About MaressaChristensen

Event planner, YA writer, book lover, gamer, travel enthusiast, and fan of all other fantastical things!

Save the Date Magnets

Getting engaged is one of the most exciting times of your life. Many brides are looking for unique and fun ways to share the news with family and friends. A creative way to do this is by creating a customized “Save the Date” magnet. Engagement announcements usually end up on the refrigerator anyways. So by making your announcement a magnet, it will make it even easier for your family and friends to keep the happy news top of mind.

All you need is a cute photo and voila` – your custom magnet is complete! You can print them yourself on printable magnet sheets or have them printed and delivered to your doorstep. Check out our ETSY store see some of the easy and cute design ideas.

Here are just a few examples:

You can go with something small and simple as a small business card (2″ x 3.5″):

Save the Date 2x3.5 Landscape Stars BG  Save the Date 2x3.5 Potrait Brick BG

Or, go with a larger size magnet such as 3″ x 4″ or 4″ x 6″ :

Save the Date 4x6 Landscape Fall Tree BG  Save the Date 3x4 Portait Grey Stitch BG

Save the Date 3x4 Portrait Grey & Yellow BG  Save the Date 3x4 Landscape Brown & Blue BGYou can create a customize keepsake that your friends and family will love!

Happy Planning!

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Origins of Modern Wedding Traditions

Bouquet TossNowadays there are so many different versions of wedding traditions. Some are deep-rooted in religion, history, and culture, some could be family traditions, and others were simply created for convenience, style copycatting, or from marketing. Here are a few modern wedding traditions with a glimpse into the symbolism and how they became commonplace today.

Queen Victoria

White Wedding Gowns: The color white is associated with innocence and purity, which is what most brides want to convey on their wedding day. But it has not always been the color of choice. Black or colored wedding gowns were the custom for European and American brides for many years. It was not until Queen Victoria  wore a white lace wedding gown when she married Prince Albert in 1840. The style was quickly copied by elite and wealthy brides and by the time WWII hit, it had spread across countries and to the middle classes.

Wedding Veil: Veils in general have a large amount of significance within religion and history. So naturally, that plays into the modern wedding veil which is symbolic of modesty and virginity. The lifting of the veil is representative of the groom taking possession of his new bride and is likened to the “consummation of their marriage.” It also shows that the groom is marrying the bride for her inner beauty and then he and the guests are presented with her loveliness during the ceremony. One of the more popular theories for the veil ceremony comes from the old testament, when Jacob believed he was marrying Rachel, but her father tricked him into marrying her sister Leah, by veiling her face. This is why the groom lifts the veil during the ceremony – to ensure he marries the right girl.

Wedding GarterThe Bouquet & Garter Toss: In medieval Europe is was good luck to take an article of clothing from a new bride. At the time, it was tradition to tear pieces right off her wedding dress. But, as dresses became more expensive, brides began throwing other items instead. The bouquet of flowers is symbolic of fertility, and since they are perishable, she throws the bouquet over her shoulder, to her unmarried female wedding guests. Whoever catches the bouquet is supposedly next in line to be married. The removing of the garter is symbolic of the groom “deflowering” his bride. And, like the bouquet toss, the groom  throws the garter to the unmarried male guests to help them become lucky in love.

Wedding Rings: The wedding ring is symbolic of its circular shape, with no beginning or end. To give a ring is a sign of  eternal and unending love. Many believe that the tradition of the wedding ring began back in Egypt around 4800 years ago. Brides would wear braided or twisted papyrus or more expensive materials, depending on how wealthy the groom was. Now, rings are generally made with white/yellow gold or other metals. It was only given the bride until around WWII ended, when the American jewelry industry led a successful marketing campaign to push dual ring ceremonies. Dual ring ceremonies now make up over 80% of US weddings and the jewelry industry is pushing this custom more global.

cutting-wedding-cakeCutting the Cake: The wedding cake is symbolic of fertility and was solely delegated to the bride, to distribute it to guests, following the ceremony. As weddings began to grow in size, so did the size of the wedding cake. Additionally, with the new style of new multi-tier cakes that featured hardened icing, it was impossible for the bride to this on her own. The groom began helping with this project, (also symbolically making this the first task that they do together as husband and wife.) The tradition of the sharing the first slice of cake also represented their commitment to provide for each other forever.

No matter what customs you plan to use for your wedding, it’s important to make your wedding your own, and to love it.

Happy Planning!

