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Wedding Shop Review - Ruth's Flowers Shoppe & Gowns By Ruth & Audrey in Indianola, Iowa
Date: September 25, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Dresses & Flower & Decorations & Jewelry & Reviews & Shopping

I take great pleasure in posting this latest wedding shop review from a bride called Shawna. She reviews a shop called Ruth's Flowers Shoppe & Gowns By Ruth & Audrey in Iowa.

Ruth's Flowers Shoppe & Gowns By Ruth & Audrey - 401 E. Euclid, Indianola, Iowa 50125 Tel (515) 961-3945

"Ruth's Flower Shop and Gowns by Audrey are two separate, but not separate shops in Indianola. They sell bridal gowns, although the selection seemed rather out-dated, bridesmaid dresses and mother-of-the-bride dresses. They also have jewelry, undergarments, shoes, tuxedo rentals and flowers- real or fake.

They are locally owned (Ruth and Audrey are a mother-daughter duo) and they are super nice and helpful. I found a necklace there that was perfect, after months of searching exquisite jewelry shops and the internet. I also was able to speak with Ruth's flower wholesaler to make sure we can get the exact flower I want and know what kind of price we are looking at. Their service was exceptional.

Shawna"

I welcome any wedding shop reviews you would like to make public on Wedaholic.com

All wedding reviewer details are available upon request.

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78 Free Wedding Tips And Book

As you plan your wedding you will receive advice from just about everyone. Friends and family have a million and one tips to pass on, in fact here at Wedaholic I have been offering tips galore. For example tips on wedding djs, getting guests to mingle, giving a great speech and tipping wedding suppliers to name just a few!

To give you a flavour of what to expect I have copied the types of wedding tips you will receive below:

Sample Tip 1 :

At the reception hall, fill baskets in the bathroom with miniature hand lotions, breath mints, hair sprays, and hair gels for emergency touch-ups. You may also want to put out a basket with a few inexpensive pairs of pantyhose and
some clear nail polish.

"Thanks for all the tips..and for making them genuinely "free".... the tips I found most helpful of your's were about etiquette ... it helps to remind brides of other people's feelings when they are getting caught up in their own! And that idea about giving framed pictures to the parents is one I will definately do! Blessings!" - Suzanne, US

Sample Tip 2 :

Don’t forget grandparents and other relatives who may feel “left out” during the preparations before the wedding. Take a camera along when you are shopping for your dress or looking at flowers.

Send pictures with a quick note that says, “Here’s me rubbing my feet after trying on shoes that were murder!” Or “Aunt Joan, the flowers were beautiful, but I wish you could have been there.”

"Just wanted to thank you for all of the wonderful tips! I enjoy reading them every week!! I will use you're advice throughout the planning of my wedding and on the big day! Thanks again" - Dan

Sample Tip 3 :

For bridesmaids' dresses, consider separates, especially if you have attendants whose sizes and shapes vary widely. Skip the bridal stores and check out department stores for evening skirts and separate tops that are made of luxurious fabrics and trimmed with beading or embroidered details.

"Dear Emily your tips have been very helpful to me in planning for my wedding thank you for all of your help, looking forward to receiving other tips from you. Best Regards" - Cornelia, US


Confetti.co.uk Launch Their New Site - Wedding Planning Just Got A Whole Lot Easier!
Date: September 21, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Site Reviews

As regular readers to Wedaholic.com will be well aware, I’m a real fan of Confetti.co.uk. This is largely because as an online and offline resource it plays a significant part in the planning of most weddings in the UK. It didn't surprise me recently to find out that over 90% of UK brides use Confetti at some point in their wedding planning – whether to browse for information, research suppliers, to buy products or to gain support and advice in the café channels (which have a strong community feel!). Some of my most recent Confetti related blogs are listed below in the “Further Reading” section below.

Well the HOT news off the press is that Confetti have just launched their new web site with clearer sections, new products and an improved layout!

It is the first time in Confetti’s seven year history that they have made major changes to the site. Confetti acknowledge the growing trend the internet plays in every aspect of people’s lives and wanted to reflect this in their new site.

I certainly found it much easier to browse than the old site, finding information in half the time. The new landscape format and top horizontal navigation bar make for a more enjoyable online experience .

Confetti certainly hope you like their new site and in fact ask you to send an email with your feedback or problems.

Further Confetti.co.uk Reading:

Review Of Confetti's Glasgow Store by Brown.
Compare Confetti's Wedding Insurance to other UK products.
Confetti's New Must-Read Magazine - Confetti Receptions
How To Use Confetti.co.uk For A Stylish Christmas - a one stop shop for wedding and party advice.

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Don't Be That Bride's 5 Part Series On How To Deal With Divorced And Separated Parents
Date: September 21, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Extended Family & Family & Music & Dance & Planning & Wedding Blogs

I receive many questions regarding divorced and separated parents, without doubt it can make planning a wedding very stressful (check out my tips on handling stress here). I recently wrote this reply titled: "Tips For Handling Divorced Parents Sensitively At Your Wedding".

If you are a bride that feels you need some further advice on this issue I thoroughly recommend you read a 5 part series written by The Wedding Fairy at her fantastic wedding blog "Don't Be That Bride". You may remember I reviewed it in this post: "Don't Be That Bride - A Wedding Blog Not To Be Missed!".

Here are the links to all 5 Parts:

Part l

Read how the insensitivity of the band can embarass certain family members if they are introduced incorrectly. The Wedding Fairy recounts an upsetting story told to her by a work colleague, whereby the stepmother and groom's father are announced as the groom's parents!

Her advice to all couples is:

"THINK about the introductions in advance, and TALK/COMMUNICATE with your band about how to approach each."


Part ll

This post and the next deals with how to handle the first and last dances. Often the band can cause distress by forcing divorced or separated parents without partners to dance with other people.

