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Category Archives for "Marriage Preparation"

7 Questions You Must Ask Your Wedding Photographer Before Hiring Them

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

When planning your wedding, there is so much you need to take care of – from caterers, to the venue, the honeymoon and of course the wedding photographer.

However, only one of these will produce a keepsake that will last for a lifetime, and that’s the wedding photos.

For this reason, it is crucial that you find the right photographer for you, who can capture your special day and save those memories for a lifetime.

To help you do this, I have compiled 7 questions you must ask your wedding photographer before hiring them, to help you make the right decision.

What Experience do they have?

Wedding photography is different from a photo shoot with models. A wedding is in ‘real time’, many of the shots are only there for a split second and opportunities must be taken at the time.

Also, the photographer is not working with professionals who are used to posing for pictures, so he must be able to direct the pictures.

Can they show you examples of past wedding works?

An example of previous works will put your mind at rest as to the quality of the work you can expect at your wedding. Make sure you see previous examples of weddings they have photographed and not just their great photography skills.

As stated before, a wedding is in real time and its all about capturing moments as they happen, in the best light.

Do they have insurance?

This protects the photographer against equipment theft. It also protects all parties if a guest or member of the staff trips over the photographer’s equipment resulting in injury. That person could take legal action, an unwelcome headache for you on your wedding day.

Some venues will insist any photographer working on the premises has insurance. Not having insurance implies the person is new in the business or isn’t taking it very seriously.

What do you get for your money?

This will save you and your family a lot of disappointment if after the wedding you find out you have paid for less than you thought you were getting. Maybe you paid for only one set of pictures, or no pictures were taken in real time?

Either way, you don’t want to realize this when it’s too late!

What package is right for your wedding?

Wedding photographers normally offer different packages for your special day. It is important that you go through the packages and find out what’s right for you.

This will include things like what parts of the day do you want to be recorded, and what parts do you not want recorded? You may want pictures of the bride and her bridesmaids having their hair and makeup done, or you may want the photos to start with the bride getting into the car on her way to the ceremony.

Either way, asking about different packages will help you pick one that’s right for you.

Will you be visible at the wedding?

This question is one many forget to ask. Will your photographer be in the background, taking photos, barely noticeable to your guests, or will they be asking the guests to pose for pictures throughout the day?

A photographer running around bugging your guests for photos constantly will interfere with them enjoying the day, so clearly you don’t want this. You may however want a few pictures posed for by the guests.

Make sure you make this clear to your photographer. The more experienced the photographer the better he will be at this.

Can you give the photographer a list of the shots you want?

Everyone has an idea of at least some of the shots they want on their wedding day. You may have an image of where you want shots taken before moving on to your reception, you may want pictures in the church from a specific angle, or you may want photos of you tasting the cake.

With this in mind you must speak to your photographer and share your vision. If he doesn’t share your vision, maybe you should look elsewhere for your wedding photographer?

These seven questions will help you make the right decision for your wedding day, leaving you with pictures that you will enjoy for a lifetime.

It is important to remember that this is your day, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you get what you want, so don’t be afraid to ask the necessary questions to make that happen.

Rob Lowry specializes in making sure your big day really is the best day of your life. His expertise has been sought by brides nationwide as well as by www.personalisedweddinggifts.co.uk where he advises on creating wedding lists for themed and seasonal weddings.

4 Wedding Buffet Table Setting Ideas That Work

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

4 Wedding Buffet Table Setting Ideas That WorkEating is a pretty simple event, isn’t it?

You sit at the chair, place the table napkin on your lap, grab the food from the serving plates, place them in yours, take the cutleries (spoon, fork, and knife), use them to make bite-sized portions of the food, and then put the food in your mouth.

It’s that straightforward.

But if you look much deeper, there’s a lot more that meets the eye.

