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How to Avoid Bad Speeches at Your Wedding

There are practical things a bride or groom can do to minimize the chance for catastrophe.

Love it or hate it, the wedding toast is a firmly-established wedding tradition. Snub it and you risk offending your well-meaning family members; give it a shake and you risk having someone let a bad joke or embarrassing anecdote slip.

But speeches don’t have to be a lose-lose situation. There are a few practical things you can do as a bride or groom to make sure your wedding speeches go as smoothly as possible.

Tell People Well in Advance

Decide who you want to take the podium at least three months before the wedding. The longer, the better. This will give them time to think about what they say, rehearse (hopefully), and swallow their nerves about speaking.

Set a Time Limit

Pretend you’re in the control booth at the Oscars. You’re running a tight ship here – there’s no time to for a fifteen minute tale regaling guests with that-thing-you-did-in-college. Give your speakers a hard limit of three to five minutes per speech.

You don’t have to play them off if they go over, but setting a time limit will help them stay on track and encourage them to rehearse ahead of time.

Schedule the Order in Advance

The more information they have about the evening, the less nervous your speakers will be. Let them know what order they’ll be speaking in so they can relax and prepare for the moment. It helps to have a confident speaker go first to set a good tone.

You should also give a note to the band or DJ to fire up the music as soon as the last speaker finishes. This will keep well-meaning ‘surprise’ speakers from taking the floor.

Start Early, Finish Early

Many people feel nervous enough speaking up in front of a small boardroom or classroom of people; the idea of speaking to hundreds of guests can be nauseating. Because of this, if you give them the chance, speakers will often imbibe in alcohol to relax before they go up. This doesn’t always have the desired result.

To prevent that sort of mishap, you’re best to schedule the speeches for earlier in the evening, before your guests hit the open bar. Most planners recommend doing it right after dinner.

If They’re Lost, Give Them Guidance

Not all speeches are bad because they’re rushed, or crude, or because the speaker is intoxicated. Sometimes, people just can’t nail down a good theme. You can’t write your guests’ speeches for them, but you can help give them some direction.

A few weeks before the wedding, check in with your chosen speakers and ask them how it’s going. You don’t need a sneak peak at the content of their speech – just ask if they have an idea of what they’d like to talk about. If not, there’s nothing wrong with making suggestions. Maybe you have a shared memory you’d love for them to explore, or a positive story about your partner you want the world to hear. The final result will be better, and they’ll probably appreciate that extra bit of help.


5 Tough Questions to Ask Before Your Wedding

In marriage, what’s left unsaid can do more harm than careless words.

There are some matters we all know to discuss with a partner before marriage. Will we have children, and if so, how will we raise them? How will we manage our money? What’s the status of religion in our household?

With any luck, you sorted these issues long before you started planning the wedding. Most people do. The advent of online dating has been a benefit in this area – you can often tell whether a potential partner is on the same level as you just by reading their profile.

But a lifelong commitment calls for deeper discussions. Failing to ask the right questions of your partner before the wedding can lead to disappointment down the line. These questions aren’t always easy to answer, but they help pin down the foundation for a stable and honest marriage.

Where Do We Stand On Our Past Relationships?

Marriage occurs in media res. No matter how long ago a past relationship ended, they always have some impact on the present. This isn’t always a bad thing – often, past experiences in love help us see ourselves in a new light and understand what we want and need from a relationship.

But previous partners can be a major source of tension. You might think the details of your past are best left unsaid, but that can be recipe for disaster. It’s natural to be curious about your spouse’s past. Sealing that information away can inadvertently cause jealous and judgement. Those negative feelings often resurface in the midst of other conflicts, compounding the problem.

So, what did your ex mean to you? Where do you stand today? It’s better to answer that now, when the waters are calm, than in the heat of conflict years down the road.

How Much Are You Willing to Spend On…

The wedding is often the first big test of how well the couple’s financial goals align. But we often take for granted the fact that weddings are, well, expensive. There’s a lot more than that to discuss in terms of spending.

Spending habits are a constant point of conflict in many long-term relationships. It’s not just about big purchases, either. Many couples argue about minor things as well, like how much to tip a server.

