Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Let Your Light Shine: Internal Self-Care for Brides

Today we have a wonderful guest post from Rebekah Holbrook, registered Yoga Teacher in Richmond, VA. She offers some great tips for staying balanced while planning your wedding.
Finding the perfect dress and hiring professionals to do your hair and makeup will help you look radiant on your wedding day. But what about your inner light? How will you make sure that is shining? Don’t let planning a wedding leave you feeling burned out. Keep glowing with these tips for staying relaxed leading up to the big day.
1. Breathe. racticing an even, steady, breath calms the nervous system, signaling to your body and your brain that you can relax. et a timer on your phone to alert you several times per day. When the alarm sounds, stop what you are doing, find a comfortable sitting or standing position, close your eyes, and breath deeply in and out of your nose for one minute. You’ll feel calmer immediately.
2. Get quiet. ngagement parties, bachelorette weekends, and daily communication with vendors can leave even the most extroverted bride feeling depleted. Make some time each week to engage in a quiet activity such as yoga, prayer, or meditation. Use this time to tune out the chatter, and tune into you.
3. Listen to your body. f done mindfully, orking out more consistently before the wedding day can help you feel healthier, sexier, and happier. The key is to listen to what your body needs, so you don’t over-do it. If you feel a cold coming on, skip the early morning barre class for an extra hour of sleep. Have a minor injury? Follow the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate). Play it safe leading up to the big day, and your body will thank you!
4. Acknowledge how you feel. etting married is a major milestone. During any time of transition, it is normal to feel uncertain or scared. But anxiety about the wedding may have more to do with past experiences than your present relationship. Recognize your feelings, through journaling, talk therapy, or conversations with people you trust. Acknowledging your past can help you move more gracefully into the future.
5. Practice gratitude. eople who consistently practice gratitude have stronger immune systems and more positive emotions. During the wedding planning process, keep a gratitude journal, writing down one thing each day for which you are thankful. Not only will it make you feel better now, it will be a beautiful memento from this special time in your life that you can reflect on for years to come.
Rebekah Holbrook, Registered Yoga Teacher, teaches onsite yoga classes for brides and bridal parties through Ceremony Yoga. Ceremony Yoga classes are accessible to all levels and help brides stay calm and connected during the planning process and on the big day. To learn more, please visit

Thursday, August 13, 2015

More Than Just a Wedding

Sure, you're planning what might be the biggest event of your life. And, of course, you want it to be perfect. But, have you considered how you plan to live after your "I do's?" No, I'm not talking about the specs of your new house or who's doing the laundry. I'm referring to your way of living. 
How you want to live includes lifestyle decisions, like healthy eating, meditation, date nights, or living within a budget. If you've talked about these things with each other you're on the right track. But the best way to start off on the right foot is to start now. You don't have to wait until you're married to live the lifestyle you want together. In fact, the more practice you have ahead of time, the better place you'll be in once the honeymoon is over. So if you're committed to eating healthier or exercising more, begin now. Do it jointly, so you know you're on the right page. If money is an issue, don't let it become a burden in your relationship. Don't start your marriage off in a deficit. Live now, the way you want to live after the wedding. If that means cutting the guest list or changing venues, to stay in your wedding budget , then do it. You're setting a precedent for your future life together. Make it a point to have date nights, while planning your wedding. If you do, it's more likely you'll continue the tradition after the celebration is over. Date nights are a great way to stay focused on each other and learn and grow more together. 
A lot of couples will say, "I don't have time now" or "we plan on making those changes once things settle down." I'll let you in on a little secret: You won't have time later either and things will never settle down. Life is constantly in motion and there might never feel like enough time to finally sit down and say, "okay, let's start doing this." If it's not wedding planning, it's relocating, having a baby, or starting a new job. The most ideal time is now because you never know what tomorrow will bring or what lies ahead. Make planning your wedding more than just about one day; make it about planning your life.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Limousine Options: Which One is Right For Your Wedding Day?

