Friday, February 27, 2015

12 Seconds to Wedding-Planning Happiness

It's easy to focus on the annoyances you're dealing with every day. That vendor who won't return your phone call. Your mom who won't stop calling. Your fiancé who's obsessed with the playlist — and the playlist only. But if you're focusing mainly on the pain-in-the-butt parts of wedding planning, you're actually shaping your brain to remember this time of your life negatively. "What you focus on becomes what your brain is made of," writes neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, Ph.D., in, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence. "Negative mental states can easily become negative neural states," he explains.

You can change this pattern in just 12 seconds at a time. Here's how: Next time you're in a wedding-planning snit, stop and make yourself aware of a good fact in your life. Conjure up, for example, that excitement and joy you felt when you discovered that perfect wedding detail that means a lot to you. Let that private giddiness (that would be dorky to anybody else) wash over you for 12 seconds; really feel it, sink into it. Now, you've shifted yourself from a crappy mood and into a positive neural state.
This isn't just a lesson in the power of positive thinking. You're actually changing the structure of your brain. By feeling and focusing on the good for 12 seconds, you're moving the experience from short-term into long-term, or implicit, memory.

This technique helps you create new, positive neural pathways in your brain, and it works with just about everything. That surprisingly sexy goodbye kiss you had with your fiancé this morning? Revisit it in your imagination. 12 seconds later, you've moved that delicious kiss from a brief moment in time to a long-term memory that not only turned your mood around right now, but you can recall at later times.

What you're doing is "consistently and systematically [taking] the extra seconds to install these experiences in the brain," writes Hanson. You're making the good fact — the sexy kiss, — into a good experience, not just letting it just float away unnoticed in your busy flotsam and jetsom of wedding planning, work and life. Keep it up and watch how your overall mood and attitude — about wedding planning and even life — improves.

Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is the author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the '"Happiest" Time of Her Life and has been helping brides feel happier, calmer and better prepared for marriage since 2002. She is a bridal counselor, an expert in engagement anxiety and cold feet, and the founder of Emotionally Engaged Counseling for Brides.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

6 Things No One Tells You About Marriage I Had to Learn on my Own

Your feelings about your spouse will change all of the time. 

Even though you love your spouse every day, how connected you feel can ebb and flow. You will have days where you don’t necessarily wake up beaming with love, you will have other days where you are head over heels and a lot of days in the middle. It’s important to remember not to do or say things on your temporary less-than-loving days that can permanently damage your relationship.


Your spouse will change, but you can’t change him. 

Living, breathing beings are meant to change and grow daily. Your spouse isn’t going to be the same person in 10 years that he is today. On the flip side, your spouse is the only one who can decide what he is going to change. Going into the marriage thinking you’re about to change him makes no sense, nor does thinking that he will always stay the same. You have to learn to accept your spouse as he is, and be willing to re-learn him as he grows.


Kids completely change your marriage.

To be fair, people talk about this, but you never quite know how much until it happens or how much each kid changes your marriage even more. With a broad view, these are good changes: after all, there’s nothing like a real-life combination of the two of you to remind you of how powerful love can be. Still, that lesson is hard to remember in the day-to-day. Walking that balance between knowing each other as husband and wife vs. mom and dad can be hard, but well worth it.


You can get better at marriage over time. 

People often talk the “honeymoon phase,” and how it’s all downhill from there. But done right, your marriage can get better year by year. So much emphasis is put on those initial enamored feelings that we lose sight of the friendship that grows and deepens over time. Like most things in life, few things trump experience. Learning your spouse inside and out makes it easier to meet his or her needs over time.


Working on yourself as an individual is even more important than working on the marriage. 

Before marriage, I had a tendency to talk about my husband-to-be like a matching LEGO piece; someone who could come in and fill in whatever I was missing. Reality: No one, not even your spouse, can meet every single one of your needs. Learning how to be fulfilled as an individual instead of looking for it from your spouse is one of the most important things you can do for your marriage.


The same old stuff can still be exciting.

So much of marriage advice focuses on how to change it up and spice it up, which is important. But often the same old things that you fell in love with are the things that you stay in love with. More than 10 years after we met, I still feel excited when my husband’s number pops up on my phone. I’m still unreasonably happy when he sees something that I might like to eat and brings it home. It’s even further proof that he knows me, and loves me even better than he did on day one. 





Groom Makes Wedding Vows To 3-Year-Old Stepdaughter In Emotional Video

On his wedding day last January, NASCAR driver Brian Scott recited vows to not one, but two of the important ladies in his life: his bride Whitney Kay and her then-3-year-old daughter Brielle.
The couple tied the knot on a snowy day in McCall, Idaho. At one point during the ceremony, Scott bent down so he could be eye-to-eye with Brielle and made a heartfelt promise to love and care for her, no matter what.
Credit: PenWeddings

"I promise to always hold your hand and skip with you down the street and bring comfort to your life," he said. "I vow to make you say your prayers before you eat. I promise to read you stories at night and to always tuck you in real tight. I vow to show you how a man should treat a woman in my relationship with your mother. And above all else, I vow to protect you, care for you and love you forever."

The emotional video -- shot by wedding videographer PenWeddings -- was posted to YouTube last year, but recently resurfaced and went viral with more than 350,000 views at the time of publication. HuffPost Weddings caught up with Scott on Wednesday and reminisced about that snowy day last year, which he called "emotional and surreal."

"I always felt like my vows to my wife Whitney would maybe affect me more and I would get more choked up during those, making those promises to her," he told The Huffington Post. "But I misread that one. It was really when I was reading my vows to Brielle that I got the most choked up. It really all just hits home in that moment -- you're there and dressed up and all the people around. You're living in the moment. It affects you more than when you write it or plan for it or practice it. You get engulfed by it."

Credit: PenWeddings

The Scotts, who live in Charlotte, North Carolina, first met through mutual friends in 2011. In November 2014, they welcomed a baby boy named Joseph. So far, Scott says he's really enjoying fatherhood.

"Just being there for [the kids] and enjoying family moments together and playing with them and hearing them laugh and seeing them smile -- all of those things are so much better than any of the negative aspects people like to bring up about having kids. It’s not baggage -- it’s great addition [to my life]."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Stress: 8 Easy Ways to Prevent Wedding Insanity

Let's not beat around the bush: planning a wedding is work. With all those decisions and responsibilities, it's easy to see how some brides and grooms get completely consumed in the minutiae. So how do stressed-out, site-seeing, menu-sampling couples get their eyes back on the ball? By taking a breather from the planning process. Get ready to clear your schedules and forget about picking the favors-the following list of eight stress-breaking activities will help you remove yourselves from nuptial hassles and restore your sanity.

