21 Couples Who Decided To Elope And Are Damn Glad They Did

There are those who dream of throwing a big blow-out wedding with tons of guests, a fairytale dress and fancy centerpieces. Others fantasize about eloping in a no-frills ceremony instead with only a few close family and friends present — or perhaps no one at all.

One choice isn’t inherently better than the other; it’s an intensely personal decision that the couple must make together. We recently asked 21 couples why eloping was the right choice for them. Read on to see what they had to say: 

**Some responses have been edited and condensed for clarity. 

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Important Questions to Ask Your Wedding Vendors

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{Photo Credit: Loyall Hart}

Wedding planning can be extremely overwhelming. Some brides know exactly what they want and have known since they were little girls and other brides have no idea what they want. Whichever bride you are, you’re going to be overwhelmed. The internet and social media is saturated with wedding ideas. Hashtag after hashtag, vision board after vision board… There is almost too much information out there. Nowadays, it isn’t enough to just see someone’s work online. You have to really investigate and interview your vendors. Now, before we get into some of the essential tools for hiring wedding vendors, HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER! I’ve never understood people who don’t hire a wedding planner to handle one of the most important days of their lives.

1. Decide what matters the most. I always ask my clients, “What is the most important aspect of your wedding?” I get everything from the cake to the dress to the food. Depending on their answer, we’ll focus more of the budget on that particular want. Often times, there isn’t wiggle room in a budget. Meaning, if your budget is $ 75,000 you don’t have $ 75,000.01. In that case, you’ll have to pull from one item and add it to another in order to make what you want work for the big day.

2. Be specific when searching hashtags. In the age of Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc, finding the right vendors for your wedding can be overwhelming. Even as a vendor, finding the right hashtag to put your work under is challenging. You have over-saturated categories that don’t always fit the intended need. In a recent conversation with Season Bennett a/k/a The Social Barber, who created a program that generates hashtags based on more concise and specific areas and groups, she stressed the importance of searching detailed hashtags. The more detailed the hashtag, (i.e. city, state, street, landmark) the better your chances are of finding local vendors instead of having to weed through thousands from all over the world in that one group.

3. Do your research. Ask your potential vendors for references. Ask to speak to a few of their previous clients and find out what their experiences were like. One bad review out of 30 isn’t terrible. 1 bad review out of 3 is questionable. Aside from reviews, do your research based on pricing as well. If there is a photographer who you absolutely love and there is one who you just like with a $ 500 difference between the two, pick your favorite. Consult with your planner on how to rework the budget to see where you can cut costs to make up for that extra $ 500.

4. Read the fine print. Every contract has fine print. The most confusing fine print for many of my clients is the venue contract. Luckily for them, I go through and explain the contracts but if you don’t have a planner (WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A PLANNER??!!), make sure to have each vendor explain the entire contract line-by-line.

5. Get options but not too many options. One of the biggest mistakes that I see my clients make is having too much information. Once the planning begins, you’ll drown in wedding information if you’re not careful. Have your planner suggest two options per vendor. You don’t need 10 photographers and 10 videographers because all of that information will be overwhelming and it’s unnecessary.

As a general rule when choosing vendors, if they take a week to respond to your email, they’re probably going to take that long if not longer after you hire them. If that bothers you, as it should, they might not be the vendor for you. Remember that not only will you be working with them on one of the most important days of your life but that you’ll have to deal with them the months leading up to the big day.

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Bemustached Cop Who Rescued Kitten Now Flooded With Marriage Proposals

Police officer Cody Garrett of Spartanburg, South Carolina knew that a photo of himself posing with his newly rescued kitten was cute. He just didn’t know how cute.

The 28-year-old cop has been bombarded with marriage proposals since the pair, dubbed a “crime-fighting duo” by Buzzfeed, went viral. (Though Garrett clarified to HuffPost that the tiny orange feline does not, in fact, come along on patrols or otherwise assist in fighting crime.)

Garrett adopted the kitten, whom he named Squirt, after he and another officer found her in a dumpster.

Much better. #mustache #love #kittycat #kitten #kittensofinstagram #cute #rescue

A photo posted by Donut Operator (@donutoperator) on

“It was raining outside pretty bad,” Garrett said, noting that “we probably saved her life” since there was a small flash flood in the area shortly afterwards.

“She’s the smallest kitten I’ve ever seen,” he added.

He decided to bring her home because his own cat, a female named Toothless whom he adopted after finding her in his yard, just had a litter of kittens and was still nursing. He hoped she’d adopt the newcomer, and it worked.

“Toothless has taken her as one of her own,” he said. The cop, who told BarkPost he’ll be getting Toothless spayed, also has two rescue pups, including a one-eyed pup named Mike Wazowski, a reference to the Monsters, Inc character.

And why the name “Squirt?” It’s not because the kitten was just so dang small, but because shortly after bringing her home, the kitten let out a stream of poop.

But it’s hard to hold that against this face.

She's a happy little Squirt! #cute #kitten #kittensofinstagram #kittens #catstagram #cats #rescue

A video posted by Donut Operator (@donutoperator) on

Though he’s been getting “a lot of marry me’s” from new fans, he said his longtime girlfriend isn’t concerned.

“She knows I love her,” he said.

But while he’s not looking for romantic attention, he does hope that his viral story helps people think more positively about cops.

“Police officers aren’t the enemy,” he said. “We have families, we like rescuing animals and playing video games. We’re not just out doing the crazy stuff people see on the news.”

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Lena Dunham’s Latest Bridesmaid Look Is One We’d Gladly Wear Again

Now this is a bridesmaid look that’s actually wearable IRL.

Lena Dunham and her fellow ‘maids donned customized, sparkly J.Crew skirts for BFF Audrey Gelman’s wedding in Detroit on April 30. According to the bride, the looks were hand-stitched by Jenna Lyons and team. 

The devil is in the details #bridesmaids #gomezandmorticia

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

This isn’t the first time Dunham has stood by a bestie’s side as a bridesmaid. She wore this grey number by Reformation at pal Isabel Bramlette Halley’s wedding in June 2014.

Sisters of the cloth

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Don't look back

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

And who could forget the convertible blush bridesmaid dress from Marnie’s hot-mess-of-a-wedding on “Girls“? 

Here comes the bride! Because the girls are women now… Sort of. @girlshbo is back Feb 21!

A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Lena Dunham: Bridesmaid extraordinaire.

H/T PopSugar

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Later to Launch? Why Couples Should Get Married Later…

So, the other day, I felt like a total adult. Like, so adulty, that it made me feel uncomfortable. Why? Well, my hus and I took a long overdue trip to the attorney’s office to sign our wills, health care proxies, and other important documents so that we could protect our kids from any additional anguish should the worst case scenario become a reality. Wouldn’t you say that I am officially an adult? I know! Right? Ugh. It was a tough day, but necessary!

The reason I’m writing about this? Well, Mr. Attorney said something to me that I couldn’t shake in regards to when my kids should have access to their trusts (when we actually have $ $ to give them!). He said that age 35 is the new 25. What does that mean? Well, depending on how my kids develop (and who they develop into), giving them access to a decent sum of money without a chaperone (the executor), could be a mistake. I mean… Who’s to say that my future, 25 year-old daughter wouldn’t blow it on shoes or, gulp, drugs, instead of a wedding or down payment??? Right? When I went to fight him on this point, he said that “kids these days are later to launch…” That phrase totally stopped me (and my argument) dead in my tracks. Why? Because he’s right!

I’m in my late 30s, and my parents and most of my friends’ parents got married and had kids by 25(ish). Seems totally insane, right? Seriously, I couldn’t even imagine having a kid in my 20s, let alone being responsible for his/her well-being! And, when you look at the trend as far as age in relation to weddings these days, people are getting married later in their lives because, they are later to launch! They are leaving their parents homes later, they are settling into their careers later, they are finding love later. So, it makes sense that they are getting married later. And later is better for a lot of reasons. Why?

1. You’re done weeding. Huh? You’re done weeding out the bullshit. You’ve dated and dated, and now you know what you want. Gone are the days of sowing oats… Now, you’re aged to perfection, and you only want one oat to sow.

2. In the same way you know what you want in a partner, you have a better understanding of what your wedding will look like. More of what you want, less of what other people want, and most likely, more of your own money. You begin to think practically and take responsibility for that practicality.

3. Perspective. Yup! My favorite word. You care more about the person you’re going to marry, and your life after the wedding, than the wedding itself. I mean, you’re excited about your wedding day, but it’s not the only day you will look back on fondly… Especially when you have your whole lives to look forward to!

4. It’s not your parent’s wedding, it’s yours, and the people on the “A” list are on the only list. Not to mention, they actually want to be there. An added bonus? You know everybody who’s coming.

5. You’re used to yourself, and you like who you’ve become. No more “faking it until you make it”. Or settling. You’d rather be alone than settle for the wrong dude (or lady).

So, later to launch…? Okay Mr. Attorney, I understand what you’re saying, and now that I’ve had time to let it marinate, I’m going to rest my case.

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Turns Out, It Costs More To Be A Groomsman Than A Bridesmaid

When all is said and done, it turns out groomsmen shell out more on wedding duties than bridesmaids — at least according to a survey of 1,005 people by finance and banking website GOBankingRates

Let these handy infographics guide you through bridesmaid’s and groomsmen’s spending habits:

1. Clothing

2. Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties

3. Wedding Gifts

4. Incidental Wedding Costs

Bridesmaids are more likely to go over budget; 32 percent of bridesmaids said the total amount they spent was more than they budgeted or expected to pay, while only 28 percent of groomsmen said the same.

Here’s a handy chart to keep overspending at bay:

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Whitney Port Got 3 New Rings on Her Wedding Day—and We Have Pictures!

Earlier this month Whitney Port said “I do” to longtime boyfriend Tim Rosenman—and three new wedding rings. Add Tim’s ring to the equation and that’s four custom Tacori wedding bands for the newlyweds. A photo…


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Holiday Gift Ideas 2015: 13 Gifts for the Newest Additions to Your Shopping List, Your Groom’s Family

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5 Bad Sex Habits to Break Before You’re Married

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Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello Kick Off Their Wedding Weekend With an Intimate Beach Party

Three more days until “I do”: Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello kicked off their wedding weekend tonight, hosting a private-beach cocktail party at the Breakers Palm Beach, where they’re slated to swap vows on Sunday….


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Why Feminism Still Needs To Be Called Feminism

This post originally appeared on Bustle.

By JR Thorpe

Leaving aside the maniacs of the Men’s Rights Movement for a minute, even people committed to women’s rights have raised the sacrilegious idea in recent years that the f-word is old-fashioned and needs to be retired for something newer, snappier, and more inclusive. Quick, somebody hire a marketing department. Can we sum up an entire equality movement in an emoji? But all joking aside, should the word “feminism” be replaced?

I say no way — and understanding where the word “feminism” came from is a necessary ingredient to understanding why other words just can’t quite compete. Humanism, equalism, and other ideas have been suggested as replacements, by people as prominent as Meryl Streep, but if they really want a word that’s all about fighting for the rights of women in the world, “feminism” is the best we’ve got, and there are good historical reasons as to why.

So here’s why you shouldn’t throw away your “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” T-shirt or alter it to another word. The history of “feminism” as a word is a slightly twisted one, and it has some unexpected moments — just like the waves of feminism itself. Words are strangely powerful things. Let’s take a look at how the term feminism came to be — and why it needs to stay.

Where The Word Feminism Came From

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In a case of quite peculiar irony, the word “feminism,” used by generations of women to explain their struggle for equal rights and opportunities, was coined by a dude. Charles Fourier was a French socialist philosopher of radical principles in the 19th century, and his term “feminisme” is the basis for today’s term in English. And Fourier’s own peculiarities have led to some people wondering if it’s the right word at all.

Fourier didn’t advocate for complete gender equality because, in his world, the sexes were too seriously biologically different to be treated the same. He was also a utopian thinker, and his conception of “ideal” human life was something like a Grand Budapest Hotel-like commune where workers changed their occupation up to eight times a day to avoid monotony. (Look, if we had to get rid of all the words in English that were coined by strange white dudes, we’d likely not have much to talk about.)

Luckily, his “feminisme” was quickly co-opted by activists, and started to show up in English. Hilariously, its first appearance was in The UK Daily News in the 1890s, “what our Paris Correspondent describes as a ‘Feminist’ group… in the French Chamber of Deputies,” as a warning that the ideology could be extremely dangerous. And it came to the U.S. a decade or so later in an article by the French suffragist Madeline Pelletier (who, by the way, dressed fabulously in men’s suits and bowler hats, and was the first female French psychiatrist).

Another interesting thing about the history of the word “feminism” is that, while huge swaths of women in history worked for feminist goals like women’s voting rights and access to education, self-identification as a “feminist” was relatively rare until midway through the 20th century. People like Elizabeth Cady Stanton didn’t use the word. The real boom for the word “feminist” in English came with feminism’s “second wave,” in the ’60s and ’70s. It’s far newer in the mouths of English-speakers than you might think: only 50 or so years old.

The Current Controversy Over The F-Word

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The word “feminism” has encountered a lot of chatter recently about whether it’s “outmoded” or needs to be “upgraded” — or, indeed, phased out. The arguments range from the utterly ridiculous (“sexism has been solved, we’ve got the vote, what’s everybody complaining about”) to the more serious.

Feminism is accused as a term of being old-fashioned, aggressive, insufficiently inclusive, not doing enough to solve sexism, and carrying too much baggage. People have suggested alternatives, like “humanism” or “equalism” — but I think we need to hang onto feminism as a word, problematic as it is. Here’s why.

Why “Humanism” Isn’t A Good Replacement

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“Humanism” has been tossed around as a possible replacement for “feminist,” on the grounds that it sounds the same but seems more inclusive of humanity as a whole. Sarah Jessica Parker has said, for instance, that “I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist.” So has Meryl Streep. The problem? Being a humanist isn’t just a declaration that you’re in favor of all people everywhere having the same rights. It’s its own philosophical category, and using it willy-nilly without understanding its meaning is problematic.

Humanism is, essentially, the belief that the source of human values isn’t God, but humanity itself — particularly our capacity to be rational. It’s also a celebration of human life and the individual, and it’s existed as a philosophical tradition since the Enlightenment in Europe. According to the New World Encyclopedia,

Humanism refers to any perspective which is committed to the centrality and interests of human beings. It also refers to a belief that reason and autonomy are the basic aspects of human existence, and that the foundation for ethics and society is autonomy and moral equality.

It’s a great perspective — humanist wedding ceremonies are understandably popular — but it doesn’t mean that you’re focusing on the rights of every human. As Jarrah Hodge over at Gender Focus explains, humanism “includes a commitment to the rational and scientific and a rejection of the idea of divine and supernatural powers.” It’s not about rights or equal opportunities, or at least not centrally, and using it in that context seriously misuses the term. Humanists Against Feminism is a genuine thing that exists.

I do get that it’s more a fun turn of phrase than an actual position, but if there’s one thing you know if you’re a committed feminist, it’s that words matter. (It’s not that Sarah Jessica Parker isn’t a philosophical humanist, either. Maybe she is!)

Why “Equalist” Isn’t As Useful Either


The whole essence of feminism is that it focuses on the disadvantages and inequality of one particular group: women. Which is why saying “But I believe in the equality of everybody!” is kind of missing the point.

Just because you believe everybody should have the same rights doesn’t mean they do. This is the key bit: feminism is about tackling the world as it actually is, where one particular gender group is being discriminated against. While the end result, hopefully, is equality for all, what’s happening right now is an environment of wide-ranging discrimination against women, and that needs to be addressed for equality to be created. Saying you’re an “equalist” is like saying you believe in a world of well-built houses when half the materials used to make houses are burnt or rotten. The house can’t be built unless those materials are fixed.

To Be More Inclusive, We Need To Change Feminism Itself, Not The Word Feminism

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Using the word “feminism” shouldn’t prevent people from seeing other aspects of inequality within the movement. The whole concept of “intersectional feminism” was founded to try and broaden our understanding of discrimination against women, and make it clear that sexism is inextricably linked to race, class, and other factors.

The famous idea of “womanism,” as coined by author Alice Walker, is an attempt to answer one bit of this exclusionary issue — how can women of color feel comfortable and heard in a movement hugely dominated, throughout history, by white women? It’s an ongoing conversation, and it’s important for everybody to have a space where they feel their struggle is the focus. But replacing feminism with something that doesn’t acknowledge anybody’s struggle? In my opinion, that is taking it too far.

The Bottom Line


Part of the word feminism’s value is in its history. It’s a word that acknowledges the past struggles of people who’ve fought, sometimes against truly horrendous opposition, for the same values, even if they didn’t use the same term. From proto-feminists through to the suffragettes, the Gloria Steinems and the people protecting Planned Parenthoods, it’s a word that wears its history prominently — and a great deal of that history needs to be celebrated, even if it’s complicated (which it often is). Remembering doesn’t mean that you agree with all of it, just that you know it’s there.

It’s also, frankly, the best word we’ve got. It is, in its purest form, about improving the status of women as a group in the world — and there is no way in which that struggle is even close to over. The UN estimates that increasing women’s participation in the workforce and giving them equal pay worldwide would raise the world economy’s value by $ 17 trillion. Yep. That’s trillions.

It may be seen by some as an “aggressive” term, but when you’re faced with situations like constant everyday misogynist bullying, a rape rate increase of 29 percent in the U.K. in the past year, 15 million girls worldwide being forced into marriage as children every year, and countless other bits of evidence that women are still second-class citizens, it’s necessary to be aggressive.

Feminism needs to acknowledge and give status to people who aren’t just white, middle-class, cis, and able-bodied, but at least we’re beginning to have that conversation openly. And, frankly, there’s no other word in the world that does what it does and encapsulates what it means — at least not yet. Long live the f-word.

Images: CarnivalGoldfish, airspin, SillyTees, MisandryOverMisogyny/Etsy; Charles Chusseau-Flaviens, Schlesinger Library at Harvard/Wikimedia Commons, American Humanist Association

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These 4 Precious Pups Helped Their Parents Tie The Knot

Shandess Griffin is a devoted mom to four precious fur babies: Zero, Holden, Navi and Arbor.

When she tied the knot with Jason Griffin on Sept. 19 in Tofino, British Columbia, there was no doubt that the whole gang would be right by their side.

“There wouldn’t have been a wedding without them,” Shandess told The Huffington Post. “It was a spectacular feeling to have all my loved ones there and it just wouldn’t be complete without my daily companions!”

Zero, an 8-year-old Samoyed, is the oldest of the bunch. Next up is Holden, a 6-year-old Bernese mountain dog, followed by Navi — a 4-year-old Australian Shepherd mix. The baby of the group is Arbor, a 2-year-old Bernese mountain dog. 

