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Please note that you need to make sure the person in charge of the wedding is easy to work with. I have been to weddings where the bride or another person ruined the entire experience for everyone else because everything had to be perfect or they didn't get along with everyone at the wedding.
I must tell you that there are some things on this page that I would not consider having at my wedding. I have them listed here because you find them at many weddings and I am trying to cover all of the areas on this subject.
Each wedding is unique and is a reflection on the bride and groom. It will end up being a highly emotional event by the time it is finished. You will have to decide on what kind of wedding you want to have. In my view as a Pastor who preforms the marriage cerimony for couples, the major decisions about the size and place of the wedding should be made by the bride and groom (Make sure that the groom is not left out in the planning stage). If someone else is paying for the wedding, they need to respect the wishes of the couple getting married. They can make suggestions to the couple but they should make sure that the couple is not afraid that they will pull out their financial help if the couple wants things different than the person paying for the wedding. So what I am saying here is that if it is not your wedding, don't push your wants on the couple.
Everyone is touched by weddings in their lives. Almost everyone of us will be or will have already gotten married who is reading this. If you arem't married yet, chances are that you have had a friend or relative who has gotten married and you have gone to the wedding or been involved in it.
I read the other day that the average couple spends over $29,000 on their wedding. When I read this, I thought to myself that this is way too much money to spend. Some couples take out a loan to have this kind of a wedding. Some coupled have their wedding paid for by a relative such as the brides parents. No matter how you get the money for your wedding, remember this. You could have a smaller wedding or just a nice simple wedding and take the rest of the money to use for a down payment on a house or something else such as pay off a school loan or other debts. You don't need to go into a marriage owing a lot of money.
Weddings are big money makers for many companies. Actually to get married you only need a few things. They are -
The blood work (Check your state laws because some don't require blood work).
The marriage liscense - Make sure you call city hall to see what is required for you to bring. Some states will require you to be in the state for several days before you can pick up the liscense and some will allow you to pick it up the same day. Also make sure that you know how long a marriage liscense is good for once you get one. You don't want to have a wedding with a liscense that expired a few days before.
The Pastor (Or someone else who is qualified to marry you) Usally you have one Pastor to do the wedding but you can have two. Sometimes the bride and the groom both want their Pastor to marry them. This is a good solution if you can't agree on who you want to marry you. Also be sure to find out what he may charge. Some Pastors have a set fee and some will take whatever you want to pay him. Also remember that if you ask a Pastor to do the ceremony that it will be a religious ceremony. If you don't want God mentioned in the ceremony ask someone else to do the wedding. When I do a wedding God has a big part in the ceremony. We also have several prayers during the ceremony. In one of the prayers we will ask God to bless the couple, their life together and their family.
The date - Make sure that it is a good time for everyone involved in the wedding.
A place to get married. I will refer to the place the wedding is taking place as the church.
I believe that the industry want people to spend too much on engagement and wedding rings. They tell us to spend two months salary on the engagement ring and 3-5% of the total wedding budget on the wedding rings. This means that if you make $25,000 per year that you would spend $4,167 on an engagement ring. If you make $50,000 a year that you would spend $8,334 on a ring for your bride. I don't know about you but I wouldn't let my wife out in public with an $8,000 diamond ring on her finger. I can't imagine what kind of a ring that someone that makes $100,000 or more would buy. You can put your money into other things that you actually need.
Whether you have a big wedding or a small one make out a budget before you even start your planning.
Figure out how much money that you have to work with and stay within that amount of money. If you see that this will be costing more than you have to spend you will have to cut back in some area. Figure out what is important to you and cut back in the other areas where you can. Remember that traditionally the brides parents pay for the wedding. No matter who is paying or who is helping to pay for the wedding, you have to see what is avalible before you start your plannning.
Many parents will will offer to give a certain amount of money that the bride and groom can use for the wedding or can use for other things such as a down payment for the house or to use on the honeymoon.
