January 2018

This Year’s Exciting Wedding Dress Trends
To discover a wedding dress that perfectly encapsulates your persona, look into some of the latest and hottest fashions while you explore your options.

To discover a wedding dress that perfectly encapsulates your persona, look into some of the latest and hottest fashions while you explore your options.

weThe right outfit can really change the way a person feels about an event. When it comes to your wedding, for example, you are going to end up putting many hours into searching for the ideal wedding dress. For brides, this means taking time to “say yes to the dress.” Bridal gowns and dresses have remained somewhat consistent over the years in regards to general style and color. While brides might have been wearing white to weddings for quite a bit of time, you should feel free to explore your options.

Each year, new and interesting design trends come about for brides to consider for their wedding dress. To discover a dress you feel perfectly encapsulates your persona, it might be a useful idea to think about some of these latest and more interesting fashions. Accessorize your dress in the right manner, play around with color, and personalize your outfit for your own special day.

Like a Princess

Though it might seem somewhat cliché, many people want to feel like royalty on the day they get married. While you might not have been born into the correct lineage to ascend to the throne, you definitely can create a look of a noteworthy aristocrat. One way to tackle this goal is by investing in accessories for your wedding dress. Lately, a hot trend for wedding fashions has the bride adopting all sorts of interesting accessories in order to fully flesh out her appearance while walking down the aisle. This task is simple when you explore options like princess capes. 

Princess capes, also known as “royal capes,” have been making a huge splash at special events all over the world. While you might not be next in line for the throne, you definitely can cultivate an appearance of decadence and class with a few small touches. If you believe your outfit will benefit from this addition, take time to consider all the style choices available to you and set out on finding the ideal match for your cape.

Ruffles in Your Wedding Dress

The style of the dress is something to play around with during the preparation stages of your wedding. In 2017, a number of prolific designers showcased ruffled bridal dresses at an array of large fashion shows. The designers, including such hot names as Vera Wang and Casablanca, have helped to launch a movement in regards to upcoming weddings. Brides all over have been rushing to boutiques and retail shops to get fitted for dresses with sweetheart necklines and layers of thin and dainty ruffles.

Though this option can seem appealing, it is important to remember it is not going to look wonderful on everyone. Some design strategies can come across as awkward or clunky on specific body types. When you are picking your dress, it is best to have yourself fitted by a professional so you can get a better feel for how the dress can be altered. Buying a dress online can also be a good option as long as you understand you might need to put a lot of money down to have it altered.

Touch of Blue

Finally, current designs are pushing away from the concept of a “white wedding.” Though innumerable brides still opt to wear white, many are considering other choices for their looks. Lately, a big trend is to use a slight splash of blue in the dresses. In most situations, the blue is very faint and simply adds a bit of life and dimension to the dress. This might be an ideal way to bring some color to the event.

Picking the right wedding dress for your special day can be a lot of work. Get ready to “say yes to the dress” by thinking over all of the latest style and design trends and landing on an option that appeals most to you.

A Brief History of Religious Veiling
With current efforts to ban religious veiling in public, it is important to understand the history of this practice.

With current efforts to ban religious veiling in public, it is important to understand the history of this practice.

With several Western nations experiencing increases in Muslim immigration, one major issue rising to the surface is religious veiling. Depending on the type of Islam they practice and the countries from which they originate, Muslim women might opt for simple headscarves, veiling that obscures their heads and shoulders, or complete body coverings. Current public discourse has sometimes resulted in legislation to ban religious veiling in public. Against the backdrop of such fevered discussions, it’s important to understand Islam is not the only faith in which people wear veils. In fact, the origins of religious veiling can prove to be rather surprising.

