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More Amazing Places You Could Visit For Your Honeymoon

This world has some pretty incredible places.  We found some more amazing places you could visit for your honeymoon.  Happy Day Dreaming.

The Carribean

Whitehaven Beach, Queensland Australia

White River Falls, Oregon

Cook Islands

Hotel Hospes Maricel, Mallorca, Spain

Where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic ocean

Vallories Abbey Garden, France

Raja Ampat – Indonesia

Maui, Hawaii

Iguacu Falls, Brazil

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Always A Brides Maid…The Responsibilities of The Brides Maids

Photo Courtesy of Melissa Kelsey Photography

A Brief History

The history of the bridesmaid varies across cultures, religions and time periods. In early Roman times, bridesmaids formed a kind of bridal infantry as they accompanied the bride to the groom’s village. This “protective shield” of similarly outfitted bridesmaids was supposed to intervene if any wayward thugs or vengeful suitors tried to hurt the bride or steal her dowry.

However, the Western bridesmaid tradition seems to have originated from later Roman law, which required ten witnesses at a wedding in order to outsmart evil spirits believed to attend marriage ceremonies. The bridesmaids and ushers dressed in identical clothing to the bride and groom, so that the evil spirits wouldn’t know who was getting married. Even as late as 19th century England, the belief that ill-wishers could administer curses and taint the wedding still existed. In Victorian wedding photographs, for example, it can take quite a bit of inspection to pick out the bride and groom from among the other members of the bridal party!

Photo Courtesy of Pure Photography

The Modern Day Bridesmaid

These early customs continue to have an influence today. The expression “thrice a bridesmaid, never a bride” arose from the bridesmaid’s interception of, and gradual infection by (over the course of three weddings), the evil spirits trying to disrupt the ceremony! And, although the bridal party no longer functions as a troop of foot soldiers, bridesmaid dresses are still commonly chosen in harmony with the look and feel of the wedding. The bridal party continues to serve a vital role in the wedding process, not by fending off hexes and robbers, but by providing key support staff and an advisory board. Besides being an honored member of the wedding party and special guest at the reception, today’s bridesmaid is also designated as the bride’s special assistant. From shopping for dresses to scouting hotels for out-of-town guests to writing place cards to hosting a bridal shower, her first duty is to be helpful. The payoff is that walk down the aisle, looking absolutely beautiful in a gown that is stylish, sophisticated, colorful and absolutely wearable. In 21st century America, bridesmaids are chosen to be caring helpers, thoughtful organizers and skillful liaisons.

It’s a great compliment to be in the bridal party. The bride has sleepless nights picking her members, she knows they will be her supporting cast, before, during and after the wedding.

She also knows who ever she picks to join her bridal party will honor their bridesmaid responsibilities, their duties and some costs during the course of the wedding.

Bridesmaids duties will vary according to how many bridesmaids you have. If you have 3 bridesmaids, you should delegate different tasks to each girl – your wedding planning will run smoothly if you do.

A bridesmaid duty may include some or most of the list provided below, as this is only a guide, you can add or subtract off of the list to suit your wedding requirements. The bridesmaid responsibilities will also differ because each wedding is unique.

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Tyler Photography

Specific Duties

Maid or Matron of Honor

  • Helps the bride select the bridesmaids’ attire.
  • Organizes the bridesmaids’ gift to the bride.
  • Makes sure bridesmaids have their attire.
  • Holds the groom’s wedding ring and the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony.
  • Witnesses the signing of the marriage certificate.
  • Stands in the receiving line, if there is one.
  • Helps the bride during the reception (gathering guests for the cake cutting, dancing, the bouquet toss).
  • Helps the bride change into her going-away clothes, and takes care of the bride’s wedding dress and accessories after the reception.


  • Attend the bridesmaids’ luncheon, if there is one.
  • Supervise flower girl(s) and ring bearer(s) if asked.
  • Assist the bride at the reception as requested.
  • Participate in activities such as a receiving line and a bouquet toss.
  • Contribute to the bridesmaids’ gift to the bride.

Photo Courtesy of Moments To Remember

Photo Courtesy of Swensen Photography

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Getting Your Cruise On ~ Great Honeymoon Cruises

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

While researching information for another honeymoon blog we kept pulling up articles regarding cruises.  After looking back we realized that we have done several fun honeymoon articles.  But never one devoted to cruising.

We went through many of the major cruise lines (forgive us if we missed some) and pulled out what looked like a fun itinerary for each line.

Most of the cruises listed below are relatively affordable and while we have not been on any of them ourselves (working on it though) these are the itineraries that seemed to be the most enjoyable/romantic/interesting.

