And now for the important stuff…

Lewis Travel Photo

Honeymoon. Just mention the word and you conjure up images of champagne breakfasts for two, lazy afternoons in the sun, candlelit dinners and passionate nights. Beaches, sunsets and overall romance. Oh yes, definitely romance….


Making arrangements for your romantic escape will be one of the most enjoyable aspects of planning your wedding. You’ll love poring through the travel magazines and brochures, all the while knowing that you’ll soon have the chance to take the trip of a lifetime with the love of your life.

It’s never too early to start planning your honeymoon. Not only will you have time to explore many options, but you’ll also find the best availability and value if you start planning early. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

More than mere accommodations, all-inclusive packages generally include food and lodging, extensive recreational facilities and equipment, ground transportation, plus other amenities and services. Options range from couples-only resorts, which cater specifically to honeymooners, to family resorts.

The average price for all-inclusive packages is $400 per day, but rates can vary significantly between companies and depending on the time of year. The all-inclusive package is perfect for those honeymooners who want to pay one price and forget about everything else while concentrating on each other.

Similar to an all-inclusive resort, cruise packages offer many services and amenities for one price. A cruise usually includes airfare, accommodations, meals health club facilities, sports, activities and entertainment. There’s also the added bonus of exotic ports of call. Overall, cruise packages provide good value for the money. For this type of honeymoon excursion you’ll want to select a travel agent that specializes in cruise packages. They will have the most extensive knowledge of what each cruise line offers.

 Traveling Abroad
You will most likely need a passport if you’re traveling abroad. Travelers indeed need a passport for Mexico, Canada and almost all Caribbean islands – the only ones that don’t require passports are the US Virgin islands. If you don’t have a passport or it is out of date, apply for a new one at least three months before your wedding, preferably sooner. Ask for a renewal form at your local post office.

For travel in some countries you may need certain vaccinations, so be sure to ask your travel agent about such matters. Typically the process takes six weeks, but allow time for any mishaps or delays. If you are changing your name, you should also account for any discrepancies in the names on different documents by bringing along a copy of the marriage license. This will prevent any snags on entering or returning from a foreign country.

If you should lose your passport during your trip, contact the nearest United States embassy or consulate immediately for instructions. Having a copy of your passport with you will expedite the replacement process if you should lose the real thing.
If you are concerned about the potential safety risks of traveling to a particular country, be sure to do your homework. The U.S. State Department regularly updates its travel-advisory list; you can call 202-647-5225 or visit the department web site at For information about health conditions abroad, call the hotline for the Centers for Disease Control at 404-332-4559.

Staying Local
Not all newlyweds have the time or money to afford the luxury of an extended honeymoon in a far away place. However, no matter where the destination, confirm your travel and hotel accommodations well in advance, and be sure to double-check your reservation at least one week before your departure. It also doesn’t hurt to call the hotel on the day you’re leaving to confirm your time of arrival. Be sure to mention you were just married, as this often results in a nicer room or even an upgrade to a suite, depending on availability. You might also receive a special gift from the hotel like a bottle of champagne or a fruit basket waiting for you on arrival.

Romantic Travel Tips
No matter where you’re going, when you’re traveling with someone you love, it’s important to remember a few very important pieces of information.
1. You love this person. Whether the airline lost your baggage, you got Dengue fever, or he accidentally had one too many tropical drinks, you love him. Remember that and your trip will be better for it.
2. Share the experience of your honeymoon as well. He wants to golf and you want to shop. If you can’t bear to be apart even for a few hours, then you try golfing in the morning and he goes shopping with you in the afternoon.

If your only experience with tipping has been limited to restaurant meals and the occasional cab ride, it can become an embarrassing, unsettling proposition, especially in an unfamiliar place. Below is a list of typical services and acceptable gratuities, however ask your travel agent or a knowledgeable acquaintance about local customs if you are journeying to a foreign country. For instance, cab drivers are usually tipped 15 to 20 percent of the fare, but in some countries cab drivers expect only a nominal tip. Over-tipping is unnecessary, but when in doubt it’s better to hazard a guess and tip what seems fair, rather than offend a conscientious worker who could be helpful to you during your stay.

