50 of My Best Weddings Tips

50 of My Best Weddings Tips

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Congratulations, you’re starting to plan your wedding day and now you need to get everything organized, booked and well, maintain your budget!.

Before you get overwhelmed by the choices, costs and innumerable possibilities, read these tips that every couple should know, to help you with the planning process.

Remember to also follow me on Instagram where I share tips, ideas, trends all while keeping you within your budget. @reverendfrancesca

PLANNING

Set the date!. Investigate the best dates and times to get married. Remember Brunch Weddings are more cost efficient as well  as Weekday weddings!

Outline a budget. Set the budget so you know what you’re working with from the get-go and don’t surpass it.

Consider time of day. Early Weddings are most cost effective. Later in the day costs more for staff, venue’s and food.

Wedding Party. New Trend is MOH and BM. Although some humans are still having large wedding parties which can be challenging.

Research Vendors. Do your homework on Instagram and see who is awesome in your neck of the woods! (PS. I am awesome! send me a message on my Contact Page.)

Officiant. Contrary to what people believe, you should really reserve you Officiant after you book the venue. We are “bussay ya’ll”. Did you know we officiant anywhere from 2-4 weddings per weekend. There is not enough of us to serve all of you. (Just saying, book me ASAP)

The Guest List. Make sure the people that are important to you are invited for ceremony + dinner. If you have a large friends list, invite them for the after party to keep costs down.

From here to there. Consider travel distance between ceremony and reception. (so important). Try to find a venue that has both. Saves money and travel time.

Back up plan. Outdoor venue? Consider the time of month you are getting married due to the weather and always have a “Plan B” as you may be disappointed not to have a garden ceremony.

Décor. Décor not your thing? Find a beautiful venue that already has a look you love. (Cost savings here)

Florals. Choose florals in season to keep your costs down. Remember Greenery is just as expensive. Try artificial as well or rent them. (Cost savings here)

 

VENUE/VIBE/STORY 

Book in advance. Many venues book up very far in advance. Narrow down a short list and make visits as soon as possible!

Seasonal décor. If you’re getting married near a holiday or other special time of year, make sure to ask if the venue will be decorated in a special way. (Cost Savings here)

Food and drinks. Ask about banquet permits and alcohol license needs. Don’t assume anything! Serve mocktails at cocktail hour. This is where the majority of your alcohol budget is spent.

Consider room flow. You will want a space where you will be able to mix and mingle with guests easily.

Accessibility. Make sure the venue has accessibility features for those who have walkers and wheelchairs. They want to be part of the festivities.

Hire a Coordinator. Trust me on this. The Venue Coordinator works for the venue and has their timeline they need to follow. Hiring a separate coordinator helps to deal with all the details, vendors, issues and last minute hiccups and guests who are having too much fun.

READ your Venue Contract. I can’t stress this enough. Read all the details (contract). If you are unsure, asks. Did you know that venues charge $5.00 per slice of cake to the guests? (check on this as pricing may have gone up by the time this Blog comes out)

GUEST LIST

Talk about it. It’s a conversation to have early on with your fiancé. Establishing a guest list can get VERY complicated if you don’t set parameters.

Traveling guests? Consider how many out-of-town guests you will have to plan for and always have a welcome basket in their room at arrival. (the hotel can arrange this if you drop them off)

Lots of out-of-towners? Consider setting up activities for the weekend or couple days surrounding your big day so they can meet others and visit.

RSVP’s: An online sign up will help you coordinate weekend events & collect RSVP’s in advance!

Save the drama. Handle family issues with grace. Have conversations with those that may need to be reminded to put personal issues aside for one day.

Keep people in the loop. Set up a wedding website where you can post important details that guests will need to know.

Hotels. It’s always nice for the couple to set up hotel options and block rooms for guests at discounted rates.

My Tip: If you think your guest list could benefit from knowing who’s staying where, set up a hotel sign up sheet where people can make notes and connect.

BUDGET

Discuss budget EARLY. Planning a wedding can get expensive and you will need to set parameters.