We make no claim to be experts and HIGHLY suggest you contact a travel agent when looking for a cruise.   There are many great travel agents out there, many of which specialize in cruising.  One travel agent that we HIGHLY recommend is All Points Travel.  This team of travel experts knows their stuff and can make sure you have the honeymoon cruise of your dreams.

With no further ado here are a few different cruises that we thought might intrigue you.

Star Princess PRINCESS CRUISES – Star Princess
7 Night Alaska Inside Passage from Seattle, WA

If you’re looking for big scenery, big wildlife and big adventure, then you’ve found the perfect honeymoon. Departing conveniently from Seattle May through September, Star Princess sails to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia. You will experience exciting gold rush history aboard an antique train, trek magnificent glaciers and immerse yourself in the culture of Alaska’s native people while traveling in luxury aboard a new generation Love Boat.

Star Princess offers a decadent spa and adults-only areas, flexible dining, a huge casino and a wide variety of nightly entertainment. And for an intimate, romantic evening, make a reservation at one of the most delicious restaurants at sea: Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria. Then take in a comedy show and don’t miss the champagne waterfall extravaganza, a Princess Cruises exclusive.

Disney Dream DISNEY CRUISE LINE – Disney Dream
4 Night Disney cruise and 3 Night Walt Disney World Resort stay from Port Canaveral/Orlando

Begin on Sunday by spending four nights on board Disney’s newest and most spectacular ship, the Disney Dream. Sail from Port Canaveral on one of the most delightful cruise ships ever, and visit Disney’s secluded island retreat, Castaway Cay, and charming colonial Nassau, Bahamas. Honeymooners will be thrilled to learn that on board there are uniquely separate areas created just for adults: a pool, an intimate Italian restaurant, a decadent spa, a nightclub complex with several different bars and even a beach on Castaway Cay all off limits to kids!

You’ll enjoy a completely different dining experience every night. Plus spacious accommodations, excellent service and a wide variety of entertainment, all done in classic Disney style, add up to make this one of the most enchanting honeymoons available. Then Thursday morning, transfer just 45 minutes away to Orlando and spend the rest of the week at one of the fabulous Walt Disney World resorts. Once at the parks the magic continues! All of Disney’s honored guests enjoy unlimited park admissions and convenient, complimentary Disney transportation.

Diamond Princess CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES – Carnival Freedom
6 Night Western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale, FL

This is a ship built for fun and an itinerary designed for fun in the sun! Departing every other Sunday from Fort Lauderdale, you can sail year-round for 6-nights to Western Caribbean ports of call in Key West, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. And you can enjoy some of the most sought after adventures in the Caribbean. Carnival’s Las Vegas-style atmosphere keeps the party going from the show lounge to the casino to the nightclub to the piano bar. Plus, Carnival offers a terrific variety of flexible dining options, including an intimate adults-only supper club serving fine steaks and seafood delicacies.

Eurodam HOLLAND AMERICA – Eurodam
7 Night Eastern Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale, FL

The first in the newest line of Holland America Line vessels, Eurodam sails conveniently from Fort Lauderdale every Saturday from January through April and again in November and December. She calls in Grand Turk, San Juan and St. Thomas, plus Holland America’s award-winning private island retreat, Half Moon Cay. Holland America Line offers a traditional cruising experience with a refined social atmosphere and gracious Asian-style service from an all-Filipino and Indonesian crew. Their unique Pinnacle Grill dining experience specializes in the finest food and wine from the Pacific Northwest. Plus, the Culinary Arts Center, sponsored by Food & Wine Magazine, appeals the foodie in everyone. The ships are decorated like elegant fine- art galleries, and the cabin accommodations are very spacious.

Celebrity Millenium CELEBRITY CRUISES – Summit
7 Night Bermuda from Cape Liberty (Bayonne), NJ

This will definitely be a vacation to remember, even if it weren’t your honeymoon, because you’re aboard one of the finest ships in the cruise industry on a cruise line with one of the highest ratings of customer satisfaction. Every Sunday from May to August, this gorgeous ship sails for 7 nights from Cape Liberty to beautiful Bermuda with an unequaled length of stay: three days in port. Sexy and elegant, Summit provides an experience rich in opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation, turning this cruise into a sophisticated, club-style spa vacation. A must-do for honeymooners: the couples body spa treatments or partner’s massage instruction.

Allure of the Seas ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINE – Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas
7 Night Eastern or Western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale, FL

Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas definitely have the “WOW” factor. They are the largest and most innovative ships ever built. The entertainment and activities are endless including rock climbing, zip lining, ice skating (yep, you read that right), basketball, volleyball or mini-golf. At night you’ll find a wide variety of live entertainment in the many restaurants, bars and lounges, and the aqua theatre, not to mention a world-class casino. And look out for those crazy Dreamworks characters from Shrek and Madagascar! Every Saturday and every Sunday, Allure and Oasis carry more than 5,000 guests each to the most beautiful and most popular islands in the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau or to Labadee, Jamaica and Mexico.

