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HOW TO NAVIGATE WEDDING MINEFIELDS

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Your wedding day is on the not-too-distant horizon. It’s time to get down to the joyful and challenging work of planning your wedding. Ideas are starting to take shape. You have the date, the dress, the venue, the officiant and the photographer.
Now what about those devils, little or large, who hide in the details? 
Here are some strategies to help you navigate the minefields and defuse any potentially explosive situations so you can have the wedding you want without turning into Mr. & Mrs. Wedding-zilla on the way!
1.Challenge:Everyone you know wants a say in shaping your weddingSolution: Be open to their ideas, while keeping firmly in mind what you want your wedding to be. Diplomacy and tact and gracious consideration of all suggestions are key.
2Challenge: Family and friends want to participate and feelings are running highSolution: Where possible, give them active roles - anything from being in the wedding party, being witnesses, seeing to the flowers, working out the seating…

Top Tips to keep children (and the two of you) happy at your wedding

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Many couples want their own or other people’s children to be included as particpants in the wedding ceremony. And/or as guests at the wedding. This can be very charming and special. It can also be a cause of chaos and may even end in everyone dissolving in tears—including the two of you.  Here are some tips to make the inclusion of children as stress-free as possible, for them and for you.  1 Make the child feel comfortable If a small child, say under the age of six, is participating in your ceremony, as a flowergirl or ring-bearer, always ensure that there’s someone with whom that child feels comfortable to walk with (or to carry them) up the aisle – yourselves or someone in your wedding party, or a family member, guest or nanny.  What works very well is to have one parent set the child on its way at the bottom of the aisle, and the other wait at the end. If the child gets stagefright, he or she can just be picked up, carried, and comforted.  Be prepared that the child may simply have a …

10 WAYS TO CELEBRATE WITH YOUR VALENTINE

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There’s nothing wrong with the Valentine’s tradition of giving your love a bouquet of red roses and a box of fabulous fancy chocolates.
But there are there are lots of other beautiful red flowers out there - including alstroemerias and gerbera daisies; and many people prefer caviar to candy. And still others don’t need you to prove your love with gifts. Just your company and words of love are enough.

Here are 10 ways to celebrate your love without breaking the bank
1. Take the day off work You could both book the day off work so you can go somewhere special or do something special – hiking, walking, skiing, snowshoeing. Or drive to your favourite out of town restaurant or scenic country place.
2. Dine in Decorate the table with your best china, candles, and flowers. Then cook up, ideally together, each other’s favourite dishes, accompanied by good juice, wine, sparkling water or champagne, and an over-the-top-dessert featuring chocolate, of course!

3. Watch a movie at home Cuddle up …

Top Tips for Grooming your Wedding Guest List

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Deciding who to invite to your wedding is fun, and a challenge. Don’t tear your hair out or getting into rock ‘em sock ‘em fights with your partner or parents about it. Get organized instead.
Following these Top Tips will help you have the guests you want and stick to your budget.
1. Prioritize your list Right from the start, make yourself a list with three columns for different types of guests: Family, Friends, Frills. Use it to write down who you would want to invite if your budget were limitless and the venue enormous. 
In the Family column, put close family first, and more distant relatives below. In the Friends column, list the friends you really want to be there. And in the Frills column, list anyone else, such as colleagues, co-workers and neighbours, who you would like to include if your budget stretches that far, but who aren’t vital for your happiness. 

2. Check it twice, then edit it down Add up the numbers, then think again about who of these people you want to invite, wh…

Ten Favourite Wedding Readings

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Readings at a wedding ceremony can add a wonderful special personal touch to your wedding. They can reflect who you are, set the mood of the ceremony and give family members or friends a chance to play an active role in the occasion.
For inspiration with selecting the reading or readings that are right for you, here are Ten Favourite wedding readings, as chosen by the hundreds of couples whose weddings I have officiated.
For each I’ve included an excerpt from the poem to give you a taste
1. Gifts from the Sea by Anne Morrow LindberghFor the couple who love natural imagery of the sea  “Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”

2. from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de BernieresFor the couple who love images of trees “Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away…roots that grow towards each other unde…

Will you marry me?

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Calling all about-to-get engaged couples
December is high season for proposals. If you’ve been together a while and have even vaguely begun to think about getting married, or are ready to make your proposal, here are some things to think about so that the proposal is perfect for you and your partner.

Make it a moment that shines and is a fabulous memory ever after.

1. When will you propose? The two most popular dates for proposing are both in December: Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It’s understandable, seeing that is when most people are with be with family or close friends, and a proposal adds immensely to the festive and celebratory occasion.


More important, is there a date that’s significant to the two of you – her birthday, his birthday, the anniversary of your first date, the date you moved in together?
If so, that’s the date to make the proposal.
2. Do you want the proposal to be a total surprise?


The majority of proposals are a total surprise to the person being proposed t…

10 FUN THINGS (plus one practical) TO DO RIGHT AFTER YOU GET ENGAGED

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Hooray! You've just got engaged! Now what?
There is no other feeling in the world like the feeling that you’ve just got engaged to the person you love most in all the world. You’re on Cloud 9, actually Cloud 999. You feel you might just burst with the joy and the excitement. Here are 10 fun things and one practical thing to do in those first moments and days.



1. THE MOMENT Savour the moment with each other before rushing to tell your family and friends. It’s a mini version of the wonderful Jewish custom of Yichud, where the newly-weds share a few minutes together right after the ceremony before going to join their guests in a receiving line or other celebration. It’s a way of treasuring and marking that intense moment and the emotions of love and excitement it brings.


2.THE ENGAGEMENT CELEBRATION DATE Go on a date that very day or night, or as soon as possible to your favourite restaurant, place, event or activity or even have a weekend away just the two of you, to savour being f…