Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Ways to Announce your Engagement

:: Ways to Announce your Engagement ::

So you two have decided to make it official, and one of you popped the question! Congratulations, that’s great news!

Of course, you probably want to shout it from the rooftops and share your exciting news with friends and family. Here are some of our favorite ideas as to how you can make your big announcement:

1 :: Go Hi-Tech :: Create a Wedding Website. You can start with announcing your engagement with photos and text, and then use the website to keep friends and family updated as you go through the planning process. You can include stories about how you met, a pictorial of your life together so far; details about your wedding registry; who will be in your wedding party, and so on.

2 :: Send a photo postcard :: I know putting something in the mail may seem outdated to some people, but if you have a really cute photo of the two of you, I’d bet that the receivers will be delighted to get it. Besides, it makes a great keepsake for your family and friends. You can get creative with the photo in lots of fun ways. Alternatively, you can simply send a Save the Date postcard with your wedding date and venue on it.

3 :: Throw a big party :: Don’t let anyone know why, and at the end of the evening make your big announcement. You don’t need to spend tons of money; have a backyard BBQ, a lakeside picnic where you assign different people to bring different items, or make it super simple by hosting a potluck.

4 :: Hire a flash mob :: For a truly memorable announcement, and if you’re in a big city where flash mobs are available for hire, this is a truly exciting way to get the word out. You just need to get your friends and family in one place under a pretext like a fake birthday party and go for it! See the video below for an amazing example… It’s still one of our favorites!

4 :: Make a video :: Just a short one – you could make it funny, or sentimental. Then simply send it via text, email, or post it on your social media platforms.

How are you planning to announce your engagement?! Let us know!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Secrets To A Successful Marriage

:: Secrets To A Successful Marriage ::

We are all imperfect human beings, and as such we squabble, disagree and occasionally fight with our life partner… That’s only natural. If it weren’t so, we’d get really bored because we would all be alike – no surprises. So what makes a marriage endure? LOVE of course, and commitment, patience and understanding all contribute to a good marriage. Here are a few specific things you can do to help make your marriage a long and successful one:

:: Have a date night at least once a month, preferably once each week. Pick a night to do this and stick with it. Each partner should contribute ideas as to where to go, so make sure no one says, “We always go where YOU want to go.” Wherever your destination is, allocate some time for talking and be prepared with questions to ask your spouse. You can discuss news items, your respective jobs, deep feelings – whatever. Just talk!

Date Night

Photography :: KCD Photography

:: Be a champion for your spouse. Be their encourager, defender, and number one fan. Don’t ever put him or her down in public or in private. Be respectful. If you have a disagreement, address it in a non-combative tone. You married this person for love. Never forget your admiration for your spouse, even in times of anger.

:: A little goes a long way. Do little things to serve each other… Make a special meal. Bring your spouse a nice cold drink when he or she is hard at work. Write little love notes. Speak your language of love. Bring your spouse flowers. Give a back massage. Run a candlelit bath. There are countless ways to make your spouse feel special. Employ them.

Love Note

Love Notes” by Jinx! is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

:: If you screw up in some way, don’t hesitate to admit it. Apologize, and move on. If you are being apologized to, be gracious about accepting the sincere apology. I’m not talking about repeated apologies for the same issue that happens over and over again. If that is the case, seek professional counseling. But, always own up to your mistakes sincerely, learn a lesson, and then move on.

:: Laugh together. Shared laughter is cathartic; it brings you closer, it lifts your spirits, it reduces stress, it personifies your oneness, warms your relationship and tunes you in to each other. But don’t laugh at the expense of your partner. That has the opposite effect. Find things that make you both laugh, but the best laughter usually comes spontaneously.

Happy Marriage

Photography :: Bethany Meister

:: Never, ever keep secrets from one another. True intimacy has no room for secrets. You two became one when you got married. You should trust your partner to the extent that it is not necessary to keep secrets. How would you feel if you found out your partner was keeping something from you? You would feel betrayed, I suspect, unless your partner was planning a surprise birthday bash! So, make every effort to be open, honest, forthright and truthful with your partner.

Do you have any relationship tips to share with us? We would love to hear your best advice for a good marriage!

