Wedding Planning Stress

Stress: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.

One of our favorite questions to ask a newly engaged couple and parents of the Bride & Groom; on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being a walk in the park and 10 it’s time to elope, what are your expectations of the planning process for the wedding? It is not always the answers we receive that are the most telling, often times it is the body signals of the person not answering in response to the person answering that tells us the stress level of the guests we are assisting.

Regardless of what you are anticipating this process to be like there are two core principles you should remind yourself of everyday.
• Good Stress is still Stress!
• The planning process is supposed to be FUN!!!

Good Stress is Still Stress! How we each handle stress is as unique as we are as individuals. Use your own best stress relieving techniques when needed, eliminate stress when you can and when it should be someone else’s stress let it be their stress not yours.

The planning process is supposed to be fun! Most, in the beginning phases will see this as easier said than done. There should be a methodical order to planning your wedding and this often times will rely on utilizing the expertise of the professionals you will be hiring. Many of the topics in past blogs have dealt with the same issues that impact the enjoyment you will or will not have planning your wedding.

Hiring quality, established, experience professionals is critical. These individuals will be the ones who provide you with information and answers to questions before you ask the questions. It is in the best interest of any qualified wedding vendor to be two steps ahead of their clients. Anticipating questions and concerns will more likely lead to a more fulfilled vision that a couple has for their wedding day. If you have to be the one always asking the questions it could be an indication that you have more knowledge about that particular service than the person you are interviewing. You may want to move along to someone else if that is the case.

Like your professionals! Seems pretty simple, but many couples are swayed into purchasing goods or services based solely on recommendations, prices, or reputation. These are critical to take into consideration when hiring a company but you still have to enjoy working with the person providing the services to fully enjoy the final results. Personalities sometimes clash and it doesn’t mean that the vendor you are considering is poor quality but it does mean that you should consider other options.

Do it your way! The path that you and your fiancé have traveled to get to this point and time is unique exclusively to the two of you. Your wedding reception should be reflective of that uniqueness. The event planner you will be working with should be asking questions, listening to your dreams and molding an event to perfectly fit you.
The many months following the proposal will be filled with compromises, decisions and commitments as you begin to plan your new lives together. This life enriching experience, when done well, will provide volumes of cherished memories for you both to enjoy as you grow old together.

How to choose a wedding venue

It is a daunting task for the most experienced hosts of wedding receptions. Is there a perfect venue for your reception and possibly the same location for your ceremony? YES! And this blog is being written from the office of that perfect location,,,,,Samuel’s Grande Manor. However, for the sake of objectivity there are a number of questions you may consider before booking your reception and possibly wedding ceremony facility.

The positives of each facility can be difficult to compare. These seemingly incomparable benefits combined with the opinions of family & friends may leave you second guessing your decisions. Do not despair; the process can be simplified with a few straightforward criteria to consider.

Physical benefits such as location, room size & décor (wedding ceremony), condition of facility, appeal of gardens, safe parking, and style of the facility. Does the overall flow of the room and its’ traits make it a great party room?

Food, Beverage & Service considering budget, variety of styles of food service available (Wedding package One), reputation of food quality, levels of bar service included and offered, size and experience of Banquet Captains and wait staff, reviews of service and knowledge of in House Wedding coordinators. There will likely be other factors you will consider and one more set that you may not consciously be factoring in but is probably the most important ——- Trust, Confidence & Likeability.

The first two criteria, “Physical benefits” and “Food, beverage & Service” will consume much more of your time to compare and analyze. Lists will be made of each location of its pluses and minuses. There will be discussions of how important each of these attributes are to you and others around you. Trade-offs and compromises will be made and negotiated. And ultimately a very (or at least somewhat) black & white objective conclusion will be drawn ascertaining the perfect location for your wedding ceremony & reception. Now comes the hard part. Ask yourself a very important question being boldly honest with your answer, has the venue you are most seriously considering for the most important day of your life established Trust, Confidence and Likeability with you?

Can you Trust the staff you are working with to keep your best interests as a priority? Are you Confident that the experience and knowledge your hired professional brings to the table exceeds your standards? Do you Like them? Are they enjoyable to work with? Do you feel comfortable sharing with them your vision of your day? A resounding YES should be your answer to each of these questions. Concerns now should be addressed and resolved before they become a disappointment later. Will you be able to enjoy your day without having Trust, Confidence and liking the facility and staff that comes with it

We are gathered here today

We are gathered here today to…….?