Today's post is from Echo LimousineThey are the best-rated limo service company in Chicago, providing reliable and dependable car service with a wide range of customized packages suited to any needs and events.
Imagine it's your wedding day. Thinking about the entrance you want to make your wedding ceremony. How do you visualize it? Are you dropping from the sky in a hot-air balloon? Rolling by on a parade float? Or panting up to the door in your most comfortable sneakers after an invigorating run? These days, very little is off limits as far as wedding transportation goes.
One of the classic choices is the ever popular limousine. If this is what you are considering, choosing the right limousine to definitely has it' perks:
  • You can seat ten or more people comfortably.
  • You are able to watch TV.
  • Serve yourself from the bar, and
  • Have a chauffeur at your beck and call.
A big shiny limo is also impressive enough to instill awe in the occupants of those boring regular cars sitting in right next to your limo in traffic. There are lots of options available to you choose from so make sure to look at the variety of limos and ask some questions:
  • What limo types and sizes are available?
  • How many people can comfortably fit into each type and size?
You can seat anywhere from seven to twenty people in limos depending on the type of limo you reserve. Let's talk about the types.  
Types of Limos
Limos vary in size, amenities, luxuries, style and color, although most are black and white. Five main types of limos exist. Each is unique and serves its own unique purpose.
1. Stretch-Hummer Limos:
If you would like to ride with your entire wedding party, consider riding in style in a trendy Stretch-Hummer limo. It's luxurious with additional amenities:
  • Flat screen TV,
  • Disco balls,
  • Bar areas,
  • Glasses,
  • Tinted windows and much more.
Hummers have a rugged and very distinguishing exterior. They are a far cry from the classic limo look. While it's expensive, Stretch-Hummer limo is still very popular option for your weddings.
2. The Chauffeured Limo, Lincoln Town Car
For those who want to mix adventure with luxury, arranging a Lincoln Town Car for wedding would certainly be a memorable experience. A town car is a smaller chauffeur-driven option. It has a larger frame with a rear spacious passenger compartment, offering a substantial amount of foot room. This larger area gives you a more comfortable ride. Town cars generally accommodate two to three passengers but may just be the perfect way to get you and the groom to and from the festivities, at a lesser cost. This vehicle is unpretentious, earthy, and natural.
4. Extra-length, Custom-Coachwork Luxury Stretch Limousines
The current trend with wedding cars is very much the Stretch Limo. It's custom-crafted and stands apart from all other cars in styling, performance, value. These limos can come in a wide variety of setups, having the most flexibility in the ways they can be equipped for your wedding.
It can accommodate more people and larger wedding parties with the amenities to match. When you picture a limousine in your minds eye, it is very likely that you'll see a Stretch Limo. They simply exude class and luxury.
5. The Limo Party Bus
It may not provide you with that sleek wow factor, but it's functional and well equipped. The Limo Party Bus is different, and the difference lies in the purpose, which is transporting the entire wedding party. This is a great option as it has lots of room and even allows for standing space! It contains:
  • Plenty of seats for everyone;
  • Plenty of room for purses, coats, and champagne bottles; and
  • A fun, casual atmosphere on board.
To be fair, you can't expect this car to be the epitome of class, nor should you expect to feel as though you've stepped into anything resembling a limo. This is definitely a functional vehicle. Your entire wedding party fits inside, and that spells good times for you.
6. Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) Limousines: The Lincoln Navigator Stretch
The flashy SUV Limos. Lincoln Navigators stretched out, are able to accommodate more people and larger parties. It can seat up to 14 passengers. Celebrities and VIPs are the typical types of people you would see renting this limo. It has the perfect mix of luxury and style. The SUV Limo is one of the hottest wedding day vehicle in the segment. It comes with all of the standard amenities including a full bar, interior ceiling lighting, multiple televisions, and spacious seating. 
Most of you want to arrive at your wedding in style, and these days many options are available. You could use any of these limos to get you to the church and reception on time. As long as something can move you from here and there, it's fair game. Admittedly, some limos might seem more appealing than others. Make sure you select the right limo to accommodate your wedding needs.
To learn more about Echo Limousine visit them at or on Facebook at & Twitter

Friday, March 6, 2015

Relationships Unplugged

Have you ever gone unplugged for a few hours or even a day or more? I mean really unplugged. No phones, no computers, no television. I do at least once a week for 24 hours and I can't tell you how significant it is in my relationships. If you've never unplugged, give it a whirl and let me know what you think.
Having a day off from emails, texting, social media, and media in general is extremely helpful in building and maintaining your relationships, be it with your spouse, children, relatives or friends. Think about how many times you've checked your phone when talking to your significant other or uploaded the latest pictures of your kids while they're vying for your attention. Or maybe the chatter of the television always seems to be the background music of your home. Turning off these distractions forces you to interact with those around you. And that's a good thing. In such a fast paced world, it's nice to have a regular breather. It's even better to have one when you can cultivate your relationships.
Consider that going unplugged means giving your undivided attention to your spouse when he's speaking. It means not being too busy to play with your children uninterrupted. It means enjoying true quiet time through meditation or self-reflection or reading a good book without having to put it down because the phone rings. These precious, but few moments, highlights what ought to be the most important areas in your life. And it's in these moments that your relationships grow, while you grow and learn as an individual.
Sure, it's hard. You're busy. You don't want to miss out on anything. But after you give it a try, you might come to realize that you didn't miss anything after all. You also might find yourself with a newfound energy and spirit. Hopefully, you and your loved ones will feel more connected and happier (if you all agree to being unplugged at the same time). If you're newly married, now is an opportune time to agree together to go unplugged routinely. Give yourself a day and time and stick to it. It will give you something to look forward to and more resolve to keep it going. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Take Control of Your Wedding To-Do List in 5 Minutes