"This type of behavior is not acceptable, and certainly not fair to the mother of the groom (or anyone in this situation that applies in other scenarios)- whether or not you believe that a divorced parent should "suck it up" (a sentiment which I thoroughly disagree with), you should definitely understand that the band member trying to "help" in this way is degrading, demoralizing, and definitely a NO."


Part lll

This is a detailed account of how a lovely relaxed wedding can quickly change into one of pure humiliation when a mother is forced to dance with a stranger! It really brings home the fact that communication is absoultely key. Every bride and groom should advise the professionals they employ at their wedding beforehand, to ensure there are no hiccups on the day.


Part lV

If your parents are divorced it can often be diffcult coming up with a table arrangement that suits everyone. You may want to see your parents seated together or on adjacent table (or even the same!), but trust me they will be much more relaxed if you put some distance between their tables. The Wedding Fairy describes a situation that happened at a wedding her college friend Liz went to, there were no dramas or dish-throwing but it makes you think that the mother and father could have been seated further apart.

"I can tell you right now - you will not please everyone. Finding the "perfect" table arrangement is not necessarily an option - however, creating a WORKABLE table arrangement-- when it comes to divorced/separated parents -- is the name of the game."


Part V

In conclusion we learn that wedding planning is complicated and stressful enough without keeling over from the pressure of divorced parents and their partners. It just isn't worth it, take a stance and stick to it. As the Wedding Fairy says:

"Planning doesn't involve the same discomfort issues that a wedding does (i.e. loud announcements by DJs, or very obvious seating situations). Therefore, keeping everyone happy during this stage isn't really the goal - the goal is to get the job done, and to enjoy doing it."

You only have to watch "My Fair Brady: We're Getting Married!" to see that there has to be a better way!

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Wedding Shop Review - Truly Delightful In Totnes, Devon
Date: September 20, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Dresses & Reviews & Shopping

I recently received this wedding shop review from a bride called Clare. She reviews a shop called Truly Delightful in Totnes, Devon.

Truly Delightful - 8 The Plains, Totnes, Devon TQ9 5DW Tel 01803 863583

"Truly Delightful in Totnes Devon is the most fantastic weding shop EVER so good I travel down from Cheltenham to go there.

The two ladies that run and own it are absolutely fantastic. They just want you to look fab on your big day.

I went with my friend after trying a dress on there to get a second opnion. Whilst I was there they bought out a dress they had just got in that they thought would suit me more, I tried it on it looked fantastic and it was half the price!!!!! I totally recommend it.

Clare"

If you have had a positive wedding shop experience that you would like to tell everyone about, please do not hesitate to email me or simply post a comment on this page.

All reviewer details are available upon request.

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Check Out The Catwalk Couture Chic At The Autumn National Wedding Shows
Date: September 20, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Bridal Party & Dresses & Industry News & Shopping & Shows & Themes & Unique Ideas

I have been reliably informed that the Autumn/Winter 2006 bridal collection appearing on the catwalk at this year’s National Wedding Shows in London and Birmingham will reflect the ‘wow’ factor normally associated with the catwalks of Milan, Paris, New York and London. The dresses will be glamorous with lines and structure that accentuate the bride’s curves. I have also learnt that colour is also a strong feature for this Autumn and all the shades of blues can be seen as well as pastel pink, peach and green.

Susi Rogol, Editor of Bridal Buyer comments:

“The choice is as breathtaking as the gowns themselves. Sumptuous Marie-Antoinette multi-layered skirts topped by tightly sculpted bodices (Sophia Coppola’s movie will make this the look); 50s-style flirty-skirt shorties with pretty princess necklines; slinky body-skimmers in soft, fluid fabrics worn with tiny lacey bolero tops, gossamer-fine shrugs, or short tailored jacket with high collars. Taffeta is the big-news fabric – crunched, scrunched, swathed and ruched to accentuate curves. Look out for colour – softly, softly pinks, blues, greens and rich topaz golds. There couldn’t be a better time to be a bride.”

The overall theme of the catwalk show is The Four Seasons. Brides, grooms and mother of the bride will find inspiration for all types of wedding.

Spring: Enchanted Garden with fauna and flora inspired decoration and Dressing Up Box with vintage inspired gowns.

Summer: Beach Bride will include a selection of chiffons, silks and natural fibres in neutral colours while Tropical Island will be the same in bold hot colours.

Autumn: Magic Carpet will showcase ethnic influences bridalwear as well as menswear followed by Medieval Heroes and Heroines in their rich and opulent fabrics and styles.

Winter: Snow Palace featuring cloaks and capes.

The catwalk shows will include a dazzling selection of wedding dresses, from top designers who create gowns for the stars to high street fashion brands, covering all budgets and tastes.

I can hardly wait!

If you are in or near London next week I highly recommend you take the time to visit the show. The dates are: London Earls Court Sept 29-1 Oct / Birmingham NEC Oct 13-15 Oct.

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The Autumn National Wedding Shows 2006 Preview
Date: September 20, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Cakes & Dresses & Favors & Flower & Decorations & Hair & Beauty & Honeymoon & Industry News & Jewelry & Shows & Themes & Unique Ideas

Next week sees the The National Wedding Show at London Earls Court from the 29th September to the 1st October and later on at the Birmingham NEC on the 13th to 15th October.

The Shows aim to provide everything a bride and groom could want to create their perfect wedding, all found under one roof. From designer dresses to fancy favours, wedding cakes, flowers and accessories, amazing honeymoon destinations to fireworks and photographers, there is inspiration everywhere!

