wedding advice

Wedding Advice: Why I’m Not Dieting for My Wedding

anti wedding dieting

Whenever I see advertisements or blog posts titled “Bridal Bootcamp” or “shed the pounds fast for your big day”, I cringe and a part of me dies inside. Wedding dieting is something I will NEVER promote on this blog. I will not feature events that focus on this topic, and I will not allow vendors to promote this topic through any of my advertising platforms. If you’ve read Capitol Romance before, than you should already know that I am a huge supporter of couples having a wedding that is truly reflective of their selves in every sense of the word. This includes actually looking like yourself on your wedding day, and not trying to conform to someone else’s idea of how you should look on your wedding day.

But, today’s post is not about me, it’s a beautifully penned guest post from Shalini (of our Makeup-less Engagement post) sharing why she’s not dieting for her wedding. The post was originally published in HaveHeart Magazine, but I found it too good not to share here as well.

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Why I’m Not Dieting for My Wedding

A guest post by Shalini

After I got engaged, one of the first emails I received from The Knot was about how to get in shape for my big day. During the past year I have been bombarded with messages saying that I need to look my best- better than I ever have in my entire life- for the wedding. I’m supposed to be thin, toned, have fluorescent white teeth, long nails, flawless skin, and voluminous hair, because what kind of bride wouldn’t put effort into becoming perfect for this once in a lifetime event? Who would want to marry a woman who didn’t look like a photoshopped cover girl? Regular-looking girls don’t deserve love, right?

dc courthouse wedding elopement

But what if I don’t look like a model on my wedding day? What if I just look like… me? I’m not perfect, and to the best of my knowledge, my flaws are part of what my fiancé loves about me. Rather than reverting back to my old ways of restrictive eating and over-exercising, and obsessing over my “flawed” face in the mirror, I decided to live out my engagement as if it were any other phase of life. I vowed not to give into unrealistic expectations of brides, which are ultimately fueled by the beauty industry’s desire to make money off of our insecurities. I knew that I couldn’t live a life dedicated to self-acceptance, but make an exception for my wedding.

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My fiancé has been the biggest supporter of my journey toward self-love and positive body image, and if anyone didn’t want me to lose weight for the most important day of our life together, it would be him. As a child, I always envisioned myself looking perfect on my wedding day. But then, I also envisioned myself looking perfect at prom, my college graduation, the first day of grad school, my first interview, and on the day I fell in love. I didn’t look perfect for any of those special events, but my memories of them are no less fond and fulfilling. Ultimately, it won’t matter what I look like on my wedding day. I will likely be filled with such joy and excitement that something as inconsequential as my waist size will be the least of my worries.

glen echo park vintage portrait pictures

We spend so much time and effort focusing on what we look like. I have enjoyed my engagement so much because I haven’t gotten too wrapped up in the superficial details. My ability to brush off questions and comments about my weight with regard to wedding preparation has become a source of pride. Instead of crash dieting or working out 6 days a week, I have maintained my usual wellness routine (eating what I want and exercising when I want), and I’ve been much happier because of that. I would much rather enjoy this exciting time with my fiancé and other loved ones, celebrating a relationship that is founded in something much deeper than looks. I will be the happiest bride as I walk down the aisle next month, looking into the eyes of the man who finds my happiness to be the most beautiful thing in the world.

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Thanks Shalini! Hoping this article helps any CapRo reader out there that might be doubting their appearance for their wedding day. You are GORGEOUS just the way you are.

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Capitol Advice: The F Word Revisited | Friends as Wedding Vendors – The Good, Bad & Ugly

This topic is no where close to new in the wedding industry. Time and time again, vendors & bloggers tackle the “heinous crime” of having your friend serve the duty of a wedding vendor on your wedding day. Now these posts always bugged me because they never seemed to show more than just the side of the one vendor posting the article. What about the times where a friend was exactly what was needed and things worked out perfectly because it was done right? I always wondered if other people got turned off a bit, like I did, when you read a vendor telling you to hire them instead of hiring someone else. Well DUH they want you to hire them!

Now, before the entirety of the wedding blogosphere storms my house and tries to burn me at the stake, don’t mistake what I am saying here. I will 100% advocate (just like I did with my post on DIYing your wedding flowers) that a professional vendor is and always will be the best and safest choice for your wedding. Wedding Professionals know the intricacies and complexities that wedding days require and they will ALWAYS be the best choice for your wedding day vendors. You cannot compare a professional vendor’s services and outputs to that of a friend/novice. This is also a reason why you should work with experienced professionals and not “I have an iPhone so I can shoot your wedding” photographers – but that is a whole other blog I will someday write.