The boys sported dapper bow ties for the occasion, and Zero even had his fur styled. 

At the reception, Zero and Holden joined the newlyweds for their first dance.

 

Zero and Holden, pictured above, have been a part of the couple’s love story since day one. Jason and Shandess first met online after he sent her a message, asking if he could accompany her and her dogs on a walk. 

“He struck the right chord when he talked about the dogs right away,” Shandess told HuffPost. “Dogs are my world, especially my own and it was very important that he was a dog lover. My dogs loved him immediately and that spoke volumes!”

Since the couple got together five years ago, they have added Navi and Arbor to their brood. When Jason popped the question in June 2014, all four dogs played a part in the proposal. 

In December, the newlyweds will be adding yet another pup to their growing family — an Australian Shepherd named Harvest.

For more adorable photos of the furry fam, visit the @shandandherdogs Instagram account.

H/T BuzzFeed

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8 Cute Kids That’ll Make You Re-Think Your ‘Adults Only’ Wedding

Yes, they may have a mid-aisle tantrum, but the crowd loves a ring bearer and flower girl.

 

Click here for more from New York Weddings. 

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Whitney Port’s Wedding Dress: Her Edgy, High-Low Gown Is To-Die-For

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See Who Got Married This Weekend!

Wedding season may be winding down, but that didn’t stop our readers who tied the knot this weekend from going all-out with their celebrations. 

Check out some of the lovely photos from their big days below: 

If you go to a wedding or get married yourself, hashtag your photos #HPrealweddings or e-mail one to us afterwards so we can feature it on the site!

For photos from other real weddings in 2015, check out the slideshow below:

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Defining DIY Wedding Planning — And How to Successfully Do-It-Yourself

I’ve always wanted to be the person to write the formal definition of “DIY” for weddings. God knows, I’ve learned it the hard way. Both in planning my own DIY wedding in 2004, and in helping brides and grooms with the Do-It-Yourself bug find ways to make their personal mark on their wedding planning.

DIYing your wedding planning doesn’t mean that you have to do absolutely everything yourself to make your wedding happen, or that you can’t hire any experienced professionals to help you. DIYing your wedding simply means you’ve taken on the responsibility of coordinating your own wedding plans. There you go — that’s a definition! Pay attention to the “Y” portion of DIY — this means that you and your fiancé have signed up for this great adventure, not your entire family or your wedding party, unless they volunteer to help you.

We all know the DIY-craze has swept this nation. I think it started with all the home improvement shows – we all got sucked into them! Then it was landscaping. And house flipping! Naturally, if it’s possible to do all those things yourself and save a ton of money, it should be easy for brides and grooms to DIY their wedding planning, too. Right?

For some engaged couples, planning the wedding is cake (pun intended), and they have a lot of fun meeting with vendors and arranging every detail for their big day. To enjoy the process, you have to be a very organized person with time available to talk to wedding vendors during normal business hours. You can’t get it all done on weekends because good wedding vendors are booked with other weddings and events. And they don’t want to talk to you at night because they have client commitments a couple nights a week, so they reserve their off-nights for their personal life.

A number of brides and grooms who’ve hired me to plan their weddings started out DIYing it themselves. I didn’t get hired until they had taken the plunge into planning it themselves, and ran into roadblocks they couldn’t defeat on their own. Sometimes, it’s just a shortage of time to track down, play phone tag, and negotiate contracts with vendors. Occasionally, they’ve made bad decisions early in the process that are causing them planning problems further down the line, such as choosing a wedding reception venue that turned out not to be big enough for everyone who accepted their invitation.

With destination wedding DIYers, the problem may be dealing with vendors who are on island time, and not as responsive as a stressed-out bride with an East Coast temperament might like them to be. Frustration causes them to give up and hire a professional to step in and clean up the mess, and finish up all the little details, so the bride and groom can relax and start enjoying their wedding events. Unfortunately, fixing a wedding in distress is often more expensive than hiring a professional from the very beginning. Fixing and re-planning takes an event planner more time than starting the wedding planning from scratch.

Wanna-be DIY brides and grooms who realize they don’t have time to oversee all of their wedding details, and don’t want to be in charge of everything at the actual events, opt to hire a professional event coordinator to make sure their big day goes off without a hitch. These couples will satisfy their DIY itch by hand-making numerous other items for their weddings. I’ve seen my clients monogram everything that would sit still, hand-craft creative invitations, and bottle maple syrup from their family farms for wedding favors. Depending on how creative the couple is, and how much time they have to put into it, brides and grooms really can DIY a whole lot of their wedding details, from the welcome gifts to the programs. It’s all about what the couple wants to do, and what they have time to accomplish before the wedding day. I hand-painted Christmas ornaments as wedding favors, and champagne flutes for each bridesmaid. I wish I were a little more talented with a paintbrush, but they turned out really cute and were appreciated more for the effort than the artistry.

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Last year, my company started a new service, offering DIY wedding planning consulting services to brides and grooms who didn’t want a wedding planner to coordinate the whole enchilada. We launched this in response to the numerous requests, over the years, for assistance from DIY brides and grooms that we weren’t prepared to help. Most of the time, the brides calling were already neck-deep in their planning and in a total state of panic. And unfortunately, they’d often waited too late to book us because we were already committed to planning other events on their wedding date. I realized that DIY brides and grooms need more help on the front end of planning than at any other time. If they have some guidance on what to do, and what to avoid, at the outset, many wedding-tastrophies would never occur. It’s that whole concept of getting started off on the right foot coming into play.

I preach hiring good, experienced, professional vendors to all the DIYers I encounter. DIYing your wedding doesn’t mean you cannot hire a pastry chef to make your cake, a florist to create your bouquets, and a DJ to spin your tunes at the main event. A wedding planner doesn’t do all that stuff – we hire professionals to do it for you. A happy DIY bride is somebody who has organized things so well that the professionals she’s hired can execute the plan she’s created for her wedding day, without too much assistance or intervention from the wedding couple.

Whatever approach you take to DIYing your wedding, be sure to get everything on your to-do list accomplished ahead of the 30-day-out mark for your wedding. Many things cannot be finished up ahead of time, and you’re going to be very, very busy during your wedding week. Don’t sabotage your own DIY efforts by procrastinating on critical things like a playlist for the DJ, or vow for the wedding ceremony. Get absolutely everything that can be finished in advance wrapped up long before you’re dealing with the stress of the actual wedding week, and you have a much better chance of enjoying your own festivities.

If you’re going to DIY your wedding, do it right from the beginning, and you’ll have a lot more fun at the end! Until next time, happy wedding planning from Sandy Malone Weddings & Events!

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Move Over, Plain Diamond Halos: 3 New Ways to Wear Sapphires In Your Engagement Ring

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Wedding Pros Weigh In: 18 First-Dance Songs That Haven’t Been Done to Death

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51 Brand-New Wedding Dresses You Need to See: Take a Seat in the Front Row at Bridal Fashion Week

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Your Spouse’s Unhealthy Habits Could Be Making You Fat, Study Says

(Reuters Health) – Need another reason to blame weight gain on your marriage? When one spouse becomes obese, the other’s risk of obesity almost doubles, a U.S. study suggests.

“Normal weight people whose spouses went from being normal weight to obese were more likely to become obese,” said Laura Cobb, who led the study as a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

“This suggests that changes in one spouse are likely to also be reflected in the other spouse, likely because of similar changes in diet, physical activity or other behaviors that impact obesity,” Cobb said by email.

Plenty of research already links marriage and weight gain, and scientists have firmly established the connection between obesity and heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

What the current study adds is a fresh take on how couples may gain weight in tandem, insight that might help shape more effective obesity prevention and treatment efforts targeting couples, Cobb and colleagues note in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Researchers followed almost 4,000 couples for up to 25 years, starting between 1987 and 1989. After an initial exam, they had three follow-up visits roughly three years apart, followed by a fifth exam between 2011 and 2013.

At the start of the study, 23 percent of the men and 25 percent of the women were obese.

Non-obese men whose wives became obese between visits in the study were 78 percent more likely to become obese during that period than they would have been had their wives not gained so much weight, the study found.

Having a husband become obese was linked to an 89 percent increased risk of developing obesity for their wives.

Not many people who started out obese lost enough weight to be considered no longer obese, but when they did, their spouse was also more likely to become non-obese.

Shortcomings of the study include the long stretch of time that elapsed between the fourth and fifth exams and the large proportion of people who died or left the study before the final visit, the authors acknowledge.

It’s not unusual for married couples to forge common habits over time that influence their weight, said Ivanka Prichard, a weight loss researcher at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia.

“Over time, similarities in diet, particularly any unhealthy aspects, may lead to weight changes,” Prichard, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “There are also a range of pressures in life that could impact this such as having children, work, shared health knowledge, time or finances.”

Like unhealthy habits, though, positive lifestyle choices can also be contagious in a marriage, said Debra Umberson, director of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

“When married people get in shape or lose weight, it’s often because one spouse takes the lead and urges the other spouse along,” Umberson, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Even if the person not taking the lead is resistant, over time they will probably be influenced by the kinds of food and activities their spouse is involved with – especially if the person taking the lead is the one who purchases groceries or prepares meals.”

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How to Deal When You’re Married to a Mama’s Boy

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All In The Timing

Wedding planning can be a hectic adventure from the moment that ring gets slipped onto a finger. From picking the date, to selecting the venue and all of your vendors, it is a roller coaster ride that needs serious management. This is why you hire a planner, but you already knew I was going to say that.

The timing of the actual wedding day may not seem important to you until you get within 6-8 weeks away AKA “Month of Coordination” area, but in reality, you should consider the timing from day 1. As a planner (and a micromanaging one at that) I create timelines that span anywhere from 3-7 pages long. This all depends on the details, but I can assure you that I think of everything and that I account for where I might need extra time. Frequently heard at the weddings I plan? The following (and typically from jaded non-believers): Wow, I can’t believe how on time everything is.

Of course it is. I planned it that way. It’s all in the timing.

Yes, I just said the title of this blog post.

How your day ebbs and flows begins at the minute you start your planning. Let’s face it, many couples already know what they want including colors, theme, vibe, guest count and more. Half of the brides that come to see me have Pinterest pages that I guarantee were started before the engagement. So yes, you know what you want. How do you actually get it? What are you going to do?…Besides hire a planner because, you know… um, hello.

That ceiling installation you saw online, that first dance on a cloud you’ve heard about, and anything else you can possibly imagine, all needs the correct timing. I’m talking “when is the salad plated-how many toasts-is there enough time before entree for a dance set” timing.

When I create a timeline, I talk to all of the vendors and the venue. Planners get a bad rep because some of them just dictate timelines and tell vendors and the venue when things are going to happen. It doesn’t work like that and I’m not about to tell the photographer how long he has to take detail shots. He tells me that. As a planner, I’m going to pull all of that together for you so that you, your fiance, and of course the peanut gallery (read: wedding party, parents and some guests) don’t have to think about anything on the wedding day. I do the thinking for you. Have a glass of champagne, you’re covered.

Here’s the issue though… if you’ve been following me here and on social media, you will know that I prefer to handle full planning of weddings. I really like working with the vendors that I trust and ones that I know can deliver, as opposed to playing Russian Roulette with someone you found on a website that probably writes their own reviews, or a friend or family member that has offered to be a vendor. I see a wedding as a team sport, and I like being the person that picks the people on the team.

The issue arises when you already have some team members picked out, and then you come to see me. You can bring in your design ideas and anything else you want, but if I see an issue with the timing, you can bet I will bring it up. So, if you want pipe and drape and really funky rentals, I will ask you how much time you have at the venue… and I will cross my fingers that you picked a venue that hosts one wedding a day.

As a planner and a designer, we are hired to sometimes just design the wedding. The client doesn’t want us to plan a thing… just take their vision and make it happen. We’re good at doing that, but to do a solid job, the proper timing is needed. As a planner, I know it’s important to communicate to my vendors just how much time they have to set up. As a designer, I need to know the same information. I will tell you this: if you book a venue before booking a planner or anyone that needs to be in that space, make sure you find out what your timing looks like. How long will you have for set up? What is the minimum amount of time? What number do you need to write on a check to extend that minimum/guarantee the space? Odds are it’s mentioned during your first appointment and it could even be in your contract. That said, so many people aren’t paying attention to that because they don’t realize how it will affect them come wedding day.

For instance, when I consult with a venue and am told that tables and linens go down at 10am, for a vendor load in at 12:00 p.m., and then I give that information to my florists, it’s going to get ugly when they are told they cannot get into the room until 4:00 p.m. You know what happens then? The florist says they have to leave everything there because they have another job unless the client (that’s you) wants to cover their expenses. That fancy set up you paid for might not even happen if the timing that was promised simply goes away. The more complicated the set up, the worse this situation becomes.

If you book with a venue and then meet with a florist, rental company, planner, or designer, make sure you know how much time they will have. You could have an amazing vision in your head and the florist is set to bring it to life… but if they find out the week of your wedding that they only have an hour to make it happen, things could get messy.

The timing is important and couples don’t know to ask about it. It’s a question that almost never comes up, and it wouldn’t because the couple is most likely not in the wedding industry. The bummer is that it’s one of the most important things to know from day 1. The crazier the set up, the more time will be needed to complete it. So, if you have a crazy set up in mind (be honest with yourself… you know if it’s crazy), then it’s a good idea to only visit venues where you’re the only party that day, or where you will be able to write a check to make that happen. If you’ve already booked a venue, and are stuck with that 1 hour to 2 hour window for set up, just have that information handy when consulting the rest of the team for wedding day.

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This Chinese Celeb’s Custom Dior Wedding Dress Took Five Months to Make

American celebrities aren’t the only ones who opt for over-the-top on their wedding day. Chinese model/actress/singer Angela Yeung—better known by her stage name, Angelababy—married actor/singer/model Huang Xiaoming in couture Christian Dior earlier this month, and…


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Were the Beatles Right About Love?

Were the Beatles right? Is love really all you need for a good marriage? Actually that’s a terribly destructive myth.

Love at first sight is a popular notion. Some relationships begin this way and, as luck would have it, blossom into good marriages. But usually when people immediately think that they’ve found him (or her) at last, they’re in fantasy land. They are imagining a wonderful kind of life together with someone they barely know. If they marry impulsively, they may soon find that they have too little in common for a lifelong relationship. Consequently, the chemistry fades away and not much else if left to build on.

Leading with Your Brain

Love is essential for a good lasting relationship. But the brain, as well as the heart, needs to be engaged to keep (what the Righteous Brothers called) “that loving feeling” alive and growing. Singles who want to get married are often advised to make a list of ten qualities they are looking for in a mate. Doing so helps get beyond the “follow your heart” cliché and, instead, to put thought into the process of deciding who is a good prospect for marriage.

I’m a strong believer in friendship first. If you want your future husband to be your best friend as well as your lover, spend enough time with him to learn whether the two of you are likely to be compatible in the long run. You’re more likely to successfully test yourselves as friends if you act more like a friend than as a lover while getting to know him over a period of at least a few months.

What about sex?

Don’t feel bound to anyone’s time table for when the right time is to become sexually involved. You may have heard that men move on to look for someone else if “nothing happens” by the third date.

I think this may be true for men who feel entitled to sex, regardless of whether they want a noncommittal relationship or one that leads to marriage. If your goal is marriage, it makes sense to avoid getting sexually involved before you feel ready to do so both emotionally and mentally. You will want to have as much time as you need to test the relationship as objectively as possible and of course, and you may also be guided by your own value system based on what your religion’s teachings or those from another source.

Distinguishing Sex from Love

Are you able to distinguish between sex and love? Sex gets the hormones flowing, especially, in women, oxytocin, which has been called the “love hormone” — for good reason. It causes women to feel emotionally bonded and can blind them to the other person’s shortcomings that they would probably recognize if they hadn’t compromised their objectivity. By avoiding getting too physically involved too soon, you’ll give yourself time to see if a real friendship develops, and if the potential exists for spending a lifetime together.

It’s a mistake for a marriage minded woman to have sex because she feel pressured to in order to keep a man interested in her. That’s not love and it’s no basis for a friendship that might lead to marriage. A man who doesn’t respect your boundaries is not for you.

Keeping Love Flourishing in Your Marriage

If you are already married to someone who meets your basic requirements for a life partner, be grateful. But that is just the beginning. Love can grow or fade. If you want to keep love alive, it is up to you. You’ve taken the first step by choosing a partner with whom the chemistry is good and who shares enough of your interests, values and lifestyle preferences for the two of you to be compatible over time.

Benefits of Marriage Meetings

A great way to keep your relationship on track is by holding a weekly marriage meeting, which is a short, gentle conversation that cover all the basics, as described step by step in my book, Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted. Marriage meetings foster romance, intimacy, teamwork, and smoother resolution of issues

By regularly investing a small amount of time and energy, you and your spouse can enjoy both love and a true friendship that lasts for a lifetime.

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Real Brides Share: How Wedding Planning Differs in Your 20s vs. Your 30s

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7 Blessings For a Hindu-Jewish Interfaith Wedding

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A Hindu bride and Jewish groom I worked with wanted to honor the concept of ‘seven blessings’ that are central to traditional wedding ceremonies in both faiths.

In the Jewish tradition, the ceremony is concluded with seven Hebrew blessings and the breaking of the glass.

In the Hindu tradition, the couples partakes in the ancient rite of Saptapadi, whereby they take seven steps around a ceremonial fire and agree to seven vows that will make their union strong. This ritual is said to seal the marriage forever.

Symbolic of both traditions, we concluded their interfaith ceremony with seven vows and blessings. In part they were adapted from the traditional Hindu ceremony and then we added additional heartfelt values.

The couple wanted to give loved ones a chance to offer blessings–a sweet part of both traditions–so parents and siblings spoke a blessing in affirmation of each of the seven vows.

It went like this:

Officiant reads and couple repeats first vow:
We promise to share the duties and welfare of the family. Together we will protect and provide for our family.

Family Member # 1: May this couple be blessed with an abundance of resources and comforts, and be helpful to one another in all ways.

Couple repeats second vow: We will respect each other.

Family Member # 2: May this couple be strong and complement one another.

Couple repeats third vow: We will take care of each other’s well-being, both spiritual and material.

Family Member # 3: May this couple be blessed with prosperity and riches on all levels.

Couple repeats fourth vow: We will share each other’s joys and sorrows with courage and strength.

Family Member # 4: May this couple be eternally happy.

Couple repeats fifth vow: We take an oath of trust and loyalty to each other.

Family Member # 5: May this couple be blessed with a happy family life.

Couple repeats sixth vow: We will fill each other’s lives with the fragrance for human values: Love, compassion, sacrifice and service.

Family Member # 6: May this couple live in perfect harmony… true to their personal values and their joint promises.

