The Do’s & Don’ts of the Bachelorette Party

The Bachelorette Party is a rite of passage for every Bride.  Some like the traditional bar night with free drinks, while others prefer a classier version of wine, cheese and lingerie.  Whichever you choose to throw for your Bride, there are a few rules you need to stick by to make the evening fun and not let it cost you a friendship!

DON’T:  have it the night before the wedding.  A hung-over Bride is not attractive.  Plus, you will all need as much beauty sleep as possible.

DON’T:  have a stripper if you know that it will make the Bride or Groom uncomfortable.  There are a lot of other ways you can have fun without watching a stranger take of his clothes (really!)

DON’T:  look at this party as the last time to shove as much alcohol down the Bride as possible.  Unfortunately, health and safety incidents can happen that may ruin the wedding and your friendship.

DON’T: Make your Bride wear a veil with condoms or penises all over it if that would mortify her.  Some women just don’t like that.

DO:  make the occasion very special!  It’s an opportunity to create memories for the Bride!

DO:  keep the Bride in mind.  If she would rather have a sleepover at a hotel, don’t take her out to 5 bars and force her to drink all kinds of alcohol.  Remember: it’s all about her.

DO: ask the Bride who she would like invited.  She may want her mom & soon-to-be mother-in-law invited.  If so, plan accordingly.

DO:  have a designated driver if there’s drinking – enough said.

DO:  ask the Bride if cameras are allowed.  She may not want photographs of intimate moments to be available.

DO:  have fun!  These are memories you’ll have for a lifetime – assuming you are sober enough or that they are memories that you want to remember!

Here’s to Bliss!

 

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Am I Required to Give My Guests a Plus One?

guest list

Weddings are a big social event and people love going to party the night away.  However, the guest list can cause major headaches for the couple, especially when their venue is small and they can only invite a certain amount of people.

So when inviting guests to your wedding, do you need to give everyone a plus one?

The short answer to this is no.

The rule with Plus ones if:

  • They are married – obviously their spouse should be invited.
  • They are engaged – they are a couple at this point and go together.
  • If they have been together for years – you know that couple, they have been together for 8 years and don’t plan on marrying.

That’s it!  Every one else can come to the wedding solo.  You are under no obligation to feed a person they “need” to have with them to have fun.  If they are truly your friend, they will be there.  If they are petty enough to not come because they will be alone – then fine.  You don’t want them there any way. Plus, it will save you money.

Guests: don’t expect a plus one.  If you have been married and planned a wedding, you will totally get this.  It’s expensive!

Remember – this is YOUR WEDDING.  You invite friends and family to celebrate with you.  No need to add 100 guests who don’t know you from Adam.  It should be enjoyed with people you know.

Here’s to Bliss!

What Exactly Does the Best Man Do?

Groomsmen

Your buddy/brother has just taken the plunge – he’s found the love of his life and proposed.  Now he is up to his neck in china patterns, color swatches, Chicken Marsala, and checklists.  He has entered a world that is foreign and, frankly, a bit scary.  However, there is a silver lining – YOU!

Yes, you, the best friend, the best bud, the Best Man.  Contrary to popular belief, your job is not to find the most expensive stripper and drink the most beer.  Sorry!  You have actually been entrusted with very important duties as the Groom’s right-hand man.

Yes, you will still have fun – really!  Take pride in the fact that the Groom trusts you with such an honor.  So here’s your chance to help your friend through the maze of wedding craziness and, if you follow the suggestions in this Guide, you just might make the Bride fall in love with you, too!

The Duties of the Best Man

In days of old, the Best Man was there to fight any other man or marauding tribe who may come to claim the Bride (yes, seriously).  But because that doesn’t usually happen these days (thank god), you get to help the Groom with the following:

  • Assist the Groom with getting the Groomsmen‘s and Ushers’ measurements taken for the tuxedos.
  • Keep the Groom on-time and organized.
  • Organize the Bachelor party.
  • Ask the Bride and Groom what they would like you to do.
  • Be perceptive to the unspoken needs of the groom in the weeks before the wedding and the day of the wedding.
  • If you are coming in from out of town for the wedding, consider arriving by Thursday evening.
  • Attend ALL of the pre-wedding festivities (except bridal showers); most importantly, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Be available to pick up guests from the airport or hotels, if necessary.
  • Help decorate the hall the night before.
  • Make sure that the Groom has the marriage license the day of the wedding.
  • Clean and decorate the get-away car.
  • Make sure the men of the bridal party are ready, where they should be, and on time for the ceremony, reception, and for pictures.
  • Guard and present the rings during the ceremony.
  • Assist the Groom with all of his clothing and accessories at the church and the reception.
  • Along with the Maid of Honor, witness the signing of the marriage license.
  • Act as the chauffeur to the Bride and Groom if there isn’t a professional hired.
  • Act as one of the hosts at the reception.  Help with anything that needs to be done, dance with the ladies, and thank people for coming on behalf of the Bride and Groom.
  • Act as the “main security official” at the wedding.  If there are any problems, you are to take care of them.
  • Give the first toast (Please don’t be drunk, rude, or crude).
  • Make sure to deliver payment to all vendors (clergy, musicians, disc jockey) the day of the wedding.
  • Assist as needed in removing all items from the reception and cleaning up at the end of the party.
  • Coordinate the transportation for the Groom and Bride to their honeymoon suite or to the airport.
  • Return all of the tuxes the day they are due back after the wedding.

