How To Stay Sane While Planning for Your Wedding!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Caring For Your Out-Of-Town Guests Pt. 2

More from Tobey Dodge

When it comes to giving directions to the rehearsal dinner and the wedding ceremony/reception, some details really make the difference in your guests comfort level and enjoyment quotient.

A few annotations to the google map or mapquest info is always a big help. Make sure you have personally driven the route/s your guests will most likely be taking to make sure if there are any guideposts or difficult areas to understanding the traffic lights or signs. Let the virgin driver to the area know about the two way stop signs, round-abouts, and narrow or windy roads ahead of time. Often these quaint places chosen for the wedding and rehearsal dinners are off the beaten path tucked away in the nooks and crannies of a romantic hideaway village.

It's good to have an emergency number of someone with a responsible nature to call for a damsel in distress or a missing uncle who changed trains or planes and didn't tell someone in time during the wedding weekend.

Most importantly as a bride and groom, remember that you can't make everyone happy at the same time. There are bound to be some loveable nut cases in every group that will never be satisfied, no matter how much pre-planning you do.

Soo, keep in mind that the way to spend the most time with your guests on the wedding day is to take the majority of your photos with both the bride and groom, family, and irresistible friends before the ceremony if possible. Have water, light snacks, and a place to sit for the extended family and wedding party during the pre ceremony prep hours so there will be no shrinking violets or grumpy groomsmen to contend with while taking photos before the ceremony.

Weddings often take on a secondary role as a family reunion too. So leave enough time in the wedding weekend for informal "get togethers" with distant relatives if you like. Weddings are often a time to renew old friendships and make new connections with the new (in-law) family too.

Don't expect the over 60 crowd to stay until the last note is sung, even if they were disco dance champions in the 70's. They had a great time, but something on or in their bodies starts to talk back after about 6 hours of eating, drinking, and dancing, so don't take their actions as a barometer of your wedding in anyway. The later everyone shows up to the brunch is a good indication of whom had spent the most time at the bar and on dance floor the night before.

Hopefully, you will be able to take a deep breath and get a good night sleep the next day, giving you some reflective moments before you leave for the honeymoon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Caring For Your Out-Of-Town Guests

Tobey Dodge is a wonderful event coordinator--gracious, competent, with a great sense of humor--a rare combination! Here she offers some advice on what to do with out-of-town guests, an often overlooked aspect to wedding planning

What to do with Your Traveling Guests

Over the last 20 years I have seen my share of destination weddings, both in town when most guests are from out of town or when most everyone is going out of town to a distant location. Often brides try and figure out activities that the traveling guests will enjoy from the minute they touch down on the tarmac to the last dance of the wedding night. The guests are often picked up by limo or shuttle and whisked away to the hotel or resort where they are staying.

The logistical juggling act begins when the bride and groom attempt to drop gift bags off to the designated hotels while simultaneously attending the carefully choreographed events as the guests trickle into town on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before the wedding. So keep in mind that families do vary in their attitudes of how much hand-holding they want to do for their nearest and dearest of kin.

If you have special needs guests, or want to have a hang loose kind of weekend, it's best to let your traveling guests know that ahead of time so no one has made assumptions in either direction on what to expect or is expected to be taken care of during their stay.

Some brides might say, "Well there are only 20 guests coming from out of town, they can find their own way". After all, there is GPS, Mapquest etc. to get you where you are going nowadays". To tell you the truth, It really doesn't matter if the wedding is for 40 or 400, you have the same steps to take in preparing for their (guests) arrival and activities. The trick here, is to figure out a balance between letting them wander the woods of Vermont and camp out with the bears to practically wrapping the guests in swaddling from the airport ramp to their wedding dinner table seating assignments.