Couple repeats seventh vow:
With these vows,
we are related as husband and wife.
Our bond is eternal.
Let our love and friendship become eternal.

Family Member # 7: May this couple always be the best of friends.

This couple opted to avoid chants in a different language and focus on clear, meaningful sentiments to formulate the foundation of their new life together.

The sentiments are somewhat universal so they can be used in any kind of ceremony if you like this approach.

Adapted from Your Interfaith Wedding: A Guide to Blending Faiths, Cultures, and Personal Values into One Beautiful Wedding Ceremony.

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Celeb Planner Mindy Weiss’s Best Wedding Advice: You Heard It Here First

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11 Small Things You Can Do In A Marriage That Make A Big Difference

Marriages are often thought of and celebrated in milestones – weddings, babies and new houses, to name a few. But it’s really the small, everyday moments of love, support and kindness between two people that define a lasting partnership.

We recently asked HuffPost readers to share the little, unexpected tips and tricks that make a big difference in their relationships. Find out what they had to say below: 

1. A good, long hug makes all the difference.
“At least once a day, especially after work, we just stand and give each other a long hug. No words or kissing or moving. I stand with my arms up and he stands with his arms out, then we fall into our hug. It’s a nice quiet moment in which we can decompress with each other.” – Michelle Gold

2. Go out of your way to do something silly and sweet to make your partner smile. 
“I hide things like his favorite snacks or a reminder of something fun we did recently in his shoes, pockets or cup holders in his car with little notes full of stupid puns to make him laugh.” – Lacey Marie

3. Never stop saying “thank you” — even for the simplest of tasks. 
“Even after 12 years, my guy always says to me after dinner, ‘Thank you for a great dinner’ — even if it’s a TV dinner. Makes me feel appreciated.” - Debbie Wagner

4. Create a quirky nighttime ritual that’s just about the two of you. 
“We snack in bed — a late-night ice cream or a chocolate bar that the kids know nothing about!” - Humi K. 

5. Don’t just say “I love you.” Tell each other why specifically. 
“Every night before we go to sleep we say to each other, ‘I love you today because…’ We do this no matter what happened that day. We even make sure to call or text it to each other when we are apart.” – Jae Russell

6. Kiss each other goodbye no matter what. 
“Every morning when I leave for work, he’s still in bed. And every day I say ‘I’m leaving’ and even in a dead sleep, he kisses me.” – Steffanie Anne

7. Inside jokes are a must. 
“My husband and I quote movies all the time, and even recently during sex.
Me: ‘You keep moving my hands.’
Him: ‘I don’t know what to do with my hands, quoting Ricky Bobby.
Instant humor.” - Lindsey Lipp

8. Think about how you can make your partner’s day easier, and then do that. 
“My husband warms my car up for me and scrapes the ice and snow off of it in the winter time, even though I go to work way earlier than him and am fully capable of warming up my own car. It really means a lot that he gets up early and freezes just so I don’t have to.” – Wendy Griffith

9. Spending some time apart can strengthen your bond. 
“It’s going to seem backwards but it’s important in my relationship for my husband and I to have our own interests and do our own thing. I’ll go to yoga or dinner with friends and he will play cards. The time apart gives us the opportunity to miss each other and gives us more stories to share.” – Sarah Goodier

10. Don’t underestimate the importance of touch.
“We always sleep naked and touch in bed, even if it’s just a toe against a leg or a hand on a thigh.” – Lauren East

11. Even when you’re busy, let your partner know that he or she is always top of mind. 
“I program ‘events’ in my husband’s phone calendar to alert him throughout the year. Sweet things like ‘Thinking of you xoxo’ and memories like the day we met.” – Kasey Christine St. John

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From Sketch to Dress: These New Marchesa Wedding Gowns Are to Die For

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Oh Happy Day

On this day, 1/4 of a century ago, I was a little pregnant and a whole lot overwhelmed, for I was marrying a man that I did not love, wearing a dress not of my choosing, in a synagogue that I had no real relationship with. But, for one glorious moment, when those enormous wooden double doors opened, and I started to walk down the long red carpeted aisle, I heard a collective gasp from the crowd, and for a fleeting second I felt like a true princess, until of course, I saw my parents and tripped. (It was a sign.) Then of course, there was ‘him’. And even though it ended with vitriol and violence, it was worth it all for that one glorious second where I actually felt in the deep down part of me, that I was enough.

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Wedding Ceremony 101: How to Structure Your Nuptials

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65 Percent of Couples Forget to Factor In the Honeymoon When They’re Wedding-Planning

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Plan Out a Picture Perfect Wedding Day With These Handy Photography Tips (INFOGRAPHIC)

Though single life is great, at some point, many people decide that it’s time to get hitched with that special someone. However when that day finally arrives there are a plethora of disasters waiting to happen. And with so many cameras around, some of it is sure to get caught on film. From that one uncle nursing his fifth cocktail in the background, to the unforgivable “prom pose” between the bride and groom, there are some pretty unfortunate wedding photos out there. And when they’re truly horrendous, they end up published on the Internet with captions like “Seriously Awkward Wedding Photos” or “Avoid These Cringe-worthy Poses At Your Wedding.” Long story short, you don’t want to be that couple browsing the web one day only to discover that you’ve unintentionally become famous for the wrong reasons.

With your marriage being such a momentous occasion in your life, it’s important to document the big day properly. After all, when you’re reminiscing over tying the knot with your loved one, you don’t want to look back at your sole wedding album and grimace at every memory. Nobody wants to be fretting about having to Photoshop every guest’s red eye when they receive the final photos. Not to mention, asking yourself why the photographer failed to inform you that there was lipstick smeared on your teeth should be the least of your worries.

Fortunately such wedding picture mishaps are uncommon. In fact the majority of wedding photographers you’ll come across are professionals and have even the most difficult ceremonies under control. Yet with all the chaos of planning a wedding, from the centerpieces to the dinner entrees, it’s all too easy to let something like photos fall through the cracks before you say, “I do.” And of all the to-dos on your checklist, ensuring there will be a way to record this special event should be a top priority.

Thankfully, this helpful infographic courtesy of Shutterfly provides everything you need to know to guarantee a picture perfect wedding. It has you covered whether you’re having trouble pinpointing the ideal time of day you should set aside for wedding party photos or going over exactly what type of images you are looking for with your photographer. This handy chart will guide you in the right direction. It’ll answer all your burning photography questions and make things considerably easier for both you and your spouse-to-be.

Picturing Your Big Day

This infographic is provided to you by Shutterfly, the leading online provider of photo books, cards and home decor.

Infographic credit: Shutterfly.

This author is not financially associated with Shutterfly.

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6 Ultra-Romantic Wedding Hair Ideas, and Exactly How to Copycat Them

In the market for unfussy wedding hair? Right this way: Here are six soft, romantic, wedding-worthy styles—and step-by-step instructions on how to achieve each. All six styles are paired with equally dreamy wedding dresses and…


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Jada Pinkett Smith Posts Adorable Baby Pic For Will Smith’s Birthday

Happy 47th birthday to the Fresh Prince! 

Wife Jada Pinkett Smith marked the occasion by sharing one of her husband’s baby pictures on her Facebook page — and it’s precious. 

She wrote in the post, “I’m not going to pull out the calculator like you did but know this…you have a 100 percent of my heart and the rest of my days…Happy birthday, you exceptional man.”

I'm not going to pull out the calculator like you did but know this… you have a 100 percent of my heart and the rest of my days…Happy birthday, you exceptional man󾌬

Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Friday, September 25, 2015

The calculator comment is a reference to the super sweet birthday message Will posted about Pinkett Smith when she turned 44 last Friday. On September 18, the “Men In Black” actor shared a 20-year-old throwback pic of the couple, captioning it: ”I’ve told you ‘I love you’ at least 8,285 times. And of the nearly 3.96 billion women on the planet — there is only 1 that I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

D’awww!

This was taken at your mom's house 20 years ago. That's a long time ago!!! So I decided to do some math… I have sung…

Posted by Will Smith on Friday, September 18, 2015

Smith and Pinkett Smith — who have faced affair and divorce rumors for a number of years — tied the knot on New Year’s Eve in 1997. They are parents to 17-year-old son Jaden and 14-year-old daughter Willow. 

 

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New Photo: The Rear View on Allison Williams’ Wedding Dress Is Everything

If you were freaking out over the front of Allison Williams’ wedding dress, just wait ’til you see the rear view. Four days after marrying College Humor founder Ricky Van Veen in a top-secret ranch…


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Watch Ellen Degeneres & Portia de Rossi Play The ‘Not-So-Newlywed’ Game

Seven years of marriage later, Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi are still very much in sync. 

On Wednesday’s episode of “Ellen,” the pair prove as much when they challenge fellow Hollywood couple, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone, to a round of the “Not-So-Newlywed” Game. 

In the video below, Degeneres is asked to name de Rossi’s celebrity crush and totally nails it: 

To see how they fared against their opponents, watch Wednesday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Check Ellentv.com for your local listings.

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Allison Williams Is Married

Wedding bells rang for Allison Williams and Ricky Van Veen on Saturday.

The “Girls” star and Van Veen, who co-founded College Humor, exchanged vows in front of celebrity guests including Lena Dunham, Katy Perry, John Mayer and Seth Meyers, People reported.

The gorgeous bride walked down the aisle in an Oscar de la Renta gown. Williams shared a photo from the wedding on her Instagram account early Sunday morning: 

9.19.15 Dress by @oscar.de.la.renta Photo by @christianothstudio

A photo posted by Allison Williams (@aw) on

The 27-year-old, who is the daughter of journalist Brian Williams, told Glamour magazine in March 2014 that she would like to have children some day.

“My goal is to create a career I can walk away from and become a mom,” she said.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

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Here’s a Sneak Peek at Leonard and Penny’s Big Bang Theory Wedding! (It’s On, People!)

Looks like we’re going to have a Big Bang wedding! Despite the fact that Leonard (Johnny Galecki) admitted to kissing another woman, he and Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) have landed in Las Vegas and are ready…


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5 Under-$350 Wedding Dresses From the LAST Place You’d Think to Buy a Wedding Dress

When you picture yourself wedding dress shopping, there’s probably a bridal boutique with soft lighting and maybe a flute of champagne. You probably don’t picture finding a wedding dress while you’re in sweats and on…


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Kristin Cavallari Makes an Adorable Bridesmaid—With a Baby Bump!

It’s raining through Fashion Week in New York City tonight, but there’s still wedding-worthy weather in Laguna Beach—or thereabouts. About two hours north of the city that made her famous, Kristin Cavallari—now married and a…


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18 Out-Of-The-Ordinary Wedding Venues For Unconventional Couples

So many lovely weddings have been held in hotel ballrooms — but that traditional type of venue isn’t right for every couple. 

With that in mind, we dug up 18 beautiful, quirky and unexpected places real brides and grooms have tied the knot. Check them out below. 

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9 Next-Generation Halo Engagement Rings You’ll Love

Halo engagement rings are always lovely—we’re particularly fond of them in yellow and rose gold. But since they’ve surged in popularity over the past five or so years, a plain halo setting can feel a…


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Jay Z Sings Along To Beyoncé During Her Made In America Show Because That’s What Love Is

Just when you thought Beyoncé and Jay Z’s love couldn’t get any sweeter, it does. 

The superstar performed at her husband’s Made in America Festival on the Rocky Stage in front of a sold-out crowd on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway Saturday. In a sea of 80,000 people, one person stood out: Jay Z.

The rapper was spotted by other concertgoers wearing a hooded sweatshirt and singing along as his wife slayed on stage

Sigh. Bey and Jay forever. <3 

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Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert Get Engaged On ‘Bachelor In Paradise’

“Bachelor in Paradise” ended with a bang, as expected. 

Contestants Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert got engaged on the finale Monday night. The pair, who dated throughout the entire season, were all smiles as they celebrated on the beach, Jade sporting a new Neil Lane diamond ring on her finger. They stopped by “After Paradise” to chat with hosts Chris Harrison and Jenny Mollen, saying their relationship is better than ever.

“We don’t want to have a long engagement, so …” Jade admitted.

Who knew this would be my last first kiss? #BachelorInParadise

A photo posted by Tanner Tolbert (@tanner_tolbert) on

Other couples decided to take a chance at love outside the show, including Samantha Steffen and Nick Peterson and Cassandra Ferguson and Justin Reich. Oddly enough, it was revealed on “After Paradise” that Cassandra actually didn’t end up with Justin, but another “BIP” contestant – Jonathan Holloway. “It’s been about a month, and we’re taking it as slowly as we can,” Holloway told Harrison. 

But not everyone found happiness in paradise. Tenley Molzahn and Joshua Albers decided to go their separate ways, as did Carly Waddell and Kirk Dewindt, who had one of the most dramatic breakups in “Bachelor” history on Sunday night’s episode. Kirk “blindsided” Carly, telling her he didn’t feel as strongly for her as she clearly felt for him, despite the fact that they seemingly had a great connection.

“I had no idea … he never gave me any warning signal at all,” Carly said of the split on “After Paradise.” “My reaction [to the breakup], I think, was very valid.” 

Kirk apologized to Carly on the after show, saying that he tried to give their relationship a fair shot before realizing he was “behind.” He also took to Twitter to share his side of the story:

Carly pulled a Taylor Swift and released a song about the on-air breakup:

Ah, the drama never ends. Until next summer …

 

 

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The Bachelor In Paradise Engagement Ring: Here’s a Photo and All the Details

Another Bachelor In Paradise engagement: The finale of the franchise’s second season saw Tanner proposing to Jade, taking their 20-or-so-day-old relationship to the next level in a major way. The two exchanged “I love you”s…


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5 Solid Reasons to Have a Joint Bridal Shower

When it comes to pre-wedding festivities, most brides are typically honored solo. However, there are some times when having a joint celebration with an also-engaged best friend or sister–or even with your partner, if you’re part of a same-sex couple–might be a great idea.

Here are five reasons you could consider doubling up for your bridal shower and having a celebration for two.

You’ll have a bigger soiree.
If you prefer a larger gathering over an intimate tea or lunch–and your personal mantra is “the more, the merrier”– then a joint shower is for you. When you celebrate two people at once, chances are you’ll have a bigger guest list and more people will be able to make the party.

You can share the spotlight.
For those who are on the shyer side or dislike being the center of attention, a joint shower is a great way to spread the light so it’s not so bright and overwhelming on just you. Doing a shower with someone else is perfect if you really don’t want a shower (many women truly feel this way!), or if you feel awkward having a celebration that’s just about you.

You’ll ease friends’ social calendars.
If you have multiple engaged friends within one group, a joint shower helps your crew not have to choose which soiree to travel to or attend–making it easier for everyone to get together and celebrate.

You get to bond over the experience.
Having a shower together allows you to share something truly special with a friend, sibling, or partner that you might not have otherwise. The memories from the day will connect you two in a new way.

You’ll help out your hosts.
If you and a friend or sibling have a lot of overlap in your bridal parties, doing a shower together can ease your attendants’ wallets. While this shouldn’t be your primary concern–this is your moment, after all–it is a nice thing to consider, especially if budgets are tight. By throwing one party, your friends and family members can put all of their available resources into creating one great event to remember, rather than having to potentially cut corners for two separate parties.

A version of this post originally appeared on Robbins Brothers’ Engaged blog

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Good and Bad Surprises You Can Expect in the First Year of Marriage

Everyone tells you that things will change in your first year of marriage, but every couple's experience is a little bit different. That first year will be full of surprises—some good, some bad—and once…


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Men Get Real About Sex After Menopause

2015-08-25-1440513732-8521958-EricaJagger515214.jpg

I’ve run a few pieces in this Sex After Menopause series, each of them documenting real-life stories of women navigating midlife sexuality. Hearing from women (in heterosexual relationships) is just half of the story, however. Men are clearly impacted by their lovers’ sexual evolutions, and their experience also deserves a forum. I’m grateful to the six men who agreed to share the most intimate details of their journey through menopause with the women they love.

Sam

I married my best wife when she was 48, after 14 years with my worst wife. Had about six years of a wonderful sex life — at last!

Then menopause hit and that was it. Sex became excruciating and libido packed up shop two years later (though sex only happened three to four times as we tried to see if there was any way to make it work). Doctors were no help. The only option they offered was HRT which she was afraid of due to the likelihood of encouraging breast cancer.

That was it. Game over. I’m eight years younger than my wife and frustrated as hell with no one to be angry at. I’m grateful to have met my wife and for the brief time where I did have a satisfying love life, but God, it’s been a tough road to hoe since then. I have to say, the letters you’ve gotten from couples bragging about “no problems here” do read like Penthouse Forum — unbelievable, given my experience.

James

My wife and I are in our early 70s, married 44 years and deeply, emotionally in love. My wife took HRT and avoided nearly all menopause symptoms, but at some point she lost interest in her own orgasms. Sex became all about intimacy and focused on my orgasm. She sometimes experiences brief pain on penetration which can be minimized by lube, gentleness, and angle.

We’re slowing down, but continue to make love five or six times a month, for which I am so very, very grateful. She is a sweetie.

Larry

I’m 70 and my wife is 67. We had great sex through menopause. She was in perimenopause for many years. When she got to about 65 it started to change. Intercourse became painful for her and she developed an allergy to semen. Now intercourse is out of the question and she has no desire for anything other than hugs.

Needless to say, I’m not happy. I’m still very much attracted to her and still have desire for sex in our lives every couple weeks. I guess I should be grateful to even be alive.

Matthew

I was 28 and recently separated when I met J, who was also recently separated. She was beautiful, smart, fun-loving, wise, and she had led a fascinating life. Her remarkably fit body was the result of an ongoing commitment to ballet workouts. She also was 50-years-old.

Over the next eight years, we enjoyed a wonderful life together, including a rich and varied sexual relationship. Although she had ceased to menstruate during our first year together, she never experienced a loss of libido or lubrication or the capacity for powerful orgasms. Her easy and natural sexiness was a constant inspiration to this truly fortunate man. Use it or lose it!

Phil

I am 68 and my girlfriend is 64. She is the sexiest, most orgasmic woman I have ever been with (not an especially small number as I was single in my early 30s and worked in the health care industry, where there is a high percentage of professional females).

She has an incredible sex drive, lubricates just fine (although we do use some lube), and has multiple orgasms virtually every time — and no, she is not faking.

When her late husband died (she was 56), her gynecologist told her she was done with sex. That person should not practice medicine! She was so very wrong.

Carl

I have been married to my wife for 40 years. She went through menopause in her early 40s. She had breast cancer two years before menopause. The creams didn’t really work, sex just wasn’t the same. Since she had breast cancer, HRT is out.

