Honoring Loved Ones | Art Photography by Valerie | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Honoring Loved Ones

When a parent or other close relative has recently passed away, it may be important to you to find an appropriate way to remember them without ruining the joyous tone of the wedding. After all, a wedding is a celebration, and while a missing parent is certainly sad, it shouldn’t overpower the wedding day.


Genevieve Nisly Photography

A Seasonal Celebration: Cutting Costs on a Gorgeous Fall Wedding

Rustic color palettes, gorgeous outdoor venues, caramel apple favors and lace long sleeved gowns? It’s no wonder so many brides fall in love with autumn weddings! Along with all the whimsical touches of a blustery big day come the general uncertainties, like pricey bouquet arrangements and climate conditions; but have no fear, brides-to-be, Today’s Bride has harvested the best planning tips for your seasonal nuptials! READ MORE

Photo courtesy of Vitaliy Photography.

Choosing the Right Ceremony for Your Wedding

Choosing-the-Right-CeremonyPhoto courtesy of ZMEDIA.

When planning your wedding, you have to pick what’s right for you. One of the biggest decisions you’ll make regarding your wedding is choosing what type of ceremony you and your fiancé would like. This can be complicated, as there are many different types and styles of wedding ceremonies out there. When choosing a type of ceremony, you should ask yourself if you would like to have religion incorporated and if you or your fiancé have any special needs or requests.

The basic types of wedding ceremonies are religious/traditional or civil/non-religious.

Photo courtesy of Carol Malick Photography.

Photo courtesy of Carol Malick Photography.

A “traditional” wedding is more commonly known today as a religious or cultural wedding. However, this is a very broad category, as you can have a one religion/one cultural ceremony, an interfaith ceremony, an intercultural and interfaith ceremony, or a non-denominational ceremony.

Photo courtesy of Cavanaugh Photography.

Photo courtesy of Cavanaugh Photography.

A one religion/one cultural ceremony is all about incorporating one chosen religion or culture. Typically, you and your fiancé were either raised with this religion or culture, and/or it’s a religion or culture with which you plan on raising your family.  These ceremonies follow the usually strict rules and guidelines set by your religion or culture.  Some examples of this type of ceremony is a Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Irish, Greek or Chinese ceremony.  Many of these religious wedding ceremonies happen in a place of worship, however some Officiants may allow you to be married outside of the place of worship (this is rare, though and you will most likely need to ask your Officiant up front about the location).

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography.

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography.

An interfaith ceremony is usually when a couple will want to bring both of their religions and religious traditions together for one wedding. The purpose of this is to bring and blend together different religious rituals that are meaningful and symbolic to both the bride and groom.

Photo courtesy of Genevieve Nisly Photography

Photo courtesy of Genevieve Nisly Photography

Intercultural style wedding ceremonies do not have to be religious; however some of them are, as many cultures incorporate some form of faith or religion. The purpose of this style of wedding is to blend together different culture from both the bride and groom into their wedding, such as the combining of Greek and Italian style weddings.

Photo courtesy of BCR Studios by Brad.

Photo courtesy of BCR Studios by Brad.

Photo courtesy of Vitaliy Photography.

Photo courtesy of Vitaliy Photography.

A non-denominational wedding ceremony is another way to incorporate God into your wedding; however this type of ceremony does not refer to a specific religion. With this style of wedding, you may be able to find a non-denominational wedding Officiant who is willing to do a ceremony outside if you wanted to have a religious wedding without it happening in a place of worship.

A civil ceremony is usually a ceremony where the bride and groom are married by a Justice of the Peace or a judge. A civil ceremony can focus more on the love and relationship between a bride and groom, rather than a religion. In place of prayers, scripture or biblical readings, you may decide to read poems or other meaningful sayings.  However, you may find that you want the religious aspects with a Justice of Peace as your Officiant, which is okay if it works for you.

Just remember that when deciding on what type of wedding ceremony you would like to have, you will want to make sure that it reflects you and your fiancé’s wants and needs. You should pick something that you are comfortable with and will enjoy, as it is your big day.


The Grand Exit: Creative Ways to Send Newlyweds off with Style

The end of a wedding is the beginning of a new life for the bride and groom. With that being said, it is appropriate to send the newlyweds off in a spectacular fashion. Fashion, we know, is always changing. So yesterday’s custom of throwing rice has given way to new traditions.

