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Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Rising Costs of Being A Wedding Guest

The newspaper headline said, “It’s getting pricier to be a wedding guest.” Naturally I had to read it.

Why is it getting pricier? The article didn’t really say, other than citing wedding gifts, travel to the wedding locale, attire, and other wedding related festivities. But haven’t those expenditures always been linked to attending a wedding in some shape or form?

It also cites that weddings used to be community affairs where friends and family members took care of the food, photos, music, etc. So how does this really affect what it costs to attend a wedding?

While the article doesn’t give any clear explanation, think of it this way . . .

Where the wedding is held

Weddings were community affairs as the bride and groom were often from (and possibly still lived in) the same town, as did their families and friends. Everyone knew everyone. Meaning . . . the wedding took place where everyone was.

Fast forward to today . . .

College and job prospects now take the bride and groom away from the towns where they grew up. So, where to have the wedding? The bride’s home town? The groom’s? Maybe the town where they currently live? Either way, many people will have to travel beyond just driving across town.

So if they have to travel anyway, why not a destination wedding?

Travel = airfare and lodging. An expenditure that didn’t exist in the times of “community affair” weddings.

Gifts from the wedding guests

The article also shares a couple views of increasing costs of wedding gifts that I can only explain as faulty logic:

1. Your gift should be “equivalent to how well you’re wined and dined” by the bride and groom.

Um, no.

Your gift is a GIFT. Merriam-Webster defines ‘gift’ as “a thing given willingly to someone without payment.” What you choose to give the couple is not compensation for what they paid for their event.

2. “People instinctively knew what a couple needed to start housekeeping.”

Guess what. People still know this. They haven’t forgotten. However, couples are typically older and have established a household already by the time they get married. They have pots and pans, tablecloths, bed linens and whatnot needed to “start housekeeping.”

Is it getting pricier to be a wedding guest. Absolutely. The dynamics of weddings have changed.

But then again isn’t everything (groceries, filling the gas tank, seeing a movie, . . .)?

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean


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Are you looking for unique ideas for your wedding? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647, or by email at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net!

Photo credit: elitravo / 123RF Stock Photo

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Super Easy Ways to Decorate the Newlyweds’ Car for a Stylish Getaway

Photo credit: Just Married via photopin (license)

Q. - What are the best decoration ideas for the bride and groom's getaway car?

A. - Back in the 5th century people threw shoes at the bride and groom. This practice eventually evolved to shoes being tied to the couples’ getaway carriage. This was done to wish the couple luck and to represent the happy couple being tied (or committed) to each other.

And back in Tudor England (14th - 16th centuries), tin cans were tied to the back of the vehicle.

Photo credit: © Romaset | Dreamstime.com

The noise they created scared off any evil spirits who may try to cause trouble for the newlyweds.

Today, decorating the couple’s getaway car is a fun gesture, to call attention to the newlyweds as they drive away from their wedding reception.

There are many fun and easy ways to creatively decorate the newlyweds' getaway car.

* Window clings (quick and easy).

Photo credit: liorpt | 123RF Stock

* A floral arrangement on the hood of the car.


Photo credit: © Pfluegler | Dreamstime.com

* “Just Married” or “Honk! We’re Married!” signs or banners. Other sign/banner ideas: “Lovebirds,“Tied the Knot,“Newlyweds on Board.” Don't you just love the "Marriage Rocks" sign?

Photo credit: © Joshua Rainey | Dreamstime.com

Photo credit: © Janinaj | Dreamstime.com

* Glass markers work great to write on the car’s windows. You could also use soap, but soap is difficult to write with and doesn’t show up as well.

Photo credit: Acte manqué via photopin (license)

A couple other fun décor ideas are:

* Steamers are fun and colorful. If there’s potential for rain use metallic streamers instead of crepe paper ones (the metallic ones won’t “bleed”).

* Balloons (attached to the outside, or stuffed inside).