The shows will include a dazzling selection of wedding dresses, from top designers to high street fashion brands, for all budgets and tastes. Visitors can admire exclusive wedding outfits by Simultane who have designed dresses for Erin O’Connor; a chic and elegant collection from top designer Marion Thomas; traditional be-spoke styles by Antonia Pugh-Thomas. Paul Simonson, a designer for ultra feminine fashion label Ghost, will be showing his own exclusive bridal range.*

Couples can sample gift lists from John Lewis, Argos, Wrap It and Debenhams. Floral arrangements will be displayed throughout the show, along with scrumptious wedding cakes from Linda Fripp Designs and Cake Couture to name a few. There will be accessories from hand made jewellery to stunning headpieces including tiaras from Isabel Kurtenbach, as well as sweet treats from Swizzle Matlow and The Original Chocolate Fountain.*

To help the bride and groom choose the honeymoon of their dreams there is an impressive selection of perfect destinations including exhibitors: Italian Retreats, Sunset Faraway Holidays, the Bahamas Tourist Office, Transpacific Holidays, Safari Consultants, and Seychelles Travel and many more.

Wedding planning can be stressful and lengthy, so the National Wedding Shows aim to make the decision processes as easy and as fun as possible. Each event features a choreographed Catwalk Show with designs to inspire the imagination, including the latest range of colours from designer dresses and suits to the high-street alternatives.

Style expert Caryn Franklin, best known for her appearances on GMTV and This Morning and as host of the BBC Clothes Show, hosts a live make over session at the ‘How To Look Good’ stage. The top tips and wedding day advice given throughout the session are tailored for a lucky bride to be, picked at random from the audience, who is transformed live on stage. A team of experts including celebrity makeup artist Ariane Poole and hairdresser Errol Douglas* will accompany Caryn for the session.

For fun and informative interaction, live Inspiration Sessions are hosted throughout the day. Celebrity florist Mathew Dickinson and patissier to the stars and royals, Eric Lanlard from Savoir Design, will be bringing their ideas to life on the stage, helping to supply top tips for the big day.

Visitors can begin the celebrations with a touch of sparkle, with the option to sit back and relax in the Champagne bar.

Tickets are available on the National Wedding Show website with ticket prices starting at £10 for the Birmingham Show and £12 for the London show. Alternatively, callers to the Box Office can purchase tickets by credit card on 0870 730 0064.

* please note that exhibitors and guest speakers differ for each show, please consult the Press Office team to check latest exhibitor information.

Future show dates for 2007: 16-18 Feb NEC Birmingham, 23-25 Feb Olympia London.

See you there!

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A Cautionary Tale Of Why Your Wedding Guests Must Be Fed Well!
Date: September 19, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Catering & Funny & Guests & Reception

As all couples planning a wedding know, one of the most important aspects of planning your wedding reception catering is to ensure that all guests are fed and watered sufficient amounts. Nobody likes to think that their guests are going to slope off to McDonalds mid-way through the evening to vanquish their hunger pangs after a paltry wedding breakfast or buffet!

According to the Vermont news channel Wcax.com that is exactly what happened with a guest who had attended a wedding in Rangeley, Maine. Abigail Edmund, a 23 year old from New Hampshire, was caught by a member of staff at the Rangeley Inn after she had broken into the inn's kitchen.

"An employee spotted her at about 1:15 Sunday morning with luncheon meats and brownies and heating up some pasta."

Police arrested the hungry wedding guest and charged her with burglary, theft and criminal mischief.

I bet the bride and groom will be embarrassed when they realize they underfed this guest!

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Weddingbee.com Lists The Upcoming Trunk Shows And Sales In Manhattan
Date: September 19, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Budgeting & Dresses & Shopping & Site Reviews & Wedding Blogs

Every Tuesday Weddingbee.com features listings of many of the upcoming wedding trunk shows and sales in Manhattan. In fact if you know of a trunk show, sample sale, or sale that isn't on their web page please send it to them at tips@weddingbee.com

I continue to thoroughly enjoy reading WeddingBee.com following my review back in May, though at times it is hard to keep up with the number of posts!

There are currently 15 “Miss Bloggers” who submit posts to the site, in conjunction with entries from 5 “Mrs Bloggers”.

I've only been to New York a couple of times and of course loved every second of it. I can only imagine how amazing it must be to actually get married there!

Weddingbee.com is a great insight on life in Manhattan, plus it provides all brides an extensive array of amazing wedding ideas where ever they live in the world.

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Wedding Shop Review - Christine Daniels in Bracknell, Berkshire
Date: September 19, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Dresses & Reviews & Shopping

I recently received this wedding shop review from a bride called Nicola. She reviews a shop called Christine Daniels in Berkshire.

Christine Daniels - 1st Floor Princess Square, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1LS Tel 01344 425090

"Hello - I visited a bridal shop in Bracknell called Christine Daniels after the owner. Christine was absolutely brilliant and she takes bookings so that you have the whole place to yourself.

My bridesmaid and I were there for over two hours and tried on many many dresses, all of which were beautiful. I really struggled getting only three favourites on my list of dresses to think about when I left!!

Christine's was very professional and not pushy at all, in fact helpfully suggested coming back after having 'slept' on my decisions.

She also has a great selection of dresses in various sizes - something which is great if you are a bit curvier as many other shops I had been in only caterer for the slim girls when having things available to try on.

I would definately recommend the shop. - Nicola"

All reviewer details are available upon request.

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Wedding Shop Review - David's Bridal in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Date: September 19, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Bridal Party & Dresses & Reviews & Shopping

I have recently received wedding shop reviews from brides who subscribe to my weekly wedding tips, most being located in the US and the UK.

I believe it is useful to provide this information, so as engaged brides can see which shops have previously provided a good shopping experience.

The first review is definitely biased as it is written by someone who works in the actual shop! Nevertheless if an employee has taken the time to write to me with a informative review of their shop I see no harm in posting it. In fact I will gladly post this type of self promotion if it offers an interesting and valuable overview of their wedding shop.

