Monday, September 29, 2008

Changing Your Name After Marriage

Are you planning on changing your name once you finally tie the knot? If you decide to do so, there are so many options. Do you hyphenate, keep your maiden name as your middle name, combine both names, or be traditional? Well whichever option you choose, the name change process can seem overwhelming. There are numerous forms to gather from many government agencies. You'll need a social security form, US passport form, driver's license form, voter registration form, IRS forms, forms to send to your employer, insurance company, utilities companies, and all organizations of which you are a member. Many brides put off the process and wait for months or even years to change their name. The process is really not that horrible. Once you gather your forms & complete them, most can be sent in through the mail. The only office you'll need to visit in person is the motor vehicle department.

If you plan on traveling overseas on your honeymoon, the name on your airline ticket must match the name on your passport. Therefore, wait until you return to change your name and book your tickets in your maiden name.

The bride taking the groom's name is not the only way to go. A groom can also legally change his last name to the bride's. This is not as popular, but it does happen. A groom may have a long last name or a name he isn't fond of and decide he wants the bride's name.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Neither He nor you can Dance

What to do

Dancing with another person is fast becoming a lost art. It’s just not part of our upbringing anymore, and dancing - as in the kind of dancing you did in high school - isn't the kind that is envisioned when it comes to your husband-to-be and your first dance.

Since I assume you aren’t trained in ballroom dancing, and - because I'm a guy - I know that neither is your fiancĂ©, you will want to figure out how, or whether, you are going to tackle this glaring omission in your bridal resume.

First, you should figure out whether there will actually be dancing at your wedding reception. Many couples are shying away from a traditional reception with a band or DJ in favor of no dancing, at all. (In fact, that's the choice my wife and I made). Furthermore, you may still feature some dancing, but no 'first dance'. At a recent wedding I attended, the bride and groom dragged everyone on to the dance floor to have a communal first dance. (For the record, the first dance song was "I Like To Move It". We did.)

If you are envisioning a traditional first dance featuring a song that you both love, it's a great idea to take dance lessons so that you don't feel completely awkward when under the gaze of all of your friends and family. You'll want to prepare far enough in advance of your wedding to get the benefit of the lessons, but not too far that you forget how to do the waltz. Six to eight weeks is a good guide. Practice makes perfect (or at least, passable.)

The easiest way to learn to dance is to support your local dance studio. Having reviewed several "Learn to Dance" Web sites and DVDs, I'm confident that there is no better way to learn than to receive personalized instruction. Just as you didn't learn to drive from a book, dancing requires that you (and your flatfooted fiancé) develop muscle memory.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Bridal Brunch

The bridal brunch gives the bride an opportunity to spend quality time with members of her family who have come from far and wide to be with her on this special day. It is not a time for her to visit with, or entertain aunt Mary down the street, or cousin Debbie across town. However, if the bride chooses to invite close members of the local family, it is not improper.

Needless to say, the bride who is so thoughtful to take this time out of her wedding day, to make others feel welcome and appreciated, will be remembered forever for her kindness.

Mothers, around the world, are well known for sharing the tears, joys, and triumphs of their children's lives, with both family and friends. It is likely that all the correspondence has been left to mom in the preceding years. The bridal brunch provides an opportunity to renew family bonds, become reacquainted, and begin building bridges to the future.

Another excellent reason for hosting a bridal brunch is many of these guests will arrive the day before the wedding, and the bride may not have another opportunity, for years, to visit with them, as they will likely have returned home before she and the groom come back from their honeymoon.

The Wedding Breakfast

The wedding breakfast is most often hosted by a friend or neighbor of the bride, in honor of all those who have come from out-of-town for the occasion. This breakfast is a wonderful way to occupy and entertain guests who may feel in need of a warm welcome.

Neither the bride, nor her groom and families are expected to attend the wedding breakfast, although it is certainly proper, if they chose to do so. The menu may be as simple as quiche, coffee and juice or as extravagant as a full scale breakfast buffet. Whatever is served is secondary to the feeling of being part of the festivities.

This is a good time to give a run down of scheduled events which surround the day. Proper arrival time at the church for photographs, transportation arrangements, childcare concerns and any number of other questions can be answered at this time, leaving no room for misunderstandings later.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How to make wedding table centerpieces

How to make wedding table centerpieces is important if you want to make the most of the space and add the best look to your wedding reception.

