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Wedding Professionals   27 March, 2012   Uncategorized    20 comments Post Comment

Stirring the Family Drama Pot #2 - You’d really rather have a “kiddo-free” wedding, but that is freaking your sister, mother of three beautiful, but rambunctious, children, out. (She cannot BELIEVE you’re considering not having nephews at your wedding!) 

First of all, you are not a bad person for feeling like to don’t want kids at your wedding. For some weddings, depending the atmosphere that you want to create, it just doesn’t work. (Plus, you’re probably not super excited about the idea of paying for $40 reception-hall kids’ plate chicken fingers.) So, one way to respond to your guests concerns, once they figure out you have not invited their sweet-peas to your big day, is to say this: “You deserve a break and a night away from the kids! Use my wedding as a good excuse for it - I want you to be able to eat without having to worry about cutting someone else’s meat! I want you to be able to drink a couple of glasses of wine without worrying about how much high-fructose corn syrup is in the kiddie cocktails! Please, do yourself the favor of getting a sitter so you can slow dance with your husband without a 5 year old hanging on your butt, wondering if he can play Angry Birds on your phone.” If you have a lot of unhappy parents wondering what the heck they are going to do with their angels, consider organizing having one home where they can drop the kids off at with one or two hired babysitters - the parents can all pitch in to pay the sitters for the evening, OR if you are really feeling generous, work it into your wedding budget. Hopefully they’ll realize the kids WILL have more fun that way, and once the moms realize they can actually dust off and use the cute clutch that’s been hiding under the diaper bags, they will too. 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"

Wedding Professionals   16 March, 2012   Uncategorized    22 comments Post Comment

 There are so many elements that go into making a destination wedding perfect.  Here are
10 of the most important ways to make sure you have the destination wedding of your dreams. 
 1. Go On a “Try before you buy” Mission

happy couple checking out a destination wedding If you can afford it, travel to the area and resort you are considering for your destination wedding. 
It is good to see the exact location and area in person.  You can check
out the resort to make sure it will meet all of your guests and your
needs and wants for your wedding.  You can try out the food, check out
the service, meet with the wedding coordinator, and possibly view another wedding going on.  Once you are there, you may find a different
resort you like better.  You can always get a day pass, around
$150dollars, to other resorts and check those out as well.   You may
like or not like the local area the resort is in for activities and
excursions you want available for your guests to experience. I always
recommend using a destination wedding designer in your planning, because
they can guide you to a destination and resort that would be perfect
for you, arrange the travel, and set the appointment with the wedding
coordinator so that you can meet with her, and scope out the venues.  

2. Think About Doing a Symbolic Ceremony:

There are a lot of legal requirements when you get married in another
country.  Usually there is a short window that you have to legally be in
the country you are going to get married in.  The average is two to
three business days, plus all the paper work.   You can avoid all the
paper work, by getting married at by a JOP, and then all you need to do
is bring your marriage license with you to the resort, and you can get
married with a “symbolic ceremony”  it really still feels like the same
thing!  I recommend using a destination wedding designer to help you
figure out what the legalities are to get married in the countries you
are considering.  When it comes to anniversaries, you can either pick
your legal date, or symbolic date, or some couples celebrate both. 
Usually they will celebrate small and private for one date, and do
something larger for the other anniversary date.  Hey, I am always
looking for a reason to celebrate!

3.Carry On Your Dress: 

packing your wedding dress for a destination weddingNever,
never, allow your dress to be put in checked baggage.  There are too
many things that could go wrong, and have gone wrong when a wedding
dress has been put with the checked bags.  Your dress should be in a
protected garment bag, and may need to be folded.  Some airlines will
allow you to hang your dress in first class.  If you ask you flight
attendant, most are very understanding about your needs, especially if
you are getting married. 


4. Have All Your Attendees Stay at the Same Resort: 

friends at a destination weddingIf
at all possible, try to get everyone to book at the same resort.  This
will simplify your life so much!  When everyone  is all in the same
locale, it is just easier to do your group activities,  enjoy all of
your time with family and friends, as well as cut down extra costs for
your guests that may be staying elsewhere.  Usually, any of your guests
that want to be at your resort, but are not staying there will have to
pay a day pass fee, plus transportation costs to come to your resort
every day.    A good destination wedding designer
can get you a great group rate, and help you find a resort that will be
great for all of you, and work within everyone’s budget.