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_wedding

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veil

http://www.wisegeek.org/why-does-the-bride-throw-the-bouquet-at-her-wedding.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedding_ring

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/09/the-origin-of-wedding-rings-and-why-theyre-worn-on-the-4th-finger-of-the-left-hand/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedding_cake

Selecting the Right Honeymoon – Resort Part 2

Continued from…. Selecting the Right Honeymoon – Cruising Part 1    Resort Honeymoon

What kind of honeymoon do you want? If you’re looking for relaxation or a unique vacation experience, then a resort honeymoon might be for you. Generally, resorts are self-contained accommodations, centered around a particular destination, scenery, or activity. It’s really up to you on the kind of vacation you want to have. Here are some resort types and a some popular destinations…

Mexico Beach ResortBeach Resorts: Want to relax next to soothing surf or enjoy motorized and non-motorized water activities? Some popular seaside options can offer exactly the experience you’re looking for. These include California, Florida, or more exotic; Hawaii, Mexico, and Caribbean. They’re just a short plane ride away, and have thousands of affordable accommodations. Most offering much more than just scenic beach-side accommodations, they also feature unique cultures, activities, shopping, and dining.

Ski HoneymoonSki Resorts: Looking for a snowy destination where you can cuddle up next to a warm fire together? Then a mountain retreat might be what you’re looking for. Some top US & Canadian ski resorts are located in Vail, Lake Tahoe, Whistler, & Park City. You can visit during the seasonal ski seasons, or visit during spring and summer months for an immersion into natures paradise.

Las Vegas StripEntertainment Resorts: Want exciting theme park, casino, theater, dining, or shopping options?  Then New York, Las Vegas, or Orlando could be what you want. These destinations have become an extreme examples of modern playgrounds for both adults and children. They offer endless options, and can provide unique experiences, that can be tailored to your personal tastes.

Sedona Golf ResortGolf  & Spa Resorts: Golf and Spa destinations usually go hand-in-hand; offering his, her, and couple options. These are generally warm or seaside destinations. Some of the best US destinations for this include Arizona, California, & Florida. Relax in beautiful scenery or experience world-class golf and spa.

 

Most modern resorts offer exceptional dining and entertainment options, making it so you don’t even have to leave the property. When booking your resorts be sure to check-out if they offer dining packages or “All-Inclusive” options. “All-Inclusive” resorts are incredibly convenient and many have gone to great lengths to make dining unforgettable by offering “gourmet experiences.” Plus, many packages now include alcohol, which can be very cost-effective if you plan on drinking daily. Resorts also have concierge teams available that can help you plan any type of excursion or experience that you’re looking for. Many resorts provide it themselves or have trusted partners that can offer experiences you might not be able to find yourself.

Select the right resort and location to match your vacation style. Here are some great vacation planning websites that offer amazing affordable honeymoon options.

Travel Tips If you’re planning on traveling internationally, be sure to get your passport applications submitted early. (Current processing times are about 4-6 weeks.) It’s also helpful when you travel to bring along a copy of your marriage certificate – just in case. (She will likely not have changed her name yet and it is always helpful to prove that you’re married.) You can visit http://www.travel.state.gov/passport for all passport related questions.

Happy Planning!

Selecting the Right Honeymoon – Cruise Part 1

Cruise Ship Couple

After spending months planning and preparing for that one day, you can finally leave for the ultimate vacation – your honeymoon! It’s that time to decompress after the wedding, and just focus on just each other. But there are so many options. How do you find what’s best for you and your partner?  Cruising is an awesome, cost-effective alternative if you want to have a fun-filled and exciting vacation, with low stress. Here are just a few cruising pros and cons…

Cruising Pros:

NCL

  • Mostly All-inclusive: Your cruise fare will include a large portion of the vacation expenses including accommodations, basic meals, & onboard entertainment.
  • Unpack Only Once: Cruising is definitely the easiest way to visit multiple destinations without the inconvenience, stress, and additional travel expenses.
  • Dining Dining Dining: Incredible dining has become a cornerstone of modern cruising. Most cruise lines have numerous dining options available, generally ranging from all the basics, including a complete buffet, and several fine dining options. Prepare to eat well and often!
  • Options for Everyone: Cruising includes entertainment to satisfy anyone. Choose from a variety of activities, daily shows, shopping, and numerous organized events. Many cruise ships also offer unique options such as rock-climbing, zip-lining, & water parks. There are also daily child and teen programs to entertain the little ones (if need be.)
  • 24 hours of Fun: The ship literally never goes to sleep. Most cruise lines offer extra options for night owls including casino, shows, dance clubs, bars, and 24 hour dining. You can choose whatever you want to do – without the curfew!

Cruising Cons:

Oasis of The Seas

  • Mostly All-Inclusive: Unless otherwise  specified, your cruise fare does not include, airfare, transfers, or shore excursions. Also, it generally does not include soft drinks and alcohol. Many do offer beverage packages that range from an additional $7-$50 per day, per person.
  • Required Gratuity: Most cruise lines charge an additional “gratuity charge” that ranges from $10-$20 per person, per day. You should check the cruise line’s website for tipping policy before booking.
  • Crowds & Waiting: Despite how large the new modern cruise ships are, you’re still limited on space. There will be hundreds and sometimes thousands of passengers wanting to do the same thing as you, at the same time. You may not always find a free table, deck chair, and will have to wait in line for food, activities, and embarking/disembarking. Patience will be required.
  • Plan Early or be Disappointed: If you’re planning to go on specific shore excursions, book early. You will only be in port for a limited window so naturally the space will fill up quickly. You can always book directly through the cruise line or you can find additional tour operators online. It’s always helpful to do a little research before the trip.

