Designer: Yumi Katsura
Forget about having your sister’s temper-tantrum-throwing five year old son as the ring bearer. You’ve got your loyal, dedicated doggie to do the job. You know, that obedient, furry pal who cuddles at your feet every night in bed? Yes! Have your pet walk down the aisle on your big day! The trend is vastly growing and therefore, many attire options, as well as training classes are available for you and your pup to get ready for the big day.
There are just a few things to think over before Rover’s name is printed in the program. How is his temperament? Is he relaxed and cool, or hyper and jumpy? Is he friendly or territorial? Does he leap up on people, whether it’s for excitement or to threaten? These things are very important to consider in making your decision.
Here are a few guidelines to follow if you do decide to have your pup be a part of your special day:
In these uncertain times, no one can be blamed for taking steps to protect their interests. One way that some married couples do this is by signing prenuptial agreements. These contracts spell out in exact terms what will happen financially in the event of a divorce. They come in handy when one spouse (or both) is a high net worth individual who wants to avoid a lengthy court process if their wedding vows eventually ring hollow. For the most part, “prenups” are a legitimate and reasonable way of preventing future headaches. However, some prenups cross the line between prudent financial planning and sheer absurdity. Need proof? Take a look at some of these crazy clauses the Chicago-Sun Times found lurking in prenuptial agreements:
Clearly, this is not what the courts had in mind when the prenuptial agreement was first crafted. But just for kicks, let’s look at some of the craziest prenuptial agreements out there today.
1. Britney Spears and K-Fed
Believe it or not, Britney didn’t even want a prenup at first. She was so sure of the undying love and passion between her and Kevin Federline that she “just knew” it would never be necessary. Fortunately, at the behest of wise men like Donald Trump and other celebs who knew better, Spears did get a prenup on the books. End result? When trouble in paradise surfaced and the inevitable breakup followed, K-Fed made off with a cool million bucks. While still an absurd sum, Federline would have been entitled to untold millions more had a prenup not been in place!
2. Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards
Most couples are together on the understanding that cheating won’t take place. However, Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards were apparently so paranoid about it that they signed a prenup that awards a spouse $4 million if the other one cheats! Exactly how it would be proven that cheating took place is not clear, but you can be sure that Charlie and Denise grew eyes in the back of their heads when this contract was in effect!
3. Liz Taylor and Larry Fortensky
While most prenuptial agreements dictate what happens when things come to an end, lifetime construction worker Larry Fortensky found a way to make his marriage pay – literally. Under the terms of his prenup with Liz Taylor, Fortensky becomes entitled to $1 million after the marriage was 5 years old. Apparently being married 3 times taught Fortensky a thing or two about astute financial planning! From Forbes.com:
Five years later they called it quits. Fortensky, who signed a prenup before the wedding, reportedly received $1 million from Taylor.
4. Jack Welch and Jane Beasley Welch
It’s hard to imagine that one of American industry’s most prolific wealth-producing CEO’s got swindled, but that’s exactly what Jane Beasley Welch did to her husband. Her prenup with former General Electric head Jack Welch contained a “sunset clause” that abolished the prenup after 10 years of marriage. Once the clause took effect, Jane split and rode off into that sunset with $150 million.
5. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
Taking a page out of Larry Fortensky’s book, Katie Holmes used a prenup to make marrying Tom Cruise a more lucrative proposition. The details: for each year the couple stays married, Holmes collects $3 million or they’ve been together for 11 years, whichever comes first. The best part? If they do last that long, the prenup is null and void and Holmes receives half of Cruise’s entire fortune. One has to wonder what attorney told Cruise this would be a good idea!
6. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas
Next in the “making marriage pay” category is Catherine Zeta-Jones. Her prenup with “Wall Street” star Michael Douglas entitles her to $2.8 million per each year the marriage remains in effect. When Zeta-Jones was asked about the agreement she had the following to say:
“I think prenups are brilliant,” Zeta-Jones chirps in the January issue of Vanity Fair, admitting that under her prenup with Douglas, “I get taken care of very well.”
Most would probably find this to be a very mercenary approach to marriage, but what can you expect when you marry the man famous for saying that greed is good?
7. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman
Here we find a prenup being used as a tool to promote clean, healthy living. According to a Buzzle.com article on the matter:
The pre-nup allegedly nets Urban about $640,000 for every year that he is with Kidman. There is reportedly a clause in the prenup that states if Urban, a former cocaine addict, uses illegal drugs he will not receive a cent of Kidman’s fortune that is estimated at around $150 million. The agreement also states that if the couple has any children together that they are to have joint custody. Good thing they added that clause since Nicole Kidman has announced that she is pregnant.
8. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
While Pitt went sans prenup in his marriage to Jennifer Aniston, he apparently deemed it necessary with Angelina Jolie. Reports indicate that Pitt and Jolie are bound by a prenup that guarantees Angelina custody of the kids if the marriage goes south. No word on the financial implications of the agreement, but it’s a safe bet that Pitt is guarding his $100 million fortune pretty closely!
9. Prenups for pets, babysitters, and pool guys
Strange as it may sound, some prenuptial agreements even cover what happens to pets: both dead and alive! According to attorney Leon F. Bennett, who has represented Marlon Brando, Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper, this is quite common. From Newsday:
Bennett once handled a case that dictated the destination of a couple’s taxidermied horse. Even gardeners, baby sitters and pool men have been addressed.
10. Rosanne’s big prenup blunder
One of the craziest prenup stories actually involves the dangers of not getting one. TV celebrity Rosanne Barr made this dangerous error when she married Tom Arnold and paid for it – dearly. Newsday has the scoop:
Roseanne Barr was so in love with Tom Arnold before their 1990 wedding that she fired her attorney for suggesting she sign a prenup. When the couple divorced four years later, Arnold left with $50 million.
Is it so wrong she believed it would last? Hope she’s at least still getting royalties from all those Roseanne reruns.
Everyone knows that the fantasy get-away city of Las Vegas has a reputation for crazy nights, big money wins (and losses), and of course, “while you wait” wedding chapels. As has been the comedic punch line to many a television show and romantic movie, Las Vegas weddings are synonymous with a few too many drinks and extremely impaired judgment. The legend of the “Vegas Wedding” is not just a Hollywood exaggeration or a figure of speech however; in fact many people have lived through the awkward terror that inevitably follows such a night. Celebrities, in all their wisdom, have succumbed to this judgment-trap with surprising frequency. Below is a list of the top ten celebrity Vegas wedding nights.
