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July 22, 2010

The Knot 在中国

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前段时间(大概两三个月前)在关注中国婚庆方面信息的时候,偶尔看到一个网站www.theknot.cn。当时该网站显示的还是”coming soon”。今天因为一时好奇,再次打开该网站,发现内容已经相当丰富了,虽然还是能明显地看出网站仍处于起步阶段。

这个公司中文名叫爱结( ijie.com ),翻译成英文就是knot of love的意思,根据他们网站的介绍于2010 年 1 月成立于北京,是全球婚庆资讯品牌 The Knot, Inc. ( www.theknot.com ) 的中国分部。简单介绍一下The Knot, Inc:

The Knot是一家在纳斯达克上市的媒体公司(股票代码KNOT),总部于1996年成立于纽约,主要为准备结婚、同居或计划要小孩的情侣、夫妻提供多媒体内容。公司主要收入来源于在线广告,商品销售,注册服务以及出版物。The Knot目前为美国婚庆第一品牌,并被美国版《Vogue 》票选为“信息服务类最时尚网站”。

个人认为目前the knot在中国业务基本属于美国业务的翻版,服务内容基本相似。不过我还是相当看好这个公司。可能她是在中国第一个与国外知名婚庆咨询公司合作的。

刚又扫到一条信息:广西卫视明晚10点即将开播首期婚恋节目《大嫁光临》。该节目由广西卫视与the KNOT共同合作,明晚播出的第一期主题为“我的野蛮新娘”。不知道从什么时候起,约会、相亲、婚恋类的节目在国内风行起来,譬如江苏台《非城勿扰》,赚足了收视率。我个人虽然从未看过国内这类节目,不过周围有很多朋友都有看,而且男生也都有看呵呵。(我觉得看美国版的”the Bachelorette”更加有意思些,帅哥美女众多,赞!)

期待看到爱结的发展,希望他们有一些自己的创意,并且能够真正的融合中西方的文化!

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destination wedding

June 8, 2010

Waterfall | weddings |Top 5 waterfall wedding destinations

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My wedding is over would like to share with you our top 5 destinations if you’re planning a waterfall wedding. Some waterfalls you might have heard of before while others might be very new for you.  All locations are spectacular, and if you’re planning to say your vows surrounded by breathtaking scenery, we suggest you look into these locations.

WEDDING LOCATIONS

Brazil #5

Cânion da Fumacinha, Chapada Diamantina, Bahia

Centrally located in South America, this waterfall wedding destination is packed full of great hideaways and beautiful picturesque scenery.

Photographer: Alex Uchoa - click on photo to contact him

You might have heard from seasoned vacationers that frequent Brazil, that its a trip you HAVE to plan…What better planning would there be than to make a trip for a destination wedding?  This hidden waterfall is fit snug into the mountainside and with its 1,020 foot drop, the water mysteriously evaporates creating an eerie yet refreshing mist that engulfs the inner cavern. There are many areas throughout Brazil that can be at the top of many vacationers dream, but we believe this to be a great wedding location since you can also find other spectacular environments within the same region.  If you’re planning a wedding then Chapada Diamantina should be on the list of definite possibilities. Once the wedding ceremony is complete, why not head over to Poço azul for a refreshing dip in the lake…did I mention the lake is actually a mountain cave system? Yes indeed, this area of Brazil is a must have in your list of possibilities.

Photographer: Alex Uchoa - click on photo to see his work

Belize #4

Butterfly Falls

Hidden Valley Inn - Butterfly falls

This little gem can only be seen by guests who stay at The Hidden Valley Inn. Not only will you and your guests enjoy over 90 miles of secluded trails for hiking and mountain-biking, you can also take advantage of horseback ridding, canoeing, and exploring the Maya Mountains. This reserve is situated on 7200 private acres, and the luxurious accommodations will have you feeling like this eco resort has always been a part of your natural surroundings.  If scenery with a touch of romance is what you are searching for in a destination wedding, then Hidden Valley should be on your wedding list of possibilities. Do you know of many places where you have the ability to reserve a waterfall for a day? Talk about romance…

Mindanao #3

Tinago Falls

Tinago waterfall

Located within the “city of waterfalls” on the second largest island in the Philippines, this beautiful waterfall takes a bit of time to get to, but well worth the effort.  As you make your way to the top of the “winding staircase” you begin to feel the power and energy of the falls. Knowing you have to descend 300-500 steps to get there is not half as bad as knowing you have to trek back up once you’re ready to leave. With that said, you will be amazed as you reach the bottom, and your wedding party will feel the effort it will take to leave, slowly escapes their mind.

On the island you will have plenty of things to do, many places to explore, and a great deal of memories just waiting to be made. A wedding ceremony in the Philippines might be a great idea especially if you consider having it in the city of waterfalls.

Arizona #2

Havasu Falls

Havasupai Tribe - click on photo to learn more

The Havasu ’Baaja better known as “the-people-of-the-blue-green-waters” have fought very hard to reclaim their land over the years which is located within the Grand Canyon. Although they have not been able to claim 100% of their original land, they do have some of the most beautiful surroundings.  The Havasupai Tribe has opened their land to tourist and the havasu falls is believed to be the most photographed falls throughout the world.