Planning your honeymoon should be fun and not add to the stress of planning your wedding. Your honeymoon will give you memories that will last forever. Hopefully these tips make choosing your vacation even easier.

Happy Planning!

6 Tips to Maximize Your DJ

disco_dj

Depending on the type of event you’re having, a DJ can make or break a party. It’s important to ensure that they’re knowledgeable and experienced, have quality equipment, and most of all – can take direction, and are easy to work with. Your DJ should also be able to create your desired atmosphere and control the flow of the event. They should be able to read a crowd, know when the pace needs to be picked up, and when to slow it down. Aside from having a knowledgeable DJ, there are things you can do to help the event turn out the way you want. Here are some tips that will help you get the most from your DJ.

  1. Communicate Expectations: Meet with your DJ before the event to ensure you’re both on the same page. Many times these details are included in the contract when you hire your DJ, but it never hurts to vocalize your expectations and confirm capability. The last thing you want is last-minute surprises or extra fees. You should first decide how you want to utilize your DJ. Do you want them to just play background music, do you want dancing, and will they emcee the event? You should also confirm the remaining items on this list at least two to four weeks before the event.
  2. Timeline Your Event: Make a detailed itinerary…down to the minute. This will help you and your DJ create a detailed schedule and will help ensure that your entire wish list will happen. Many traditional weddings include the bride & groom’s entrance, cutting the cake, the bouquet toss, garter toss, father daughter dance, and first dance, etc. It’s imperative that the DJ has a clear understanding of all the things you want and the sequence. You should also prioritize what is most important, especially if you’re tight on time. *Bonus Tip – always build a buffer. Things always take more time than you think, so plan accordingly.
  3. Establish Genre & Songs:  The music selection will determine what kind of party you have. Do you want your event to be a classical affair, a disco throw-back, a country hoe down, a techno rave, a hip-hop dance party, or a blend that will shift through the night. You must determine this ahead of time so your DJ can bring the right collection of music. The genre and song choice should also be detailed in the itinerary, including the events through the night. For example, what music do you want playing during the bouquet toss, first dance etc.? You should also create a “do’s and don’ts” list, so the DJ fully understands what you want, but most importantly what you don’t want. You also need to decide if you’re okay with guests or family members making requests, because many times they will.
  4. Appoint a Facilitator: It’s also necessary to have someone you trust on hand to help facilitate during the event. This could be your event planner or even just a friend or family member. This will be the person who will communicate with the DJ, ensure the timing of your schedule, and will assist you. This will also be the person who will collaborate with your DJ if the schedule shifts and help with any judgment calls, if needed. You don’t want to be burdened with details while you’re busy being the bride.
  5. Confirm the Equipment & Space: Generally, a DJ will bring their own equipment, including; sound & amplification system, lighting, microphone, and connectors. It’s important to detail out exactly what’s included and make sure that the venue and space can accommodate where the DJ and equipment will be positioned. In some cases, venues will have their own equipment. It is always a good idea to  ensure that the DJ has the contact information of the venue so they can also work with them directly and ensure they can accommodate your plan.
  6. Be Flexible: Sometimes the unexpected happens and things may not exactly go as planned. A good DJ can help make adjustments when needed. Prioritization and communication is key!

Knowing what you want and having open dialogue with you DJ ahead of time should ease the planning of your event. As long as your DJ knows what’s most important to you they can help make your day a smashing success. Happy Planning!

dj

Elegant Simplicity – Using a Color Free Pallet

27-Dresses-wedding-movies-17780794-500-375

Color selection is a key decision that can define the style and look of a wedding. This one choice is incredibly important, yet is a slippery slope for some brides. It can be extremely difficult to strike a balance between what’s in style today, and how it will translate into the future. Also, colors may look beautiful on some, but terrible on others, especially when captured on film. Brides can easily become clouded with current trends and styles. For example mint green and coral, these may be hot hues right now, but both could easily fall into the tacky category over time, if not executed the right way.

Black & White Wedding LBD

The LBD is perfect for any occasion – especially weddings!

A simple and elegant solution is by choosing a color free pallet. Black and white weddings are timeless, yet modern, and will never go out of style. Going color free opens up even more selection and style possibilities. Plus, black and white are super easy to match. You can even satisfy the most difficult  bridal party member with a classic LBD. Who doesn’t love that?

Black & White Wedding, Polka Dots

Add a pop of color.

If you’re afraid to completely commit to a color free aesthetic, try adding just a pop of color. This can still maintain the classic look without letting a color dominate. The key to color selection is not letting the color define the wedding, but rather allowing the colors to bring to life your vision for your special day.  Happy Wedding Planning!