engagement-ringMany newly married couples already have their households set up, so giving them a toaster or a place setting as a wedding gift is becoming increasingly obsolete. Whether they have been living alone, already living together, or have been previously married – their wedding gift wish list will be different from the young engaged couple who are moving into their very first home of their own.

 

Of course, many engaged couples still register at a department store – there will be items they want as they combine their households. However, this list is often shorter than the traditional newlyweds (who would need everything). The guest list can easily be longer than their wish list, so gift selection can be a challenge. Here are some unique ideas:

A Literate LOL

mcsweeney-tshirts

If your two favorite brainiacs are finally getting hitched, you might consider buying them both a t-shirt subscription from The McSweeney’s store. Two subscriptions will mean that they will receive 6 matching t-shirts over the course of the year – the shirts are designed by artists and are the perfect gift for your highbrow Mr and Mrs. Plus, the fact that they will have 6 sets of matching shirts by the end of the year is just very funny – perfect practice for when they wear matching leisure suits as an old married couple.

Mr and Mrs Memory

If your friends always have the latest version of iPhone and spend a lot of time at their computers, you might consider these cute Flash drives available from Rakuten as a gift. Affordably priced, they would also make a great wedding shower or engagement party gift. Or, they could accompany a gift card.

bride-and-groom-usb-flash

A Bicycle Built For Two

Another unique gift: a tandem bicycle. The one below is from American bike company KHS Bicycles- they have 3 different styles to choose from:

tandem bicycle

There are many options if you want to give a unique wedding gift. It’s a good idea to start thinking about gift ideas as soon as you see an engagement ring on your friend’s finger. Don’t leave it to the last minute!

Have you given a unique wedding gift or are you looking for more ideas? Please let us know in the comments:

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‘Fall’ In Love With These Awesome Autumn Wedding Styles

Wow, is it September again? My Big Fat Engagement is celebrating it’s 4th year of articles about engagements and weddings! Today we’re going to look at some colorful and beautiful ways to celebrate a wedding with the warm colours that decorate nature when the weather begins to cool down.

Autumn Wedding Favors

fall-in-love-favors

This ‘fall in love’ wedding favor is a collection of leaves made out of soap from yourultimateweddingfavors.com. This ‘leaves’ open the door to so many decorative options: from leaf print table linens to orange and red hued candle centerpieces with leaves around the base. The bride might even walk down an aisle scattered with beautiful autumn leaves instead of flowers – it is non-traditional, but visually striking- particularly if the wedding is taking place in one of the states so well known for their fall foliage.

Bridesmaid Dresses for Fall

Picture your bridesmaids and your flower girl in brown dresses. It might be hard to imagine until you see a picture like the one below (dresses from jaksflowergirldresses.com).

brown-bridesmaids-dresses

Fall Wedding Jewelry

Yellow gold is the perfect choice for wedding rings for a Fall wedding or for an Autumn engagement ring, like the one pictured below. The leaf inspired design on the ring makes it perfect for a Fall wedding or Autumn wedding proposal. For many of us September is more about new beginnings than New Year’s Eve – it is the time of the year most associated with significant changes to our lives (first day of school, moving out of state to go to University, beginning a new job after graduating and then taking the summer off to travel…). It just feels natural to start a new life as a married couple in the same month. As an added bonus, venue rentals and other vendors are less busy (and potentially less expensive).

gold-engagement-ring

Fall Wedding Flowers

orange-bouquet

Another popular color for weddings in September, October, or  November is orange.

For more awesome Autumn wedding ideas, check out our post Fall In Love With These Autumn Wedding Ideas.

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The songs played during the wedding reception are important and the song choice for the first dance deserves even more attention. However, I think the most important wedding song decision every couple makes is the decision about what song should be playing during the procession. This is the part of the ceremony where the bride appears and then walks down the aisle. The songs played before this song provide an atmosphere, but the song that propels the bride down the aisle sets the tone for the whole wedding.

white-gold-wedding-ring

Traditional

The traditional wedding march we are all familiar with hearing is actually the Wedding March from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The composer wrote the song for Shakespeare’s play in 1842. Five years later, it was used at a real wedding for the first time- but it didn’t become popular until Queen Victoria’s daughter (also named Victoria, and a huge Mendelssohn fan) used it at her own wedding in 1858.

