Friday, July 30, 2010

Folding Flipflops that are Eco-Friendly: Pocketflops

Looking for eco-flipflops?

Then check out Pocketflops the newest addition to eco-footwear!

Pocketflops are a genius invention- not only are they made from recycled eco materials- they fold in half.

That's right these trendy flip flops fold in half- downwards so the dirty sole doesn't touch anything in your bag.

So convenient you can throw them in your purse or tote bag and have them when you want to kick off your heels and put on something a little more comfortable.

Convenient, eco and fabulous. What more could you ask for?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wedding Tiaras that Transform into Jewelry After the Wedding

Let's face it, after the wedding where do those tiaras go? Mine sits on a shelf with my wedding photo and cake topper collecting dust. It's not like I have much use for wearing a tiara after the wedding. I don't know about you but I haven't come across too many events that warrant tiara wearing. What about you?

The convertible tiara truly is a genius idea. I would love to be able to wear my wedding tiara for special events like an anniversary dinner. I just don't want to wear it as a tiara anymore. Turning it into a bangle bracelet (also described as an evening cuff) would be fabulous. Reusable is big right now and anything wedding related that can be used or worn again after the wedding is very popular.

Here's a wedding tiara truly fit for a queen.

High end Italian jewelry designer Roberto Coin has created a wedding tiara that can be transformed into a bangle after the wedding. Now you do have to send the tiara back to the designer after the wedding so it can be refashioned into a bangle, it doesn't just bend by itself and tada become a bracelet.

Roberto Coin's idea is brilliant albeit a little pricey. These convertible tiaras are currently retailing for around $77, 000. The Tiara is part of the Roberto Coin Cento Collection that features the 100 Facet Cento Diamond. The tiara is made with 18K white gold and scalloped Cento diamonds with a 13.42 ctw.

So not only is it fit for a queen, you might have to be a queen to afford it.

Keep reading here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wedding Photo Books from, one of the leaders in the self-publishing book industry now offers new couples the opportunity to create wedding photo books for free.

You only pay for what you decide to buy and there's no minimum purchase required. You can buy one book or fifty books. It's up to you. You can even sell your photo books at the Marketplace and earn money. Just think of all your family and friends that may want a book filled with memories from your big day.

The photo books are easy to create.

To try it visit

Then you can choose which size book you would like to create: 8.5x11, 9x7, 8.5x8.5, 5.25x3.5 (set of 3), or 3.75x2.5 (set of 4).

Keep reading here.

Give the Perfect Wedding Gift from Alphabet Photography

Are you looking for a truly unique wedding gift? Alphabet Photography offers beautiful photographs that you can use to create words. Any word you want - Love, Joy, Happiness, Eternity... any word that is special to the new couple would make a great wedding gift, including their last name.

The beautiful letter photographs offered by Alphabet® Photography are the work of photographer Jennifer Blakeley. Jennifer and her husband Sam operate the business together but Jennifer is the one behind the camera.

Jennifer's decision to create alphabet photographs were inspired by a children's book called "Alphabet City" published in 1999 by Stephen T. Johnson.

During 2006 and 2007 Jennifer spent a lot of time travelling throughout Canada to photograph a collection of photos that look like every letter of the English Alphabet. She has several images of every letter from A to Z.

What creativity it must take to look at objects and see not just the object or the architecture but to see letters in everyday life.

Do you see letters in fences, chairs, while strolling along through the park? I know I don't but I've never looked for them before. Jennifer set out with a vision to create something new and different and offer it to everyone.

Keep reading here

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wedding Webcasts

The newest trend in the wedding industry is Internet broadcasts of your wedding live over the Internet with a wedding Webcast. You can reach all your friends and family that couldn’t actually make it to your wedding. By using Internet broadcasts of your wedding, you can have a destination wedding and still share it with all your friends and family. Can’t afford a big wedding, yet you still want everyone to share in your special day? Have a live wedding Webcast that everyone can attend.

If you are planning on having a videographer, or if you have a techie friend willing to help out, this can be a great upgrade. Prices for a live wedding Webcast usually range from $300 to $750. The service usually includes reservation of your Web space and broadcast time, as well as an archive of your Webcast for easy viewing for those who missed it or for you to download and burn copies to DVD.

The downside is you still have to provide all the equipment. You'll need a digital camera or a video camera that hooks up to a computer and high-speed Internet access, which means your wedding site has to have a broadband connection. Your guests will also need high-speed access to view the Webcast live. This can be a problem in rural areas or at remote and outdoor wedding sites.

For those who have the access and the tools, a wedding Webcast is the perfect solution to make sure everyone can be a part of your wedding day.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bridal Shower Basics

Folklore says the bridal shower originated when a poor Dutch maiden fell in love with an impoverished miller. Her friends showered her with gifts to replace the missing dowry.

Today bridal showers are thrown for brides to be in many cultures. It is a party that will traditionally outfit the home. Dishes, towels and kitchen appliances are often-suggested gifts, though today circumstances are different for each individual couple. That is where the bridal registry comes in handy. If the couple has a registry it is best to buy something from that instead of trying to pick out a gift on your own.

