Monday, December 22, 2014

Ten Wedding Vows Based on Relationship Science

  Ph.D. Candidate, University of Toronto

I study romantic relationships. I'm also engaged. So, of course, I've given a tremendous amount of thought as to what it really means for my partner and I to marry one another. Researchers have found that weddings are deeply significant life events, but we don't really know why they're so meaningful. Marriage may simply be about celebrating a milestone: recognizing the relationship that a couple has built together and the love that they share for each other. But weddings are also very future-oriented, as the couple publicly promises to maintain their relationship for life. I suspect that it's really these vows -- the solemn promises that the newlyweds make to each other in front of their closest friends and family -- that are at the crux of why weddings have such an emotional impact.

No pressure. As my partner and I sat down to think about our own vows, clearly we had a lot to consider. If these promises are the essence of what it means to be married, then what exactly do we want to promise each other? We could always go with the traditional marriage vows: for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better for worse... but, these seemed a bit too vague for our tastes. We decided that we wanted to make more specific, behavioural promises: things we can strive to do for each other that would help us to not only remain together, but also happy and fulfilled in our marriage.

Conveniently, I had decades of research at my fingertips to help us figure out what it really means to be a good spouse. Why not harness those resources for our wedding? In other words -- and this may sound completely over-the-top nerdy to some -- we decided to write some research-based vows.
Below are the ten promises that we've decided to make to each other. We believe that each of these promises is going to help us to achieve long-term marital bliss. Here's why:

1. "I promise to respect, admire, and appreciate you for who you are, as well as for the person you wish to become."
Research on positive illusions shows that it's helpful to see romantic partners in a positive light -- to appreciate their positive qualities rather than ruminating about their flaws. Not only does this sunny outlook lead to better relationship satisfaction, but positive illusions help partners to feel better about themselves.1 So, in the first part of this vow, we're promising to always see the best in each other.

In the second part of this vow, my partner and I are promising to support each other's attempts to grow and improve ourselves over time. This is called the Michelangelo phenomenon, and research shows that supporting your partner's changes to their self in this way is very beneficial both for the partner and for the relationship.2 Importantly, I'm not promising to help my partner improve in the way I want him to improve, but in the way he wants to improve himself, and vice versa. It's all about supporting the partner's own personal goals.

2. "I promise to support and protect your freedom; because although our lives are intertwined, your choices are still yours alone."
This vow draws from research on autonomy. Although humans are social creatures who both need and enjoy relationships, it's also important for us to maintain our individuality. In particular, we need to feel like the decisions we're making are truly coming from us. When people feel forced or coerced into making choices -- like they didn't have any real choice in the matter -- they're less happy and less fulfilled. And, as you might have guessed, that lack of happiness is problematic for relationships.3 In this vow, my partner and I are promising to avoid pressuring, guilting, or otherwise coercing each other into making decisions, striving instead to always respect each other's right to make choices for ourselves.

3. "I promise to seek a deep understanding of your wishes, your desires, your fears and your dreams."
This vow draws from research on responsiveness, which involves sensitively meeting your partner's needs. Striving to meet each other's needs is a cornerstone of healthy relationships.4 However, you can't meet a partner's needs if you don't know what they are. Understanding one's partner is the first step to being responsive, which is why we each promise to seek a deep understanding of one another.

4. "I promise to always strive to meet your needs; not out of obligation, but because it delights me to see you happy."
Once we figure out what each other's needs are, my partner and I promise that we will try our best to meet those needs. Of course, this can be easier said than done. Sometimes, giving your partner what they need involves difficult sacrifices on your part.

Research on sacrifice shows that it's important not to make sacrifices for avoidance-based reasons, such as feeling as though you "should" be giving something to your partner. Both partners are better off when any sacrifices are made out of approach motives, such as genuinely wanting to make your partner happy.5 So, with this vow, my partner and I are promising each other that when we do sacrifice for each other, we'll do it only with love and care, and not with reluctance or resentment. If and when we can't make sacrifices for the right reasons, it's probably better not to make the sacrifice at all.

5. "I promise to be there for you when you need me, whenever you need me."
This vow is based on what it means to be a good attachment figure: the person in your life who you most strongly rely on for support. With this vow, we're promising to reliably be there for each other when one of us is distressed: to be each other's soft place to fall, or what researchers call a "safe haven".6

6. I promise to nurture your goals and ambitions; to support you through misfortune and celebrate your triumphs.
This vow covers the other side of being a good attachment figure: being there for your partner when they're not distressed. Basically, my partner and I both want to know that we can take risks, make mistakes, and come home to a supportive partner at the end of the day. Letting your partner go out and conquer their goals, knowing that you're there in the background cheering them on, is called being a "secure base".7
7. "I promise to keep our lives exciting, adventurous, and full of passion."
Here, we draw from research on self-expansion theory, showing that couples are happier when they engage in new, interesting things together.8 Basically, we're promising each other not to let our relationship fall into a rut.9 We're going to keep courting each other, keep travelling and exploring together, and keep sharing novel and interesting experiences with each other for the rest of our lives.