A few car decorating “Don’ts”

* Don’t use shaving cream or whipped cream as they may damage the paint on the vehicle (not to mention extremely messy - what newlyweds want to spend their wedding night cleaning the car?)

* Don’t use glitter or silly string (way too messy).

* Don’t attach anything with electrical or masking tape (can pull off paint).

Have questions or looking for fun ideas for your wedding? Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937- 235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Happy Book Lovers Day

Today (August 9) is National Book Lovers Day.

With books we can journey to faraway lands, meet fantastical creatures. Books make us feel a myriad of emotions.

We've all got our favorite styles - romance, horror, biographical... even cookbooks! So whatever form your favorite printed word comes in (or even no words - one of my favorites is Stairs by Rein Jansma - a serene and relaxing pop-up book featuring 10 pop-up stairs), open up that cover and enjoy!



Ways to celebrate Book Lovers Day:

* Visit a library
* Reread an old favorite
* Attend (or host) a book club meeting
* Read aloud to someone
* Read that book you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t gotten around to yet

Are you a book lover who is planning a wedding? There are many ways to show off your love of the page.

Ways to incorporate books in your wedding

* Stacks of books in your centerpieces


* Tables named after book titles or characters

* Accent for a memory table
(Alice in Wonderland memorial table designed
by Weddings From The Heart)

* Used books as wedding favors

* Pages used in table swags, confetti, or table runners
(Alice in Wonderland table swag designed
by Weddings From The Heart)

* Holding your ceremony in a library

* Card catalog escort cards

* A library book card wedding invitation

* Book themed wedding (popular choices are Alice in Wonderland, The Great Gatsby, Harry Potter, The Princess Bride)

Other ways to embrace your love of books is to incorporate quotes from your favorite works of literature into your vows or ceremony readings. They can be romantic, whimsical, or even quirky.

Love Quotes from Literature

Piglet: “How do you spell love?”
Pooh: “You don’t spell it, you feel it.”
~ by A. A. Milne

“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.” ~ The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

“As You Wish.” ~ The Princess Bride by William Goldman

“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” ~ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

“I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.” ~ The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

“Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.” ~ King Henry ” by William Shakespeare

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” ~ Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

For more fun ideas for your wedding day, contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

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Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean


Photo Credits
Heart-Shaped Pages: 353/365 - 9/26/2011 via photopin (license)
Stairs: unknown
Centerpiece: Weddings From The Heart
Memory Table: Prima Vista Photography
Just Married Swag: Weddings From The Heart
Library Card Invitation: kraphix / 123RF Stock Photo

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

16 Things a Bride and Groom to Be Need to Ask Their Wedding Venue
by David Thurston

Is the wedding venue available on our wedding day?
Sounds like an obvious first question doesn't it, but you really need to ask it first. There is no point visiting a potential wedding venue, falling in love with the idea of getting married there and not being able to make your dreams happen because another bride and groom got there first.

If you've already chosen your special date, then we suggest you telephone the wedding venue ahead of the visit and state you can only make that date, if they are already booked up then get back to the list and find another fantastic wedding venue.

How many guests can be seated for a meal at the wedding venue?
This is fairly crucial, you don't want to book a wedding venue that have a seating area for 250 people if you're only inviting 60 to a sit down meal.

In turn you also want to ensure your guests can sit comfortably without being crammed into a small venue, or even worse, being left to feel as if they're shoved in at the back, and can barely see the top table. Once you've got a rough idea of how many wedding guests are being invited, you need to make sure your chosen wedding venue suits your requirements.

Request to see a sample seating plan, ask about whether they have round tables, maybe even ask to see photos of previous wedding meals and how the tables are laid out. This will give you a good indication of whether you can seat your wedding party and ensure everyone is happy.

