Tag: Planning

Tossing the garter has been a wedding tradition since at least the 16th century.  Originally a means of proving that the wedding had been consummated, it has changed in modern times to be a bit of light-hearted naughtiness near the end of the wedding reception.

The groom removes the garter from the bride’s thigh and tosses it to the waiting groomsmen.  It is not unusual for the groomsmen to encourage the groom to remove the garter with his teeth.  If you don’t mind some cat-calls and rowdy behavior, the garter throw can be fun and entertaining.

But if this does not appeal to you for any reason, there is nothing to stop you from saying no to the toss.

If you decide not to do a garter toss, make sure the groom is agreeable to your decision and lets his groomsmen know ahead of time that there will be no garter toss.  This will save you the embarrassment of having the men egging the groom on and making you uncomfortable.

Can you wear a garter and not do a toss? Absolutely.  A blue garter is often worn by the bride to fulfill the old saying, “ Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”.   Many brides feel that a lacy garter completes her wedding look, even though it wont be seen by anyone but the groom.

Does it have to be blue?  No.  In fact, a quick search for wedding garters on line turned up everything from traditional white and blue lace garters to Tweetie Bird and Guns & Roses garters.

Wear them or don’t wear them.  Toss them or don’t toss them.  It really is up to you.

Here are a couple informative links:



Though the tradition of tossing a bouquet to women guests at a wedding has been around for a while, that does not mean that you are obliged to do so.

If this is an activity you look forward to, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t go ahead with it.  However, if there are any considerations you have that make you less than excited about the bouquet toss, you should take those concerns seriously.

If you have seen one too many (one is enough) bouquet tosses where the supposedly “just for fun” activity has turned into a pushing and shoving brawl between ladies behaving badly, you might be hesitant to proceed.  Are some of your bridesmaids and other female guests likely to get a little rambunctious after the champagne has been flowing? Will you and your guests find their behavior entertaining or embarrassing? It’s something to consider.

There are several good reasons for keeping the bridal bouquet, not the least of which is that you would like to keep it as a reminder of a wonderful day.  Or you may wish to present it to someone special; your maid of honor, your mother or grandmother, your new mother-in-law (make sure you tell your own mom about that plan first) or to the couple who attends your wedding who have been married the longest.

If you are planning on the toss, you might like to consider an alternative to the basic bridal bouquet. Your florist can supply you with a break-away bouquet that can be separated into several (usually three) small bouquets just as it is tossed.  It provides a bit of surprise and more than one of your friends can end up with a bouquet. Or, use one section for the toss, keep one for yourself, and present one to a special person.

What you do with your bouquet is up to you.  Keep it, toss it, pull out individual flowers to give to guests, or let your five year old cousin “decorate” with it.  It really is your choice.

Although you may have everyone at your wedding that you really wish to include, don’t be surprised if your parents have a whole other list of people who they want to share their joy at your being married with.

This list could include their neighbors, close friends, church or temple members, every teacher you ever had, the people they work with and even their favorite clerk at the grocery store who has seen you grow from an infant to an adult.

These are the people your folks talk to about you, even just in passing. And even if they only saw you occasionally or not at all since you left for college, the navy or your stint with Greenpeace, they feel like they know you and they share your parents joy.

Many parents will want to plan an at home meet and greet sometime in the first few months after the wedding.  Don’t be surprised if both sets of parents wish to do this.

Let your parents decide how formal or informal this get together will be, set the menu and the date and tell you when to show up.   This is their opportunity to host their friends and show off their new son or daughter in law.

Your job is to show up early enough to greet the first guests and stay until you have had a chance to meet and talk to all the guests. You may not remember any of these folks, they may not be your generation, and they may hug you too hard, smear your cheeks with red lipstick and tell you for the third time how they remember how cute you were in 4th grade, but they all care about you.

So relax, have a glass of champagne, look around the room, and realize how lucky you are that so many people are so happy for you.

If you have decided to include young children as your wedding guests a little pre-planning can make the difference between a pleasant experience for you and all your guests or a headache of mammoth proportions for everyone including the tiny tots.

Having children at your event can be a pleasant and memorable experience for all involved if you plan ahead and keep in mind the needs and limitations of your youngest guests.

If your ceremony is going to be longer than half an hour, consider having a sitter for the children until the reception.  Make sure you provide age appropriate activities and games to keep them occupied.  Children get hungry at the most inconvenient times and there is no way to keep a hungry child happy. Providing a fun, wedding themed snack can also be a big help in keeping the kids from becoming cranky or lonely for mom and dad.

Seat tots with their parents at the reception.  They will be more comfortable there.

Don’t expect them to eat the standard reception fare or just snack off their parent’s plates.  Grilled asparagus and mustard crusted chicken are not kid friendly foods. See if your caterer can provide small, child friendly meals for your young guests.  They wont eat much, but they will need something they can enjoy.

Provide distractions at the tables.  Coloring pages and a small box of crayons, small stuffed animals or age appropriate (non-noisy) toys can go a long way to keep them occupied until the cake is served.

You may want to provide a sitter who can take the children for a stroll around the grounds or on a scavenger hunt (if appropriate) or to a separate room for activities during the time set aside for toasts, introductions and the first dance.  Think about which parts of the reception would have bored you silly as a child and let that be your guideline.

Letting the children leave the reception for a while will break up the time for them and also give their parents an opportunity to chat with the other adults in a more relaxed fashion.