Pride of America NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE – Pride of America
7 Night Hawaiian Islands from Honolulu , HI

See more of Hawaii from a whole new perspective aboard Pride of America sailing year round in Hawaii. All of Pride of America’s itineraries include the beautiful ports of Honolulu, Hilo, Kona, Kauai and Maui. Norwegian’s unique flexible style is perfect for such an adventurous and port-intensive itinerary. This cruise spends more than 100 hours docked in the islands, including overnights in both Maui and Kauai, so you have plenty of time to explore without rushing. The ship delivers a fabulous vacation value, without time wasted checking in and out of hotels and catching inter-island flights. Plus, the dining menus and night-time entertainment capture the best of the islands. Flagged in the US with a Hawaiian-American crew, Pride of America provides a unique perspective into the culture and history of Hawaii.

AmaCello AMA Waterways – AmaCello
7 Night Rhine River from Basel, Switzerland or from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Rhine River is an ideal backdrop for a fantasy honeymoon. The region’s quintessential castles and Medieval villages are direct from the pages of your favorite fairy tales. The Rhine flows through mythic Rhineland Germany, which has a great appeal for foodies and wine lovers. AmaCello carries only 148 people in an intimate, modern atmosphere and the common language on board is English. Dining and entertainment showcase the culture of the area, plus, all accommodations offer a river view, most have a private verandah. Imagine the convenience of traveling the interior of Europe without all the hassles of packing and unpacking. Amacello will take you door-to-door with the area’s most charming and delightful experiences, and daily shore tours are included in the cruise price. Lengthy port calls allow you to walk on and off the ship any time you want or borrow the ship’s bicycles for more private independent exploration.

Wind Spirit WINDSTAR CRUISES – Wind Spirit
7 Night Greek Islands and Turkey from Istanbul, Turkey or from Athens, Greece

Windstar defies any attempt to be labeled an ordinary cruise by giving guests the chic feel of a chartered sailboat. With only 146 other guests you will find attentive service, superb dining, a casual atmosphere and the romance of some of the trendiest destinations in the Mediterranean. Choose one of two 7-night cruises among the Greek Islands from Istanbul , or from Athens, including Mykonos, Santorini, and Bodrum and Kusadasi. The ship offers such a laid-back atmosphere that even the captain goes without socks and there are no schedules and no restrictions.

Paul Gauguin PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES – Paul Gauguin
7 Night Tahiti and The Society Islands from Papeete, Tahiti

The cruise sails every Saturday from Papeete, Tahiti for a 7-night voyage the idyllic coral atolls of Raiatea and Tahaa, and the itinerary includes overnight stays in Bora Bora, Moorea and Papeete before disembarkation. This allows you plenty of time to bask in pure pleasure and even enjoy watersports right off the back of the ship! Paul Gauguin offers a retractable water-level marina platform and a full range of PADI SCUBA excursions. Informal, yet elegant, the Paul Gauguin carries only 320 guests who receive only the finest personal service, fabulous gourmet cuisine meticulously prepared and presented under the supervision of top rated French chefs.

CARNIVAL IMAGINATION 3-4 Day Baja Mexican Cruises

For the bride and groom who may not have the time or do not want to spend a lot of money we also found that Carnival offers some very affordable 3-4 Day Baja Mexican cruises aboard the Carnival Inspiration.  Considering its west coast proximity to the majority of our readers this is a great way to “Get Your Cruise On” without breaking the bank or being gone for a longer period of time.

Remember we do not consider ourselves experts by any means in cruising, this is just what we found from researching the various cruise sites and vacations sites (Travel Channel, Cruise Cheap.com, Cruises.com, TheHoneymoon.com).


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More Interesting Wedding Customs, Studies and Info

Hope your day is going great.  Here are some interesting things learned about marriage that we wanted to share with you. I bet you didn’t know that your yearbook photo has foreshadowing elements of how your marriage will be, while we know it isn’t science, it is pretty interesting to learn.  Fun stuff.

Wedding dresses weren’t always white, according to TLC. In fact, they were traditionally red, blue, purple or even black, with gold and silver stitching. It wasn’t until 1840, when Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert in a white bridal gown, that the “chaste” color became the status quo.

Men who kiss their wives in the morning are said to live five years longer than those who don’t. So pucker up and start your day off right!

A 2006 study found that altruism leads to marital bliss. Participants were asked whether they agreed with the following statements: “I’d rather suffer myself than let the one I love suffer” and “I’m willing to sacrifice my own wishes to let the one I love achieve his or hers.” The study found that 67 percent of the more altruistic participants rated their own marriages as “very happy,” while only 50 percent of the less altruistic were very happy in their marriages.