Even if you have globe trekkers for family and friends, everyone enjoys being taken care of to some degree for a special event like a wedding. You can always post on a wedding website the possible options for the guests to take advantage of during their stay with telephone numbers for their own scheduling needs. When you get into golf games and tennis matches, you are opting to add layers of administration and logistics to the weekend. It's best to assign someone other than immediate wedding party members to do the grunt work to make those kind of activities a reality without too much fuss or muss.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gateway To The World

Love, I think, is a gateway to the world, not an escape from it.
Mark Doty

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Listening: The Greatest Gift

I recently met with a couple who invited me to have a pizza as we finalized the ceremony details. The groom reminded me that it was going to be 90 degrees the afternoon of the outdoor ceremony. He insisted that we keep it barebones short. A cloud came over the bride’s face. She was Roman Catholic and her family already was upset that she wasn’t getting married in the Church. She wanted a ceremony that wasn’t rushed. The groom dove into his pizza and the bride dabbed the tears hovering in her eyes. I asked the bride to tell her fiancé her concerns. He put his pizza down and listened. He was surprised and then admitted he’d forgotten so much of what she had just expressed. In the weeks leading up to this final meeting, he hadn’t really listened to her—not with his ears; not with his eyes.

Stress increases when a bride and groom don’t fully listen to each other. Good listening is one of the surest ways to prevent stress from beginning.

I’ve observed that by the time a couple begins planning for their wedding, they’ve developed patterns of listening and not listening to each other. The planning process is going to test just how good those rituals are.

Stressed with work, couples rely on trusted technology to get things done. However, getting things done is not the same as listening. Listening doesn’t happen with the click of a “send” button. Listening demands “seeing”—what the other is saying, as well as not saying.

If a bride and groom don’t listen to each other, confusion quickly moves in. I see this when I meet with couples—those who’ve listened to what each wants and those who’ve not. With those who have been listening, there’s a lighthearted tone to our conversation. And with those who haven’t, there are many awkward moments that I need to smooth over.

Are you listening to each other?

Are you satisfied with the quality of listening?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Love Doesn't Like Being Alone

Couples will often ask me if I can recommend readings. Well, here is a reading that a couple recently used at their ceremony. I love it!


On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.

Love doesn't like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.

But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.

Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.

Falling in love is like owning a dog
an epithalamion by Taylor Mali

Sunday, October 26, 2008

You Can't Make Everyone Happy––Really!

At a friend’s 40th birthday party, I met a couple who had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. The man and his family are culturally Jewish; the woman is agnostic; her father is an atheist and her mother Roman Catholic. They told me that they were quickly overwhelmed with the politics laced through the planning. Politics always hinges on the little things.

The father was upset that his daughter was not going to have a blessing as it would make her mother happy. The Jewish side suddenly became very observant. Huppah, smashing of the glass, ketubah.

Huh? The couple was amazed and puzzled. Where did these people come from?
The couple decided to work through each issue as it came along—prioritizing the wacky from most to least important. They gave it the best they had and trusted the good will of all involved.

They didn’t satisfy everyone. Some people chose not to be happy.

In the end, though, people rallied and surrounded them with the best love they had—and gave them everything they wanted from Crate&Barrel!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How To Show You Care

I officiated a wedding recently in a chapel built on the grounds of a retirement home. The bride’s great-grandfather had built the chapel. It was there that he officiated the wedding of the bride’s grandparents. Tradition and family made this space especially sacred.

The couple was glowing and their smiles made them feel relaxed. They were so in the moment. And then, as I was speaking, the bride spotted something on the groom’s jacket. Instinctively, she reached across and flicked it away. Everyone laughed, though the couple seemed clueless to our reaction.

It was an exquisite moment. That one gesture spoke to the reality of marriage--caring in simple ways—seeing—reaching gently across to help each other. No wonder we laughed—in joy, recognition, and affirmation. . .

Friday, September 5, 2008

More Sanity Saver Questions

Here are two more SANITY SAVER questions to reflect upon as you catch your breath during one of those rare moments when you can.

• What do you most like about yourself?
• What are the gifts you bring to your partner?

Do these questions make you squirm? Good! When confronted by these questions, most of us do squirm.