Top Five Friday :: How To Stay Cool For Your Summer Wedding

:: How To Stay Cool For Your Summer Wedding ::

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s really, really hard to enjoy the sweltering, sticky, mosquito laden, and dripping sweat (ugh) days of summer. But, that’s just me. Nevertheless, there are a multitude of health benefits during the summer season, and nature’s bounty explodes with good things to eat.

If your wedding is scheduled for summertime, as so many weddings are, here are MRSter’s top five recommendations for keeping your cool:

1 :: HYDRATE! :: No matter where you live in these beautiful states of ours, the number one necessity for keeping you cool is hydration. On the days leading up to your wedding, and the day of, you may get so busy and distracted that you may forget to drink plenty of water. But, you must hydrate, or you’ll possibly end up paying serious consequences. So, even if you need to tie a string around your finger, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Also remember to provide plenty of water for your guests and your wedding party. You sure don’t want Auntie Bess to keel over in the middle of dancing the Conga!

2 :: Dress in light fabrics :: That goes for the entire wedding party, especially if you are having an outdoor wedding. Choose breathable, lightweight fabrics in light colors, as darker colors attract heat. In this day and age, there is an enormous selection of wedding apparel to choose from, so this should be a no-brainer.

3 :: Provide shade :: If your wedding is outdoors, consider shielding the party from the glaring sun with the use of tent covers or a large canopy. Alternatively, scope out the shadiest spot at your venue. The venue staff may be able to provide the coverings or suggest the best spot.

4 :: Set up a relief station :: This is an extremely thoughtful gesture for all. You can stock it up with small towels soaking in a bin of ice, sunscreen, chilled misting bottles, paper fans and parasols. Your guests will think of you as amazingly thoughtful and gracious hosts.

5 :: Use appropriate chairs :: You can fry an egg on metal folding chairs if they are subject to strong sunlight! If you have to use metal chairs, make sure you supply pads to deflect the heat. Otherwise, your guests may wind up with red-hot fannies or have to eat standing up. Your venue should have a solution for you, so be sure to discuss available seating with them.

How would you beat the heat at a Summer wedding? If you have a hot weather wedding experience to share, we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, stay cool!

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ways To Make Your Wedding Reception Fun!

:: Top 5 Ways To Make Your Wedding Reception Fun! ::

CONGRATS! You and your loved one are getting married and having a celebration with friends and family in order to share the joy. Most weddings have music and dancing. Some wedding parties even perform a dance to entertain the guests. Of course, many celebrations serve alcohol – always a party pleaser, but you two might want to consider some other ideas to make your reception even more fun and bring in some more interest than just the traditional. Here are our top suggestions to make your reception fun (besides what we’ve already mentioned):

1 :: Create a board and/or lawn game area :: Not everyone likes to dance and if kids are coming to your party, you need to plan fun things for them as well. You can supply board games, cards, guessing games, and even a craft area that you’ve supplied with paper, crayons and other craft items for the kiddos… (or others!). For outdoor activities you can supply lawn darts, horseshoes, or even a ping pong table. Try to gear the games to what you can reasonably expect your guests to enjoy, but overall they will appreciate that there is something else to do besides dance, especially if you aren’t a dancer!

 

2 :: Have a contest and a prize :: Ask guests to write their best marriage advice. Gather the papers and have you and your spouse (or ask a couple of wedding party members) to select the top five answers and read these aloud. Ask the guests to vote on the best advice by virtue of applause, and consider offering a prize to the winner. Maybe that prize is a toaster from your wedding registry! 😉

3 :: How about a photo booth? :: Today’s photo booths have fun and interactive props for your guests and create an instant memento. Check out our previously posted blog on these fun additions to your celebration by clicking here.

4 :: Put on a skit :: Engage your friends in creating a skit about the two of you. It can feature stuff like how you met, how the proposal was asked, what will life be like in fifty years. Assuming you have creative friends, this can be a fabulously funny show!

5 :: Schedule an entertainment event :: I recently attended an event that featured Spanish dancers. Not only was it great fun to watch them, but they offered Spanish dancing lessons afterwards. It was really funny to watch some of the guests try the moves and watch a few build some confidence with their Spanish skills! Another event featured a comedy team similar to “Whose LIne is it Anyway?” that was totally entertaining. You can call a local booking agent and find out what talent is available in your area.

Well there it is, dear readers. MRSter would love to hear your ideas on wedding reception fun. What have you seen or have planned for some extra fun at a wedding?

