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To Greet or Not To Greet? What You Need to Know About Wedding Receiving Lines
Date: January 24, 2009 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Bridal Party & Etiquette & Extended Family & Family & Groom & Guests & Planning & Reception & Site News & Site Reviews & Traditions & Customs & Unique Ideas & Wedding Blogs

The purpose of a traditional receiving line is to allow the newlyweds, their parents and other members of the bridal party to personally welcome the guests to the wedding. With modern family dynamics now including divorced parents, ex-partners, etc it can make the logistics of who stands where in the receiving line complicated. Put this alongside the fact that receiving lines can be quite time-consuming, and some guests balk at having to stand in line waiting to greet the happy couple, and I suspect these are the reasons why many couples nowadays reject the option of having a receiving line at their wedding.

Personally, I had a receiving line at my wedding and I enjoyed greeting every guest, introducing them to our parents and attendants and thanking each of them for joining us (many of them had travelled large distances to attend our wedding). The alternative would have been to spend the whole evening at the wedding reception chasing down guests on the dance-floor or at the bar in a bid to guarantee that my husband and I personally welcomed each and every guest to our wedding! In this case the receiving line definitely seemed like the easier option for us!

So are receiving lines an out of date tradition and a waste of time, or are they an integral part of your wedding, enabling you to make each of your guests feel valued and welcome? To help you decide I recommend you take a look at this brilliant blog, Receiving Line 101, at It discusses the advantages and etiquette of receiving lines at weddings. Take a look at the comments section too as there are plenty of great tips for alternative versions of receiving lines including ideas for greeting guests immediately after the ceremony and mingling with guests during the reception meal.

Whether you are hosting an intimate wedding where a receiving line with so few guests would seem redundant, or you simply dislike the idea of a receiving line at your wedding day, remember that you do not have to include every time honored tradition in your wedding day - just do whatever you and your fiancé feel comfortable with.

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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

Would You Let Your Husband And His Best Mates Plan Your Entire Wedding?
Date: October 30, 2007 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Budgeting & Etiquette & Funny & Groom & Planning & TV Shows & Unique Ideas

The traditional roles of primary wedding planner usually fall to (a) the bride or (b) the wedding planning but it is extremely rare for the job to be passed to (c) the groom! That is exactly what happens during "Don't Tell the Bride", a brand new six-part series on BBC Three which sees grooms planning the entire wedding without any input from the bride. As the groom is banned from having contact with the bride until the wedding ceremony, the only people he can turn to for advice are his best mates.

Whilst most bride-to-be’s agree on the fact that they want their partner to be involved in the wedding planning, would any bride actually want him to organise the complete wedding day? This new reality TV show follows the husbands-to-be as, armed with a £12,000 budget and a 4 week deadline, they negotiate the ups and downs of planning the wedding day their future bride has always dreamt of. They must organize every single thing for the wedding themselves, including choosing a wedding theme, a venue, organizing the stationery, catering, transportation, photography, entertainment and the all important wedding attire.

As the average cost of a wedding in the UK at present is approximately £15,000 I think that the £12,000 budget which the show has provided the groom with is a realistic amount. Of course that depends on whether the groom is able to calculate a wedding budget and stick to it. If he can’t then he might be forced to cut costs in places his bride may not agree with on the wedding day!

Through video diaries viewers can watch the excitement and drama unfold as the wedding plans progress from both the bride and groom’s viewpoint.

Viewers will be able to witness what happens when you mix a wedding obsessed bridezilla with impressively glamorous plans for her wedding with a notoriously disorganised fiancé who is left to organise the wedding on his own in 4 weeks - it sounds like a sure-fire recipe for disaster! The couple in question, who participated in “Don't Tell the Bride”, are Katy and Sam of Weybridge, Surrey. It fell on Sam’s shoulders to organize the wedding which Katy had always wanted. However whilst she had dreamt of a stylish white and silver theme for her big day, Sam opted for a Moulin Rouge theme complete with DIY table decorations and invitations. To read more about their story click here.

Even though Katy admitted that she really enjoyed the wedding day which Sam had planned for them both, according to The Daily Mail, she said that

“Looking back, I do feel as though something was taken away from me. Not being involved in the planning myself left me feeling a little as though I had turned up at someone else's wedding rather than my own.”

Whilst this type of wedding reality show makes great viewing, I personally don’t think I could have give my husband the responsibility of planning our entire wedding. This is not because I fear he would have made terrible choices, as I trust his taste implicitly plus he is far more organized than me, however I would have hated for him to be put under that amount of pressure and stress. I think it is so important for both the bride and groom to enjoy the build-up to their wedding day.

I think that the brides featured on "Don't Tell The Bride", regardless of their partner’s wedding planning blunders, should realise how lucky they are to have a man that was willing to take on this responsibility and role.

Watch for yourself to see how each of the couples fare - "Don't Tell The Bride" is on BBC Three on November 8th at 9pm.

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Marks & Spencer's New Bridalwear Range
Date: November 20, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Attendants & Attire & Bridal Party & Budgeting & Cakes & Dresses & Flower & Decorations & Groom & Guests & Insurance & Invitations & Announcements & Jewelry & Lingerie & Shoes & Shopping & Stationery

Marks & Spencer’s are already an easily affordable one-stop shop for couples planning their weddings with their range of wedding products and services available, including stationary, insurance, lingerie and accessories, flowers and cakes. Now they have taken a bigger bite out of the wedding pie by launching a range of wedding dresses ranging in price from £59-£150 - perfect for the bride-to-be on a budget!

The new collection of bridal and occasionwear will be available at M&S stores and online in March 2007. The collection consists of wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, grooms' suits, page boys’ outfits and occasionwear for guests and other attendants. According to a review at brides-to-be can choose from a range of five wedding dresses which include full length and knee length skirts and strappy and bustier style dresses in classic white or cream. Take a look at one of the dresses yourself at I personally think that M&S’s dresses will sell very well. It’s great that modern brides are being offered the option of choosing a more affordable wedding dress. It’s about time that the wedding dress market realized that they need to make wedding dresses available to suit every pocket and every style of bride.