However, we still have sex almost as frequently as before. We have sex three to four times a week. We had it a bit more before menopause but we have found ways to enjoy sex with each other that do not need penetration. Mutual masturbation and oral and always with some nice foreplay, we still enjoy each other.

I miss intercourse but my wife did not ask for this any more than I did but we make it work, and it’s usually fun! I hope some men will read this and decide there’s a way to stay happy with the woman of your youth.

*All names have been changed.

*I am not a medical professional and this piece is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician before starting any treatment for menopausal symptoms.

If you’d like to contribute your story to this ongoing series on sex after menopause, please e-mail me at ohgoderica@aol.com.

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Planner First, Everything Else Second

This past weekend was a perfect example of why I prefer to be the first person hired during the planning process, and also why it’s the best decision for a couple to make. The details for the wedding this weekend all fell together, and there wasn’t a single moment where I was worried about the professionals working that day. And while I offer “Month Of/Day Of” and Partial Coordination services, Full Coordination & Planning is the best option offered to couples, by far.

For instance, when a couple gets engaged, there is an overwhelming sense of “what do I do first?”, which is almost always followed by a panic to do everything at the same time. Countless hours are spent flipping through magazines for inspiration and looking at websites for reviews of vendors that the couple has never even heard of.

When you begin with a planner, everything starts to calm down. There are no reality TV-worthy meltdowns about the budget and how you don’t know if you should pick a destination wedding or stay close to home. It’s like walking into a little room of heaven where you can let go of that tight grip of control, speak your mind about your wishes, and have someone else do all of the leg work. You will get everything from budget assistance to venue and vendor recommendations. These will be real recommendations based on real experience, and not that star rating garbage system on the internet – when anyone could be writing those reviews.

But maybe you like a challenge. You want the drama. Well, if that’s the case, then jump in headfirst and pick up a planner along the way. Book the venue, stretch the budget, and when you’re really feeling the heat, hire a planner. Just know this: what you’ve already done, the planner might not be able to undo, and furthermore, the planner is not responsible for.

Want an example? I’ve got 400. How about when the couple has picked the venue, put down the deposit (non-refundable, by the way) and finds out 2 months prior to the wedding that their vendors only have one hour to set up? One hour for flowers, music, photobooth, linens… and everything else. They take that information back to their vendors and the florist points out that without at least 2 hours, there will be an additional fee. Then the 20-piece band chimes in with the fact that they have equipment that will take at least 3 hours for full set up. Uh-oh spaghetti-O’s. Now what? Your planner that you hired post-venue, post-florist and post-band, cannot really help you here. You signed contracts with everyone and when you booked the venue, you probably didn’t ask how long you would have for set up. Why would you? You’re not a planner and you don’t know to ask those questions.

Then there is the issue of what a vendor promised you at a meeting you were at, which was never confirmed in writing, and is now being questioned. Did you have a planner at that time? No? Well, then it’s your word versus your vendor’s word. Odds are that if you had a planner they might have been at that meeting, and if not, they would have at least confirmed it all in writing so that there would be no confusion later. With a planner along for the whole ride, they can do all of your speaking for you, which means there’s no confusion and everyone is on the same page.

How about on the actual wedding day when the vendors that you secured are falling behind the timeline, while the vendors your planner brought in are doing their jobs? While your planner can guide your vendors along and try and keep things together, if you hired these people, you are basically responsible for that decision. Stylists taking longer than expected and thus, cutting into photography time? Much like if you use someone aside from someone that your planner recommends, if you booked this vendor pre-planner, you might just be stuck. Florist didn’t show up with the correct centerpieces? Maybe it’s a florist that your planner would’ve steered you away from way back when you started your planning process.

The bottom line is: Hire a planner from Day 1 and use them for everything they’re good at. This includes using their Rolodex, which can be worth the price of a full planning package alone. They can tell you which vendors are the real deal, and which ones are writing their own 5-star reviews. They can spot a problem with a vendor a mile away before you even know it will be an issue. They will ask the questions that need answers that you didn’t even think of. Most importantly, they can assemble a team that will work well together on your wedding day. Because when a hair stylist and a makeup artist clash, it’s pretty much like watching an asteroid hit the planet.

There are countless instances when a client comes to me with a problem and I think “if you had hired me first, this wouldn’t be an issue right now”. Don’t be that client. You wouldn’t hike Mt. Everest without a guide, get to the middle and then hire one, right? Your wedding is Mt. Everest. Bring a planner to avoid any and all avalanches.

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Marry a Woman Who Adopts a Pit Bull

Inspired by Ramdesh Kaur.

All kinds of women exist. If you’re looking for a true soul partner, marry a woman who adopts a pIt bull.

She will see beyond stereotypes to truly assess a soul. She won’t go chasing after the latest ephemeral fads.

Other people’s perceptions and fears won’t sway her. A woman who adopts a pit bull follows her own compass, she looks beyond the surface to find love, loyalty and lots of cuddling. She will love you for you, for the jewels in your soul that will shine when they meet her gaze.

Marry a woman who adopts a pit bull. She embraces what others fear, and in return, revels in the love she receives. A woman who adopts a pit bull will love you fully and fearlessly. A woman who adopts a pit bull is not for the faint of heart.

Marry a woman who adopts a pit bull. She embraces what others cast off. Her love transforms what others throw away and shun. A woman who loves a pit bull will love you scars and all. She will love you all the more for the scars you have.

Marry a woman who adopts a pit bull. She gets up and goes out, every day no matter the weather. A woman who adopts a pit bull gives her all. To her responsibility is a part of life, like breathing. She knows not everything is easy, and she doesn’t expect it to be. She will challenge you to be your better self.And you will rejoice at how easy that will be.

Marry a woman who adopts a pit bull. She loves to play. She knows it’s good for the soul and good for the body. She will show you how to treasure joy.

Marry a woman who adopts a pit bull and you will find yourself becoming your truest self. You will happily talk to strangers and show them not to judge a book by its cover. You will delight in their joy as they smile while preconceived notions are happily licked away. You will look deeply beyond what you see at first glance to find happiness and love. You will play till you are exhausted and laugh at fatigue.

Marry a woman who adopts a pit bull and walk through the world fearlessly. Not because their is a fierce beast at the end of the leash. But because of the fierce woman at your side.

For the second year, The Huffington Post is holding a week-long, community-driven effort to bust the myths and raise awareness about pit bulls, a maligned “breed” that often bears the brunt of dated, discriminatory legislation that can make it near impossible for these dogs to find a forever home. You can follow along with HuffPost Pit Bull Week here, or on social media where we’ll be using the hashtag #PitBullWeek.

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Tandem Surfing Couples Are The Definition Of #RelationshipGoals

Surfing and romance, it turns out, go hand in hand. 

In ancient Hawaii, catching the same wave on separate boards was considered a highly romantic gesture.

According to Ben Finney’s and James D. Houston’s Surfing: A History of the Ancient Hawaiian Sport, “Hawaiian legends abound in tales of thwarted and successful love affairs, and surfing played a part in many of them. Great romances could blossom or fade with the rising and falling of the ocean swells.”

As the photos below show, tandem surfing — when two people catch a wave on the same board — can be even more intimate. Being simultaneously in tune with both your sweetheart and the ocean is as exhilarating as it is picture perfect.

So next time a dinner and movie just isn’t cutting it, grab a (very big) board and float out into the waves with your love.

A photo posted by Kayla Bell (@bell_kayla) on

A photo posted by Sarah Burel (@sarahpwf) on

A photo posted by Nique (@nique_miller) on

A photo posted by Gabi Cardoso (@gabisurfduplo) on

A photo posted by Shaina 海子 (@shayaloha) on

A photo posted by Amanda (@amabikinis) on

Another day surfing in paradise!

It's all about smiling and having fun! Surfing: Chuck Inman & Lauren Oiye Honey Girl Water Wear KM BoardsKyäni

Posted by Chuck Inman & Lauren Oiye on Sunday, June 14, 2015

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Do Open Marriages Work? How Dating Other People Brings Me Closer To My Husband

By Gracie X

For some people, perhaps, having an open marriage is a concession. Perhaps cheating comes to mind; you imagine that after infidelity, a couple has made a new vision of their marriage. These are marriages that “make- do” after the scar tissue has healed. But frankly, that isn’t the way it’s done in my polyamorous community, or my open marriage.

My situation is not at all about concessions. For me, sex with someone else is not a deal breaker. Being intentionally cruel, not taking care of our family, disrespecting me, and lying — all constitute deal breakers. But occasionally “stepping out” may just be part of our biology.

Right now, my marriage is mostly closed. Our lives are tremendously time-challenged. We have four kids and busy careers. But having some openness is one of many ingredients that keep the erotic life active in our marriage. Keeping an erotic charge can be challenging, given that almost every force in domestic life works against it. There are bills to be paid, kids demanding attention, and the endless, sexless grind of chores.

It all started a year ago, when my husband and I decided to go on an adventure. I wanted to have sex with a woman, not having done so in many years. The whole idea both titillated my husband and scared him a bit. We discussed what would make him feel safe and comfortable, and when he gave me the green light, I met a lovely woman online.

Bonnie, like me, was married and bisexual. We decided to meet at a local pub. There was an instant attraction. After half an hour of sipping martinis and flirting, we discovered that both of our husbands were parked close-by, nervously awaiting news of what was happening.

Sometimes, sleeping with new people is a measuring stick of how connected you are to your spouse.

Giggling, we texted them to join us. What followed was a new friendship between all of us. This is what I love about open marriage — the unpredictability. I was not expecting to be completely enchanted by her husband. Bill was so sex-positive and supportive about Bonnie exploring her newly confessed attraction to women. Bonnie had unintentionally “come out” at a BBQ the year before when she made out with her best friend — ironically, in a walk-in closet upstairs. While Bonnie’s best friend’s husband was angry and mortified, Bill was loving and supportive, encouraging Bonnie to explore this new part of her sexuality.

open marriges

The four of us had some great dates together. Eventually, time and family commitments slowed down our contact. But it was an adventure I’ll always cherish for many reasons — one of the main ones is that it heightened the love and trust between me and my husband. People assume that you get the excitement from the outside sexual encounters — and you sometimes do. But, as we explore who we are and what we desire, openness keeps the mystery alive between my husband and me.

The morning after our first date with Bonnie and Bill, my husband and I were snuggling and talking about how surprisingly fun and drama-free the evening had been. Our hearts were so open with the realization of how much we loved each other. Sometimes, sleeping with new people is a measuring stick of how connected you are to your spouse.

I am the last person alive who’d try extreme sports — I can barely grasp the need to risk your life in an effort to feel more alive. But there is an allure in the emotional skydiving of allowing your mate to be sexual with someone else. There’s exhilaration in moving through the fear of the potential loss of the relationship that, for us, is often followed by an all-consuming gratitude for each other; a gratitude that can get lost in the shuffle of mundane life.

I believe that the second wave of polyamory has a distinctly feminist bend to it. In most poly-marriages I know of, the woman is not a “victim,” but many times the initiator.

My open marriage improves my connection with my spouse. It is an intentional way to evolve together, a way to create spaciousness in our connection while also maintaining a deep bond.

Yesterday, I was talking to an acquaintance about my open marriage. She stated flatly “No one enters their marriage expecting they’ll open it.” She assumed I opened my marriage because it was flawed. Her concept of open marriage was that it was a patch job post “cheating”–a second best set up, built on the belief that passion fades, all relationships sour, and a series of necessary concessions have to be made, one of them being sex with other people.

Her thinking is fairly pervasive and a complete misread on most open marriages I know of. My open marriage improves my connection with my spouse. It is an intentional way to evolve together, a way to create spaciousness in our connection while also maintaining a deep bond. In my mind, the challenge of sustaining the vitality in long-term relationships lies in fostering the opposite qualities of passion versus stability, and wildness versus predictability. My interest lies in maintaining both ends of the spectrum, and openness in my marriage is one of the many tools I use to achieve this goal.

open marriage

Every open marriage is different, just as monogamous marriages are varied. People have different philosophies and motivations. For me, I want the freedom to create a marriage based on my value system — not someone else’s.

It’s a delicate balance to create stability and excitement in a marriage. There is a tipping point for me; to make it work I need trust, clear agreements, and lots of communication. I’ve often imagined if my house or phone were tapped by surveillance cops, they’d sit in a bored stupor listening to hours of my husband and I conversing about the nuance of our feelings, needs, fantasies, thoughts — they’d surely beg for the “good old days” of surveilling the mafia.

But it is this nuanced conversation that keeps my marriage fresh. Recently, my husband and I discussed what we would “allow” each other on separate upcoming business trips. After nearly an hour of checking in on how we both felt, the general state of our marriage, if the majority of our needs were being met sexually, emotionally, astrologically (kidding), we both agreed that we weren’t connected enough currently. What we really needed was a vacation together. The timing of our trips wasn’t good for us — and if we “hooked up” with other people, it could potentially cause hurt feelings. I only take calculated risks in my marriage. I am all about checking if there’s water in the pool before doing a spectacular high dive.

People have said to me, “Open marriage seems like so much work! I couldn’t be bothered to put so much time into an open marriage.” But the art of the relationship is something I feel devoted to. When you love something, you spend time caring for it.

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I want to be in the habit of investing energy into the art of love, passion, and a continued sustaining bond with my husband. And for me, that means putting sleeping with other people on the table.

Gracie X is the author of “Wide Open: My Adventures in Polyamory, Open Marriage, and Loving on My Own Terms “, available wherever books are sold in September 2015.

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How to Get to Know Your Future Sibling-in-Law

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17 More Royal Engagement Rings You’ve Never Seen—Plus, the Princess With a Ring Tattoo

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Couple Surprises Wedding Guests With An Epic One-Take Music Video

Newlyweds Robert and Teresa Ly know how to have a good time. 

That couldn’t have been more evident at their August 22 wedding in Maitland, Florida. During the reception, the couple shot a surprise music video that included dancing and lip-syncing along with their 250 guests. Oh, and they filmed the whole thing in a single take. 

Teresa told The Huffington Post that she and Robert considered doing a dance with just the bridal party, but decided against it because they wanted to include as many of their family and friends as possible. 

“Robert and I stand for fun in our business and personal life so when it came time to plan our wedding, we wanted it to be fun for not only ourselves, but ultimately all our guests,” she said. 

Under each table at the reception was an envelope that told guests what their role in the video would be. 

“Each person in our bridal party was in charge of a song/section,” the bride told HuffPost. “They helped put our guests into position and briefed them for about 10 minutes. They really didn’t know what was about to happen.”

The music medley kicks off with Frozen’s “Love Is An Open Door,” followed by other jams including Silentò’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” T. Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Maroon 5’s “Sugar” and a sweet finale to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.”

“Our guests had a blast!” the bride said. “Before the wedding reception, we had already made the claim that it was going to be epic and I think we did a pretty good job at delivering on our promise.” 

Watch the awesomeness above. 

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When Your Partner’s Self-Centeredness Isn’t Explained By Narcissism

Sometimes I see individuals in therapy, or couples in couples’ counseling, where one partner continues to insist that something is “just wrong” with the other.  Usually, they are referring to a lack of empathy and a self-absorbed nature, but also a person whose behavior just seems “weird” or “off.”  This person often seems very selfish and mean, but there is also this niggling feeling that he or she genuinely doesn’t intend to be this way, and literally does not understand how reciprocal intimate relationships generally work.

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Often, these people think that their partners must be narcissists.  They identify with both the Mr. Perfect and His Crazy Wife dynamic and the Wife Who Wants More and Her Annoyingly Satisfied Husband dynamic.  They believe that their partner acts self-absorbed because he was raised by narcissists, or because he is defending against low self-esteem or insecurity.  But, despite all of these explanations, they still feel like something doesn’t add up.  For instance, the supposedly narcissistic partner is not charming and able to manipulate social interactions, but instead often seems awkward or uncomfortable around others.  And their rude comments often don’t seem to be rooted in an actual desire to be mean.  In fact, they often have no idea why others take offense to what was just a “factual” comment.  These social/emotional deficits bring us to another possibility: Asperger’s.

Asperger’s is no longer a formal diagnosis in the DSM, and is now considered part of the autism spectrum, and diagnosed as “Autism Spectrum Disorder.”  But here’s what its symptoms used to be:

  • average or above-average intelligence
  • difficulties with high-level language skills such as verbal reasoning, problem solving, making inferences and predictions
  • difficulties in empathizing with others
  • problems with understanding another person’s point of view
  • difficulties engaging in social routines such as conversations and ‘small talk’
  • problems with controlling feelings such as anger, depression and anxiety
  • a preference for routines and schedules which can result in stress or anxiety if a routine is disrupted
  • specialised fields of interest or hobbies

There is also a new diagnosis now, Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder, that is also similar to many of the criteria in Asperger’s, and it focuses on an inability to understand the social rules of conversation, difficulty picking up on others’ verbal and nonverbal cues, and a lack of understanding of nuance and ambiguity in interactions.

The overlap of self-centeredness can prevent easy differentiation between the disorders, and some clients, like this guy, come in having done a lot of research and can’t figure out whether they are narcissistic or Aspies.  Here are some examples of how interactions tend to go with each:

Wife: My clothes don’t fit anymore.

Narcissist: Well, maybe you should work out like I do.

Aspie: Well, maybe you should work out like I do.

The same, right?  But then it diverges:

Wife: Why are you always so mean?

Narcissist: Look, I’m sorry, but you know you aren’t motivated to work out and sometimes I’m just tired of hearing you complain.

Wife: Do you even feel attracted to me anymore?

Narcissist: I mean…. yeah, of course.  But you know, it’s been a while since the baby was born, and you yourself don’t feel comfortable at this weight.

Note that the narcissist knows how his statement made his partner feel, and was actually manipulating the interaction to capitalize on this insecurity for his own benefit, which would be getting a more attractive partner that reflects better on him.  But here’s how the interaction would continue with an Aspie.

Aspie: What?

Wife:  What do you mean ‘What?’  You know I just wanted you to be reassuring.

Aspie: Then why did you ask?  I can never do anything right.

Wife: I’m upset!  Why are you just STANDING THERE?

Aspie: What do you want from me?  What am I supposed to do?

Wife: I told you!  People need affection and love when they are upset!  We even read that book.

Aspie: But you’re yelling at me.

Wife: [cries, or walks out]

Aspie [goes back to what he was doing, sad that his wife is so sensitive and unpredictable and his marriage is not easy]

As you see, in this case, the spouse slips easily into a role where she is explaining how interactions are “supposed to” work.  This is a usual dynamic for them.  His comment about her weight was not half as bad as the fact that he isn’t even aware why it would upset her.  Then that wasn’t half as bad as that she has told him one million times that he should hug her when she is upset, and he doesn’t remember, or he doesn’t seem to care.