Who’s contributing? Give family members the chance to help financially however they feel comfortable.

Prioritize. Decide what is most important to you and your fiancé. Plan your budget accordingly so you don’t blow too much of it on a low-priority item.

Leave some reserve funds. There are always little things that will pop up later on, so don’t plan your initial budget estimates down to the very last dollar.

Tip your Day of Vendors. Plan in advance for vendors that you will need to provide a tip to for day-of services.

Wedding Planner. Having trouble with your wedding finances – look no further. Connect with me and ask about my “Special Wedding Planning Package” that is sent to your inbox with all the deets, spreadsheets and budget tips.

THE CEREMONY

Select an officiant/pastor. I recommend you connect with an officiant who understands your needs, wants and above all is inclusive and diverse. (That would be me, just saying. Read my Bio and my “Love Notes” from clients on my website and my Instapage)

Marital counseling. I recommend this to all couples, regardless of how long you have been together. Remember planning a wedding is stressful (That would be me again. Check my services for deets)

Get your marriage license. That’s kind of important, err, necessary, and the ceremony won’t happen without one.

Timing. Length of the ceremony may be something you want to discuss with whoever will be marrying you. (Typically an organic ceremony runs about 15-20 minutes)

Vows! Discuss with your fiancé if you will be exchanging traditional vows or writing your own. (I write many for my couples, it’s ok, ask away)

Kids or no kids. If you would prefer guests not bring children to the ceremony, make sure this is clear. You may even want to have childcare available.

My Tip: Send out an online sign up to have guests reserve a space for childcare far in advance and then you will know how many babysitters you will need on hand that day.

RECEPTION

Does your caterer… cater? Whether you’ll be providing a sit down meal or hors d’oeuvres, make sure your caterer has options for those with diet restrictions.

Music sets the mood. Create the atmosphere you desire by choosing you music option with care. Will a DJ help to get the party going or is a live band more your style? Some may even opt for an iPod with a playlist.

Who’s directing traffic and flow? Make sure you hired a Day of Coordinator to be the point person for the reception activities. It is helpful to have someone keeping things on pace. (That would be me, see my website under planning)

Favors. Opt in or Out it’s up to you. Remember to give favors that reflect you both. (ie. honey jars, dessert favors, coffee beans, tea leaves)

My Tip: Send out an online sign up to have guests reserve a space for childcare far in advance and then you will know how many babysitters you will need on hand that day. for the reception to give those parents a well deserved break)

WEDDING DAY

Plan ahead! Make sure things are done prior so you can actually enjoy your wedding day! (Hire that day of coordinator…Me)

Stay grounded. Keep people close to you that can provide a sense of calm through the chaos and who can help you make good, quick decisions if need be.

Make time for the special people. Set aside specific time for those you are close to during your wedding weekend or the weekend will pass before you realize you didn’t get that extra time.

Express yourself. Exchange a card or letter to be opened the day-of the wedding – write something truly from the heart to the special person you will be sharing the rest of your life with.

Be thankful. On your wedding day, pause from time to time and take in all the love that surrounds you!

Save the Last Dance. I ALWAYS tell my couples to close down 10 minutes before the time is over at reception and have the last dance together to close the wedding night.

 

That’s a wrap!~ xo Reverend Francesca

How to Navigate your Marriage for Success

How to Navigate your Marriage for Success

How to Navigate your Marriage for Success

“We’re born with the capacity to have a happy marriage, but we still have to work to develop it,” says Reverend Francesca from Mindfulness Marriage Counselling. Having a good marriage takes education and learning every day. “We have to unlearn some bad habits and acquire other good ones.” Couples who remain close and content are the pioneer-spirited among us who share the same secret formula: When problems crop up, they don’t give up. They use the following five basic pieces of advice for a good marriage that can help every couple live (more) happily ever after.

1. Listen Up!  Everybody has the need to be listened to and fully understood, right? regardless of what you think!. You need to make your partner feel heard, even if that means pushing aside some anxiety or sitting on your hands rather than offering advice when your partner needs to talk. Sometimes simply repeating what your spouse has said, is enough to let him or her know that you’ve been listening. For example, say something like, “I understand you’re upset because I didn’t take out the trash.” Or “I hear that you want to talk about what happened at the office today. Show that you’re paying attention to your partner’s concerns.