According to the average bride spends £826 on her wedding dress. This is a huge amount of money to spend on a dress which will only be worn once, even if the wedding dress is one of the main focal points at a wedding. Every bride wants her chance to play dress-up and shine like a fairytale princess or a Hollywood star on her wedding day, but nowadays there is no need for you to spend such a huge proportion of your wedding budget just to get yourself a beautiful dress. With the advent of the new ranges of off-the-peg wedding dresses being produced by stores such as Asda, H&M and M&S you can grab yourself an elegant wedding dress without having to compromise on style and fashion and most importantly without having to pay designer prices!

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Wedding Podcast Network Offers Expert Advice On Your iPod And MP3 Player
Date: November 16, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Engagement & Groom & Industry News & Lose Weight & Planning & Podcasts & Reviews & Site Reviews & Unique Ideas

Back in October I wrote about a site called that I use to keep me up to date with all the wedding industry news on a daily basis. I highlighted the ease with which it is possible for me to read various stories without having to visit the actual web sites if I don’t want to. This all happens due to the magic of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, certainly every blog has such a feed – though not all web sites do. This might not be news to everyone, but for those brides discovering it for the first time you will certainly enjoy the luxury of having all your news in one place.

One site I am always excited to hear the latest news from is the Wedding Podcast Network (WPN), at, run by husband and wife team Robert Allen and Holli Ehrlich. They provide an alternative to mainstream wedding planning advice in a portable, on-demand format you can listen to where ever you are. WPN allows brides and grooms to easily listen to advice on wedding planning and obtain valuable information in an entertaining and educational format that can be downloaded to an iPod, MP3 player, mobile phone or on the computer free of charge. I love the idea of downloadable audio giving me the opportunity to control which specific wedding programs I hear, when, and even where.

Listen To Free Wedding Advice Today:

I recommend you open a Bloglines account and subscribe to the main Wedding Podcast Network feed today.

Robert Allen, WPN co-founder and executive producer says:

“We wanted to establish an authoritative resource for brides and grooms that are planning their wedding, but realize they have busy lives, whether they are commuting to work, working out at the gym or running errands. Wedding Podcast Network is like listening to wedding talk radio on-demand on your iPod or computer.”

Robert and Holli offer not only authoritative but also entertaining and fun shows to listen to. You can keep copies of your favourite shows and play them over and over again.

The Wedding Podcast Network features seven original internet radio programs including:

♥ Meet the Masters - Listen To Show Here - Exclusive interviews with the wedding industry’s foremost style shapers and consultants. Guests have included Preston Bailey, Ron Ben-Israel, Sylvia Weinstock, Laura Geller, John Mahdessian of Madame Paulette, and celebrity wedding planners Ann David and Nicky Reinhard.

♥ Bridal Scene - Listen To Show Here - Trends and happenings including exclusive, behind-the-scenes interviews from the industry’s premier shows and events. Some of the subjects of on-site guest interviews have included bridal registry trends, destination weddings, bridal beauty, scrapbooking, invitations and honeymoons. Recents podcasts include a couple of entertaining shows from the Bridal Market in New York City (part 1 and 2).

♥ Lovecast - Listen To Show Here - Relationship advice from The Love Doctor, Dr. Terri. Dr. Terri teaches listeners how to accept differences, communicate, and resolve conflicts. Fun quizzes, valuable advice and important life lessons about one’s significant other and each other's families are part of the programming. Men and women differ greatly how they talk about the relationship with their partner - listen to these podcasts to find out why!

♥ Newlywedcast - Listen To Show Here - Real couples recount their wedding stories and share firsthand advice from a purely personal perspective. Listeners hear unique proposal stories, surprising confessions, original ideas
and secrets to planning a successful wedding. Listen to newlyweds, Kim and Quint, share the details of their April destination wedding in Lake Tahoe, California and wedding at the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. Or how Jamie and Daniel planned their wedding in just 4 days!

♥ Wedding Workout - Listen To Show Here - This fitness-focused podcast offers advice and tips on how to lose a size and get gown ready before the walk down the aisle. So get pumped! get motivated! and become a buff bride today! Listen to Real Pilates owner Alycea Ungaro discuss how exercise is an enormous stress reliever which is critical during wedding planning.

♥ Grooms with a View - Listen To Show Here - Grooms offer their perspective on the big day. In the first show Craig Michaels, author of Thirty to Wife (see my review here), talks about what every prospective groom should expect at a wedding. Craig shares some great cost saving ideas without cheapening the affair.

♥ Planet Bride - Listen To Show Here – Michand Henry Roth, sister and brother design duo, share their three generations of family bridal tradition and take you on a unique wedding planning journey. Hear how to get real and how to deal from a pair that know the wedding business like no other. In their first show Henry & Michdiscuss the ever important pivotal component that sets the tone for the whole wedding - the wedding dress!

If you have any questions about RSS and podcasts just pop me an email and I will do my best to help.

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"Thirty To Wife" By Craig Michaels - The Must Read Groom's Guide To Weddings
Date: October 09, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Books & Groom & Planning & Reviews

Craig Michael’s new book “Thirty to Wife”, available from and, was born from his very own experiences of getting married. He found he didn’t have many people to turn to for real, honest advice and your average wedding book was simply focused on lists and responsibilities. He was fed up with to do lists and magazines strategically left around the house and wanted to write a book that really went out of its way to educate and advise grooms.

The title “Thirty to Wife” is apt because Craig's book tells the story of the 30 days leading up to his wedding day. It is in effect a countdown where we take the ride along side him, every step of the way - experiencing the highs and the lows. It’s a clever title, though Craig can’t take credit for it as his wife Deb thought of it! Luckily he does deserve much applause for its content! In fact Deb's forward says:

If only CRAIG put a fraction of the effort into our wedding planning that he did writing this book.

If only.

And so the book begins:

From Day 30: Welcome to my world. Seatbelts not required, but strongly encouraged.

Never was I so sure of anything in this world. Buoyed by excessive alcohol, a ticking biological clock (guys get them too), and a natural urge to ensure survival of the fittest (vision impairments aside), I got down on one knee and asked Deb to marry me.

It wasn't the most romantic moment. Or the most graceful. But it was ours to cherish forever. Or at least a few days.

"No planning for two months. Guaranteed," Deb promised as she basked in the glow of her engagement ring.
We didn’t make it two hours.
"Who are your groomsmen?"
"What food should we serve?"
"Where should we honeymoon?"
"When will we register?"
Why, oh why did I start us down this path?