There is a particular order for things to be arranged in. For example, when setting the table, the placemat goes first, then the plate, napkin, cutleries (fork to the left of the plate, and then knife and spoon to the right of the plate), coaster, and then drinking glass on the right of the placemat. Then, the food is set in the middle of the table for easy access for everyone eating. Sometimes, there’s even a Lazy Susan in order to move the food around for even more accessibility.

The setup is very organized.

For huge events like weddings, organization is a must. Wedding catering services need to be mindful about the way they set the buffet and dining tables in order to boost the eating experience of the guests. So how do you that to buffet and dining tables at a wedding?

That’s a lot of physical and mental work. But don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be hard. Here are simple wedding buffet table setting ideas that work.

Idea #1: Place cutleries on the dining tables
Some buffets have spoons, forks, and knives at the end of the buffet line so when guests finish getting their meal portions, they can get their utensils.

But Manilyn Moreno from Better Cater advises to place the utensils on the dining tables instead. “That way, your guests can focus on getting food without the worrying about dropping something along the way.”

Idea #2: Put the expensive viands at the last part of the buffet line
Moreno advises this because based on her observations, guests are used to getting more portions at the start (best for appetizers), while viands (like beef, fish, or pork) only come in smaller amounts.

Having this order allows almost all the guests to get a taste of the costlier food.

Idea #3: Group items in an odd number
Notice that an ordinary dining table setup has 7 main items (spoon, fork, knife, plate, drinking glass, placemat, and a table napkin). This group is paired in an odd number. Even serving plates are grouped into three (rice, viand, and vegetables).

A Decorating For Events article notes that this grouping is visually pleasing, which is why you probably never noticed anything wrong about that set up at home.

Idea #4: Get creative
Instead of the traditional spoon, fork, knife, and napkin placed right next to the plate, why not put them together with a piece of string and put them on top of the plate, with a lovely card with the bride and groom’s name on it?

With these 4 ideas, your wedding buffet experience won’t just be ordinary, but absolutely distinctive and memorable for all your family and friends.

Julieane Hernandez is a Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate turned Wedding designer. She’s an advanced tri-athlete during weekends. She’s been in the Wedding industry for about 5 years now and She’s learned so much from all the experiences she’s been through. Follow her on twitter and google+.

(photo source)

How to Know if You’re Ready to Say “I Do”

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

How to Know if You’re Ready to Say "I Do"Many people dream of getting married to “the one”, but how do you know when you and your partner are ready to take the plunge?

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking of making plans to step the relationship up to the next level:

Trust

Do you know each other’s email and Facebook passwords but never feel the urge to use them to snoop? That’s trust.

Can you happily wave your partner goodbye as they go for a coffee with a friend of the same sex? That’s trust.

Would you tell them your deepest secrets? That’s trust, too.

It’s an essential ingredient to a happy, healthy relationship. Make sure you’ve got that down pat before thinking about getting married.

Goals

If your ultimate goal is to be a Hollywood movie star and your partner’s is to live a quiet life in the country, this could become a source of conflict – you will be focusing energy on different goals.

Aiming for the same objectives in life brings you closer together and also makes you more likely to achieve them because you’re encouraging each other and working together to get there. Those who have met via a dating site like www.eharmony.com.au have a good basis for shared goals since they will have been matched on compatibility.

Respect

This is another crucial ingredient in a marriage-ready relationship.

You won’t be able to happily share your life with someone who you don’t respect, or who doesn’t respect you. This includes their opinions and perspective on life, their beliefs, values and intelligence.

Signs of mutual respect include listening to the other’s opinions, taking them and their ideas seriously and responding in kind.

Love

This one goes without saying, but if you don’t have a deep love for your prospective fiancée, then don’t even consider getting married.

Don’t take them for granted – show your love in some small way every day – whether it’s by spending quality time, being physically affectionate, giving words of encouragement and praise, or helping them out in some small way.

Ready to Get Married?

Communication

We all know that talking about your problems is better than bottling them up – but this is easier said than done. Many people feel it’s easier to ignore a problem than to bring it up – but if you ignore it, there’s no chance of it being resolved.

