10 Tips for How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows

(Reposted from BRIDES, Written By Allyson Dickman and Jillian Kramer, Published on July 3, 2017)

How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows: 10 Tips

If you’re writing your own vows, you’ve chosen an incredible and meaningful way to personalize your wedding ceremony. It’s a chance to tell your story, give guests a peek into what makes your relationship tick, and to share meaningful, sweet words with the person you love. It can also be a pretty challenging task because it’s so intimate—you are really baring your heart to your fiancé, and you’re doing so in front of your family and friends. If you’re struggling to come up with the right words, read on for ten tips that will help you get through writing your wedding vows.

 

Getting Married? You Are Not Alone!

This very short video is a placeholder for a video currently in production that talks in much more detail about the topics shown in the graphics.

I’m working on the complete video between rehearsals and ceremonies right now since we are at the height of the wedding season here in the Portland/Vancouver area.

Comments and questions welcome. I’ll try to address them in the completed video!

It’s All About the Sound!

A Plea to Venues, DJs, and Musicians

Wedding guests often complain that they couldn’t hear the bride and groom recite their vows or the words that go with their exchange of rings. This is especially true for outdoor weddings, which are very popular in the Pacific Northwest from June through September.

Image result for wireless microphone system

Image result for wireless microphone system

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an officiant, I carry my own wireless microphone setup: lavalier microphone, body pack transmitter, and receiver with cables for connecting to the audio system in use by the vendor hired for music and sound. Just in case they don’t have one for me. And because a handheld microphone is virtually useless when you are using two hands for the script and vows. And also because many handheld or on-stand microphones are useless unless they are within an inch or so of your mouth.

Try taking that one virtually useless microphone and handing it to the bride and groom, most of whom have never used a microphone before, so that their guests can presumably hear them speak while they are trying to choke out vows or exchange rings and you just add to their stress without success.

Before I became an officiant I did seminars all over the world. Carried my own wireless lavalier microphone setup. A transformer for European and Asian power. A box full of cables and adapters for the various connection needs in multiple countries. And it usually worked flawlessly.

Not always so for weddings. Sometimes mine has frequency interference issues. If the sound person has his or her own wireless lavalier for me, I’m a happy camper. But my microphone won’t pick up the voices of the bride and groom. A fairly important pair of people whose guests would really like to hear them, and not just me!

So here is my plea: Invest in a SYSTEM with at least three wireless microphones and a mixer so that you can provide body packs and lavalier microphones for the bride, groom, and officiant. It is not prohibitively expensive and it will drastically increase your customer satisfaction.

I just did a wedding today at a famous popular venue. That venue provided a useless microphone on a stand and a small amplifier and speaker with the quality of a child’s karaoke machine. It was pitiful, and far below the level of service that I would expect from such a prestigious venue at such a significant price.

I’ve seen vendors, many of whom appear to be real professionals, with thousands of dollars worth of turntables, computers, mixers, amplifiers, speaker systems and other fancy equipment who somehow don’t even think about making sure that the couple being married can be heard.

Please, people, make the needed investment. I’ll bet your client satisfaction scores will skyrocket!

And one last bit of advice for brides and grooms: When you select your venue, or your DJ, musician, or other audio professional, make sure that you ask them if they provide the equipment that you comfortably need in order to be heard (and also maybe connected to your videographer).

I’d love to hear from you folks, vendors and brides and grooms alike. Let me know what you think. And thanks for reading.

 

Wedding Day Emergency Kit

55 Things to Put in Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit

In a perfect world, there would be no emergencies and certainly no need for a wedding day emergency kit.  The reality, however, is that sometimes dresses tear, tuxes get stained, and if you’re to believe Alanis Morissette, you should even be prepared for rain on your wedding day.   The trick to making it through the unknown when it comes to your special day is to be prepared, and there is no better way to hedge against accidents than having a fully stocked wedding day emergency kit.

What Is a Wedding Day Emergency Kit?

Contrary to the name, a well thought out emergency kit should be used throughout your wedding day, not just when emergencies strike.  It’s filled with basic necessities and unique tools meant to solve the common issues a bridal party might face on the wedding day.   From water to wet wipes, your kit is there to support the entire wedding party through hunger, sickness, clothing malfunctions, and even anxiety.  Think of it like a Swiss Army Knife of wedding day preparation – designed and tested by countless wedding parties before you to be both practical and comprehensive.

Why Do You Need One?

