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Wedding Favor. Making The Most Of Your Wedding!

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Planning An Outdoor Wedding

An outdoor wedding is a dream for many couples, and there are a variety of locations to consider, scenic landmarks, historic estates, parks, the beach, or even your own backyard. Getting married outside in the sunshine, surrounded by the beauty of nature and your friends and family, makes for a lovely celebration.

But hosting an outdoor wedding takes planning, forethought and attention to details. Although you can’t control the weather, you can work around it. Here are some tips for planning a successful outdoor wedding.

Even though your heart is set on an outdoor wedding, it is wise to choose a location that has both indoor and outdoor facilities, if possible. That way, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, the show can still go on. At the very least, rent a tent in case of inclement weather.

Some parks and other outdoor wedding locations may not be experienced in hosting weddings. Make sure you know the rules of the venue you choose.

Ask specific questions; for example, do you need a permit? Is there a limit on the number of guests? Will you be allowed to serve alcohol?

Make sure you’ll have access to the amenities you’ll need for a successful event. Are there restrooms available? If not, you’ll have to rent port-a-potties. You’ll probably need electricity (for the caterers, the DJ, fans or lighting, etc.), which is not usually found in nature. Find out if you need to rent a generator.

Bugs and outdoor weddings go hand in hand. But you can take measures to alleviate the worst of the problem. You may want to hire an exterminator to spray the day before the wedding. Citronella candles add shimmer and also help keep bugs at bay.

At an outdoor wedding, Mother Nature provides most of the decorations -- trees, flowers, a view of a lake or a hilltop vista. But you may want to embellish a bit. Many couples opt for a beautiful wedding arch to provide a focal point for the ceremony.

The arch can be left simple and unadorned, or can be swathed in flowers and ribbons to match those carried by the wedding party. An arch dripping with flowers also provides a wonderful backdrop for wedding photos. Coordinate the arch with raised planters sprouting matching flowers and you’ll add enchantment to an already magical setting. And if you have to move your ceremony indoors at the last minute, the arch and planters will provide instant decoration to the new location.

You can ask your florist to decorate the arch, or do it yourself. Garden Artisans offers a number of arches to choose from, including the Ogee Gothic Arch, a Monet Arch and a Classic Round Arch to add a romantic touch to your wedding. After the ceremony, the arch can take an honored place in your garden as a reminder of your special day.

Be sure guests know they’re attending an outdoor wedding, so they can dress appropriately. In addition, it is a good idea to send weather information to out-of-town guests who may not be familiar with the climate.

Is there a place for your guests to park? If there is no convenient parking at the site, consider having them park in a nearby lot and shuttling them over. Also make sure that the site is accessible, especially for elderly guests and others with limited mobility.

The Wedding Party
Keep the weather in mind when choosing a dress for outdoor weeding . Brides should choose a dress made of lighter-weight fabrics and consider not having a train, which will drag in the grass and dirt. An aisle runner will help this problem. Brides and bridesmaids will want to stay away from shoes with spike heels, which will sink into the ground.

Groomsmen should consider wearing vests with full backs so they can still look dressed up with their coats off.

Be sure the professionals you hire have outdoor wedding experience. Caterers need to provide foods and food displays that keep well under warm conditions. Alcohol is dehydrating. Make sure there are nonalcoholic beverages available to quench people’s thirst on a hot day.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Dutch Wedding Tradition

Some Dutch wedding traditions that originated in the Netherlands have faded into obscurity -- with time and changing mores -- while others, such as the bridal shower, have spread far and wide and are still alive today.

Traditionally, courtship and betrothal customs Dutch wedding varied depending on the origin of the couple. People in the north of Holland allowed their daughters a lot more freedom, and gave the girl and her suitor a bit of privacy during the courtship. Single girls and widows gained respect from having a 'queester,' a 'night visitor' who would spend a few hours with the girl -- and sometimes would even stay at the parents' home for an entire night.

In the south of Holland, however, parents tended to be strict with their daughters, and potential suitors had to be more resourceful. They would bribe servants into allowing them to see their beloved, or leave flowers on a girl's doorstep to show their interest.