Communication is one of the key foundations of a strong relationship, and without it, marriages flounder.

Expectations

How do you want to spend your days? Are you homebodies or party animals? Do you want to travel or live abroad?

How will you distribute the household chores? Are you dog people or cat people?

It’s important to have these discussions before tying the knot.

If you’re still looking for the love of your life, whether in Adelaide or Melbourne, click here to sign up to online dating. Through the online dating system you can easily be matched with singles in your area who are compatible with you, meaning you are more likely to have a committed, long-term relationship.

Note: This is a guest post from Laura James in Australia.

(photo 1) (photo 2)

Getting Engaged – Romantic Surprise or Planned Event?

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

Getting Engaged - Romantic Surprise or Planned Event?The classic scene from every jewelry store commercial or romantic comedy has the suitor dropping to one knee to present a shiny engagement ring to his gleaming girlfriend.

She puts her hands to her mouth and gasps with excitement – and surprise!

The more I hear engagement stories nowadays the more I wonder whether she was really all that shocked.

Chances are she may have picked out that shiny diamond ring herself and maybe even helped to plan the romantic night out where the question was popped.  I’ve even had friends whose girlfriend basically dictated every detail of their engagement.

And given that nearly half of couples now live together before marriage, could she really be all that surprised when the night arrives for the proposal?  After all, she may have helped pay for the ring herself.

Yet, the hopeless romantic in me has to believe that there are still couples out there doing it right!

Our Engagement Story

I don’t think I’ve ever shared the story of how I proposed to Bethany, so I’ll give the quick version here.

Keep in mind that we were high school sweethearts (gag if you must), and we’d been together for around 4 years at the time.  I believe I was 20, and she had just turned 19 so we were pretty young…and broke.

While Bethany certainly had some idea this next step in our relationship was coming, I did my best to keep it romantic and tried to surprise her.

We had visited ring stores a few times where she slyly (or not so slyly) hinted about the types of engagement rings she liked…a classic solitaire with a gold band…the bigger the better. 🙂

I bought the ring without her finding out, and I actually took out my one and only student loan to help pay for it.  I do not recommend doing the same, but I was desperate to get this ring!

Before the night came, I very nervously called up her Dad to ask his permission not just for his daughter’s hand in marriage (the easy part) but if I could take her somewhere overnight (NOT easy to ask) – I unwisely chose a time when she was back home on a college break.

I lucked out and got to talk to her Mom instead, which was a bit easier.  The stage was set.

I sent her a letter beforehand using fancy language to explain what she should wear and that she should pack a bag.  I picked her up from her parents’ house and headed to downtown St. Louis for dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town – Tony’s.

At the time, I hadn’t spent much time in the city, and I couldn’t find the restaurant!  We drove all around and finally found it, nearly losing our reservation after showing up 20 minutes late.

We enjoyed an extremely nice and super expensive meal that took much longer than I had anticipated.  I was nervous the entire meal and felt completely out of place with the tuxedo-wearing waiters that swooped in to clear every crumb and tried to help you sit down when you returned from the bathroom.  I was just a simple country boy.

The next part of the night was supposed to happen outside in a quaint river town called Elsah, Illinois where Bethany had mentioned she’d love to visit sometime for a romantic getaway when we were older.  I had reserved a room at a nice little bed and breakfast on the riverfront.

I had plans to take her to a park in town to pop the question, but with my poor planning it turned out to be pitch black dark outside when we arrived.  We walked to the park, but we actually found it eery since everyone in the town was already asleep!

I abandoned those plans and nervously returned to our room at the B&B.  I decided just to go for it, so I gave Bethany a card that shared my feelings, and at the end it asked her to turn around to make me the happiest man alive.

You guessed it, I was there on one knee with that sparkly ring.  Fortunately, she said yes and we’ve pretty much lived happily ever after.

What’s YOUR Engagement Story?