The bridal shower is usually hosted by the maid of honor, another bridesmaid or a combination of any or all of the female bridal party. Any female that is invited to the wedding should be invited to the bridal shower unless, of course, they live far away or you are throwing a type of shower for certain people only, like a workplace party. I

nvitations should be sent out a couple weeks before the shower and the bridal shower should be at least two weeks before the wedding.

Depending on the bride-to-be’s interests, hobbies and personal taste a theme shower might be fun. You could have casino night (play casino games), a book banquet (everyone brings a book for the bride to be), a garden party (everyone brings a plant, seeds or gardening supplies) or any other theme the bride may enjoy.

Another option is throwing a co-ed party. More and more couples want to skip tradition and enjoy all the fun pre-wedding planning, parties and showers together. Some fun ideas for co-ed bridal showers are a back yard barbeque, pool party, ski weekend, luau or a picnic.

Plan a menu ahead of time depending on the type of party you are having. Finger foods are usually best so the guests can walk around and mingle. If you are having a theme party, coordinate food with the theme. For example, if you are having a luau you could have a fruit tray and serve fancy frozen drinks or fruity smoothies.

Plan to have several games and prizes available for the winners.

When the bride opens her gifts, make sure someone records all the gifts and who they are from so she can send thank-you notes to everyone.

The bridal shower is a party to make the bride feel special and prepare her for the wedding.

Make sure she doesn't have to do any cleanup. Let her enjoy the day. She'll surely thank you for it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Famous Love Quotes

Whether you are looking for famous love quotes or special readings about love and marriage to include in your wedding ceremony or just looking for wonderful words of wisdom and inspiration to help you write you own wedding vows, this collection of quotes is sure to inspire heartfelt thoughts and feelings about the importance of love and your upcoming wedding.

The only true gift is a portion of yourself.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.
~George Sand

One must learn to love, and go through a good deal of suffering to get to it…and the journey is always towards the other soul…
~D.H. Lawrence

To love is to receive a glimpse of heaven.
~ Karen Sunde

Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.
~ Robert Frost

Love conquers all things....

To love is to place our happiness in the happiness of another.
~Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz

Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.
~Jean Anouilh

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.
~Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned….
~William Butler Yeats

Give all to love; Obey thy heart….
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The course of true love never did run smooth.
~William Shakespeare

The best proof of love is trust.
~Dr. Joyce Brothers

Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life for which the first was made.
~Robert Browning

Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.

In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.
~Erich Fromm

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.
~Leo Tolstoy

Motto for the bride and groom: We are a work in progress with a lifetime contract.
~Phyllis Koss

The development of a really good marriage is not a natural process. It is an achievement.
~David and Vera Mace

No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
~Mark Twain

When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece.
~John Ruskin

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Unique Wedding Venues in Michigan's Genesee County

Are you planning a wedding in Michigan's Genesee County?

You have a wealth of wedding locations, reception sites and vendors to choose from. The area has hundreds of churches and many halls, banquet centers and country clubs.

There are several places that really stand out for what they offer, their service, the uniqueness of the area or just the beauty of the place.

Flushing's Glen Gables is predecorated for the most part and offers both a beautiful chapel and an elegant reception area that can be rented separately or together.

Another place that stands out is Crystal Gardens Banquet Hall and catering in Clio. They have an on-site wedding chapel and offer a complete, full-service banquet center including complete setup and cleanup, wait staff, decorating and more. Not many places offer everything in one convenient package. The convenience is worth the price here. Another full-service banquet facility is Davison's Stonegate Banquet Center.

If you are planning a small, intimate wedding, Angel House Victorian Manor may be just what you are looking for. Located in downtown Flint on South Grand Traverse, they offer wedding and reception packages for 40 or less in a beautiful, cozy, Victorian setting.

The Michigan Renaissance Festival is a truly unique place to get married. On the outskirts of Genesee County, the permanent village of Hollygrove on Dixie Highway is where the festival is held every year on the weekends. It begins in mid-August and usually ends the third weekend of September. Every weekend has a different theme. They have wedding packages available that range from a simple wedding in public during the festival to a catered affair in the castle. Having a wedding at the festival would be a dream come true for anyone planning a medieval, renaissance, or fairy-tale theme wedding.

If you want a beautiful outdoor wedding, you should consider one of the Genesee county parks.

The natural beauty is there. Enjoy it. Using a park is often free or available with just a small donation. Check their rules for setting up anything in the park. They also have pavilions for rent.

If you are looking for a unique location to have a historical theme wedding, consider Crossroads Village, open Memorial Day through Labor Day and for special events. The 51-acre site has 34 historic structures and friendly folks in period attire that welcome you to the homes, mills and shops that date back to the 1800s. They have banquet facilities and offer wedding packages.