But what about all the countless couples (including yours truly) that have asked friends to serve as wedding vendors for their big day – and it worked out just fine? What if you just don’t have the budget to hire a professional for EVERY aspect of your wedding day? Well then, let us share some real insight, from REAL couples that used a friend as a wedding vendor so that you guys can see ALL sides of this argument, not just one.

Hiring Friends as Wedding Vendors – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

friend as wedding vendor

[My friend Dorothy on the left, helping my sister with the processional | Image: Live It Out Photography]

First let’s start with a note of caution. The all-important warning that just because hiring a friend worked for me and some others, it DOES NOT MEAN it will work for you. This is not an all encompassing post. This is a reflection of a handful of real couples that used friends as vendors to help YOU decide if it MIGHT be right for you and your partner too!

The [Cautionary] Good: It Worked For Someone Else [But that Does NOT Mean It Will Work For You]

Recent DC area bride, Ashley, hired her friend to serve as her day-of coordinator. For Ashley, this decision worked out perfectly! She shared:

“One of the hallmarks of our wedding was the way that our friends and family were so much a part of it. I had never considered a traditional coordinator (and frankly, felt that I would be more stressed out by one), so to have a friend that was willing to take this on was a gift indeed. She helped me feel confident about any decisions I second-guessed, she asked questions I didn’t think to, she handled some rather upsetting vendor issues effortlessly. ” – Ashley

Another former bride, Rachel explained that they also had success with hiring friends. She attributes her success to mainly 3 things. 1, that she was a fairly laid-back bride, 2, she was also highly organized, and 3, her friends that were involved were also pretty experienced at what she was asking them to do!

“I was laid back in that I was up for anything, but in general I was more so highly organized with checklists and timelines and charts (such as: “who is driving in what cars to which parts of the wedding” WITH pictures all neatly tacked up on the food cabinet… I got a lot of flack for that haha). I don’t recall setting out to have friends so involved in my day, but a few offered and we ended up reaching out to a couple others and it just happened that way! The friends that I involved in the day were already very experienced and very talented in what I asked them to do.” – Rachel

hiring friends as wedding vendors

I would second Ashley & Rachel’s sentiments. Personally, I asked a friend to help coordinate our wedding – she helped us make favors, decorations, and served as a day-of coordinator for us. Dorothy had a professional background in design and managing bands – two key items that lent itself to making her a great wedding coordinator. The other two things that set us up for success were:

1- Just like Rachel I was HIGHLY organized bride (is anyone surprised by this?). I had binders, budget spreadsheets, a calendar view schedule, and I even had a weekly meeting with Andy … including agendas that we had created (hah, I wish I was kidding). I was really hands-on and involved in my own wedding planning, so I did not feel I required the full-scale help/assistance that a planner might want to give me & Andy.

2- My catering company also provided us with a day-of coordinator that had worked with us from the minute we hired them to ensure our linens, tablescapes, escort cards, and decorations were all laid out properly. I do not think this is normal – but I could not say enough about what Catering By Uptown‘s Jeff did for our wedding day. He seamlessly decorated and setup a lot of our DIY details and decor – something that Dorothy might have had to do if not for them!

Click inside for The Bad & The Ugly …. and advice if you are still going to do this any way ;)

We Decided to Put Social Pressures Aside to Plan a “True to Us” Wedding

As I mentioned last Wednesday, we are trying our hardest to re-focus our content a bit on some more advice-driven pieces that share real, first-hand accounts of wedding planning in and outside of the Washington, DC area. Last week we had a real bride share some post wedding planning reflections (re: regrets) and this week we have a bride to be that is sharing a super personal post on how her and her fiance found themselves planning a wedding they didn’t actually want to have.

I met Laura through my wedding coordination biz – she originally reached out to me for an inquiry into my services. A few weeks later though, her plans had changed and I was really interested in learning why. Not because I no longer had a potential client on my hands (though I did love the sound of her wedding! hah), but because I thought her story and reflection with her fiance was totally worth sharing.