5.  Be Considerate of your wedding party

be understanding of your bridal party at your destination weddingRemember
that your wedding party has paid a good amount of money to be there for
your special day.  Some wedding packages include hair and makeup for
you but for your bridal party, there is an extra charge. Make sure you
pick a very affordable package, or better yet, just pay for them to get
their hair and makeup done for the wedding.

6.  Let Your Hair Down

relaxed bride at her destination weddingWith a destination wedding,
there is supposed to be a more care free, and natural atmosphere to
your wedding day.   It definitely is more relaxing to hang out on the
beach with an endless supply of drinks and food at your beck and call,
while getting ready for your wedding.  Don’t worry so much about your
hair or make up being perfect.   After all, you are in a location that
usually involves gentle breezes, water, and warm weather. 


7.  Keep an Open Mind For a Wedding Photographer:

wedding photographer at a destination weddingMany
times the resort will have their own wedding photographer that they
will recommend for your wedding photos.  Like all lines of work, there
are good and bad photographers.   Ask to see some samples of the
photographer the resort is recommending.   You may need to have your
family and friends take some extra pictures of your wedding day, just in
case.  If you must have a photographer you trust completely, you may
need to bring one with you.  I have had clients fly their photographer
and videographer down with them, so that they will have perfect pictures
and video.   In general, I have seen great photos from my clients who
used the resort photographer, and I have seen great photos from
photographers that have been brought in.   

8. Give Your Attendees Reason to Explore

riviera Maya excursionsWhen
people are traveling all that way, they should get out and do a fun
excursion in the area and do some site seeing.  There are certain
countries and areas where you want to be a part of an organized tour
group, because they are licensed, insured, and offer the most safe and
usually fun experience.  If you organize an activity to do together, you
should either pay for your group, or help pay for it.  You can send
your guest’s website links for things to do in the area, to help get
them excited for their getaway. 

9.  Lighten Your Load:

stress free destination weddingThere
is great satisfaction in being able to plan and pull off your own
destination wedding, but is it worth all of the organization, phone
calls, websites, and amount s of time and stress on your end?  I don’t 
know about you, but I don’t go to a friend to get my teeth cleaned, (my
dentist is very nice), I don’t ask the Sephora  make -up specialist to
help me with the brakes on my car, (she could make them look prettier,
but probably not going to stop the car any better).  There are so many
great destination wedding designers out there that can help you design
and pick a great wedding package, perfect resort, and arrange an
incredible group rate, along with travel arrangements for you, for not
much more money than it would cost you to do on your own.  

10.  Go With The Flow:

bride at destination weddingAs
I mentioned before, a destination wedding has a more care free
atmosphere to it!   Hopefully all of the planning and attention to
detail will make your special day go on without a hitch.  Every so
often, as with any wedding, there can be things that don’t always go as
planned;   maybe the floral arrangement looks a little different than
you thought, the wedding cake is not the right one you picked, or the
minister mispronounces you names.   Even if it were to rain, (there is
always a plan B for that by the way), try to go with it and have fun. 
Everyone will be watching you and how you react to everything.  If you
decide to laugh and shrug it off, when things don’t go as planned,
everyone else will do the same, and you will have a fun and relaxing
time, no matter what.  


Need Some Help With Your Planning?

Schedule your free 30 minute strategy session with one of our destination wedding designers today.