Religious Veiling in the Ancient Middle East 

Racked contributor Liana Aghajanian revealed in a December 2016 piece that women all over the world have been wearing some form of head covering for more than 3,000 years. For instance, the practice was common throughout the ancient Levant region as well as Greece, Rome and regions located in modern-day Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Rather than signifying any devotion to religious piety, they originally denoted that the women who wore them belonged to these societies’ upper classes. Aghajanian discloses the discovery of a 13th-century Assyrian text forbidding anyone other than aristocrats from donning veils. Working class women, slaves and other lower-class individuals faced legally prescribed punishments if they were caught wearing them.

Head Covering and Religion in the Modern Era

It isn’t immediately clear how head coverings became associated with religious modesty, but they were eventually adopted by women of all socioeconomic classes throughout the Middle East. Traditions from the three major Abrahamic faiths soon dictated that veils should be worn. The University of North Carolina’s Center for European Studies explains that some Jewish people interpret their faith’s “tzniuth,” or laws on modesty, to mean that women’s hair should be covered. While the Bible’s New Testament records no commandments issued by Jesus Christ concerning the issue, Saint Paul upheld the practice in his first letter to the Corinthian church.

Meanwhile, various sects of Islam actually disagree over religious veiling. CNN writer Abed Awad disclosed in a June 2015 write-up that the Quran never explicitly mentions the word “veil.” Additionally, there are two general schools of thought on the matter resulting from different interpretations of customs said to be handed from Aisha, one of Muhammed’s wives:

Veil everything except for the hands, feet and face upon reaching puberty.

It’s a good idea to wear veils, but they are not obligatory.

Bill 62: The Latest in Veil Legislation

Recent Canadian news includes reports about Quebec’s Bill 62, which initially required the province’s residents to show their faces to provide or receive any sort of public services. The Globe and Mail clarified in December 2017 that this law, which would have impacted aspects of daily life such as riding public transit and visiting libraries, was temporarily put on hold by the province’s Superior Court. The Quebec law is certainly not the first of its kind. The Guardian revealed in March 2017 that Europe has an almost decade-long history full of repeated attempts to regulate the practice of religious veiling, and debates over the issue rage on south of our border. While advocates of these regulations cite public security worries, pushback ensues based on concerns about religious discrimination as well as the safety of women who opt to cover their heads. Muslims also hold views on both sides of the issue, with some opining that such bans are fueled by Islamophobia while others support measures to outlaw face covering.

Several factors prove that the issue of religious veiling in public isn’t as cut and dry as one might be tempted to believe. Religion, personal freedom, public safety and concerns about racial and religious discrimination all play into the larger discussion. Since Statistics Canada predicts that the number of Muslims will significantly increase by the year 2036, public debate may continue for some years to come.

Keep a Bridal Shower Fun for Everyone
Planning your first bridal shower is going to seem like a lot to take on, but there are simple ways to make the event enjoyable for everyone.

Planning your first bridal shower is going to seem like a lot to take on, but there are simple ways to make the event enjoyable for everyone.

A bridal shower is a chance for the friends and family of the bride to come together and celebrate. If you’ve been tasked with putting together this event for a friend who has recently become engaged, you might not know what to do. Planning your first shower is going to seem like a lot to take on, but there are simple ways to make it through. While it is important to remember the bride is the person of honor at this event, the entire ordeal should be enjoyable for everyone in attendance.

Making the bridal shower fun for everyone involved is a simple way to produce positive results. You don’t even need to go to extreme lengths to achieve this goal. Take a look at these simple tips and discover ideas to help with your own plans.

Not a Solo Mission 

You might be the person who has been elected to throw the bridal shower, but you should not be doing it on your own. Planning this event often requires a lot of people. You need to set a date, gather invitations, plan food, come up with games, figure out who is bringing what present, and ensure everyone arrives in a timely fashion. Allowing this gathering to stress you out is a simple way to make it an unpleasant experience. Instead of trying to go it alone, ask for help.

Whether you are the sister of the bride, the groom’s mother, or a best friend from childhood, it is crucial to reach out to others for assistance. Not only will this gesture allow you a chance to share the weight of responsibility, it also adds to how effective the shower is overall. If you do it all by yourself, some areas of the event will suffer. Sharing the responsibilities can allow each person to go above and beyond to bring the best results to the table.

