The Way To Avoid Wedding Stress

Weddings and the accompanying engagement parties and showers can get stressful and out of hand for many reasons. Here are the top reasons why planning weddings may not be as fun as you hope-and some wedding tips about what you can do about managing this wedding stress now.

1. You need to feel loved by your parents.
In my research, many women who wanted elaborate weddings and other related celebrations hoped that the even would make them finally feel love from their parents. The celebrations became the woman's way of finally "getting something" from unhappy childhoods of divorced, neglectful, negative, abusive or absent parents. Many brides-to-be who were not the "favorite child" especially longed for "spectacle" parties where the glare of being in the spotlight for even a few hours or days might overcome their feelings of being unloved. Some brides felt a "gotcha" effect-they finally were able to squeeze some effort, money and attention from their parents and family. After all, the brides silently reasoned, how could my family deny me "my day?"

Yet, putting all your unhatched love-eggs in the one basket of wedding related celebrations usually only leaves you with rotten eggs. Don't expect these events to make up for anything. One stress-busting wedding tip to test whether you are looking for love in all the wrong places is to pretend that, in addition to the wedding, you are having only one other related celebration such as an engagement party or bridal shower and that your wedding is small, warm, tasteful but no way near "over-the-top" either in expense or in image.

In addition, you agree to give up or greatly modify your "dream wedding" of being married on an island, mountain top or at the latest "in place." Can you live with these limitations? Or, do you suddenly feel a big dip of disappointment, despair and depression?

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how would you rate the lack of love you feel from your parents? Now examine all your reactions and see what you've learned. Remember, weddings can't make up for past hurts. Events are too short-lived to make up for anything-only a positive change in the long-term interactions between you and your family can do that.

Finally, pay attention to the amount of friction you feel and the number of squabbles you experience with your parents. Wedding plans often accentuate or re-ignite submerged and unresolved childhood feelings. But don't think that a wedding can resolve these problems. Instead, see these heated disagreements as a sign that you have some personal issues that you need to address within yourself and your family over time. Seek pre-marital counseling and vow to continue working on these areas after you are married. Happy couples are able to understand, manage and change their family relationships and not re-enact them in the marriage.

2. You want your wedding planning to show others from your childhood how far you've come in life.

The more outrageously expensive and exclusive (the WOW! Factor) of the event, the more the woman hoped it would erase and redo any previous, unwanted images of herself from others. "Putting on the Ritz" serves the same emotional purpose of the unpopular, ugly duckling who makes it big, turns into a swan and then goes to her high school reunion. These inflated celebrations are the equivalent of sticking out your tongue and going "Nyah, nyah."

But this "going overboard wedding plan" is just a flash-in-the-pan shortcut to feeling valued, special and attractive. The general rule of thumb is that the more lavish and over-planned the event, the more negative the self-talk is inside the head of the bride. If you felt ugly, misunderstood or overlooked, then a big deal feels like the best medicine. But the real medicine is how you live your life.

To test whether you are asking your wedding to make up for the past, try this wedding stress tip. Make a list of how many times you've said or thought "if only Heather, Samantha, Tiffany or whoever could see me." Also, keeping a journal can uncover feelings about yourself and your past hurts. Finally, chart your "disappointments" when your plans don't match your fantasy. No wedding is perfect-and no event can ever fill the hole in your soul. Smart brides don't add more stress to their weddings by expecting a wedding to heal the past.

3. You and your family want your wedding plan to show the world how far you've come in life-or
how much you now "belong" in the upper class. Shame about former socio-economic status and class can also put pressure on a bride and her family to have an over-the-top event. If your family's country-club or business set has seen wedding parties of twelve bridesmaids, then it feels like a "lesser" celebration not to at least match the event. When your wedding has to "prove something," you add more stress.

