http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com Where Weddings are a Celebration! Thu, 21 May 2015 15:43:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Make Room for Doggy! Including Pets in your Wedding. http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/make-room-for-doggy-including-pets-in-your-wedding/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/make-room-for-doggy-including-pets-in-your-wedding/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 22:18:17 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=2760 It’s no surprise that many couples want to include their pets in their weddings. What’s cuter than a dog in a tuxedo (even if that is considered animal cruelty by some “A pet plays an important role in a couple’s life and for many pet parents, family festivities would not be complete without their pet’s involvement,” […]

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It’s no surprise that many couples want to include their pets in their weddings. What’s cuter than a dog in a tuxedo (even if that is considered animal cruelty by some :-)

“A pet plays an important role in a couple’s life and for many pet parents, family festivities would not be complete without their pet’s involvement,” said John D’Ariano, President of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). “As a result, it’s becoming more common for couples to customize their wedding parties to include family, friends, and furry companions.”

If you’ve decided to include your pet, you should take a few precautions. Here are some tips on how to keep both you and your pet safe and happy during the wedding festivities.

Consider Your Pet’s Personality

A pet can be a guest of honor and simply stand with the wedding party during the ceremony, or your pet can have a specific role (ring bearer or flower girl are common roles) in the ceremony. But before giving your pet a starring role, think about whether this will be an enjoyable experience for him. Will your pet feel comfortable around your guests? Is he obedient and well behaved? There’s no guarantee that your pet will behave exactly how you want him to on the day of the wedding. Even the most outgoing and friendly pet can be overwhelmed by a crowd of guests, according to NAPPS.

To make sure that your pet has enough time to develop a level of comfort around your guests, consider hiring a pet sitter, who will act as your pet’s guide. And if your pet is especially skittish, consider having someone carry him or letting him ride in a wagon. And if he’s overly affectionate or easily distracted, be sure to use a short leash.

Make Sure Pets are Allowed

You don’t want to show up on the day of your wedding, doggy ring-bearer in tow, only to be told that he needs to get off the property right now! Can’t bring your pet? You can still include her in the wedding (see below)!

Include Daisy in the After-Wedding Photos

Or in your engagement photos! At the reception, include photos of your pet on your table number cards, or make your wedding favors in tribute to your beloved pooch.

Don’t Sacrifice Safety for Style

Planning on dressing your pooch in a tux? Make sure it fits properly and doesn’t create any discomfort for your pet. Keep the accessories simple—a bowtie or flower attached to the collar is a fun way to deck out your pet. Ensure that any accessories can’t come loose and pose a choking hazard to your pet. Be sure none of the flowers or plants at your wedding are toxic to your pet.

Let the Guests Know

This is important! Include this information on your wedding website (and even in your invitations) so anyone with allergies (or animal phobias) can plan accordingly.

Inform Your Photographer

This will help your photographer prepare for those unplanned moments, like when Tiger leaps up to kiss you in the middle of reciting your vows. Your photographer can also help you compose some fun photo ideas with your pets for after the ceremony.

Designate (or Delegate) a Pet Sitter

Don’t add to your worries on the day of your wedding. Hire a pet sitter (or shanghai an idle friend or relative) to be responsible for getting your pet to the ceremony, getting her home afterwards, and watching her during the reception. You don’t need to worry about who’s feeding the dog (or keeping him away from the chocolate).

Cats and Dogs Aren’t the Only Pets You Can Include!

Love your horse? Ride into the ceremony on her, or, head over to the stables after the ceremony for some photos. Bring your bunny for some pretty bridal portraits. Have a pet owl? How about training him to fly in with the rings tied to his leg?

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Ceremony of the Rose (The First Gift) http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/ceremony-of-the-rose-the-first-gift/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/ceremony-of-the-rose-the-first-gift/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:28:47 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=2744 Couples may choose to add a Rose Ceremony to honor their mothers, and thank them for raising the couple and bringing them to this joyous occasion. The Rose Ceremony can also be incorporated as a Remembrance.  Brides may place a rose on a chair for their mother (or the groom’s mother) if either have passed […]

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Couples may choose to add a Rose Ceremony to honor their mothers, and thank them for raising the couple and bringing them to this joyous occasion. The Rose Ceremony can also be incorporated as a Remembrance.  Brides may place a rose on a chair for their mother (or the groom’s mother) if either have passed away. Even though this may be difficult, it is an elegant and dignified way to honor a beloved family member, now departed.

Version 1

The Ceremony of the Rose symbolizes the merging of the Bride’s and Groom’s families. When the Bride enters, she has in her possession two roses, usually red. As she approaches the altar, the Bride will stop and offer a rose and a kiss to her mother or significant mother figure. In doing this, she is expressing her gratitude for preparing her for this moment and for receiving the man she is about to marry into her family.

