Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Laura & Chris' Wedding at JCRaulston Arboretum

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Shout Your Love From the Rooftops (now known as the Internet)!

Another blogger contacted me with this very interesting article and I thought it fun to post it here as well: 

Once upon a time, those who fell in love wanted to “shout it from the rooftops.” In today’s society, proclaiming your love far and wide is quite simple: a few keystrokes and a click, and everyone knows that you’re off the market. Here are ten ways to shout your love from the virtual rooftops, informing the world that you’ve found the One.
  1. Changing Your Facebook Relationship Status – These days, the quickest way to let friends, family and acquaintances know that you’re in love is to change your relationship status. When you click that “In A Relationship” radio button, everyone in your circle will be notified that you’re no longer available.
  2. Hashtagging a Tweet – If you want to reach a wider audience, you can’t go wrong with the Twitter hashtag. Searches for a specific tag will send users that you’ve never met to your feed when your hashtag is in the results.
  3. Updating Your MySpace Profile – For those who are truly committed, nothing says, “I love you” like blowing the dust off that old MySpace profile to update your relationship status. If you want to be sure that all of your bases are covered, this is a great way to get your point across.
  4. Deleting a Dating Site Profile – If you met your newly beloved on a dating site or even if you simply have a profile floating around in cyberspace, deleting that baby is a sure-fire way to show your commitment.
  5. YouTube – There are millions of videos on YouTube, and a significant chunk of them are vlogs dedicated to the besotted. Creating your own vlog post for YouTube will send news of your love affair flitting around the globe in no time.
  6. Tumblr – When it comes to microblogging, Tumblr has the market cornered. Because the site allows sharing of text, pictures and music, creating a fully immersive love-letter experience on Tumblr is a snap.
  7. Penning a Blog Entry – If you’re more of a traditionalist, skip the microblogging and go for broke with an entry to your blog dedicated to your lover and their many charms.
  8. Facebook Wall Posts – A well-chosen song posted on your lover’s wall via YouTube or a carefully selected quote can brighten their day, and let everyone on their friends list know that you’re mad about them.
  9. Status Updates – Our society is obsessed with documenting our every move for Facebook status updates; why not post one celebrating your new love? Tagging your significant other in the update will let all of their friends see it as well, reaching a wider audience.
  10. Relationship Forums – There are forums dedicated to those who are in love, allowing them space to gush about their beloved to like-minded members. Joining up gives you an outlet for all that emotion, but keeps your friends and family from being tempted to block your Facebook posts because they’re tired of hearing about your love life.
Love makes us do crazy things, but it’s important to remember the basic guidelines for online safety. Posting real names or pictures on forums or other places where strangers can access your words might not be wise; choose your content carefully if your blog or other medium has open access.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

To Live Together or Not Live Together, That is the Question!

Mary Edwards, the author of blog, contacted me and told me she followed my blog and alerted me to this article reproduced below that she just posted because she thought I might be interested in putting it on my blog. She is correct. Thank you, Mary. I think it is thought provoking and informative.  The majority of couples "cohabitate" these days and the prevailing opinion about living together has been that it is not a good "test drive" for marriage. I don't know the source of that opinion but it has been around for at least 20 years and I, for one, do question that conclusion. I believe that living together can be a revealing experience to a couple and brings to light many character traits, styles and habits that may or may not be "deal-breakers" to a relationship. Although there is no guarantee that living together will lead to tying the knot and although living together first is not necessary to creating a fulfilling marriage, it can be valuable in assessing the compatibility of the partners if the couple's moral standards or religious beliefs do not preclude this arrangement. The premarital counseling/coaching that I offer my couples does include discussion of how cohabitation has affected the relationship and in most instances of those many couples who do my program, I find that it is perceived as a positive experience for them.