Please understand that I’m not asking you to consider what you’re going to DO for your partner. Rather, I’m asking you to consider what it is about you that you prize so much that you want to share it with your partner.

Often times we feel uncomfortable reflecting upon and naming the good that we are; but, name it you should. The more you can understand and appreciate what makes you unique, the more confidently will you say “I do.”

Friday, August 29, 2008

Advice From A Bride

Kristeen is marrying Josh in November. In the thick of planning, here is some advice she offers to brides just starting out. . .

I get asked all the time how I keep my sanity in check while planning my upcoming wedding. No matter what stage of planning you’re at, the best tip I can give you is to regularly visit online wedding communities to get ideas of what others are doing.

Hands down, the best site I’ve come across is Project Wedding. With vendor reviews and photo galleries, the site is completely ad-free. Spamming vendors are not allowed.

The most useful section of the site is the message board, frequented by hundreds of brides-to-be. I’ve been posting since March and am still amazed at how supportive and inviting the other women are. Anytime I’ve had a question or just needed to vent about my family driving me crazy, the ladies of Project Wedding have always been there. My fiancé has gained from me posting as well – he even posted my 500th message as a thank you to the gang for keeping me so happy. Trust me ladies, the guys don’t care if your napkins are celadon or sage, but we brides do.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sanity Saver Questions

• What does your day look like as you picture it in your head?
• What does your wedding day mean to you?
• What would have to happen for your wedding to be ruined?
• Are you focused on the perfect or the magical?

Yes, everybody knows what a wedding means—or at least what it is supposed to mean. Yet, too often, I’ve seen couples in the hub-bub and chaos of planning for their wedding day, lose sight of just what the day means to them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tips On Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

I recently met Kari Kochar, a wedding photographer with a keen eye for warmth and style. We quickly realized that we share a common philosophy regarding weddings. I've invited her to share with you some of her tips on what to keep in mind while choosing your photographer.

Personality – IMO, this is one of the most important things!!!

Is the photographer that you meet someone that you can get along with (for your whole wedding)? This is really important, since you will probably spend more time on your wedding day with your photographer than almost any other person and that will also show in the photos if you do not connect with them. And also, is the photographer someone you can get along with throughout the whole process (hiring, engagement session, wedding day and afterwards in designing your album- that is often a 2 year time period)

Experience Level – I strongly recommend that you don’t hire a family member or friend and that you specifically hire a wedding photographer (not an advertising photographer, fashion photographer etc.), but someone with a lot of experience shooting weddings- I’ve lost count of the number of stories I’ve heard where the photographer didn’t have enough experience and lost the photos, their equipment failed, they acted or dressed inappropriately, they missed key important moments, since they lacked the experience shooting weddings, etc.

1. How many weddings? (my rec: at least 25, or more)
2. How long have they been doing weddings? (my rec: at least 2 years)
3. Formal Training? (I do think a photographer can learn on the job, but I know several photographers, and I think the best ones are the ones with formal schooling in photography)- gives them a level of photographic sophistication.

Kari will share more tips in my next entry.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What To Look For When Choosing A DJ

A DJ can make or break a party. While I don't often get to a reception, I have heard many DJ's at ceremonies. Lee Dyson of Hey Mister. DJ, is someone I've worked with and whose work stands apart from the crowd. I asked him to jot down some thoughts on what to look for when you choose a DJ:

In the past you could safely bet that if you were hiring a DJ they had to be good because the would have needed to spend thousands of dollars on music and equipment not to mention the amount of hours on researching music etc...
It was a profession that only the seriously passionate and committed would undertake.

These days it’s much easier for anyone who is a fan of music to pick up some gear and call themselves a DJ.

This is mostly to the change in technology- MP3 downloads, Ipods, computer programs that mix for you, sophisticated cd turntables etc.... the DJ market is flooded more than ever before with hobbyist & bedroom DJs that
are out trying to compete in the professional market without any experience or the level of professionalism you’d expect.

It can be tough for a client to navigate these waters especially when they don’t know what questions to ask or how to identify a talented, experienced, professional DJ.

