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!

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ways to Get Fit Before Your Big Day

:: Top 5 Ways to Get Fit Before Your Big Day ::

A few of us may have a body that is a perfect ten. Good for you! Others may be a little on the pleasingly plump side, but confident. Good for you too! But for many of us, the approach of our wedding day can cause a bit of intimidation (all those people will be looking at us), and a desire that we look our absolute best. We asked MRSter co-founder and fitness expert Drew Coleman for his advice about getting fit before your big day…

1 :: Boost your metabolism. Get active and fuel your body! Your metabolism speeds up when you are burning more calories and fueling your body with enough of the right foods regularly. Diet and exercise are both important. One is not very effective without the other. If you starve yourself, your metabolism will slow down. Same happens when you sit on the couch all day. So, kickstart your metabolism by eating 5-6 small, healthy, evenly-spaced meals per day and exercising 3-4 days per week.

Fitness

2 :: Eat good food and avoid the bad.  The Best foods to eat are a good mix of protein {lean meats, eggs, egg whites, dairy, soy}, complex carbs {veggies, whole grains, brown rice, some fruits, oats, quinoa and other ancient grains} and healthy fats {olive oil, avocado, nuts}. You really want to avoid sugar and quick carbs {white bread, white potatoes, white rice, white pasta, anything “breaded”} as much as possible. Those foods spike your blood sugar levels, which leads to a chain of events that ends in fat storage.

3 :: Hydrate! Very important! Proper hydration makes all of your systems run smoothly and you want all systems in tip top shape so you can lose weight effectively. Most people should drink somewhere between a half gallon and a gallon per day.

4 :: Exercise!  If I had to pick one category of exercises to make you fit overall, I would choose plyometrics, or “jump training”. Plyometrics uses explosive movements which gets your heart rate up and burns a ton of calories. Combining these exercises with Tabata-style timing (8 rounds of 20 seconds on/10 seconds rest) and completing 30-40 minutes of exercise 3-4 days a week will get you in wedding shape in no time! Note that you should always check with your doctor before starting any program of exercise.

How To Get Fit For Your Wedding

5 :: The best course of action for quick results. If you’re short on time, you need to focus on cardio. This can be running, rowing, swimming, elliptical, stairmaster, or circuit training. Cardio should be completed a minimum of 30 minutes, but no more than 45 minutes and your breathing should be at a pace where you could say a few words, but not have a sustained conversation. Train as often as you can, but be sure to take 1 or 2 active rest days per week. Active rest could mean going for a walk or a leisurely bike ride but at a pace you could easily have a conversation the entire time.

Do you have any wedding fitness tips or motivation of your own?! Share them with us in the comments below!!

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 April Fools Wedding Ideas

:: Top 5 April Fools Wedding Ideas ::

You and your fiancée/fiancé decided to think outside of the box and are getting married on April Fools Day. Well, that just naturally calls for a prank or two, don’t you think? Here are five ideas to get you started.  

1 :: Pretend that one of you two hasn’t shown up for the ceremony. And then of course, make a grand entrance at the last minute, rushing in with a crazy story about why he or she was late.

2 :: Prearrange with the officiant to end the ceremony by saying, “You may now update your Facebook status”. If the officiant has a good sense of humor, he probably has a few prank suggestions of his or her own.

Facebook

facebook‘ by Prachatai is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

3 :: Write the words, “Save me” on the bottom of your shoes so that when you kneel, the guests can see. You may also look furtively over your shoulder at the guests with a pleading look in your eyes. Don’t take it too far though, and make sure you say, “April Fools” before you get up.

4 :: Pretend that the wedding party has lost the wedding rings. Then let one of the wedding party produce the rings from a Cracker Jack Box or step in with one of those huge candy rings. Make sure the guests see what is happening. 

Candy Ring

Treasure‘ by Elizabeth Albert is licensed under CC BY 2.0

5 :: Announce that a famous singer or movie star will be attending your wedding, and then hire an impersonator to pretend to be that person. Make up some story about how you met the famous person and spread that around.

Have fun with this. Tailor your pranks to the two of you. We would love to hear from you about the pranks you came up with!!

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Things Same-Sex Couples Need to Know When Selecting a Wedding Vendor

:: Top 5 Things Same-Sex Couples Need to Know When Selecting a Wedding Vendor ::

Let’s face it, planning a wedding is stressful, no doubt about it, and for the same-sex couple, you don’t need the hassle of trying to work with wedding vendors who are not savvy about the modern union. We consulted Drew Coleman, professional wedding planner and MRSter co-founder, on the subject of the top 5 things same-sex couples should know when selecting wedding vendors.

