the groom and the mother of the bride to show that, as the plate cannot be repaired, a broken relationship can never be fully repaired.

Next, the veiling of the bride or Badeken is done by the groom, accompanied by family and friends just before the wedding ceremony, signaling his promise to clothe, care for, and protect his wife.

Wedding Ceremony

The Jewish Wedding ceremony takes place under a Chupah – the Jewish Wedding Canopy, symbolic of the home to be built by the couple. Open on all sides, it can be a tallit or decorated cloth held aloft on four poles by relatives or friends. Escorted by their respective parents to the chupah, the bride and both sets of parents along with the grandparents circle the groom seven times as he continues to pray. Under the chupah, the groom and bride wear no jewelry to show that their commitment is not based on material possessions.

There are two interpretations why the groom is circled seven times: 1. Joshua circled the walls of Jericho seven times to bring them down. The bride circles the groom prevent any walls from coming between them. 2. Circling the groom represents the seven orders of nature, seven days of the week, seven heavens, and seven emotional attributes, as her commitment is absolute in accordance with G-d’s wishes.The Jewish wedding ceremony begins with Sheva Brachot (seven blessings). The first benediction, Kiddushin, recited over a cup of wine, sanctifies the joy and abundance of the Jewish marriage ceremony. The main benediction pronounces the sacredness of this special moment and the sanctity and purity of a proper marriage. The groom and bride sip from the Kiddush cup.

The Ring Ceremony

During ring ceremony of the Jewish wedding, two witnesses watch the as the groom places a gold ring on the bride’s right forefinger and says, “Harei at mekudeshes li b’taba’as zo k’das Moshe V’Israel (Behold, you are consecrated unto me with this ring in accordance of the Law of Moses and Israel). The ring is an unbroken circle of solid gold without gems or engravings to symbolize a marriage without conflict or distraction.

During the final benediction, two tallitot (prayer shawls) are wrapped around the shoulders of the couple, suggesting the life they will have together.

The End Wedding Ceremony

The end of the wedding ceremony is marked by breaking the glass in remembrance of the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. A glass is placed on the floor and as the groom breaks it with his right foot, guests shout, “Mazel Tov!” and thanks are given.

The couple adjourns to break their fast in the Yichud Room as two witnesses wait outside to ensure their privacy. After they have a bite to eat, they join their guests at the Jewish Wedding Feast, where there is great joy, music and dancing. The feast is followed by the Seudas Mitzvah (“Grace after Meals”) and repeating the seven blessings recited under the chupah.

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Japanese Wedding Traditions

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Contemporary Japanese weddings are celebrated in a great variety of ways. Many contain traditional Japanese and Western elements side by side.

Traditionally, the religious wedding ceremony is held in Shinto style at a shrine. Nowadays, this shrine may be located inside the hotel where the festivities take place. A Shinto priest conducts the ceremony which is visited by only the close family members of the couple. In the ceremony, the couple is purified, drinks sake, and the groom reads the words of commitment. At last, symbolic offerings are given to the kami. The couple is dressed in traditional kimono.

After the ceremony, the couple welcomes all the guests, and the reception party is held. Usually the party is visited by about 20 to 200 guests among whom are relatives, friends, co-workers and bosses of the bride and groom. The party normally starts with the introductions of the bride and groom. Afterwards, a meal is held and several guests make contributions such as speeches, songs and the like. During the whole celebrations, the groom and especially the bride may change their dresses several times. At the very end of the party, the couple will speech to all the guests and thank everybody.

During recent decades, Japanese couples have introduced many Western elements to Japanese weddings. Many brides chose to wear white, Christian style dresses, and some religious ceremonies are even held completely in Christian style at a Christian church even though the couple may not be Christian. The ritual of cake cutting, the exchange of rings and honeymoons are a few other very common adopted elements.

Recently, the number of Japanese couples who hold their wedding ceremony outside of Japan has also increased. One reason for this phenomena is the fact that by marrying abroad, the honeymoon can be combined with the ceremony, and the number of guests and, therefore, the overall costs for the event can be reduced.

In the year 1991, 12% of all the marriages were still considered arranged, mostly in the countryside. 1973 this percentage was 40%.