While giving a ring to your betrothed is a practice that dates back to Roman times, the first recorded occurrence of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477, when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave one to his fiancée, Mary of Burgundy.

If you want to know whether or not the object of your affection will be a good marriage partner, check out his or her yearbook photo. In a 2009 study, scientists ranked the intensity of people’s smiles in their college yearbook photos from 1 to 10. They found that none of the people in the top 10 percent—those with the biggest smiles—had divorced, while almost 25 percent in the bottom 10 percent had ended a marriage.

Most modern marriage proposals are from men, but women actually do a small share of the asking, too. And they have Scotland to thank for starting the trend centuries ago: In 1228, it was the first European country where women earned the right to propose marriage, a law which then spread throughout Europe.

Maybe love really is all you need…at least to stay out of trouble. According to a 2010 study, marriage reduced criminal behavior in high-risk males by 35 percent. While the study’s authors weren’t sure whether calmer men were more likely to marry or whether marriage had a calming effect, we think the married guys just didn’t want to explain those handcuffs to their wives.

Wedding and engagement rings have been worn on the fourth finger of the left hand since ancient times. The Romans believed a vein in this particular finger, called “vena amoris” (a.k.a. the “vein of love”), leads directly to the heart.

Photography by~Brooke Schultz Photography

In a 2007 study, scientists found that men in love show more activity in the visual part of the brain, while women in love show more activity in the part of the brain that governs memory. Scientists theorize the difference has more to do with anthropology than biology: Men look for fertility features in women, and since women can’t judge fertility in men by physical appearance, they must remember certain characteristics that will determine if he will be a good mate.

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Randomly Fun Wedding Trivia & Wedding Tradition Origins

Photo Courtesy of Garzand Photography

Over the last several months we have found some really fun & random wedding facts, traditions, superstitions etc.

Here are links to a few past blogs with interesting wedding information.

Honeymoon Facts & Trivia

More Fun Wedding Facts

Fun and Disturbing Wedding Facts

Unique Wedding Customs & Traditions

Ten Unique Wedding Traditions 10-6

Ten Unique Wedding Traditions 5-1

Local Wedding Customs

Interesting Wedding Traditions

A Silver Sixpence In Her Shoe

Just For Fun, Here are Some More

The word wedding comes from the Anglo-Saxon wedd, meaning a pledge.

In olden days, a man “plighting his troth” meant entering a legal agreement, which is where we get the term “betrothal.”

In many African tribes, a man cannot marry until he, his father, or uncles have paid a brideswealth in money, livestock or other valuables to the girl’s family.

The dowry system, in which a bride was expected to bring valuables to the marriage, was observed in many cultures.  It was originally intended as compensation for the burden undertaken by the new groom of supporting a wife.

Bridal showers date back to the dowry system as a way for the bride to gain a dowry.

Arranged marriages are still customary in some cultures even today.  The Hindus of India is one.

The tradition of wearing wedding rings on the third finger has two sources: one started back in ancient times when it was believed that the third finger had a nerve that ran straight to the heart; the second is metaphorical, while every other finger can be extended to its full length and straightness alone, the ring finger can only be fully extended in the company of an adjacent finger.

Before the late 18th century, diamonds were so rare and scarce, that only the very rich could afford to give them as engagement rings.

Wedding rings are made of gold because it was believed that it was the most pure of all metals and therefore symbolic of the union of marriage.

Photo By Swensen Photography

Most marriage still occur in the month of June.  The tradition started with Roman brides because June is named after the Roman god Juno, the Goddess of Love and Marriage.

Amish weddings are permitted only after the harvest and normally take place during the week, not the weekend.

The tradition of the best man started to keep the groom from going back for anything once he started for the church or wedding ceremony.  Turning around and going back for any reason was considered a very bad omen for the wedding.  The best man was to prevent that from happening.

In Switzerland a pine tree is planted at the home of the newly wed couple as a sign of fertility and good luck.

Groomsmen were basically henchmen.  Originally made part of the wedding party by the groom in order to keep too many uninvited people from joining in the celebration and the wedding party getting big, rowdy and uncontrollable.  Today, they are simply symbolic.

In Kenya, artist paint the hands and nails of a new bride.  The paint stays on for one year to show the status of a newly married woman.

The small tissues that are often enclosed in wedding invitations started back in the old raised printing press days, when it was necessary to include small pieces of rice paper to keep the printing from smearing.  With today’s modern printing methods the tissue is no longer needed, but they are include because of tradition.

The bridal veil predates the wedding dress by almost 2,000 years.

Photo By Swensen Photography

The color blue thought to be symbolic of virtue and innocence of a first love, has been associated with weddings much longer than white.