Here you will be able to see all that the Grand Canyon has to offer, with the added bonus of learning the tribal history of the Havasupai.

China / Vietnam #1

Detian – Banyue Falls 德天瀑布 – 板約瀑布

Ban Gioc Falls thác Bản Giốc

Detian waterfall - travel-china.net

This breathtaking waterfall can be found either by traveling into the Karst hills of Daxing County in the Chongzuo prefecture of Guangxi Province in China, or by traveling through Trung Khanh, Cao Bằng province in Vietnam. No matter what country you decide to travel through to get there, this magnificent waterfall and surrounding landscape should be a great contender on your list of waterfall wedding destinations. If you look closely at the photo you will see there are walkways and bridges connecting all flat land surfaces…This means you can position your wedding ceremony in any direction you would like, in order to capture any aspect of this gorgeous scenery.

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Bridal Tips, Random Wedding Stuff, Wedding Tips

May 30, 2010

中国人结婚怎么选日子?

不管中国人或是外国人,结婚想必都是人生中最重要、最难忘的事情之一,结婚选日子自然也就成了重中之重。尽管现在在中国很多婚礼习俗都已经有所改进,越来越多的新人选择西式婚礼或者大大简化了婚礼的流程,但是在选日子这件事情上还是颇为看重,并且必定还是会按照中国传统的习俗选择婚礼的良辰吉日。

婚礼应该选择哪些日子?

1、选择润年润月。中国人对结婚日期的挑选非常讲究“润月”、“润年”,即每隔两、三年便会出现一个润年,即该年有两个“立春”,一个“润月”。选择结婚吉日,最好在有润月的年份。

2、嫁娶择日法。婚姻嫁娶的择日原则是,以新娘方的出生日期为主,并参考新郎及其他人的出生日期,中国俗语讲:“子靠出生时,女靠行嫁年”。

1)  女命出嫁年禁忌(请对照最后一行,例如午就是马年)

兔相人忌子年 虎相人忌丑年

牛相人忌寅年 鼠相人忌卯年

猪相人忌辰年 狗相人忌巳年

鸡相人忌午年 猴相人忌未年

羊相人忌申年 马相人忌酉年

蛇相人忌戌年 龙相人忌亥年

起法:从卯上起子,逆数到本年太岁止。遇何属相,即是忌婚年,不宜出阁。

2)  男命禁婚年

男娶婚所忌者,当年太岁前五相是也。即:

蛇相禁子年 马相禁丑年

羊相禁寅年 猴相禁卯年

鸡相禁辰年 狗相禁巳年

猪相禁午年 鼠相禁未年

牛相禁申年 虎相禁酉年

兔相禁戌年 虎相禁亥年

3)  女命出嫁大利月

正七迎鸡兔※ 二八虎合猴

三九蛇共猪 四十龙合狗

牛羊五十一 鼠马六十二

此指属相为鸡和兔相的人,正月七月结婚吉利,其余属相仿此。

相对照:子鼠、丑牛、寅虎、卯兔、辰龙、巳蛇、午马、未羊、申猴、酉鸡、戌犬、亥猪

4)  真正婚嫁日。如果你决定将注册与结婚仪式的日期分开,最好这两天都是择日行事。如果要取舍的话,应该以进行迎亲及摆酒的传统礼仪当日为准,选在吉日举行,因为中国传统始终视这天为真正婚嫁日。

5)  良辰吉日计法。有些人认为还应该有更严格的良辰吉时计算方法,即用新郎、新娘的出生日期时间推算出最吉利的婚嫁时日。不过这种做法相当繁琐,更多人宁愿去看黄历选日子,或听研究周易之人的建议。

6)  12 好日子的定义。不管怎样,对于“好日子”的定义总是各有不同,不管选择什么日子,尽量选择那些大家都满意的日子才是上好之选。

 

婚礼应该避开哪些日子?

1、避开三七九。结婚吉日最好避免在农历的三月、七月和九月,因这三个月份分别适逢“清明”、“盂兰”和 “重公”,均为传统的“鬼节”,不宜办喜事。而在月初圆的“中秋节”月份,即农历八月是最适合办婚礼的月份。

2、避开三娘煞。相传月老不为三娘牵红线,使她不能出嫁。基于报复心理,三娘喜与月老作对,专门破坏新人之喜事,故每月的三娘煞之日,即初三、初七、十三、十八、廿二及廿七,不宜结婚。

3、不选父母生辰。在传统习惯中,父母生辰不应与结婚吉日相同,其实只是指父母生日的正日不宜嫁娶,在该月份内结婚却绝对适宜。

当然选日子的时候还应该考虑很多实际问题,比如亲朋好友时间的配合等等。很多时候,中国人办婚礼会配合法定节假日,有人认为这样比较有纪念意义并且款待亲朋与家中过节合而为一,既省钱又喜庆,但是假期结婚的人通常比较多,好一点的酒店基本都要提前一年预订。

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wedding seo

May 22, 2010

wedding seo

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search engine optimization for the wedding industry

Seo for the wedding industry can be very complex.  With many search engines changing their algorithms on a constant basis its hard to know what trends to stay on top of.  Although your website might have great page rankings (PR) today, those ranks tomorrow can drop drastically.  So how can we, as wedding professionals make sure that we’re doing the right things to obtain better rankings? or, how can we make sure we aren’t doing the wrong things that will get us penalized or banned from certain directories? The only people that could give you that exact information, are those who work developing the algorithms (and they will not divulge that information).  So, if we remember to stick with the basics, in the long run, your wedding site will gain better (PR) rankings and could potentially outrank those who are ranked on page one for any key word or phrase dealing with the wedding industry.