Laura emailed me to let me know things had changed after a lot of soul searching. They decided that their original plan didn’t actually reflect who they were. They scraped the traditional, 200+ wedding and are doing a low-key, chapel ceremony with just immediate family instead.  I thought Laura & her fiance were insanely brave to do this – and even braver still was Laura when she agreed to share the soul searching they did here. I hope you guys read this and share this (if you want), as I think it’s a CRUCIAL part of the wedding planning process. Before you fall head over heels into planning, take some time to really think about AND discuss with your partner what you want for your wedding day … and why.

How We Decided to Put Social Pressures Aside to Plan a Wedding That was True to Who We Are

I’m not much of a writer, but when Bree asked me to write about my recent soul searching with my wedding plans, I couldn’t say no.  I had invested so much time and energy into this process that I thought it would be therapeutic to put it down in words. 

First and foremost, I love weddings.  I love being apart of such a time of love and unity.  I love having such a wonderful excuse to get together with friends and family to celebrate, reminisce, and enjoy each other’s company.  It’s basically a big family reunion.  I love it.

dc courthouse wedding intimate[A DC Courthouse Wedding via Sarah Gormley Photography]

My now-fiancé and I have known each other for some time.  We have been in each other’s lives in some way, shape, or form for over 12 years.  In the last couple of years we realized we were ready for each other and a future together.  We began to talk more openly about getting married.  It became a matter of when, not if. 

As Pinterest began to take over, I got caught up in all its glory.  And as a wedding seemed more and more likely in my future I couldn’t resist browsing the ‘wedding’ category.  Oh was I in trouble.  Gorgeous pin after gorgeous pin; I couldn’t stop!  But I decided to take a step back until I was officially engaged.  Fast forward a few months later and while hiking one of our favorite trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains, my boyfriend (now fiancé) popped the question.  It was perfect!  We spent the recent of our mini-vacation basking in our love and excitement.  It was crazy how nothing had really changed, but everything had changed.  It was wonderful!

[Kirsten & Christian's Small Budget VA Wedding via Porter Watkins Photography]

Then the reality of wedding planning set in.  Those wonderful photos I had pinned on Pinterest were no longer gorgeous, but daunting.  How do I actually make these ideas happen?  How do I get this fabulous relaxed backyard wedding?  Everyone seems so happy and calm… doubtful!  The more I looked into these ideas, the more I realized they weren’t going to happen.  Not on our budget.  And not on how much time and energy we were willing to put into this event.  Don’t get me wrong.  We want it to be the best day of our lives, and it will be, but it took a lot of soul searching to realize we don’t need to put our (or our family’s) life savings into this one day to make it special.  It’s special because we love each other and we get to show the world how much.  It’s special because we get to have our favorite people in the world around us all at the same time!

So back to the soul searching. And first a few things you need to know about us – our families are HUGE (looking at easily 175 for just aunts, uncles, and first cousins) and we have both lived all over and have some friends that go back to when we were babies.  When all said and done, we had a list of 250 people on our “essential persons” list for the wedding!  We are also both pretty private people and having a traditional ceremony and reception felt a little too overwhelming to us. 

[Ben & Jen's Super Local, Offbeat DC Wedding via Leslie Maron Photography]

Even knowing this about ourselves, we still began to look for very traditional options: big church ceremony and reception to follow (making each guest on our list suddenly seem very costly).  Simply put, we really couldn’t afford (or didn’t feel comfortable affording) a wedding that fit this bill while still seeming somewhat unique enough to feel true to us as a couple.  But over and over we tried to find a solution.  The love and excitement of the engagement was quickly overtaken by the stress and pressure of creating this wedding that didn’t even seem to match us.  We tried and tried to fit a square peg into a round hole.  We tried to compromise on location, guest list, food, date, cost… but no matter what “solution” we came to, it never sat right with us.  After many a stressful night (and yes some tears), we always came back to the same thing: we just want to be married to each other.  Eloping was making a lot more sense to us as time passed, but that didn’t sit right either.

So back to the drawing board; one night we sat down and made a short list of things that were most important to us about our wedding.  Top things on the list were inclusivity (having all essential persons there), laid back and outdoor celebration, having part or all of it in our neighborhood, making it as convenient as possible to guests, and having an old family friend (a priest) officiate.  Again, not easy to meet this set of criteria either. 

