Win a Wedding Dress Or A Honeymoon

One of the craziest things I’ve seen is the cost of weddings. So why is it that Get Married has a literal laundry list of gift certificates and honeymoon vacations on their wedding contest pages there for the taking? And why are there barely any brides signing up to win them? Hundreds of thousands of visitors every month to the site and the brides are thinking to themselves, ‘”I never win anything.” and they don’t sign up! It’s like crazy town.

“Most brides simply walk away from opportunities that seem like there’s no chance they could win. Most websites don’t even get participation in the single percentage digits of what they’re traffic is primarily because it’s either not well represented on the main site or people have just become numb to giveaways because of the mass amounts of spam and scams online. But reputable companies like these are typically itching to give this stuff away, so avoiding opportunities like this is almost like leaving money on the table.”

Right now as we speak, Get Married is offering a $500 gift certificate from David’s Bridal, a dream vacation to Honduras for 7 days on the island of Roatán, a honeymoon package to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, another one to Turtle Island in Fiji, and even two sets of dinnerware. They’re right there for the taking, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense why more brides aren’t taking advantage of it.

Enough said.  Go get it; http://www.getmarried.com/contests/

The 10-10-10 Wedding Date (and 1-1-11)

Many people are scrambling to make their wedding dates as memorable as possible. It’s no surprise that the wedding date trend started and got firey hot back in 2007 when the planets aligned on July 7th, 2007 (aka the 7-7-7 wedding).  The wedding favor market fell into absolute bliss and brides scrambled for their Vegas themed favors and internet marketers everywhere screamed with glee.  Newlywed husbands were also ecstatic since it was improbable that they’d forget their anniversary.  For now.  Well, it’s that time again.

October 10, 2010 wedding dateNow the planets are aligned again (kind of) as brides that would like to marry on a memorable date have a Sunday wedding to look forward to on October 10th, 2010 (aka the 10-10-10 wedding).  Since 10 is the perfect number and it’s also a great opportunity for brides to get a good deal on a wedding ceremony since Saturdays are a more typical day to hold weddings.  Churches will be out though since they will normally be in session (except Seventh Day Adventists), so there may be yet another opportunity for brides to push their agenda on the upcoming special day.

Too soon or is Sunday not a good day for you?  You have another shot coming up next year on January 1st, 2011 (aka the 1-1-11 wedding) and that falls on a Saturday.  Or if you like Sunday weddings, but 10-10-10 is too close, hold out until February 2, 2022 (aka the 2-2-22 wedding). That’s only 12 years away. He should be ready to commit by then.  Or if they’re a couple of computer geeks, they could always have a chuckle and get married on Saturday October 1st, 2011 (10-01-11).  Get it?  A bunch of zeros and ones…. forget it.

My personal wedding date is a bit of a bizarre emotional rollercoaster. We got married on 9/11/1999. Two years later on 9/11, there was that fateful day and ever since then, we see the “Never Forget” signs everywhere.  It definitely makes my anniversary hard to forget, but to make matters even crazier for us, we gave birth to my now 7 year old daughter on, wait for it,…. 9/11/2002.  So, 9/11 is definitely a strange day for my household. A time of remembrance, an anniversary and a birthday all on the same day.

Do you have any unusual stories surrounding your wedding dates? Share them!

8 Great Fall Wedding Ideas

Fall wedding decor ideasFall is a very popular time for weddings. primarily because of the weather and that nature masterfully weaves its color palette into stunning displays of oranges, yellows, reds and browns.  It’s natures best color coordinated season of the year.  Brides simply love this season and here are some great ideas to accentuate your fall wedding planning.

1) Location
Make sure that wherever you host your wedding, that it’s somewhere that is accented by the natural beauty of the season. A quiet Victorian style church surrounded by trees in their fall colors makes for some incredibly brilliant wedding photo opportunities.  Mountain settings are simply stunning if you can get your location reserved before that other bride does!