Lets face it, we all want to dominate search engines for key words such as “wedding” or “wedding dresses” (or whatever your area is within the wedding industry), and if we looked closely at the few wedding websites on those search terms we can note one thing – SOME DO NOT DEAL WITH THE EXACT SEARCH TERM – If you actually sold wedding dresses, or in fact owned a venue wouldn’t you feel more confident knowing you can be ranked for your actual key word terms, more so then companies that only offer a website that offer other websites? Wouldn’t it be nice to find those types of sites only when you search for terms like “many wedding websites” or “wedding website directory” or “best wedding website for one stop shopping” or something along those lines? This way if someone typed in the term “wedding dress” they would find a list of designers, or manufacturers, or individuals who are selling bridal gowns. Well according to some, that’s exactly what’s going to start happening.

We are in a unique position as many of those larger companies implemented tactics that are starting to be recognized as “black hat” techniques.  In their defense, most website owners and technical staff did what they could to climb the ranks by finding weaknesses and shortcuts not knowing that it would set a trend that would keep directories forever changing how they seek out relevant information.  Not only do algorithms change constantly to help the directories find relevant information, but they are able to find the weaknesses other tech-savvy individuals like to exploit – and once found, those “top ranked” sites, wind up paying a penalty in the long run, either by loosing page rank, or getting dropped from a directory (like google, or yahoo). How is this beneficial to you? this means if you start working on your seo and do it the right way by sticking to the basics, your website could start gaining more visibility for key words or phrases in the wedding industry.  You will begin to notice the companies that dominated key words or phrases that did not directly relate to them will start to loose credibility and therefore page rank.  These ever changing algorithms are trying to find YOU!

So, what can be done, and what should you do to capitalize on this now?

lets go over …

Wedding seo basics

  • Wedding seo

    Make sure each page in your website is optimized for search engines.  For example, if you own a website that deals with wedding shoes and only have a one page website, then that first page title, meta tags and data should reflect exactly what can be found on that first page. If that is done properly then its optimized. If your website has multiple pages you must use the above system to optimize each page, making sure all pages have the right (title, meta, and data) pertaining to the content of each individual page.

  • Directory submissions for wedding websites

    Once you have completed your wedding Optimization, focus your attention on submitting your link to directories. First target the larger well known directories like Google, Yahoo, and Dmoz.  After submitting to those, you can focus on directories in other countries, or specify your search criteria for directories just within your niche.  You will begin to notice there are many directories you can add your link to. Some directories are free, and others charge a fee or ask you to endorse them by giving them a link within your site. Research the best direction for you and your website and submit your link.

  • Wedding links and linking with wedding related sites

    In this next step there are a few ways you can go about getting links to your website. The above method not only helps you obtain links, but it places your website within directories. Also you can speak with other website owners within your niche and ask them if they would like to share links – or – you can ask if they have a wedding links page, and if they do ask them if they would be willing to add your site.  Once you’ve completed that step, you can move onto submitting comments on blog posts that also pertains to your niche. Make sure when you seek blogs to comment on, that they are DOFOLLOW blogs so that when you post your comment you can also attach your websites url.  This tells the spiders/crawlers that your site is within the same industry/topic and over a period of time will start to help your rankings. (example: finding a blog post about wedding dresses, and reading the post and making a comment within the line/scope of the topic with your wedding dress company web site attached – gives your site credibility) Building links the right way, will not only encourage others to be active with you and your brand – but it will help your website climb in rankings.

  • New wedding content developed regularly

    In order to keep your page rank moving upwards you need new content. The best way to not only help your self but others is to create a DoFollow blog so that each time you write new content others will be able to comment on your site. This actually helps your website much more then it can hurt – not only will you be building fresh new content for the spiders to find, it will also help you develop key words and phrases that will attract the attention of individuals searching for those key terms.

    _____________________________________
    Following the basics of “wedding industry search engine optimization” will help you increase your page rank, and help those who are searching for you be able to locate you amongst the crowd of unrelated websites. Try not to fall for the “next” big shortcut, or “tech-savvy” way of getting around the basics, because that could hurt your rankings at some-point in the near future.

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Bridal Tips

April 12, 2010

Wedding diet

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Wedding Diet

While you’re out scouring local bridal shops trying on wedding dresses, the thought  of those few extra pounds quickly take center-stage.  You begin to fantasize how much better that perfect wedding dress will look, if only you were able to squeeze into a smaller size.  No worries, many soon-to-be-brides have felt the same way.

The real questions then become;

    What is the right diet plan to be on, in order to get the best results? and how much weight loss can you realistically see at the end of your fast weight loss diet?
    Although those two questions seem very straight forward, they leave a myriad of other questions that need to be addressed simultaneously while still searching for the answers to the initial questions… If that’s not confusing, try to Google the word “diet“.  You will quickly see just how confusing a diet plan can be, and more so, you will quickly become confused on what diet will work best for you.  Since there are millions of sites pitching their diet, is the best diet to be on,  I hope to help you find a quick, yet simple approach that will work for most people.

