Wonderful Wording at the Blue Pig Tavern in Cape May

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blue pig 2

Our recent visit to the Blue Pig Tavern in Cape May (make that two visits, since we just had to have that awesome, farm-fresh breakfast again!) revealed a wonderful inspiration: the wording on the placemats. Get this: on the bottom corner of the delightful, soft blue-toned menu says, “A report of any indifference or inattention will be appreciated as a favor by the management.” Isn’t that fantastic?! It’s such an elegant throwback to the days of propriety, to the rich history of Cape May, which brings to mind images of well-mannered families dressed for breakfast, and manners still mattering.

On my husband’s menu (and yes, I took them both home with us, so that I could get this post just right!) it says, “In the event of any item not proving entirely satisfactory, we will be favored to have Patrons direct our attention to their requirements.” I am swooning! We will be favored! I love that!

This is definitely wording you’ll want to copy for your wedding menu cards, to impress your guests with your own elegance and propriety.

Thanks, Blue Pig Tavern, for that wonderful return to the past, and for bringing a little taste of polite times to our modern era!

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Top Tips For the Mother of the Bride

Photo courtesy of Caneel Bay Resort

Photo courtesy of Caneel Bay Resort

Congratulations, mother of the bride! You have such an exciting time ahead of you, as you help the bride and groom create the day of their dreams.

You’ve probably noticed that things are not quite the same for the mother of the bride as they were when you got married. Today’s planning team isn’t automatically the bride and her mom. You may be part of a larger team that includes the groom’s parents, or the bride and groom will be doing the majority of the planning on their own. So don’t go into this with huge expectations, or have your feelings hurt that you won’t be in charge of the cake, the flowers, the menu, the locations. Just look forward to meeting with the bride and groom to discuss how THEY’D like their team to work together. Here are some top tips to help you enjoy the wedding preparations, and make everything more special for your daughter.

* Make a promise to yourself, as a parent, that you’ll keep the wishes of the bride and groom paramount, no matter what. Since the wedding is such an important and emotional event, it’s easy to get revved up and want more of your ideas included, to ‘make things nice.’ You have no bad intentions, but you’d be surprised at how the bride may interpret your suggestions as bossing her around. So make it clear from the beginning: you want what they want for the wedding, and you’re there to help create it.

* Respond quickly and deliver completely when you’re asked to help with finding family addresses or other tasks. When you set a foundation at the start of being easy to work with, interested in their wishes, and responsible, you’ll likely be asked to do more.

Momental Designs

Momental Designs

* Let them know what you’d like to be involved with. They’re not mind-readers, so they may not know that it’s a dream of yours to go to cake tastings with them. A simple “I’d love to join you” is far better than insisting, or pouting when you hear they went last weekend.

* Let them know what your talents are. Since weddings are so expensive, couples are looking for ways to save money. If you have a talent for art or a flair for calligraphy, Web design or favor-making, they need to know about that. Again, let them make the decision.

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* Find ways to welcome the groom into the family. Get to know him better, if you haven’t already, and show your approval by including him in family dinners where it’s all about social time, not just wedding planning time.

* Be a stress-relief for the bride. Take her out for coffee or lunch, or to a day spa for manicures, and make it no-wedding-talk time to allow her to step away from wedding stress and nurture your relationship.

* Get your look together. A personal shopper at a department store can help you find a terrific gown for the wedding, as well as dresses for the rehearsal dinner and other events, and you get the same royal treatment as the bride. Personal shopper services are free at Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor, among others…they’ll interview you for your style wishes and colors and sizes, and when you go in for your session, they have all of the outfits and accessories lined up for you.

njb kerry washington oscars dress

* Give meaningful gifts as well as practical ones from the registry. A framed photo of the bride as a little girl, together with a wonderful handwritten letter from you, is a fabulous gift on the morning of the wedding.

* Write a toast. Whether it’s for the rehearsal dinner or the morning-after breakfast, your words make a lasting memory. Or have the bride’s favorite song played for her.