8. "I promise to persevere when times get tough, knowing that any challenges we might face, we will conquer them together."
This is the closest that our vows come to representing the traditional vows about being together "for better, for worse"; in other words, to stay committed to each other. Research shows that by having this committed outlook -- where we intend to stay together through thick and thin -- we should be better able to deal with any adversity that might come our way. This is because, when a couple sees themselves as a permanent partnership, their perspective on problems tends to shift from being about "me against you" to being about "us against the issue". Researchers call this "transformation of motivation": commitment helps people to stop treating conflicts as zero-sum, instead keeping the wellbeing of their partner and their relationship in mind.10 So, by acting like a team, we'll be in a better position to face challenges together.

9. "I promise to treat you with compassion over fairness, because we are a team, now and for always."
This vow draws from research on communal orientation. Being communally-oriented means that you contribute to your relationship based on what is needed and based on what you have to give.11 In other words, it's about being a team player. With this vow, we're promising not to "track and trade," keeping careful tabs on each other to ensure that we're each contributing to the relationship fairly and equally ("I did the dishes yesterday, so you should do them today"). Instead, we're promising to always strive to contribute what we can, based on the needs of our partner ("You got home very late and had a stressful day -- I'll do the dishes tonight"). We trust that our respective efforts will more or less balance out in the long run. Communal strength, or this willingness to give to the relationship without much concern for what you're receiving in return, is associated with a whole range of positive relationship outcomes.12
10. "I promise to show you, every day, that I know exactly how lucky I am to have you in my life."
With this last vow, we draw from research on the emotion of gratitude.13 When people feel appreciative of their partners, they're happier and more committed to their relationships. And when people express gratitude to their partners, their partners feel appreciated, that makes those partners feel happier, more committed, and more appreciative themselves. It's all a wonderful cycle of goodness. So in this vow, my partner and I are promising to never take each other for granted, but rather to appreciate what we have and express that appreciation to each other often.
After the wedding, we're planning on getting these engraved and hung up in our hallway, to remind ourselves regularly that we made these promises. Clearly, actually following them is the real challenge. But the effort we put into keeping them will undoubtedly make our relationship stronger.

Friday, December 19, 2014

8 Things Every Guest Hopes a Wedding Will Have

What Guests Expect to See at a Wedding
Photo: Marcela Polo
It's a simple (but often forgotten) fact: weddings are about the couple. Their love; their commitment; their preferences; their idea of fun celebration. Sometimes, however, the process gets a little complicated along the way, especially when there are hundreds of guests to consider. Because we know bride and groom want their friends and family to enjoy their big day as much as possible, we put together a handy little list of eight things (almost) every guest appreciates at a wedding. Of course there are unsatisfied outliers at every celebration, but you can just seat them at the kid's table and get on with your merry self.

Accommodation Options
We all want to stay at the Four Seasons, but some of us also like to pay our rent. Give your out-of-town guests hotel options at different price points to keep them happy and debt-free.

Minimal Ceremony to Reception Time
Unless you'd like everyone to show up grumpy or inebriated, minimize the lag time between ceremony and reception as much as possible.

Open Bar
A wedding without an open bar is like a swimming pool without water: dry, uncomfortable, and just ... wrong.

Good Music
Please, leave the "chicken dance" out of this.

Similar Patrons
Whether you're a twenty-something on the prowl, or a senior citizen ready to cut a rug, everyone loves to have a couple of patrons in their same demographic to bond with throughout the night.

Good Food
Wedding food doesn't need to be fancy, but it should be three things: warm, plentiful and flavorful.

Short Speeches
No matter how close you are to the couple and their speech givers, speeches that last longer than one glass of wine are the ultimate mood killer.