Before white wedding dresses became customary, the color of a dress was thought to be superstitious. Here is the color code:

Married in white, you have chosen alright

Married in green, ashamed to be seen

Married in blue, love ever true

Married in pink, it’s you he will always think

Married in grey, you will go far away

Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead

Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow

Married in black, you’ll wish yourself back

Traditional Chinese brides often wear red, which symbolizes joy and love.  White denotes hope and is usually reserved for funerals.

The traditional wedding costume of a Navaho Indian bride is a dress woven in four colors, symbolic of the four directions of the compass.

The tradition of brides carrying flowers started centuries ago.  At first the brides often carried stalks of wheat, corn or fruit to symbolize her bringing a fertile body to the union and a promise of an abundance of children.

The tradition of the bride throwing the bouquet started in France in 1300.  The belief was that whomever caught the bouquet would be the next to marry.

In traditional Danish weddings two pieces of ribbon are tied during the ceremony as a symbol of the union of man and woman.  This is where we got the phrase, “To tie the knot.”

Over 40 different cultures around the world, including Navaho Indians face east for the ceremony, as east is believed to be the direction of the future.

The wedding cake dates back to ancient Rome, when couples shared cakes of wheat flour with their guest as a symbol of their unity.

The first tiered wedding cake was made by a London baker who duplicated the spires of a nearby church.  The church name was -
St. Brides!

Photo Provided By Tiered Expressions

Sources – lkfshow.com, theknot.com, randomhistory.com, weddingwire.com

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Tips and Ideas For Brides Getting Married in The Salt Lake Temple

Photo Courtesy of Swensen Photography

With wedding season now in full gear we have taken questions from brides getting married and one of the more common questions we get is how things work when there are so many weddings at The Salt Lake Temple.  A few months ago we posted a blog with tips and ideas for brides and grooms if they are planning a wedding at the Salt Lake Temple.  We thought because the next few months will be the busiest wedding months of the year there it would be good to revisit that post.  Enjoy.

Photo Courtesy of Opie Foto

In Salt Lake City, The Salt Lake LDS Temple is one of the most popular places for wedding ceremonies.  On any given Saturday of the year, The Salt Lake Temple can have more than 100 weddings.  Crazy, I know but because the building is so historic and it has such a significant meaning to LDS Brides it is an extremely popular place for weddings.

Between photographing, video taping, attending etc over 3500 weddings (about half if not more have been at the Salt Lake Temple) we would like to give you some of our personal observations as well as suggestions from other experts in the industry that can help your day run more smoothly.

Photo Courtesy of Robert Dyer Photography

1 – Ceremony Time - The typical ceremony will last about 45 minutes.  Make sure your guests arrive 30 minutes before the ceremony begins as it becomes very frustrating to have to wait for someone.  If the temple has a full wedding schedule they will wait for a little bit but they can’t wait for very long as that throws everyone else off.

2 – Prep time - Taking into consideration the ceremony is about 45 minutes, you should plan on another 30 minutes (minimum) after the ceremony to greet those who attended the ceremony and to prepare yourself for the pictures afterwards.

Photo Courtesy of Oakstream Photography

3 – Courtesy (Especially on the Temple Stairs) - This is a big one.  As stated before the Salt Lake Temple can have upwards of 100 weddings on any given day (Fridays & Saturdays in May and June especially).  Everyone loves to get their picture take on the stairs with those who came to either attend the ceremony or wish the couple good luck.  These are very popular pictures.  However, it can also be a cause of major issues.  We have literally seen photographers, videographers and family members yelling at each other because they are “taking too long” or they cut in front of someone else to get pictures done on the stairs.

The temple asks that you limit your stair time to 20 minutes.  It is extremely important that you use courtesy and do so.  You will also get a lot of photos at your reception location so it is wise to limit the photos on the stairs to just a few.  One secret several photographers told us is that while most people want lots of group pictures taken on the stairs, those same pictures are the ones that get purchased the least afterwards.

Any professional photographer will know the best times and spots to get pictures on the stairs, however that doesn’t mean there won’t be a wait.  If there is a line of brides waiting for the famous stair shots it is wise to have your photographer coordinate with the other photographers the order of who will go next.  Typically it is based upon who arrives next.

If the wait will be a while it might be wise for the bride and groom to select a few people in the party to wait around for your turn while you go off with the photographer and get some other pictures.  However, don’t stray too far because if you miss your spot you can’t expect other people to wait for you.

Oh Yeah, and if you do the shot where you as the couple are kissing in front of everyone on the stairs, don’t have them cheer for real.  Just have everyone do a fake cheer.  It can get very loud for those who are still inside the temple.

