Monday, December 31, 2012

I am currently not updating this blog.

Please visit me at The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

And check out my book The Everything Green Wedding Book




Description:

Increasingly, brides and grooms are spending their wedding dollars on environmentally friendly products and services. From the dress to the dinner, there are more green options available today than ever before. This book will teach the happy couple just how easy and affordable it is to: choose a stunning environmentally friendly location; create beautiful invitations printed on recycled paper; find the perfect eco-fashion; enjoy a gourmet organic caterer; find the right romantic honeymoon retreat, and more! This fun, informative guide provides all the steps to a beautiful wedding - without leaving a footprint!


Reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars Educational and Useful!, April 21, 2009

By K. Harrison "Author of The Green Bride Guide"

Wenona Napolitano did a very good job with this book. It is well researched and full of helpful lists including: edible flowers to use in your decor, pictures you want your photogrpher to take, and simple recipes and instructions for DIY favors.


She also does a great job of providing the "why" of green weddings. The book begins with ten reasons to have a green wedding and includes E Facts, E Alerts, and E Essential environmental tips throughout.


A great addition to your green wedding bookshelf.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Winter Wonderland Wedding Ideas

Imagine a winter wedding wonderland scene: An old-fashioned frozen pond with people dressed warmly in sweaters, hats, gloves and mittens ice skating on it, snowmen built alongside the pond, icicles dripping from the trees, plus hot cups of cocoa and a roaring fire to go home to. You could take this scene and use the elements to create your own winter wonderland theme wedding.

When planning a winter wedding, you can use traditional elements like snowflakes and icicles, ice skates and sleds. You can create a nostalgic scene by using a dark blue and a light blue with a more country essence, or you could have a sleek and modern winter wonderland by just focusing on the metallic color scheme and using mainly the snowflakes and icicles.

Colors


Dark blue, ice blue, white and silver.

Color Variations

Metallic blues, silver and white.

Items for Decorations, Invitations and Favors

Ice skates, frozen pond, ice sculptures, snowmen, snowflakes, icicles, mittens, hats, scarves, sleds and hot cups of cocoa.

Favor Ideas


Make or buy mittens, fill them with candy and tie the opening with a ribbon. If you can't find mittens, you can also use basic tulle circles in your wedding colors, filled with candy and tied with a ribbon and personalized tag.

Other favor options include tiny ice skates, snowflake-shaped candy or miniature soaps or single packets of hot cocoa mix personalized with your names and wedding date. This could be easily accomplished by printing out big stickers and affixing them to the packets.

Tiny snow globes might be the best favor idea for a winter wonderland theme wedding. You can buy them in bulk at online auction sites.

Centerpieces


You'll be able to find little sleds at dollar stores around Christmas. If you find plain ones, you can paint or decorate them and use them as centerpieces. Just place flowers or a candle inside each one.

A large glass bowl could also be used with a tall pillar candle in the middle surrounded by blue, white and silver Christmas balls. Following a similar theme, use mirrored tiles on the table with glass bowls on top. Fill each bowl with water and blue and clear glass rocks, which will resemble ice, and put a floating candle on top. If you do not want a floating candle, just use the glass rocks and nestle a votive candle in them.

Wedding Attire

Winter fabrics are warm, thick and rich. You could choose velvet, perhaps not for your dress but for capes and cloaks. Other warm winter fabrics include fur, thick satins and knits. A warm, fluffy sweater could be part of your going-away outfit or used somewhere else in the wedding theme. Your white dress and a dark blue velvet cape would be a stunning combination.


Flowers


Simple and elegant white flowers are best, such as white roses or a combination of white and very deep red roses.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Halloween Theme Wedding

Halloween is not just for children, adults love it too. If you and your fiancé are among the adults that really enjoy Halloween, a Halloween theme wedding may be perfect for you.

A Halloween theme wedding does not necessarily have to be held on Halloween. It could be held the weekend before or after, as long as it is as close to Halloween as possible. The options are endless for what kind of Halloween wedding to have. You could have an elegant Halloween/Harvest theme decorated in rich fall colors like reds, golds and oranges with black accents using pumpkins, gourds, squash and Indian corn as decorating elements. You could have a costume ball or masquerade with the bride and groom in lavish wedding attire and the guests invited to wear costumes as well. Or you could have a spooktacular wedding event with all the Halloween trimmings: cauldrons, skeletons, ghosts, Jack-o-Lanterns and more.