* Keep your fears in line. Don’t be afraid of the change that’s coming to your family, particularly if the bride plans to move after she’s married. Have a plan to stay in touch via e-mail, Skype and visits, and welcome the good things these changes bring. I know, it’s tough to face the huge emotional changes that happen with a wedding, and this is the #1 thing that makes mothers act badly and hurts their relationships with their daughters (which causes the distancing they fear!). Just be honest with the bride and come up with a plan for the future.

* Embrace the in-laws. Find ways to include them in family holidays and dinners — the bride and groom will be sooo relieved if you make that a smooth transition and welcome their loved ones into your circle. You don’t have to be best friends. Just let the bride and groom know they’re welcome as family.

Li-Lac Chocolates

Li-Lac Chocolates

* Never inject your guest list wishes, song wishes, menu wishes, etc. with force. This is not the time for that, even if you’re sure the etiquette rules are on your side. “You have to invite them, since you were a flowergirl at their wedding 20 years ago!” doesn’t fly in today’s wedding rules of the bride and groom choosing their guest list. They know the new etiquette rules, and unless it’s a glaring omission, a must, be gentle with your guidance.

*Don’t forget that you’ll likely get to plan the morning-after breakfast, or perhaps an engagement party of after-party just for your friends, so all of your fantastic ideas can be used for the party you host!

Check out Robert's gorgeous photos!

* Think about renewing your wedding vows months after their wedding if you feel you want to plan a big party of your own. All of your great ideas the bride and groom aren’t open to…they might be better at YOUR party!

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Welcome, newly-engaged brides and grooms!

Sharon Naylor is the author of The Mother of the Bride Book and Mother of the Groom, plus 30 additional wedding books, www.sharonnaylor.net .

Coloring Books: The Creative Cure for Wedding Stress

If meditation and lavender baths aren’t cutting it for you as a wedding stress-reliever, try coloring books! Coloring books for adults are a new top trend in anxiety-busting and calm-creating, and there’s a big collection of gorgeous coloring books to choose from [No, you’re not stuck with Frozen or Peppa Pig coloring books!] Entertainment Weekly just did a big roundup of coloring books that are ‘gorgeous and sophisticated,’ the answer to a ‘screen-weary culture.’ (Pick up the Summer double issue of Entertainment Weekly to see more.] And pick up some coloring books, markers and pens to boost your serotonin levels and get rid of that wedding stress in a lovely way.

Some Amazon best-sellers in coloring books:

Color Me Calm:

Color-Me-Calm-book-Kikiverde-Handmade-1

Secret Garden

Enchanted Forest

Adult Coloring Book

Color Me Happy

Creative Coloring Inspirations

Freebie! Ways to Honor Family and Friends at Your Wedding: Part 5: Including Kids

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Want to honor the little ones at your wedding? Here’s a freebie excerpt from my ebook to inspire you:

Including Kids

  1. Allow the kids to have some say in what they’ll wear. Your little nieces can perhaps pick out the style of floral headband they’d like to wear, or choose the shade of pink for their dress sash. Kids love it when adults listen to them, and ask their opinion, and they’ll be happier at dress-up time when they know they helped design their own style.
  2. As they walk down the aisle, have kids carry a cute sign, perhaps saying, “Here Comes the Bride” or as a surprise to the groom: “She’s on her way!”
  3. Write fabulous wedding vows to your kids, if you or your groom have them. Promise to love and guide them, protect them and support their dreams. You might even give them their own special piece of jewelry to commemorate your becoming a family.
  4. In your wedding décor, display photos of you with the kids, so that they’re on the table filled with wedding portraits from your relatives. They love to be included, especially if they’re your own kids.
  5. Before the wedding, tell kids that they’ll get to ‘style’ a wedding photo of you with them. They can then practice with you in different, funny poses like jumping in the air or making silly faces. Post-ceremony, it’ll take no time at all for your photographer to snap this special kid-planned photo, and they’ll feel very proud of getting to decide on an ‘official’ wedding photo.
  6. Be sure to hit the photo booth with all the kids, in a group to make it go faster. Kids notice if you step into the booth with your own nieces and neglect to do so with your groom’s nieces. So be sure to give all kids equal photo time.
  7. Let the kids choose the song that will play as they’re introduced into the room at the start of the reception. It helps to give little ones two or three songs to choose from, or else you’ll have a tough time, and they may keep changing their minds. Tweens and teens can name their own fun song for their entrance, if you’d like to set them apart from the bridal party or have a lot of junior bridesmaids and junior groomsmen.