Drew Coleman

Drew Coleman

1 :: Experience. How long has the vendor been working with gay couples? It is a good practice to ask the potential vendor about their direct experience and the question may get them to open up about their view on the subject.

2 :: Paperwork: Does the vendor use gender-neutral paperwork and practice neutral processes? Make sure their contracts, forms, and other documentation are properly worded to include your spouse and yourself so you don’t have to cross out “bride” or “groom”. That would be annoying to say the least and is certainly not in keeping with  modern union practices.

Wedding Documentation

3 :: Team Values. Does the entire team share the owner’s’ values? Will the workers on the wedding day be just as gay-friendly? Ask, “What are you doing in your business to make sure your entire team and everybody we come in contact with from your company shares your same values of inclusiveness?”

4 :: Website. When looking at the vendor’s online presence, does it appear that they celebrate diversity and inclusiveness? Ask, “What are you doing in your marketing and social media to show couples that you are open and inclusive?”

MRSter

5 :: Reviews and References. Do the vendors have good reviews in general? Are their any references from gay couples the vendor is willing to share?

Your wedding should be all about the two of you. It is your wedding and you get to make it whatever you want it to be.The bottom line is to make sure you are working with people who respect and honor your right to be together as a couple.

Are you planning your wedding and looking for gay-friendly wedding vendors? Check out our amazing FABuLISTers!!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: How To Word A Same-Sex Wedding Invitation

:: How To Word A Same-Sex Wedding Invitation ::

Wedding invitation wording varies depending on who is hosting the wedding, and can be formatted in a casual or formal style. Many unique situations are the norm rather than the rule, but the invitations should always include essential information that follows the who, what, where, and when rule.

MRSter consulted with FABuLIST invitation expert Mattie Tomasik of  {MRSter Approved} Lola Lee Invitations for her advice when it comes to how to word same-sex wedding invitations.

Mattie says: 

“My advice would be to word the invitation in a way that represents the couple’s personality & style. When you choose to use the wording ‘invite you to witness their marriage’ or ‘request the honour of your presence at the marriage of’, I think it sets the tone for a more formal or traditional event. There are so many ways to word your wedding invitations now, that a couple could also choose to use one of the following:

:: Celebrate as we pledge our love and commitment

:: Celebrate our union

:: We invite you to share with us the joy of our union

:: Express our commitment to each other”

MRSter adds that while invitations via e-mail or websites such as Evite are fine for many types of get-togethers, a wedding demands an invitation with substance and longevity, so a snail-mailed invitation is the way to go. Besides, the wedding invitation becomes a keepsake for the most important day of your lives. This blogger knows someone who keeps her immigrant grandparents wedding invitation from 1917 framed in the living room! Fabulous!

Are you a same-sex couple planning your wedding? What wording did you, or are you thinking of, using for your wedding invitations? We would love to hear some of your suggestions!

Gilbert, ARIZONA :: Jamy & Marvin :: Wine, Food, Friends... And LOVE! // Real LGBTQ Engagement

:: Wine, Food, Friends… And LOVE! ::

Photographed & Submitted by :: {MRSter Approved} Elizabeth Douglas Photography

Meet Jamy {of MRSter Approved Eternal Event Design} and Marvin, a couple of the best guys you will ever meet. Funloving. Silly (and serious). Lovers of good wine, food, friends, and love.

Fourteen years ago in January, these two met at a bar in Chicago, and let’s just say the rest is history. Life has brought them from where they began in Chicago, out to the valley of the sun, where they’ve continued with their love of all that is good (wine, food, and friends). These two know how to put on a party, let me tell you!

Funny thing is, they’re not much for having their photos taken, so we had to come up with a fun way of capturing them. Thankfully, their engagement session was done as their friend and not their photographer, or we probably wouldn’t have been able to capture some of these shots (those of you who are photographers would understand!). So, we took a “walk” one cloudy day through old town Gilbert, and finished things off, with what else, a glass of wine?

Many thanks to the person who had their ADORABLE bike locked up, as this was our million dollar shot of the session! I might have to invest in one of these for future sessions!

I can’t even begin to tell you how honored I was when they asked me to be their wedding photographer! This was going to be my first Mr. & Mr. event, and I was THRILLED! I am looking forward to showing off their wedding images in a future submission, as they won the “2015 Best Wedding Under $50,000” presented by the International Special Event Society, Arizona Chapter. You’re gonna FLIP when you see what they managed to pull off!

DISTINCTIONS

MRSter Approved. LGBTQ Engagement. Time For Wine.

THE PROFESSIONALS

Photography :: {MRSter Approved} Elizabeth Douglas Photography

LOCATION

Gilbert, Arizona, USA.