This Post is not intended to give medical advice, nor should anyone ever take a websites approach to weight loss as a #1 method.  Please consult your physician prior to changing your diet and training.

You know, time is of the essence when trying to diet for a wedding, and if you’ve been let down by some of these crash diets before, then you know all to well how discouraging it can be to start all over again.  So, what source is the best? who’s advise should you take? what diet plan is the right one for you? How much weight do you want to loose? and what is a HEALTHY approach and target to loosing a realistic amount of weight for your big day?

First lets start with the basics…

What your diet should not consist of:

wrong diet food

- Soda

-Chips

-Candy

-Fried Food

Now consider the time you have for dieting.  A very healthy approach to weight loss is loosing about 1-3 lb. a week.  Remember the closer you get to your target weight the harder those last few lb.  will be to shed.  Also keep in mind the first 8 – 10 lb. will be gone very quickly once you start physical training, as your body will be shedding stored water weight.  The key to weight loss is simple, eat less (or better/healthier foods) and train more then your daily calorie consumption.

If your going to eat carbs try to eat them only in the morning or early afternoon limiting the amount you consume (try not to eat carbohydrates past 2pm). Throughout the day have a small meal or snack every 2.5 -3 hours, this will help keep you full throughout the day and also get your metabolism going.  Every hour you should be consuming a few tall glasses of water (have a glass every 20min or so).  Proteins should be consumed at least 3 times within any given day (this not only helps speed up recovery from training, but it also builds lean muscle while helping to burn fat).

So what does this kind of diet look like as an example?

Monday:

    8:30am 1cup of plain oatmeal
    10:30am hand full of mixed nuts
    12:30pm protein shake/ or bar
    2:30pm 1cup of multi-grain rice,  5 oz. grilled chicken breast
    4:30pm 1 cup of steamed vegetables
    6:30pm 7 oz. grilled salmon, sweet potato

Throughout this day you should have consumed 24 glasses of water. If you need to snack one more time before you stop eating for the night make sure you do it before 8pm (AND DO NOT….I REPEAT…DO NOT eat anything bad, if you’re going to snack eat chicken, or greens, or a handful of mixed nuts)

Another great way to loose weight is to eat more catabolic foods. These items actually use more calories to digest, then they are able to produce. “For example a medium sized apple (which is catabolic), would provide an average of 85 calories, however your metabolism would require an additional 99 more calories to metabolize it.” therefore you will be burning calories while eating.

Try to avoid the quick fat loss schemes, I know it will be hard to do, but think of it like this…

If you shock your body to much in a short period of time, the body will respond back with a bigger shock to you…That could be in the form of health issues, or even an extremely quicker weight-gain.  Be safe in your diet, consult your primary Doctor, and train responsibly.

Remember anything worth having, takes time, patience, understanding, and most of all dedication. Something you should be use to by now…after all, you are getting married.
Italian wedding dress on MyWeddingIsOver.com

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MyWeddingisover Editorials

January 6, 2010

MWIO Editorials: Man In Japan Weds Anime Game Character

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So while I was creatively writing and trying to find something of importance that might interest you, an idea dawned on me. Why dont we scour the web trying to find other, already completed articles, news stories, and pictures relating to anything wedding and give it the MWIO treatment!

    - A little commentary
    - some extremely funny jokes and puns(warning – may cause embarrassing snorting)
    - An original take on something not original.(Like the opposite of Home Alone 4…poor Macaulay Culkin)

    Man In Japan Weds Anime Game Character

    Alright, so for the scoop on this one, I shall give you the facts.

      1.) Sal9000 has found the love of his life. While her name is Nene Anegasaki, and she lives inside of a Nintendo DS video game called Love Plus, its true love at first level up.
      2.)At the wedding, there was not only his mom, whom he must still live with in the basement, but a live audience, an MC, the bride’s virtual video game girlfriend, and a real human priest. ( She gave a speech too… :0)
      3.) While this marriage might have the normal kinks of any relationship, I see a bright future! Fighting should be kept to a minimum, there will never be that vasectomy talk, and they will both comfortably fit in bed without fighting over sides.



    Watch the actual ceremony digitized below…



    So, probably not your thing huh? The idea of saying “I Do” to a polygon creation little bizarre?


    But wait! Sal might be as much a man of smartness and thriftiness as an anime enthusiast! Diamond shopping for Sal is going to be easy and cheap, as it can be completed in three easy steps!

      1.)Open internet browser.
      2.)Go on over to Bedazzler! (I know you remember this infomercial)
      3.)Make a one time payment of $19.95
      4.)…and Sal’s all set!

    He can even change up the cut, size, shape, and color every day! What digital lover wouldn’t love her DS Crib getting new diamonds daily?


    WARNING – Unless you are marrying a digital character, do NOT purchase your fiancee/wife a Bedazzler in lieu of a real diamond ring. This will NOT go over well!
    MyWeddingisOver.com does not take responsibility for any consequences that bringing to light such appealing alternatives to buying a real diamond ring might cause.