Things to take care of before the wedding
Don't forget when you are setting things up to get the bussiness cards of everyone that you are dealing with. Even if you are just talking to them about getting information. Their bussiness cards should have their company name, address, phone number, fax number. web site address, e-mail address and the name of the person that you are talking to. If you are just talking to them on the phone or if someone else is talking to someone for you and setting up their services make sure you still get this information. You will be glad later if you need to ask them a question or make any changes.
Don't forget to ask how much experience they have and check out refrences and ask what their payment policies are.
Register for gifts.
Many people now register for gifts at local retail stores. This can make it easy for people to buy something for you as a couple so you don't end up getting 5 toasters for your presents. There are a few basic things to consider if you want to do this.
1. Make it easy for yourself and your guests. Discuss the things that you need and the things that you really want. Make up your list before going to register at the store. Remember that you can ask for the more traditional things such as your kitchen appliances, pots and pans, silverware, towels and washclothes or you can ask for other items such as money, tools, or a digital camera (Which would be great for the honeymoon). Be sure to offer them a wide selection in both the prices and types of gifts that you list. Some people can afford more than others so this will make the people without a lot of money feel good about buying you something.
2. Remember that you can register at two or three stores if you would like. It is a good idea to register at local chain stores. This may make it easier for people to buy for you. Espically since you may have family and friends that don't have the same stores in their area that you have registered at.
3. If you register at an online company, this may be fine with the younger people in your life but there may be many older people that don't know how to buy online and there are many people that don't buy online because they are afraid of someone getting personal information from the site. Many national chain stores will have the regestry in the store and onlins so everyone can buy for you.
4. Register soon after you are engaged but not sooner than nine montht before your wedding day.
5. When listing your items be as specific as you can. List the brand, color, model, size and any other information that may help them to buy what you want. Some stores will show the exact item you want and some will only allow you to put in the discription.
6. See if the company you are registering with has a computer database for tracking which items have been bought so you don't get doubles of any gift. See what kind of exchange or refund policy the store has. See if you can get a list of all of the things that you have registered to make sure that there are no mistakes on the list. You don't want someone to buy something for you only to find out that you never wanted it to start with. You will also verify that they have your correct contact information and mailing address.
7. Get the name of a contact person at the store in case you run into any problems.
8. Remember that according to etiquette your guests have a year to buy you a present so keep your registry active for a year after your wedding day.
The Bridal Gown.
Pick a gown that will flatter you. I have seen some really beautiful dresses that were made by a friend or family member. Make sure that you can afford it. Some people are now buying a wedding dress that they will be able to wear after the wedding. Otherwise your only other option may be to save it for your daughter.
Tux for the groom and the groomsmen or not. Matching suits? Traditionally, the grooomsmen and male family members will follow your lead.
The wedding cake. Almost every wedding will have a wedding cake. This can be a simple sheet cake made by a friend or relative or it can be a big expensive multi leveled cake that costs several hundred dollars. It is up to you. Most people just like wedding cake and don't care just so they get a piece. The cake is usally a big part of the reception. It is something that everyone likes to see and eat.
The wedding invitations
The invitations can be made on your computer or you can order some very expensive ones from a company that specializes in wedding services. The choice is yours.
Guest books are great. Everyone should sign it either at the wedding or the reception. Years later you can look at the guest book and it will bring up many nice memories of the people that showed up.
It is important to have a rehearsal the day before the wedding. This is where the Pastor will go over everything with the wedding party so that everyone knows where to stand and how everything will happen during the actual wedding. It also helps the person in charge of the music to know what songs to play at what time. Usally after the rehearsal they have a rehearsal dinner for the wedding party. Since the brides family traditionally pays for the wedding, the grooms family pays for the rehearsal dinner. This can be as formal or informal as you want it to be. Immediately prior to both the rehearsal and the wedding, no one in the wedding party is to consume any alcoholic beverage, etc. The bride and the groom will be responsible to make this rule known to all other members of the wedding party.
Photographs of the service.
When I do a wedding service I tell the official photographer that they can take the pictures that they want to. They can get behind me to take pictures if they want to. My reasoning is that this is their day and they will cherish these pictures for years to come. I have never had a photographer do anything that I thought was out of place yet so this has not been a problem for me. Please keep in mind that some Pastors have rules concerning pictures during the ceremony based on their experiences. You must conform to his wishes in this matter if you want him to preform your wedding.