A narcissist usually knows what’s going on in his relationship.  He or she can understand another person’s insecurities and exploit them for good or bad ends.  The narcissist also requires a lot of admiration and affirmation.  The narcissist can be self-centered in bed, but can usually act and even feel both romantic and passionate, particularly when being admired, as in the honeymoon stage of a relationship.  Narcissists CAN empathize with others, but often choose not to, because these other people are not as important as the narcissist.

An Aspie often has no idea why partners act as they do.  Other people’s emotions are a mystery.  The Aspie doesn’t require excessive admiration, and if they brag about their accomplishments, it’s not to get a response but because they think it’s the facts.  The Aspie doesn’t usually feel much in the way of romantic passion, and if you look back to your early courtship, it’s like that the non-Aspie partner always felt this, and may have invented romance in their own mind.  Aspies are UNABLE to empathize in a deep way with other people, particularly other adults with complex emotions (although they are often good with small children or animals).  Therefore, they can love, but their partners often do not feel known or understood on a deep level.

Here’s some more examples to discriminate between Aspies and narcissists.

Narcissist: I need you to come with me to my work dinner, even though it’s when you were going out with friends.

Spouse: But you didn’t give me any notice.

Narcissist: Do you understand that everyone’s partner will be there?  This isn’t some Girls’ Night Out that you can reschedule.

….versus…

Aspie: I’m going to my work dinner and I know you have plans so I didn’t ask you to come.

Spouse: Wait, what?  Is this an important thing?  Are spouses coming?

Aspie: Yes but you had plans so I didn’t ask.

Spouse: I mean, do you want me there?

Aspie: You have plans.

And here’s an example of why relationships with narcissists can be addictive:

Narcissist: You looked so hot tonight.  All the guys wanted to take you home, but you’re all mine.  I knew I loved you since I saw you in the dining hall in college.

…versus….

Aspie: Thanks for coming to my work dinner.  What time is your alarm set for in the morning?  I have an early conference call.

The narcissist knows exactly how to get a mood going.  He is buoyed by the success of taking you out and showing you off.  He can then become wrapped up in your love story and knows how to convey this to you.  The Aspie is happy you came to his work dinner.  Another note: both of them want to have sex that evening.  Sadly, only one of them will.

Often, Aspies look fairly normal at work and may even have many friends, but if you look closely, the relationships at work and with friends are usually based on shared interests and not much emotional connection.  (Many men are like this, but sometimes they do have deeper, emotional conversations, even couched with humor. We are talking about the situation where you cannot even visualize your partner having an intimate emotional discussion with anyone, even a sibling or parent.)  Also, in more superficial interactions, the Aspie can fake it.  He has frequently learned social scripts to deploy in common situations.  But intimate relationships are more complex, so he will often use the same script in multiple situations with a partner, but this comes off discordant, insensitive, or robotic.  For instance, many Aspies will follow the same pattern in all sexual encounters, or during most phone calls.

If you realize that you are married to an Aspie, there is hope and a lot of reading material, likeMarriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder).  But the prognosis is usually best if the Aspie knows what he is working with and is open about how his behavior is not normative.  Then, he can intellecually empathize with his partner’s unfulfilled need for the emotionality, romance, and connection he is not providing.  Aspie spouses have many strengths, like stability, predictability, faithfulness, strong work ethics, and strong moral codes.  Aspies of both genders usually don’t affiliate with traditional gender roles, so this isn’t the guy that will refuse to do housework out of some ego thing, or the woman who won’t change a tire out of a notion that she shouldn’t have to. (However, if you’re turned on by a take-charge guy or a flirtatious woman, your spouse is likely not that.)  Aspies are also often very kind, and try not to hurt anyone.

Couples counseling can help you and your Aspie partner accept and make sense of your dynamic, as well as give you concrete tools for communication and help guide the Aspie to better express himself verbally and emotionally, as well as how to pick up on your cues.  Whatever you decide, looking through an Asperger’s lens often makes sense of a relationship that previously seemed completely confusing and hopeless.

Last points:  Remember that everything is a spectrum.  Your Aspie may not be this severe, but if something feels “off,” it’s worth thinking about this more, because it can make you feel better and more tender and understanding to your partner.  Also, it is worthwhile to introspect about why you subconsciously chose your Aspie.  It is likely that a parent was, if not Aspie, emotionally tone-deaf, and your deep seated fantasy was always to have them change their behavior to meet your needs.

Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, Also It’s Often Comorbid with Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD.

This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family.

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Bringing Your Wedding Inspiration to Life

Being a wedding planner to the stars, I’ve seen it all — from the fun and quirky to the romantic and classic. Most brides and grooms have a million ideas going through their heads as they peruse magazines, blogs and Pinterest for inspiration. But how do you bring all your inspiration to life? Whether you’re turning to a wedding planner, event designer or dabbling in DIY these are some of my favorite tips on how to make sure your personal style is represented at your event:

  • Inspiration Boards — First up: manage all that inspiration! Once you’ve decided on a theme, create a visual “mood board” that represents the look you want. Create a collage of magazine clippings or even a Pinterest board (just remember to set this to private if you’re keeping things under wraps) to share with vendors that demonstrates your general motif. Are there any particular colors, shapes or textures that grab your attention? Add it in!
  • Stationery — Your save the dates and wedding invitations set the tone for your affair so make sure the design aligns with your style. Choose colors, fonts and an overall concept that coordinates with your theme.

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This invitation from my collection for Wedding Paper Divas is perfect for a more formal celebration! (Photo courtesy of Dennis Kwan Photography)

  • Florals — Flowers can make a huge impact on your aesthetic. From centerpieces to flower crowns and accent pieces, you can choose flowers in certain colors and forms to emulate your vision.

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Going for a springy pastel or watercolor theme? Try a long floral piece at your head table arranging colors from lightest to darkest. (Photo courtesy of Dennis Kwan Photography)

  • Tablescapes — Guests spend a lot of time at the table, so it’s the perfect place to represent your concept with linens, place cards, menu cards, glassware and more. If budget allows, rental companies can provide table settings that match your taste perfectly — your caterer can help you decide exactly what you need.

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Layered fabrics with vintage dinnerware are excellent for achieving a classically romantic look. (Photo courtesy of Dennis Kwan Photography)

  • Furniture — Furniture is especially key for venues where you need to bring it all in (a park or vacant loft, for example). For a rustic look, choose farmhouse style or wooden tables. If you’re going modern, try furniture with some metallic accents.

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Metal bar tables like these would work great for a chic cocktail hour. Dim lighting and bold florals add a striking effect. (Photo courtesy of Dennis Kwan Photography)

  • Props — Bringing in extra props is a fun way to amp up your event theme. Think statement pieces fountains or antiques. If your space allows, bring in lighting fixtures that match your style. For example, candles give a romantic ambience while large crystal chandeliers add a hint luxury.

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This statement chair covered in succulents and greenery by Mark’s Garden is my absolute favorite! (Photo courtesy of Dennis Kwan Photography)

  • Food and Drink — Don’t stop at décor! Bring your inspiration to life with food and drink. A nautical beach wedding, for example, can serve mini lobster rolls and a maritime martini. Or warm your guests up with some spiced Irish coffee at a winter wonderland soiree.

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Grilled cheese, anyone? Serve ’em up at a country chic wedding for a mellower atmosphere. Guests would savor them an appetizer, late night snack, or even as part of the main event! (Photo courtesy of Tiffany Rose/Getty Images)

Just remember, while it’s valuable to pay attention to the small details of your wedding, the goal is to celebrate your love with those closest to you! So be sure to soak it all in.

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Man Proposes To Boyfriend At Church, Church Responds Perfectly

Love is love, and this congregation embraced that. 

Trevor Harper and Davis Covin, who have been dating for nine years, are active members of the First United Methodist Church of Austin in Texas. Harper proposed to Covin at the church earlier this month in front of the congregation — a moment which was captured in a video and shared on YouTube.

The congregation responded to the magical moment in the best way possible — with a standing ovation. We must say, we’d totally be lying if we didn’t tear up a bit ourselves while watching the proposal. 

Harper told BuzzFeed News that the couple’s church, which they’ve belonged to for two years, has been supportive of the pair’s relationship and welcome people of all sexual orientations to attend. When Harper proposed, the pair had actually been sharing the story of their faith during the service, according to the video. 

While clergy belonging to the Methodist church aren’t permitted to perform same-sex marriages, Harper said that his pastor, the Reverend John Wright — who helped plan the moment — thought the proposal in front of the congregation was a great way to celebrate the pair’s love, BuzzFeed reported. The couple hopes that the church will allow them to hold their wedding ceremony there by the time they plan to get married in 2016. 

 

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Should You Wear a Ring to an Interview?

Despite identifying as a strong independent woman, I feared wearing my wedding ring to a job interview. My wedding ring was the first ring that I’ve worn on that finger (no engagement ring). I was so proud of the man I married, yet still harbored something inside me that felt less valuable to this work team because I was a married woman.

Thoughts raced through my head about potential bosses not wanting me because a married woman might pop out a kid at any time (single women have working ovaries too you know) and maybe couldn’t be a full team player in their eyes. I wondered if instead of hearing that I grew tired of living in hotel rooms in my last job that they would translate it to mean I wasn’t up for a challenge and that I had settled into stable family life.

The worst part of the interview was feeling like I was staring in the mirror, with only one slight difference. Though my network, I knew one of my interviewers was only a couple years old than I, and he was also recently married. I was on a similar path at the interviewer, only he was male. It tore me up inside because I doubt he carried my same fear of being viewed as less valuable based on his marital status. Statically speaking, married men make 11 percent more money than their single counterparts. So his recent vows might just give him a leg up in the workplace, meanwhile I was worried about falling into the static that shows that employers prefer childless women.

Just hours before my interview I sat spinning my wedding band, contemplating what it meant if I took it off and how easy it would be to just slip it into my coin purse. I was so newly married that the ring hadn’t worn a pattern in my finger yet. It would have been so easy to be someone else. Then I was reminded of wise words a friend told me, choosing to be your authentic self feels so much better than trying to fit into something you are not. I am a married woman, I know that at the end of the work day that I want to come home and bask in the fact that I got to be myself all day without wearing a mask.

So I went into the interview with renewed self-confidence, properly installed ring (engineering joke), but knowing in the back of my head that the interviewers may not want me because I might be seen as an eminent baby-making-machine. And if they did see me in the way I feared? Then it wasn’t a place I wanted to give my time and talent to. After all, an interview goes both ways. I could not like this job for as many reasons as they potentially didn’t like me.

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Julianne Hough Shares a Glimpse of Her New Engagement Ring. Come See!

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This Devastating Proposal Fail Has A Very Happy Ending

Matthew Picca was about to propose to girlfriend Kayla Harrity on dock in Southport, North Carolina on Saturday evening when the unthinkable happened: he dropped the ring into the ocean.

The couple of six years was vacationing with Kayla’s family when he popped the question at a waterfront bar called Old America Fish Co. 

“I turned around and he was getting down on one knee,” Kayla told WECT News. “As he opened the ring box, the ring fell out of the box and fell through the cracks on the deck and into the water. I didn’t even get to see it before it dropped.” 

“I was in total shock,” she told The Huffington Post. “I knew he had a great plan for the proposal and when the ring fell I was devastated. I knew we had to find the ring.”

Right away, family and a group of onlookers banded together to recover the ring. Some jumped in the water in their clothes, other locals helped by bringing flashlights and goggles. 

An hour and a half later, a man named Kyle Blusher found the ring. 

“We were ecstatic,” Kayla told HuffPost. “We couldn’t have been happier!”

Everyone began cheering, and Matthew got down on bended knee for the second time that day — this time with the ring firmly in hand. 

“It was the best feeling in the world,” she told WECT. “My fiancé, soaking wet, smelling like salty, fishing water, proceeded to get down on one knee and put the beautiful ring on my finger!” 

 

 

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LOOKOUT! Big, Bad Pit Bulls Are Coming For You… With Kisses

AAAAAHHH RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!

… if you hate kisses. 

The pitties in the video above are coming for you, armed with slobbering mouths and so much love. So if you’re allergic to snuggling or just downright despise some love from a furry friend, then we recommend you stay far, far away from these blocky-headed love bugs. 

Don’t say we didn’t warn you. 

 

For the second year, The Huffington Post is holding a week-long, community-driven effort to bust the myths and raise awareness about pit bulls, a maligned “breed” that often bears the brunt of dated, discriminatory legislation that can make it near impossible for these dogs to find a forever home. You can follow along with HuffPost Pit Bull Week here, or on social media where we’ll be using the hashtag #PitBullWeek.

 

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8 Easy Ways to Guarantee Your Wedding Pictures Don’t Suck

We’ve all seen awful wedding pictures—the awkward faces, the forced poses. {Why are those bridesmaids straddling the groom? Why?! } But if you’ve ever been on the business end of a bad wedding photographer’s camera,…


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Oregon Wedding Featuring Weed Bar Was A Huge ‘Hit’ With Guests

This wasn’t your typical weeding… er, wedding. 

For their matrimonial ceremony this summer, Oregon couple John Elledge and Whitney Alexander decided to augment the standard open bar with a ”weed tent.” The experience included transportation to and from the event (safety first!) and a budtender to help guests in need of a little guidance.

Thanks to Oregon Measure 91, the weed tent was completely legal, as long as the couple followed some basic rules, Mark Pettinger of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission told Portland news station KGW.

“On private property where no liquor license is involved, it is legal,” Pettinger said, noting that “there cannot be bartenders and budtenders” at the same event. 

“My fiance, John, has been in the medical marijuana industry in Oregon for years,” Alexander told The Huffington Post, explaining the inspiration. ”We were happy to give our guests, especially the ones from out of town, a unique experience.” 

Alexander added that she doesn’t use alcohol or marijuana, and the couple took extra care to reduce the odds of other guests encountering any secondhand smoke. 

“The tent was set well away from the rest of the reception, and facing away from the crowd to control where the smoke went,” she said. “There were actually guests that had no idea it was there until after the fact.”

Wedding planners Nora Sheils and Elizabeth Corr of Bridal Bliss said the novelty of the weed bar was a huge hit.

“We were worried that the tent might take away from the reception but it did the exact opposite,” Sheils told HuffPost in an email. ”Guests had a fun time and ended up dancing the night away, just like any other wedding.”

And yes, the couple did provide late-night snacks, offering their undoubtedly hungry guests an array of french fries and beignets.

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15 Bridal Parties Who Totally Nailed The Ombré Dress Trend

There’s nothing wrong with a uniform bridesmaid look — all of the girls wearing the same dress in the same exact color.  

But if you want something a bit more eye-catching, consider an ombré color scheme. Not sure what that means? Basically, you choose a color and then have the bridesmaids wear dresses in a slightly different shades — some lighter, some darker and some in the middle so that they gradually blend into each other. 

Below, check out 15 gorgeous executions of the ombré dress trend. Get inspired! 

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A Dozen Royal Engagement Rings You’ve Never Seen Before—and a Few You Have

Both royal weddings and engagement rings are black-hole topics for us. Once we start considering either, we could get lost forever. So you can imagine, as we contemplated Europe’s royal engagement rings this morning, how…


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Magician Turns Girlfriend Into His Fiancee With His Best Trick Yet

For Neil Henry, the writing wasn’t on the wall, it was in a can of alphabet soup. And it spelled “–M-A-R-R-Y—M-E–“.

Henry, a professional magician, employed all his skills earlier this week to surprise his girlfriend, Charlie Gardner, by proposing to her in front of a live audience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, inviting her on stage under the pretense of needing an assistant.

Henry set up the bit by first downing a cold can of alphabet soup and slurping up a long piece of string, then asking Gardner to join him on stage.

As she looked on suspiciously, Henry proceeded to slowly pull the string from his mouth. One by one, letters popped out, attached to the string as if by magic, slowly building to one big question.

Gardner reacted with disbelief at first, which quickly turned to shock and tears as she realized just what was happening.

“Having you in my life is real magic,” Henry told her as she stood on the side of the stage, “and I never want that magic to end.”

With a magical flourish, he then lit a piece of paper on fire, somehow turned it into a ring, and popped the question.

Gardner, in between squeals of “oh my god!” said yes.

In an email to The Huffington Post, Henry explained the alphabet soup bit regularly features in his show, though it involves a random audience member and a random word.

“When I decided to ask Charlie to marry me (easiest decision of my life by the way!!), the idea of vomiting up the proposal made me laugh so much I just had to do it,” he said. “I told my mum and she said eeewww… it was then that I knew it was perfect!”

He said he considered tying the ring to the end of the string, “but thought that was just a little too gross!”

Afterward, Henry said he bought the entire audience a drink, then the happy couple went out and grabbed a bite to eat. 

“Charlie once said to me that if I was ever to propose it better be amazing as I’m a magician, so I was really keen to do something cool,” he added. “I’m so happy she liked it…and even more happy she said yes!!!”

 

Sure beats another rabbit-in-a-hat trick.

 

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Lindsay Lohan Wore a Long White Dress and Tiara to a Wedding. (She Wasn’t the Bride)

Lindsay Lohan strikes us as someone who has a LOT of dresses hanging in her closet, so it’s unclear why she pulled out a white dress—and a tiara—when she was headed to a wedding over…


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We Renewed Our Vows, These Vows

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We did it. Last night, surrounded by family and friends, we renewed our vows. We prayed, we ate, and in the Jewish tradition, Mr. Rosenberg and I were carried around on chairs as we all danced the hora. It was wonderful and I have never felt more loved.

My Vows
I promise to let the dog sleep on my side of the bed.
I promise not to take it personally when you add Sriracha hot sauce to everything I cook.
I promise to create a life of shared moments and thoughtful years.
I promise that I will love you.
I pledge to listen to your advice, most of the time.
I pledge not to take score, even if I’m totally winning.
I pledge to always admire your huge, strong, kind, and determined heart.
I pledge that I will love you.
I vow to listen for as long as it takes for you to feel heard.
I vow to stand with you as we watch our son grow to be a man.
I vow to be your cheerleader in the days when it all feels to much.
I vow that I will always love you.

Mr. Rosenberg’s Vows
I will always finish the “bottom half” of your coffee when you no longer want it.
I will not ever get up in your business about haircuts or salons even though I never realized how many appointments are required to make this happen.
I will always love your point of view even if it’s not (Especially because it’s not) the same as mine.
I will never suggest a “couples retreat.”
Even though I have a hard time living in the moment, I vow to be here now and to stay in the present going forward, because these moments include you and Bob, my favorite people.
I will always be your biggest fan – prepared to smackdown with your mom over rights to this title.
I will keep all of the happy places we have found together etched in my mind (snuggling with everyone on the bed, the dog beach in San Diego, our first time being in Cambria on the bluffs) and look forward to so many more.
I will always want to take you out on romantic make out dates.
I will always be a loving dad to Bob and get tearful when I think about how much I love our family.
I will accept and return all the love you give me.
I will take you in my pocket with me everywhere.

