Friday, May 31, 2013

5 Must-Know Tips to Registering for Your Wedding

Corelle dinnerware// From: The Knot Blog

Everyone talks about how stressful wedding planning can be and the top topics tend to include guest list dilemmas, budgeting and even drama with mom. But registering can prove stressful too! In fact, 3/4 of brides-to-be find the process overwhelming. You would think that registering would be fun because it’s kind of like the ultimate shopping spree, but when you actually are standing in the store with a scanner in your hand, you realize there’s a lot to think about. That’s why we partnered with Corelle this month for National Wedding Registry Month to assist brides with the process. And we put together a few tips to registering….

1. Start early
We recommend starting your registry six months in advance so that friends and family can buy the gifts you really want for engagement parties, showers and the wedding!

2. Create a plan
Discuss and decide the items you and your fiance really want for your home before starting the process. Note what you already have since you’ll likely be consolidating your items.

3. Think quality
Do your research to ensure you are registering for long-lasting, durable products. The new Boutique by Corelle dinnerware collection comes in two embossed designs, Cherish (featured above) and Swept, which are simple but sophisticated. More importantly, the line is break resistant, microwaveable and dishwasher safe — on top of being stylish!

4. Don’t forget the necessities
It might seem boring, but you’re going to need daily kitchen tools beyond the more popular mixers and blenders. Consider registering for brands like Corelle, Pyrex and CorningWare which are reliable, long-lasting brands. Don’t overlook the obvious basics you’ll need!

5. Have fun!
Enjoy the process! While traditional registries are most popular (93% of couples register at national/regional retailers), honeymoon registries continue to grow in popularity, up to 13% in 2012 compared to 11% in 2010. If you have all the household essentials you need, consider this as an alternative. Some of the more popular ones are Honeyfund, Traveler’s Joy and Honeymoon wishes. Charity registries are another great consideration.

To top it all off, Corelle is running a sweepstakes on their Facebook page until May 29 – you can enter to win your entire registry for FREE! Check it out and enter at

10 DIY Wedding Ideas That Are Worth Your Time

We've gathered some of our favorite DIY tutorials for the bride who wants to incorporate a handmade element in her wedding, but isn’t prepared (or able) to spend hours and hundreds of dollars sourcing all of the items required. These projects range from basic to more advanced and suit different wedding styles. Best of all, they can be prepared well in advance of your wedding to ensure that there aren't any last-minute panic attacks or dramas before the big day!

1. Glitter Table Numbers

Why we love them: This is such an easy way to add a little sparkle to your wedding tables! Not only is glitter festive, but the metallic functions as a neutral, making this a great addition to any color palette.

Bonus tip: These numbers are very lightweight, so consider leaning them against vases or wedging them between stacks of books or beautiful boxes so that they don't tip over.
Skill level: Basic.

Best for: A classic or glamorous wedding.
glitter table numbers

Photography by Polka Dot Bride

2. Forever & Ever Garland

Why we love it: Spell out your love with this sweet glittered letter garland. It would make a fun addition to your engagement party, bridal shower, or wedding. You can also use it as a fun prop for an engagement shoot or photo booth.

Skill level: Basic.

Best for: A modern or glamorous bash.
forever and ever banner

Photography by Love Joy Faith | Concept & styling by Alanna Lock for White Room Events

3. Flag Cake Toppers

Why we love them: These flags are simple, but they add so much character and color to any wedding. You can put them on your wedding cake, in individual cupcakes, use them as table décor, or even attach guests' names and table numbers to them.

Skill level: Basic.

Best for: A whimsical and laidback wedding.
cake topper flags

Photography by Your Cloud Parade

4. DIY Wedding Envelope Seals
Why we love them: If you’re feeling adventurous, you could include these labels on other elements of your wedding stationery such as menus, reply cards and save the dates to tie all of your stationery together — the sky’s the limit!

Skill level: Basic.

Best for: A relaxed or rustic affair.
personalized envelope seals

Photography by Stelloberry Designs

5. Skeleton Key Escort Tags

Why we love them: They'll make a big impact at your reception entrance. Pin these adorable escort cards onto a fabric-covered board for a refined look or nail them onto an old door for a more rustic approach. Choose a twine or ribbon that suits your wedding style.

Bonus tip: If you leave off the table numbers to start with, you can even use the tags themselves to plan your seating arrangements. Simply add the table numbers when your seating has been finalized after your RSVPs have all come in.

Skill level: Basic.

Best for: A vintage- or rustic-themed wedding.
skeleton key escort cards

Photography by Alicia Parsons

6. Rope and Flag Succulent Centerpieces

Why we love them: These centerpieces are perfectly suited to a couple that wants something a little nautical or beachy. They incorporate interesting patterns, textures and objects to create an idyllic atmosphere.

Skill level: Basic.

Best for: A rustic or seaside celebration.
rope vase centerpiece

Photo by Luke Simon Photography

7. Ribbon Wands

Why we love it: Ribbon wands are a fun touch for a wedding exit, and they're easy to make on your own. For a touch of glam, add a little rhinestone to the top of each wand.

Skill level: Basic.

Best for: A boho or garden gathering.
diy wand project

Photography by Polka Dot Bride

8. Dip-Dye Tissue Paper Pom Poms

Why we love them: Tissue paper pom poms are seriously pretty with their soft petal layers and flower shapes. Did you know that you can easily make them yourself? We made some dip-dye versions just to add a little variety, but the method is the same.

Skill level: Medium.

Best for: A colorful or artistic wedding.
dip-dyed pom pom

Images by Twiggy Nest

9. Majestic Pearl Wedding Invites

Why we love them: For the traditionally inclined bride, there is nothing more elegant than white on white. Feel like a true princess on your wedding day with this classic, yet sophisticated invitation. With subtle layers of shimmering pearl paper, exquisite flock and sparkling silver accessories, this invitation promises a dreamy, opulent and irresistibly romantic affair.