So here goes, with a lot more reviews to come:

David's Bridal - Gunbarrell Pointe Shopping Center, 1820 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 400, Chattanooga, TN 37421

"I work at this particular wedding shop, so I guess this might be a bit biased....however...

The selection is huge here and you can buy your wedding gown, bridesmaids, mothers, or flower girl dresses off the rack or by order. There are informal and formal styles, the David's Bridal Collection and three designer collections featuring Oleg Cassini, Monique Luo, and Galina.

Bridal gown orders can take 12 weeks, but often come in in three or 4. Most bridesmaid orders take around 6 weeks but can get in in less than that in a lot of cases.

Prices are also reasonable and able to fit all budgets - styles run from $299 to $1200 for wedding gowns, and often there is a sale for $99 dollar gowns which discounts all other gowns and accessories. Bridesmaids run from $99-$240, so there is a choice for all budgets. (AND, your bridal party members get discounts on their gowns when you buy your wedding gown there...makes for happy people).

Sizes run from 0 to 26W in wedding gowns and 2 to 26 in bridesmaids/mothers styles. There are somewhere near 30 different bridesmaids colors and styles to match formal and casual weddings. Flower girls run from 18months to 14 childrens and Junior Bridesmaids are 8 to 18 childrens.

Almost all bridal accessories are available as well - veils, blushers, jewelry, headpieces, gloves, shoes, handbags, handkerchiefs, garters, etc. are available for order or purchase. A full line of dyeable shoes (sizes 5-11) and dyeable purses as well as silk shoes and purses (not dyeable).

You can check some of it out online at DavidsBridal.com, however not all items are on the website.

I really think it's a great resource especially if you are on a time crunch. Besides, if I do say so myself, the staff are splendid! Be sure to call for an appointment to ensure availability of a consultant when you arrive.

Debra"

All reviewer details are available upon request.

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Fun And Stylist Wedding Gifts For Brides and Bridesmaids
Date: September 18, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Bridal Shower & Funny & Gifts & Lingerie & Reviews & Shopping & Unique Ideas

Are you looking for a fun gift for a bachelorette party or wedding? The brand “2Belles” featured on Figleaves.com offer shorts for brides and bridesmaids alike. Both have a stylish look and a flattering cut at the back, and are finished with dainty ribbons. For the bride, the short from 2Belles has “The Mrs” logo emblazoned on the back and completed by bow details on either side.

For the bridesmaid check out the bridemaid shorty with pink ribbon. They have a fun 'Bridesmaid' logo embroidered across the back of the short and it is finished with pink bow details on each side.

You can select from 3 choices: small, medium and large where small is equivalent to a US size 6.

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New BBC Wedding Documentary: Do You Need A Helping Hand?
Date: September 15, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: TV Shows

Talkback Thames are making a documentary for BBC1 about novice wedding planners.

They are looking for couples who would be interested in taking part and having their wedding planned for them. You must (or could!) be getting married on the 10th, 11th or 12th of November 2006. The programme will be shown on prime-time BBC and a financial contribution will be made towards the honeymoon.

If you are interested please contact Justine on 020 7861 8387 or email her justine.walton@talkbackthames.tv for further information.

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Top Wedding Tips For Officiant's Gifts
Date: September 15, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Ask The Planner & Budgeting & Ceremonies & Church Weddings & Civil Weddings & Etiquette & Miscellaneous & Planning & Traditions & Customs & Unique Ideas

Hi Everyone,

I received this question regarding gifts for officiants:

"I was just wondering, do you normally buy something for the Minister that is marrying you? If so, what ideas do you have."

This was my reply:

Traditionally Ministers, as with other types of religious or non-religious celebrants, charge a standard fee for officiating at wedding ceremonies. They are performing the service of marrying you as part of his or her profession and should therefore expect to be paid as such. If you are getting married in a church and if there is a standard fee applicable then it will be listed in the application you will have to submit to the church office prior to booking the church. An exception to this case is if you or your parents are a member of the church, in which case the Minister sometimes waives the fee.

How much?

If the church does not have a set fee, a cash gift is the most common and most practical way to thank your Minister. The appropriate range varies between $150-350. This might seem like a lot of money but you should equate it against how much time and effort your Minister has invested in your wedding - how many meetings they have attended with you, time spent on writing the ceremony, premarital counseling, travel costs (if appropriate), attending the rehearsal and of course the ceremony. When you add these all up then you will see that you are getting a real bargain compared to what you will undoubtedly be spending on other aspects of your wedding.

Usually when you pay a Minister they place the money in a church discretionary fund which they use for worthy causes in the local area. A lot of churches and other houses of worship run solely on donations. It is unusual for a Minister to keep monetary gifts for their own personal use. In this case, you might also like to give your Minister a personal gift to express your appreciation of all their support and effort in making your wedding day a success. Although it is not expected a small personal gift for the Minister is a nice thought.

Ideas for gifts

The gift you choose for your Minister need not be expensive, particularly if you are already paying the Minister a fee for their services. It should be something thoughtful or useful.

♥ If you know the Minister well buy them something meaningful such as small piece of jewelry (if they are female), e.g. a pretty brooch or silver pin shaped like a heart.

♥ Buy your Minister something to do with what they enjoy doing in their spare time. You might get some ideas for this from listening to their sermons (I discovered that my Minister was an avid football fan and I only attended two services prior to my wedding) or asking the Church Secretary what their hobbies and interests are, e.g. gardening, photography, sailing.

♥ If you don't know him/her well enough to know what they enjoy then how about a plant or flower arrangement - they are always a safe but popular choice.

♥ Again, for a Minister you don’t know very well, personal gifts that show thought are a photo frame, book, CD or a piece of local artwork.