Leaf Save The Dates For Fall Weddings2) Set the Tone
It’s good to plan ahead and make your guests aware of your fall themed wedding in advance. This may help to steer them in their choice of fashion accessories such as maple leaf broaches or autumn color handkerchiefs. Set the pace by sending our leaf save the date cards or wedding invitations with a fall or autumn feel to them. There are tons of wedding invitations places online including Rexcraft, Invitations By Dawn, Get Married and many more.

Maple Leaf Place Card Holders3) Fall decorations
It’s also important to make sure that your guests can enjoy the seasonal colors whether they are inside or out by decorating the tables with centerpieces that use colorful leaves, straw, dried flowers, and pumpkin colors. Keeping within the brown and yellow spectrum of colors will be eye catching. Small details like using a Leaf Guestbook or maple leaf place card holders make very dramatic statements.  Handmade tablecloths and doilies also give a small town feel that adds a nice touch.

Maple Leaf Bottle Stopper for Fall Weddings4) Fall wedding favors
Give your guests fall wedding favors that will help them to remember the occasion. They may not remember details, but when they get to take home fall themed wedding favors like copper leaf bottle stoppers, place card holders, or simply any of the many ideas that are available out there, you give them a point of reference to remember the occasion.  If leaves or pumpkin type gifts aren’t your style, at least try and manage to stick to your color palette.

5) Dress Color
In some people’s eyes, the only potential downside to a fall wedding is the dress color.  An off white wedding dress is normally a safer bet with fall weddings. primarily because a bright white dress can clash with your fall motif.  Be sure to stick to the color coordination since you are the focal point of the day.  If you’ve inherited a white dress or refuse to walk down the aisle in anything but white, it won’t ruin the day, but it’s that attention to detail that will set the bar. Also ensure that the wedding party and especially bridesmaid dresses will help to support your color choices.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe6) Food
Your fall wedding menu should highlight food of the autumn season with selections like pumpkin pie, pecan pie, squash, zucchini, and apple cider with cinnamon sticks.  Don’t forget your vegetarian guests as well. Likewise your wedding cake should also have fall colors and decorations incorporated into layers or decorations.  Placing the cake on a light brown or dust yellow tablecloth surrounded by leafs would be a great eye catcher.

7) Everyone knows
Out of all of the great fall wedding tips that are available out there, be sure that you keep the color coordination on the top of everyone’s mind. Let your wedding planner know your plans so that they can inform all of the right people and monitor the situation for you. The caterer needs to know that you want your menu seasonal so that they can plan accordingly. It’s just very important that everyone is aware of your autumn motif to make sure that they don’t add something to the mix to clash with your flow and feel of fall.

Image from Google Images and approved for re-use8) Lighting
Make sure that whoever is in charge of decorating, that they keep the lighting subdued and not bright white.  All of your colors can get washed away in bright white light. Keep lighting off-white or yellow to keep the ambiance flowing even in the air. If the DJ will be supplying lighting as well, be sure that they know of your color plans so that their “disco lights” don’t ruin everything you worked so hard to create. But more importantly, be sure to let your wedding photographer know about the yellow lighting since yellow plays havoc on white balance. It’s best they know as far in advance as possible.

Have more great fall wedding tips or things you’ve learned from your own fall wedding? Share them here!

Thousands of Gulf Beach Weddings Canceled

Regardless of whether or not you throw the perfect beach wedding, some things are completely out of your control. Especially oil washing up on the shore or bad odors wafting through the air of your picture perfect day.  Such is the case with people’s beach weddings that happen to take place in the Gulf. While most places are still relatively unscathed, oil is now showing up on the shores of Panama City Beach essentially ruining plans for a lot of brides while some are holding tight to their dreams and hoping for the best. MSN did an interesting piece today asking brides about how they feel about how the oil spill is affecting them personally.

Reports are showing that thousands of weddings have been canceled although local businesses in Louisiana, Alabama and now Florida are furious about those reports claiming that while the situation is serious, it’s way too soon to change plans and overreact.  Most brides jumped ship on their plans primarily concerned about there being a problem with dead sea life washing up on shore or the potential for bad odors due to the oil. Nothing ruins a wedding faster than dead fish or bad odors.  While there’s a second camp that say everyone should continue supporting the locals, those businesses also understand that the aforementioned problems would certainly take away from the ambiance of a wedding day, but stand by their claims that it’s not as bad as people think it is on the shore and there is a lot of truth to the fact that not all areas are affected by this.  BP has already dished out over 2 billion dollars fighting the problem and supporting those local businesses affected by the catastrophe.