Keep your expectations realistic.  Don’t cringe when a tiny voice peeps up with “I have to go potty…NOW”.  Let the parents deal with that, smile, and get on with having a great time.

You can easily go on line and find numerous lists of what the bride and grooms parents are traditionally responsible for and what costs the happy couple are expected to take on for themselves.

It is also clear that as more couples are waiting to wed until they are well established financially, the old guidelines do not need to be so closely observed.

If you are reading this, you are probably already spending time trying to make some sense of what to expect from your parents, and what they might be expecting from you.

Unless you are just finishing school or have just landed your first job, the idea of Mom and Pop covering all expenses is probably a bit unrealistic.  More and more established couples want the latitude to make important decisions about their weddings which comes with taking on more of the cost of the wedding themselves.

So how do you figure out what is affordable and who will help with what? The first thing you need to do is come up with a basic guideline of what you really want in the way of a wedding: How extravagant? How many guests?  How big a reception?  What type of location?

Get those ducks in order and then its time to talk to both sets of parents, present your vision, let them know what you think (realistically) it will cost and then ask if they would be able to help you out.  Don’t ask for a specific amount of money and don’t ask for an immediate commitment.

You may find that you will not be able to have the wedding you have been dreaming of based on the financial help your parents can provide.  Be gracious for whatever help they can give you.  With a little downsizing and a few adjustments, you can still have a day you will always remember, and no one will feel the poorer for it.

If you haven’t already made plans to attend the 2012 Bridal Expo at the Cocoanut Grove in Santa Cruz, there is still time to get it onto your calendar.

This year the Expo is on Sunday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fashion show will take place in the spectacular glass ceilinged Sun Room overlooking the Monterey Bay.

This is a great opportunity to check out Santa Cruz area caterers, florists, and everything that you might need for your wedding.

So mark the date, grab a few friends and mom too, and head on down for a fun and informative day by the beach.

Visit http://cocoanutgrovesantacruz.com/public-events/bridalexpo/

It is not unusual for modern couples to start a family without deciding to get married first, and the number of couples doing just that is increasing.  Attitudes about marriage have changed quickly and dramatically in the last few decades.  Whether you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant for the first time in the middle of making your wedding plans or you and your beloved have three children and another on the way, pregnancy does not mean you must either rush into a quiet private wedding or apologize to anyone for your choice of lifestyle before deciding to say “I do” in a formal setting.

Planning a wedding is a big deal for any bride-to-be and even more challenging for the expectant bride. So here are a few things to consider as you set your sights on the big day.

Do your homework.  Will the officiant you hope to use or the organization that runs the location you prefer for your wedding, especially if it is a religious site, object to your very public, (and obvious) declaration of love in your condition? Get that taken care of before you lock in your caterer or send invitations.

Can you wear white?  You bet your butt you can.  The symbolism of white representing virginity for the bride is still a fairly recent concept and falling out of favor fast.  If your cousin Sophie can wear white for her third wedding, why shouldn’t you?  Then again, if you think white is boring, this is an excellent opportunity to wear a gorgeous gown in a great color.  Like seafoam, maybe. Well, maybe not.

Consider a shorter ceremony.  With little Emily doing back-flips on your bladder, you could find yourself requesting a time-out for a pit-stop in the middle of your officiant’s surprisingly complete rendition of how the happy couple first met.

Think comfort.  How big (and I do mean BIG) will you be by the wedding?  Take a look at your pregnant relatives or ask them how much weight they put on for their pregnancies.  Use that as a guide.  Be sure your dress will have enough room for both you and the baby to be comfortable.  And don’t forget the shoes.  Be sure the shoes you pick are still comfie at the end of the day when your feet may be a bit swollen.  If you really must wear the sexy, high-heeled strappy shoes for the ceremony, consider having a pair of soft flats for the reception. Sore toes do not make good dancing companions.

These are just a few things to think about.  With the right planning your wedding day can be the joyous event you have been dreaming of. Here are a few sites that you might find helpful:



The money dance, or dollar dance, is a dance set aside for the bride and groom to dance with as many of their guests who wish to and to give the couple an additional gift of dollar bills, either pinned to the bride and groom’s clothing or placed in a special purse or bag used for that purpose.

Traditionally, the money dance has been a means of giving the couple extra cash to get started on their new life together, to be spent for the honeymoon, or as a means of wishing the couple good luck.  The interpretation depends in large part on which cultural background the bride and groom’s families come from.

If this tradition has been a common occurrence at weddings you have attended for family and friends, then you can safely assume it is an accepted tradition and you can plan one for your reception without feeling awkward.

However, if this is not the case, be aware that if you do a money dance at a reception where your guests are not familiar with this concept, you may be putting your guests in the uncomfortable position of suddenly being expected to donate cash to the bride and groom in addition to the wedding and shower gifts already given.

If this happens you will be putting some of your guest in a bit of a pickle.  If your godfather arrived at the reception with nothing smaller than a $50 bill in his wallet, then he is in a spot.  Does he quietly extricate himself from the room for an extended visit to the men’s room, or does he make an unexpectedly generous donation that he hadn’t been planning on?

An alternative, if you are simply hoping for more face time with your guests, is the “thank you” dance, during which guests who wish to can line up to dance with either the bride or the groom for a brief time, during which you can express to them how much you appreciate them coming to your wedding.

So before you dive into new territory, be sure to get some advise from friends and family about the appropriateness of the dollar dance.  Extra cash is always nice, but not at the price of alienating or embarrassing your guests.