Monthly Archives: February 2014

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Highlights of a Muslim wedding reception

Muslim themed wedding ceremonies tend to be on the shorter side, but, the reception can be quite a lavish affair that stretches across the span of several days. While everyone has their own family traditions and personal way of celebrating their reception, there are a few rituals that find their place in just about any Muslim wedding party. For example, since the color green is considered as being quite a lucky hue in Islam, most receptions are centered around a green setting to bring good luck and prosperity to the newlywed couple.So, here are some of the most popular highlights of a Muslim wedding reception.

Muslim wedding reception

Imam Zamin
Also known as the unveiling part of the ceremony, the “Imam Zamin” is the part where the couple sits on a well-decorated elevated platform for the groom to remove the bride’s veil. In India and Pakistan, the bride isn’t allowed to display her face until she’s officially a married woman. The public gesture of the groom unveiling his bride’s face for the first time is considered as one of the most romantic moments of the post-wedding ceremony.
Afterwards, the groom’s parents and relatives line up in front of the elevated platform to present the bride with various types of presents such as sweets, silk and jewelry. The bride’s mother in law also ties a single golden coin wrapped in a silk cloth around her arm for good luck.

Muslim couple seated on elevated platform after wedding

Walima
The ‘Walima’ is the feasting section of the ceremony, where the newlyweds and all the guests gather around several buffet tables laden with food. From ‘biryanis’ to tagines, hummus and pita dips, rice, fish, lamb and chicken, Muslim receptions are certainly oozing with exotic delicacies. Fertility-inducing dishes, as well as food considered as aphrodisiacs are often served as well and these include almonds and dates.
Because of some Arabic dietary restrictions, shellfish and alcohol are not served during the Walima and the guests toast with some alcohol-free champagne instead.

Walima Muslim reception feast

The Parade of the Muslim Bride
Muslim brides often change out of their bridal attire after signing the wedding contract. They usually show up at the reception in elaborate and heavily-decorated dresses and are paraded around the room to meet all the guests. In some cases, the bride is even carried over some of the guests’ shoulders and paraded around the room to meet everyone. The ceremony officially ends when the bride is finally placed back on her feet.

Muslim bride and groom

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Posted in Muslim Theme WeddingsTopic WeddingWedding Theme on Feb 27th,2014
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Bridesmaids gifts to thank the special ladies in your life

They’ve taken care of all the fussy little details like the cake, seating arrangement, aisle decorations and maybe even your wedding dress. They’ve helped you plan the wedding and reception and have most likely thrown a stupendous bridal shower for you. They’ve even agreed to wear whatever puffy, cupcake-like bridesmaid dresses that you’ve chosen for them! These special ladies have been there for you every step of the way and they certainly deserve a gift as a token of your appreciation for their support.

Bridesmaid gifts collageBridesmaid gift ideas silver charm with initials

Indeed, no bride will be able to keep a cool and collected head without the unflinching support of her bridesmaids. The tradition of giving a special present to each bridesmaid dates from quite a long time and it’s an excellent way of showing these ladies how grateful you are for their help. Best of all, the wedding industry is practically brimming with a wide assortment of presents that are especially destined for bridesmaids and maids of honors. So, whether you want to gift them something sentimental, engraved or humorous, you can be sure to find something that your bridesmaids will forever cherish.

Close bond between bride and bridesmaids

Bride and bridesmaids

One of the most popular- and useful- present is the matching bridesmaids’ bathrobes. Available in a plethora of colors, designs and fabrics, this is the one gift that certainly represents the unity and harmony that usually links your special girls together. If you can afford it, don’t hesitate to have a discreet monogram as well as the date printed on the sleeve of each bathrobe. Other memorable presents that you can give to your bridesmaids include elegant pieces of jewelry. Lockets bearing each bridesmaid’s initials, for instance, will definitely please the ladies. Charm bracelets or even anklets are other bridesmaids’ gifts which they’ll certainly appreciate.

Bridesmaid gift ideas matching bathrobes

To illustrate the close bond between the bride and her closest friends, why don’t you ‘officially’ invite each lady to be your bridesmaid by sending them a personalized invitation? Indeed, the invitation is the best time to present them with their bridesmaids’ gifts: you can either pin the invitation to the present or, more elegantly, hand them their gifts before presenting them with the invitation. Don’t forget that the presents don’t have to be identical either, especially if your bridesmaids have different tastes. Whichever gift you choose to go for, bear in mind that it has to reflect your appreciation and love towards these ultra-special women who will turn your wedding ceremony into a positively magical day.