Making the leap from dating to cohabitation can be daunting; on top of trying to combine two lives worth of belongings into one space, there’s the added tension of wondering if you’ll even be able to get along. Before you sign that lease, here are ten ways you can test your compatibility.
  1. Go On Vacation – Take a trip together, preferably a road trip. Being in such close quarters while you travel and sharing a small hotel room will give you a decent idea of each others’ habits, and an opportunity to have a long discussion.
  2. Visit the Family – It’s almost impossible to be anything but yourself when visiting the parents. Take turns spending holidays or special occasions with your separate families; in addition to seeing each others’ true colors, you can also get a feel for future gatherings as a couple.
  3. Extended Sleep Overs – Spending one or two nights a week together won’t provide a clear picture; before moving in to a shared space, it’s a good idea to spend at least two weeks in the same house. Because you’re both likely to still be on your best behavior, if you’re ready to tear your hair out within a few days, you might want to rethink moving in.
  4. Talk About Where You Want to Live – One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a couple starting a life together is where to live. Will one of you move into the home the other already has? If so, will that person be able to shelve possessive tendencies of the space? Many couples opt to find a new place together to avoid this, but if it isn’t feasible for your relationship, you’ll need to be aware of how much adding a new person to a home will change it.
  5. Have a Long Discussion About Finances – Though wanting to avoid discussions about a possible breakup is natural, it’s important to talk about how it would affect you financially if you’re living together. If you’re planning to get a new home together, it’s a good idea to be sure that one person can afford to keep it should you break up. Also, you’ll need to be aware of each other’s spending habits to avoid future fights over money.
  6. Get a Joint Checking Account – Opening a joint checking account can be a great way to learn each other’s financial habits. It might be best to keep a relatively small balance at first, since it’s a financial experiment of sorts.
  7. Wait a While – Even if you think you’re ready, wait a bit longer to move in. The longer that you’re together but living separately, the more time you’ll have to get accustomed to one another. Habits and pet peeves that would rear their heads early in a cohabiting relationship might take much longer to discover otherwise.
  8. Know Where You Both Stand on Marriage – Some couples view cohabitation as test-driving marriage, while others see it as the end of the commitment line. Often, people hesitate to bring up the subject for fear of scaring the other person away, but if you’re committed enough to consider living together, this shouldn’t be an issue. If one of you would like to one day get married, while the other has no desire to formalize a relationship, it will only lead to trouble down the line. You should both know exactly what your plans are before you pack the first box.
  9. Make Some Rules – No matter how much you love one another, living together is still an arrangement. Deal-breakers should be discussed openly to avoid unpleasant surprises down the line. Remember, getting out of an unsuitable relationship is exponentially more difficult after you’ve moved in together.
  10. Talk About What You Can Part With – Unless you both have an unlimited income, you’re probably not going to be able to afford a space large enough for both of you to keep everything you own. He might have to part with the futon he’s had since college, she might need to sell her extensive porcelain doll collection. One of the conversations you should definitely have is what you can stand to part with and what is absolutely part of the package.
While these tips will help you go into cohabitation with a bit more information, it’s important to realize that there really are no sure-fire methods for learning each others’ quirks before moving in. Some things won’t come to light until the honeymoon period ends, which can take months. Be prepared to learn new and sometimes surprising things about your mate each and every day after you start sharing living quarters.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Five Reasons Why You Need a Wedding Planner! by Sally Oakley

Congratulations you're engaged and ready to start the planning process! Feeling a little overwhelmed or don't know quite where to begin? Don't stress, hiring a wedding consultant can help you enjoy the planning process and focus on the important things like being engaged. Sally Oakley Personalized Wedding Planning can help you with all your planning needs whether you can answer "yes" to one of these reasons or not.

Here are the top five reasons to hire a wedding planner.

1. You're just too busy. Have a demanding job? Feeling like you've already got so much going on? No need to worry! A wedding planner will consult with vendors, schedule meetings, attend meetings in your absence, make decisions and take care of many other tasks. Wedding planners are professionals and have built relationships within the industry and thus are in the "know". Helping you cut down on researching vendors and products.
2. You're planning an out-of-town wedding. It'll be helpful to have someone who is familiar with the area and living in the area. Your planner will have the knowledge and can represent you when you are unable to attend vendor meetings. A wedding planner can also help with welcome baskets, maps and directions, and a list of things to do for your guests.
3. You have a small budget. It may seem counterintuitive but a wedding planner can actually save you money. First, wedding planners can help you set a budget and make sure you stick to it. Second, they can also help you focus in on what is most important to you when it comes to making you wedding day the best day of your life. Third, because they have built relationships with vendors they are able to get the best price from the best wedding vendors. Remember, if you think it's not a possibility with your budget having a day of coordinator will actually save you money and will ensure your day runs smoothly as possible.
4. You're not that interested in picking out the perfect shade of pink. Don't worry! That is what a planner is for. Your planner will take on those tasks you find boring because she will work closely with you and your fiancé to determine your style and taste. Have fun during your engagement and enjoy the ride your planner will take care of the rest.
5. You're overwhelmed. Feeling stressed or don't know where to begin? A wedding planner will help you with budget development, selection and management of vendors, and the creation of a timeline. For the wedding day especially your planner will take over the stress and allow you to enjoy your big day. After all, you've spent a lot of time and money on this thing don't you want to enjoy it to the fullest?
I saw this article on Sally's blog and quickly got her permission to reproduce it here. Sally and I have worked together on many weddings during the past 12 years and she knows what she is talking about. Many times I have seen my brides become exhausted by the time their wedding day rolls around because planning a wedding is like taking on a second job. I know that a professional wedding planner would have paid for herself in the savings gained in wedding expenses and headaches and mistakes avoided! Here is a link to Sally's website.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kristina and Richard Get Married at Crabtree Marriott!