Bonus tip: After you're familiar with the process of making a buckle bow, experiment with different ribbon layers and positioning to achieve some exciting and unique looks. Try making the ribbon element for two double buckle bows and join them together to form a small cross. These embellishments look great on favor boxes and candy bags, too.

Skill level: Medium.

Best for: A classic and elegant wedding.
wedding invitations

Photo Credit: Cristina Re

10. DIY Floral Letters

Why we love them: There’s something so beautiful about letters covered in flowers or greenery! For the best effect, choose fluffy flowers with large petals. We chose daisies but you could also use carnations, hydrangeas, or even moss.

Skill level: Medium.

Best for: A boho garden wedding or country-chic celebration.

Here's the floral version:

Photography by Polka Dot Bride

Or you can try the moss version:
moss initials

Photography by Polka Dot Bride

Friday Letters

Dear Weekend....
YES! You are here and you are the man. I have every intention of trying to get some rest so help a sista out and push me towards it.
Dear Jacelyn...
I am so proud that you were named Valedictorian.. You have worked very hard and I am excited to see you in your Gold Rope in Graduation day!
Dear Family...
We officially hit June tomorrow which means the reunion is soon and very soon! I cant wait to see you all and have a great time.
Dear Blogger Buddies....
Love to you all... I hope that everyone is doing great.
Dear Scott..
You are the light in my heart. I Love You.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Secrets To A Happy Marriage (From the Real Experts)

It's June, the month we traditionally associate with getting married. And more than ever, marriage is seen as threatened. Over the past half century, rates of marriage have fallen, people are waiting longer to get married, and divorce rates have increased, leading to the oft-cited statistic that around half of all U. S. marriages will end in divorce.

There's a flip side to these sobering statistics, however. Marriage is still the ideal for most people in American society. In surveys of high school seniors, fewer than 10 percent say they do not expect to marry. Ultimately, 90 percent of Americans will wind up tying the knot.

So here we have a paradox. Most people want to get married and there is considerable research evidence that marriage has a wide range of benefits. But too often, the joy that accompanies the wedding celebration turns sour, and nearly half of couples who stand at the altar in hopeful excitement find themselves starting over after the trauma of divorce.

In our surveys of the life wisdom of the oldest Americans, I was particularly interested in their advice about finding a life partner and staying married. Many of the elders we talked with in the Legacy Project had been married for 30, 40, 50 or more years. Others had experienced disastrous marriages - but offered advice for how younger people can avoid the same fiascoes.

Here are their three top (and somewhat surprising) lessons:

Marry Someone a Lot Like You

I asked hundreds of elders what is most important for a long and happy marriage and their advice was just about unanimous: Opposites may attract, but they don't make for great and lasting marriages. Based on their long experiences both in and out of love relationships, their first lesson is this: You are much more likely to have a satisfying marriage for a lifetime when you and your mate are fundamentally similar. And the most important thing to look for is similarity in your core values.
Take Emma Sylvester, who at 87 has been married for 58 years. As she put it with a smile, "It's quite an achievement."
I didn't know it when I got married, but in retrospect I know it's important to have the same basic values. In other words, if you're a free spender, marry somebody who understands that. If you're frugal, you need to marry somebody who understands that, because money is one of the stumbling blocks in marriages. And fortunately we had the same values on most things. Because of this, we really didn't argue. And we really didn't agonize over things. We came to our decisions by just realizing that we had usually the same goals. We both believed in education. We wanted to be moral according to society's standards, to raise our children to be good citizens, and to be responsible in terms of finances.
Arguments emerge over apparently trivial issues, the elders told us, because they really reflect underlying values. Whether the wife purchases an expensive golf club or the husband a new electronic toy is not the core issue in what can become a monumental fight, but rather the deeper attitude toward what money means and whether the financial interests of the couple are more important than indulging an individual whim.

The elders urge people committing to a relationship to ask the question: Do we believe the same things in life are important? If problems develop in the relationship, these experts on long marriages say that value differences are likely to be at the heart of the problem.

Never Expect Your Partner to Change after Marriage

What about taking a leap of faith on the marriage under the assumption that you can change your partner after you're married? The elders were as clear about this possibility as can be: Forget about it. According to them, entering into a marriage with the goal of changing one's partner is a fool's errand.
Rosie Eberle, 80 and happily married for 56 years, had a blunt comment to make about the entering into a marriage expecting to change one's partner: "It's just plain stupid." She went on:
For heaven's sake, don't say "Oh, he's this way now but he won't always be like that." Because they usually are, and you have to be careful, that's all. So don't marry someone and then think, "Oh, well he'll change." Or "I'm going to change him." Believe me, it doesn't happen. But people get real stubborn, and believe that can change a person later on, which never works.
Friendship Is as Important as Love

When asked the question: "What's the secret to a long, happy marriage such as yours?" a common answer from people in long marriages was: "I married my best friend." Similarly, from those whose marriages did not succeed, I often heard: "Well, we were good at love, but we never learned how to be friends."

This response sounds peculiar, given that we are schooled in our culture to differentiate between friendship and romantic love. Indeed, television shows like "Will and Grace" and "Sex and the City" popularize the view that cross-sex friendship works best (or only) when one of the friends is gay. We see friends and spouse as two separate social categories that have different functions.

In contrast, the elders say that the special qualities of friendship are exactly what you want in your marriage. We typically look forward to being with friends, we relish their company, we relax with them, we share common interests and we talk openly. In contrast, we all encounter people who do not feel they can talk easily to their spouse (next time you are out for a fancy dinner, observe the couples who manage only a few uncomfortable words over two hours). What the elders suggest is that you look for the qualities of a friend -- the capacity to comfortably "hang out" -- in the person you choose to marry. As one 87-year old told me: "Think back to the playground when you were a child. Your spouse should be that other kid you would most like to play with!"