Are you a bride that has had their gulf beach wedding affected by the oil spill? Tell us you story in the comments or simply chime in on what you think about the whole fiasco.

Top 10 Worst Wedding Toasts

This started as a tips for creating the best wedding toast tips, but I thought it would be much more fun to give you some examples of things that you simply should not say that I came up with. The main tip I can give you is that this is not your wedding and even if you don’t like the bride or groom, it’s not about you.  Here are some things that you should not say;

Worst Toast Clip #10
“Frank is lucky to have found someone that likes him for his personality and not his looks.”

Worst Toast Clip #9
“Yeah, I just don’t see this. But hey!  That’s why you’re there at that table and I’m over here.”

Worst Toast Clip #8
“I know to say this is bad, but I just have to go on record to say that this is the worst mistake ever.”

Worst Toast Clip #7
“I still don’t understand why she’s wearing white, but that’s none of my business, I guess.”

Worst Toast Clip #6
“The good thing is that you’re starting out on the lower end of the ‘for better or worse‘ thing, so it’s only up from here.”

Worst Toast Clip #5
“I am so glad to see you together. I could have sworn he was gay. So either I was really wrong or you’re in for one heck of a ride.”

Worst Toast Clip #4
“This is good. Cutting it close though. What are you, like 5 months pregnant now?”

Worst Toast Clip #3
“They say that three times the charm, right?”

Worst Toast Clip #2
“Most of you don’t know that Tess is a dancer which is how these two met.  At least now she won’t have to pay bills with a wad of singles anymore.”

Worst Toast Clip #1
“Even though she was with me first, you obviously saw something in her that I didn’t.”

I’m sure that you have some great wedding toasts to share also.  If you already have something written down for a toast and there’s anything even remotely close to these, start over.

Tips For a Perfect Beach Wedding

Beach WeddingAfter watching 3 separate beach weddings occur in one day, I had a lot to comment about in regards to certain aspects such as using Ipods, guest considerations, weather, etc.  It dawned on me as I watched 2 of the 3 beach weddings make the exact same mistakes, that there are many things that brides simply don’t think about.  I won’t go into detail about the basic wedding elements such as food to serve, seating arrangements and items like that, but these are things that you may not have considered for beach weddings in particular.

Bride Tide
One of the tricks to holding a beach wedding is timing it properly with the tides.  It will make the difference as to whether you’ll hold the wedding on tight packed wet sand or the soft white sand of the dunes.  Consider the tide tables and make note of when the tide is normally in or out for the particular beach where you’ll be holding your wedding.  While there is normally a lot of variance from day to day, there is some consistency that you can base your service around.

Weather the Weather
It’s best to avoid hurricane seasons which can cause all types of unpredictability with not only the weather, but also the aforementioned tides.  But because you’re close to the ocean, you should always have an alternate plan if it gets rained out.  It’s a worse case scenario, but you need to know that if it can go wrong, it probably will.  It may also be smart to spend time in the area beforehand to see if the area is prone to sand flies or if the section of beach you’re using is windy.  Gusts of sand blowing in the eyes of your guests and the wedding party can quickly ruin the day.

Audio
As I mentioned in my Ipod wedding post, the ocean is the only place on earth that is both loud and relaxing at the same time. It’s a strange anomaly and it’s the relaxing part that has people forgetting about the loud ocean part altogether. The crashing waves can make it almost impossible to hear much being said.  Make sure that your music is being pushed through a PA system and most importantly, that your pastor/priest/minister is also miked through that PA as well.  Even the most booming natural voice won’t be able to be heard over Mother Nature.  I watched two weddings where the minister wasn’t miked. The first had to yell over the ocean and it made it very unromantic when it got to the “I Do” portions of the wedding.  The second was a woman pastor who simply could not be heard at all.  Microphone everyone that will be talking.