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Feb 25, 2008

Romantic Wedding Readings

"The Magic of Love"
by Helen Steiner Rice

Love is like magic, and it always will be,
For love still remains life's sweet mystery.
Love works in ways that are wondrous and strange,
And there's nothing in life that love cannot change!
Love can transform the most commonplace
Into beauty and splendor and sweetness and grace.
Love is unselfish, understanding and kind,
For it sees with its heart, and not with its mind.
Love is the answer that everyone seeks;
Love is the language that every heart speaks.
Love can't be bought, it is priceless and free.
Love, like pure magic, is life's sweet mystery!!

by Judy Bielicki

It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round. However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel. True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life-it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic. True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness. True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential. (Bride) and (Groom) came together as friends. Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship.

"Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Its Love"
by Edmund O'Neil

Marriage is a commitment to life, to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other human relationship can equal; a 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. 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 love through the seasons of life. When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique to 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, which takes a lifetime to fulfill.

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Humurous Wedding Vows

We all need some humor in our Wedding planning process. These aren't for actual use (unless you really want them) these are just for the relaxation and laughter of the bride and groom, whom are spending way too much time reading serious wedding readings.

Yes, I’ll Marry You, My Dear

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear, and here’s reason why
So I can push you out of bed when the baby starts to cry
And if we hear a knocking and it’s creepy and it’s late
I’ll hand you the torch you see and you investigate.

Yes, I’ll marry you my dear, you may not apprehend it
But when the tumble-drier goes it’s you that has to mend it
You have to face the neighbour, should our labrador attack him
And if a drunkard fondles me, it’s you that has to whack him.

Yes I’ll marry you my dear, you’re virile and you’re lean
My house is like a pigsty, you can help to keep it clean
That little sexy dinner which you served by candlelight
As I just do chipolatas, you can cook it every night!

It’s you who has to work the drill and put up curtain track
And when I’ve got the PMT it’s you who gets the flak
I do see great advantages, but none of them for you
And so before you see the light, I do I do I do.

Will I have to be Sexy at Sixty?

Will I have to be Sexy at Sixty?
Will I have to keep trying so hard?
Well I’m just going to slump
With my dowager’s hump
And watch myself turn into lard.

I’m no going to keep exercising
I’m not going to take HRT
If a to boy enquires
I’ll say “Hah! Hard luck squire!
Where were you in ’73!”

I’m not going to shave my moustaches
I’m just going to let them all sprout
My chins’ll be double
All covered in stubble
I’m going to become an Old Trout!

My beauty all gone and forgotten
Vanished with never a quibble
I’ll sit here and just
Kind of gnaw at a crust
And squint at the telly, and dribble.

As my marbles get steadily fewer
Must I battle to keep my allure?
Have I still got to pout
Now my teeth have come out
And my husband has found pastures newer?

Farewell to the fad and the fashion
Farewell to the young and the free
My passion’s expired
At bedtime ..... I’m TIRED
Sexy and Sixty? Not me.

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Ordering Wedding Invitations

Now is the time of year for the summer brides to start ordering wedding invitations. I feel that makes it appropriate to include this article now. If you follow these simple rules you will be able to pick and order your invitations in a matter of hours, instead of weeks.

Select a style:
After you have gone through great lengths to discover your ideal wedding theme and color palette, you should incorporate it into your wedding invitations. Wedding invitations come in a variety of of styles which can suite any taste, traditional, modern, destination, theme. If you are concerned with the environmental impact of your few hundred wedding invitations, feel free to find recycled paper stock or have cloth invitation designed. Scour the Web and find the best pricing (Find the perfect invitation for your special day. Choose from hundreds of designs, customize your text, preview and order online.) Once you have figured out what style you want, make sure you are dealing with the right company.

Finding the Correct Online Vendor
This can be daunting, with so many companies to choose from. How do you know which one is right? Well if you have gone to a wedding and received an invitation you liked, ask your friend who did theirs. This is an easy way to do reconnaissance.
-Consider the company reputation and service. Look at the website for "Terms and Conditions" statements, to see the return policy,
-Is the website user friendly? Can you make custom invitations without much hassle. If not, try another site or pick from the pre-made invitations.
-Is the Company viable? Has the company been in the business of Wedding Invitations for more than five years? This is important, because a great deal of fraudulent companies exist in the online world. Make sure you know who you're dealing with.
-Is there a contact number? If there is call them and find out anything you want. Ask them "your" questions and see if you feel comfortable with the answers.

Get Some Samples
This overlooked, most of the time, with online vendors. You should have any company you are dealing with send you some samples, in the mail. Look at the actual product you are buying. Make sure the paper is of nice stock (thickness). If you wanted flimsy invites, you could print them yourselves and save a load of money.