The first thing you need to think about is the overall look of the room and if you have a theme, ie butterflies or a color, how that will fit into your centerpiece idea. The best way to get ideas is to hunt through wedding magazines and online to get pictures of the designs that you like.

Next you need to see how much space you will have at your tables, a 5ft round with 10 people on won't have much space for an elaborate centerpiece unless you have height rather than width. Whereas a 6ft round with 10 people on will have a fair amount of space to fill. If you have rectangular tables or 'longs' then you will have lots of space one way and not much the other, in other words you will need to have long centerpiece designs. Have a chat with your venue so that you can see how much room you have. Ask to see a room laid for another wedding, they will happily show it to you before the wedding party arrives.

The other consideration is the amount of other stuff on the table; menu, wine, water jugs, glasses and place settings. I have seen tables where the centerpiece is lost behind all the other extras. Before you go very high think how your guests will see each other at the table, the only way to test this is to make a mock up of the centerpiece and then sit at a table with it. Can you see your opposite guest? The top table?

Remember that the centerpiece doesn't have to be flowers or candles it can be anything you want; favor boxes stacked in the middle, pictures, rose petals, tall glass vases with peacock feathers, even baskets of chocolates.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wedding Consultants/Planning Heidi's Wedding

As a college student majoring in print journalism, a passion of mine is obviously writing. A more hidden passion of mine is weddings. If it weren't for my dreams of becoming a serious writer, I would most likely pursue a career as a wedding consultant. I was recently bestowed with an exciting opportunity.

I recieved the news via text message, my friend Heidi had just been proposed to by her boyfriend, Bobby. When we got a chance to talk, she spilled out all of her hopes for the wedding. She expressed her desire to hire a wedding consultant; and then revealed that her wedding budget is going to be about seven thousand dollars. The only thing that will not be included within this set budget is the wedding dress, which her mother will be purchasing for her.

After the initial excitement of being engaged, Heidi came back to Earth. We discussed some of her wedding plans again, days after our first wedding talk. Having done hours of research on weddings and the wedding industry, I gave Heidi a small reality check. The average cost of wedding consultant in the United States ranges from $1,000 to $1,500. If Heidi felt that she really needed a wedding consultant, she would be spending a very large portion of her wedding budget. Her other option would be to expand her budget by using a loan or purchasing some wedding services through a credit card. Many couples begin their marriage with a significant amount of debt often due to an expanded wedding budget. Considering that Heidi has just graduated college, she will already be entering her marriage with college loan debt. She decided that it would be wiser to stick to a budget that she and Bobby can afford without taking out a loan.

Some brides opt to be their own wedding consultant and merely use a wedding planner book to guide them through planning their weddings.

Heidi has been a bridesmaid for a close friend's wedding who chose this option. The friend did all of the planning herself, and kept herself very composed throughout the wedding planning. When her wedding day arrived, the friend became hysterical and angry. She had become a bridezilla. Heidi does not want to be in charge of all of her wedding planning in fear of stressing herself into a bridezilla as her friend did.

Because of my obsession with weddings, I feel that I will be able to plan a small wedding. I informed Heidi of my willingness to assist her in planning her wedding. So, I am now officially Heidi's wedding consultant, free of charge. My only charge is the experience of fulfilling a desire to be a part of the wedding industry that I am so interested in.

There are, of course, benefits to hiring a wedding consultant. A wedding consultant can negotiate between you and vendors; organize what needs to be done and procure necessary documents and paperwork; oversee all vendor setups on the day of the wedding; lead everyone through the wedding; and inspire the bride and groom in designing their wedding.

My tasks as Heidi's wedding planner include: compiling various lists (guest list, vendor list, budget list, etc.); creating a timeline for Heidi and Bobby to follow; going with Heidi and Bobby to meet with all possible vendors and evaluating them; creating ideas for the couple to use for various aspects of the wedding (centerpieces, invitations, etc.); and most of all, keeping the couple within their wedding budget.
I look forward to planning Heidi's wedding and intend to discover many new ideas for weddings, for planning them, and for ways to save money.