♥ You could make a contribution to a charity that the Minister favors in their name.

♥ A useful gift is a gift certificate for a bookstore so that the Minister can buy books for personal fun, for the church library or for other people.

♥ Alternatively, you could buy the Minister a gift certificate for a local restaurant – everyone loves to eat out!

Top Tips

♥ If you are still unsure about how much money to give then ask other recently married couples in your area or church what they gave the Minister.

♥ If you are unsure whether to give a cash gift or personal gift to your Minister the best person to ask is the Church Secretary. They will be able to recommend how much your cash gift should be, and will give you ideas for a gift as they will know the Minister’s personal interests better than anyone!

♥ If you know the Minister personally or if they are a close friend or family member you might well feel uncomfortable offering them money. If this is the case then it is wholly appropriate for you to buy the Minister a gift instead as, or as well as, a cash donation.

I hope this helps!

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Wedding Book Review - "The Engaged Groom" by Doug Gordon

Wedding planning is not the exclusive domain of the bride - that is Doug Gordon's point in his new book "The Engaged Groom". He takes the stance that no groom need be left out in the cold when it comes to the decision making. In fact there is plenty of scope for the groom to take charge of certain tasks and responsibilities. Indeed this book is a revelation, grooms now have the chance to get active with their very own wedding planning guide. It can be bought from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

"The Engaged Groom" all started with Doug's blog called PlanetGordon.com with the first entry on the 2nd September 2003 at 6:17pm.

It read:

A Decent Proposal

I got engaged on Wednesday. Actually, that statement is a little too passive. Makes it seem like I picked up something on the way home from work or dropped a subscription card in the mailbox or developed some sort of temporary condition for which medication or a topical ointment is available from my doctor.

Let's start over.

I proposed to my girlfriend on Wednesday night.

To continue reading this blog entry please take a look at this page and scroll to the bottom.

I divulge, having read all 279 pages I can confidently hold my hand up and say that "The Engaged Groom" is a must read for all grooms that want to get involved in their wedding. Doug's funny style of writing makes it a real joy to read. Grooms will quickly learn a whole array of tips and practical information. In fact if they take all of his advice on board they will be heading to their local beauty salon for a manicure - it makes sense really when you think of how many people will want to see the groom's ring on the big day!

Whether they have just a few questions or many this is definitely the book for all grooms. As a bride, if your groom is worried about how to minimize the risk of his best man forgetting the rings (page 237) or how he can ensure he won't say the wrong thing during the speeches (page 251) - this is the book for him.

I practicularly liked the following sections, for their excellent overviews and useful tips :

Paying for the Wedding - Doug gives a good review of the various costs associated with planning a wedding. Interestingly he picks up on the how often couples forget to budget for gratuities, something I have extensively written about here.

Picking a Date and Venue - I quickly learnt the pros and cons of having your wedding on a holiday three day weekend and in addition the advantages and disadvantages of choosing a destination wedding.

The Guest List - Planning a guest list is never easy, as Lesley Anne recently wrote about here, but Doug gives some great insights. This is your chance to learn who definitely does need to be invited. You can also get the lowdown on inviting the President of the United States or The Pope!

Food and Music - This is your chance to have your cake and eat it! Doug recounts the day he ate no fewer than ten pieces of cake at three different bakeries. If you have a sweet tooth you definitely want to be involved with choosing the wedding cake - especially when prices at soar to as high as $10 or $15 a slice.

Turn to page 65 for an entertaining list of inappropriate songs. It is highly advisable that you always listen to the lyrics first, especially for the all important first dance. The list doesn't just stop at slow dances, some well known disco classics should be placed on your DJ's "Do Not Play List".

Photography - Here I agree with Doug, disposable cameras definitely belong to the "Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time" file. Today most guests have digital cameras and are more than happy to share their photographs with you.

On the subject of videographers, page 75 neatly sums up why this isn't an area to get too stressed about. Also check out the tips on how to make signifcant savings on this aspect of the wedding.

Best man Duties - Doug answers your questions on whether you can have two best men, or even have a female one! More importantly he gives his opinion on what groomsmens and bridesmaids should wear - it's a refreshingly honest approach that many more couples should adopt (Page 92).

What to Wear and How to Look Your Best - Expert advice on which tuxedo to wear, along with helpful hints on whether your build is best suited to a single-breasted jacket, double-breasted jacket, tailcoat or morning coat. You can also take advantage of the "How to Tie a Bow Tie" page which has been deliberately reversed so as you can tie your bow tie looking in the mirror!

Save-the-Date, Announcements, Invitations, and Getting the Word Out - "The Engaged Groom" is full of valuable tips, such as the one called "The Separation of Church and Crate (& Barrel) on page 122. Doug makes it clear that in no circumstances should you send the invitation and the registry information together. This is a massive faux pas, but unfortunately it has to be said many couples still do it. Reading other tips on getting the assembly of invitations right (page 126), the value of using wedding planning software (page 130) and why B-list wedding guest lists are more trouble than they are worth (page 133) is highly recommended.

Registries, Wedding Showers, and Thank You Notes - I really enjoyed reading the section on what things you want to register for, but shouldn't on page 150. It is both humorous and informative - a great reminder that you aren't bound to the traditional registry list of kitchen and dinnerware! Doug dicusses the whole art of getting your Thank You notes written with thought and appreciation, with particular reference to what you should and shouldn't say.

Planning the Honeymoon - Traditionally this is the groom's responsibility and though he is expected to pay for it, it really should be a joint decision as to where you go. Discover the benefits of delaying your honeymoon and why a "minimoon" might be just right for you!

The Bachelor Party - This is one of the most entertaining sections of the book. I love Doug's humour, neatly summed up in this quote:

You'll have plenty of chances to party with your friends in the future, and if you're worried that your marriage will mean a loss of your freedom. I suggest you talk to a therapist and not a stripper.