How many guests can the wedding venue accommodate for the wedding reception?
Some couples prefer to have a small and intimate wedding ceremony, and then follow that with the mother of all parties in the evening. If this is your plan, be sure that the wedding venue can accommodate this. You don't want to have 200 evening guests descend on your wedding and find them all squeezed in, or unable to get to the bar. Again, the flip-side is that you don't want to find out your wedding venue has a separate dance floor and bar area that resembles a barn - the single easiest way to have zero-atmosphere at your wedding reception is to find the wedding DJ or band playing to a half empty hall, with your wedding guests sitting around the edges not mingling.

What time can we access the wedding venue?
"Exclusively yours for the entire day!"... says their website. But what does that mean exactly? Each wedding venue will have their own rules of when you can access the building on your wedding day.

Simply confirm what time you can arrive ahead of the wedding, you don't want to be left standing outside waiting for the cleaner to turn up.

Can the bridal party get ready at the wedding venue?
Maybe this is something the bride would prefer, instead of rushing around in the morning, why not ask the venue if they have the facilities for the bride to prepare for her wedding day in the comfort of her wedding venue.

Obviously you'll want something nicer then a conference room, or a ladies changing room at a golf club, but if the wedding venue has a nice quiet comfortable room for the bride to arrive and perhaps have her hairdresser, make-up artist and the rest of her entourage help her prepare for her wedding day then all the easier.

Can we give you a CD of our wedding music for the bride's entrance?
If you're having a civil ceremony performed in an approved premises you won't be able to use any music that has religious references in the song at all. By this we mean, terms like: Angels, Heaven, God etc etc. So no Robbie Williams ballads. The wedding venue will be fully aware of this and may have a CD of acceptable music, which is fine. However, if you want to make your wedding entrance to music of your choice you need to ensure that the wedding venue does actually allow this.

Assuming they are OK with you bringing along your own CD with your favourite song on it to play at the bridal entrance, it's well worth dropping it off a day or two in advance to the wedding venue and asking them to test the CD on their player. You don't want for them to try and play it as you're nervously standing there only to find out your old CD is scratched or your CD-R won't work on their machine.

The registrar will have to approve the songs you've chosen ahead of the wedding, but they should clarify all of this when you meet them.

Can we agree a timetable of the day, or are we set to your times?
Obviously a good wedding venue will suggest times to you, they'll know how long each stage of the day will take. Ensure you can discuss the day's timetable, agree when the ceremony will start (you'll also need to approve that time with the registrar), plan how long the photos will take, agree the start time of the meal, decide what time to invite the evening wedding guests, and when the cutting of the cake and first dance will take place.

Can we bring our own drinks to the wedding venue, if not can we see the bar prices?
This is an interesting one, and well worth asking the question. Even if a wedding venue has a licensed bar available they still may agree that you could bring your own drinks along - even if it's just fruit juices for the kids, it could save you money.

If you're hiring a marquee at a venue, they will have a temporary bar for your guests - ask if you can stock the bar yourself, maybe even do a deal with someone who'll buy all the booze for you and manage the bar for the night.

Should the wedding venue insist that you must use their bar facilities, ensure you ask to see the bar prices first, whether you or your guests are paying, no one wants a huge bar bill. Also check about wine served at the meal, and champagne for toasts.

Do we have to use your caterers, or can we instruct our own?
Some wedding venues insist that you must use their caters. This may be a restriction, however their own caters obviously have the knowledge of the venue and their kitchens, and would of catered for many weddings before - so maybe it's not a bad thing.

However, it's worth asking the question as if you are not committed to their caters you can shop around, and enjoy plenty of food tasting along the way.

If it's raining, where would be the best spot to take our photos?
It won't rain on your wedding day, surely not. Hopefully not. Maybe.

If the sun lets you down on the most important day of your life, you need a back-up plan. Have a good look around the wedding venue and ask where photos are normally taken during rainy days.

You really want to avoid having an awful backdrop indoors, when you were planning lovely photos out on the lawn. Most wedding venues are beautiful places anyhow, so they'll be used to the British weather letting down brides before, and no doubt have a proffered beauty spot indoors to act as the back-drop for your wedding photographers to take your photos.