1. Declare a wedding-free weekend.

For a full 48-hour period, pretend you're the two people you were before you got engaged (and, in the meantime, remind yourselves of why you wanted to get married to each other in the first place). No wedding planning or fighting allowed! No talk of hors d'oeuvres, seating charts, or first dance songs. Hang out, laugh, have fun, and flirt with each other for a change.

2. Have a night out with the girls (or boys).

With all the "togetherness" of being a future bride and groom, remind yourselves you're individuals too. Book a night out with your respective same-sex posse (again, no wedding talk). Hit the town like a swinging single and stay out past midnight. Take advantage of the fact that your future spouse isn't around to do something with your friends he or she doesn't like to do -- we're talking chick flick, batting cages, steak dinner, manicures. Then entertain each other the next day with tales of your exploits.

3. Go on a fancy date.

Chances are, for the past few months you've been scrimping and saving every extra nickel to supplement The Budget. If you've done well, reward yourselves for your miserly skills by spending a little of that cold hard cash. Book a table at the fanciest restaurant in town and go for the full monty: fine wine, appetizer, entree, dessert, and after-dinner drinks. Afterward, stop in a local jazz club and catch a torch singer belting out inspiring tunes de l'amour.

4. Take a drive.

Reserve a weekend afternoon and head for the open road. Check out that little place a couple of towns over that you always mean to visit. Test each other's map-reading skills. Play road games like, Who Can Spot the Most Out-of-State License Plates? Sing along to cheesy songs on the radio. Buy a souvenir at a highway truck stop. Stumble upon a romantic restaurant for lunch or dinner before heading home.

5. Mastermind a movie marathon.

There's nothing like a good movie to transport you from reality to fantasy. Take the phone off the hook, rent a whole slew of films, and spend an evening in, snacking on popcorn and Sno-Caps. The trick here is to stay away from wedding-theme fare -- sorry, this includes Father of the Bride -- while keeping the romance theme going with a steamy story like The Lover. Or opt for the comic relief of a Jim Carrey or Eddie Murphy flick -- laughter, after all, is still the best stress reliever.

6. Get in some game play.

Sometimes a little healthy competition serves to make you closer, right? Challenge your mate to a night of games: Pictionary, Scrabble, backgammon, even good old cards. If you own a Sony PlayStation 2, take the high-tech road to fun. Rather venture out? Head for the nearest bowling alley -- or look into go-carts, ice-skating, and tennis tournaments for other fun and sporty activities to enjoy a deux.

7. Revert to childhood.

There's nothing like a good amusement park to get you feeling like a kid again. Wake up extra early to avoid long lines, then get your fill of roller coasters, log flumes, and Ferris wheels. Challenge your future mate to a bumper car race. Fill up on cotton candy, funnel cake, and waffle cones. Take an old-fashioned photo. Then spend an hour or so trying to win a supersize stuffed animal to take home as a memento of the day.

8. Engage in an eat-a-thon.

If you both love to cook, compose a special theme menu for a romantic at-home date. Go shopping together and pick the freshest produce around (maybe there's a farmer's market near you) -- and remember to include some aphrodisiac ingredients! Nab a bouquet and some candles to pretty up your table while you're at it. Once at home, take time to really enjoy the meal prep process. Line up all your ingredients on the countertop and open a bottle of wine. And take lots of liberties when it comes to recipes -- nothing's better than creating signature dishes together.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

5 DIY Wedding Projects That Won’t Break Your Budget

For those of us who are not queens of crafting, the idea of making anything for your wedding probably sounds way too complicated. Our advice: If crafts aren’t your thing, choose one or two small projects and don’t try to take on the bigger details. In other words, don’t try making your own centerpieces or cake but also don’t be afraid to make the ceremony programs or package up the wedding favors. We talked to Sarah Shewey, founder of DIY Wedding Planning Group Happily for project ideas. Below are Shewey’s five simple DIY wedding day projects that she swears you can’t mess up. Even better, all of these ideas are super affordable.

Fresh Flower Bridal Shower Centerpieces 

Photo: Emma Cleary/ Featured: The Knot Blog
Emma Cleary

Keep it simple. Collect various vessels like vintage bottles, teacups and even drinking glasses from around the house to create an eclectic table setting, says Shewey. Then group all the containers in interesting ways placing a few in the middle of the table and filling them with different florals, feathers or other creative elements like berries, pinecones or moss. Try a vintage brass candle holder with a succulent inside or a low ceramic vase or mason jar with bright blooms.

Love this table centerpiece? It’s from this really pretty wedding album: A Traditional Wedding in Kennebunkport, ME

Mini Potted Plant Wedding Favors

Elias Photography / The Knot Blog
Elias Photography

Mini potted plants or succulents can make a great favor for guests to take home, Shewey suggests. Find mini terracotta pots or mini zinc buckets online for a few dollars and pick up seeds and soil from a home improvement store. The pot them yourself. To add a personal touch add your wedding colors on the pot or embellish with ribbon or yarn. If you’re craftier in the kitchen, consider baking in bulk and keeping the goodies uniform by filling brown paper bags with baker’s twine and tagging or stamping with your wedding logo to create a homespun favor your guests will love. (Just be sure you get lots of help from family and friends on this type of project.)

Like these favors? They came from this wedding: A Vintage Pastel Wedding in Franklin, TN

Simple Ribbon-Tied Ceremony Programs

Photo: L Photographie/  Featured: The Knot blog
L Photographie

Graphic designers need not apply here. Sometimes all it takes is a creative template and a few craft supplies. Print out your programs and then punch the corner to tie bits of ribbons, vintage torn fabric or lace scraps for a bohemian vibe, Shewey says. For a summer wedding, consider gluing one side of your programs to a large popsicle stick for an instant fan. Paint the sticks beforehand for an added pop of color.

Think these programs are cute? You should see the full wedding: A DIY Wedding in Edwardsville, IL

Mustache Photo Booth Props

Photo: Alison Conklin/ Featured: The Knot blog
Alison Conklin

If you’re doing a photo booth, you have to have fun props. Hit the craft store for skinny wooden dowels and card stock paper. Create your own patterns and cut them out. The goofier the better. Think: ties, mustaches and lips, crowns and more. Embellish with feathers or even rhinestones. Put all your props in a basket with a handcrafted sign that encourages guests to play with them! (Psst: Don’t really have the time to make these? You can buy them in The Knot Shop.)