Some changes are for safety’s sake. Many churches allow confetti, rose petals and birdseed to be strewn before the departing couple, but they do not allow rice to be thrown any longer. People slip on rice on the sidewalk and rice is harmful to birds that eat it. Let’s face it: You do not want to be known as the bride whose wedding led to Grandma breaking her ankle.

Some changes are more for beauty’s sake. For example, the sending of balloons into the sky, setting light to sparklers and even, extravagantly, releasing doves into the air.

Art Photography by Valerie

Art Photography by Valerie

When it comes to your sendoff, choices also have to be made about transportation. What kind of vehicle will carry you into your new life? Will it be decorated and if so, how? And who will drive? Most couples use a car, a limousine, a sports coupe or an antique automobile. Others choose a slower form of transportation such as a horse drawn carriage. Decorations are not necessary, but some choose carnations, signs, dangling tin cans or streamers to let onlookers and other cars know they have been “Just Married!”

Style is not everything though; there are more practical matters. Couples headed for an out-of-country honeymoon are wise to have their marriage license – signed! — and passports in hand, along with tickets and any other travel documents. The marriage license will explain the name change not reflected in the passport. Last, an umbrella stashed in the vehicle is a smart move, too, in case of an unexpected shower. Assigning these tasks to the wedding planner or a trusted friend or family member will allow you and your new husband to fully enjoy the sendoff.

Amy Bennett Weddings

Amy Bennett Weddings

Artäge Pictures

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography

Party Animals: Incorporating Pets Into Your Wedding Ceremony

If you have a cat, dog or even a fish at home – chances are they’ve become a big part of your life. So it only makes sense to want to include them in one of the biggest events of your life, too!

Photo courtesy of InLux Photography

Photo courtesy of InLux Photography

While this may have seemed like a strange idea in the past, personalization is taking priority in today’s ceremonies. What better way to insert your personality than to bring your little buddy on board?

If you’re thinking of including a pet in your wedding, there are a few things to consider first. For example, is it appropriate for the kind of ceremony you’re having? Your dog might be adorable at an outdoor ceremony, but not so much at a fancy hotel. Furthermore, some locations might not permit any animals on premise, so it’s imperative that you check with your ceremony venue before bringing your pup the night of rehearsal.

If neither your ceremony nor your reception venue allows pets, you might still be able to strike a compromise. You could always designate a friend to bring your dog to the location where you’ll be shooting your photos.

Of course, the type of animal you have may also help dictate his role in the wedding. Couples with smaller, less social pets such as lizards, ferrets or guinea pigs might be happy just to have their animal present at the wedding. In this case, you could ask a guest to hold the pet during the ceremony or simply keep the animal nearby in a cage. More social animals like cats and dogs could certainly take on a more active role in your ceremony. Sure man’s best friend can also be man’s best man, but more often than not, you’ll find that the best place for your pooch lies in letting them be the ring bearer, flower dog or simply a member of the wedding party or an honored guest.

One important task that comes with including your pet is making sure you spread the word! You’ll definitely need to inform guests that your pet will be attending – doing so will help prepare those with pet allergies. You’ll also want to notify your photographer to capture your furry friend in action.

And before you even think it – we already know your next question! How can I keep Buddy from tackling Uncle Dave as he’s walking down the aisle? We highly recommend a controlled environment for your pet – both for their safety and for the safety of your guests. Have one of your groomsmen walk your rambunctious puppy down the aisle on a leash or your maid-of-honor carry your kitty down the aisle. (Fair warning: Beware of your pet’s claws – we’re sure you already know they can easily snag fabrics. In order to keep your gorgeous gown intact, you might want to give them a trim before the big day.) While your pet may be extremely well-behaved, it might be advisable to enroll them in a training school to find out what tricks he or she might be able to do at your celebration.

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography

Photo courtesy of LMAC Photography

After making the decision to include your pet and deciding on their role, it’s time for the outfits! Oh, the outfits! When it comes to animal attire, couples have tons of options. Of course, you can always choose not to adorn your animal, but where’s the fun in that? Give your guests something to “aww” and “ooh” by dressing your Tabby in a tutu or sending your Labrador pup down the aisle in a miniature tuxedo.