Tackling a long wedding to-do list can be overwhelming and stressful. That's why it might be a good idea to break it down into smaller parts and tackle it a little at a time. Not only will it get things done, it will help motivate you to keep crossing things off that list. And that makes for a happy bride! So what do you have to do? Wake up five minutes earlier every day and conquer one of these bridal tasks in five minute: 
1. Write a Thank You Note- You don't have to wait until you have a pile of gifts before you start writing your thank yous. Identify one person, grab a notecard, and write. Put it in a stamped envelope and you're done. It will save you time in the long run and your hand will thank you.
2. Pay a Bill- Behind on paying one of your wedding vendor invoices? It doesn't take much to pull out the checkbook and make the payment. In less than five minutes you can pay someone who's helping you and not have that worry looming over you.
3. Start Creating Your Guest List- Guest lists are the bane of many bride's to-do lists. That's why it may help to do it in phases. Get a blank sheet of paper and pen and set your timer for five minutes. Now start writing out names of everyone you think you'd invite to your wedding. No perfection needed here. Whether it takes you two or five days, you'll have a good list. Then you can tweak it as needed.
4.  Schedule an Appointment- Haven't yet scheduled that appointment with the florist or your hair and make-up trial? Open up your calendar and pick up the phone. Get it on the books and you're done. One less thing on your list! 
5. Write Out Your Playlist- Much like your guest list, you can break this one up in segments too. Paper, pen, timer and go! Remember five minutes is your max. Put your list somewhere safe and finish it in another five minutes on a different day.
Nothing here on your to-do list? No problem. You can break down pretty much anything that needs to get done on your end. Five or ten minutes makes it doable and less overwhelming. But notice how nothing on the list is done on the computer. That's because once you get on the computer, your tablet or other device you can get easily drawn away to other distractive things, like checking your email or updating your status. That's not what your five minutes is for. It's to get things done. Period. Now, Go!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Do's and Don'ts of Disagreements with Your Fiance or Spouse

When it comes to disagreeing with your significant other, take into account there is a good way and a less than ideal way to deal with it. Whether you're engaged, newlywed, or married for several years, there is an art form to communication. So if a disagreement or argument is brewing follow some of these do's and dont's:
Do Listen- Regardless of what your significant other is telling you, hear him out. Give him the time and respect to share his thoughts with you. Also make sure to actively listen. Don't just be figuring out how you're going to reply afterwards.
Don't Be Judgmental- Even if you disagree with your spouse, don't laugh his ideas off. If you think it's silly or even impossible, keep it to yourself. Your spouse is sharing his thoughts and feelings with you, so be considerate of that. Figure out what part of his ideas you can support and discuss that first.
Do Take a Breather- If an argument is looming and you simply can't keep it together, excuse yourself to think things over. Find a place where you can calm down. Good communication doesn't work if you're angry. Once you cool down and feel level headed enough to have a low key conversation, go back and share your thoughts.
Don't Forget Your Body Language- What your body does is sometimes more important than what you say. If you're rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, or otherwise indicating your disinterest or unhappiness, you are subtly telling your spouse you don't like what he's saying. Pay attention to your body language and make sure it matches your words.
Do Use "I" Statements- I can't stress enough how important it is to speak from an "I" perspective, as opposed to a "you" perspective. "I'm feeling like I'm being misunderstood" comes across more effectively than "You don't understand me." It stems from your feelings and doesn't come from a place of blame. So practice your "I" statements.  
Don't Get Yourself Down- Disagreements are part of every relationship. If this is your first one, it's okay. It doesn't mean your relationship isn't a good one. You both have different thoughts and ideas. The more you practice some of these communication skills the better you get at listening and expressing yourself. And that is a valuable tool for many years to come.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Are You a Clutter Free Bride? Take the Quiz.

Planning a wedding takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. It also takes good organizational skills. If you're feeling disorganized, you might not be managing your time or workload effectively. You might also be adding more stress to your already busy life. Answer the following questions honestly to see if clutter is getting in your way:
1) Do you clean your living space regularly to a standard you're happy with?
2) Do you routinely throw out or give away stuff you know you don't need (e.g., junk mail, old clothes, etc.)?
3) Do you go through your mail and messages daily, responding or eliminating accordingly? This includes snail mail, email, and phone messages.
4) Would you describe yourself as neat and organized?
5) Is your wedding workspace organized and clutter free?
6) Do you feel calm and stress free when you are at home in your current surroundings?
7) Do you try not to worry about things you can't control?
8) Would you say you're usually calm and have peace of mind?  
Okay. So how did you do? If you answered in the affirmative for most of the questions, congratulations! You are most likely a clutter-free bride. You feel neat and organized, which gives you a better sense of control when it comes to planning your wedding. You're most likely on top of your wedding correspondence and moving right along with your to-do list. You also don't let negativity or feelings of guilt clutter your mind with unnecessary tension. This all spells for a confident and happy bride.
If you answered negatively for most of the questions, you might be feeling like a frazzled bride. Maybe your house is a mess, you can't seem to find important papers or remember vendor appointments. You're feeling overwhelmed because everything around you seems to be piling up with no end in sight. You don't like being at home because it reminds you of how behind you are with your to-do-list. You may also be feeling stressed out and anxious, continuously worrying about your wedding plans and maybe even life in general. If this is you, find someone to help you get organized and in control or hire a wedding planner to do it all for you. The key is to start de-cluttering your life somewhere. Remember: it's okay to ask for help!  
If your answers were mixed with both yes's and no's, then you might be feeling cluttered in some areas of your life and content in other. Being able to identify the areas you're not feeling as control in gives you the opportunity to focus on it and hopefully improve. Don't go through your inbox daily? Start by taking 5 minutes each morning to read, respond, and delete. You get it done and move on. Or maybe you're organized, but have trouble worrying about things you can't control. If that's you, start incorporating meditation or affirmations into your daily routine, to see if it helps with unnecessary anxiety. It's probably most common for brides to fit in this category. And that's great because you know exactly what you need to work on to be a clutter-free bride!