 Your Financial Responsibilities

  • Your tuxedo and all of your accessories.
  • Your travel and accommodation expenses.
  • The bachelor party (sometimes this expense is split between all of the Groomsmen).
  • Your wedding gift for the Bride and Groom.

Final Advice

Nothing is sexier at a wedding than a man that knows what he is doing and is helpful (the tux helps too).  Here is your chance!

Times have changed.  Weddings are becoming bigger productions, and it is hard to get everything done.  If you take the advice above to heart, you will not only help your friend immensely, but the Bride will remember it – forever!  You DEFINITELY want to be on her good side.  Have fun!

 

 

What Exactly Does a Maid/Matron of Honor Do?

maid of honor : jessica newton photography

Jessica Newton Photography

You go, girlfriend!  You are the chosen one – the one that the Bride has entrusted with assisting her with the wedding of the century (at least in her mind!)  By the time the wedding is over, you will be a planner, an organizer, a referee, a weight-loss consultant, a therapist, a counselor, a day laborer, and a gopher – all in the name of the perfect wedding.

If your Bride has chosen a wedding planner, a lot of these will be covered by her.  However, for this blog post, let’s assume she is doing it all on her own.  In this case, you have a lot of roles to fill.  Being in the wedding party is not just a bunch of fun – it is an honor and has responsibilities that go along with it.  Here goes…

Your Duties As Maid of Honor

So, what exactly do you do?  Other than “everything the Bride asks,” there are some tasks that you are specifically responsible for:

  • Assist the Bride in choosing her gown and the gowns for her attendants (if she asks).
  • Follow-up with all of the Bridesmaids to make sure they make their choices and get measured in a timely manner.
  • Keep the Bride on time and organized.
  • Help address invitations.
  • Help the Bride and their family with anything they need.  For example; putting favors together, taking invitations to the post office, deciding on decorations.
  • Attend as many pre-wedding events as possible.
  • Organize the bachelorette party (with the Bridesmaids).
  • Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Help decorate the hall the night before.
  • Make sure the bridal party and the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer are in their places when they are supposed to be.
  • Arrange the Bride’s gown and veil before and after the ceremony.
  • Hold the Groom’s ring before and during the ceremony (if the Best Man doesn’t hold both).
  • Hold the Bride’s bouquet and fix her train during the ceremony.
  • Along with the Best Man, witness the signing of the marriage certificate.
  • Make sure the Bride looks fabulous all day by keeping an extra lipstick and powder with you.
  • Make sure all items get from the church to the reception (unity candle, guest book etc…).
  • Act as a hostess to the wedding guests and assist them in any way they may need.
  • Give a toast after the Best Man. (This is optional.  Ask the Bride if she would like you to do this.)
  • Assist Bride with her clothes after the wedding.
  • Assist as needed in removing all items from the reception and cleaning up at the end of the party.

Your Financial Responsibilities

  • Your dress and accessories.
  • Your travel and accommodation expenses.
  • Make up and hair expenses (This should be your choice.  If you feel you can’t afford it or just don’t want to spring for a professional make up artist be honest and tell your Bride.)
  • The bachelorette party (sometimes this expense is split between all of the Bridesmaids).
  • Your wedding gift for the Bride and Groom.

How to Provide Emotional Support for a Bride

Very carefully!  Patience and forgiveness need to be two virtues with which you are very familiar.  As you know well, women start planning their wedding the moment they are born.  Your Bride is no exception.

Keep her stress level in mind; she has 5,001 things on her mind and in order for her to get them all done she believes that you are not only able to read her mind, but to anticipate any problems that might get in her way.

If you have been watching any of the popular shows on T.V. featuring “Bridezillas,” you know how bad a Bride can get.  I thoroughly believe that most of them need spankings, but I know that even the nicest, most even-tempered Bride can lose it.  So what do you do if your Bride’s stress begins to show?