Personalised bridesmaid invitation

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Posted in Etiquette & GuestsWedding Planning on Feb 27th,2014
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Charitable wedding favors

With the decline in old-fashioned wedding ceremonies in favor of trendier, more cutting-edge ones, several couples are gradually skimming all those traditions that were once deemed crucial at any wedding. For instance, brides are now open to various other attires instead of the classic white dress, while grooms are discarding the traditional black tux for colored ones. Another trend that is quickly gaining in popularity at most weddings is the charitable wedding favors.

Charitable wedding favor to animal shelter

Therefore, instead of handing guests some chocolate truffles in a box, couples are now donating to various charitable institutions. That is quite a fantastic idea because it allows you- and your guests- to give something back on your special day. The good news is that there are hundreds, if not more, charitable institutions that are willing to help you offer such wedding favors in a polite and tactful manner which is bound to impress your guests.

Wedding chocolate

The sort of charitable wedding favor that you will go for ultimately depends on what causes you and your guests feel strongly about. A good idea would be to contact each guest prior to the wedding and make a list of all the causes they would like to donate to. This is also a tactful way to let your guests that charitable donations will be made instead of the typical favors. Some people might opt for cancer research, while others might choose to go for animal rescues or shelters, but whichever institution you choose to go for, be sure to take their choices into consideration.

charitable donation to cnacer research

Another nice touch would be to contact the institution and arrange for them to print a personalized thank you note for each wedding guest. Alternatively, if you do want to give them something to thank them for attending your wedding, why don’t you hand each guest a chocolate truffle or fudge along with a note from the charity of their choice?

Charitable wedding favour to Diabetes institution

Some couples even like to go all the way and ask each guest to donate to a select charity instead of bringing a wedding present. After all, it would be quite rude to take their gifts and not give one in return. In the end, however, opting for charitable wedding favors is a deeply personal choice and one that should be approached with quite a lot of tact. A big no-no would be to go for charitable favors in larger scale weddings: this is not something that all your guests might appreciate, which is why it’s important to choose this option only among close friends and relatives.

Different wedding favors

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Posted in Wedding Planning on Feb 26th,2014
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Preparing your hair for the big day

If you want your hairstyle to look its best for the big day, it’s crucial to start preparing your hair at least two weeks prior to your wedding. Too many brides make the huge mistake of assuming that their wedding hairstyle will automatically look perfect because it will be done by a professional hairdresser. The sad truth is, this is not always the case. Even if you hire the most talented hair stylist, there’s no guarantee that your hair will look its best if it’s lackluster, hence the importance of carefully preparing your pre-wedding hair. So, scroll down to learn how you can have the perfect hair for your wedding.

Wedding hairstyle collage

Oil and Condition as much as you can
Nothing brings some extra shine and body to your pre-wedding hair than some intense conditioning. Try to condition at least three times per week but be sure to go for a high-quality product: your wedding is not the time to skimp on a few cents. If you often use curling or flat irons, try to go for heat-defense conditioners which will repair broken strands and make your hair absolutely perfect for the big day.

Hair oil

Oil treatments are also a huge must-have if you want to have shiny, bouncy hair for your wedding. Indeed, intense oiling will make your head much more supple and easier to manage, which guarantees you the perfect wedding hairstyle. A fantastic tip for the bride to be is to wrap a damp towel around her oiled hair to guarantee that the product penetrates each and every single strand. Don’t hesitate to consult a couple of hairdressers as well: they’ll be able to advise you on the best treatments for your hair type.

Hair treatment

Experiment with various wedding hairstyles
Don’t stick to one single hairstyle either. On the opposite, it’s highly recommended that brides to be experiment with several types of wedding hairstyles prior to walking down the aisle to make sure that you found the style that’s perfect for you. An excellent tip is to try various hairstyles while wearing your wedding hair and accessories: this will give you the best idea on how you’re going to look on the ultra-special day.

Wedding hairstyles

Bridal magazines and websites are also fabulous places to turn to for inspiration. If you’re unable to decide on a single hairstyle, why don’t you pick one for the actual ceremony and another style for the reception? After all, you do deserve to look your absolute best on this memorable day!

Applying hair conditionner

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Posted in BridesWedding Hairstyles on Feb 26th,2014
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Planning a spooky but elegant Halloween wedding

If you’re getting married towards the end of October, why not go all the way and throw a Halloween wedding? Fun, spooky, mysterious but elegant at the same time, a Halloween wedding will provide your guests with a lifetime worth of memories! Best of all, you don’t even have to stay within the norms and limits of a regular wedding. You want to dress up as the bride of Frankenstein on your special day? Go for it! The good thing about a Halloween wedding is that it provides everyone with the chance to loosen up and dress up in the scariest or most outrageous costumes ever!