Activity Madness

Games and party activities are also a common feature of most bridal showers. Here’s the thing: Do not plan the entire event around the games. Some people absolutely hate games. If the bride is not a person who likes to sit and play silly games, do not force her to. The occasion is meant for everyone to have a good time, but you need the bride to enjoy herself to make the entire event worthwhile. Conversely, a bride who has a competitive edge should have a shower packed with fun activities.

While you know the bride and what she enjoys doing, it can be easy to let the thrill of planning this celebration cloud your ability to make the best decision. Reading over article after article on fun games to play at a shower might inspire you to come up with a ton of games when you know the woman of honor won’t be interested. Use your best judgment and remember the tastes of the bride before you commit to a day crammed with different wedding-related games.

Keep Things Simple

It is also important to remember that you aren’t planning the actual wedding. The bridal shower might be a big deal in some respects, but there is no need to go overboard with what you are attempting. For example, sending out invitations is considered a smart step to take. Spending a lot of money on nice cardstock and fancy envelopes, on the other hand, is a bad call. Keep costs sensible by opting for the simplest solution when it comes to mailing invites.

Planning a bridal shower can be a great honor. To ensure the bride has an absolutely lovely time, keep in mind what activities would be most appealing to her while also keeping the event fun for all. Make the experience simple and light to maintain a celebratory mood and a great time.

Wedding Invitations in the Digital Age
Do a little research and planning to decide if digital wedding invitations are right for your wedding.

Do a little research and planning to decide if digital wedding invitations are right for your wedding.

The vast array of available digital technologies includes many useful tools for planning and executing a beautiful, well-organized wedding celebration. You’ve got loads of options for contacting vendors, mapping out your ceremony’s program, shopping for essentials and more. With all these handy conveniences, it’s easy to wonder if the paper wedding invite is going the way of the dinosaur. Surprisingly, the paper versus digital wedding invitations debate rages on, with fans on both sides of the aisle emphasizing the benefits of each method.

A Quick History of Written Wedding Invites

During the Middle Ages, only upper-class families issued paper wedding invitations. With a mostly illiterate population in Europe, these major social events would usually be heralded by a town crier. Another common method of notifying a community was the banns, or public announcements within individual churches about upcoming nuptials. Their original purpose was to ensure that canonically or legally invalid marriages did not take place. Remember the “speak now or forever hold your peace” part of the ceremony? According to The Spruce writer Nina Callaway, that phrase is derived from the Christian “Book of Common Prayer,” but this may have been intended as a last-minute catchall for anyone who wanted to raise serious objections to an impending marriage.

While the development of lithography techniques during the late 1700s laid the groundwork for our modern versions, announcements were still delivered by messengers on horseback. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that printed invitations became standard practice, thanks partially to middle-class families borrowing traditions from the rich as well as the advent of etiquette mavens such as Emily Post. As these took root in American popular practices, they also quickly spread to Canada.

The Pros and Cons of E-Invitations

As engaged couples look for ways to streamline their wedding planning and cut back on their expenses, some eye traditional paper invitations as candidates for the chopping block. Huffington Post contributor Erica Laudon reviewed some of the typical benefits that digital versions offer:

  • Low-cost or no-cost invitations
  • Reduced paper usage for a “greener” wedding
  • Enhanced design options yield beautiful visual layouts

However, Laudon cautions that several factors may necessitate the use of printed stationery instead. Most etiquette experts strongly suggest utilizing paper invites, especially for more formal affairs. Additionally, digital invitations may not be accessible for elderly guests, and the traditional folks in your crowd could consider the practice offensive. Furthermore, you lose the capability to address your invite to specific individuals, which makes situations such as child-free weddings much harder to navigate. Finally, the news of your blessed event might get lost in the almighty spam filter.