1.     Take a deep breath.  Not just good for life, but keeps you calm.

2.     Tell her that you are there for her in anyway that she might need – then do it!

3.     If you have any problems with any of the scheduled events, make sure she knows ahead of time.  If you tell her last minute, she’s liable to explode.

4.     If she asks for your opinion, then give it.  Don’t give it to her if not solicited.  The only exception to this is if it concerns something that would really embarrass the Bride.  We have all seen decorations that are so bad we feel that we are on candid camera.  However, this is not an area that warrants your intervention.  Pick your battles!

5.     Sometimes the Bride just needs to vent – or cry.  Let her do it.  She will feel better when she’s done.  Ask her if there is anything you can do to help.  If it is something that doesn’t include anything illegal, do it for her.  If she says nothing, then take her out for some serious chocolate.

6.     Try not to get caught up in family disagreements.  Just be there as support and look for ways that might lessen her stress.

7.     In case of “Maid of Honor abuse,” you need to determine whether it is bad enough to ruin a friendship.  If you walk, or if you confront the Bride on her questionable behavior, there may not only be an ugly scene, but you may never speak again.  I am not giving the Bride a free pass here – but it’s something you need to think about very seriously.

Final Advice

Most likely, this will be a wonderful experience that makes you and the Bride closer.  A wedding brings families and friends together in a common purpose: to see two people commit to each other for the rest of their lives.  Your job is to help the Bride plan this event and prevent her from being committed in another way – to a mental institution.

Remember that this is all in the name of love and friendship and, don’t forget, you can always get her back by having her be your Matron of Honor!

 

Booking Season is Just Around the Corner!

While we are moving out of Prime Wedding season, we are moving into the Holiday Season. YEAH!  That means ENGAGEMENTS are going to happen over the next 3-4 months.  So if you are a Bride who expects that certain question to be asked in the next coming season, please keep the Legacy Barn in your thoughts.  We would love to be a part of your special day.  Tours are free and we can schedule them at your convenience.

Enjoy the weather change, everything pumpkin spice, the candles glowing and the possible snow blowing.  We look forward to serving you in 2018 & 2019!

Where in the World did these Wedding Traditions Come From?

When it comes to weddings, we love us some traditions.  Everything seems to have a tradition: the diamond ring, the proposal, not seeing the bride before, saving the top of the cake, throwing the bouquet…..  But does anyone know WHY we do things this way and is it really important that we follow them?

The answer to both questions is a big fat NO.

Most people have no idea where these traditions came from and why we do them.  I once heard a story about a family that passed down a pot roast recipe where they cut off half the rest of the roast and set it on it’s side.  They did it this way without question for 4 generations.  Finally, the daughter asked her great-grandmother why they did this?  Did it make the roast cook quicker or softer?  The great-grandmother responded, “No dear.  I had to do that because the roast wouldn’t fit in my pan the regular way”.

Such is the way we follow wedding traditions in America.  We do it because it has always been done that way. I promise you, after you learn what you are about to read, you may look at your wedding differently.

Let’s get started.