Schedule Your Free Planning Session


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    P.O. Box 2491 Portage, MI 49081-2491
Phone: 269-327-0510 | Toll Free: 877-686-0397

Wedding Professionals   10 March, 2012   Uncategorized    12 comments Post Comment

Many of you are looking for the perfect all inclusive honeymoon package
to begin the celebration of your marriage between just the two of you.
Relaxing in an unforgettable location and making memories that will last
for a life time. Well that is just what an all inclusive honeymoon
should be, and I have picked out some of my personal favorite all inclusive honeymoon packages to give you some help while you are doing your research. These resorts are not in any set order. All of these resorts will give a honeymoon
couple a great experience, it just depends on finding the right fit for

Sandals All Inclusive Resorts:

all inclusive honeymoon packages at Sandals Resorts

Sandals adult-only, luxury included concept includes some of the best
beaches in the Caribbean, large expansive pools, premium drinks,
amazing food, and some incredible water sports and entertainment.  Many
of the resorts have new modern “villages” with chic and cosmopolitan
styled rooms. Every Sandals all-inclusive resort has a unique feel and
theme.  One thing is for  sure, Sandals knows how to do an all inclusive honeymoon package right!  Read More About Sandals

Secrets All Inclusive Resorts:

all inclusive honeymoon packages at Secrets resorts


Secrets adult-only upscale resorts focus on quality and service.  The
food and drinks at Secrets are second to none, while also offering 24hr
room and concierge service. The suites and rooms at Secrets are all
modern and full of romantic luxury.  You will find chic and romantic
rooms, gardens, pools and restaurants all set on beautiful white sand
beaches. Secrets will make your all inclusive honeymoon a trip of a
lifetime.  Read More About Secrets

  all inclusive honeymoon packages at Couples Resorts
Only in Jamaica, Couples was the first hotel chain to offer the
all-inclusive resort concept.   Couples Adult-only all-inclusive resorts
are centered on relaxation, romance, and intimacy for you and your
spouse.  At Couples, you will not find loud energetic parties or a lot
of commotion.  Couples wants you to relax and be pampered while enjoying
some of the most romantic beaches in Jamaica.  Couples resorts offer
authentic Caribbean appeal with simple yet elegant decor, and the most
inclusions of any all-inclusive resort in the world, with access to a
lot of free excursions that normally would cost extra at other resort
companies, because they want to encourage their guests to see and
experience all that Jamaica has to offer. The luxury and atmosphere at
Couples makes this all inclusive resort brand the perfect place for a
honeymoon.   Read More About Couples

Excellence all-inclusive resorts

Located in the Riviera Maya area and the Dominican Republic, get ready for a world of all inclusive honeymoon package luxury.
Excellence Resorts surrounds you with the lush romance of the tropics
and impeccable personal service.  Excellence is the true definition of a
romantic getaway for two, all wrapped in 5 star luxury, personal
attention, and unparalleled comfort.  To read More on Excellence

all inclusive honeymoon packages at Zoetry

Zoetry Resorts are the epitome of serenity and wellness. Imagine how
you feel when you walk into a nice Spa: the wonderful relaxing aroma, a
water fountain trickling and soft music….everything you need to bring
you to a place of total relaxation. This is Zoetry! Small and intimate
resorts meant for two people to reconnect and be pampered. It is all
about you and each day is your own. Zoetry offers endless privileges to
create a unique luxury and wellness experience for those who desire a
haven of respite. This is the perfect resort for couples looking to
escape everyday life and feel like you are in your own private retreat.
Read More About Zoetry

all inclusive honeymoon packages at Eldorado Resorts and Spa


These resorts best reflect the culture of the Riviera Maya with
thatched roof villas, cultural entertainment and unique activities like
salsa lessons and Spanish lessons. El Dorado resorts focus on creating a
culinary experience with international cuisine and star chefs.
Definitely splurge on a bottle of wine from the wine cellar and have the
sommelier pick it out to pair with your dinner. The perfect blend of
relaxation, romance and fun, these resorts offer exceptional service,
luxury and value for your all inclusive honeymoon package.
To Read More About Edorado, Click Here

The Royal all inclusive honeymoon packages

Located in Cancun and Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya of Mexico,
these resorts offer premium quality, luxury, and "location, location,
location".  Both are located in wonderful areas for shopping and
nightlife, as well as being on phenomenal beaches.  

Need Some Help With Your Planning?

Schedule your free 30 minute strategy session with one of our honeymoon vacation designers today.