The Best Option for Your Wedding 

Should you take the plunge and go paperless? That largely depends on the formality level of your event and the type of people on your guest list. If most of your crowd is computer-savvy, you have email addresses for the specific folks you want to invite, and you’re going for a semi-formal or casual feel, it can probably work well. Wedivite advises that you follow the same guidelines for paper invites, sending them at least six to eight weeks prior to your event. For destination nuptials, hit the “send” button at least three months in advance. If you don’t hear from your invitees after about two weeks, follow up with a phone call.

Modern technology has revolutionized many aspects of planning your nuptials. Wedding invitations are a trickier issue, with most etiquette experts promoting the use of traditional paper versions. Nevertheless, digital invites may still be an option if you’re trying to lower costs and make your wedding eco-friendly. For a straightforward, less formal event with a tech-friendly guest list, paperless invites might be a smart move.

 

Stand Up and Be Counted: Numbering Canada’s Pagan Population
As issues of political representation and religious freedom remain salient, some pagan Canadians grapple with how to be counted and recognized.

As issues of political representation and religious freedom remain salient, some pagan Canadians grapple with how to be counted and recognized.

How many Neopagans make up the Canadian population? That’s a hard question to answer. Even worldwide, the pagan community is hard to estimate due to a wide variety of factors, so estimates often come from third-party sources. As issues of political representation and religious freedom remain salient, some Canadian pagans grapple with how to advance the positive recognition of their faith.

A Minority in Many Nations

In most Western countries, Neopagans usually make up less than 1 percent of the population. Organizations such as the Pew Research Center in the United States have attempted to assess these numbers. Yet according to Religious Tolerance, even Pew has not been consistent in its analysis and classification of adherents to modern forms of paganism. Around 0.4 percent of respondents answered “Pagan” or “Wiccan” on Pew’s 2008 Religious Landscape survey, yet Pew classified some of these same responses under the “New Age” category in other years. Pew’s own 2010 estimates stated that 0.8 percent of the world’s population belonged to “other religions,” but it includes faiths such as Zoroastrianism, Sikhism and Jainism alongside various pagan paths such as Wicca, Kemetic paganism and Norse Heathenry.

The Impact of the “Broom Closet”

Depending on where they live, many pagans contend with outright persecution. Some individuals keep their chosen faiths quiet among family, coworkers and acquaintances to avoid discrimination and harassment. In a 2015 Vice article, contributor Leonie Roderick cited examples of the prejudicial actions that practitioners of Witchcraft and other pagan paths face. For example, an English witch named Charlie Mallory Cawley documented years of bullying and abuse both in her workplaces and at school. Her tribulations included accusations of animal sacrifice and being cornered in a women’s restroom and called names.

Problems With the National Household Survey

Statistics Canada incorporated several religious categories for respondents to select in its 2011 National Household Survey. However, a 2013 HuffPost Canada article reveals much of the criticism expressed about the instrument, namely its low response rates among marginalized populations such as the poor, immigrants and indigenous First Nations communities. The 2011 survey listed the following classifications for religious faiths:

  • Roman Catholicism
  • Other Christian
  • Non-religious
  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Sikhism
  • Buddhism
  • Judaism
  • Other religions

The Pagan Business Network also mentioned the lack of options for Neopagan respondents in a 2016 blog post. Nevertheless, one possible factor influencing lack of recognition may be the vast range of spiritual paths existing under the banner of Neopaganism. For instance, the Canadian chapter of the Pagan Federation International mentions many different iterations on its website, such as Wicca, Druidry, Heathenry and Shamanism.

Furthermore, PBN writer Mark J. Newby opined that “the Canadian Government is at a loss about how to recognize religions that do not have a centralized, hierarchical structure.” At the same time, he pointed to a recent chaplaincy guide available from Canada’s governmental publications as an example. While it offers an extensive amount of information about Wicca, Newby mentions that Wicca is the only Neopagan faith in the guide and that it seems to consider the Wiccan Church of Canada as a central authoritative body. As pagans themselves can attest, many contemporary Neopagan spiritual movements do not have centralized hierarchies.