According to the elders, all marriages have to undergo a transition from the initial thrill of romantic attraction and -- many were honest about it -- overwhelming sexual desire to the stages when other things must become as or more significant. After being swept off one's feet by true love, the elders caution you to ask "What's next?" Will you wake up next to the same person for five or six decades and still find a person you like as well as love?

Patty Banas, 80, made a go of a first marriage when young, divorced, and then "got it right" in her very happy second marriage. She had one recommendation:
Be sure that you're really good friends. That is the most important thing. All this -- all the romance and the bells and the whistles and stuff is all very nice but it doesn't last. Be sure that you're really, very good friends.
As a relationship is moving into a serious phase, a question couples can and should discuss is: If we weren't in love, would be friends? And when we move to something other than heart-thumping passion, what is there that will keep us together? (Hint: The answer should not be kids.) The answer is friendship, and if you don't have it, don't get married -- it's that simple.
Marriage will probably never go out of style in our culture. Why? There's no more evocative summation than that from Ellie Banks, the mother of the most famous June bride of all in the 1950s film classic Father of the Bride:

"Oh, Stanley. I don't know how to explain. A wedding. A church wedding. Well it's, it's what every girl dreams of. A bridal dress, the orange blossoms, the music. It's something lovely to remember all the rest of her life."

But after the bouquet is thrown and the last grain of rice is swept up, the realistic approach of those who have experienced decades of marriage can help us make our unions last.

Why You Might Want to Consider an Unplugged Wedding

While some couples encourage their friends and family to snap as many photos as possible throughout the day (they're even signing up for apps that make it easier to compile everyone's photos in one place!), others are asking their guests to shut off their camera phones for the day. There are strong arguments on both sides -- there's something so special about seeing your wedding day unfold from your guests' perspectives, but photographers have noted that "guest photographers" often compromise your professional pictures. Photographer Corey Ann, an international award-winning photographer based in Northeast Ohio, shares why you might want to ask your guests to put aside their cameras for the night.
unplugged wedding

Last year, one of my friends got married, and I was so thrilled to be her photographer that day. What was even more amazing was that she had an “Unplugged Wedding,” after seeing pictures and reading my rants over the years about well-meaning guests whom have inadvertently (or heck, even completely on purpose) ruined images.

Prior to the ceremony, the officiant read this: “Welcome, friends and family! Good evening, everyone. Please be seated. Dan and Jennifer invite you to be truly present at this special time. Please, turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras. The photographer will capture how this moment looks -- I encourage you all to capture how it feels with your hearts, without the distraction of technology. If Dan can do it, then so can you.” I can’t tell you how many happy leaps of joy my heart did when reading this!! The guests all obeyed, and even after the ceremony, many decided to keep their arms down and their hearts open and enjoyed the day, instead of being an observer from behind their cameras.

Recently, “Guest Photographers” came up in one of the photography groups I am a part of online, and someone asked what the big deal is; why wouldn’t we want more people capturing images for our clients? I thought this was a great question! I don’t have a single problem with guests taking images and sharing them later on with the couple. It makes me happy to know there will be other pictures and photos of moments I may have missed or alternate angles that I couldn’t cover. I also completely understand that some have a love for capturing images and enjoy taking pictures at weddings they attend.

However, my heart literally breaks when a guest ruins an otherwise lovely image or jumps in front of me when I’m capturing a key moment from the day. It completely slays me when this happens because, while I am not remotely egotistical at all, I am fairly confident that my image would have been better than the one they captured. In the past six years of being a professional wedding photographer, it’s also been sad to watch the progression from seeing smiling, encouraging and happy faces as the bride is escorted up the aisle to faces hidden behind the backs of cameras and cell phones that line the aisle. These are all reasons why I am elated when I hear of couples opting for an Unplugged Wedding -- or, at the very least, an Unplugged Ceremony.

I also want to add this: if you are a guest at the wedding, please make sure to withhold posting pictures of the bride and groom online until after the ceremony. I can’t tell you how many “first looks” have inadvertently happened online before the wedding because a bridesmaid or groomsman uploaded pictures to social media before the wedding and a bride or groom, killing time by browsing Facebook, saw their future intended before the ceremony. Don’t do it!!!!! Also, make sure with the couple that it is OK to share the images on social media; sometimes people prefer to keep things quiet due to varying factors, and you don’t want to cause undue stress.

One thing there is absolutely nothing I can do to combat is a flash from a guest photographer’s camera. There is rarely anything that will save the image, and no repositioning will change the outcome:
unplugged wedding

This is just one of the hundreds of wedding processional images that I’ve had ruined from a camera flash. I rarely, if ever, use flash for the ceremony, so the light you see here is all from the one camera’s flash.

At another wedding, a girl’s father literally shoved me aside and gave me grief because I was blocking his daughter from standing in the aisle to get an image. This sanctuary only had one aisle and very little room to move, due to a small space being full with guests. I took this image to protect myself later in case the clients were upset that I had to stand slightly off center for a portion of their day:
unplugged wedding

Also? The Nintendo DS made the loudest noises when it took pictures. It was crazy. Since this image was taken four years ago, the DSes have been replaced with iPads, which are a million times worse when it comes to eyesores.

During a destination wedding in Cozumel, this kid’s dad yelled at my second shooter and shoved his kid up in front to make sure he got an image with his iPhone:
unplugged wedding

Note: He wasn’t even a guest of the wedding, just a guest of the resort.