The book is full of practical advice and some common sense reminders, for example:

Never, never, never be hungover on your wedding day.

Doug leaves the debate on whether strip clubs on a bachelor party are a good idea to others, by including a random sampling of quotes from eight different women. Definitely worth reading.

A Groom's Checklist - Emergency Provisions - Turn to page 230 for a list of things that every groom should have packed in a small bag on their wedding list. Items range from personal care prodcuts, spare clothing to miscellanous essentials that are all to easy to forget.

You might not catch your groom browsing through all your wedding magazines, but I can guarantee he will find "The Engaged Groom" of real interest. Buy it today.

Doug has been interviewed and featured on TV and radio stations across the country, including this appearance on the "Today Show". You can check out the book's official website at EngagedGroom.com and the MySpace site at MySpace.com/engagedgroom

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The Woodland Lodge Makes A Unique Honeymoon Venue
Date: September 12, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Honeymoon & Industry News & Reviews & Unique Ideas & Venues

The Woodland Lodge has arrived at the Enterkine Country House Estate near Ayr, and promises to be the perfect overnight venue for honeymooning couples, anniversary stays and those who just want to get away to somewhere different. The inside of this magical lodge offers a relaxation area, underfloor heating, a built in wardrobe and dressing area, plasma television, Grohe shower room and magnificent bedroom. The lodge set amongst 350 acres of woodland estate, will be the first one in the UK provided by the Bothy Lodge Company, based in Ayrshire.

The cost is £185 including Scottish breakfast and VAT for an overnight stay.

Click the image below for a full virtual tour of the interior.

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The Idiot's Guide To The Perfect Stag Weekend In Galway
Date: September 11, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Groom & Planning & Reviews & Stag Party

My husband recently returned from a stag weekend in Galway. He was more than happy to offer some advice for any best man considering this beautiful West Ireland city as an option for a stag.

The following tips are based on a very successful stag that took place from Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th September 2006. Follows these guidelines and you will be more than half way to having a stag weekend that the groom will never forget!


Travel to Galway :

For an overall view of which airlines fly to Galway airport from the UK, please visit this page at FlightMapping.com

Aer Arann flies into Galway from Belfast City, Cardiff, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Luton, and Manchester. Flying directly into Galway means you are a 15min taxi ride (approx €15) from the city centre.

If the stag party is coming from the South and East of England and in particular London you may find cheaper options by flying to Shannon on RyanAir. Parties travelling from the South West of England can take advantage of EasyJet's flight to Shannon. A full lisitng of airlines flying to Shannon from the UK can be found here.

Shannon is 90Km (56miles) from Galway and though this might not seem far, it can take as long as 90 minutes. The AA's route planner for Ireland suggests it will take about 75 minutes but as the roads are poor expect it to take longer. There is a bus service operated by Bus Eireann, but again with the single carriageway roads the journey takes just under 2 hours.

The following rental companies have desks at Shannon airport: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Dan Dooley, Hertz, National, Sixt and Thrity


Accommodation in Galway :

It is highly recommended that you stay at Jurys Inn on Quay Street in Galway. This hotel wins over on all accounts. The location is central, and right in the heart of the city. If you are driving in be sure to print this map, so as you are fully aware of the one way systems. When you have spent over an hour and half drving from Shannon, the last thing you want is to having difficulty finding the hotel. Unfortuantely with the roads in Galway it is all to easy to end up looping the city a few times!

As well as a central location, you should be able to negogiate rates of approx €60 per person sharing a 3 person room. Ideally you will get a twin room with a sofa bed, but this isn't always the case so it is best to check.

The hotel bar is perfect for meeting up pre stag nights. Many stags can break up into smaller groups half way through the night if some people haven't eaten. Thus take advantage of the hotel's menu before heading up Quays Street for your evening out. The bar is open until 1:30am.

Breakfast is served in their restuarant called "Innfusion". Available from 8 - 11 am, so ideal for those parties who have been out late.


Pubs in Galway :

By all means visit other pubs and clubs in Galway but without doubt a great stag can be had by sticking to these 4 amazing venues:

The Kings Head at 15 High Street

Everyone recommends The Kings Head and it is easy to see why. This is a large pub that stretches over 3 floors and their nightly rock gigs at the back of the pub are fantastic. Other attractions include lunchtime theatre and Sunday jazz sessions.

Sonny's Bar & Restaurant on the High St / The Front Door on Cross Street

Sonny's is spread over two floors and stretches between two streets. A great pub for a stag party with 4 bars. Food is served from 10am to late evening.

Taaffes Pub at 19 Shop Street

Taaffes is by far the smallest of the four recommended pubs. The Guinness is great here and the live Irish music at the back of the pub make for an excellent craic!

The Quays on Quay Street

Finish your night in The Quays and I promise you a night to remember. This venue is split into two parts with two separate entrances. It is important that you move to the part that has the live music (on the right hand side as you look at it from the outside) and the later drinking hours for the ultimate craic! An admission charge of approx €10 charged near the end of the night is well worth it. You can't fail to have a terrific night.


Where to Eat in Galway :

Of course there are many places to eat in Galway. This review is simply here to tell you what the best Indians in the city are:

i. Kashmir is across the bridge from the Spanish Arch.
ii. Tulsi beside the Augustine Church on Buttermilk Walk, Middle Street
iii. Eastern Tandoori on Spanish Parade
iv. Kumar's Tastes of Asia at Swan House on Flood Street

Head for the Charcoal Grill on Cross Street Lower for an excellent kebab and burger. At a minute's walk from Quay Street there is no doubt you will be there come 3 in the morning!