I’d love to hear your engagement story in the comments below.  Was it a planned event or did he surprise you?  Did she do the proposing?  What went right or wrong in the process?

Share your story in the comments!

Down the Aisle: How to Get Married and Stay Debt-Free

By Dustin | Marriage Preparation

How to Get Married and Stay Debt-FreeAfter dating for some time, you decide it’s time to pop the big question: “Will you marry me”?

Tying the knot is wonderful, but the pre-wedding preparation process can be painful, especially when it comes to planning the budget.

You can choose to have a low-budget wedding – some couples are even getting married inside McDonald’s fast food restaurants for just £250 in Europe these days.

Yes, this includes your ceremony, reception, wedding cake and catering for about 100 guests, according to the Daily Mail. However, there is no special treatment such as jumping the queue to collect your Big Mac burger and fries because McDonald’s will operate as usual. Moreover, alcohol is banned inside the family-friendly restaurant chain.

Most couples don’t have to resort to a fast food outlet and you can still have the perfect wedding with wine, gold rings, exotic food and a magical honeymoon without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for saving and planning so that you ensure you have a magical day whilst also keeping your HSBC current account in check.

The Big Day

Determine your approximate budget beforehand. Work out what you intend to spend on the venue, tuxedos for the bridegroom and yourself, dresses for your bride and bridesmaids, wedding rings, honeymoon and so on. Then think about how you can meet the expenses.

If you are someone who wants to plan ahead before your big day, map out a timeline to help you stay on target. Wedding planners told the Washington Post that planning should start immediately after the engagement.

If you do so and your wedding is several months (or years) out, you can work extra and cut out other expenses to save a large amount of money. Ensure that you maximize the interest by putting the money in a fixed deposit or a tax free ISA.

It is more likely that you stay debt-free if you are organized.  Develop a budget and make a plan – be proactive!

Don’t panic if you are leaving it until the last-minute, as there are a few alternative ways to finance your wedding. You can take a wedding loan from either of your families, relatives or friends.

Alternatively, you can use your credit card to pay for part of your wedding expenses and repay the balance and interest over time. Just be sure to think about how much you will realistically be able to pay back over time without causing a lot of marital distress about money in your first few years as Mr. and Mrs.!

Affordable Honeymoon Destinations (European Edition)

After several months of stress leading up to the wedding, you definitely need to relax and spend some romantic time with your new husband or wife.  However, this is another area to plan carefully so you don’t break the bank.

If you’re looking for clear blue waters and soft white beaches, the Indian Ocean is a perfect destination for pampering yourself and your other half. The island of Mauritius is rich in architecture and food; you can enjoy fine dining and beautiful beaches, watch the sunset and ride a horse on the beach.

For those who want to hide away from the world, the Maldives is a beautiful location to swim in the clear lagoons or play water sports.

Alternatively, Oman’s spectacular mountain scenery, deserts plus beach hotels, offer a calm and relaxing atmosphere where you can enjoy spa treatments and snorkeling along the coast. There are additionally a variety of water sports for those who are active.

If you are really struggling to finance your honeymoon, why not think about cheaper all-inclusive or package holidays somewhere closer to home, or ask your wedding guests for money towards your once-in-a-lifetime trip instead of gifts?

How do you manage your honeymoon expenses while you are away? If you have a current account with a bank and if you’re eligible, you will be issued with a visa debit card that provides instant access to your money while you’re overseas. You can use your card to pay for the hotel and food in the restaurant. You can also withdraw cash from cash machines worldwide, and linking the card to a special “honeymoon only” account will ensure you stay on track with your spending.

Of course, you probably won’t experience smooth sailing the entire way. You need to adjust your wedding budget and make allowances to account for unforeseeable expenses.

Most importantly, ensure that you don’t overspend on one day so that you have some savings left over for starting to build your new life together.

Jay Marcelo is a freelance writer who loves spending time with his new wife while traveling Europe (for cheap when possible).