Is there a sound limiter on our wedding DJ or band?
Not a question most brides or grooms would consider asking, hence we threw it in the mix.

The thought is that if you've paid up to £500 for a wedding DJ, or potentially even more for a wedding band, then you want to be able to hear them at the back.

Unfortunately a lot of wedding venues in residential areas will be restricted to acceptable noise levels - this may mean your live entertainment loses some atmosphere on the dance floor. If you are planning a huge party for your wedding - check this first.

Do we need to order the full amount of guests for the buffet?
If you have 100 wedding guests in the evening, do you need to book a buffet for 100 people? You know that your mates will be more interested in the bar, most people who ate the wedding breakfast won't be too hungry, so why not ask the wedding venue if you can just pay for 80% of the expected guests.

This way you're saving some more money, and potentially saving wasted food at the end of the night.

Is there accommodation available at the wedding venue?
Maybe the wedding venue has a honeymoon suite available? A lot of weddings have visiting relatives from far afield, this means they'll need somewhere to stay. You need to check in advance where you are going to spend your first night as a married couple, and if the venue has accommodation available then this could be your best option.

Even if you chosen wedding venue happens to be part of a hotel complex, you'll still need to book accommodation for those who need it, so get your bookings in early.

Do you have a wedding cake stand we can use?
Your wedding cake needs to sit on something, it's a focal point of your wedding day, and will set you back a fair few quid. No doubt the wedding cake maker will offer you a cake stand and knife for hire, but quite often the wedding venue will have a top quality cake stand ready for you.

If they do, it's another little saving and one less thing to worry about.

Will there be any other weddings on at the same venue?
Why have we left this one so late? Well, it's a personal choice whether you want a wedding venue entirely to yourself for the day, or whether you mind having another wedding party on the same day.

Whether it makes much difference or not depends on the size of the wedding venue. A small wedding venue may not have the space, or the different rooms for two large weddings.

You may find yourself sharing facilities, do you mind bumping into another bride?

Large hotels or golf clubs or private manor houses are often designed in a way that they can easily accommodate more then one wedding. Lets face it, weddings are big business so they want to attract as many as possible. If your chosen wedding venue will be playing host to more then one wedding on YOUR wedding day, ask to see where the two parties take place and ensure you're comfortable with the idea.

What time does the bar shut, and what time do we have to leave?
Surely the most important question, what time can we party until? A good wedding venue will not go around at the end of the night throwing guests out of the door, however they will expect your wedding guests to leave at an appropriate time. Clarify with the venue what time is last orders at the bar, and what time does the music have to be finished by.

You'll want one big farewell and send-off at the end of the night, so ensure your DJ is aware of the closing time and that he is prepared for the last dance and farewell to the new Mr & Mrs!

Essex Wedding specialise in wedding venues in Essex. Essex Wedding also have an excellent choice of Wedding DJ's in Essex and wedding florists in Essex to help Brides and Grooms to be with the planning of their special day.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com expert David Thurston

A Note From Jean:
Wonderful tips. I especially love David’s suggestion of asking to see a sample seating plan. That way you’ll know that if you’re guest list is near their room capacity limit, all of your guests will be able to comfortably see what’s going on, and not be made to feel that they’ve been relegated to a back corner.

Start with the basics - Is my date available? How many people does the room hold? What time frame do we have (what time can we arrive to set up, what time do we have to be cleaned up and out)? What is the cost for the use of the room? Is there a food and beverage minimum?

Finding the perfect venue for your wedding can take a lot of work. I hope you find these tips helpful in your search.


Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean




Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Say “Cheese!”
5 Ways to Make the Most of Posed Photos at Your Wedding

When all is said and done, your wedding photos will be THE lasting memory of your special day.

