Honeymoon Trends for Newlyweds

January 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Wedding Planning

azura-island-mozambique-honeymoons

While traditional weddings and vows are still the most popular there has been an increasing trend for something different. It may be a value for money, adventure or exotic wedding and the travel industry has certainly benefited from the change.

According to recent surveys the average cost of honeymoon is $1,402 per person. This compares to the average of $421 per person for a “normal vacation”. Those aged 18 to 24  spend the most at about nearly $2,000 per person. Over one third spend in excess of $2,500. The U.S census records state that 2.5 million people get married annually and it is easy to see why newly-weds are a force in the market.

The following gives some examples of honeymoons taking place today.

The All-Inclusive Honeymoon

Although Jamaica was responsible for starting the trend of all inclusive packages this has spread and practically every Caribbean destination offers these facilities. All-inclusive make it less stressful. Everything is taken care of from the flights, hotel, food, drinks, tips and other items.

For those that wish to get married at the resort the price of the minister or officiant’s fee, the cake and the marriage license will be included.

In many instances all the guests will also be included.

European Destinations

The United Kingdom is the most popular European destination followed by France and Germany according to the North American Association of Tour Agents.

Additional more honeymooners are traveling to less traditional places such as Malta, Turkey or Portugal. With the opening up of the eastern Europe places such as Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland are also seeing an increase in honeymoon couples.

Mexico and Canada

The devaluation of the currencies in Canada and Mexico has increased the popularity of these countries as honeymoon destinations.

Mexico offers sun, sand and surf with everything the Caribbean islands has to offer, but Canada is surprisingly more popular.  Couples looking for a white honeymoon find it in ski areas such as Banff, Whistler, and Jasper, and those seeking big city culture seek out cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

It is considered that a persons’ money can go up to 40% further in Canada. The other interest in Canada is the fact that they can experience France without going having to take the time and spend the money necessary to actually go there.

Staying Close to Home

Despite the growing attraction of traveling abroad for a honeymoon the largest percentage still remain with the U.S. It does of course make a great deal of sense since the size of the country ensures that most types of honeymoon can be catered for.

The most popular city destinations are Las Vegas, Orlando, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco

The quick trip is also increasing in popularity. Lifestyles today are very different and peoples’  needs have changed. More and more time is spent working and in many instances couples already have children, either because of a previous marriage or started a family prior to deciding to get married. Taking a long vacation is not practical when there is a family to look after.

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Do-It-Yourself Wedding Invitations Save Money

January 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Wedding Invitations, Wedding Planning

3130604838_49f5759834_oYour wedding invitations are crucial. They create your wedding’s first impression to family and friends and set the tone for the festivities to come. They should reflect your wedding’s theme and level of formality. Ideally, they impress and intrigue, and kept in a scrapbook or album can continue to do so for many years.

Start at your local craft store. You’ll find tons of ways to express your chosen colors and motifs. Wedding invitation kits are widely available and will save you the time of buying components separately. If you wish to choose your own elements, check out the specialty paper selection – elegant invitation papers include vellum, linen paper, mulberry paper, and parchment. For card-style invitations, pick a heavy weight paper like cardstock for the outside card and a thin paper in a complementary color for your inserts. Be sure that whatever you plan to print on will work with your printer’s ink type and fit in the feed tray. Buy more than enough sheets to complete your project, inevitably you’ll have to trash a few. And don’t forget the envelopes! Read more

Choosing a Wedding Caterer Checklist

January 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Wedding Caterers, Wedding Planning

wedding-catererFor any couple planning a wedding, a long list of factors comes into play from invitations, music, and even alcohol consumption at the reception. Of course, while the wedding should be a time of vibrancy and life, it is also a time of responsibility, especially when alcohol will be served. The key is providing the right amount of alcohol so guests can enjoy a drink or two but without going so far that drinking becomes a potential problem. One of the best ways to ensure your reception is perfect would be working with a reputable caterer.

Whether you are planning a fancy sit-down dinner or just appetizers, finding the right caterer is essential to a wonderful reception. But where do you find one if you have never thrown a catered party before? There are several places you can look to find caterers in your area. Read more

Finding Right Wedding Photographer

Wedding PhotographerYou have spent a lot of time and money planning your special day. You have taken great pride in the kind of wedding you are going to have. One thing you will want is your special day recorded for all time.

Pictures of your wedding and reception are something you will treasure for the rest of your life. You want someone taking those pictures who know what they are doing, and how to get the memorable shots.

Professional vs a Friend?