  • Wedding dresses are white because of purity & virginity: NOPE!  This tradition started when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert.  She was such a popular Queen that it was a huge fashion choice that ultimately crossed the ocean to us.  I have watched as so many older women whisper, “she shouldn’t be wearing white” or “how dare she put color on her dress.  That’s just not right”.  Well, Grandma, you are wrong.  So many people judge others because of misunderstood traditions.  That could be said about so many other things in our society, but I digress…
victoria gown.jpg
  • Engagements Rings Need to be a huge Diamond: Not at all true.  You don’t even need to get a ring to be engaged.  This has become commercialized so much it has become a part of the American psyche.  If you want to learn how this tradition REALLY got started, check out my blog post How Diamond Engagement Rings became one of the biggest scams in the Wedding Industry.  It is amazing that people still feel they have to buy a $4,000 diamond in order to say “I Do”.  No you don’t!
huge ring.jpg
  • The Bride & Groom Not Seeing Each Other Before the Ceremony: Today’s Brides think this tradition is so the Groom can be surprised by her beauty, collapse into tears and “all the feels!” That is not the case. This tradition is based on arranged marriages.  The Bride would enter fully veiled with a blusher over her face & the Groom would Not see his wife until he lifted the veil (and it was too late to run).  There is no real reason for the couple to NOT see each other before the ceremony.  Now they can do “First Looks” which is when they see each other & get great pictures.  They can touch, talk and kiss – not to mention going into the ceremony as a united front.  It helps make the day go more smoothly and and you get pictures over with quickly.  First looks are the way to go.
arranged marriage.jpg
  • You Have to have a full Bridal Party with Bridesmaids, Groomsmen & honor attendants, flower girls, ring bearers OH MY! Again, nope. Back in medieval times, marriage parties had their clansmen and ladies in waiting surrounding the couple in case of marauding tribes would come and try to kidnap the bride.  That’s why the guys stand with their sword side showing.  I kid you not.  Bridesmaids were made to look alike to confuse evil spirits so they couldn’t cause any unhappiness to the Bride.  The Groom was always to the left of the Bride so he could protect her from kidnapping soldiers. In this day and age, we use people who are important in our lives to stand up with us, but it is not crucial to have anyone with you.  As long as you have witnesses to the event, you are official.
Large bridal Party.jpg
  • Saturdays are the best days for weddings: This tradition was started in medival times because it was bath day.  That’s also why they carried flowers (often with fragrant herbs) – to help them smell better and to ward of evil spirits.  Yummy.  These days it seems to be easier to have weddings on a weekend because of our work-week.  But marriages to do not have to be on a Saturday.  You can get married on a Monday and still have the same chance of success as if you got married on a Saturday.  But I do suggest bathing before :0).
bouquet.jpg
  • You have to save the top of the cake, freeze it and eat it on your first anniversary or you will be cursed and everything will go to hell!  Not so!  Things may go to hell before your 1st anniversary :0).  Just kidding.  This tradition is just plain stupid and frankly, dangerous because you could get food poisoning.  You can wrap that cake up as perfectly as they tell you and it will still get freezer burned or worse.  This was originally done so you could eat the top of the cake at your first child’s Christening – which of course, you pushed out quick if you were a good wife.  Emily post was the one who suggested eating it on your first anniversary. You made it a year!  Go get yourself a fresh cake on your anniversary.  You deserve it.  In fact, a lot of cake bakers offer you a coupon for a free six inch cake on your anniversary.  Hey, my body is made by cake & I never turn a chance to eat it down.  However, I prefer fresh and I am sure you will too.  I’m 21 years into a Blissful Marriage so I am proof you can let this tradition go.
top of cake.jpg
  • Throwing the Bouquet & Garter: This tradition is basically to find the next couple that will be married – which we all know, rarely happens. In fact, single people are making it clear that they DO NOT like to be “singled” out and some don’t ever plan on being married.  This is an archaic ritual that people only do because it has been done for years.  Brides like to keep their bouquets now a days because they cost a fortune, hence toss bouquets.  Some Brides don’t like the idea of the Groom disappearing up her dress in front of all their family and friends, and most groomsmen want to catch the garter like they want to catch the plague.  Actually, people used to cut pieces from the Bride’s dress for luck.  Try that now and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t the Guest who got cut!  In a twist to doing it the traditional way, I suggest to couples that they do the anniversary dance which is where married couples come on the dance floor & the couple married the longest is the last on the floor.  The couple presents them with her bouquet and it is a wonderful moment for pictures.  This has been a dying tradition for the past few years.
Garter-Removal.jpg
  • Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue: This comes from our not to distant past – the Victorian era.  It was basically meant for luck for the Bride. Something Old: This represents the ties to the bride’s family and her past. Something New: is the life to come with her new husband. Something Borrowed: is an item from someone who has or has had a successful marriage to pass on the “good luck.”  Something Blue: is for faithfulness, loyalty and purity.  Some Brides use this custom & some do not.  It has a lot of meaning behind it but is ultimately superstitious and not needed.
blue.jpg

 

  • Carrying the Bride over the Threshold: This came from Roman times when the Groom was protecting the Bride from evil spirits in the floor that have come to curse the couple as they start their union. Personally, I think this tradition causes more back sprains and hits to head while trying to get the Bride & her huge dress through the door.  But it seems to be the gentlemanly thing to do – I would just be more concerned with my Groom having pinched a nerve before we got to the wedding night!
threshold.png
  • The Wedding Shower: Just how did the tradition start to throw the Bride a party before her wedding?  Most people believe it comes from a legend in Holland where a Bride’s father refused to pay her dowry.  So her friends and family came together to “shower” her with gifts and money so she could marry her love.  It was a tradition that took off evidently.  I really wish I could create one of those traditions where it happens every 10 years you are married.  I could really use some more towels and sheets!
wedding shower.jpg
  • The Honeymoon: In ages past the couple had to literally hide so other tribes could not come reach the Bride before a child was conceived.  This made the marriage super-duper official because no one wanted to raise another man’s child.  Now, couples go on a honeymoon to get over the wedding planning.  They relax and start their marriage off spending time together without the fear of marauding tribes coming to steal the Bride.  Unless you like that kind of thing.  To each his own.
Honeymoon.jpg
  • The Bachelor Party: This fun night out came from the Romans.  It was the last chance the Groom got to “sew his oats” and for his buddies to feast and toast to him.  It was his last bit of freedom and they partied like it was 1999.  Nice eh?  So throughout the years, we women got in on the fun as well.  Hopefully, no one is sewing their oats one last time!
freedom.jpg