  Schedule Your Strategy Session




Wedding Professionals   9 March, 2012   Uncategorized    7 comments Post Comment

a destination wedding can be a great optionYou
got the surprise of a lifetime!  Your boyfriend asked you to marry him,
and you said yes!  Now that the initial excitement has calmed down a
bit, everyone you know has been asking you. "So when is the wedding?",
"where are you getting married?" and many more questions that you may
not be able to answer yet.  You may not even know what kind of wedding
you want yet.  Maybe the idea of getting married on a white sand beach
with your closest friends and family, has crossed your mind.  If you
have been tossing around the idea of a destination wedding, here are
some things to think about to help you make your decision.


Guest List:

destination wedding partyWith a destination wedding,
not all of your family and friends will be able to make the wedding. 
If you are the type of person who will be very upset if everyone can't
come to your wedding, then a destination wedding may not be a good idea
for you.  Usually, your closest family and friends will be able to make
it, but if they are not in good health, don't travel well, or are really
strapped for money, then a wedding away may prove challenging for them
to attend.  Many destination wedding couples have a small separate
reception back in the States, for their family and friends that could
not make it to the wedding.  This is a great way to show off your photos
and video, which will allow them to feel like they were a part of the
wedding day afterall. Often times a bride and groom find that the
majority of their friends and family are already scattered around the
globe and they will have travel to come to their wedding anyway, so why
not make it more of a vacation experience for everyone?!


destination wedding settingThe location
for your wedding is also another consideration.  Most people want to be
married in a romantic and beautiful setting, even if it is at a church,
or your own back yard.  Nothing else can compete with a destination wedding for
a beautiful and romantic locale.  If location is a very important
wedding detail to you, then a destination wedding is a good choice for
you. If your wedding location is not necessarily something that is on
the top of your list, then a traditional wedding may also be fine for


Communication and Planning:

destination wedding planningSometimes
with a destination wedding, the communication between the resort or the
vendors is delayed.  These resorts are busy putting on destination
weddings for many brides several times a day.  The photographer, or
wedding coordinator may not be able to respond to you right away.  If
you are someone that needs an immediate response from a vendor, then the
planning of a destination wedding could frustrate you.  I work with
these resorts and vendors all of the time, and there can be time delays
during the planning process.  In the end, it all comes together the way
it is suppossed to, and if you are ok with a delay here or there as long
as it all gets done, then planning a destination wedding would be fine
for you. 


Wedding Day Details:

destination wedding cakeDestination Weddings
are beautiful, romantic, and picturesque, but because of the warm
climates, and some of the set resort packages, your flowers may droop a
little bit before the ceremony, the cake may begin to melt. This doesn't
always happen, but it could.  If details like these would make you
upset or bring you to tears, then a destination wedding is probably not
for you.  If you know that there may be some details that don't quite
come out as planned, and it won't make you have a break down, then a destination wedding is a good fit for you.



a destination wedding takes a lot of organizationIt
takes a lot of organization to pull together a destination wedding.  Of
course, it takes a fair amount of organization to plan any wedding.
With a destination wedding you are coordinating travel, trying to get a
group rates, sending out save the date cards, as well as many more
decisions that will have to be made to make a destination wedding a
reality.  If you are not a very organized person, it doesn't matter!
 There are many, many great destination wedding designers, such as
myself, that can help you with all of these details.  Hey, I know you
wouldn't go to a friend if you needed a tooth pulled, (I hope),  you
would go to a dentist.  If you need your car fixed, you probably won't
go to a Vet to fix it. (Maybe your vet is good at fixing cars,  mine
isn't).  Save yourself time and stress, and hire a destination wedding
designer.  They will handle the organization for you, so that you can
relax and focus on other things.   

So, the best personality for a destination wedding is...........

destination wedding coupleDestination
weddings are a great way to experience more than just a wedding day.
They are an opportunity for brides and grooms to share a longer
celebration with those in their lives who they care about the most.
Reasons for doing a destination wedding vary by each couple; sometimes
it just makes sense because all your guests are geographically
scattered, sometimes it is more economical, other times it is because
you actually want to be more selective in who you invite and other
reasons are because it tends to be a more stress-free wedding planning
experience.  Whatever your reason, one thing I can say for certain is
this: a destination wedding is best for someone who is flexible and has
the ability to "roll with the punches."