Most brides and grooms face this decision. They have a friend who loves to take pictures as a hobby and offers to take their wedding pictures as a gift. Saving money is something everyone wants to do, but there are some places you shouldn’t scrimp on. Your wedding photographs are one of those things. Unless your friend has a job as a photographer, hiring a professional is the best choice. Professionals will have the best equipment and have the knowledge to get the right shots. Read more

Tempted to Elope? Take our Self-Quiz Before You Take the Plunge!

December 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Engaged, Featured, Wedding Planning

The-Elopement-Elope

Is non-stop wedding planning making you want to tear your hair out? Are you wondering why you need to spend more for flowers than you do on your monthly rent or mortgage? Does a seating chart put you into a tizzy? If so, you are probably tempted to elope.

Eloping used to be done in the middle of the night and without the blessing of your families. Today’s elopements are a much less dramatic affair. But eloping is not for everyone. Just because you can elope, doesn’t mean you should.

Take our self-quiz to help decide if an elopement is for you. Have your fiancé take it too and compare your results. Then decide if you are reserving the reception hall, or two First Class tickets to Las Vegas!

Question 1: Imagine it is one year after your wedding. On your first wedding anniversary, what memories of your wedding do you look forward to the most?

a)     the moments with our family and friends

b)    our first kiss as man and wife

c)     I’m thinking about how we’ll celebrate our 1st anniversary!

Question 2: If you had no limits to your budget or imagination, what wedding dress would you choose?

a)     one with a long train and lots of lace

b)    something with a modern twist, it might not be sold in a bridal shop

c)     as long as it fits and looks great, I’m happy

 Question 3: What stresses you out the most about planning your wedding?

a)     that everyone I’ve invited will have a good time/be able to attend

b)    that everyone does what they’ve promised to do/be on time/deliver items or services

c)     that the logistics of the event planning will go off without a hitch

Question 4: Do you have bridesmaids?

a)     my best friend from childhood, my best friend from college and my sister/fiancé’s sister

b)    I’d like a few close friends to be my bridesmaids

c)     Yes, I have several bridesmaids

Question 5: Why do you want to elope?

a)     I am so tired of planning this wedding; it is too much pressure/stress. How do brides do it all?

b)    who needs to be the center of attention at an event? We have each other, that’s what counts.

c)     it sounds so easy. One long weekend and we’re hitched.

Okay brides-to-be, let’s tally your answers!

If you have mostly A’s: You’re All About Family & Friends. Eloping probably is not the best choice for you. You may be temporarily tempted by the thought, after spending a few hours with your latest seating chart. But most likely you want your nearest and dearest by your side on the Big Day.

If you have mostly B’s: You’re a Close Couple. Eloping might be a good choice for you, if it is a choice the two of you entirely agree on. You make choices based on the happiness of the two of you as a couple. If both of you are happiest eloping – then elopement it is!

If you have mostly C’s: You are a No Fuss Bride. Some brides it seems love to fuss with the every detail of the wedding, from the monogrammed cocktail napkins to the dog ring bearer and teaching them a new trick to wow the guests. That’s not your style. Eloping could be a good option for you, if your fiancé agrees with your no fuss style about eloping being the ideal choice for your wedding.

Hiring a Wedding Planner (Coordinator)

December 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, Wedding Planners, Wedding Planning

wedding-planner

photo credit: www.sweetchicevents.com

Don’t underestimate the usefulness of hiring a qualified and experienced wedding planner or wedding coordinator.

Each and every year around 2.5 million weddings take place nationwide. This means that the number of weddings that will take place in your immediate area is astounding. Your wedding plans are going to be affected by number of factors, because many more weddings will happen at or around the same time as yours.

If you want even the tiniest little detail to be taken care of at your wedding, it would be recommended that you hire a wedding planner. He or she can save you a lot of time and money. The wedding planner will help you coordinate your wedding and the most important of all they will save you from frustration. Read more

Saving Money on Your Wedding Dress

December 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, Wedding Attire, Wedding Dresses

wedding-dressesIf you are on a tight budget the cost of a special order wedding dress can be a little bit hard to swallow. But what can you do? Yes, you will only wear the dress once, but it is your wedding – quite possibly the most important day of your life. You want a wedding dress that looks fabulous.

So what do you do? Is there any way you can find an incredible dress without breaking the bank? Actually, yes. There are several options. Yes, each option is filled with its own challenges but if you approach the opportunity with your eyes wide open you should be able to find a wedding gown that you will be proud to wear on your big day. Read more

Profile of a Halloween Wedding

November 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, Wedding Attire

This is going to be a snark-free post – just so you know.  If you want the customary snark, toddle on over to the weird laws site because we’ve been plenty snarky on that one lately.