In Dutch wedding, once a man finally managed to meet his dream girl face-to-face, protocol called for certain responses from her. For instance, a girl who was not interested would stand by the fireplace and grab the poker -- clearly showing her suitor that he was not welcome. If girl was interested, she was expected to smooth her hair and dress, and arrange her bonnet to make herself look pretty.

Once accepted in the family, a suitor was allowed to visit his beloved on Wednesdays and Sundays, to take her out to religious celebrations and festivals. Once a couple was officially betrothed -- or engaged -- the custom called for their families to invite relatives and friends over for a formal dinner. There, a contract was signed in the presence of a notary.

The bride Dutch wedding would usually receive a trousseau from her parents, while her future father-in-law would traditionally give her a 'chatelaine.' A chatelaine was a chain or rope, usually made of silver or leather, equipped with various articles that would prove useful to the bride-to-be, such as pair of scissors, a pincushion and a needle case, a small knife, and a mirror. This chatelaine identified the girl as a young lady who was about to be married. The girl's future husband often gave her a written declaration of love, such as a poem.

Once officially engaged, the couple set their Dutch wedding day and selected bridesmaids (playmates,) as well as 'speeljonkers' (play-youths) and "spellmeisjes" (play-girls.) This group was in charge of decorations and entertainment, and would assume general servant duties to the groom and the bride -- who also had an official servant specifically assigned to her for the duration of the wedding preparations.

Traditionally, the young couple wrote their Dutch wedding announcement themselves, but in order to publish the banns, they needed parental consent; this consent was also required in order for the marriage to be considered legal.

Between the betrothal and the wedding day, the homes of both the bride and groom were suitably decorated, and 'banns dinners' were organized for the couple. The courtesy was later returned after the wedding, when the newlyweds would host post-nuptial dinners for friends and family.

The Dutch wedding tradition of bridal showers originated in Holland. Legend has it that a Dutch girl wished to marry a poor miller's son, but her father disapproved of the union, and refused to provide a dowry. The girl's friends took it upon themselves to get her everything required to start her new home.

This custom became popular in Holland, and whenever a father disapproved of his daughter's choice of suitor, the girl’s friends would make sure that she could get married without her father's help. Each friend helping a bride prepare for her Dutch wedding would bring a small gift, and in the 1800's, the trend was to place the gifts inside a small parasol, and later open it over the girl's head -- letting this ‘shower ‘of gifts fall upon the bride.

The days before a wedding would be filled with dinner-parties. The couple would spend their time organizing the wedding banquet and planning their Dutch wedding attire, and guests would visit the bride's home.

The day before the wedding, the door of the bride’s house would be painted green, and flowers would be scattered along the bride and groom's path as they made their way to the Dutch wedding ceremony venue.

Wedding Customs, Traditions, and Rituals

Weddings are filled with customs and traditions.... "Something old, something blue..." and all that stuff! Have you ever stopped to wonder what on earth it all really means and where it all originated? Most of these wedding customs have endured the test of time, having been begun centuries ago.

How very fascinating that is! How is it that they survive? They have been maintained over time because such traditions carry with them the promise that they will bring happiness and good fortune to the couple at this wedding customs transitional time in their life - and who could be brave enough to tamper with that?

In times past, if a young man encountered a blind person, a pregnant woman, or a monk on while on his way to propose to his intended bride, it was believed that the marriage would be doomed if he continued along because these images were thought to be bad omens. On the other hand, if he were to happen upon a pigeon, wolf, or goat, he would expect extremely good fortune in the marriage.

According to an old wedding customs legend, the month in which you marry may have some bearing on the fate of the marriage: "Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and true; When February birds do mate, you wed nor dread your fate; If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know; Marry in April when you can, joy for Maiden and for Man; Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day

Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you will go; Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred; Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see; Marry in September's shrine, your living will be rich and fine; If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry; If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember; When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last".

The wedding customs tradition for the bride to wear white began in the 16th century and is still commonly follwed today. This is a symbol of the bride's purity and her worthiness of her groom. The tradition became solidified during the time of Queen Victoria who rebelled against the royal tradition for Royal brides to wear silver. Instead, the queen preferred the symbolism which is expressed by wearing white. The brides of the time quickly emulated the queen, and the tradition has continued in full force to this day.