Activities in Galway :

For the mature stag there is alway Galway golf club as they accept visitors on Fridays and Saturdays (limited).

Typically though you will want something a little more adventurous - The Killary Adventure Centre fits the bill perfectly. It is 70km (44 miles) from Galway - but please don't let that deceive you into thinking you will be there in under the hour. I would suggest leaving at least an hour and a half, though the scenery is stunning the roads are slow and winding. Contact the Centre here to organise a fantastic day out before you hit the bars at night.

Finally chill out on the Sunday at the famous Galway Races. There are three meetings every year, called Summer (7 days), Autumn (3 days) and October (2 days).


Enjoy your stag or hen party in Galway. Please leave comments on your experience and any information that you feel would help someone planning their stag.

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Win A $50,000 Dream Wedding Today
Date: September 05, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Contests

I couldn't wait to tell you about this amazing opportunity to win a dream $50,000 wedding. All you have to do is complete a brief questionaire for a chance to win this marvellous prize!

The rules state:"The Grand Prize for a potential winner who entered through this Creative Presentation will be Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000)." Therefore you can spend the money on whatever part of your wedding you wish.

The Small Print:

You must be a U.S. resident and 18 years or older to participate. Thus sorry to all my other visitors around the world.

If you are anything like me you will want to know about the company running this prize draw. For peace of mind you can find all the facts and information here.

Lots of Luck

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Top Tips For Using Parks Or Areas Of Outstanding Beauty As Backdrops For Your Wedding Photos
Date: September 05, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Budgeting & Cameras & Ceremonies & Civil Weddings & Etiquette & Family & Funny & Guests & Legal Matters & Photography & Planning & Unique Ideas & Venues & Videography

If you are thinking of having your wedding photos taken in a public park please remember that it is essential to obtain permission before photography, or videography for that matter, will be allowed. Remember to bear in mind that any land, such as a park, which is privately owned requires prior permission before you can take photographs within the grounds. Nowadays most parks in the UK are stationing park wardens to ensure that all commercial photographers in the park are in possession of a valid permit.

In the USA a new policy, which came into effect on 15th May, means that permits need to be obtained and fees need to be paid by those wanting to take commercial (i.e. wedding) photographs at the most popular landmarks on National Park Service land such as the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty, Yellowstone National Park or Grand Canyon. USAToday.com reports that:

“Officials said the fees are in response to a 2000 federal law that requires various agencies to come up with ways to recoup the costs of maintenance, security and other expenses stemming from commercial filming and photography on federal land.”

The payment charged to couples varies from $50 to $250 - the actual cost depends on the size of the wedding group. The National Park Service are hoping to standardize the fees in the near future.

According to WashingtonPost.com Lee Dickinson, the Park Service official who oversees the program, has already seen an improvement in the smooth running of the service provided to couples. He says that by charging fees and requiring visitors to obtain prior permission it has helped Park Service workers to avoid scheduling conflicts amongst visitors and wedding parties at the most popular of the 390 monuments, parks and historic sites.

A lot of couples feel that they should not have to pay to use public land which their tax dollars pay for. Jolie Bouton is one of them - she is due to get married this month on land controlled by the National Forest Service in Sedona, Arizona. She told WashingtonPost.com,

"I'm just having a half hour ceremony on land we all own, and it shouldn't cost me 150 bucks!”

You might wonder why you have to pay a fee to hold an event or simply have photos taken in a public park. The reason is most parks do not receive much (if any) funding from the government or local authority to maintain the public space. They are therefore dependent on donations or revenue created by charging those who wish to use the park space for their own profitable, promotional or exclusive use. You will find nowadays that with parks requiring more and more financial outlay for maintenance and upkeep of the grounds and facilities on it, local authorities who maintain the parks and public areas are charging a site or permit fee for shooting photographs or filming. The revenue garnered from such sources is used to maintain and improve the park’s beauty and functionality. How else do you think stunning parks such as the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, Central Park in New York or Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris can afford to maintain such amazing quality of flowers, plants, ornate features, public facilities and seating areas for the public to use.

Top tips

Here are my recommendations if you are planning on having your wedding photographs taken in a public park or outdoor area:

♥ Do your research in advance of your wedding date to see whether you require a wedding photography permit. If you do make sure that your application is submitted early enough and that permission is granted - simply posting or faxing off an application to the Mayor’s office or Parks and Gardens Department of your local council is not sufficient. Assign this task to your wedding planner or even photographer if you prefer.

♥ If you are in doubt as to whether you will need a wedding photography permit visit the park you intend to use for your photos and ask an official or park warden there. They will be able to tell you where you can obtain an application form.

♥ You will find that most parks and gardens prefer to be advised (and paid) in advance but some do have a “walk up” facility where you can turn up and pay on the day. Of course with this choice you run the risk of another couple using the park on the same day, at the same time as you want to take your photos. If you want to prevent hanging around waiting to have your photos taken then it is advisable to arrange this is advance.

♥ If you are being married in a castle, stately home, mansion house etc. which has its own extensive grounds check whether wedding photography is permitted in the grounds and also check whether it is included in the price of your wedding package.

♥ If you are on a tight budget or if you baulk at the thought of paying to use public land for your wedding photos, your other option is to try to do it on the fly! However you can that you do run a risk of being caught and ejected from the park! If you think it is worth the risk then just make sure that the bride is wearing flat shoes in case she is required to run!

♥ Another way to avoid having to pay the wedding photography permit fee is to go without a tripod for the camera being used for the photos. If you don't use a tripod then you don't need a permit! So you could either ask your wedding photographer to skip using a tripod or you could simply nominate a friend who is a keen photographer to take some informal snaps of you at your chosen location.

♥ If you do ask a friend or relative to take your wedding photos then these are seen as non-commercial photos so this way you avoid having to pay the permit fee too.