Who to Tip and When
Airport porter: $1 per bag carried from your car to outside check- in or reservation desk
Hotel porter: $1 per bag carried to or from your room; a little more for extra touches
Hotel doorman: $1 to hail a cab for you
Bar/wait staff: 15%-20% of bill, if gratuity is not already included, or 3%-5% if it is included
Maid service: $1 per visit (leave the full amount in an envelope at the end of your stay)
Taxi service: 15%-20% above the fare for good service
Golf caddie: 30% above the normal fee, for excellent service
Instructors: 15%-20%, unless instructor owns the business
Cruise lines and all-inclusive resorts may supply you with gratuity envelopes for the staff members who have assisted you throughout your stay. Ask about normal rates, and give these gratuities on the last day.

The Advantage of Friday/Sunday Weddings

If you decide to have your wedding on a Friday or a Sunday, you’ll reap several rewards: both financial and otherwise. You’ll save time, you’ll probably save a significant amount of money, and you’ll find that your guests may appreciate having a Saturday free to spend time with you and the other guests they know.

The Daily Mail, UK

Maximize Your Dollar
For Friday or Sunday weddings, the majority of banquet facilities, photographers, video producers, musicians/entertainers and limousine services are much more willing to negotiate in order to reach a price that suits your budget. Vendors tend to see Friday and Sunday as bonus days, a time when they can earn income. Savings on these services can really add up, making this option a great way to save money without having to sacrifice the quality of your wedding.

Mark Janzen Photography

Save Time
On a Friday, you’ll probably have your wedding in the evening, which means that the ceremony is followed immediately by dinner. This means that you will avoid the extra cost and hassle of a one-to-two-hour interim reception or cocktail party. Having the ceremony and reception back to back may ensure more people at the church ceremony.

Additionally, a Friday/Sunday wedding frees up at least one day of the weekend, generally making your family, friends and guests more appreciative of the extra time, especially if they are traveling.

Save the Date
Planning for a Friday or a Sunday wedding makes it much more likely that you will be able to reserve the church, hall, music and other services on the date of your choice. Choosing a Friday or Sunday date allows you to avoid making several calls to numerous vendors, only to hear, “Sorry, we’re booked on that date.”

Carli Morgan Photography

Rehearsal is Easy
Restaurants are usually thrilled to have rehearsal dinners booked on Thursdays or other evenings during the week, since those are typically their slower business days. You will find a more relaxed atmosphere and the staff will be more attentive to your party’s needs.
In selecting a Friday or Sunday date for your event, you’ll help both your budget and your odds of getting exactly the wedding you want, while also allowing for more time dedicated to finalizing last minute details. You can use the extra day to catch your breath, and use the extra money to purchase something special.

Cake Planning Check List

Cakes Planner
Your wedding cake is the edible centerpiece of your wedding reception. When meeting with your cake designer, bring photographs of cakes you love or fabric swatches of your color scheme to help them design the perfect cake for you.

Many couples also order a groom’s cake. This is often designed to reflect a particular hobby or personality trait of the groom, and can be a true work of edible art. If you’re having a large reception, consider ordering additional sheet cakes. And finally, your baker should not only be accustomed to making wedding cakes, but also skilled at transporting and assembling them.

Featured Bakery: Frosted Cakery

Questions To Ask
• Do you specialize in any certain styles or flavors?
• Do you recommend a certain type of cake for an outdoor or seasonal reception?
• Can you custom create a wedding or groom’s cake from a photograph or idea?
• Can you match the cake colors to fabric swatches or flowers?
• Can you create individual cakes to be used as favors?
• Can you create specialized cakes for certain dietary needs?
• Do you offer a tasting?
• How much time do you need to prepare the cake at the reception?
• Do you offer instruction on how to cut the cake?
• Will you supply a proper container in which to freeze the top of the cake?
• Will you charge for any supports or bases on the cake?
• May I return the supports and bases for a refund? When?
• Are the cakes priced by the slice or by the cake? Do you have a price list?
• How far in advance must I book your services?
• What is your cancellation policy?
• Is a deposit required? If so, when and how much?

Getting Married Again…

It’s no secret that men and women are getting married more than once nowadays. However, with the decision to wed a second or third time there are also the common worries about tradition and proper etiquette.

