The Legend of St. Valentine
Because we are in the business of LOVE and in particular, weddings, we thought it would be nice to give a couple of accounts of where the legend of this world famous special day comes from. There are many legends and folk lore about the story of St Valentine. Here are just two...
The history of Valentine's Day
The story of its patron saint--is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl--possibly his jailor's daughter--who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and--most importantly--romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
No matter how much a wedding cost, there's one factor that doesn't change. The details are the most important factor.
Paying particular attention to the little things are what makes the big things look great. For instance, clear, inexpensive drinks dispensers cost approximately $20 each. However, look at value added when placed at the ceremony site before the wedding for guests to have a fruit infused water beverage on hot summer days.
Another example is the bridal bouquets. Doesn't matter what type of flowers a bride chooses, if the handle is wrapped with a tad bit more embellishment, it could make a huge difference.
Not all event venues provide ceiling draping and indeed, it can run more than $1,000. Drawing your guests attention to a beautiful ceiling treatment instead of poles and canvas tops will alleviate more expensive decorations that you'll buy to make your wedding stand out from the crown (even on a lower budget).
In this industry, we are constantly learning from our peers and inspired by top designers. The Bridal Library Design series give each participant ideas to use for a lifetime of planning beautiful weddings.
How many times have we all been told "Its all about the Bride"? Is that really the case nowadays?
A lot has to do with the way we have been conditioned to think. For decades, marketing companies have focused their attention on the bride, mainly due to the fact that (and I'm sorry Ladies) women really hold the purse strings when it comes to wedding spending. Or at least thats the way it used to be. Daddy made sure his little girl had the wedding she always dreamed of. And let's face it, most little girls have always dreamt of being a bride at least once in their lives. They've pictured themselves walking down that long aisle in a flowing white wedding gown with fresh flowers and beautiful wedding invitations. Websites like The Knot have brides scanning page after page of design and decor in hopes of getting a jump start on ideas ahead of the game. The dreams may change as they grow older, but they're still there, even if under the pretense of 'looking for a friend'.
But what about guys? The Bridal Library would love to find a published poll out there to see how many men actually dream about their wedding day. We do know that men dream about the 'type of girl they'll settle down with' (even though some may not admit to this). And what we also know as planners is that around 75% of men, contrary to popular belief, also want to be involved in the wedding planning. Some may want more hands-on involvement than others and some would just like to know where to start.
According to a recent story by ABC News, men are not only stepping up to the wedding plate, but are also turning into Groomzillas. This is a great story on men who take the initiative and actually plan everything from the proposals (even hiring professional proposal planners) to planning everything to do with their weddings. Some take it to extremes.
Judging by all the recent development of wedding planning sites out there for men, it is clear that men are actively getting more involved in the wedding itself and helping make serious decisions. Because most are also paying for the wedding, they want to know where their money is going. Online advice columns guide the groom-to-be on things to discuss at vendor meetings, wedding costs, budgeting and all the formalities before, during and even after the wedding. Sites like GROOMS TURN and GROOM POWER cover everything from planning tips to a Groom's Registry to help with gifts that the 'little man of the house' can enjoy after the celebrations are complete.
So what spurred this change in the way men are becoming involved? Our guess is that the recent surge of online activity making it easier for men to research wedding planning has helped.
Also, the fact that couples are waiting a bit longer to get married as well as contributing financially (more now than ever before) to pay for the celebrations, plays a big role in the groom wanting and needing to know more about the big day.
When a couple have been living together for more than a year and plan a wedding together, it just makes common sense that the groom should be involved in the planning process. According to THE PLUNGE,
This site was probably the most humorous as well as containing useful information a guy can relate to.
Other sites such as Groom Bug and Dex Knows help grooms plan everything from vetting the vendors to choosing the perfect songs. Some of our favorite sites are the ones that put more emphasis on proposals, choosing rings and choosing the perfect honeymoon. The Man Registry and Huffington Post's Groom's Guide to Honeymoons is no doubt the most informative sites online and covers formalities as well as pleasantries and wedding etiquette.
Its a new day in wedding planning and we think its time to 'move over brides-to-be' and make way for the 'blushing groom'.
