Unique Wedding Ceremony Seating: A Ceremony in the Round

Are you a bride-to-be planning a wedding and searching for unique ceremony ideas? Rites and rituals aside, one way to personalize a wedding ceremony is to switch up your ceremony seating with round set up. The circle itself is symbolic of eternity – a visual representation of ‘I’ll love you forever’ – and of wholeness, so we think it’s perfect in terms of symbolism.

It won’t work for every couple, of course, but consider a three- or four-section round seating pattern or even a spiral if you’re having an outdoor wedding where you have control over the seating pattern!

It’s unexpected, so you’ll have an opportunity to wow your wedding guests from the moment they enter your ceremony space. And for larger weddings, it gives more guests an opportunity to get a good view of the vows. Photographers like round ceremony seating, too, since there are more chances to grab pics of the couple’s expressions and the guests’ reactions.

It’s a beautiful way to seat wedding guests, no? Is this a ceremony idea you’re considering?

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What to Think About When Choosing a Ceremony Venue

Are you having a bummer of a time choosing a ceremony venue? For some brides-to-be – and their future spouses – the choice is easy. Religious couples who belong to a church or temple will likely say their vows in their house of worship. Couples who have a special spot may know from the start that they want to get married there. Other brides, though, would rather spend hours shopping for wedding jewelry and picking out reception playlists than think about choosing a wedding venue. And we’re not surprised! There are just so many options for wedding ceremony venues, from halls to country clubs to parks… the beach, a mountaintop, a library or museum, a non-denominational chapel… we’ve heard of brides and grooms saying “I do” in parking garages and even underwater!

We can’t pick a venue for you, but we can give you some questions to consider that may help you narrow down your options:

How many people will be at the ceremony?

First and foremost, your ceremony venue needs to be able to accommodate all the guests you want. It’s no fun having to cope with being packed in like sardines at a ceremony – even a short one. So when we say accommodate, we mean comfortably. Make sure your entire guest list will have some breathing room.

What kind of seating arrangement do you want?

The classic two-row bride’s side groom’s side arrangement is still popular, but there are also plenty of couples opting for circular seating arrangements. Don’t worry about bucking tradition here. Seating is a great way to inject a little creativity into your ceremony – especially if your creative arrangement helps more people get a primo view. In any case, make sure your prospective venues support your preferred seating arrangement.

What kind of weather do you anticipate?

Getting married outdoors is awesome… most of the time. An outdoor wedding in the dead of winter might make for some Pinterest-worthy photo ops, but we haven’t met the guest that really wants to shiver through a couple’s vows in an overcoat. And as for the height of summer, will your outdoor wedding venue allow you to make the kind of accommodations that will help guests stay cool? Is there shade? Don’t forget that no matter what the season, it may rain.

What does your budget support?

It’s hard to argue that higher end venues look great in person and in photos, but the bill isn’t quite so pretty. Brides working within a budget should be careful not to spend too much on the ceremony venue since there is still the reception to pay for. Never assume that a ceremony venue will be free to use. Many houses of worship don’t charge a fee, exactly, but do require the couple to make a donation. Saying vows on the beach or in a public park may also come with a permit fee.

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5 Tips for Brides: Breaking in Wedding Shoes

A bride has to have her accessories! In addition to wedding jewelry, headpieces, and peripherals like the all important clutch, there are, of course, wedding shoes. Typically a bride’s shoes will be new and according to limited research we’ve conducted on our Facebook page, they will be heels. Sometimes extra high heels!

1. Think carefully about heel heights. While sky high heels may look amazing, they’re not usually comfortable for brides who aren’t used to walking in them.

2. If you must wear the highest of heels, do a little pre-wedding training. Walk around, for hours, in those heels that look so gorgeous but feel less than stellar on. Make sure you’ll be comfortable on the big day.

3. Try walking on different surfaces to see how slippery those soles really are. Doing a little slow shuffle on concrete can help un-slick the bottoms of your otherwise perfect heels.

4. Well-fitting wedding shoes will need less breaking in than shoes that don’t fit quite right. Even if it means eating the cost of a too small pair of pumps, make sure the shoes you’re trying to break in actually fit.

5. To avoid scuffing bright white bridal shoes, put them on and then put a pair of men’s tube socks over your shoes. You’ll look silly, but your wedding shoes will stay pristine.

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Wedding Ceremony Ideas: The Wedding Anniversary Box

When it comes to ceremony ritual ideas, everyone has their own ideas. But one ceremony idea that is really catching on is the wedding anniversary box.

Basically, it’s a keepsake box that can hold… well, anything that you’d like to have on an anniversary. For some brides and grooms, it holds keepsakes from the wedding – an invitation, the bride’s wedding jewelry, a photo, a letter from each half of the couple, etc. – with instructions to open the box and gush over it in 10, 20, or 50 year’s time. Kind of like a time capsule. Other couples pack away wine from the year they got married, one for each decade to be popped on their anniversary. And we especially like the idea of asking friends and family for advice for each year of marriage. Once a year, the couple opens a special message from someone they care about.