There is an old wedding customs saying that "the bride wore a green gown". This implies the belief that she was promiscuous before marriage and refers to the image of her rolling around in grassy fields with a young man. Traditionally brides have been thought to be particularly vulnerable to evil spirits.

Many wedding customs and traditions were originated as an attempt to fight away such evil. The veil was worn with the belief that it would disguise the bride and fool the evil spirits. It was not until 1800 in Britain that the veil came to symbolize modesty and chastity.

Today, the veil remains the ultimate symbol of virginity. It is held that a final look in the mirror right before the bride leaves her home for the ceremony will bring good luck. However, if she looks in a mirror once again before the ceremony, her luck will tarnish to bad! It is believed to be bad luck for the bride to make her own wedding dress.

It is believed wedding customs to be bad luck for the bride to wear her complete outfit before the wedding day. As an extension to this, some brides leave a final stitch on the dress undone until the day of the wedding for good luck.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

White Wedding

A white wedding is a term for a traditional formal or semi-formal wedding in British and American as well as Commonwealth traditions. Brides in many other countries are adopting this traditional white dress. This term refers to the white colour of the wedding dress, which became popular in the Victorian era and came to symbolize purity of heart and the innocence of childhood. Later attribution suggested that the colour white symbolized virginity.

The tradition of wearing white at weddings began due to the choice of colour of the wedding dress of Queen Victoria at her wedding to Prince Albert. Queen Victoria was not the first royal bride to wear a white wedding gown, but the first of the modern era. White had been a traditional colour of royal mourning, and although not often utilized as such, white was not considered a suitable choice for a royal wedding.

Victoria's choice popularized the white wedding gown as no other had before her. Previously, brides wore their best clothes or the most expensive new clothes they could afford. Gold or gold-threaded dresses became popular with royal brides; the rank-and-file wore dresses that reflected their station. White was one of many choices, pastel shades were also popular.

Until the mid-twentieth century, many brides in the United Kingdom did not wear a traditional wedding dress, merely a specially bought dress that could later be worn as an evening dress. This was also the case in pre-20th Century America where working and frontier brides often opted for a formal look that was practical and could be used again on special occasions.

Traditionally, the choice of the style of wedding was limited by the condition of the bride (unmarried, divorced, virginal etc.); the groom's status was immaterial outside of wearing a formal uniform if he is a member of the military or police.

Some couples, wanting to avoid a perceived sexist connotation implied in the white wedding dress have the groom dressed in a white tuxedo to give some parity. By extension, other variations are sometimes included to further this spirit such as the Mother of the Groom accompanying her son in the procession to the altar.

White weddings almost always take place in churches and people generally seek to be married in the most prestigious or picturesque church they can find. This often leads to the often bemoaned phenomenon of such churches attracting the unexpected attendance of unmarried couples who are in the early stages of planning their wedding and wish to be married there, but would not otherwise set foot in church.

As a consequence, some churches require that the couple either be parishioners or pledge to join and participate in the parish. In the United States, such white weddings may also be held at the family's residence or in a private club.

The full white wedding experience means that an organist, a choir, flower arrangements, flowers for lapels and commemorative wedding leaflets with the Order of Service need to be arranged and purchased. Also the hymns need to be selected and a reading from the Bible chosen. (Note: A less religious or non denominational form uses well known classical and popular music.)

Modern developments that are not part of the traditional "white wedding" include "themed weddings" and "destination weddings." These are discussed at the entry Wedding.

For a white wedding to take place preparations have to be undertaken dependent on the denomination of the Church involved and in the jurisdiction. In the United Kingdom Anglican the couple needs only read the banns of marriage three times. In the United States, Roman Catholics must undergo a lengthy preparation with the Church, as well as meet any local requirements for a civil marriage.

Most other recognised denominations need to acquire a marriage license. In the United States, a marriage license must be obtained prior to the ceremony; some jurisdictions have a waiting period.

Additionally, potential white wedding marriage mates will need to be confirmed in or converted to the religion or denomination of the church. At the very least the vicar, minister or priest will want to interview the couple and possibly have them attend marriage classes of some sort.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Choosing A Wedding Officiant

The wedding officiant you choose should have the same believe system as you or able to perform the ceremony you envision. Talk to the officiant about his or her speeches during the wedding ceremony before you make a decision, this will set the tone of the whole ceremony. And be sure to only choose a wedding officiant that can legally marry a couple within the state you are planning to get married.