Brides who are walking down the aisle for at least the second time tend to be more mature and ready to take on the world in a more sophisticated manner, oftentimes they are full-fledged career women who barely even have time to fit a wedding into their schedule. With commitments such as work, children and a personal life, it can be a tricky balancing act to plan a wedding during the prime of your life.

Couples who are getting married again usually reflect more on the actual ceremony, while at the same time trying to juggle everything in between. Because of the many activities involved, it is often a good choice to hire a wedding consultant. Many wedding consultants specialize in planning signature weddings for second time brides and keep the bride and groom on schedule. In the case of a schedule this often means someone else remembering to get the wedding dress altered before the wedding picture is taken or remembering the ring bearer’s pillow is not available until the day before the ceremony.

What About the Children?
Wedding consultants are good for helping to coordinate extended families including the bride or groom’s children. Many couples nowadays are choosing to have their children be part of the ceremony. For example, sons might play the part of an usher or even a ring bearer. Depending on the age of the children, the daughter can also take part in the ceremony as a flower girl or even a bride’s maid. The bride’s son or daughter might stand next to the bride in a show that the groom is not only marrying the mother, but also acknowledging he is taking the child as his own. This can be done visa versa as well and it is not uncommon to have a son or daughter walk down the aisle with their mother. Since children will often have some issues with their parent getting remarried, it is a good idea to let them have a big part in the wedding so they can feel a sense of importance. Singing during the ceremony, lighting a unity candle or just incorporating a reading will also tie the family and the ceremony together in a special way.

Choosing the Right Dress and Style For You and the Wedding Party
Blusher’s are not a good choice for brides walking down the aisle a second time since this reflects the innocence of a first time bride. Additionally, most brides the second time around do not choose the princess dress they would have chosen to wear in their first wedding. However, white dresses are no longer taboo. The most important thing is to pick a dress, regardless of the color, that brings out the beauty of the bride. Hemlines are shorter and the colors are often soft and pastel. Overall, dresses tend to be less ornamental with better quality silk or silk satin and the train is not as long. Another trend for a second time bride is a hairstyle donning fresh flowers, a choice that is very trendy and elegant nowadays.

Wedding parties tend to be pared down from four plus attendants to two close friends or family. Additionally, attendants are usually allowed to pick their favorite cocktail dress that is within the brides color scheme or theme.

Wedding Trends and Who Pays
Smaller, intimate weddings are definitely the norm for second time couples walking down the aisle. The receptions are different too, simple dinner parties or cocktail receptions are preferred over full-blown affairs. Often the bouquet and garter toss are absent instead having these items be awarded to the longest married couple in the room.
Since most of the time the bride and groom will pay for the second wedding, the choices they make are their own this time around. However, if it is a first wedding for the bride or groom, parents might still get involved to pay for a part of the wedding. There are no rules in regards to how to handle this situation, often everyone helps with the budget to make it the most special day possible.

The wedding invitations are issued from the bride and groom, in third person, without titles if it is a second time wedding. It would read as follows:
Jane Cook and John Smith request the honor of your presence at their marriage.

Putting these special touches on a second wedding assures the importance of the commitment. Enlisting the aid of family, friends and wedding professionals ensure an easy and enjoyable day where nerves stay relatively unfrazzled and the sophistication of the event is remembered for years to come.

Finally, remember that while you might have been married before it was not to each other. Treat your special day as just that, and keep in mind it is the first day the two of you will spend your life together.

Check out I Do Take Two for more ideas and inspiration.

Reception Planning…Tips & Savvy Tricks

Reception Planner by Premier Bride featuring Una Bella Giornata

Photo from Una Bella

The location, food, drinks, decor and entertainment all play important roles in creating the perfect ambiance and will have to be arranged carefully. Choosing a location will determine many things about your wedding day, such as what the style and formality of the attire will be, and whether or not you will hire a separate food and beverage caterer.

Una Bella Giornata has the intimate setting you’re looking for yet can occupy a large event with ease. You can feel secure that your guests will be charmed by the setting and that your event will be memorable.