Thoughtful Seating Arrangements
Sitting next to your ex boyfriend at a wedding is a special type of torture. Keep relationships and personality types in mind while arranging your tables... for all of our sakes.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

11 Things Brides WISH They Could Post on Facebook While Wedding Planning

Ah, wedding planning. It brings out the best and the worst in people. As a bride-to-be, you're probably trying really hard to not become a bridezilla, but also realizing just how hard it is to bite your tongue. While you understand that it's in everyone's best interest for you to listen to the old adage, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," we get that there are some things you wish you could just get off your chest. Here are the 11 things every bride wishes she could post to social media for all the world to see, but probably shouldn't.
1. "GAH. My parents seriously need to STOP. This is MY wedding, not theirs!" If your parents are hosting the wedding, and especially if they're footing the bill, chances are they're going to have some strong opinions about how everything plays out. From the food being served to whether or not there's a receiving line, they're going to have ideas and they won't be afaird to let you know what they are.
2. "Thanks EVERYONE, but I didn't ask for your opinion." Once you get engaged, everyone you know is going to start sending you unsolicited wedding advice. You'll quickly learn what dress your mom thinks would look best on you, what your bridesmaids think your first dance song should be, and why hiring a DJ is so much better than booking a band. One minute your friends and family might be asking about your engagement story, and the next, they'll be judging all of the choices you've made.
3. "OMG. If I get ONE MORE cheeseboard, I will punch someone." It's nice to get gifts and all, but when you start getting duplicates (or quadruplicates...) of the same thing, it's like enough already. You registered for a reason. You wanted ONE vase, not six.
4. "Hey, pregnant sister...I really, really don't care if you think you're going to look fat in your bridemaid dress. No one is going to be looking at you anyway." At some point during the wedding planning process, one of your bridesmaids may announce that they're having a baby. Sure you'll be excited for her and will love that child like it's your own, but you just don't have time to worry about how she's going to look at your wedding. You have enough to worrry how to get some killer #bridearms. 
5. "Attention bridesmaids: Being tardy to the party is NOT cool." You may find that some of your bridesmaids develop a punctuality problem. While you don't want to be a bridezilla, if the shower invite says noon and you don't show up until 12:45pm, that's just plain rude. Cue Stephanie Tanner.
6. "Can someone please explain why I have to invite [my boss/my dad's golfing buddies/my grandma's mahjong partners] to the wedding?! I don't even know/like them." The guest list is always a hotly debated topic because everyone feels like thier contribution to the list is the most important one. Be prepared to have a few freakouts over who gets the invite and who gets the snub. 
7. "So...not to brag or anything, but our wedding is going to be SO much better than every other wedding in all of history because [we're having Cirque du Soleil dancers/I'm going to sing a song at the reception/we're just that awesome]." You're going to think this way at some point during the planning process, especially when you have a great idea, hire a fabulous vendor, or find the PERFECT venue to host the wedding of your dreams. How could anyone else's wedding be THIS amazing?!
8. "[Newly engaged friends/new parents/new homeowners]: It's cool that you have something amazing going on in your life, but can we PLEASE focus on ME for a little bit? K, thanks. Weirdly the world keeps on spinning while you're planning your wedding, so people are going to have fun thigns happen to them throughout the months leading up to your big day. It's inevitable, but it doesn't make it any less upsetting when people stop talking about how exciting your life is right now.
9. "I just don't get it. How is it THAT hard to send back your RSVP?!" Ah, the dredded RSVP deadline. There will always be those friends and family members that just can't get their act together to be able to send their RSVPs back in time, even if you give them WEEKS to respond. 
10. "WHY DOESN'T MY [FLORIST/WEDDING COORDINATOR/PHOTOGRAPHER] RESPOND TO ANY OF MY EMAILS/TEXTS/PHONE CALLS?! #iampayingyou" By the time the wedding rolls around, nightmaring vendors is going to be your favorite pasttime. We get it, you're busy, but your questions should definitely take priority.
11. "[147/112/87/32] days until I get MAAAARRIED!!! #soexcited" Don't you wish you could do a daily countdown to your wedding? It's just as big of a deal as the dawning of the new milennium was, after all. Since Times Square wouldn't agree to do a balldrop, Price should at least write a song for you: Gonna party like it's the night before my wedding.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

8 Ways to Get the Most for Your Money When Buying an Engagement Ring

We don’t have to tell you that engagement rings cost a lot of money. The average ring costs $5,403 to be exact (according to our research). No matter what your budget, here’s how to get the most bang for your bling!

1. Be strategic with the setting.

If your budget won’t allow for that larger stone you have your eye on, not to worry. You can actually create the illusion of additional carats by choosing a halo setting (a circle of smaller stones around the center stone). Not only can this type of setting make the stone in the middle look bigger, it can also completely change the appearance of the diamond by giving it a vintage look that will stand out from an everyday solitaire.