When the wedding ceremony has ended and she and the Groom exit, the Bride will stop and offer a rose and a kiss to the Groom’s mother or significant maternal figure. In doing this, she is expressing her gratitude for preparing her new husband for this moment and for receiving her into the Groom’s family. A variation you may consider is to present both roses either upon the entrance or upon the exit.

Version 2

(The Officiant says): Groom and Bride have chosen to give each other a rose which is their first gift as husband and wife.

(At this time, the Officiant will give both the Bride and the Groom a rose, and they, in turn, will present their rose to each other.)

This rose was born of the tiniest of seeds and has blossomed into the beautiful flower that it is today. And so it is with your relationship. It began as a small feeling that grew and eventually blossomed into something beautiful.

And now you stand before us today to make a commitment to each other as husband and wife. Since you know that love must be shared, it is your desire to share these first gifts with two very special people, two people who helped to prepare you for this moment and molded you into the individuals that you are today.

The Bride and Groom turn and present their roses to their mothers or significant mother figures and offer a hug or a kiss.

Version 3

(The Officiant says): Today you will receive the most honorable titles that exist between a man and a woman—the titles of husband and wife. You have chosen to give each other a rose as your first gift. In the language of flowers, the rose was considered a symbol of love, and a single rose meant only one thing: “I love you.” So it is appropriate that your first gift to each other as husband and wife will be a single rose. Please exchange your gifts.

(The Bride and Groom present each other with a rose.)

Groom and Bride, because you both have given and received this symbol of love, I would encourage you to choose one very special place in your home for roses. Then on each anniversary, you both may take a rose to that special place as a recommitment to your marriage, and express with this symbol that your marriage is a marriage based on love.

In every marriage, there are times when it is difficult to verbalize certain feelings. Sometimes, we hurt those whom we love most, then find it difficult to say, “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” or “I need you.”

When you simply cannot find these words, leave a rose at your specially chosen place, and let that rose say what matters most—”I still love you.” The other should accept this rose for the words that cannot be found, and remember that the unspoken love is the hope you share and the faith you have in your future together as husband and wife.

The Rose Ceremony is simple yet profoundly moving. The bride and groom exchange two red roses, symbolizing the giving and receiving of their love for each other throughout their entire married life. The Rose Ceremony also conveys how to use the rose and its symbolism in difficult times in order to forgive each other

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La Biblia, las Arras, y el Lazo (a Hispanic Tradition) http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/la-biblia-las-arras-y-el-lazo-a-hispanic-tradition/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/la-biblia-las-arras-y-el-lazo-a-hispanic-tradition/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 17:50:28 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=2740 The Bible, Coins, and Cord (La Biblia, las Arras, y el Lazo) are Hispanic traditions most often associated with Mexican weddings, although Spain, the Philippines and other Latin American countries use variations of these, as well. They are symbolic of the spiritual, physical, and emotional elements in a marriage The Bible symbolizes the religious guidance […]

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The Bible, Coins, and Cord (La Biblia, las Arras, y el Lazo) are Hispanic traditions most often associated with Mexican weddings, although Spain, the Philippines and other Latin American countries use variations of these, as well. They are symbolic of the spiritual, physical, and emotional elements in a marriage

The Bible symbolizes the religious guidance and wise counsel for life’s decisions—the spiritual element. The thirteen coins represent the financial support and blessings for their home—the physical element. The cord signifies the union of their lives and hearts as one common destiny—the emotional element.

Bible (la Biblia)—Spiritual

After the Bride and Groom exchange their vows and rings, Sponsors, or Padrinos, bring forth a white Bible and a Rosary and place it in the hands of the Bride and Groom.

While they are holding it, the Officiant will bless the Bible, after which the Sponsors take the Bible and Rosary and sit back down.

Coins (las Arras)—Physical

The Coin Sponsors bring forth the box of coins and empty it into the Groom’s hands.

The thirteen coins are a symbol of the care that the Bride and Groom will give in order for their home to have everything it needs. The coins also are a sign of the blessings of God and all the good things they will share together.

The Officiant blesses the coins. The Groom drops the coins into the Bride’s hands and says a short vow promising to provide for the family’s needs.

The Bride responds, accepting the Groom’s gift of dedication, and promising that everything provided will be used with care for the benefit of their home and family. The Sponsors then take the coins and sit down.

Cord and Veil Ceremony – Emotional

In Filipino wedding tradition, the Cord and Veil ceremony is usually done at the end of the wedding, after the couple has been pronounced husband and wife.

The veil symbolizes living under God’s protection and being clothed as one. The Veil Sponsors, usually a male and female from each side of the family, place a white veil over the shoulders of the couple, who are traditionally kneeling.

The Officiant explains the significance of the veil, after which it is removed by the Veil Sponsors.

Finally, the Cord Sponsors place the cord in a figure eight around the shoulders of the kneeling Bride and Groom. The Officiant blesses their union, after which the Cord Sponsors remove the cord and sit down.