Hippily Ever After

This song would be a beautiful wedding song for a garden wedding. I would choose to play an instrumental version for the procession and then have my hippie guitarist uncle perform and sing it during the ceremony too.

Fairytale Wedding

Brides who want to feel like a princess on their big day, can start the procession off with the Trumpet Voluntary (‘Prince of Denmark’s March) by Jeremiah Clarke. This is the song that was used during Lady Diana Spenser’s bridal procession. Another popular song to use for the entry of the bride is Wagner’s Bridal Chorus.

Endless Love

This song was very popular as a wedding song 25 years ago. It may be time for it to make a comeback.

Aisle Never Forget It

After much deliberation, I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of this one- my niece actually played it on the piano- but I picked it because of the lyrics.

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white-gold-engagement-ringIf you watch the View, you know Sherry is organizing a choreographed wedding party dance for her big day. A choreographed dance during the reception, also called Rock the Reception, has become very popular with wedding couples over the last few years, thanks to their circulation through YouTube.

Weddings of course should be a time of celebration and joy, so it makes sense that dancing of some sort or another is involved in most cultures and religions. Generally, the dancing is reserved for after the ceremony – but here are some examples of entrance dances. The wedding procession is often very formal and reserved, but I think there is something wonderful about a wedding party and a bride so happy, that they are literally dancing down the aisle.

Here are the top 5 wedding entrance dances I’ve found online:

5. Elena and Simmy’s Awesome Wedding Entrance

I’ve only attended one Jewish wedding – and it was in a garden, but I had imagined the synagogue versions to be much more formal and very traditional. This video definitely proves me wrong – not only is there dancing, but even some gymnastics! Mazel tov, Elena and Simmy! Somethingjewish.co.uk is a great resource if you’re interested in reading more about Jewish wedding traditions.

4. Phil + Elinas Wedding Entrance Dance

At first Phil and Elinas’ wedding entrance dance is underwhelming, but I think that is the point- it’s worth watching the video to the 2 minute mark, when it starts to get fun.

3. Fun Wedding Dance Down The Aisle

I like this dance because of the way they incorporated the setting into their entrance dance. The wooden bridge is a perfect spot for dancing.

2. Wedding Dance UP the Aisle

What I like most about this video, is that the participants and guests of all ages are obviously enjoying themselves. The song choice is perfect, too.

1. JK Wedding Entrance Dance

The JK Wedding Entrance dance video was such a hit that the Today Show invited them down to recreate it live on air. You can see the Today Show recreation at YouTube as well.

If you’re engaged, are you considering dancing down the aisle instead of marching? It’s important that everyone is on board because you don’t want half-hearted dancing or disapproving faces from family members to spoil the moment for you. Discuss this during your engagement. What song would you use to dance down the aisle?

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It’s June – the most popular month for weddings. In honor of this exciting month, I thought I’d shake things up with some wedding-themed rock videos.

White Wedding

In White Wedding, Billy Idol sings about a woman he loves who is marrying someone else. The lyrics make it inappropriate for a wedding, yet this song continues to be popular at receptions and even ceremonies.

The song was originally released in 1982. It later appeared in the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore hit ‘The Wedding Singer’ (Billy Idol also appeared in the movie as himself). (songfacts.com)

November Rain

Based on a short story called Without You by Del James, the original version of this song was 25 minutes long. At just under 9 minutes, the shortened version is the longest top 10 hit in history.

With lyrics like “we’ve been through this such a long time, just trying to kill the pain,” it may not be the best choice for your wedding song. Released in 1991, this video made many young women want a wedding dress like Stephanie Seymour’s (luckily most of us grew out of this before we actually got married).