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9 Things No One Tells You About Wedding Planning

by Terri Pous, BRIDES

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Photo: Diane Fields/Courtesy of CNP Montrose

It’s an unfortunate, but often inevitable, part of planning a wedding that there are just some things you won’t know or realize until after the big day is over. Sure, you may have a planner or wise family and friends to open your eyes to what’s really worth stressing about or what guests will actually notice, but most of the time, those things don’t dawn on you until later. The best resource for this kind of advice is real brides, so we asked some on the BRIDES Facebook page to share their time-honored insights. Here, some of the best tips:

Make a list of all the most important photos you want taken on your wedding day, give it to your photographer, but make sure you have a copy of it with you so that nobody misses anything. You’ll never get those moments back to get those pictures that you missed that day.” —Dawn Cavaluzzo Cooper

It’s your day! Don’t be so busy appeasing others that you don’t make yourself and you future spouse happy in the process.” —Ashlyn Beierle

It takes approximately 250 hours to plan a wedding… Make sure you have good people by your side. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help! Whether it is hiring a wedding planner or just having a consultation to figure out a couple things you are stuck on. Most of all, try to relax and don’t take everything so seriously. Understand that things are bound to go wrong, but there are always other options.” —Kailey-Lynn Hatfield

Everything will turn out okay and that no matter what goes wrong during the wedding, there’s always a way to keep the atmosphere positive.” —Ashley Kenny

Things will not go perfect on your wedding day, but you will be the only person to notice it. Don’t stress yourself out when you see the little hiccups and enjoy your day.” —Paulina Cotsaris

Save, save, save money! Weddings are so expensive. I can’t believe how much money my wedding has added up to be. Plan a budget!” —Iesha Palmer

Do not start planning the second you get engaged because you will change your mind on lots of things and have to redo them. I was so excited that I just started planning anything and everything I could. I wish I would have just let getting engaged sink in for a few weeks or months, and then started slow.”– Kayla Lynn

Allow at least a week, and possibly two, to call people that were sent an invitation but didn’t respond.” —Angela Pileggi Pelekanos

I wish I had known more about cultural traditions. I could have incorporated one or two to put a unique stamp on my wedding.” —Taylor Williamson Hebenstreit

More From Brides.com:
These Are THE Top Wedding Dress Trends For Spring 2016

45 Fascinating Wedding Traditions From Around The World

The Most Iconic Brides of All Time

How To Find The Perfect Wedding Dress For Your Body Type

The Biggest Trends in Wedding Dresses for Fall 2015

20 Ways to Throw The Best Wedding EVER

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Couple Who Helped Win Marriage Equality Finally Ties The Knot

Two women who played an integral role in the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide have finally tied the knot, and Now This News has compiled a beautiful video documenting the occasion.

Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer, a Michigan couple who became plaintiffs in the recent historic legal battle for same-sex marriage rights, married one another in front of approximately 300 friends and family members last week, according to Detroit Free Press.

The pair, who have four kids, initially only pursued a legal case about adoption rights, since Michigan’s adoption code doesn’t allow for joint or second-parent adoption. However, Rowse and DeBoer became one of the couples to join other plaintiffs from Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky in a combined marriage equality case known as Obergefell v. Hodges, wherein the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay couples, thereby guaranteeing marriage equality across the nation.

“Little did I know that you would bring me four beautiful kids… and drag me into the Supreme Court,” DeBoer told Rowse during her vows. “I am honored to soon be your legal wife… You are my best friend. I promise to love you forever. I can’t imagine my life without you and without our kids. I promise to stand by you forever.”

Congrats, Jayne and April!

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Tired Of Baby Questions, This Couple Took Pics With Their Pup Instead

Australian couple Matt Kay and Abby Lee were tired of people asking them when they were going to have kids.

With the the help of their photographer friend Elisha Collins of Elisha Minette Photography, the couple of two years came up with the idea of of doing a newborn-style photo shoot with their canine bundle of joy instead. 

“Our families joke around about when are we having kids,” Abby told The Huffington Post. “We thought the newborn shoot would be a humorous response.”

“We came up with the idea when we were on the long drive home from picking Humphrey up from the groodle (golden retriever-poodle mix) breeder,” Elisha told HuffPost. “Abby and I have the craziest sense of humor and we feed off of each other with ideas.” 

 

The pictures of the impossibly photogenic pup and his fur parents began to go viral after Elisha posted them to her Facebook page earlier this week. 

 

“We did this shoot just for a little bit of humor between ourselves and our closest family and friends that have the same sense of humor as us,” she said. “We did not expect this to get as big as it has.”

Elisha stressed that the photo session was not intended to make fun of new parents or those who enjoying sharing about their kids on social media. 

“This was just clean, simple Sunday afternoon fun,” she added. 

H/T BuzzFeed

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This Actress Has an Epic Figure-8-Shaped Engagement Ring—and You’ve Never Seen Anything Like It

It takes a pretty special engagement ring to make us to a double-take—but this one definitely did. When actress Jennifer Finnigan—currently starring in the FX drama Tyrant—took to the red carpet at the CBS, CW,…


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8 Breathtaking Wedding Dresses From Two Designers You Need to Watch, Now

Any bride can shop the big-name wedding dress designers, but if you want your aisle style to be unique, you should check out gowns by under-the-radar labels, including two of our new favorites. With gorgeous…


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16 Wedding Photo Outtakes That Deserve A Place In The Album

Picture-perfect wedding photos are great and all, but sometimes it’s the silly shots and goofy mishaps that are the most fun to look at.

 

Below, we present 16 wedding photo outtakes for your amusement.  

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How to Survive Your First Trip as a Couple

By John Agnew for the Orbitz Travel Blog
This article originally appeared on HotelClub.com

Ernest Hemingway said, “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” While you might not be in ‘L word’ territory just yet, a trip with your significant other is one that can either make or break your blossoming romance. Here are 10 tips to help survive your first trip traveling as a couple, to ensure your relationship remains intact all the way from take-off to touching back down on home soil.

Related: These 7 all-inclusive resorts are some of the Caribbean’s most romantic.

1. Avoid ‘hangry’ at all costs

When traveling, hunger induced rage or sulking is the most avoidable of potentially relationship-ending squabbles. Learn each other’s hunger warning signs, pack snacks if you’re doing a full day’s trekking around, and plan regular food stops. Adding cool restaurants and cafes into your travel itinerary is a great way to navigate a city.

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2. Planner vs. passive

Is your partner an avid planner while you prefer madcap spontaneity? Risky.
Are you both hardcore organizers resistant to input from others? Potentially damning.

It’s important to find a balance in who plans what (unless you’re fortunate enough to be perfectly in simpatico) so you can hit an agreeable middle-ground between your individual interests while taking turns donning the captain’s hat.

Related: Go stress-free with these irresistibly romantic cruises.

3. Space is essential

While the idea of traveling with your better half might invoke mental images of long sunset walks or passionate embraces in front of famous landmarks, the reality is that spending countless days in the company of a single person can drive even the most loved-up individual to the brink of insanity.

Throw some “me time” into your itinerary – be it a day of solo exploring or simply booking accommodation with separate living and sleeping quarters so you’re not on top of each other at all times – to avoid potential for personal space infractions. Plus, it’s fun to reunite with your loved one after a day away from each other, and help to fan the flames of romance throughout your trip.

HC_Jul_couple-travel_personal

4. Sort your budget before you bon voyage

Roughly map out the spending budget for daily expenses like food, transport, admission prices and so on, and how you’ll be paying throughout the trip. A good way to avoid any finance-related arguments down the track is just split everything down the middle. However, when it comes to shopping for personal souvenirs (art, clothing, fine wine, etc) it’s every man or woman for his or herself. You can always hide the receipts…

5. This time, it’s personal

From stomach bugs to seismic episodes of travel rage, prepare to see your partner at their absolute worst when traveling abroad. You might be known for having Zen levels of patience, but a 14-hour flight followed by a lengthy stint in the customs line only to be met with a “booking issue” at your hotel would make even Gandhi want to throw a hissy fit. Be patient and don’t sweat the small stuff, sweaty.

HC_Jul_couple-travel_testing

6. If you don’t walk at the same pace as your partner, your relationship is doomed.

Maybe opt for a cycling tour. Or a cruise.

7. Mapping out trouble

Too many cooks spoil the broth, and too many map-readers has the potential to catastrophically destroy your trip. Take turns at being the guide to avoid quibbles at crossroads – and if one of you is a regular Christopher Columbus behind the compass, while the other can barely navigate their way out of the hotel lobby, it’s best to save face and leave the map-managing to the former.

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8. Enhance the romance

It’s exciting to see how far you can stretch your money on an overseas trip (the breakfast buffet doubles as a DIY sandwich-making station for lunch? Somebody pass the cling wrap!), but it pays to fork out a little extra cash on a classy hotel stay or restaurant a few times during your journey to keep the romance flowing.

9. Cabin failure

One of the hardest parts of the journey happens before you even reach your destination. Yes, the flying portion of your trip is where you’ll be physically closest with your partner (and about 150 complete strangers) for the longest period of time – so remember, you don’t necessarily have to sit next to each other on the plane, and it’s okay to both request an aisle seat when flying non-stop from LA to Australia. Sometimes comfort and armrest space is more important for your mutual sanity and tolerance levels.

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10. Test the waters

Sure, your love for each other is strong and true – but the trials and tribulations of travel can test even the most solidified relationships. Before you book that three month-long overseas jaunt with your honey, try a weekend away to see if you’re a good travel fit and go from there.

All images: Unsplash

More from the Orbitz Travel Blog:
Seven places to visit before you have kids
The world’s 5 most romantic places to share a kiss
10 great reasons to get married on a cruise

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4 Things to Remember When You Want to Get Married, But It’s Not Happening

Back when I was in my early to mid-20s I was worried and concerned about getting married, but every attempt to create a stable, loving and committed relationship turned into an utter failure.

Based on what I’ve learned, here are four things to remember when you want to get married, but it’s not happening:

#1 — You gotta focus on making yourself happy.

Be your own best friend. Learn how to love your life whether there is a guy in your life or not. The more joyful and loving that you are when alone with yourself, the better because others are going to recognize that energy that you are putting out.

And trust me — being joyful, happy, and loving is a lot more attractive then being depressed, self-conscious, and anxious. Just imagine what it’d be like going on a date with someone who is really depressed, self conscious and anxious. Would you want to go out with them again? Enough said.

#2 — Know that you deserve and are capable of having a loving relationship.

We can be happy and joyful in our lives and with ourselves all we want, but if we don’t think that we deserve and are capable of having a loving and joyful relationship that can turn into a successful marriage then it’s not going to happen. We have to really truly know and believe that we are worthy.

Doing this doesn’t have to be super complicated. It can happen at any given moment that you choose to fully admit to yourself and the universe what it is that you truly desire and you choose to fully know you are worthy. And, as a result, the universe can respond very quickly.

I know this very well from experience. A few years ago I was traveling in Japan after spending several months suffering with the aftermath from a breakup. I was working on being happy by myself but nothing new came along because I didn’t really believe I was ready for a new relationship. I deeply believed that I’d screw any new relationship up. I didn’t trust myself.

While walking around the Golden Pavillion (Kinkai-ju) in Kyoto I saw a section where you could buy candles for various different things and light them for a prayer. These were all in English so I felt inclined to light one. At first I rationalized and started telling myself to do one for world peace, but my eyes kept going back to one that was for finding love.

In that moment, finally admitted to myself and the universe my true desire and I knew that I deserved it. I lit the candle and left — forgetting about it.

Later that day, upon trying to get to the airport, a storm came through that caused me to miss my flight. I ended up meeting a man in this this stressful situation who helped me with language translations. This man I ended up having a stable relationship with for about a year.

Which leads me to my next point…

#3 — Always be open to possibilities.

When we have this very specific picture of what it is that we want then we are not going to be open for all of the creative possibilities. We may overlook or not even allow ourselves to see what is right in front of us.

It’s okay to have some standards of what you want: Like someone who is honest, loyal, caring, and so on. But if we’re going so far as to being very particular about how someone looks, their job, or where they grew up then we may be blocking ourselves from being with who we are truly mean to be with.

Also, I think it’s very important to remember that when I say “be open to possibilities” it’s not about letting go of the desire completely. It’s not about shifting your thoughts in a way to be forcing yourself to be thinking, “I don’t want to get married” because that doesn’t leave you open to the potential of marriage ever. It’s like going up to the universe and saying “I’m closing up shop” and the universe is thinking, “But, wait, I had all these customers lined up for you. What gives?”

The key is to learn how to get into a neutral space of “I am happy and love my life no matter what happens”. It’s about letting go of any concern or worry about the outcome and being open for all creative possibilities. That creates the foundation for a real change (or miracle) to occur, internally and, ultimately, externally.

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Click to Tweet: When we let go of concerns about the outcome, we open ourselves to receive all the creative possibilities. via @jenilyn8705

#4 — Have faith.

Trust that what is going to happen will happen. Not all of us are meant to get married or have children by a certain age. It’s also true that not all of us are meant to only be married once. Things happen — it’s just the way life works out sometimes.

So trust and have faith that what comes to you is what is in your highest good. You have you own individual lessons to learn in this life that is totally unique to you. Nobody else shares those same specific lessons that you need to learn with you. So trust, have faith, and follow the flow of your own intuition and inner guidance.

Take action now!

Let’s do #1: What can you start doing today to help yourself love your life more? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Jennifer is a self and relationship coach and the founder of JenniferTwardowski.com. Her mission is to help women create loving relationships with both others and themselves. Click here for her Free Self and Relationship Healing Meditation and weekly blog updates. To learn about how you can work with her, click here.

Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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See Who Got Married This Weekend!

Congratulations go out to our readers who tied the knot over the weekend and looked oh-so in love in their wedding photos! 

Check out some of the dreamy shots below: 

If you go to a wedding or get married yourself, hashtag your photos #HPrealweddings or email one to us afterwards so we can feature it on the site!

For photos from other real weddings in 2015, check out the slideshow below:

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Playboy Names America’s 25 Sexiest Cities, New York Tops The List

Forget the best cities in the country. Playboy magazine released its list ranking America’s 25 Sexiest Cities on Wednesday and we’re already contemplating a move.  

According to the magazine, the list was determined by two separate polls that looked at metrics including nightlife, general lifestyle habits and “an undercurrent of desire.” So it’s not exactly scientific.

New York City ranked #1 on the list, mainly because its residents were into “kinky” things and a LOT of sex. “The people are hot, the sex is prime quality and the frequency is high, averaging 138 times per year,” wrote Playboy. Considering NYC has the Museum of Sex and a topless book club, we have to agree with the ranking. 

Scroll down to look at the cities that made the top 10 and head over to Playboy to see the rest: 

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John Oliver Says It’s Time To End Discrimination Against Gays

John Oliver says it’s time for the federal government to finish the job when it comes to gay rights

Speaking on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday, Oliver pointed out that while gay couples now have the right to get married, they don’t have many other rights in much of the nation.

In some cases, they have no rights at all. 

Now Oliver is calling on the feds to extend basic civil rights protections to the gay community. 

“States have a checkered history when it comes to civil rights,” Oliver said. “Just look at Arkansas right now. Not only do they not have any anti-discrimination ordinances, earlier this year they actually passed an anti-anti-discrimination ordinance that prevents any city or county from extending civil rights protections to gay people.”

As Oliver pointed out, that’s the opposite of progress.

“It would be like if Apple suddenly introduced the iPhone 7 and it was a flip phone,” he said. “That’s still not as dumb as the Apple Watch… but it’s dumb.” 

Check it out in the clip above.  

 

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Comedian Tracy Morgan Weds 14 Months After Surviving Car Wreck

Tracy Morgan, a star of comedy series “30 Rock” and cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” married his long-time fiancee on Sunday, 14 months after suffering life-threatening injuries in a deadly car wreck, People magazine reported on its web site.

Morgan, 46, sustained a brain injury and broken bones when a Walmart tractor-trailer hit his limousine on the New Jersey Turnpike as he returned from a gig in Atlantic City in June last year.

The comedian’s wedding to Megan Wollover on Sunday night was attended by close friends and family, the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Maven.

“After almost losing Tracy last year, I am so grateful to finally be married to the love of my life,” Wollover told People.

“We have been through so much and our love is stronger for it,” Wollover was quoted as saying.

 

The magazine reported that Morgan’s representatives also confirmed the marriage.

Morgan has not performed since the crash, in which a close friend died, but will host an episode of sketch show “Saturday Night Live” on Oct. 17, NBC said earlier this month. He was once a regular cast member of the long-running show.

In a television interview two months ago, Morgan wad seen wiping away tears and holding a black cane, saying he needed to heal.

His friend, comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed and nine other people were injured in the wreck.

The National Transportation Safety Board held a speeding Wal-Mart truck driver who had been awake for 28 hours responsible for the accident.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Jennifer Aniston Flashes Her Wedding Ring In First Public Appearance Since Nuptials

Jennifer Aniston made her first public appearance since saying “I do” Wednesday night in Los Angeles. 

The 46-year-old star, who married Justin Theroux in a surprise ceremony at their Bel Air mansion earlier this month, hit the red carpet for the premiere of her new movie, “She’s Funny That Way.” Cameras caught snapshots of Aniston’s wedding ring, a gold and diamond band created by her friend and jewelry designer, Jennifer Meyer, according to Us Weekly. 

The newlywed was greeted with congratulations and briefly discussed married life to reporters. 

“It feels quite natural,” she told E! News when asked about using the term “husband.” She said Theroux couldn’t attend the premiere because he is “shooting ‘The Leftovers’ in Austin.” 

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Newlyweds Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux Board a Private Jet for Their Honeymoon—With A-List Friends!

Au revoir, Mr. and Mrs. Theroux: Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux—who married at their Bel Air home last night—boarded a private plane earlier today to jet off on their honeymoon. The bride and groom both…


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How to Deal When Your Partner Isn’t as Spiritual as You

I have a confession to make.

Somewhere around 4 to 5 months into my most recent relationship I seriously considered breaking it off. The whole dynamic of me being the “spiritual one” and him not being spiritual — well, at all — just wasn’t quite working for me. How could we make it work when we couldn’t see eye to eye?

So I wanted to breakup. End it. Be done with it.

This decision of potentially ending this relationship made me quite distressed so I started discussing it with various coaches and counselors.

“Well, that really depends…”

“Yeah, I think you’re ready for this relationship to end… “

“It sounds like you’re stuck in this place and you’re ready for a change…”

I would hear them say.