While your wedding day is undoubtedly one of the most magical and beautiful days of your life, marriage is also known for being complicated and stressful. But if the everyday “which way the toilet paper goes” and “don’t squeeze the toothpaste from the middle” issues weren’t enough, throw in America’s legal system concerning marriage and suddenly ordering those flowers, booking your entertainment, and making that guest list seems incredibly simple in comparison. Below is a list of the ten strangest marriage laws in the country.
In Alabama: Incestuous marriages are perfectly legal. While every other state has seen fit to outlaw the marriage of those related by blood, it seems as though there will always be one maverick state thumbing his nose at “the man!”
In South Carolina: If a man promises to marry a woman, he is legally obligated to go through with it. If you live in South Carolina and are thinking about being a run-away groom, think again, or you may find yourself out-running the long arm of the law! It might also pay to make sure the rooms of your house aren’t bugged with microphones: you wouldn’t want to let a half joking/half serious wedding proposal be used against you!
In Tennessee: Interracial marriages are still illegal. Apparently the Tennessee government has yet to catch up to the Civil Rights movement, although it’s unclear as to whether anyone in the Tennessee government would have the audacity to try and enforce such a strange law in the present day!
In North Carolina: A marriage can be legally declared void if one of the partners is found to be physically impotent. Let this serve as a great back-door for any regretful men married in North Carolina, where the waiting list to have a vasectomy is probably longer than the waiting list to see a Tar Heels game during the Final Four!
In Kentucky: It is illegal to marry the same man more than three times. We’re not sure why anyone would try the same failed marriage for a fourth time, but suffice it to say that anyone so persistent in their love will need to find another state to get hitched it.
In Utah: There apparently isn’t much of a social stigma against marrying within the family. If you and your cousin forged an irreplaceable romantic spark at all those family reunions over the years, fear not! In Utah, you just need to wait until you are both 50 years old. At that point, your marriage will be fully encouraged and sanctioned by the state.
In Wisconsin: The boundaries of marriage have been extended into unprecedented territory, covering the sacred bond between a man and his home! You heard right: in Wisconsin, it is acceptable for a man or woman to literally marry the home that they live in. With this in mind, you might want to be skeptical of any Wisconsin residents who tell you “yep, she’s a beauty” while pointing proudly at their homes!
In Texas: There is no need to spend months or years planning every agonizing detail of your wedding to perfection in Texas. Forget the caterers, forget the music, and forget the photographers! All you need to do is publicly introduce someone as your husband or wife three times, and legally you are married!
In Lebanon, Virginia: It is actually illegal for a husband to kick his wife out of bed! We’re not too sure how many husbands are dying to do that anyway, but it sheds a whole new light on why it’s always the woman kicking the guy out to the living room couch and not the other way around!
In Arizona: It is okay for a man to beat his wife so long as it only happens once a month. Ladies beware; this might not be the state for you. Men if you find it appalling that some women will stay in abusive marriages, it should blow your mind to know that there are entire states that sanction it!
You think that when the wedding is over, your planning days are too? Well, think again. If you want to have a stress-free, enjoyable honeymoon, take a look at my suggested planning timeline! Au revoir!
6 or More Months Before:
3 to 6 Months Before:
2 Months Before:
1 Month Before:
2 weeks before:
1 week before:
The harsh, dry winter air can do a number on your skin. Skin can crack, chafe, itch and form dry patches when winter rolls around. This year, save your money on expensive products which prove to be ineffective most of the time anyway. To keep your skin looking and feeling good, there are a few precautions you can take this season. Keep reading to find out how.
Stay Hydrated - Most skin experts say that staying hydrated is the secret to a great looking complexion. This is especially true in the winter. Make sure you get plenty of water and you will lubricate your skin from the inside out.
Eat Good Fats - Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid like salmon, walnuts, or flaxseeds regularly. You an also take it in capsule or liquid form if you’d like to make sure you’re getting the proper amount.
Bundle Up - Make sure that your skin has minimal contact with the elements. You’ll be less likely to suffer from chafing, chapping and cracking if you protect your skin from direct contact from the cool winter air.
Humidify Your Home - Since it’s dry air that is the culprit, invest in a humidifier. The air inside your home can be extra dry when your furnace is running often. A humidifier will help rebalance the air moisture therefore helping your skin to do the same.
Exfoliate Regularly - Exfoliating will help you slough off dead skin cells and regenerate new ones. This is an essential tool for keeping your skin healthy and vibrant during the coldest months of the year.
Moisturize - While this seems like an obvious solution, not all moisturizers produce the best results. Use a thick moisturizer like shea butter which will help by creating a protective layer as well as adding moisture to your skin.
Moderate the Temperature - It’s tempting to take a super hot shower – especially in the winter. But when you are suffering from dry skin, that is one of the worst things you can do. Instead take a warm shower since hot water will draw out moisture and cause more dryness.
Stick to Simple Ingredients - Avoid using products and soaps with harsh ingredients like preservatives, fragrances or dye. Use natural soaps with glycerin or castile as the base – these soaps tend to help moisturize the skin rather than take it away.
Winter is here and the sun’s presence wanes. Each day is filled with just a bit more darkness than the day before leaving our skin to hide behind long pants and sleeves. For some of us this means our summer tan wanes as well. Having a healthy, sun-kissed glow at the wedding is on the list of many brides. Others are happy with their natural skin color any time of the year. Either way, getting a tan is not as simple as it used to be with skin cancer rates on the rise and an array of chemically-based sunless tanners on the market. Before you run off to your local tanning salon, read up on the health risks associated with getting that artificial glow. Below I’ve outlined the most popular tanning options and the risks involved with each.
What it is: Referred to sunless or self-tanners, tanning lotions can be found in any local drugstore and in major department stores. Self tanning lotions are just that-a lotion that you apply topically to darken the color of your skin. The quality of the product varies largely brand to brand as does cost.
How they work: Most of these lotions contain a chemical called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which interacts with the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, changing the color.
Benefits: This is a low-cost, DIY option. Getting a natural looking tan takes some practice, but for the bride on a budget this is a good choice.