2. Pick a prong.

Less metal means a lower cost, says Josh Holland, spokesman for the online jeweler, so opt for a more minimal prong setting (which secures the diamond like a tripod above the band) over a bezel one (a metal ring that encircles the sides of the gemstone to hold it in place). Since more of the stone is visible, a prong setting is a great way to highlight the diamond, as well as make cleaning the ring a lot easier. Just make sure to go with platinum for the prongs (even if the rest of the ring is gold or some other metal), since it’s much stronger and will hold the diamond firmly in place.

3. Consider pavé diamonds.

Do you dream of having a flashy rock that rivals Kim Kardashian’s, but don’t exactly have her budget? Well, you can fake the look thanks to pavé diamonds. “Pavé diamonds are tiny diamonds that add a distinctive ‘crushed ice’ look to engagement rings,” Holland says. Because they’re so small, beautiful stones are much more common and therefore less expensive. Think about buying a slightly smaller center stone, and then lining the entire band in pavé diamonds. You’ll get just as much sparkle as a big diamond, for a much lower cost.

4. Buy shy.

As you might have heard, shopping for a diamond centers around the “4 Cs”—cut, carat, clarity and color. When it comes to the carat size, you can save a considerable amount of money without sacrificing the look of the stone by buying shy, Holland advises. Diamond prices jump disproportionately at the carat and half-carat marks, which means buying just shy (say, 1.8 carats instead of 2) can equal a potential savings of nearly 20 percent—but the difference in the diamond will hardly be noticeable, if at all.

5. Find the sweet spot.

Similar to carat size, as color and clarity (how “clean” or clear the diamond is) grades improve, diamonds go up in price. But the naked eye can’t tell the difference between perfect and near perfect, so even though you pay extra for perfection, you can’t see it, says Holland, who likens it to paying someone to paint the bottom of your house. For an excellent value, choose a near colorless, “eye clean” diamond—it will look perfect to the unaided eye while you get to save considerably, Holland notes.

6. Go for gold instead of platinum.

There are plenty of pros when it comes to platinum: It’s very durable, so it’s great if you have an active lifestyle; it’s a natural white metal, so it won’t change color or fade; and it gives off a gorgeous white shine and silky polish. But all those good qualities unfortunately come with a price. “Platinum is 30 times more rare than gold, which makes it more expensive,” Holland says. To get the same fashionable look as platinum (with fewer of the benefits), white gold is a great choice: It’s an enduring element, resistant to rust, tarnish and corrosion; it still looks really pretty; and—the best part—it will be a lot easier on your wallet.

7. Opt for an emerald cut.

An emerald cut has fewer facets (the surfaces that reflect light and make the diamond sparkle), so it won't be as shiny, but the shape allows the diamond to cover more surface area than other cuts of the same carat weight do (read: it will look bigger). And it's a timeless style, so your ring will never seem passé.

8. Make it a set.

This may not work if you want to be surprised, but if you and your fiancé-to-be are going to research the rings and shop for them together, sometimes you can score a deal if you buy the engagement ring and the wedding band at the same time. You might even be able to get his wedding band as well for —you guessed it—even more savings.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Pick Your Wedding Party

Your wedding party is a group of people who will be there for you every step of the way during your wedding planning and beyond. Usually reserved for your closest family members and friends, deciding who should be in your wedding party isn’t always the easiest decision. Here are our top tips for figuring out who will stand by your side on your wedding day.

Pick Your Nearest and Dearest
Your siblings (both yours and your future spouse’s) should most likely be included in your wedding party, but beyond that it’s really up to you. Close friends and family members from both sides are other easy picks. Think about people who are trustworthy and have known you and your fiancé(e) for the entirety of your relationship.

How Many?
The size of your wedding party should be somewhat proportional to your total number of guests. If you’re having a small wedding (under 150 people), you should keep your wedding party small, as well – meaning five or fewer attendants per side (and yes, if you want to just have one attendant, that’s totally cool too!).
But if you’re having a large wedding, feel free to have a bigger wedding party. How big is too big? It’s really up to you – as long as everyone will fit standing side-by-side at the altar on your wedding day!

Don’t Worry About Being Even
Sure, it may make photos look nice, but if you’re having trouble having an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, don’t sweat it. The photos will look fine, you can double up for the walk down the aisle, and the important thing is having a wedding party that reflects your closest friends and family members. There’s no need to add a person that you have lukewarm feelings for to your wedding party just to keep things even – you’ll likely regret it in the long run.

Mix It Up
Sure, tradition dictates that bride’s side is all girls and the groom’s side is all guys, but rules are meant to broken, right? The sides should be chosen based on the relationship with the couple, not gender roles. So if the bride has a guy friend who she’s known since kindergarten, make him a “bridesman.” Or if the groom and his sister have always been a dynamic duo, she can be a “groomslady.” You can even mix up the attire so the groomsladies wear a different dress than the bridesmaids that still matches the color scheme, and the groomsmen can wear different ties.