As for how the wedding anniversary box can be incorporated into the wedding ceremony, there are plenty of ideas out there about that, too. Some brides and grooms prepare the box ahead of time and say something like a blessing over it after their vows. There are also wooden boxes that couples can nail shut or lock – no peeking! – when they want to be sure they won’t be tempted to open the anniversary box before the intended anniversary. Sometimes brides and grooms will collect advice during the reception, kind of like a wishing well for cards but with good advice instead of cash. There are lots of ways to make this new tradition your own!

Have you heard of this touching idea? Are you planning to incorporate a wedding anniversary box into your ceremony?

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Reception Fun: The Wedding Shoe Game

Part of the fun of planning a wedding is buying all the stuff. At least we got a kick out of all the shopping! From finally being able to pick up the dress to picking out wedding jewelry, there’s nothing quite like handing over that credit card and knowing that you’re getting something amazing in return for your hard earned dollars. Retail therapy could just be the ultimate antidote to wedding planning stress. But we thought it would be a good idea to remind our brides-to-be that planning a wedding is about more than just shopping. You’re also planning a party – possibly the biggest party of your whole life.

And that party should be fun for your wedding guests and you. One idea to spice up your reception is the Wedding Shoe Game, a game of funny questions and answers that’s as entertaining for those watching as it is for those playing. The Wedding Shoe Game tests how much the bride and groom really know about each other – in a very public way.

It starts with the couple sitting in two chairs, back to back. They then take off their shoes – I know, but bear with us – and exchange one shoe with one another so they each have one of their own shoes and one of their spouse’s shoes. Then the questions begin! The DJ, a chosen host, or even guests ask questions like “Who looks better in white?” and “Who has the most cash on them right now?” and “Who is the better cook?” and “Who says ‘I love you’ more in a typical day?” The bride and groom both hold up a shoe to answer – sometimes their answers will match up, but often they won’t and that’s when things get fun and playful family rivalries come out.

Of course, this game probably isn’t for anyone who is coping with a real family rivalry situation since things could easily go downhill. Play this game at your own risk, or don’t play this game but please play! We’ve been to too many somber and serious weddings that made us long for laughter. Your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life… so treat it that way and do what it takes to have (and show everyone else) a great time.

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FAQ: Wedding Jewelry and Your Bridesmaids

Brides-to-be sure are busy! In addition to choosing their own wedding dresses and wedding jewelry – along with venues and vendors – they’re typically responsible for dressing their bridesmaids. And that includes choosing accessories! Here are just some of the questions brides-to-be have asked us in the past as they checked items off their wedding planning to-do lists:

Must my bridesmaids’ jewelry match?

Some brides like the harmonious look of bridesmaids in matching dresses, wedding jewelry, and shoes, while others like to mix things up a little. Or a lot! Just like you can choose to dress your ‘maids alike or not, it’s just fine to mix and match their wedding jewelry and shoes. We really love wedding jewelry that’s all in one color family, but subtly different so every bridesmaid looks like an individual.

Should my bridesmaids’ jewelry match my own?

We don’t recommend putting your ‘maids in matching jewelry, but their accessories should certainly harmonize with your own. That means if you’re wearing gold tone and pearls, for example, they should be, too.

Can I give wedding jewelry as a gift to my bridesmaids?

At this point, presenting your ‘maids with the jewelry they’ll wear on your wedding day is practically tradition. But unless you’re choosing something they’ll definitely wear again, think about giving each of your ‘maids something more personal in additional to wedding jewelry.

If I’m giving my bridesmaids wedding jewelry as their bridesmaid gifts, when should I present it?

If you’re asking your ‘maids to wear matching wedding jewelry and you want to give them said jewelry as a bridesmaid gift, give it to them before they buy accessories on their own. Often, the bride-to-be will give her bridesmaids gifts at a bridesmaids’ luncheon or rehearsal dinner, but consider presenting your ‘maids’ jewelry earlier.

Should my maid of honor get something special?

It’s up to you to decide whether you’d like your maid of honor to stand out or to blend in with the rest of your bridal party. Some brides choose a slightly different bridesmaids dress for their MOH, but wedding jewelry that’s a little bigger or flashier than the rest of the ‘maids are wearing can accomplish the same thing.

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Have You Got Your Bridesmaids Covered?

Don’t you just love this pic?

It’s pretty clear to us that the bride and her bridesmaids are fun loving people who actually get along. Not like some bridal parties, where certain ‘maids were chosen out of obligation… or Friend A doesn’t get along with Friend B and Friend C doesn’t know anyone else so feels uncomfortable and left out.

We’re wondering what you are doing to help your bridal party feel comfortable, happy, and financially secure. Is that your job? Well, not really, but considering the amount of strife that can come up among bridesmaids – and strife translates into stress for you – so it makes sense to take a few steps to keep everyone smiling. We recommend helping everyone get to know one another with a luncheon or girls’ night out well in advance of the big day. If there’s bad blood between bridesmaids, make sure the offenders aren’t assigned to the same wedding planning tasks. And of course, take the pressure off by making the whole wedding less of a wallet drain.