Forever, Together is pleased to offer this elegant wedding tradition, in both English and Spanish, at no additional cost.

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The Blessing Stones (Wishing Stones) http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/the-blessing-stones-wishing-stones/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/the-blessing-stones-wishing-stones/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 16:52:12 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=2736 The ritual of the Blessing Stones, or Wishing Stones, as they sometimes are called, is a wonderful way to include everyone in the wedding by way of offering blessings and good wishes to the newlyweds. It also is a good way to ensure that everyone will make contact with the Bride and Groom at some […]

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The ritual of the Blessing Stones, or Wishing Stones, as they sometimes are called, is a wonderful way to include everyone in the wedding by way of offering blessings and good wishes to the newlyweds. It also is a good way to ensure that everyone will make contact with the Bride and Groom at some point during the day. This ritual may be performed at the actual ceremony itself (before the blessing), or at the conclusion of the service (in a receiving line manner), or later at the reception.

When the guests arrive at the ceremony, they are given a Stone along with a note card with words printed on it such as: `”My wish for you is…”, “May you be blessed with..” or “May God bless you with…”

During the ceremony, the Officiant explains the significance of the Blessing Stones.

(The Officiant says): Today is a very blessed occasion in the lives of (Groom) and (Bride). You have been invited here today because of your special relationship with them. When you arrived, you received a stone along with a note card. These are called “Blessing Stones.”

Since we all desire nothing but the best that life has to offer this couple, I ask each of you to complete the sentence on the card and sign your name, so your best wishes and your blessings for (Groom) and (Bride) always may be a reminder of your love for them on this day of celebration.

At some point (either during or after the service), the guests will share their blessing or wish with the newlyweds and toss the Blessing Stone into a Blessing Bowl, a Wishing Well, a Fountain, or whatever is chosen to hold the water. They then may place their “love note” into a basket or box for the couple to reflect on at a later time. Many couples keep their Blessing Stones in a special place in their home (a vase of flowers, around a candle, in an aquarium, etc.) to remind them of all the love, good wishes, and blessings they share because of their family and friends.

A variation of this ritual would be at an outdoor wedding near a body of water (lake, pond, ocean, etc.). Stones either are gathered at the site or provided for the guests. After the ceremony, everyone follows the Bride and Groom’s recessional to the water, makes a wish or blessing for them and casts their stone into the water.

(The Officiant says): The ripples that are made in the water represent the love and good wishes not only for this couple, but for all the world. For as our ripples cross and recross one another’s, so our love and good wishes touch and retouch all those around us and all those with whom we come into contact throughout our lives. (This also may be said at the indoor ceremony).

You can be as creative as you want with this ritual. Here are some ideas:

  • Stones—you may use decorative stones, rose quartz stones, which symbolize love, or other pebbles from a special place.
  • Container for water—you will need a Blessing Bowl (any decorative basin, bowl, or bucket will work), or a table top fountain, or a Wishing Well (as large and elaborate or as small and simple as you wish).
  • Love Notes—buy decorative, ready-made note cards from a stationery or craft store and print your opening blessing phrase on them, or, for an even more personal touch, design and print your own note cards at home on your computer. Remember to begin your blessing phrase with: `My wish for you is…” or `May you be blessed with…” or `May God bless you with…”

 

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Lesser Known, but No Less Beloved Wedding Traditions http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/lesser-known-no-less-loved-wedding-traditions/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/lesser-known-no-less-loved-wedding-traditions/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:57:08 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=2723 Most couples in the process of planning their wedding ceremonies become familiar with the “Big Three” wedding traditions: The Unity Candle, the Handfasting, and the Blending of the Sands. Each of these is a unique, elegant wedding ritual that can make your ceremony more colorful, more inclusive and a lot more fun. There’s absolutely no down-side to […]

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Most couples in the process of planning their wedding ceremonies become familiar with the “Big Three” wedding traditions: The Unity Candle, the Handfasting, and the Blending of the Sands. Each of these is a unique, elegant wedding ritual that can make your ceremony more colorful, more inclusive and a lot more fun. There’s absolutely no down-side to using any (or all!) of these beautiful traditions in your wedding, and Forever, Together is proud, and pleased to offer these wonderful wedding traditions (as well as the ones below) at no extra charge!

However, the world is full of different countries and different cultures, each with their own special version of the marriage ceremony. Over the next couple of posts, I’d like to describe some of the lesser known (in the United States, at least), but no less exotic and interesting marriage rituals you might consider adding to your wedding ceremony.

The Marriage Vessel and the Rose

The Marriage Vessel and the Rose ceremony may be used as an alternative to the Unity Candle, especially for outdoor weddings. You will need a table for the vessel and the rose. Filling the vessel with water is only necessary if you use the second version. The Officiant begins by explaining the significance of the ceremony.

(The Officiant says): (Groom) and (Bride) have chosen to share two gifts, the Marriage Vessel and the Rose, to symbolize their ever-growing life-long commitment to each other.