♥ You will find that the park photography permit usually stipulates some rules. Whilst most will be common sense (e.g. do not throw litter, wedding guests must stay out of flowerbeds, flowers in the park must not be picked, etc) some rules will be unique to each park or open space (e.g. no rice or confetti may be tossed, some sculptures cannot be photographed, certain areas may be off-limits, etc).

♥ As well as the permit fee, some parks might charge you a deposit which will be refundable if the park or garden is not littered or damaged in any way by your wedding party.

Please don't let any of the above tips put you off using a beautiful park or area of outstanding beauty as a backdrop for your wedding photos. I had my wedding photos taken in a local park which held a lot of special memories for me, so I think it is totally worth that tiny bit of extra planning (and it was free as my local park had not photography permit regulations in place at that time!). There are so many stunning parks and gardens which you could use for your photos and is really not a great hardship to obtain permission in advance. Remember, it could well ruin your day and your photos but for a little advance planning!

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How To Choose the Best Diamond Setting For Your Wedding Ring
Date: September 05, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Jewelry & Shopping & Traditions & Customs & Unique Ideas

When you select a setting for your diamond, you are choosing the stage that will allow your stone to shine. How can you choose the very best stage possible for your diamond to dance upon?

First, pick your star. Choose your diamond before you choose your setting. By looking at loose diamonds, you will be able to focus on the attributes of the stone itself.

Second, resist the urge to fall in love with the setting you saw in a magazine or jewelry store window. Keep an open mind and actually try a variety of settings on. You will be surprised at how different a diamond setting actually looks when you place it on your finger. You may also find that some settings enhance the diamond you have selected more than others.

Try on several settings before you decide which one is the right one. If you are buying a diamond online, go to a jewelry store and try on diamond settings like those you're considering.

Third, choose the type of metal you want for your diamond setting. Diamond settings come in yellow gold, white gold or platinum. Platinum is the most expensive option. More than 70 percent of diamond engagement rings are set in yellow gold, but you don't have to follow the crowd. Choose the metal that looks best with your skin tone, your diamond and your style.

Fourth, choose the style of diamond setting you prefer. You will have a nearly endless number of choices. You can opt for a solitaire setting where your diamond will stand alone in the spotlight, or a three-stone setting where diamonds or other gems will play a supporting role. Remember that the setting should enhance the diamond and allow the most light to play off the stone.

Do you want your diamond setting to have an ornate or a plain band? You can select bands that are covered with small diamonds or carved with intricate filigree patterns. The choice is yours.

Remember you get to set the stage!

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Liz Hurley To Change Wedding Outfit 13 Times!
Date: September 03, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Celebrity Gossip & Celebrity Weddings & Ceremonies & Destination Weddings & Dresses & Funny & Traditions & Customs & Unique Ideas

For most brides picking out one wedding dress is a difficult task. With so many styles and colors of wedding gowns on offer, it makes choosing one probably the most difficult decision you have to make when planning your wedding. It surprises me therefore that Elizabeth Hurley is planning 13 different wedding outfits for her upcoming nuptials!

According to Grazia Magazine actress, model and fashion-designer Liz has ended months of speculation by revealing that she and her fiancé, businessman Arun Nayar, are due to get married “very soon”. The couple, who have been together since January 2003, are planning two wedding ceremonies. The first will be an intimate wedding at Liz’s hometown in Gloucestershire and the other will be a 3 day wedding event in Arun’s native India.

Liz is to select 3 outfits for her English countryside wedding, one for the morning, one for the wedding ceremony and the third for the wedding party. For the Indian ceremony she is rumored to be considering 10 changes of outfits during the 3 day wedding party. Earlier this year Liz was reported to be unable to make a decision as to which of her designer friends she should ask to make her wedding dress. Grazia reports that she has now chosen her friend, Donatella Versace, to design several gowns for her English country wedding. Liz has not yet revealed what style of wedding dress she favors but she has commented that she thinks her age precludes her from wearing a Cinderella-style dress.

“She won’t be wearing a full on wedding dress because she is worried it’s not appropriate for someone her age, but the idea is to have different outfits for the morning, for the ceremony and the party,” a source told Grazia magazine.

Liz also plans to wear traditional Indian dresses for the second wedding ceremony. She told the Daily Mirror,

“I love the pomp and color associated with Indian weddings”.

At least Liz will not have to worry about how she will budget for her many wedding outfits - the couple have negotiated a $3.76 million deal with a magazine to photograph their nuptials!

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Fancy Owning Madonna's Wedding Tiara?
Date: September 01, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attire & Celebrity Gossip & Celebrity Weddings & Funny & Insurance & Jewelry & Shopping & Unique Ideas

I’ve mentioned before to you how you can pick up some real bargains for your wedding on eBay. Well the latest “bargain” item on their website is Madonna’s wedding tiara - it’s a snip at a mere US $225,000!

Madonna has donated the diamond tiara which she wore for her December 2000 wedding to Guy Ritchie at Skibo Castle in Scotland to raise money for charity.

The tiara, was originally bought by Madonna from exclusive jewelers Asprey of London. It dates back to the Edwardian era (1910’s) and is made up of 765 diamonds with a weight of approximately 78 carats. It can be converted into a fringed necklace by removing the top swag pieces. They will even throw the monogrammed green presentation box in for free!

The proceeds from the sale, which ends today at 18:00:00 PDT, will go to the charitable Kazanjian Foundation, which funds projects to help disadvantaged kids.

So far there have been no offers made for the stunning, if somewhat pricey, tiara. So if you are on the lookout for that final breathtaking accessory to complete your fairytale wedding outfit then get bidding!

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As you plan your wedding you will receive advice from just about everyone. Friends and family have a million and one tips to pass on, in fact here at Wedaholic I have been offering tips galore.
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