Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Quick Tip: Whether to Wear the Engagement Ring during the Wedding

First, to answer this you need to know how you're supposed to wear the engagement ring and the wedding ring together after the ceremony.  Tradition dictates that you wear the wedding ring first so that it is closest to the heart, and the engagement ring goes on top.

So, you can see that if you wore your engagement ring during the wedding ceremony, it would block the wedding ring's proper position.

There are a couple of options of what to do. 

You may want to forego wearing the engagement ring during the ceremony, and give it to a trusted bridesmaid or family member for safekeeping until the reception when you can return the bling to your finger.  With this option, the focus truly centers on the commitment symbolized by the wedding rings.  In fact, in Jewish tradition, the bride and groom are not supposed to wear any jewelry during the wedding ceremony to show that their mutual commitment to each other is based on who they are as people, not on their material possessions.

But if you just can't bear to part with your diamond, many brides simply place the engagement ring on their right hand for the ceremony.  They put the rings in their proper order on their left  hand after the ceremony.

Either way is perfectly acceptable, so do what is comfortable for you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Make it Personal: Top Ten Ways to Personalize your Wedding

Every bride wants her wedding day to be special. But brides today are finding ways to make the Big Day one-of-a-kind. From theme weddings to signature cocktails, gone are the days of the cookie-cutter wedding.  So, here are my top ten ideas on how to personalize your wedding day.

1) Ceremony Vows - When putting your personal touch on the wedding, start with the ceremony.  If there's anything your guests have experienced time and time again, it's the traditional wedding vows.  So, write your own! Hearing the crack in the groom's voice as he recalls when he first met the bride is the type of moment that makes a ceremony memorable.

2) Incorporate your Culture - African-American couples jump the broom.  Jewish grooms stomp on a glass. These types of customs not only showcase the importance of your roots, but they also make the ceremony stand out for guests who may not have experienced these traditions before.

3) Signature Cocktail - According to The Knot's 2010 Real Wedding Survey, 15 percent of surveyed couples have a signature cocktail to personalize their wedding reception. Your signature cocktail can simply be your favorite drink or you can create a new drink especially for the occasion. Design a concoction that will match your wedding color scheme or theme, and name it something catchy that reflects your personality. 

4) Fabulous Food - Give your guests a unique culinary experience that showcases local flavors. Getting married in the Northeast? Start with Clam Chowder and end on Whoopie Pies. Are you a Chicago bride? Set up a Chicago-style hot dog stand as a late-night snack. The food you pick reveals more about who you are as a couple.

5) That's Entertainment - Couples are starting to go beyond hiring a DJ or wedding band and showcasing customized entertainment during the reception.  According to The Knot, 15 percent of surveyed couples had special entertainment at their wedding receptions. If the groom played trumpet as a kid, you could have a marching band parade through the reception.  Maybe the Bride is a huge Gleek (i.e. fan of the TV show Glee).  Arrange for the local high school's show choir to perform.  Acrobats, jugglers, and dancers are all possible showstopping acts that could give that unexpected wow-factor to your wedding reception.

6) Monograms & Logos - Twenty-seven percent of surveyed couples have used a personal logo or monogram in the wedding.  This detail is most effective when utilized throughout several different aspects of the wedding.  Start by putting the logo or monogram on the save-the-dates and/or invitations.  Feature it again in your ceremony programs and perhaps as your cake topper.  You could even have a custom gobo made so that the monogram will shine as a light on your dance floor or behind the head table.  Finally, tie it all together with the monogram or logo on your wedding favors and thank-you notes.

7) Themes - Another way to stand out is to design the entire wedding around a theme.  (See How to Plan a Theme Wedding, October 2010) Whether its "Hollywood Glamour" or "Around the World in Eighty Days," theme weddings have a unique flair while incorporating a couple's interests. 

8) Location, Location, Location - Real Estate and Weddings are all about location.  You can easily put your personal stamp on your wedding by choosing an atypical venue.  Think beyond hotel ballrooms and banquet halls.  Couples today get married in historic mansions, museums, lofts, gardens, and even restored barns. (See Unique Wedding Venues in Chicago, Windy City Wedding Guide, September 2010)

9) Cake - There are many ways to be creative with cakes.  Some couples choose cakes that are pure works of art, with ornate sugar decorations.  Other couples opt for simple cupcake towers.  But most recently, couples are really thinking outside the (cake) box, and going for elaborate dessert displays.  If you're really looking to be different, you could incorporate cakes into your centerpieces, with each table getting its own cake.  Or, try a spectacular French-style croquembouche.

10) Make it Interactive - Yes, there's the traditional bouquet and garter toss, but you can get all your guests involved by providing some interactive activities.  Instead of a guestbook, consider a wishing tree where guests can write down well-wishes for the happy couple and hang them on decorative branches (See Getting Creative with Wedding Guestbooks, August 2010).  Create a video advice column by having your videographer film your guests responding to fun questions like, "What are the keys to a happy marriage?" or "What is the best anniversary gift a husband can give to his wife?"  Guests always enjoy photobooths.  And for the folks that shy away from the dance floor, place trivia and mini-board games at each table.

Let your personality shine through the details.  It's those personal touches that make a wedding stand out, so don't be afraid to get creative.

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