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Stories, Wedding

The Most Romantic Wedding Traditions from Around the World: Germany, Russia & Ireland

If you’d like to add a slice of your heritage to your wedding ceremony, you’re not alone. Millions of couples are embracing their ancestry and choosing to incorporate some of the best traditions from around the world in their ceremonies here at home. Here are some of the most interesting wedding traditions you might find if you attended a wedding in Germany, Russia or Ireland. If you or your family are from one of these countries, why not try adding some phrases from your ancestor’s native tongue in your wedding vows for a truly memorable touch!

Germany

To fund her future wedding, when a baby girl is born in Germany, several trees are planted and tended throughout her childhood. When she is to be married, the trees are sold to pay for her wedding and to act as a dowry. To help defray costs of a honeymoon, friends and family of the wedding couple will make a newspaper or newsletter featuring pictures and articles about the couple’s youth. This newsletter is sold at the wedding.

A German wedding can last up to three days. There is first a civil ceremony, then the following day is a traditional ceremony. Finally on the third day is a religious ceremony. Guests bring old dishes to the second night’s party to break, and the couple sweeps them up. This symbolizes that their home will never be broken.

As the wedding couple leaves the church, they throw coins to the children who have attended. A customary tradition is for the best man to steal the bride and take her to a local pub, where they drink champagne and hide.

The groom must find them, and pay for all they drank. Also, before leaving the reception hall, guests block the door and demand payment from the groom (usually in the form of a promise of a party) before they allow the wedding couple to leave for their honeymoon.

Russia

What are referred to in western society as wedding rings are in Russia called engagement rings. These plain gold bands are worn on the ring finger of the right hand. When a person is widowed or divorced, they will move the ring to the left hand. The groom pays for the ring, although the couple chooses them together.

A holdover from the days of communism is a procession of cars that arrives at the ceremony. Since large cars were a sign of wealth, effort is made to rent one for the bride and groom. In addition, guests to the wedding will each drive to the wedding alone to increase the size of the procession. The groom traditionally takes the bride to the church, but before he is allowed to do so, he must pass a series of challenges put up by her family and friends, including trivia questions, physical obstacles, and even an actual climb up to the bride’s window.
Marriage ceremonies are held in the licensing office, and must be witnessed. Although church weddings are held, they have no legal significance, so they are often held after the legal ceremony. At the reception, it is customary to drink to excess, with a series of toasts offered to the bride and groom. Prior to leaving the reception hall, the bride is stolen away by the friends of the groom. He must then locate her and pay her ransom. This can happen several times, so the groom must be ever watchful of his new wife.

Ireland

Instead of wedding bands, more and more Irish couples are choosing to wear the Claddagh ring. This design has a heart being held on either side with a hand, and a crown on top. Wearing the ring on the left hand with the heart facing you indicates marriage, wearing it with the heart facing away means you are single. The ring may be used as an engagement ring or a wedding band, and is often passed from mother to daughter.

As the bride and groom leave the church, they throw a handful of coins into the crowd of waiting guests. The bride will carry a horseshoe with her for luck throughout her marriage. This is usually sewn into the dress, although it might be a plastic cake decoration today. Truly traditional Irish weddings are held only from April through October, but never in the month of May due to superstition. This half of the year is considered the “light” half. Mead, which is a honey wine, is served at Irish receptions, and is believed to be the source of the word honeymoon. It is thought to increase virility and fertility, and is therefore in great abundance at weddings. As the bride and groom leave the reception hall, there are often bagpipes stationed just outside to play them to their waiting car, which whisks them away to their honeymoon spot.

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Stories, Wedding

How to Save Your Wedding When You Run Out of Money

Planning a wedding is so much fun that it can be easy to get in over your head. You splurge here, spend a little extra there, and before you know it, you have committed to a wedding that is beyond your means. With deposits placed, and final payments looming, this can be a very scary situation for the bride or her parents to find themselves in. Find out what steps you can take to save your wedding when you run out of money.