Risks: Applying self-tanning lotion requires some skill. By using this method, you run the risk of having an uneven tan or ending up with a streaking effect. Also, be sure to test each product in an inconspicuous place to check the color-many of these products will leave your skin looking orange. The FDA claims that DHA is safe to use on your skin.
What it is: Most of you are familiar with the concept of tanning beds as they have been around for decades now. But in case you don’t know, a tanning bed is a device you lie down on containing many fluorescent light bulbs that are emitting UVA rays in order to produce a tan.
How they work: Tanning beds have a higher UVA to UVB ratio than the sun. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin producing a darker tan.
Benefits: It’s a fast, relatively inexpensive way to get that summertime glow.
Risks: There are many risks associated with the use of tanning beds. The World Health Organization does not support the use of tanning beds for cosmetic reasons. According to their website, the risks associated with the use of artifical UV rays are skin cancer, skin aging (wrinkles), and eye damage.
What it is: Spray tans must be applied at a salon where you’ll enter a booth and be sprayed with a sunless tanning mist.
How it works: Spray tans work the same as self-tanning lotions-they contain DHA which changes the color of the surface of your skin.
Benefits: The fastest and easiest method of sunless tanning available-although the most expensive. No risk of streaking or uneven tanning associated with lotions.
Risks: While the FDA says DHA is safe to use topically, they have stated risks associated with DHA being used internally. Having this chemical sprayed onto your skin from all directions may put you at risk for DHA exposure in your eyes, lips and other mucous membranes as well as possibly inhaling the substance.
Good Ol’ Fashioned Sunshine
What it is: That big yellow ball in the sky.
How it works: UVA and UVB rays penetrate the skin, producing more melanin which in turn darkens the skin.
Benefits: Sunbathing is free! Also, you’ll get your dose of vitamin D which is important-especially if you are deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a whole host of chronic diseases. You must spend about 10 minutes in the sun each day without sunscreen to get the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D.
Risks: There are many risks associated with sun tanning. Particularly when tanning takes place with no SPF protection. Overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer and wrinkles. Use your best judgment and cover up before overexposure occurs.
It’s important to feel comfortable in the skin you’re in-especially on your wedding day. Be sure to take it slow if you decide to use any artifical tanning products to avoid any drastic changes. While you may want to increase your glow, you still want to look like you.
After choosing your wedding gown, your next step is to find the perfect clothes to wear underneath your dress before your first fitting. The world of lingerie and intimate-wear can be daunting – especially if you’re used to wearing a sports bra and briefs on a daily basis. There’s a lot to think about when choosing wedding undergarments. And although your new husband will most likely get a peek of what’s under your wedding dress, you’ll want to choose your wedding day panties for their comfort and slimming effect rather than for romantic appeal. Read on for the full scoop.
The Bra – I trust that you know what a bra is and probably even have some experience wearing one if you are a woman. You may think you’ve got this department covered, so to speak, but the reality is that about 70% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra. Not to mention that when you’re buying a bra to accompany your wedding dress, you’ll have to find one that fits the cut of your dress in addition to finding a bra that fits you comfortably. My first recommendation is that you head directly to your nearest upscale department store and get fitted for a bra by a bra specialist (yes, they do exist!). Once you know your true bra size, the search is on for the perfect wedding bra.
The Panty – Another undergarment that I’m sure you are familiar with is underwear. On your wedding day, wear well fitting undies that leave no visible panty line and that will not leave you adjusting them every five minutes (if you know what I mean).
The Body Shaper – While some brides will opt out of wearing this undergarment, body shapers are the modern answer to girdles for the rest of us. Having to “suck it in” is a little more comfortable than it used to be since, today, body shapers are typically made of strong nylon or Lycra. You’ll see many brands and types on the market, everything from full body suits to leg shapers. There’s a body shaper for any body shape or dress style.
The Hosiery – If you’re wearing pantyhose, choose a pair that blends naturally with your skin tone and is unassuming. Again, you’ll find many types to choose from–from the built-in control top to thigh highs. Contrary to what you may think, pantyhose are not a “must have item”—-especially if you are getting married in the summer months. Most of all, it’s important to be comfortable and feel beautiful.
Whether you’re just curious how other couples celebrate their wedding day around the world or want to add a little international pizzazz to your wedding-below you’ll find a collection of global wedding practices for your reading pleasure.
Africa – Africa is a big continent with many cultures and traditions. And since we can’t include traditions from the entire continent, here are a few interesting African wedding customs:
China – To ward off evil spirits, the wedding processional begins with a literal bang – drums, gongs, and firecrackers from the groom’s house to the bride’s home.
Finland – As the bride and groom begin their first dance as husband and wife, the groom’s mother balances a plate on her head. When the plate falls to the floor the pieces are counted and the pieces represent how many children the couple will have—yikes!
Greece – Symbolizing sweetness and abundance, the bride carries a lump of sugar in her glove down the aisle. It is also common for wedding guests to smash plates at the reception for good luck.
Mexico – The bride sews yellow, blew and red ribbons to her undergarments in hopes to invoke the abundance of money, food and passion in the marriage. Pearls are considered bad luck in Mexico as they symbolize tears and grief.
Philippines – The Philippines is a country rich in traditions that were originally introduced by Spanish missionaries. Many witnesses are also known as sponsors. Sponsors have characteristics and qualities that the couple would love to gain amongst their married life.
India (Hindu) – First, the couple prays to the Hindu god Ganesha, the remover of obstacles and negative energy. Instead of exchanging rings, the couple will exchange marigold garlands as a symbol of their everlasting commitment.
Ireland – In the Celtic tradition, Claddagh rings are exchanged. The Claddagh ring portrays two hands holding a crowned heart. The hands represent friendship and faith, the heart stands for love, and the crown symbolizes loyalty and honor.
Italy – In another dish-smashing ceremony, the bride and groom break a glass or vase into as many pieces as possible. The number of pieces represent the number of years the will remain happily married.
Japan – The bride wears a kimono; a long, wide-sleeved robe tied with a sash. Over the course of the day the bride will wear several outfits. For the wedding ceremony itself, the bride is covered head to toe in white. Her hair is covered with a white cloth, her face is painted white and she will wear an all white kimono symbolizing the beginning of a new life and the death of her childhood.