And as far as accessories are concerned, the options are endless. Bow ties, top hats and veils tend to be the most popular pet accessories for weddings. You can even up the personalization factor by having a special collar made with your wedding date spelled out in glitzy jewels!

While we’re sure your pet is the cutest thing ever (especially in a bow tie!), it’s important for us to point out that not all pets are suited for a wedding.  Before choosing to include them in your ceremony, you need to assess his temperament. Is he friendly or aggressive? Does he make a lot of noise? Does he steal food? If your pet’s disposition doesn’t lend itself to this type of formal situation, don’t try to mold him into the perfect lapdog during your last month of planning. You’ll already have enough to do, and you don’t need the additional stress.

Beyond that, any couples who are considering including their pet at their ceremony also need to evaluate themselves. Truth is, animals are spontaneous. We can’t promise that your dog won’t dart away at the first sight of a squirrel. Do you and your groom both have laidback, confident personalities that can handle that? Are you both sure you won’t mind having a little bit of your spotlight stolen? If you’ve weighed the options and giving up a little bit of your thunder still isn’t as important as having your pet there, then we say go for it!


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Pull Off the Perfect Outdoor Spring Wedding

It’s spring … the tulips are blooming, the temperatures are rising — what a perfect time for a wedding!

For most of us, spring means the start of new life. Flowers bloom, and the earth wakes up from a long hibernation. If you live in a warmish climate, the perfect place for your spring wedding might be outdoors in a garden that’s bursting with fresh flowers.

As the weather begins to heat up and gardens start to bloom, many brides find the perfect setting for their special day among the greenery and budding flowers. There are so many ways to set off an outdoor wedding in springtime! Here are a few, with an eye towards elegance:

Make use of formal props such as candelabras and urns, and drape containers and tables with vintage linens and lace. Arbors look their best when decorated with simpler, unfussy garden materials — as opposed to over-the-top heaps of greens and garlands, a heavy look that’s less popular now.

Try clean-looking centerpieces with one consistent bloom. For example, pots filled with tulips or urns holding only anemones are really making the scene for spring. Color
Vibrant color is hot! Try cool greens mixed with eye-popping hues like coral or hot pink. Garden herbs also look (and smell) wonderful for weddings in spring. Try potting combinations of rosemary, thyme, and other herbs for green centerpieces that also make great take-home gifts.

Many spring brides are choosing bouquets filled with color – structurally simple, but daring! Brides are calling for stunning bouquet made up of tulips, or anemones: a Dutch flower with dark black centers, and vibrant petals of red, purple, or fuchsia. Lilacs or nosegays filled with sweet peas, miniature grape hyacinths, and ranunculus are popular, too.

Shabby Chic
A big trend right now is to mix and match contemporary with vintage – in other words, pure Shabby Chic. Dried lavender bound with dried grasses and tied to the pews lends a uniquely pleasing Shabby Chic feel. Dress windowsills with wreaths and candles in colored mason jars. Later on, reuse these same decorations to brighten up the reception tables.

Spring Wedding Gowns
Wedding gowns with a touch of color are in! Try a dress with sophisticated tan, beige or pink overtones — champagne tones are especially popular.
Nostalgia rears its head here as well — many brides are choosing gowns reminiscent of the 40s, 50s or 60s, while others are opting to wear the gown their mother or grandmother wore (either literally the same — or a loving copy).

Outdoor Candles
Candles lend a soft and romantic aura to any event. But to make the most of them, marry a bit later in the day, or have the reception run into the evening and light your candles then. To add a touch of spring to your candles, wrap bright satin ribbons around clear votive cups. (Multiple layers and colors lend an especially contemporary look.) These can double as guest wedding favors.

Don’t Forget the Backup Plan
Spring weather can be unpredictable. Have your Plan B worked out in case of rain, fog or strong winds. Look for a nearby elegant indoor hall nearby to serve as a backup. Alternatively, line up an event tent for the morning of the wedding, just in case (guests enjoy tents even in perfect weather, too — they help soften the sun’s strong rays). Having a backup plan for any outdoor wedding, anytime of the year, is a wise move.

A wedding in spring can be romantic, elegant, and fun! Knowing what you want — and lining up great planning and event staff — are the keys to a successful spring wedding.