    Little anime eyecandy… gosh, Nintendo has me fooled! I expected Mario and Luigi to be coming out of the screen!


    Article can be read on Man In Japan Weds Anime Game Character

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Bridal Tips, Wedding Gowns, Wedding Site, Wedding Tips

November 17, 2009

Green Weddings

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“LET’S GO GREEN FOR OUR WEDDING!!!”

Planning a wedding is a long and hard (and at times a painful) undertaking for both parties involved. Many people spend a great deal of time and effort to plan for the big day, yet they seem to forget other areas of planning that can equally be as painful and hard on our environment.  Have you considered a Green Wedding? would you care to implement aspects to help keep our global environment safe for years to come?

In hopes to decrease the global footprint of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas within the manufacturing and production of new products, going Green has quickly taken the trend in many industries. As such, many individuals have either opted to plan their entire wedding as a “Green Wedding” , or they have implemented aspects to help cut down on production of items that can be reused.

SOME GREEN WEDDING IDEA’S

Wedding Stationary (wedding cards) – What a great way to start the planning process in having a Green Wedding. You can create beautiful cards with 100% recycled paper, or  you can design an email blast or even a website. Using paper that is 100% recycled can be a great way to reuse a product that in normal production, releases about 212 million tons of hazardous substances into the air and water. If you are having your invites created for you, make sure to ask for the products that have been recycled certified. There are also completely tree free papers to help in your green wedding invitation journey (example: Banana,Mango, Bamboo, Sisal, and wild grasses to name a few).

Many individuals have started to utilize the Internet to reach their intended audience.  This has created a great opportunity to increase not only the awareness of Greenhouse Gasses to the general public, but it can help lessen its impact of production with the ease of communication at a click of a button. If you care to use your computer to send out messages to your contacts to keep them abreast to your bridal needs, you will be saving much more then just time and money.  There are a few ways you can do this; first, you can create a simple email message with all the pertinent information your potential guests/audience will need to know.  If you are computer savoy and understand HTML, the next option would be to design an email blast that was set up more like a Wedding Card.  With all the design elements within the html coding, you would send that off embedded or as an attachment in the email.

The last option you can have would be designing or implementing your own website. This could be great as it would not only serve as a point of information to your friends and family. It can also serve as a step by step journey throughout the wedding planning process and the final stages of your big day.  Thus creating a virtual wedding album filled with Bridal Photos, Wedding Videos, information, and so much more.  If you are not technically savoy and do not know where to begin… no worries.  There are companies already out there in the Internet waiting to help you, such as wedding window (or you can find a designer) and have them help you create your perfect site.

You can have this list below created through recycled paper, tree free paper or from the many technical aspects mentioned above.

(engagement announcements, save the date cards, shower invitations, shower thank you notes, wedding invitations, ceremony programs, place cards, menu cards, wedding announcements, thank you notes)

Favors – How many weddings have you been in, gone to, or in fact had where the gifts that were given to guests were plastic, or crystal in nature? How many of those cute little trinkets do you have displayed throughout your home? Not only do those trinkets create huge amounts of pollution while  being manufactured, but those trinkets come from other countries thus creating more use on oil, and gas that has even more potential for disrupting aquatic life. So what alternatives do you have for creating a Green wedding through Wedding Favors? For starters you can search for products that have been made from recycled goods. Another great alternative is to create your gifts by hand using materials that do not hurt our environment. Another great idea is to plant seeds for tree’s and offer those as a symbol of your new union.  As it takes time and patients and love to see your new union blossom so too will it take time, patients and the love to help grow the newly planted seed into a beautiful tree. Once the tree has grown to a great healthy height within your care you can then return it to the earth outside so that it can help sustain our environment.

Centerpieces - In continuing with the theme mentioned above, you can use plants as a centerpiece that can be replanted once the event has ended.  You can also use materials such as Bamboo, and recycled glass that was made into vases or bowls to hold items such as floating candles, colorful rocks, or shells from the local beach.

Wedding Flowers - Making a decision to work with local vendors that have access to local organically grown in season flowers is a big step indeed. But, it helps cut back on, poor working conditions, pesticides and overseas transport.  You can take this a step farther and use different alternatives like, recycled paper.

Wedding Flowers made of Paper

Wedding Flowers made of Paper

Engagement Ring / Wedding Rings – This can be fun yet emotional at times. What I say might have you or your mother cringe at the thought of it but here goes….

So, you were handed down a lovely piece of jewelry that is something you would NEVER wear as it looks dated, or there might be missing stones, or the precious metal its self has a flaw or two. You contemplate storing it away for your child, but you decide that the meaning behind this gift was a thought and emotion not so much the actual piece.  With further contemplation you decide it would be best if you had the piece melted and redesigned into a wearable work of art.

ok-ok- so maybe you won’t do that to an heirloom, but if you have items in your personal jewelery box that you no longer wear why not melt those down to recreate a new piece? you can also take the items you currently wear and add to the melting thus saving the environment from a larger scale manufacturing of precious metals.  There are many alternatives to metals such as bamboo, coconuts, and drift wood. You can create your rings from these resources or you can have them handed down to you from generation to generation. You can even spend some time looking for antique rings. With jewelry, the key is not to buy newly mass manufactured items.

