Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Groom's View

This article was sent to us by one of our weekend Grooms..!!  Thank you for your honesty and insight from the grooms point of view.
After experiencing the entire wedding planning process and being happily married for more than six months, I have gathered a few tips that I think could help future grooms (brides may want to consider showing this to their grooms!)
To be a groom worthy of praise is not to simply stand at the altar and wait for her (or him, but for the sake of consistency I will henceforth use “her”) to walk down the aisle. It’s high time we did away with this bizarre tradition of letting brides do all the planning (or at least it is time to add a much-needed amendment), while the groom’s only job is to merely show up on time come wedding day. It’s not like roles should reverse and grooms should take on all the planning alone, but there’s really no logical reason to not be a significant part of the planning process. This wedding is a celebration of your love together; don’t you want to take ownership playing some role in what is arguably the most important day of your life?
1. Think about one aspect of the wedding that you would like to have the most influence on.
It's no secret that your fiancée is likely to want to fulfill some sort of child hood fantasy about planning a wedding from start to finish. But before she (or he) decides on what song is played while you cut the cake, take a moment to think about one aspect of the wedding that you'd like to have your name on. It could be the song the wedding party comes out to, it could be the choice of the DJ or photographer, or it could be as simple as selecting a gift to award the lucky guy who catches the garter. This wedding isn’t just about your bride, it’s about the two of you together! You will have your friends and family there celebrating with you, it’s important to showcase the two of your styles and interests coming together as one.
If you can work together on planning the wedding, think of how well you’ll be able to work together on other big events in life.
2. Help with research.
In case you didn’t already know this, the wedding industry is ENORMOUS! Every aspect of the wedding is an industry in and of itself, from wedding emergency kits to wedding toppers, so be prepared to sift through hundreds of vendors who are all vying for your $$$ (but remember, not all vendors are in it for the $$$...some honestly want to tell/share/photograph/film your story). This is likely one of the most time consuming parts of planning a wedding and if you don’t spend enough time doing real research, you’ll likely end up with a bride who is vehemently upset about something one of the vendors did (or did not do).
To be successful when it comes to research, take the time to sit down with your fiancée and talk about what each of you would like to see in a wedding, and perhaps discuss the areas you are willing to shell out more cash and the areas that you are not too concerned with spending a great deal of money. Then consult friends and family members who perhaps are married and may be willing to share some valuable advice about vendors they know. There’s usually some friend who at least knows another friend who recently got married, so getting this information should not be difficult.
As a side note, while chiavari chairs are elegant and a staple of most modern weddings, most of your guests will hardly notice the difference and furthermore, those chairs aren’t going to capture any of the timeless moments of the day and put them together in a wedding film or a photo album that will be the only visual record of the day you got married. I’m not saying that all your money should be spent on photography and videography, but I do believe that a great deal of research should go into these two areas mainly because the professionals you hire will be charged with the responsibility of recording your wedding day in such a way that you will be able to revisit those emotions you felt on that day. I highly doubt you’ll get that from chiavari chairs or fancy cake toppers. I’m sure you’d appreciate a valid record of the day considering the amount of time and energy that went into planning.
3. Be present at all (or as many) meetings with vendors as you can.
While my wife and I were planning our wedding, I was dumbfounded at how shocked the majority of our vendors were when I would show up to every meeting. They often claimed it was such a rare thing for the groom to tag along and be so involved in all the planning. After thinking about it, I did notice that most wedding vendors cater their language towards the bride. They believe it is only brides who are visiting their pages and inquiring about their business. I imagine that is true and will continue to be true in the future, but why shouldn’t a groom come along and be present during meetings that involve critical decisions about their wedding? I can only imagine that the overall experience of the wedding for both the groom and the bride will be elevated knowing that the groom was present at these meetings and voiced his opinion about certain things.