Indoor ceremony

From proposal to honeymoon your story is unique. There are countless decisions to be made in a limited amount of time. Set a date, make a guest list, find a reception venue, chose the wedding party, pick a dress, pick your friends dresses, will there be guests favors, what should be bought for Bridal party gifts, who’s the photographer, what about a band instead of a Sound system, a violinist or a Harpist the list goes on and on and on and on and on!!! The budget, if you set one, is in jeopardy of approaching national debt levels. Everything seems to be spinning out of control.

Stop, Step back, Breathe and keep it in perspective, Prioritize and don’t lose focus of the true mission, the point of it all, the reason you are doing this, the final goal……. You are getting married! Embrace the meaning of marriage, remember why you asked or why you said yes to get married, create your memories, look forward to your future together.

With everything that needs to be done don’t allow it to diminish the real reason for the celebration. All the choices you will be making together as a couple are made to create that magical day to leave a lasting impression on you and your guests. Without losing yourself in the whirlwind of wedding planning, surrender to it and enjoy it knowing that the purpose of it all is to express your love, commitment and trust to each other with all your loved ones as witness to this special occasion.

It’s normal to be excited and worried about the seemingly never ending list of obstacles to overcome. Surround yourself with family & friends who have your best interest at heart, hire professionals who are willing to listen to your vision and above all “To thine own self be true”.

Bride Groom Alcohol!


Pictures 7-25-07 016

Very few couples will experience their wedding day without enjoying the libations associated with the celebration of their union as husband and wife. A few more will partake only in a celebratory toast for the benefit of appearances or photo opportunity. A greater number will enjoy the mild feelings associated with indulging in a cocktail before dinner maybe a glass of wine with dinner and a couple more as they dance till the guests are leaving and they begin to prepare for their own departure. A few less however will begin the day with a shot to start the day of their new life as celebration of the coming events , followed by several more beverages with their bridal party members as they get ready for the ceremony, champagne, beer, shots of liquor of course are appropriate after the ceremony to properly ring in their new lives together, several more drinks while pictures are taking place to laugh on with, back into the limousine with the wet bar fully stocked, into the reception venue for another hour of unlimited access to a full bar, wine with dinner, shots after dessert, cordials with your coffee, and what the heck shots with each of your bridesmaids or groomsmen, your Godfather, your sister, the girlfriend of the Best man, the boyfriend of the Maid of honor and whoever else happens to offer to have “One to celebrate with”. It can get out of hand before you know it and then you will be wondering where the night went and what the heck happened.

Very few couples start out their wedding day with the intention of getting plastered. Regrettably, to the participants, it happens more frequently than it should. The lasting results of an overabundance of alcohol intake by the Bride, Groom, or both can’t be overstated. Pictures to look back on with pride and joy, don’t count on it. Memories of feeling the excitement of the prospect of your upcoming honeymoon and life together, not likely, more certainly memories of feelings of nausea, headache, and looking like Cindarella or Prince Charming after a loosing battle with a wild band of trolls. Your wedding dress ready to be preserved in near pristine condition to have to remind you of that magical day, yeah right if they can sew it back together and get the unknown stains out of it and sew back on the train that was never bustled correctly and looked sloppy all night.

Here are some very simple guidelines that you should consider for yourself, your spouse, and preferably your bridal party too.

  • No alcohol before the ceremony, at most a small glass of Champagne with your bridal party
  • Have more water & soft drinks than booze in the limousine.
  • No hard liquor in the limousine or after the ceremony before the reception
  • FOOD before the ceremony and immediately after and in the limousine for several reasons;

o   It’s a long day and without proper nourishment and hydration people make bad choices, get sick, pass out and generally can get pretty cranky and put a real damper on the situation

o   Food, especially fatty foods, slow the absorption of alcohol and if you are pacing your consumption that will help.

o   Typically if you are eating you are Not drinking as much, also a good thing.

  • Enjoy your alcoholic beverages like you would enjoy a course during dinner, if you savor the taste you are likely to drink slower and less, that’s good!
  • Wine during dinner should be treated as part of the meal, wines compliment and enhance your foods, they should be thought of as another ingredient of your dinner to enjoy similar to how certain starches compliment particular meats.
  • Know yourself, understand how alcohol works, a 120 pound Bride can not process the same amount of alcohol in the same amount of time as a 200 pound Groom.
  • Know each other, you are beginning your life together as husband and wife you must trust and respect each other to be able to say with full security and trust in the other to tell your spouse that they need to slow down, Trust and value the opinion of your spouse when they say you should slow down.

On your wedding day enjoy an adult beverage or two but keep your wits so you can look back with clarity and fully appreciate what is one of the most significant days of your lives.

Eat, Drink and be Married!!