It is really, really easy to end up planning a wedding that costs too much, especially because the planning can be spread out over many months. When you are only paying one-third to one-half of what things actually cost, it can be easy to lose track of the grand total. For some families, it is not until they get close to the wedding day and they start adding up all the final payments which are due that they realize they can’t cover their bills. This is a horrible situation for any family. What do you? Cancel the wedding? Stiff your vendors? Charge admission to the reception? No, no, and no.

What you should do first and foremost is have a frank conversation with your wedding venue and vendors. Explain your situation, and ask them how you can work it out. Be clear with them that it is important to them that their bills get paid so nobody thinks you are trying to weasel out paying what you owe them. Maybe the florist would be willing to downsize the centerpieces to trim costs. Or she could skip the expensive extras, such as the crystals in the bouquets to match your crystal bridal jewelry. The photographer might allow you to cut back to a smaller package or to have him come for the ceremony and through the cake cutting only, instead of taking pictures from pre-ceremony until the last dance. As long as the vendors have not actually spent money on supplies for your wedding, they might be willing to re-negotiate your contract.

As for your reception venue, call the event manager at once and make an appointment. Figure out your finances before the meeting so you have a clear idea of the difference between what you owe and what you can actually pay. If the gap is not insurmountably wide, it might be possible to get creative with the wedding menu to get your balance down (again, this would have to be before anything has been ordered for your reception). Choose less costly entrees and appetizers, substitute sparkling wine for imported French Champagne, or change from a full open bar to wine and beer only. In some cases, this will be enough to get your balance down to what you can afford.

If you still cannot afford what you owe the venue, you will have to consider more dramatic measures. Could they change the time of your reception from an evening wedding to a brunch? You could save thousands that way. Another potential solution is to change the day of the wedding from a Saturday to a Thursday or Sunday. Sites typically charge less for the non-prime days, and they might be willing to allow you to make a change to salvage something from the situation. While the idea of changing your wedding date may be hard to swallow, remember that you will still look just as gorgeous in your wedding gown and pearl bridal jewelry on a Thursday as you would have on a Saturday.

Finally, will yourself to let go of any extras you have not already committed to purchasing. You can have a wedding reception without favors, just as you can have a ceremony without a soloist. Cutting back can be difficult, but it will be well worth it to find a way to save your wedding.

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Stories

How to Structure and Word Your Wedding Invitation

The wedding invitations are one of the most import stages of the preparations for the wedding day. They set the tone of the day and give your guests their first indication of the style and theme. They tell them when and where the wedding will be held and how formal it will be. For your guests the wedding invitations are the most important part in the lead up to your wedding. The importance of the wedding invitations or wedding stationery cannot be understated and getting the wedding stationery wording correct is crucial.

It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, confused, or even unsure about which traditions to follow when selecting the layout and wording of your wedding invitations. Traditional invitation wording and etiquette serves only as a guide or a starting point. Your wedding stationery should capture your individual characters and convey the tone in which you wish to express your wedding day. There is no right or wrong.

Typically, a wedding invitation is divided into four distinct sections, i.e. the hosts, the guests, the date, time and location of the ceremony and reception. This article examines each of the sections contained in a standard wedding invitation and offers some guidance to the reader.

1. The hosts of the wedding

The hosts of the wedding can be the bride’s parents, the bride and groom, or the parents of both the bride and groom. It was tradition that the brides parents hosted the wedding, however nowadays the majority of couples host the wedding themselves often with the assistance of both sets of parents. There are a variety of different wording options depending on who is hosting. The following suggestions are offered as guidance.

If the Bride and Groom are hosting the wedding themselves, one of the following wording options maybe considered:

The honour of your presence is request at the marriage of…

Anne Smith and John James request the honour of your presence at their marriage…

Anne Smith and John James together with their families/parents wish to invite you, to join them on the occasion of their marriage…

Together with their families/parents Anne Smith and John James request the honour of your presence on the occasion of their marriage…

In the case where the bride and groom’s parents are hosting the wedding:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

and

Mr. and Mrs. William James

request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their children…

Finally if it is the bride’s parents that are hosting the wedding then the following maybe used:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

request the pleasure of your company

at the marriage of their daughter

Anne Smith to John James

It has always been the tradition that the bride’s name be mentioned first on the wedding invitation. This maybe explained by the fact that traditionally the bride’s parents paid for the wedding. It is not uncommon nowadays for the groom’s name to be mentioned first. Ultimately this is a personal choice and the decision of which name appears first resides with the bride and groom.