But then one day it just all came together.  If what we really want is to be married without all the fuss, then let’s just start there.  Let’s just start with what this is really all about.  So we approached our family and told them our plan:  we wanted to get married in the small chapel in our neighborhood by our family friend with all of them (our parents and siblings) there to witness it.  It just felt right.  For the first time in weeks, I was happy again about the wedding. 

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[Charles & Scott's Offbeat, DC Wedding via Red Shoes Photography]

But we also knew that we would want an opportunity to celebrate our new marriage with those other 250 essential persons.  We figured this would be the chance to still have that laid-back celebration we also wanted; the backyard family reunion style BBQ.  Somehow I happened upon a farm outside of DC that provides just that.  We could have a whole day completely catered of BBQ, booze, lawn games, dancing, and most importantly, quality time with the ones we love most. 

For us, separating these two events was most essential to our happiness.  We could then keep the ceremony intimate and stress-free and truly about the joining of our lives together surrounded by the essential of essentials.  We could also get the most intimate celebration possible with 250 people by having the all-day event at the farm.  This would allow everyone to gather under the pretense of our love and new marriage but wouldn’t completely focus on us the whole time.  Without all the fuss of a traditional reception, we would be able to mix and mingle freely with our guests giving them the quality time they deserved for making the effort to be with us at such an important moment in our lives.  

[Cecelia & Wasim's Modern, Hip DC Wedding via Megan Noonan Photography]

For us, this wedding is less about a day and more about a lifetime.  We want to start our marriage off right.  And for us, it is about being true to ourselves and who we are as a couple.  We are both genuine and private, but completely and utterly thankful that we have so many people that love us.  They understand us enough to know that we will get more from spending a relaxing day on a farm with them rather than a formal evening in a banquet hall.

I can’t thank Laura enough for sharing this personal piece with me and my readers! There is SO MUCH of this post that I wish I could just plaster all over Pinterest, Big Wedding Blogs & Facebook. I hope everyone that is planning a wedding finds something in here that rings true to them. Thanks for reading everyone one!

 

 

Wedding Advice: Lessons Learned from a Destination Wedding Bride

We’re kicking off the first of a long-line of weekly guest and personal posts in the upcoming weeks. I am working on trying to better focus my content, and one of those goals involves more advice/educational/personal pieces. There are a million places to find inspiration for weddings on the internet, but not necessarily a million places to find good advice, tips, resources and real education on planning and executing a wedding.

I hope to also have some include more on marriage, love, and relationships in general – stemming from our decision to not name this blog something after a bride, or solely weddings – it was always about the more important part of a wedding, the marriage (or really, the love & romance of two people).

So without further ado, I give you some really awesome lessons learned from a bride that got married just over 3 years ago and opted for a destination wedding!

Wedding Advice: Lessons Learned From a Destination Wedding Bride

wedding advice lessons learned

Vendors:

Photography: Saperstone Studios | Venue: Le Kliff, Puerto Vallarta | Flowers, Decorations, Centerpieces: Arranged by Le Kliff | Bride’s Dress: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Suit: Bachrach (BCBG) | Vest: Men’s Warehouse | Makeup: DIY

My husband and I were married 3.5 years ago in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While our wedding was indeed destination, I believe that my lessons learned apply to non-destination weddings too :)

wedding advice lessons learned

What Anna learned about wedding photography:

While I loved my wedding photos because my photographer delivered exactly what they said they would and were incredibly reliable, I wish I would have invested the time to research other options. Thankfully my best friend, Saperstone Studios, was a guest at my wedding and she was able to capture many creative and beautiful moments. These images are what I would have wanted would I have known there were different styles of wedding photography out there.

Again, not that I don’t love my wedding photos but seeing now all these wonderful creative photographers out there, I wish I would have hired someone with a more creative/artistic approach to wedding photography because that is more our style (my husband and I). Also- knowing now what I didn’t know then, investing in photography is key. I would have paid quite a bit for the creative photographer of my dreams. After all is said and done, your wedding photos are what you have left of the day.

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What Anna learned about wedding Videography:

Now, I really regret not hiring a videographer.

At the time I didn’t want to hire a videographer because I had the idea in my head that I would get a DVD with a 2 hour long video and I didn’t want that at all. I didn’t know that you could get a mini show real of your wedding day (sneak peek: 2 minutes, mini video: 15 minutes).

I really, really, really regret this now. Really!

Click inside for the rest of these lessons learned and advice from a real bride!

Let’s Get Personal: Lessons Learned from my First 2013 Wedding!

