We have been featured in an article on WeddingWire!!

We have been blessed, again, to have been featured in an article on WeddingWire.com!  Thank you, Jenn Sinrich!!

 

The Worst Wedding Advice Ever, According to Real Women

Written by Jenn Sinrich  Photo: Ellys Photography

 

You don’t have to be newly engaged or planning your big day to know that people love giving wedding advice of all kinds. Whether it’s suggestions on color scheme or recommendations on vendors, friends, family and, well, strangers you meet truly enjoy sharing their insight and personal preferences with you to help you with all sorts of decisions you’ll have to make. But before you cling onto their words of wisdom, know this: Their advice might be well-meant, but that doesn’t mean it’s well deserved.

“The uniqueness of a wedding stems from the individuality of the couple, therefore taking advice from just anyone may not work,” explains Tessa Brand of Tessa Lyn Events in Santa Monica, California. “Every couple has a different vision, budget and priority list so outside advice may be harmful rather than helpful.”

Here are some of the worst pieces of wedding advice people have received—and why you should be wary of following this “wedding wisdom.”

“Stick with tradition or you’ll regret it”

“I’m not a very religious or by-the-book person, but so many people warned me to keep my wedding as traditional as possible. They weren’t just talking about the white dress and vows—they were talking about everything, from the ‘something blue’ to the feeding each other wedding cake. I’m all for keeping certain traditions, especially ones I hold dear, alive, but this just felt too stiff and scripted for me.”—Kaleigh R.

The expert says: Do what feels right.

“Many old customs, traditions, and wedding advice are no longer relevant, or interesting to the current generation of brides and grooms,” explains Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. In other words, these days it’s more accepted for couples to make their own, unique decisions when it comes to planning their big day.

“Use all my vendors—it will make planning easier”

“I was the maid of honor for my best friend and I enjoyed her wedding, but when it came time for me to plan my wedding, she was all over me about using her vendors—from her venue to her DJ. It was just she wanted me to do a repeat of her wedding. While I appreciate her suggestions and I do know that she had the best intentions, I wanted to do things my way. Many of the people who attended her wedding would also be attending mine, so I wanted to make sure that they, too, had a different experience and I didn’t want them comparing the two occasions.”—Rebecca O.

The expert says: Do your research to find the right wedding vendors for you.

Your friend may have planned her big day, but that doesn’t mean she did so for two events—both yours and hers. “Recommendations for vendors are great and are a valuable resource for anyone planning an event, but her vendors may not fit your needs for your wedding,” says Lehman.

“You don’t have to meet all vendors in person—it’s a waste of time.”

“When a co-worker told me this, it took so much energy for me to not say something. What the heck do they even mean? I knew from being a bridesmaid for my friends that it’s important that you know who is running your wedding—from the florist to the lighting tech. I was happy that my fiance agreed with me, especially because getting to know our vendors was the fun part!”—Ginny V.

The expert says: In-person meetings are essential.

Be sure to talk to actual wedding professionals, those who have been in their field of expertise for several years, and have references of satisfied customers that you can confirm with, Lehman suggests. So many important topics you’ll want to touch upon with these vendors, including their prefered structure and workflow and the personal touches that will make your day special, are best discussed in person so no details are left out.

“Wedding planners are a waste of money.”

“I foolishly took this wedding advice when planning my own nuptials and it’s something that I regret. Sure, wedding planners might not be for everyone, but I seriously could have used one. My fiance and I are both incredibly busy and live in a tiny apartment in a bustling city. It was so hard to travel to meet our vendors and communicate with our parents who didn’t live in the city parameters. I wish we had someone who was a professional at handling everything overall—someone who would communicate on our behalf to our vendors and our family. It would have taken a serious load off.”—Jen R.

The expert says: Wedding planners can be absolute life-savers.

At the very least, have a consultation with a wedding planner. “They can suggest several choices of vendors that will match your needs and budget and can also give you ideas and wedding advice to get started in your planning, such as color combinations, flowers in each season or a checklist of planning tasks,” says Lehman.

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We have been mentioned on WeddingWire!

We have been blessed again, to have been mentioned in an article on WeddingWire.com!  Thank you, Jenn Sinrich!!

 

5 Steps to Postponing a Wedding Because of Bad Weather

Written by Jenn Sinrich  Photo: Sam Stroud Photography

Any wedding planner or person who’s walked down the aisle can attest to the fact that there’s no such thing as a wedding going perfectly as planned. There will be bumps in the road to planning and executing your big day. And, while many of the obstacles that may arise can be overcome, others may be completely out of your control, for example postponing a wedding due to weather.