A smart bride decides NOT to compete with these "others." Understated events always win. Keep it simple and warm. The WOW factor in weddings is not necessarily based on big bands with poor imitations of original songs, elaborate table settings, gowns and banquet halls. Guests want to come away feeling happy, joyful and included. Think back on weddings you've attended where the band was too loud to hear the person sitting next to you, where the food was served with too formal and cold an air, where you felt "stuck" at your table and where the awesomeness of the event made you feel diminished and left out rather than part of the celebration.

One of my smart bride clients who came from an upper class family decided to avoid "keeping up with the Joneses." On her wedding gift registry she listed favorite charities for her guests to donate to instead. Her centerpieces consisted of a wreath of silk flowers where each guest could pluck one to wear. In addition, she placed a small picture frame for each couple to take home. The buffet consisted of both fancy food and childhood comfort foods. One part of the buffet featured game meat and shellfish, and various stations offered pasta, pizza, meatloaf, turkey, cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. Guess which food the people liked the best?

Smart brides know that no one event can make up for past hurts. These smart brides recognize that wedding stress and family issues go hand-in-hand. Smart brides acknowledge these issues and work hard to face them and manage them over time. They recognize that family relations, especially, usually include unresolved feelings. These brides, with the support of their new husbands, work together to improve and heal past family issues. Smart families of the bride also spend less on the wedding and put more money aside for buying a home or making investments-and leave a little bit for a uniquely personal (but not over-the-top) honeymoon.

By Dr. LeslieBeth (LB) Wish, Ed.D

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Carat of The Diamond

There is a common misconception that the term carat indicates the size of the diamond. Actually this term refers to the weight of the diamond. One carat is roughly about 200 milligrams, which is less than a quarter of an ounce. A carat can also be broken up into 100 points. This means that three quarter of a carat is equivalent to 75 points.

The heavier the diamond (in carat weight), the rarer it becomes and the increase in price is exponential with the diamond's weight. Hence two half-carat diamonds will cost much lesser than a one-carat diamond, assuming that other attributes, such as color and clarity, are equal.

The size of the diamond can also be impacted by its cutting. Depending on how the cut is done, two one-carat diamonds can look unequal in size. While a flatter stone will appear bigger, a deeper cut stone will look smaller. A deeper cut stone usually has more brilliance and scintillation. So even though a flatter cut stone will appear larger or heavier, it may have less brilliance and can look cloudy.

Much as the diamond's carat weight is important, it should not sacrifice too much of its other qualities. From both a personal and investment standpoint, i feel that a beautiful one-carat diamond with outstanding brilliance and scintillation is going to be the better choice compared to a one-carat diamond that looks like a two-carat stone. You may be tempted to purchase a stone that has a flatter cut so that you can have the appearance of a larger or heavier stone, but this i feel might not be a wise choice.

A smaller diamond can always be enhanced with baguettes, trillians or smaller same-shape stones on either side. As mentioned earlier, two smaller stones won't cost as much as an equally-weighted single stone. With this knowledge, you can therefore increase the importance of the ring you're buying without doubling your cost.

To summarized, in purchasing a diamond always look at the carat of the single largest stone. Do not be fool if the jeweler said that two half-carat diamonds is as precious as a one-carat diamond.

By Karl Lee

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Choosing Flower for Your Wedding

Often the best days for a wedding are warm, hot even, and while this might be good for the bride and groom, it can wreak havoc on delicate flowers. Choosing a wedding flower that will stand up to the heat and look great throughout the ceremony and even long afterwards can be hard. You want something that is beautiful and fit for a bride, but still sturdy enough to hang in there, even in high temperatures.

What to Look For

A good wedding flower is delicate looking, but not actually that fragile. It will withstand the summer heat and look terrific doing it. You have enough worries and stresses on your wedding day, flowers should definitely not be one of them, so select hardy flowers from the very beginning and you'll be able to focus on more important things, like actually getting married.

Here are some of the characteristics to look for in a heat-resistant wedding flower.