In a quick search through google, I found a young man who creates hand made rings and other types of jewelry that are very ECO friendly… This search was done within  minutes and if he is a quick search away for me, I can only imagine what type of great finds awaits you.

Ashley Hilton

Ashley Hilton

Wedding Dress / Bridal Gowns – Picking out the wedding dress of your dreams can be the best, or worst part of the planning process… But have you considered choosing a ECO friendly Wedding Dress? you can start your search for your “Green” Gown by simply looking at the fabrics involved in the construction of it.  Some alternatives are, Raw and Organic silk wedding dresses, Cotton wedding dresses, and Hemp wedding dresses to name a few.

Some brides are also taking moms old gown out of the closet and having it totally redesigned to match their sense of style. If your looking for a great way to be Green, look for gowns already used. This cuts down on production thus having a positive impact on our environment.

-GREEN WEDDING CONCLUSION-

If you are considering to have an ECO freindly wedding, the tips above should help get you on a great path to start your journey in the Green wedding planning adventure.  Remember a great way to have a positive impact is to reuse & re-purpose already existing items or materials. When your Planning your wedding, or once the day is over, come to the website looking to make the greatest difference in the world MyWeddingIsOver.com.

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Wedding Site

October 29, 2009

Choosing The Perfect Wedding Cake

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This week, after watching every episode of Cake Boss over the course of one day, the realization set in that I love cakes. The amount of creativity and resources that go into each and every cake amazes me to the point that I find myself going from page to page within Google in the pursuit of the “perfect” cake. But landing the “perfect” wedding cake involves much more than watching TLC all day or visiting the local bakery. It involves the mutual planning of both the to-be bride and groom, as well as a careful insight into how much money is available and the time required for the bakery to complete the cake to your satisfaction.

The first step to choosing a wedding cake is to:

DO YOUR RESEARCH

This is the most important, yet most overlooked step for anxious couples set on a cake before any of the logistics and numbers have been decided upon.

Pretend you are studying for “Wedding Cakes 101″

Check out wedding magazines:






1.)Already have a theme for your wedding set, at least down on paper. This will allow the cake to coordinate with other elements of the wedding and provide for an even flow of both color and style.

Take into consideration the overall color theme of the wedding, including, but not limited to:
-bridesmaid dresses
-favors
-outdoor/indoor layout
-wedding dress style
-flower choice
-table clothes & center pieces
-overall wedding budget
-number of guests expected

2.) Finding the “perfect” baker requires not only a site-down interview with the possible selections, but also an in depth understanding of their previous work, culinary experience, reputation, and price ranges. You as the customer should not be shy in asking an overly extensive amount of questions such as:
-previous work?
-can you taste some of the different type of cakes?
-whats the baker’s specialty? (quantity v. quality, fillings, design & style, custom cakes)
-pricing? and what does this pricing include, such as toppers, delivery, consultation feeds?
-ingredients they use, and if an allergy-free environment is used to prepare the cake?(ex.peanuts)

3.) Once the possible bakery list is narrowed down, now you must move onto actually choosing the style, design, and flavoring of your wedding cake.

A.)Taste – Now this is probably the most important aspect of the cake, for no matter how “pretty” the cake come out looking, the real determiner to your guests will be how the cake tastes. While you may like a specific taste or filling, you must also remember that your guests must also like the cake, because you and your finance are only two of many people who will be attending the wedding.(hopefully!)

White, Vanilla, Chocolate, Marble, or Angel food cake are the normal selections, with the choice of icing also being an important factor in how it turns out. Some icing holds it form longer than others, which is an important factor to take into consideration if the cake will be sitting in a room temperature setting before the reception kicks off. Also, if your cake uses icing to hold toppings or decorations onto the cake, make sure to use an icing that sets quick and retains its solidity.

B.)Style – Wedding cakes nowadays have an endless variety of shapes and sizes which can be deemed appropriate for any style wedding. The choices include, but aren’t limited to: round, square, mini, oval and the less common – hexagon and octagon. The shape you end up choosing will be largely influenced by the style of wedding you wish to have. Those going for a more traditional wedding theme will probably choose a round, tiered cake, while those who want a modern feel to their wedding going with a square, hexagonal or octagonal cake. As for a personalized “touch” to the cake, this can be mutually decided between you and your fiance. Anything pastime that you both share or has been a big part of your lives can be included in the cake, either in the colors, toppers, or any sort of extra decoration such as flower layout or base design.

Just remember that no matter which design you go with, pictures will be taken and scrapbooks will be made. Twenty years down the road, how do you want your wedding to be remembered? The wedding cake will play a large role in this monumental occasion.

C.)Filling – Now comes the fun part. The first bite that every guest takes of the cake will be the deal breaker, deciding whether they leave the wedding telling all their friends “that fruit filling was amazing” or “that custard filling was too overwhelming”. This is also the step in which you must take into account what you believe the “masses” will like over something that you and your fiance might only like. Some of the different fillings are:

Buttercream – is a creamy, light and tasty frosting made with eggs, sugar and butter. The classic buttercream is made with egg yolks while a meringue version is made with the egg whites. Both versions are very tasty and a perennial wedding cake favorite.