The spiritual roots of the Marriage Vessel and the Rose grow out of an understanding of God as the Potter, or Creator of life (holding up the vessel), and God as the Gardener, or Sustainer of life (holding up the rose).

The vessel of clay, lovingly shaped by the Potter, is a symbol of love’s strength and endurance. The miracle of the vessel is that it not only protects, but is enriched by that which it holds, the rose. Like-wise, the rose, born of the tiniest of seeds, symbolizes the beauty and potential of growing in love throughout life together. Both the vessel and the rose are individually unique, yet when combined, they create an object of even greater beauty.

(The Groom presents the rose to the Bride and says): (Bride), this rose represents the beauty I see in you. / I thank you for the person you are / and the person I am becoming / because of your love for me.

(The Bride presents the vessel to the Groom and says): (Groom), this vessel represents the strength I see in you. / I thank you for the love and care you have given me, / and for all we will share together in this life.

(The Bride then places the rose in the vessel; they hold it together and the Bride and Groom say): As our gifts bring beauty and purpose to each other, / may our lives continue to enrich and strengthen one another.

(The Officiant says): (Groom) and (Bride), as you share each passing day, and as your days become years, remember this tradition you have created. On each wedding anniversary, place one additional rose in the marriage vessel to symbolize your ever-growing love for one another. May The Marriage Vessel and the Rose always be a symbol of the beauty and strength you bring to each other’s lives.

(The Officiant says): Just as (Groom) and (Bride) gave each other rings as symbols of their love and commitment to one another, they also would like to present [each of] you with a gift as a symbol of their love and commitment to you. The Family Medallion is made up of three intertwining circles, two of which symbolize the union of this man and woman in marriage. The third circle represents the joining of children to this union, making it complete as we celebrate the new family created here today.

(The Bride and Groom present the children with the Family Medallion, and give each child a hug and a kiss.)

The Unity Cup

Two separate goblets are filled with wine. Before the couple is pronounced husband and wife, the Officiant pours one-half of the wine from each goblet into a separate cup, the Unity Cup, from which each sips.

(The Officiant says): This glass of wine is known as the Unity Cup, or Kiddush Cup, and is symbolic of the Cup of Life. As you share this cup of wine, you share all that the future may bring. The half-filled goblets are a reminder of your individuality; the single cup marks your new life together. As you share the wine from a single cup, so may you, under God’s guidance, share contentment, peace, and fulfillment from your own Cup of Life.

May you find life’s joys heightened, its bitterness sweetened, and each of its moments hallowed by true companionship and love.

(The Officiant holds up the Unity Cup and may then say this prayer): Blessed are Thou, 0 Lord our God, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

(The Groom takes a sip of wine first, then offers the cup to the Bride.)

Breaking of the Glass

The Breaking of the Glass is a Jewish tradition, but lately appearing in more and more non-Jewish and Interfaith ceremonies. It has many meanings. One is as a symbol of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, a representation of the fragility of relationships, and a reminder that marriage changes the lives of individuals forever.

After the couple is pronounced husband and wife, the glass, or light bulb, which usually is wrapped in a cloth and placed in a silk bag, is then laid by the groom’s foot.

(The Officiant says): We conclude this ceremony with the Breaking of the Glass. Traditionally, the Breaking of the Glass at a wedding is a symbolic prayer and hope that your love for one another will remain until the pieces of the glass come together again, or in other words, that your love will last forever.

The fragile nature of the glass also suggests the frailty of human relationships. Even the strongest of relationships is subject to disintegration. The glass then, is broken to “protect” the marriage with this implied prayer: May your bond of love be as difficult to break as it would be to put together again the pieces of this glass.

The groom then breaks the glass with his foot and everyone shouts “Mazel Tov!” which means “Good luck and congratulations!”

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The Five Most Useful Things We’ve Learned from Performing Weddings http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/top-5-things-weve-learned-performing-weddings/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/top-5-things-weve-learned-performing-weddings/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 22:39:41 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=2711 Every now and then, a curious soul asks us what we’ve learned as Seattle wedding Officiants performing nearly 1000 weddings in Western Washington over the past eight years. We usually give our “tried-and-true” answer about how nothing ever goes exactly as planned and everyone has to be flexible and willing to have a good time, […]

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Every now and then, a curious soul asks us what we’ve learned as Seattle wedding Officiants performing nearly 1000 weddings in Western Washington over the past eight years. We usually give our “tried-and-true” answer about how nothing ever goes exactly as planned and everyone has to be flexible and willing to have a good time, no matter what happens.

This generally satisfies the questioner, and until now we haven’t really been inclined to go into much detail. However, in the interest of expanding the boundaries of knowledge, and in celebration of entering our eighth year in the business, we have decided to publish, herein, our list of the five most useful things we’ve learned from performing weddings.

