Finding Your Perfect Wedding Ceremony Location

Wedding Ceremony VenueFinally walking down the aisle with the person you love may seem like a dream come true, but as you start planning the details of your wedding you’ll quickly realize that there’s a lot more work involved than fun and games. One of the first things you’ll need to choose, and it’s one of the most important things, is the location of your wedding ceremony. Your wedding ceremony is going to be the heart and soul of your entire wedding day, so it all starts with the proper location that will set the perfect tone for how the rest of your wedding will unfold.

There are a lot of different places that couples choose to have their wedding ceremony. Some couples choose a traditional venue such as a church, while others simple head down to the Justice of the Peace to sign their paperwork with very little fuss. If you’re starting from square one in your ceremony venue search, you have a long path ahead of you; but even it you know where you want to get married because of a religious affiliation or you just have your heart set on a particular venue, there are some important details that you need to figure out before you can start planning the other details of your wedding.

Availability

The very first thing you need to find out is if the venue is available for your preferred wedding date. If it’s not available, you’ll need to find another venue for your ceremony or consider switching dates.

Size

It’s always good to know the approximate size of your guest list before shopping for wedding venues because each one will have a maximum capacity. If you choose a ceremony location that isn’t big enough, you’ll need to cancel or make tough choice on who you invite.

Officiant

Does your wedding officiant require couple’s counseling ahead of time or special classes? If so, are you willing to accommodate those requests? Are you comfortable with this person joining you in marriage? Can you bring your own officiant if you choose to do so?

Music

You’ll want to find out if the venue you have chosen provides ceremony music or if you need to make your own arrangements. Some churches require that you use their organist while other venues require you supply your own musicians.

Photography

Though it is rare, there are some venues that either don’t allow photographers or require that you choose from a pre-approved list. Make sure you’re comfortable with the wedding photographer options that a ceremony venue offers.

Ceremony Services

Does the venue that you’re renting offer any services such as pew or chair decorations and aisle runners? Do you need to clean up the venue afterwards or is that included in the fee? You’ll need to know what services are covered so you can make other arrangements if needed.

Total Cost

You will need to find out how much the ceremony venue will cost to rent, but you also need to factor in the other small expenses that come along with the booking. Does the officiant get paid? Is there a permitting fee for the venue? What about parking and clean up fees? Knowing these answers in advance can make budgeting your wedding a whole lot easier.

Timeframes

Knowing when you can start accessing your ceremony location can be very important, especially if you need to decorate it yourself. Knowing things like when the florist can get in to setup flowers and when is appropriate for your rehearsals to take place are important things to consider.

Weather

Considering every aspect of your wedding day will be important, and taking into account the weather is very important. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, make sure you have a safe location in case there’s a storm. If you’re having a summer wedding, you’ll need air conditioning and heat if it’s in the winter.

Securing the Location

If everything goes well and you’re happy with a location for your ceremony, you’ll need to put down a deposit to secure it for your date. It’s always good to know what their cancellation policy is in case the date needs to switch for whatever reason. If their cancelation policy is somewhat lax, you can even continue looking at other venues knowing you have a good one already lined up. After you’ve locked down your ceremony location, the next step is finding the perfect wedding reception location.

Wedding Favors for Wine Fans

As people get older, their tastes almost always shift away from light beers and hard alcohol to the more refined flavors of wine. Wine is one of those international beverages that just screams “classy”, so what better idea for your wedding favors than to give your guests items to make their wine drinking more pleasurable?

Whether designed as a wedding favor or not, there are dozens of great tools and accessories that are either required to properly drink wine or make the experience better. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has everything that has ever been invented to make wine drinking better, so that makes it the perfect choice to give to your guests as wedding favors. With so many great options available, it can be tough to decide what will work best for your wedding. Here is a short list of the most common choices as well as my personal favorites to be used as weddings favors.

Wine Pourers

Wine PourersOne of my personal favorite items that, in my experience, almost no wine drinkers own are wine pourers. These little devices slip onto the top of your open wine bottle to properly aerate the wine as you pour it into your wine glass. Some of the fancier versions out there even act as a wine stopper so that your wine doesn’t lose its flavor and complexity after it has been opened. Best of all, there is a great variety of designs available that will work perfect as a wedding favor including such as a ship’s wheel, heart shapes, and even customized wine pourers with your names and wedding date etched into the metal.

Corkscrews

CorkscrewsCorkscrews are one of those items that everyone should own; even if they don’t drink wine very often. You never know when someone will show up with a bottle of nice wine for a dinner party or as a gift, and there truly is no replacement for the corkscrew as a tool to remove the cork from the bottle. Additionally, corkscrews have long been a preferred wedding favor because they are handy, commemorative, and also classy. There are literally hundreds of designs available, but my favorites for use as a wedding favor include ones with hearts, musical notes, or starfish.

Wine Stoppers

Wine StoppersNo wine drinker’s experience can be complete without a wine stopper, and it’s also one of those items that many people simply do not own. Most of the time when you’re drinking wine at a friend’s house, they will simply flip the cork upside down and use it as a make-shift wine stopper. However, once the cork has been removed from the bottle, it no longer seals properly which can lead to the wine losing its flavor in a big hurry. An actual wine stopper will remedy this problem beautifully and look good while it does the job. There are many designs available that make them an ideal wedding favor, but my personal favorite happens to be the one with a large diamond ring as the decorative top piece.