Footwear
Consider what footwear your wedding party is going to be wearing and have them dress accordingly.  I was surprised how many women came to a beach wedding in high heels.   Make sure that your wedding party has the right type of footwear for a beach wedding and that your guests also know to plan accordingly with either flip flops or sandals.

Parents/Grandparents
Take into consideration that your parents and grandparents will have to walk the beach to their seating.  If you have any relatives that require the use of canes, walkers or that have any physical disabilities that make trudging through sand difficult, you should account for extra time getting them seated or possibly even seating them beforehand.

Distract The Kids
The second children hit the beach, you can expect them to be distracted easily.  Make it easier on yourself and simply accommodate that distraction by providing kids in attendance with beach themed wedding favors or even providing them with a small shovel or bucket. Maybe even set aside an area off to the side where they can play quietly making sand castles instead of having their parents managing their fidgeting instead of enjoying your big day.

Uninvited Guests
If you haven’t acquired a private beach, you should expect onlookers and in some cases additional noises.  Public access beaches will have your wedding surrounded by half naked adults and screaming kids complete with frisbees, dogs, and surfers.  This is something to consider for potential interruptions.  Most people are polite and will keep the distractions to a minimum when they see the wedding taking place, but on public beaches, you’re sharing the area with people who weren’t invited and you should anticipate the possibility of distractions.

Arranging to have your wedding on a private beach is easier than you think. In North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, you can contact major players for beach rental properties such as Emerald Isle Realty that can get you a section of the beach to call your own for the weekend to avoid all of the possible extra hub bub.  They can also give you access to lodging such as huge beautiful beach houses that can comfortably accommodate 6-8 couples in one beach home for under $2500 for an entire week. Imagine the convenience of having lodging, a private beach for your wedding and also a place to hold your reception afterward and all without the need to travel from one location to the other.

Power to the People
As I mentioned with the audio issue above, you should have a PA for the music to play through including the pastor, any ceremony musicians and ceremony music as well.  So it’s pretty important that you should consider that most beaches do not have electrical outlets. Be prepared to supply power to the DJ for the PA or any other items that may require some juice.  You may have to be inventive with super long electrical cords running from nearby homes.  And if there simply is none, think of something else because doing a beach wedding without a PA will be disastrous.

Seating
Check the sturdiness of any seating you supply. There’s nothing worse than your grandmother taking a fall when the chair legs sink into the sand behind her.  Benches are typically a good idea because of their broader feet which are less susceptible to sinking into the sand once someone sits in them.  It’s also best to preset each chair into the sand to make sure that any further sinking is minimal.

Beach Aisle RunnersAisle Be Back
The aisle where the bride will be walking towards the altar is going to be messy. If you can arrange for there to be a walkway, that would preferably be ideal, but most likely improbable.  Cloth aisle runners will sink into the sand once they get stepped on by your guests and then your wedding party. Thinking outside of the box to keep the aisle still “picture worthy” will be tricky. Some ideas may include having the flowergirl use an excessive amount of flowers to cover the center aisle with a lot of flowers to partially cover up the trampled sand. It looks much nicer than an crumpled up, stepped on, sandy aisle runner that makes it almost impossible for a nice center aisle shot.

Wedding Favors
Beach themed wedding favors are a great touch for a beach wedding obviously, but do it yourself (DIY) wedding favors such as hand painted seashells or sand dollars are a nice touch and can save you tons of money.  The aforementioned North Carolina Crystal Coast, and especially in the Emerald Isle area of the Crystal Coast, there are nice sized seashells virtually everywhere.  Grab a few dozen and hand paint names, dates, personal notes and glitter them up for a fantastic and frugal wedding favor idea.

So those are some things that I saw many beach weddings do wrong and that you should add to your consideration pile when you’re planning a beach wedding.  If you have any more great tips, be sure to add them below in the comment area. I’d love to hear them!