Friday, February 20, 2015

The #1 Mistake Recently Married Couples Make

So earlier this week, I wrote about the #1 mistake of recently engaged couples. You can read that blog post here. It only seems fitting then to write about the #1 mistake newlyweds make. Much like engaged couples who sometimes let the wedding planning process take over the excitement of the engagement, so to newly married couples might let the "formula" of marriage take over the relationship piece.
Consider this. Before marriage and possibly living together, your relationship revolved around getting to know each other, dating, and enjoying each other's company. Sure you had some heart-to-hearts and challenges that you faced along the way, but for the most part your courtship was exciting and fun. Now that you've tied the knot, however, you may be inclined to focus your attentions more on duty rather than relationship. Maybe it's, "Honey, do this, honey do that" or constant talk about finances or family. But the shift has definitely moved from relationship growth to relationship responsibilities. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having a set of responsibilities. In fact, it's important for keeping an organized and well run home. And you certainly can learn more about yourself and your spouse when it comes to dealing with household matters. But being a newlywed, means you're at a critical time to grow as a couple, so you must continue to date.
Many newly married couples start to get the blues because they jump from being engaged to being married, when in fact, it would be more beneficial to go from engaged to engaging marriage. Don't stop being engaged with each other as individuals and only focus on the couple. Continue going out, having date nights, and enjoying each other's company. The last thing you want to do is begin your new life together with a rote set of marriage rules. It takes the fun, desire, and excitement out of your relationship together.
There is a time for everything: serious conversations, household chores, and even the occasional argument. But as a newlywed, let the love, laughter, and positivity reign supreme. It will help strengthen your relationship with each other and your marriage in the years ahead.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The #1 Mistake Recently Engaged Couples Make

Congratulations! You just got engaged! The thrill and excitement is all around you until someone asks you that question: So when is the wedding? In the blink on an eye, your feelings can go from blissful to stressful. You begin thinking you better pick a date, reserve a venue, and start looking for the dress of your dreams. After all, your family and friends keep asking you questions and telling you to get started early with your planning. And so, you begin.
If this sounds like you, stop the wedding planning. Especially if you've been engaged for a couple weeks or less, now is NOT the time to start preparing for your big day. Now is your time to enjoy being engaged. One of the biggest mistakes newly engaged couples make, is rushing into wedding planning. Certainly there may be cases when it's warranted, if you're planning a very short engagement or your fiancé is in the military and heading overseas, for example. But if you're the average couple with no real limitations or unusual circumstances, then set aside some time to just enjoy being engaged.
It sounds simple enough, but your engagement is an event in and of itself. And while wedding planning happens during an engagement, it is not synonymous with being engaged. Your engagement marks your love for each other and newfound commitment to spend the rest of your lives together. Now that deserves a little attention. Instead of showing off your ring and diving head first into wedding talk, focus on your relationship together. Take a week or two to enjoy the moment! Go out, share your love and story with others, talk about being engaged and what it means, and have fun relishing in the excitement of saying "yes." Once you both have soaked it all in and feel ready to ask the detailed questions, take a deep breath and begin. Make sure you're both on the same page too.
Planning your wedding is going to take a lot of hours, which will fly by. Setting aside time to enjoy your engagement early on is a great way to safeguard this special moment. Let people know that you'll be in "engaged bliss" for a while and will inform them when you start the planning process. Hopefully that keeps the wedding questions at bay and your love in the driver's seat.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Love Letters

For the longest time, I've been wanting to write letters to my little girls. Even though they are too young to read, I wanted to pen my love and memories to them. Life can be short or long and take many unexpected turns along the way. What better gift to give to someone you love, then a written testament to it? This week I bought them each a journal and started writing.
With Valentine's Day upon you, now is a good time to think of all the people you love. Have you ever written them a letter to express your love? It's one thing to use the spoken word, and quite another to use the written. Writing something down always makes it feel more real to me. Plus, it's tangible. I may not be around 60 years from now, to hug my girls, but I hope that they will always be able to pull out their journal, read from it, and feel my spirit hug them. 
What better time to write out your feelings then now, as you journey into the next chapter of your life? It doesn't have to be a journal or even a long letter. But a "just because I love you" letter. You might have written your feelings in a thank you note, a birthday card, or the like, but it's not the same. Receiving an unexpected, out of the blue love letter will brighten anyone's day. So get out a pen and decide who you can write to today. Your fiancé? Mom? Dad? Sister? Brother? Grandma? Best friend? You get the idea. Try it once and see not only the response, but how it makes you feel. It will definitely strengthen your level of gratitude. 
This is also a great time to make sure you have your wedding vows written out, especially if you're writing your own. Don't just jot it on a piece of paper. Make a big deal about it- this is the person you're going to marry. These are the words you will live by and cherish. Frame it and put it somewhere visible after your wedding, so you can see it everyday. And if you receive any love letters from others, do the same. If you don't want to showcase your letters, buy a special binder to keep them it. Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and much of it feels like it whizzes by. Taking a break to write a love letter slows things down and helps remind you of all the important "who's" in your life.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3 Myths About Wedding Planning Stress