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Religion, Spirituality, & The Modern Union // What They Mean For Your Ceremony

:: Religion, Spirituality, & The Modern Union // What They Mean For Your Ceremony ::

It is indeed a sacred event when two people unite in matrimony. You two are pledging your love, respect and commitment to one another, and desire to share the celebration of your oneness with your family and friends. Whether or not you base your ceremony on a specific religion or your own sense of spirituality is entirely up to you. Or perhaps you want to add an element of sacredness to your ceremony. These days, with many couples already sharing a household, the increase in legal LGBT unions, and with many interfaith marriages, the traditional church wedding is not as popular as it once was. So the question remains on how to interject religion and spirituality into your ceremony if you choose to do so.

It is essential to find the right officiant. You need to connect with an officiant that cares about the two of you, and is sensitive to your desires. She or he can certainly help in large part to create the ceremony that is perfect. And perfectly designed to represent your union. Just be open about your vision with the officiant.

Wedding Officiant

Photography :: Bethany Meister

Consider how the venue will complement the ceremony. A lovely meadow, a woodsy area, a place near a body of water, a chapel, church or garden can all add significantly to the sacredness of the ceremony. You would do well to select a place that has a special meaning to the two of you. I know of a couple who married at a park where they first both expressed their love for one another.

Acknowledge your love as well as the religious or spiritual significance of your union in your vows. Whether you write them yourself or the officiant writes them for you, make sure your vows are sacred to the two of you and represent your belief system. Don’t rush the writing of the vows, and don’t wait until the last minute. The vows you make to one another are perhaps the most important part of the wedding.  

Wedding Vows

Photography :: Melissa of Rivets and Roses

Likewise, the reading you select should celebrate your belief system. This is also true for the music played during the ceremony. Here as well, take your time in selecting the ceremonial readings and music. These can readily and easily accommodate your expression of spirituality and can significantly impact the sacredness of the ceremony.

MRSter would be delighted to hear your stories about how you incorporated religion/spirituality into your wedding ceremony!! Let us know in the comments below!!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Seating Chart Stress? Try These Ideas!

:: Seating Chart Stress? Try These Ideas! ::

Yup. Creating a seating chart can be one of the most, if not THE MOST, stressful part of your wedding. You can’t put Richard next to Sara because they greatly dislike (aka hate) each other, but if you move Richard, then where can you put Aunt Joan and Uncle Sal? Even if you have a wedding planner (and I hope you do), this is something you pretty much have to do on your own because your planner doesn’t know your guests and could wind up putting Richard next to Sara, which could lead to a genuine calamity. So, let’s make this simple and start with you and your partner.

:: Table Placement :: There are quite a few variables that need to be considered and your venue should be able to assist with the table layout. If you are having a sit-down dinner with round or rectangular tables, consider placing your table in the center of the room with your most cherished people at hand, or have a smaller table just for the two of you if you don’t have enough room for all your favorite friends and relatives, and/or the wedding party (which is assumed to be your favorite people).

:: Mix It Up :: With the exception of a small number of wedding guests (say around 50 or so), you should assign guests to specific tables – Table 1, Table 2, and etc. Assigning guests to specific tables should take into consideration their relationship to one another. Also, it can be fun to mix people who know each other with people who don’t for the sake of added interest, instead of for instance, putting all the “old buddies” at a table. Mix it up a little.

Wedding Place Cards

Photography :: Largo Photography

:: An Exception To The Rule :: One exception to the place card rule is if you have one long table for all your guests at a smaller wedding (50 people or so), in which case you will probably want certain people near you or across from you. If that is the case, you will need to be super sensitive to your guests and hope you’ll keep everybody happy. You’ll need to ask yourselves who are truly the most important people in your lives and create a seating chart accordingly, remembering that ALL your guests are important to you, otherwise they wouldn’t have been invited.

:: Get Crafty :: There are seating charts online that can help you plan who goes where if you need one. Otherwise, if you’re assigning  guests to tables, have your guest list handy and some paper and small sticky notes as well. Write the names of your guests on the sticky notes, and label each piece of paper Table One, Table Two, Table Three, and so forth. Get yourselves a bottle of wine (or whatever else helps to relax the two of you) and start thinking who of your guests would be comfortable seated together. If you’re going the “one long table” or “extra formal” way, you can still accomplish the job in a similar way, although it might take a bit more thought. Try to make it a fun thing to do. You’ll feel FABULOUS once you’ve accomplished the task.