Halloween wedding collage 1

Indeed, don’t hesitate to ask your guests to wear any costume of their choice. You can do this by adding a small postscript at the end of your Halloween wedding invitation. Speaking of which, it’s quite important to make sure that your invitation matches the overall theme of the day. Skip the usual pastels, beiges and pinks in favor of typical Halloween colors such as orange and black. Make sure to accessorize and personalize your card by adding some black feathers or even a few black plastic spiders in the envelope; something which is bound to spook your guests and prepare them for the big day!

Halloween wedding invitation

Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries either: Eccentric bridal accessories will not only enhance the Halloween theme but they’ll also look amazing in pictures. A large, gothic-style hand fan, chunky silver jewelry, dark birdcage veils and other such items will certainly add an eccentric and mysterious touch to your attire. As far as the drinks and food are concerned, go for a typical Halloween buffet. However, it’s not a bad idea to mix and match the gory Halloween food with classier dishes. After all, you do want to make sure that the faint-hearted guests at your wedding do have something to eat too!

halloween bridal attire and accesories

A Halloween wedding can be an extremely tasteful albeit fun affair if done properly. Couples who don’t want to go all the way can infuse a few light Halloween touches here and there. Wedding placeholders shaped like vampire teeth or a long black Dracula-style drape around the groom’s shoulders will certainly add a discreet touch of spookiness. Lights also play a very important role in setting the mood so stock up on some giant candles to add a mysterious feel to the room. If you’re afraid of fire hazards, substitute real candles for LED ones for the same effect.

Halloween wedding collage 2Guests wearing halloween costume

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Posted in Wedding Theme on Feb 26th,2014
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Trendy alternatives to the traditional white wedding dress

Not everyone wants to fit into a traditional mold. Unfortunately, most people automatically don traditional attires and do everything the “normal” way on their wedding day. But, don’t forget that this doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re one of these free spirits who like to break free from typical customs and if you want to add a deeply personal touch to your wedding, why not vamp up you wedding attire? After all, nothing screams different like donning a stunning alternative to a white wedding dress.

Cleopatra bridal costume

The Fairytale Bride
If movie weddings can be all dreamy and romantic, there’s no reason why your real life wedding shouldn’t be plucked straight from a fairytale as well! Think beyond a poufy white dress. Instead, a fairytale costume wedding dress, complete with silvery angel wings, a tiara and maybe a glittery wand will certainly help you look like a Disney princess on your special day. For a homogenous look, ask your groom to dress up in a Prince Charming getup as well!

Fairytale costume wedding dress

Cleopatra bridal costume
If you’re getting married, then you certainly deserve to look like one of the most elegant women of all times! The good news is that Cleopatra costumes are extremely popular and you’ll very easily be able to purchase a full set, complete with all of Cleopatra’s accessories. To mix and match, don’t hesitate to wear your traditional white wedding dress but accessorize it with Cleo’s world famous headgear. Some dramatic black eye makeup, a slick of bright red lipstick and chunky Egyptian jewelry and you’re all ready to go!

Bridal pantsuit collage

The Bridal Pantsuit
Extremely flattering on almost every body shape, the pant suit consists of a pair of boot-cut or flared trousers with a matching shirt and dinner jacket. Exquisitely sophisticated and trendy, the bridal pantsuit is gradually filtering into most wedding stores. Not only is this outfit a stunning substitute to the traditional white wedding dress, but the pantsuit can also be accessorized with various wedding-related accessories. A long thick lace veil, for example, will look positively amazing trailing behind your pant suit as you glide down the aisle. Don’t hesitate to vamp up your look with a tiara, chocker necklace or even gloves. More exuberant brides can even wear a bright red suit for a fiery look.

Bridal oriental skirt and crop top

Oriental or Mini wedding dress
If you’d like to wear a two-piece outfit but still want a skirt, why not look into an Oriental-like wedding outfit? With a floor-length skirt and crop top, this is one outfit that’s bound to wow your groom! Alternatively, you may even go for a mini wedding dress, which can be quite handy if you’re planning a beach wedding!

