Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Focusing On The Wedding Ceremony

:: Focusing On The Wedding Ceremony ::

A wedding is a lot of things. It is a celebration, of course. It is a time to share your commitment not only with each other, but with those friends and relatives who are most important to you. People honor the couple with toasts and gifts. There is usually music, dancing, food and drink, and all manner of merriment. But really, the main focus, the part where you and your love officially become a couple, is the wedding ceremony. Here is a description of the usual and basic components of the actual wedding ceremony:

1 :: The Procession :: This formally marks the beginning of the ceremony and is when the wedding party enters. In most cases, music accompanies the processional, and the wedding party enters in a predetermined order.

2 :: The Invocation :: The officiant welcomes the guests, introduces the couple, and states the reason for the gathering. This is the time when the officiant, and/or others, have the opportunity to have a special reading, share a pertinent story, or present a special song.

3 :: Declaration of Intent :: This is when the officiant asks the couple if they take each other in marriage. It is the verbal declaration of your consent to wed and is a legal requirement in any wedding ceremony.

4 :: Vows and Ring Exchange :: This is when the couple declare their love and commitment one to another. The officiant may guide your words in a “repeat after me” fashion, or you may say your own vows. Rings are exchanged, and other rituals may take place here, like the lighting of a unity candle.

Wedding Ring Exchange

Photography :: Poppy Seed Photography

5 :: Pronouncement :: This is where the marriage of the two is officially announced and is also a legal requirement in any wedding ceremony. You can now think of yourselves as a blending of two people, a new entity that, while retaining your distinct personalities, binds into a distinct persona by way of a union, aka marriage.

6 :: Recessional :: This marks the end of the ceremony. The new couple usually exit first, followed by the wedding party and then the guests. Now it’s time to celebrate!

Just Married

Photography :: Mi Amore Photography

Did, or will, your wedding ceremony differ to the above? We would love to hear from you!!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Last Name After Marriage // To Change Or Not To Change - That Is The Question

:: Last Name After Marriage // To Change Or Not To Change – That Is The Question ::

Much has changed. I remember attempting to buy a car back in the 70s. (Yes, I’m an old broad.) The salesman advised me to come back with my “husband.” I was totally insulted! The nerve of that guy!!! As if I wasn’t equipped to make such a big decision on my own. Grrr. It still irks me when I think about it. Needless to say I bought my car elsewhere.

The tradition of the “wife” taking the last name of the “husband” stems from the days when wives were considered property. The woman moved from her father’s home to her husband’s home and thus took his name because she now belonged to him. Historically, most cultures were founded on a patriarchal system. Consider the fact that even in America, woman have had the right to vote for less than 100 years so although we have evolved, we still have a long way to go.  

Yes, much has changed, and now that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide, the question again arises of what to do about a last name for the newly created family unit. There are several schools of thought on the issue of adopting the name of your partner.  

Love Is Love

On the pro side, sharing the same last name creates a feeling of family unity and makes the two easily identifiable as a couple. If there are or will be children in the mix, sharing a common last name identifies the family as a whole. Also, there is something that speaks of commitment and honor to be willing to take on the name of your partner.

On the con side, there is still that element of possession, loss of personality identity, and somehow being a less important person than the one whose name you take. Then there is the element of traditional male roles versus traditional female roles which society at large still finds confusing in relation to the LGBTQ community.

As always, you have the right to do what you want to do in this country, as long as you are not a danger to yourself or others. So our position here at MRSter is to do what is right for you as a couple. We would like to add that we think the idea of combining both last names into one brand new last name is an exciting and compelling alternative, and speaks volumes of the commitment to the new family unit. This idea affords a lovely way to merge your identities in a creative, committed way.  

What are your thoughts? To change or not to change your last name after marriage?

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Wedding Traditions You Can Pass Along in Your Family

:: Top 5 Wedding Traditions You Can Pass Along in Your Family ::

Didya ever see Fiddler on the Roof”? It’s a musical that focuses on the importance of tradition, and happens to take place in pre-revolutionary Russia. To me, it’s another reminder that we, as human beings, are more alike than we are different – by a long shot!

What is a tradition in your family? I remember at my aunt’s marriage, one big tradition in our Italian family was the money dance, where people danced with the bride and pinned cash to her veil. If you don’t have a family tradition, why not start one? In the meantime, here are MRSter’s Top Five Wedding Tradition ideas that are updated and easily passed on to your family.