This next situation literally broke my heart. In many churches, photographers are heavily restricted as to where they can go for images, and the Heinz Chapel is perhaps one of the strictest I’ve ever worked at. We are only allowed to be outside of the sanctuary in the door opening where the center aisle is and in the balcony. We are not permitted to move during the service. My second shooter, thankfully, was in the balcony; it didn’t make these guests go away, but luckily, he was able to get images of the service where you could see the bride and groom.
unplugged wedding

I argued, begged and pleaded for the church lady guarding me to at least allow me to go into the side aisle so I could get a clear shot of my clients when these guests jumped into the aisle, but I was not allowed. Instead, I just had to take what I could get and cry a bit on the inside. The guest did not move for the majority of the ceremony. I’m still sad when I look at this image:

Here's another image of a guest who jumped in front of me during a ceremony where I could not move to get around him:
why to consider an unplugged wedding

And this moment almost made me cry... not kidding. I had my eye on this gentleman, since he was standing up on the altar with the bride and groom during the service, but I was able to zoom and crop around the couple so that he wasn’t in too many of the images. Then, after the pronouncement of the couple, he swiftly moved and stood right in front of me during the first kiss:
why to consider an unplugged wedding

I jumped quickly to the side, but I missed the brief kiss. Luckily, I still was able to capture the hug after, but I am so sad that I missed their first kiss. I sure hope he got it…

I also felt doubly awful because I had to jump in front of guests view of the couple, and during a ceremony, my goal is to never block a guests view. I apologized profusely after the wedding, and thankfully, they all were very sweet and understanding.
Guests standing in the aisle always make me sad, because your attention immediately will go to that person and not to the subject of the image.

It doesn’t matter what kind of camera, big or small -- the flash is almost always too bright to work with once it is fired.
why to consider an unplugged wedding

With the white dress, there isn’t a lot I can do to save images like this:
why to consider an unplugged wedding

While this image wasn’t completely blown out, the shadows from a guest's flash are bothersome:

I really cringe when guests try to take pictures during formals. Not only am I generally under a time crunch, but the flashes ruin at least one or two shots from each batch I take:
why to consider an unplugged wedding

Eyes also tend to wander, and rarely do I get everyone looking at me at the same time when there are multiple cameras present. This is the only time that I will sometimes tell guests that they have to stop taking pictures, and I have been told off more times than not when I’ve had to do this. However, my priority the day of the wedding is on my clients. I don’t care about the sale of the portraits, but I do care about the quality of the portraits, and if there is a circus going on behind me, it rarely ends well for everyone involved. So, trust me when I beg and plead for you to tell people to put their cameras down and go enjoy the cocktail hour while we take some portraits with the special people in your life.
The reception generally is a time when I can quickly move if a guest decides to take pictures, but one time when I can’t move around it? The special dances:
why to consider an unplugged wedding

Although, I have to say, this little old guy does warm my heart a bit. He was pretty cute with his disposable camera, even if it was a bit distracting with the winding.

Here's another guest deciding the first dance is a great time for that portrait of the bride and groom:
why to consider an unplugged wedding

This is another one that makes me a sad panda when I look at it. This guest came up at the last bit of the father/daughter dance, and there was nowhere I could go to get her out of the picture:
why to consider an unplugged wedding

Luckily, I have numerous beautiful images from the dance, but the last hug is always my favorite.
Another pet peeve of guest cameras during the wedding? The red (or green) dot of doom!
why to consider an unplugged wedding

These focusing beams are quite irritating because, again, there’s not a lot that I can do to get rid of it, outside of turning the image black and white (which still will leave a light circle). There are quite a few images that I’ve had to toss due to these beams; this is just one of the many.

Bottom line: My priority the day of the wedding is on my clients. They have paid me their hard-earned money to make sure I document their wedding, and when an overzealous guest gets in the way, it makes me sad. I think often people don’t realize what they are doing, and my writing this post was in hoping to educate even a few people that will take this advice and either have an unplugged wedding or think of the professional before jumping in the aisle for that shot.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wedding Trailblazers: The Reverend D Talks Officiating Offbeat Weddings

 Wedding Trailblazers


Here at HuffPost Weddings, we're all about celebrating unique and innovative ideas in the wedding world. In this series, Wedding Trailblazers, we'll be spotlighting wedding-industry professionals doing creative new things. Check out our latest trailblazer below.

DonnaMarie SanSevero is a New York paramedic by day, but by night? She's The Reverend D.
As The Reverend D, SanSevero specializes in officiating truly unique, offbeat weddings -- think gothic, Halloween nuptials or ceremonies that feature the "Imperial March" from "Star Wars" as the processional song. And if this requires her to dress up like Elvira or quote raunchy lines from "Showgirls" during the service? No problem!

HuffPost Weddings talked with The Reverend D about the craziest weddings she's performed and why it's so important to offer couples a quirky, personal ceremony.

What inspired you to start officiating weddings?

When I was going to get married in 2010 I was basically looking for myself as an officiant. I would type into search engines everything that I might want, like “Halloween funny rock ‘n roll wedding officiant” or “sci-fi lesbian zombie officiant.” And the same people would come up over and over again and they all were really generic. Their pages all looked alike, and they all said the exact same thing, which was, “We’ll give you a beautiful and caring ceremony that showcases your love” and blah. It was horrifying. And they all charged a lot of freakin’ money. So I decided to become a reverend and marry myself. But you can’t do that in New York. I ended up having my friend do the ceremony. I hadn’t thought of doing other weddings until a couple months later when a couple friends of mine were getting married and they wanted me to do it. I had such a great time doing it and it was such a positive thing, everyone was laughing and I love performing. I thought, shit, maybe there’s other people who are looking for this, too, not just friends of mine.