Who’s the Captain here?

sailboatA ship without someone in charge is sure to run afoul. It may not sink but it is likely to drift off course, its’ crew descending into chaos or even getting lost at sea with the best case scenario being towed back to port. There are no inexperienced Captains, they have all started at the bottom and through diligence, strong work ethic, intelligence and the sheer will to prepare have achieved a position of authority.

Many facilities may be beautiful to behold, some have a reputation for culinary excellence, others will excel at pre-event planning but when it all comes down to the nitty gritty what really matters is who is running your party. Every Wedding Reception deserves a dedicated experienced staff person to lead. Lead the other staff on deck, lead the other vendors working during the reception, lead the guests through an evening of one pleasant experience after another, and lead the Bride & Groom through their first day, their first dance, their first bite of cake, their first meal together, their first opportunity to host a celebration. It should be a celebration that makes a statement to all who attend; they think so highly of all invited that they have provided this spectacular reception. However, even the most magnificent ship with all the glamour, glitz and delights of the most exclusive luxury cruise liners can become a Titanic without the right Captain at the helm.

Your Banquet Captain follows through with every detail previously arranged and is at your beckon call to make adjustments when needed. The Captains here at Samuel’s Grande Manor range from a minimum of 8 years to as much as 33 years of experience. Experience combined with thorough preparation will lead to your event meeting every expectation you have, it’s a beautiful way to start this voyage together as Husband & Wife.

When you are interviewing prospective venues ask who is running your Wedding? How many years of experience do they have as a server? How many years of experience do they have as a captain? How many years have they been with the company? Then ask yourself, did the answers instill in you trust and confidence in their ability to steer your ship in the right direction.

First Bite of Wedding Cake


“Love at first Sight Bite”, whether we like it or not our actions cast an image onto others on how they perceive us, those around us and the relationships we have with others. At the risk of being perceived as a fun sucker, smashing a handful of cake into your new Brides face, hair, dress, tiara, and ear is not cute, funny or remembered in a positive light. The traditional events that occur through the course of your wedding day have withheld the test of time for many reasons. They generally revolve around a couple common concepts; they are expressions of a couples love, respect, passion, commitment and honor that they are pledging to each other for the rest of their lives or they are displays of appreciation and love to the guests they have invited.

Toasting the Bride & Groom, Cake cutting, Bouquet toss, Garter removal, First dance, Favors, Grand entrance / Introduction, etc… You may not want to include all or any of these events in your day and that is what will make your day unique to your first day of the rest of your lives together. Every Wedding is unique, from the first date to wedding day every couple has a story. Your reception should be as inspiring as the story that led to this day. To include smashing cake into your spouse’s face under the guise of tradition is absurd and poorly justified. If you still think it might be a good idea, please refer to bold portion in above paragraph and try to rationalize how having a food fight exemplifies any of these ideals that a married couple should be striving for.

Everyone loves a Good laugh and it is the best medicine for all that ails us but not when it is at the expense of those we love. Creative minds can surely find other avenues to create those memorable moments. Moments that you and your guests will look back on as loving displays of affection, signals of respect for each other, or just plain funny are moments worth remembering.

Toasting -vs- Roasting


An hour of catching up with old friends, seldom seen relatives, and your closest family members all while soaking in a wonderful atmosphere enjoying  your favorite beverage experiencing new foods and feeling the energy of a party beginning to build with the excitement of relaxing, enjoying, and celebrating a couple’s first step on their journey together as husband and wife. Fantastic! It can’t get any better! Minutes away from the anticipated indulgence of a scrumptious meal soon to be served. The only thing between you and the next fine experience of the evening are the toast(s) by loved ones of the Bride & Groom?

Fifteen minutes later and you’ve forgotten what you have experienced that first hour, how much fun you were having or what you had ordered for dinner. You have now endured  twenty minutes of an endless recantation of every story that the Maid of honor for the wedding could remember from the past two decades. Short essays scribbled on an seemingly endless stack of pieces of paper. Nothing inappropriate but humor only found by those select few who have any idea what she is talking about.  It’s O.K. though, she’s wrapping it up,,,, wait,,,, RATS!!! She’s written on the backs of the papers also. She’s done, Yippee! Now the Best Man will keep it short and sweet. Wrong, not short and not sweet. Is the best man aware that the Mother’s of the Bride & Groom (not to mention the now Wife of said Groom) are sitting directly in front of him as he retells the story of the night at the ballet, the stories of ex-girlfriends, imitations of the Grooms most recent evening of over indulgence? Now thirty minutes later (seems like a visit to the dentist) and the proverbial winds have been sucked out of your good time party sails.

This is really very simple, keep it simple! Everyone already knows how much you love and are loved by the Bride & Groom. You are the Best Man or Maid of Honor, you were picked for their wedding because, next to their now spouse, you are likely their most trusted and loved friend in the room.

