Wedding Day and Honeymoon Fun


wedding day and honeymoon fun We've been busy pinning some fun ideas over one our Pinterest boards! Check out our new board, Wedding Day and Honeymoon Fun, for some great getting-ready attire and pre-wedding special touches. Plus, some honeymoon ideas too! What fun ideas have you pinned recently?

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New Year's Resolutions For Your Wedding


Happy new year The beginning of a new year always brings talk of resolutions. But as you start thinking about your list, consider adding some wedding-related goals for 2015:

1. Stick to the budget. Seriously. The first step in planning a wedding is creating a budget. Don't start dreaming of the perfect dress or a spectacular venue until you do so! It will only lead to heartbreak. You'll also need a final guest list so that you'll know how many people to budget for - obviously a wedding for 100 people will cost much more than a wedding for 50. Don't risk starting your married life off with a huge debt from the wedding!

2. Get in shape, but not just for the wedding day. Yes, you may be tempted to lose a few pounds or tone up  your arms or tush before the wedding. And that's great. But consider making healthy lifestyle choices with your partner, and make them a part of your marriage not just your wedding. While you are planning your wedding, you'll be on the go and might be tempted to eat fast food or skip meals altogether. Plan ahead to make healthy choices!

3. Give back and buy local. Chances are, you'll be planning a great party to celebrate your wedding. Why not use local sources as much as possible? Ask your florist if they use local farms, ask caterers about local produce and vegetables. If you are using fresh flowers in your wedding, consider donating them to a local nursing home after the wedding! The residents will love the special thought.

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Christmas Inspiration


Christmas is next week! Yikes! If you are busy with wedding planning, your Christmas preparations may have fallen by the wayside this year. But don't worry, we found some fun and easy projects on Pinterest to inspire you! Head on over to check them out. Merry Christmas! christmas pinterest

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A Reminder About Wedding Insurance


WeddingInsurance_WeddingRisk We've written a few blog posts about wedding insurance before, but here is a reminder: every wedding should have wedding insurance!

As I type this post, fierce storms with damaging winds and enough rain to cause flooding and landslides are hitting California. What if your wedding was this weekend?

Closer to home, a North Florida wedding venue had some issues last month that caused them to tell couples getting married in December that they can't host their events. What would you do if you had 10 days to move your entire wedding? Or if you DJ or photographer suddenly went missing?

Wedding insurance covers so many things that brides and grooms don't want to think about. But saying "it won't rain on my wedding day" doesn't mean you shouldn't have a backup plan. And wedding insurance is the ultimate backup plan.

This article from CNBC illustrates just what a benefit insurance can be. Josh and Kristina paid around $250 for their insurance policy and were reimbursed for roughly $14,000 in deposits they had paid when their Brooklyn wedding venue went out of business. Just like you wouldn't want to drive your $25,000 car without insurance, you don't want to invest that amount (or significantly more) in your wedding and not have protection.

We recommend WedSafe and Wedding Protector Plan for wedding insurance - check out their websites for more info!

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In Favor of the Rehearsal Brunch or Luncheon


Breakfast Brunch Lunch Wedding Rehearsal This morning, at 10:00 am, we had a great rehearsal for tomorrow's wedding. The wedding party went to a lovely luncheon afterward. So who says you have to have a rehearsal dinner?

Having an earlier ceremony rehearsal means plenty of time to relax with your friends and family the day before the wedding. Plus, if you are planning to decorate your own venue (not that we recommend that!) you would have plenty of time to do so. The guys could play a round of golf, since afternoon tee times are much easier to get. The girls have time for a mani/pedi without walking into the venue with still-wet nails. Or here on the First Coast, you have time to hit the beach with your buds!

Of course, if you have lots of people traveling for your wedding, or getting time off work is an issue, a morning rehearsal may not work for you. But why not investigate the option?

Bonus for the groom's parents: brunch or lunch menus tend to be lower priced than dinners, and you won't need as much alcohol!

Would you consider having a rehearsal brunch or luncheon?

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Selecting Music for Your Wedding Reception


_1511-(_D8C7955) We often have couples ask about music selections for their wedding reception. When you hire your band or DJ, they will usually provide a long list of songs they can play. Both bands and DJs can usually get/learn songs that are not on their list, given enough advance warning. But the question we hear a lot is, do I have to make a list of every song I want them to play?

Well, yes and no.

Yes - you need to provide a list (typically 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding) of the special songs like your first dance, parents' dances, final song, etc.

Yes - you need to provide a list of "do not play" songs. Hate the Chicken Dance or the Electric Slide? Is there a romantic song that was "your song" with your ex? Make a list of those so your band or DJ will be sure not to include them.

Yes - you should also make a list of some of your favorite songs from the band or DJ's song list.  They may not play every one at your reception, but it will give them an idea of the music you like.

No - you do not have to make a list of every single song and when to play it. In fact, I highly discourage any hint of this. You have hired a professional band or DJ for a reason. Let them put together a playlist that highlights their talents. And in the case of DJs, they often read the crowd and will play similar music if everyone is on the dance floor.

When in doubt, ask your band or DJ what their preferences are if it wasn't stated in the contract or during your consultation.