I found “Thirty to Wife” to be all together more superior than anything else I have read in the groom/wedding book category. At the heart of this book is a humorous, real life and in depth pre-wedding narrative that makes it such a joy to read. Through all 263 pages you hear Craig’s voice, providing comfort, guidance and real world experiences that both sexes can relate to. In addition this book packs a massive punch with many comprehensive lists of what every groom needs to know, from proposing to the wedding day.

I loved the way you can follow a really engaging wedding story, yet pick up many useful tips and advice along the way. If you’re a bride you may wonder whether this account of a thirty-something man’s last 30 bachelor days is for you? I have to admit I had the same question. Yes “Thirty to Wife” is groom oriented but nevertheless it is definitely bride friendly. I can see women using this book to assist men in being the grooms they dreamt of marrying and get their favourite “so what are you really thinking” question answered without having to ask their mates!

Equally men will use the book to learn that they’re not alone in their struggle with the pressures and joys of being engaged. Ultimately when you have a book full of love, excitement and humour, told through personal experiences you have a winner for both men and women.

Craig clearly tells grooms:

“Don’t just ‘get through’ your wedding. Help out. Share in the good and bad of planning your big day. It’s something that you’re going to remember for the rest of your life. And something your bride will remind you of for the rest of your life. I looked back and realised I missed out on much of the action. And while my wedding turned out to be an amazing affair, I’ll always know that I put too much of the burden on my better half”

I really wish this book was around when I got married – not that my husband didn’t help with the planning, but more to increase his knowledge of what is involved. I know a story like this is so much better than asking a groom to read through lists of dos and don’ts. Everyone loves a good fun story!

Times have certainly changed. Years ago, the groom’s role was much more about showing up and worrying about life after marriage. It was unusual for grooms to be purposely excluded from planning altogether, as weddings were strictly the domain of the bride and her mother!

Lets face it more couples are planning their weddings as a team and if this is the case for you, you will definitely need a guidebook. You may think all the bridal magazines you have laying around your house constitute the necessary foundation to plan the perfect wedding, but for a groom this couldn’t be further from the truth. They need a manual / novel / lads magazine that informs them, yet makes them laugh. This is where Craig has excelled by creating the right mix to relay everything a groom needs to know without boring him. He saw the opportunity to write something truly unique and educate grooms on what to expect from engagement to his wedding day. I can’t recommend “Thirty to Wife” highly enough, though I’m not the only one!

Some Amazing Testimonials:

"Understands the plight of the groom." - Newsday

"Very funny...holds nothing back..." - Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Helpful advice...tell-all style." - Oakand Tribune

Every page is rich in wedding lists, tips and insights but so as you get a real free for its contents I have set out a list of some of my favourites:

Top Pages Every Groom Needs To Read - Sooner Rather Than Later!

* The Guy's Guide To Wedding Responsibilities - pages 16 - 17
* Who Pays What? - Page 32
* Is That A Ruler In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy To Get Sized? (Key body measurements for your tuxedo) - Page 40
* A Handy Guide to Tying A Bowtie - Page 41
* Gifts For Your Groomsmen - Show Your Posse That You Care - page 41
* The Bachelor Party - Basic Bachelor Party Rules - pages 75 - 76
* Want To Know The Cut Of A Woman? Look At The Cut Of Her Diamond - pages 116 - 117
* How To Calm Her Nerves - page 157
* Nee To Drop A Few Pounds? A Few Inches? A Few Feet? - pages 174 - 176
* A Handy Emergency Kit For You To Pack To Ensure Smooth Sailing On Your Wedding Day - page 210
* Playing The Wedding Horror Bingo Game - page 223
* Last Night Reminders For Nervous Grooms To Be - page 231

And Finally These Two Absolute Must Reads:

* The Complete Guide To The Groom's Wedding To Do's - pages 246 - 257
* The Complete Guide To The Grooms' Party Responsibilities - pages 258 - 263

See Craig Talk About His Book:

Craig is interviewd on NBC11 San Francisco talking about how a groom should get involved and how he wishes he had been a little bit more supportive.

Book Details:
Thirty to Wife
The Tell-All Groom's Guide to Weddings
How to Get Hitched Without Losing Your Mind or Your Fiancée

Paperback: 263 pages
Publisher: Marlowe & Company (7 Jul 2006)
Language: English
ISBN: 1569242968

More information about "Thirty to Wife" can be found out on Craig's website,

Final Words:

"Thirty to Wife" is simply a Must Read for all grooms. This book will motivate them, guide them and entertain them - for the price of a round of beers turn your husband-to-be into Super Groom! Be sure to check out this podcast where Craig talks to Robert Allen on the Wedding Podcast Network about what every groom can expect at his own wedding.

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A Unique Concept In Wedding Table Planning -
Date: October 04, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Flower & Decorations & Funny & Groom & Guests & Planning & Reception & Reviews & Shopping & Site Reviews & Stationery & Themes & Unique Ideas

A seating plan is an essential piece of stationery for your wedding reception. By having a seating plan on display for wedding guests to refer to you avoid any unnecessary confusion about where they are expected to sit. Seating plans also prevent the usual chaos which can prevail if you have an open seating arrangement at your wedding reception, which traditionally begins with a mass free for all as guests seat themselves and ends with a few lonely people ambling around the reception room looking for a spare seat or a friendly face!

You can tell I am a real advocate of seating plans at weddings, so I was fascinated to come across the stand at the National Wedding Show last weekend. They are a table planner design company who produce stylish and distinctive table plans. I was impressed with the quality of their beautifully framed and mounted table plans and by the diverse and quirky design assortment they offer. I hardly had a chance to speak to Creative Director Mike Daniels at the show as he was surrounded by a throng of prospective bride and grooms asking questions about his funky table planners, which has to be a sign of their popularity!

“Ideal for events, functions and weddings. offers you a fresh and exciting new idea to compliment your special occasion. We have a team of designers who will work with you to create a unique table plan for you and your guests. The table plan will then become a picture that records your cherished day as a memento of you with your family and friends.”