2. Addressing the guests – using their correct titles.

Addressing the wedding guests with their correct titles displays thought, consideration and respect. In today’s world a multitude of different titles exist which makes this task all the more difficult. The best course of action is to use common sense and be consistent, however it is not as simple as using Mr and Mrs on your wedding invitations. Some of your invitee’s may have different title’s. When addressing a husband and wife who share the same last name the norm is to use Mr and Mrs i.e. Mr and Mrs John Owens. Likewise if they don’t share the same last name, the norm is to address them as Mr John Owens and Mrs Sinead Flynn. If either of these guests is a Doctor then simply substitute Dr for Mr/Mrs. Separated or divorced couples should receive separate invitations and if they have a new partner, then the norm is to include this partners name. In the case of gay and lesbian couples the same rules apply but you should name the partners in alphabetical order. Finally, when inviting a single person who will be bringing a date it is appropriate to include “plus one” after their name.

3. Date, time and location

Traditionally on formal wedding invitations the numbers and time were spelled out e.g. “The fifteenth of April two thousand and fourteen at one thirty in the afternoon”. The design of your wedding theme will dictate whether the numbers in the date and time are spelled out or left in numeric form. With modern wedding invitations the latter is becoming the norm. The location of the wedding ceremony follows the date and can appear before the time. The reception location then follows. An example of typical date, time and location layouts could be:

St Oliver Plunket Church, Boora, Co. Offaly at 1:30 in the afternoon

Celebrations to follow at Dooley’s hotel Birr.

or

To be held at two thirty in the afternoon of Sunday the twelfth of January two thousand and fourteen at St. Finnian’s Church, Kinnitty, Co. Offaly

and afterwards at Kinnitty Castle for festive banquet and cheer

A typical wedding invitation is divided into the sections as outlined above, i.e. the hosts, the guests, date and time, and the locations of the ceremony and reception. It is also acceptable to include an RSVP contact number or email address on modern wedding invitations, or a separate RSVP card can be include as was traditional. If opting for the additional card ensure that the name of the guests and a stamp addressed envelope are included. An RSVP reply date of at least one month before the wedding should also be advised to your guests.

For your guests the wedding invitations are the most important part in the lead up to your wedding. The information they receive helps them decide on their outfits and allows them to make the necessary arrangements to attend. Many guests may have to travel a long distance and therefore it is appropriate to include directions and a list of accommodation. This is additional information which is not included on the wedding invitation but rather on a separate card included in the wedding stationery pack sent to the guests. The norm is to include a map and directions to both the venues for the ceremony and reception, and a list of accommodation including hotels and bed and breakfast providers.

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Stories

How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Transport: Useful Hints and Tips

Getting married is one the happiest days of your life. Planning the logistics for the big day can be some of the most stressful days of your lives. Choosing the right wedding transport for your big day can be one of those stressful decisions. In this article, we will consider some of the factors that you should take into consideration when making this decision.

The first thing you need to decide on is the budget for your wedding transport. Weddings are traditionally one of the most expensive events of your life, so you will need to have a budget in place for each of the wedding elements and decorations. However much you choose to allocate to your wedding transport is obviously a personal decision. Whatever the budget you set, you should try to keep as close as possible to this number.

Once you have a budget in mind, this will help you to progress to the next steps. The main question here is – what can you afford within your budget. Of course, some people may have no set budget in place and be able to afford the weddings of their dreams. They might choose a traditional horse drawn carriage, or a set of matching stretch limousines. These are classic types of wedding transport which can provide beautiful memories.

In this article, we will focus on choosing wedding transport within a certain budget. Choosing where to book or hire your wedding transport from can be a tricky decision. The majority of people these days will book this transport online. This tends to make financial sense as the cost of booking online is usually significantly cheaper than going to a physical store. However, just because you are booking online does not mean that you should expect any less of a customer service experience.