What Does the Future Hold?

Pagan participation in politics and other aspects of Canada’s public life is increasing, as evidenced by growing membership in pagan organizations and the growing number of chaplains at higher educational institutions. However, a variety of factors still contribute to the difficulty in determining how many people follow Neopagan spiritual traditions in our country. With the eclectic nature of modern pagan movements and social stigmas that keep their practitioners “in the broom closet,” the future of pagan social and political representation remains to be seen.

Why Bother With the Rehearsal Dinner?
While not completely necessary, the rehearsal dinner provides a way to rehearse the wedding and introduce friends and family in a more intimate setting.

While not completely necessary, the rehearsal dinner provides a way to rehearse the wedding and introduce friends and family in a more intimate setting.

There are plenty of traditions surrounding weddings. Some of these rituals make total sense, like the act of carrying flowers or the symbolism behind exchanging rings. Still, some modern traditions can seem a bit ridiculous. The rehearsal dinner for the event, for example, can easily come across as a pointless activity meant to squeeze some additional cash out of you. There are many opinions on rehearsal dinners and whether or not they are necessary for a wedding. If you are unsure, now is a great time to explore the details and see what fits best for your needs.

The Main Idea 

First, it can be helpful to take a closer look at the rehearsal dinner and why it exists. Though a fairly recent development, rehearsals have become commonplace for most couples. The idea is to bring together all of the most important players in the ceremony before the day of the actual event. During the rehearsal dinner, everyone gets on the same page and learns exactly what he or she must do in order to ensure the celebration goes off without any issues. Though somewhat straightforward, most dinners have strayed a bit from this idea.

Instead of being looked at as a rehearsal, many couples wind up using their rehearsal dinners as a chance to party. This is easily evidenced in the fact that couples have started moving their rehearsal dinners earlier in the week. Originally, the rehearsal was held the night before the actual event. Now, couples have the dinner several nights before so guests can drink and party without fear of having to wake up early the next day for the wedding.

Important Meetings 

For the most part, the people present at your rehearsal dinner will be the most important people to you and your significant other. Parents, siblings, and best friends will all be in attendance, ready to listen to what will be expected of them at the ceremony. Though it stands to reason most of these people have met before, this is not always going to be the case. If your parents have never met your significant other’s parents before, this could be the opportunity you have been waiting to arrive.

Bringing together all of the important people in your life under one roof before your wedding can be good for your spirits. Simply looking around the room and seeing the smiling faces of those you have come to trust and love over the years can be warming to the soul. The dinner allows you a chance to “rehearse,” of course, but it also provides you with an easy setting where you can introduce friends and family members in a more casual setting than your actual ceremony.

Do You Need One? 

Finally, you might be wondering whether you need a rehearsal dinner at all. These events can be costly, which is unappealing when you are already paying a small fortune for the wedding itself. In truth, this dinner is not necessary. For the most part, it is just another chance to eat and drink with people before the wedding. If you can’t afford a rehearsal dinner or deem it unimportant for your plans, simply provide your friends and family members with the information they need for your wedding in your own way.

Planning for your wedding can often be a great deal of work. When faced with decisions like whether you need to host a rehearsal dinner, it is best to really explore all of your options. Though rehearsal dinners might make for an easy meet-and-greet scenario before the day of your actual wedding, they are not always needed and can often be eliminated from the plans without any serious repercussions or issues.

Santa Claus: A Religious Figure Transformed by Pop Culture
With roots in both religious folklore and pop culture, Santa Claus has come to dominate the season for countless children everywhere.

With roots in both religious folklore and pop culture, Santa Claus has come to dominate the season for countless children everywhere.