Take a look for yourself at the website to see the unique and distinctive array of table plans you could choose from, the themes range from “Reservoir Dogs” to “Greek Gods". The table plan designs are all created by the design team who are more than happy to custom design your table plan depending on your wedding theme, hobbies or interests. How about personalising your table plan by basing it on your favourite sport (Formula 1), your chosen honeymoon destination (Hawaii) or one of your interests (Cocktails)! I particularly liked the James Bond themed table plan which is not shown on the website but was on display at the Wedding Show - this is surely a design which prove to be popular with every groom for their own 007 wedding reception! I think that these table plans would be particularly great if you are hosting a themed wedding - you could use the design of the table plan to convey your wedding theme. I wish I had known about them when I planned my wedding as it was loosely based on a golf theme but unfortunately we did not think of carrying this through to the seating plan and table names.

Once you have chosen a table plan design all you have to do is provide the design team with the table layouts and wedding guests’ names typed in word or excel format and they create the table planner for you.

Prices for the table plans start at £395. Whilst this might seem like quite a princely sum for a table plan, do bear in mind that these table plans look like pieces of artwork and would definitely look fantastic adorning a wall in your house after your wedding as a lasting keepsake of your special day. are also able to provide table number or name cards for each table utilising the same design theme, as well as holders for these and place cards. If your reception venue is unable to provide you with an easel or suitable wall fixture to display the table planner on then are able to provide this too.

These table plans could bring the fun and colourful element to your wedding reception which will have your guests talking about it for years to come! This is a very original concept and I imagine it will be popular with couples who want their weddings to be unique. You will not find these anywhere else and I imagine even the most adept wedding DIY expert would not want to attempt one of these masterpieces themselves.

Take a look and see for yourself. Happy planning!

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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 or

"The Engaged Groom" all started with Doug's blog called 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 and the MySpace site at

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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

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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How To Plan A Second Wedding

My sister announced at the weekend that she is getting remarried. This will be her second marriage. My family and I are so excited for her that she has found love again and that she is brave enough to put her faith in the institution of marriage after an acrimonious divorce.

All the wedding talk at her engagement announcement party got me thinking about planning a wedding second time around. It is a totally different scenario to organizing your first wedding - you are older (usually this is the case - I think Britney Spears’ two weddings within nine months of each other is quite unique), wiser and will have more experience of your expectations not just for your second wedding day but also your second marriage!

Whether it is due to divorce or death of a spouse increasing numbers of people are making a trip of the aisle for a second time. According to 4 out of every 10 weddings nowadays are second marriages for one or both partners. According to the US Census Bureau one-third of couples getting married in the USA have been married before and every year nearly one million American women marry for the second time. You are in good company if you are planning on saying “I do” for the second time - Madonna, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Demi Moore, Britney Spears and more recently Pamela Anderson have all enjoyed a second trip down the aisle.

If you too are thinking about taking the plunge again then here are some top tips and advice for making your encore wedding even more unique and memorable than your first.

Announcing Your Engagement

If you have children

♥ Once you are engaged the first people you should tell are your children. You definitely need their approval of your future nuptials before you can start making any plans.

♥ You should inform your children of your engagement as soon as possible so that they have plenty of time to adjust to the idea. We are bombarded by the media, particularly by television shows such as "The Brady Bunch", with images of perfectly blended stepfamilies. Of course there will be tears and turbulence as your family unit changes size with your second wedding but becoming a proper united family is not an unattainable feat - it just needs time and perseverance!

♥ You should definitely let your children decide for themselves if they want to participate in your second wedding.

If you are a widow or widower

♥ If your first spouse died then you will need to be sensitive to your deceased spouse's families' feelings. Out of respect for the family you should let them know in person (if you have children by your deceased spouse and remain in constant contact with the family) or by letter (if you have become distant from them and are not used to telephoning them or seeing them in person) that you are remarrying.

♥ Whether or not you invite your deceased spouse's family to your second wedding is a very delicate etiquette issue. If your children (their grandchildren) are participating in your wedding then consider whether they would enjoy attending so that they could see this. Use your own judgment as to whether you think it would stir up too many sad memories for them (and you). Second weddings do present social and emotional issues such as this - it comes with the territory I'm afraid!

If you are divorced

♥ If you are divorced without children then there is no need for you to mention your second marriage to your ex-spouse unless you are on good terms with them and keep in touch with each others news.

♥ If you are divorced with children then you must let your ex-spouse know about your upcoming nuptials. If your children are old enough then you can ask if they would prefer to tell their parent about your second wedding or if they want you to break the happy news. You should try to let your ex-spouse know as soon as possible after you have told your children about your engagement, so that your children do not have to keep it a secret and will free to discuss your upcoming wedding openly.

♥ If you are not on speaking terms with your ex then you could put your news in a letter to them and mention that you have explained it to your children and that your wish is for your children to be a part of your wedding day. Although as co-parent you don’t need permission for your own children to participate in your wedding ceremony, it would make things easier all round if your ex-spouse was consulted at an early stage so that any objections could be aired and discussed and you could guarantee their full co-operation with your upcoming wedding plans.

Organizing your second wedding

When it comes to organizing a second wedding many couples choose to spend less time planning the wedding event than they did first time round and more time enjoying the run up to their wedding day. Second weddings are usually smaller and more intimate but there are no rules if you want a repeat of your first extravagant wedding. Some brides, (such as my sister) who had only a very small wedding first time round, enjoy the thought of an elaborate second wedding. My sister admits that this time round she knows exactly what she wants for her wedding day as she has attended innumerous weddings since her first wedding 12 years ago.

The advantages of organizing a wedding second time around are:

♥ You know the pitfalls and what could go wrong as you have probably experienced a few with your first wedding.

♥ You have a better idea of what style and theme of wedding you want as you have more experience of weddings you have attended over the years.

♥ You are free to create any kind of wedding you and your partner want - be as creative as you want (so long as your budget allows it!).

♥ You can invite who you want to your wedding this time round without the restrictions of having parents impose their choice of guests on you.

♥ Hopefully you are in a better financial position than you were when you first got married so you might be able to afford all of the luxury extras for your second wedding that were not within your first wedding budget.

According to Dee Merz, a wedding consultant with Everlasting Memories in California, says that she enjoys organizing second weddings.

“The brides know themselves better as women and they rarely break a sweat when making decisions. Grooms play a much bigger role in the planning, and every choice is geared to reflecting the couple’s unique personalities.”

Top tips when organizing your second wedding:


♥ You can host your wedding anywhere second time around, there is so much choice. I know many bride and grooms who have remarried for the second or third time in a church. Just because you are a divorcee does not automatically mean that you must remarry in a Registry Office or at other licensed premises and have a civil ceremony. If it is important to you, your partner and your family to have a religious ceremony then enquire of your local church about their policy for second marriages - some churches are stricter than others. With second marriages becoming increasingly common most ministers will understand your situation and will help you to reach a solution if you have your heart set on a religious wedding ceremony.