Standing for posed photos may not seem like much fun, but don’t make the mistake of skipping them. This is a special day that will only happen once. Even if you think you don’t want them, years from now when you’re looking at your wedding photos, you’ll be glad to have them.
  1. All of the people who are most important to you will be together under one roof - at the same time! (How often does that happen?) Everyone is together looking their best. People you probably haven’t seen in years (and may be a loooong time before you see them again). There may be your grandparents and other elderly folks who are super special to you. Get their picture!

    Still leery about a long post photo session? Then pare the list down to your top five “can’t miss” photos, such as the bride and groom together, the entire wedding party, the happy couple with their parents, and the couple with their siblings (one of my favorite wedding photos is of me and Rob with all three of my brothers),

    the couple with their grandparents.

  2. Sure, we always think of getting shots of the bride and her ladies getting their hair and make-up done pre-ceremony. Don’t forget about getting some photos of the groom and his men getting ready.

  3. First Look photos are getting more and more popular. These are fun at a scenic location (an elegant staircase, a garden in full bloom). Your photographer will capture his reaction to the first time he sees you in your gown. And you’ll get a few moments for just the two of you (before the whirlwind of the day starts blowing!)


  4. Like the idea of a First Look but still want to follow the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the ceremony? A cute alternative is to stand on opposite sides of an open door, and reach around to join hands.

  5. Most wedding ceremony photos (from the processional clear through to the recessional) are shot from the back of the ceremony area (with the camera facing the same direction as the guests). How about having your photographer capture the looks on your guests’ faces (particularly parents and immediate family members) as you come down the aisle? Believe me, even though you’re right there, you won’t even have noticed their reactions (nor will your groom because he will be focused on you!)

  6. Keep in mind that wedding photos are more than just something you or your parents will be looking at. They will become a family heirloom for your children and grandchildren to enjoy. Take a little time to add to your record of family history. Think of it this way, if you had the chance, wouldn’t you like to see photos from your parents wedding, or your grandparents, or even great-grandparents?
Photo credits:
Photographer Behind Camera - © Tosher | Dreamstime.com - Girl The Photographer At The Wedding Photo

First Look - Sandra Reed Photography

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Looking for fun ideas, or need help with your wedding plans? Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

4 Tips to Help Manage Your Reception Costs


We all know that weddings cost a lot of money. The best advice we offer brides and grooms on budgets is "Spend where you need to, save where you can."

Receptions tend to be the biggest ticket item of the entire wedding budget, and major savings can be realized through some minor adjustments.

There are many wonderful and practical ways to save money without crushing your wedding dreams and vision. Done in the right places, these money saving ideas will take nothing away from the wedding you are dreaming of.

Consider these!
  1. Find a location that requires very little decoration. If you do want to add a little something extra to the decor, create one large decorative element. Not only is it dramatic, but it’s also more budget friendly than a dozen or so smaller elements scattered about the room.

  2. When planning your decor, always imagine the way your guests will be looking at it. What do they typically look at/see? Three main things - 1) The tablescape in front of them, 2) where the bride/groom are sitting, and 3) the cake table. Don’t spend money on decor items that won’t enhance the overall effect. Except for the head/sweetheart table and cake table, which are seen from the front, don’t worry about decorating the skirting of any other tables. For the rest, think tabletop and up!

  3. People tend to take less food if it is passed by the wait staff than if it is placed on a buffet table. The good news is that less food can be ordered, but your guests will still feel pampered.

  4. If you are having a sit down dinner, instead of ordering one high end entree consider half portions of two main entree items. For example ordering half portions each of prime rib and chicken breast, you may be able to bring down the cost per plate while still offering guests a wonderful selection.
Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean


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Looking for unique wedding ideas that won’t break the bank?Weddings From The Heart can help. Contact me today at jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net or at 937-235-2586 or 937-581-3647!

Photo credit: rich piggy via photopin (license)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why You Need a Rehearsal for Your Wedding Ceremony

Every now and then we come across a couple who doesn't think they need a rehearsal.