Planning ahead can save you a lot of money. If you plan your wedding at least a year ahead of time, you can get tons of Halloween accessories on clearance. Look for strands of Halloween lights, black and orange candles, Halloween novelty candles, witch's cauldrons and broomsticks, skeleton bride and groom decorations, ceramic or resin pumpkins, garlands of leaves and fall flowers or berries, goodie bags for wedding favors and small novelty items to use as favors, such as mini coffins, skeleton heads, and candles.
The best color schemes to go with could be the traditional black and orange or black and red. The groom and groomsmen could all wear black; the bridesmaids could wear black or red dresses. The bride could even wear a black or red dress or go with a traditional white dress in a gothic style. She could wear a long, form-fitting dress with draped sleeves or a dress with a corset-style bodice.

Centerpieces and decorations could range from candles in wrought-iron candelabras to pumpkins carved into Jack-o-Lanterns, gourds and squash surrounding candles on a mirror tile, black cauldrons with floating candles or, for a more elegant wedding, you could opt for fall leaves or fall flowers arranged into a centerpiece. For your bouquets you could use red, orange or even black roses. You could have accents of gold and black ribbons. Depending on your style, you could even incorporate spider webs or other fun Halloween items into your wedding bouquets.

Make sure to include apple cider and donuts on your menu. On the guest tables you could put little cups of candy corn and nuts for snacks. You could have a buffet of Halloween-inspired food.

Make sure the DJ has plenty of Halloween song favorites on hand for the reception, including "Monster Mash," "Thriller," the theme from Ghostbusters and any other of your favorite Halloween songs. Make sure to hire a DJ that has a good light system and fog machine to add special effects to the dance floor. Other entertainment that you could include might be a fortune teller, palm reader or tarot card reader.

Whatever Halloween style you incorporate and however you decide to decorate, your Halloween theme wedding will be a memorable event for everyone involved.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Phoenix Pest Services



My husband works for Phoenix Pest Services in mid-Michigan.

If you're in need of bug control services this company is top notch.

Check this out:


Thank you for considering Phoenix Pest Services to be your choice in pest control.

At Phoenix Pest Services we like to show our clients that we can offer the services they need at the right price for the job. We strive to make customer satisfaction a priority.

We offer pest prevention and pest control.

Inspections are always done to determine what type of pest you have or what could be a problem in the future. Pheromone monitors and glue boards are installed to catch bugs and show us what types of insects are getting into the area. This helps us determine the next plan of attack in our pest control services so we can treat accordingly.

If it is determined you need bed bug treatments we have two types of control that we use in the bed bug program - Heat or steam.

For the steam method we vacuum, steam, dust and use a liquid pesticide that will remain behind to help prevent re-infestations from occurring.  

In multi unit buildings a steam unit is the better way to go. In structures where the heat can be maintained the heat method is the best way to go.

A custom pricing for pest control services and bed bug work can be created for clients that require both types of services.

By utilizing the services of both pest control and bed bug specific treatments you can get in front of potential pest control issues that can become major problems quickly if left untreated.

Phoenix Pest Control offers high standards in customer care and service.

Let us help you.

Robert Napolitano
Sales and Service
(810) 429-3080


What's Your Wedding Story? Guest Blog by Catherine Bybee





Thank you so much for having me on your blog today. I thought in light of the time of year and the nature of my latest release, that I’d talk about weddings. Because let’s face it...everyone loves a wedding.

When I was in my twenties I must have attended a wedding a year. In some cases two weddings a year. I dated my husband for six before we married and we had plenty of time to soak in all the celebrations of those around us. We went to wedding of all faiths, from Catholic to Jewish, Christian to Hindu nuptials. We toasted with full bars where weddings cost more than most down payments on a house, and drank soda because the bride and groom decided to use the money for a condo. There were cakes that could feed a small country and buffets filled with food I couldn’t identify. There were pregnant brides and hung-over grooms. You name it, we saw it.

Weddings are a feast for our eyes and some of the drama that I’ve seen unfold could feed my romance novels for the next decade and never repeat. I love weddings. Sadly, I’ve not attended any in over ten years. So what is a writer to do? Write about weddings! Most of the weddings I write about a fairy tale in nature but when I’m going to put a wedding scene in every one of my bride books I absolutely have to mix it up a bit. So why not add some of the drama that really happens in life? Why not talk about bridesmaid dresses from hell or heat that makes even the best hair designers work drop the second an outside door is opened? There are plenty of LOL moments in life and if it happens at a wedding, it usually ends up on YouTube. Oh, the joy of life in 2012.