Russia – The bride and groom race each other to the altar where they will say their vows. The winner is declared the head of the household. Hopefully it will be a tie.
Scotland – The night before the wedding, the bride’s friends hold a feet-washing ceremony for the bride as a ritual of purification and honoring. One of the married women in the group places her wedding ring in the water and the woman who finds the ring is said to be the next one to marry.
I’m engaged! Hooray! However, I’ve transitioned from glee to anxiety because I’m completely paranoid that I’m going to forget an important detail during my wedding planning. What advice would you give to help me make sure everything is perfect?- Marci, Austin, TX
First of all, no matter what event you are planning, it is never going to be “perfect.” The important thing to remember is that on your wedding day, you aren’t going to care if the flower girl’s sash is the wrong color or if the DJ insists on playing “Butterfly Kisses,” despite your repeated requests not to. These otherwise nagging annoyances will ultimately fade into the background because you are getting married; joy covers all manner of sins.
However, it is prudent for you to try and avoid as many of these glitches as possible. Here is a top 5 list of things to remember, contributed by some of mywedding.com’s favorite wedding planners:
For many couples, planning a green wedding is an extension of everyday living. Eating local and organic foods, recycling, and conserving energy have become daily practices in hopes to contribute to a smaller overall carbon footprint. And it doesn’t stop at the wedding. Earth friendly honeymoons are becoming more popular as engaged couples continue to find ways to live a more eco-conscious life.
Below are tips for planning your green getaway:
Hire a green travel agent. If planning your own trip seems like too much to handle while planning your wedding, contact a travel agent who specializes in green, eco-friendly travel. They’ll take care of the details for you and you can rest assured that your trip will have minimal impact on the environment.
Go Ecotouring. Ecotourism is the term for planning a socially and environmentally conscious trip. The International Ecotourism Society says that ecotourism is: “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” These trips are organized by reputable tour groups whose best interest in improving the environment where you would like to travel. Your adventure will include volunteering and comprehensive interaction with the local people, culture and ecosystem. Groups like National Geographic organize everything for you-all you have to do is show up and be willing.
Stay at an eco-friendly hotel. Do your own research and find a hotel or other accommodations that practice eco-friendly hospitality. Hotel and resorts are answering the call of the many green consumers who want to walk the proverbial Earth-saving walk-without compromising comfort and luxury.
Find local & organic food. Before you go, research restaurants that serve local and organic fare and eat there. These haunts tend to serve the freshest food with a dose of local culture. If you have your own kitchen, shop at a local market and prepare a romantic dinner or breakfast in bed for two.
Rent an alternative mode of transportation. Check out hybrid car rentals, motorcycles, scooters, or even a bicycle! If you’re traveling through Europe, take advantage of the spectacular public transportation system available there.
Consider carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are a way for you to give back what you take. This controversial method of caring for Mother Earth, can at the very least curb any carbon overload guilt that you may have for flying all the way to Tahiti. Whether you agree or not, it’s not a bad idea to plant a couple of extras trees anyway.
Explore the world around you. Why not take advantage of this time you have after your marriage and explore your local community. We tend to save these excursions for when out-of-town guests come to visit, but why not enjoy them with your new spouse. Not only will you save resources, you’ll save money, time and stress by having to plan and pay for an exotic vacation. Another alternative is to rent a vacation home within driving distance and take. the. week. off. You deserve it.
It’s a common cliché in the wedding planning world: the headache that comes with mapping out your seating arrangements for the reception. Playing matchmaker isn’t always as fun as you might think. People are complicated. Between long-standing family feuds, break-ups between friends, and high school cliques, deciding where everyone will sit can seem like a nightmare. Follow these tips to help make your seating chart just a little easier to manage.
Take Your Time – Don’t sit down to this job the night before the wedding—it may take a while! Getting everyone in the right spot will really make for a more enjoyable reception for everyone.
Categorize – If you’re keeping a master guest list, categorize each guest by one of the following: bridal party, groom’s family, bride’s family, coupled friends, single friends, guests with children, and people with known standing conflicts.
Make a Plan – Now’s the time to put your artistic side to work! Get out a sheet of paper and plan out how the tables will be arranged including the bridal or head table. If you will be dictating where each table will be placed put yourself where everyone can see you, leave enough space for dancing, and take into account foot traffic.
Start With You – Your first feat is to decide who’ll be joining you and your new spouse at the head table. Some include the entire bridal party, others sit with their parents, other couples sit alone. It’s your call and will, of course, depend on your venue as well. If your bridal party is sitting separately, consider placing them all at one or two tables and include their significant others as well.
Family First – Next up: the family. Usually family members get dibs on the tables closest to yours. Use your best judgment and place people with their own family making sure to separate anyone who might not get along. We want everyone to play nice at your wedding.
Create Cliques – It’s best to keep your friends together with their friends-work friends at one table, college friends at another and so on. If, say, your tables seat 8 and you’ve got 9 work friends attending your wedding, you have two choices: either add another chair and squeeze everyone in or put four at one table and five at another. Whatever you do, don’t put the ninth friend at the table with your book club. That would be awkward.
Singles Only – The moment you’ve been waiting for! Who needs a date? If you’ve got enough single friends to form a singles table – go for it! It might be fun to see if your wedding is the start of another lifelong relationship. It may be nice to ask your single friends if they want to be included in your little experiment.
The Kiddie Table – Depending on your venue, it can be nice to place your friends who have children together. They understand each other. They can commiserate and wrangle each other’s children together. They can sprawl all of their baby and kid gear up and down the table without worry.
Ultimately, though, this is your call-you know your crowd better than anyone else. Will grouping kids together make parents feel isolated or a sense of solidarity?
For same-sex couples who do not live in a state that has legalized gay marriage, there is the option of holding a private commitment ceremony instead. While this is by no means an equal substitution for all of the legal benefits that go along with the formal institution of marriage recognized by the state, it can be an important declaration in a relationship-the declaration of life-long commitment in front of close friends and family. Until our laws reflect all of the people who reside here, don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands and celebrate your loving partnerships-your way.
Planning a commitment ceremony is really just like planning any other wedding ceremony. There are only just a few planning details most heterosexual couples don’t have to think about in traditional wedding planning. To help you out I’ve listed a few common questions that can crop up when planning a same-sex commitment ceremony below.