There are many kinds of pictures that you will want to have taken at your wedding. Here are a few suggestions for you. These are only suggestions to get you started. You may think of many others to take. Make sure that you make a list of the pictures that you want taken at your wedding. You don't want to be looking at the pictures later and realize that you forgot to take a picture with a parent or special friend. Beleve it or not I was at a wedding where they didn't get a picture of the Grooms mother when taking the family pictures.
Before the wedding you can take these pictures. -
Bride dressing for the wedding.
Bride and bridesmaids putting on makeup.
Mother helping bride put on veil.
Bride looking in a mirror.
Bride putting on the garter.
A close up of the bride�s shoes peeking out from under the dress.
Groom putting on his bow tie.
Pinning on the father's boutonniere.
During the wedding you will want to take these pictures. Remember that during the wedding, timing is everything. -
The Minister, Groom and Best man standing at their spots before the ceremony begins.
The Grandparents being seated.
The Groom's parents being seated.
The Bride's mother being seated.
The Flower girl walking down aisle.
The Ring Bearer walking down aisle.
The Bridesmaids walking down aisle.
The Maid of Honor walking down aisle.
The Father walking the Bride down aisle.
The back of Bride and Father walking down the aisle with the Groom waiting in the distance.
Shot of the audience from the Bride and Groom�s point of view.
The Father giving the Bride away.
The Bride and Groom at altar.
The Bride and Groom exchanging vows.
The Bride and Groom exchanging rings.
Pronouncing them husband and wife.
The Bride and Groom lighting the Unity candle.
The Bride and Groom kissing.
The introduction as a married couple.
The Bride and Groom walking down aisle.
Pictures of receiving line.
The Bride and Groom exiting church.
Guests throwing confetti/rose petals/birdseed.
The Bride and Groom getting into the car (If the reception is at another place).
After the wedding takes place -
You might want to take any pictures of the family first. I was at a wedding that took so long to get to the family pictures that the grandparents left before getting to their pictures. I am sure that in the future the bride and groom will regret not having grandma and grandpa in the pictures.
You can take many of these pictures before the wedding which will save time for everyone between the wedding and the reception. (Remember that any family pictures should include step parents, brothers and sisters.
Bride with her mother.
Bride with her father.
Bride with Both Parents.
Bride with her Grandparents.
Bride with her sisters.
Bride with her brothers.
Bride with her immediate family.
Bride with Maid of Honor.
Bride with her attendants.
Bride with the flower girl and ring bearer .
Groom with his mother.
Groom with his father.
Groom with his Parents.
Groom with his Grandparents.
Groom with his sisters.
Groom with his brothers.
Groom with his Immediate Family.
Groom and the Best Man.
Groom and the Best Man shaking hands.
Groom and the Groomsmen.
The Bride and Groom at the alter.
The Bride, Groom and the Minister .
The Bridal party and the Groomsmen with the Bride and Groom.
Close up picture of the hands showing off the rings.
The two wedding rings inside of a rose or some other flower.
The Bride and Groom gazing at each other.
The Bride and Groom looking out window.
The Bride and Groom gazing at each other in front of a bright window.
The Bride and Groom holding hands.
Close up of the invitation.
The Bride and Groom with special friends.
The Bride and Groom with special relatives.
Here are pictures that you can take at the Reception
Bride & Groom�s table (head table).
Closeup of bride and groom�s place card.
The Parents being announced.
The Wedding Party being announced.
TheBride and Groom being announced.
The Best Man toasting Bride & Groom.
The Bride and Groom's kiss after the toast.
The Wedding Cake.
The Bride and Groom cutting cake.
Feeding the cake to each other.
The kiss after cutting cake.
The Bride tossing her bouquet.
The Groom taking off the garter.
The Groom tossing the garter.
Pictures of the people that caught the bouquet and the garter.
If there is dancing at the reception you would want pictures of the Bride dancing with the Groom. This is usally the first dance.