When the Bridal Library educates others on the art of planning and design, we try to encompass all the elements of the 'from this day forward' concept. The pre-ceremony setup, the ceremony itself and of course all those little extra touches for the reception that combines the personalities of the couple as well as those loved ones they wish involved. It's what we love most about the Bridal Library course segment, "It's all about the details". Students learn how to look for components that will work as well as how to add in the extra special touches that are unexpected and yet so appreciated.
When Caila and Bill decided to hold their Destination Wedding in Charleston, they also had specific ideas about the theme. As you can tell, the bride loved pink tones. She also loved vintage lace, doilies and antique touches. The sweet southern backdrop of a local plantation home provided the beautiful setting that incorporated items from the bride and groom's childhood and family memories.
The bride supplied antique candelabras. Childhood photos of the couple and family members adorned the guest book table along with other keepsakes.
The groom's grandmother crocheted the beautiful doilies that were placed throughout the reception site as well as the gorgeous pin cushion pictured above. Even the antique pin was added to bring an extra cherished element.
The bride's gown was made of English Lace. Designer Elyn Rahman pulled left over fabric from the bride's alterations on her wedding gown and used the left over fabric to wrap the bride's bouquet. Extra lace was incorporated into the handle of the bridal bouquet and matching pedestal floral arrangements were created with similar lace fabric to carry out the theme into the guest seating area at the reception. These were used on each table alongside the bridesmaid's bouquets in different vintage glassware to provide a dramatic effect to each table.
The couple are big sweet lovers. It was no surprise that they chose Artistic Cakes by Linda to create their wedding cake with three layers of different cake flavors. If you look real close, you'll note the lace design on the cake that is also made up of B's and C's (for Bill and Caila). Very subtle and special. The hanging chandelier in the background mimicked the upside down shape of the cake and held a matching cake-topper.
Antique Mason Jars held whimsical flowers in them with streaming color coordinated ribbon that were used to line the ceremony aisle on shepherd's hooks. They were later pulled, had lights dropped in and used to line the staircase to light the way up and down the stairs at the venue. To break up the florals, peacock feathers were put in every other jar going up the steps.
We love happy endings. Caila & Bill were just adorable and we remember fondly your day and loved being a part of it all.
Captured by Kate Photography for the gorgeous images captured during the wedding day
Elyn Rahman Design and decor
Artistic Cakes by Linda - Wedding Cake
The Bridal Library - Planning & Coordination
This wedding reception showcased a small seated dinner reception with dancing afterwards in a separate room. The lighting in the room was dimmed to create a magical romantic ambience. The Bridal Library loves candlelight. Who doesn't? However, candles alone were not enough for this setting.
For larger events, leave the lighting to the professionals who specialize in electrical logistics. However, for smaller wedding receptions, there are endless ways of creating the 'look' with little effort. It just takes a bit of imagination and tricks of the trade.
During Bridal Library Design Series workshops, you'll be put to the challenge to create your own reception setting, complete with lighting elements (supplies included). This is a fun hands-on workshop where you'll be placed in teams. Winners take home their creations.
When candles aren't enough, touches of additional lighting makes a huge difference.
Thanks to Richard Bell Photography for taking such fabulous photos of our events.
A friend sent me an article that was posted in a newspaper about a new trend called B-List Invitations. Yes folks, there are people out there who are actually sending out B-List Invitations! What would Emily Post say to that? Shock, horror and all that jazz!
For those who aren't aware, wedding invitations are sometimes divided up into two categories.
There are of course, reasons why brides use a B-list and some are justified. Here are just a few:
I know I'll ruffle some feathers here but at the end of the day, just pick up the phone and talk to people you care about. Explain to them that your budget or venue only allows for a certain amount of guests and while you wish you could invite everyone, you simply cannot. Don't blame your fiancé or your family members or your wedding planner. Just be honest with people. Those that assume they will get an invitation (co-workers and old friends who you haven't been in touch with since grade school) should not put you in a position of explaining. Should they be rude enough to insist they be invite, then they'll be able to take the truth. Those who are true friends, will understand and will appreciate the honesty much more than an invitation letting them know they're an 'after-thought'.