Engagement is key; grooms have to be willing to engage in the wedding planning process. It’s understandable that many will be apprehensive about it because of their perception of what wedding planning is like. But in all honestly, things are different now. Wedding planning has married the digital age. There are so many things you can do to successfully plan for weddings from the comfort of your own home. Have Skype interviews with vendors, research online and read reviews about vendors. Major wedding sites like TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com offer complete online experiences that any groom could get accustomed to if they wanted to have any involvement.
Again, I understand the reality of bride who just wants to plan everything without any assistance (there’s nothing wrong with that!), but I can’t imagine anyone not at least wanting their groom to tag along and participate, even if it is in a minimal way. You’ll be planning a lot of things and having to make tons of decisions as a married couple, what would it hurt to start doing it now?
4. Write your own vows!
I can hardly think of a better way for a groom to woo his bride on their wedding day than to put into words the reasons why he got down on one knee. It’s the one time to think and make an attempt (although futile) to express in words the feelings you get when she walks into the room. Even if you do not wish to be at every meeting with the florist, even if you could care less what color the napkins will be or whether there will be a salad fork to the right of the soup spoon, there’s nothing that should prevent you from taking one opportunity to pour your heart out to your soon to be wife in front of family and friends.
So maybe you aren’t the gushy type who likes to pour your heart out (especially in front of people). Fine, but that shouldn’t stop you from attempting to write a spirited speech that at least celebrates the love you feel for your fiancée. Only the two of you define the love between you, so whether you want to recall some funny moments from your relationship or write a poem, it’s totally up to you. No one is holding you to any standards. It’s really the least you could do, and there’s no bride in the world that wouldn’t appreciate such a thing. You’ll probably earn a deep admiration from her family and friends as well. Everyone is already there to watch you get married, so there’s nothing wrong giving them a reason why they are sitting there on that day.
I understand there are situations where original vow writing is restricted due to the structure of the wedding ceremony, but there’s nothing stopping you from speaking to your bride during the reception. By that point, the ceremony is over so most of the pressure is already off of your shoulders. Friends and family have likely loosened up, therefore making it a much easier atmosphere to open up in front of people.
Come on, it’s not that difficult. And it will mean the world to your bride.
5. Be the stress reliever on the day of the wedding.
There is a saying…”Happy Wife…Happy Life.” The phrase takes affect long before you exchange rings. In order to guarantee a pleasant and eventful wedding day free from horrific levels of stress, the bride will look to YOU to be her relief. Forget the wedding planner and her bridesmaids, it is ultimately on your shoulders to keep that smile glued on her face. It will also be likely that you’ll be the only voice of reason she’ll be willing to listen to, so be sure to forecast to the best of your ability the events of the day. Try to avoid any potential crises by assigning a day planner, or communicating effectively with your wedding planner.
There’s nothing to be afraid of, but it will only benefit you and your bride to be mindful of the very fact that no wedding is perfect. Regardless of the hours of planning every last detail, there will be pitfalls and things will not go according to plan. This sort of advice can only go so far, this one relies solely on you. Take the proper precautions to ensure a wedding day that is memorable and full of happiness. Remember that the whole purpose is about the two of your lives being bounded together for rest of your life.
There are plenty of other methods for being a “better” groom. There’s really no way to be a “better” groom, but hopefully there is something here worth thinking about. Ultimately, it’s about creating a positive wedding experience and things can only get better with more involvement from both parties. Let this experience demonstrate your abilities to work together as a team, and learn where each other is at in terms of their wants and needs. Weddings are a learning experience; one that you will surely revisit time and time again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Honeymoon