Most winter brides, especially those located in northern regions, are aware that their designated wedding date comes with the chance of snow, but those getting married during the three other seasons usually don’t have the slightest concern over anything more than rain preventing their wedding bells from ringing.

As we’ve come to realize, however, especially in recent years, natural disasters are happening more and more frequently. For this reason, it’s important for brides and grooms, as well as their families and friends, to be prepared for the unimaginable—and uncontrollable.

“It’s important to have a backup plan year round,” says Emily Sullivan of Emily Sullivan Events in New Orleans, Louisiana. “You could be contending with any kind of weather on your big day—it really varies depending on the region and situation, so it’s wise to have these conversations about the possibility of postponing a wedding with your wedding planner or coordinator prior to your wedding date.”

While having a plan B, C and even D early on is helpful, not all brides and grooms will—or can—be completely prepared. So if you get to the point in your wedding where postponing your wedding is imminent, here are expert strategies for how to handle the situation.

Step One: Ask for help

Even the most precise, organized and by-the-book wedding has its share of missing components. This means you likely won’t be able to handle all the tiny to-dos yourself. And this is especially true when dealing with something as catastrophic as a natural disaster. “If you are also personally affected with the crisis of a weather-related scenario (like we had here in Texas recently where bride’s home and her wedding venues were under water), you’ll need to enlist supportive help,” explains Cheryl Bailey of Yellow Umbrella Events in Austin, Texas. “Ideally, get the help of someone who’s not in the same situation as you, like your wedding planner or a friend or family member outside of the affected area, who can help you make decisions and start emailing and making calls.”

Step Two: Contact your venue immediately

“The sooner a couple gets in touch with their venue, the more options they will have surrounding the cancellation and hopefully not lose out on their deposits,” says Wendy Collins of Stowe Mountain Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Remember that your venue is at the very center of your big day, as it will virtually house all of the rest of your vendors, like your DJ or band, florist, officiant, etc. Bailey suggests working out a plan with your venue in regards to how you should move forward when it comes to postponing your wedding. For example, moving your wedding to the night before or the next day. If this option isn’t available to you, Bailey recommends choosing an entirely new wedding date and time. “It’s important to try and secure this new date immediately, as other weddings will likely be in the same situation as you and the next available dates may fill up quickly.”

Step Three: Contact the rest of your vendors

Once you’ve established a plan of attack, and have a new wedding date secured, email all of your vendors and make them aware of the situation. “It’s easiest to email the entire group of vendors at once with a blanket statement about what is happening and then all vendors can be in the loop,” says Bailey. “Most vendors are very understanding when it comes to a weather-related situation that’s out of your control and will be very accommodating if you need to reschedule, as long as they have your new date available.” Do remember, however, that some of them may be booked on your new date, so you may lose your security deposit. “If you should need to book new vendors, such as a DJ or a photographer, your wedding planner can help you find the right ones quickly through their extensive network,” adds Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio.

Step Four: Reach out to your guests

This one will likely be the most time-consuming, since you’ll likely have to reach out to certain friends or relatives via telephone as opposed to easier methods like email or social media. Bailey suggests starting by including as many guests as you have emails for on one email with information regarding the cancellation of your wedding and including information for a contact person they can reach out to in case they need further assistance.” Don’t hesitate to use your social media network, too. “Social media is your friend when postponing a wedding” she says. “You can always post on Facebook to let guests know what’s happening, or even start a private Facebook group where you add all of your guests, and even vendors, with the details of the cancellation and the reschedule date and details.” And be sure to update your wedding websitewith any updated information.

Step Five: Take a deep breath

By this point, overwhelmed doesn’t come close to describe how you and your partner are feeling. But, Bailey points out that the most important thing is that you and your guests are safe and out of harm’s way. “Stop, breathe deeply and calmly and focus on yourself and your partner and the fact that you are both together and able to handle this situation as a couple,” she says. Hold hands, hug, cry, laugh, pray—whatever you need to do to get by until you finally get to say say “I do!”

We have been featured on the Wedding Fanatic Blog!!

We have been blessed to have our Lily Pulitzer Inspired Styled Shoot featured on the Wedding Fanatic blog!

http://www.weddingfanatic.com/lilly-pulitzer-inspired-engagement-brunch/

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

I am simply blown away by Lauren and Brandon’s gorgeous styled session! A real couple who were the perfect fit for this surprise engagement brunch with friends and family on the side. Lauren loves bold, and bright colors so a Lilly Pulitzer theme was perfect for this brunch. The color scheme of pink, magenta, and marigold really added to the overall classy and sophisticated vibe of the garden setup in Sippo Lake Park, Ohio. That adorable table setting that matches their bridesmaid’s gifts is also noteworthy! Brittany Shelley Photography did a great job of capturing the essentials of this styled engagement brunch, so if you want to see it all, scroll away!

We’re All About the Details!

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

 

The Lilly Pulitzer Themed Table

Lilly Pulitzer prints have always been the star of vibrant fashion and merging it with the outdoor brunch design and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous inspiration.

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

The Colors

Lauren loves bright and bold colors and this themed design is simply perfect! Filled with gorgeous flowers and printed table runners, this design would fit your desire for a vibrant themed outdoor brunch.

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch

Lilly Pulitzer Inspired Engagement Brunch


The Outfits

Lauren wore a blush embroidered dress that looks great with Brandon’s white long sleeve and his printed bow tie.

The Bloom Sign

The bloom sign is just a wonderful addition to their decorations. Literally saying that with this engagement their love is simply blooming towards forever.

About the Photographer
I’m a fine art portrait photographer for couples who are in love and what to show it through freezing time located in Clinton, Ohio. I specialize in engagement portraits. I value my clients and the love they have. I don’t just capture their love. I make it shine through the lens. I believe that love is the most powerful thing and my goal is to show how powerful it really is in imagery. My clients usually invests $300.00 for my services. If I sound like the right fit to capture your fairytale you can reach me at 330-209-0501. I love forward to hearing your story.

Take this Advice

Don’t stress about it! What is there to stress about? Love is all you need. Details aren’t as important as you two sharing your first kiss as a married couple. ~Brittany Reed/Photographer

Money Matters

$5,000 – $10,000

Vendors

Photographer: Brittany Shelley Photography
Invitation Designer: Angela Marie Giaco of A Pink Sunset
Other: Annika Lehmans Artwork
Other: Brittany Shelley Photography
Design and Decor: Ever Laser
Bakery: Giant Eagle Bakery
Event Planner: Love, Laughter & Elegance: Wedding & Event Planning
Event Venue: Sippo Lake Park

We have been featured on Martha Stewart Weddings!

We have been blessed once again, to have been mentioned in an article on Martha Stewart Weddings!!  Thank you, Jenn Sinrich!

https://www.marthastewartweddings.com/619928/social-media-changing-wedding-planning

6 Ways Social Media Is Changing Wedding Planning

Planners dish on what’s different in the age of Instagram.

Contributing Writer
woman using cell phone

Photography by: Getty Images

There’s no arguing that social media and its many platforms and pretenses has forever changed the world of weddings. In fact, it’s even difficult for some to imagine a time when the only people who caught a glimpse of the bride and groom on their wedding day were the hundred or so attendees themselves—and maybe a lucky handful who spent some time on the newlyweds’ couch flipping through their glossy album. Nowadays, anyone in the world has immediate access to the attire, décor, location, and events that occurred at any given celebration. Even going into work once your wedding weekend or honeymoon has concluded isn’t the same—everyone has specific questions about “that view” or “those stunning flowers—what were they?” To dig deeper into the many ways weddings have changed thanks to social media, we talked to wedding planners who’ve seen it all.

 

CAN SOCIAL MEDIA HURT YOUR MARRIAGE?

 

Brides have exposure to a variety of different weddings.

The image of the modern wedding is no longer limited to what one sees in a magazine or on a television program, Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance points out. Now, the images are everywhere: on mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers. Think about how little you would know about weddings if you had to subscribe to a number of wedding magazines and wait every month to get your hands on the latest copy? Now, with consumer demand, countless wedding websites (like this one!) deliver instant information at your fingertips.

 

Expectations are set so high and can be unrealistic.

“The hard part that we’ve all found is that social media allows for brides and grooms to see other weddings and love what they are seeing without realizing the time and money it actually took to create the look,” explains Brandi Hamerstone, a wedding planner at All Events Planned. “Unfortunately, there are so many unrealistic expectations that people now have for their day that they might not be able to afford, or won’t have the time to create if it’s DIY.” This isn’t to say you shouldn’t browse the web to storm up ideas for your big day, but it’s important to keep in mind your own limitations—which are totally okay to have.

 

Couples connect more with friends and family.

Chances are, not all of your friends and family will be able to make your big day. The good news is that social media allows them to feel like they were a part of the event even if they weren’t physically present. “Unique apps can transmit important information about your wedding to those who weren’t able to be there,” says Candice Dowling Coppola, owner and creative director at A Jubilee Event. “The one downside we’ve noticed, however, is that some couples crave a sense of privacy that social media makes it hard for them to have.” In her experience, she’s had to ask several guests and hired creatives to refrain from posting pictures of a couple’s wedding unless they’ve given consent. “Some couples prefer to have control over how their wedding day is shared with others,” she adds.

 

27 WEDDING PLANNERS YOU NEED TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM

 

The bevvy of information and inspiration is limitless.

If you’re a bride-to-be who hasn’t scoured Pinterest yet, log on! It’s become the go-to resource for gathering ideas for planning a wedding. “Users can create virtual bulletin boards of their favorite flowers, dresses, cakes, poses for pictures, decorations, and more, as well as share pictures with others, and follow boards that have the same vibe as their own,” says Lehman. YouTube is another hot spot with thousands of videos of everything from wedding hair and makeup tutorials to heartwarming wedding films. “You can watch amazing choreographed wedding party dances, adorable flower girls and ring bearers as they attempt to walk down the aisle, and memorable wedding speeches,” says Lehman.

 

Virtual meetings avoid unnecessary travel.

Any bride- or groom-to-be knows that time is precious when you’re planning a wedding—especially when it comes to managing all of the various meetings you’ll have with vendors. This is when live streaming can seriously come in handy. Instead of commuting two hours in rush-hour traffic, or across the state or country if your wedding location isn’t nearby, you can set up a Google Hangout, Skype call, or any other live-streaming service to chat wedding details with as close to an in-person charm as possible.

 

Couples now “brand” their wedding.

Who knew hashtags would allow you to collect all of the photos and videos from your wedding so easily? “When friends and family upload their pictures to a social media site, they will add the special hashtag so everyone has access to all of the posts in one spot,” Lehman explains. Companies and vendors are also catching onto the trend. “If a couple is looking for a photographer in their hometown, they may use a hashtag such as ‘#ChicagoWeddingPhotographer,’ and the search will deliver listings for wedding photographers in that area.” Can’t come up with a clever hashtag idea for your big day? Try one of the many wedding hashtag generators available online! There’s social media doing its thing once again!

 

 

We have been mentioned on Martha Stewart Weddings!

We have been blessed again, to have been mentioned in an article on Martha Stewart Weddings!!  Thank you, Jenn Sinrich!

https://www.marthastewartweddings.com/619474/how-to-choose-rehearsal-dinner-venue

How to Choose the Perfect Rehearsal Dinner Venue

Plus, other planning tips.

Contributing Writer
natalie jamey rehearsal dinner tables

Photography by: KT Merry

The second most important event of your wedding weekend will undoubtedly be your rehearsal dinner. Typically, this is a less-formal event during which close friends and family come together (generally following some form of wedding rehearsal) in celebration of the big event. It’s especially beneficial if many of your guests are coming from out of town, as it’s a nice excuse to spend more time together.

 

“The rehearsal dinner is one of the most anticipated and cherished traditions of a wedding celebration,” says Kimberly Lehman, wedding and event planner at Love, Laughter & Elegance. “For many couples, this will be the first opportunity that their friends and family members will have to meet each other.” To make the most of this treasured evening, we asked twp wedding planners to explain how you should go about selecting the right venue for this important pre-wedding event.

 

THE ULTIMATE WEDDING REHEARSAL AND REHEARSAL DINNER CHECKLIST

 

Step 1: Determine your budget.

First and foremost, figure out how much money you have to spend on the rehearsal dinner. This will help you figure out what kind of event you’re able to have, and how many guests you can invite. Setting your budget also means figuring out who will be shouldering the cost. “Traditionally, the groom’s parentsare the hosts of the rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Today, however, as more couples are paying for the expenses of the wedding themselves, the cost of the rehearsal dinner is often included in the overall budget.” Be sure to allow enough time to scout out the perfect venue, taking into consideration the overall cost of enough food and drinks for guests.

 

Step 2: Settle on a theme.

This is the fun part! Just as you likely chose a theme for your wedding, be it nautical, vintage-traditional, or rustic, you can have fun with the vision you choose for your rehearsal dinner. The food you choose can play a role in this effect as well. Are you big on Italian food? A lover of guac and chips? Don’t feel the need to go fancy just because your wedding day is upscale. “A rehearsal dinner can also be as casual as a pizza party or barbecue in the backyard of the couple’s home, or a local park,” says Lehman. “Generally, whoever hosts the dinner has creative control, taking into account their budget, and the tastes of the couple, aesthetically and gastronomically.”

 

Step 3: Find the right venue.

The rehearsal dinner is often held at a local restaurant or country club, but Lehman points out that any location will do. “A rooftop with a great view in the city, a nostalgic bowling alley, a private home, or a clambake or a bonfire on the beach are all great ideas,” she says. Though she does warn that it’s wise to choose a venue that’s close enough to the wedding ceremony that it provides guests the convenience of not having to travel too far. “Visit several venues to see if there are enough areas for seating and standing, clean restroom facilities, and friendly, well-trained wait staff,” she adds. Will the venue allow the wedding party to bring in decorations, entertainment, and catering as needed?  Will the venue be able to accommodate special dietary needs of guests? Will there be a dress code? These are all things she suggests considering when finding the right venue.

 

LITTLE WHITE LOOKS FOR EVERY WEDDING EVENT

 

Step 4: Finalize your invite list.

Just as your guest list for the big day is important (and likely involved some cutting), you can expect the same when it comes to your rehearsal dinner. “If you’re having a traditional rehearsal dinner, your guests are your VIPs: your immediate family, bridal party, and their dates,” says Tessa Brand, wedding and event planner and owner of Tessa Lyn Events. “A party this size should be able to fit in a private room in a restaurant.” However, if you are extending the invite to all guests, she says this is more of a “welcome party,” which means you will need a larger space. Knowing your approximate guest count will help you determine the price per guest. “Keep in mind, that even if you invite all your wedding guests, the acceptance for a welcome dinner will be lower than your wedding, as people arrive from out of town at different times.”

 

Step 5: Pick your ideal menu.

“The menu is probably the single most influential factor when debating where to have a rehearsal dinner,” says Lehman. “Many couples choose to host their rehearsal dinner in the location they met or where they had their first date.” This is cute and all, but remember that your rehearsal dinner can hold as much or as little meaning as you want. After all, you have a whole wedding dedicated to your love for each other the following day. Have fun and be adventurous! “Sharing the experience with those closest to the couple is what it’s all about,” Lehman adds.

 

Step 6: Plan your décor.

Once you’ve locked down your rehearsal dinner venue and selected from the menu options, your next to-do is décor. Brand suggests going with a completely different color scheme for your flowers, and switching up the décor from what you’ll have at your wedding. “While the idea of having one cohesive wedding weekend may sound ideal, it is much more fun to switch it up and will show you put thought into each event,” she says. “Plus, this leaves an element of surprise for your guests to see on your wedding day.” Floral additions are great, too, as they will easily last a few days and can be repurposed for a farewell brunch at the end of the weekend.

 

Audrey Hepburn – Funny Face Inspiration Board

Image may contain: 1 person(Disclaimer:  Pictures are not my work, just inspiration. )

I love, love, love the movie “Funny Face”, with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire!  It was the perfect combination of story, song, dance, and fashion!  The fact that the majority of the story took place in Paris, France, just adds to the charm of the movie.  The scenery was amazing.  I highly recommend that you view it sometime! 

This is my take on a wedding inspired by this iconic cinematic masterpiece.  I would love to create this for a couple, or even a styled photo shoot.  If anyone would like to work on this with me, please feel free to send me a message!

Enjoy!

We have been mentioned on WeddingWire!

We have been blessed again, to have been mentioned in an article on Wedding Wire!!  Thank you so much, Jenn Sinrich!  Please enjoy!

https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-ideas/how-to-find-a-wedding-officiant

6 Steps to Finding the Right Wedding Officiant for You

Written by Jenn Sinrich  Photo: Andrea Hallgren Photography

 

On the long, seemingly endless list of decisions to make about your big day, figuring out how to find a wedding officiant and choosing the right person for the job are pretty big ones. This person will not only officiate your wedding ceremony, but he or she will work with you in the months leading up to your nuptials to ensure that you’re ready for those wedding bells to ring. Some officiants even take engaged couples through what is similar to premarital counseling, which has shown to be an important part of the wedding process.

For many couples, finding the officiant that will marry them, is a task that is often overlooked until the last moment, but as Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio, points out, it’s a decision that should be made early on—at least eight months before the big day. Doing so not only helps you plan for the kind of ceremony and wedding you will have, but also the kind of marriage you are both hoping to have.

To help you choose wisely, we talked to wedding experts to uncover how to find a wedding officiant.

Decide whether you’ll be having a religious ceremony.

More and more weddings are taking place in non-religious or neutral venues, such as banquet halls or hotels. But this doesn’t limit you in choosing to have your officiant be religion-based. “If you decide that a religious ceremony is right for you, the first step is to seek an officiant from the pool of people already in you lives,” suggests Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events in Long Island City, New York. This could be a rabbi or pastor at your place of worship, or perhaps someone you used to attend services with when you were younger. If a couple decides to have a non-religious ceremony, there are many officiants who are not affiliated with a particular religion and can perform secular ceremonies.

Do some research on potential officiants.

When it comes to figuring out how to find a wedding officiant, there are many ways to go about this process. Unless you know your chosen officiant well, be sure to check out the credentials of those you may consider. Lehman suggests seeking out the references of other couples who’s this person officiated. “Additionally, make sure that they have the necessary licensing from their local community, and the state of residence,” she adds. “Too often, I hear stories about how an officiant performed a ceremony, and then the marriage was not considered valid since the person was not legally registered in their state.” Also, ask if the officiant has any advanced training or academic degrees in their field. The latter is not always necessary, but can be an asset. Be sure to use WeddingWire’s wedding officiant finder to read reviews of officiants in your area.

Confirm that he or she is a confident speaker.

“A good officiant is a good orator,” says Larissa Banting of Weddings Costa Rica in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. “They have confidence, speak clearly and understand how to create dramatic tension when necessary as well as levity, taking everyone on a journey with their words and voice.” While your ceremony is, indeed, about you and your spouse-to-be, and the love you share between the two of you, your officiant will be the ‘host of the show;’ the show being your wedding. “You don’t want someone who is overly dramatic, as they can drag everything down into the realms of parody,” she says. “Try to see them ‘in action’ either at a service or in a video from another wedding to gauge how strong their presentation skills are.”

Get to know your officiant on a more personal basis.

This individual is not only going to play an important role in your wedding, but the rest of your life, too. You will always remember the person who stood in front of you as you said your vows and put a ring on each other’s finger. For this reason, as well as many more, it’s wise to spend time getting to know this person if you do not already. “It’s impossible for me to imagine officiating at a wedding without meeting with the couple at least four times,” says Rabbi Robert Scheinberg, rabbi of the United Synagogue of Hoboken. “This is in part because of the large number of questions and issues that must be discussed when planning a Jewish wedding, but it is also because I want to make sure to really know the couple if I am going to be accompanying them at such a special and holy moment in their lives.”

Figure out is any planning obligations are involved.

“Most officiants require couples to fulfill a certain set of requirements and planning obligations,” explains Lauren Chitwood of Lauren Chitwood Events in Louisville, Kentucky. “The first, of course, is financial, but some officiants require premarital counseling, online training sessions or one-on-one meetings to determine if the couple is ready for marriage.” For this reason, it’s smart for couples to determine early on if they’re able to attend all of the necessary premarital meetings and fulfill the officiant’s requirements.

Rabbi Scheinberg, for example, requires that the couples he marries go through a sort of premarital counseling with him. “Considering that the marriage will last tens or hundreds of thousands of times longer than the wedding, it would make sense to devote much more time during the months leading up to the wedding to planning for the marriage in addition to planning for the wedding!” he says.

Make sure their values line up with yours.

Especially when it comes to religious ceremonies, values and levels of conservative or orthodox policies can cause issues when not ironed out early on. “A more conservative priest or minister may insist on including ‘obey’ in the bride’s vows or readings that have the wife as a subordinate to the husband, which can make a more modern bride’s blood pressure rise,” notes Banting. “If you’re a regular attendee of your house of worship, you likely will have an idea of what ideals your clergy holds and if they reflect yours, but if you’re not familiar with your potential officiant, be sure to ask for their ceremony script, complete with vows and any readings they want included.”

 

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