Chapel of Love

Aren’t there any happy rock songs about weddings? I had to go back to the earliest days of rock and roll to think of one: Chapel of Love by the Dixie Cups is definitely happy. “Bells will ring, sun will shine, I’ll be his, and he’ll be mine, we’ll love until the end of time.”

Today I Met The Boy I’m Gonna Marry

Here’s another classic song about a wedding from Darlene Love.

“For on my hand a band of gold appeared before me, the band of gold I’d always dreamed I’d wear.”

gold wedding band

“He smiled at me and then the music started playing, Here comes the bride when I walked through the door.” This line from the song inspired a line in the They Might Be Giants’s song Lucky Ball and Chain- reworded slightly to say ”There goes the bride as she walked out the door.” Another unhappy song about a wedding (or a marriage, anyways) but very catchy just the same.

Aren’t there any recent rock songs about weddings that are happy?

I couldn’t find any – if you know of one please share in the comment section below.

 

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Spring means flowers and weddings – a perfect symbol of this is, of course, the flower girl.

flower-girl-charm-danforth

What could be cuter than a little girl toddling down the aisle in a pretty dress, scattering rose petals along the way? (Well, sometimes she has some competition from the ring bearer!)

Flower girls set the tone for weddings – their innocence and sweetness blast all of the wedding guests’ personal worries and stress away and open their minds for the ceremony they are about to observe. Weddings are full of hope for the future, love, and devotion and a chance for wedding guests to focus some positive energy towards the marrying couple and forget about their own problems for a few minutes. What a precious gift.

Gift Ideas for Flower Girls

Here are some gift ideas as a tribute to the little ones who open our hearts:

Paper Flower Crafts

This craft kit comes in a cute little purse and will keep your flower girl entertained at a rehearsal dinner or other wedding function.

craft-kit-paper-flower-craft

Flower Earrings

These flower earrings are a wonderful gift and something that your flower girl will be able to wear even after she is a ‘grown up’- she may even start a new tradition by passing them down to her flower girl on her own wedding day.

flower-earrings-danforth

Hello Kitty Playhouse

This Hello Kitty house from Mega Blocks can be ordered online at westfieldcomics.com so that your flower girl can help Hello Kitty set up her garden (flowers and flower pots included).

hello-kitty-megablocks-playhouse

Wedding Cake Charm

This wedding cake charm is sweet – if you want your flower girl to arrive at each wedding event in a sunny disposition, consider giving her a charm bracelet at the engagement party and then a cute charm at every major event she is expected to attend. Sure it’s bribery, but if it keeps your sweet flower girl from turning sour during the wedding photo session or the exchanging of wedding rings… it was worth it!

wedding-cake-charm

Flower Purse Pet Carrier

Another way to keep your flower girl entertained during wedding functions is to give her a pet to play with- these Webkins continue to be popular and the flower purse pet carrier means that the pet is ready to party.

flower-purse-pet-carrier-webkins

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Spring has sprung (or is, at least, in the process of springing) and Easter is just around the corner. Traditionally a time of renewal and new beginnings, Spring is an egg-cellent time to pop the question, so get cracking!

gold-halo-engagement-ring

Here are some timely ideas for wedding proposals – let Easter inspire you to be a good egg – let your wedding proposal set the tone for the unique, exciting, and wonderful future life you will share together as husband and wife.

pink-bunny-costume

Elegant Egg Hunt

Make an egg hunt elegant by ordering these beautiful, simple personalized wooden eggs from Etsy seller ‘Imagination Kids.’

personalized-easter-egg-wooden

You might even be able to order 4 eggs and have them each inscribed with 1/4 of the most important question you may ever ask:

Will You Marry Me?