The Bride dancing with her Father or whoever gave her away at the wedding.
The Groom's dance with mother.
The Guests dancing.
A picture of the band or DJ.
Decorating the car while the Bride and Groom are inside enjoying the reception.
The Couple coming out of the Reception.
The Couple getting in their car.
The Couple driving away.
I hope that this has given you some ideas for your pictures for the wedding.
A place to meet to hold all of the people that you have at the wedding.
I heard of a wedding that filled the church and had standing room only. If this is the case with the place that you want to get married in, make sure that the people coming wouldn't mind standing if they had to. Also make sure that you have plenty of seating for the elderly, the handicaped, and the young that may have trouble standing for the entire ceremony. Also make sure it is available on the day you will need it and reserve it in plenty of time to make sure that someone doesn't reserve it before you do.
Ideas for where you might rent to have your wedding. Any churches, temples or other religious buildings, private homes, parks, beaches, clubs, halls or museums. Remember that if you are having your wedding outside you may need to have a back up plan if the weather won't permit.
Check the reputation of the place that you want to have your wedding and reception. There are places that will double book. You may reserve the room that you want only to find out that the establishment has rented it to someone else and moved you to another room that you may not like as much.
Someone in charge of the wedding music.
Make sure that the person in charge of the music knows which songs you want played while people are being seated, what song will be played for the marching of the wedding procession, any special songs during the wedding, and the exit music. I preformed a wedding where they didn't make everything clear and there ended up being no exit music. Also remember that you don't have to play the traditional "Here comes the Bride" song. I have been to several weddings where they didn't even play traditional wedding music. They played love songs that they really liked instead.
Someone to decorate the place for the wedding.
This can be the bride and friends or family. It really doesn't matter just so the church is decorated before everyone arrives.
Flowers are usally a big part of a wedding. They can add the finishing touches to the outfits of everyone invloved in the wedding. They also will add a lot to the enviornment of the wedding. They should be the same colors as the color theme of your wedding. When you are choosing a florist, you may want to ask them if they have pictures of their work. If you are familiar with their work, you may not have to worry about that. Make sure that they will be able to deliver the flowers you need on the day you need them for the wedding.
A place for the reception after the wedding.
A wedding reception is a party for the couple, their friends and their family to celebrate their union before the couple takes off on their honeymoon. Some people will have the reception at the church fellowship hall. Some people will have it at a banquete hall or at a park. You also need to make sure that you reserve the place you want to have the reception as soon as you are able to.
You can have a place for the reception at a place that will charge you for each person that comes to your reception. They will usally include things like the room for the reception, the food and drinks, and the tables, linens, silverware and chairs. They will usally have a PA system you you and your DJ to use for the event. Examples of these places would be a place such as a restraurant, confrence center, or a hotel.
Or you could have the reception at a place where you will rent the room and you are responsible to provide the food and drinks and possibly everything else that you will need. Most churches will have tables and a few other things for you to use. Examples of these types of places are clubs, parks, private homes, schools or as I already mentioned, churches. You may be able to save some money if you book the wedding and the reception at the same place. It will also make it easier for the guests so they won't have to drive across town.
You may check into the local tourist trap to see if you can hold your reception there and what they may include if you rent something from them.
A DJ or someone else in charge of the music at the reception.
This can be a friend of yours or a professional. Just so they can do a good job for you. Make sure that the music isn't too loud or too soft for the people.
Someone to provide food at the reception.
You can have the food catered in by a professional catering service or some friends or family can take care of it for you. If you want to cut costs you can have a pot luck reception where the guests bring in a bowl or platter of their favorite dish. Many people are starting to do this. I mentioned earlier that you need a budget and that you need to stay within your budget. If you find that it is costing a lot more for the wedding than you thought, a pot luck reception can save you a lot of money for the other things that are really important to you. If you do deceide to have the food catered remember that some catering services will charge extra for pouring coffee or for each slice of cake that they cut.
What is who responsible to pay for?