Who Should Marry You?
If you are planning a ceremony separate from state law, you have the freedom to choose any officiant you’d like. They do not have to be sanctioned by the state-so you can choose any friend or family member you’d like. Many couples, however, do hire a traditional wedding officiant because of their previous experience conducting ceremonies. If you’d like to have a religious ceremony go ahead and ask your minister or priest to lead the ceremony. It’s a good idea to always ask the officiant up front if they are comfortable conducting a ceremony for a same-sex couple-just to be sure that everyone is on the same page.
How Should You Arrange the Processional?
Considering the fact that you are already breaking convention by committing to a member of the same sex, you’re probably ok to break tradition here as well. If you and your female partner would both like to walk down the aisle with your respective fathers-by all means-do it! You could all walk down the aisle at the same time or decide who’ll go first. Many couples choose to walk down the aisle arm-in-arm together, after a processional of friends and family. This is an area where you can get creative and cater your ceremony to your specific situation and needs.
How Will Your Ceremony Work?
With a commitment ceremony, you have the freedom to make the actual ceremony as personal as you like. Since this commitment is not legally binding, you can write the whole thing to reflect what ever is important to you and your partner. If this sounds daunting-to write your own ceremony-just follow the sequence of a traditional wedding ceremony and just change the necessary words (ie-I now pronounce you husband and wife will obviously need rewording!). Many officiants will have suggestions for you in this area-especially if they have previous experience marrying same-sex couples. They may already have a pre-written script you can follow.
Who Will Be In Your Wedding?
There is no need to stick with traditional practices when choosing your wedding (commitment ceremony) party. Just because you and your partner are both male doesn’t mean that you have to both choose an all-male wedding party. Mix it up if you like. The very notion of celebrating same-sex partnerships allows you to blur the traditional notions of gender and just choose the people who you’d like to stand up with you in one of the most important ceremonies of your life. It’s ok to choose two maids of honors or two best men. Get creative and choose based on the people in your life rather than trying to fit into the usual wedding etiquette mold.
Should You Have a Reception?
The short answer to this is-Yes!-but only if you want to, of course. Celebrating with friends and family after the ceremony can really help solidify your commitment to each other. And who doesn’t want to have a little fun after such an important milestone? Plan your reception just like any other reception. The sky is the limit-dinner and dancing, cocktails and jazz, an outdoor BBQ-to plan the party that fits your personality.
If the kid to adult ratio at your wedding is a bit larger than you initially anticipated take the necessary steps to plan accordingly. After you’re sure the day will run smoothly for the wee ones (and yourself), you’ll want to have plenty of activities to keep their little bodies busy. Here are a few tips to help keep everyone amused.
Shower Them With Gifts – Place a small bag filled with fun toys/games at each child’s dinner seat. Include things like: a small notebook or coloring book, crayons, bubbles, gum, Mad Libs, comic books, etc. It’s good to choose activities that will keep them both occupied and relatively quiet.
Hire Entertainment – Depending on how much space you have, consider hiring a child’s entertainer such as a magician, clown or face-painter. This works particularly well if you’re having an outdoor wedding. Designate as special area for the performances to take place that is within viewing distance from the main reception area, but far enough away that it isn’t distracting for everyone else.
Create a Teen Hang Out – Want to make sure the teens are digging your party too? One way to make the adolescent crowd feel comfortable is to set up a teen lounge area. Create a separate area with non-alcoholic drinks, snacks, popular music, magazines, and plenty of comfortable seating. Your 16 year-old niece will thank you – and probably have a good time, to boot.
Sports/Activity Area – Again, if you’re hosting an outdoor wedding this is a great idea. Hire or designate a willing friend or relative to supervise the children in playing games. Ideas for games or activities include: a three-legged-race, hula-hoops, badminton, whiffle ball, or jump rope.
Set Up a Game Table – If physically active games aren’t possible, set up a table with an array of board games. Include games for every age group – from Monopoly to Chutes and Ladders.
Designate a Toy Area – For the younger kids, all you’ll need are a few interesting toys to keep them happy. Classic toys like blocks, Legos, or books will help ease babies and toddlers when the boredom sets in. Their parents will thank you too.
Offer an Art Table – Cover a table with white butcher paper and stock it with crayons, markers, pens and pencils. You can also include coloring books, jewelry-making supplies, and construction paper. Your little guests will lose themselves in their creations – keeping them occupied and content.
Our views of marriage have changed in many ways – what was at one time, unthinkable may no longer raise an eyebrow, and individuals of different races, religions, and cultural backgrounds find commonalities in each other. A wedding can be a potpourri of ideas both traditional and original.
When two people find each other they each bring their history to the relationship. As the relationship develops they also discover and develop common interests. All of this is material for a unique ceremony.
You may already have been to weddings expressing your cultural background. If not, talk to parents and other relatives about what they did in their weddings. Interview them about the traditions they know. Do some research. You’re likely to find more than you could ever need online.
Once you have an idea of the possibilities for both of your traditions, you can begin to choose the things that really speak to you. Work with your officiant to weave these things into the ceremony. In some instances you may wish to adapt them to fit better with your values and your vision for the ceremony. I’ve seen couples do variations of tea ceremonies, hand washings, blessings, and even jumping the broomstick.
It’s your wedding, and it’s a rite of passage. You are leaving behind your family of origin in some ways, and carrying your history with you to create a new family identity.
Marrying a person of a different faith can bring up many issues in wedding planning – not to mention the issues that can surface in your relationship. However, there are a few things you can do to help make the planning process a little easier for yourself and soon-to-be-spouse. If neither you nor your fiancé are planning to convert to the other’s religion, here are a few ways to help plan a wedding ceremony that integrates both belief systems into one beautiful event.
Find the Right Officiant - It can be tricky finding someone to perform a blended religious ceremony. Some couples opt to have two officiants – one to represent each faith. Just be sure that both officiants are ok with sharing the limelight. You’ll have to play a major role in how the ceremony will be conducted since it will likely be much different than either officiant is used to.
Include Traditions From Both Faiths - While this is seemingly obvious, many couples struggle with this. Make sure you both feel that your traditions are represented equally. Some couples decide to host two separate weddings-that way both people feel that their customs have been honored fully. Either way, the key is to make sure you both feel comfortable.