I love this bunny ring by Betsey Johnson but it might not make the best engagement ring… don’t get too carried away with bringing the ring into the theme – remember, your future wife will be wearing it every day for the rest of her life!

bunny-ring-betsey-johnsonbunny-ring-betsey-johnson

Instead, consider this beautiful and unique engagement ring with a contemporary abstract floral design.

engagement-ring-modern-floral-design

Or just select a grade-a large diamond (I’m sure she won’t mind).

diamond_marquise_side

Whatever you do, don’t forget the presentation:

A Scavenger Hunt that Makes Scents

Imagine returning home from a romantic lunch date to find a path of  flower pots to the door- a note tied to  each pot (and then tie the ring around the very last one)?

pink-gerber-daisy-in-pot

Some Bunny Loves Me

Pick a stuffie that will fill her heart with love (and encourage her to say yes!).

Pink-Bunny

Share The Occasion With Your Peeps

Invite friends and family to an Easter Brunch. This would be an excellent engagement party as well – here is a cute idea for a smores recipe if you want to have a less formal party in the backyard. You could have an egg hunt for the kids, some delicious frittatas in the oven and some savory breakfast sausages on the barbeque. Check out bigsislilsis.com for some other fun ways to enjoy peeps, as well as links to other unique recipes for Easter Candy.

peeps-smore

Close-a With A Mimosa

Raise a toast to your love. If you’re really sneaky, you’ll put one of those glass charms around everyone’s glass but an engagement ring on hers (get ready to drop to one knee when she notices!).

pink-mimosa


 

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Let a Wedding on a Week Day Save Your Budget

Weddings can be very expensive and brides don’t always have the budget to create the wedding of their dreams. You can drastically reduce your budget by moving your big day to a week day. Flexibility regarding your wedding date means you can get the matching wedding bands you otherwise couldn’t afford or the dream dress your daughters and granddaughters will wear one day.

white-gold-diamond-wedding-ring

Remember, your wedding day is just one day whereas you will wear your wedding rings for a lifetime.

If many of your guests will be travelling a great distance to attend, they will inevitably be missing some work anyways. You will also want to schedule the event as late as possible so that local guests who work weekdays have time to get there. If many of your guests work in the entertainment or hospitality industry, or other careers that involve evening or weekend work – a wedding midweek might actually be more convenient for them.

air travel ad

Save Money on your Wedding

Weekday weddings are popular with people on a budget because many vendors will offer reduced prices during the week, as well as engaged couples who prefer a simple low-profile event. Some couples want a particular venue that is already booked for every weekend, so they decide to move their date. Other couples have had a big extravagant wedding in the past and do not want to repeat the experience.

worlds-longest-wedding-dress-train

Weekday weddings are so popular that there are companies who specialize in them, such as Virginia’s Weekday Wedding Company.

Honeymoon Headstart

Another reason to have a wedding midweek might be because the couple wants to honeymoon immediately after the reception, and extend the trip into the weekend. Flights on weekdays are also less expensive than weekend flights, so here is another opportunity to save money.

Destination Weddings Midweek

If you are planning a destination wedding, keep in mind that midweek wedding packages can save you money too. For example, you can save almost $400 if you book a wedding at Las Vegas’ Treasure Island on any day other than Saturday- that’s $400 you can spend on your wedding rings!

If you are planning a Las Vegas wedding, bachelorette or any other wedding-related event, be sure to check out our Las Vegas series of features.

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Independent Wedding Fairs

independent [ɪndɪˈpɛndənt] adj

Free from control

Capable of acting for one’s self or on one’s own

Here is Elvis singing ‘My Way’ as the soundtrack for this article all about independent weddings…

In recent years the idea of an ‘independent’ wedding has become increasingly popular. Sometimes independent means that the couple is paying for the wedding by themselves (no parental or family help), sometimes it means the wedding is a crafty do-it-yourself or self-planned event.

two-tone-14K-white-and-yellow-gold-ring

Sometimes ‘independent’ means that a few things (or maybe everything) about the event is going to very different from a traditional wedding. Indie brides might wear a nontraditional wedding dress or select a non-traditional engagement ring or wedding ring.

IndieWed026

Indie Wed

Last month’s Indie Wed in Chicago “cater[ed] to not only unconventional couples who are taking a more modern, edgy, or eco-friendly approach to their special day but also the more conservative couples who simply want to add some special touches.” The event featured”independent designers specializing in various wedding related fields including stationery, cakes & pastries, fashion, catering, floral design, photography and more.” Check out the video below (from 2010′s event) or their website (indieweb.com).