How do you decide what to say in the service?
I try to talk to the couple and really get a feel for who they are, and I’ll send out a questionnaire. I think of funny questions like, “What bad habit does your significant other have that you'll want to strangle them in their sleep 20 years from now.” I want to find out these weird little details. I look over their answers and that tells me what the service is going to be about. I had a couple who met at a concert. He kicked her in the head in a mosh pit, and she met him as she was being dragged out of the pit. So that was what their wedding was about -- how love can come from anywhere, and sometimes it sneaks up on you and sometimes it kicks you in the head. So it’s entirely, 100 percent a personal service.

You are also willing to dress up in costumes during the ceremony –- why is that important to you?

I don’t want to say I have no shame -- all right, I’ll say it, I have no shame. You want me to wear a stormtrooper costume, you want me to dress up like a zombie, you want to have a pirate-themed wedding, I am so down with that. I’ll accommodate any request, within reason –- it’s your wedding, if you want something like that, I have no problem. I look at is as being very important because your wedding officiant is going to photobomb every picture of the most important moment of your life. [The couples] have complete control over everything and I think that’s only fair. I don’t want them to look at their pictures 10 years from now and say, “I hate what she’s wearing.”

Why do couples choose you as their officiant?

I stand out because my website looks different, right off the bat. Some of my couples go to search engines and type in the same things I was typing in. I had a couple who said they typed in “heavy metal comedian wedding officiant,” and I came up. Another typed “Halloween zombie officiant.” Mind you, these aren’t people who are throwing zombie weddings. These are people who happen to like zombies. They’re just trying to find something different. And also I’m cheap, I admit it. People who are on a lower budget get horrified like I did when they find out how much officiants charge and they find me and they’re like, “Holy crow, this is great.”

What’s the craziest wedding you’ve ever done?

I had two girls fly in from out of state, and they got married on Halloween in Central Park and they wanted me to dress up like Elvira. They wanted my husband in the wedding, so he was a zombie attendant. They wanted me to do this bit from “The Princess Bride.” And they wanted me to play Prince. And they wanted to do a handfasting ritual, and I managed to put it all together and it was great. I have a wedding coming up that’s going to be awesome. The groom is a lawyer and they’re doing it at the New York County Lawyers' Association, so it’s like a courthouse. They’re going to stage it like a small claims court, and I’m going to be the judge.

What are other officiants not doing that you think they should?

They should be making weddings more personal and they shouldn’t be charging more money for it. There are a lot of officiants who say you get the standard wedding and to personalize it is $200. Really? It doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know where they’re coming from. Maybe they’re not good writers. But I really think that they should make things more personal. This is a big moment for the couple. If you want someone to read a wedding out of a book I can tell you how you can get your cousin ordained and they can do it. It’ll cost 35 bucks. I don’t understand why anyone would pay someone six, seven or 800 dollars to read a wedding that’s been read to a hundred other couples before.

10 Ways Your Mom Can Ruin Your Wedding Day

I'm not a mother of the bride (MOB) hater, but even with that disclaimer, I guarantee that this article will not make me very popular amongst you moms. Actually, I'm pretty confident that after I spill these particular beans, I'm probably going to have every MOB emailing me messages stating their disappointment (such a mom word); accusing me of crossing that line of basic respect for our parentals, but based on my experience, I feel like it is my responsibility to share these beans with all of you brides-to-be so that you actually enjoy your wedding day.
Keep in mind, bridey, the only reason I am privy to this list is because I've witnessed it. That said, if you know what to look for, then at least you can consider yourself forewarned, and not let the crazy MOB get you down.
  1. Mom notices the little things that you never would have seen in your euphoric wedding day state, and keeps telling you about them. For instance, your menu cards are not quite center, one of the bridesmaid dresses is too tight, there's a place setting missing at table 24, blah, blah blah.
  2. Mom will not stop talking shit about your dad's new girlfriend. "How could he have brought her here? I mean, on such a special day for the family."

  3. Mom is constantly telling you to reapply your lipstick, "for the sake of the photographs, honey."

  4. Your mom? She's downright hammered. Must have been because of your dad's new girlfriend. Somebody really needs to pry the Chardonnay out of her hands.

  5. On Bitchless Bride, I give you brideys a lot of shit about keeping your wedding planning in perspective, and not being a crazy bitch on your wedding day. But, today? Well, today it's your mom who is the bridezilla. She's an attention whore. She's a diva. She's a total bitch demanding attention from anybody who will listen. She's out of control.

  6. Mom keeps referring to your wedding as "her day," even at the ceremony.

  7. Mom invited several guests you didn't even want at the wedding, and is off "entertaining" them while your photographer is trying to get a few family shots.

  8. She's a control freak. She keeps telling your vendors what to do, when to do it and basically, how to do their jobs.

  9. She is following you around reminding you not to drink too much... "You want to remember everything about your wedding day, honey. I'd hate to see you drink too much and have your memories get muddled."

  10. You totally caught her taking a fingerful of the icing on the cake, and all she said is that no one will notice. Whaaaaa??!! (True story!)

Brideys, as a straight shooter, and as somebody who always has your back, consider yourselves forewarned. The best way around a poorly behaved MOB on your wedding day? Simply ignore her bad behavior (don't feed it), enjoy your new husband and have a good time! Got it? Good! Stay Bitchless!

Photo of the Week

This Photo of the Week is my pride and joy... I love her with all my heart and would not trade her for the world... Love You Mini Me.
Countdown to Graduation and High School!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Tunes: Usher: Here I Stand

Since I didnt post yesterday, here is my Music Monday for the week:

Dinner Dance, Fast 6 and Relaxation

Hello my Blogger Friends and Readers... It feels like its been FOREVER since I posted so lets get started.
Friday my daughter went to her 8th Grade Dinner Dance. It is so crazy to me that time has flown by so quickly that I will be a parent of a High School student soon. Here are a few shots from the day:

It was a great night for her and they all had a blast.
Saturday Morning I joined Scott at his Softball Tournament. It was a fundraiser for the Children's Collective. It was a long day but a great cause... Here is a selfie of me out at the field.