First detail you and your fiancée or fiancé must decide on is if you would like a wedding officant that will perform a religious or a secular ceremony. This will highly impact the mood of the ceremony and who to choose as a wedding officant.

Your first choice for a religious wedding officiant should be your family clergy person, if you have one that you feel relaxed around. If you do not, but are planning on getting married in a church or other house of worship your decision will most likely be officant that often performs their wedding ceremonies.

The house of worship should be able to give you their contact information and let you know the times you can attend a worship service; attend to see if you like the way he or she lights up the room. If you do not like the person they recommend you may want to ask them for a different recommendation or if they would allow an outside wedding officiant to perform your ceremony.

You may want to look for a wedding officiant that is the same denomination that you are.
There are more choices of people to choose from when you decide to go with a secular wedding officiant. You could get a justice of peace, your local city hall, or in some cases even a friend or relative to marry you!

If you are interested in getting a Justice of Peace to marry you just contact the county clerk’s office, were you will be getting your marriage license. They should be able to give you the contact information of local Justices of the Peace who perform wedding ceremonies. Or you could find Justice of the Peace listed online or even in the phone book.

For a fast ceremony, just call city hall and provide them the information they need. Then, just set up an appointment and they can marry you in no time at all.

In some states a friend / relative can get a one day designation of Deputy Commissioner Marriages to perform weddings for a low cost. Just be sure that it will be a recognized marriage in your state!

When meeting with any wedding officiant make sure they are available to perform your ceremony at the time and date you decided on and that they are legally able to marry a couple in your state!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Wedding Reception

A wedding reception is a party held after the completion of a marriage ceremony. Some sort of post-marriage party is traditional in most societies around the world, but with considerable variety on the details.

The wedding is often followed or accompanied by a wedding reception, at which an elaborate wedding cake is served.

In most Western countries, following a meal with copious quantities of food and alcohol, speeches are made by members of the wedding party wishing the couple well in the future. Traditionally, the speaking parties include bride's father, the best man, and then finally the groom. In the modern U.S., speeches are more often given by the best man and the maid of honor.

After the speeches, the bride and groom begin their First Dance, which used to be called the "bridal waltz". Different dance styles are now used, depending on the nature of this pop song.

The wedding reception dance party may involve a certain sequence of special dances. For example, after the First Dance, the groom may escort his bride to her father for a special Father/Daughter dance.

Following the various special dances, the guests are invited to join in the dancing. The party continues with toasts and various celebrations until the bride and groom leave in a car "decorated" by the couple's friends.

Wedding reception traditions vary considerably between countries, and even between regions of the same countries. In some cultures, there is the "tossing of the bride's bouquet and garter". The bride tosses her bouquet over her shoulder to a group of all the single women present. Whoever catches it is supposed to be the next to get married.

Similarly, the groom tosses the bride's garter to the single men, often after removing it from her leg, to the amusement of the guests. Sometimes the man who catches the garter is supposed to put it on the leg of the woman who catches the bouquet. Sometimes the garter is sold in a raffle instead of being tossed.

Clinking of the glasses: Guests will often clink their glasses during dinner to ask the newlyweds to stand up and kiss. Some couples pass out wedding reception favor bells for guests to ring instead of clinking glasses.

In Chinese societies, the wedding reception is far more important than the wedding itself which tends to be a brief civil ceremony. The timing and the characteristics of the reception varies strongly from locale to locale. They are typically extremely elaborate and expensive often costing several years salary of the bride's family.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Find the Perfect Wedding Dress

Look through bridal magazines and wedding websites, attend bridal shows to familiarize yourself with latest designer trends. Keep pictures of the designs you like. From the type, size and location of your reception, determine your budget and styles of wedding gowns you prefer. Contact friends and/or relatives for recommended bridal shops in your area.

Start shopping as soon as you set your date. Most designer wedding dresses need to be special ordered. It could take 3 to 6 months for special order or designer wedding dresses to arrive. Order at least six months prior to your reception. This will allow time for fittings, alterations, and coordination. If you decide to have your wedding gown custom made, allow about 6 months since selection of style, fabric and details along with fittings takes time.