Want a wedding on the water? Check out the Genesee Belle, an old-fashioned paddlewheel riverboat that offers lunch and dinner cruises. It is also available for private rental and weddings.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Budget Wedding Tips

To tighten your wedding budget, hold your wedding on a day other than Saturday.

Most wedding vendors (chapels, reception halls, caterers, sometimes even photographers and others) will offer cheaper rates for a Friday or Sunday wedding and even cheaper for a day in the middle of the week. Always ask what rates are offered for different days of the week.

Get married in an off month instead of a peak wedding month

May through September are peak months, October through April are off-peak months and prices are often cheaper because services during those months are in less demand.

If you are sending out invitations with reply cards, use postcards instead. Postage for postcards is cheaper than cards with envelopes.

Shop at department stores instead of Bridal shops for your bridesmaids' attire and flower-girl dress.

Check out clearance racks and shop during or right after holiday seasons. During the Christmas holidays you can find nice cocktail and semi-formal dresses for your bridesmaids cheaper than at a bridal shop. You can also find these dresses on clearance right after the holidays. Another good time to shop for dresses is during and right after prom season and homecoming. During Easter and right after you can find pretty little dresses that would work nicely as flower-girl dresses. If you are having a summer wedding, look for sundresses in soft, shimmery or sheer fabrics. Your bridesmaids will love you because they'll spend less money and have a dress they can wear again.

Always ask for discounts.

Most brides don’t ask or try to negotiate. A lot of vendors will work with you on prices, especially if you are in an area that has many competitors for the same services.

Borrow anything you can instead of buying or renting.

Borrow decorations like garden trellises and arches, vases and bowls to use for centerpieces for flowers or floating candles and mirrored tiles for centerpieces. Borrow anything you can. Instead of renting a limo, maybe a family member or friend has a nice ride like a classic car or muscle car that you can borrow.

Barter and trade services or products if you can.

When you deal with smaller, privately owned companies you can sometimes trade services. Say you are a seamstress or accountant. See if they’ll trade with you or at least give you a big discount if you provide them with something they want or need.

Enlist the help of friends and family.

Perhaps you have some talented relatives or friends: a floral designer, a computer expert, a budding DJ or photographer, someone who is crafty and creative. Enlist their help and services. Have someone crafty make your centerpieces and bouquets. Have the computer whiz design and print your invitations or make custom music CD’s for favors. Just see what they have to offer that can help you out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Traditional Wedding Financial Resposibilities

If you are starting to plan your wedding, you should have a budget set up well in advance. You also need to determine who pays for what. Every situation is a little bit different, but you and your future spouse should have an open conversation with your parents about your expectations and make adjustments accordingly. Not discussing a wedding’s costs can cause confusion and even arguments later on, especially when the bills arrive.

In general, it is important for the bride and groom’s families to come to terms with the wedding budget. Families may need to cap the number of guests who are invited, and the bride and groom may need to scale back on flower arrangements. The following lists can give you some rules to go by and to adjust as necessary:

What the Bride’s Family Traditonally Pays For

The engagement party
Engagement and wedding photography
Wedding invitations, announcements and postage
Bride’s dress and other wedding attire
Fees for the ceremony site and other ceremony costs, such as musicians or singers
Ceremony accessories, such as aisle runners
Transportation for the bridal party to the ceremony and reception
Entire cost of reception, including food, drinks, cake, music and decorations
Bouquets and corsages for the bride’s attendants, including the flower girl
Their own wedding attire
A gift to the couple

What the Groom’s Family Traditionally Pays For

The rehearsal dinner
Their own wedding attire
Their own travel costs and housing
Wedding gift to the couple
What the Bride Pays For
A gift for the groom
The groom’s wedding ring
Her own hairstylist and makeup artist
Housing for out-of-town attendants
Presents for her attendants
Personal stationery and thank-you notes or cards
Wedding guest book, cake knife, ring bearer pillow and other accessories

What Either the Bride or Her Family Pay For

Bridal consultant services
Boutonnières for the fathers and grandfathers
Valet parking or parking attendants
Security arrangements
A party for the bridesmaids

What the Groom Traditionally Pays For

The bride’s engagement ring
The bride’s wedding ring
The honeymoon
A wedding gift for the bride
His own wedding attire
Marriage license and any other legal fees
Officiant’s fee
The bride’s bouquet
Flowers for both mothers
Boutonnières for himself and the male attendants
Corsage for the bride’s going-away outfit
Corsages for grandmothers and other honored female guests, such as godmothers or special aunts
Housing for his out-of-town attendants
Bachelor party if no one else pays for it

What the Bride’s Attendants or Parents of Child Attendants Pay For

Individual gifts for the couple or a joint gift from all
Their own attire and accessories
A shower and/or luncheon for the bride
Their own travel expenses

What the Groom’s Attendants or Parents of Child Attendants Pay For

Individual gifts for the couple or a joint gift from all
Their own wedding attire
Their own travel expenses
The bachelor party

What the Out-of-Town Guests Pay For

Their own transportation and lodging
A gift for the couple

Monday, July 12, 2010

Italian Wedding Traditions for the Modern Bride and Groom

Several years ago I married an Italian-American man. His Italian heritage means a lot to him and although we were not having a traditional Catholic wedding, we did want to include some elements of traditional Italian wedding customs to honor his Italian heritage.

