Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spooked About Your Upcoming Wedding?

So, your wedding is right around the corner and all of the sudden you're beginning to get the wedding day jitters. You ask yourself, "is this normal or not?" Having cold feet or jitters about your forthcoming nuptials can be totally normal. After all, this is a major life change. How do you know if it's normal for you? Use this quick guide to check out your feelings.
1) It's Wedding Day Related: If your worry and uneasiness seem to be about the big day itself, consider it most likely normal. Every bride wants her wedding day to go off without a hitch. If your main concerns are about the venue, music, and other day of happenings, do what you can to take care of business and then rest your worried mind. Enjoy your engagement and have fun on your wedding.
2) You Don't Know What to Expect Afterwards: You love your fiancĂ©, but aren't sure how this whole marriage thing is going to change your relationship. Will it be just like when you were dating? Can you handle all his quirky habits once you're living together? These thoughts are also pretty normal. Entering a new phase in life is challenging, because it presents you with a huge change from your norm. It may help to discuss some of these issues ahead of time or get premarital counseling. It'll be a learning process for both of you. Remember love and patience, always.
3) Is He the Right One: If you are asking this question now, you better answer why you said "yes" in the first place. If you were certain the entire time and only now with your wedding a few weeks away you're asking yourself this, it's probably a good case of cold feet. Being 100% certain about anything in life is unlikely. Here you have to look at yourself and your relationship together. Does it work? Are you in love? Do you have the same goals and wants in life? Most of these questions, you should have answered way before he proposed. If you've been skeptical your entire dating relationship, you may want to put the wedding off until you sort out what's going on.
4) You Don't Want to be Tied Down: If you are spooked about the notion of marriage and aren't sure how you got to this point, take a good close look at what you want in life. Marriage means being committed to someone for life. It's a partnership and that means give and take. It means making decisions and creating a life together. If you're used to a single life and can't imagine another person being a part of it at all times, marriage may not be for you. Your jitters are real and you need to be honest with yourself and your partner.
5) It Wasn't Your Choice, Really: If you feel like you were pressured into getting married, "felt bad" about turning someone down, or have another reason why you may have said "yes" when you really wanted to say "no," then call off the engagement now.  Sure, it's embarrassing and you spent a lot of time and money, but it's better then going through with it and being unhappy.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Three Tips to Start Your Marriage Off Right

If you're recently married, you may be wondering, "how do I start my marriage off on the right foot?" If that thought crossed you're mind, you're already one step ahead of the game. You understand and appreciate that marriage, like most relationships takes work. Here are a few simple things you can do to begin your happily ever after!
1) Have Dinner Together:  Sounds pretty simple, but with busy life and work schedules, it's easy to take little things, like dinner, for granted. But eating together gives you both a break from the busyness of life. It allows you to sit together and enjoy each other's company, and if done right, focus on your relationship. Dinners are best unplugged. That means no interruptions from phones, emails, television, etc. Talk about your day, your hopes, dreams, or even your fears. Make sure to listen to your partner too. Even if you're not all that interested in your spouse's latest lesson plan for school, make an effort to hear him out. If he's telling you about it, it's important to him. So make it important to you too. If it's impossible to have dinner together because of conflicting schedules, set aside some time together each day to have "unplugged" time and listen to each other. It could be over a cup of tea or breakfast in the morning. But make a point to talk and listen to each other uninterrupted.
2) Pay a Compliment or Two:  Another important way to help your relationship is to compliment one another. Everybody wants to know that they are good at something, that you appreciate what they do, or that you admire some quality of theirs. Sure you may have told that to your husband before you married him, but it doesn't end there. Make it a point to acknowledge your spouse's talents, character traits and other things he does. It doesn't have to be excessive, but enough that he knows you appreciate him and all he does. You can thank him for always helping clear off the dishes or remind him how much you love his humor or commitment to family. These little reminders go a long way in keeping the love alive.
3) Make a Plan:  It helps to start your married life off with a plan: a household chores plan. Doesn't sound all that romantic in helping your marriage, but some structure is important in relationships. By creating a plan, you give each other a set of responsibilities around the house each of you are in charge of. A clear plan limits the need for conversations like, "honey, did you take out the trash" or "who's paying the bills this month?" Sure, every once in a while you may need a reminder, but beginning your marriage with a clear idea of who's doing what will help you find balance and reliability in your relationship.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Plan Your Wedding More Productively with these 10 Steps