♥ Destination weddings have become increasingly popular for second marriages, particularly those with children as the ceremony can be incorporated into a fun family holiday!

♥ Bear in mind that it would be in bad taste to host your second wedding in the same location as your first wedding!

Legal requirements

♥ It goes without saying that in order to remarry you will need to supply the registrar with either a decree absolute proving that you are legally divorced from your first spouse, or a death certificate if you are widowed. Make sure that your paperwork is in order well in advance of applying for your marriage license.

♥ In a second marriage where children are involved ensure that you seek appropriate legal advice with regard to financial and inheritance aspects of your union and guardianship issues.


♥ Vows for a second wedding are another emotive issue which need delicate handling. Of course you promised to "love, honor and respect for all eternity" your first spouse so what do the words really mean if "eternity" turned out to be just a couple of years! The important thing with wedding vows is that you say them with confidence and believe them yourself at the time of saying them to the person you have chosen to marry.

♥ If you are looking for alternative ideas for wedding vows for your second wedding has some unique wordings which could help you.

Wedding traditions for a second wedding

♥ The tradition of having a wedding cake is the same for a second wedding. However, according to throwing the bouquet, wearing a garter and throwing confetti are not proper etiquette for a second wedding. I have seen all of these things done at second and third weddings so I think it is just a case of do whatever feels right for you on your wedding day.

♥ You probably already have an album full of photos from your first wedding that you rarely look at nowadays but don't let this put you off having a photographer at your second wedding. Of course you will want a record of your second wedding, especially if it is the first wedding for one of you.

♥ When it comes to the question of walking up the aisle you might think it improper to ask your Father or whomever gave you away at your first wedding but there are no etiquette rules about this for second weddings. You can walk up the aisle alone, on the arm of your Father, Mother, Brother or even child if you want.

♥ The decision of whether to have attendants at your second wedding is, again, entirely up to you. There are no rules about this. Guests usually expect at least a couple of attendants at second weddings. Don't worry if you want to ask your friends or family to repeat the performance they gave as attendants at your first wedding. It is not seen as unlucky to ask the same attendants who stood by you at your first wedding to stand by you at your second wedding. A friend of mine has been Best Man at both of his brother's weddings.

♥ Bridal Showers are still appropriate for second weddings. You probably have new friends since you first married and they will want to help you celebrate your impending nuptials regardless of whether or not you have done it all before. You can choose to have a more moderate bridal shower if you prefer.

Involving Children in a Second Wedding

If you and/or your partner have children from your own relationship or from previous relationships then you will undoubtedly want them to participate in your wedding plans. The best way to make children feel involved in the whole process of organising a second wedding is to include them in the wedding planning. It is not just you who is getting remarried, so too are your children!

Whilst your choice of spouse has been your decision you should allow your children some say in your wedding planning. Discuss with them their thoughts on your second wedding and ask them how they would like to be involved. You should refer to it as "our" wedding day rather than solely yours and your partner's.

According to Jill Curtis, author of "How to Get Married Again: A Guide to Second Weddings" (available at and she says,

"My research showed that children not included in at least part of the ceremony often find it more difficult to accept the stepparent. One dilemma may be for a child who thinks her "other" parent may well feel left out and not want the child to take part in a second wedding ceremony. Will it be seen as a betrayal? Or acceptance of the new stepparent?"

Make your children feel wanted and needed by giving them a role in your wedding day. Here are some ideas for ways to include them in your second wedding:

♥ Try to include something symbolic within your wedding ceremony which will signify to all present that you, your partner and your children coming together as a unified family.

♥ Some couples present their children with rings during the wedding ceremony.

♥ It is becoming increasingly popular to include a family vow after the bride and groom's vows during the wedding ceremony where children join the bride and groom to recite some words and have their new blended family blessed.

♥ Daughters can act as maids-of-honor or flower girls.

♥ Sons can stand as "best men", ushers or ring bearers.

♥ Ask your/your partner's children to walk you down the aisle and give you away.

♥ As a family stand at the altar and light a unity candle together.

♥ Ask children to be in charge of the guestbook.

♥ If they are confident speakers they could make a special toast during the wedding reception.

♥ Offer them the chance to give a reading during the wedding ceremony.

Some additional points to remember:

♥ Whatever role you or your children choose for your second wedding make sure that they are comfortable with it.

♥ Ask a family member to keep an eye on your children on your wedding day if you anticipate that you will be too distracted to keep a watchful eye on them.

♥ Remember that your wedding day marks a new beginning for your children too and it can be confusing for them, whether they are 3 years old or 15 years old.

Jill Curtis says,

"A wedding is a landmark in any family and those adults and children who have been burned by the fallout of an earlier divorce or death of a parent will be particularly sensitive to the meaning of the occasion. With some planning, a lot of discussion, and a little bit of luck, it will be a day memories are made of."

♥ If you are divorced you might find that your children have always had a secret fantasy that you and your ex would get back together again. Your second wedding will put an end to this hope so treat your child sensitively.

♥ If your split from your ex-spouse was acrimonious your impending second wedding might stir up painful memories for your children. I know that my 10 year old nephew worries that he will see his Mum be hurt again (bless him!). The best thing you can do as a parent about to embark on a second wedding is to reassure your child that this is a different situation, you are different, you are stronger and the person you are marrying is your soulmate who you want to share your life with.

To compare or not to compare?

♥ Try not to compare your second wedding to your first wedding. My sister has already begun to start sentences with “At my first wedding we had this/we did this…”. This is a definite no-go area for anyone planning their encore wedding. Your fiancé, his family and also your own family and friends do not want to be reminded of your first wedding. This wedding which you are planning now is a unique occasion and should be treated as such, not judged against your first trip up the aisle.

♥ It is an undeniable fact that guests who were present at your first wedding will compare it with your second wedding. I hold my own hands up and admit I have done it myself when I have attended first and second weddings. There is no way to prevent your guests from doing this so you should just come to terms with it before your wedding day.