I performed some research on my own while he called his Dad to find out what we could use in our wedding. A few Italian customs may seem a little antiquated or not so easy to incorporate into a modern wedding.

Some are reserved for actual Italian weddings in Italy. Yet there are several customs and traditions that are quite easy to include in a modern wedding and reception.

Some traditions that almost all modern couples do without even thinking are attributed to the Italians. The wearing of a veil can be traced back to Italy (and throughout other regions of Europe as well) to conceal the bride and ward off evil spirits. Folklore claims it is very good luck for the veil to be torn.

Even diamond engagement rings can be traced back to medieval Italy. It was believed that diamonds were created out of the flames of love.

Other Italian customs that are easy to include in a modern wedding are:

A tradition from the southern regions of Italy has the bride and groom shatter a glass at the end of the wedding day. The number of pieces the glass shatters into symbolizes the number of happy years the couple will have together.

The groom should carry a piece of iron in his pocket (Toc Ferro) on the wedding day to ward off the evil eye (mal’occhio) and any other bad luck that might come along.

The bride should carry a satin bag (la borsa) at the reception in which guests place envelopes of money. This bag could also be used during the modern dollar dance to collect the money. The satin bag is a much better alternative than having the money pinned to the bride, which was done at my sister-in-law’s wedding. I refused to be a bridal pincushion.

Candy-covered almonds, also called confetti (bomboniera), are tied in mesh bags and tossed at the couple instead of rice or birdseed. Traditionally this was to ward off childlessness and symbolize the union of bitter and sweet. The number of confetti in each bag is very important. It should never be an even number, because that is bad luck. It should always be an odd number, preferably 5 or 7 which are each good luck numbers. If you don’t want to be hit with bags of almonds, a modern take on the confetti would be to give the bags away as favors. A little bag could be placed at each table setting.

Food is very important to the Italians and the wedding feast is no exception. Traditional wedding feasts are multicourse dinners, usually beginning with an antipasto salad and continuing on with soup, pasta, chicken and vegetables. A symbolic wedding food is twisted dough covered in powdered sugar (wanda). Traditional Italian candy is also usually served.

After the meal, cake is served with espresso and other coffees.

These are just a few of the traditional Italian wedding customs that can be included in your modern wedding.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tech Tools for Wedding Planning

Wedding planning is now going high-tech. Technology has wormed its way into the wedding planning industry. From save-the-date e-cards to live wedding Webcasts, the Internet and other computer technology is making wedding planning simpler, yet at the same time making it easier to reach out to more people.

It's easy to plan your wedding online. Most wedding vendors have Web sites that let you see what they have to offer and compare prices. You can buy anything and everything online, from invitations to your dress, favors, decorations and cake toppers. For-hard-to-find, unique and one-of-a-kind items, eBay is a wedding-planning wonderland.

You can also reach out to faraway family and friends via the Internet and keep them up to date on wedding planning happenings and goings on. You can send save-the-date e-mails and e-card announcements through You can even send e-mail invitations, although many traditionalists frown on sending the actual invitation via e-mail. The newest tech tool for weddings is the live Webcast. Now all those faraway friends and family can still be a part of your wedding, even if they can't make it in person.

The internet also offers the ease of creating registries at online retailers. No more going to the store to pick out everything on your registry. Now you can create your wedding registry at 3 AM in your pajamas at any of hundreds of retailers. Your guests can also shop online to purchase your gifts and ship them right to your front door.

You can buy music online and create a personalized playlist for your ceremony or your wedding, which can save a fortune since you won't have to hire musicians or a disc jockey. After the wedding you can put your wedding videos on discs, along with still photos, and send them to friends and family. If you are really good with the computer or know someone that is, wedding video, still photos and music can be combined to make a really beautiful keepsake of your special day.

Another great tech tool for your wedding is the digital camera. Digital cameras take great still and moving photos that can be edited on a computer, printed at home, put on disk and shared with others. Having great photos and videos from your wedding no longer requires a photographer and videographer. You can have some friends and family that have good digital cameras take great photos and videos for you.

Other tech tools that can ease wedding planning include software that can help you plan and make checklists, seating charts, guest lists, budgets and menus. There are also other programs available that help you design and print customized invitations and other wedding stationery.

Once it took a lot of fancy, expensive equipment and someone well trained in using that equipment to create custom things for you, and it didn’t come cheap. Now designing and printing invitations and making custom CDs, photo CDs or movie DVDs is easy and relatively cheap if you have a computer and the software and accessories to do it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How to Plan a Tuscan Theme Wedding

If you or your fiancé are of Italian descent, a Tuscan theme wedding is an excellent way to pay homage to your Italian heritage. Even if you are not descended from the Tuscan region, a Tuscan theme or Italian Country theme is a very beautiful way to decorate for your wedding. Tuscan style is simple yet elegant. Tuscan themes incorporate food and nature and can turn your wedding into a very beautifully decorated event that will be memorable not only for you and your fiancé, but for everyone that attends.