1 :: Something old, something new something borrowed, something blue :: This tradition comes from the Victorian era, with old representing old friends, new representing the creation of a new family, borrowed representing something borrowed from a happily married friend, and blue representing purity and modesty. Make this tradition your own by borrowing a family heirloom to incorporate into your bouquet or wearing blue undies, for example. There are many, many ways you can use this tradition to make it uniquely yours.

2 :: Changing the “Bride’s” name to the last name of the “Groom” :: This tradition started because brides were considered the property of the groom back in the old days. Nowadays, people are often hyphenating names to demonstrate their partnership. Consider creating a brand new surname from the last name of each of you. In this way, you are both fairly represented in your new partnership and your love is reflected in your brand new name.

3 :: Tossing the garter :: Instead of tossing the garter, why not auction it off to the highest bidder with the proceeds going to your favorite charity? You can donate the proceeds in the name of the person who bid the highest. Sweet!

4 :: Throwing rice :: This tradition started because rice was considered to enhance fertility. The problem is getting a rice kernel In your eye! Instead of rice, consider using birdseed, bubbles, flower petals, confetti, glitter, streamers, or whatever other fun and safe throwable item you think of.

5 :: Readings :: Spice up your readings with words that carry special weight in your world. From Dr. Seuss to Shakespeare, from the Bible to the great poets, choose readings that have a special significance for the two of you.

Wedding Reading

Photography :: Berg Photography

Choose new traditions that resonate who you both are. Your wedding is all about the two of you, your love, and the joy you want to share with those that are close to you. Have you made any wedding traditions your own? We would love to hear about them!!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Modern Wedding Trends

 :: Modern Wedding Trends ::

One thing MRSter totally promotes is that your wedding is what YOU want, not somebody else’s idea of what your wedding should be. For the modern couple, we’ve noticed that new trends are cropping up everywhere. We thought we’d share some ideas we really like that you might think is right for you.

:: Consider different entertainment options :: Utilize your musician friends, hire a contemporary choir, use a cabaret singer, entertain with a retro big band orchestra or a rock and roll band or a blues band, or ethnic music of any sort. You can hire a combination of different styles for different parts of the evening. For instance, have a cabaret singer perform during the cocktail hour and a big band orchestra perform for dancing the night away. Find entertainment options by clicking here and searching your location.

Wedding Entertainment

Photography :: Berg Photography

:: A modern take on the wedding party :: How about getting Grandma and Grandpa to act as flower girl and ring bearer? If done right, this can be both dignified and a beautiful, heart warming addition to your ceremony.

:: Create unique centerpieces :: We’ve seen centerpieces of submerged flowers, shimmering jars with candles, desert plant groupings, teacups or wine glasses, fruits and veggies, twigs, paper and marbles, and much more! Virtually anything you can conceive of can be turned into attractive centerpieces. Check out our florists listed on our FABuLIST to connect with a designer.

:: Dance your way back up the aisle :: Hey, it’s a joyous occasion! What better way to express your happiness than dancing all the way back up the aisle as your friends and family are cheering you on? Whoo hoo! This isn’t necessarily a new trend but we believe strongly in the power of music and we’d like this trend to stick around.

:: Food… Glorious food :: Who says you have to keep to the traditional plated chicken dinner? Love hamburgers? Hire a catering truck. Getting married at the beach? Have a clambake. Honeymooning in Italy? Serve spaghetti. Love Mexican food? There are a variety of taco trucks out there… Or have a burrito bar. You can provide munchie stations, dessert stations, cheese and cracker stations, sushi stations… The ideas are only limited to your imagination and your budget.

:: Looking good :: You can be fancy or casual in your wedding clothing, dress up or down, wear sneakers and jeans, show off your western wear, utilize ethnic dress, have a costume party wedding or any kind of themed wedding wear, ask all guests to wear specific colors for a feeling of unity, or just be traditional! It’s all up to you.

What is a trend you are planning or have seen recently that you love?

VENDORS :: If you’d like to become MRSter Approved to be placed on our FABuLIST you can do so by clicking here.