Maid of Honor and Best Man
You don’t have to have a maid of honor or best man, especially if it’s not clear who those people should be. And if there’s more than one person that fits the bill, it’s okay to “break the rules” and have multiple maids of honor, best men – or “men of honor” or “best women,” if you’d like!

Consider Your Current Relationships
You want to make sure your wedding party includes the people you are closest with right now. Just because you were a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding years ago and you’re no longer as close, you don’t have to invite her to be in your wedding. With family members, however, you should tread a bit more carefully. If you were in the wedding party of a family member years ago, it might be a good idea to include him/her in yours to avoid family drama.

Be Fair
Yes, your wedding is your day and you should be able to pick the wedding party you want. But, consider people’s feelings while you’re at it. If you have two sisters, don’t exclude one from the wedding party because she didn’t buy you a birthday present six years ago. And if you really think excluding someone from the wedding party will cause serious family drama, you might consider including that person – or giving them another special role, like performing a reading at the ceremony, as an alternative.

Kids or No Kids?
Remember, you don’t have to invite children to your wedding – and don’t feel like you’re required to have a flower girl and ring bearer just to amp up the cute factor of your wedding day. If there are children who you are truly close to, by all means, include them in your wedding, but it’s okay to have a no-kids wedding party if that’s more your style.

Monday, December 15, 2014

6 Ways to Help the Bride Go to the Bathroom in Her Wedding Dress (Yes, All 'Maids Have to Do It)

Helping Your Bride Pee In Her Wedding Dress
Photo: Getty Images

Remember when you said, "I do!" to being a bridesmaid? Well, you also verbally agreed to a grocery-sized list of tasks that are going to invade your very personal space, everything from dancing the tango to a Bruno Mars song with the bride's balding uncle to helping her go to the bathroom in a wedding dress. So in the middle of getting your hair curled or your drink on, expect a couple of 15 minute adventures to the bathroom stall, where you'll grab and twist and hold whatever you have to hold in order to help her pee anywhere but on her dress. Here are some tips and tricks to make sure that goes without a splash.

1. Grab Another Pair of Hands
Invite another warrior bridesmaid along. One of you should conquer the left side of her dress and the other, the right side. As the bride squats, both of you should grab and lift as much fabric as you can.

2. To the Window, to the Wall
This may be the opposite of everything you've learned or done in your 20-something years, but the easiest way to do this is by having the bride face the wall and straddle the toilet in that direction. That way, the back/train of her dress will be away from the toilet.

3. Handicap Stall or Bust
Don't even try to go in a bathroom that's not the handicap stall. You'll want to grab onto the bars and use the extra space to spread out while you assist the bride with holding the layers of her dress.

4. Snap Out of It
If things prove to be too difficult, have her take her dress off. But if that's the case, slice off about 25-minutes for each bathroom trip.

5. Pee on Queue
Set up times for your bride to hit the bathroom in advance: before the ceremony and reception, after the toasts, and before you get so drunk you might be the one that needs help in the bathroom.

6. Friends Who Pee Together ...
Because once you've figured out a way for your bride to go to the bathroom, you'll realize that there are few people in this world who can pee on demand, let alone with two other people standing by your side watching. Run the water or ask another bridesmaid to come along with you and go in a different stall.

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

Friday, December 12, 2014

18 Wedding Ideas That Will Only Appeal To The Most Awesome Of Couples

There's a good chance that your wedding will be the biggest and best party you'll ever throw. When you think about it that way, it only makes sense to inject as much fun into the big day as humanly possible.
Below are 18 wedding ideas that will help transform your wedding from stuffy occasion to super cool celebration.
  • This Beyoncé-inspired engagement photo
    He liked it so he put a ring on it.

    Credit: @luvaj/Instagram
  • This very informal save-the-date
    It's goin' down, yo.

    Credit: SplashOfSilver/Etsy
  • This honest RSVP card
    "I'm in your wedding party, idiot. Wait, is this optional?"

    Courtesy of Katie Kerr and Chris Sabino
  • This hanky for your bridesmaids
    Kim Kardashian crying faces are strictly forbidden.

    Credit: wrenbirdarts/Etsy
  • This cheeky program
    "A practical guide to not falling asleep and figuring out just what exactly is going on."

    Credit: AMBPhoto
  • This Secret Service ring bearer
    No one's getting in that box.

    Credit:Kim Le Photography
  • This Diddy-esque reception entrance
    Champagne showers up in here!