♥ Don't go overboard trying to plan your second wedding to be a polar opposite of your first wedding. At the end of the day so long as you and your partner are happy with your wedding plans and do everything you can to ensure your guests enjoyment then you can't do more than that. Inevitably there will be similarities between the two weddings - besides everything else they will both involve rings, vows and celebrations of some sort!

♥ With your wedding speeches it is usual for the Best Man, Father of the Bride, Groom and even the Bride to make a reference to the lives of the bride and groom before they met and traditionally some reference to exes would be made. Tread very carefully here! It would be seen to be in poor taste if your first stab at marriage is referred to at your second wedding. You don't want to make your guests, your new partner or your children feel uncomfortable on your wedding day.

Footing the bill for a second wedding

With second weddings where the bride has been married before it is normal for the bride and groom to split the costs of the wedding between them. You should definitely not expect either set of parents to pay towards your second wedding. If it is the bride’s first wedding but the groom’s second, then you will probably find that the bride’s parents will want to contribute towards the wedding costs. It is also quite common for one or both sets of parents to offer financial help towards the wedding costs. In this case you should weigh up whether you want to accept their kind offer as financial input being given by parents can sometimes equate to organizational input being expected with your wedding. One of the main advantages of paying for your own wedding of course is that you are free to make your own decisions when planning the wedding without having input from your parents.

If you are paying for the wedding yourselves then you should create an affordable wedding budget and stick to it. As with any wedding it is possible to have your dream wedding at an affordable cost, but I think this is the case more so with second weddings as you do not need to pull out all of the stops. Second weddings for brides are more about starting a new life with your new husband than about having the expensive dress, breathtaking table ceterpieces, stylish wedding favors and other wedding paraphernalia. That being said, if you can afford it then why not go ahead and organize the extravagant wedding you have always dreamt of!


♥ As mentioned, it is completely up to you and your partner whether you choose to have a small wedding attended only by immediate family and close friends or a larger wedding inviting everyone who is important to you both.

♥ Inviting an ex-spouse to your second wedding is thought to be bad form. It depends on your personal circumstances whether or not you want to invite your ex to your wedding. Demi Moore invited Bruce Willis to her nuptials with Ashton Kutcher and at her wedding earlier this month Pamela Anderson asked new husband Kid Rock’s ex Tamara Mellon to be her bridesmaid! If your ex-spouse is a co-parent of your children then your children might feel more at ease at the wedding if they too are invited. You should do what you and your fiancé feel comfortable with - it is your wedding day!

If you and your partner are hosting your own second wedding then the invitation should be worded along the lines of:

Hannah Hopkins
Muir Mackintosh
Request the pleasure of your company
At their wedding
On Saturday, the tenth of September
At three o'clock at
St Paul’s Memorial Church
Followed by dinner and dancing at
The Old Course Hotel
St Andrews

If it is the bride’s first wedding and her parents are contributing financially towards it then you might prefer that they host the wedding, in which case the invitation could read as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey Thompson
Request the pleasure of your company
At the wedding of their daughter
Hannah Hopkins
Muir Mackintosh
On Saturday, the tenth of September
At three o'clock at
St Paul’s Memorial Church
Followed by dinner and dancing at
The Old Course Hotel
St Andrews

If you have children you might like to include their names on the invitations or even have them named as hosts of the wedding (this would make them feel very included and very special!).

Paul and Mark Hopkins
Request the pleasure of your company
At the wedding of their Mother
Hannah Hopkins
Muir Mackintosh
On Saturday, the tenth of September
At three o'clock at
St Paul’s Memorial Church
Followed by dinner and dancing at
The Old Course Hotel
St Andrews

Check out for more ideas and inspiration for wording invitations for your second wedding.

Bridal Attire for Second Weddings

The most important thing for any bride on her wedding day whether it is her first, second or even eighth wedding (à la Elizabeth Taylor!) is that she feels comfortable, confident, relaxed and, most importantly, beautiful. No matter how many times someone has been married they always want to feel and look like a princess on their special day!

As an encore bride you should not feel restricted about your choice of wedding attire. Old traditions used to point second time brides away from full length gowns, veils and the wearing of ivory or white for their subsequent nuptials but this is no longer the case. You can choose any color or style you wish so long as it suits your age and flatters your figure. If you are a mature encore bride then you are unlikely to want to wear a Cinderella ball gown; you might prefer to choose a simple yet elegant sheath dress, suit or a less formal wedding gown and accessorize with a hat, decorative headpiece or tiara rather than a full veil. According to Nina Callaway of About Weddings,

“Most brides getting remarried have already had their "Princess in a white dress" moment the first time around, and so opt for a more mature look such as a brocade suit or a simple cocktail dress. However, if you eloped the first time, or simply want to have that Princess moment again, there's no reason why you can't. In fact, as divorce and remarriage becomes an evermore regular part of our society, the possibilities for what a second wedding dress can be are endless”.

To help you decide what style of wedding attire is appropriate for your second wedding you should first decide what type of wedding ceremony you are having. Are you having a traditional church wedding, outdoors wedding, destination or beach wedding? If, like Pamela Anderson, you choose to have your second wedding aboard a yacht anchored off of St Tropez, then this will dictate your style of wedding attire (in her case a white string bikini - not every encore brides' first choice I’m sure!).

Wedding Gifts for a Second Wedding

One of the main questions which crops up amongst brides, grooms and also wedding guests, is whether it is acceptable to ask for wedding gifts from guests at your second wedding. This is particularly pertinent if you have invited family and friends who already bought you a gift for your first wedding.

Wedding etiquette states that buying a gift for a couple who are getting married for the second time is definitely not mandatory. Wedding gifts are traditionally given to help a couple set up home together. Nowadays most couples live together before they walk down the aisle and so already have an established household with the requisite amount of crockery, toasters and wine glasses.

You should definitely consider registering for wedding gifts as the majority of your guests will want to buy you a gift (especially if it is a first wedding for one of you). Although typical wedding gifts may not be appropriate for a second wedding, you could consider registering for fun gifts such as equipment for a shared hobby (I attended a second wedding where the bride put golf clubs and lessons on her wedding wish list so that she could share her new husband’s love of the game!), artwork, sculptures or ornaments, a selection of fine wines, vouchers for activity days out (perfect if you have children you can share these with), plants for your garden or a donation to be made to a charity of your choice.

