Wedding Wisdom for the Savvy Bride
By Susan Southerland
You have the ring and you've set the date, but now the rubber is meeting the road and you're running around doing tastings, viewing venues and looking at photography and video samples, figuring out who you want hire for your big day. There's a huge difference between talking to someone about their products and services and actually signing on the dotted line on a contract that puts money on the line. Every bride wants to feel as if she is getting a good deal on the products and services that she needs for her wedding day. After all, weddings are expensive!
Yet many brides fall into some classic negotiating mistakes when contract time comes. Most first-time brides aren't experienced negotiators and repeat brides who have done this before can go over the top trying to demonstrate knowledge and aggressiveness in negotiating.
The good news? Most wedding vendors have some things that they are willing to offer deals on, especially if the bride knows how to properly negotiate. Here are some thoughts on what not to do when negotiating for your wedding.
• Don't be unreasonable: A vendor who charges $2,000.00 for something is not going to give it to you for $1,000.00, so don't insult him by asking.
• Don't make threats. Saying you're going to go with another vendor if your demands aren't met won't result in a deal.
• Don't lie. The wedding industry is very small. Chances are the vendors you are interviewing know each other. You won't get away with saying, "Well, so and so is charging me $1,000.00 less," if it isn't true. Vendors talk.
• Don't make comparisons between vendors who don't give the same type of product or service. You wouldn't expect to pay for a Volkswagen and get a Mercedes -- the same is true for wedding vendors. Sometimes you can expect to pay more because of name and reputation, but more often you will pay more for experience and expertise.
• Don't beat around the bush with your budget. When you make your budget a secret, a vendor may propose something to you that is way out of your price range. This can be aggravating to you and a waste of time for her. A good wedding vendor will give you suggestions on how you can use her services while staying within your budget, or she will simply tell you that the two of you aren't a good match. She might even make helpful suggestions on another vendor who might be better for you.
• Don't just ask for discounts. Vendors who don't give money off may have some items that he can give you to beef up the package for which you are paying full price. Some examples are overtime, dessert, additional bar time, extra prints, a toss bouquet and thank-you notes.
When it comes to negotiating, you need to remember the old adage; "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." Most wedding vendors will go out of their way to work with a sweet, well-mannered bride. Transforming into "Bridezilla" will more than likely get you an extra nuisance fee, or an invitation to hire someone else.
More Wedding Tips...
When I think of weddings the first things I envision are people having a good time, families coming together, everyone is smiling, beaming brides, handsome grooms, proud parents, excitement, laughter, and tears of joy. After months and even years of planning, these are the meaningful things that make every wedding day unique and memorable. There are endless resources available to brides to help make the wedding planning process easier and provide inspiration for ideas to create the wedding of their dreams. However, recently I’ve been seeing some things from bridal publications that I need to put in perspective.
I’m discovering that there seems to be an increase in the portrayal of material things when it comes to planning a wedding. Details that include exquisite stationary, over-the-top centerpieces, designer dresses, jewelry, and accessories. It’s mind boggling to see how much emphasis is placed on these things rather than the sentiment of the day itself. Now I’m not saying that these things have no place in the wedding, it certainly helps to bring out the individual personalities of the couple. But it definitely feels as though we are losing site of what getting married is really all about. Being a minimalist at heart, I treasure the simplicity of substance over style when it comes to creating images that portray the couples individuality. So when I photograph a wedding, I pay attention to the excitement of the people and emotional-filled moments more so then table decorations and flower arrangements. Don’t get me wrong, these are items I don’t want to miss in my photographs because I do feel they add to the overall feel and ambiance of the day. However these aren’t the things I typically get all warm and fuzzy about.
So I spoke to a good friend of mine, VaNessa, who is knee deep in the planning process for her wedding this year. I asked her, as a bride-to-be, to share her thoughts on the wedding industries role in shifting the focus from the celebration of two people uniting to the miscellaneous wedding details. VaNessa revealed some very interesting insights in her answer; here’s what she had to say:
“Tangible details and props have absolutely become the focus of modern day weddings. As a bride-to-be planning my own wedding (with the help of my family), these details are at the core of the majority of the conversations I have regarding planning. From gift bags to gift tags, flowers and candles, right down to the type of pens that are best to use for guests to sign the guest book...all of it matters and it matters a lot! What's unfortunate is that it shouldn't-weddings are a lot more about businesses making money than they are about celebrating the love between two people. My fiancée and I remind ourselves of this regularly so that we don't become overly consumed with all of the external details”. - VaNessa, Bride-to-Be.