Why not hook your girls up with some bridesmaid jewelry that’s going to make them smile? Preferably bridesmaid jewelry they can wear again – as in, something that’s not just going to take up space in jewelry boxes for two or three years until it gets tossed in the donation pile.

P.S. Just wanted to add that we found this hilarious wedding pic on Pinterest, uncredited. And we can’t read the watermark. And a Tineye search didn’t bring up any results. So if you know who took this photo, we’d love to know!

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Never Forget: It Takes Two to Say ‘I Do’

It’s so easy to get caught up in wedding planning. Too easy to take it too seriously. Yes, it’s one of the most important days in a person’s life – but the part that gets a lot of brides and some grooms all worked up usually isn’t the vows part. It’s the party planning – and outfit planning – parts.

For some, getting all worked up means forgetting that it takes two to say “I do.” For example, a bride might get so caught up in picking out her wedding jewelry and the color of the linens and the reception playlist and the cake flavors that she forgets that her future spouse might have some ideas about, well, not the wedding jewelry but all the other things.

When we saw this picture, we immediately thought that this is the sweetest way to compromise:

Now like we said above, the bride probably isn’t going to compromise on her wedding dress or wedding jewelry but as for everything else… it’s probably – hopefully – up for debate.

Brides-to-be may be the leaders of the pack when it comes to wedding planning, but as more and more couples are paying for their own ceremonies and receptions, partners are starting to weigh in with their own wants. And why not? A wedding should be about two people, both of whom are involved. Not about one person and another who just happens to be along for the ride.

Plus (and here we go back to the cake), when you compromise, you end up with amazing solutions to disagreements. Like a half wedding cake / half groom’s cake hybrid that not only wowed everyone, but gave every wedding guest a chance to sample their favorite flavor. Now that’s what we call wedding planning!

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Reader Question: How Big Should My Bridal Bouquet Be?

A bride-to-be who identified herself as La Paloma emailed to ask this question:

After choosing my wedding dress, my wedding jewelry, my veil, and other accessories, I realized it was time to pick a bridal bouquet. I have flowers and colors in mind, but I realize that there are tons of different types and sizes of bouquet. What should I know about choosing a bridal bouquet?

Like your wedding jewelry, your bridal bouquet should ideally be scaled to your body. With wedding jewelry, actually, there’s more flexibility because you’re also working to coordinate your accessories to your gown. But with the bouquet, your height and width has a lot to do with making the flowers you carry down the aisle look good (and vice versa). So here’s the deal with bouquets and body types:

Your bridal bouquet shouldn’t be wider than your body, particularly your hips. Nor should it be so small that it makes you look like a giant in comparison. The goal, as with all accessories, should be to create balance and harmony. In general, brides with hourglass figures should avoid petite bouquets, while brides who fall into the category of pear should stay away from triangular cascade bouquets. Brides with wider shoulders have more choices because they can carry very wide bouquets and appear proportional. Don’t forget your wedding dress, of course. The bigger the gown, the bigger your bouquet can be. Tall brides in any dress style are fabulous with cascade bouquets in hand. And every bride can pull of a hand-tied bunch!

But as we say about almost everything else, bridal bouquet rules were meant to be broken. If you’ve fallen in love with the idea of carrying an absolutely huge bouquet or a tiny nosegay, we’re not going to be the ones to stop you. With confidence, you can carry off any bridal look in the book!

Image via Rene’s Bouquets For Brides by Rene van Rems

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Including Faraway Folks in Your Wedding on the Big Day

Unless your circle of loved ones is incredibly local – which is rare these days – you’re going to get a few Declines With Regrets in your RSVP pile. It’s disappointing when your favorite cousin or best friend from elementary school can’t make it, but not at all uncommon. One way that brides and grooms have included faraway friends and relatives in their weddings is by sending extra special people mini wedding albums or sending out a covert tweet at the reception… but some couples want to do more. You want your loved ones to see your wedding jewelry and your ceremony venue and hear your vows, after all! A video after the fact or plain old pictures? Maybe for you it just doesn’t feel like enough.

That’s where the Internet comes in. Brides-to-be already shop for their wedding jewelry, accessories, and even their gowns online. Centerpieces and full packages of fresh flowers can be ordered with a click of a mouse. Couples tour ceremony and reception venues on YouTube. So it’s only natural that some brides and grooms would take things one step further with easy-to-access tech like Skype, livestreaming, automatic photo uploads, and yes, Twitter.

In the past few years, you’ve probably seen news stories of brides and grooms tweeting at the altar or broadcasting their weddings live via password protected blogs, not to mention online proposals that are incredibly public. We’d guess that the thought of changing your relationship status to married within seconds of saying “I do” might strike you as a little too much technology, but that’s no reason not to explore all of the options for sharing with faraway folks when you’re planning a wedding. Maybe a grandparent who’s too ill to travel would appreciate being able to watch the ceremony as it unfolds. Or #yournamewedding will trend. It’s all up to you and how much you want to share with the world or just with a select group of people. All we’re saying is consider it if those Declines With Regrets are really tugging at your heartstrings.

Would you tweet on the big day?

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