Questions To Ask
• May I tour your site?
• May I see photographs or other receptions held here?
• What areas and rooms will we have access to? Are there any restrictions?
• Are there convenient and adequate restrooms? Are they handicap accessible?
• Are there adequate electrical outlets for the entertainer?
• Do you provide any equipment such as a sound system, AV or PA system?
• Are there any restrictions on decor, photography, videography, smoking or bar service?
• Will you provide valet, coat check, restroom, bar and door attendants?
• Is there ample parking for guests?
• Is there an onsite caterer? Are we required to use your caterer? Are offsite caterers allowed?
• Do you have any other events scheduled the day of my wedding? How many events do you allow to be scheduled per day?
• Is there a certain time when we must leave?
• How far in advance must I book your services?
• What is your cancellation policy?
• Is a deposit required? If so, when and how much?

Wedding Music Advice & Planning

Written by: Anne Driscoll for Premier Bride

Setting The Tone
If any one element is crucial to setting the appropriate tone and atmosphere for your wedding it’s the music. The music played during your wedding should do more than just entertain; it should evoke the deep emotion of your ceremony. The right music takes the right kind of planning, and by following a few guidelines you can ensure perfect harmony between your ceremony and the music you choose for it.
Prior to selecting your music, it is best to decide if you want to use religious songs only or a combination of religious and popular tunes. Once you’ve decided, set an appointment with the director of music for your church or synagogue. This person will be able to make recommendations for music suitable for the acoustics of the building and complement any of your wedding’s religious or cultural themes. Music for your ceremony should be divided into four parts: the prelude, the processional, interlude(s) and the recessional.

The Prelude
Prelude music typically begins 20 to 40 minutes prior to the ceremony. These selections set the mood for the coming event. Since the prelude provides an acoustic backdrop for your guests, it’s best to choose pieces that will be familiar.

A string ensemble creates an elegant mood, while a vocalist singing love ballads evokes a more romantic atmosphere. Because prelude selections are played during the seating of the mothers and grandmothers of the bride and groom, you might choose songs with special meaning for them, perhaps the piece that was played on their own wedding day. Generally, your prelude selections should be played at a volume that will create a background for light conversation and reflection. These might be appropriate:

• Piano Concerto in C, 2nd Movement (Schubert)
• Violin Concerto #8 (Vivaldi)
• Air from Water Music (Handel)

• Rondo for Flute and Orchestra (Mozart)
• Hornpipe in D from Water Music (Handel)

The Processional
The processional announces the arrival of the wedding attendants and, ultimately, the bride. The music for the bridal party’s entrance should have a definitive rhythm so that the attendants can easily keep time as they walk down the aisle. It should begin at a soft volume, then slowly increase until the bride’s entrance.

Organ music is the typical choice for the processional, but you can opt for a string quartet, a trumpet solo, or even a vocal solo. Whatever your selection, the music should be dignified and splendid and should also be the right length to accompany all of the attendants from the back of the church to the altar. Typically, there are two selections played during the processional: one for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and a different selection for the bride. If you decide to play the same selection for both, there should be a pause for the guests to stand and a noticeable increase in volume upon your initial entry into the sanctuary.

Attendants’ Entrance
Canon in D Major (Pachelbel)
• Air on a G String (Bach)
• Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies (Tchaikovsky)

Bride’s Entrance
Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin (Wagner)
• Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)
• Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)

Throughout the ceremony, you should accentuate key moments with music, which makes a impact on your guests and breaks up the solemnity of the occasion. You might want to include music just before or after a reading, during communion or at the signing of the register. These selections may be performed by your musicians or sung by the congregation, but either way they should be slow paced and softly played to give your guests a moment for contemplation or reflection.
• Panis Angelicas (Franck)
• The Wedding Song (Stookey)
Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod)

The Recessional
The recessional is the grand finale of the ceremony and should reflect the jubilant nature of the occasion. The selections played should be uplifting, possessing a quick, majestic tempo that proclaims the joy of your new union. Music should play as the wedding party leaves the church and continue until all guests have departed.
• Hallelujah Chorus (Handel)
Wedding March (Mendelssohn)
• Sonata Prima (Vivaldi) B

Runaway Bride: A Happy Ending

Written By: Anne Driscoll for Premier Bride Central Valley

While checking out the latest scoop on weddings this morning, I came across a most lovely article from the New York Times.

It seems fellow runners, Mary Martin and Raymond Donaldson tied the knot WHILE running Sunday’s New York City marathon.

It seemed the appropriate way to get hitched, since Martin and Donaldson met while pursuing a shared favorite activity: running.