I would imagine that the wedding planning process is such a delicate and sensitive time for the bride/groom and their family. It seems that, although it is stressful it is also very exciting to implement ideas and personal details for one of the most important days of one’s life. Wedding blogs and bridal magazines are two of the most top used resources that play a pivotal role for the couple when planning their wedding day. However some of these same media outlets use overly glammed-up images and aggressively push the sale of items onto their readers to make it seem like you absolutely must have that item. It’s similar to the Christmas holiday when marketers surround shoppers with extra stuff they think they need in order to properly celebrate Christmas.
I don’t believe this is the case for all bridal sites and magazines however. There are many that exist to provide useful information and genuine inspiration for ideas for the modern bride. Inspiration in the form of do-it-yourself floral bouquets or even design tips for the eco-friendly bride can be just the advice needed to personalize your wedding day and bring the bride/groom back to the center of the occasion. Top wedding blogger Carolyn Gerin from AntiBride had this to say:
“I am with you on focusing on what’s important: the couple and capturing the moment as opposed to all the accoutrements that come with W-day. But in the defense of the blogs and mags, many are showcasing ideas (ie: stuff) that other brides can borrow or buy to save time and inspire. Although many of these publications/blogs exist as advertising vehicles to push merch, others are quite idea driven (Eco-Beautiful Weddings , Destination I Do, the original Wedding Belles magazine) and inspire brides to take a step back from predictable W-day offerings and look to personal style and meaning. I think the key to focusing on what’s important is to find the influencers who consistently walk the road less traveled and pitch a tent there, informing the rest of the world what’s possible. Mainstream consensus followers vs. contrarians have been around since the dawn of time, but love, meaning, and originality (with or without the ‘DeBeers-2-month-salary-diamond’) is what endures.” – Carolyn Gerin, AntiBride
I admire Carolyn's views as she raises a great point that although there are bridal sites that incessantly push sales, there are also inspirational resources for brides/grooms who want to invest in more creative details to help personalize their wedding day.
Another wedding blogger that consistently promotes creativity and inspiration for brides in planning their wedding day is Jacin Fitzgerald of Lovely Little Details. She did a great post discussing the tendency to get wrapped up in the "extra's" that come along with wedding planning and reminds brides of what the day is really about. Jacin shares her thoughts:
“I believe that sometimes we get too carried away in the details (yes, I can even admit this) of the event rather than focusing on the actual sacrament that is taking place. I was guilty of this as well, and planned my wedding down to the very last detail, and had to take a step back and remember what it was all about. The color of my flowers, hairstyle, dress, cake, and all the other pieces of the day were just a mere piece of what was actually happening and 20 years down the line I will remember saying "I do" to my best friend, confidant, and the love of my life – and that’s the most important detail of all!!” – Jacin Fitzgerald, Lovely Little Details.
So, I'll leave you with this; although, aesthetics and pretty details can help create a personal touch on your wedding day, the one thing that lasts will be the people and the memory of saying “I Do”. My guess is, when the wedding day is over and people pack up to go back home, they won’t be thinking about the centerpiece or "who" the bride was wearing. They’re going to remember how their 85-year-old grandma got on the dance floor and busted a move. They’re going to remember the group hug that the bridal party shared after the toast was made. It’s memories like this that count to make a wedding day what it is.
I would love to hear your views on this. Feel free to comment below to share your thoughts.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please share on Twitter & Facebook.
Purposeful Living Blog
By Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, LICSW Founder,
DC Counseling and Psychotherapy Center
Most therapists are trained that they should not give advice. Instead, the goal is to help clients come to their own conclusions about how to have happier, healthier lives. For the most part, I follow this principle. However, when it comes to working with engaged couples, I do give one piece of direct, firm advice: Spend your wedding together!
I know this sounds obvious, but it is surprising how many unhappily married couples will report that, during their wedding celebration, they did not spend much time together.
One newly divorced woman remembers:
I spent most of the evening asking guests if they had seen my husband. Where was he? It varied, he was outside smoking or at the bar with his college buddies. But we surely were not together.
Similarly, a divorced and newly engaged client explains:
Maybe it’s superstitious, but this time I want to make sure we hold hands with each other as much as possible during the reception. I remember that during my first wedding, different guests kept coming up and talking to us, probably with the best of intentions, but it was as if we spent the whole time having separate conversations. Our marriage was similar. We lived separate, parallel lives. I know it is just one day, but if we spend it together maybe that will be a good omen for our future.
On a psychological level, engagements are — paradoxically — at least in part about separation from your past lives. They are about making each other the most important person in your life.
Sometimes without realizing it, people closest to the engaged couple have some degree of resistance to this process. Marriage is a significant change, not just for the couple but for their families, and it can take some getting used to. Planning a wedding helps families and friends adjust to this change and prepare for a couple’s new level of commitment to each other.