Customize your invitations
Assuming you have found "the" invitations and you have your Venue, Wedding Date, Wedding Time, and locations finalized it is time to customize your wedding invitations.

Most online providers can suggest the wording, all you have to do is substitute your specific information and poof, you have an invitation. Take your time, check your spelling and times. Then check again, and then again. If you are given the option to send the wording to a friend, have them check the information and spelling. You really don't want to spend $400 on invitations and find out you misspelled you father's name.

Place the Order
Alright, now you are ready you should place your order. Remember to include enough time to receive the invitations and recheck them, and also leave enough time for problems to be resolved. You should order your invites 1-2 months before you plan on sending them. Always order 25 more invitations then you think you need.

Relax and Wait
Make sure that you remember that you need to breath during this process. Also make sure you re-read How to avoid being a "bridezilla" and take the necessary steps to avoid heart failure.


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Wedding Invitations - great selection

Feb 24, 2008

Pakistani Wedding Traditions

Traditional Pakistani marriage celebrations lasts for four days. This is an overview of what happens during those days.

First Day of the Celebration

On the first day, the bride and groom's families each dress in yellow, and celebrate the upcoming nuptials separately. The betrothed couple will not see each other from this day until the ceremony.

Second Day of the Celebration

The second day is reserved for a big celebration called Mendi that includes dancing and singing ancient songs. On this day, the groom's family delivers the wedding dress to the bride's family, and then her family takes the groom's wedding attire to his family.

The bride's family string hundreds of colored lights over and around their home, creating an ostentatious announcement of their daughter's forthcoming marriage. Here, the bride-to-be receives a traditional henna staining of her hands and feet. This traditional Muslim art form invokes intricately designs to create beautiful symbolic patterns. The bride-to-be is waited on by her family while the henna stain dries overnight.

Third Day is the Marriage Ceremony

The wedding rites and ceremony in Pakistan take places on the third day. The Pakistani bride and groom who continue their traditions wear garments of red. The bride's gown is very elaborate, as are her veil and jewelry. Men wear a distinctive traditional turban. After wedding vows are exchanged, the Holy Koran is held over the new bride's head as she joins her husband's family. The official paperwork is signed in the presence of an Islamic priest and the guests.

Fourth and Final Day of Wedding Program in Pakistan

On the fourth day, the couple hosts their first dinner as husband and wife. The groom's family invites all of the guests to their home for a feast.

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Unconventional Wedding Readings

"Wedding Song (There Is Love)"
Paul Stookey

He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts
Rest assured this troubadour is acting on his part
The union of your spirits here has caused him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in his name
There is love
There is love

Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home
They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one
As it was in the beginning, is now until the end
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again
And there's love
There is love

Well then what's to be reason for becoming man and wife
Is it love that brings you here, or love that gives you life

For if loving is the answer, then who's the giving for?
Do you believe in something that you've never seen before?
Oh, there's love
There is love

Sonnets from the Portuguese
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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Catholic Wedding Ceremony

This comes directly from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site. It is a beginning to your journey to being married in a Catholic Church.

Nowadays many engaged couples handle a lot of their own wedding planning. When at least one of the individuals is Catholic this can include making arrangements to be married in a Catholic church. This is a significant decision. It means more than just choosing an appropriate and picturesque setting for the ceremony and the photos!

You’re trying to make your wedding a meaningful and memorable experience and, most of all, to express in a clear and beautiful way the hopes you have for your married life. How can you achieve these goals in the celebration of your wedding? Here are three general suggestions. You can find even more specific ideas on other parts of this website.

Take time to prepare

Catholic dioceses in the United States have policies that require a preparation period of six months to one year for couples who want to be married in the Church. The preparation includes a contact with the parish in which they want to have their wedding. It’s a good idea to get your date on the parish calendar as soon as possible. It’s also important to talk with the parish priest or deacon or pastoral minister about what the parish allows and expects in a celebration. It is also possible that the parish can offer specific help and resources, such as a person to help you plan and coordinate the event.

Beginning early to work with the parish makes practical good sense and it also helps you to develop a relationship with a community that shares your faith and wants to support you in the sacrament you are about receive and live. Quite likely you will be given some material about the Catholic wedding liturgy and encouraged to read and ask questions. Take the time to do this. It will enhance your preparation and help you to focus on the meaning of the commitment you are about to make. - Wedding rings and Wedding Bands

Take advantage of the options

The Catholic Church provides three different forms of celebrating the Rite of Marriage. When two Catholics are marrying, the celebration will normally take place within a Mass. The second form, which does not include a Mass, is used when a Catholic marries another baptized Christian. There is a third form, which also does not include a Mass, for a Catholic marrying someone who is a non-Christian. You should choose one of these options in conversation with the priest or deacon who will witness your marriage vows.