Custard and pastry cream – is a filling made with milk and eggs. This delicious filling is a good choice for winter weddings or marriages held in a temperature controlled reception hall as warm temperatures will cause the filling to melt.

Ganache – is a truly sumptuous filling made from heavy cream and rich, dark chocolate. It can be used either as a filling or an icing.

Mousses or Mousselines – generally used as an alternative to buttercream. Easily flavored with fruits or liqueurs, this dreamy filling must be served chilled for the best effect.

Fresh Fruit – is an easy and delicious way to complement any flavor or wedding cake. Not only can fruit be used in between the layers but it can also be used to decorate the cake.

D.)Icing – One of the last decisions regarding the style of the cake, choosing the right icing can also have a big impact on the end result of your cake and the overall approval level. Some different types of cake icings are:

Fondant or rolled fondant icing – Made from glucose or corn syrup and shortening, fondant not only holds up well under most conditions, but it can also be given a shimmery look that adds extra dazzle to a wedding cake. Fondant can be draped to look like yards of ribbon, twisted, folded and applied easily to the surface of a wedding cake – making it a tasty, versatile and beautiful frosting.

Marzipan – This rich and tasty treat is made with crushed almonds, eggs and sugar. It can be made to look like fondant, but it’s exorbitant cost makes it better suited to fashioning flowers, leaves, seashells and other decorative elements from its flavorful paste. However, if a cake has marzipan accents it must be sealed properly before being placed in a refrigerator as any moisture will affect the way the confections look.

Rolled chocolate(cake boss favorite!) – otherwise called chocolate fondant, chocolate plastic or plastique. Chocolate is melted with glycerine or corn syrup to create this lovely covering that is being used more and more often for wedding cakes as well as groom’s cakes.

Conclusion:

Watch Cake Boss, read bridal and wedding cake magazines, visit your local bakery’s, ask around about any local highly reputable bakers, and pretty much do everything in your power to get that “perfect” cake. Your wedding will truly gain the “wow” factor from friends and family alike depending on what style, design, flavor, and filling you end up choosing, and even more important is the childhood wedding dream that the “perfect wedding cake” can make reality. While the wedding cake will be gone by the end of the night, the experience you and your loved one, as well as your family and friends will take from the wedding, is priceless.

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Indian Wedding

October 7, 2009

Bengali Wedding

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Bengali wedding-

Before any ceremonies begin there must be an in-depth look at the ancestral lineage of both groom and bride (Bangsas). This is to make sure that there are no links between families (Gotra). The Purohit, which is the priest, must be present in this ritual to make sure there has been no crossing of the lineage in order to give proper blessing to the bride and groom during the ceremony.  After it has been discovered that both families have not crossed lines (being wed to a family member), the Patri Patra will take place.

The Purohit will arrive at the home of either the groom, then the bride (or vice-versa).  With him will be an idol of Lord Narayana.
Once he performs his ritual with the bridegroom or bride, the family will bless the other in the presence of him. This concludes the Patri Patra.

statuette of Lord Narayana

statuette of Lord Narayana

The day before the wedding, is devoted to the ancestors of the two families, this is called Virdhi Puja. A festive day filled with remembrance and a touch of color through Rangoli all the while worshiping Lord Narayana.  An uncle of the bride or groom must conduct the Virdhi Puja, if you want to stay devoted to tradition. During this time it is also believed that fasting on a liquid diet will be the offering to Narayana in an attempt make sure the couple obtains the most prosperity.

Care to wake up at dawn? Well in this ceremony (Dodhi Mangal) the day of the wedding starts exactly at dawn with the bride and groom bathing in water fetched from a local pond or lake. The water can only be taken out of the pond /lake by ten married women, ensuring the bride and groom a secure and positive unity as the water they bath in comes from women who have solid marriages. As the bathing is complete the lavish feast begins. The liquid fasting is complete and now the couple can indulge their taste buds with fried fish, rice, and much more.

Prior to the brides turmeric ceremony the grooms’ family sends gifts to her home (Gae Halud Tattva).  These gifts are a mixture of fruits, sweets, fish, paan, rice, durba, and six saris for the bride and her mother.  A relative is chosen from the grooms’ family to bring these gifts. He/she approaches the brides’ home with a large gathering of family to bestow these gifts upon the bride. The servants are welcomed by the brides’ family with the blowing of conch shells, and thus rewarded sweets for their journey. The bride then repeats the ritual by sending gifts to the groom.  These gifts Mirror the Halud Tattva and the ceremony is called Adhibas Tattva.

Paan leaf

Paan leaf


paan1

In the early to mid afternoon the couple will be given yet another scared bath (Snan), but this one will be done individually.  This ritual is performed by a few of the married women from either side of the family; they will apply turmeric and oil to the hair and body of the bride and groom.  Once this is complete the families will hand the bride/groom new clothes to wear as this signifies new beginnings. It is also customary for the bride to wear conch shell bangles once she has put on her new sari.

As the actual ceremony begins the groom and his family approach the brides home. Once they have arrived at the door the blowing of conch shells begins as the brides’ family welcomes him.  When he approaches the door an elderly woman from the brides’ side blesses the baraan dala, and proceeds to escort him to the mandap (wedding canopy adorned with flowers, and fruits and pillared by banana trees. Its thought that the planting of two banana trees will promote a prosperous life and help give blessings for a fertile marriage). The Shubho Drishti Ritual is now able to commence.