Ever wondered about your wedding planning stress? Maybe many of the brides you know seem to be doing just fine. So why aren't you? Why are you feeling overwhelmed instead of happy? Why is it feeling out of control? Is it normal? To answer some of these, let's debunk three common myths about stress.
1) Stress is Bad For You- Yes, you read that right. Not all stress is bad for you. Sure, if you find yourself surrounded by stressful events and situations a majority of the time, it's probably not healthy. But sometimes stress is actually good for you. Consider this example: An athlete trains daily to be at her peak performance level. Every day she stretches her muscles, exercises longer, pushes herself harder to reach her athletic goals. There is no doubt that she is creating stress on her body to reach her goals. Is it a bad thing? No. Without stressing her body and muscles, she would never be able to compete at the level she wants. Stress is good when it challenges you to work on yourself, improve yourself or your relationships. Stress is also a necessary component to help you get things done. If there wasn't some stress and urgency about planning a wedding, you might never get anything on your to-do list accomplished. You can use wedding planning stress to your advantage in that sense. So before you start pulling out your hair over all the stress you're under, step back and see where you can learn and grow, and act on it in a positive way.
2) Stress is Not Normal- There may be some critics out there, who say if you're feeling stressed while planning your wedding, you must be doing something wrong. I beg to differ. I'm sure there are brides who feel calm, confident and as relaxed as can be. But there are many others who feel quite the opposite and it doesn't mean there is something wrong with them. Stress is a normal part of life. It's all around you and it can come from unpleasant and pleasant situations equally. Your engagement is a happy time, but all the emotions and busyness around you creates an atmosphere ripe for some form of stress. Same holds true for other happy events like buying a new house or having a baby. It's wonderful and stressful at the same time and that's okay. Stress becomes a problem if it's keeping you from going about your usual activities or leaves you feeling down and depressed most of the time. Then you might want to get some professional help. Otherwise, stop labeling yourself and know that stressed or not, you're a normal bride!
3) Stress Can't Be Controlled- As normal as stress is in life, don't think there aren't ways to avoid it or deal with it better. Wedding planning might be making you feel overwhelmed and out of control, but that doesn't mean you have to let it keep you in that state of mind. Stress feeds off of your reactions to it. The more you let it get to you, the more it will. If you find ways to nip it in the bud, the less stressful your life starts to become. Ask yourself, what part of planning your wedding is making you feel overwhelmed? Now try to find ways to work it out instead of letting it fester. It might mean adjusting your budget, hiring someone to help, or simply choosing to be less reactive if something goes wrong. Making such changes will not only help reduce your stress, but will keep it from getting out of control. I should say, that this isn't always easy. Sometimes the "Woe is me" approach is easier, because you don't have to make changes or work at it. But you suffer in the long run. Try something and make the changes instead. See if it leaves you a happier bride.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Wedding Stress Getting You in a Bad Mood? Get Out of it with These 5 Tips

Whether you're still planning your wedding or newly married, chances are you'll experience a bad mood at one point or another. And it stinks. Nobody wants to feel lousy or have an awful day. But just because it happens doesn't mean you have to stay in a bad mood. Here are some tips for kicking your bad mood in the rear and getting your positive frame of mind back.
Exercise- One of the most effective ways to turn your frown upside down, is to work it out. Physical activity naturally releases endorphins in your body, helping you feel emotionally and psychologically better. So pick an activity you enjoy and just do it. Working out will help you get rid of the stress, that usually comes along with a bad mood too.
Do What You Love- Just like some things put you in a bad mood, the opposite is also true. What activity do you participate in that always makes you feel good? Cooking? Dancing? Pottery? Whatever it is, test it out. See if doing what you love helps you forget about your woes until you're feeling good enough to deal with it.
Tap Into Spiritual Healing- Regardless of your beliefs, there is always a way to connect with spirituality. Whether you pray, meditate, or commune with the nature around you, sometimes it helps to be able to release your worries and bad karma to a Higher Being. There is often a feeling of a weight being lifted when you learn to let go of your problems. Same holds true for your mood. Choose to let the bad mood float away, and replace it with a happier one.
Tickle Your Funny Bone- An easy way to put an end to a miserable mood, is to laugh it out. Watch a funny movie, go to a local stand up club, or get on the phone with someone who knows how to make you laugh. Even if it's just a short term distraction, it may be what you need to get out of your funk.
Do For Others- It's no secret that you feel good about yourself, when you help others. So if a bad mood is getting you down, do a good deed for someone else. Visit a sick neighbor, deliver food to the homeless, or participate in any other act of kindness. It's a great way to feel better and help someone else do the same in the process. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