Toast Do NOT Roast! Toast to their love for each other. Toast to their future life together. Toast to their successes and triumphs. Toast to their long, prosperous and fruitful life together. Toast to their dreams, aspirations, and Toast to the reality that they are now bound together for eternity.

What needs to be said can be said in 3 – 4 minutes. The rest can be said in private with a small group of friends not at the expense of 150 other guests who know nothing of what you are talking about.

Simple Tips for a memorable and appreciated Toast;

  1. Find appropriate inspirational quotes from famous people.
  2. Maximum length is 5 minutes, preferably 2 – 4 minutes.
  3. Plan ahead and practice.
  4. Do NOT speak of
    1. Ex girl friends, boy friends, or spouses
    2. Past inappropriate behaviors
    3. Anything to do with bodily functions

Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a memorable toast!


The Bride’s Bill of Rights

Center room

Interesting to ponder, if left up to the devices of a diverse group of brides, what a Brides bill of rights would contain. We can certainly imagine some demands a Bride could contrive. The likely #1 position would be taken by a summary of the previous blog, BrideZilla the Myth, “My Day My Way!” Other topics surely to be top contenders would certainly revolve around bridesmaids dresses, families opinions of the wedding dress, themed weddings, wedding favors, who’s responsible for what, the list that would be generated could fill a wedding guest book.

Fortunately for all those in that immediate circle around the Bride this list of inalienable rights was not written by a Bride. While cultural, socioeconomic, geographical and periodic societal views on marriage may all be constantly evolving, in some instances regressing; there is common ground that all Brides would probably agree upon with reason and consideration for all those involved.

From the perspective of bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents of the bride & groom, siblings of the bride and everyone else who thinks that their opinion is so critical to the success of the big day, this Brides Bill of Rights may seem more alien than inalienable. Some may consider it more selfish than reasonable. Others will compare it to a demand list of a spoiled child. What they all need to consider doing, is with the most sincere honesty to themselves, imagine it were their wedding day. To be truly empathetic and understand that this one day should be the greatest most important day in a young woman’s life.

The list is simple, short, and flexible; molding to every Bride’s particular situation:

   The Bride’s Bill of Rights

  1. The Bride’s final decision on a wedding dress will be applauded by all as the best choice for her. Constructive comments during the process should be made wisely and with sensitivity to the Bride.
  2. The Brides vision of her wedding day will be considered the plan for the day and every professional and family member involved will make every reasonable attempt to fulfill this dream
  3. The Bride’s option to give permission to every detail, make requests for out of the ordinary details, and personalize every detail specific to her own personality and character shall not be infringed upon in the attempt to “make as many people happy as possible”.
  4. The Bride shall have the understanding that all of her guests will be grateful to be invited to this day of sharing and love and will appreciate every accommodation that has been provided for them.
  5. The Brides opinion is the most important opinion, the second most important opinion is that of the Groom which is likely to be the same as the Bride.
  6. The Bride has the power of Veto and can only be overridden with a consensus of all parents and the Groom which if this were the case he would be referred to as the Fool!


Bridezilla the Myth!


“My Day My Way” visions of the mythical BrideZilla immediately flash before your eyes. However, the truth is that every Bride should be indulged on this day, having every vision come to fruition and meeting every expectation she has dreamed of for this once in a lifetime experience.

Brides are not making unrealistic requests or expecting unreasonable tasks to be accomplished in order to complete their day in the fashion that they have been forming in their minds for months if not years. Brides have a vision of their day specific to them and it is the task of the professionals to make those dreams be a reality.  

And therein lies the key, the “Experienced Professional” who treats every wedding as if it is their daughter’s. Professionals who believe that a couples wedding day is the start of their new life, the most important day of their life and that marriage is the center of their lives. Professionals who lead by asking questions and providing answers to questions that haven’t been asked yet. Lead, guide, inform, and assist couples to formulate a plan and clarify their visions are the primary responsibilities of every wedding professional. Brides that hire qualified, competent, experienced professionals in every wedding category will never be the BrideZilla.

Every Bride has their own distinct personality that molds their wedding day into an event that is truly unique to them. There is no one best way to achieve a fantastic wedding day. Memorable wedding days don’t just happen, they are assembled by a team of professionals understanding that a Brides fantasy wedding needs to be extracted from her visions piece by piece and reassembled into their own special day.

The only requests to be denied are those extremely rare requests that would truly reflect poorly on the Bride, her families or the professional she is working with. There is no right or wrong way, no better or worse way there is only the Brides way and not because she is selfish or inconsiderate but for one reason; she deserves it.