2. Set aside regular couple time. “Early on in a relationship couples talk as friends, they do fun things,” says Reverend Francesca. Over time, those ways of connecting change. Work, family, financial woes, all have a way of overtaking daily life and eroding the sense of fun that brought you two together in the first place. Bring the fun back – even if you have to schedule it in the calendar once every week, once a month. Sharing a physical activity, like a bike ride or a walk around the block, is especially good for lifting your spirits along with your heart rate. Activities like going out for an intimate dinner, staying at home and playing music and dancing or sitting together snuggling, or watching a favorite movie (will help you both remember why you chose each other). Make the dating effort.

3. Don’t throw things. Of course, you and your partner are not going to agree about everything. But in expressing disagreement to your partner, playground rules apply — no insults, name calling, or throwing things. “If you disagree, do it in a civil way,” says Reverend Francesca. If you go down the above path, be quick to stop yourself and apologize. If your disagreement seems to be escalating, call a mutually agreed upon time-out, and make a plan to continue the discussion after a cooling-off period. Keeping things on a calm for your marriage. When in doubt, follow this advice to resolve conflicts:

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it.

Whenever you’re right, hush.

4. Turn up the heat. “If your sex life is diminishing or you’re not having sex as often as one partner in the relationship would like, then you have to make getting your intimate life back on track a priority,” says Reverend Francesca. At the beginning when we’re wooing our partners, we make this tremendous effort, and after we get into a relationship, we put that on the back burner. Why?, because we are comfortable. Think about your partner as someone you want – and someone you want to entice to fall in love with you over and over again. Pay attention to your grooming, be romantic, don’t take your partner for granted. Fall in love with your partner over and over again as a new day begins.

5. Ask for what you want – nicely. “If there’s something you’d like your spouse to do, you have choices,” says Reverend Francesca. Keep it to yourself and let it fester or smack talk them to your friends. The best choice really, is to talk about it with your partner. How are they supposed to know that you wish they would bring home flowers or that a back rub would be nice? Tell them – simply, sweetly, and directly. Don’t drop obscure hints – this is not a test to see if he or she loves you. It’s about giving yourself permission to ask for what you want and requesting it lovingly – without accusations or guilt-tripping. If they gets defensive and discussion becomes impossible, you might consider seeing a marriage counselor who can offer advice for a good marriage. Men and Women alike — don’t realize that even small gestures go a long way to making our partners, and our marriages, HAPPY.

At the very least, a hug goes a long way after a tough day. Remember that!

Still Struggling!

No worries “I got You“. Get in touch here to schedule a session with me to a happier, healthier marriage and partnership.

PSST ~ “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, and neither is your relationship.

Be Well… xo Reverend Francesca

Daily Mindfulness Tips To Strengthen Your Marriage

Daily Mindfulness Tips To Strengthen Your Marriage

Daily Mindfulness Tips to Strengthen your Marriage

Some couples may hear the term “mindfulness” and think of it as complicated or impossible to practice regularly.

The fact of the matter is, at its core, mindfulness is just about paying attention to what’s going on around you. It’s the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.

Here are some Tips to help you strengthen any relationship include your own with yourself.

Morning Glory

Pay close attention to how your mind and body feel as soon as you wake up in the morning. If you wake up tired, not feeling well, stressed, take time to pause. Pray, meditate, stretch, listen to positive energy boosting music. Allow yourself time to shift  the mood.

Practice mindful eating.

Make a conscious effort to slow down and savor your food and really enjoy what you made. Not only can this help you be more aware of what foods you are eating, but it is also an easy way to remind you to check in with your body and also check in with your partner enjoying a meal together.

Take time to connect with your partner.

I strongly encourage my couples to set aside time throughout each day to connect and practice mindful listening at least 30 minutes a day. Think about what your spouse is saying and resist expressing any judgment or opinion. Sometimes it’s more important just to listen and be present in the moment to validate their emotions.