Saturday Night we went to a friend's birthday party but had to leave because we got news that one of our friend's mother had passed away. It hit close to home for me because she had the same condition that my Mom had and my mother survived.... It makes you Thankful for sure.
Sunday I got up and FINALLY did some laundry. I have to admit that I am not a fan of doing laundry but I am glad I got it done. After laundry and a quick cat nap, we headed over to my parents house for BBQ. We also went over to Brandi's house for an Adult Game of Hide and Seek..... You have not seen so much fun until you see adults trying to find places to hide in pure laughter.
Later that night, Scott and I headed over to iPic to see Fast and Furious 6:

I have to say that I did enjoy the movie.. The story line was good and for those that love the cars like I do, It was totally worth it.
Monday was Scott and I's 7th month anniversary ... Time flies when your having fun. We decided to stay home and hang with the crew. It was a day of Brunch, Dinner, Domino's and Movies.
It was a busy weekend and life is good in the world of The Cameron's!
Have a great week everyone.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Confessions of a Newlywed: Month 7

1. I am still getting use to being a Cameron rather than a Pettaway but its getting there.
2. Entertaining never gets old with my husband.
3. Romance from him still gets me every time.
4. I like that we have a look... That look where we can not say anything but know what we mean.
5. I cant wait till we find a house....  I feel so grown up just searching.
6. Wine has become our thing.
7. The shoes are still under the table... Yeah I know.
8. I love that we have the Cameron Grub Club and we go on Foodie Adventures.
9. Alot of changes are happening and I am glad to have someone to share it with
10. I am doing what I can to be the best wife I can be.
11. I am excited to take Scott to Houston for the family reunion.
12. I cant wait to go to Vegas for my Mother in Law's wedding
13. I love alone time with my family.
14. The kids are growing up so quickly on us.
15. I still have Thank You cards to do... I know. Its bad.Boo!
16. Funny how time flies when your having fun.
17.  I hope we get to celebrate our 1st anniversary in a special way.
18. I love to surprise my husband when I can.
19. I love that soon to be married couples love to see us love.
20. 7 months and still counting... And I'm loving every moment of it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wedding Research Debunks Common Views On Engagement Rings

There's good news for men stressing about choosing the perfect engagement ring.

The DDB Life Style Study recently surveyed men and women about their thoughts on engagement rings and wedding planning, and the findings should help grooms-to-be breathe a little easier. A majority of women reported that they'd be happy with whatever engagement ring was chosen, and would rather their boyfriends propose than wait until they can afford a ring.

No Need To Wait!
Women want the proposal sooner rather than later -- just 27 percent of women said they'd want their boyfriend to wait to propose until he could afford to buy an engagement ring, even if it would take a few years. But 45 percent of men said they'd rather wait until they could afford the ring.
All About The Ring
If you don't like the engagement ring, it's officially OK to tell your fiance. Though just 32 percent of women said they'd tell their fiance if they didn't like the engagement ring, 78 percent of men said they'd want to know. However, 61 percent of women said they'd be fine with whatever ring was chosen for them.
Should You Get Her Father's Permission?
Though 48 percent of men said they would ask their girlfriend's father for permission to marry her, only 39 percent of women said they would expect their boyfriend to ask their father for permission.
Fantasy Wedding Myth
It turns out most women HAVEN'T been planning their weddings since they were little girls. Only 19 percent of women said they've thought about what their engagement ring would look like since they were young, and 25 percent said they've dreamt about what their wedding would be like. And just 10 percent of women would be willing to go into debt for their wedding.
Bridezillas Not Welcome
No one likes a bridezilla! Just 20 percent of women and 25 percent of men agreed that a bride is entitled to act however she wants to get the wedding of her dreams.
Should You Give The Ring Back?
If the engagement is broken off, 76 percent of women said they'd give the ring back, though just 53 percent of men said they'd expect to get it back.

Teacher Wedding: Travis Meiers Incorporates His Third Grade Class Into His Big Day

When third grade teacher Travis Meiers tied the knot with fiancée Racheal Yeager in April 2013, his class of 22 students wasn't in attendance, but they played a role in the Big Day festivities anyway.
Meiers teaches at Learning Without Limits, a small public charter school in Oakland, Calif. Yeager -- whom his students came to know as "Ms. Racheal" -- frequently spent time in the classroom and had developed a relationship with the kids. When Meiers told his third graders that he was going to marry Ms. Racheal, the kids were very excited.
"It was a big deal, and with reactions such as one student saying 'Awesome! What should I wear?' I realized that there was no way I wasn't going to somehow involve them in the ceremony," he told HuffPost Weddings in an email.
Meiers engaged his students in a class discussion about the meaning and importance of marriage and eventually arrived at the conclusion that the most significant element of a wedding is the act of standing up in front of all of your friends and family and declaring your feelings for one another. That gave way to a writing assignment with the prompt, "What do you think Ms. Racheal and Mr. Meiers should promise to one another when they get married?" Check out some of the sweetest and most hilarious responses -- which Meiers' brother later read aloud at the ceremony -- below.
"Mr. Meiers promises to give Ms. Racheal 8 billion kisses every day."
"Ms. Racheal promises to travel all around the world with Mr. Meiers in a giant car the he bought for her."
"Mr. Meiers promises to buy Ms. Racheal a Lamborghini, and let her keep the change."
"Ms. Racheal promises never to change because Mr. Meiers likes her just the way she is."
"Mr. Meiers promises to always sit by Ms. Racheal on roller coasters."
"Mr. Meiers promises to buy Ms. Racheal a Komodo dragon."
"Mr. Meiers promises to be more like Johnny Depp."
Based on the students' enthusiasm during the writing activity, Meiers thought the class would enjoy another wedding-related activity and had them create the place cards for his reception.
"My kids got really into customizing the name cards according to the personal interests of whomever they were making a card for, so they were asking me tons of hilarious questions about my family and friends," he said. "It all had a really fun and organic feel to it, very appropriate for the kind of wedding we wanted to have."