Photo Courtesy of Opie Foto

6 – Give yourself Time – Because there could be a lot of other weddings going on that same day make sure to give yourself ample time between getting your pictures and your next event (luncheon, ring ceremony, reception).  Your photographer would probably want to spend at least an hour with you after you are done shooting on the stairs.  Our suggestion is to not schedule anything within 2 hours after your ceremony is complete and in most cases even three hours would be just fine.  If you have an event nearby your guests are able to visit many different areas in Salt Lake (including the new City Creek Center) to kill time while you get your pictures taken.  The last thing you want is to feel rushed as you are getting your pictures taken.

Photo Courtesy of Garzand Photography

7 – Enjoy The Moment – Enjoy the moment, don’t stress and have fun.  It is a wonderful day for the two of you make sure to enjoy the moment, take it all in and make it a wonderful experience.

Photo Courtesy of Oakstream Photography

Photo Courtesy of Garzand Photography

Photo Courtesy of Swensen Photography

Photo Courtesy of Robert Dyer Photography

Photo Courtesy of Oakstream Photography

Photo Courtesy of Garzand Photography

Photo Courtesy of Swensen Photography

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Having participated in thousands of weddings over the years there is one thing we have noticed.  Weddings are a lot of fun, for everyone except maybe the bride.  Far too often we have seen brides so stressed about the wedding planning, the wedding day, the reception and the honeymoon that they forget to enjoy the journey.  Here are some ideas we have found that will help when it comes to stress free wedding planning.

Delegate + ask for help: You don’t have to do everything! Even if it feels like you’re taking on this whole thing alone, it’s way more productive (and more pleasant) if you enlist friends, family, and your fiance for their help.
Have an outlet: Have a go-to stress relieving activity? Use it — especially when you’re planning your wedding. It’s nice to punctuate your wedding planning time wtih
Talk to friends about something other than your wedding: When your best friends have become your bridesmaids for the next year, it’s hard not to talk to them about anything but your wedding. But take the time and effort to stop thinking about your wedding and talk to your friends about something else — it’ll take your wedding stress of your mind, and your friends will appreciate it too!

Limit your Pinterest time: A recent survey by the Today Show has shown women are reporting increasing levels of stress. Why? They’re comparing themselves to the “perfect” images and lifestyles that Pinterest is so good at portraying. I mean, it is hard not to want the perfect Pinterest wedding — but you gotta remember it’s your wedding, which is better than anything on Pinterest.

Schedule a NO WEDDING night: This is perhaps the most important thing to stop others from stressing you out. One night a week, neither of you are allowed to mention the word wedding nor anything wedding related. Turn off your phones, shut down the computers and emails. This can be a date night, or just a relaxing at home together night to remind you why you’re going through all this craziness in the first place!

Continue to be romantic: Everyday is a chance to show your partner how much they mean to you. Little post it notes, a ready breakfast in the morning or a thoughtful dinner, a text to say an unexpected I love you, are all ways to keep your romance thriving through the stress.

Accept the stress and anxiety, but don’t feed into it: It’s going to happen—things will go wrong, people will make rude comments, the people you expected to come through for your special day will not rise to the occasion. Allow yourself to feel stressed out. These are normal feelings and it’s fine to feel them. But don’t feed into them. Don’t give the feelings or negative people more power than they deserve. Instead, accept them as part of the process, but acknowledge your control over your feelings. You’re more powerful than stress. Remind each other of this. Or even better, this is a good opportunity to began a couples yoga or meditation practice together.

Get Your Finances In Order: Don’t wait until after you tie the knot to share with your new spouse that you have $15,000 in credit card debt and $40,000 in student loans.  Make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to your finances.  Both what you want to spend on the wedding and more importantly how you will manage a budget and bank accounts after the wedding.

Know what YOU want before everyone you know starts telling you what you want: Before you run off to tell the parents and friends and post to facebook you are engaged, take some time for you and your partner to get used to the idea. Discuss the kind of wedding you want. When you start sharing the news, without having a clue about the experience you want to create, you are more vulnerable to pressure and influence from others.

Everyone has an agenda for your wedding: People tend to see your wedding as a chance to fulfill their own needs. They tend to act out what it’s all about for them – not the two of you! Set clear boundaries, and also protect yourselves emotionally from the sometimes-negative vibes from well-meaning friends and relatives.

Hire Experts:  There is no better way then having people who know what they are doing take care of your wedding needs.  DYI may save money (but then again may cost you a lot more than you think) but believe us when we tell you, having Aunt Lucy cutting everyone’s heads off in your pictures will cause more stress and anxiety.  Experts know how to keep you calm, they know how to do their job so you can simply focus on the fun.