Every Christmas, children all over the world look forward to visits from Santa Claus, the season’s primary gift giver taking center stage in much of our pageantry. Who is this mysterious bearded legend, and why is he such an integral part of Canadian winter holiday celebrations? His roots in both religious folklore and pop culture may surprise you.

A Gift-Giving Man of Many Names

This red-suited modern myth goes by a wide variety of monikers: Kris Kringle, Father Christmas and Saint Nicholas, to name a few. The first is an American-derived nickname, arising from the German “Christkind” tradition, that became well-known in the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street. Popularized by Protestant religious reformer Martin Luther, the Christkind is usually described as an infant-like version of Jesus delivering gifts to children. Meanwhile, Father Christmas was a British figure meant to symbolize feasting and good cheer. It’s the last name, however, that reflects his tale’s beginnings in Byzantine Christianity. The Encyclopedia Britannica divulges what is currently known about the original Saint Nicholas:

  • He was probably born in Lycia, a small region on the southern coast of modern Turkey.
  • This religious figure was likely the bishop of Myra during the fourth century C.E.
  • Saint Nicholas may have attended the first Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E.
  • Italian sailors discovered part of his skeleton in 1087 C.E.

The Byzantine Bishop and His Service to the Poor

In Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity and several other Christian denominations, Nicholas of Myra was revered as a saint. His entry on Biography.com includes stories of his generosity, such as repeatedly sharing from his sizable inheritance with poor and sick individuals. There’s also the most well-known tale depicting him as an elderly bishop, sneaking into the home of three poor sisters and leaving them a large bag of money to pay for their dowries. Legend insists that without this sizable sum, the trio would have been unable to wed, and their only alternative would have been to enter the sex trade.

How Did Saint Nicholas Turn Into the Santa Claus of Pop Culture?

Prior to the Protestant Reformation, December 6 was widely celebrated as a feast day by Catholics in Europe. It retained its importance in Holland, however, where children put out their shoes the night before in hopes that “Sinterklaas” would leave presents inside them. Immigrants brought these customs to the Americas. However, it wasn’t until a couple of centuries ago that the Byzantine bishop shifted into the scarlet-clad chimney-descending immortal, thanks to a few significant pieces of American pop culture.

The first linkage between the aged bishop and the sleigh-driving benefactor occurred in 1823 when a United States newspaper published “Account of a Visit From Saint Nicholas,” better known as “The Night Before Christmas.” This narrative poem regales its readers with the story of a nighttime visit from St. Nick, describing him as a “right jolly old elf” with a “round belly” that “shook like a bowl full of jelly” when he laughed. History.com discloses that the poem inspired political cartoonist Thomas Nast to draw this figure. In 1881, American and Canadian readers were treated to Nast’s vision of a chubby, white-bearded St. Nick making his rounds in a red suit and carrying a sack of toys for children. 

“Happy Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!”

Today, Santa Claus is an indelible part of our holiday traditions alongside other pop culture customs such as wintertime light festivals, roasted geese, Christmas trees and Boxing Day. Most of us discover in our childhood that this jolly old red-wearing elf is a myth. Whether or not you consider Santa Claus’ religious origins important, Saint Nicholas himself can illustrate the important principle of charity that so often gets forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the season.

 

Delegating Responsibilities to Your Wedding Party
Choosing the members of your wedding party can be exciting, but some brides and grooms make the mistake of asking too much of their wedding party.

Choosing the members of your wedding party can be exciting, but some brides and grooms make the mistake of asking too much of their wedding party.

Selecting the members of your wedding party can be a fun and rewarding experience. This is the chance to get sentimental with the friends and family members who have been with you through thick and thin. Of course, it also can be asking a whole lot of the people in your life. Some brides and grooms make the mistake of putting far more on the shoulders of their parties than they should. You want to still be close friends with these people after the wedding has finished, so it is important to take caution.