Often, the client knows what they like when they hear it, but as they start looking for a DJ they begin to realize that they don’t know how to articulate what exactly they need or the style they want.

The style of my company is unique:

We bring the best attributes of the Nightclub DJ & the Mobile DJ together. We provide the hip style & aesthetics of a club DJ (without the attitude or flake factor) and marry it with the professionalism and etiquette that is typically expected from a Mobile DJ. (Without the cheesy factor)

Here is some basic advice:
Before I contract any job I prefer to meet with the client so we can both get a feel for each other and see if we are on the same page or have any chemistry. I think it’s important to have good level of comfort with your vendors, which allows you to relax the day of the event and it usually allows us to have a stronger performance.

You can learn a lot from a meet & greet with a potential DJ.

• Are they able to meet you on time?
• Are they organized and prepared?
• Can they articulate their style and way of doing things?
• Do they listen to you and take your input?
• Do they seem like they could relate to your guests?

I believe in going with your gut so if you genuinely like the vibe of someone then put them to the top of the list but remember that no matter how great someone seems during a meeting you still don’t know if they understand how to program a room properly or create a smooth flow of energy with their music selection.

Ask to hear sample mixes of their work or even better if they are playing someplace locally where you can audit their performance.

Lee Dyson
Hey Mister DJ

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

# 8 of 9 Wedding Truths To Keep In Mind

You are a couple. Remind each other of your love.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

# 7 of 9 Wedding Truths To Keep In Mind

You are a couple. And your family members are consistent. No one is going to change. Be prepared for all those old familiar buttons being pushed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

#6 of 9 Wedding Truths to keep in mind

You are a couple. Your shared attitude + skill is your key to reducing frustration.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

# 5 of 9 Wedding Truths To Keep In Mind

You are a couple. Whatever challenges one of you may encounter see them as being shared by the two of you.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

# 4 of 9 Wedding Truths To Keep In Mind

You are a couple. You are each other’s home. And from that place of home, you may have to have conversations with family or friends that are “sticky.” Keep the following in mind:

• do not keep things bottled up inside

• speak from a place of “I”—do not begin with “you this” and “you that”

• do not accuse, do not yell, do not be sarcastic

• make it safe for you and the other--ask if you can talk with them about the issue that is troubling you

• speak assertively—not aggressively

• resist becoming defensive--take responsibility for your share of the situation without assuming a posture of guilt

• make sure you are speaking about the “right” issue—is it a particular experience or is it a pattern of behavior you need to address? Is it a specific incident or the feelings that incident aroused in you?

• focus on what it is you want from the conversation—is this person capable of giving you want you want?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

# 3 of 9 Wedding Truths To Keep In Mind

You are a couple. Again I say—establish boundaries. You are no longer a child. You are not a pair of children playing house. People owe you respect. Do what is needed to receive that respect.
• say “no” when needed
• understand you cannot please everyone
• respect your right to feelings
• recall that you cannot change anyone
• refuse to be taken advantage of

Sunday, May 18, 2008

#2 of 9 Wedding Truths To Keep In Mind

You are a couple. You are not victims. Take responsibility for your wants, needs, wishes, feelings, choices. All of these have consequences. With courage, embrace these responsibilities and consequences. This is the only way you can honor and protect each other.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

# 1 of 9 Wedding Truths To Keep In Mind

When I meet with a couple a week or so before their wedding, I usually find them to be both excited and exhausted. They’re excited because “the” day is near at hand. And they’re exhausted because of all the demands, challenges, and stress they never imagined they would encounter during the planning of their “big day.”
In the hope of helping you reach the end of your planning a little less dazed and confused, let me remind you of some truths worth not losing sight of. . .
You are a couple. Protect each other. Is your mother or some other family member or friend complaining about “that person” you’re marrying? The time to set boundaries is now—not after your wedding. Remember—we train people how to treat us. And “train” is not too strong a word.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Advice From A couple

Here's some wonderful advice from Jessica, who was married last November.