Your happiness in life DOES NOT hinge on the wedding alone: Our culture places a tremendous emphasis on having a great wedding and not enough focus on having an awesome marriage. It’s okay to be temporarily obsessed for the perfect wedding – we all go there at some point – but you have to keep your eye on what’s truly important. Step back and realize, the most important part of the day is not the day itself, but that you walked down that aisle and into the arms of the one you love, the one you look forward to building your life with.  However remember; It’s just one day! You’re going to love your wedding day, but it’s really just the first day of your marriage — which is even more important.

Photo By Swensen Photography

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller

Ahh the honeymoon, the frosting on the whole wedding so to speak. This is the perfect time for a newly wed couple to spend quality time just focusing on each other.  However many times too often we hear of brides and grooms not taking a honeymoon because it is too expensive.  In chatting with literally thousands of brides over the years we would often ask, “Where are you going for your honeymoon?”  and many many times we would hear something very similar to, “We are not taking a honeymoon, we are going to take one next year when we have more money.”  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but more often than not next year turns into the year after that and the year after that and so on and so forth, all of the sudden 8 years have passed and instead of your honeymoon you are now talking about planning a trip for your 10 year anniversary, and if you think it is difficult to get away when you are a newly wed try breaking away when you are dealing with children in school, soccer games, dance recitals etc etc.  Life doesn’t slow down for you the older you get, make the honeymoon a priority, we at TheBrideandGroom.com promise you, you will be glad you did.

A study was done many years ago where hundreds of people who were getting ready to retire were interviewed.  They were asked one simple question, “If you could look back over your life to this point what would be your one biggest regret.” Almost unanimously, the response was, “I wish I would have spent more quality time with the people who mattered most to me.”  Don’t start your marriage by not doing something  just for the two of you.

A honeymoon is a fantastic way for you and your new spouse to focus solely on each other.  Time spent alone where you don’t need to worry about anything but creating great memories together.

Many times people think they can’t afford a honeymoon and while taking off to Tahiti might be a bit expensive you DO NOT have to break the bank or put yourself deeply into debt to go on a honeymoon.  On the flip side you also don’t have to stay at “Bobs Discount Motel” (No offense Bob) either.

One thing we highly recommend when putting together your honeymoon trip is to use a travel agent.  Many people think that they have to pay a travel agent as well as paying for everything else.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  Typically the company they book you through gives the agent a commission for bringing in a customer. This is not added to the price but is already built into the price of the package whether you do it yourself or use an agent. If you book directly with them they just get to keep that much more of your money, and you do all the work. So why not help out the agent who will do all your leg work. In most cases an agent can even get you a lower price.  There are many fantastic travel agents out there.

There are some online companies where you can book your services as well, but we would be willing to bet you will still get the best deal and service when you work directly with your own personal travel agent.  Personal experiences over the years has proven that to be the case in our lives.

Now with all that being said where are some of the more popular honeymoon destinations?

According to our friends at All Points Travel these  5 locations tend to be extremely popular.

1 -  The Mayan Riviera – Based on overall quality, value & convenience the best value for your money.

Photo Courtesy of El Dorado Royale

2 – The Caribbean -  Here you will find some of the most exotic and secluded beaches.

3 – Cruising – Cruising not only offers high quality, partially inclusive accommodations but also the relaxing feeling of being at sea as well as the high paced action of port activities.

4 – Hawaii – The most popular vision for honeymoons.  Hawaii offers some of the most breathtaking beaches and scenery.

5 -  Close To Home – Many places close to home offer romantic scenery and are much more affordable.  Midway, Snowbird and Park City offer beautiful locations, great food and a lot of activities.

Another very close and  popular wedding destination that won’t empty your pocket book (unless you gamble it all away) is Las Vegas.  Las Vegas offers more hotel rooms than anywhere else in the country and they are extremely affordable, especially if you travel mid week.  Las Vegas offers great food, fantastic entertainment and some incredible sites.  Many of the attractions are free of charge.  While Las Vegas might not be a newly weds paradise it has plenty to offer.

Southern California is also a great place for a close to home honeymoon that won’t cost you your entire 401K.  The beaches are free, you can get some great rates on hotels and while Disneyland and other Theme parks can seem expensive you can get some great southern California passes as Costco that can save you tons on theme parks.

When all is said and done it doesn’t necessarily matter where you go but rather that you go.  Make sure you make your honeymoon a priority.  Weddings are awesome, celebrating with friends and family is a great and very important thing but we cannot stress enough the importance of spending that quality time together.

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Great Ideas for a Hen (Bachelorette) Party to Remember!

Great Ideas for a Hen (Bachelorette) Party to Remember!