Within each of the three forms of the Rite there are additional choices. For example, you can select biblical readings, blessings, and prayers from the approved texts. You can also choose friends or family members for different roles in the ceremony, such as readers and those who assist with the Eucharistic gifts and the distribution of Holy Communion. Making these choices with your future spouse and with the priest or deacon can help you to learn more about the Catholic understanding of marriage and to become more deeply involved in your celebration of it.

Take notice of the Ritual

A very good way to know what the Catholic Church believes is to participate in its worship. This is especially true in the case of marriage. The Catholic wedding rite, whether it is celebrated within a Mass or not, is a powerful teaching tool. This is experienced in many ways, for example:

  • in the active role taken by the couple who, in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, are the “ministers” of the sacrament;
  • in the fact that the wedding takes place in a church, signifying it is a sacred action;
  • in the scriptural readings which speak of God’s plan for marriage and his presence to the couple;
  • in the music which lifts our thoughts and feelings in a prayerful, joyful way;
  • in the homily given by the priest or deacon addressing the couple and their guests about the meaning of marriage as well as its joys and challenges;
  • in the vows and exchange of rings in which the couple express their freely-given consent, promising to create a loving and lifelong union of permanence, fidelity, and openness to children;
  • in the various prayers and blessings through which the Church solemnizes and supports the journey on which the couple is embarking.

Thoughtful, prayerful planning and participation in your Catholic wedding ceremony is a decision that will bring many blessings to your married life long after you’ve forgotten all the other decisions you made about flowers, photos, and favors on the tables!

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Canadian Wedding Traditions

My best friend is a Canadian-born American. He has been taking me to the Great country for years. I have had the opportunity to discuss the traditions and customs involved in a Canadian Wedding and am truly honored to pass them along here.

Canadian blends deep influences from England, France and America into a truly spectacular image. Canadians enjoy celebrations and none more than the joining of two people into man and wife.


It is customary and traditional to have a fundraising party. Where all of your friends are invited and told to spend money. The young couple will rent a venue such as a Knights of Columbus hall, customarily at a discount. They sell tickets to the dance and have a cash bar. The family and friends come to have a good time and contribute to the Wedding fund.

Another pre-wedding tradition, somewhat antiquated now, was the "trousseau tea," where a wedding planner (such as the bride's mother) would hold a special luncheon for those acquaintances and relations not invited to the actual wedding. The hostess would often serve light pastries and snacks, known as "dainties." The bride's hope chest items, such as the trousseau of her wedding dress, were put on display.

The Ceremony

Canadian newlywed's in small towns will receive their own parade down main street. This fun experience is has the bride and groom riding as part of a motorcade with family and friends in tow. When the motorcade arrives, everyone enters the church as a big group.

The Reception

Commonly a "sock dance" performed by the brothers and sisters of the bride and groom takes center stage. The dancers wear the most elaborate and tacky socks they can find (or in some cases make), then they perform a hilarious jig to a unique song. The audience throws money at the dancers and the newlyweds get to keep it.

When invited to a "presentation only" reception, it is expected that monetary gifts will be received, instead of traditional gifts. This is usually the nest egg in which the couple will put a down payment on their first home.

Other traditions vary and are always being revised. The most important thing to remember is how truly blessed the newlyweds feel when not just family but entire towns come to wish them well. Canadians don't just know how to party, they also know how to welcome friends.


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Choosing Your Reception Site

First things first, trying to decide when and where your wedding reception and ceremony is going to take place. Keep in mind your budget when even looking for places. In any event planning ask right off the bat what the space costs. If you know your budget you should know right away if you have to cross the space off your list before wasting time going to see it. When you do go and check it out, below are some important questions to ask – and these aren’t all the questions just a good start!