To get a better feel for what is reasonable to ask of your wedding party members, it is a good idea to take a look at what other people have established over the years. By following a blend of customary techniques and personal adjustments, you and your partner should be able to come up with a balanced plan for the members of your wedding party.

Showers and Outings

Marriage can cost a small fortune. Since you have a lot of financial responsibilities on your plate, it is traditional to turn to the members of your bridal party to foot the bill when necessary. Any finances related to the wedding itself will fall on you and your partner to take care of. However, preliminary events like showers and bachelor or bachelorette parties are a very different story. For the most part, members of the party will be responsible for covering the expenses related to these extra events.

While it is customary for the party members to plan, execute, and cover the costs of these aspects of the wedding, you need to make sure you aren’t asking more than you should. A bachelorette party is one thing, but asking your party members to fly to another country to go on a wine tour for a week is a bit more intense. Stay reasonable in your requests, or cover the costs of the expenses you are demanding. Asking your party members to cover lavish costs for your farfetched ideas can be insensitive.

Covering Your Own Finances 

The men and women who make up your party are going to need to take care of many expenses for your special day. Still, you will need to make sure you are taking care of other costs. Any financial obligations related to hair and makeup on the day of the wedding, for example, will fall onto the happy couple. This is also true of costs centering around transportation to and from the venue, floral accessories like a bouquet, and lodging for the night before the actual ceremony.

Knowing what costs you should be covering can help you to keep the members of your wedding party happy and ready for anything you throw at them. Buying gifts for the men and women in your party will also show your appreciation. Try to get a gift that is both sentimental and effective at showcasing how happy you are to have each individual involved with your wedding.

Travel Concerns 

Finally, travel can be tricky to figure out with your party members. In most cases, people in your wedding party are responsible for arriving at your venue on their own. You also might consider covering some of the costs for members of the party who are traveling a far distance to get to your special event.

The people who comprise your wedding party are going to have a big impact on how your day turns out. When the time comes to start asking members of the party to take care of certain duties, it can be helpful to have a grasp on what you should and should not ask. Use your discretion, and you will be able to take the best course of action.

Secrets to Keeping Guests Happy at Your Wedding
There are a few ways to keep your guests happy at your wedding.

There are a few ways to keep your guests happy at your wedding.

Planning for your wedding can be a lot of work. You want to make sure everything goes smoothly and your vision is executed exactly the way you see it in your mind. Of course, all of this planning and organizing can make it easy to forget about key aspects of the event. Your guests, for example, are very important to keep in mind. Specifically, you need to make sure your wedding is aiming to keep your guests in the right spirits throughout the entire reception. While it might be a struggle, it is far from impossible to achieve.

To keep your guests happy at your wedding, you do not need to go to extreme lengths. In fact, there are a couple of simple secrets you might be able to explore to keep your guests satisfied. Consider these suggestions and get your wedding on the right track.

Arrangements 

One of the most difficult aspects of planning for a wedding is making sure all of your seating arrangements make sense. This is going to take a bit of time, and you might need to sit down with your partner and really hammer out some of the finer details. While it might not seem like much, seating guests at the wrong tables can cause all kinds of minor dramas and problems. To avoid all of this, you need to be mindful of seating from the very first stages of planning.

You might be able to avoid serious confrontation in this regard if you plan accordingly when you are first writing out your guest list. Write out the names of everyone you are planning on inviting and make specific notations on the list to denote who cannot sit near whom. Having this information handy will provide you with a bit of guidance when it is time to look over the seating chart. Though guests can easily get up and move about during the reception, they will be in far better spirits when they learn they are sitting somewhere pleasant.

Satiated and Full

Food is another way to keep your guests happy. There are going to come times during your wedding when you will not be present. Many couples opt to take wedding photos in between ceremonies and receptions. Since you do not want your guests waiting for hours for you to arrive at your own reception, it is best to come up with a course of action that can keep everyone busy and satisfied until you get there. One surefire way to achieve this goal is by going all out on your cocktail hour.