Have you discovered an innovative way to create your wedding seating chart?! We would LOVE to hear from you!!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Get Celebrity Style for Less for Your Big Day

:: Get Celebrity Style for Less for Your Big Day ::

Talking to Michael Schmidt of award winning {and MRSter Approved} Parker and Schmidt Clothiers was a real learning experience. Michael has been in this family business for 12 years and really knows his stuff. Gleaning from his father, Michael started the business by going door to door and is now doing 40-50 weddings per month! Michael is a bi-lingual entrepreneur with an MBA and a great sense of style. You can purchase {MRSter ApprovedParker and Schmidt Clothiers stunningly great looking products at very reasonable rates, which is an exceedingly better option than renting a tux or suit.

Parker and Schmidt

Here are the results of our interview…

MRSter :: What tips can you offer to achieve celebrity chic?

Michael :: One button suits and tuxes with a shawl lapel (rounded edge in a continuous curve) are very much in vogue for formal occasions. Jacket and pants don’t need to match, but if you’re wearing a vest, it should match the pants. For a modern look, consider a jacket with elbow pads. Yup, that’s right… They are coming back! Open collars are an option for a less formal look. Michael can help you customize your look so you can look trendy, yet comfortably you.

MRSter :: What styles should you avoid?

Michael :: Peak lapels (lapel edges point up and toward the shoulder) are trying to make a comeback, but it’s not going to happen. Striped pants are definitely dated, as are pleated shirts and cummerbunds. Polyester blends are not the best fabric choice, and linen wrinkles like crazy.

MRSter :: What are some practical designs for long days of looking your best?

Michael :: Super 140s through 180s lightweight wool (refers to fineness) is the way to go. This fabric is quite comfortable, keeps you cool in warm weather and warm in cool weather, and is resistant to soiling and wrinkling. We now carry non-iron cotton shirts in 23 colors with cuts from slim to traditional. Some have french cuffs. We get these overseas from a vendor that infuses the cotton with fabric softener during the manufacturing process. Also, proper tailoring is important for comfort as well as looks. You can have the finest suit or tux in the world and still look frumpy if is ill-fitted.

MRSter :: Speaking of tailoring, there are quite a few women who opt for wearing a tux or a suit. Are their special techniques to tailoring a suit to fit a woman’s body?

Michael :: Absolutely. We offer modern and hip styling and proper tailoring is of the utmost importance. Suit/tux alterations are a major aspect of our business, but a simple operation. For women, alterations are generally focused around the hips and front of the pants as well as the waist. We often remove the belt line, raise it and reattach it. The biggest issue in tailoring for women are shirts due to the smaller size of a woman’s neck. What we generally do is utilize two shirt sizes, removing the collar of each, swapping them, and re attaching the collar to the smaller neck measurement. This allows for a perfect fit. By the way, suspenders and bow ties are definitely in and make for a fun experience. Also the trend is wearing Vans or Converse shoes – very popular!

Well, there you have it readers. Thank you, Michael! We appreciate your expert input (plus it was fun and interesting to chat with you!). Don’t forget to check out Michael’s FABuLISTing here.

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Tips to Rock Your Couples Boudoir Session

 :: Top 5 Tips to Rock Your Couples Boudoir Session ::

MRSter is excited to present this post from Kinzie Ferguson, of {MRSter Approved} The Empowerment Photographer. Kinzie is a truly amazing photographer who has an awesome ability to help people connect in ways that reflect their love and commitment in stunningly gorgeous fashion. Her comments follow:

As the Empowerment Photographer, I create space for couples to connect (or reconnect) in intimate, powerful, couples boudoir sessions. It’s a time to focus on your partner, to unplug from the rest of the world, to cozy up, love each other really hard, and add some kindle to the fire that you’re building together.

Doing a couples boudoir session is so much fun, but if you’ve never done one before, there can be a lot of unknowns. Here are my top five tips for making sure you can get the most out of your session, and end up with photos that you love!