The correct way of sending secondary invitations out is with time enough between the first tiered invites and the RSVP date. If you are hosting a Destination Wedding, it is customary to send the invitations out as far as 3-4 months in advance (to allow guests to look into travel, accommodations, etc.). It's not unheard of to even send them 6 months for overseas weddings. Traditional invitations are sent 8-12 weeks ahead of time to allow time for RSVPs to arrive back in time. (This is providing you don't have to call a good 1/3rd of the guests on your list to beg them to send the RSVP back).
Within the first 2-3 weeks of your invitations being sent out, you will soon receive RSVPs and phone calls. You can then address your B-List one at a time. Remember, a dead giveaway is sending the B-List invitation too close to the RSVP date.
Styles, Picture of Wedding Hairstyles and Haircuts. There are enough things going on around you during the planning stages of a wedding and the last thing a lot of brides think about is doing a trial run for her wedding day hairstyle.
A lot of brides just take it for granted that the person that cuts their hair will be doing their hair on their wedding day, only to find out that their hairstylist only does cut and color and really does not feel comfortable with 'updos'. Or perhaps they do not travel or are already booked on your wedding date.
So... you see where this is going? It's really about planning. Even your hairstyle needs to be planned out so you be confident that you will look and feel your best on your wedding day.
There are also a lot of other things to think about that may effect your decision on 'how' you will wear your hair on the big day. For instance,
I am officially the Mother of the Bride Ladies and Gentlemen. I am also experiencing things my clients have suffered throughout the years, especially where it comes to registering for the wedding gifts. Things are different than they were years ago.
1. A wedding years ago signified the beginning of life together, so you started the moving-in process with the wedding. The bridal registry was set up to help the couple start their home together.
2. 79% of couples today usually have lived together for more than a year and have most of their every day household products, including items for entertaining (china, glassware and serving accessories). Some have already inherited the family crystal and china already.
So what's left? Buying a new house together and furnishing it with light fixtures, new kitchens, bathrooms, garden furniture. Not the type of wedding gifts guests think about when it comes to a gift registry. However, more and more couples (my daughter and her fiancé included) are using more practical methods of using a bridal registry.
Online shopping is becoming the 'way to go' nowadays and nothing could be simpler than turning on the computer and clicking the mouse on a dollar amount on a chosen bridal registry and then clicking the 'submit' button. Even Amazon.com has caught on to the wedding registry business and offer a great service to those shopping for every day items.
However, what we seem to forget is that it is actually difficult for a couple to come up with a 'wish list'. It is hard for them to ask guests to shop for them, especially for high dollar items that they genuinely may need. Thus the birth of the Cash Gift Registries.
If I had a nickel for every time a couple asked me if it was acceptable to ask for CASH, I could have bought a small island somewhere. Let's be clear here. It is NOT acceptable to ask for money, no matter how close you are with family members and friends. There are guests like myself who get it and will give monetary gifts without having to be asked. However, it is not okay to assume this and certainly inappropriate to ask.
There are however, online registries that fix this problem (although true etiquette still suggests otherwise) and have found a way to break the mold. Yes, you can now send your guests to an online cash registry site and have your guests donate money towards your new home improvements, honeymoon get-a-way or down-payment for the home of your dreams.
Sites such as Traveler's Joy.com and Our Wishing Well.com (both below) allow couples to pull cash for things that they can truly use. Both sites have seen good reviews from companies like The Knot, Wedding Wire and online wedding industry leaders.
While some of these registries come with a price (all these sites charge for their services of course), it is cash that the couple would not have had otherwise to begin with. The couple have the money to spend on things they really need.
However couples need to read the fine print and also beware of tax laws in different states. A recent article in the Washington Times stating,
We had such fun with this outdoor wedding. Fuchsia dominated, even with the bridesmaids shoes. Best advice we can give is don't be afraid of using color once you've decided on the right one for the bride. Bringing out the couple's personalities in other elements is what its all about.
Photos copyrighted and courtesy of the Bridal Library.
Elyn Rahman has been designing beautiful weddings for two decades. In her design series, she gives insight, ideas and practical advice for those who wish to plan weddings as a career. In this blog, she shares just a few of her creations. She shares some of her personal favorites during her hands-on workshops in the design series.