Thick, waxy petals are best. They tend to be stiffer and hold the moisture in longer than thinner petals which tend to shrivel and wilt in the heat. The thicker the petal, the stiffer it will be, making it more resistant to wilting.
Stiff leaves help with heat resistance, too. Leaves contain a lot of moisture that can be wicked up to the bloom and the greenery helps enhance the color of the wedding flowers. Wilted leaves make the entire bouquet look sickly, so thicker, waxier leaves are the best option.
Sturdy stems keep flowers upright. While the florist can place flower stems in plastic straws to help keep them upright when the heat threatens to send them drooping downwards, but it's best to choose the right flowers with sturdy, thick stems that are strong enough to stand up even when slightly dried out.
Full blooms stay fresh longer. Flowers that aren't just a few petals will last longer. Look for ruffled petals or multiple rounds, such as with a mum or carnation. These flowers do very well with holding in the moisture needed to survive a hot day, even when not placed in a vase of water.

If you have the budget, tropical flowers tend to be far better than our native blooms when it comes to withstanding the hot interior of a church or reception hall. They are grown in heat, so you'll find that they are quite hardy when it comes to summer weddings. Most tropical flowers are very elegant, as well, so they make for very lovely bouquets and centerpieces.

Flowers like orchids, lilies and dahlias are all great ones for a wedding flower. They hold up to the heat very well and can take long drought periods, thanks to their hardy leaves and petals that retain moisture even in stifling conditions.

Your florist will also be able to recommend a more heat resistant wedding flower or two. The ideal would be a flower that you love the look of, which combines beauty with functionality. For a summer wedding, how well the flowers will stand up to the heat is a very important consideration. There is nothing more stressful on your wedding day than discovering that all your blooms are wilting away in the intense heat.

Choose your wedding flowers carefully. You don't want bouquets that look awful by the time you are ready to walk down the aisle. Tropical flowers, those with waxy, thick petals and leaves and any flower that is bushy and full of petals tend to be alright and will look great throughout the entire day.

By Amy Nut

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Wedding Video, Make Wedding Moment Forever

Creating a wedding video is a great way to capture the memories of your special day. Unlike pictures, a video can capture the feelings of the ceremony, allowing you to relive the mood and special events of the celebration each time you watch your recorded memories.

While most people have a friend or family member taping the ceremony, it may be a good idea to hire a professional videographer to capture the ceremony in a way that may have a little more structure. You can request that your wedding day events be formatted to look like a movie, or you can go for more of a documentary feel. Also, a videographer will be able to put finishing production touches on your video that will make the colors brighter--they can even add credits! The videographer will most likely tape the whole celebration, from the actual ceremony, until the bride and groom depart at the reception. You could request that scenes or conversations before the ceremony be taped, such as the bride and groom getting ready, or having loved ones send their well wishes to the couple before the ceremony begins. Wedding videos can also include a picture of the invitation, old family photographs, baby pictures of the bride and groom, or messages from the bride and groom to one another. This, along with the raw footage that will be gathered at the reception, should give you a 'feature film' of about two hours.

Of course, you'll want the sounds and music that are included in the video to be just as beautiful as the scenery. This is why it's so important to choose the right wedding songs for each part of the ceremony. Be sure that you practice to these songs so that the footage that is gathered looks both polished and natural. For the actual ceremony, original songs are ideal. Also, you'll need a recessional song to exit the chapel. Make sure that you tell your videographer when you want the songs to fade out, and how much of the tunes you want played so that you can maintain the flow of your video.

Also, confirm that the videographer has the quality equipment that will make your video look its best. Video equipment that requires less lighting is best (usually commercial-grade), so that there won't be a glare on the images in the video. This is especially important for the candle lighting part of the ceremony, and for the first dances between the new couple and the bride and her father. When you're looking at the videographer's work, make sure that you not only look for the focus and tracking quality of the video, but check for artistic quality as well. Is the videographer good at capturing timeless moments on film? Is he/she good at making transitions throughout the video? Including wedding music in between 'scenes' and in the background as people are speaking may also help the video to 'flow' a little more naturally.

By E. Walter Smith.

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