Honeymoon Testers Attempt To Break Wedding Vow Record In Queensland

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Posted in BridesWedding Dresses on Feb 25th,2014
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The most popular traditions in Jewish receptions

No one can say that Jewish receptions are dull and un-exciting. On the opposite, these celebrations are extremely grandiose and filled with a variety of festive rituals that date from quite a long while back. From the blessing of the Challah to the breaking of the glass or even the world-famous chair dance, Jewish receptions are all about spirituality, love, merriment and a deep sense of family and belonging. As soon as the official wedding ceremony is over, the bride and the groom both retreat to a room for some alone time together. Afterwards, they emerge for a highly festive reception ceremony.

Jewish wedding collage

One of the main and most coveted tradition which is present in nearly all Jewish reception is the “S’eudah Mitzvah.” This ritual mainly dictates that fertility-inducing dishes are served at the after-wedding party. These includes a variety of Kosher treats, couscous, salmon, tuna sushi, roast meat, chicken, artichoke and the likes. Desserts are usually dairy-based and crafted from almonds, coconut milk, pistachios, almonds, raisins, dates and the likes. Since the bride and the groom usually fast for a few days before the wedding, an extremely elaborate feast is prepared for them.

The Challah

However, before the feast begins, the newly-weds and the guests- under the supervision of a Rabbi- opens the reception with the Blessing of the Challah. This tradition is centered around an intricately braided bread which the guests share before starting the meal. Either the couple’s close relatives or a select guest can accompany the Rabbi during the Blessing of the Challah.

Jewish wedding

Afterwards, the feast ends with another tradition known as the Birkat Hamazon. After the meal, several wedding blessings are repeated in another prayer session. Prayer books are distributed among the guests and religious leaders usually preside over the blessing ceremony. Then, the couple pours two glasses of wine into a single one, hence representing the start of a new life together.

Jewish wedding reception

Another extremely fun Jewish wedding reception ritual is the “Hora”.Also known as the chair dance, the “Hora” is a tradition whereby several guests gather around to lift the bride and the groom above their heads in their chairs. Quite similar to a wild crowd-surfing, the bride and groom are repeatedly bounced up and down as they struggle to keep their balance. Rhythmic Jewish folklore songs such as “Hava Nagila” are often played during the chair dance. Afterwards, the newlywed couple sits on an elevated platform or stage while their guests dance for their entertainment. To add a touch of infectious humor to the dances, some friends also dress up in humorous costumes and masks.

Traditional chair dance

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Posted in Jewish Theme WeddingsTopic WeddingWedding Theme on Feb 25th,2014
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Muslim weddings: A guide to the various pre-wedding rituals

Muslim weddings are always full of age-old rituals and traditions which the couple has to follow both prior to and after the ceremony. Rich in customs, colors, music and food, these weddings will definitely enthrall any guest. Every Muslim wedding is different, with each family trying to incorporate its own tradition in the special day. For example, while some brides choose to don a traditional white dress, others like to deck up in sequined oriental clothes for their wedding. One ritual which is present in every single Muslim household, however, is the prayer session which is held right before the “Nikkah”, or marriage ceremony.

Muslim bride in white dress

Indeed, Muslim weddings usually open with a plethora of rituals which are thought to bring prosperity, luck and joy to both the bride and the groom. So, read on to families yourself with the various pre-wedding rituals that usually accompany Muslim weddings.

Prayers before Nikkah

Purifying bath
In Pakistan, elderly male relatives often visit the groom to watch him take a purifying bath on the eve of the wedding. Brides on the other hand, are accompanied to the boathouse by female relatives. Wealthier families also hire a troop of dancers and musicians to serenade the bride during her ritual bath.
Egyptian Muslim brides usually take a bath in water drawn from the Nile prior to their wedding because this water is considered to be extremely purifying. In Saudi Arabia, a team of female relatives usually help the bride get ready for her special day by bathing and waxing her.

Muslim wedding stage

Mehndi Party
Like Hindu pre-wedding rituals, Muslim families also hold a “Mehndi” Party where the bride’s hands, arms and legs are adorned with henna. This is usually held among lavish celebrations where everyone dances to wedding-related songs. Instead of a band, elderly female relatives usually gather around to sing traditional and folkloric songs during the henna application. In Muslim cultures, henna is thought to bring good luck to the bride while protecting her from any evil eye. Not unlike the customary Western Bridal shower, guests often bring various presents of silk, food, jewelry and other ornaments for the bride.

Tumeric ceremony

The “Gae Halud” or Turmeric Ceremony
In some- but not all- Muslim families, a special Turmeric Ceremony is held either one day or a few hours before the wedding. Traditionally known as the “Gae Halud Ceremony”, this pre-wedding ritual opens with the groom’s mother sliding a single gold bracelet up the bride’s wrist to signify her acceptance in the family. Afterwards, the bride sits on an ornately decorated stage and various relatives line up to apply a touch of turmeric to her face. This particular spice is thought to purify and polish the skin, hence beautifying the bride for the big day. A sweet rice-based dessert is separately fed to both the bride and the groom after the ceremony.