Though this advice resonated with me on some level, it still didn’t feel quite “right” to me. So I decided to do nothing and continued on with the relationship, despite continuing to feel troubled by this whole “I’m spiritual and he’s not” thing.

Then one day I was listening to a mentor of mine giving a talk about relationships and someone had told her, “I’m so frustrated. My boyfriend isn’t nearly as spiritual as me.” With those words I perked up and leaned in closer, giving this exchange my full attention. “How do I deal when my boyfriend isn’t as spiritual as me?” she asked.

My mentor looked at her with her piercing brown eyes and said…

“You gotta worry about your own side of the street, honey.”

“You’re only in control of yourself,” she continued, “And he is on his own spiritual path. All you can do is to do the spiritual work yourself, be the light and he will gradually come to his own understanding in his own way and on his own time.”

I was immediately skeptical. How on earth is that going to work?, I thought to myself. This guy wants to get into religious and spiritual debates with me. He isn’t out to understand and accept — he’s only out to “win” his point.

But despite these thoughts, there was a sense, a voice deep down in the core of my being that said, “Just do it and you’ll see.”

And so I did just that.

I stopped worry about him and started working on myself. I started meditating daily. I began reading more spiritual texts. I started to really implement the work into my life.

I never once preached my beliefs to him or share with him anything that he didn’t already express some interest or curiosity in. And if he wanted to debate religion and spirituality I simply set a boundary stating that I didn’t want to talk about it.

I just focused on myself and did my own thing.

And over time, something amazing happened…

We started meditating together.

We started going to yoga classes together.

He started asking me about some of the books I was reading.

Somehow, miraculously, he became more open and accepting.

And you know what else?

Gradually the arguments became fewer and fewer. And we became closer and closer.

Our love deepened and we somehow became more comfortable with each other and more in love than we were before.

Our relationship progressed to a whole new level. A level that neither one of us have ever experienced with another person before.

All because I decided to completely focus on working on myself and not him.

So how did I do it and how can you do it if you’re in this situation as well? Here’s a few tips:

1. Recognize that the whole “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality is nothing but your ego.

So when you catch yourself getting into that frame of thinking, just recognize it and let it go.

2. Set boundaries.

If you see your partner getting into the whole “you’re right I’m wrong” mentality, then set a boundary with them. Say something like, “Honey I love you, but because I love you I don’t think we should be talking about this right now” and walk away or go in the other room.

3. Be the light.

Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Do the spiritual work that you need to do for yourself and, over time, maybe your partner will start to wonder, Hey! What is she doing for herself? Cause it seems to work. I better check this out.

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Click to Tweet: “Be the change you want to see in the world” ~ Gandhi via @jenilyn8705

And if they don’t, so what? It doesn’t matter because all that matters at the end of the day is that you are being a channel for your own inner transformation — and that makes all the difference.

In the comments below, share with me one thing that you are going to commit to doing on a regular basis so that you can be “the change you wish to see.”

Jennifer is a self and relationship coach and the founder of JenniferTwardowski.com. Her mission is to help women create loving relationships with both others and themselves. Click here for her Free Self and Relationship Healing Meditation and weekly blog updates. To learn about how you can work with her, click here.

Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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100-Year-Olds Married 75 Years Share Secrets To Wedded Bliss

Seventy-five years after saying their “I dos,” Lisette and Walter Kimmel celebrated their platinum anniversary by cutting a cake at the same time they both walked down the aisle, all those years ago.

The couple have not only defied the odds by staying married for so long, they’ve also both accomplished the great feat of living to 100. They’ve been together for three-fourths of their lives.

 

The pair met when they were just 22 at a Maryland church. They married in that same church just a few years later. Lisette played the organ and Walter was in the choir. They went on to have two children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

They celebrated their milestone with a party at the Charlestown Retirement Community where they now live, with staff and other residents. They enjoyed cake accompanied by classic songs, including “What a Wonderful World.”

As to their secret to happily wedded bliss for 75 years, they advice was short and sweet. “Stay true to each other,” said Lisette in a release. “Be honest with each other and enjoy each other.” Walter said, “Be happy with each other every day of your life.”

Congratulations!

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6 Things No One Tells You About Long-Distance Relationships

The story never gets old: A girl meets a boy. They fall head over heels in love to realize later on one is bound to leave somewhere far.

My story, however, comes with a little twist. I traveled nearly 6,000 miles from home to get lost in thick Indonesian jungles with a person living in my hometown. Yet, moving to France in just a month after we return from the trip.

While I desperately wished to quit my job, pack my bags I couldn’t. Saying immediate good-bye forever at that point would have torn my heart apart as well. So I opted for that type of relationships I never believed could work — long-distance relationship (LDR).

Two years fast-forward, we are still together. We are still in love and I now have two homes in two different countries where I spend equal amount of time.

There’s one important most thing I need to tell you upfront: Long-distance relationships suck. You may eventually discover some positive aspects, but on your “bad days” you will curse each mile separating you.

Yet, if you ask me, “Is it actually worth to get into LDR?

Absolutely. Every. Single. (Pun intended). Minute.

If you found yourself at the point when you need to decide whether love on the distance is possible for you, here are some important things I have learned the hard way.

1. You got a free ticket for an emotional non-stop roller-coaster ride.

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I have always thought of myself as a big girl who doesn’t cry. The first month of LDR turned me into a total weepie.

It’s not that we weren’t doing “good”. It’s just due to complete novelty of the situation; I have experienced a vast variety of feelings from deep, depressive sadness to anger, joy, anxiety, enthusiasm and everything in between.

If you think it gets better in time, sorry, it doesn’t.

You will still have “good days” when you do your daily chores, feel excited about something, have fun times with friends. And there would be bad days. Terribly wrong days full of self-pity, heart-wrenching loneliness and drilling pain.

When you are together, your joy and happiness can’t be tamed. When you are apart, your sadness grows to the size of your personal universe.

2. You will become really creative in filling up your time.

To avoid the sadness consuming me, I started to get creative with keeping my brains occupied most of the day. I took language classes, learnt to cook a few dozens of new dishes, started biking regularly into the countryside, worked long hours, started a blog, revived some long-forgotten friendships, de-cluttered my flat, gave away my clothes and did some charity projects.

My partner started learning to play the guitar, learned to skate, became a pro-chess player, continued to study another language and make new friends and useful professional connections in his new home country.

Now you get the point, you will have a lot of “waiting” time you will need to productively waste unless you don’t want to be a sad girl all the time.

3. You will have a lot of tough choices to make.

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Let’s start with some relatively simple questions both of you will need to answer honestly: “Where is this all heading?” and “What’s next?”; “How do you see our future together?” and “How can we close the distance?”

Add to the above developing the ultimate visiting schedule, shared expenses and financial planning, plus questions from all sort of random folks asking when/why don’t you get married or dump him.

4. Your friends’ may not be as supportive as you think.

If they are not in LDR as well, they won’t get all of your woes and complains 75 percent of the times. They will sound as sympathetic and compassionate as they can, but deep down inside you know they don’t understand your feelings.

Some would be much worse, asking seemingly hilarious questions like: “Does your boyfriend even exist?”, “How do you cope with the physical aspect of being in relationships?” and “Maybe you should date someone else?”.

Right. And than a cat becomes a dog.

5. In time, you develop an odd feeling of sureness.

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Your relationships are definitely not about sex. You are rather friends without benefits when you are not together. If that’s not true love, why would each if you bother to sustain this whole thing?

You are very honest with your partner and can share anything in person or online — fears, dreams, hopes, pain, insecurities. Suddenly, “jealousy” becomes an empty word for you as you grow a thousand per cent sure in your partner.

6. You will make it till the end.

I have never believed long-distance relationships work. I was proved wrong.

You will make it through. You can be a happy couple even if you don’t share one zip code.

If it is your person, you will survive everything together and make it through all the future couple struggles and life difficulties.

You can read more stories of life and travel at Elena’s blog or check out the latest pictures at @elenastravelgram

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The Perfect Wedding Dessert, According To You Personality

Are you having your wedding at Four Seasons or at a campsite? No matter the vibe of your big day, we’ve got a dessert for you. 

You and your partner have everything planned for your wedding: the rings you’ll exchange, the first song you’ll dance to, and the pajamas you’ll put on as soon as the last guest has left. You’ve even made sure the friend from college—the one who’ll inevitably get a little sloppy and distract from the tension between your extended family members—has RSVP’d yes.

But the detail that can sometimes be hardest to finalize—the same detail that will leave a lasting, and hopefully sweet, impression on your guests—is dessert. In so many ways, we’re living in an era after the reign of the standard three-tiered wedding cake with two figurines on top. Today, there’s more room for creativity—to serve pudding or milkshakes or trifle as the last course, depending on the mood you’re going for.

To celebrate the start of wedding season and the launch of Food52’s registry, we’ve organized 24 desserts by wedding personality. If you serve any of these, we expect an invitation. 

Luxe

  • You want your guests to leave impressed
  • You told the wedding planner you were fine with crystals, sequins, and gold leaf
  • The expression “YOLO” speaks to you
  • You spent a lot of time thinking about the wedding favors

    Triple Chocolate Ombre Cake, Champagne Cake, Olive Oil-Saffron Ice Cream with Burnt Caramel-Orange SwirlLate Summer Trifle

 

Classic

  • The thought of a mocha-colored dress makes you raise your eyebrows 
  • You picked out your borrowed, blue, and new items five years ago
  • You want your wedding to feel timeless
  • You’re exchanging family heirlooms along with the rings

    
Strawberry Short Cake, Alice Medrich’s House Truffles 4.0, Perfect Chocolate CakePeach Tart

 

Minimalist

  • You instructed your mother and your future mother-in-law that they could absolutely not wear Betsey Johnson dresses
  • The color scheme includes grays, blues, and gray-blues
  • Your dream house is “simple yet elegant” 
  • You love Muji

      
Maialino’s Olive Oil Cake, Flourless Chocolate Cake, PalmiersBrown Butter Raspberries

 

Rustic

  • You’re having your wedding at a barn, cabin, farm, or campsite
  • There will be dogs running around (and they will not be wearing bow ties or veils)
  • You are serving artisinal beer out of mason jars decorated with gingham ribbons
  • The bouquets and corsages are made of wildflowers

    Blueberry and Rye Slab Pie, Blackberry Cornbread Buckle, Mable’s Texas Sheet Cake, Apricot Oat Crumb Bars

 

Indie

  • You’re having a friend play guitar as a you walk down the aisle (or, if you’re really going for it, he’s playing banjo)
  • Vanilla cake with vanilla icing makes you yawn 
  • You’re putting Polaroid cameras on each table
  • You hired the bartender because of his handlebar mustache

    Mango-Lime Trifle with Brown Butter Cake, Pecorino Romano Cake with Candied Tomatoes, Chamomile-Lemon Cupcakes with Honey ButtercreamRoberta’s Parsley Cake

 

Retro

  • You always had a hunch you were born in the wrong decade
  • There will be a jukebox at your wedding programmed with “Twist and Shout”
  • You considered wearing a poodle skirt (or pastel-colored suspenders), but your friends advised against it
  • There will be a high number of “old timers” attending 

  
  Roasted Strawberry with Buttermilk and Mint, Icebox Cake, Funfetti CakeRhubarb Upside-Down Cake

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Everything We Know About Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux’s Wedding: Potential Wedding Dress Designers, Celeb Jewelers, and the Funny Guy Who Hosted the Bachelor Party

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Jen and Justin, Blake and Ryan, and More Surprise Celebrity Weddings That Made Our Heads Spin

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12 Never-Before-Seen Photos of Charles and Diana’s Royal Wedding Give Us an Intimate Look Behind the Scenes

There’s no forgetting the iconic photos from Charles and Diana’s royal wedding: The miles-long wedding dress train (and a gaggle of flower girls) trailing the prince and his newly minted princess up the aisle. The…


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8 Signs Your Relationship Is Built To Last

I was watching an old dating show recently that was almost like ‘The Dating Game’ where someone would choose a contestant based on their credentials (for lack of a better term), and then narrow down one person of the three to go on a date with.

More than once, the people decided to not even go on a date because they were just so different from each other on paper. While some personality differences are beneficial to relationships, I sometimes wonder to myself how many unhappy relationships wouldn’t have began in the first place if people were a little more discerning about who they end up with.

But rather than taking a negative approach to the discussion — I wanted to lay out five points that show you are headed in the right direction.

You fully support each other.

Whether or not you share each others’ passions or life ambitions, when you truly care about someone you want to see them succeed and be happy in whatever they love. This means standing beside them, not in their way, when they dedicate effort towards pursuing a goal.

You deeply respect each other.

This one needs no explanation — mutual respect between partners in a relationship is paramount to its success. Honesty, trust, friendship, and intimacy all grow from this foundation. Without respect, there is nothing else.

You are willing to compromise for each other.

While of course you should be compatible with your teammate, that doesn’t mean that you will automatically love every single thing they love, and vice versa. If you truly care for someone and their happiness, you will be willing to watch, do, see, and experience things they enjoy, as they would do for you in return.

Without compromise, we can easily find our relationships resembling a see-saw with a huge boulder on one side, the distribution never shifts.

In this case, the boulder represents the wants and needs of one partner. There should be an equal amount of balance in order to keep you both happy and satisfied.

You are similarly ambitious.

We can’t expect our significant other to have an identical plan for their future as we do (See: Compromise and mutual support), but it is reasonable to desire similarities when building a life with someone.

Like any team, as a relationship is, the results are best when the members are working towards a common goal together. This goal could even be something so simple as self-improvement. If one teammate is dedicating their life to personal growth, and the other is content with how things are and never displays a desire for change, then this can easily create resentment and tension over time.

You can trust your partner with anything.

I’m not sure why this one is so difficult to grasp, but if your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to go out with their friends who they haven’t seen in awhile, what’s the harm? A solid relationship won’t be shaken by this simple act and you’ll know they’ll be back in your arms at the end of the night or the next day. Nothing to see here, kids — move along.

If your partner doesn’t trust you, and you’ve given them no reason to feel this way, it is possible they are projecting their own infidelities or insecurities onto you.

In the “ultimate” relationship, both partners have earned each others’ trust and would never do anything to betray it.

You never judge each other.

Happiness in a relationship comes from two teammates who are able to be open and honest with each other. That honesty comes from being comfortable to open up and know that you will not be judged.

When you’re sharing your life with someone, there is no room for discomfort, secrets, or lies. Especially secrets or lies that are forced by the inability to be genuine with your teammate.

The right person for you will support and encourage you on your journey to becoming the person you want to be, but they will also love you as the person you already are — no judgment allowed.

You communicate effectively.

It’s natural to face conflicts when you spend a lot of time with any person, but a healthy relationship will resolve any issues by discussing their opinions and stances in order to understand each other better and reach a solution they both agree on. Frequent nasty, vindictive fights are a sign to re-evaluate your ‘relationship.’

You never lose sight of the little things.

The small things you do for someone are what count the most. These are the actions that show your partner that you’re willing to put in effort for them, just because. No special occasion or holiday required. You don’t need a schedule to show someone you love them.

A happy, healthy relationship will consist of two partners willing to put in equal effort, consistently. Great relationships are not about give and take, they’re about give and give.

When these little things start to fade is when the strength of the relationship will start to become more questionable. Do they really appreciate you? Do they still care as much as they once did? Is our relationship becoming stronger over time, or weaker?

Once you start asking yourself these questions, it is time to address them and find real answers.

_________________________________________

Every person who reads this will have a different image of their “ultimate” relationship in their mind. The key thing is to understand that it is possible to achieve, as long as both teammates are willing to put in the effort to uphold the integrity of the wants and desires.

Does it sound like work? That’s because relationships can be — but that’s what makes the great ones so rewarding.

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15 Creative Seating Signs Fit For A Bride And Groom

In all the excitement of greeting your guests and getting ready for dinner to be served, it can be easy to to forget to save yourself a seat! Create clever signs to display on the backs of your chairs to let everyone know where the couple of the hour can be found, and to give your seat an extra-special touch. Label your chairs with your names, initials, or even “Mr.” and “Mrs.” or “Bride” and “Groom.” We’ve seen this trend gain momentum in the last few years, and we love how creative couples have become!

See how 15 real couples labeled their chairs, using flowers, burlap, wood, and even horseback riding award ribbons. Hint: this makes a great DIY project for you and your fiancé(e)! Get inspired by the adorable bride and groom signs in the photos below.

Rustic Engraved Logs
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Photo by Lucky Love Photography
Slices of a tree branch were carved with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” and hung on the backs of wooden chairs to beautifully complement this nature-themed wedding.

Simple Fabric Sleeves
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Photo by Robert Evans Studio
Ghost chairs are meant to blend seamlessly into the wedding décor, so opt for an easy and subtle label like these fabric bands.

Equestrian Inspiration
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Photo by Chrisman Studios
The bride and groom who planned this wedding love horseback riding, so they utilized horse show award ribbons in their chair labels!

Calligraphy Signs Tied With Ribbon
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Photo by Christian Oth Studio
A calligrapher can easily create elegant signs featuring a classic script to be tied to chairs with silky ribbon.

Heart-Shaped Labels
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Photo by Callaway Gable
What better shape to inspire your labels than a heart?

Glitter Bomb
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Photo by Callaway Gable
Many brides would agree that there’s no such thing as too much sparkle! Trace elegant lettering in glitter for a perfect hint of shine.

Bold Wooden Sign
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Photo by Regina Hyman
Make sure no one steals your seat with a sign emblazoned with the words “Bride” and “Groom!”

Burlap and Twine
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Photo by Clane Gessel Photography
These simple but chic signs are made out of burlap and attached to the chairs with twine — we love the unique positioning below the seat!

Floral Initials
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Photo by Olivia Leigh Photographie
Rows of perfect pink blooms form the bride and groom’s initials, tied to their chairs with white ribbon.

Garland of Flowers
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Photo by Kris Kan
Make your seat extra special by draping a floral garland across the chair.

Lettered Tiles
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Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography
For an antique feel, thread hand-painted letters onto pieces of twine to spell out “Groom,” “Bride,” or your names.

Ribbons and Flowers
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Photo by Next Exit Photography
Matching bouquets of purple flowers gathered with blue ribbon provide the finishing touch on weathered chairs labeled with rustic signs.

Whimsical Letters
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Photo by Andi Diamond Photography
Hang each individual letter, accented with bunches of roses and baby’s breath, from chairs with pink ribbon!

Miniature Chalkboards
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Photo by Realities Photography
Say it with chalk! Draw cute designs on chalkboards for a shabby-chic celebration.

Block Letters
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Photo by Walters & Walters
Perfectly carved block letters complement a chic black-and-white wedding.

For more wedding reception ideas, visit our photo gallery or follow Inside Weddings on Pinterest and Instagram!