Include Both Families - Interfaith weddings can be the cause of much familial tension. To help ease things a bit, be sure include both families in the process. Keep them informed and let them know how you are planning to include rituals from their respective religion into the ceremony. Listen to their concerns with an objective ear and then decide as a couple which ideas you’ll incorporate into your wedding.
Include Personal Touches - Since you’re already straying from convention, add a few personal readings or rituals to the ceremony that symbolize the coming together of two faiths. Instead of keeping things completely separate use this as an opportunity to find similarities in your beliefs.
Educate Yourself - Read, research and ask your partner (and his/her family) about their religion. Find out as much as you can about their beliefs and encourage your fiancé to do the same. This will give you both a better understanding of your respective backgrounds. Make it a point to share as much as possible with each other and show a genuine interest in your partner’s beliefs.
Get Premarital Counseling - While many couples who share the same spiritual beliefs seek premarital counseling from clergy, it may be a smarter idea for you and your partner to seek counseling from a non-biased counselor. This way, you’ll both feel equally supported in the sessions. Many non-denominational premarital counselors exist – do a bit of research to find one that specializes in intercultural marriages.
Be Compassionate - Above all, be kind – not only to your partner and family members, but also to yourself. Wedding planning can be hectic and when you throw a touchy subject like religion into the mix things can get a little hairy. So just remind yourself that you’re all doing the best you can and the main goal is to celebrate your love and commitment to your partner.
Take Your Time - When planning a wedding there is never a need for rushing things. If you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with this person, you’ve got all the time in the world. Allow yourself enough time to work through anything that comes up and to really plan a ceremony that represents the joining of two cultures, backgrounds, and faiths.
As fellow mywedding.com wedding blogger, Mary, said so eloquently: Rice throwing just shouldn’t happen anymore. Well, unless you would like to be pelted with small, hard objects. Then, by all means, go for it! However if you’d like your guests to throw something a little softer and less violent on your wedding day, opt for one of the following rice-free alternatives.
Bubbles - The is a well-known alternative to rice throwing today. Bubbles are fun, easy, affordable and pretty. Kids love ‘em too. Actually, everyone loves bubbles! They’re a whimsical way of sending you off as Mr. and Mrs.
Birdseed - This may not hurt any less than rice, but at least the birds will enjoy themselves afterwards!
Living Creatures -You know, like butterflies or doves. This makes for a very dramatic exit! And don’t worry I looked into it – typically this is not an inhumane thing to do. The doves, for instance, have an uncanny ability to fly back home.
Tiny Rose buds - Dried rosebuds will definitely hurt much less than rice. They’re much prettier too.
Bells - Not to be thrown, but rather rang, by your guests as you make your grand exit. Yes, I think bells would smart a bit more than little specks of rice, so make sure your guests are sure that they’re to ring, not throw, the bells!
Lavender buds - Just the same as rosebuds, lavender buds are a sweet way to have your guests send you off as a married couple. This is a great rice-substitute since lavender buds are approximately the same size as rice, but are a little softer around the edges.
Sparklers - Another item not to be thrown at the newlyweds, sparklers are a fun way to exit your ceremony start – especially for weddings that take place around the 4th of July. Also, only choose this option if your guests will be outdoors when the sparklers are lit – you don’t want anyone lighting themselves on fire!
Wondering what style of dress will work best for you? Check out our guide to choosing the best wedding dress according to body type. Every girl should look her best on her big day – here are a few hints to help accentuate your best qualities.
Hourglass Figure: Choose any dress that emphasizes your small waist. Popular choices are corset gowns, two-piece dresses, and ball gowns with a fitted top.
Pear-Shaped Figure: Full A-line silhouettes, V-neck tops, bateau necklines, scoop-neck tops, and strapless necklines all disguise fuller hips and the pear shaped body types best. These looks also balance torso to bust proportions. For a headpiece that adds slender lines, go with a Chapel length bridal veil.
Apple-Shaped Figure: Princess-line and drop waist wedding dresses are most flattering. You can also try out A-line gowns as well as dresses with plunging necklines. Go heavy on the accessories to draw the eye up.
Petite Brides: Sheath wedding dresses are a great choice as they tend to elongate. Most importantly keep it simple without too much drama or detail.
Tall Brides: Tall girls have all the luck! Almost any style gown will work for a towering bride. But do avoid empire-waist dresses to avoid the “tent-as-wedding-dress” look.
Broad Shouldered: Steer clear of halter and off-the-shoulder necklines, which tend to accentuate the shoulders. Instead, try strapless and scoop necklines. Delicate jewelry works best for broad shouldered brides as well.
Full-Busted: You may need a little help from a corset to get your girls under control. After that is taken care of, look for dresses with a higher neckline to draw less attention to the chest area.
Full Arms: Look for gowns with off-the-shoulder straps or sheer fabric over the arms. You can also find a flattering formal short jacket to wear over your dress. Also try dresses with a longer sleeve. You’ll just have to make sure the sleeves aren’t too tight.
Photo Credit: Betwixt Studio
Here are a few ideas for you grooms who want to dive into wedding planning, but aren’t quite sure where to start. Planning your big day with your fiancée can be fun – just follow these ten tips to keep things going smoothly.
Ahh, the sights and sounds of an outdoor wedding: the beauty of nature all around, the sound of birds chirping, the lovely sight of flowers blooming, and the swarming mosquitoes headed straight for you! While almost all aspects of having an outdoor wedding are pleasant, being attacked by annoying insects is not – for you or your guests! Take the following precautions to make sure everyone comes away unbitten.
Timing – There are certain times of day that are more “buggy” than others – particularly at dusk. Try to schedule your day around it if it’s impossible to avoid all insect – laden times of day. You don’t want your guests (or you!) to be slapping off mosquitoes while you say “I do.” And since it’s likely that at your reception, guests will be dancing-the-night-away (and with the help of a little champagne) they won’t notice the swarming bugs as much.
Citronella – Stock up on torches and candles containing citronella. Citronella is a natural oil that deters insects and is widely available. Place the torches and candles around your reception area to ward off flying pests. This will help keep bug number down inside your tent.