During a wedding, excited friends and family will (often without realizing it) vie for the attention of the bride or the groom. With so many guests focused on two people, a couple can easily spend a great deal of their wedding reception on opposite sides of the dance floor.
As a therapist, I am all for independence and making sure that, even if you are a part of a couple, you can stand on your own two feet. In order to become a healthy “we” you must be able to exist as a healthy “I.”
However, weddings are intended to celebrate a couple and their union. On this special day, it bodes well for a couple’s future if they can make a plan, ahead of time, to hold hands and stick together. Obviously, there is so much more to a happy marriage than spending time together at your wedding. However, metaphorically speaking, couples who are able to prioritize spending time with each other on a day filled with so many potential distractions are setting a healthy precedent for their future.
If a good friend asks for a moment with the bride or the groom, grant them your attention, but hold hands with your spouse and remain together. If a bride and groom separate during the party, even briefly, it may be more difficult than one would expect to break away from subsequent conversations and find each other again.
Remember, your friends and family come to weddings to wish a couple well in their lives together. If they do not get tons of quality time with you on this special day (or any time for that matter) they will surely understand!
Follow Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, LICSW on Twitter: www.twitter.com/elisjoy
By Banu Sekendur
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” ~ Tony Gaskins
There isn’t a relationship in life that doesn’t require healthy boundaries for it to function happily. If you think about it, the whole of life is based on relationships. The flowers have a relationship with the soil, the sun has a relationship with the moon, we have a relationship with our bodies, our money, our significant other, our pets, even with the doorman at the building we live in and so on.
The boundaries and parameters for each relationship are different and are unique to the type of relationship at hand. This is probably why boundaries can get complicated as we navigate and negotiate relationships every day of our lives.
Learning to set healthy boundaries can be messy
Over the many years I spent on my personal growth and healing, boundaries have been one of the more challenging areas of life. I am, not only a recovering codependent, but a naturally a giving person. As I got to know myself better my need to learn how to negotiate boundaries in a win-win way had increased.
It took a lot of practice and mistakes (some embarrassing) to get to a place to communicate what I need without having an anxiety attack. I barked boundaries at people and squealed like a 2 month-old puppy when people didn’t immediately start doing what I asked them to do. It makes me cringe to think about it now. Yet, I know that without forgiving the mess of the initial practice, I couldn’t have arrived where I am now. I know that I am better at boundaries from decreased emotional stress in my life. During my messy practice period, I have found a handful of tried and true perspectives on setting and living with healthy boundaries that might offer you some insights.
Boundaries can’t guarantee that we will be treated fairly by others
This may be hard to accept but it’s true. Boundaries are the guidelines we ask people to follow if they want a safe, connected and joyful relationship with us. We can be assertive and kind as we set boundaries and hope for these boundaries to be honored. Since we can’t control what others do and how they respond, the guarantee of that respect is not and will not be there.
The reason is simple: we can’t manipulate others into doing what we want and still feel connected to that person on a deep, honest level. True intimacy is at the opposite end of manipulation, guilt-tripping, punishing and passive-aggressive behaviors. Boundaries help create a safe platform for intimacy and connection to happen naturally.
Things to remember when learning to set boundaries
How do you know you need to set boundaries?
Setting boundaries we need offers many rewards
Feeling angry because a boundary that we didn’t know we had had been broken is perfect self-knowledge to build on. Self-love is about self-knowledge. We cannot love ourselves without knowing ourselves. Our awareness and work around boundaries give us critical information about what makes us tick, smile or frown. This information essentially adds to our happiness if we honor it and make requests from others that support us in our pursuit of happiness.We also feel better about ourselves when we learn how to set boundaries, get more in-tuned with our authentic needs, increase the level of honesty and intimacy we share in relationships as well as expanding our emotional options. Essentially, boundaries create the safety we need to show up as we are and still feel close to the people we care to engage with. This is the reason why learning how to set boundaries is a crucial skill to develop and with some care, compassion and patience, we can enjoy the relationship connections we desire without drama and conflict.
Banu Sekendur is a writer, teacher, coach, small business cheerleader and an intuitive (not in any particular order) with a dual Masters in Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy. A life-long seeker, Banu has been interested in the workings of the human psyche since childhood, and has dedicated her life to helping people discover, own and live who they truly are ~ and to build a happy life around that.
You can connect with Banu Sekendur at www.facebook.com/BanuLLC and her website www.workwithbanu.com
“Come as you are.
All lovebirds need a nest, and nowadays you and your significant other don’t need to wait to tie the knot before you purchase a place to roost together. About one in four married couples between the ages of 18 and 34 purchase their first home together before their wedding date. Yet, not all couples are suited to joining the pre-wedding, home-purchasing flock. Here are four tips to help you and your partner decide whether signing on the dotted line before or after you sign your marriage certificate is in your best interest.