3 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas that are Totally Free

The hardest part of Valentine's Day for a lot of couples is finding an awesome gift that says "I love you," but is unique, unexpected, and doesn't break the bank. Move over chocolates and flowers, here are three ideas that are totally free and would still make a lasting impression. Keep in mind, that you can always add a store bought gift option, but if you do it right, these ideas can stand on their own.
Express Your Love in Writing- Whether a love letter, poem, or other written expression, taking the time to pen your love for another person is a treasure your partner will hold onto forever. Outlining all the things you love about each other is not only a great keepsake, but also a gentle reminder of why you're marrying this person in the first place. It's a good way to keep you on track emotionally as you plan your wedding and through life's more challenging moments.
Express Your Love Through Your Artistry- Are you a painter, musician, dancer, or another creative spirit? If you are, consider creating something special with your talents for your fiancé. Giving a painting, song or other art form of the thing you love to the one you love says a lot. The thought and time that goes into a work of art will not go unnoticed. Plus, it's cool to share your gift with those around you. 
Express Your Love Through Action- Are you aware of the little things your partner does day in and day out or the tasks she dislikes doing? From grocery shopping and cooking to cleaning the house or doing yard work, give your partner a break. You can do this one in the form of a "week pass" or just surprise her one day. Do the shopping, cooking, cleaning or whatever else would make her day. Let her know how much you appreciate all the things she does and give her a break for the day or week, if so inclined. It's a nice way to give of yourself and show your appreciation at the same time.    

Friday, January 30, 2015

Choose the Perfect Venue for Your Wedding

Today, Stephanie from Canadian event planning website, EventSource, shares her insight on choosing your perfect wedding venue. Some great tips here if you're still looking around!
Congratulations, you're getting married! Now is the perfect time to start making plans. You never want to wait until the last minute. You'll soon realize that one of the most important aspects of planning the big event is choosing the perfect wedding venue.
Unfortunately, this task is typically not as easy as you might think. Why? There are a great many available options to choose from. The following information is meant to help you decide where to have your wedding. Once the decision is made, the rest of the planning process is much easier.
Choosing a Setting
The first step is to decide on a setting for the wedding. The location, atmosphere, and theme are big parts of the event. Knowing what sort of venue to look for, in the first place, makes it much easier to find suitable places.
Information for halls, churches, ballrooms, parks and all kinds of creative venues can be found on the Internet. If you’re planning on a church wedding be sure to look in to reception halls near the church. Find several that seem to fit with the theme and make a list, including contact information and notes on your first impression. That way, you can visit more than one and find a location that’s a perfect fit. Be sure to schedule a walk-through so that you can see the venue in person before making your decision.
Determining Spatial Needs
Are you having a large wedding with many people? Maybe you prefer a small gathering. It is important to keep in mind how many guests will be attending, when looking for a venue. Most venues have helpful information about their building capacity. Setting out tables and chairs to get an idea of what it will look like and to see how comfortably seated your guests will be is recommended.
The staff that you’ll be interacting with when choosing a venue are very accommodating and they want your experience to be the best, so don’t be shy about asking questions. If you’re feeling uneasy, having a little more space than what is needed might be the route you want to take in case of last minute changes.   
Visiting Venues
Before visiting the venues on your list, make a checklist of questions to ask at each one. No question is too big or small. These are a few examples:
  • Does the venue offer wedding packages?
  • Does the rental fee cover tables and chairs?
  • Is catering provided?
  • Will there be a coordinator or a crew to set-up?
Keeping this checklist with you as you visit each venue will make sure that you know everything you need to know about each one. If you take notes on each of these questions during your visit, it can help to compare them afterward.
The visit is also your chance to make sure the style of the venue suits you. Changing the whole interior style could be costly and time-consuming. If the style already matches the wedding decorations and attire, a few simple changes could lead to perfection. Also, be sure to check the venue’s policy on decorations, especially in the case of a traditional church wedding.
During your visit, be sure to look into any other aspects of the venue that will affect your decision. Make sure that there is enough parking, and that the accessibility needs of all of your guests can be met. If the wedding is planned for an outdoor area, ask about what will happen in case of bad weather.
Make sure that the venue’s tables, chairs, glassware and cutlery are to your liking. Check into the venue’s policy about noise, especially if you plan on live music or a DJ at the reception. There will be a lot to cover, but having your checklist with you will help you explore your options while having a good time.  
Narrowing Things Down
Take it easy and don’t overwhelm yourself. This is a special day and stress can affect the outcome. A pros and cons list of each venue will help you to choose the best venue that suits your needs. It is important that you are happy with every aspect of your venue.
  • Is it affordable and within your budget?
  • Is the location convenient for you and your guests?
  • Is it what you envisioned your wedding to look like?
  • Is there enough seating and space for you and your guests to feel comfortable?  
These are all questions you should ask yourself and your partner and be absolutely certain of before you make your final decision.
Remember, there's absolutely no reason to panic when choosing the perfect venue for your wedding. The most important thing is to take the time to actually enjoy the task at hand. Don't rush. Rushing only causes stress. Before you know it, all plans will be in place and you can look forward to the spectacular event.
Stephanie has spent years expanding her knowledge and passion in the photography, event and wedding industry. She now works for EventSource, a Canadian website that caters to all of your event planning needs. For more information connect with Eventsource on Facebook , Twitter , and Pinterest 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

You May Want to Reconsider Your Wedding Vendor If...