Meiers and Yeager tied the knot on April 27th, 2013 at the Annapolis Winery in Annopolis, Calif.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

7 Ways to Create Connection With Your Partner

Connecting with a beloved is one of the most wonderful experiences in life. When we connect with someone we love, loneliness goes away and we feel full of joy within. We yearn for this connection, yet we often find it elusive.

There are very specific things you can do to support connection with your partner.

1. Connect With Yourself

You cannot connect with your partner if you are disconnected from yourself. Connection with another happens when you are open and flowing within, not when you are feeling insecure and needy. Before trying to connect with your partner, do your own inner work to get yourself into a loving space. You will connect with your partner when you want to share your love, not when you are trying to get love.

2. Open to Learning

At any given moment, we are in one of two intents:

• The intent to learn about love and truth
• The intent to protect against pain with some form of controlling behavior

Controlling behavior closes our heart and disconnects us from ourselves and our partner. When we choose to be open to learning about loving ourselves and our partner, our heart opens -- which is what enables us to connect. We cannot connect with a closed heart. Choosing the intent to learn when with your partner is vital for connection.

3. Be Present

Nothing disconnects partners more than when one is talking and the other is thinking of other things and not actually hearing the partner. This makes your partner feel invisible to you.

When you are with your partner, be present. Look at your partner -- in your partner's eyes, if you can. Listen. Care about what your partner is saying and feeling. Be responsive.

If you often find yourself preoccupied when with your partner, do some inner work to discover what you are avoiding. A lack of presence indicates that you are disconnected from both yourself and your partner, so if you want to connect, you need to learn to be present in the moment with your partner.

4. Focus on What You Value in Your Partner, Not on What You Don't Like

When you do your own inner work and learn to love and value who you are in your essence, then you can also value the essence of your partner.

We all want to be seen for who we really are -- which is who we are when we are open. When fears get triggered, as they do in all relationships, we might turn to various learned protective, controlling behaviors. But these learned protective behaviors are not who we really are. We are our essence, our soul self, our true self -- which is always wonderful and beautiful. This is likely what you fell in love with when you first fell in love with your partner. If you focus on your partner's wounded behaviors that come from fear, you will create distance and disconnection. If you focus on your partner's wonderful core qualities and frequently speak to those, you will create the arena for connection.

5. Plan Fun Dates and Time Together

Connection happens when partners have time to be together in a fun and relaxed way -- like over dinner, taking a walk together, sharing interesting things about their day, cooking together, creating something together, holding each other and talking, playing a sport together, watching a funny show together, and so on.

Most people, when they first connect with each other, say things like, "We sat in the restaurant and talked for hours." This is what created the connection, and this is what you need to plan into your life together to support connection.

6. Support Your Partner in What Brings Him or Her Joy

It's far easier to keep our heart open with our partner when we feel supported by him or her in what we love to do. In healthy relationships, partners receive joy from the other's joy.

Supporting your partner's joy is not the same thing as supporting your partner in addictive behavior. If your partner's behavior is hurtful to you -- such as having an affair or getting drunk -- you need to focus on what would be loving to you. But if you find yourself threatened by your partner spending time with friends or enjoying alone time or playing a sport with someone of his or her equal ability, then you need to do your own inner work to value yourself enough to not be threatened. Supporting each other in what we each love to do is part of a healthy relationship, and definitely part of creating connection.

7. Be There for Each Other When One Is Triggered

Each of us has our vulnerabilities -- those triggers from childhood that put us into hurt, fear or sadness. Sometimes a partner protects against the pain with anger or withdrawal. Instead of being reactive to your partner's triggers and going into your own anger or withdrawal, each of you needs to learn how to be there with caring and compassion for the other. We all need help and support when old wounds get triggered, and compassionate partners can learn how to do this for each other. It doesn't mean you are taking responsibility for your partner's feelings -- this is actually not at all helpful -- but it does mean that you know how to support your partner in helping him or herself deal with the painful feelings. Compassion for each other's wounds and vulnerabilities goes a long way toward creating connection.

Connection with your partner is vital for your well-being and the well-being of the relationship. If you find that any of these suggestions are hard for you, then do some inner work to discover what is in the way. If you still can't follow these suggestions, then you might want to receive some therapy, coaching or facilitation to heal whatever is stopping you from being able to connect with yourself and with your partner.

10 Things That the Best Wedding Ceremonies Have in Common

Article originally appeared on

I was fortunate enough to go to a fabulous wedding the other day (congrats, Lauren and Jon!), and even though the music was pumping, the setting was top-notch, and the food was flawless, it's their ceremony's that stuck with me. I realized that as different as it was from every other of the 22 weddings I've attended (yes, I counted), the most enjoyable ceremonies shared some key characteristics.

They're personal.

Writing your own vows is one way to accomplish this, of course, but it's not the only way. The officiant can share your "how you met" or "got engaged" story, which everyone loves hearing even if they know it. Or even something about your relationship, say, that you bonded over Kung Fu movies.

They're inclusive.

If you're having a religious wedding and not everyone in attendance shares your faith, a little explanation goes a long way in making your guests feel welcome. Listing events in the order they'll occur in a ceremony program isn't quite enough when those words are meaningless to the uninitiated -- homily and sheva brachot come to mind.

They're interactive.