Written by Michelle O’Connor www.favorideas.com

Things to Consider in Choosing Your Wedding Officiant

By: Maureen Thomson

Choosing a ceremony officiant for your big day can be a daunting task.  If you are getting married in your church or synagogue, the decision is simple.–you take what they give you, usually. But maybe you don’t belong to a church yet want a heartfelt ceremony that expresses your personal beliefs. If you are like many brides- and grooms-to-be, you are looking for creative alternatives to the traditional cookie-cutter ceremony.

You deserve to have your ceremony be like no other and to develop a warm and personal relationship with your officiant. With the popularity of out-of-church-weddings, many people are hanging out their shingles calling themselves “wedding officiants”. Beware, for you don’t want an amateur handling this aspect of your big day. If the florist or photographer doesn’t show, it is unfortunate, but the day can go on. If your officiant doesn’t show–you’ve got BIG trouble. Ask some of your recently married friends for recommendations. Or, type in the name of your state or city followed by wedding officiant (e.g. Colorado wedding officiant) into a search engine and you’ll get a bunch of hits. Look for someone with an established presence, who issues contracts and has a fairly sophisticated website. These are good clues that the person or business is stable and will be around for your big day. Then follow these guidelines when you meet with a prospective celebrant.

1)        When you meet with him or her (or chat on the phone) do they exude a calming presence? Does their energy fit in with what you are seeking for your ceremony? Do they come across as being passionate about performing weddings? Are they interested in hearing your story?  If you find yourself smiling, or nodding in agreement as the officiant speaks to you, that’s a good indication that your wedding ceremony will be one that you will happily remember for many years.

2)        Will he or she help you to craft a ceremony without restrictions–including all of your ideas?

3)        Are they thorough and easy to understand in explaining the ceremony-writing process to you? Are you clear on how it all works, the booking procedure, how many meetings you will have together, timelines, etc? You will want an officiant who explains things easily and clearly so there will be no confusion on your wedding day.

4)        Does the officiant view your wedding ceremony as the heart of your wedding day–a celebration as opposed to merely a prescribed ritual?

5)        Does the officiant honor all spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof) and view their primary role as that of facilitator of your ceremony?

6)        Is he or she adventurous of spirit and willing to try unconventional things? Ask them to recount an example or two of creative touches they have incorporated into ceremonies.

7)        Is he or she a proficient writer and a dynamic speaker? Is their speaking voice pleasing to the ear and free from pauses, “ums” and irritating phrases such as “you know,” “like,” and “OK.”

8)        Is the officiant a one-man/woman show or is he or she part of a group? If they are solo, do they have a backup in case of an emergency?

9)        Do they offer more than one level of service in order to accommodate your needs and budget or is it “one size fits all?”

10)        Do they have a wealth of written options for you to include in your ceremony?

11)        What are their pre-marital counseling requirements, if any?

12)        Is their fee in writing? What extra charges, if any, could possibly apply over and above the original fee? Are the payment terms reasonable to you?

13)        Is there pressure to upgrade to a more expensive level of service (perhaps including things you don’t need)? Do they try to get you to book on the spot, telling you that they may not be available for your date unless you book immediately? Or do they give you the opportunity to go home, discuss it and get back to them?

14)        Is he or she a professional wedding ceremony officiant, or is officiating ceremonies his or her sideline business? Are they ceremony experts or do they divert their attention to other wedding services? You don’t want your officiant also serving as your DJ or your bartender, do you?

15)        How long have they been in business? Do they have a written contract? What are the contract terms?

16)        Is he or she willing to give you the benefit of his or her experience of what has worked and not worked in the past, and then leave the final decision up to you?

17)        Are they knowledgeable about their state’s marriage license procedures and do they advise you on the process of obtaining your license?

18)        Most of all, what does your gut tell you when you talk with this person? If it feels right, then you’ve probably found the best fit for you.

Need an Officiant? Check out Wedding Officiants in the Greater Cleveland and Akron areas: http://www.todaysbrideonline.com/topics/officiants.phtml

About the Author

Lyssabeth’s Colorado Wedding Officiants, Bay Area Wedding Officiants and Rocky Mountain Wedding Officiants. Visit us at www.MemorableCeremoniesBA.com, www.RockyMountainWeddingOfficiants.com and www.MemorableCeremonies.com.

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