Before you get married, you should ask specific questions about your spending habits and future plans for big purchases. A good test case is that of a car. How much are you each willing to spend on a new vehicle? Will you buy new, or used? This can be instructive as to whether your future spouse’s spending habits will get on your nerves.

How Did Your Family Resolve Conflict?

There’s no such thing as a conflict-free marriage. Not every couple gets into serious fights, but everyone disagrees on things from time to time. If it hasn’t happened yet (I’d love to know your secret!), it’s going to happen once you’re married.

Without a means of resolving day-to-day conflict, tension builds and the relationship deteriorates.

People are shaped by the family dynamics they grew up with, especially when it comes to resolving conflict. Talking about it can tell you whether your partner’s conflict resolution habits will work with yours.

Awkward as it may be, asking your partner what their family fought about and how they dealt with it can give you some valuable insight.

What If One of Us Gets Sick?

Most wedding vows include a line about loving your partner in sickness and in health. It’s a very important vow. Just about everyone falls ill at some point in their lives, and we trust our partners to support us through the worst of times.

Loving someone in hard times is easy – but maintaining a healthy relationship in the midst of a medical crisis can be hard for even the most stable and committed couples. You can’t imagine what it’s going to be like until it happens. And once it does, you may not have the time or the will to discuss it.

Just as couples should discuss their wills, they should ask questions regarding a potential health crisis. What happens if I can’t walk anymore? What if I need to quit my job? What if we need to move to another city, or state, to be closer to medical treatment? This will provide peace of mind.

How Much “Me” Time Do We Expect?

By the time you get engaged, you probably have a sense of how much independence your partner desires. However, those expectations can change once you’re married and living together full-time.

To avoid feelings of tension or rejection, you should discuss which hobbies, friends, and activities you’re going to share post-wedding, and what areas of your lives you wish to remain independent.


Planning, Wedding

Budgeting for a Wedding? Don’t Forget These 5 Hidden Expenses


So, what’s our budget for this thing?

It’s the first question most couples ask when they’re planning a wedding. Or, at least it should be. You can’t have a productive conversation about venues, florists, food, or decorations until you know how much money you’re working with.

Failing to set expectations about budget early on in the planning process can lead to conflict and disappointment down the road. That’s the last thing you need in the days leading up to your wedding.

We rhymed off a few of the obvious expenses above, but there’s more to the wedding budget than cakes and caterers. Writing for Apartment Therapy, Taryn Williford points out five hidden wedding expenses people tend to forget. Mark these on your budget to stay in good financial shape from the start.

Decorations, Especially the Small Stuff

The big-ticket items on the list, like chairs and centrepieces, are safely tucked in with your rental and florist budget. Of course, you’ll need more than that to make your venue pop in those wedding photos.

There will be lots of little decorations, like candles, signs, or a ceremony backdrop, that bump up the expense as well. Don’t think you can avoid it by doing it all yourself – craft supplies add up quick. It’s good to set a budget for “small stuff” before you get started.

Beyond Hair and Makeup

For some, getting your hair and makeup done is enough for your wedding day. Some of us are even more low-maintenance than that! But others (and you’ll know if this is you) will require other pre-wedding beauty prep, like a tan, manicure, waxing, haircut or colour. Don’t add this to an already-bloated budget at the last minute.

Meals Before the Wedding

The wedding party will arrive at the venue before everyone else. If you’re having the ceremony before lunch time, you may want to arrange meals for you and your closest allies. This intimate meal could add more great memories to an already-special day, but only if you budget for it properly.


Turns out you’re supposed to tip in the wedding industry. Who knew? You do, now. Check out this guide to wedding etiquette to find out how much should set aside for vendor tips.


Your friends and family gave it their all to give you a wedding day to remember. How could you ever thank them? Well, words may not need enough! Make room in your wedding budget for gifts. You may want to leave a little extra for unexpected MVPs, like florist or DJ who goes above and beyond on the big day.



Memorable Guest Book Alternatives to Get People Talking

It’s a classic wedding staple. A guest book lets you preserve and relive moments from your special day for years to come. But the good old-fashioned guest book is starting to show its age.