Alright ladies, I'll give it to ya straight. There is simply nothing I or
anyone else can tell you that will keep you from going insane while
planning your wedding. In fact, If you ask me, planning a wedding is an
act of insanity in and of itself. So if you considered yourself a
relatively stable person previous to this endeavor, well, that's all over
now. Your only hope is to have this descent into crazy land accompanied by
the knowledge that if it meant the same man would be waiting for you up
that aisle, you'd do it all over again.

With that said, I do have a few tips that might just get you out alive!

1) First and foremost, make it a point of pride not to become a "Bridezilla". It's
so very cliched, not to mention obnoxious.

2) Don't have a rock solid, live or die, image in your mind of how something must
turn out. It will only make it all the more upsetting if something should go wrong.
And something always goes wrong. Just have a good idea and a good plan, and hope for
the best.

3) Delegate,Delegate,Delegate! Bridesmaids, groomsmen, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, that
weird guy standing in the kitchen! Give em' all jobs!!! Seriously, assign smaller
tasks to people you trust. For instance, have Aunt Mitzy make sure all the wedding
favors are properly placed out. That way your head isn't swirling with a trillion
things on the Big Day and you can focus on you!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How To See Beyond Your Self-Doubts

A bride recently shared with me that she loves her partner not because he is her life, but rather because he gives her life. He gives her the courage to embrace her self—her life—and invites her to dare and create a life with him.

In the early days of dating she wondered why he wanted to be with her. Two years ago, when he proposed, she quickly said “yes,” and then more intently began to wonder why he would want to spend his life with her.

She told me that as she navigated through her self doubts, the great gift he gave her was to help her see that these doubts were just lies she told herself. He helped her to see more clearly and freely the person she was in that moment in her life. He helped her envision who she wanted to become.

He couldn’t live life for her. He could, though, help her embrace life with confidence—a confidence that comes from recognizing her strengths and acknowledging her weaknesses.

And in the learning to see herself with a new clarity, she was able to see that she, too, gave her fiancé life—in ways that he had never experienced before.

Lovely—I know. And in the grind of our daily lives, this is so demanding. Yet, is this not what "I Do" is all about?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Through The Eyes Of Your Partner

How shall we know ourselves, except in the clarifying mirror of some other gaze?
Mark Doty

The sweetness and whimsy of this moment was captured by Aaron Delesie.  Aaron is a favorite of mine, especially for his keen eye that is both playful and utterly romantic. You can enjoy more of his work and read his own wedding musings by visiting his blog 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Advice From A Couple

Anna & Adam had the challenge of planning their Los Angeles wedding while still living on the East Coast. Their advice is great for anyone--whether you're planning a local wedding or a destination one.

My fiancé and I planned our Los Angeles wedding from the East Coast. We gave ourselves a year and a half to plan, which felt like just the right amount of time. The best advice I can tell anyone planning a long-distance wedding is to value word of mouth. My parents and brother still lived in Los Angeles at the time, and whenever they went to a local wedding they would get the name and contact information of a vendor they thought was good. We found our photographer, DJ, string trio, and officiant (JP Reynolds) all via word of mouth!

Also, don't hesitate to get your friends and family involved in helping out with hands-on things. Almost everything at our wedding was made possible by the help of someone we knew (cake, flowers, centerpieces, favors, decorations). Because of this, everything felt personal and special. Plus, the people who helped were honored that we asked them to participate in our planning, and we were honored that they agreed to help.

Finally, we couldn't have kept track of all the planning without the help of They have some wonderful planning tools that help keep everything manageable. If you are planning your wedding on your own, we recommend that you get started as soon as possible and use a wedding planning website! Good luck and don't forget to have fun!

---Anna Modecki and Adam Fuchs

Friday, April 11, 2008

Advice From Event Planner Maryam Forutan

When I invited Maryam Forutan to share her thoughts on wedding planning, she shot back an e-mail within an hour.  She told me that the following is the most important advice she offers each of the couples who plan their wedding with the help of her company, Delicate Details.  Maryam is known for creating warm, gracious, sensuous weddings. . .and so she knows of what she writes!