Last year I was honored to attend an unconventional kind of wedding.  In fact, my hubs was part of the wedding party.  The wedding took place on Halloween, and I decided that since the happy couple’s one year anniversary approacheth, that that I would not only tell you about the happy day, I’d let the bride do it.  Megan was nice enough to answer some questions for me and send me some photos, so enjoy!

The wedding party

1.  What made you choose Halloween as your wedding date?

I absolutely adore Halloween! It has always been my favorite holiday. The dressing up, the scary decorations, the fall weather and of course, fall foods, like sweet potatoes! My daughters are the same way and dressing up is just plain fun! You can be all the things that aren’t “real” the other 364 days of the year.  And everyone knows Jamie loves anything dark and gory! Add to that our family’s love of anything macabre and you get the perfect day for our wedding. Not to mention it is an easy date for the groom to remember! The movie “The Corpse Bride” sealed the deal, it was the inspiration for the whole thing.

2.  Who did you choose to officiate your ceremony, and how did you know him/her?

Leighton Paquette preformed the ceremony. My aunt introduced him to us. The amazing thing was, I really only got to talk to him a couple of times. Maybe the longest conversation was an hour. And yet he nailed it. Jamie and I aren’t your typical couple. We’re square pegs trying to fit into a world of round holes. And Leighton got that. It wasn’t your typical stuffy or religious ceremony, it was ours and it was perfect. He said let him know if you have any questions for him. However,he wasn’t licensed to make it legal so another friend of the family who is filled out our marriage license.

Ceremony
3.  What was the significance of having your wedding on Halloween?

LOL we got to dress up and be yet ourselves and for once no one gave us strange looks for it. I’ve always felt like Halloween is an opportunity for those of us who are a little…..out there, to be truly free of society’s expectations for one night.

4.  What did you choose as your attire for the wedding and why?

I wanted to go with something fairy like but without dealing with wings. My mother, Debbie deTreville, is a wonderful seamstress, and she and my step-father, Jason Allen, designed a beautiful dress just by listening to me babble about a few I had seen that I liked. I wanted fairy-tale without the poofy Cinderella dress. It was a beautiful royal purple with iridescent wing like pieces attached at the upper arms and wrists. They both worked incredibly hard until the wee hours of the morning to get everything completed on time. They also did almost all of the decorations and all of the flowers. Jason (Jae) also carved several exquisite pumpkins to grace the tables.
Megan Baker
5.  What did the groom choose as his attire for the wedding and why?

Jamie wore a black suit and red shirt and black top hat with a skull topped cane. He chose that mainly because I wouldn’t let him wear jeans and the “tuxedo t-shit”. However, he looked wonderful in it. He picked it all out himself and I have to say, his taste was fabulous.

Jame Megan Samantha and Jessica

6.  What were your instructions to your wedding party as to how they should dress?

We told them to wear whatever costume they wanted only to keep in mind there would be children in attendance. As lond as no one dressed like a bride or groom we were fine with it. We ended up with 2 Greek goddesses, a Renaissance princess, and a disco diva as bridesmaids, and a bodyguard, a convict, a pirate and Einstein as groomsman. Our oldest Samantha was a perfect little fairy flower-girl and the younger one, Jessica, was a spooky skeleton fairy ring bearer, which was all their idea and matched their personalities. My grandfather gave me away as Grandpa Munster aka Dracula. It was all so perfect!

Jamie, Megan and her Grandaddy

7.  What were your requests/suggestions to your wedding guests as to how they should dress?

We asked everyone to either choose a costume or to wear something afternoon wedding appropriate. We did however, ask that everyone be respectful of the children who would be in attendance and not wear anything too scary or risky. As it turned out, everyone who turned up was in  costume except a couple grandparents who wore church clothes, and with the rest of the costumes floating around, they looked like it was a purposeful Halloween choice.

Jamie, Megan and Jamie's grandparents Robert and Diana

8.  What type of music did you choose for the reception?

A very eclectic mix spun out by my dad, Kevin Carter who also helped my Aunt Kerstan with photos. we tried to stick with classic rock and roll and a few Halloween themed songs. Since it was a pretty neutral ground for me and Jamie.

Megan with her dress designing parents, Debbie and Jason

9.  What was your first dance song and why?

“Always with me Always with you” by Joe Satriani.

Jamie introduced that song to me early in our relationship and it just became our song. He even used to play parts from it for me on the guitar.

10.  After one year of wedded bliss, how do you plan to celebrate your anniversary?

Maybe with a night out just the two of us….that’s a rare enough occurrence. Trick-or-Treating with the kids will top off our weekend.

Thank you, Megan, for telling us about your special day, and for letting our readers know that it’s fine to be yourself and do what YOU want to do on your wedding day.