Weddings are exciting and unpredictable events – sometimes nerves get the best of a person, someone almost always drinks too much, and occasionally there’s a fight or argument.  And with dresses being literally being ripped off of brides and stories being told about wine spilling on dresses, it’s best to be prepared, right? A wedding survival kit helps mitigate the risk of all of those, and while it’s impossible to account for every scenario, we feel like the following 55 items come pretty close.

How to Build and Manage Your Own

There is no wrong way to build your kit and you are always better off having something rather than nothing.  However, the more prepared you are easier the day will go – having stocked the kit with wedding necessities like makeup remover, shoe polish, and fashion tape will save you trips to the hotel, or worse, the store.

Plan your kit well in advance of the wedding, you can even make a game of it during the bachelorette party.  Once it’s stocked, treat it like the nuclear football and give total responsibility to a bridesmaid (preferably not the Maid of Honor, she likely has enough on her plate).  After that it’s just a waiting game – stay disciplined and resist the urge to use any of the items before the wedding!

When the big day comes put your kit out where it can be seen and utilized – the idea is to make your approach proactive instead of reactive when it comes to wedding support.  Let people know where they can find refreshments, makeup, and whatever else you stocked – be a beacon of preparedness on a notoriously hectic day!

Ready to build your own wedding day emergency kit?  Click HERE to start!

Note: This guest post is courtesy of Top Gift Guides. Used with permission.

OMG! He Popped the Question! Now What Do I Do?

I got to thinking last night as I reflected on this past weekend’s two weddings where I was privileged to officiate. I’d met with both couples well before the weddings and customized the scripts and vows for them. I also advised them on the processional and talked to them about staying calm on their wedding day because it was all going to be fine. I am an optimist, after all.

Both weddings went beautifully. And when I spoke to the brides they were both happy with the ceremonies and happy that it was finally done! They both confessed to being a little overwhelmed with planning and details between engagement and ceremony time. So I put together a little 55-second video with some slides and put it up on YouTube. You can watch it below.

As I was editing the video above, I was inspired to create a longer version of the presentation so that I could reassure future brides that as panicked as they might be feeling at the moment, everything would work out just fine, at least as far as the ceremony and the officiant — me! — were concerned. We had that part of the ceremony fully under control. You can see that longer (8-minute) video starring yours truly below as well.

I would love to have your comments on these two videos. And a description of your experiences from when he “popped the question” to when your ceremony had been completed. I think other future brides would like to be reassured that what they are feeling is normal!

Thanks for reading and watching. And feel free to share this blog post.

 

21 Clever Tricks To Make Any Wedding So Much Easier

When people think about wedding planning, they generally think of stress, stress, and more stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way!  If you go into the process knowing what you need to do, it can actually be fun.

But the question is, “what do I need to know”?

We’ve built a list of wedding tips that will prepare you and anyone getting married for what’s to come.  You will also learn what you should do to avoid the annoying problems so many couples complain about.  Additionally, you’ll learn about some of the major pitfalls that can hit you on the day of your wedding and how to do damage control.

For example, what to do if your heels break or it rains the day-of in an outdoor venue?   You have to think about these things!

But it’s not just about actionable things you can do to make wedding planning less stressful, it’s also about the mindset you need to have throughout. For example, many people will try to tell you what to do every step of the way.  And some advice you’ll get will contradict other advice you get.  That doesn’t make any sense.

Ultimately, you are in charge and you need to assert yourself early on.

But it’s not just about being the boss.  It’s also about having a good time and you need to find ways to make wedding planning fun!

After all, shouldn’t the happiest day of your life be fun to plan? So check out the article because we have you covered for all your wedding planning woes!

This summary is posted with permission from EventForte. The full article by EventForte can be found here: https://blog.eventforte.com/17-wedding-planning-tips/.

How Big Should Your Wedding Be?

I had the opportunity to answer a question on Quora today and I wanted to share the question and my answer to the question, and some advice for all of you spouses-to-be. The question posed was:

My future in-laws want a huge wedding and want to spend a lot to keep their 400+ guests happy. I want a simple wedding because I care more about the marriage than the wedding. Their idea of the wedding is financially straining on my family, because what we saved up is not enough.

My answer was:

Jon Turino, Wedding Officiant (2015-present)

 “Weddings can be incredibly expensive if not properly planned. I think 400+ guests — unless you live in India — is going way overboard. You and your fiance will be going forward in your lives together and your responsibilities to your future in-laws are minimal. If they want to pay for the wedding, you might acquiesce; otherwise going into a large amount of debt to satisfy them is a very bad way to start your new married life.

There are dozens — or more — checklists available for choosing wedding guests. Close family, close friends, close coworkers, people who might be upset if not invited, etc. Beyond that list there is no reason to spend $100-$200 — or more — per guest just so the in-laws can impress their friends.