These are not listed in any particular order of importance – we think they’re all pretty important. They’re also not the only lessons we’ve learned, just the top five we regularly fall back on. We also think that you, as a bride and/or groom, wouldn’t do too badly to remember them for your own use – what’s good for the Officiant is often good for the couple. These tidbits have made our professional lives more interesting, less frustrating, and a lot more fun. The bottom line: Learn to take everything with a grain of salt. Hey, come to think of it, that could be tidbit #6!

Here goes:

  1. Be flexible. Perfection is unlikely, and we all know about the “best laid plans.” Our ability to respond quickly (and positively) to the unexpected has often gone a long way towards assuring a successful event for the couple.
  2. Keep your cool. Before the ceremony, we try to think of ourselves as “an island of calm in a sea of chaos,” providing a safe harbor for anyone in the Bridal Party who thinks they’re starting to “freak out.”
  3. Don’t lose your sense of humor. If these lessons were listed in order of importance, this would have to be close to the top. Anything that goes sideways now will almost certainly seem pretty funny in retrospect, so why wait? Laugh about it now, and get on with the festivities!
  4. Be prepared. In retrospect, this seems like a no-brainer, but in the beginning, it wasn’t unusual for one of us to leave out a paragraph, stumble on a sentence, mispronounce names and, in my case, forget to seat the audience until three-fourths of the ceremony was done! That most of these things don’t happen anymore is a testament to our practice of carefully learning the ceremony ahead of time, knowing as much as possible about the couple…and diligently employing items 1-3 on this list!
  5. Remember who you work for! We’ve learned this is critical, and what seems to set us apart from other wedding vendors, at least in the minds of the couples who ultimately choose us. We never forget that our function is to do a specific job, and do it perfectly. We were not hired by the couple to be their friends. Sometimes, if we’re very lucky, we get to do both…but if it comes down to a choice, we always consider ourselves “hired hands,” and we never forget who hired us.

Of course, we’ve learned a lot of other things over the past eight years, and eventually I’ll probably update this list as we learn more. For now, it’s still our goal to offer the best possible service to a couple and validate the faith and trust they place in us by allowing us to be a part of such a joyful, intimate and special day.

 

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10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/10-reasons-to-have-a-destination-wedding/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/10-reasons-to-have-a-destination-wedding/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 00:45:18 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=2551 Reprinted from The Huffington Post Still undecided on whether or not you should plan a destination wedding? Here are 10 reasons to take the plunge from the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine. At some point in the planning process, every engaged couple entertains the idea of having a destination wedding — after all, […]

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Reprinted from The Huffington Post

Still undecided on whether or not you should plan a destination wedding? Here are 10 reasons to take the plunge from the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine.

At some point in the planning process, every engaged couple entertains the idea of having a destination wedding — after all, who doesn’t get excited at the prospect of going somewhere gorgeous and unique to exchange vows? But at the same time, it can be daunting — can you actually pull off a destination do? Will your loved ones be supportive? If you find yourselves debating “should we or shouldn’t we?” or needing to convince some VIGs (very important guests) to embrace your decision, we’re here to help. Here are 10 fantastic reasons to take your big day on the road.

  1. You can say “I do” anywhere! A destination wedding is defined as marrying at least 100 miles from where the bride currently lives. So imagine the options that definition opens up for you — the world really is your playground.
  2. You’ll stand out from the pack. More than 2 million American couples wed every year — and fewer than 25 percent of them have destination dos. Bonus: Wed away, and you won’t have to choose from the same old hometown spots all your friends have booked.
  3. It’s easier. Many wedding-worthy resorts offer free planning help to couples, whether the event is for two or 200, and an abundance of packages keep things simple while still giving options to customize. Want something more involved? Turn to an independent planner who specializes in more elaborate events.
  4. You can save on decor. With a destination wedding in a stunning setting, your location of choice supplies the theme, from castle fairytale, to sea-inspired soiree. And when you choose an amazing backdrop, it doesn’t take much to dress it up. Opt for a pristine beach, a tidy vineyard, a blooming garden or a historic plantation house furnished with graceful antiques, and you’ll be more than covered with a few simple florals and other modest accents.
  5. Enjoy quality time with loved ones. The standard wedding lasts for five hours, and the bride and groom spend most of that time running from table to table, trying to say hello to everyone. A destination do spans a minimum of three days — which means, now that you’ve finally gotten your nearest and dearest together, you can actually spend quality time with them! Hooray!
  6. It’s a great excuse to limit the guest list. The very nature of destination weddings — they require travel, a longer time commitment and hotel stays — gives you the perfect excuse to cut down on an often unmanageable number of invitees. Think the second cousins and office mates will be miffed? You can always throw a post wedding party — complete with plenty of photos — when you get back home.
  7. Guests can save on a vacation. Ask your host hotel about discounted room rates for your guests; most resorts are more than willing to bargain in exchange for group business. Some airlines, such as United and American, offer discounted airfares for groups of 10 of more — on the latter, this is true even if your guests are departing from different gateways. And ultimately, your friends will have a blast! Destination weddings give friends and family that most valuable commodity: downtime — to kick back, connect and celebrate. And what’s more fun than that?
  8. You’ll share a locale you love. Part of the joy of a destination wedding is showing off a place that has special meaning to you, be it bringing friends and family back to a beloved college campus, sharing where you took your first vacation as a couple or finally going to a locale you’ve always dreamed of visiting.
  9. Flexible timing helps with budgeting. You’ll be at your destination for a few days, so work with your vendors to see how timing can trim costs. After all, if everyone is already there, you can wed on a Friday, a Sunday or even a Tuesday — what does the day of the week matter in paradise? Look at seasonality too. Many Caribbean hotels drop their prices dramatically in mid-April; by planning your wedding for May, you can get the same great digs for a fraction of the price paid by visitors a few weeks earlier. Likewise, mountain resort towns offer big savings in spring and fall.
  10. You can start the honeymoon early. Just arriving at your destination is sure to put you in a relaxed mood as the pre-wedding festivities begin. Many hotels offer automatic upgrades to the bride and groom on their wedding night, and you may be able to negotiate an extended mini moon at a reduced rate after the guests have gone home.

