Friday, October 29, 2010

What a Renewal of Vows Meant to One Couple...

I was contacted by a man who wanted to surprise his wife with a Vow Renewal ceremony. He had no access to e-mail and also was not very forthcoming with details so the entire ceremony was up to me to 'create'!

I have to tell you that this couple will stay in my heart and mind for the rest of my days. I knew from my initial conversation with him that they didn't have much money so I made an 'Executive Decision' and considerably decreased my fee. The husband still had a hard time explaining to the Little Woman where the money went that he sent to me! He told lots of tall stories. In fact, she thought, as I walked in the door, that I was delivering her new Chihuahua.

They were having a family birthday party so in their small apartment there were food trays arranged in the Dining Room and in the Living Room the furniture had been moved to their bedroom and some folding chairs had been set up.

He met us in the parking lot and we walked in the door. I walked in and said “Which one of you lovely ladies is Rose?” Rose stood up and shakily said “Me?” I walked over, took her hand and said "I'm Rev. Melanie Maxell and I'm a Wedding Minister. Your husband has invited me here today to do a Vow Renewal ceremony for you."

Of course she was speechless and burst into tears. In the meantime, her husband came out of the bedroom with a huge bouquet of red roses for her. Turns out that they had a small Justice of the Peace wedding 12 years before. Rose’s health had been declining and she almost died the year before from a stroke. They had always wanted a big wedding and just could never afford it. He decided to give her something she would remember.

I told her to take a few moments to compose herself - change her clothes if she wanted to and to let me know when she was ready. They LOVED the ceremony I put together for them and insisted we stay to have a bite of lunch with them! They didn't have much but there was certainly an abundance of LOVE that made up for anything else that was lacking!

I will never forget that day and am Honored to have participated in their Love!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Carbon Neutral Weddings

Rev. Heather Kotok says: Carbon Neutral Weddings can be a wonderful way to bring the blessings of our Planet’s Vitality into your lives together. Being aware of all the energy that goes into planning your wedding, educating your friends and family to the impact and honoring the Earth by giving back all that it took to create your event, gives more to your friends and family's future on this beautiful planet than could ever go into words.

There are many options in having a Carbon Neutral Wedding. Reducing your carbon need is the first thing to look at. Going local with your suppliers is one way to reduce carbon output. Local suppliers are good to look into supporting because endorsing your local businesses supports your local economy and community.

Some products are better sought within the local region they naturally come from, as the amount of energy spent transporting is less then the energy used to generate in a climate that is not naturally conducive to production.

Having your wedding at a location that all ready is using green energy is helpful and fun, but not necessary. Simply asking locations if they use green energy motivates businesses to go green. As the trend from the consumer encourages businesses to be aware of their energy use, businesses will naturally begin to change.

Asking the location to provide eco friendly products from cleaning supplies to decorations will encourage the change to take place, hence, your contribution to the world will greatly multiply. Ask your wedding manager if they can recommend products they have researched that are both eco friendly and comparable in cost for your vendors to use for your event that will minimize your carbon footprint.

One way to off set the energy usage is to incorporate the carbon offsets into your wedding decorations. Planting trees is a useful way to offset carbon. Have guests write a blessing for the Bride and Groom on a small sheet of paper provided next to your guest book with a box in which to place the blessing. Have a tree planting ceremony at some point during the reception where the guest's blessings are planted along with the trees. Small trees could also be used as part of your centerpieces or aisle decorations.

There are companies who will plant trees to commemorate your special day as well. Donate to your local companies who are helping to formulate green energy for your community. Perhaps you may want to let your guests have to option to give to green energy production companies of your choice in place of your gifts if they wish.

A good way to communicate these ideas are through a wedding blog or website that keeps your guests informed of your wishes and the thoughts you have in wishing this for your wedding blessing. There are several free websites and blogs you may create on line to choose from.

Choosing to work with companies that support Organic, Fair Trade, Eco Friendly, Sustainable, and Green vendors will be more than helpful in helping you to have a Carbon Neutral Wedding.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Consider a Seasonal Bouquet

When planning for a large gathering such as a wedding, florists are often just as unsure about the price as you are until well into the process. Karen Perry, owner of The Master's Bouquet in Bakersfield, Calif., which services over 100 weddings and big events each year, says that she offers "ballpark figures" during the initial consultation meeting, but that many variables affecting cost often don't come into play until later.
For example, flower arrangements for a recent wedding originally estimated at $2,000 ended up costing a total of $5,000, Perry says, after the clients added centerpieces for the reception and asked for some additional upgrades.
Knowing what you want ahead of time helps, since last-minute changes can factor heavily in the billing for big orders. Prices can be kept in check more easily when clients communicate their budget up front and ask for an itemized copy of the bill from the start, says Walter Fedyshyn, vice president of the American Institute of Floral Designers.

Another tip for trimming costs: Opt for flowers that are in season, like astors or zinnias in the summer and carnations or lilies in the winter.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Get me to the (Fill in the blank________) on Time!!

Did the last wedding you attended start on time - probably not! If you were sitting in the bright, hot summer sun, you were probably wishing you had worn your cool and comfortable sunflower sun-dress instead of the sleek black one that does such a great job of accentuating all your Positive attributes! How about the babies that were fussy or the elderly guests that were looking pretty wilted - they were probably as uncomfortable as you, or worse!

If you want to be remembered as a Bride that was considerate of all her guests, PLEASE, put yourself in their position. Would you want to be waiting 20 - 30 minutes (or more) with no idea about what is holding up the ceremony ~ sitting in the sun, rain, cold or heat tends to put a damper on anyone’s enthusiasm, no matter how much they love and adore you!