    Credit: MattsRod/Reddit
  • This Polaroid guest book
    Bonus points for the Outkast reference.

    Credit: wild{whim}design+photography
  • This wheel o' fun
    Everybody will want to spin this, we guarantee it.

    Credit: Studio 29
  • This bar sign
    Now your drunk friends and relatives can't say you didn't warn them...

    Credit: pseudodesigner/Imgur
  • These cookie-and-milk shots
    The best kind of shots in the whole wide world.

    Credit: Theilen Photography
  • But if we're talking actual booze, then this pairing
    No, your eyes do not deceive you. Those are mini-taco chasers.

    Credit: Cassandre Snyder
  • This bounce house
    And you don't even have to take turns because it's your wedding day and you can do as you please.

    Credit: David Childers
  • This pimped out dessert table
    Bonus points if you give your guests to-go boxes so they can eat their creations on the way home.

    Credit: Almond Leaf Studios
  • This photo with your 'maids and the flower girl
    Bad influences.

    Credit: Maria Vicencio Photography
  • This late-night food truck
    Your guests are definitely going to work up an appetite on the dance floor.

    Credit: Jihan Abdalla Photography
  • This superhero wedding party shot
    With great power comes great photo opportunities.

    Credit: Hoffer Photography
  • This hangover kit
    Your guests will thank you later.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Maroon 5 Just May Be The Best Wedding Crashers Ever

Adam Levine might be busy judging the final rounds of NBC's The Voice, but he still found time to crash not one, but multiple weddings! The 35-year-old lead singer of Maroon 5 surprised a few unsuspecting newlyweds by showing up to their nuptials and performing some of the band's hit songs. The stunt was for their new music video, "Sugar," from their latest album, titled "V."

In an interview with Access Hollywood, Levine shared that director David Dobkin came up with the creative concept. The experience was "Really surreal...It was so much more amazing than I realized it was going to be." He also jokingly added that he didn't leave without trying some cake first (as if we needed another reason to love him).




Photo Credits: Duke Photography, Los Angeles, CA

Duke Khodaverdian of Duke Photographyin Los Angeles, California, filmed one of the couple's weddings. He tells us that "it was a surprise of a lifetime for the couple and for their wedding guests, one that no one will ever forget."

Levine married model Behati Prinslooon July 19 in Los Cabos, Mexico so we have our fingers crossed that his wedding footage will be incorporated into the music video as well.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

10 Things No One Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping

By Lauren Kay for


There are some things you just don't find out until you try on a wedding dress yourself.

1. Breakfast actually is the most important meal of the day.
Starting out "hangry" is like shopping suicide. You probably don't need to wolf down a burger and fries moments before you step into that slinky gown, but make sure you have something to eat before getting started. Trying on gowns is emotionally and physically draining (some dresses weigh twice as much as a puppy!). You may even sweat a little, so fuel up!

2. Choose your companions wisely.
Most bridal salons are happy to welcome you and a few guests (not your entire entourage). This is actually a good thing! There's only room for a couple extra bodies and all that tulle anyway, and you'll have fewer people weighing in on your decision. Its great to have trusted opinions, but too many and you'll be paralyzed with fear of making the wrong choice.

3. Wear a touch more make up than usual.
Buying a fancy dress is not an everyday occurrence -- it's going to be a tricky decision no matter what. Not to mention the unflattering florescent lighting typical of most fitting rooms. Do yourself a favor and wear a touch more makeup than your usual look (we're talking some blush and black eyeliner) to your appointment. You'll look more like you will on your wedding day, which will ultimately make it easier to pull the trigger on a gown.

4. Be prepared to strip down.
Truth: A veritable stranger may catch glimpses of you naked. Most consultants will give you some privacy, but because dresses can be unwieldy or delicate they'll want to help you in and out of them. Wear undergarments that you don't mind seeing the light of day (we recommend light-color boy shorts and a strapless bra). If you're a modest-kind of girl, speak up from the start.

5. Trust your consultant.
She may be older than your Mom or still single, but she wouldn't be doing this if she wasn't totally qualified. Your consultant knows the dresses and sees hundreds of brides with varying body shapes try them on every day. Make sure you share your wants (lace, a-line, sleeves) but be open to her suggestions--you may end up with one of her picks when its all said and done.

6. A bridal 8 is not a J.Crew 8.
Don't panic. You do not need to enroll in Bridal Boot Camp -- wedding gown sizes are not the same as "street" clothes. If you wear an 8 in your favorite summer dress, there's a good chance you'll be wearing a 12 or 14 down the aisle. Focus on how great you feel in the dress, not the number on the tag.