A Tuscan theme wedding can be held in a garden, a vineyard or an Italian restaurant. Think grapes and wine and incorporate shades of greens and purples into your color scheme. For centerpieces you can use wine glasses or wine bottles, bowls of fruit, candles shaped like grapes, votive cups with grape designs or glass bottles filled with oils, vinegars, and herbs.

For other decorations you can have topiaries incorporating grape vines and grapes or sunflowers. You can embellish your garter, flower-girl basket and ring-bearer pillow with charms of wine bottles, grapes and wine glasses. Your flower-girl basket can be filled with grapes instead of flowers. Your guest book can have wine bottle and grape accents on it. You can wind grape vines around trellises and arbors, drape them in doorways or twist them around columns or poles.

Visit an import store or a store that specializes in Italian and Tuscan foods and try to purchase wines, olive oils, marmalades, jams and cheeses from the Tuscan region. You can use these as accents for your tables, or you can serve the specialties to your guests.

As an appetizer you could have a tray of cheese and fruit. For dinner serve Italian foods, including traditional Tuscan foods such as bruschetta with tomatoes, garlic and basil or serve breads with dipping oils and herbs. You could serve antipasto salad or panzanella, which is a salad made with bread soaked in olive oil. You can serve roasted chicken or pork with a variety of pastas. You could even have a variety of gourmet-style pizzas to please your pizza-loving guests.

For dessert you could serve traditional Italian desserts such as biscotti, cannoli, cheesecake, truffles or spumoni in addition to your wedding cake served alongside espresso or coffee.

To enhance the feel of your Tuscan theme wedding, you could have Italian music playing in the background. Find specific music styles or traditional songs from the Tuscan region.

You can also include some traditional Italian customs into your wedding.

Bomboniere, mesh bags filled with sugar-coated Jordan almonds, are traditionally given to guests as favors. Make sure to fill the bags with odd numbers of almonds; even numbers are considered to be bad luck. Five almonds symbolize love, fidelity, longevity, fertility and happiness.

Another custom is the buste; the bride carries a satin bag (la borsa), and guests place envelopes of money into the bag to help with the wedding expenses. At some Italian weddings the best man cuts the groom’s tie into pieces and sells the pieces to guests. The money raised is given to the newlywed couple.

Planning a Tuscan theme wedding is a wonderful way to have a beautiful, romantic and meaningful wedding day. If you love Italian culture and the simple elegance of Tuscan style, a Tuscan theme wedding is perfect for you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wedding Flowers on a Budget

There are numerous wedding flower ideas to choose from. On average, flowers can take up to 10 to 15 percent of your entire wedding budget. That's a big chunk of your money. However, what you spend depends on where you live. Flowers in a big city like Los Angeles or New York are going to cost far more than those in small-town USA.

While you want to hire someone experienced and good at what they do, you don't always need to hire the biggest, flashiest florist in town. Small shops can have as much talent as large places. You’ll know what a florist can do just by looking at a portfolio of their work.

Most important, have ideas before you go into the floral shops. Otherwise, florists may dazzle you with what is possible, whereas having a specific flower or color scheme in mind can help narrow down your choices and keep your budget in check. Knowing what you want can keep you from being talked into something you don’t need. Browse books, magazines, even bridal shows and floral shops to get ideas.

You can also keep costs down by choosing only flowers that are in season. The season will help you determine color schemes and types of flowers.

If you are having a spring wedding, you may choose soft pastel colors and flowers like lilacs, tulips and Easter lilies.

For summer, you may choose bolder, brighter colors that can be found in Asian lilies, roses, calla lilies or any summer-blooming flowers.

Fall flowers, such as mums and sunflowers, would have deeper colors: rust, burnt orange, gold and burgundy.

Winter would showcase shades of blue, silver and white or even reds and greens. During this season, you can use evergreens in your bouquets and floral arrangements.

The season can help determine your color scheme, but you’ll also need to consider the outfits worn by your wedding party. You will want to choose flower colors that coordinate with your wedding party's attire.

Also make sure you don't have white flowers if your dress is ivory or vice versa, unless you are going monochromatic by mixing shades of white and ivory. Take color swatches of the bridal gown and the bridesmaids' dresses with you when choosing your flowers.

Make a list of all the flowers you may want: bouquets, throw bouquet, corsages, boutonnieres, garlands, pew bows, centerpieces or a unity candle arrangement. Put a star by the ones that are most important. This can help if your price quote is more than you expected. You can start cutting out the flowers that aren't as important to you, like individual flowers on the silverware wrappings.

Little things often add up. Keep to the basics, and you will stay well within your budget.