Looks like a fun wedding right?  See the full album here: A Fun Casual Wedding in Elverson, PA

Sweet Felt Heart Cake Toppers

Joey Kennedy Photography / Featured: The Knot blog
Joey Kennedy Photography

This is especially fun for a simple wedding cake. You don’t even need a sewing machine to create these little guys. Grab some felt in your favorite colors, a little batting, a pair of scissors and a needle and thread. Cut out hearts, sew them together and stuff them. Finish them off with the little wooden sticks (you’ll find them at craft stores). Want more cute ideas? Check out our DIY cake topper slideshow (you can create any of them in under an hour).

Cute cake and toppers from: A Modern Rustic Wedding in Lancaster, PA

Monday, February 23, 2015

4 Things All Parents Love at Weddings

Things Parents Want at a Wedding
Photo: Getty Images
Not that your wedding day should be about pleasing your parents or his, but why not include a few elements within your ceremony or at the reception that they're bound to love as well? It's the least you can do if they're footing the bill, and if they're not and your budget can afford it, it's a great way to keep the peace and say thank you for all that they've done for you over the years. We consulted a few wedding planners to find out what things pretty much all parents seem to want at their kid's wedding.

1. Seated Dinners
If there's one thing wedding planner Tracie Domino has picked up on throughout her career it's that parents really dig sit-down dinners. "They have a tough time with food stations and lounge style seating without assigning every guest a specific table," she notes. "They get concerned that guests will want their own spot and won't be able to eat in a cocktail environment." However, once the couple is able to convince them that this is what they prefer, and they select menu items that don't need to be cut with a knife, parents actually enjoy this style of reception a lot, as they get to spend more time with all of their friends, she says.

2. Their Friends
Speaking of friends, parents love to invite their own BFFs to your big day. Think about it, isn't any party more fun when you have your closest pals by your side? Your parents are proud of you, plus it's a big moment for them too, which they're dying to share with their friends. Now, we're not saying you should let them go crazy with the invites if your budget doesn't allow, but do let them request the presence of a few of their friends, especially if they're ponying up the money.

3. Some Recognition
What's a mother of the groom got to do to get some recognition (ahem, attention) around here!? But seriously, according to wedding planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques, the MOG is usually worried about the bar (even if her side isn't paying for it, tradition says they do so she doesn't want people to think they're cheap), the rehearsal dinner (if she's planning it) and making sure that she has a starring role at some point during the evening. "Most MOGs are perfectly content to have a few moments doing a mother-son dance with all eyes and cameras on them," tells Malone. Dads, on the other hand, enjoy the father-daughter dance but not nearly as much as walking their "little girl" down the aisle. Nowadays, Stefanie Cove, Managing Partner at Yifat Oren & Associates, says it's not unusual to see brides ask both parents to give her away. "Mothers seem very touched by the gesture and honored for the special moment."

4. Live Music
Unless your parents are hitting the club on the reg, chances are, the dopest DJ in town will always pale in comparison to that lovely five-piece band they're just itching to book. If it means that much to them and they insist on forking over the money to cover the added cost though, why not compromise and have both?

Friday, February 20, 2015

9 Things Not to Say at a Friend's Wedding-Dress Appointment

Things Not To Say At Friend's Bridal Appointment
Photo: Getty Images

Wedding-dress appointments are full of landmines to avoid, but it's typically the responsibility of a bride's entourage to skirt them. Issues of wedding jitters, weight, and confidence are all wrapped up in this one major purchase, so when it comes to accompanying a friend to her appointment, honesty is not necessarily the best policy. Support, positivity, and delight should be key themes in any word that's uttered at the appointment. As for what not to say, here are nine comments that should pass your lips at a friend's bridal appointment.

1. "Are you 100 percent sure about this one?"
If your BFF is certain about her dress, she may take your question as a sign of your distaste for the design and second-guess her choice. And if she has an indecisive personality to begin with, you may have bought yourself an extra two hours of watching her hem and haw.

2. "But you never wear anything like this style in your daily life!"
A wedding gown is intended to be a step or two outside the norm unless your friend attends galas on a weekly basis. Weddings are a day to indulge in a bit of fantasy, so unless your friend is selecting a design which you're certain she'll detest on her big day, allow her some creative freedom.

3. "I know what you like, and that gown isn't it."
A bride knows her style better than you do. If she's fallen for a dress, attempting to come between the two is a recipe for disaster.

4. "It's not really working for me. If it were my wedding..."
The dress doesn't in fact need to be working for anyone but the bride — and hopefully her groom. The bride's happiness is paramount, so save the commentary for a future time when the item she's test-driving isn't quite so high-stakes.

5. "My, it's tight around the bust/waist/hip region, isn't it?"
Your friend is trying on the store's sample, which unsurprisingly isn't cut to her exact shape and measurements. Her actual bridal gown will undergo alterations to fit every curve perfectly, so pocket any potentially devastating weight commentary. Your friend's actual dress will fit like a glove on her big day.

6. "It's okay."
You're not fooling anyone with lukewarm adjectives like "okay" or "fine". If you have nothing positive to say, smile and nod in silent agreement with the rest of the bridal entourage.

7. "That gown been done before. Can't you find something more unique?"
Even if you've attended a wedding at which the bride was wearing an exact replica of your friend's dress, chances are your pal will sport it in an entirely new fashion.

8. "That dress is too expensive; you can't afford it."
Unless you've been specifically instructed to intervene when a gown is over budget, the finances of the appointment are off-limits for discussion.

9. "No. That's not 'The One.'"
Of all the many things you could say to ruin a bridal appointment, simply telling the bride "No" is the most brutal. Give drama a rest and let the bride have her moment, even if your own prerogative differs from hers. You'll thank your good sense later.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

5 Ways To Improve Your Odds Of Living Happily Ever After

By Thomas G. Fiffer

Marriage has one of the highest failure rates of anything we try, and the cost and impact (especially on children) of disentangling can be devastating. The problem is not a legal system that makes divorce easy -- it isn't easy -- or that we're just not wired to be monogamous. We can learn to make conscious choices that override our wiring. And the problem is not that modern life has trumped what some call "traditional values." The problem is that most people who get married have no idea -- none -- what they're getting into, what they should look for or look to exclude in a potential mate, or how to approach the process of choosing a person they'd like to spend the rest of their life with.

Sorry romantics, but love alone is not enough. Nor is a steadfast commitment to staying together when love is absent or one-sided -- that's just a recipe for a lifetime of misery. Ultimately, marriage is about relating, and the key to forging a successful, lasting bond is knowing, before you tie the knot, how you and your partner relate when you're not in courtship mode, and that means getting a handle on how you handle challenges together.

If you've gone through some rough spots while dating and come out stronger, that's a good indication your marriage will survive. But no one likes to be tested, and how do you check someone's challenge response without intentionally introducing trouble? Listed below are five things I believe every couple should do before getting married. While checking them off your prenuptial to-do list is no guarantee your marriage will make it, avoiding any of them sets the stage for failure.