Mehendi ceremony

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Posted in Muslim Theme WeddingsTopic WeddingWedding Theme on Feb 25th,2014
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Some of the most popular wedding traditions from around the world

Weddings are always full of traditions and rituals that bring a charming, rather old-fashioned feel to them. There’s nothing more romantic than reciting the ever-lasting vows that have been recited by countless other brides for centuries, or tossing the bouquet in the same age-old gesture. From the wedding kiss to showering the new couple with rice, there are quite a few rituals that find their places in the actual ceremonies. Indeed, if you’re one who abides by traditions, you’re certainly going to enjoy the following list of popular wedding traditions from around the world.

Wedding traditionWedding kiss tradition

Painting the hands, legs and arms
In India and some Arabic countries, a lavish ceremony is usually held on the eve of the wedding to decorate and adorn the bride with red body paint and black henna. Using a plastic cone, a designated female relative decorates the bride’s hands and feet. In some cases, the guests’ hands are also adorned with henna. A common tradition in India is to trace the groom’s initials on the bride’s hands, amidst the various patterns and designs.

Painting the legs arms and hands tradition

Breaking the glass
In some Jewish cultures, it is customary for the groom to stamp on a cloth-covered glass bottle right after the ceremony. In some cases, a light bulb can be used instead of the bottle. This ritual is to remind the guests and the new couple that too much joy should be tempered. Some Jewish families believe that the sound of breaking glass will chase away the demons that manage to pass through the timeframe between the married and unmarried status of the happy couple. Breaking the glass is usually followed by happy cheers of “Mazel Tov!”

Breaking the bottle wedding tradition

Stepping over the broom
In some African and Romanian cultures, the groom and bride usually step over an ornately decorated broom before walking back down the aisle as a married couple. In our contemporary time, this gesture symbolizes love, good luck and harmony in their marriage. However, this tradition dates back to the time of slavery where slaves weren’t allowed to get married. Hence, young couples in love used to jump over a broom and declare themselves married.
In Romania, southwest England and Wales, couples usually jump over brooms that have been placed over the threshold before entering their new homes together. This tradition ultimately coined the popular phrase “jumping the broom” to refer to marriage.

Stepping over the broom tradition

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Posted in Wedding CeremoniesWedding Planning on Feb 24th,2014
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Epic groom’s cake

Weddings are traditionally geared and planned by the brides. We all know that. This is why wedding cakes usually tend to be more on the fluffy white or pink side. However, if you want to do something special for your new husband, why not go for a typically masculine cake instead?

Grooms cake motocycle

The sad truth is that there are some couples out there who want to break the norm of having a typical wedding cake, but most of them are afraid or intimidated to take the plunge. This is the worst thing that you can do: Don’t forget that your wedding day is about you and only about you. So, if you want to toss a classic cake in favor of a groom’s cake, do it!

Grooms cake air force

Don’t underestimate the importance of wedding toppers as well. The most popular groom’s cake are very often enhanced by humorous toppers that depict scenes such as the bride dragging the groom to the altar or flinging a lasso at him. Indeed, weddings are solemn ceremonies but there’s no reason why they should be boring as well. Never hesitate to indulge in some humor- even risque ones. Best of all, these toppers can very easily find a place of pride on your mantelpiece in many years to come.

Funny grooms cake

Of course, beer cakes definitely find their place in the list of the most epic groom’s cake. In this case, the couple can either go for a can-shaped cake with the beer name written upon it, or, if you’re lucky enough to have an experimental baker, ask him to create a beer-based fondant which will wow your adult guests. The symbol of manliness by excellence, a chilled, robust beer can also be served alongside the wedding cake instead of the customary champagne.

Beer grooms cake

If your man is an avid fan of photography, why not surprise him with a camera-shaped wedding cake instead? Similarly, motorcycle buffs will certainly find their joy in a rugged Harley Davidson cake. The most important thing is not to be afraid to experiment and push the boundaries until you create the one cake that’s bound to make your new groom smile- even if you have to go for the most outrageous cake designs.

Grooms cake camera

After all, let’s not forget that brides ultimately have the final words in most wedding preparations- something which can make the groom feel a bit left out. A funny, albeit thoughtful groom’s cake is therefore bound to strum your man’s heartstrings while showing him how much he means to you.

Soccer grooms cake

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Posted in Wedding Planning on Feb 24th,2014