Feeling overwhelmed? Afraid you're not on track with all your wedding planning details? Nip the wedding worry wart in the bud with these 10 productivity tips!
1) Make a Schedule: It's easy to forget about all the things that have to get done before the big day if you don't have a schedule. If you fall into this category, sit down and make one. Don't make it too complicated either. Try starting with what you need to accomplish this week. Jot it down and then allot the specific days and times you plan to work on it. The hard part is sticking to it!
2) Limit the Time You Spend on the Web: Surfing the web for inspiration and wedding ideas is fun, but can become quite time consuming if you don't check yourself. Give yourself a set time (e.g. 30 minutes) to be online and then turn it off and start getting stuff done.
3) Get Organized: If your wedding information and research is all over the place, you'll find yourself spending a good deal of time looking for everything before you can get start getting any work done. Set up a wedding work space and files so you know where to find your vendor information and all the important details when you need them and without delay.
4) Say "No" to Interruptions: Friends keep calling for updates? Family wants your help, but you don't have time? It's okay to tell people "no" every now and then. You have a lot to get done. Let people know you are busy and don't have extra time while you are planning your wedding. Or do what need to get accomplished first and then make time for everybody else. Let them know your plan and it can be a win-win for all.
5) Don't Let it Pile Up: It's easy to let your to-do list pile up. If you keep putting aside tasks that need to get done, that's exactly what happens. If possible, tackle easy tasks as they come in, like opening up your mail, scheduling appointments, or writing thank-you notes.
6) Wake Up Earlier: Getting out of bed a few minutes earlier can put you ahead of schedule. Even ten minutes earlier, can give you extra time to eat a healthy breakfast, meditate, or otherwise, take better care of yourself or finish up a project you were working on the night before.
7) Turn Off Distractions: When you're working on wedding planning, do it fully. Turn off your computer, television, and other distractions that can pull you away from the task at hand. Doing this will help you get more things done in less amount of time.
8) Check Your Time "Wasters:" It's a good idea to sit down with yourself and figure out what's consuming most of your time. Do you get distracted easily? Do you find yourself sleeping in because you're too tired? Are there too many social commitments? Look at what's occupying most of your schedule and see how you can fix it to better manage your productivity.
9) Get Motivated: A little motivation can go a long way. Sometimes all you need is someone there to help cheer you on and make sure you're on track. Choose a person you trust and enjoy working with and ask them to be your cheerleader. Have them check in with you every few days to make sure you're sticking to your schedule and have your priorities in order. Choose someone who can pitch in and help if you need her too, as well.
10) Take a Day Off: Whether it's on a workday or a weekend, dedicating a full day to planning your wedding can help you get caught up. Make sure you use it wisely, however, and keep in mind the other 9 tips so you get the most out of your day.

Friday, October 17, 2014

3 Ways to Say Thank You After the Wedding

Gratitude is important in life. Even the smallest child understands the importance of a "thank you." And although you may have spoke the word to your family and friends, it's important to follow up with a written expression of gratitude once your honeymooning is over. Here are three ways to say thank you to those who helped you celebrate your special day.
Your Family: They supported you and stood by through thick and thin as you planned your wedding. And even if they didn't, they brought you into this world and got you to where you are today. It's important to let those special family members who make a real difference in your life know. Supplementing a heartfelt letter with a memorable gift is ideal. Maybe a framed photo from the wedding or a preserved wedding flower keepsake. These are gifts that last a lifetime and show your love and appreciation.
Your Wedding Guests: They came and celebrated your big day with you. They showered you with love, laughter, and gifts. Send out thank you notes in a timely fashion. The sooner you do, the better you'll both feel. Remember, what's inside the note counts too. A generic thank you note says very little from the heart. Instead, consider a specialized approach for each guest. Include an anecdote from the wedding or something unique about them or the gift they purchased for you. It's guaranteed to make a lasting warm impression on your guests.
Your Vendors: They created the wedding you always dreamed of. The planner, the florist, the musicians, and whoever else you hired made your day a reality. Assuming you already distributed gratuities to them, you can do one more very important thing to thank them. Write your vendors a testimonial. If they were outstanding, be sure to note that and provide your feedback on Wedding Wire or other sites. You can ask your vendors where they prefer you to write a testimonial too. Referrals and recommendations are the best way for wedding professionals to get new business. That's the ultimate thank you. Besides, wouldn't you want another bride to have as great a service as you did? Now that's a win-win for all!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Three Tips to Keeping Your Thoughts Positive While Planning Your Wedding