The bride is carried to the Mandap while sitting on her Piri (a chair that has been decorated). But she is not allowed to view her husband just yet, so she must cover her eyes with a Betel leaf. Prior to being placed in front of her husband, she is rotated 7 times. At this point she is able to peek at her husband as they are now face to face for the first time during the ceremony.  This concludes the Shubho Drishti Ritual, but begins the Mala Badal Ceremony.  While the Purohit is busy chanting the ritual to begin the wedding ceremony the bride and groom exchange flowers three times. This marks the first time they would have laid eyes on each other.

Saat Paak & Sampradhan is the last process of the actual wedding. The bride is lifted by her brothers and given away by her uncle. While carrying her, they walk around her husband 7 times to signify their unity. This takes place as her husband starts to chant along with the Purohit. Once this is complete they are now man and wife.

The next set of rituals happens over the span of a few days, the first being the Bidaai. As the woman is now expected to leave her maternal home she does so with great sorrow. This ritual is very deep. As the woman leaves the home throwing rice behind her to signify she has paid back all her debts to her parents and wishes them prosperity, it also is a statement to them that she must go to be prosperous with her new husband.

Once the bride has left her maternal home the rituals continue.  Before she can step foot in her new home with her husband she must dip her feet in a Thali that is filled with milk and red dye. Once her feet have marked the floor of her new home, her sister-in law (or a woman relative of the groom) will hand her red and ivory bangles. Upon accepting those as gifts she will also receive a metal bangle that she will wear for the rest of her life. These gifts symbolize her new union as a married woman (Basar Ghar).

The following morning the couple returns to the mandap where they meet with the Purohit. Together they prey to the Sun God (this is known as the Bashi Biye).  There are a few more traditions that take place to help the new bride feel comfortable in her new home, and to make sure the new union is filled with prosperity and happiness.

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Indian Wedding

October 6, 2009

Muslim Wedding

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The Muslim wedding, or Nikah, is a ceremony celebrated over the course of a few days and could last up to a week. Prior to the wedding, the bride-to-be and groom along with the religious head take part in Istikhara.  This ritual asks the Almighty for guidance and direction to make sure the soon to be bride and groom are headed down the right path.  It will also serve the as the confirmation the religious head needs in order to proceed with the act of marriage (or not).

Planning Elegance along with AAcreation Photography: Wajiha & Ali wedding

Planning Elegance along with AAcreation Photography: Wajiha & Ali wedding

Once the ceremony is granted the grooms’ mother visits the brides’ house barring gifts of sweets along with an Imam-Zamin (Gold or Silver coin wrapped in a silk cloth for good luck). Once this aspect of the ceremony has taken place, the grooms’ entire family meets the brides’ family to exchange gifts of fruits & sweets (this is called the Magni).

The bride-to-be has yet a few more ceremonies she needs to partake in before the actual wedding.  A day or two before the big day, the Manjha ceremony will begin. Dressed in yellow the bride will be anointed with a paste made from turmeric.  Unmarried women can only apply this paste to her.  It is thought that this paste will create a natural glow of the skin to make her more presentable on her wedding day. Mehndi is the last aspect to this pre-marriage ritual. Unmarried women apply the henna to the bride, or a professional henna designer will be asked to do so. Within the intricate details of the design the grooms’ name is hidden for him to find. Once this is applied to the woman she cannot leave her home until the wedding day.

Photo courtesy of Anisha Arora

Photo courtesy of Anisha Arora

On the day of the wedding the groom comes in a Baraat, this is like his personal parade. Upon approaching the brides’ home or banquette venue the baraati (grooms family and friends) start to play traditional music and dance.

As the initial stages of the baraat come to an end, the Nikaah begins.  This aspect of the ceremony is where the two individuals unite as one.  The father of the bride and groom are addressed as Walis. The Maulvi performs the ceremony as he reads passages from the Quran. The groom asks when the Maulvi is finished reading from the Quran the formal proposal. He sends over to the bride and her family his proposal and awaits her decision, this is known as Ijab-e-Qubul. There is much importance made on the mutual consent of both bride and groom.

Wajiha & Ali: courtesy of Planning Elegance & AAcreation

Wajiha & Ali: courtesy of Planning Elegance & AAcreation

During the course of this day, the elders from both sides come together and speak about the Mehar that will be given to the bride.  This nuptial gift will be presented from the grooms’ family and must be paid to the bride.

As the Nikaah comes to an end the Nikaahnama must be signed by the Walis, the Maulvi, and the bride and husband to be a legal contract of their wedding.

The last three ceremonies to take place happen over the course of 4 days past the Nikaah.  The first is when the mother in-law welcomes the new bride when she enters her new home. She places her hands up high holding the Quran to bless her as she walks through the front door.  The second is the Chauthl, on the fourth day the bride visits her parental home. And lastly the reception made to welcome the new bride into the grooms’ family. This festivity helps both sides become more interwoven with each other and its purpose is to help facilitate intimate relationships between both families, better known as the Vallmah ceremony.

Wajiha & Ali

Wajiha & Ali

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