When planning your wedding, remember that this day is about you and your fiancé. It is about everything that makes you both happy. Unfortunately, you may not always be able to satisfy others...but as long as you are true to your dreams and your vision, your wedding day will be perfect!

So often many brides and grooms get consumed in trying to make everyone else happy that they loose focus on what really matters. In other words, your wedding day is about the beautiful union of your love and commitment...not about which side dishes your guests will prefer or the comfort of the cushions on the chairs. Each and every person at your wedding should be there because they love you and are thrilled to be a part of your special day!

To learn more, please visit Maryam at Delicate Details

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

5 Tips To Help You Listen In A Kinder Way

A couple came to my home for an initial consultation. We met in my living room. The bride and I were in animated conversation, while the groom tried his best to look interested. Then, out of nowhere, he interrupts and asks me: “great TV—do you mind if I ask how much?”

The bride became annoyed that he hadn’t been paying attention to what she was saying to me; and the groom became annoyed that she was annoyed over “nothing.”

You’ve got to love it!

As I've written in previous posts, good listening goes a long way to reducing the stress of wedding planning.
So, here are my. . .

5 tips to help you listen in a kinder way

1. Get rid of all distractions. Yes, turn the TV off and agree not to answer any phone call. Don’t let your eyes or your mind wander. You’ll have time for all those other things later.

2. Listen openly, without becoming defensive, even if you don’t readily agree with what your partner is saying.

3. Don’t interrupt or finish each other’s sentences.

4. Ask your partner to explain what he means, she means if you don’t understand his thinking or her take on things.

5. Let your non-verbal cues, i.e. the look in your eye, the movement of your head and body, show that you care about and are interested in what your partner has to say.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Advice From A Couple

Vegas, baby! That is what good meaning friends told me when I announced Gary and I were engaged. “Why spend all that money and time on a huge wedding” they asked. Well, we learned that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a meaningful and memorable day.

What my fiancée and I found helpful was deciding what the most important priorities were for us. For me it was the venue and date, for him it was the music. We then stuck to our priorities and let the other typical wedding elements be accommodated only where possible. For example, we spent more money on the band than we had originally budgeted but we scaled back on our flowers and centerpieces because those were not as important to us. What we saved by skipping the videographer we put into a better photographer than we otherwise could have afforded. And don’t tell anyone but our cake came from a grocery store bakery!! Where you cut back is up to you.

Collaborating with and delegating tasks to your family and trusted friends will also ease the pressure on you and make for a more meaningful day for everyone. If you find a way to balance all of the pressures around you will find that your day will be more beautiful and fun than you expected. Spending your special day with loved ones, family and friends will create memories that you and they will never forget, whatever size wedding you manage to have.

Leave Vegas for the cynics, baby!

Trish & Gary

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Advice From A Couple

I've been privileged to celebrate the weddings of some wonderful couples. From time to time I will invite a couple to share with you their advice, now that they are the married ones--and the craziness is over! Here are 3 tips from Jessica. . .

Make the planning process romantic!
We had so much fun picking out the music. We got the band’s play list and bought a lot of the CDs of our favorite artists. We spent many nights dancing to all of the songs on the play list. When we had to discuss wedding details or family issues, we talked while walking along the beach. Every time we accomplished something big on our list, we celebrated by going out to a delicious dinner. (I can still taste the lobster w/ mango butter sauce.) You’re only engaged for such a short amount of time, go out of your way to create positive memories that will last a lifetime.

Practice your vows in your head weeks before the day of your wedding!
I would lie in bed and stare up at the ceiling and visualize how I wanted the wedding day to go and how I would start my vows (I actually had an opening joke.) When the day arrived, I was eerily calm. I didn’t concern myself with the last minute details. I knew everything was going to work itself out. When the time came to walk down the aisle I was beaming ear to ear. I could not wait to confess my love for my future husband.