1. Fight.
If you never disagree with your partner, you'll never learn how to handle disagreement. Stuffing it in and sucking it up only creates resentment, and resentment often leads to the passive-aggressive expression of anger. If you feel strongly about something, say so, and deal with the consequences. How you introduce disagreement and how your partner responds to it are probably the most important factors in whether your marriage will develop a healthy and constructive dynamic.
If you're afraid to disagree because you're conflict-avoidant or you fear abandonment, you're not ready for marriage and you need to work on yourself. How couples handle conflict is make or break, and you need to know whether the two of you are capable of resolving arguments or only leaving each other more frustrated. Don't fight over petty things, but pick something you care about and stand your ground. A little unpleasantness early on will prevent a lot of unpleasantness later.

2. Travel together to an unfamiliar place.
Marriage is an adventure, and you need to know how the two of you handle a journey to new and unfamiliar surroundings and the discoveries that follow. If you go somewhere one of you has already been, the dynamic becomes one of guide and tourist, which is not a partnership of equals. It also helps to plan -- and ideally pay for -- the trip together. A surprise vacation planned and paid for by your partner isn't exactly a mutual endeavor. The more unplanned time you allow for on the trip, the better. You'll learn how you plan a day together in the morning and what happens when those plans go awry. And if you get stuck in the airport or lost in a foreign city, you're testing out your communal survival skills.

3. Have sex.
Trust me, the last place you want to find out you're incompatible on your wedding night is in the bedroom. If your faith precludes you from having premarital sex, so be it, and pray that you and your partner are a good physical fit. Beyond having sex and finding out if the magic happens, you'll want to talk about sex -- your likes, your dislikes, your taboos and your fantasies. Frequency of sex can be a bone of contention in marriages, so you'll want to make sure your partner is into it as frequently -- or as infrequently -- as you are. In a healthy marriage, sex is both a generator of intimacy and an act in which intimacy gets expressed. If sex with your partner feels pleasurable but mechanical and doesn't create a feeling of closeness, you may end up seeking that closeness elsewhere, which is problematic for a marriage. And if intimate emotional moments don't progress to physical connection, frustration surely lies ahead.

4. Spend time with each other's families.
When you're married, your partner's family becomes your family, and respectful interaction will make your marriage much, much happier.The demands of families, their attitudes towards spouses, and the amount of time and interaction with them can all be major sources of conflict for married couples. You don't have to like your in-laws or call them mom or dad, but you do have to respect the fact that they created and raised your spouse.

Seeing how your partner interacts with his or her family and observing whether there's a healthy dynamic can clue you in to what this person will be like in your marriage. If your partner doesn't have a healthy relationship with his or her family, there may be valid reasons, and these are worth discussing. In addition, waiting until right before or after the wedding to present your future mate to your family forces everyone into an uncomfortable position. Finally, if there is conflict between your family and your partner, you'll want to step in sensibly, set your boundaries as as couple, and nip it in the bud. This will set the tone for future interaction during the marriage.

5. Live together.
Unless you plan to inhabit separate homes, your husband or wife will also be your roommate -- potentially for life. Think back to the roommates of your past. Looking forward, compatibility in terms of household habits, behaviors, and tastes is a critical determining factor in successful marriages. There is a degree to which opposites attract, but slobs and neatniks, hoarders and minimalists, carpet-lovers and wood-floor-enthusiasts may find it difficult to cohabit without conflict. You also want to know what it's like to wake up with your partner in the morning and go to sleep with him or her at night. If all your dating experience is on visits to each other's spaces where one of you is entertaining the other, you're missing the full flavor -- both the bitter and the sweet -- of the live-in married experience. So give living together a test-drive.

Some marriages make it without the couples having done any of these things in advance. But if you want a better shot at a marriage that lasts a lifetime, taking these actions before the big day will help you avoid becoming just another statistic and make it to the happily ever after.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

7 Steps To Crafting Your Wedding Hashtag

CD Wedding Photography CD Wedding Photography
Consider yourself officially enrolled in wedding hashtags 101. Now that 55% of all weddings have a hashtag according to our #socialweddingsurvey, (we promise this is the only statistic you’ll need to know for this course) there’s more to it than just typing out the pound sign. Read on for the top tips from wedding planner Jessi Haack and Sophie Pyle from social wedding concierge service Tweet the Bride for the scoop on how to create a successful hashtag.

Step 1.  Start with your names.
Maybe a bit obvious but let’s start with the basics. Use your first, last and nicknames as your starting point. Remember that cutesy mashup name that your friends gave you guys in college that stuck for some reason? Well,  this may be the time you actually want to embrace it. Haack says, “It makes it easier for the guests to remember, which means more people will actually use it!”

Step 2. Use numbers for a simple way to set your hashtag apart.
If your names are common or you can’t come up with anything quirky, using the year or date of your wedding is an easy way to make it your own. “There might be a lot of #JackandJill in the world, but you’ll probably be the only #JackandJill121314!

Step 3. Get punny.
This is one of those parts of your wedding that you can really have fun with, especially when it comes to word play. Look for alliterations, rhymes, synonyms and puns for a hashtag that’s both clever and memorable.

Step 4. Avoid easy misspellings.
Read over your hashtag for any obvious ways it could be misspelled. For example you may want to shorten longer last names or move words around if there’s two letters in different words next to each other. It could be as simple as flipping #wandaanddave to be #daveandwanda instead.

Step 5. Capitalize the first letter of each word.
Capitalizing the first letter of each word can help with readability if guests can see where each word starts and ends. Doing this will also make it more likely that more people will get your joke or pun. With or without the capitalization your hashtag will work the same either way.

Step 6. Check the hashtag.
Before you hit print on your save-the-dates, go ahead and do a quick check of the hashtag to see if there’s already been something tagged to it and if so how many photos. If there’s only a handful of other photos that don’t seem wedding related you should go ahead and use it, but if there’s an entire other wedding with the same exact hashtag you may want to switch a letter to a number or pick a different rhyme to avoid getting the photos mixed up. “Hijacking someone else’s hashtag is no bueno,” says Haack.

Step 7. Spread the word.
After you’ve decided on a hashtag it’s time to get the word out. Start early by telling your bridal party and putting it on your save-the-date. At the wedding you should also have reminders in case they forget. Pyle suggests using, “a cute sign that matches your decor and putting it on the menu is nice too.”

Step 8. Don’t overthink it.
Will you remember your wedding hashtag forever? Eh, maybe. Will you love the photos everyone took forever? Definitely. So if it turns out that your couple nickname happens to be the word for a delicacy in another language and you start seeing food photos that aren’t on your catering menu, just roll with it. “Turn it into a light joke,” says Pyle. At the end of the day it’s the photos you’ll really care about having and that everyone had fun with it.