Take some time to plan out the entire ceremony and share the details with everyone that needs to know. Even if you are working with a Wedding Coordinator, it is your responsibility to make certain the wedding party, your parents and in-laws know when to arrive at the chosen venue and to provide specific directions, to the ceremony site, once they have reached the location. Also, make certain your Officiant has been provided with detailed directions, too!

If you remember these simple tips, you will have Guests that are thrilled to be sharing your day and will remember you as considerate and courteous - wishing more Brides were just like You!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Your Marriage Ceremony

Above all else - whatever words you choose for your ceremony, I believe what is most important is that it is the expression of your love for, and commitment to, each other.

Following are some of the basic components of a Wedding Ceremony. When you reserve your ceremony with me, I will provide you with my Vow Builder which includes various elements of a ceremony which you may choose to use to "construct" your own ceremony. I also furnish numerous ceremonies which are complete from start to finish to give you an idea of the direction in which you may like your ceremony to flow...

Basic Parts of a Wedding Ceremony
* The Presenting of the Bride (Often by their Families)
* Words of Welcome
* Opening Words
* Prayer (Optional)
* Words on Love or Marriage
* Declaration
* Vows
* The Exchange of Rings
* Ring Blessing
* Thank You to Family and Friends
* Benediction
* Pronouncement of Marriage
* First Kiss
* Introduction of Mr. And Mrs. .....

Optional Inclusions
* Honoring Absent Family Members
* These Hands Ceremony
* Roses to Mothers
* Unity Candle (best suited for inside locations)
* Unity Sand Ceremony (better suited for outside venues)
* Readings, either Religious or Secular
* Children Ceremony - If either of you have children, this part of the ceremony acknowledges those children as part of your union - your family.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Special Observance Ceremonies

The unity candle is one of most well known side ceremonies in the wedding. It is usually done with 2 taper candles and 1 large candle. The tapers are lit before the ceremony, sometimes by the mothers of the bride and groom. During the ceremony the bride and groom take the tapers and light the middle candle signifying 2 people becoming one family unit. Sometimes other candles can be lit in honor of children in the family. A unity candle in an outdoor ceremony can sometimes be a challenge. We recommend a tea light in a votive holder to be lit and on the table in case the wind blows out the tapers. A blown out candle in no way reflects on the future of the marriage.

The sand ceremony can be an alternative to a unity candle for some couples. Containers are needed, one container to pour the sand into, and smaller containers that you pour the sand from. Plain or colored sand can be found at numerous craft stores (as well as online) or can be sand from beaches from prior vacation destinations. This ceremony can be created for just the couple or can include as many people as they desire. The bride and groom pour their two containers of sand into the vessel simultaneously. A small amount of sand can be left in each container to symbolize that although the couple is joined, each remain individuals. If desired, other family members can be asked to pour a container of sand into the vessel. There is a ceremony that is read while the sand is poured.

Hand fasting appears in most cultures in one form or the other, and in many major religions. Its meaning is essentially the same from culture to culture and religion to religion, in that it is symbolic of the couple's "oneness" and unity. The form we use is basically Celtic. We have the bride and groom place their hands on top of each other, and then four separate cords are loosely tied, each cord representing something different. We have also made a "sandwich" of hands when a couple has children they want to include in the ceremony as a symbol that everybody is now tied together as a family.

The rose ceremony is used to thank or honor guests or family members. A rose or other flower is handed to the honored person in the gathering. Usually the reason for the rose presentation is written into the ceremony. In one ceremony, the roses were given to the co-workers in honor of a co-worker who had just passed away. Many times it is used to thank Mothers, Parents and/or grandparents for being there for the couple throughout their lives.

The wine unity ceremony. Three glasses, one empty, one with white wine and one with red wine are placed on a table. At the same time, the bride pours the white wine, while the groom pours the red wine into the empty glass. They then sip from the glass.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Creating a Successful Marriage

The number one predictor of marriage difficulty is the chronic avoidance of conflict. What's sad is the reason that we avoid conflict is because we believe it (conflict) causes divorce. It's like the cartoon where the couple explains to the marriage counselor, "We never talk anymore. We figured out that's when we do all our fighting."

In the beginning, we avoid conflict because we are in love and we believe that
"staying in love" is about agreeing, about NOT fighting. We're afraid that if we disagree - or fight - we'll run our marriage off into the ditch.

Successful couples are those who know how to discuss their differences in ways that actually strengthen their relationship and improves intimacy. Successful couples know how to contain their disagreements – how to keep them from spilling over and contaminating the rest of their relationship.

While it's true that we don't get married to handle conflict, if a couple doesn't
know how – or learn how – to fight or disagree successfully, they won't be able to do all the other things they got married to do. Put another way, it's hard to take her out to the ball game if you're not speaking. Couples are often so determined to avoid disagreements that they shut down – quit speaking.

Couples need to know the research and understand that every happy, successful couple has approximately ten areas of "incompatibility" or disagreement that they will never resolve. Instead, they learn how to manage the disagreements and live life "around" them – to love in spite of their areas of difference.

The good news is that the skills or behaviors – behaviors for handling disagreement and conflict, for integrating change, and for expressing love, intimacy, support and appreciation – can all be learned. Couples can unlearn the behaviors that destroy love – and replace them with behaviors that keep love alive.

Successful couples also model the skills for their children which will slow the divorce rate in future generations. "Don't tell us how to have a good marriage, show us."