Guests want to eat at weddings. While dinner might be the biggest draw, most guests are going to have more fun by being given the opportunity to try lots of easy finger foods. During your cocktail hour, while you’re out taking photos or getting ready, your guests should be kept busy with drinks and appetizers. Come up with a plan by speaking with your venue and caterers and learning more about how you can provide the right flavors and distractions.

Your Wedding, Your Rules 

It is also important for you to remember that you do not need to break your back for your own wedding. Keep your guests as happy as possible, but remember that it is your wedding. If you don’t want to deal with family members who are complaining about seating charts, then you don’t have to. Remember, this is your special day, and you want to walk away from it with the fondest memories possible. For the best results, try to find a balance between your happiness and the enjoyment of your guests.

Your Guide to Traditional Wedding Dances
Planning your wedding dances takes a bit of effort, but you will be rewarded with memorable moments you can cherish for a lifetime.

Planning your wedding dances takes a bit of effort, but you will be rewarded with memorable moments you can cherish for a lifetime.

If you have been to a wedding or two, or maybe even been part of a wedding party, you have most likely watched as happy, newly wedded couples took to the floor in their first dance. Now you are getting married, and it is your turn to craft the same unforgettable memories with your new spouse. How do you schedule in the traditional wedding dances, set the mood with the right kind of music and ensure you look great and don’t trip over your own feet? A few handy tips on the customary wedding dances, along with some other useful pieces of advice, should help as you plan the night of your life.

Timing Is Everything

The first thing you will need to pin down is your reception’s timeline of events. Brides contributor Heather Lee published an online guide in 2014, detailing everything from the start of cocktail hour to the final song. While Lee’s layout assumes an evening affair, it can be adapted to your own wedding by shifting times earlier or later. Her model also separates the traditional dances, putting the couple’s first one shortly after the end of cocktail hour and placing the parent-child dances about an hour after that. The place of these dances in your own schedule is not immutable, and Brides writer Jamie Mackey’s suggests that you can either separate these dances or schedule them consecutively.

Your First Dance Together as a Couple

You and your sweetie will probably dance shortly after your guests have been seated for the reception. Typically, an emcee will introduce your wedding party first before announcing you as a couple, after which you will transition right into the first dance. You will want to think about the song you choose and the dance style you use to craft a memorable moment.

How do you select “the” song to accompany you and your partner as you move across the floor? Washington Post writer Megan McDonough has some great suggestions:

  • Choose a tune with sentimental value
  • Listen to your collections on shuffle and wait for inspiration to hit
  • Ping friends or family members closest to you for recommendations
  • Ask your disc jockey or the live band you’ve hired for advice

Finally, McDonough notes that your reception venue can provide some cues for the perfect selection. A rustic location might prompt a favorite country track for you to use, and offbeat locales could give rise to equally offbeat songs.

No one’s expecting you to move as smoothly as The Weeknd or to have Jennifer Lopez’s grace and dexterity, but dance lessons may be in order if you’re inexperienced or feel like you have two left feet. When shopping for a studio or instructor, be sure to read online reviews and meet with the staff in person. Offbeat Bride advises starting your lessons at least six to eight months prior to tying the knot.

Incorporating Parent-Child Wedding Dances 

Traditionally, most weddings include a father-daughter and a mother-son dance. As with many other customs in the modern age, more couples are adopting personalized approaches and even deciding whether to include them or not. Some same-gender couples are ditching this practice altogether, and there’s always the question of what to do in the case of a deceased or estranged parent. You don’t have to limit yourselves in this regard, as you’re free to include grandparents, in-laws or other relatives. If you incorporate these types of dances, remember to choose suitable music.

Planning your couple’s and parent-child wedding dances takes a bit of effort. It is essential to pick the right songs, work these elements into your reception schedule, and be open to taking dance lessons if you need them. With some careful planning and arranging, you will be rewarded with memorable moments you can cherish for a lifetime.