 

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When the Unexpected Happens http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/when-your-wedding-doesnt-go-as-planned/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/when-your-wedding-doesnt-go-as-planned/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:49:09 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=1733 “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” – Oscar Wilde Although we can never say for sure what will happen during a wedding, one thing we know for sure: the wedding will not go totally according to your plans. There’s a lot to keep track of and a lot to coordinate, so what actually happens will depend upon the […]

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“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.” – Oscar Wilde

Although we can never say for sure what will happen during a wedding, one thing we know for sure: the wedding will not go totally according to your plans. There’s a lot to keep track of and a lot to coordinate, so what actually happens will depend upon the input of vendors, guests, the weather, and what you have planned.

You can’t control the weather, keep the kids in their seats or stop the bar from running out of Jack Daniels, you can control how you react to anything that happens on your Big Day.

The trick to getting past the inevitable “speed bumps” you’re bound to encounter is to just relax and tell yourself to have a wonderful day…no matter what happens!

Here are some suggestions for how to have a great time no matter who does what at your wedding:

Expect the Unexpected: There will almost certainly be surprises and not all of them will be the delightful kind. Decide ahead of time that nobody is going to ruin your day.

Keep your sense of humor: The difference between having a good time at your wedding and having a lousy time is simple. When something goes south, you can either laugh…or scream. It’s totally up to you. Personally, I’d choose to laugh, and you should, too.  Remember, no matter how catastrophic something feels to you at the time, in the great cosmic Scheme of Things, it’s small potatoes.

Keep it together: Some brides think that by demanding their way they’re more likely to get it. In reality, rather than moving these demands to the top of their list, a more typical response of any vendor who has to deal with Bridezilla is to drop them to the bottom. Remember, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

Don’t lose perspective: If the roses are the wrong color or the tablecloths don’t match the centerpieces, it’s unlikely anyone else will notice. If you fly off the handle at every inconvenience or panic because something went slightly out-of-synch, then you can be sure pretty much everyone will notice!

Remember why you’re there: A wedding is a celebration! You and your parther have found each other and want to spend the rest of your lives together. When all is said and done, that’s what matters. Be joyful and make that joy contagious! A blissful bride never looks bad in the photos!

Be appreciative: When a vendor earns your gratitude, let them know it. Most wedding vendors really want you to have a wonderful wedding and will go out of their way to make sure that happens. Give credit to the vendors whose service was over and above, and use online reviews to warn future couples about any vendors who fell short. You can have the last word without ruining the mood of your wedding day.

A wedding does take planning and there’s no reason not to plan everything you can. Just remember that a plan is just a guideline, a road map through the day, and as with any trip, there may be unexpected detours and side roads you didn’t anticipate. In the end, the destination is the same, and that’s the bottom line. You’ll arrive in much better spirits if you can learn to sit back, be flexible, laugh at the bumps…and just generally enjoy the ride.

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8 Wedding Planning Secrets From the Insiders http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/8-wedding-planning-secrets-from-the-insiders/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/8-wedding-planning-secrets-from-the-insiders/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 01:09:52 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=1711 Reprinted with kind permission of Judith Johnson, interfaith Wedding Officiant for over 23 years, and author of “The Wedding Ceremony Planner,” a bestselling book on wedding ceremony design. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford I thought it would be helpful for couples to hear from Stephanie […]

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Reprinted with kind permission of Judith Johnson, interfaith Wedding Officiant for over 23 years, and author of “The Wedding Ceremony Planner,” a bestselling book on wedding ceremony design.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

I thought it would be helpful for couples to hear from Stephanie and Jeff Padavoni of BookMoreBrides.com who are the best kept secret among wedding vendors. They are the #1 marketing resource for the wedding industry — teaching vendors how to effectively communicate with and serve wedding couples. They combine many years of first-hand experience as wedding planning vendors with their mastery of social media marketing savvy, and tremendous empathy for the challenges and needs of both couples and vendors.