Shop around before settling on a florist. Even if you love the first one you interview, keep shopping until you have a few price quotes. Someone may offer a better deal or have better ideas than the first. Weddings are a competitive business, and vendors will often price match or give you a better deal if they know you are comparing prices and shopping around.

When you set your wedding date, hopefully it is not near a major holiday, such as bouquet-heavy holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

You might also want to avoid setting your wedding date between early to mid-May through mid-June. Those are busy times in the floral shops due to prom season, Mothers' Day and graduation season. At those times of year, floral shops are in high demand, florists are extremely busy and flower prices go up

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows

Make your wedding unique by writing your own wedding vows. For most people, the day they get married is one of the most important days of their lives. The day is carefully planned from dresses and tuxedos to flowers and decorations, but the actual wedding ceremony and the very heart of it, the exchange of vows, is overlooked.

The promises the bride and groom will make to each other, the exchange of vows is the wedding. Those words are what join the couple in marriage. You don’t want to end up exchanging vows that hold no personal meaning for you. Your relationship and your love are unique.

One of the first things you should do when writing your own wedding vows is to consult your officiant. You need to know exactly what the officiant plans to say and if they will work with you on customizing your ceremony. Some religions or religious ceremonies leave no room for uniqueness or customization.

Make sure you know ahead of time what will be said. You do not want to end up with vows that are not meaningful or, even worse, completely against your beliefs. I made sure to get a written copy of everything my officiant would be saying. I did not want any overly religious wording; my husband to be and I were trying to have a non-denominational wedding.

You can blend your own written vows with some of the traditional vows. This is a route many couples decide to take. Remember that you don’t have to use all the traditional vows; you can pick and choose which ones hold meaning for you.

To get your creative thoughts of love flowing, read love poetry, romance novels and classic stories of love. Check out the greeting card section at the store and go through all those sappy love cards or listen to love songs. Do anything to get in a romantic and loving frame of mind. Feel free to borrow meaningful phrases and incorporate them into your vows.

Another way to get in the mood for writing your own wedding vows is to travel down memory lane with your love. Pull out photos, discuss your first date and revisit the place you had your first date or where the proposal took place. Get all those wonderful feelings of love flowing to help you remember why you are getting married. Those wonderful memories can even be incorporated into your vows.

Make sure to keep your vows audience-friendly. Focus on universal topics they will understand. You want the vows to be personal, but not so personal that no one understands them. Avoid things that are too intimate, sexual or cute.

Avoid jokes only the two of you will get. Other things to avoid are topics like religion, politics and finances. Focus on the two of you and your love for each other.

Consider such questions as what does marriage mean to me?” Which promises are most important? What do we want and expect from each other? Contemplate what the words love, trust, honesty, compassion, friendship, forgiveness, faith, honor and respect mean to you. You can possibly include some of those thoughts and feelings into your wedding vows.

When writing your own wedding vows, keep them short and simple. The actual spoken vows should be under three minutes long. You can personalize the rest of your ceremony with chosen readings, songs, prayers or other special elements.

Practice reading your vows out loud. What looks good on paper may tie your tongue in knots, especially with wedding-day jitters and being in front of an audience. Try to keep your sentences short so they are easier to speak. Practice in front of a friend to get a feel for speaking the vows in front of other people.

If it feels too uncomfortable or too personal, maybe the words are too intimate. Don’t try to memorize your vows. Wedding-day nerves will probably wipe out your memory anyway. The best thing to do is make several copies and give them to the officiant, your maid of honor or best man and keep a copy or two for you.

Writing your own wedding vows will be a great way for you and your fiancé to express yourselves, make your wedding a truly personalized experience and make it memorable for everyone involved.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How to Plan a Firefighter Theme Wedding

If you or your fiancé is a firefighter, a firefighter theme wedding can be meaningful and beautiful.

You can incorporate modern firefighter items, or you can do a vintage firefighter theme wedding using antique firefighter items. For a more traditional wedding, you would probably want to use a combination of the colors red, yellow, black and white.

For a vintage firefighter theme, the color scheme could be a deeper, antique red, black, ivory and beige or a deep country blue.

First, you’ll need to find a location for your wedding and reception. Naturally, a fire station or fire hall would be perfect. Some fire halls allow rentals for special occasions, especially if they have a large room used for meetings or dinners. Some fire stations rent out their dining halls for parties. Even if you cannot rent out a fire station for your wedding, any area can be decorated to fit your firefighter theme.

It would be great to have a fire truck drive you to your wedding location or from your wedding to your reception, but a fire station may not be able to do this since they never know when they may need a truck. If you or your fiancé is a firefighter, you might be able to arrange this easily. Perhaps you may not get one of the big trucks, but you may get one of the vehicles.

If the fire department has rules against personal use of the vehicles, you may want to check your area for specialty rental services. Some places have unique vehicles for rental other than your basic limos, but they can be expensive. You can also check with local firefighters and retired firefighters since some of them restore old fire trucks.