Maybe it’s because they’ve been in several friends'weddings as bridesmaids or groomsmen, they think they can skip a rehearsal for their ceremony. They are convinced that everyone can just show up on the big day and everything will go fine.

If you are considering skipping a rehearsal think of it this way - you are about to produce, direct and star in a major production. No Broadway show (no matter how professional the actors) goes live without weeks of rehearsal.

Your wedding ceremony should not either. Ok, your ceremony doesn’t need weeks of rehearsal, but it does need a rehearsal.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule. If you are having a very simple ceremony, (with no attendants, no readers, no aisle runner), and a small guest list (25 - 50 people), then you probably can get away without doing a rehearsal.

But for everyone else, do a rehearsal! This will ensure that all participants are familiar and comfortable with their roles. And since they all know what they are supposed to be doing, things will go smoothly on the wedding day.

Who Should Be at the Rehearsal?

• The bride and groom (obviously!)
• The wedding party
• Parents of the happy couple
• Parents of the flower girl and ring bearer
• Everyone else directly involved in the ceremony - this includes ushers, readers, and vocalists

If they have an active part in your ceremony, they need to be at the rehearsal so there’s no confusion, and they’ll know when and how they are to go about with their part.

Other Rehearsal Details to be Covered Include:

• Who will sit in the first pew/row and in any reserved sections
• Who will roll out the aisle runner (and when)
• Who will escort in the mother of the groom and the mother of the bride (and if they will be lighting a unity candle)
• Where readers are to sit, and when they are to rise and stand to do their reading
• When candle lighters are to light the candles
• Any additions to the ceremony such as a sand ceremony or unity candle

What to Practice During the Rehearsal?

I often say the rehearsal lets everyone know how to get from Point A to Point B (then back again), and what to do in-between.

Your rehearsal should include:

• Seating of the mother of the groom and mother of the bride
• The Processional
• When and where for the wedding party to stand/sit during the ceremony
• Readings
• Unity Candle/Sand Ceremony/Etc.
• The Recessional

At one time brides chose a stand in for the rehearsal thinking it was unlucky for her to actually say any of the words of the ceremony before the actual event. Today, some officiants prefer not to rehearse the entire ceremony, but instead practice only the entrance (processional), exit (recessional), and just do a brief walk through the sequence of events and vows. Check with your officiant ahead of time so you’ll know what to expect for your rehearsal.

Don’t worry, the officiant will cue the couple and wedding party during the actual ceremony, so no one has to be concerned about memorizing anything and remembering what needs to be done when.

What NOT to Do At Your Rehearsal

Don’t practice for hours - The main idea of the rehearsal is for participants to know how to get from Point A to Point B (how to enter), where to stand, then how to exit. There is no need to practice this over and over.

Don’t try to be the one in charge and run the rehearsal yourself - Your officiant and wedding planner have done this before, and have been closely working with you for your wedding. They know how you want things to be. Let them take care of the rehearsal. Remember, you won’t have time to be “in charge” on the wedding day, as you will be busy just by being the bride (or groom).

Don’t plan on a processional that will last longer than the ceremony itself - This is a sure fire way to turn something into a production, and to take away from the meaning and sanctity of what is about to occur (your wedding ceremony).

Don’t make any major additions or changes to your ceremony - By the time of your rehearsal, all decisions should be made. The rehearsal is a time to practice what has been planned for, with maybe a few minor tweaks.

Photo credit (wedding party with bride and groom): Weddings From The Heart

Photo credit (Flower girl and ring bearer): 554T9994 via photopin (license)

Hearts, Joy, Love!
Jean


To see how Weddings From The Heart can make your wedding day stress-free, enjoyable, and just the way you want, contact me at 937-235-2586, 937-581-3647, or jean@weddingsfromtheheart.net and schedule your free, initial appointment!