1. Consider Credit Scores
If you are committed to purchasing a home with your partner, the decision to do it before or after you are married could hinge on finances. Banks generally view married couples as one unit. Unmarried couples are assessed as individual applicants even if they are applying for a loan together.
If you are not married and both you and your significant other have good credit histories, your chances of qualifying for a mortgage loan increase when you apply as a couple.
If you apply jointly for a mortgage and one of you has bad credit, it can affect your ability to secure a loan, or to secure the loan amount needed to buy your desired home. In that case, having only the individual with good credit apply for a loan on his or her own before the marriage might be a good option. With only one person applying for the loan, however, their individual income may lower the loan amount from what your two incomes could otherwise qualify for.
Another option is to wait to purchase a home until after you have been married for a few years and the person with bad credit has time to boost his or her financial score.
2. Add Up Savings
In addition to securing a mortgage, a home purchase will require a down payment and payment of closing costs. Combining income and savings may help you qualify for a bigger loan and allow you to put down a larger down payment to reduce the amount of your monthly loan payments.
Many couples, whether married or not, try to contribute equally to the home purchase. If you are making unequal cash contributions and are not married, you would be wise to note the details in writing, just in case you part ways before your nuptials and need to divvy up equity in the property.
3. Title Matters
Whether you are married when you purchase a home affects how you take title of the property, because it determines legal ownership and how courts will transfer property ownership in the event of death.
Some states only allow married couples to hold title as community property. If a spouse dies, then only half of the property can be transferred to the decedent’s heirs. If only the deceased person was on the title, the surviving spouse still can acquire a community interest in the property. Some states require married couples who want to own real estate separately to sign a quitclaim deed from one spouse to the other.
If you are unmarried and sign the title as tenants in common, both of you have ownership in the property. If one person dies, the decedent’s ownership does not automatically transfer to the other owner, unless that person is named in the will. Joint tenants, however, will automatically pass their interest in the property to the other person in the event of death.
If you intend to buy a house with your partner before marriage, experts advise that you both sign a legal agreement to avoid altercations down the road. Should any snags occur in your relationship when you are not married, you and your partner do not have the same legal protections as married couples, and breaking up co-ownership of a house can be a messy ordeal. A legal contract between an unmarried couple should fill in the blanks as to who is responsible for expenses, the mortgage, taxes, capital gains, property title and more.
4. Prepare for Commitment
Eighty percent of all married couples who bought a home together said the purchase strengthened their bond more than any other purchase they made. That makes sense, according to Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist and Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC lifestyle correspondent, because couples who purchase a home together must be frank about their finances, career aspirations and future family plans as they affect the location, size and price of the home they buy,
“Even the closest couples are still two separate people with two separate ideas and agendas,” but searching for a home together can bring up a couple’s different priorities and ideas about life, Ludwig said. “They learn how to be practical with each other and compromise … it bonds two people together and makes them family.”
This article has been updated from an earlier version by Deena Weinberg.
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Now that you have selected a wedding venue, your focus should now be directed toward selecting who will be performing the ceremony. Choosing the right Wedding Officiant, the type and style of your ceremony service comes into play, these are the important first steps in planning the ceremony itself.
To get you started off on the right path, let's cover some basics about wedding ceremonies.
Most wedding ceremonies follow a basic and similar outline.
That said, they may differ slightly depending on your Wedding Officiant and religious preferences, if any. The following ceremony format is also applied in Civic and Spiritual Ceremonies as well, with variations of course. Wedding Ceremony Forms and Styles. Which Is Best For You?
Should we write our own vows?
Writing your own vows is a personal choice, and you must be comfortable expressing yourself and sharing your feelings before a roomful of people.
If you don't feel quite comfortable with that but would still like to personalize your vows, include a poem or passage that complements the vows. Discuss this with your officiant for greater insight and suggestions for insuring the best presentation and personal reflections you wish to incorporate into your wedding ceremony.
Customizing Ceremony Elements
What is a reading?
Readings are poems, passages, or scriptures that focus on some aspect of togetherness and marriage. They are read during the ceremony by a special friend, relative, or even a member of the bridal party. If you select your own readings, be sure to get approval from your officiant.
What symbolic ceremonies can be included?
Symbolic ceremonies celebrate the togetherness and the joining of the families. One of the most popular unity ceremony option is Unity In Glass. Other options are unity candles, sand ceremony, wine ceremony, and rose ceremony are some options.
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A collection of true real life Wedding Wisdom, skillfully guiding the To Be Wed couple on the path to spiritually imbued wedding wise decisions. Assisting couples in the creation a living Touch Stone, unique to them, that will serve and sustain a solid and loving foundation for a new life and journey together as husband and wife.
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