7. Try on styles that aren't "you."
Even if you have your heart set on a mermaid lace gown, or think you can't wear silk, try on a variety of gowns. You're only going to do this once and you may surprise yourself by choosing something completely different than the pins on your inspiration board. And try the dress that your mother (or grandmother or mother-in-law-to-be) is just sure is "the one" -- she's been looking forward to this day too. She'll either see that you were right about the skirt swallowing you whole, or you may shock yourself by actually liking the dress -- it's a win-win.

8. Some "other" bride might be wearing "your" dress.
Let's get real: you're not the only bride planning a June wedding, so its entirely possible someone else will be trying on "your" dream dress. Or, you may see someone wearing an illusion back gown that you hadn't considered and want to try it on RIGHT. THIS. MINUTE. Play nice -- share the mirrors, pedestals and even the gowns.

9. Don't just stand there, move around!
Sure, there will be moments when you're standing still at your wedding (like when you say I do). But you'll also be sitting and mingling and getting down on the dance floor. If you think the dress is a serious contender, take a walk around the salon, sit down, practice your "SHOUT!" technique. You may feel foolish in the moment, but you'll be glad you gave the gown a test drive when you're comfortable all day and night.

10. You may not cry.
Maybe emotion will overcome you. Maybe your Mom will get choked up too. But it's totally okay if no one cries. It doesn't mean you picked the wrong gown (even if you're the first to tear at a sappy commercial). Every bride is different so don't put pressure on yourself to react a certain way. Also, your consultant may not pop a bottle of champagne (some can't due to liquor laws) like you see on TV. Take your shopping companions out for a celebratory drink instead -- you all deserve it!

Bonus: When you've found the dress, most salons require you to sign a contract and put down a deposit on the spot. You may have to commit to things like a size and any customizations (adding sleeves, dropping the waist) you and your consultant discussed. Ask about alteration costs, which can add up. And ask if any discounts are available -- you're not going to get half off, but there may be an upcoming trunk show or a special rate for purchasing your bridesmaids dresses at the same salon. Sometimes you'll get lucky and they'll throw in a veil -- it never hurts to ask!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

7 Ways I Knew My Husband Was 'The One'

By Ms. Suzanne Jannese

Ten years ago, at this very minute, I married him for the second time.

Technically and legally, our first wedding was a secret affair, merely to let my then Australian boyfriend remain in the country with me. We regarded it as "the step between moving in together and actually getting married." It was held at a registry office on Kings Road, where Judy Garland, Roman Polanski and allegedly George Clooney all had previously wed. We only told a couple of close friends, who we asked to be our witnesses. I wore a white suit, and he wore a nervous smile.

Looking back on that day, some folks would have called me crazy to marry a man I had only known for a year. But I knew, deep down, that he was the one for me. Even though it took him another 14 months to actually propose and another year for us to have the actual church wedding and all the formal celebrations with all of our friends and family.

Prior to meeting my husband at 28, I'd had 6 long years in the dating wilderness filled with broken hearts (mine) and terrible dates. I had almost given up on "The One" ever appearing. I would quiz all my married friends, desperate to know how they "knew" and what had separated Mr. Right from all the Mr. Wrongs that went before. Most people mystifyingly said things like, "I just knew," and "it was different," which wasn't very helpful.

But then I met my husband and I finally understood what all my friends had been talking about. So now I'm here to give YOU advice -- the same advice I had been seeking all those years ago. How do you know when he's Mr. Right as opposed to Mr. Right Now? How can you be sure that he isn't gonna run off at the first hurdle, or he wants the same things out of life that you do? In short, how do you "just know"?

Here are a few things to look out for:

1. It came easy.
Not that any relationship is easy -- over time there are all sorts of things couples have to negotiate -- but what I realized most about my husband in the beginning was that it all happened pretty easily. He didn't play games. He called when he said he would. He didn't play it cool, but he didn't chase me either. It just felt like I'd known him a long, long time and every time we hung out, we had a great laugh. Plus, I fancied the pants off him. Before him, the men/boys I'd dated were all either super-hot and super-dull or really great but really unsexy. I couldn't find someone that I wanted to go to the movies with and then rip his clothes off later.

2. I didn't find him by sitting on my ass.
I met my husband when I walked through the wrong door in a hotel hoping to find the bathroom, only to knock him on the head and send him flying. Turned out he was the cute hotel bartender and later, a bit tipsy, I gave him my number. He looked at that bit of paper as if I had handed him a used tissue. I didn't expect him to call, so I shouted as I left the bar something like, "I believe in Carpe Diem, so if you call, you call. If you don't, you don't!" He thought that was funny and called. In short: You'll never meet Mr. Right by sitting alone, waiting for him to come to you. Get off your arse and give a hot guy your number!