Repellent – If you’re worried that insects will be a particularly pesty problem at your wedding, equip your guests with a travel sized bottle of bug repellent. You can hand them out at your ceremony or include them in your out-of-town guest welcome baskets. Other insect repellent products on the market include: small packets of repellent wipes as well as patches. Do your homework and find out what will work best for you.
For the Kids – Many mainstream bug repellents are not safe for children to use. If there will be children at your wedding, make sure to purchase kid-friendly bug repellent for your littlest guests. Their parents will be very grateful.
Cover Up – In addition to bug repellents; encourage your guests to wear and/or bring along clothing to cover bare skin if possible. They’ll come away with fewer bug bites and have a much happier time at your celebration.
Natural Alternatives – If chemically-based insect repellents aren’t your thing, there are many natural oils that discourage those little buggers from attacking; like Eucalyptus and Lemongrass.
There you have it! Easy precautions that your guests will very much appreciate. Enjoy your wedding without the buzz from the mosquitoes, but instead from a cocktail or two!
Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue – that’s the old wedding adage, right? If you’re unsure about what your “something blue” is going to be – take a few hints from the following list. Surely it’ll spark a few ideas for you.
Blue Undies – A fun choice for many brides is to invest in a pair of blue panties. Try them on under your dress before your wedding to make sure they don’t show through!
Hanky Panky – Many brides carry a blue handkerchief or have a white handkerchief embroidered with blue thread.
Embroider it Blue – Speaking of embroidery, you can also have the inside of your dress embroidered with your new initials or some other inspiring message.
Blue Bag – Opt for a blue clutch or purse to take along with you to the reception.
Jewelry – There are many beautiful blue stones including: sapphires, lapis, aquamarine, turquoise, chalcedony, and tanzanite to name a few.
Sash – A blue sash will look stunning with your gown just as long as the style of your dress accommodates.
Wedding Gown – If blue is your color, consider purchasing a blue – hued dress for your wedding day. Even just a slight tint of blue will do.
Blue (Suede?) Shoes – Suede or not, blue shoes are all the rage.
Blue Bouquet – There are many beautiful blue flower choices including: Hyacinth, Delphiniums, Statice and Sea Holly.
Veil – A blue veil? Yep, they’re out there. If you’re more of the traditional type, you’ll find white veils with blue edging as well.
Blue Tattoo – A temporary tattoo, of course, (or a real one if you desire.) This is fun way to incorporate blue into your day. Who knows, you may even inspire your husband to get one too!
Tasha Delancy, celebrity make-up artist, shares her advice on how brides can look their best.
What do you recommend for a skin care regime?
Tasha: First of all, as much as you want to pamper yourself in the month before your wedding, avoid facials; do microderm abrasion twice a week instead. For the month prior to your wedding, adopt a consistent skin care regime, preferably with products that are all-natural and made with soy. Cleanse your skin morning and night and follow-up with a serum, moisturizer, and eye cream. I recommend refrigerating your skin care products for two reasons: it adds to the shelf life of the products and because it helps with puffiness. When you are stressed out and need your own mini-spa experience, a dab of cool eye cream always does the trick! And never, ever forget your sunscreen; use at least a SPF 50.
What can you do to give your skin that wedding-day glow?
Tasha: Don’t make your body, particularly your liver, work harder than it needs to. Take 1000 mg of chewable vitamin-C every day. This will help reduce the redness in your skin, including acne scarring. You can also drink pomegranate juice; it is rich in antioxidants and will not only give your skin a boost, but also help your immune system. Don’t be tempted into any drastic diets for your wedding, particularly in the month before. It will show up in your skin. Instead, avoid alcohol and drink small amounts of prune juice to help detox your body.
There are so many events before the wedding. What are some makeup tips to look your best?
Tasha: Keep it simple, and follow that philosophy through to your wedding day. On your wedding day, you want to look like yourself, just a little more romantic. If there are events where you want slightly more dramatic makeup, make sure to use what you are comfortable with. For example, many of the women I work with love the look of a liquid liner but are unsuccessful with it on their own. That’s why I recommend waterproof gel eyeliner. It creates a great look without needing to have the steadiest of hands.
Any parting advice?
Tasha: Don’t ever do anything for the first time before your wedding. Don’t try bangs, new haircolor, or a pierced nose at a time when you are going to be the center of attention and the subject of many photos.
Make sure to check out Tasha Delancy’s new line of skin care and makeup on her website!
A Las Vegas get–away with 8 girlfriends was planned for a friend–Bride. Keeping it a secret from her, planning the ‘scavenger hunt’ game, making cute t–shirts with ‘bridal party’ rhinestone iron–ons, and coming up with the mula to pay – not only for each of ourselves, but to chip in for the Bride’s way and stay at the beautiful Bellagio hotel was how it all went down. But to our surprise, our usually outgoing, flirtatious, happy–go–lucky bride was not that at all! We discover later on the trip, that she didn’t want anything to do with – clubs, the exotic male entertainment and games! It was a major production that turned into a DISASTER!
Why? We wondered. What’s not fun about girlfriends laughing hysterically at the muscle man in the white g–string? Or walking from the Luxor to the Stratosphere stopping at the Miracle Mile Shops and the Caesars Palace Shopping Center? Maybe it was simply that Vegas did not float her boat! It really got me thinking. If my friend–bride felt that way, surely there were more brides out there who did too!
So, after tons of research and creative thinking, I’ve come up with a sexy sans Vegas list for a bachelorette party adventure.
Private Dancer –
Nooo…not, Mr Officer in the leopard g–string…Take the girlfriends, throw in a pole, a chair, an instructor and you’ve got yourself an exotic dance class! (Ahem, Men – you can thank me for this later!) This ‘dance’ party can be done in the privacy of your own home…or at a studio location near you. And though it’s much sexier than a spa day, it’ll be much sillier too!
Have a Slumber Party –
This kind of sleepover holds true to the extent of being at home on a Friday or Saturday night with your girlfriends in your jammies. But, the elements of this party are one for the big girls! They will definitely be leaving this party with tons of new ideas and party favors!
Say Cheese –
Capture the essence of your friendship with a photo shoot! Higher a photographer for a couple hours to take photos of you and your girlfriends! Prepare themed outfits as well as ones that accentuate each of the girls’ personalities! Go risqué and have a boudoir party! When you get the pictures from the photographer, you can place them in pretty frames, and they’re PERFECT as thank–you gifts!