You don’t mention how your fiance feels about this situation so I suggest that you two have a serious conversation about what you and he want and how you view the situation together.”

My advice is:

If you want to start out right then start with your guest list. Then get the event planner/coordinator who can help you find a venue that fits that list and your desires for a theme and location. Then you’ll want to get the caterer, the DJ/musician(s), the photographer, etc. And, if you are the bride, don’t forget the dress! And don’t forget to book your officiant early. He/she will probably be the least expensive, but most important, person you choose! Find out more at http://yourminister.org/the-ultimate-wedding-checklists-list/.

As always, your comments are welcome anytime.

Ask the Officiant

A new live interactive forum to answer your wedding questions.

Please note: This service has been discontinued. But I am available one-on-one via phone, email, or live Internet video chat and I’d love to answer your questions.

announcing-a-new-free-interactive-resource-for-brides

Join us live on Tuesday evenings for this great new resource.

Do you have questions about your ceremony? About your vows? About your venue? About wedding planners and wedding coordinators? You can get answers to these questions during a newly announced series of live interactive video chat session hosted on the Zoom.us platform.

The plan is to have people interested in both getting from and providing answers to prospective brides and grooms regarding virtually any topic. Thus I encourage wedding planners, wedding coordinators, wedding venue managers, photographers, musicians and DJs, caterers, cake makers and anyone else who would like to contribute to participate in these sessions.

These sessions are not a place to provide sales pitches for products or services. They are meant to provide actionable information to help future brides and groom make their special day as perfect as possible. So if we can help them by identifying and providing solutions to common problems we’ve seen occur during other ceremonies and receptions I think we’ll be adding a lot of value. And my experience tells me that if we provide value then we may be considered when they are making hiring decisions.

So please join me on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM Pacific time at https://zoom.us/j/7993445506 for the next sessions. If you are a bride or groom to be, we’ll all do our best to provide you with great information that will help you in your planning efforts to make sure that your wedding day is as perfect as possible. If you are a vendor who can provide valuable advice to prospective brides and grooms, your participation is welcome as well.

FYI, you may CLICK HERE to watch a recording of the first session that was broadcast on October 25, 2016. You missed this event but you can see what I’m trying to accomplish by watching the recording.

As always, your comments and thoughts are more than welcome. Thanks for reading and I hope to “see” you at an upcoming session.

The Ultimate Wedding Checklists List

This gallery contains 14 photos.

How to make sure you don’t forget ANYTHING! With so many things to think about for your wedding, checklists can be of huge help. See this ultimate list of checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything. One of the … Continue reading

20+ Special Tips to Make Your Wedding Day Wonderful

Some good information for lowering your stress level!vince-and-elena-longview-wa-sept-10-2016

1. Decide how many guests you’ll have
This is the single largest item that affects your wedding reception cost. If it costs $100 per person for food and drink and you cut 10 people you’ll save $1,000.

2. Determine what’s important
Is it the ceremony itself, or the venue, or the reception? Make a list as large as you’d like and then whittle it down to the top three. If you get those right most everything will flow from there.

3.  Listen to Mother Nature
While an outdoor wedding may seem ideal, watch out for summer heat, winter cold, bugs, travel conditions and blackout dates.

4.  Lock in a venue before the other details
This is critically important. Most planners and coordinators recommend book the venue 10-14 months in advance to avoid disappointment. This is especially true during the peak wedding season (May to September in the Portland/Vancouver area).

5.  Hire vendors you like
Meet with, or at least talk to, prospective vendors. You can get recommendations from the venues, your planner/coordinator and many of the other vendors you’ll be using. Check ratings from past clients.

6.  Book vendors early
Just as you need to book your venue at the earliest possible moment, you don’t want to wait to select caterers, DJs/musicians, florists, printers, cake makers, etc. And don’t forget the Officiant!

7.  Seriously consider hiring a videographer
Research from WeddingWire.com, and others suggests that one of the biggest, if not the biggest, regrets mentioned post-wedding day by brides is not having hired a videographer. No matter how great a job the photographer does, nothing will replace a video.

8.  Don’t leave hiring your Officiant to the last minute
I mentioned this in “Book vendors early” above but it bears repeating. 5-star rated officiants get booked early and you won’t want to settle for someone who won’t be caring enough, flexible enough and skilled enough to help you make the ceremony and vows as perfect for you as possible.