Need Some Help With Your Planning?

Schedule your free 30 minute strategy session with one of our honeymoon vacation designers today. Schedule Your Free Planning Session

Wedding Professionals   14 January, 2012   Uncategorized    3 comments Post Comment

For our Feb. 26th bridal show, we are offering free and discounted tickets!

Bridal Show:  February 26th, 2012

Location:  Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa

Time:  11am to 4pm

More information: 

**Free Tickets:

1.  All active military (with current ID) will receive 2 free bridal show tickets.  Just show your ID at the registration table day of the show.

2.  Donate a formal or prom like dress to Princess Project the day of the show and receive 2 free tickets and enter to win a great prize.  Visit the following link for more information and dress guidelines:

**Discounted Tickets:

1.  Purchase 2-for-1 show tickets on our website.  That is just $15 for 2!
2.  Visit our website to pre-register for the show and to receive a $5 off admission ticket.

3.  Visit a local store and pick up special discounted coupons and enter to win a great prize! Click here for the list of stores

Wedding Professionals   14 January, 2012   Wedding Tips    3 comments Post Comment
There are many different decisions a couple must make in order to have a successful wedding day. Of all of these decisions selecting the right wedding officiant is the most personal and is certainly one of the most important. For those couples who attend a church, synagogue or other religious organization, finding a wedding officiant becomes much easier. These couples usually have someone they know and trust participating with them in their wedding ceremony. For everyone else it becomes a very different matter all together. 

There are many questions that need to be answered in order to select the right officiant. What organization are they associated with? What do they offer for a wedding ceremony? How far do they travel? Do they require counseling? And, the seemingly most asked question, how much do they charge? 

First, what organization are they associated with? In California people who perform weddings do not have to register with the State. But, it is important that you know what organization ordained them or recognizes them as having authority to legally officiate a wedding ceremony. They can actually be independent from any organization as long as they still have this authority. 

What do they offer for a wedding ceremony? In other words, do they help you plan the wedding or do they just have a ceremony that they do. Do you get to meet with them? Will they let you get involved in the planning? Can it be religious or non-religious? Do they let you have any say regarding the content of the message? Also, will they do interfaith ceremonies? 

How far will they travel? Although it is not necessary to find a minister in the area you wedding is taking place, it is important to know if you minister charges extra to travel over a certain distance. Sometimes this can mean that the "bargain" minister really wasn't that cheap after all. It is best to select someone with a flat fee so you know exactly what you're paying for. Another question would be if the rehearsal is extra or included in the fee. (More on cost later). 

Do they require counseling? Some officiates will not do a wedding without counseling. Although this is a great idea for anyone getting married, sometimes couples don't want this or are taking care of this themselves. If this is not what a couple wants, then this is not the right officiant for them. 

Now, the most asked question, and usually the first one asked by couples: How much do they charge? In almost every area of the wedding a decision on cost comes down to, not only what each couple can afford, but what do they get for the service they are paying for. In every other category of service for weddings the decision is based on goods offered and the cost of those services. It is basically a business decision. 

Selecting an officiant is more of a personal, emotional, even a spiritual decision. It is typical for a couple using their own clergy to simply give them a tip of some modest amount. There are some who think this system of payment will also apply to an officiant they 'hire' to do their wedding. This is not how it works. If you use your clergy, you may already donate to the church from which they receive a salary. in this case, a tip is more appropriate. When you asked someone to officiate your wedding who works independently, he is basically earning a salary on his own. It is not appropriate to pay him in the same way. On the surface it may appear that every wedding officiate does the same thing no matter what they charge. There can be a very big differences! 

An experienced, qualified edding officiant in San Diego can charge anywhere from $250 to over $600. The good ones charge more because they usually have more experience, do more to make your ceremony special, spend more time with you and do a better job in their presentation during the ceremony. The better officiants will meet with you and get you involved with the planning. They will be available if you need them and will help you in any way they can. Like any other service for your wedding day, the better wedding officiants are not the cheapest ones. Keep in mind that no matter what you pay for an officiant, they will always be the cheapest item you will pay for. 

