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Archive for September, 2011

Outdoor Fall Weddings

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Depending upon where you live, outdoor fall weddings can be pulled off. Regardless of the season, outdoor weddings have challenges and contingencies should be planned. Consider the options and choose the one that best suits your idea of the perfect wedding day.


Set a Date

When planning an outdoor wedding, research the normal weather patterns for your area. For example, if you live in the northeast, determine what the average daily temperature is for the date you want to schedule your wedding. Based on the average decide if the temperature is acceptable for guests to be comfortable outside without additional clothing such as coats. If the normal temperature is too cold, move the date to earlier in the season or hold the ceremony indoors. It is not advisable to schedule the ceremony if the weather is not suitable or you and the guests will be uncomfortable.


Plan for Weather Mishaps

Unlike indoor locations, when planning an outdoor wedding it is imperative to have a back up plan in the event of poor weather. Depending on what type of venue you scheduled, there may be a building close by that can be used if rain, wind, or snow threaten. Other options include tents or awnings as long as they are large enough to cover all the guests and not just the wedding party.


Choose a Venue

Good choices for outdoor fall weddings are parks, country clubs, mountains, and even gardens. Though flowers won’t be blooming like they do in the spring and summer, many outdoor venues will reflect the brilliance of fall foliage. Mountain settings book as much as a year in advance for fall weekends so make sure you call well in advance if you choose a mountain location.


Party Rentals

Outdoor weddings typically require chairs, tables, and even lighting to be rented. Determine the number of guests that can be seated comfortably in the designated area and rent accordingly. If the reception is going to be held in the same general area or the guest list is small, chairs can be moved by the staff to the reception area after the ceremony. For daytime ceremonies, lighting is probably not required but for late afternoon or evening ceremonies, lighting should be rented. This may be as simple as torches placed along walk ways, patio lights strung throughout the area, or actual lights professionally wired. Consult with the venue coordinators to confirm whether any permits are required to use electricity or open flames.


Plan for Weather Mishaps

Unlike indoor locations, when planning an outdoor wedding it is imperative to have a back up plan in the event of poor weather. Depending on what type of venue you scheduled, there may be a building close by that can be used if rain, wind, or snow threaten. Other options include tents or awnings as long as they are large enough to cover all the guests and not just the wedding party.


Flowers and Decorations

Fall outdoor weddings lend themselves to fall colors and foliage. Instead of the traditional cut flower arrangements, choices may include large baskets of mums in bright orange, reds, and yellows. Silk autumn leaves tied with matching ribbons can add a rustic charm. Since most outdoor weddings take place in scenic venues, keep the flowers and other decorations simple so as not to detract from the area’s ambience. Using potted plants also cuts down on the expense and can be planted and maintained as a keepsake from the event.

Though perhaps a bit more difficult to plan than an indoor wedding, outdoor fall weddings can be memorable and beautiful. If a few simple precautions are taken, you can spend the time enjoying your day while viewing all the surroundings have to offer.

Writing Your Wedding Vows

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Writing wedding vows can be a challenge but the reward is intimate, personal wedding vows that turn a predictable wedding ceremony into a customized celebration of a couple’s love.



Why Write Your Own Vows?

Couples may choose to write their own wedding vows for a number of reasons. For some couples, the opportunity to write vows rather than simply recite traditional wedding vows is a way to personalize the wedding ceremony and express feelings that may not be adequately rendered in formulaic vows. If a couple does not practice a particular religion, or if the bride and groom are of different faiths, writing vows can help them incorporate their own spiritualism into the ceremony. For many couples, however, the attraction of writing wedding vows is simply because they wish their ceremony to be as unique and timeless as their relationship, and personal vows can help it become so.

Finding Inspiration

A couple will exchange their wedding vows in front of dozens or hundreds of family members, friends, and acquaintances, some of whom may initially be strangers as the families come together for the first time. This can be intimidating for some brides and grooms, particularly if they are not comfortable with public speaking. Finding the proper inspiration and motivation to write their vows can help make the words flow more naturally, and an inspired writer is one who will write from the heart.



Couples can find inspiration for their vows in many places, such as:

  • Poetry or music, particularly love songs
  • Traditional vows or other romantic ceremonies
  • Romantic moments from their relationship
  • Romantic moments from favorite movies

The best inspiration, however, comes from the heart. Thinking about the soon-to-be-spouse – that first attraction, first kiss, the first flutter of love – can offer plenty of inspiration to create the perfect wedding vows.

What to Leave Out

Several types of sentiments, while they may help make the service memorable, are nevertheless inappropriate for wedding vows.

  • Jokes can be too easily misinterpreted
  • Very private matters, including physical intimacy, are best not mentioned
  • Foreign languages should be kept to a minimum so all guests can understand the vows

The Act of Writing Wedding Vows

When a couple is ready to write their vows – which they may choose to do together or separately – they should work in an area free from distractions so they are able to focus on these special words. Keep a dictionary and thesaurus on hand for help in finding just the right phrase, but don’t rely on them too heavily – simple, sincere vows will be more memorable and impressive than vows filled with weighty words that may be difficult to pronounce. Writing vows can take time, even days or weeks, and starting early is prudent because it allows time for revision, editing, and even restarting if necessary. Couples should keep in mind that the presiding clergy may need to review the vows to ensure they are appropriate for the faith or venue, and enough time should be available to alter the vows if they are deemed unsuitable.



Wedding vows should be typed so there is no need to decipher handwriting or interpret revision marks. Choose a font size that is easy to read without holding the paper to one’s face, just in case a quick glance at the printed vows are necessary during the wedding ceremony. Ideally, the vows should be between 250 and 500 words, which is equivalent to a 2 to 4 minute speech: shorter vows may seem rushed and insincere, and longer vows will seem too drawn out and overdone.

What to Include

When writing personal wedding vows, there are several things that should be included in the sentiments.

  • The words “I love you” – this may be obvious, but it can be easy to forget under the pressure of writing this momentous speech
  • The idea of sticking together during both good and bad times
  • A mention of faith and spirituality if desired
  • The concepts of honor and respect toward one another
  • The desire for a shared partnership
  • Longevity of the relationship and how it is meant to last

After the Vows are Written

After writing the vows, the couple should first get them approved if necessary. It may also be wise to show them to other close friends or family members for their opinions – they may spot problems or omissions the couple would have missed. Both the bride and groom should practice their vows several times to become familiar with the spoken words, even to memorize them for the wedding day if possible.

Writing wedding vows can add personalization and flair to a wedding ceremony, whether they are used in place of more traditional sentiments or just as an addition to familiar vows. With careful writing and preparation, a couple can easily create meaningful, romantic vows that won’t sound scripted or predictable.