3. I didn't freak out just because he sucked on the phone.
When my husband first called me, he left the DULLEST message I've ever heard. Next bit of advice: if he sounds awful on the phone, do NOT despair (most men are useless on the phone). He expected me to call him back and be a "sure thing." Nice. I was busy with work, so didn't get to call him back until five days later.

4. I actually WANTED to wait to have sex with him.
We met for coffee, which is a brilliant first date. Why? Because you don't get hammered and fall into bed with him, wake up, leave and never see him again. Day time dates are key because you get to talk, see them in cold, harsh daylight, and all that stress of whether or not he expects to come back to your place later doesn't exist. I waited five dates until he stayed over. And every woman I know who waited five dates to sleep with someone, married them. True story.

5. He supported me really early on in our relationship.
On our second date, I heard that an acquaintance of mine had died. A bit of a mood killer on a date, obviously. But he was totally supportive. He took me for food and tried to be as understanding as he could given that he barely knew me. A week later, after the funeral, he called to see how I was doing. When I asked about his day, he responded, "I called to see how YOU are. I didn't call to talk about me and my day." In that split second I realized he was special. It took one moment -- one seemingly insignificant sentence -- and I knew. After that, I let myself fall in love with him, which we'll get to in the next point.

6. I was mentally and emotionally ready to fall in love with someone.
It's crucial to be ready (really ready!) to love someone else. Sometimes we think we are ready, but we're not. We often have our own baggage we need to address before we can allow ourselves to love someone else. Plus, falling in love is scary business. It makes you vulnerable, and for those who have had their hearts trampled on in the past, it is twice as hard to let yourself trust again. But when it's right, it shouldn't be scary. We only feel anxious and fretful when we're involved in bad love because our intuition is telling us it's not right. Listen to your gut. It's there for a reason.

7. My list of requirements? I disposed of it immediately.
My husband moved in three months later. Right before we were married, I found a diary entry from years ago with a list of qualities my ideal man would have: where he'd live, what job he'd have, and a bunch of superficial stuff about what books he'd read and movies he'd watch, etc. What a load of crap! If you're single, take that list and burn it immediately because guess what? No single person will ever meet all your requirements. And when you do finally find the elusive "one" (and for the record, I believe there are many "ones" along the way that you could meet, not just one, true soulmate), your partners will have qualities that are even better than anything you could have written on a list.

Then one day, you'll wake up and realize you've been married for 10 years. Someone will congratulate you and ask how you knew he was the one, and you'll find yourself saying, "I just knew."

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sweet 16 Photos!!

Sweet 16

On this day 16 years ago, God blessed me with a healthy and happy baby girl. From the very first moment I saw her sweet face, I knew that not only was she my greatest achievement but the great love of my life. She has grown up to be an exceptional young lady and no one makes me prouder to be a Mom like she does.... 

Happy Birthday Jacelyn Breanna Jackson, I Love You!

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Wedding-Planning Responsibilities the Groom Can't Avoid

  • Groom Responsibilities Before the Wedding
    Photo: Marie Labbancz Photography

    Some grooms get away with just showing up for the wedding pre-parties and being where they're supposed to be, when they're supposed to be there, and wearing what they're supposed to be wearing on the wedding day. If the bride doesn't mind that the groom isn't participating in the planning, there's nothing wrong with that scenario. But even when that's all the groom wants to do, there are a few things he must do:

    1. The groom is responsible for getting the guest list (with correct salutations and addresses) from his parents. He's also responsible for tracking down all of his own friends' addresses that the bride wouldn't have in her own phone book.

    2. Making sure the groomsmen have been invited to be members of the wedding party, know what they have to wear, show up for fittings as necessary, and have all the details about the schedule is the responsibility of the groom. He can ask his best man to help coordinate, but it's definitely on him to make sure things are done.

    3. Traditionally, the groom gives the bride a wedding gift of some kind (and vice versa). He's responsible for buying something special, making sure it's wrapped and has a heartfelt note attached to it. If they don't exchange gifts the night before like many couples do, he should have the gift delivered to the bride while she's getting ready on the wedding day.

    4. The groom is responsible for dealing with his own family. If his sisters cause issues regarding the bridesmaid dresses or his mother is driving the bride crazy, the groom should be the one to have a one-on-one with whoever is causing stress and solve the problem.

    5. The groom is responsible for tracking down missing RSVPs from his side of the guest list. Even if it includes getting their dinner orders. The bride and the groom should each do the follow-ups for their own half of the list.