Happy Monday Romancers!!

I hope everyone got to take advantage of the seriously gorgeous spring weather that we are FINALLY having in DC! My weekend was JAM-packed with action, starting Friday with my first wedding of 2013 as Capitol Romance Wedding Coordination! It also included TONS of house & yard work (mulching, raking, and cleaning – oh my!), a trip to Ikea, painting our bedroom, and our re-scheduled Love Shoot in celebration of Maryland marriage equality with Maggie Winters Photography!

I will be sure to share some more details on our recent bedroom upgrading and our shoot with Maggie soon, but for this morning I thought it might be fun to share 5 things I learned this weekend. Coordinating my first 2013 wedding (and really, first wedding as an official wedding coordinator) was amazing. It helped that my bride and groom were the coolest, but I also had a blast learning a TON and I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I learned with you all!

Check back this afternoon for a beautiful Old Town Alexandria, VA engagement feature!

5 Things I Learned this Weekend:

intimate jefferson memorial wedding

[a sneak peak from Amanda & Jason's wedding via my phone. More amazing pictures from Stephen Gosling Photography pending]

1. DC weathermen are never right

All week Friday was to have 100% change of rain with a high of 50. Amanda kept asking me “what do we do?!” and I replied, “other than buy some umbrellas? Nothing. DC weather is as predicable as the future – they never get it right.” And thankfully they were at least consistent in their inaccuracies, because Friday was 60 with not a cloud in the sky!!! The lesson here is bigger than DC weathermen’s lies though, its that you can’t plan your wedding around the weather – you need to realize it can change in a heartbeat, and you have to be ready and willing to accept that!

2. Balloons do not work outside when there is a breeze

My whole plan for Amanda & Jason’s decor was oversized balloons. I had seen this picture online before, and was in LOVE. We bought the balloons and the helium tanks, and I got to the Jefferson memorial to setup and …. there was a gusty, constant breeze blowing in my face – which meant balloons were NOT going to stand up like that. What was I thinking?! So the lesson here is to anyone considering balloons as a decoration for an outdoor wedding – make sure there is no wind in your forecast :)

3. Tourists can be friendly (and actually helpful too!)

Usually this time of year in DC drives me insane – tons of people flooding our city that cannot navigate the streets nor our metro system. But during my setup for the wedding I had a TON of tourists stop by asking questions about the setup and even more about the wedding. My favorite tourist couple though was one that actually asked if I needed help setting up anything !! It was so nice of them.

4. I need to find a good, dependable shuttle service for weddings in this city

I had a terrible experience with our shuttle service for our wedding and the shuttle for Friday wasn’t much better – it got lost, the driver couldn’t find the memorial and needed one of the guests to direct them – oh yeah and they were 45 minutes late for the ceremony (no joke!). Does ANYONE know of any decent shuttle/transportation companies in this city? I’ve pretty much given up and really only tell my couples to use Uber at this point!

5. Great wedding vendors make my job easy

Last, but certainly not least, I had to share that amazing wedding vendors really make your wedding not only wonderful & beautiful, but WAY LESS STRESSFUL. I joke when I say that it makes my job easy, but really it does make the entire wedding planning process easier on everyone if you take the time to hire top notch, quality vendors. My bride on Friday was all smiles over everything! Her flowers were stunning (crafted by Love Blooms Here), her hair was GORGEOUS (Jewel Hair Design – of course) and the photographer (Stephen Gosling) kept both the bride & the groom happy through their first look, through a lost shuttle, and through to the dinner reception. Professional, talented, vendors that fit the couple, make a happy couple. And a happy couple makes for a happy coordinator :)

 

Capitol Advice: Wedding Photography Shot Lists

It’s been too long since I’ve written an advice piece. However, a few weeks ago I started working on a timeline guide for my wedding consulting clients and I had a photographer give me some feedback on my line item concerning “shot lists.”

She shared,

“… as a photographer, one of the biggest problems I have run into is couples that are really “in love” with their shot lists.  I think many of them get that idea from online wedding sites and magazines who recommend making a shot list for the photographer”

After getting that feedback I thought it would be useful to blog about this – the important difference between giving your wedding photographer a list of important portrait shots…. and giving your wedding photographer a detailed list of EVERY picture you want taken that day.