So tell me, dear reader…do you have a wedding story that is book-worthy?

Please tell!



Married by Monday
Catherine Bybee

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Catherine Bybee Books

ISBN: 9780985088835

ASIN: B0086IDBLI

Number of pages: 297

Word Count: 75K

Formats available: E-Book, Print


Book Two in the Weekday Bride Series

Carter Billings:

Sandy blond hair and Hollywood good looks, Carter Billings could have any woman he wants. However, when he makes his bid for the Governor's seat in the state of California, he needs to settle down and become a family man. Eliza, the woman he secretly adores, embodies the perfect amount of spice and passion to suit his marital needs, but she’s not interested in becoming Mrs. Billings. She can't even stand to be in the same room with him.

Eliza Havens:

It’s much easier to drive Carter away than to give into desire. Matching couples is how she earns a living, but getting married isn’t an option. The secrets she carries are too dangerous to entangle anyone else. When her hidden identity and past threaten her future, she’s left with little choice. Carter is quick to offer solutions to both their problems, but saying yes could mean endangering the man she’s growing to love.



Author of New York Times Bestseller, Wife by Wednesday presents, Book Two in the Weekday Bride Series

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Catherine Bybee has been addicted to romance since her teens. After spending a decade of her life working as an RN in urban emergency rooms, Catherine is now dedicated to writing happily-ever-afters for the world to love. Catherine is married and raising two sons in Southern California.

She loves hearing from her readers so feel free to visit her at:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wedding Planning on a Budget

As trends and traditions change and the average age of couples getting married for the first time has increased, more couples are paying for their own weddings with little or no financial help from family members. After they start to plan their weddings, they get sticker shock. With that comes a whole new breed of brides, the bride who is planning a wedding on a small budget. The budget bride tries to find thrifty ways to have the wedding of her dreams without going into debt.

A couple does not want to start a new life together in debt. All that money going into "that one special day" could be used toward a down payment on a house or a new car. To cut wedding costs, you need to do a lot of research and get creative. Budget, shop around, compare prices, bargain, barter and delete unnecessary expenses.

Where to Begin

Start planning by making lists of everything you want and need. A wedding planner book is helpful, or you can get free checklists at many wedding planning websites. The Web can save you so much time, especially if you can't make it to stores before they close.

At the same time, start networking with all your friends and relatives. You'd be surprised at how many of your friends and family know someone who is connected to someone who can offer quality service for your wedding and possibly even get you a discount. Even if you can't get a discount, strong recommendations can help you find vendors you can trust.

You'll also need to get started on your invitations. Advances in printing technology mean you can print out your own invitations with a minimum of fuss, sometimes even on your home printer. Office supply stores and stationery stores provide boxes of wedding invitations, including the invite, envelopes, RSVP cards and RSVP envelopes. Hiring a friend with a knack for graphic design to help can also save you money. Save yourself time, money and frustration by doublechecking to be sure that you are following proper wedding invitation etiquette before you print that first batch of invitations.

Ceremony and Reception Venues

Next, you will want to find locations for your wedding and reception. If you belong to a church or if one of your parents belongs to a church, you can often get married at the church for free or for a small donation to the church. Many churches also have a hall or banquet area that could be used for a reception, though most churches do not allow any alcohol, not even for the champagne toast.

When you are shopping around for sites for your wedding and reception, be creative, and don't just look at places listed under wedding venues. Contact local parks that have beautiful gardens or gazebos, historical sites, museums or even restaurants. Sometimes places like that will allow weddings for donations instead of outrageous fees. Just make sure you always get all the details: What's allowed, what isn't, how many people will the place accommodate, is alcohol allowed, is smoking allowed, are tables and chairs available, do they have recommended caterers? These are all questions you need to ask, and always get the information in writing.

Also find out if you need to provide liability insurance. Many places now require you to carry your own liability insurance to cover any damages that may occur. In some cases, you might need liquor liability insurance if you serve alcohol at your reception. Sites such as wedsafe.com offer many other types of wedding-related insurance coverage.

Another option for your wedding and/or reception site is a hotel. Sometimes hotels will work with a couple's needs, especially if you have a lot of out-of-town guests coming in that you offer to send to their hotel. Always bargain. If you say you a price is too high and start to walk away, you'd be surprised at how quickly many vendors will start dealing, especially if you know what other vendors are charging.