I asked them recently for their best advice for couples on how to find the right vendors who will work together to exceed the couple’s dreams of their wedding day. Here’s what they had to say:

1. When you are hiring a vendor, you are purchasing their expertise as well as their time. And, it takes lots of time behind the scenes to create the final product.

Couples are often shocked at the price tag attached to wedding services. “But I’m only hiring you for four hours!” is a common reaction. In reality, vendors spend many hours outside your wedding day timeline on planning, communication, rehearsals, meetings, travel and all the logistics necessary to make their contribution to your day look easy and effortless. This doesn’t even take into account the necessary time and financial investment in initial training and education, as well as ongoing study and investment to keep skills sharp and equipment and offerings up to date.

Let’s take photographers as an example. According to this recent survey, the average photographer spends 65 hours invested in each wedding; when all the hours invested in a wedding are factored in, a typical wedding photographer makes an hourly wage only $37 per hour before expenses! DJs, florists, officiants, planners and other pros are in a similar situation.

Most wedding professionals are not living large on “wedding ripoffs,” a charge often lodged by the media. While the average wedding in the US costs around $25,000, a recent survey of our wedding professional audience revealed that 48% of wedding businesses make less than $25,000 in an entire YEAR.

2. If you hire an amateur for your wedding, expect an amateur result.

Wedding professionals are not a commodity item. You’re hiring a unique personality, talent and experience set. Those who charge more are often worth more, but their value is often difficult to measure in terms of dollars and cents. It is based on intangibles such as how well the vendor creates a rapport with you and seems to understand and care about your specific needs and desires. The amateurs you can hire for a dime a dozen are usually worth exactly the price you pay for them.

Sure, you might luck out and find the next undiscovered Preston Bailey for your wedding, but you’re much more likely to get sub-par performance along with that bargain price.

3. The truth about the “wedding markup.”

Much has been made of the so-called “wedding markup,” a phenomenon that occurs when secret shoppers get quoted a higher price for identical services when they are booked for a wedding as opposed to another type of event. While this certainly can occur, journalists neglect to address the very real reasons WHY this happens. The truth is that providing any service for a wedding is far more involved than a similar, non-wedding event. Wedding pros make themselves available for planning meetings, calls and consultations, and may well send hundreds of emails back and forth with a single client in the year or more of planning up to the wedding.

This type of time and attention isn’t expected or required for most non-wedding events; the time investment alone is enough to justify a higher price. The quality of wedding planning services often requires a greater degree of skill and specialization.

4. Make sure that your wedding really matters to your vendors.

Again, this is another intangible, but pay close attention to whether or not a particular vendor seems more interested in being of service to you or closing the deal. A real wedding professional knows that each and every wedding has the potential to make or break their reputation. Make sure your vendors discuss their “Plan B” with you of what they will do in the event that something goes wrong. Make sure they are tending to the details and not just giving you sweeping generalities about what they do and how they do it. The details are their responsibility for delivering on your expectations.

5. Listen to your vendors’ advice — it can save you time, money, stress and disappointment.

There is a fine line between being unique and different from other weddings and being trite or inauthentic. A seasoned vendor has seen it all and can and should tactfully temper your enthusiasm when you are crossing that fine line. What may seem clever to you may be something your vendor has seen done before with disappointing results. Trust their experience and draw upon it. Know that when they suggest changes to your dream wedding scenario it may be because they have your best interests at heart. Do take advantage of a vendor’s knowledge and experience.

6. If you only have $10,000 to spend on your wedding, don’t expect your vendors to make it look like you spent $100,000.

Weddings can be expensive, and you certainly don’t have to spend a lot of money. But if you’re going to trim your budget, don’t expect it to be a carbon copy of the Royal wedding. Great vendors share their skills and experience to help you create a wonderful wedding, but they are not magicians.

7. A “DIY” wedding usually ends up taking more time and money than hiring a professional!

There is lots of hype on wedding blogs and wedding reality TV about saving money by doing things yourself. Unfortunately, they misrepresent the details of what’s actually possible for a typical wedding with an average budget…one that doesn’t have a team of expert designers and planners working magic behind the scenes.

Wedding planning is overwhelming and stressful enough without trying to set up a craft factory in your garage to create clever favors for 200 guests or to arrange your own flowers.

If you think you’re going to save money by having the wedding in your backyard — you are heading for a rude awakening. When you add up the cost of the tent, rentals, food, alcohol, place settings and silverware, you end up spending MORE than you would hosting it in a traditional wedding venue.