Most of us have already done away with other keepsakes, like photo albums, so we don’t have a special place in our homes to put something like a guest book. Too often, what should be a cherished gift ends up in a box or on a bottom shelf, collecting dust.

But we all know it’s not the book itself that makes it special – it’s the memories. There are plenty of other, creative way to preserve your guests’ well-wishes on your wedding day. Check out three of our favourite guest book alternatives.

Video Messages

Instead of leaving something for guests to sign, set up a booth where they can record a short video message for you and your spouse. If you haven’t got a camera and tripod on hand, you can use set up a quick and easy DIY photo booth using a smart phone or tablet.

Pros: It’s fun, easy, and invokes more vivid memories than a book or an object could If your guests are creative, videos are sure to produce some hilarious and heartwarming moments.

Cons: It takes some time set-up, and video messages aren’t something you can display in your home. Like the classic guest book, there’s always a chance it’ll end up buried at the bottom of a memory card and forgotten.

Decorative Objects

Love the idea of a guest book, but want something more interesting? Have your guests write their messages on a special object instead of a page. The object can then be used as a striking decoration in the heart of the marital home.

If your wedding has a theme, choose something that goes along with it. Alternatively, pick something that celebrates you and your partner’s mutual interests. Swing by this article for tons of suggestions for creative guest book alternatives.

Pros: Your guest book will become a conversation piece, letting you relive the memories whenever you welcome guests into your home.

Cons: It’s inevitable that your design sensibilities will change over time. What seems like a cool decor piece now may not appeal to you in the future, and it would be a shame to have to stash it in the basement ten years down the road.

Wall Art

Want to compromise between the traditional and the traditional? Prepare a piece of art guests can collaborate on to create a memorable masterpiece. There are tons of ideas for beautiful guest book art online, such as fingerprint art, jigsaw puzzles, and posters. You could also have guests sign a matte frame to use with your wedding photos. Love and Lavender has gathered a bunch of inspiring examples here.

Pros: Guest book art can be as complicated or as simple as you wish. Guests love a chance to get creative, and it’ll definitely bring out some thoughtful and special messages. Plus, it’s easy to find a place for the finished piece in your home.

Cons: Well…about that creativity thing. When you have dozens of people all signing the same ‘page’, you can never be sure what the final product will look like. You can’t separate the cute messages from the crude. You’ll have to put some faith in them to collaborate responsibly!


Should Kids Be on Your Wedding Guest List?

For some couples, making the guest list is one of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding. There are always a few people you have to invite to make your family happy, but when it comes to the rest, who makes the list says a lot about the people who matter to you.

It’s not just a question of costs limiting how many people you can invite. Your guests do as much for tone of your wedding as the decor and venue itself. Who you invite is just as important as how many people you invite.

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether children are welcome at the event. Unless the soon-to-be spouses have children themselves, the presence of kids at the wedding is an open question – one you need to answer sooner than later.

Should Kids Be Welcome at the Wedding?

You don’t have to have your own kids to understand why some would object to bringing children to a wedding. Weddings are usually formal affairs, carefully choreographed to produce the vision the couple and their families have in mind.

But most kids under 12 don’t do the whole ‘formal’ thing all that well. And who can blame them? For a child, a wedding is a long, drawn-out ordeal that demands patience and quiet. Most of the guests are boring adults in stuffy There’s just not a lot to do there. Even the best-behaved kids can get antsy when they’re made to sit still and shut up for hours on end.

If you’ve ever been to a wedding in the company of children, you’ve probably seen firsthand how things usually go. They can usually keep quiet during the ceremony, since it’s still early in the day, but they get restless as the reception drags on. By the time dinner rolls around, it’s not surprising to see children running rampant around the hall, indifferent to your carefully-laid plans for an intimate and magical affair.

On the other hand, leaving children off the wedding list can create conflicts. Chances are, at least some of your guests have kids of their own. They’ll either have to find a babysitter or decline your invitation. That can be a problem, especially if they’ll have to travel some distance to attend. They may also feel slighted that their family isn’t welcome at your special day, especially if you’re close to their kids as well.

