Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bridal Survival Tip #2 Discuss Your Priorities

Okay, so you've taken some time to enjoy your engagement and to allow it all to sink in. You've told family and friends, picked the date, purchased every wedding magazine on the stand and now you're ready to start planning the wedding! Pump the breaks…not so fast!

When it comes to planning a wedding, there are over a dozen different components that come together to make your dream day come true: flowers, cake, invitations, decorations, music, what you will wear, the venue, food, transportation, and on and on.

For both you and your fiancé the importance of any one or all of these things differ significantly. It has been my experience that women tend to be concerned about their gown, flowers and decorations, while the future hubby to be has his focus fixed on the food, the bar, and the music.

Before you meet with any vendors or share your plans with anyone, it is critical to your planning sanity to come together to discuss your priorities. This is important because:

1. Priorities provide you with a focal point, a target if you will. You and your honey should begin with the top three items on your wedding wish list. By knowing what each of you feel strongly about, you won't spend time, money and energy on the things that are not that important to you.

2. You need to have your plan in place before meeting with vendors or enlisting the help of opinionated friends and parents. Once everyone else starts to chime in with their opinions and suggestions (as well meaning as they are), it can cause angst if you are not clear about what you want.

3. As a couple you need to sit down and determine how things are going to be at "your wedding". You want the day to have meaning for both of you, not just one or the other. In the years to follow, you will both be able to look back with fond memories because the day was a reflection of you both.

4. By identifying your priorities and having a plan in place to protect your vision, you will avoid the "feeling obligated to be nice and please everyone else" trap. If after you have established your top priorities, and others have thoughts on an element that's not that important to you, then you won't mind getting a little input from your friends and not feel put upon by their suggestions.

Here's the thing, you have your vision and surprisingly he has a vision too of how the wedding should be. The tricky part is marrying the two visions so that you both can live happily ever after. The key to solving this dilemma is to establish your priorities before you get started on the planning.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Short And Sassy And Oh So Classy!

Traditionally, when you think of a wedding dress, long and flowing comes to mind. But today there are just as many style options as there are brides to wear them. One such option is a short wedding dress. Not only are they elegant, soft and romantic, they are simple and practical. Short dresses, worn for the ceremony, make a great transition into the reception, where they allow freedom and ease to dance in. They are perfect for showing off long legs and sexy shoes. This pretty and feminine style option is a no brainer for a beach or outdoor wedding, and is ideal for a summer wedding. Here are just a few styles that I think are stunning, sophisticated, stylish, and sleek.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bridal Survival Tip #1 - Don't Rush Right Into Planning The Wedding

The holiday season is upon us, which also means engagement season is here as well. Now through February is prime time for proposals and engagements. Not only is this a time for spending with family and friends celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, and let's not forget Valentines Day, it's also the time when the love of your life has decided to make this the best holiday ever by popping the question…"Will You Marry Me".

So in preparation for all the new bubbling and blushing brides to come I would like to dedicate this series to you…Bridal Survival – Tips To Help You Have A Perfect Wedding

Survival Tip #1 - Do Not Rush Right Into Planning the Wedding

Allow yourself time to enjoy being engaged without the pressure of jumping right into the planning. There will be plenty of time for planning, but for now just bask in the glow that he loves you enough to want to spend the rest of his life with you and has now made it official.

Use this time to get reacquainted with your fiancé as you work together on cultivating your relationship and making plans for your future. Make it all about your relationship and not about the wedding.

Allow some down time for your fiancé. Believe me he has worked hard on selecting a ring, planning the proposal, getting up the nerve to ask you to marry him and keeping his plans to do so from your ever suspecting eyes and ears.

Take this time to really think about your wedding day and how you would like to remember it. What do you want this day to mean to you and your honey in the years to follow? Who do you really want there to share in the day? Really put some thought into it before you start making plans.

Make the decision now, during this quiet time to enjoy the process. There will be thousands of decisions to make, and everyone will have an opinion on what you should be doing for "your big day". Resolve now to follow your heart and to do what's best for you and your honey.

Maintain your focus, which should be "I'm marrying my best friend and we are going to have a wonderful life together" rather than "I'm going to be a bride and finally have my dream wedding". Remember to keep the proper perspective.

Now I know you're excited, and you've been waiting for this all your life…but a word of caution….take this time to enjoy the engagement and to let it all sink in. Don't turn into Polly Planner mode and scare your poor fiancé away.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's In A Name?