Our expert photographer continued:

I know each photographer is different, but I personally cringe when I see lists suggest making a “shot list” or “must-have” list because then I receive a list like “my mom’s hands as she zips up my dress” and “me putting my shoes on” and “a shot of our rings” – I work with each of my couples to get their list of “out of the ordinary” shots that aren’t standard shots that I am obviously going to get, and as I do that I explain to them why I don’t take a shot list.

Here is my advice:

1. First and foremost, make sure you have this conversation with your wedding photographer early on. Manage both yours and their expectations.

2. Do not become married to the idea of “shot lists” [like what i did there?]. While it’s OK to want certain groupings of your family in portraits, you should not expect a photographer, who is a talented, professional artist, to stick to a long list of the shots YOU want. You are not the photographer, they are!

3. Do not pin “pose shots” on Pinterest. This will only cause you to want your photos to look like other couples’ photos … and why would you? Don’t even tempt yourself here!

4. Realize that your photographer is the professional and most likely knows better than you.

I think in the end you will be 100% happier with your wedding pictures if you don’t create a shot list. You won’t be driven mad that your photographer didn’t get that carbon copy picture of a pose you saw on Pinterest and instead you will be enlightened by the amazing, UNIQUE, and personalized shots that the professional photographer captured of YOUR day.

I mean plus, you just can’t plan for pictures like THIS on a shot list:

Let’s Get Personal: Inspired by My Sister (and how it relates to wedding planning)

This morning I shared an article from Self Magazine on my social media accounts – it covers 14 Young Cancer Survivors, their stories, their advice, and their thoughts on what it feels like to really have cancer. One of the 14 survivors that they interviewed was my older sister, an inspiring young cancer survivor.

I felt compelled this morning to share my sister’s story (and the stories of 13 other young women) that have all lived through having cancer. I felt compelled because sometimes I have to admit, I get a little fed up with the wedding world.

I get fed up with the constant pressure put on couples to have a highly-detailed, “blogworthy” wedding. I get fed up with the cost of weddings. I get fed up with the swooning and the gorgeousness and the sense of competitiveness that exists. I get fed up with the vendors that aren’t in it for the love and I get fed up with the couples that lose themselves in their planning.

And then you read stories like these.  And to me, it puts it all into perspective. Life is short. Life is precious. Life needs to be celebrated and stress-free, whether you are planning a wedding or not.

So how this relates to wedding planning? Well let me share another favorite quote of mine:

I’ve found myself saying this to friends that are stressing out during wedding planning, and will continue to share it with clients:

“On the day of your wedding, it just won’t matter. It will be the most amazing day of your life, so it is not worth the stress now.”

No matter how stressful wedding planning can seem at times – you should remember that there are bigger, more stressful things that could happen in your life. Weddings are a celebration – a union of love and they shouldn’t be full of anger, stress, or competition.

Thoughts?

Capitol Advice: Keep Wedding Decisions Face-to-Face

After my very first initial consultation with an engaged couple interested in my brandy-new DC wedding planning & coordination services, I realized that I had shared some advice with them, that might be something worth blogging about.

It was something I had decided to do early on in our own wedding planning process, that would hopefully make it easier when bringing my somewhat strong, and nontraditional wedding views and wants, to my more traditional parents, who were mostly funding our wedding day. Not an easy trail to navigate in the least!

I decided [along with some help from my father] that we should keep most of our wedding chatter, opinions, discussion, and desires in a FACE TO FACE format only.

me and my awesome parents on my wedding day

Email and text messaging, while convenient and quick, leave WAY too much to be misconstrued or misread. A simple email could turn into an argument or hurt feelings, when that was never anyone’s intention in the first place.

In case you haven’t heard – weddings are TOUGH to plan. While awesome, they are equally stressful and can oftentimes be known to bring out “the best AND the worst” in the people involved.

Weddings are highly personal – and I think that is why there is so much emotion that can sometimes turn into arguments. Everyone’s goal [the couple AND their parents] is to have a beautiful wedding day – but due to the seemingly endless amounts of decisions that need to be made to get there, it’s easy to let emotions get the best of you and that is only augmented by the lack of context in emails and texts. Using email and texting to discuss these endless decisions only increases the likelihood of an argument, hurt feeling, or misplaced emotion.

my two dads [my father-in-law and father]

So my advice?

Don’t use email or texting for your wedding decisions, opinions, or discussions. 