Mary & Raymond say their vows during the race...

The ceremony took place at Mile 22 with a fellow runner (dressed and ordained as a minister) racing along side of them. The bride wore a white running outfit, complete with sassy running skirt and white cap adorned with a veil. The groom wore black running attire, but jazzed it up a bit with a crisp white shirt underneath and black bow tie to complete the look.

“Though it must be tough to find a bridal party willing to run in a grueling marathon, Mrs Donaldson did hand her bouquet off to someone as the ceremony started and the couple exchanged rings. The Donaldsons said that their family was in attendance and watched at the 22nd mile, though they would have only seen a portion of the ceremony since they never stopped running. A man named Greg who the couple had just met served as the officiant and ran alongside Mr Donaldson reading off of a piece of paper.’He’s a minister and he’s and Iron Man, he did the Iron Man just a month ago. He’s the only one that could actually keep up,’ Mr Donaldson said. ‘Well not keep up with us- actually, we barely just made it, didn’t we,’ he continued.” – Excerpt from Meghan Keneally, The Daily Mail On-Line  Read more:

We here at Premier Bride wish them the very best!

The Perfectly Suited Groom

By Premier Bride
Your bridal gown will turn heads as you walk down the aisle on your wedding day, but the groom, waiting patiently for you at the altar, deserves his share of the attention, too. The groom’s attire will be dictated by the ceremony’s time of day, since that dictates the wedding’s degree of formality. Proper attire falls into four categories, each with their own distinctive traditions and styles: very formal, formal, semiformal and informal.

Putting on the Ritz
Both very formal and formal men’s attire are governed by long held traditions. Morning weddings are considered very formal, calling for long-jacketed “morning suits” with gray waistcoats and pinstriped trousers, top hats, gloves and spats. The distinctive morning coat tapers from the waistline button to one broad tail with a vent in back. The groom and groomsmen may also sport walking sticks.

Very formal evening weddings require that the men of the hour dress in what’s known as white tie and tails: black swallowtail coats and trousers, and white vests, shirts and bow ties. Black top hats and white gloves are optional. The traditional swallowtail coat is cut short in front and extends to two tails in the back.

A formal afternoon wedding calls for classic black tie and tuxedos for the groom and his men. White dinner jackets are worn at a formal evening ceremony with black pants trimmed in grosgrain or satin ribbon and a black bow tie, vest and cummerbund.

Proper footwear choices are opera shoes or formal lace-ups, always in black. In both very formal and formal weddings, while the men are dressed identically, the groom is allowed to distinguish himself from his groomsmen by a distinctly different boutonniere.

A More Casual Elegance
With semiformal and informal men’s attire, tradition loosens and almost anything goes. While the groom and groomsman may still wear tuxedo or dinner jackets (double breasted or single-breasted), a dash of coordinated color in their ties, vests, cummerbunds and suspenders can be added to complement the wedding colors. Most men’s formalwear shops offer a colorful variety of jackets and vests in brocades, iridescent and other textures and patterns. The groom may even distinguish himself from the groomsmen by wearing a different colored jacket altogether.
Semiformal fashion allows the groom and groomsmen a bit more contemporary flair. While an everyday man’s suit is fine for an informal wedding, the groom and groomsmen should try to dress in the same color. Navy or dark gray suits or navy jackets with white pants are considered traditional informal wear, with white bucks or saddle shoes. The color of the men’s ties should complement the bridesmaid’s gowns.

The Bow-Tie Challenge
Unless you plan a morning wedding, which calls for ascots or elegant four-in-hand ties, the groom and groomsmen will likely wear bow ties. The bow tie is commonly rented or sold in a prettied version, so that a man need only adjust the strap length around his neck and fasten it with a clasp that is hidden behind the bow. However, buying a “real,” or untied bow tie, and taking the trouble to learn how to tie it is a gesture that will not go unnoticed. The hand-tied bow tie will be slightly imperfect, revealing the touch of a human hand, and the result will be a kind of authenticity and elegance not possible with the stiff, perfectly symmetrical pre-tied version. However, it’s really just a simple slipped square knot tied the same way shoes are tied. The salesperson at most formalwear shops will gladly give a tutorial, and with a little practice the groom and groomsmen will become experts. If you decide to go this route, the groom or at least one of the groomsmen should learn the procedure inside and out, ensuring that all ties are properly knotted prior to the ceremony.