I must admit, up until last year, my thoughts and feelings about changing my last name if I were ever to get married caused me much angst. I mean, this is my name. I've had it all my life. It's a part of who I am, and besides it's a pretty cool name…Stacey Strickler….has a nice ring to it…don't you think? Of course I considered hyphenating, but after talking to a friend she helped me to understand that when you say "I do", the two become one and you agree to take it all (including the name). I've embraced it and am looking forward to becoming a Mrs. and taking his last name as my own.

Following is a name change checklist that will help you (and me) in making the transition from Miss to Mrs.

Social Security
Drivers License
Voter Registration
Auto Registration
401K accounts
Car insurance/registration
Billing accounts (credit cards, cell phone, electric, water, gas)
Club memberships
Dentist's and Doctor's office
Employment records
Email addresses
Homeowners's/renter's insurance
IRA accounts
Life insurance
Medical insurance
Other insurance
Pension plan records
Post office
Property titles
Safe-deposit box
School records
Social security
Stocks and bonds

Monday, August 24, 2009

"The Conscious Bride", A Must Read For Every Newly Engaged Bride-To-Be

One of the most exciting times in a woman's life is when she becomes engaged. Once the news of the engagement reaches family and friends, she is thrust into a series of parties and the world-wind experience of planning a wedding.

This journey, albeit exciting, does not come without its frustrations. Because so much emphasis is placed on planning for the wedding day, many brides (including myself) find themselves experiencing conflicting emotions.

This time of emotional transition is something nobody seems to talk about. The one thing on everyone's mind is planning the perfect wedding, but these emotions, which include anxieties about separating from girlfriends, separating from mom, and the loss of identity as a single woman, just to name a few, are real and need to be talked about and addressed before the bride takes her sacred journey.

This book recognizes that as one phase of life is ending, and a new phase is beginning, it is imperative that a bride take notice of what's going on inside of her, emotionally, and take the time to really understand and address why she's on cloud nine one moment and stricken with fear the next.

I have to tell you that after reading the book, I realized that I was not crazy. As excited as I am about becoming a "Mrs.", my excitement does not come without my own fears and anxieties as I move into this next phase of my life. I've gone through the gamut of emotions, from stressing about who will take care of my mom, to will I be a good wife or ruin this man's life. The emotions are scary, and I'm glad there is a book that walks you through the process of not just planning for the wedding, but helping you to understand that what you are feeling is normal, as it helps to prepare you, and take you through the process so that you will not only have a serene and joyful wedding day, but a healthy and thriving marriage - all without losing your mind!

Friday, July 31, 2009

These Take The Cake!

If you're looking for something different to do at your wedding reception that's not totally over the top, why not consider cupcakes in place of a traditional wedding cake?
Of course this idea is nothing new. Cupcakes have been the trend over the past few years, and I think it's a trend that's here to stay.

Keep in mind that they are not for every bride, but they are a fun way to add personality to your day.

They are an unexpected detail, which offers a wonderful surprise for your guests, especially the more traditional ones.

Because of their versatility, a variety of flavors can be offered.

Not only are they fun and unexpected, but they are also economical, especially if you prepare them yourself, however I do caution against this for the bride…unless you have a lot of help!

They make for a great photo opportunity, as they are a wonderful way to enhance your décor.

As you can see they serve a multi-purpose…fun, décor enhancement, economical, and let's not forget to add that they are certainly a favor option, one that is sure to be used…or shall I say eaten!

So why not let these delicious treats, serve you and your guests well, and take you back to your childhood?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

They Do...Again and Again

We could all take a page from this celebrity couple's book of romance. Heidi Klum and Seal were married four years ago in 2005. They celebrate their anniversary every year by recommitting to each other in a renewal ceremony.

How's that for keeping the romance and love alive in your relationship? I think it is a wonderful idea for couples to adopt as their own, if not every year perhaps every few years or at least milestone years within the relationship.

Seal has been reported as saying "We love it. It's great saying your vows again. You remember who it was you fell in love with. It's also a good excuse to have a big party, and we have a different theme every year."