Acknowledge all your emotions, even the most challenging ones.

Whether you are anxious, depressed, excited, or scared, turn towards that emotion, do not run from it. Look to your partner for comfort and focus on the present, rather than difficult moments. Acknowledge the emotion and spend time with it to figure out what is behind the emotional trigger. It could be something that was said, heard, read and you need to break it down.

Explore gratitude.

When was the last time you thanked your other half? When was the last time you took a moment to be grateful for all that you have. Have you ever written down how much you love and appreciate each other? Try this at home. This daily practice helps to increase connection and satisfaction in your relationships.

Shift into a positive mindset.

If you and your spouse are struggling to communicate, try to zero in on your conscious behavioral and emotional awareness with a helpful cue. Ex: A coffee break, a stress ball, music, or a walk outside in crisp air. This changes the mindset and shifts it back to positivity.

Be Unapologetically You

Don’t apologize for who you are and whom you’ve become. You have and still are going through an incredible journey with your beautiful soul. Own it and don’t look back. Learn, Grown and Flourish and remove anything or anyone from your souls home that doesn’t make you sing.

Allow your thoughts to wander without criticism or judgment.

Practicing mindfulness every day can directly affect the health and happiness of your relationships. So, pay close attention to what’s going on around you, find new routines, and make a conscious effort to monitor your behavior. No matter how you choose to practice being mindful, your marriage is sure to benefit.

Contact me for more information about my Marriage Mindfulness Counselling.

 

 

 

 

xo Reverend Francesca
The 5 Qualities of a Successful Marriage

The 5 Qualities of a Successful Marriage

The 5 Qualities of a Successful Marriage

There is data to support the idea that happy people, and more specifically happy marriages, share common characteristics.

Here I will discuss in detail the 5 qualities of a Successful Marriage in my ” Marriage Mindfulness” Series.

Friendship

Happy, healthy marriages are marked by a deep and abiding friendship. One observable sign of a healthy friendship and a happy marriage is seen in how they interact, finding that spouses nurture their friendships by demonstrating fondness and admiration, respect and allowing the other to  be their own person. They quickly keep note of their spouse’s likes and dislikes. Respect and communication are strongly associated with couples happiness along with their sex lives, romance and passion.

Togetherness

Happy marriages and satisfying relationships are marked by a form of “flow”, with a matching of beliefs, values, ideas, humor, even body language movements. I find that happy couples more frequently laugh together, confide in each other, work well on projects together and can discuss issues regardless if they are not on the same page. They will come back to the table and discuss their concerns once they both have had a time to digest the other partners ideas and suggestions.

Affection

Affection is felt by mutual feelings of fondness, love and tenderness. Affection felt between a couple in love is sometimes silent with their eyes, a touch or a gesture. Affection is important in a marriage. It can be something so simple as a smile, a word, a touch and even a silent hug towards your partner, especially when they are having a day of struggles. Feelings and emotions are the foundation in the pleasure and joy we experience in life, separately and together as a couple.

​Other-Focused

James (James 1:19) healthy relationships put into practice the notion of being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. These are signs of not only good communication patterns, but of an unselfish regard for the welfare of others. Many couples note with some sadness that the degree of their own selfishness became clearer as their new chapter together commenced. It is important to understand that we as humans have to love and respect ourselves before we can engage in a partnership with another human being. Loving yourself unconditionally first gives you the knowledge to love deeply, give deeply and understand without judgement.

Spirituality

A spiritually intimate marriage is one where couples pray together seeking God in the lives daily.

These five qualities ” friendship, togetherness, affection, other-focused, and shared spirituality” are often found in the people who describe their marriages as “happy.” Finding profound calmness, togetherness, friendship, understanding, respect, kindness, love and non judgement is what a firm foundation of “Marriage Mindfulness” is about.

Connect with ME

To find out how I can help you achieve this as a couple who is living together, engaged to be married and or married, please click here to schedule a consultation with me towards a happier, healthier life together.

 

xo Reverend Francesca

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