Keep in mind that some of your invited guests might well have been generous with their first wedding gifts to you, so if you are planning to register or ask for gifts then don’t feel hard done by if they choose not to buy you a gift or only buy you a small token gift. Surely the most important thing is that they choose to share your special day!

Personally I would have no problem buying a gift for a couple whose wedding I was invited to, even if I had already bought a gift for their previous wedding (though if it was the same two people remarrying then I would probably only buy a token gift). In my sister’s case she and her fiancé are already talking about their honeymoon which will include my two young nephews, so I suggested to her that she register for travel gift vouchers. There is a great article at which explains how honeymoon registry websites work. By using one of the free websites mentioned in the article you can list all of your honeymoon expenses including airfares, accommodation costs, excursions, meals, spa treatments, spending cash and even luggage on a website which is accessible to your wedding guests. This means that your guests can purchase whatever aspect or make whatever contribution towards your honeymoon they wish. If, like my sister, this idea appeals to you then you might also want to take a look at where you can set up a registry for your guests to buy you frequent flyer miles to put towards your honeymoon or future travel once you are married.

Honeymoon Plans

Whilst many newlyweds enjoy some time to themselves on their honeymoons, it is becoming more common for couples to include their children in their honeymoon plans after a second wedding. The honeymoon presents a perfect opportunity for blended families to spend time together and share bonding experiences.

As mentioned, my sister intends on taking her two children on her honeymoon (it was her fiancé's idea!). My youngest nephew is obsessed with elephants so my sister has already mentioned that they are considering all going on a safari holiday in Africa - what a perfect way to kick-start their new life together as a family. I am sure they will share lots of great memories from the trip and get to know each other even better!

If you are lucky enough to get a second chance at marriage then I think you should ignore the statistics that say that the chances of a second marriage ending in divorce are 60% compared to 50% of first marriages. Inevitably you will be apprehensive about saying "I do" for the second time but let your hope and optimism shine through for your second wedding. Have confidence in the fact that you are a different person from the one who got married the first time - you are older and wiser second time around.

Resources I recommend for planning your encore wedding:

1,001 Ways to have a Dazzling Second Wedding by Sharon Naylor available at and

This guidebook is perfect for women planning their second weddings. It provides the most current and applicable how-to's on such touchy subjects as: gown choice, family participation, guest diplomacy, gifts, bridal party choices, invitation wording, reception planning, religious requirements, and legalities.

Listen to this discussion about the etiquette of getting married again? Questions include what do you wear and do you have a present list? She discusses this topic with Sandra Boler consulting editor of Brides Magazine and journalist Eve Pollard.

Read this New York Times article on on how couples are embracing second weddings as wholeheartedly as first their one. Written by MarcS. Fischler, it offers an excellent insight into the whole subject of encore weddings.

More second wedding websites to check out: - Offers marriage advice and inspirations from how to tell your children you are getting married the second time around to choosing your dress. - All the second wedding ideas you'll need to plan your remarriage! Leave questions on the second wedding forum and an expert will respond with an answer. - Bride Again is designed for the encore bride. It is targeted to women over 30 who have been married at least one before, have children from a previous marriage or are marrying someone with children and are currently planning to be remarried. - Thoughts, suggestions, reflections, and opinions For re-wedding brides.

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How To Design Your Own Engagement Ring Online
Date: August 14, 2006 • Author: Emily • Filed Under: Engagement & Groom & Jewelry & Shopping & Unique Ideas

Designing your own engagement ring online has never been easier. Prospective grooms now have the opportunity to use sites such as This gives them the functionality to design every aspect of the ring.

Before shopping online it is worth noting that wedding guidelines state that a man should spend approximately two months' salary on a diamond engagement ring, though obviously this is totally up to the groom at the end of the day. I would recommend though that you take the time to browse the internet and to educate yourself on all the possible options. In order to successfully design your ring it is important to understand each decision you make whilst making your order. This is one area where you don't want to make a costly mistake. It would also be prudent to take a look at your partner's existing rings to see if she has any strong preferences. Does she refer yellow or white gold, or even platinum, is there a common style that she buys for herself?

Using as an example, here are the steps you need to make. Firstly go to their build a ring page.

Select Your Diamond And Setting

1. Shape

The first step in creating the perfect unique ring is to select a diamond design, this involves choosing from the following shapes: round, princess, emerald, radiant, oval, pear, marquise, heart or asscher.

One of the most popular is the Round Diamond Cut. This shape is generally more expensive than any of the other fancy shapes that can be bought. It is of course not perfectly round but in fact has 58 facets including the culet. One of the newest shapes is the attractive Princess Cut, the appealing factor being the fact that it is rectangular but with the brilliance of a round cut. Another rectangular shape is the Emerald, this though has a “step cut” as opposed to a “brilliant cut” where its facets are broad.

Take time to browse the many images and pictures of these shapes before you make your final decision, and try to judge what shape would sit well on your partner's finger.

Find out more at

2. Enter Price

Once you have decided on the diamond shape you can input your desired price range or leave it blank. I recommend you don’t enter a price as you are only searching at this stage and it is much more fun and informative to see all the options - even if you can't afford them all!

3. Select Your Search

Your options are Dynamic and Basic Search. The default is Dynamic, though please note that this requires Java. If your browser does not have this plug-in please click here

Within the Dynamic Search you have the ability to narrow your search down by moving the 5 sliders for Carat, Cut, Price, Color and Clarity.

As you can imagine there is quite a bit to understanding the terminology and science of each of these subjects, fortunately just a brief understanding of each will enable you to make an educated diamond ring purchase.

♥ Carat

To begin with it is important to know that the metric carat equals 0.20gram. You should be able to chose from a scale starting at ¼ and then onto 1/3, ½, ¾, 1, 1½, 2, 3, 4, and finally 13ct. As always you will need to work within your budget and determine the maximum carat weight you can afford without making too much of a sacrifice on the cut, color and clarify. If your preference is to build an engagement ring that has a heavy carat weight you may have to select a good cut, SI1–SI2 clarity and color in the “G – J near colorless” range

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♥ Cut

Diamond cut as used in the Four C's refers to a stones ability to reflect light, not its outward appearance. We often confuse the shape of a diamond (round, pear, emerald, etc.) with the cut.

A good cut brings out the best. Just like a good haircut enhances the face, a good diamond cut will enhance the stone. A well-cut diamond will reflect the light it absorbs back out through its top surface, or table.