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Groomsmen Gifts: A Modern Tradition

November 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Bridal Parties, Featured

There are many old traditions still visible in today’s modern wedding. One of the most obvious is the best man and groomsmen standing next to the groom during the ceremony. We now see this custom as an opportunity to involve our friends and close family members in our big day, but at one time the groomsmen were seen to guard the bride until she was married to her husband and new protector.

These days the groomsmen often help out with the arrangements and tasks leading up to the wedding, and most importantly keep the groom smiling no matter how stressful the wedding plans get. A modern tradition is that the groom gives each member of his wedding party a gift on the day of the wedding to say thank you for helping out. Whether your groomsmen gifts are traditional or modern is completely up to you.

groomsmen

Traditional groomsmen gifts offer a touch of class and remind us of an era our grandparents might recognize more easily than we would. A watch was a traditional gift for any big occasion, from graduation to retirement. The symbolism of a watch varies depending on your culture, but in North American it’s often seen as a wish for long life.

Other traditional groomsmen gifts are flasks, cufflinks and money clips. While most of use don’t wear shirts with cufflink holes, keep a flask in our hip pocket and prefer a debit card to a wad of cash, the timeless significance of these gifts is what makes them special.

A modern groomsman gift generally reflects the taste of the man receiving it. It could be sports related, like a golf set or a baseball bat engraved with the date of the wedding and the groomsman’s name. For a groomsman who travels frequently a leather carry-on featuring his initials, or a travel case for his grooming kit also makes a thoughtful gift.

No matter which route you choose, traditional or modern, adding personalization to the gift will remind your groomsmen of your big day and the important role they played in it. You can add their monogrammed initials, the wedding date and even the bride and groom’s names to many different types of gifts.

It’s important to think about each of your groomsmen and choose a gift that suits his personality and taste. Choosing the right gift is the best way to show just how well you know the men standing by your side and how much you appreciate them being there for you on your wedding day.

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Advantages of Cubic Zirconia

November 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Engaged, Featured, Wedding Jewelry

Cubic Zirconia (CZ) was developed by the Russian space program for use in laser guidance equipment as a cost-effective alternative to using rubies which were needed in early lasers.  CZ is virtually identical to diamond in terms of its optical properties, and this lends the use of CZ to producing jewelry – it looks, shine and sparkles in almost identical fashion to diamond.

Cubic Zirconia

So why should you use a cubic zirconia stone in place of a diamond?

Cost

The obvious advantage over diamond is cost; diamond is one of the most valuable substances known to man and it costs roughly one thousand times more than a crystal of zirconium of the same weight.

Cost is not the only advantage over diamond which CZ possesses, just the most obvious one.

Imperfections

Diamond is a naturally occurring crystal which is formed by natural processes deep within the earth’s crust.  CZ on the other hand is man-made, using a precisely controlled manufacturing process which allows for excellent quality control over how the crystal is formed.

All diamonds carry imperfections created by trapped gas or foreign matter, so upon close inspection you will see bubbles or imperfections within the stone.  There may also be irregularities in the uniformity of the crystal structure itself.  None of these imperfections present themselves with CZ, because the process is so stringently controlled – what you get with a zirconium stone is a flawless crystal.

Color

Diamonds usually come with a clear to yellow hue; it is very rare to find a perfectly colorless stone because of the natural environment within which they are formed.  Zirconium can be completely clear or have whatever color is desired, so you the jewelry buyer have a wider choice to select a stone from.

In colorless form, CZ is indistinguishable from diamond to the naked eye.

Shape

Diamond is a very rigid and extremely strong form of carbon atoms, laid out in a rigid pattern; in fact, it is the hardest naturally-occurring material known to man.  This hardness and crystalline rigidity makes it difficult to cut a diamond, however zirconium lends itself to being worked by a gemstone cutter. The result is that zirconium can be worked into a wider variety of shapes and forms than diamond, which again means greater choice for you.

Fire

How brilliantly a stone reflects and refracts light which passes through it determines the sparkle it possess – this is known as “fire”.  Zirconium refracts and reflects light better than diamond (remember the Russians developed it precisely for this purpose with their space program).  Zirconium may be lighter than diamond, and less hard, but its crystalline structure ensures it is able to generate more fire.

The Environment

While diamonds are naturally occurring, there is nothing natural about how they are extracted from the earth.  Diamonds are mined requiring the use of huge amounts of energy and significant environmental damage is caused directly by mining.  There are also large amounts of toxic waste produced in separating diamonds from the tons of earth which are excavated and must be disposed of.

Zirconium requires only a fraction of the energy which diamond excavation uses and waste products are minimal in comparison, making CZ the green alternative to diamond.

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