The Dress


Start shopping online, or look through magazines to get an idea of what style of dress you want. Check local bridal shops for sale dates and trunk shows. At designer trunk shows, you can often get one of those dresses you see in a magazine for a huge discount. Check your local area for consignment and resale stores or stores that are closing and want to clear out inventory. You might even want to contact a seamstress about having a dress made.

You can also try online auction websites for a dress. However, expect a lot of trial and error, since looking at images of a dress, no matter how detailed the photos are, isn't the same as trying one on. Make sure to take accurate measurements of yourself before you go shopping.

When shopping for attire for the rest of your wedding party, you don't want to make your friends and families spend a fortune either. For tuxedos, check the rental shops, get prices in writing, and then go to another shop.

They will compete for your business and try to beat the other store's prices if you have a quote in writing.

They almost always give the groom a free rental, and, if you have a lot of guys in the wedding party, they often give you a bigger discount.

For your bridesmaids, you don't need to get dresses from a bridal shop. Try regular women's clothing stores, including department stores. If you are having a spring or summer wedding, you could use sundresses if you can find them in the right colors and sizes. Dresses like that can be cheaper, and your bridesmaids will thank you because they'll have a dress they can actually wear again. You can also give bridesmaids a color and have them choose the dress, as long as the dresses are all in the same shade.

The same goes for flower-girl dresses and mother-of-the-bride dresses. Frilly spring and Easter dresses often work very well for flower girl dresses. Look at the styles offered at bridal shops, and then go to stores that are not bridal vendors so you don't get the bridal markup prices.

Shoes can be found just about anywhere, not just at bridal stores. Plus, if you're wearing a really long dress, no one is going to see your shoes anyway. However, keep in mind that the height of the shoe might impact the height of your dress and how it hits the floor.

If you want a beautiful tiara and veil, you can find tiaras on online auction sites, and then you can buy veil material at a craft or fabric store. You can attach the veil to the tiara yourself or have someone who is handy with a needle and thread attach it for you.

Food and Alcohol

Food and alcohol are two major expenses, but you can reduce costs if you are creative. Consider holding your reception at a time of day when you won't be required to offer a full dinner. Just offer light snacks or hors d'oeuvres. If you do plan on having a dinner reception and do not have a caterer at your disposal or in your budget, you can hold a type of potluck where your closest family and friends can prepare and bring dishes that you request.

If you do opt for catered service, at the very least forgo the sit-down meal for a buffet. It costs more to have everyone served than it does to have your guests serve themselves, and you'll save by not paying as much for the catering staff. You can also save a money by not renting china table settings and silverware. If you are having a more informal meal, such as a BBQ, your guests can eat off color-coordinated paper plates and with plastic silverware.

Alcohol can be one of the biggest wedding expenses. To save on alcohol, you can skip it and the problems it can cause altogether and just offer coffee, tea, soda, punch and lemonade. Other options include a limited bar, in which beer and wine are free to guests, but they must pay for any other type of alcohol. Or, you could limit alcohol to champagne for the toast.

Wedding Favors

You can make wedding favors on your own. For example, buy tulle circles and ribbon from a dollar store, and wrap up tiny pewter castles that you can find online. You can make your own tags to attach to the favors on your computer. For centerpieces, try mirrored tiles with clear glass bowls on top, and fill them with glass rocks, water and a floating candle. Buying the supplies and assembling them yourself is cheaper than renting the same items from a party-rental store.

Wedding Cakes

When it comes to cakes, you might meet people who are just getting started in the business and working from their home. Don't be afraid to work with people who are new to catering. They can often offer the same quality service and products without the expensive price tag that comes from a more established vendor. Just ask for references, and ask to taste cake samples to make sure you get what you pay for.

Flowers

You can use silk flowers from craft stores, or look up wholesale florists in your area and assemble the bouquets yourself. Other options include checking to see if you have a floral design school or class offered in your area. Sometimes schools and classes will do weddings just for the cost of the supplies because the students need experience. You could also buy fresh flowers the day of the wedding and wrap them in ribbon to give you a simple, but pretty bouquet.

Transportation

Limo rental is another expense you can cut unless you get a really good deal. Borrow or rent a nice car, or check and see if someone has a classic car that you could borrow or that they could drive you around in.
Photography and Wedding Videos

Instead of paying a photographer and videographer thousands to preserve your wedding memories, enlist the help of a few friends who are into photography and own digital cameras. You can have them take photos and video and even have them edited on the computer. Also place disposable cameras on all the reception tables, and have a few people videotape everything, which you can have professionally edited later.