Thoughts have a sneaky way of creeping up on you and sometimes winning a mental power struggle. If you find yourself second guessing, doubting, or worrying about your wedding day or the planning process, try to put yourself in the driver seat with these negative thought busting tricks:
1) Visualization: Creating mental images of how you hope to celebrate your wedding day is a powerful tool. The more vivid the imagery, the better you can hold that picture in your mind. Take it to another level by creating a physical wedding day vision board. Include pictures, positive words, or inspiring quotes. Look at your vision board every day when you wake up and before you go to sleep so you have those positive images at the forefront of your mind. If you start getting bogged down with all the details of planning your wedding, pull out your vision board. It's a good reminder of what all the hard work is truly about.
2) Affirmations: Use positive statements to combat self-doubt or worry that creeps into your mind. If you're worried that your family won't get along during the celebration, remind yourself that while you love your family, you cannot control their behaviors. You might write an affirmation for yourself like, "I love my family but can only control my thoughts and actions." Or you may prefer, "I choose to focus on the positive qualities of my family and the happiness at my wedding." The key is to select positive words that speak to you. Let these words become your mantra whenever your thoughts try to lead you astray.
3) The Good Ol' Rubber Band Technique: If you've ever been in therapy, had counseling or read anything by some well known motivational speakers or mental health professionals, you may be familiar with this trick. Wear a rubber band around your wrist. Anytime you start to think something negative about yourself or your wedding planning, give the rubber band a little snap. It's supposed to act as a reminder that there's no place for negative thinking. You might find yourself snapping that rubber band quite a bit initially, but eventually it slows down, as you train yourself to keep your thoughts positive.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Getting Back on Financial Track Once You're Married

Your wedding was beautiful. Your family was happy. Your guests had a blast. It was by far the best day of your life. And the most expensive perhaps. Now that you're coming back to reality after all the festivities, you might learn that you spent a lot more than you expected on your wedding. "How did that credit card bill get to be so high," you may be wondering. Or maybe you're doing a double take at the balance on your account. If you and your groom find yourselves fretting over your unexpected financial debt, take steps to start digging yourselves out right NOW! Start your marriage off on the right financial foot by considering the following:
1) Stop Using Your Credit Cards: Obviously, you need to pay your rent or mortgage and put food on the table. For those real everyday expenses pay by check or cash. Stop spending money on your credit cards. Credit card interest rates are generally high and compounded. That means the $10 lunch you charged can end up costing you a lot more than you swiped for. If you don't need it, don't buy it. Wait until you're in a more financially stable period in your life.
2) Pay Down Your Debt: You already owe money. Now you have to figure out a way to pay up. If you have multiple credit cards, look at which one you might be able to pay down first. It may be the one with the least amount on it. Then start putting more than a minimum payment on it each month. The quicker you pay it off, the better you'll feel. Do the same with the rest of your cards and remember not to use them! You may also want to look into doing a balance transfer. Some credit cards offer deals like a 0% interest for the first 12 months or so on a balance transfer. Sounds like a great deal, but beware there are usually transfer fees involved. Get the details and if it's worth it, go for it. It might help you pay down those cards faster since it's not accruing interest.
3) Don't Spend All Your Wedding Money at Once: Now that you've opened all your wedding gifts, you may be happily surprised with the chunk of change you came out with. Wasn't it nice of your guests to be so generous? But before you go and buy a brand new set of wheels, consider your money woes. It might be in your best interest to buy the things you need, like a dining room set, and keep some of your gift money in a savings account or a rainy day fund.
4) Cut Spending: If you don't anticipate making additional money somehow, find little ways to cut spending. Skipping the cable bill could save you $50 a month or more. That's money you could put towards your necessary living expenses or pay down your debt with.
5) Make a Plan: Sit down with your spouse and come up with a budget and a plan to stick to it. Ask all the important questions like, what's our monthly take home income, where are most of our expenditures going, where can we cut costs, how can we save more. It's critical that you both are on the same page here. Working together to get your finances in order is key to starting off your marriage in the right direction.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When Not to DIY for Your Wedding