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Registry Do's and Don'ts for the Engaged Couple

:: Registry Do’s and Don’ts for the Engaged Couple ::

Many couples feel like it’s a selfish act to sign up on a gift registry. But the fact is, that most if not all of your guests will want to get a gift for the two of you. So really, you’re helping your guests, and eliminating confusion by signing up at at least one store and indicating the items you’d like to have. This process also helps immensely in curbing duplicate gifts.

Wedding Registry

Gifts” by Selbe Lynn is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

:: Do give some thought to the store or stores in which you register. A nationally located department store is a good choice, especially if guests are traveling in from other states. We recommend registering at more than one store in order to increase choices for your guests. These days of course, mega online stores are an excellent option.

:: Do register as soon as possible after your engagement. This way, people can utilize the registry for shower gifts as well.

:: Do include a range of purchase prices with a number of gifts under $50, some in the $50- $100 range, and a few over $150. Typically, these ranges should cover the buying power of the majority of your guests.

:: Do feel free to include some speciality items like camping gear, for instance, or any items that hold special interest for you and your partner. Since many about-to-be married couples are already sharing living quarters, you probably don’t have a need for typical household items like toasters or blenders.

:: Don’t list highly expensive items on the registry. If you have a need for an expensive item and have a rich aunt, grandparent or parent who would be inclined and have the resources to fulfill a large gift request, ask them directly, or leave hints, or enlist a friend to help share the need. An alternative would be to get a friend to take up a collection among your friends for a large ticket item.

:: Don’t list personal items like clothing or toiletries. However, it is acceptable to register for a couple of gift cards in addition to tangible items. In that way, you can have a little extra buying power to pick up some personal items.

:: Don’t procrastinate about sending out thank you notes. Keep a record of who sent what and send out handwritten notes that mention the specific gift no later than 3 months after the wedding. For wedding shower gifts, thank yous should be sent within 2-3 weeks of receipt. It’s a lovely thing to receive a gracious, heartfelt and sincerely written thank you note, so consider your words carefully. Your guests will be pleased.

Happy gift getting and thank you-ing!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Who Pays For What In The Modern Wedding?

:: Who Pays For What In The Modern Wedding? ::

In times long gone, brides were considered chattel, like a piece of furniture. The bride’s family was expected to pay a dowry to take the girl off the family’s hands. This is where the custom of the bride’s family traditionally paying for the wedding came from! Can you believe it?

We asked Julie Hurt of {MRSter Approved} Simply Elegant Event and Wedding Design a few questions on the topic of who pays for what in the modern wedding.

MRSter :: Traditionally it has been the responsibility of the bride’s family to be entirely responsible for the cost of the wedding. Is this still the case?

Julie :: Gone are the days of the bride’s family paying for everything! In my 10+ years in the wedding industry I have come across several different scenarios on this subject. More and more couples are now opting to pay for their event themselves, and sometimes, will have each of their families contribute if needed. This results from the average age of couples now being a little older, and couples waiting longer to get married. If this is either clients second time around the marriage pole they will always pay for everything themselves.

MRSter :: Does wedding etiquette dictate any hard and fast rules for who pays for what at a wedding, even if the responsibility is divided between families?

Julie :: If we follow the traditional route of who pays for what, “wedding etiquette” would be followed in the traditional sense that the Bride’s family is paying for everything. Therefore they have final say in things such as guest count, style of the wedding, etc. With couples who pay for everything themselves, or families that are sharing the costs, they each have a say in the planning process. There are other expenses that each family can contribute to also, for example, one family may host the entire rehearsal dinner and wedding night accommodations. The other family may opt for the services of the wedding planner and that’s where we come in!

MRSter adds that for the modern union, many old fashioned notions have thankfully flown the coop. For LGBT couples, oftentimes they don’t have the support of parents in the first place, sad to say. Also, many couples have already established a bank account and like Julie says, “are opting to pay for the wedding themselves”. So, the bottom line is that for the modern wedding, there are no hard and fast rules. It really depends on the financial climate of the families involved, the support that is willingly and realistically offered, and setting a reasonable budget based on the dollars that are available. Let individual circumstance and common sense prevail.

What are your thoughts on the subject? We would love to hear!