Get more freebie ideas from my book The Bride’s Guide to Freebies.

brides guide to freebies

Spotify Names the Top 10 Most Popular First Dance Songs

Wedding-Sharon and Joe at reception

The Etta James classic, At Last, tops a chart of the 10 most popular first dance songs around the world, revealed today by Spotify. And my husband Joe and I are so happy to hear that, since “At Last” was our own First Dance song!

Here are more details on their study:

Spotify studied over 30,000 wedding-themed playlists and the dates on which they were played to deduce that the second weekend in July is the biggest wedding weekend of the year around the world.

Spotify also analyzed 12 thousand single-track playlists named ‘First Dance’, to identify the most popular first dances at weddings, from which we compiled this top 10:

And here is the Spotify Top 10 First Dance Songs list:

1. Etta James – At Last

2. Jason Mraz – I Won’t Give Up

3. Ray LaMontagne – You Are the Best Thing

4. John Legend – All of Me

5. Jack Johnson – Better Together

6. Christina Perri – A Thousand Years

7. Michael Bublé – Everything

8. Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life

9. Brad Paisley – Then

10. Adele – Make You Feel My Love

Playlist: Top 10 Songs for the First Dance

A New Wedding Trend for Grooms Spotted at the NBA Draft! The Nerlens Noel Inside-the-Jacket Sign

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Image via ESPN

Last night, I was watching the NBA Draft, and never thought I’d spot a new wedding trend for grooms, but there was Nerlens Noel holding open his jacket to show off his college colors and number! And he was the second player to do the inside-the-jacket sign! So there you have it, grooms, a pro-athlete-inspired new wedding trend: the inside of your tux or suit jacket can be customized to show off your choice of message!

Wedding Symbolism: The Peacock

Photo: National Geographic

Photo: National Geographic

Peacock feathers are a top wedding trend, as a motif on invitations, wedding programs and thank you notes, and some brides are working peacock feathers into their centerpieces and color schemes. Bold, dramatic blues and purples evoke the colors of the brightly-colored peacock, and you’ll even find in nature all-white peacocks with graceful fanlike tails.

With peacock themes and colors going strong in wedding world, I thought I’d continue my series on animal symbolism with the peacock. Since so many elements of a wedding have a long history of symbolism bringing luck to the marriage, here is what the peacock’s symbolism can mean to your day:

  • Integrity
  • Showing your true colors
  • Nobility
  • Holiness
  • Guidance
  • Protection
  • Watchfulness
  • Great vibrancy
  • “A walk of faith”
  • Self-esteem booster
  • Vision
  • Refinement
  • Spirituality
  • Incorruptibility (a take on that ‘forsaking all others’ line from traditional wedding vows!)

In Greco-Roman mythology, the peacock is connected to Hera/Juno who, lore says, made the peacock from Argus with his hundred eyes. Thus, that mark on the peacock’s tail feathers that looks like an eye and in some legends symbolizes the “eyes of the stars.”

In Hindu culture, the Peacock is associated with the deity Lakshmi, representing benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion and good luck.

The peacock is also a symbol of Kwan-Yin in Asian lore, as an emblem of love, compassionate watchfulness, nurturing and kind-heartedness.

In Persian lore, the peacock symbolizes protection over royalty (and since you’re the queen of your wedding day….)

In Christian lore, the peacock represents the “all-seeing” church and has been connected to renewal as well as holiness.

So those are some of the top symbols of the peacock. How much do you love that for your wedding’s theme graphics or décor colors and accents now?