Helpful Tips

Multi-Cultural Wedding Tips

ChuppahI had the pleasure of attending the Association of Bridal Consultants’ Central Florida East luncheon yesterday. The guest speaker was Yehudit Steinberg, the founder of the Jewish Interfaith Wedding Network. She specializes in creating ceremonies blending religions and cultures, incorporating both families’ traditions and beliefs.

Yehudit shared some tips that you may want to consider when planning an interfaith wedding.

1. Don’t rush. Long engagements aren’t a bad thing, especially when it comes to blending two cultures or religions. You’ll want to explore your families’ traditions, and decide as a couple which traditions to incorporate into your wedding, and your marriage.

2. Open communication. Encourage your families to be a part of your wedding preparations, especially in terms of the ceremony.

3. Address ceremony options first. Especially when you are considering marrying in a house of worship, you will want to secure the date with your officiants before planning any other aspects of the wedding.  In other words, don’t book your reception venue and then find out it’s Yom Kippur and no rabbi will marry you!

Be sure to visit the Jewish Interfaith Wedding Network website for more great information!

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Engaged and Newlywed Couples

bowling valentineValentine’s Day is next week! And as an engaged or newly married couple, you may not have the resources for a romantic getaway or extravagant dinner. Here are some ideas to make your day special!

1. Have a picnic lunch. If your offices are nearby, why not sneak away for a long lunch at a park? (This is great for us in sunny Florida, but this may not be an option for other parts of the country. How about an indoor picnic after work?)

2. Buy a case of wine. But no, don’t drink it all on Valentine’s Day! Label each bottle with an event you will share in the future – such as “the birth of our first child” or “our first fight as a married couple.” But don’t forget to label one “Valentine’s Day 2013!”

3. Cook a romantic dinner at home. But rather than one person doing all the work, one of you can cook the main course while the other does the appetizers and dessert. Check out Pinterest or for some menu ideas!

4. Personally deliver flowers. Anyone can call an 800-number and order flowers. But it’s much more special if you visit a local florist and buy some loose blooms. Then surprise your special someone at work with a personal delivery!

5. Go bowling. Ok, I know what you’re thinking. Bowling isn’t exactly the way most people want to spend Valentine’s. But guess who does? My sweetie. He bowls every Thursday night (actually Wednesdays and Thursdays), and since Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, guess where he’ll be? Not that I mind – I’m a fan of showing love and appreciation every day, not just one day a year! But guess what? I might just go hang out at the bowling alley next Thursday night. ♥

image source

What is a House Party?

wrist corsage

I know. You’re asking yourself, “Isn’t that what we had in college? Or for the Super Bowl?”

Well, the term “house party” actually applies to weddings too! With Florida being in “the South” but not always truly “Southern,” you may not have heard this term before. Your house party is usually made up of women that you want to honor, but may not be close enough to be bridesmaids. For example, a college roommate you aren’t that close to anymore, the groom’s sister, or your twelve cousins.

Here are some facts about house party girls:

  • They don’t stand at the alter during the ceremony, but they have seats of honor in front.
  • They may have “jobs” during the wedding: reader, guest book attendant, handing out programs, etc.
  • They don’t wear the same dresses as the bridesmaids; they choose their own dress, making it much more affordable! (Often they wear a Little Black Dress)
  • They take part in all the pre-wedding festivities, such as showers, bachelorette parties, and getting-ready photos.
  • The bride gives them a small gift, similar to the bridesmaids, to thank them for their help.
  • It’s a beautiful gesture to give them a corsage or hair flower to designate them as someone special on the wedding day.

What a great way to honor these special women without having 20 ladies in your bridal party! There can also be men in the house party – usually they are ushers at the ceremony, and will have similar seats of honor. They may were tuxedos, but often wear suits with boutonnieres.

(photo source)

You’re Engaged! Five Things To Do First

It’s almost the start of another new year – and it’s definitely the start of a new engagement season! 43% of couples get engaged between November and January according to a recent Wedding Wire survey. With that in mind, we thought we’d re-post an article from this time last year with some great tips for the top five things you should do first. Enjoy – and happy planning!

Congratulations! He popped the question, and you said yes. Your head is probably swirling with a million ideas. We’ve put together a list of the top five things you should do BEFORE anything else – even before picking out a dress or looking at venues!

  1. 5 things to do after you get engagedLet Your Families Know. Start with your parents, and set up a time for them to meet each other if they haven’t already.  Next, share the news with siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. And of course your best friends! Once you’ve made these personal announcements, you can make it “Facebook official” and let everyone else in the world know.
  2. Get Your Ring Insured. This is a step most brides and grooms don’t think about.  If you have homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, talk to your agent about adding the ring to your policy. You’ll probably need an appraisal, and the original purchase receipt.
  3. Talk About Dates. Even if you don’t have “the” date picked out, you should discuss a general time of year, and whether you will be willing to have a Friday or Sunday wedding.  Talk about dates with your families, and also with your officiant or house of worship to make sure you avoid any religious holidays.
  4. Make a Guest List. You’ll need input from your families here too! Ask each set of parents to make their own guest list, and combine them with yours.  From this wish list, you can scale down if necessary.  It’s important to have a ballpark idea of how many guests will be invited before you start looking at venues, and of course for budgeting purposes.
  5. Come Up With A Budget. If your families will be contributing financially, talk to them about the amounts they are comfortable with.  Make a list of your priorities (drop-dead photography, incredible food, over-the-top florals) and then start breaking down your budget based on those priorities. You may want to use an online calculator like the one on to help you get started.
Once you have these steps taken care of, you can start looking at wedding gowns, interviewing wedding planners, and searching for the perfect location for your big day.


How Long Should My Wedding Reception Last?

dance floor

We often meet with clients that think their wedding reception should last ALL night long. And in some cases, they are right. But more often than not, less is more when in comes to wedding receptions.

Here in Jacksonville, the typical wedding reception lasts between 4 and 5 hours.  There are some factors that will influence your reception length:

  • The type of meal being served. If you are serving a 5-course meal, your dinner will last longer than an hors d’oeuvres reception.
  • How long your cocktail “hour” will last. Many couples have a “cocktail hour” that lasts longer than an actual hour.
  • Your guest list. If most of your guests are from out of town, and are staying at or near the reception venue, they may be more likely to party later.
  • Venue restrictions. There may be sound ordinances you need to comply with, or your venue may have a limit on the number of hours in your rental fee.

Some reasons to end your reception a little earlier include:

  • The send-off. If you’d like to have a grand exit, you’ll want to leave before all your guests do.
  • You’ll be exhausted. You’ve spent a year planning every detail of this day, and the butterflies in your stomach may not let you sleep the night before!  Plus, you’ll usually be up very early on the wedding day to start hair and makeup.
  • It’s easier on the budget. The longer your reception lasts, the longer you will have to pay for food, drinks, and entertainment.

If you’d like a longer reception, consider staging an “after party” in a different space at your venue. Create a unique setting, and have different entertainment. Or, keep the post-reception casual by meeting at a nearby bar. Just be sure everyone has safe transportation home afterward!