Tips to Plan Honeymoon Travel

Tahiti. Italy. Mexico. The Bahamas. After your wedding, it’s time to enjoy all the luxuries of the perfect honeymoon. Whether you are planning a getaway to enjoy white sand beaches and sun or tour ancient ruins and learn about a different culture, make heed some of these important honeymoon travel tips that may make planning and enjoying your trip a bit easier.

  • Honeymoon Registry
    Have you heard of the latest craze? Have your wedding guests pay for all or part of, or your honeymoon. Honeymoon registries allow wedding guests to contribute funds to your special trip and even sponsor specific activities you wish to enjoy while you are there!
  • Say “I do” to your differences
    Do you like adventure travel while your significant other would much rather be sunbathing on a beach all day? So that you don’t create riffs in planning your trip of a lifetime, make sure you communicate before you begin to plan so that both of you can get maximum enjoyment out of your vacation
  • .
  • Honeymoon, under wraps
    When you plan your trip, refrain from sharing that you are planning a honeymoon. Some entities will charge you extra because they know that couples are willing to splurge on their special getaway. However, after your travel planning is complete, when making your reservations, it may pay to share that you’re arriving for your honeymoon – some places will give you free upgrades or complimentary items.
  • Details, details…
    Planning a honeymoon is planning an excursion like no other. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pull out all the stops, upgrade from average to amazing, and enjoy special splurges. Some ideas? How about planning a private helicopter tour or a luxury spa together? Have a chef prepare a custom meal just for you, or arrange to take a private tour of the nearest escape.

  • Refrain from over planning
  • While you want your honeymoon to be perfect, heed wise advice and don’t overdo it with the planning. Cut down on the stress and enjoy yourself, by limiting the amount of physical activity you will participate in each day. Or, allow a specific amount of time between activities on your itinerary so you are not rushing from one thing to another.

  • Copies of Documentation
    After you’ve created your itinerary be sure to make copies of it to share with family and friends. Keep an additional copy for yourself. That way, your family will know where you are in case problems arise back home, and you will have an extra copy in case you lose the original. Additionally, you may want to register your travel plan with the U.S. State Department. Registration allows the Department of State to assist you and contact family or friends in case of an emergency. 

  • Get access to 24/7 concierge services
    Be sure you have 24/7 access to travel assistance services. Many travel insurance plans include 24/7 concierge services to assist you with spur of the moment planning to like restaurant referrals and reservations, floral services, private charter assistance, find, wrap and deliver one-of-a-kind gifts and local and event ticketing. Keep the assistance hotline number with you at all times to reach trained travel counselors that can help you in almost any emergency situation and also help rebook hotels and flights, coordinate medical emergencies.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Making a Wedding Speech

15 Wedding Speech Tips

If the thought of having to make a wedding speech leaves you feeling weak at the knees, then perhaps these ideas will help you perform successfully.
1.      Ask about the venue – indoors or out – a lectern, mike etc. 
2.      Your speech should not too long or short and remember it’s about the couple; not you – some alcohol fueled attendees may talk – stay cool!
3.      Your audience will be all ages and backgrounds – be inclusive and not too smart.  Don’t embarrass the couple too much.  Done with love, kindness and respect with a little humour, it will be remembered as a highlight.
4.      First, reflect on the reaction you wish to get – be inspired that your small contribution will be memorable for all the right reasons.
5.      Research before writing words; ask friends for poignant and funny experiences and include your own memories.  Parents and relations are good for stories, especially when the couple were young and present with empathy.  Only use the best ones.
6.      Write it out just as you feel it works in the raw form and then read it again, while searching for descriptive word pictures – take everyone to that place.  Aim to make your message have impact – a worthwhile contribution to the wedding.
7.      Find an arresting opening; something to catch the attention.  Your conclusion should also resonate and connect with the opening.  Ensure that glasses are charged if you are proposing the toast.  In due course say… “Would you please rise for the toast to the bride and groom – the bride and groom.”
8.      Use everyday language and reach out to your audience.  They are probably relaxed having enjoyed a few drinks – in party mode.
9.      Paint word pictures and if you able to prepare your speech early, practise and you have time to modify it.  You may be able to refer to comments made earlier.
10.    Use a logical progression of thoughts, but you don’t need to work through a chronological time-line and in fact, moving backwards and forwards and around may work better.  Experiment with various ideas for the ‘wow factor’.
11.    You may want to gather feedback from someone who is a good experience speaker.  Practise your delivery and speak slowly – use repetition.
12.    The use of timbre in your voice is important, as is eye contact and strategic pauses can be helpful, but don’t overdo them.
13.    Your audience will be with you all the way and so enjoy yourself.  You have been provided with a great opportunity, a wonderful honour and you will do better than you think and will grow with the experience.
14.    Obviously the Bride, Groom, Parents etc. will make slightly different speeches, but the tips relate to all speakers.
15.    Finally, stay sober until after you have performed.

Peter Martindale: Principal, Adelaide Public Speaking