If you are chief bridesmaid and you are in charge of plotting a hen party to remember then you’d be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed at the amount of pressure involved! Making sure your best friend and the rest of the hens have a great time is a very important job and you must do everything within your power to ensure that it goes with a bang. Your main limitations will be people’s budget and also logistics – it can be very hard to get everybody in the same place at the same time. The key to a successful hen party is loads of planning and the sooner this can start the better. In this article we are going to give you some great ideas for a hen party to remember – could any of these suggestions be the right one for you and your party?

A City Break

If budget isn’t too much of a worry then one of the best things that you can all do is to head off on a city break together. Pick an exciting city with loads of great nightlife to ensure a thoroughly enjoyable time. You’ll want to pick a weekend that is not too close to the wedding so that you all get a chance to recover before the big day. Make sure that everybody has valid passports and book the flights early to get the best deals. Perhaps you could all chip in to pay for the hen’s flight and tickets as a hen party present to her? Once the girls are out on the town you’ll be so glad you made the effort and you’ll be guaranteed a hen party to remember!

A Night on the Tiles

If budget is an issue and you want to keep things local then there is no better way to celebrate the hen party than to head out to your nearest town and paint it red! Book a table at a really nice restaurant so that you can all enjoy a gorgeous meal together before you all head out to the local bars and clubs. Don’t forget to include a few party games along the way and of course it is your duty to dress the hen up in some appropriate hen gear!

A County Hotel

Perhaps you and your girls are a little too laid back for a frantic city break and you’d prefer to stay in a luxury country hotel instead? This is a wonderful way to spend the hen party and you can all benefit from all of the little luxuries that the hotel offers such as spas, a swimming pool and a beautiful garden to explore. Make sure that you get all of your planning done early so that you can arrive fully prepared to spoil your best friend rotten and have a few laughs in the process.

A hen party is a great time to bring all of the girls together and enjoy some quality time together. Make the most of this opportunity and plan a hen party that none of you will ever forget!

Author Bio:

Nicola Joseph, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger, currently writing for, Spa Factory Seconds, leading spa suppliers in Melbourne. She is a fitness enthusiast and loves spending her evenings walking her dogs, Jeremy and Jade. You can get in touch with Nicola via Twitter @NicolaJoseph.

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Randomly Interesting Wedding Trivia

Do you want to sound really smart about nothing?  We have found some very interesting trivia regarding weddings, wedding traditions, statistics and customs that will not make or break anything you do in life but it is fun to read and interesting to learn.

Photo By Swensen Photography & Vehicle By Something Vintage Something Blue

  • Are You Average?
    In 2000, the average age for a bride was 24 years and for the groom is was 28.
  • Bridal Party
    Most brides have four bridesmaids, including the maid of honor. Sixty-two percent have a flower girl and fifty-six percent have a ring bearer.
  • Engagement Rings
    Seventy-four of brides get a diamond engagement ring. Of those, 60% are included in the selection process, while three percent actually pick the ring

Photo From Tiny Comet Photography

  • Formal or Casual
    Eighty percent of brides have a formal weddings.
  • In Memoriam
    Years ago, brides placed their bouquets at cemetery grave sites, in remembrance of family members who were no longer alive.

Photo From Opie Foto

  • Longest Wedding Dress Train
    The longest train for a wedding dress was made in Germany and measured 515 feet.
  • Longest Engagement
    The longest engagement on record was between Octavio Guillen and Adriana Martinez. They were engaged for 67 years.
  • Why The Rreception Dinner?
    During the Roman Empire, couples were not considered to be legally married until they had shared a meal. It’s possible that this custom lead to what today is the wedding reception.
  • The Guy Must Be Broke
    Glynn Scotty Wolfe, a former Baptist minister, has taken 28 brides and divorced 27 of them.
  • Most Vows
    Richard and Carole Roble, a pair of New Yorkers, have taken their vows 55 times, all in different locations and at least once in each of the fifty states.
  • How Many In The US?
    The number of marriages in the United States has averaged between 2.25 and 2.4 million every year for the past 20 years.

Photo From Swensen Photography

  • Pearly Whites
    An old German superstition suggested that pearls signified tears for the bride.
  • Don’t Drink and Bride
    In Pennsylvania, ministers are forbidden by law from performing marriages if either the bride or groom is drunk.
  • Largest Mass Wedding
    In Seoul in 1992, 21,000 couples, followers of the Reverend Moon, got married on the same day. An additional nine thousand eight hundred other couples were married via satellite link-up.
  • Ring A-Ling
    About 70% of all brides wear the traditional diamond ring on the fourth finger of their left hand.
  • Ummm, That’s Just Gross
    Ancient Romans studied the inner organs of a pig to determine the best day to marry.
  • Something Old
    Brides wear “something old” on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past.

Photo By Elizabeth Kate Photography

Sources – HudsenValleyWeddings.com, TheKnot.com, WeddingChannel.com, WeddingWire.com

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