1 :: Find a photographer you trust (and like!). Your photographer should help you feel safe and confident the entire time. When I photograph my couples, I make sure they know exactly what to do with their bodies and their facial expressions at all times. You should never have to wonder if you’re “doing it right” or if you look good.

Don’t worry, though! Your session won’t look stiff and posed — when you know exactly what to do with your body, it allows you and your partner to interact naturally, resulting in genuine, connected images!

2 :: Talk about the session with your partner. Figure out what their fears may be in being photographed; ask them what they’re most excited about, and what they’re hoping to get out of the photo shoot. It could be that you’re approaching this experience from very different perspectives, and knowing what’s going on in your partner’s brain can make the experience even more intimate.

3 :: Wear what makes you comfortable. Don’t try to squeeze into something that is too small, and don’t go out and buy something you would never want to wear in your own home. Dig into your closet, ask your partner what they love seeing you in. Use this as an excuse to go shopping if you want to, but make sure you only invest in items that make you look and feel great!

4 :: Take time before your session to do something wonderful together. Write each other love notes and bring them to your session. Go out to lunch and don’t look at your phones the entire time. In fact, turn your phones OFF for the entire day of your session. Take a long bath, go get massages, do yoga! Have sex! Indulge in the time you have leading up to your session, which will not only put your minds in the right brain space, but will also help you be open to the powerful effects of your session.

5 :: Don’t be afraid to laugh! I’m all about finding the sexy in your images, but it’s also so important that the energy of your relationship can also come through. Let’s face it – being photographed while semi-naked can get a little ridiculous, and when it strikes you in the middle of your session just how silly it all feels? LAUGH! Giggle. Grab your partner and hug them! Posing rules are made to be broken. It’s in those moments that we find the true joy and connection that you and your partner share.

Now, I know it’s not possible for every single person reading this to book a session with me tomorrow (but if you want to, come visit me in Kansas City, MO!! I’ll greet you with open arms, awesome dance moves, and probably a plate full of nachos). I do encourage you to look for a photographer you love and trust enough to do a couples boudoir session with. This is an intimate experience, and you should be thrilled to have your photographer guiding you through this sexy, empowering time!

And in the meantime, carve out some time with your partner, snuggle into their side, find what makes them special, and love on them really hard. They are worth it, and so are you.

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: How To Minimize Last-Minute Emergencies On Your Wedding Day

:: How To Minimize Last-Minute Emergencies On Your Wedding Day ::

Yippee! Hooray! Your big day is almost here! It’s perfectly natural to have a case of the jitters. You’ve been planning (with or without help) to have a perfect day, but you know that things can go awry. To reduce worry, there are ways to minimize last-minute emergencies. Here are MRSter’s suggestions to help you address problems that may come up.

:: Prepare an emergency kit :: This kit should contain such items as needle and thread, tape, safety pins, breath mints, brush, comb, hairpins, hairspray, nausea tablets, bottle of water, aspirin or other pain reliever,  spot remover, chapstick, twine, matches or lighter, hosiery, earring backs, tissues, wet wipes, scissors, makeup, small lint brush, tampons, band aids, nail polish, and glue. You may think of some other items, specific to your situation. These items should minimize difficulties for you and your wedding party, and is actually a good kit to carry with you anytime you travel. Place all items in a plastic container or tote bag and you are good to go.

Wedding Day Emergency Kit

Wedding Day Emergency Kit‘ by Emily is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

:: Bring an extension cord and a variety of batteries :: It would be a shame if no one can hear your music because your PA system was too far away from the outlet or your officiant had to practically scream because the mic went dead.

:: Flash drive and computer :: Bring a flash drive with all your important documents such as your vows, schedules, vendor phone numbers, song lists, and speeches. In this way, if anyone forgets their hard copies, presto! You have them at the ready. A computer can also substitute in a pinch for a failed music system if you can rig up speakers.

:: Prepare for rain :: If you’re having an outdoor wedding, make arrangements with a tent vendor ahead of time to deliver to your location in the event of rain.

:: Double-check with all your vendors :: This should be done a few days before your big day. Make sure they are on top of their tasks. If you have hired a reputable wedding planning firm, all of the above falls to them to accomplish and will relieve your stress level immensely! We happen to know a bunch of professional experts in the field. Check our FABuLIST for MRSter approved vendors who are LGBT and straight friendly.

Did you have any emergencies on your big day?!