9.  If you can’t hire a wedding coordinator, let your bridesmaids handle some of the day-of logistics
Putting a wedding together can be a daunting task. But you don’t have to do it all yourself. If your budget is too small to hire a coordinator for the day of your wedding, delegate as many tasks as possible to your bridesmaids so that you have time to concentrate on enjoying your day.

10.  Learn about marriage licenses
These vary from state to state. Many have 3-day waiting periods. Most are valid for 60 days from the date of issue. You’ll need to get the marriage license in the state in which you are going to actually be married. If you are planning a destination wedding, this could impact your costs by requiring an extra trip or arriving early.

11.  Eat a breakfast that is high in protein and complex carbs
You’ll need energy that lasts during the day, from early preparation through the actual ceremony itself. You don’t want to end up being so tired from lack of sustenance that you can’t enjoy your day.

12.  Eat something later
If your ceremony is more that 6-8 hours after breakfast, eat something else. At least maybe a nutrition or energy bar. The last thing you want to do if faint from low blood sugar!

13.  Get plenty of rest the night before
This can be problematical since you’re likely to be both excited that your wedding day has finally arrived and worried about the myriad things that will need to come together to make the day as wonderful as you’ve planned. But don’t drink alcohol to put yourself to sleep. Having a hangover will not enhance your enjoyment of your special day!

14.  Give yourself plenty of time to get ready
To avoid feeling pressured or rushed you are going to want to plan to start getting ready as early in the day as possible. If you start late it’s likely that everything else could be impacted and you don’t need that stress! Set up a timeline, working your way back from the ceremony start time, so that you guests and vendors are not inconvenienced.

15.  If you bought new shoes for the big day, be sure to break them in ahead of time
It’s hard to enjoy anything when your feet hurt! If you can have a pair of comfortable shoes dyed to fit your dress, that’s a great alternative as well.

16.  Don’t forget a wedding day survival kit
There are a great many sources for buying one of these or you can put one together yourself. Check https://www.theknot.com/content/the-brides-emergency-kit for a great list of what needs to be in it.

17.  Take pictures before you say, “I do”
While it is traditional for the bride to be unseen by the groom before the ceremony, the practical aspects of getting the best photos often dictate that you arrange to have the photos taken before the ceremony. Things will get hectic after the ceremony and there is paperwork to be done with your officiant as well. So give this serious consideration.

18.  Speak up during the ceremony
Guests often comment that they couldn’t hear the bride – or the groom, for that matter – as the vows and rings were exchanged. With small audiences in fairly intimate settings, I recommend that you speak loudly. For larger groups and venues, consider asking your DJ or sound person to provide wireless microphones for you, the groom and the officiant (if he/she doesn’t normally bring his or her own).

19.  Breathe during the ceremony
I always remind my brides and grooms when they’ve arrived at the front of the venue to remember to breathe! It is exciting and can be nerve racking, to be in front of a large group and be worried about flubbing your lines. A good officiant will feed you your lines a phrase or two at a time so that that won’t happen. So take your time, breathe and even take deep breaths while the officiant speaks, guests perform readings, etc.

20.  Pack flats for the reception
Why not be as comfortable as possible as you eat, drink, and dance during the reception? Alternatively, if the shoes you wore for the photos and ceremony are comfortable you can keep them on but my experience is that most brides – and bridesmaids! – want to change into more comfortable shoes.

21.  Reapply lipstick after the ceremony
Kind of a silly tip? Not really. There’ll be lots of photography going on, and maybe videotaping as well. This was mentioned more than once as being important in hindsight in more than a few of the lists I consulting in coming up with this list.

22.  Arrange for group photos at the reception
You don’t want to keep guests who won’t be in these group photos waiting before the ceremony or even the start of the reception. So do the group photos during the early part of the reception before the food is served (or the buffet is opened).

There’s much more information available
Find thousand more tips at https://www.pinterest.com/explore/wedding-day-tips/ and hundreds of other boards on Pinterest. And there’s an excellent very comprehensive set of lists in an article you can find at http://www.boho-weddings.com/2013/10/23/real-brides-advice-from-their-wedding-day

Got questions?
Please feel free to call or email me and I’ll be happy to answer what I can and point you to other sources where I can’t. Have a wonderful wedding!

As always, comments are welcome. And please feel free to share this post.

 Sources:

http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2014/05/wedding-advice-from-real-brides.html
https://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/31-tips-to-make-sure-you-enjoy-your-wedding-day
http://kellyboitano.com/15-wedding-tips-from-a-photographer-turned-bride/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/19/wedding-planning-regret_n_4564186.html
https://www.theknot.com/content/expert-wedding-planning-tips-and-tricks