Having a good working relationship with your wedding vendors is crucial not only for the success of your wedding day experience, but also for your emotional well-being. Choosing the right people to work with isn't always easy. Popularity and positive reviews are one thing, but if you don't click, you don't click. How do you know? It may come down to different things for different people, but if your potential wedding vendors do any of the following, you may want to reconsider:
Have Their Own Ideas- This is your wedding and you want to make sure your voice is heard. It's one thing for a vendor to make a suggestion or let you know the advantages and disadvantages of a wedding day decision, but ultimately you want to create your wedding day vision. If they have their own agenda and don't seem to hear what you're wanting, you're not on the same page. Start looking for a professional who values your dreams and will help you make them a reality.
Make You Feel Bad- Everybody has a different style of communication. Some people are soft spoken, others are more aggressive. Some use humor and others sarcasm. How you respond to different communication styles is an important factor that will help you determine if you want to work with someone or not. Body language counts too. Folded arms, communication tone, and even a comment like, "You seriously want that at your wedding" can make you feel bad or start second guessing yourself. If at any point during your talks, you start to have a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach, cut ties and find someone else to work with.
Do All the Talking- Sure. They're the experts. But that doesn't mean you can't get a word in edge wise. You want to work with wedding professionals who are good listeners. It means they are trying to understand your needs and wants for the big day. Talking too much can be a sign of nervousness or inadequacy and rambling on is their way of trying to impress you. But be careful. Some people simply like to talk and are very social. If there's a lot of talking going on, but you feel like you're being heard, you're probably okay. If not, you may want to interview some alternative people. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why It's Important to Have a Pre and Post Wedding Rainy Day Fund

Money is one of the biggest stressors when it comes to planning a wedding. It's also a major issue after marriage. That said, you'll want to make certain that you and your partner have a rainy day fund set in place. It's a good idea to begin saving even before you're married (hey, things can happen at any point in life). But if you've already tied the knot, sit down and discuss how to fund your rainy day account.
Why is it so important? You might think stashing cash in a rainy day account isn't important, but it's a necessary component to your financial freedom and peace of mind. Life happens. Think car repairs, loss of employment, moving expenses, or medical bills. These things happen. Having a financial cushion to fall back on is one little way to help reduce your stress. Most financial experts suggest having at least six months of living expenses in your rainy day account. This is particularly important if you are leaving your job and will be looking for a new source of income after you get married.
Now, you've saved money for your wedding, isn't that enough? No, that's money you've allotted to your wedding planning needs. You must have a separate account and it must be accessible. Your rainy day account is not your retirement fund, CDs, or your checking account. If you and your spouse are just starting out, figure out ways to save in a separate account. You can collect all your spare change and deposit it at the end of the week. Tax returns, monetary gifts, or bonuses from work are other good ways to fund your account. Some banks and debit cards will automatically round up amounts you spend and deposit it into an account. There are lots of creative ways to save some extra money. The hard part is not spending it. 
Save yourself financial stress now and in the future by getting a jump on your rainy day account. Do what you can, even if it's a small amount initially. Be disciplined, have a routine, or make it automatic. This is a great way to start your marriage off on the right financial footing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Throw Away Your Wedding Planning Guilt

Guilt. We all have it. It's that nagging feeling you get inside when you think you've done or said something wrong. You feel like you've compromised your beliefs or standards, which may or may not be true. It happens. And it's bound to rear it's ugly head while you plan your wedding too. Don't let it get the best of you.
Planning a wedding is a highly emotional period. You'll be talking to many people and making more decisions than you probably anticipated. A guilty conscience is inevitable at some point. If something you did or said is getting under your skin, take a closer look at it. What's making you uncomfortable? Journal about it if you have to. Are you feeling guilty about not inviting a friend to your wedding? Do you feel bad because you turned down your cousin's offer to be your wedding photographer? Or maybe you feel guilty because you decided against a bachelorette party, much to the dismay of your friends.
First and foremost, do what feels right and comfortable for you. You're the bride and you shouldn't feel pressured into having a party you don't want. You certainly shouldn't accept an offer to help out at the wedding if you're not certain of someone's skills or abilities. Go with your gut and then toss the guilt out the window! It might be helpful to imagine what you would think of your decisions 20 years from now. If an older, wiser you feels bad for not inviting someone, you might want to reconsider.  
Remember that you cannot please everybody. And that's okay. There are too many people involved in planning a wedding for everyone to be happy. Trying to accommodate everyone and everything will leave you feeling frustrated and stressed out. If you're getting to that point, say "Goodbye, guilt. This is my happy time."

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Ups and Downs of Being a Newlywed

If you are getting married soon or just got married, you're about to enter what might be the most exciting time of your life. It might also be the most trying. And I'm here to let you know that it's all good and natural.
Let's start with the ups. When you're a newlywed, you're in a state of bliss. It's such a happy time. You've found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. It's a time where you can focus on each other and building your relationship together. If it's just the two of you and no kids around yet, it gives you more freedom to go out more, continue to date, and share more intimate moments. You'll begin forming routines and starting new traditions together. It's great fun to think of how you, as a couple, plan on entertaining friends and family or decide to celebrate the holidays. Your wedding day memories are ever present in your mind and it still feels like you're on your honeymoon. Being a newlywed is about beginnings. And that's a great thing. Starting fresh with your partner in life! 
Of course, with all the ups there must be some downs too. Change isn't easy. And living with someone other than yourself isn't either. If you weren't living together before the wedding, chances are you're learning a whole lot more about your spouse. From habits to pet peeves, you'll find some little quirks adoring and others annoying. As with all changes, there's going to be a learning curve. The two of you will need to find ways to express yourselves and communicate your needs, hopes, and wishes. It won't be easy. There might be disagreements, misunderstandings, and even some eye rolling. The good news is most of it is normal. But you have to put in as much effort during the down times as you do during the blissful moments. Strengthening your relationship early on will help you learn how to weather other stressors that might come along in the years ahead. And that's the foundation for a rock solid marriage.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