Personalized Wine Glasses

Personalized Wine GlassesIf you’re ready to pull out all the stops and give your wedding guests one of the most memorable wedding favors imaginable, then personalized wine glasses should be at the top of your list. Your guests will love drinking out of their wine glasses at your reception, but the best part is that they can pull them out the next time you’re at their house for a dinner party to enjoy them all over again. The downside with personalized wine glasses is that they are usually quite expensive to have your names and wedding date etched into the side of each glass, but all that money will be well worth it when your guest are enjoying some delicious wine out of a one-of-a-kind wine glass.

Things to do Before Having Kids

Kids After Your WeddingAs soon as you get engaged, the first question that you’ll start hearing from your friends and family is “when are you going to get married?” As soon as you get married, you’ll almost immediately begin hearing the question “when are you going to have kids?” Though many couples have a very strong desire to start a family not too long after their wedding, there are some things you may want to consider before you make that leap. Some people may argue that the whole point of getting married is to eventually have children, and I think that the vast majority of people would agree. However, marriage is also about the two of you sharing your lives together, so you need to make sure you get some “you time” in before you are responsible for another human being. Here are some things you should do before you have children so you don’t feel like your love life slipped you by when you’re attending a parent/teacher conference in 10 years.

Travel

One of the hardest things to do after you have children is travel, so exploring the world a little after your wedding can really be a nice treat. Sure, you will probably take plenty of family vacations after you have some little ones running around; but that is much different than a romantic getaway for just you and your spouse. After your honeymoon, it’s a good idea to take a few trips over the next two or three years before starting your family so you can build your romantic bond that will endure for the next twenty-five years as you raise your children together.

Get to Know Children

Chances are that if you’re old enough to be getting married that you’ll have some friends that have started their families already. This can be a great opportunity to get your feet wet in the parenting department by offering to babysit their kids so they can go out for a romantic night on the town. The benefit here is two-fold; first you get the opportunity to experience spending time with children and second you are earning yourself the chance for a night out later on when you have children of your own. Babysitting a few times for your friends won’t give you all the experience of having your own children, but it will certainly give you a heads up on what to expect so you can judge for yourself when you’re ready to start your family.

Create a Network

One of the most important things you can do when you start your family is to have friends that have children as well, so the earlier you start building this network the better. There are a ton of advantage to knowing other families such as organizing play dates, swapping babysitting duties periodically, and gaining tips and advice. Knowing someone with children just slightly older than your own can be a huge benefit because they can give you advice from real life experience when your own children hit that age and experience the same things.

Start Your Career

One of the toughest things in life after you get married and have children is trying to balance your schedule and prioritize the things that need to get done. Between cooking, cleaning, and getting your kids to school or daycare on time, there can be very little time left to spend with your spouse or fitting in that precious alone time. Your best chance for success is to attempt to find a career that fits into a somewhat regular schedule with the rest of your family’s activities. Try to get a job that starts at a regular time so you can see your kids off to school or daycare, be home to see them in the evening, and spend time with your spouse for a few hours before its time to go to bed.

Though no two families are exactly the same, there are basic human needs that all of us share. The best advice that I can give you is to spend some time with each other before you need to focus almost exclusively on your children and your family life is sure to start out on the right foot. Instead of rushing to have kids right after your wedding, try to take your time and build your new life together one brick at a time.

Don’t Burnout on Wedding Planning

Wedding Planning BurnoutSo you’ve picked out your date and are ready to start planning your wedding, and everything seems like it is going to start to get exciting. The thought of going out to pick your wedding dress and sample different flavors of wedding cake really gets your heart pumping, and you have your eyes on the prize and are ready to get going. But the fact of the matter is that planning your wedding is not all fun and games, there is actually quite a bit of work and stress involved that can quickly make you burnout before you even get moving if you don’t plan ahead.

While it is completely normal to dive in head first and completely immerse yourself in the wedding planning process, it is also very important to keep a fairly normal routine so you don’t take on too much stress at one time. By breaking up the monotony with regular activities, you can keep yourself motivated, reduce the amount of stress that you would build-up, and go into your wedding day relaxed and confident that you have everything set to go. Here are a few tips to ensure that your wedding planning goes smoothly and you don’t burnout halfway through the job.

Exercise Plan

If you already have a good exercise plan in place, don’t stop doing it. If you don’t currently workout, now is a great time to start. Going to the gym on a regular basis can really help you eliminate a lot of the stress and frustration that goes along with planning a wedding, plus it will help you fit into your dress when the big day finally arrives.

Girl Time

There’s nothing more relaxing than blowing off some steam with your friends, and this can be a great outlet while you’re planning your wedding. This doesn’t mean that you need to go and hang out with the girls that will be in your bridal party since the conversation will usually gravitate back to your wedding, but perhaps you can call up some old friends that you haven’t seen in a while. Another option is to go out with some co-workers after work to have a drink before heading home. The idea is to distract yourself from wedding planning for a little while so you can keep a cool head and avoid a burnout.

Alone Time

Just like spending time with your friends, spending a little time alone can really help you get your head together. Consider taking a nice hot bath with your favorite book, going for a nature walk, or even treating yourself to a spa day. Whatever it is in life that allows you to relax, find it and do it as often as your busy schedule permits.

Spend time alone: Take a day (maybe on the weekend) or take a mental health day from work and pamper yourself.  Go to the spa, get your nails done, sleep, read a book, drink a glass (or two!) of wine or enjoy a really good cup of coffee.  Relax with your favorite movie and junk food. Do something that you know will completely leave you feeling relaxed and ready to tackle anything.