Music

Technology may also work to your advantage instead of hiring a high-priced DJ. If you have access to a teenager or college student who is into music, chances are they have a decent sound system, and they are quite capable of downloading any song you want and creating mix CDs. A mix CD also works great for favors, as blank CDs are inexpensive, and so are the cases. All you have to do is create a cover on a computer.

Or you can always plug in an ipod with all your favorite music on a playlist- easy music no DJ required.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Celtic Wedding Traditions

Celtic weddings were simple and meaningful. Their weddings often took place outside with nature to bless the union. Nature was very important to the Celts. They believed the soul existed within and outside of an individual. The soul would manifest in the trees, the rocks, the waters and the sun. Humans and the world around them were intertwined, the soul tied to the spirit of the earth. Their belief in marriage was that two souls would join together so their strengths would be twice as great and hardships only half as hard. Marriage was an institution not to be entered into lightly. It was the union of two souls, two hearts and two minds. Modern couples can take some of these meaningful beliefs and incorporate them into their wedding ceremony by using some of the old Celtic rituals, traditions and symbols.

The feast was one of the most important aspects of a Celtic wedding. Unlike today where the ceremony and reception are viewed separately, traditional Celtic weddings incorporated everything into one big ceremony. The families and friends of both the bride and groom were there along with members of the community. The Celtic bride was very important. The term bride is Celtic in origin and refers to Brigid, an exalted goddess of Celtic lore. The veil is a very old tradition. Before the bride is veiled she is a maiden. When she wears her veil she becomes a goddess in her own right, she takes on her mystery and feminine powers. When she is unveiled by her groom she returns to this world changed as her old life has ended and a new one begins.

The ceremony itself was a very simple ritual called handfasting. The bride and groom would stand facing each other holding hands and they were bound by a ceremonial rope, cord, or wrap. This is where the term “tying the knot” comes from. This symbolically signified the unity of the couple. There are many variations on how handfastings were performed, they seem to vary throughout the times and regions. Some involved only one cord or rope, others involved up to six. Scottish weddings used a piece of the family tartan to tie the wedded couple. In some rituals, to finalize the marriage the couple would hold hands and jump over a branch or a broom into their new life together.

Many customs are specific to local areas of Ireland, Scotland and Brittany. Some have survived the times and are still used today. The Claddagh ring is from Ireland. It was 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. The custom is if single you wear the ring on the right hand facing out, you wear it facing in if spoken for. On the left hand you wear the ring outward meaning you are engaged. During the wedding ceremony the ring is then turned inward to signify the final devotion of the heart in marriage. The claddagh symbol can be incorporated into your modern wedding on invitations, decorations, etc.

Another beautiful way to incorporate Celtic symbols into your wedding is with Celtic knotwork designs. The designs were created using one or several unbroken lines. The more the lines interlaced each other, the more they would protect against evil. The meaning of the symbols can sometimes be confusing because the Celts did not keep records of their meaning. Therefore my advice is to choose what you like. I like what are called love knots and the triquetra, a three pronged knot which symbolizes the trinity the Celts believed in. They always connected everything in threes.

If you are of Scottish heritage you can always incorporate you family tartan or plaid into your wedding. If the groom and groomsmen don’t want to wear the traditional kilts, they could have sashes made out of the tartan, or even vests to be worn with the tuxedos. It was also customary in Scottish weddings for the groom to pin a piece of his family tartan on the bride after the exchange of rings.

Another Celtic symbol dates from Wales during the 17th century. It is a Welsh Love spoon. A love spoon is a decorated, hand carved wooden spoon. A young man would present it to his sweetheart as a token of affection and/or betrothal. It is thought the love spoon represented an early form of an engagement ring, or the acceptance of a serious courtship. The carver was very skilled because even very large spoons were carved from just one piece of wood. The spoon could be plain or intricately designed with symbols. The exact meanings are uncertain but there are a few accepted symbols and corresponding meanings. The heart symbolized that my heart is yours, two hearts symbolized that we feel the same about each other, a horseshoe was for good luck and happiness, the knot symbolized everlasting love, leaves and vines symbolized love growing, double spoons symbolized the couple together forever and a triple spoon symbolized family. If you can find any of these or have someone carve them for you they make a very unique item for you to present to your loved one.