The most important thing to remember is that your wedding officiant is the first person your guests will see on your wedding day. Whatever you plans, however much you spend, if the officiant doesn't represent you well in your wedding ceremony, they will be the focus of conversation the rest of the day, (not to mention be in most of your pictures of the ceremony). The right officiant will start your day right and help you to have the wedding you dreamed about. 
Wedding Professionals   6 December, 2011   Wedding Tips    3 comments Post Comment

Make a list

Jot down the items you really need—before you hit the store. It's easy to get dazzled by tempting store displays. Use our handy checklist to be sure you don’t forget anything essential.

Determine your style
How would you define your style? Are you a traditionalist or more of a bohemian, hippie gal? Do you surround yourself with romantic, frilly décor or is your home filled with simple, clean shapes and monochromatic colors? Knowing your personal style helps you determine where to register and what items to include in your registry.

Easy access
Choose a mix of national and local retailers to better accommodate your guests.

The fine print
Check the store's shipping and return policies, and make sure they apply to your registry—and suit your needs.

Manage your registry
As items get snapped up, add more so that all of your guests will have a selection to choose from when they go to purchase your gift.

Size up your space
If you know you'll have to store items, be realistic about how much space you have in your house or apartment.

Consider your options
These days the sky’s the limit when it comes to registering. You can go traditional and register for china, flatware and other household essentials or you can opt for a registry that reflects you and your partner's style. Some choices:

Register for a cause
The I Do Foundation partners with stores like Target to donate a portion of its sales to your favorite charity (

Go natural sells organic-cotton sheets and woven-seagrass coffee tables, while is a great resource for recycled-glass dinnerware and soapstone pizza pans.

Plan a dream vacation
Ask guests to contribute to your honeymoon fund by registering through Distinctive Honeymoons ( or Honeymoon Wishes (

Get a sports high
Adventurous types can register at for a large assortment of camping and sports gear including bikes, snowboards and canoes.

Stock up
It's never too early to start planning for your financial retirement. Couples ready to start the ball rolling sign up at

Drink and be merry
For Oenophiles and those looking to do a lot of post-wedding entertaining, register at for a large assortment of wine and wine accessories. Everything you need to keep the party going!

Wedding Professionals   17 November, 2011   Beauty Tips    2 comments Post Comment

Lose your ability to get lost in a crowd with thee head-turning makeup tricks.

Fast & Fabulous – follow these tips to bring out your beautiful best in the blink of an eye.

Eyes: apply a like color to the brown bone and inside the corner of the eye. This will create the illusion that you applied a medium shade to your eyelid. Add a single swipe of mascara, and you’re done.

Cheeks: Sweep a light to medium cheek color along cheekbones for just the right hint of color.

Lips: A quick kiss of color to the lips, and you’re ready to go! A lip gloss draws out lips beautifully.

Easy & Elegant - Getting the hottest runway look is easier than you think. Follow these tips for a glamorous look that works for both day and evening.

Eyes: Prep your lids with a primer. Use a flat eye definer brush to apply a light eye color on brow bone, lid and along the inner third of your lower lashes. Then use a contoured eye crease brush to apply a darker eye color in the crease starting at the outer corner and blending well with the light color. Use a black eyeliner pencil to draw your cat eye first, then trace the line with black liquid eyeliner. Coat your lashes with a single swipe of mascara.

Cheeks: Give cheeks a glamorous glow with a light to medium blush.

Lips: Lips in classic red hues are a must for this elegant look. Line lips with red liner, and then apply a red lipstick. A shiny lip gloss completes the look. 

Smoky & Sophisticated - You’ll take their breath away with mesmerizing eyes in rich smoky hues. Complete the look with lips glossed in neutral tones, and you’ll leave them speechless too.