 

So, now that you know MOST of these traditions are based on superstitious beliefs against evil spirits and bad luck – you can choose to incorporate them into your wedding or not.  And when you hear Grandma whisper that you should not wear red on your wedding day, just tell her at least she doesn’t need to be afraid you will be carried off by evil spirits, fairies or demons.  That should shut her up.  :0)

Here’s to Bliss!

How Diamond Engagement Rings Became the Biggest Scam in the Wedding Industry

ring

Ah, the diamond ring: the pinnacle of what every woman expects when the love of their life pops the question.  Woe is the man who dares to defy tradition by buying a small one or worse yet – NOT A DIAMOND AT ALL!

Does that really happen?

Does the man live through the proposal?

Seriously, what Bride could ever expect to start a successful marriage without a diamond ring worth AT LEAST 2 months salary.  Pshaw – everyone knows that’s the rule.

What if I told you this was one of the most successful marketing campaigns – like ever!  There is no tradition connected to the diamond ring.  No rule (note: there are no wedding police out there.  You really can do what you want) saying it has to be a diamond or (GASP!) no ring at all.

In 1938 the De Beers Diamond Company crafted (in my humble opinion) the world’s most effective marketing campaign.  They grew their company from nothing into one of the most profitable businesses by making people BELIEVE and have an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION to their made-up “A Diamond is forever” campaign.  So much so, it has persisted through the past 2 centuries!  Not too shabby De Beers.

Here’s the lowdown on the claims of De Beers:

~ A diamond is forever: well, yeah, I guess if you take care of it.  It will certainly be something you can pass on (if your marriage survives) and you want an heirloom – but that’s about it.  It doesn’t mean that your marriage will last forever (ask 50% of people over the past couple hundred of years).  Also, I might add that it could be said the same of any other rings or jewelry. No real benefit to a diamond over others.

~ It should be AT LEAST 2 months salary: to this, I politely call bull hockey.  Another arbitrary rule made up by the De Beers people to get you to buy more of their diamonds.  And if you are a Bride who expects this or is ready to “Ring Shame” your love, SHAME ON YOU! The size of the diamond does not measure the love or respect he has for you.  That reminds me of something else – hmmmmmmm….

~ A Diamond Ring is an investment: another bull hockey statement.  Very similar to a car, your “investment” loses 50% just by walking out the door. (Kind of like divorces are – buh dum bum.  Thanks every body, I’m here all week). This is not a true statement.  You will never get all the money out of it that you spent on it.  Just try it & you will see.

~ It has to be a certain cut or clarity to be the best diamond: ultimately, that decision is up to you.  You may not like the really clear ones, or emerald cut or the ones that go “BING!”  Seriously, this is yet another way the De Beers company has got you feeling like you have purchased a rare, high quality diamond, that will be a huge asset for your marriage – WRONG.

Look, diamonds or jewelry are just like people.  There are all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors and depending on their personality – clarity.  I have had many a Bride tell me they hate diamonds but their finance got them one because “he had too”.  Nothing could be further than the truth.  If you feel like you want a ring (and I get it, what woman wouldn’t?), then look around.  There are all kinds of them out there.  Get your birthstone, a precious gem, black gold, a simple band, whatever appeals to you.  If I were to get married again I would ask my husband to go to Pandora.  Their rings are awesome & will not make him take a mortgage out BEFORE the wedding.

If you are reading this and are saying to yourself, “I don’t care what she says, I want a diamond – a big one.  I deserve it and he better get the one I like or I’ll kick him to the curb”. You just might want to adjust that attitude or he might just kick YOU to the curb.

I am not anti-diamond.  I have one on my finger in fact & love it.  However, what I DO HATE is the fact that there is NO RULE saying you have to get a diamond and that you have to spend thousands on it for you to be respected. People save for years and wait to get married because of this lie and that makes me mad.  We have all fallen for it for years.  But now you have the knowledge – the power to make your OWN decisions instead of following a 79 year old marketing campaign that was devastatingly effective.

The truth is, the success of your engagement and marriage depends on you.  What the two of you put into it and how you work together.  The ring is nothing in comparison.

Here’s to Bliss!