Top Five Friday :: Toasting Tips for the Wedding Party

Top Five Friday :: Toasting Tips for the Wedding Party

Not to scare you, but wedding toasts can be beautiful moments or horrible disasters. They can make or break the atmosphere at a wedding. Making a wedding toast is both an honor and a responsibility. If you have been chosen to make a toast, read up on our top five toasting tips to help you get started…

1 :: Relax :: Be yourself. No one is expecting you to metamorphosize into Shakespeare or an academy award winner. You were chosen to make a toast because you are a special person to one, or both, of the happy couple. Let the idea of the toast mull around in your head for a few days (but don’t procrastinate) and then sit down to…

2 :: Write :: Think of why you were asked to say a toast. What is your relationship to the couple? What makes that relationship special? Why are you happy for them? Make it personal and sincere. Research and find beautiful quotes on love and marriage, find a story you think would be great to share, to use in your toast, or simply just to inspire you to write your own words. Get it all down on paper and then edit, edit, edit. Ask a friend (not the couple who are getting married, of course) to look over your toast and offer some constructive criticism.

3 :: Rehearse :: A lot. Read your toast over and over again until it’s practically, if not actually, memorized. Let it flow from your heart.

4 :: Keep it short :: Wrap it up in 5 minutes or less, otherwise you risk boredom. Conclude with the raising of the glass and don’t forget to have a glass of your own to raise as your are toasting; a detail that is forgotten way too often!

5 :: Stay sober :: Don’t have a lot to drink before your toast or you could wind up embarrassing yourself and the wedding party. I’ve seen this happen too many times to not offer this bit of caution here. You can party hardy after your toast!

Photography ::

Photography :: Lemon Three Photo

Do you have any toasting tips of your own to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments below!

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

Mignon McLaughlin

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: What Is The Difference Between A Bridal Party And A Wedding Party?

:: What Is The Difference Between A Bridal Party And A Wedding Party? ::

If you’re confused by the meaning of the bridal party as opposed to the wedding party, you are not alone…

Traditionally, the bridal party means the bride, maid/matron of honor, bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids and flower girl in any combination. In other words, all the females. But, what if the wedding consists of two brides, as can happen in the modern union? Likewise, traditionally the wedding party consists of everyone: the bride, maid/matron of honor, bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids and flower girl, groom, best man, groomsmen, junior groomsmen, and the ring bearer. Here again in the modern union, there may be two grooms.

And how come a bride can have a bridal party, but a groom doesn’t get a groomal party?

To make matters more confusing, what if you asked a special friend or friends to do a reading or readings. And what about the mom and dad? What are they? Chopped liver? (As the saying goes.)  Or what if you’ve arranged some sort of special happening during the ceremony, like a dance done by your college roommate, or some other person doing something awesome. Aren’t they a part of it all? And what if the groom has a best woman instead of a best man? Is your head spinning yet?

Well, to simplify it all, MRSter suggests that you simply refer to everyone involved in the ceremony as the Wedding Party, and all other attendees as the Guests. This mindset will honor those special people who you’ve asked to participate a smidgen higher than your honored guests (who you wouldn’t have asked to your wedding if they were not dear to your heart – hopefully).

There. Now everyone is happy and everyone is special. What could be better?

San Antonio, TEXAS :: Rachel & Nelson :: One Beautiful Summer Day // Real Wedding

:: One Beautiful Summer Day ::

Photographed by :: Parker of The PK Photographs

I was so excited when I pulled up to The Lodge at Country Inn Cottages. Picture hay bales and open fields, surrounding a beautiful stone and wood lodge set near a hillside. The cottages up the hill are where Nelson and his groomsmen were getting ready, while Rachel and her bridesmaids were in the Bridal Suite at the Lodge.  The sky was the brightest of blues, with a few perfectly shaped white clouds, and the wind did a great job of overcoming the heat of an outdoor summer wedding in Texas.

The ceremony was short, sweet, and beautiful. There were a few tears, a few laughs, and Rachel and Nelson couldn’t stop smiling at each other. A few cows even wandered into the field beside their ceremony to watch this beautiful couple tie the knot! After their ceremony, there was a reception with heart-warming toasts and beautiful dances. Such a beautiful event with beautiful, kind families and friends of this beautiful bride and groom, ending with the bride and groom dancing the night away with friends on the dance floor.


Beautiful. Nature. Let’s Dance.


Photography :: The PK Photographs
Venue :: The Lodge Event Center
Live Band :: The Kopy Kats


San Antonio, Texas.