If you do plan to implement a “no kids” policy, you should follow a few basic rules to minimize the potential for conflict:

  1. Decide early. Give parents plenty of time to find a babysitter for the day.
  2. Let everyone know. Be honest and upfront about your wishes. Don’t wait for people to have to ask you about it. That doesn’t mean you need a big “no kids allowed” sticker on your invitation; just call your friends and family with children and explain your wishes.
  3. Be cautious inviting some kids but not others. This is a controversial subject. For some, it’s perfectly fine to invite close relatives, like nieces and nephews, while leaving other children off the guest list. Others consider it unfair. If you go this route, it’s best to explain your reasoning when you tackle the second point.


Planning, Wedding

How to Plan a Restaurant Wedding Reception

No, we’re not talking about the folks who get married at McDonald’s. More and more couples are foregoing the stuffy banquet halls of the past in favour of cozy, high-end eateries.

Restaurants are a popular choice of venue for couples who want good food and an intimate, laid-back reception. Though there’s usually less space for guests, having a restaurant reception takes a lot of the stress out of planning the event.

There’s minimal set-up, as high-end restaurants are already perfectly polished. You won’t have to worry about hiring a caterer, since the venue comes with a team of experienced servers and chefs. It’s also usually less expensive than booking a larger venue (but don’t forget to add gratuity).

The biggest draw of a restaurant reception is, of course, the food. Caterers can be pretty hit-and-miss. If you’ve attended a few weddings, you can probably think of at least one where the food was forgettable (or memorable for the wrong reasons). With a restaurant, you have plenty of opportunity to sample their wares ahead of time, and lots of feedback available from diners online. Plus, unlike caterers, restaurants care about repeat business – they want your guests to come back for seconds!

Thinking of going the restaurant route? Keep the following in mind:

  • Decide on the number of guests before you choose a venue. Make sure there’s enough space to accommodate them, noting that there may be a few last-minute plus-ones. Ideally, you’ll want to trim the guest list to 100 or fewer people.
  • Make sure there’s enough space. Not only does the venue limit the number of people you can invite, it may also limit what you can have in terms of a DJ, photo booth, and dance floor. Be realistic about what you can fit in the space.
  • Be mindful of kids. If there will be children at the wedding, make sure there’s a kid-friendly menu.
  • Consider the restaurant’s busy season. Spring and summer are prime wedding season, but the restaurant industry usually peaks in November and December. Make sure you account for this as you plan, and try to schedule it six to twelve months in advance.
  • Can you bring what you need? Some restaurants aren’t keen on people bringing in outside decor or food (like a cake), even for weddings. Make your expectations clear when you meet with staff.
  • See what they’ve done for other weddings. If it’s a popular spot, check out professional photos from other events at the restaurant to see if it’s what you envision.

Best Style Of Photography For Your Special Day

weddingDeciding on who will photograph during your special day is your own style decision. It is just like your preference colors or venue. Pictures are important to have during wedding day. It captures mostly the unforgettable moments and unexpected ones. Also, know what your options when choosing the right photographer to hire for you will not be disappointed at the end. Nowadays, there are many photographers you can hire but not all of them are capable to do your taste of style. Before you choose, know yourself and your partner on the things you desired and the stylishness you want to achieve. Once you are done or you finalized everything, you can now search which photographer you can appoint. You can choose using the internet for easy access and you will be able to see their feedback online, that can help you decide. The other way of searching the photographer you want is to ask some of your friends or family that they had experienced hiring before with good feedback that they can recommend to you.

There are many style in photography you can choose. It will determine the purpose and style during your wedding that will be memorable not only for the couple but also to the family and friends. Looking for the best wedding photographer Miami will surely make your wedding successful. The styles can be digital which is the most common way of shooting. Next is film that produce soft, organic quality pictures. There is also a classic style which is a type of picture that is gorgeous, striking and a bit formal like your grandparents or parents’ wedding album had.

The other one is artistic style which the photographer capture the couple having fun and enjoy the moment of their special day. The style lifestyle is photojournalism redefined. There will be some direction and styling that the photographer will give but he/she will let the couple do it in their own terms. To have unique style, you can choose the dramatic and lastly the documentary style which the photographer will capture all candid or spontaneous pictures of people, decoration and action in the event. You can choose beautiful wedding photography in Miami in no time.