Amongst other ideas, they have planned an Indian themed party for a small group of friends and relatives to celebrate with them. Not only is this an expression of their love and commitment to each other, it's also a great way to keep the creativity flowing in their relationship and keep things fresh. Gotta love this!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

There are so many design elements to consider in planning your wedding. The design of your cake is at the top of the list next to selecting your wedding gown. Gone are the days of the traditional white wedding cake. What makes your cake distinctive and unique are the elements you choose to use in designing it. With this in mind, there are some things to consider when putting the icing on the cake!
Consider The Cost
No more than 5% of your wedding budget should be devoted to your cake. Generally speaking cake cost run anywhere from $400 to $8,000. The cost is usually based on a per slice/per serving basis. You could pay anywhere from $4.00 to $25 per slice. Also keep in mind the more elaborate the decorations, the more complex the assembly, and the more pure the ingredients, the more you will pay.

above image photo credit

Style Preference
Some popular trends include:
Smaller wedding cakes on each table to serve 8-10 guests at the table
Cake designed to match your dress
Colors to match wedding palette
Thematic cakes decorated to coincide with your theme (ex. shell adorned cake for a beach themed wedding)

above image photo credit

Size Does Matter
When it comes to the size of the cake, a general rule of thumb to keep in mind is that a three tier cake normally serves 50 to 100 guests. As your guest count goes up, additional tiers will need to be added. Also consider the reception space. If the reception is being held in a grandiose room with high ceilings, a taller cake with extra tiers will better suit the space, and like wise a smaller lesser tiered cake would better suit a room with lower ceilings.

above image photo credit

It's A Matter of Taste
Chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, carrot cake, lemon…ummm it all sounds so good, and the choices are endless. One thing to keep in mind…if you decide you would like a flavor that is out of the ordinary be sure to find a baker that specializes in that particular flavor.

above image photo credit

Let Them Have Cake and Be Able To Eat It Too
You want to be able to enjoy your own cake. Therefore be conscious of the ingredients which go into making it. If either of you are allergic to key ingredients such as soy, peanuts, etc., be sure to mention this to your baker. Also if your family has certain cultural restrictions, you will need to research bakers who can fulfill your special requests.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Why Does The Groom Make His Entrance First?

As a guest to quite a few weddings, and a wedding coordinator of hundreds over the years, one of the highlights of the ceremony for me is seeing the expression of the groom's face as the bride make her grand entrance. Some grooms grin from ear to ear, some tear up, others break down into a gut wrenching sob, but whatever the expression of emotion displayed, it is always priceless. Traditionally, the groom enters the sanctuary first. Have you ever wondered why? You might think it is designed that way for him to stand at the altar with pride and joy to see his beautiful bride ascend down the aisle. However, by entering first, the groom signifies that he is the covenant initiator. The reason this is important is because whoever initiates the covenant assumes greater responsibility for seeing it fulfilled. God initiated covenants with Noah, Abraham and David. Christ initiated the covenant of salvation with us, and He is still at work to fulfill His covenant, in that when the trumpets sound, and Christ appears, He is coming to consummate the wedding with His bride, the Church.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Place Where You Stand Is Holy Ground

Often time couples put more thought and effort into planning the "Wedding Reception". The marriage ceremony however is the most important part of your wedding day, and not something to be taken lightly. It is a form of worship. Consider the aisle runner for example. When the bride makes her entrance she takes her walk down the aisle, which is prepared for her using a white aisle runner. But have you ever wondered why this is done? Well, the significance of the white aisle runner is that it is a symbol of walking on holy ground. The marriage covenant is not just made between the bride and groom before the assembly of their witnesses. It is made in the presence of God, who is actively involved in the covenant since it is God who joins them together (Matthew 19:6 NIV So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate). In Exodus 3:5, when Moses entered into the presence of God, he was told to respect His presence with the command "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground". As you are making plans, think about the meaning and reasons behind the traditions, which have become a part of the wedding day. Understanding the origin will undoubtedly add a greater level of significance to all the details which go into planning wedding.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let's Get This Party Started!

I believe your wedding planner and your DJ and/or band are the two key players to ensuring a fabulous event. Your wedding reception is the biggest party you'll ever throw. It's a time of celebration! Your wedding planner's role is to pull all of the elements together to work on your behalf to perform like a well oiled machine. Your DJ or band, will get and hopefully keep the celebration going. Therefore the person(s) you select to do this will make all the difference in how your party of a lifetime unfolds. Knowing how to get your people up on the dance floor is a must. You don't want to worry about getting your reluctant guests up on the dance floor on your wedding day. Your DJ or band leader must know how to interact with the crowd and get them involved. Certainly knowing what to play is important, but also knowing when to play it is key to a successful party. Timing is a must! The point here is understanding that there is more involved in choosing a DJ or band and trusting that they'll play all your favorite tunes from your playlist. They should how to read your crowd and know when to pump up the volume.

Thursday, April 9, 2009