A simple Google search for “wedding transport” will return millions of results; so, how do you narrow this down. Firstly, try to understand what specific type of transport you wish to book. Many people grow up dreaming of their wedding, and have a very good idea of the type of transport they want to show up to their wedding in. Whether it is a classic Bentley, or a stretch limousine or even a classic Rolls Royce, there are literally hundreds of options.

Once you have decided the type of transport that you require, you are now left to choose where you wish to hire the wedding car from. As we mentioned above, there is an abundance of websites offering these types of services. You can rely on an internet search, or you can also rely on word of mouth. In the wedding industry in particular, people will often rely on word of mouth because it is something so special to a person. Your wedding is the most important day of your life, so you, understandably, do not want to leave anything to choice.

If you do not have the luxury of relying on a word of mouth recommendation, then you can also find a company on the internet. Try to focus on companies which have a good reputation and with professionally designed websites. This promotes the idea of trust and you can be more assured that they will provide a professional service at your wedding.

The majority of wedding transport companies will also provide a chauffeur service for the transport. Although this is now commonplace as a standard, you should ensure that the company is providing a chauffeur for you. Always double and trick check timings, as there is nothing worse than being late for your own wedding!

Remember, your wedding is your dream day. Picking the perfect wedding transport can make your day extra special.

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Wedding

How to Officiate a Wedding: How to Manage Unexpected Noise and Distractions

You’ve rehearsed and practiced your ceremony, but are you prepared for unexpected noises and distractions? Rehearse many times so you’re able to look up from the page and speak to the couple. Your discipline will pay off because unwanted distractions happen.

The three most common unwanted distractions are babies, airplanes and road noise. If you want to know how to officiate a wedding and how to manage unexpected noises and distractions, keep reading. Below, you’ll find ways to manage all three.

First and foremost, rehearse! Read every ceremony aloud 10-15 times beforehand and use different color pens to make marks on the pages, which will help to keep your spot.

Rehearsing can’t prepare you for everything, but it sure gives you a great head start.

How to manage unexpected noise from babies and kids: Before any ceremony, ask guests with kids to please have a plan, should their child become a distraction during the ceremony.

This isn’t always easy because it offends people sometimes so to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings you might consider something like, “I love kids. I have two little ones and understand that sometimes they’re noisy at exactly the wrong time. With that being said, if by chance your child loses it during their ceremony, please secret service him out instead of trying to quiet him down and accidentally creating an even bigger distraction. The bride and groom only get one shot at this and we all want it to be perfect for them!” 99% of the time the parent will gladly agree.

How to manage unexpected noise from airplanes or automobiles: This happens a lot. Many airports are in the center of the city so airplanes are constantly overhead. You might not want to mention the airplane noise to the couple before their ceremony, because you don’t want to potentially stress the couple out. Instead, wait until it actually happens.

If an airplane flies overhead during their ceremony, lower your microphone at the exact time the plane is almost overhead and ask, “Do you guys want me to wait for the plane to pass or power through the noise?” and let the bride and groom decide. Most couples will ask that you pause and wait for the plane to pass, and all couples will appreciate that you give them a choice.

Motorcycles and loud cars are often an issue too. Some venues located on main roads in nice areas, where motorcycles are popular and they are LOUD! Fortunately, they pass by fairly quickly, so you might not even want to ask the couple what they prefer. Simply pause and wait, as if it’s no big deal.

Your body language and energy is important. If it’s no big deal to you, it’ll be no big deal to your couple and the goal is to have them feeling great.

How to manage unexpected noise from cell phones: The easiest way is to ask people to silence their phones. Before the ceremony when everyone is lined up and about to walk in, instruct the bridal party to please verify their ringers are turned off.

The only way to prevent guest’s phones from ringing is to make an announcement at the very beginning of their ceremony, and that’s something that should be left up to the couple. Never ask guests to keep their phones away unless the couple asks you to.

You might then say something like, “Bride and Groom are having what’s known as an unplugged ceremony, meaning that they’d like you to please keep your phones away and sit back and fully relax. Be present and enjoy their ceremony. They’ve hired a really great photographer, who’s going to make photos available to everyone, so you won’t miss anything.”

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