8. Your wedding day will not be perfect, but a great team of vendors can make sure it’s as close as possible.

When it comes to your wedding, don’t forget that there is no such thing as a perfect wedding — something always happens that you didn’t expect or anticipate. Maybe your bridal party will be late, the weather won’t cooperate, or the guests will forget to take home those favors you agonized over.

There are simply too many details and too tight of a timeline for everything to be completely perfect. But when something goes wrong, you can relax into the moment knowing your team will be doing their best to help make it right.

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A Wedding in the I.C.U. http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/a-wedding-in-intensive-care/ http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/a-wedding-in-intensive-care/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 17:25:51 +0000 http://www.forevertogetherseattle.com/?p=1683 By HAIDER JAVED WARRAICH Reprinted from Private Lives: Personal essays on the news of the world and the news of our lives. (Note: This story was so inspirational that I felt I just had to include it on our blog.) BOSTON — There wasn’t going to be a happy ending. The patient had metastatic cancer […]

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By HAIDER JAVED WARRAICH
Reprinted from Private Lives: Personal essays on the news of the world and the news of our lives.
(Note: This story was so inspirational that I felt I just had to include it on our blog.)
BOSTON — There wasn’t going to be a happy ending. The patient had metastatic cancer and had just gone through her third unsuccessful regimen of chemotherapy. Now it seemed that everywhere we looked, we found disease. An X-ray of her belly revealed an obstruction in her intestines. A CT scan of her chest uncovered a pulmonary embolism. Her labs demonstrated that she had almost no white blood cells left with which to defend herself.

When she arrived in the intensive care unit, she was delirious. I asked her the usual questions, about her medical history, and whether she wanted us to do CPR if her heart were to stop beating, but she didn’t answer. I was just setting the clipboard aside when she raised a hand and told me, in a moment of lucidity: “Doc, do everything you can. I need to make it to my daughter’s wedding.”

She was in a lot of pain. She had a tube down her nose draining her stomach.

“When is the wedding?” I asked.

“Next summer.” I blinked. I blinked again. She didn’t — she was looking right at me. At this point, I doubted she’d make it through the hospitalization, let alone eight more months. I didn’t know what I could say. I put the stethoscope against her chest and retreated into silence.

I met Stefanie, her daughter, the next morning. She was 24, but was only 8 when her mother’s cancer was first diagnosed. Stefanie’s mother had Muir-Torre syndrome, a condition that gave her a predisposition for malignancies. So Stefanie had shared her home with cancer for many years, and had always seen her mother fight.
But she knew that this time was different. The oncology fellow who had been treating her mother as an outpatient was the one to tell her that her mother was dying. Stefanie broke down, but understood there was no use denying it. The dream of a family wedding under the summer sun turned sour.

Stefanie called her fiancé that morning. Crying, she told him the news. But he flipped the fatalistic script. Without hesitation he told her, “I want her to be there, too,” and he proposed not only to have the wedding done sooner, but to have it done right there in the I.C.U.

Our team was used to dealing with all kinds of crises: Handling a last-minute wedding was not one of them. While having more than one opinion on a medical team regarding how best to manage a patient is fairly routine, we received no push back from anyone as we started to make arrangements for the wedding. Soon the whole medical team was involved. We sent a letter to the court to expedite the marriage certificate. A pastor and harp player were booked. The hospital cafeteria baked a chocolate cake, and the nurses brought in flowers. In just a few days, we were ready.

My job was to make sure our patient’s pain was controlled while also avoiding the confusion that is a side effect of narcotic medications. But almost miraculously, she didn’t need pain medications for hours and was fully aware of everything that was going on. Looking at the bride and groom from her hospital bed, she seemed more comfortable than I had seen her before. The whole day had an unreal feel to it; everything felt like it slowed down. The sun shone through the windows and glistened on the bags of fluid. For once in the hospital, there were tears but no pain. It felt as if, after all these years of chasing our patient down, even the cancer took a break.

The next morning, the family decided to transition to hospice. No intubation, no CPR — nothing that would prolong life. It was all about trying to make the patient comfortable. (And yet, four months later, she is still alive, and doing as well as can be hoped in hospice.)
In today’s outcome-driven, efficiency-obsessed medical world, it’s easy to forget that healing patients isn’t just about treating diseases and relieving symptoms. There are things doctors and nurses can do, meaningful interventions — like helping patients fulfill final goals or spend quality time with their families — that cannot be documented in a discharge summary or be converted into a blip on a screen.

As a physician, I never liked the word “miracle.” I preferred to think in terms of “medical outliers.” And yet that day of the wedding did feel like a miracle. Physicians often share their patients’ sorrow, but rarely their joys. No, we had not discovered the cure to cancer, but we felt that we had achieved something powerful — freeing, if only temporarily, our patient from her disease.

One of the nurses, smiling through her tears, spoke to me after it was all over. “It was magical,” she said. “None of the patient alarms went off.”
(Haider Javed Warraich is a resident in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the author of the novel “Auras of the Jinn.”)

 

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