7 Tips for Beauty Bridal Sleep

Sleep. It's probably one of the last things on your mind as you're busy planning for your wedding. But it's important. A good night's sleep helps you function and have more energy to get everything on your to-do list done. If you're having trouble getting a good night of zzzz's try these tips from the National Sleep Foundation:
1) Create a Sleep Schedule- Give yourself a bedtime and stick to it. If 10:00pm seems like the right time for you to hit the hay, make sure you go to bed at that time every night. It helps train your body to prepare for sleep at that time, which will make it easier for you to fall asleep.
2) Exercise- Getting a good workout in during the day is important to help you burn off unhealthy stress. It also contributes to a better sleep once night time rolls around. Just make sure your exercise routine is 5-6 hours before your bedtime or you might be too energized to sleep.
3) Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine- If you love your coffee, drink alcohol daily, or smoke cigarettes, it could be robbing you of necessary deep and REM sleep. People who consume these things tend to sleep lighter and wake earlier because of withdrawal. If you want better sleep, it might be time to kick a the habit.
4) Relax- find ways to quiet your mind before bed. Turn off all distractions and take a warm bath, meditate, or listen to soothing music. Whatever you choose, relaxation definitely helps put you in a sleepy state of mind.
5) Sleep until Sunlight- Waking up with the sun or other bright light helps your body adjust to the daylight and helps your internal biological clock reset itself. This makes is easier to get up and start your day.    
6) Don't Lie in Bed Awake- If you find yourself awake in bed and unable to fall asleep, get up and do something. Anxiety can contribute to insomnia, so it might be better to find something to do until you start feeling sleepy.  
7) Check Your Room Temperature- If your bedroom is too hot or too cold it may be keeping you up at night. Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature for you so you can get a healthy night's sleep.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Day of Wedding Coordinator: Who They Are and Why You Need One

I am excited to share this insightful guest post from Chicago event planner, La Toya Keys of Elle Kay Events. If you're still unsure about hiring a day of wedding coordinator, read on to learn how much they do and how beneficial they can be for you on your big day.
You have spent countless hours planning your big day. You have organized every little detail and the wedding party is well prepped for their roles. Now, who will ensure that everything runs smoothly as you planned? Many brides-to-be create more stress on their wedding day by not hiring a day of coordinator, don’t be that bride. 
Benefits of a Day of Coordinator: 
1. Have a stress free day: A day of coordinator will manage your wedding day from start to finish and allow you to enjoy your big day stress free. This should be a person (or team) who is well organized, detail orientated and easily adaptable. A day of coordinator should not be your mom, sister or close friend. Those individuals want to enjoy your day just as much as you do – why take that away from them? Let a professional handle your day.  
2. Coordinators from the ceremony and reception venue are not day of coordinators: Many ceremony and reception venues have coordinators who work for the venue, not for you. Those coordinators are there to monitor usage of the facility. They will not be sure that your mom enjoys the day or that the groomsmen pin their boutonnieres on correctly. Most coordinators do not stay in the room during the ceremony or reception. Their goal is to keep everyone safe and to make sure the wedding runs according to the contract time.
 3. Manage the details: Typically you will initially meet with your day of coordinator 6 months prior to your wedding day. During this meeting, and several meetings leading up to your wedding day, you will discuss every detail of your wedding and review all contracts from vendors. A professional day of coordinator, who is experienced with weddings, will understand the importance of every detail and ensure that vendors adhere to the contract.  A plus to having a day of wedding planner will be their back-up plan. If something doesn’t go as planned or if there needs to be a slight adjustment, your day of coordinator will have a prepared and organized back-up plan ready to put into action.
Still not sure you need a day of wedding coordinator? Below is a short list of duties a wedding planner will complete:
  • Organize your wedding day
  • Design your wedding day logistics and itinerary
  • Confirm with vendors prior to wedding
  • Attend and conduct your wedding rehearsal
  • Supervise ceremony and reception set-up and breakdown
  • Instruct ushers and hostess of duties
  • Assist bridesmaids and groomsmen with dressing
  • Organize processional line-up
  • Assist guest and wedding party with ceremony transition to reception venue
  • Act as liaison between catering staff, M.C., photographer, and videographer
  • Deliver final payment to vendors
  • Supervise reception
Don’t miss out on your big day by worrying about the details and logistic of the day. If a wedding planner doesn't fit in your budget, hiring a day of wedding coordinator will help you and your wedding guests enjoy your big day.
La Toya Keys is the creative mind behind Elle Kay Events, a Chicago based event planning company that specializes in weddings and celebratory events. La Toya creatively and tactfully draws out each client’s likes, hobbies, and interests, and uses these characteristics to create a memorable event. Contact info: | Twitter @ElleKayEvents Instagram @ElleKayEvents | Phone: 773-230-4423