-How much will it cost to use this site? Is there a payment plan?
-Is there a reception package? What's included and how much does it cost?
-Does the site have liability insurance? (If someone gets injured during the party, you don't want to be held responsible -- if the site doesn't have insurance, you'll need to get your own.)
-Is there a space for your Ceremony, or would you have to have it somewhere else? What is the process of "flipping" the room or are there two spaces?
-How long will you have the site? Is there an overtime fee if you stay longer? Must you rent the site for a minimum amount of time?
-Will there be another party just before or just after yours? If so, will there be enough time to clean up and redecorate before the next wedding begins, or is an awkward overlap possible?
-Are tables, chairs, plates, and glasses available, or will you have to provide (rent) them yourself or get them through your caterer? This can send your costs a lot higher then you may anticipate
-Is there an in-house caterer (or a list of "preferred" caterers), or must you provide your own? Can you choose to use an outside caterer instead?
-Are there kitchen facilities? Caterers charge extra if they have to haul in refrigerators and stoves and that is usually not something that works with a budget.
-Must you leave everything as is, or can you move things around and decorate to suit your purposes? Are there decoration guidelines?
-If there's parking, is it free? If not, what are the rates and gratuities for valets? (You can and should pay this up front so your guests don't have to tip.)
-Will there be, or can you set up, a coatroom? Are there sufficient restroom facilities?
-If there's no bar, can one be set up? Does the place even have a liquor license or does the caterer (outside) have to provide one?
-Is there a dress code?
-Does the site have restrictions on what kind of music you can play, or a time at which music must be turned off?
-Will someone who works at the location supervise your wedding? This should be the person you plan with, not someone you won't meet until the wedding.
-How about security? Must you hire your own security guards, or does the site hire them or have them on staff? As much as we all love the movie wedding crashers, you should feel comfortable with the security level so there isn’t one.
-What’s the cancellation policy? Some places will refund most of your deposit if you cancel far enough in advance (often 60 days), since there's still a chance they can rent the space.

These aren't all the questions as some will pertain specifically to your Wedding; ie will we be able to bring in our own christmas tree. But this a bare minimum, Be aware of what your getting and always have everything in writing (this helps you later).

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Choosing a Wedding Photographer

This is article was originally found at I hope you enjoy the help.

Many couples get so caught up with planning all the obvious details of their wedding--such as the cake, the wedding decorations, the gown and gifts for their bridesmaids and groomsmen --that they often overlook the importance of selecting the right wedding photographer. It's important to remember that the photographer you choose will be responsible for capturing the moments and memories of what may be the most important day of your life! With this in mind, you'll want to take great care in selecting a wedding photographer considering there are no second chances.

As you might imagine, wedding photography is one of the most challenging types of professional photography. With that in mind, you will want to select a wedding photographer who has the skills and experience to make everyone look beautiful and who is able to produce beautiful work in a multitude of locations, in all kinds of weather conditions, in minimum amount of time. At the same time, your photographer should have the personality to complement you on your most joyous day. Remember, you will be interacting with this person all day under what will most likely be stressful conditions. In addition, your photographer will be interacting extensively with your friends, family and members of your wedding party. Take your time and follow some of the simple suggestions discussed below, and you will most certainly be satisfied with the outcome.

Where Do You Begin?

Personal referrals or asking friends, relatives and co-workers for suggestions, is a great place to start. Typically, people who have had positive experiences with photographers are more than willing to share that information. In addition, you'll already have some insight about the photographer's personality before you actually meet. After compiling a preliminary list, visit each photographer's web site and thoughtfully review his or her online portfolio. If a portfolio looks appealing you, chances are, that photographer might be a good fit. Next, call or email each photographer on your list. Through this initial contact, you can determine the photographer's availability, the type of work they specialize in (candid or traditional) as well as an estimate of the cost and the package you will receive for that fee.

Schedule appointments with the photographers who seem most appropriate and ask to view their portfolios in person and discuss more details. Ask each of them to show you a complete portfolio of a single wedding--this will give you a much clearer sense of what you can expect than a collection of choice shots from several different events. Pay attention to whether the photographer is adept at portraying individual expressions and personalities. Ideally, these meetings should include the bride and groom as well as the bride's parents since you will all be interacting with the photographer.

What Questions Should You Ask?

Be sure to write down all of your questions beforehand, and take thorough notes during the meetings. Although most professional photographers will provide you with a clear outline of their services and fees prior to your meeting, you will, in all likelihood, still have a large number of questions to ask. Remember, the more information you have, the more confident and relaxed you'll feel on your special day. The following are some questions you may wish to consider asking:

. How will you show me pictures for selection (e.g., electronic, proofs, contact sheets, online gallery, etc.)?
. Will you help me choose the final pictures?
. How will you make it easy for friends and family to order reprints?
. What are the costs of the various levels of coverage?
. Are there different degrees of coverage?
. What is your photography style; photojournalistic, traditional, mixed, etc.?
. How much for the duplicate prints, albums, folios, enlargements, thank you cards, etc.?
. What's your time frame for preparing the pictures for my selection?
. How about engagement session?
. How long do I have to make up my mind as to which pictures I want and how many?
. How long have you been in business?
. What kind of guarantee comes with my hiring you?
. What's your philosophy for photographing weddings?
. Will you have an assistant?
. Do you have travel fees?
. How much is your overtime fee?
. What do you plan to do at my wedding to make my wedding photographs unique and personal to me?
. Do you have a backup?
. Will you be shooting my pictures personally?
. Will you use film or digital? . What's your payment policy?
. Do you give any guarantees on your services and photographs?
. What is the possibility of the pictures fading? How Much Will It Cost?

The following are some points that will help prepare you for what you might expect to pay for your wedding photography:

. Plan to allocate a significant portion of your wedding budget to ensure photographs are perfect. Expect to spend at least $1000 on a professional wedding photographer to document your event. Albums and prints are usually extra. Other extras that may increase your bottom line include additional hours, additional photographers, custom albums etc. etc. Add on too many extras - and your photography budget could quickly creep to $5000 and beyond!
. Cut the extras and purchase a basic wedding photography package from a skilled photographer. By paying for the photographer's expertise only, you will ensure great images - and you'll buy yourself some time to save up for the custom album and prints after the wedding.
. Get the proofs! To that end, try to find a photographer who will let you keep the proofs. Many photographers consider themselves to be photographers only - artists not in the business of selling photographs. After the big day, they'll hand over your proofs and be on their way. They're yours to keep - you can print them in any manner you please or save them for printing after you've saved up some cash.
. Enter the digital age with digital photography. It's less costly than film, and with technological advances in equipment - digital images are no longer a sacrifice in quality. Many photographers have taken the digital plunge - which results in savings for you!
. Cut the timeline.the longer your event, the more it will cost to document it. Since photographers often charge based on the number of hours they will spend at your wedding, a shorter/smaller wedding celebration will yield big savings in your photography budget.

Making a Commitment

At this point, you should have a relatively clear idea of which photographer is best suited to capture your wedding day memories. Once you have made a decision, be prepared to leave a deposit to reserve the date. You may still wish to reassure yourself by asking about a few final details. For example, find out what the photographer's policy for wedding-date changes is and what the alternatives are if he or she is not available on the backup date. Also, ask about their policy for an unexpected cancellation. If you feel the photographer is right for you, then relax and make the commitment with the confidence that you've made a well-formed, intelligent decision in planning the most important day of your life.

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Wedding Readings #6

~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
9. Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.
10. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no-one to help him up!
11. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

“Blessing of the Hands", revised by Rev. Daniel L. Harris

“These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and as in today, tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”

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Christmas Wedding Favors

These are some ideas for Christmas Wedding Favors, which your guest will go crazy for.

Wooden Napkin Rings
You can purchase wooden napkin rings in most department stores or craft stores. Paint red, green or gold. Add gold foil stickers, if desired, around rings and seal with acrylic sealer.

Pot Holders
Cut 6" squares of quilted Christmas material. Sew a contrasting color of seam binding along raw edges to finish. Add a small loop at one corner for hanging. If you like, embroider your names and wedding date on the pot holders.

Cinnamon Sticks
Tie 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks together with Christmas ribbon. Tuck in a sprig of holly beneath ribbon.

Christmas Ornaments
Buy or make your own Christmas ornaments. Place in a circle of red, green or white tulle. Tie up with ribbon.

Miniature Wreaths
Buy small craft wreaths at a local craft store. Decorate with ribbon, holly berries and small dried flowers. Tie a bow to one side and add a loop for hanging in the back.

Small Poinsettia Plants
Buy small plants and tie a large, white bow around the pot.

Crocheted Snowflake Ornaments
Crochet (or have someone do them for you) snowflakes and stiffen with fabric stiffener. While the snowflake is still wet from the stiffener, spring some silver sparkles over top of it. Add a loop to the top to be able to hang on the tree. Place in a small flat box and wrap box like a Christmas present.

Give your guests some nice Christmas coasters. Wrap a big red ribbon around coasters to secure and tie a big bow on top.

Hot Chocolate
Give personal packets of hot chocolate to your guests. Make up some holiday/wedding labels on your computer, print out and stick to the packets of hot chocolate.

Christmas Recipe Book
If the two of you have some all-time favorite Christmas foods that you love, get the recipes and type them up into a small recipe book.

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