Eyes: Begin with an eye primer – it’s a must for this smoky application. Apply a light honey eye color to the brow bone and along the inner third of your lower lashes. Then apply a dark chocolate eye color over your eyelid using a flat eye definer brush. Stop the color where it meets the lighter color on the brow bone. Then sweep a navy color over the entire eyelid with a flat eye definer brush, stopping at the crease. Be sure to blend the colors smoothly to the edges using a clean brush. Next, draw a thick, dark line of black eyeliner along the top and bottom lashlines. Apply two to three coats of mascara to add major drama.

Cheeks: Give cheeks a sophisticated glow with a medium color blush.

Lips: Lips in gorgeous neutral tones are the perfect complement to smoky sophisticated eyes. Line lips with a neutral liner, and then apply tanned lipstick. A matching lip gloss completes the look.

Courtesy of Stacey Moffat with Mary Kay  
Wedding Professionals   15 November, 2011   Uncategorized    Post Comment
If you come from the kind of family in which every decision you make is greeted with warm smiles, 100% support, and even thunderous applause, please know that not only are you very, very lucky, you are very much in the minority. For most couples planning their wedding, even when they are having a relatively intimate affair, they often find, and are often surprised, that EVERYONE in their family has an opinion on what they should do. They not only have an opinion, they have no problem sharing it. Loudly. And sometimes rudely. Isn’t this supposed to be YOUR day? If you are in the heat of wedding decision-making, you may be finding yourselves in this predicament. In my next few entries, I will offer some thoughts on how to cope with family drama pots, (and the weddings that stir them.)
Pot #1 - Your parents or loved ones are or are helping you foot the bill for the wedding, and therefore, believe they have a say or authority over most, or even all, of the decisions you make for your wedding.
Whew, this is a tough one, so I will deal with it first. If the guidance you are being given is tolerable, and you can live with some of the things they would like to see that day, then your ability to compromise is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of grace and strength. However, if guidance is verging into dictatorship, you must say something, but doing so in a loving, mature way will likely garner the best response: “Mom, please know that John and I are so grateful for the fact that you and Dad are helping us make this wedding possible, but it is really important to us that we celebrate the beginning of our marriage in a way that reflects who we are and what we love. Making this choice fulfills that for us better than that choice. Thank you for understanding that.” In the situation where that is not enough, and your loved ones instead choose to continue to push the fact that it’s their money, so it’s their way, then you may have to make the difficult decision to kindly decline their financial assistance. You may have to scale back, significantly even, so that you can fit your budget, but that is okay. If doing it your way is important enough to you, you will be able to also figure out how to do it your way with the resources you have.
Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”
Wedding Professionals   11 November, 2011   Wedding Tips    Post Comment
Capturing unique wedding images begins with the bride and groom, and their relationship to their photographer. Get to know your photographer by having lunch, touring your ceremony location together, or through an engagement session. I love engagement sessions because not only do they help with camera shyness, but I also get to know the bride and groom before their wedding day and they get to know me.

Knowing and trusting your photographer is incredibly important. Having a relationship with your photographer will build mutual confidence; that bond will allow your photographer to express their artistic creativity, which will transform the images of your wedding into beautiful works of art. When you meet with your photographer before your wedding, be sure to discuss the details of your wedding that make it unique – every aspect of your day is a memory waiting to be preserved.

On the wedding day, the bride and groom may want to consider seeing each other a few hours before the ceremony in a “first meeting.” Because this allows for more time and more pictures, couples are more relaxed and they are free to enjoy more time with their guests without worrying about time constraints.

This lack of time constraints also allows for more artistic wedding shots because couples are now free to explore the beautiful settings that their locations have to offer and they are not restricted to the immediate area around the ceremony site.

Photo and article courtesy of David Champagne Photography 
Wedding Professionals   11 November, 2011   Wedding Tips    Post Comment

Get help planning your dream wedding!  Request a free bridal magazine and 12 month wedding checklist on our website:
Wedding Professionals   24 October, 2011   Wedding Tips    1 comments Post Comment

Have you dreamed of a sunset wedding? Are you wanting to make sure you have enough daylight on your perfect day? You can obtain the times of sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, transits of the Sun and Moon, and the beginning and end of civil twilight, along with information on the Moon’s phase by specific date and location. For detailed sunset times for your wedding, please visit:

California, especially Southern California, is known for its beautiful weather. However, during certain times of the year the weather can be very hot and it does rain. To help you plan and be prepared for any type of weather, please visit the Weather Channel’s link. Always have a backup plan incase weather does affect your perfectly planned day.