Try your hardest to have these discussions face-to-face with your parents [especially if your parents are funding the majority of your day, like mine graciously did]. Face-to-face conversations decrease the chance that opinions will be taken out of context, or misconstrued.

Don’t live close enough for a face-to-face convo? Well you are in luck, because the same modern technology that gives us texting and email, also gives us things like Skype, Google Hangout, Facetime, and even *gasp* phonecalls!

It’s important to remember throughout the entire wedding planning process that while it’s YOUR day – it’s partially your parents’ day too. So, chances are they will have their own wants and desires for your wedding day and everyone should respect all opinions involved.

Ok Romancers ~ what do you think? Good advice? Or do you think email/texting is still OK for wedding decisions?

Capitol Advice: How to Write a Wedding Toast ~ Tips & Advice

A few weeks ago my best friend Steve sent me a copy of the speech he was preparing to give as a best man. The speech was perfect – the right mix of humor, emotion, love, & stories. I cried reading it, and when I attempted to read it aloud to Andy in the car, I had to stop twice because I got choked up [yeah, it was THAT good .... also I am THAT much of a sap!].

I thought it would be helpful to blog for those looking for help, advice, or tips on writing a wedding speech, either as a best man, maid of honor, or any other honorable wedding attendant that is blessed with getting to speak to the couple. I’ll share some of my own personal tips & guidelines, and invite anyone to offer more in the comments section.

Oh, and don’t worry – Steve has allowed me to share his awesome speech with you all too :)

How to Write a Wedding Toast ~ Tips, Tricks, & Advice

1. Thank You

The easiest way to begin a wedding toast is by saying thanks. Thank the couple, thank the parents, and/or thank the people that are responsible for making the day possible, and thank everyone for joining in the celebration.

Using thanks as your opener will help calm your nerves, so you aren’t attempting to open with a joke or story off the bat. It will give you some time to ease into the speech and find some comfort with talking in front of a crowd.

2. Humor

Most wedding toasts should include a bit of humor to lighten the mood – it will boost your confidence as the speech giver. If you are a natural when it comes to humor, write some quips yourself, if you aren’t – then stick to what you’d feel comfortable saying.

Ask some friends if they attended any weddings with a great wedding speech joke, or use the one from Steve’s toast – it’s hilarious.

3. Keep it PG

This directly correlates to #2 – if you do use a joke, or tell a personal story [more on that next] I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping the toast at a PG rating. Nothing is worse than saying something inappropriate or embarrassing to the couple. Remember why you are there and remember your audience [which will more than likely include not only grandparents, and those older than you - but many people that probably don't even know you ... leave a good impression.]

Take for instance the joke the best man delivered at a wedding I was at a few weekends ago – it involved the groom being a player baseball player, not very skilled at any positions … and then correlating that to the bride having that same problem, later that night.

ugh. I felt awkward just typing that – much less listening to that in a room of people at an event such as a wedding. So PLEASE, remember – keep your toast at a PG rating!

4. Make it personal

Don’t forget to include some personal quips and stories into your wedding toast. This will make the toast custom to the couple you are speaking for – and will make the speech something worth remembering.

Don’t, however, tell too many “inside” jokes that the crowd doesn’t understand. Keep the personal memories surface level, and light – stories that don’t require much explanation [and are clean!] are the best to include in wedding toasts.

5. Don’t forget the other half

Just because you are giving the Best Man Speech, doesn’t mean you should leave out the bride – and just because you are giving the Maid of Honor speech, doesn’t mean you should leave out the groom! Include BOTH members of the couple getting married.

Andy’s sisters were EXCELLENT at mixing stories of Andy as a child, but also mentioning what it was like for them, when he met me :)

6. Raise a Glass

Just like we recommended to being your speech with a “thanks” – the perfect way to end it is with … the TOAST! You might think this is obvious, but the speech should require a little more than just a “cheers”! Wrap up your wedding toast by inviting the room to raise a glass to the couple and wish them well in their new life together.

General Speaking Reminders

In addition to the tips above – don’t forget these general speaking reminders:

1. Pace (no one will enjoy the speech if they can’t understand you … slow down!)

2. Volume (no one will enjoy the speech if they cannot hear you … talk loud!)

3. Length (I would say to keep it no more than 3-5 minutes long, after that people might start to get distracted/talk amongst themselves)

Click inside to read Steve’s amazing speech – the perfect example of a fantastic best man toast that included everything we mentioned above!

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