Shopping Tips
When the men visit their formalwear shop they should have a firm idea of the women’s wedding attire, and bring color swatches from the bridesmaid’s gowns. Pictures from the pages of wedding and men’s magazines of the preferred formalwear styles will aid in the decision-making process.

The groom and groomsmen should reserve their rentals at least three months in advance of the wedding. Final measurements should be taken about three weeks before the ceremony, however be sure to come back a few days before the wedding for last-minute alterations.
Tradition says that groomsmen pick up the cost of renting their own formalwear, but the discreet groom might offer to cover the accessories such as custom cuff links and shirt studs.

Finally, someone should be designated to return all formalwear to the store on time in order to avoid late fees, which can get quite expensive adding up the per day, per outfit costs.

The Perfect Fit
Whatever the style and degree of formality you choose for your wedding, there are a few key points to keep in mind regarding fit when ordering formalwear for groom and groomsmen. Shirts, whether with pleated front panels or traditional smooth-fronted ones, should fit snugly around the neck. The bottom hem of the pants should touch the top of the shoes. Jackets should fit snugly, but comfortably with some room at the waist. Sleeves should end at the wrist bone with the same number of shirt buttons showing. Vents on the sides of the jacket should lay smoothly and follow bodylines. The collar should hug the neck and the lapels shouldn’t buckle.

Grooming the Groom
With all the attention given to the men’s clothes, an important detail that is sometimes overlooked is the groomsmen’s hair. Men are generally more casual about haircuts than women, but they should be sure to get a trim two weeks before the wedding to add the finishing touch to their wedding finery.

A Groom’s Glossary
Tails: The ultimate formal attire, which should only be worn after 6 p.m., this ensemble features a winged-collar tuxedo shirt, ascot or bow tie, vest, tuxedo trousers and tailcoat. The full-dress ensemble comes in black, midnight blue, or grey, with a white shirt and matching or all white accessories.

Tuxedo: Either single or double-breasted, this formal suit has satin shawl or notched lapels. Matching pants sport a satin stripe down the pant-legs. Tailored in silk, mohair, wool or blend, in black, grey, ivory or white, tuxedos come in a range of styles sure to suit any taste.

Vest: This is often referred to as a waistcoat and comes in single- or double- breasted styles easily worn with nearly any tuxedo ensemble. With the open back vest, a band goes around the neck and another is fastened across the back. Tails, strollers, white-tie and director’s suits require a different style of vest.

White tie: Worn only to the most formal evening weddings, this ensemble consists of a black tailcoat and black tuxedo trousers with a white bow tie, winged-collar shirt and white vest.

Videography Planner

Videography Planner

Nothing quite captures the real essence of your wedding day – the sights, sounds and energy – better than a well-done, high quality video. You’ll be able to revisit this important day in your life long after it’s over, and share it with children, grandchildren or other special people in the future. The most important element when searching for a videographer is a comprehensive sample of their wedding work. Ask to see a recent, completed video from a wedding – not just a highlights tape – so that you know exactly what you would receive from them, should you hire them. Consider the quality of the picture, the sound and the editing. A bad, poor quality video is a waste of money, but a good, high quality video is priceless.

Fresno Videographers:

Questions To Ask
• Can I see samples of your work?
• How long have you been a professional wedding videographer? How many weddings have you done?
• What packages do you offer? What do they include?
• Are you able to accommodate any restrictions with lights and tripods at the ceremony location?
• Can I keep the raw, unedited footage as well as the finished product? Is there an added fee for this?
• Do you offer DVDs?
• What is the charge per extra copy made?
• Will you be able to film while a photographer is present?
• Will you be the one who will be shooting my wedding? If not, can I speak with that person?
• What types of cameras and microphones will you use? How new is the equipment? Where will they be placed?
• Do you attend the wedding rehearsal?
• How long will it take to receive our completed video after the wedding?
• Will a backup camera be on hand for the event?
• How far in advance must I book your services?
• What is your cancellation policy?
• Is a deposit required? If so, when and how much?
• How far in advance must I book your services?
• What is your cancellation policy?
• Is a deposit required? If so, when and how much?

Related articles