Ipods Kill Two More Weddings

Ipod weddings are simply disastrous.  I spent some time up in North Carolina where I was witness to not one, not two, but three beach weddings. Yes, three weddings.  Two of which decided to go the Ipod route and both of those weddings were disastrous from an audio perspective, but Wedding 3 opted for a ceremony guitarist and live DJ through a PA and it went flawlessly.  I understand the desire for brides to cut corners and save money on their weddings, but the beach brings additional elements that people just don’t understand and seem to be oblivious to.

The first thing to know about a beach wedding is that it’s the one place in the world that can be loud and relaxing at the same time.  You will almost never use those two words in the same sentence and the beach is the only place where it certainly rings true.  The waves crashing on the beach can be very loud, very relaxing, but also create an audio nightmare.

Wedding One
The bride decided to use an Ipod and instead of a PA to patch it through, she used one of those bedside units that you put your Ipod into and set on your nightstand for your listening pleasure.  She expected to bring that to a beach and have a crowd of 50 people hear it over the crashing waves and also the additional element of playing it against the wind.   Yes, that happened.  I watched it.   To make matters worse, the bride gave the responsibility of running it to someone who had no idea how to operate an Ipod.  As you can imagine, it went badly and the rest of the ceremony went without music.  The death of wedding number one. Beautiful couple, nice as can be, but I’m sure she would want you to learn from her bad experience.

Wedding Two
For Wedding Two, a hired DJ who goes by the name of a farm animal thought enough to make sure that there was a PA for the Ipod to play through.  However, it stopped working mere minutes before the ceremony was to start, but then magically started working again seconds before the wedding party proceeded down the beach path.   There were 3 songs to play during the ceremony entrances; one for the parents/grandparents, one for the bridal party, and one for the bride.

Once the Ipod started working again, the DJ began the song for the parents/grandparents entrance, but neither he (or the wedding planner) accounted for the fact that a couple of the grandparents had to trudge through 15 feet of soft white sand with canes and walkers to get to their seats.  So as their song came to an end, the bridal party song began to play before the grandparents were even seated.  The DJ then proceeded to holler (no joke) up to the bride on the dune to ask what he should do and the bride hollered back (no joke) that he should play the parent song again.  The DJ clicked the back button once which then started to play the bridal party song from the beginning again (and not the parent song which was the track before it).  Three seconds in, the DJ realized it was still the bridal party song and, yet again, clicked the back button only one time which again started the bridal party track over.  He then realized that he must click the button twice and on that third try, the parents song started again.  Less than 10 seconds later, the parents and grandparents were all seated.  And there was yet one more instance as the wedding came to a close and the newly married bride and groom walked back down the aisle…to the bridal party entrance song.  The death of wedding #2.

Forget The Ipods
When I first heard the ramblings of wedding DJ’s and bands discussing how bad Ipod weddings were, your first gut reaction is to assume monetary reasons.  And while that may be true, I personally watched 2 out of 3 weddings die a very painful and embarrassing death at the hands of Ipods and quickly realized that out of all of the corners you can cut, this should not be one of them.  Most people will say to themselves, “Oh, but I’ll make sure that the person running it knows what they’re doing.” and I can guarantee that little to almost no thought was put into the music at the first two weddings I attended.   People who opt for an Ipod wedding not only expect to save money, but also time in their wedding planning when the exact opposite is true.  If you opt for an Ipod wedding, expect the worst, because it’s much better to have a band or DJ thinking about the music and not you as the bride.  While there was a DJ involved in the second wedding, his utter lack of professionalism created an audio fiasco and great embarrassment for the bride.

If you’re a bride planning a wedding, please opt for a wedding DJ or band instead of an Ipod.  There are ALWAYS mistakes that happen and it’s just a matter of how noticeable they are. And if you hire a DJ, find out what he/she will be doing for each moment of the event and how they’ll be doing it. A professional wedding DJ will know how to handle a difficult situation as it occurs and won’t need to involve you or your guests in doing their job.  Just stay away from Ipods in your weddings, because they are simply an awful choice.  This is your big day, so don’t leave it in the hands of technology that’s designed for personal use.

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