Take care of your vendors and they will take care of you.
I still keep in touch with a couple of my vendors. We really created solid friendships. Every time I sent an email or made a call, I was sure to ask how they were doing. I was gracious and sincere at every encounter and it made such a difference. My florist went above and beyond the call of duty and took care of so many “extra touches” that were not a part of the contract. When I walked around the reception, I was awed by her work. She went above and beyond and it made a world of difference. Everyone did!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Breathtaking Moments

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
George Carlin

This photo was taken by Victor Sizemore.  Memorable is the first word that comes to mind to describe Victor's work.  He's a classy guy with a keen, intuitive eye.  I encourage you to visit him at

Saturday, March 29, 2008

How Not To Press Your Partner's Buttons

a few more thoughts on listening. . .

There is a host of reasons why we don’t listen well to each other. In the whirlwind of our daily lives, the most common reason is that we are just too busy and because we’re busy, we’re tired, and when we’re tired we don’t want to take the effort needed to listen well.

There is another very common reason for why we don’t listen. Do you ever want to listen to someone who is “pressing your buttons?” Why would you want to listen to someone who enjoys tossing out phrases such as:

What’s wrong with you?
Why don’t you ever listen to me?
You always. . .
You never. . .
Know what you should do?

The truth is that we don’t listen to people who complain, whine, nag—people who press our buttons. We simply tune them out.

You and your partner have been together long enough to know exactly how to press each other’s buttons. So, why do it now as you’re planning for your wedding?

You know that you have more than enough people in your lives who are fighting for a chance to press your buttons.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Texting Is Not Communicating!

“Is there anything you know you do want or anything you know you don’t want in your wedding ceremony?” is one of the first questions I ask a couple. When I recently asked this question, the bride smiled (sort of) and said:

“we were supposed to talk about this stuff on the ride over here but he (the groom) was too busy taking calls from work—so, we don’t know what we want.”
She actually seemed more resigned than angry. After all, that’s what life is like for all of us these days. 

Blackberries. Trios. Text messages. I.M. Email. Voice mail. We do business and live our lives in a swirl of information. Yet, how often are we actually communicating, listening?

It’s been said that
listening is the greatest act of love.

If so, then the greatest thing you can do for each other, while planning your wedding (and beyond), is to listen to each other.

And how you listen to each other now is a sure indication of how you will listen to each other the week after your wedding.

Do you listen to each other?

or, better. . .

Do you feel that your partner listens to you? Really listens?

The Chinese characters for “listen” are:
Undivided attention

Think about it. Isn’t it true that when you really listen to someone, you are not just “hearing” them? You are focused on them—on their face—on their body movement—and on what they don’t say.

So, how good a listener are you?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Conversation That Is Marriage

I was grabbing dinner at one of my favorite bistros. The staff knows me and brings me “the usual” without my having to ask. I was lost in a book when I happened to glance up and look across the room. Two tables lined the opposite wall.

At one sat a young couple—20’s—laughing, animated. And at the other table sat an elderly couple—70’s—talking, smiling.

I thought—now here is a snapshot of marriage—before and after.  And except for the wrinkles, little differentiated the older couple from the younger.

Smiling, talking, laughing.
A lifetime of hearty conversation.

Sometimes couples tell me that they’re so busy they hardly have time to talk.

Do you want to reduce stress? Then schedule time to talk—about the important things of your wedding.

Here are 3 conversation starters:

1. Who are your role models for marriage? Why are they models?

2. When people speak of your wedding, what 3 words do you want them to say? What 3 words do you not want them to say?

3. On you 25th wedding anniversary, what would you like to look back upon?

Friday, March 21, 2008

How To Resist Emotional Blackmail

Last month I met a fellow who is getting married in a Catholic church. Neither he nor his fiancée go to Sunday Mass. They wanted to have an outdoor ceremony. His parents “threw a fit.” They threatened to boycott the wedding. He and his fiancée didn’t want to hurt his parents, so they caved-in. Now they are not happy and they just want to get the whole “thing” over with.