Indie Wed from I Do Films on Vimeo.

Something New

independent wedding associations wedding fair something new

Minneapolis’ Something New wedding fair takes place on February 5th this year – check out independentwedding.com for more information. The event is offering mini-courses on the following topics: eco-friendly weddings, signature wedding drinks, invitations, selecting bridesmaid dresses and more. It is organized by the Independent Wedding Association, which prides itself in it’s strict criteria for membership- independent of the large wedding industry associations.

Indie I Do

IndieIDo-vancouver-independent-wedding-show

By far the funnest looking wedding fair I’ve seen so far, the Indie I Do takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is described as an event that connects “independent artists with independent-minded consumers.” This year, exhibitors included HellCat Beauty (providing “stellar hair and make-up applications for ‘Bombshell Brides’ and the ‘Matrimonial Entourage’) and Memphis Mike’s barbecue catering.Visit the site indieido.com for more details.

If you know of any other alternatives to the typical wedding fair, please let me know in the comments below and I may feature the event in a future article. Also, are you planning an indie wedding? If so, what are you doing differently?

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Happy New Year!

Here are some resolutions to consider if you are engaged in 2011:

1. Don’t Forget Why You Are Getting Married

You’re not just getting married so that you can wear a pretty dress and have a big party. You’re getting married to the person you love and you’re going to build a life together. The time leading up to your wedding day can be stressful and hurtful behavior or words can leave permanent damage to your relationship.

2. Don’t Forget About Your In-Laws

freshwater-pearl-earrings

Try to start things off right with your intended spouse’s friends and family. Trust me, if you can get along with your inlaws your married life will be much happier.

The Father and the Mother of the Groom can sometimes be overlooked during all of the wedding craziness, particularly if their son isn’t overly involved in the planning. If they are travelling to attend events, remember that they may feel uncomfortable and that they won’t know everyone there – make a special effort to introduce them and to make sure they are having a good time. If you don’t know them that well yourself and you’re not sure what to talk about, ask them questions about their son. What was he like when he was a baby? A little boy? In most cases, it won’t take much encouragement to get them talking. Pictures may even come out of wallets…

If you want to be really sweet, present both moms with beautiful earrings for the occasion, like the ones above – earrings that coordinate with your own will create a bonding moment between the three of you while making your mother-in-law feel welcome and special (she did bring your groom-to-be into this world, after all!).

3. Don’t Forget To Say Thank You

bride-be-nice-to-your-friends

It takes a lot of work to get hitched without a hitch. A fun and well-planned wedding requires help from friends and family, as well as paid vendors and service providers. Here’s a secret that every Bridezilla doesn’t know: if you’re nice to people, they will help you more – and they will still like you after the wedding is over!

4. Invest In Your Future

while-gold-solitaire-and-wedding-band

Your wedding lasts one day, but your marriage will hopefully last your lifetime. Somehow a disconnect occurs between the money people are spending on their wedding versus what they would be able to do with that money afterwards. For example, the total budget of some weddings can be the same as the down payment on a home! Some brides spend more money on their wedding dress than they did on the car they are currently driving.

Now more than ever, the engaged couple (and their parents, if applicable) should discuss budget before any spending begins. This mindful spending can start with the engagement ring- couples might decide to start with a less expensive ring. For example, the beautiful ring above can be purchased online for less than $400, and the matching wedding ring is even included in that price. Keep in mind, the ring can always be replaced on a future wedding anniversary. Married couples argue over money more than anything else, so debt isn’t the best wedding gift to give yourself.

Please share your advice for engaged couples below, I’d love to hear them:

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Engagement Advice

My Big Fat Engagement provides engagement advice, tips and commentary on about getting engaged, finding the right person, engagement stories and more...with your help. We want to post your engagement stories and thoughts on everything up until the wedding day.

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