Other options include renting a red truck or car to match the color scheme.

As for wedding supplies, you may have trouble finding firefighter-related items.

You could consider making your own invitations on a computer using whatever design you want or having some made for you at a printer. Instead of finding supplies at wedding stores, you could try toy or costume stores. Mini plastic fire helmets could go into favors or floral arrangements.

If your budget does not allow for buying many decorations, you can creatively incorporate color into the decorations. Chances are you or your future spouse might already have many firefighter-related objects around your house, such as retired helmets, a hose, some tools, toy fire trucks, figurines and wall hangings.

However, most firefighter items have a masculine aura.

You can soften them and add a feminine touch by pairing fire items up with ivy, flowers, strands of lights or maybe even some ribbon or lace. A ladder can be entwined with garlands of ivy and red and white roses, along with a strand of white lights. The ladder could be used as a backdrop behind the bridal table, or it could be laid sideways in front of the table. The hydrant could be placed on the gift table with a ring of flowers around the bottom. A hose or rope could be laced through an arch or trellis with strands of lights.

Be creative with items that are available to you, and you could save a fortune.

Envision everyday firefighting items trimmed in ribbon or with flowers, and you could have plenty of centerpieces and displays for your wedding theme.

Using the colors red, white, black and yellow can convey your theme as well. Have the women in the bridal party wear red or yellow dresses. The bouquets and floral arrangements can have red, yellow and white roses. The men should all wear black tuxes with accessories that match the bridesmaids’ attire.

A glass bowl with red floating candles on top of a mirror tile can make an elegant and inexpensive centerpiece. Have white tablecloths with red napkins and table accessories. Add small firefighter charms to your flower girl basket, garter and ring bearer pillow.

Small and simple details might be all it takes to convey your theme.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Circle of Love: A History of Wedding Rings

Humans have been enchanted by anything that glitters and sparkles since the beginning of time. Ancient tribes and cultures have adorned themselves with pretty jewels and metals throughout history, but where and when did the customs of the engagement ring and wedding band start?

Some believe that the wedding band originated in ancient Egypt along with the belief that the fourth finger (counting the thumb) on the left hand contained a vein that is connected directly to the heart. Therefore, that finger became the ring finger, the finger connected to love and marriage. This is still known as the ring finger in most parts of the world. However, in Norway and Russia the wedding band is worn on the same finger though on the right hand instead of the left.

No one knows for sure when or where the engagement and weddings rings came to be. There are theories and historical accounts that connect rings to slavery and people who were considered to be possessions. There are also some theories about cave men tying women up to capture them and keep them. None of these origin stories are pretty or romantic.

In some ancient cultures, like the Celts, the term tying the knot was quite literal. Symbolic cords tied the couple together, symbolizing their union as one. Some ceremonies just draped the cords over them while others actually bound the couple together at the wrists. The ceremony itself was a very simple ritual called handfasting. The bride and groom were bound together by a ceremonial rope, cord, a piece of the family’s tartan or other symbolic wrap.

Some accounts state that wedding rings did not become common until the 11th century. Others believe the ancient Romans were the first to offer wedding bands, but they were a symbol of ownership used to claim women. Historic accounts give a little more romance to the Romans. Roman betrothal rings were once made of iron and called “Anulus Pronubus.” They symbolized strength and permanence. It is also thought that the Romans were the first to engrave their rings.

Whenever and wherever the tradition started, it has endured. The ring itself is a circle. The circle is a symbol of eternity since it has no beginning and no end and is the shape of the sun and the full moon.

The first recorded diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by the Archduke Maximillian of Hamburg in 1477. At the time, a diamond was a very rare. It was something only the wealthy would have access to.

In medieval Europe the ruby was the stone of choice for engagement rings. The red stone was associated with the heart and love. Sapphires were also popular because they were blue, like the heavens from which love came.

Some cultures, especially throughout the British Isles, used a Fede (faith) ring which may have been an early form of the claddagh (clasped hands) ring.

The Claddagh ring is from Ireland, named from one of Ireland’s oldest fishing villages. These rings have been in use in Ireland for several hundred years. The two hands clutching a heart are for friendship, the crown for loyalty or fidelity, and the heart symbolizes love. Tradition states that, if you are single, you wear the ring on the right hand facing out. If spoken for, you wear it facing in. If you are engaged, you wear the ring on your left hand facing outward. At the wedding ceremony, the ring is then turned inward to signify the final devotion of the heart in marriage.

Silver was the metal of choice for Renaissance Italians. They gave their loved ones highly ornate silver betrothal rings engraved and filled with black enamel. When gold became the metal of choice in Europe, the silver ring was still given at the betrothal. Later, an identical gold ring was given during the marriage ceremony. This may be where the concept of dual rings originated.

Puritans claimed wedding rings were a pagan ritual and outlawed them. They were enraged when the Catholic church claimed that Mary and Joseph wore wedding rings made from Onyx or Amethyst, which would have taken the history of wedding bands back pretty far.