The “Cut” of the diamond is often referred to as the most important characteristic because without the right cut the sparkle will be dull despite perfect color and clarity. The diamond’s brilliance or sparkle is determined by its width and depth, perfect proportions will mean the light will enter the diamond and exit in the form of maximum brilliance. If the diamond is too shallow the light will escape through the sides and if it is too deep the light will exit from the bottom.

All diamonds are graded with the following characteristics: “ideal cut”, “very good cut”, “good cut”, “fair cut” and “poor cut”. An “ideal cut”” diamond represents roughly 3% of diamond quality based on cut, a “very good cut” represents 15%, “good cut” represents 25%, “fair cut” represents 35% and “poor cut” includes all diamonds that do not meet the “fair cut” proportion standards.

In addition the polish and symmetry of the diamond are two other important factors to be taken in to considerable when studying the cut of the diamond. The polish grade describes the smoothness of the diamond's facets, a dull polish will mean a lack of sparkle. The diamond’s symmetry grade refers to the alignment of the facets, light can be misdirected if the diamond possesses poor symmetry. All diamonds are graded with a American Gem Society “AGSL” or The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grading report. The AGSL report has the following sliding scale of ideal (ID), excellent (EX), very good (VG), and good (G). A (GIA) grading report ranks a diamond’s symmetry with a scale that starts with excellent (EX), then very good (VG), and ends with good (G).

If you retain any information from this article, make it this. The diamond's cut may be the most important feature. It is the cut that will have the most effect on how the diamond looks. A well-cut diamond will seem to generate a glow that comes from inside the stone. A poorly cut diamond will have little eye-catching sparkle. You don't have to be a rocket scientist or even a gemologist to know a well-cut diamond when you see one.

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♥ Color

Next you need to decide the "color" of your chosen engagement diamond. The most expensive are those that have no color, known as white diamonds, these have hardly any yellow or brown in them. The scale on which the color of diamonds is measured is easy to understand as it is a simple sliding scale devised by the GIA where "D" is colorless and "Z" is yellow. In between you have grades such a "M" which is know as faint yellow and "R" known as very light yellow. Any diamonds that are graded "D" through to "F" are essentially colorless, and basically differ in transparency. These are will be highly sought after and consequently expensive. From K on, slight hints of color begin to appear.

Remember a diamond's value is strongly influenced by its color. People tend to prefer diamonds that are colorless, thus the more yellow you see - the cheaper it will be. You may also come across another color scale devised by the American Gem Society Labs. This works on grading color from zero to ten, where zero is completely colorless.

I recommend you do not buy a diamond graded with any other method than the two mentioned above.

Find out more at and for fancy diamond colors.

♥ Clarity

Next you need to select the clarity of the diamond you would like to buy. Diamonds with blemishes or inclusions are obviously not as rare as those without and hence a premium is paid for flawless diamonds. In fact if a diamond is completely free of blemishes when viewed under 10x loupe magnification it is deemed to be internally flawless (IF). The clarify ranges from IF, VVS1-VVS2, VS1-VS2, SI1-SI2 and through to I1-I3, this being a ring where inclusions are visible under 10x magnification as well as to the human eye.

After carat weight, diamond clarity has the biggest influence on price. Truly clear, faultless diamonds are rare and extremely expensive.

Most diamonds that have already been found to be jewelry grade look clear to the naked eye. Clarity is measured by what is not there. When a skilled gemologist grades a diamond's clarity, he will downgrade the stone if he finds inclusions or blemishes. Inclusions are imperfections, cracks or spots of colors within the diamond itself.

Blemishes are flaws on the exterior that may have been caused during cutting or polishing. Clarity matters because flaws affect a diamonds ability to reflect light. Obviously, you probably want to avoid diamonds in the lowest clarity grade category. Beyond that let your eye be the guide. Does the diamond sparkle? Can you see any imperfections that distract from the beauty?

Diamond clarity can be enhanced using lasers and fillings. Your diamond certificate should clearly state any treatments that have been used. Remember any clear fillings used to seal small surface cracks are not permanent and will need to be periodically inspected and perhaps replaced.

F - In this case F is a very good and very rare grade. A diamond given an F grade is judged to be flawless.

IF - These diamonds are internally flawless and also extremely rare. They may have minor surface blemishes.

VVS1-VVS2 - These grades are given to diamonds that have very, very slight inclusions that are very difficult for even an expert to detect under a microscope.

VS1-VS2 - Diamonds in this category have very slight inclusions that are not easily seen under a microscope.

SI1-SI2 - The slight inclusions in these diamonds can be seen when magnified 10 times under a microscope.

I1, I2 and I3 - Diamonds at this grade-level have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye.

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Each diamond that fits your search criteria is listed with detailed information, including the certificate number, measurements, depth, table, gridle, culet, polish, symmetry and fluorescence.

Choosing yor setting

Once you have selected the diamond you want you are presented with a choice of settings. These include traditional solitaire setting, diamond accent setting, and gemstone accent setting. Each type of setting comes in a variety of styles, for instance the band you chose may be 18k white gold, 18k yellow gold or platinum. For example a band of platinum with a four-prong head accommodates a round diamond well, it is up to you though to study all of the alternatives.

Selecting the right ring size

Once you have selected the setting the final design choice is to decide on the ring size. Obviously for the ring to be a secret and a wonderful surprise it is different to measure your future wife's finger without her knowing. The measurement you need is in millimetres, we thus recommend you borrow a ring that you know your partners wears on her fourth ring and carefully place it on your little finger. Next make a note of wear it fits on the finger and use a piece of string or strip of paper to wrap around this point. Use a pen to mark the point that the string or paper overlaps itself, thus allowing you to measure the length in millimetres. Once you have this measurement you can use this chart to select the official size.

Alternative ways to get your partner's ring size without her knowing can be found at

The only thing to do now is to pay for the price and wait for delivery within 3 - 4 weeks!

Good luck with your quest to build the perfect diamond engagement ring for your wife to be, hopefully with the information supplied above and by reading the detailed descriptions found on the merchant websites you will feel more comfortable with your purchase decisions.

Further Advice For Grooms On Buying Engagement Rings:
Engagement Ring Advice for Guys by Carly Wickell at
Engagement Rings: Settings 101 at
How To Buy Diamond Engagement Rings or Loose diamonds & Avoid Scams by Jeff Ostroff at

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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.