Monthly Archives: August 2011

Tales From the Veil: Be The Bride of Now

Jackie Sion works in the digital marketing world and has used her digital knowledge to help tackle the many facets of wedding planning. She is lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend the majority of her time researching and interviewing vendors. Besides wedding planning, Jackie enjoy spending time with her fiance, family, friends, watching movies, BBQing, swimming, and YouTubing funny videos. Jackie has been a regular writer for tech blogs and her own personal blog, and is glad to be helping out other Yentas in need with The Wedding Yentas! Stay tuned for more stories during the planning for her upcoming nuptials.

The first piece of advice I was given, on the day I was proposed to, was “Take the time to enjoy being engaged.” Easy enough, but I chose not to listen. No one really tells you how conversations and people change once you get engaged. First, everyone wants to see your hand, which I am more than willing to show off. Second, they ask questions — lots and lots of questions. When I got engaged in April, the kinds of questions I was asked took a total 180. It used to be, “When are you getting engaged?” and now it’s “When is the date?” “Do you have colors yet?” “Will kids be invited?” The list goes on. With the barrage of questions I felt like I always needed an answer and “We’re not sure yet” wasn’t good enough. It was this need to have all the answers that was the real reason I didn’t listen to the great advice I’ll now pass on to newly engaged brides.

Only a few months into my relationship with my now-fiancé, I knew I was going to marry him. In fact earlier this year, before I had the ring (it’s beautiful and perfect!), I was already secretly reading wedding blogs and picking colors. If I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve been planning my wedding since the first time I watched Cinderella, but it was a completely different story when I knew who it was going to happen with. It’s one thing when you’re 5 and your favorite color is pink with sparkles than when you’re 26 and the previously blurred face at the end of the aisle wakes up next to you every morning. I knew it was no longer about what I wanted and I had to take his opinion into consideration. In my previous game of wedding-planning solitaire, I never had to consider anyone else’s opinions, but now there’s a real groom involved and he has put the kibosh on anything too princessy. Okay, okay, do I really want to be in a full ballgown with real glass slippers with my hair in tight curls? No, not really. But hey, it was fun to dream.

Completely ignoring the sage advice of a bridesmaid, once I became engaged, I dove deep, head-first into magazines, blogs, trends, colors, and the list goes on and on. I didn’t have a budget, date, or guest list yet, and I was already worried about which colors would match and what theme we would have. And when we did have a budget and guest list, I found that the slew of magazines and blogs I read on a daily basis completely hindered our creativity. The hardest part for me to swallow was that what I wanted for all those years, regardless of the fact that I was 5, was probably not feasible. Due to budget restrictions and the way that some of our decisions were unfolding, what I wanted was not going to happen. The little girl in me had a mini meltdown because the wedding in my head was perfect and beautiful. And as our engagement progressed, the wedding in my head was moving farther and farther away.

What I was thinking in my completely overwhelmed and stressed out mind was if the perfect wedding I envisioned wasn’t possible, then what was the wedding I was planning going to turn into? Soaking myself with inspiration from the magazines and blogs was actually hindering my creativity and ability to see my own wedding and that scared me. How could I not see my own wedding? How was it possible that I didn’t know what I wanted anymore? I should have 21 years of “planning” under my belt and now when it was real and happening why was I having problems making a decision?

It took only one conversation with my fiancé to bring me down to earth — way down. Should I have listened to that first piece of advice from the get-go? Absolutely. Did I kinda-sorta need that moment where I channeled my 5-year-old self and tried to plan the wedding of my dreams in one afternoon? Totally.

Back down to Earth and a with few more weeks of planning under my belt, I now love being engaged and love even more imagining the rest of my life with the man I’m going to marry. What I’ve learned so far is that there is no cookie cutter wedding and therefore no one way to plan. For some brides, maybe it is living out the 5-year-old’s dream, and for others it could be using their creativity and unique style to do everything themselves. The key is to find out what works best for you as a couple and within your budget. I’ve figured out what works best for me and now planning a wedding is a completely different experience than what it was when I started.

Real Weddings | Rockport, MA

Emily and Seth’s story is sweet and inspiring! The Ph.D. students met studying biology at MIT and lab work brought them together as friends and soon as, well, more than friends!

When it was time to start planning a wedding, they wanted to include unique and personal touches. Seth is Jewish and Emily is not, so we they chose a place that was an expression of them and also ideal for an interfaith wedding. The Rockport Art Association would fit all of their guests and could serve as both the ceremony and reception venue. To add to the art theme, crafty Emily made a DIY invitation suite based off a love bird design from an invitation template. To tie in the love birds, she ordered custom-made matching love bird stamps from Etsy and embossed them on the wedding favors. Their friends were delighted to find that the favor was a card game that Seth and Emily often play!

Their perfect day began with portraits around Rockport. Seeing a bride and groom during Memorial Day weekend caused quite a sensation! They literally stopped traffic and got many car honks and cries of congratulations! Rabbi Eiduson did an incredible job of getting to know Emily and Seth, incorporating many tear-inducing personal moments into the ceremony. Their bridal party was small, just Seth and Emily’s sisters, so they included friends in the ceremony by having them read one of the Seven Blessings that Seth and Emily had personalized. They took the final sips from Seth’s mom’s kiddush cup, Seth broke the glass, and then they were married!

Mazel tov, Emily and Seth!

Venue- Rockport Art Association
Photographer- Kate McElwee Photography
Coordinator- Robin Perry of Friend of the Bride
Florist- Blue Gate Gardens
Cake- Konditor Meister
Engagement Ring- Barmakian Jewelers
Wedding Rings- Long’s Jewelers
Entertainment/Music- Ron from C-Zone Music
Caterer- Harvest Catering, Inc.
Dress- Berkachi Bridal
Officiant- Rabbi Joseph Eiduson of Congregation B’nai Shalom
Makeup Artist- Your Makeup Face
Invitations- Invitation Download & Print
Stationery- Paper and More and Paper Source
Custom Stamps- Cupcake Tree
Tuxedos- Syms
Yarmulkes- Weinfeld Skull Cap Manufacturing Company
Ketubah- Gallery Judaica
Wedding Dance Lessons- Wedding Dance Boston

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Revisiting: Engagement Photos 101

If you are newly engaged, welcome to The Wedding Yentas! We wish you a hearty mazel tov and hope we can help you with all your Jewish wedding planning needs!

One of the many engagement milestones is a photo shoot, typically with your wedding photographer, that happens at some point before you actually tie the knot. This photo shoot is helpful for both of you: the couple and your hired photographer. You may think you’re comfortable behind a camera, but remember, every photographer has a different style and method, so taking engagement photos gives you and your betrothed a sneak peak into what you can expect from your photographer on the big day. Also, your photographer will learn about how to photograph you. Let’s face it, everyone is different — different angles, features, bodies, comfort levels — and this shoot will also allow your photographer to get a feel for what methods work for capturing you at your best. Plus, whatever, it’s fun.

These shoots are usually included in most photographers’ wedding packages when you book and it’s a good idea to put some thought into personalizing this kind of session. Make sure to ask if your wedding day reservation also includes an engagement shoot and then ask if you receive a DVD of the photos. Many couples like to incorporate their engagement shots in save the dates, escort cards, table numbers, guestbooks, or sign-in boards.

So, let’s fast forward: You’ve confirmed that your photographer does indeed shoot engagement photos and you’re amped to get started. What do you need to know?

  • Pick a date! Go with a date that doesn’t cause you to rush, so make sure your schedule is clear. Also, consider weather and how that plays into your shoot. If you know you want to wear cute, summery dresses, it’s probably not best to book a date in February. Make sure to think about where you want to shoot and how the date will affect your location as well. Some places are closed on the weekends. Check before!
  • Speaking of places, you can shoot your engagement photos anywhere, but maybe think of a location that’s special to you and your partner. We’ve seen engagement photos in the ballparks of the couple’s favorite baseball team! Perhaps you and your fiance are alum of the same university or met through Hillel at college; you might want to walk around campus and take photos at your favorite spots. Maybe you’re into cycling and the outdoors; we’ve seen adorable photos of couples hiking or on bikes by the beach. Think about colorful locations like piers or carnivals. The park usually has great color and open space as well. The possibilities are endless and we encourage you to think outside the box.
  • Confirm with your photographer what colors or patterns work on camera. Some may say no busy prints or white colors depending on their style and post-processing methods. This is important because you want to be sure that what you wear will be appropriately represented in your finished product. You also may be able to have two or three different looks in your shoot. This is something else you should confirm with your photographer. If you do have multiple looks, make sure you find a variety of outfits to wear. It’s fun to see engagement photos that feature the couple in casual and formal wear.
  • Be yourself! Don’t try to mimic your favorite model or celebrity. You’ll probably just end up looking silly (um, been there, done that). Instead, just smile and have fun! If you’re actually, really, truly having fun, your photos will look like that you are actually, really, truly having fun! Forcing poses or pouty lips doesn’t work. If you and your partner have fun acting goofy together, then let out your inner silly. If you’re more on the shy side and not really wild and crazy, that’s okay, too! Just be your usual in-love selves and the goodness will pour through the photos!

Photos by Marianne Wilson

  • Jessica says:

    Love that we made another cameo on the yentas! I hope you are enjoying being a mommy! Xoxo

Register to Make Your House a Home

The Wedding Yentas always loves working with Deposit a Gift to discuss all things gifty! When it comes to your wedding, you’ll be showered in presents and Deposit a Gift allows you to make receiving these presents convenient and helpful for you. If you’re not in need of a new toaster or a new set of tumblers, think outside the box and with the help of Deposit a Gift, you and your love will love unwrapping what really matters to you. Read on for a home registry brainstorm by Dana, the Chief Gifting Officer and Founder of Deposit a Gift.

There are so many ways to make a nontraditional wedding registry work for you, and one of the best is a Home Registry! Users often ask me how they can make the most of their registry to start their lives as new homeowners off right. Here are some of the best ways to do it!

Register for Big-Ticket Items
Maybe you don’t need a blender or linens to complete your home, but you do need some bigger items that guests can’t purchase individually. Items like refrigerators and furniture, or paint jobs and construction work. Let guests contribute to these items together so that you can get what you really need.

Take Care of the Landscaping

Maybe you and your fiancé are already happy with your home and furnishings but the yard could use a little work. Ask guests to contribute towards a garden, new planters, or a lawn service to make your house as beautiful outside as it is inside. You can even plant a tree for the future!

Contribute Toward a Home Down Payment

You can’t register for furnishings and landscaping if you haven’t got the home yet! If you’re ready to begin your life in your own home, but need a little help getting started, ask guests to contribute towards your first down payment, just like this couple did. They’ll be so happy to help you on such a big step in your life.

It’s easy to make the most of your registry by asking guests to help your turn your house into a home. Guests want to celebrate this next big step in your life, and what better way to do so! Don’t forget to invite them over for a housewarming party to see what they helped bring to life — there’s nothing more gratifying than seeing you happy and settled in your new home.

A Groom with a View: Advice From A Married Man

Ladies, today you might want to — oops! — leave The Wedding Yentas up on your fiance’s Internet browser. This day is dedicated to him. Well, and you, too. Special Guest Blogger and Mr. Yenta himself, Bryan, is here to share a little inside information from the groom’s point of view. In short, he wants you to know that your wedding day should be about you both… as a couple. It’s easy to get caught up in a different frame of mind, but maybe this will give you two a little reminder of what the day is celebrating in the first place!

Unlike my wife, I did not grow up planning my wedding or picturing what it would look like. In fact, I used to think that once I bought the ring and popped the question, my job was pretty much done until I was told where to show up and at what time. It didn’t take me long after the proposal to find out just how wrong I was, but it wasn’t until after I was the groom that I fully understood just how important my role was in planning the big day.

If you’re a groom who thinks like I did, you probably pretty much figure the wedding day is all about the bride. It’s understandable. I mean as men, we are practically taught to believe that. Think about it – nobody stands when the groom comes down the aisle; the song isn’t “Here Comes The Groom”; the groom isn’t who people stare at when the photographer is taking portraits in public areas. It’s all of these kinds of things that make it so we grooms have it engrained in our heads that we are merely an accessory – a “monkey in a suit” so to speak.

And while I’m sure many brides will cringe at the thought of reducing their poor man into nothing but arm-candy, the one making the magic happen for the wedding day is the bride because she is usually the one perusing the wedding blogs and scouring the Internet for photos to get ideas for color schemes, dresses, flowers, hairstyles, centerpieces, chair covers, and you know the list goes on and on. For the most part, the groom doesn’t particularly care too much about these kinds of details. I know I didn’t really have an opinion one way or another when it came to that stuff.

But wedding planning isn’t all just colors and flowers. There are hundreds of decisions to be made, and they’re not all totally bride-focused. Even though the groom probably isn’t too concerned about whether or not there are roses in the bouquet or if there should be candles on the tables, there are plenty of things for him to be interested in, even if he doesn’t know it at first. For me, it took some time, but I did find myself becoming very interested in things like the order of day’s events, who was going to be giving a speech, what music the band should be playing, and who was sitting at what table. It sounds like a headache at first but table seating was my personal favorite part of the entire planning process. I guess I just had fun putting everybody into categories of 8-12 people. It’s like Google+ but for weddings.

Anyway, with all the decisions along the way, I guess planning a wedding is like making a movie. And while the bride may indeed be the director, the groom is the director’s right hand man — maybe the cinematographer, maybe the assistant director, maybe the creative consultant — but he’s right up there and he deserves equal billing. After all, the groom probably gets the best part of the whole day: he steps on the glass and prompts all the “Mazel Tov” declarations! The point is that the wedding day is actually about the bride and the groom. It’s about you celebrating each other with close family and friends, and about starting your life together as a married couple.

So if you’re a bride with a groom who seems disinterested, find something he can take part in and I bet he jumps in willingly. And if you’re a groom who’s sitting in the corner watching your bride stalk wedding blogs and change her color scheme ideas daily, maybe offer to take control of something you care about that you can handle, like the entertainment or the table seatings (for your own family at least). I think the most important thing is that you make your wedding day about both of you and do what you want to do as a couple, not just as a bride or as a groom. It’s one of the very first steps on your new long journey of doing everything together. So make wedding planning a fun process that you can share with each other. If you do, I promise your wedding day will be one of the best days of the groom’s life as well as the bride’s.

  • Morgan says:

    Whoa I can’t believe she let him wear that shirt! In my house seriously grounds for getting smacked, ha. Thanks for the tips

  • Bryan says:

    Even better, she got me that shirt and gave it to me as a gift at the rehearsal dinner. Awesome wife, right?

  • Jeff says:

    Great points! You are right on. This IS one of the first and most important steps on a long journey of doing everything together. To really help grooms best support their bride, we’ve created a website just for grooms called The Groom’s List: http://thegroomslist.com. Bullet points and lists… just for grooms. We really encourage guys to check it out.

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