Beyond the "Does anyone have any objections?" question, that is. At my friend Abby's wedding, a crucial part of the ceremony was inviting guests to share their wishes for the couple. It was touching.

They put their marriage in context.

I get goosebumps when officiants recognize that the marriages they're performing are the result of other successful unions that came before them. Yes, the bride and the groom are the stars of the day, but admitting that, hey, we're not the only ones who've ever done this shows humility and endears witnesses to you.

They're gracious.

Attending a wedding isn't easy or cheap. Dedicating a few moments to acknowledging those that have schlepped to be there to watch you get hitched is probably more appreciated than a trinket at their reception place setting. And the more specific, the better. At my friend Lauren's ceremony, the officiant welcomed guests who had traveled from "foreign lands like England, Japan, and Portland, Oregon," which got a big chuckle from guests who've been to Portland -- or at least watch Portlandia.

Guests are physically comfortable.

No witness wants to sweat or shiver as you exchange vows. A/C when it's hot and heat or cozy wraps when it's cold are a nice touch. Chairs for a ceremony longer than 20 minutes are fairly essential.

Well-rehearsed musicians play appropriate music.

A tune that feels out of place in the setting can ruin the mood, but melodies that naturally fit the venue enhance it. Same goes for the performers: the unskilled or ill-practiced can shake guests out of the happy place in which you want them to be. But talented folks who are familiar with the pieces are a delight.

They're easy to hear.

Listening to proceedings you can't quite make out is equivalent to waiting in a room to be selected for jury duty.

They're easy to see.

You spend hundreds, if not thousands, on your look. Your bridal party's in their finery, too. What good is it if you're obstructed by trees or your guests can't see past the heads in front of them?

They feature an obviously happy couple.

Even if you're nervous, smile anyway. Think about how lucky you are to be marrying your soul mate. Looking scared makes people wonder if you're confident about your decision -- and makes them second-guess why they came out to support you in the first place. But grins are contagious when the bride and groom are wearing them. Because at the end of the day, there's no better sight than witnessing two people in love commit themselves to each other forever.

Anything you'd add to this list? Did your ceremony have all these (sadly, mine didn't!)?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

50 Quotes About Love From Authors, Artists, Movies & More

From Plato to Picasso, some of the world's greatest thinkers reflect on love.
"At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet," Plato once said. Don't agree? Luckily, we have real poets (and musicians and artists and philosophers) to put this elusive and complex feeling into words. Which of these quotes about love really speaks to you?

1. "Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect and greet each other." — Rainer Maria Rilke
2. "Love is like the wind, you can't see it but you can feel it." ― Nicholas Sparks

3. "Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile." — Franklin P. Jones

4. "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt." — Charles Schulz
5. "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." — Robert Heinlein

6. "Love loves to love love." ― James Joyce

7. "Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong
mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star." — e.e. cummings

8. "Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition." ― Alexander Smith

9. "It is better to love wisely, no doubt: but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all." — William Makepeace Thackeray

10. "Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs." — William Shakespeare

11. "Love is the answer to everything. It's the only reason to do anything. If you don't write stories you love, you'll never make it. If you don't write stories that other people love, you'll never make it." — Ray Bradbury

12. "We're all a little weird, and life's a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." — Dr. Seuss

13. "The opposite of love it not hate; it's indifference." — Elie Wiesel

14. "Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby: awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess." — Lemony Snicket

15. "Life is a flower of which love is the honey." — Victor Hugo

16. "Love is quivering happiness." — Kahlil Gibran

17. "Love; it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you. It will set you free." Mumford & Sons

18. "Love is something sent from Heaven to worry the Hell out of you." — Dolly Parton

19. "Passion makes the world go round. Loves just makes it a safer place." Ice T

20. "Love is a promise; love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear." John Lennon

21. "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." — Aristotle

22. "Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses." — Lao Tzu

23. "In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities." — Janos Arnay
24. "There is no remedy for love but to love more." — Thoreau

25. "Love is a serious mental disease." — Plato

26. "Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable." Bruce Lee
27. "Love is the hardest habit to break, and the most difficult to satisfy." Drew Barrymore

28. "Do you know how you tell real love? It’s when someone else’s interest trumps your own. I like to put it that way: trumps your own. Love of somebody else — of family, of your kids — becomes the most important, most worthwhile thing in your life. It’s what you foster and protect." Brad Pitt

29. "We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone." Orson Welles

30. "Love is a game that two can play and both win." ― Eva Gabor

31. "I hate, for example, whenever you hear someone say: 'You have to work at being a couple. “No, you have to want to be there." Vanessa Paradis

32. "The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants." Johnny Depp

33. "Love is the greatest refreshment in life." — Pablo Picasso

34. "Love always brings difficulties, that is true, but the good side of it is that it gives energy." — Vincent Van Gogh

35. "Love involves a peculiar unfathomable combination of understanding and misunderstanding." — Diane Arbus

37. "Love is a friendship set to music." E. Joseph Cossman

38. "Love never claims, it ever gives. Love ever suffers, never resents never revenges itself." Gandhi

39. "Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it." Benjamin Franklin

40. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." Martin Luther King, Jr.

41. "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." Wuthering Heights

42. "Love is all around us." — Love, Actually

43. "Soul mates. It's extremely rare, but it exists. It's sort of like twin souls tuned into each other." What Dreams May Come

44. "If there’s any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed, but…who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt." Before Sunrise

45. "The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds and that's what you've given me." The Notebook

46. "Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while." The Princess Bride

47. "Love is a little world; people make it big." ― Unknown

48. "Love is not measured by how many times you touch each other, but by how many times you reach each other." — Unknown

49. "Love is an emotion experienced by the many and enjoyed by the few." — Unknown

50. "Love without reason lasts the longest." Unknown