To make your day a pleasant and rewarding one, try not to visit too many bridal shops in the same day. When you are fresh, full of energy and enthusiasm, you will be able to make sound judgments. On the other hand, if you come to the store exhausted and unprepared, after trying a few styles you may be confused and find that all the gowns begin to look the same and you may come home toting one of the cheap wedding dresses simply because you were tired! Bring along pictures of wedding gowns you like and be open to discuss your plan and idea with a bridal consultant. It could happen that the gown you like in a picture doesn't look good on you.

The bridal consultant will study your figure type and personality to help select the styles that flatter you and suit your budget. Try on all of the dresses the consultant shows you, even if it may not seem like "your style" of dress as most wedding gown dresses look much better, and different, on you than on the racks. You may want to bring a family member or friend along for a second opinion .

Avoid taking more than one person since too many opinions can conflict and confuse. Wearing appropriate undergarments and a bit of makeup can also help to make the wedding gown look and fit better. Take a Polaroid camera along just in case you cannot decide. Take a picture of yourself wearing each wedding dress and bring them home to study.

It seems there are now as many WAYS to purchase a bridal gown as there are bridal gowns! Full service salons, internet discounters, warehouses and more are all competing for your business. Regardless of where and how you order a wedding gown, some things are the same.

A sales contract will be required, you will need to select your size, and more. There are many horror stories from brides who were taken advantage of when they were not aware of how to protect themselves (and their money) through this process.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Wedding Shower Checklist

Bridal showers are one of many pre-wedding parties and are great fun. They are known as parties with a purpose. The purpose of a shower is to assist the couple in equipping their new home or for the bride to assemble a trousseau.

Not only that, but they are a good excuse for the bride to get together with her friends and family to play hilarious games and to enjoy the food and wine.Did you know that a trend has started for ‘couples showers’?

This is sometimes termed as the ‘Jack’ and ‘Jill’ shower where you shower both the bride and groom with gifts and good wishes. Either way, if you are having a traditional bridal shower party for just the bride, or decide to have a couples shower, then the planning and the checklist will invariably be the same.

Here is an outline of a wedding shower checklist to get you on your way to organising a great shower party.Who should host the shower?Traditionally the maid of honour tends to plan the shower party. But today, anything goes and it is perfectly acceptable for both family and friends to work together to organize, host and share the cost of the wedding shower.

It doesn’t really matter who actually hosts the party as long as it is planned well in advance and normally in consultation with the bride. If the wedding shower is planned to be in someone’s home, then it’s always a good idea to choose the person with the largest home or garden.

When to have your partyBecause of the busy schedule the bride and her family will have in the lead up to her wedding, it is best to hold the shower about four to six weeks before the wedding. A growing trend is that more wedding showers are no longer a surprise and statistics show that 4 out of 5 brides are employed, therefore it is necessary to include the bride in the planning when it comes to setting a date and time.

A traditional ’girl-only’ party could be a Sunday brunch, a midweek lunch or an afternoon tea garden party.Couples showers are best held on a weekend day or evening. The majority of people tend to work between 9-5 Monday-Friday, therefore a weekend is a safe bet in that most of the couples’ friends and relatives can attend. If you are having a wedding shower party with work colleagues, then the ideal time would be in your lunch hour or straight after work.

What’s your Theme?As with the actual wedding, it is wise to choose a theme before sending out the invitations. The theme can then be used throughout the shower and incorporated in with the invitations, decorations, favors and refreshments.There are literally dozens of topics for a wedding shower party theme. The most popular is the ‘kitchen’ theme as there are endless pieces of equipment and accessories you can buy for the kitchen.

The host knows the bride well and will surely fit a theme around either what the bride and groom need, or their lifestyle. For example if the happy couple are both into health and fitness, then a fitness theme could be an option. One good idea for a couples shower is a wine tasting theme. This is ideal for a Saturday night party and I am sure the men will enjoy this one and easily get into the swing of things!

Bridal showers are meant to be fun. They do need a lot of planning and organization in advance, but they are worth it. The bride and groom receive practical gifts for their home, and shower party’s are a great excuse to get together with friends and family to have one whale of a time!