A Man Arranged for His Wife to Receive a Valentine's Day Bouquet Every Year After His Death

If you needed a reminder that love knows no bounds, this sweet story is just what you need. One Wyoming man went to great lengths to make sure his wife knew how much he loved her for the rest of her life, even if he was no longer around to tell her himself.

According to Time, Jim Golay, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor one year ago, knew that he wouldn't be able to surprise his wife on Valentine's Day for much longer. So to make sure the romantic day was still special for her, Golay worked with a local florist to ensure his wife would still receive a bouquet every year on February 14.

When a bundle of flowers arrived at Shelley Golay's home shortly before Valentine's Day, the widow was shocked to see the note explained they were from her now-deceased husband.

Golay posted the above photo of her multi-color rose arrangement on Facebook, showcasing the poignant note that reads, "Happy Valentine's Day Honey. Stay Strong! Yours Forever, Love Jim."
At first Golay thought the beautiful blooms couldn't actually be from her husband. "I thought the kids sent the flowers to begin with," she said. But when she called the florist in town, she learned that her husband made a deal with florist Jessie Row to make sure his wife received an arrangement every year.

"Basically he had called and set it up before he passed, and what it's going to be is just, every Valentine's Day just, some of her favorite flowers, the assorted roses, mixed colors, things like that, every day until she dies," Row told Fox Denver.

While blown away by her husband's amazing gesture, even Golay admitted that this thoughtful behavior was something typical of her husband. "It was true love and you just don't find that very often, you know, the fairy tale romance, the knight in shining armor, you just don't find that," Golay told Fox. "And even though we didn't get the fairy tale ending, it was amazing. He's such an amazing man and he just can love beyond boundaries, there is no boundaries with him. Even in death, he's just amazing."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

4 Wedding Photography Tips for Saving Money

caitlin-aaron-rw1012-0594.jpg Photography by: Chrisman Studios

Be a Talent Scout 

It’s taking a chance, but you could hire a not-quite-brand-name to capture images and video, such as a professional’s assistant, an art school grad, or a photographer who snaps pics for local magazines, say Kelly Seizert and Maria Baer, co-owners of Ritzy Bee Events in Washington, D.C. But hedge your bet by doing a test run first: Hire them to cover a shower or dinner party to see how they handle lighting and candids.

Book by the Hour 

When hiring a photographer and videographer, ask for an hourly rate instead of a set fee, suggest Seizert and Baer. Enlist your MOH to document the prewedding-prep fun, and have the pros arrive just before the ceremony and leave right after the cake-cutting or first dance. (Do you really need pictures of tipsy guests at the end of the night?)

Skip the Extras 

Opt for basic coverage instead of pricey packages. See how your photos (and budget) look after the fact, and then order any extras, like blowups and gallery wraps, à la carte.

Arrange Your Own Images

Time to dust off those scrapbooking skills: Buy a pretty book and assemble an album of wedding photos yourself.

Brides Are Now Turning Their Wedding Dresses Into Burial Gowns For Babies Who Have Died In The NICU

Instead of letting their wedding dresses gather dust for decades, some brides are donating them to the Angel Gown Program, where seamstresses will turn them into gowns for babies in the NICU who have died.

Instead of letting their wedding dresses gather dust for decades, some brides are donating them to the Angel Gown Program, where seamstresses will turn them into gowns for babies in the NICU who have died.
Holly D. Gray / Via
“NICU Helping Hands started offering bereavement gowns to families on a very small scale in the fall of 2013 after we saw this need in hospitals where we were running our other support programs for NICU families,” Lisa R. Grubbs, President of NICU Helping Hands, told BuzzFeed Life. “Our program is an acknowledgement that their child mattered even in death — that the life had been meaningful regardless of how long the child lived.”

Grubbs said the garment itself is symbolic.

Grubbs said the garment itself is symbolic.
Holly D. Gray / Via
“A wedding gown donated by a bride from the happiest day of her life, sewn by a volunteer into a one of a kind custom gown for a baby that has died or will die… importance, honor, respect, caring, and love are embodied in this gift that is freely given to anyone that needs it,” she said.

In 2014, the organization received more than 8000 wedding gowns.

In 2014, the organization received more than 8000 wedding gowns.
Holly D. Gray / Via
After a wedding gown is donated, one of 700 volunteer seamstresses across the United States will spend hours re-fashioning it.

“It isn’t a quick and easy process,” Grubbs said. “We have developed very strict guidelines to ensure that we provide the best garment to every family and hospital we serve. So the making of our garments is tedious, exacting, and not fast.”

The gowns are always provided at no cost to the families, and NICU Helping Hands relies on donations to cover packaging and mailing costs. (If you’re interested in donating, you can find more information here.)

The stories Grubbs shared about the Angel Gown Program are incredibly moving.

The stories Grubbs shared about the Angel Gown Program are incredibly moving.
Holly D. Gray / Via
“We have had the honor of custom designing a garment for conjoined infants — a garment for this situation is not available anywhere, but where there is a need we seek to fill it,” she said. “We have worked with individual families who knew they were going to lose their baby as soon as the baby was born and we used their personal wedding gown to create the garment that their precious child would be clothed in. So many stories but each has a common thread: it’s about recognizing a need for compassion and saying ‘yes we will help you.’”

Grubbs said the program gives parents permission to grieve openly and honor the life of their child.

Grubbs said the program gives parents permission to grieve openly and honor the life of their child.
Holly D. Gray / Via
“Grief is not a moment or an event — it is a process, and a long, difficult one,” she said. “Grief is always difficult, but when someone feels that nobody understands or cares or values the reason for their grief, the process can be complicated with feelings of anger, frustration, loneliness.”

“Providing this garment, along with caring and support gives validation to the parent and also sets a more positive foundation for this journey.”

Monday, February 16, 2015

5 Things All Bridesmaids Should Tell Their Plus-Ones

Bridesmaids Plus One Etiquette
Photo: Clove & Kin
So the wedding invitation says you get to bring a plus-one! Which means you won't have to be stuck dancing with someone's 80-year-old great uncle or find yourself at the singles table, smooching the glassware of your loyal cocktail. Whether the date you're taking to your friend's wedding is your longtime boyfriend or just a friend you know you'll have a fun time with, there's a few important things they should remember when they arrive as your arm candy on the day of the wedding.

1. Keep it to a two drink max.

Sure you're bringing your plus-one to a party — in the bride's eyes, the party of the year — so make sure that they control themselves with the open bar and don't overdo it with the tequila shots or find themselves double fisting cup after cup of whiskey.