You may be wondering what you are responsible to pay for and what you are not responsible to pay for concerning the wedding. I have listed what is considered the traditional view of what people pay for. Please remember that you may make any changes to this list that you would like to. This is a guide to help you out.
The Bride and/or her family
The Engagement party
The bridal consultant fees.
The Brides wedding attire.
The wedding invitations, announcements, enclosures, and thank you notes including any postage fees.
Bouquets and corsages for the attendants and flower girl.
The Groom's wedding ring.
Gifts for the bridal party.
The engagement, wedding and reception photos and videography
The brides blood work and physical exam.
The total cost of the wedding ceremony which will include the location, music, and anything else associated with the wedding.
Canopies or aisle runners.
The entire cost of the reception including the DJ and the food.
Transportation for the the bridal party to the wedding and the reception.
Their own clothing and their travel expenses.
The bride's hairstylist and make up artist.
Accommodation for out-of-town Attendants.
The Groom and/or his family.
Accommodation for out-of-town groom's men.
The rehersal dinner.
The Bride's rings including the engagement ring.
The gloves, ties and accessories for the men in the wedding party.
Gifts for the best man and the groom's attendants.
Blood test and physical exam for the groom.
The Bride's bouquet.
The mother's and grandmother's corsages
Flowers for the mothers
Boutonnieres for the attendants and himself
A corsage for the bride's going away outfit
Pay the Pastor.
Courier of Wedding Presents to the Couples New Home
The Bride's Attendants:
Individual gifts for the couple
Their own wedding attire
A shower for the bride
Their own travel expenses
The Grooms Attendants:
Individual gifts for the couple
The bachelor party
Their own wedding attire
Their own travel expenses
Nice additions for the wedding ceremony
The Unity candle
I have loved this tradition ever since I first learned about it and it has been in many of the weddings that I have performed. There are variations to the unity candle but the one that I like the most would be like this. You have a three branched candlestick on the alter of the church where the couple is being married. When the brides parents come up to be seated they light one of the candles. When the grooms parents come up to be seated they light the candle on the other side leaving the center candle unlighted. After the Pastor pronounces the couple to be man and wife they step over to the candles. The groom takes the candle which was lit by his parents and the bride takes the candle lit by her parents and they light the center candle and blow out their individual candles. The Pastor then asks the groom to kiss the bride and they leave together as the ressional song is being played.
The Memorial candle
If you would like to remember any loved ones such as a parent, grandparent or a friend who has passed on you may want to have a memorial candle in your service. In this ceremony you can honor specific people who are no longer with us. You can also have a general acknowledgement of any loved ones who are not able come to the wedding. The memorial candle can be lit just before any guests arrive to the wedding or right before the unity candle ceremony. You can light the candle at any other time during the wedding that you and your officiate may deceide on. There is apparently no set time for this ceremony in the wedding. The placement of the candle will depend on how the church is built and where the wedding ceremony will be taking place. Many times the candle is placed on a small table at the front and to the side of where the wedding is taking place. It may also be placed at the entry way if there is plenty of room. It will usally have pictures of the loved ones on the table with the candle. You can have two candles if you would like so that you have one for each side of the family. Someone will say a brief statement about the loved ones being remembered. There may be some music played at this time. The bride and groom go together to light the candle.
Here is the best way to use the memorial candle that I have heard of. Have a candle on each side of the table with the pictures of the loved ones to be remembered with the candles. The brides loved ones on one side and the grooms loved ones on the other side of the table with the unlit unity candle in the middle of the table. When it is time for the parents to be seated, have the brides parents light the candle for her family and have the grooms parents light the candle for his family. At the appropriate time in the wedding service the bride and groom light the unity candle from the memorial candles. This way even the loved ones who have passed on have a part in the wedding ceremony.
Here are some wedding traditions that you may have heard of.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
This is a popular rhyme that has been used since Victorian times. The "something old" represents the bond to the bride's family and her old life; "something new" represents the couple's new life together and their future hope for happiness, prosperity and success; "something borrowed" from a happily married woman is meant to impart similar happiness to the bride; and "something blue" represents fidelity and constancy.