Top Five Friday :: Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Relationship While Wedding Planning

:: Top 5 Ways to Protect Your Relationship While Wedding Planning ::

Planning a wedding is an incredibly exciting time in your life, but it can also be incredibly stressful. You two have to make many decisions, and you probably don’t always agree. Family drama, finances, and all manner of anxiety can enter the mix and create unsettling situations. We asked relationship expert Lynda Bishop of {MRSter Approved} Relationship Insurance for her advice on ways to protect your relationship while planning your wedding (and really all the time).

1 :: Resolve the Disagreement :: Take a breath and look at your partner with fresh eyes.  See them as the person you love and reframe the disagreement as something to be solved or understood TOGETHER. Consciously get on the same team in your quest to understand two different points of view. Ask yourself if this disagreement is more important than your relationship and love for each other (it likely isn’t!). Step back, consciously get back on the same team, and choose to work together.

2 :: Compromise :: All good teams require some level of compromise. A solid couple understands that both partners opinions, wants and needs have value and all deserve consideration and input into decision making. Compromising is not the same as “giving in”. Compromising is the result of valuing each person and finding the best solution as a couple.

3 :: Enjoy Routine Date Nights :: A routine date night doesn’t need to feel routine. It is an important tradition to start and uphold because life can be busy and our relationships are too important to take a back seat every time. Relationships are strengthened through making memories together; spending time together; discovering new things together; making each other a priority. This is the basis for intimacy and growth together. Don’t skip out on date night! Your relationship is your greatest investment and date night keeps that investment growing!

4 :: Decompress :: Decompression is absolutely necessary for a healthy relationship because life sometimes get too full or feels overwhelming (and planning a wedding is right up there!). One of the main reasons we choose to be in a relationship is because it gives us a support system for harder times, and the support we give each other makes us stronger. That being said, if your relationship spends too much time in “work mode” or focused solely on a list of tasks, it is easy to fall into the habit of everything being about handling issues, resolving problems, or coping instead of enjoying. Decompression is vital to getting back to the special connection, love and fun without the pressures that wedding planning can bring. Get away and see each other with fresh new eyes again.

5 :: Build your Relationship :: Truly respect each other by making a conscious choice to connect and listen well. This means that when your partner walks into a room and talks to you, (or calls you on the phone), you stop what you are doing and really listen to what they have to say. Listen without judgment; listen to understand. What emotion are they feeling? What experience are they sharing? Get into their world right there in that moment and really SEE them. Acknowledge their experience. Show them that they matter. Make it a habit to show them that they are more important than whatever you were doing. Listen to experience and understand (not to solve, not to judge, not to criticize or argue). Truly listen.

Wow, thank you for the fantastic advice Lynda!! How are you, or did you, protect your relationship while planning your big day? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

 

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!

Wedding Wisdom Wednesday :: Wedding Gift Do's & Don'ts

:: Wedding Gift Do’s & Don’ts ::

Congratulations you two! You’ve set the date and plans are underway for your big day. Many of your friends and family will want to favor you with a wedding gift, so what do you need to know about wedding gift etiquette? MRSter offers the following suggestions:

:: DO take an inventory of the items that you and your future spouse want and need in preparation of setting up gift registries. Do you need/want household items, luggage, electronics, recreational items? Registering for gift items actually helps your guests by taking the mystery out of what to get you, so don’t feel creepy about it.

:: DON’T register for gifts if you’d really rather have cash, but don’t ask for cash. Allow people close to you to tactfully spread the word. It probably won’t work 100%, but there is no other discrete way to arrange this unless your particular ethnic background serves this need with a money dance or “dollar” dance, and your friends and family know about this custom.

:: DO register at 2 or 3 easily accessible stores soon after your engagement. Hopefully this will keep you from receiving 3 toasters and 5 blenders simultaneously, or receiving a giant white elephant from a well-meaning guest. Feel free to register for non-traditional gifts that match your interests.

451560538_1191e35787_o

Crate & Barrel bride” by _Faraz is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

:: DON’T register for excessively priced items. If you want something really expensive and a particular guest has the desire and ability to make that happen, ask that person directly. (Unless of course you hang out with really, really rich people.)

:: DO select enough items in a varied price range to accommodate the purchasing power of your guests. A good rule of thumb is to list about 25 percent more gifts than wedding guests in order to allow for guest choices. Gift values should normally range from under $50 on the low end to upward of $150 on the high end, but you know your friends and family, so adjust accordingly.

:: DON’T procrastinate about sending out thank you notes. These should be personal and handwritten, mention the gift by name, and should be sent as soon as possible but in no case longer than three months after your wedding. Phone calls or emails are never an acceptable substitute for a handwritten note. Just plow in and get ‘er done.

Have any wedding gift etiquette tips to share with us? Let us know in the comments!