2. They shouldn't come empty handed.

Even though they're coming as your plus-one, they are still a guest and the bride and the groom are paying quite a hefty price for them to be there. Ask your plus-one to bring them a gift — as a token of their thanks and also to congratulate them.

3. Remember basic cell phone etiquette.

Turn that phone on silent, and keep it in your pocket during the ceremony. You don't want your date to be the one who is texting or checking their Fantasy Football standings while the bride and groom are saying their vows.

4. You're a guest of a guest.

So make sure your date brings life to the party but doesn't find themselves as the ultimate, wild, out-of-control life of the party.

5. Congratulate the bride and the groom.

Even if your guest has never met the bride or the groom before, make sure you have them make it a point to go up to them and introduce themselves or say congratulations. Also, introduce your date to them so that they know that person is with you and not a wedding crasher!

Friday, February 13, 2015

He Asked 1500+ Elders For Advice On Living And Loving. Here's What They Told Him.

Karl Pillemer has spent the last several years systematically interviewing hundreds of older Americans to collect their lessons for living.

Pillemer admits he's an advice junkie. He's also a Ph.D. gerontologist at Cornell University.
Some years ago, after turning 50, he wondered whether there is something about getting older that teaches you how to live better. "Could we look at the oldest Americans as experts on how to live our lives?" he asked. "And could we tap that wisdom to help us make the most of our lifetimes?"
His first book, "30 Lessons for Living," synthesized advice from over 1,000 elders on topics like happiness, work, and health.

Now Pillemer has followed up with "30 Lessons for Loving," which features practical wisdom from over 700 older Americans with 25,000 collective years of marriage experience. One couple he profiles was married for 76 years. Another interviewee describes divorcing her husband, then remarrying him 64 years later.
I spoke with Pillemer for Sophia, a HuffPost project to collect life lessons from accomplished people (that was partly inspired by his work).

Pillemer shared seven key pieces of advice he's heard repeatedly from older Americans -- about their greatest regrets, finding fulfillment, and keeping relationships healthy through life's ups-and-downs.

1. Stop worrying so much.
I asked these oldest Americans what they think people tend to regret at their age, and what they would advise younger people to do to avoid regrets.

I expected big-ticket items -- an affair or a shady business deal, something along those lines. I really didn't expect to hear the one answer that was among the most frequent and certainly among the most passionate and vehement: stop worrying so much.

One of the biggest regrets of the very old was, I wish I hadn't spent so much time worrying. They weren’t talking about planning, but the kind of mindless rumination that all of us do over things we have no control.

One of the people who said that summed it up this way. It was a woman who said, "I knew there were going to be layoffs at my job. I did nothing over the coming three months except worry about being laid off. I poisoned my life. I didn't think about anything else, even though I had no control over it." And she paused and said, "I wish I had those three months back, because that was just lifetime lost."
sophia project

I'm sort of a chronic Woody Allen-esque worrier. Hearing hundreds and hundreds of older people saying that when you get to our age, you'll see time spent needlessly worrying as time wasted, it really had a profound effect on me.

People have asked me, "What do you do with that insight? How do we stop worrying?" For me, when I start to get into the mindless rumination, I will remind myself that it's an almost absolute certainty that everybody, when they get to the end of life, will say to themselves, "I wish I hadn't spent so much time worrying about something that wasn't going to happen." After doing this for so long, I kind of have this feeling of a thousand grandparents in a room yelling at me [laughs].

A related insight of older people comes through very strongly in their advice about marriage. Very often a lot of their advice revolves around lightening up. We allow things, like marriage or other domains of life, to become extremely grim.

Their viewpoint from later on -- this may sound like a cliché, but they mean it -- is most of the things they worried about didn't happen, and the bad things that happened to them were things they hadn't considered.
sophia project

2. In relationships, sweat the small stuff.
If I learned one thing about how to keep the spark alive over many decades, there's a point that the elders make that aligns very closely with research. It is an emphasis on thinking small -- the small, minute-to-minute, day-to-day interactions that make up a relationship.

We tend to think of relationships globally. But all relationships are made up of hundreds or thousands of daily micro-interactions where you have the opportunity to be positive and supportive to your partner, or to be dismissive and uninterested.

There's been research showing, for example, that how you respond if your partner interrupts you while you're doing something is very diagnostic of how good the relationship's going to be. If you're actively involved in reading the paper or doing something, and your partner wants to show you something of interest to him or her, whether you respond dismissively or you briefly stop what you're doing and engage with your partner is very diagnostic of positivity in the relationship.
sophia project
Other research has shown that it takes around 10 positive interactions to make up for one nasty one, so the ratio of positive to negative small interactions in a relationship is really critical. And that's exactly what older people say. Many of their lessons embody this same concept.

For example, one of the things that older people argue is that we ought to be polite in our relationships. You know, the old things that people learned in elementary school, to say please and thank you and observe normal civility, is something people forget to do all the time in their relationships, mostly because we feel comfortable.

They argue using politeness and tact, but also making a habit of positive things, of compliments, of small surprises, of doing a partner's chore, if you have a fairly rigid division of labor. Many people described that. I had more than one woman -- perhaps it’s quote from someone else -- but they jokingly said that their husband doing the dishes was the best aphrodisiac they could think of. So I would say that for a good relationship that lasts a long time, one of the absolute keys is attending to being positive, cheerful, supportive in the small aspects of the relationship.

sophia project
Another thing which is closely related: many couples begin to develop divergent interests and one partner then becomes hostile to a passionate interest. I had many older people say, "Our relationship changed when I gave my partner's interests a chance and embraced them."

One guy in his mid-80s, he was astonished. He said, "I started going to opera and ballet. Me! Opera and ballet! But it was worth it to engage with my partner." Or wives who took up golf or developed an interest in football. At some point, people begin to say that positivity in the relationship is more important than fighting over these kinds of like minor differences.

People who have very positive relationships consciously tend to maximize these small positive interactions. And that is a place where elder wisdom completely or very closely aligns with what we know from research about good marriages.

3. Don't sacrifice your relationship for your children.
There's a very strong research finding in family social science. It is called the U-shaped curve of marital happiness. Basically, marriages start out pretty happy. Marital happiness drops precipitously at the birth of the first child and usually never completely recovers until the last child has left the house.

So even though kids are great -- they satisfy our existential longings, and we love them, and it's one of the most profound experiences -- they are stressful for marriages. You probably don't need a social scientist to tell you that, because anybody who's been through it knows that.

There's no question that a lot of marital arguments and difficulties revolve around children. It's one of the paradoxes of marriage that good things, like having kids or having a really good job, even owning and taking care of a house, also can be sources of marital stress. It's the double-edged sword of marriage.