Kristina and Richard were a delight to work with as well as being very much in love and devoted to each other. They actually met when they were in high school back in 2000. They dated then but went their separate ways. Out of nowhere eight years since they had seen each other, they stumbled upon each other on Facebook. Richard was living in Massachusetts and Kristina in North Carolina. This discovery led to an eight hour phone conversation which resulted in Kristina flying to Boston to spend her vacation with Richard in May of 2010. He told me that when he saw her get out of the car the evening she arrived he felt like he was 17 again! It did not take long for their love to be rekindled and a few weeks later Kristina moved to Boston. It was all very sudden and a bit abrupt but they have never regretted it. Now two years later they had returned to live in North Carolina and plan their wedding for February 18, 2012 at the Crabtree Marriott! I had such a fun time writing their story because they are quite a fun couple with a matching sense of humor. Then I had fun delivering all those funny lines at their wedding and experiencing their guests burst with laughter. Kristina's Dad said it was the best wedding ceremony he had ever heard!
Part of the large ballroom was partitioned off for the ceremony and the stage was set in place. They did their own floral decorations. I brought my handy little table for the sand ceremony and got my microphone plugged into our DJ's system. Our DJ was Brian Darocha with Complete Music. He was great to work with. Thanks, Brian!
Their photographer was Lesley Sagendorph and she prepared this photo for the signing of the guests.
It is always fun to do weddings at the Marriott because I get to see Julie Lee with the hotel. Julie and I have been working together on weddings for so many years now! She refers her friends and relatives to me for both weddings and baby blessing ceremonies. Thanks, Julie!
Our flower girl, Zoe, is ready to get down that aisle! Directly behind her is Brian, father of the bride, and to the right is Steve, father of the groom. That is Cori, bridesmaid, to the left.
Richard was hidden away while the bride scoots across the hall into an empty room to hide until it is time for her to walk down the aisle.
Our groomsmen, Chris, Steve, and Marcus are ready to escort in the guests as I speak to Richard to calm him down. He was rather antsy but said that once he got down the aisle he would be okay, and he was! Melissa, our honorary wedding director handed out programs and cued us in.
Missie, on the far left, is Maid of Honor #1, and Christina, in the middle is Maid of Honor #2. Cori, bridesmaid, and Brian, Father of the Bride, are on the right.
Once the mothers of the couple were escorted in, it was time for Richard and me to enter.
The Bridesmaids and Groomsmen entered as couples and then Zoe made her long walk down the aisle. She did a perfect job of scattering the blue and green silk petals down the aisle.
Everyone stands in honor of our beautiful bride! 
I stood to the side for the Parents' Blessing and to tell their wonderful story. 
Christina presented a reading entitled "To Love," author unknown. 
 They each read from my book a combination of vows and ring words. 
Then it was time for the sand ceremony. Their individual vases of sand overflowed the center container!
 Aaaah! Married at last! 
 Pretty sand layers! 
There was still enough light outside for pictures so we dashed out while the guests enjoyed cocktail hour.
So, here they are, Richard and Kristina, husband and wife! Richard told me before the wedding that had someone told him that he would be doing what he was doing today back in high school, he would have never believed them! Congratulations, you two! I wish you a lifetime of happiness and prosperity!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Professional Photos by Neil Boyd of Emily and Daniel's Wedding!

Kristie Boyer at Neil Boyd Photography just sent me some photos of Emily and Daniel's wedding on January 7, 2012 which I wanted to post here. Neil is such a great photographer and I am so happy to have these. Thanks Kristie and Neil!
What a great wedding! Emily and Daniel, I am sure that by now you have returned from your honeymoon, settled into marital bliss and happily pursuing your dreams. I wish you the very best life has to offer! 

Win Free DJ Services for Your Wedding!

Calling all brides and grooms! Joe Bunn DJ Company is running a contest for the best love story! The fabulous prize is Free DJ Services for your wedding, even if he is already booked for your wedding. What a deal! I hope you will all submit your stories and am hoping one of my brides will win this! Go to this link to submit your story: