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Welcome to our Site!

This site is dedicated to helping giving new brides ideas and tips for their wedding. While we are in Florida we strive to serve brides no matter where they are at with a little bit of Florida panache. We hope you enjoy this site and feel free to contact us should you ever have any questions or need any help with recommendations for your wedding. Good Luck and Congratulations!

Outdoor Home Wedding? Here’s what you need to know.

Texas Outdoor Home Wedding¬†So you are considering having a wedding either at home or at the home of someone you know. Great, so what’s my advice for you. Well, once again I have to pull upon my experience with home weddings from the great state of Texas. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I have a lot of friends and family in Texas so even though this is a blog for Florida, the same info applies. Also, Texas is warm most of the year as well as Florida so you will have outdoor weddings throughout most of the seasons just like here.

Of course there may be many reasons that you are doing a wedding at a private home but I am just going to speculate that one of the reasons is cost. If it’s not, this advice is still valid. Remember in a wedding, the setting is everything and obviously you want the best that you can get given the budget that you have to work with. So, optimizing your setting should be first and foremost in your mind.

How can we do this? Well, one of the things that my cousin did for her home wedding was to hire a local Waco landscaping company (L&L Specialties) to do the flowerbeds, lawn decorations, and some of the lighting. The wedding was in Waco and if you aren’t familiar there is quite a popular show HGTV about a couple that rehab houses. Well, this landscaping company had been hired for the show several times so my cousin knew they were good. The great thing is that they were also pretty inexpensive despite being on TV a couple times.

Now, most people wouldn’t think to hire a landscaper to decorate their wedding but this is precisely why you should. These guys know how to make lawns look good on a budget whereas a wedding planner or decorator will work with your budget too but you usually won’t get the same great look with the setting (lawn, flowerbeds, yard lighting, etc.). Also, because they work with flowers all the time they really can help with any of the flowers that you might use to decorate the rest of the house and/or reception area.

Next you want to consider your seating, your sound system (or lack of), and other logistics. Now, you may or may not be having your reception at the home. If you do you will want to also figure out the seating and arrangements for food, drinks, and entertainment. Adding all that can get a bit complicated so let’s stick to just the wedding and the setting for this article. Maybe I’ll do a follow up for home receptions later on.

The seating usually is going to be arranged with a brides side and a grooms side but since this is a non-traditional wedding of sorts already, you can even play with semi-circle seating as well. I’ve experienced both and have to say it is kind of nice to have the couple in the center with everyone around. The main thing is to make sure that your seating is symmetrical as it appeals to the eye and will add to the overall feel of the wedding.

Now, you may also want to consider which type of seating you are going to use based upon what type of sound system you will have or not. If you are going to have a relatively small wedding you can do the seating however you want no matter what type of sound you have. If you have a medium to large wedding planned and limited or no sound system, then the semi-circle is best (think concert rooms). The sound will travel out and if you have the option of having an incline then you might need to test which way the sound is better. Either the bride/groom at the bottom of the incline or at the top. Each property will affect the acoustics differently.

Finally, you will want to have you entry and exits routes planned depending on your other factors like pictures, reception location, rice throwing, etc. You want to give people the option to take plenty of pictures and videos so make sure you can make the best of the room you have so as many guests as possible can have a view of the new couple once the ceremony is over.

As far as decorations are concerned, once you have the landscaping, lighting, seating done, there is really only small things to put up. Perhaps a banner or two congratulating the new couple, streamers, and other wedding related decorations. These can all be done nowadays for very little money other than the price of the items. We usually have the women in the family put up the decorations while the men arrange the seating and take care of any of the other heavy lifting. I know but we are traditional in that respect. Besides, if you’ve ever seen the men in my family try to decorate for a party you would pay them to carry out the garbage instead.

Well, I hope that helps and really, if you want to see what can be done for pennies on the dollar I would check out some of the home makeover shows out there. Even though they are for homes and not weddings, you will see how creative people are and will get tons of ideas of how to make things look fantastic on a shoestring budget.

Unique Ideas for your Reception


 funny wedding ideas

So I wanted to throw out some unique ideas for your reception. Listen, everyone does the same stuff and that’s great but if you really want to make your special night even more memorable, then consider adding some of the things in this article. Or be creative and add your own, I would love to hear about it.

Everyone has a DJ, food, drinks, a special toast speech or three, and of course a dance floor. Occasionally someone will sing at a wedding and there will be the special dances, the throwing of the bouquet and garter belt, and the cutting of the cake. These are great and should of course be the standard of all weddings but why not take it a step further and provide your guests with even more options.

Now some of these options will vary depending upon the particular religious theme or lack thereof, the background of the families and of those attending, and of course how close or far the ceremony is from the traditional wedding. The idea is that you want to add different events or attractions for your guests. Not everyone likes to dance and not everyone likes to mingle. By adding a few of these attractions you will not only get people to engage more but you will have more options for entertainment for those people who like to stand on the periphery.

Some of the attractions you might consider would be blackjack and poker tables. There are plenty of professional dealers for hire and your guests can play for tickets, drinks, and prizes. This is a great attraction for the men at your weddings especially.

Another thing you might want to consider are some things for the kids. To be honest this isn’t a big one because kids always seem to find each other at weddings and they always have a great time but if you want to add a little extra for the kiddos (and the parents so they can keep a better eye on them), then you might want to consider a bouncy station, a balloon animal maker, or some other game areas. There are a lot of places where you can rent equipment but you have to make sure you have the room for whatever you have in mind.

Something that would go along with a non-traditional wedding would be to have a local psychic reader there. Usually they will have a small table set up in the corner where they will read tarot cards for the people who want to have a reading. The readings can be done in 10 minutes or longer depending on the interest but this really seems to be a hit. Now you do have to be careful because for some of the older folks or some of your more religious friends they might look at this as offensive. If you think that might be the case you might want to consider this for the bachelorette party.

Also think about having a videographer document the wedding and who goes around during the reception and gets some good interviews on wedding advice. These can be quite funny as well as the footage of all the drunk guests trying to dance later in the evening. There are some really good companies who will edit various videos for you that range from very serious and classy to very cheesy and funny. You can then post the videos online and email the links out to everyone after or even better yet if you had a webpage set up for people to register you can post it there.

Try to think of some ideas yourself, I would love to hear what you come up with.

Having a Friend Officiate, Good Idea or Bad?

Modern Bride MinisterMany couples are choosing non-traditional weddings nowadays. In fact, I was asked to officiate one of my friends weddings this past summer and I want to share my experience. Let me just say that I have never married anyone and I wasn’t keen on the idea. In fact I tried desperately to get out of if but for some reason they had their minds made up. So, I was in and I couldn’t refuse without risking adding stress to their already stressful wedding planning.

So the first that I needed to do was to get ordained. They make it pretty easy today and so I went online and became a real bona fide ordained minister. It was super easy. The only thing you have to do is make sure it is okay to do in your state as well as make sure you have the proper paperwork so that the marriage is legal and recognized so the couple can get their marriage license. You might be able to mess up some of the sermon but don’t mess this part up. Here’s where I got ordained – open-ministry.org.

Once I figured out what to do to get ordained and where to do it, I then had to figure out what I was going to say and how the actual ceremony was going to go down. About a month before the wedding I reached out to my friends to see what they had in mind and they really said that I could do whatever I wanted. Well, this certainly wasn’t the answer I was looking for since I needed a little direction. They said they were working on their vows but as far as what I was going to say would be up to me.

Well great, I was already nervous about the whole thing and now they were going to just trust that I knew what I was doing. I know they were aware that I had never done this before but they also knew that I had done some public speaking in the past so they just figured I would know what to do. So, once again it was back to the internet. I searched for some things to say. Of course there is everything under the sun and what I did was actually find a pretty good sermon within no time but, I then needed to put it into my own words because every time I read it, it sounded like I was back in the 3rd grade.

I practiced and practiced until I pretty much had it down but I knew I would still need my notes up there so I just make notes on the actual printout and took the whole thing with me. In hindsight this was a very bad idea but I’ll come back to that. Anyways I was feeling a little better about the delivery a few days before the wedding and then the couple hit me with a few things they wanted me to say and to add.

Now I had to go back and find where and how to add what they wanted which I did. We didn’t really coordinate on what I was saying but I had let them know that I put a place in there where I would stop and direct them to say their vows. Well, fast forward to wedding day and neither had done their vows. Great. Just one more thing I had to change last minute.

Now we did do a dry run the night before like most weddings do but it was really just an informal breakdown of how they were going to do the ceremony but no real practice. Ugggh. Anyways, as the day came around we arrived early to help set up. The wedding was outside and I had to coordinate with the DJ as to when to cue certain music, etc. I wasn’t expecting this but the guy was a pro and really helped a lot. Well, a couple hours before go time, it started to rain and the wind really picked up. On top of that it was extremely hot and humid and I was burning up. So I decided to talk to the bride to be and have her change the ceremony so that we could do it inside. All it would’ve required would be to put the chairs under the awning and keep the doors open to the dance floor where we could put the podium.

Well, it was her special day and she didn’t want to. I couldn’t blame her as it was a once in a lifetime (hopefully) event and she knew what she wanted. I didn’t argue and just let her know why I thought we should change it. In the end it we ended up doing it outside.

So, now on to the ceremony. I was pretty much the MC at the beginning and had a microphone with me that I would use to do the sermon so I sort of said some funny things to the guests as they were all taking their seats and waiting for the bride. I sort of did a play by play about how nervous the groom was and that he could still change his mind. It went over pretty well and it’s the sort of thing that makes the wedding memorable as most traditional weddings don’t do anything until you hear the here come’s the bride music come on. The groom also came out to the ‘Rocky Eye of the Tiger’ song and people loved it.

Well, once the ceremony started I was not only so nervous but I was sweating profusely and had to constantly wipe sweat out of my eyes. I couldn’t read my notes because they were the entire printed words and I would lose my place on the page as I would look up and address the crowd. To my credit no one noticed I was sweating so bad and they really couldn’t tell I was nervous when I was speaking. I messed up a few times with the order of things but no one was the wiser. I made everyone laugh multiple times because I had some good personal jokes about the bride and groom in there that I had rehearsed over and over again.

In the end, it came off great. In fact, the DJ said it was the best sermon he had ever heard and he did a lot of weddings. Perhaps I have found my calling. As far as me personally, I still would choose not to do it again. I have done a lot of speaking events but usually once things get rolling I am fine. For some reason I was nervous throughout the entire ceremony and the stress made my complexion break out over the following few days. All in all though I am glad I had the opportunity to help my friends and to contribute in making some good memories for them.

Good Idea or Bad…GOOD OVERALL definitely!

Wedding Photos

Some things to Consider when Selecting Your Wedding Photographer

modern bride photographer

One of your priorities should be to find a really good wedding photographer. Wedding photos can be one of your costlier expenses but the adage that you get what you pay for is certainly more true than not in this area. Getting good photos is important to preserve the magic of the day. If you get bad photos you will forever regret it.

Now we’ve had some people point out the fact that they could do photos at a later date. Well this might be true if you only want to get shots of the bride and groom and maybe some family, but usually your wedding party will not be available to take photos. In fact most of the groomsmen will have returned their tuxes as they usually rent their outfits whereas the women usually buy theirs. The other thing is that you want to capture the emotions of the day through the photos. If you get your photos some other time then the emotions might not be there.

We highly recommend looking at your photographers work to see if it is something that you like. One thing to make sure to ask for is how difficult it is for them to do staged shots or shots where there are some artistic aspects thrown in. This might require some props and pre-planned locations. If your photographer just shows up and then decides on the spot where to do the shots, you might miss out on some really classy shots. One of the ladies here in our group did a country theme. They got together at this old gas station and did some really neat old time shots. They had a few black and white shots where the bride and grooms family acted out a farm wedding scene. It was really neat and not cheesy at all. I especially liked the one where the groom was sitting in a chair with a glass of whiskey and his new bride was standing behind him with her hand on his shoulder. It was very well done and looked like something out of a commercial.

There are a lot of amateur photographers out there so really make sure to do your due diligence in this area. They are kind of like DJ’s. There’s really no qualification for them to do their job other than having a camera. Most photographers of course will have a website with their work. Make sure to go through it and ask them if there would be a difference in cost if you were to do some of the themed photos. Often there is but they don’t tell you. The other thing is to make sure you follow up with the reviews. Make sure to read them and make sure that they are actually real reviews. It’s easy to throw some up on a website so just make sure you can actually talk to one or two of them or at least correspond through email. If the photographer is worth their salt then they should have plenty of clients who they could call and refer them directly to you. Trust us if they are good then people will have no problem recommending them over the phone. Good wedding photos truly are something that people will remember for the rest of their lives.