(photo by Dan Harris PhotoArt of DJ Jeff Bell in action at Tabatha and Dustin's wedding)

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Bible Verses For Your Wedding


Bible verses for your wedding Couples often come to us looking for poems or Bible verses to incorporate into their wedding ceremony. Here are a few favorite verses!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ruth 1:16-17 Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.

Mark 10:6-9 Jesus said, “From the beginning of creation, `God made them male and female.' `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

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Packing For Your Honeymoon: The Carry-On



When you are busy with a million wedding details, packing for your honeymoon might seem like a low priority. But if you plan ahead, and make a packing list, you'll be on the plane to your dream destination in a flash. Here are some of my favorite things to pack in my under-the-seat carry-on, whether it's a large purse or a tote bag:

  • Notepad and pen: Sure, you can make notes in your phone or tablet, but having paper can come in handy. Maybe you need to write the address of hotel for your non-English-speaking cab driver, or pass little love notes back and forth with your new spouse!
  • Reading material: I prefer electronic reading via my tablet or Kindle, since magazines and books can really add weight to my bag. But, if you plan on buying books or magazines, be sure to do so before arriving at the airport.
  • Ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones: I have issues with ear pain on planes, so I wear ear plugs for take-off and landing. But they also come in very handy when a screaming baby is sitting behind you, or you have an overly chatty neighbor.
  • Scarf or sweater: It seems like airplanes can vary in temperature from 80 degrees to 60 degrees in mere minutes. I prefer to dress in layers to help with the drastic climate changes.
  • Snacks: Let's face it, the junk you can purchase in the airport isn't always the healthiest. And waiting til the flight attendant brings around the little bag of peanuts? Not fun. Pack a little bag of trail mix, granola bars, or other healthy power food to munch on.
  • Water bottle: We all know it's a no-no to take liquids through airport security. But stash an empty bottle in your bag, and fill it up once you've gone through the screening area. If you plan to eat at restaurant inside the terminal, you could even ask your server to put some ice in it! If you are worried about the taste, or traveling somewhere that water is questionable, you could bring along a bottle with a built-in filter.
  • Chargers: During layovers (or extended flight delays), it's always great to give your electronics some extra juice!
  • Medications: It's easy to forget to pack medications in your carry-on.  Remember that flight delays may mean that you need to take your meds before you reach your final destination.
  • Pillow and eye mask: If you're taking a long flight, you may want to bring along a pillow, blanket, or eye mask to help you sleep.
  • Lotion and lip balm: Dry skin and lips drive me crazy! I always keep these two handy on flights, along with eye drops in case my contacts dry out.
  • Valuables: This should go without saying, but be sure your cash/currency, camera, jewelry, and electronics stay with you at all times. Never put these items into a checked bag!

What's your favorite thing to travel with?

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Southern Wedding Traditions


Grooms Cake Jacksonville FL Wedding We're off to Savannah this weekend for the Premier Wedding Expo, so I thought I'd share a few wedding traditions popular in the South:

  • Groom's Cakes: A lot of our clients from other parts of the country haven't even heard of groom's cakes, let alone thought of having one. The groom's cake is supposed to represent the groom's talents or hobbies. Or favorite sports team, which is very popular! (The cake pictured above was from Jenna and Andy's wedding last year.)
  • Pearls: They aren't just jewelry! Although it's popular for brides (and all the women at the wedding!) to wear pearls, they have also made their way into the invitations, the centerpieces, and even the cake!
  • Food: Let's face it y'all. The South is pretty well known for it's scrumptious cuisine. When you attend a Southern wedding, you'll be fed, and fed well.
  • Burying the Bourbon: This one isn't seen quite as often, because many ceremony venues have an issue with you digging up their lawn. But the concept is to bury a full bottle of bourbon upside down at the ceremony site to ward off rain. After the ceremony, dig it up and enjoy it with your guests!
  • Monograms: Yes, Southerners love to monogram anything that will stand still. Just remember, a monogram incorporating both the bride and groom's initials plus their new last name initial shouldn't be used until after the I Do's - it's bad luck!

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Having A Detailed Backup Plan For Your Wedding


TPC Sawgrass Wedding - Tonya Beaver Photography

Here in North Florida, we see a lot of outdoor wedding ceremonies. Most venues have a great indoor space that they reserve as a backup, in case of rain. Which let's face it, happens a lot here, especially in the summer months. (Side note: did you know that Jacksonville gets an average of 14 more inches of precipitation every year than Seattle, which is "known" for it's rain?)

But what if you reception is planned to be an outdoor event? It may not be as simple as "we'll just move inside."

We're working with a sweet couple getting married in October, and planning a "dinner under the stars." Today we met at the venue to talk through all the logistics. As we talked, we came up with very detailed Plan A and Plan B options. Because of the logistics of the space, the two are very different. In fact, quite a bit of the reception schedule will change from Plan A to Plan B.

As you are working through your plans, be sure to think through all the logistics from the guest perspective. Talk to your venue staff about the timing of weather calls, which could be anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours, depending on the complexity of the setup. And communicate Plan A AND Plan B (and Plan C and D if needed!) to all the wedding professionals that will be on-site on the wedding day. But don't wait until the day before! Preparation is key when dealing with Mother Nature.

Note about the photo above: we were playing beat the clock with a storm rolling in just before this ceremony! Luckily we made it, and Ashley and Matt were married in a beautiful ceremony at TPC Sawgrass.

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