Wedding Professionals   24 October, 2011   Wedding Tips    Post Comment

A California marriage license can be obtained at your local County Recorder’s Office. Blood tests are not required, but both the bride and groom must appear together with valid photo ID (driver’s license, state ID or US Passport) to request a marriage license.

The license is good for 90 days and should be obtained at least 30 days prior to your wedding. After the ceremony, you will need to give your signed license to your minister or officiant who will then have it recorded.

Contact the County Recorder’s Office for any specific questions about previous marriages, marrying a non-US citizen, other forms of ID and all other concerns.

To locate a California County Recorder’s Office in your area, please visit:

Wedding Professionals   13 October, 2011   Upcoming Events    Post Comment

We had a great time at our 23rd bridal show on Sunday, September 25th at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa!  Thank you to all the brides and grooms that attending our show and to the wonderful vendors that exhibited.  A special thank you to all our sponsors and to the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa.

We now have our show photos uploaded.  If you attended the show, you might be in a photo!

Again, thank you to everyone for making this bridal show a huge success!  See you on February 26th, 2012 for our next show at the beautiful Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa!
Newlyweds   6 September, 2011   Uncategorized    Post Comment
I'm not really a "whimsical" type of person but man do I get inspired when I see a whimsical wedding! It makes me want to throw away all my classical elegant theme ideas and go for something Anyways, I was looking at Bridal Guides "Real Weddings" section (I love reading/seeing other peoples weddings) and found this great wedding.



Step 1 in a Whimsical Wedding: Setting the tone, check out these awesome tree themed invites...and I think they made them themselves.  I would never...repeat never ever be able to pull this off, I'm so un-creative it's not even funny!


Ok so after finding their escort card on the tree, guests found their tables by checking the time, each table had a clock face in the center with a time representing the table number.  Then the brides mom made easles out of old vintage forks. ----This must just be one creative family, love the vintage fork idea kudos to you mom!

A butterfly cake topper with string dolls!? So I guess there is actually a company who made these, if my wedding wasn't going to be so traditional I would totally be perusing the internet looking for this company! How cute would Trever and Chelsea dolls be?


For favors each guest received a mason jar with either drink packet or a bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey---they were lucky enough to have a family friend who donated a 20 year collection of mason jars....I'm sure a load off of them and a great addition to this fun whimsical wedding! 
Wedding Professionals   5 September, 2011   Upcoming Events    Post Comment

Just like Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz, the unknown can be scary.  Planning a wedding can be overwhelming and most brides have no idea where to start.  Do I open up a phone book or do I find a wedding company online?  Will their personality fit with mine.  ”I am more edgy and want someone to understand my unique needs” or “My family is very conservative and I need a company that will be sensitive to that” and every other of the hundreds of concerns that brides think about and try to figure out.

There is good news!!  Bridal shows are a great way to “shop” local companies and see their work in a relaxed setting.  It’s not like you are sitting across the desk from a vendor in a private meeting and starting to feel pressured or uneasy with no way out.  This is a great way to meet and talk with the actual people that will be working with you on your special day.  You can see samples of their work, sample food/cake, see beautiful wedding dresses and win great prizes.  After talking to a company and you like what you see and experience, you can make an appointment – many show exhibitors offer exclusive bridal show specials.  If you don’t like what you see or don’t feel comfortable with that company then you just move on and talk to another company.   What a great way to make a decision based on your needs and not pressure!

Don’t miss our next bridal show on Sunday, Sept. 25th at the Sheraton Carlsbad.  There will be plenty of vendors to talk to, 2 beautiful fashion shows,  a catering lounge where you can sample food and cake, a game room and loads of prizes.  Even if you think you have it all planned, come and get some fresh ideas and talk to vendors you didn’t think you could afford or even know existed.  Everyone has the same goal – to help you create the wedding of your dreams!!

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