The elders had one really strong recommendation in terms of adjusting to kids. Put your marriage first, put your relationship first, and don't let kids distract you from having a good relationship with your partner.

Couples lose themselves in the mix of kids and work and fundamentally abandon attention to their relationship. The advice of the oldest Americans is very similar to that famous instruction on airplanes -- put your own oxygen mask on first and then put it on the kids. If you aren't attending to your relationship, you aren't going to be very effective as child-rearers.

It's very unusual that people have an awful relationship and wind up being good parents. If you sacrifice your relationship for your children, you have a reasonable chance of losing both.
sophia project
Now, they aren't saying, of course, that you don't love your kids and that you wouldn't hurl yourself in front of a train to save them. But they argue that a marital relationship needs constant attention in spite of the kids.

I was shocked, in focus groups I did in preparation for the book, how many young parents couldn't even remember when they'd gone out on their own or spent much individual time together. The oldest Americans' argument is: Carve it out. Impose on grandparents. Develop a babysitting exchange. Even if you don't have any money.

I had people who grew up in the Depression. One couple said, "We returned our disposable soda bottles and went to McDonald's. It was just an opportunity to be away."

Even if it's something as artificial as a weekly date night where you scrimp and arrange for babysitting and go off on your own, you simply must do it. If you lose yourself in this middle-aged blur of work and kids, you really won't do your kids any good.

sophia project

4. People who share core values typically have better marriages.
One hallmark of these long and harmonious marriages -- and this is a piece of advice, too, that older people explicitly give -- is to marry someone a lot like you.

We have in our popular culture this vast amount of examples of where opposites attract and make for great relationships, from “Romeo and Juliet” through “The Little Mermaid” through “Pretty Woman” and on and on.

Both the elders and research say, not so much. Marrying somebody who is very similar to you -- in the trade, we call it homophily. Homophilous marriages, where the partners are pretty similar across a range of domains, tend to last longer and be happier.

What seems to really make the difference are core shared values. For example, work and the importance of work, the number of children and the way children are to be raised and goals for children, how important money is, spiritual and religious values to some extent. If there's core value similarity, that seems to really make for these longer and happier marriages.

There's no magic bullet. But marrying someone who's fundamentally similar to you, especially in outlook, worldview, and values, really does seem to make a difference. It makes everything else much easier.

You might ask, in our complex multicultural society, is that really a good thing to recommend? What they would say is, you can have differences. Sometimes differences do spice up a relationship. But if you have two people who are, for example, strongly committed to two different religious traditions, you've got to be aware that you're going to have to work around that in your relationship. If you have other kinds of strong value differences, it's important to be aware of those and deal with them.

sophia project

5. Communicate early, communicate often.
I've spent a lot of time interviewing young people. Of course, I'm speaking anecdotally. I know a lot of them as a college professor. One thing I've learned is that even in long dating relationships, it’s actually relatively unusual that they have a deep discussion about child-rearing values or even having children.

I think that's a problem. I think the elders would say it's a problem. Understanding how your values align is very important early on.

This is related, and it may seem obvious, but virtually all of the elders in long marriages say the key to their success was learning how to communicate effectively on important issues.

People who were divorced very typically attribute it to a communication breakdown. I had several couples in the study who had gotten divorced and then remarried. One couple was actually remarried almost a half century after they were first divorced and began to have a very positive relationship. Almost always that was attributed to learning how to open up, to have open and successful communication and to really talk to one another.

6. Approach marriage as a discipline.
The unspoken, unquestioned, and underlying assumption, especially of people 75 and older, was that marriage would last forever.

They viewed marriage as an unbreakable bond; they simply had to work within those parameters. That means, for example, you live through rough patches and don't just try to get out of the relationship. You come to accommodations and acceptances of the other person. You see this unit as something that is bigger than two people and their immediate individual satisfaction.

When they got married, they were making a commitment to the concept of marriage as a worthwhile institution, rather than the partnership based on immediate satisfaction of the individuals involved.
I got from them the idea of marriage as a discipline -- not a punishment kind of discipline but the way it's used if you're learning music or a martial art. Marriage is a lifelong path, one that you never perfect and that you continually work to get better at. You're continually working to improve communication and overcome problems and establish more interest.

This worldview -- that once you were in marriage, you were in it for good -- shaped people's day-to-day experience and view of it. It's one of the things which those who do articulate it recommend to younger people. They say, even if the reality is that you may not stay married, you ought to have this attitude, because it will make you work harder to get through difficult times. And there are such benefits to doing that that you ought to do it.
sophia project

7. Take time to craft the story of your life.
There's been considerable research on the importance of reminiscence, life review. Most old people would like to be able to see their lives as a meaningful whole, to be able to sum it up into a coherent narrative.

I don't want to wax too poetic, but I have really been struck by something which the famous psychologist Erik Erikson said. At some point you realize that you're given this one chance -- he words it this way -- ‘this one chance in all of eternity to enact an identity and to play it out in the real world.’

Towards the end of life, what's really important to people is to be able to see how their life mattered, how it was meaningful, how there was a story to it that wraps up in a good way.

People who are able to create that kind of narrative, and think of their life in that way, are typically happier. They're more generative. They're much more serene and open to the end of life. So that is really good work for people to do. Writing about it is something that a number of my interviewees did. Often my best interviewees were people who had done some writing of memoirs.
There is a concept which some of them also did, it's called the “ethical will,” where people will write down what they would like to leave to younger generations about their values and principles and morality, how someone should live a life.

sophia project

It's so critical for older people to record their memories. I would go one step further. Stop me if -- actually, I'm going to go ahead and say it. We're in the midst right now in our society of a very dangerous experiment. That's one where young people, outside of intermittent contacts in their own family, have no meaningful contact with older people in any other dimension of their lives.

Whereas old people were often much more integrated and were sought out as sources of wisdom and advice and life experience, now they really aren't, because our society is so age-segregated.

I think that we place young people in peril without these kind of intergenerational contacts. This is something that's so natural for the human race. It's really only been about the last hundred years that people have gone to anyone other than the oldest person they knew for advice about something, say like marriage or child-rearing.

Even though it sounds artificial, it's important for older people to record their own thoughts and memories, but it's really critical for younger people to ask them for them, and not just for stories, but for guidance and practical advice for living. I'm not against professional help. I think it's great. But sometimes people might go and ask the elders in their lives for advice on finding a meaningful career or improving a relationship first.