Sure, we know. Wouldn't it be cool if you could handle some of your wedding details on your own? You could save a lot of money and seriously, some of it doesn't look that hard! Just follow steps one through seven and viola! the perfect centerpiece. Before you make the decision on becoming a DIY Bride, review the 5 points below. If you fall into any of these categories, just say no to DIY:
1) You're Already Feeling Overwhelmed: planning a wedding is stressful. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Your stress levels depend on multiple factors, but generally there is some added stress somewhere in your life. If you're already feeling exhausted with wedding planning, don't add one more thing to worry about to your list. And worry, you will. You'll be having conversations with yourself along the lines of, "am I doing this right" or "I am going to finish it in time." Buy it or get someone else to do it instead, so you can relax a little more.
2) You Have No Help: It might sound fun doing an entire project on your own. You'll have the cutest wedding favors and guests will gush at the thought that you handmade each one especially for them. But let's face it. Making 150 party favors is tedious work, no matter how much you enjoy it. And if you haven't factored in your other time commitments and priorities or haven't secured reliable help for your DIY project, you may be out on a limb. Don't get stuck in a bind. If you're committed to being a DIY bride make sure you've got a few good friends who will help.
3) You're a Newbie: Okay. From everything you read in the magazines and see on Pinterest, this stuff can't be that hard, right. I mean everybody's doing it! Wrong. If you've never done a creative project before, now may not be the right time to see if you like it or are any good at it for that matter. DIY is work. You don't just magically end up with the pretty design you see on Instagram. You need patience, the ability to follow instructions, and practice. Don't test run your DIY skills for your wedding; there will be plenty of other opportunities ahead.
4) You're Short on Time: Whether your wedding is right around the corner or you're just plain busy, doing-it-yourself will definitely take up more of your time...and a good deal of it. The indicated amount of time to create your masterpiece isn't spot on. Add to it the number of minutes it will also take you to pick up the necessary supplies, transportation to and from, set up, clean up, returning to the store if necessary to take an item back or buy more, etc. You get the idea. What was supposed to be a 20 minute DIY ends up being a couple hours. If time is money, you have to ask yourself, would it be more worth it to buy than DIY?
5) You're Not That Into It: You family tells you it will help cut costs, your friends have done it, and your neighbor next door promises to help. But frankly, you were never a DIY kind of girl. More mathematical, than creative or perhaps never tapped into the artist within. If you're not excited to DIY than don't do it at all. You're supposed to be enjoying your engagement and planning your wedding. The last thing you want is to be forced into doing something that's really not you. This is your wedding, after all. It should reflect you and your groom, not the latest trend.    

Friday, October 3, 2014

Maid of Honor and Best Man Toast Tips

Want to make sure whoever is toasting you at your wedding is going to do a good job? Then pass along this super advice from Josh Womack of the Laugh Staff. Josh was gracious enough to share three toast tips in today's guest blog!
Dear bride-to-be,
We know your world is literally spinning from the moment you say “I do” until the last relative or friend leaves the reception (this marathon party-goer always seems to be a friend from high school who is having the time of their lives…maybe they weren’t even a close friend, ha!).
With all the planning, tasting, registering and so on, one of the most overlooked aspects of the wedding is the best man and maid of honor toast…and actually, it’s one of just a couple things brides CAN’T control (besides the weather or the ring barrier getting stage fright).
Think about it. You know what will be the first song you dance to, you know where you will take pictures, you know what color the bridesmaid dresses will be…the one thing you DON’T know is what will come out of the mouth of your maid of honor of best man.
We created Laugh Staff to help with just that. Here are Three Toast Tips should you ever have the honor of speaking on behalf of your close friend of relative.
1)      Get To Know Your Voice – In my opinion this one is just as important as the actual content itself. Have you ever heard yourself talk into a microphone (unless you are a lead singer or pop icon, which you may be)? It sounds different. One of the steps we recommend is practicing your speech into a tape recorder three or four days before the wedding. If you just run through your speech and hit record, you can listen to it back when you are driving, doing a spreadsheet, cutting the grass, whatever. When you hear your words and your voice repeatedly it gets your brain wired in the right direction. That way when the toast does come, it will feel prepared and ready to go.
2)      Smile When Talking – This can be hard to do, no doubt. A smile can do SO many good things though. As a stand-up comic for the past seven years, whenever I look into the audience I always check to see if the audience is smiling and leaning forward…which is just important as the laughter itself. Every maid of honor and best man wants to be funny, but it’s just as important to be likeable. Know that the audience WANTS you to succeed. And if you are a single best man or maid of honor, a warm smile can go a long way. Maybe your story will start that night!
3)      Talk about the Bride, Groom, Their Parents….Not You – This is an oldie but a goodie. Most best men and maid of honors say “I” and “Me” WAY too often. This night is about the bride and groom so pay tribute to them. Recite a funny conversation you overheard them having (an appropriate conversations obviously) or talk about how the bride described the groom when he wasn’t around. If you really want to score points, think outside the box. Find out beforehand what the relationship is between the parents and the bride and groom. Thank the parents for helping to put on not only a great party but a great weekend. If you can pay tribute to the job they did raising their children too, well, you might just be invited over Thanksgiving, Christmas and game night. Score.
Josh Womack lives in Cleveland, OH and is the founder of Laughstaff, a speech-writing company that uses stand-up comedians as consultants to best men and matrons of honor around the world. Laughstaff has written over 100 speeches and will help you deliver a wedding toast that is heartfelt, hilarious and memorable. Follow them at @Laughstaff on Twitter and check them out at