Throwing Rice at the couple
Throwing rice at the couple is an ancient tradition. Rice is considered a "life giving" seed and it is thought that by throwing in on the couple they will be bestowed with fertility and have many children. Many churches now don't allow throwing rice on their property because it is not supposed to be good for the birds that will come along and eat it and it can be a mess to clean up. However there are some alternatives to throwing rice .
You could try throwing bird seed. Many people like this because it provides a meal for our feathered friends.
Blowing bubbles is also becoming very popular. Small children espically seem to enjoy this new tradition.
Throwing rose petals is really romantic for some couples. This can be a mess to clean up and it can be expesive to make sure that you buy enough petals for everyone present at the wedding.
Sparklers. I have heard that if you have a wedding late in the day so it is dark or if you are getting married on a holiday such as July the 4th that this can be a great way to celebrate.
The Reception - It can last anywhere from thirty minutes to several hours. Just make sure that you give good directions to the place as I have been to weddings where people have gotten lost on the way to the reception. That can really ruin a persons experience at your wedding.
Usally at some point during the reception the bestman will give a toast wishing the couple a great future together. Others in the wedding party may also offer up a toast including the father of the bride and the maid of honor.
This is an option which many people have depending on their views on dancing. For people that have this option, there are usally several dances that are included in the reception.
The first dance usally belongs to the bride and groom.
They usally will have a dance where the bride dances with her father. After the groom finishes his dance with the bride he may escort her over to her father for their dance.
The money dance- This is where you pay money to dance with the bride or groom at the reception. Many couples use this money to help pay for the honeymoon.
After the money dance they will invite everyone to come to the dance floor who wants to dance.
Cutting the cake
After the meal the couple will usally cut a small piece of cake and feed it to each other. After this they will cut cake for the guests.The cake is usally at least two teirs tall with a statue of a bride and groom standing on top of it. Often times they will have a sheet cake to cut for the guests also. The very top of the cake is usally sent home with the bride and groom to be put in the freezer. Then they will eat a slice on their anniversary for several years or just finish it off on their first anniversary. If I were you I would not smash the cake in each others faces. I have been to weddings where at least one person got pretty mad at the other one. One brides mother got pretty upset at the groom at their wedding because of this.
Many people have a bar at their reception where you can buy drinks. I personally do not like the idea of serving alcohol at the reception. I would feel pretty bad if I knew that someone had a few drinks at my wedding or reception and then was involved in an accident. I have just seen too many problems that result from drinking alcohol. You may also have a friend or relative that won't go to a wedding or receception if they serve alcohol. There are many weddings that don't allow alcohol. If a couple has their reception in the fellowship hall of a church that I am pastoring, they know that there will be no alcohol allowed on the property. If you do want to have alcohol at your reception be sure to remember that these days the host of the party may be held legally responsible for the conduct and safty of their guests. Make sure that no one gives alcohol to a minor at your reception.
Decorating the car
It is a tradition for people to decorate the bride and grooms car sometime during the reception with things like just married written on the side of the car and streamers all over it. Some stores even have wedding car decorating kits that you can buy if you are interested. Some people go to great lengths to pull a lot of practical jokes on them while decorating the car. Be careful how far you go and what you do to the car. While they were decorating my car they tied aluminum cans to our back bumper. My brother also tied another set of cans to the car and tucked them up under the car where they couldn't be seen. When we got to a local hotel we cut off the cans and thought all was well. On the next day as we were headed to our destination we were on the interstate talking when we were pulled over by an irrate police officer. It seems our cans had fallen down and were being dragged along just like the ones that I had cut off the night before. Only thing was that these cans were coming off of the string and almost hit the car following us. The police officer stated that the man behind us had to swerve to miss the cans and almost had an accident. I was shocked and told him that I had cut off the cans the day before and at first he didn't believe me. He finally let us go after we cut off the remaining cans. Also remember that it is against the law in some areas to even tie cans on the back of a car.
Organizing and paying for the honeymoon have been the traditional responsibility of the groom. Make it a place that will be fun for you and your new bride. You may be able to go to a theme park or you may only be able to go to a local fun spot in the area.
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