The simple truth is—you are not responsible for other people’s feelings. We are each responsible for our own feelings—and the choices we make based on those feelings.

Brides often tell me of the compromises they’ve made so as to “make peace.” It’s fine to please your mother and go with her choice of table linen. It’s another thing to get married in a church, where you don’t even worship, just to make your parents happy.

Remember--this is your wedding.

This is not your friends’ wedding. It is not your vendors’ wedding. And it certainly is not your parents’ wedding.

While it is good and important to keep others’ feelings and wishes in mind, it is not in your best interest as a couple to be guided by the mantra, “we don’t want to hurt anyone.”

You are not going to please everyone. It is not your responsibility to please everyone. Nor are you responsible for how people react to your choices.

Be true to who you are as a couple and create a wedding that authentically celebrates you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Being Shelter And Home To Each Other

From this day forward
You shall not walk alone.
My heart will be your shelter,
And my arms will be your home.

Marianne Williamson

This photo was taken in Malibu by Veronica Puleo. Veronica is classy and intuitive and caps it all off with a great sense of humor. She is a photographer of memories. Click and enjoy a slideshow of a wedding she captured last November.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"I'd Never Do Anything We Didn't Both Plan On"

I recently met with a couple who impressed me--they were so in sync with the planning details.

When talking about the vows, I wanted to point out that different religious traditions and denominations have their own unique wording for the vows. As I began to explain this, the groom interrupted and said that they had already checked out the particular wordings and had made their selection.

I was amazed. I’ve never met a groom who was this well-versed. How did he do it?

The bride smiled and told me that while she does most of the initial research on various aspects of the planning, she runs everything by her fiancé.

She said: this is our wedding and I’d never do anything that we didn’t both agree on.

From my perspective this is how a couple should plan for their wedding. Too often a groom will say: whatever she wants is fine with me. That’s cute and in some aspects is probably wise. A wedding, though, is a bride AND groom’s celebration day. It will be a shared memory.

Plan together and I promise that you will reduce stress!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Advice From Event Planner Michael Willms

One of the things I enjoy about officiating weddings is that I get to work with some wonderfully good and creative people. Each week I will invite various vendors to offer their perspective and advice on planning for your wedding.

One of my favs is Michael Willms , an event planner who is wildly creative and generous.

Michael offers some tips on make-up. When planning a wedding, Michael tends to every detail.

Looking Like Yourself - Looking Beautiful Makeup – Not “Made” Up

When getting ready to make your beauty services selection for your wedding day, why not think about your setting and who will be around you, not just what you look like in front of the mirror?
Ask yourself a couple of questions to get centered:

• When is the last time everyone was looking at me all evening?
• When is the last time I wore a formal gown (the lightest color in the room) at a party for 8 hours plus?
• Is everyone really going to be looking at me from across the room all evening?

Yes, they are, and they are going to love it! ..if you make sure you have sufficient well blended make-up to have it work for you.

Take some photos out of magazines that have similar coloration to you with brows/hair/etc. in line with your own complexion. Lay all photos you selected out together and choose the one that best captures what you want your feel to be.

Get a really good professional artist to do a trial face on a day when you can plan to spend the evening with your fiancée if possible. Wear a button front shirt as close to the wedding dress color when you go for trial beauty. It makes it easier to swap out to a hot little dress. Get ready for people to look at you a bit more than usual and get feedback from your baby. Does he love the way you look? He is probably the one you want to look great for, right?

Make sure and take some photos in daylight and with flash at night. See how the shadows work your face from your makeup. Does it look fantastic on camera? If not you may need to keep looking until you find an artist that gets what you want.
Remember, every face absorbs makeup at different paces and different amounts. You will probably be walking the aisle about 1 ½ to 2 hours after your face is done, so do your real looking and inspecting then. You may think you have too much make up on at first – let it absorb a bit before you get too critical.

You want to look pretty when seen up close and from a ballroom away. If your makeup is correct this magic will happen.