So I think that it's both older people doing it themselves, nurturing these memories and reflecting on their lives, but it's also our role as younger people to help them to do it, to express interest in it and be a part of their reminiscing and summing up their life into a meaningful story. That's what we really risk losing now. It's a large reason for these projects, I have to say, and why I'm writing these books.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What Your Fiancé Is Really Thinking As You Walk Down the Aisle

Every week, we give our readers a glimpse inside the mindset of a guy's brain on weddings with the help of the hilarious and smart editors at The Plunge. For their latest installment, they're giving us an inside look into a groom's thoughts at the altar.

We've given you plenty of advice and insights from the perspective of a soon-to-be-married man, but never before have we taken you inside the mind of the groom — until now. Below, for the first time, is an unfiltered look at the groom's train of thought as he stands at the altar on your wedding day. Maybe one day you'll give us the same view inside the mind of a bride. Maybe? Please? We can still dream. For now, fasten your seatbelts as we journey to the center of our brain! Please keep arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and do not feed the animals.

Okay, made it down the aisle without falling over. So far so good.

Eyes straight ahead. Smiling, smiling. Looking good, ladies and gents. What a handsome crowd we've got here today.

Is my fly open? Eyes front! Here she comes...

Wow! She looks amazing! I'm actually marrying her. I love her so much. How did I get so lucky?

Get lucky, now we're talking! Wonder what she's got on under that dress.

Dude, her dad is right there. You can't let him hear you saying that kind of stuff.

Idiot, only you can hear you. You can say whatever you want!

Oh, right. Sweet!

We're sure nobody else can hear this, right?

Focus! Here she is. My beautiful bride.

Holy shit, my bride. The only woman I'll ever be with again. My God what have I done?

Relax! You're supposed to be nervous, but this is no time to wet yourself with fear. Not with Nana watching. Be strong for Nana.

Damn, I'm sweating. Good thing I went with the extra armpit pad upgrade on this tux. Like a boss.

Look at her. She's amazing. She's perfect. She's like an angel. How could I have ever questioned this.

This is incredible. I've never been so happy. Maybe that's what's so terrifying.

Crap, did he just say, "Repeat after me?" Pay attention!

Okay, I think I said all that right. Wow, this is really happening.

I can't stop smiling. My face is going to ache by the end of this day. And we still have to take all those pictures. I should have done my jaw stretches.

Focus! Eyes on the bride's!

Wow, we're really flying through this thing. Not much left to do now except...

"I do."

Kiss my bride, you say? Well, then! Pucker up, buttercup!

How's that for a grand finale?

And the crowd goes wild! Nobody even saw you sweating. Cool as the other side of the pillow.

Now grab her hand, dance up that aisle, and get ready to party.

I love this woman!

Nailed it.

Men Reveal The Moment They Knew They Had Found 'The One'


What was the moment you decided that your significant other was really "The One" for you?
With Valentine's Day around the corner, I decided to ask men via Twitter and Whisper this very question.

Within days, I received 700+ "aww"-inducing responses, plus a few unexpected ones that would make even Christian Grey blush. The replies generally fell into six main themes:

1. Love at First Sight: Is there such a thing? Definitely, say these men.
One man wrote, "I knew she was The One when she first walked in the room. Love at first sight. Once in a lifetime."

Another said, "I knew the moment I saw her on the first day of years ago."
Some men knew after the very first smile, such as this military man: "I knew as soon as she smiled at me. That was four years ago. I'm marrying her this July before I deploy."

2. Love at First Date: Even more men said they knew she was The One after their first date or first kiss, even if the experience was far from perfect.

This man recalled, "When she held my nervous, sweaty hand at our first movie and didn't bat an eye about it. That was the same night I first kissed her."

Another wrote, "It sounds cheesy, but I knew on our first date that I never wanted to be without her. I remember looking into her eyes after our first kiss and thinking 'She's all I've ever wanted.'"

And this guy had a particularly memorable first date experience: "We were supposed to go on this big romantic date, and everything went wrong. The movie was sold out, it was raining, my car got a flat tire, but somehow we both still had a great time. I told her I loved her at the end of the night."

 3. Mirror Image: A number of men said they fell in love when they realized how much they had in common.

One man wrote, "I knew when we would start saying things that the other was thinking at that very moment. Especially when it started happening 20 to 30 times a day."

Another added, "When we started to always say the same thing at the same time, I began to wonder."
This guy captured this group's sentiments, saying, "I knew she was The One when I started to learn that she was basically the female version of me."

4. Shared Interests: There were many men who cited other less esoteric, more stereotypical guy things, such as sports, dogs, cars and food.

This one may not fit the Shakespearean notion of destined lovers, but one sports guy wrote, "I knew when she threw a perfect spiral during intramural football."

Another knew his girlfriend was The One, "when she finally beat me at Mortal Kombat."

And this response, with a bit of an ironic twist, came from a man who wrote, "When I told her we could either afford to get married or get a dog. She looked at me and said, 'Let's get a dog.' That's when I knew."

5. Absence: The notion that absence can make the heart grow fonder was confirmed by these men.
One man wrote, "It was actually the first moments I spent without her that made me realize she was The One."

This man may have realized too late, writing, "The moment I let her get away is when I realized too late that she was The One."

Another realized and then changed his priorities: "It was five years ago when I had to transfer to another state for my work and could no longer be with her. I realized she was more important than anything else. I then quit my job and moved back. Now we are married - and I finally found a better job."

6. Comfort and Acceptance: Many of men's most important forever realization moments are linked to the comfort and acceptance they feel with the women in their lives.

One man captured this nicely: "When I realized that the silence we rarely have is a comfortable, understanding silence, instead of awkward, that's when I knew."

Another added: "I knew when I saw that she still loves and accepts me with all my faults and baggage."

This man went a step further, saying he really knew over time: "There is no one single moment.

Those brown eyes of hers make me melt, her voice dances on my ears. Her acceptance and openness. Everything. Love grows day after day and really cannot be measured."

Well said.

One Last Answer...From a Woman 

Even though this question was asked only of men, we received a fair number of responses from women. This woman's answer in particular made me smile: "Here's when my boyfriend and I fell for each other. I spent four days helping him do a whole semester's worth of his calculus homework. We were eating gummy bears. He took one, held it up, looked at me, smiled and said, 'Thank you for doing this. Without you it'd be unBEARable.'"

UnBEARable, indeed. Happy Valentine's Day to her and the other respondents who shared their moments of realization.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I admit that sometime ago, I thought that I would never find "The One" who would be the one to love me , be the person to guard my heart and be my partner for life.. Until he came. 

Nothing in this world prepared me for the love that I have for him. Sure parenthood is one thing, family and friends love maybe but nothing like the love of your soul mate. 

Today I celebrate my love and his 30 years of life! I am THANKFUL to have him, Will continue to cherish him and LOVE him for life! 

Happy Birthday Scott. I Love You!