There are many Celtic traditions that have not survived the times, but I hope a few of these may help you with adding some Celtic heritage into your wedding. Use what you like and what feels special to you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

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, April 15, 2012

Circle of Love The History of Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands

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.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Planning a Fire Fighter 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 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, April 10, 2012

The Unique Wedding Theme for Your Special Day

Picking a unique wedding theme for your special day is highly personal and a matter of taste-your own taste. Don't let others influence you. It is, after all, your big day, not theirs. You can pick serious themes that blend into a traditional wedding or you can choose a unique wedding theme that is going to be meaningful to you.
Unique theme weddings are becoming more popular as brides and grooms want to make a statement with their weddings. They want to show the world how unique they and their love for one another are. Couples are choosing to be married while scuba diving in the ocean, skydiving from an airplane, bungee jumping from a cliff or rock climbing on the side of a mountain. The options are endless and only limited by your imagination and your funds.

You may not be an adrenaline junkie wanting to get married underwater or high in the sky, but you might still want to place your own personal imprint on your wedding. Here are a few unusual themes that may interest you or may help you brainstorm for your own individualized wedding theme.

Monster Truck Wedding: More and more women are getting involved with monster trucks. Could you imagine showing up to your wedding in a huge monster truck? If so, this may be a great theme for you. Little monster trucks easily found in the toy section of any store could be used as wedding decorations or favors.
Motorcycle Wedding: For all of you Harley lovers or chopper riders, this is a great theme wedding that is gaining in popularity. Show up to your wedding on a shiny chrome bike or ride off into the sunset afterward. Your cake topper could have a bride and groom riding motorcycles and your wedding dress could be white leather and lace (or you could save the leather and lace for the wedding night).

Victorian Elegance Theme Wedding: For anyone craving the romance of a bygone era, a Victorian theme wedding may be right for you. Rich colors and sumptuous lace, roses and cupids are all components that can be incorporated into your wedding decorations. The deep colors (burgundies, reds, mauves, dark blues and purples) and rich fabrics like velvet and lace are all well-suited for a fall or winter wedding. Keeping with the theme would be a high-necked gown with a full, layered skirt, lace-up boots and top hats and tails. Another spin on the Victorian theme would be a Victorian Christmas wedding.

Butterflies and Blooms Theme Wedding: Are you planning a spring or early summer wedding? Are you a nature lover? Celebrate your wedding with a celebration of nature. Have your wedding in a garden surrounded by beautiful flowers and nature. You'll have natural decoration from the flowers, so you might just have to add a few elements of your own, like seating. Many public gardens offer wedding packages and already have everything you need. Have a butterfly release at the end of your ceremony.

These are just a few ideas to help you on your quest to find the perfect theme for your own wedding.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Plan a Wedding With a Tuscan Theme

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.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Should You Implement Your Own Creative Wedding Idea?

Many couples are opting for a creative wedding idea or a theme wedding to creatively display their love for each other. By picking creative wedding ideas that reflect the personalities of the two getting married you will have a wonderfully unique wedding like no one else's.

How do you pick a theme? Think of the things the two of you really enjoy. Do you love gardening, skydiving or swimming? Then an outdoor wedding that reflects that nature of your interests would be great for you.

Gardeners would love a garden theme wedding in a lush beautiful garden. Maybe put a twist on it and have a moonlight garden wedding. Skydivers could have a wedding at an airfield. Swimmers could have a theme wedding near water or at a pool. Why not get married in fancy swimwear in the water and invite all your guests to get wet? Are you science geeks, chemists or biologists? Have a scientific or sci-fi wedding. Use computer equipment to decorate. Instead of crystal or glass vases, you could use beakers and test tubes to hold the flowers. You are only as limited as your imagination.

Make sure the theme is something the two of you both share. You want to make sure it reflects both of you. You and your fiancé should sit down and make separate lists of the things the two of you really like or enjoy that could be used as the theme for a wedding. Share your lists and cross off anything you don't agree on. Hopefully there are some things left that the two of you do agree on. Pick out a theme from there. Brainstorm and come with ideas on how you could use and incorporate that theme into your wedding, including decorations, colors, clothing and food.

There are many themes out there to choose from. Some are popular, like a Valentine's wedding, spring wedding and Christmas weddings. Other themes are more unique, like an under the sea wedding, firefighter wedding or a Halloween wedding. Any theme you pick can be tastefully incorporated into your wedding planning. Remember that the Internet can be a very helpful resource for finding information and for purchasing items relating to your theme. It can also save you tons of time and legwork.