Toys aren’t just for Boys–
Yeah, I’ve talked about those kinds of toys…but these toys require a bit more than just a rechargeable battery…if you get my drift! I’m talking about renting an exotic car for a day, like a Lamborghini, or Ferrari! Get all glammed up with the gal pals and give your party that celebrity style. Go shopping, get manis/pedis, and have cocktails at all the hot spots!
Mouth Watering, Booty Shakin’ –
Gather around ladies – things are about to heat up with DJ Chef! That’s right, dancing and dining all brought to a private location of your choice. This tasty alternative to the common cooking class will surely inspire you to wear that cute apron and head off into that delicious journey called marriage!
There you have it girls…top five non Sin City bachelorette party ideas! However you choose to celebrate your ‘last’ night of being ‘single’ with your girlfriends…understand that you’re getting married…not going friendless. This time–old tradition is a celebration of your growth and your friendship! Have fun!
According to the Holmes & Rahe Scale of Life Events, getting married is the seventh most stressful event in ones life. While this is a very happy time for most couples, planning a wedding can seem like a full-time job and poses such stressors like financial worries, family drama, and decision-making conflicts. I’ve written about a few other ways to help cope with the pressures of planning your big day. However, if you are still looking for relief, maybe it’s time to indulge in regular massage treatments to help melt away pre-marital tensions.
The reason I encourage engaged couples to schedule regular massages during the planning period is threefold. First, during this busy time it’s imperative to have scheduled downtime built into your life. Otherwise, tasks have a way of taking over and time for relaxation and rejuvenation get pushed to the side. Second, scheduling couples’ massages are a great way for the two of you to relax side by side-literally. It’s also a way to stay connected to one another through this intense planning process. Third, receiving regular massages have endless health and stress-relief benefits. According to massagetherapy.com, massage can help in these ways:
These benefits come in extra handy during the wedding planning process. You may find that planning is easier and more enjoyable when you have an outlet for any built up stress and anxiety. Your friends and family might thank you as well.
If you have never experienced a professional massage before, here’s what you can expect and what to look out for:
Although it may seem too indulgent for you and your partner to receive regular massage treatments, the benefits may outweigh the costs in the long run. Decreasing your stress levels before the wedding will help you and your spouse-to-be start your marriage off with ease.
Aside from traditional photography and videography, there are other fun ways to capture the happenings at your party. Here are a few creative suggestions to get you started:
Rent a photo booth. Just like the ones you find at carnivals or street fairs, companies now rent photo booths for parties and weddings. You are bound to get some wacky, fun photos of friends and family. Not only does it take photos, but it’s great entertainment at your reception! Trust me, if you choose to go this route, it will be one of the most popular areas on site!
Set up a Polaroid camera station. Time is running out! Polaroid’s are going extinct. If you’d like to have a Polaroid camera station available at your reception – you better buy your film now. Polaroid has announced that it is ceasing instant film production this year. What is available in the stores now, is it, my friends. There are organizations like savepolaroid.com who are trying to convince Polaroid to continue producing instant film. Let’s all cross our fingers!
Place disposable cameras on the tables. Place one or more disposable cameras on each table at your reception. Your friends and family will have fun taking photos of the party through their eyes. This idea has become quite common at weddings as of late, but it really is a fun option. You never know what your crazy friends will shoot. You may not want to know. Nevertheless, it’ll give you insight into what happened when you weren’t around.
Get group photos. Ask your photographer to dedicate part of the evening to shoot organized group photos. Get one of your old college roommates, your work friends, and your neighbors.
Have friends make short movie clips. Now that everyone and their brother have a video feature on their camera or phone, ask friends to take short movie clips with a message for you and your new spouse. Your friends and family can email these clips to you after the wedding and you can post them on your wedding website to share with guests.
Hire a Super 8 videographer. If you’d like your wedding video to have the feeling of an old home movie, yet with a modern, hip flair-you’ll love a video filmed with a Super 8mm camera. These movies have that vintage, grainy look creating a timeless feel that you’ll enjoy forever. There are three vendors on the mywedding.com directory who offer this service. Check their respective websites to see if they offer services in your area.
With a blend of new and old technology and a little bit of creativity, you’ll come away with some very unique ways of documenting your special day.
Don’t let wedding planning get the best of you. It’s easy to get caught in the hubbub of planning details, which can lead to increased stress levels, anxiety, and irritability. Finding a way to manage your matrimonial tension will help you enjoy the planning process and keep you in touch with why you are getting married in the first place. Acupuncture may help you do just that. Keep reading for the scoop on how acupuncture can help you tame wedding related stress in your life.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world – an estimated 5000 years old. It originated in China and is part of the larger healing system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or Oriental Medicine (OM). Acupuncture has gained much popularity in the US over the last two decades and has become an accepted modality to treat many ailments including stress.
But how does it work? Acupuncturist’s say that what keeps our bodies functioning harmoniously is the proper flow of “qi” (pronounced “chee”). Qi flows through the 12 meridians in our body. Meridians are like highways for the qi to travel through. Stress and other factors can interrupt this harmonious flow of qi causing imbalances and even disease in the body. That’s where acupuncture comes in. By inserting very thin, metallic needles into the skin, acupuncturists help smooth out blocked qi and get it to flow smoothly once again, making your feel better.
According to Licensed Acupuncturist, Alex Kraft, “From a Western perspective, acupuncture helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and stress reducers. From a Chinese medicine perspective acupuncturists try to address the root cause of the stress by rebalancing organ systems and how qi flows through each of them.”
I’m sure you’re wondering, “Does it hurt?!” This is a concern for most people who have never tried acupuncture before. And the answer is no. You’ll feel a very minor prickly sensation when the needle is inserted, but after that it is painless. I have been lucky enough to receive regular acupuncture treatments over the years, courtesy of my husband (who happens to be the quoted acupuncturist in this blog article) and I can attest that the benefits far outweigh any discomfort you may feel. In my experience, acupuncture sessions are quite relaxing and peaceful. Even if you don’t have many results from the acupuncture itself, you’re bound to feel less stress from the mere fact that you get to lay on a comfortable table for 45 minutes with soft music playing in the background. That’s bound to relax anybody. But most people do report positive results and keep going back for more.
Here’s what you can expect from a typical acupuncture treatment:
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