Poetic rings became popular in France in the 17th century. These rings were inscribed with poems or other romantic verses declaring adoration and everlasting love.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, sapphires and emeralds were the stones of choice for engagement rings. It wasn’t until the Victorian era that diamonds became popular. Diamond mines were discovered in South Africa in the late 1800s. Soon diamonds flooded the market and everyone had access to them. Later Victorian engagement rings were filled with diamonds.

For a while, diamonds were so commonplace they fell out of fashion. Diamond sales slumped until DeBeers launched a clever marketing campaign in 1947. The slogan “A Diamond is Forever” changed our beliefs about love, engagement rings and wedding bands forever. Ever since, diamonds are a top choice for engagement rings.

Now, almost 80% of brides receive a diamond engagement ring, with a plain gold band as the most popular style for a wedding band.

Whatever you choose to use for your ring, it is the ring itself, not what it is made from that symbolizes undying love. Wear the circle well.

(c) Wenona Napolitano

Monday, July 5, 2010

Combining Blogs

I have decided to combine my sites because I am having a hard time keeping up with all of them.

My Creative Wedding Planning for the Budget Bride consisted of
advice for wedding planning on a budget. I offered tips, trick, ideas and articles along with product reviews, book recommendations and more to help you plan the wedding of your dreams without going broke.

I am combining that site with Everything Green Weddings and More- more being budget and creative wedding advice.

So from now on you'll not only find green wedding information but also budget advice and creative wedding advice in general.

Spend Less On Your Wedding Dress: Budget Bridal Tips

Your wedding dress is one of the most important aspects of your wedding, but you don’t want it to be one of the most costly. A savvy bride can save a lot of money on a dress and still look like a princess.

The first thing you will want to do is start looking for a dress as soon as you can, like right after you get engaged. It might take awhile to find the perfect dress at a reasonable price. The next thing is to do a lot of research and compare prices.

Do not buy the first dress at the first place you found it. Comparison shop and you can probably find the same dress or one very similar cheaper somewhere else.

You can even use a discount bridal service if you know the designer and style number of the gown you want. A discount bridal service will search for the cheapest price on the gown you want. You can usually save between 10 and 30% off the retail price of the gown. You can also find out when bridal shops are having trunk shows, a specific designer will have dresses available at discount prices. Be sure to check your area for bridal outlets too.

The best time to shop at bridal stores is between January and March. Last year's dresses are in clearance. The stores are trying to get rid of them to make room for the new season’s dresses. Another option is buying a display dress or buying off the rack. These dresses can save you hundreds of dollars off regular retail prices. You can also check to see if a store has any discontinued dresses at low prices.

If you are not concerned about wearing a used dress you could borrow a dress from a friend or family member. Wearing an heirloom dress from your mother or grandmother can add a sentimental touch to your wedding.

Check your area for consignment stores and resale shops. Many carry wedding dresses. Some have never been worn, they were purchased and then the wedding might have been called off. Some resale stores get brand new dresses that were discontinued or have slight defects, like a small rip or tear or maybe a small stain somewhere. Some thrift stores also receive new clothing. I have found many wedding dresses at Goodwill with the price tags still attached.

Many online retailers offer great deals on wedding dresses. Amazon and eBay both have wedding dresses. I found the dress of my dreams on eBay for $99.00 brand new. A similar dress I had been pining for was over $1000 in the bridal stores.

Shopping online is a great way to compare prices and styles. I still recommend going to stores and trying on dresses though. A style that looks great on a model might not look great on you, or you might not like how it feels. I saw a dress in a bridal magazine that I just adored. When I tried it on, it looked horrible on me and it was very uncomfortable and itchy.

Trying on dresses will also give you a feel for what size you will wear. Just because you wear a size 8 in normal clothes does not mean a size 8 wedding dress will fit. Plus all designers’ sizes vary.

Other options for cheap wedding dresses include shopping for a dress not labeled as a wedding dress. At homecoming and prom times (usually September and October for homecoming and April and May for prom) you can find semi formal to formal dresses in white or ivory that would work great as a wedding dress at half the cost.

Hit the clearance racks right after homecoming and prom season and you can find them even cheaper.

If you are having a casual wedding any nice dress will do. You can find semi formal dresses at many department stores for under $100. Some are very nice. It all depends on your taste and what you are looking for. If you are having a beach wedding or outdoor summer wedding a thin, filmy white or ivory sundress would be perfect and a very low cost option.

Having a dress made for you is another option if you know someone that can do it or if you have a great seamstress in the family. Just make sure they have experience sewing wedding dresses. Fabric for a wedding dress can be a lot different and harder to sew than regular fabric, especially if you are adding beads or other fancy accessories. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a seamstress or fabric. I have seen a few women try that route and ending up spending more than if they had just bought a dress from a store.

Just remember to start shopping early, do your homework and always comparison shop.

Don’t be afraid to ask for deals or discounts either. Try to be flexible and open minded and you can find the dress of your dreams at a price you can afford.