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This Comic Captures The Two Types Of People In Every Relationship

In any relationship, there are two kinds of people: the one who orders the side of fries and the one who claims he or she doesn’t want any, and then promptly goes to town as soon as it arrives. 

Cartoonist Adrienne Hedger of Hedger Humor self-identifies as the second type. 

“I never order French fries because I think I don’t want all those fries,” she told The Huffington Post. “So I just tell my husband, ‘I’ll have a taste of yours.’ And in the moment, that’s my honest intention. Just a few — maybe five — fries. And the next thing you know, you’ve eaten half the fries.” 

Hedger recently created a hilariously relatable comic that captures this all-too-common dynamic. Check it out below:

 

Also on HuffPost

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How to Help Parents Settle the Bill When They Keep Fighting Over Wedding Costs

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Gabrielle Union Celebrates a Year of Marriage With Never-Before-Seen Wedding Photos

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Man Proposes To Girlfriend Dressed As Killer Michael Myers

You know you’ve found “the one” when he knows your idea of a perfect marriage proposal is to dress as a famous serial killer before getting down on one knee.

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5 Ways to Show Your Appreciation to Your Partner (and Save Your Relationship in the Process)

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Appreciating your partner on a daily basis is a great way to protect your long-term relationship from any number of bummers: cooling off, infidelity, breakups, etc. There are no guarantees, of course: that’s just not the way life and love work. But doing your best to be good to the one you love — and to make them feel good, at least once a day — is a pretty good way to bolster long-term fidelity (however you define “fidelity” in your own personal relationship). Because, let’s face it, fidelity could use a little help these days.

Here are five ways to demonstrate your appreciation to your partner — in other words, this is how to remind your partner that you still notice them. Trust us, noticing goes a long way in a relationship.

1) Notice the Little Things
In the division of household labor, perhaps you always load and unload the dishwasher and your partner always does the laundry. Perhaps you mow the lawn and your partner cleans the bathrooms. But just because you have established a fair breakdown of chores that demonstrates the admirable equality in your relationship, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be grateful. So say thank you for these things. You can say, “Thank you for folding my clothes better than a Gap salesperson,” or you can say, “Thank you for always doing more than your share around the house,” or you can say, “Wow! The lawn looks amazing!” You get the idea. Those chores can become, well, a chore over the years, and everyone assumes that their partner doesn’t notice the jobs they do that are solely their responsibility. Make a point to notice this stuff.

2) Notice the Big Things
Sure, you can say, “Thank you for driving the kids to the bus today,” or “Wow, you must be tired after working all those extra hours this week.” But it’s also nice to go bigger picture sometimes, too. Think: “When I fell in love with you, I believed you’d make an amazing mom/dad. But I didn’t know quite how much you’d rock this role.” Or, “I know you’d rather be writing a screenplay/trying out for a reality TV show/doing CrossFit full-time, but I really appreciate you working for a sucky boss so we can, you know, eat and stuff.” Or, “You have no idea how it improves my mood each morning when you make that awesome pour-over coffee.” Or, “I don’t know how you attend so many kids’ birthday parties, you must be some kind of saint.”

3) Support Your Partner’s Passions
Speaking of that screenplay or that reality TV show or that CrossFit obsession: make time in your relationship to support your partner’s true passions. Many of us — most of us? — aren’t lucky enough to get paid to do what we really love, so do this for each other, instead.  Tell your partner, “Why don’t [fill in the blank: I take the kids/we skip church/you bag your house chores] on Sunday morning, so you can work on your novel/paint/scrapbook/paddle-board/ballroom-dance.” Giving your partner time to pursue these beloved hobbies shows that you still care about their happiness and satisfaction, and that you respect their talents and passions.

4) Compliment Your Partner
It’s simple, basic and old-school, but that doesn’t mean that anyone tires of being complimented on their looks, especially when they’re in a long-term relationship and are not getting that regular flirtatious feedback via the pickup scene. Try, “You look so beautiful this morning.” Or, “You’re hotter than when I met you.” Or, “I love the way your ass looks in those jeans.” And yes, this is a gender-neutral recommendation — men need to hear this stuff just as much as the ladies.

5) Date Your Partner
Life is hard, and life keeps you busy, especially when you’re married with kids. But life was hard and busy in its own way back when you were dating, and you still found time to do stuff and plan stuff then. Make a dinner reservation somewhere. Bring, yes, flowers. (It’s not a cliche if you never do it, right?) Dress up a bit when you go out together (that includes the dudes, too). Come up with new ideas/positions/toys to try out in bed. Send sexy texts. Send romantic texts. Read out loud to each other in bed (not necessarily erotica, though that’s cool, too). Discuss culture, politics and your hopes and dreams as well as day-to-day logistics. Make a five-year plan together, and a ten-year plan and a twenty-year plan. And make sure that these plans include big dreams and life goals as well as the practical stuff like saving for kids’ college educations. Most of all, though: ask your partner questions, and really listen to their answers. It’s called conversation. Remember it?

Want more appreciation tips?

10 Things to Say to Your Partner Instead of “I Love You”

photo via Pixabay

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The Dos and Don’ts of Having a Las Vegas Bachelorette Party

When it comes to picking a spot for a bachelorette party, nowhere seems more popular than Las Vegas. Sin City has so much to offer, plus a reputation for hedonistic fun for your last fling…


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Free Wedding Websites—With Matching Stationery—Make Figuring Out Your Wedding Invitations a Breeze

There are approximately 6 billion wedding invitation options out there, 9 million types of save-the-dates, and 42 quadrillion wedding websites to choose from. So how are a bride and groom supposed to pick? We have…


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A Year Into Marriage, Lauren Conrad Shares the Best Part—and the Hardest

Lauren Conrad got up close and personal with her fans yesterday, tackling 10 of her Instagram followers’ most pressing questions on her site, laurenconrad.com. Almost one year into her marriage with William Tell (the two…


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How to Plan Your Entire Wedding Online

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Weddings are a big deal. Every small detail seems to matter, and the more we invest time into the planning, the more overwhelming it can become. Maybe you’re the type of bride that enjoys the process, which is great! Maybe you’re not, and that’s great too! I have compiled a few tips and helpful resources for those of you who would love nothing more than to plan your wedding from the couch with a glass of wine in hand, and not stress when you don’t need to.

Invitations: You will need some type of invitation to let your guests know when and where to be to see you get married. Many couples are now leaning towards e-vites, which is a super easy and paper-free method of getting the information out there. But if you want to go with traditional paper invitations, you can use sites such as Shine or Minted, and they do all the work for you. And I do mean ALL of it. You provide them the addresses of your guests, design the invites online using their beautiful templates and calligraphy options, and when they mail them to you, all you need to do is slap a stamp on those babies and you’re done!

Venue: Choosing a venue has never been so easy! Websites like Wedding Spot display relevant info side-by-side, allowing users to search for and price out their options. Many venues such as resorts now offer virtual tours on their websites as well. If you are planning a destination wedding, even better! Many resorts are all inclusive and do most of the work for you. You can now chat with somebody over email or on the phone, arrive two or three days before your wedding to finalize flowers and decor and bam! Wedding planning done!

Wedding Dress: Trying on dresses is a huge part of planning a wedding. Getting your girls together, making a day of it, and sipping champagne, it’s all fun and games until you’ve tried 72 dresses and are too overwhelmed with opinions and just want to go home and eat ice cream. Now we have some of the most convenient services at our disposal! Nearly Newlywed is a site where brides can buy their gowns at a discount – some are samples, some are used. Upon receiving the dress in the mail, customers have five days to determine if it’s the one. When it’s all said and done, brides can use the site’s marketplace to sell back their dresses if they wish. What a relief! Large stores such as Nordstrom also have bridal dresses that you can try on and return if they are in the original condition.

Bridesmaids dresses: Brides and bridesmaids rejoice – the dreaded bridesmaid dress doesn’t have to be so dreaded, after all. Dress rental services allow bridesmaids to save big on their pal’s big day by opting for temporary attire, instead of collecting closet-clogging, never-to-be-worn-again frocks. Brides select a color palette (there are 18 available), and from there, they can choose specific styles with plenty of room to mix and match; there are 12 style options in each color. Once the bride sets her preferences, all bridesmaids have to do is order! BHLDN is another great option for quick shipping, and you can also return the item in most cases if it’s not a perfect fit.

Groom and Groomsmen Tuxedos: I know you have stressed about your bridesmaid’s dresses, but what about the groomsmen? They are often long forgotten as that tends to fall under the “groom’s duties”, and he couldn’t care less what they wore, giving you, the bride, a lot of anxiety. Fast forward to wedding week, and both groom and groomsmen are running around town trying to get fitted for a last minute tuxedo. Finally, on the wedding day, there they are: boxy, sad, ill-fitting tuxes that will forever be engraved in your memory (and in your pictures), since that is all they were able to find last minute. I have the antidote! There are now options for renting tuxedos online, and they are sent to you to try in the comfort of your home. You say “what? It can’t be that easy!” Yes, indeed! Just like that, you can cross off one more thing from your wedding planning list by taking advantage of an online service. Your groom will thank you and you will be known as the coolest bride there ever was for helping to make his life easy.

Catering: Now you can’t taste food online, but you can get a pretty good idea of what a caterer offers from their website. If you feel like a tasting is necessary, you can schedule one online or via email! This is particularly easy at resorts and hotels, where you are more likely to be able to taste the food without booking a date, by going in for lunch or dinner. Venues may want to meet in person to know that you are serious about booking, or require you to book a date before you can do a tasting. Another easy solution is to reach out for a “special events menu” from restaurants you already know have amazing food, and put together a custom menu you know your guests will love.

Registry: With websites like Zola, you can now register for anything and everything under the sun in just one place. Zola enables you to combine registries and do it all online! Forget the movie scenes of a bride dragging her miserable fiancee from store to store, scanning China he couldn’t care less about. You can register for gift cards, physical gifts, trips, activities, and even money, all in your pajamas! Many of the major home stores such as Macy’s, Pottery Barn, Bed, Bath & Beyond are now offering online services as well.

Wedding Planner Tools: There are many tools at your disposal today for staying organized and on task. Wedding sites like The Knot and Wedding Wire, as well as many others, offer check mark systems for you to check off the items completed, and help you pace yourself so you are not overwhelmed as you plan each part of your wedding. Many wedding planners also provide online and long-distance services via Skype over the course of your planning as well.

There will be some inevitable times where you will have to appear in person to plan the wedding of your dreams. But with technology today, the most boring and overwhelming tasks can be done from the comfort of your home, so that you can save your precious time for the fun stuff! Like cake tasting.

Happy planning!

This article was first seen on Deborah Stachelski Designs.

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Pardon Us, Lady Gaga: Is THIS Your Wedding Dress Designer?

Lady Gaga cut a striking figure at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Grants Banquet last night. She looked so drop-dead chic in her off-the-shoulder Vivienne Westwood sheath, that we had to wonder if she’ll be…


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This Supremely Awesome Wedding Cake Will Make You Do A Double Take

They say marriage is all about compromise. If that’s the case, newlyweds Kia Parsons and Billy Bunning are off to an excellent start.

The UK couple had different visions when it came to their wedding cake; the bride wanted an all-white tiered cake with cascading sugar flowers. The groom, on the other hand, wanted to incorporate his love of comic book superheroes into the confection. So they met somewhere in the middle:

Julia Baker of Tier by Tier cake design created the cake for the couple’s August 14 wedding in Milton Keynes, England. One side is the traditional-looking cake the bride wanted. On the other side, icing curtains reveal the logos of Marvel characters Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man, as well as Batman from the DC Comics camp. 

“I loved every minute making this cake, as I knew it would be something that people would be surprised at and appeal to all the Marvel fans!” Julia told The Huffington Post. 

In all, she spent 40 hours on the cake. It took 12 hours to make the sugar flowers, and the cake-baking and building took about 28 hours. 

Needless to say, Kia and Billy were thrilled with the finished product. 

“Julia did such a fantastic job and we were completely overwhelmed by how brilliant it looked!” the bride told HuffPost. “From most angles of the room, the cake looked like a traditional wedding cake — just what we had wanted. It wasn’t until the cake was moved for us to cut that our guests realized there was a hidden extra.  Some didn’t even realize until the photos went online after the wedding!” 

On Tuesday, a photo of the cake began going viral when it was shared by the Life Of Dad Facebook page. 

“I was surprised at how popular it was and how quickly the pictures circulated on social media,” Julia said. “I have plenty more ideas to work on and I am calling these ‘double-take cakes.'” 

H/T Life Of Dad

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What Your First Year of Marriage Teaches You

While one year of marriage hardly seems like an accomplishment (my grandparents made it to 50, after all!), I do believe that my first 365 days of matrimony have been significant — at least in terms of what I’ve learned along the way.

I can’t speak for other couples, but I can share my own experiences and what this first year has taught me about my relationship, myself and marriage in general.

First, I’ve learned that being married is far less stressful than wedding planning — at least for me. While I absolutely loved planning our wedding (so much so that I even became a wedding planner!), the process of making decisions for this huge event was a little… much at times. I felt so much pressure to make sure every choice was special, personal, and, well, right. Looking back, I’ve realized that I didn’t need to work myself up over things so much and that while I loved all the DIY projects and special touches I worked so hard on, they aren’t what made the day as memorable as it was.

Being married, while full of decisions and tasks (because, life), is much more mundane than planning to get married ever was — and thank goodness for that.

Another key lesson I learned has to do with my perception of marriage and how that’s changed. Before I was indeed an ol’ married lady, I thought of the institution as the ultimate secure status, the pinnacle of relationship success. While being merely boyfriend and girlfriend was a fragile relationship state (always the chance of breaking up!), being husband and wife was a dignified, solidified existence. I figured I wouldn’t ever have another doubting thought about a relationship again once I had a ring on my finger.

Even though I am confident in my marriage, love my husband, and know that he loves me — and while being married does in many ways feel like the cozy nest I always hoped it would — there is far more at stake when you’re wed than when you’re simply dating.

Perhaps because I am anxious and overly worried by nature, rather than feeling carefree, I find myself thinking critically about my choices as a wife — how my actions affect my husband, how I can communicate better, talk more gently, be the person I want to be. (And I beat myself up more than I ever did while we were dating when I lose my temper or say something I don’t really mean.)

I’m not extra hard on myself out of fear of divorce or a worry of disappointing my husband, rather, I now feel a deeper responsibly to just be better. Showing up for my partner, and our marriage, as my best self matters far more now than it ever did before. Since, of course, we’re in this for life and all.

Finally, I’ve learned that while I do feel a sense of responsibility to myself and my husband to continue to be a better person, marriage hasn’t really changed our daily lives all that much. We still go out for drinks with friends, watch The Bachelor on Monday nights, spend lazy Saturday mornings in our pajamas, and take turns making each other coffee. Yet, even when we do these everyday things, we do them as husband and wife.

I love being able to call the man I’ve chosen by his new, shiny title, and likewise being his Mrs. Sometimes, hearing the still new-to-us labels spoken aloud (like, when we introduce each other now as husband and wife) takes me by surprises. In a good way, of course. When I hear those words, I feel grown up in a way I never have before.

I can only hope that, when we’re celebrating our own 50th anniversary, I still feel this joy and satisfaction, even after the word “wife” has been uttered my way hundreds of times. As it stands now, I can’t imagine ever getting tired of hearing it.

A version of the post originally appeared on Robbins’ Brothers Engaged blog

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Jennifer Aniston Shows Off Her Brand-New Wedding Ring—Come See!

The honeymoon’s over! Jennifer Aniston was back in Los Angeles last night to promote She's Funny That Way, in which she appears alongside Owen Wilson. The actress didn’t bring new husband Justin Theroux on the…


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Royal Wedding #tbt: How Queen Elizabeth’s Real-Life Wedding Compares With the Made-for-TV Version That’s Filming Now

It’s no secret that we’re obsessed with modern-day princesses*, but today we have our eye on an old-school royal: Queen Elizabeth, who’s back in the spotlight as Netflix films its original drama The Crown. The…


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This Gay Man Was ‘Humiliated’ And ‘Degraded’ Trying To Get Married In Texas

When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage, Jim Cato and his partner of 27 years were “ecstatic.” But their euphoria was curtailed three days later when they called their county clerk’s office in pursuit of a marriage license, Cato recounted to HuffPost Live on Thursday.

After going to the office, the couple was told that “it was against the religious beliefs of the county clerk” to wed them. They were then “kicked out” with the assistance of six sheriffs.

“It was just like someone had sucked all the air out of you at that time,” Cato recalled of the experience. “We just couldn’t believe it. It was a clear violation of our civil rights. … After waiting 27 years, just to wait one more hour, to me, was unacceptable. We were humiliated. We were degraded.”

Cato secured a marriage license on July 6, 12 hours after filing a case against the Hood County Clerk’s office in federal court, but his lawyers are continuing on with the lawsuit until the country clerk vows to stop turning away other gay couples.

Over a month later, Cato says fighting for the right to marry was entirely “worth it.”

“I would do it again and again if I had to,” he affirmed. “Whatever you have to do to assure your civil rights and the civil rights of others is important.”

Watch more from HuffPost Live’s conversation on states refusing gay marriage in the wake of SCOTUS’ decision here.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

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The Sacredness of the Appointment

“One time an assistant left the desk because, I don’t know, she sliced her hand open with the letter opener, and Miranda missed Lagerfeld just before he boarded a 17 hour flight to Australia. She now works at TV Guide.” – Emily, The Devil Wears Prada

I am compelled to write this blog after years of being cancelled on, rescheduled with, and being made to wait. I’m not just talking about the one hour we all wait at the doctor’s office past our scheduled appointment, or the last-minute cancellation from the friend we were having lunch with, or even the 14-hour window the cable company saddles you with, only to show up at the last possible minute. While those examples are all impossibly frustrating (especially for someone as un-flexible as I am), there are countless times as a wedding planner where I see a complete lack of respect for a person’s time. This blog is basically a question posed to everyone, which is this: why do you put up with it when you don’t have to?

One of the appointments that I get on the calendar with all of my clients is a final “walk-thru” at the venue where their wedding will take place. This appointment is for them to drop off anything they want set up from a cake server to escort cards, as well as to go over the details one last time. It’s a great chance to meet with the venue coordinator and address any last-minute concerns, or voice any questions that pop up just because we’re at the venue. Not every venue does this, but I’ve never had an issue with getting it scheduled. In fact, some venue coordinators that have never heard of this before, actually have mentioned how helpful it is and how they will implement it with future clients.

That said, very recently, I had a walk-thru on the calendar, and with less than 3 hours to go before the appointment (a date and time that the venue coordinator unilaterally selected, forcing my clients and myself to adjust our schedules), that same venue coordinator called me to tell me he wouldn’t be able to make it. Something else had come up with his catering company, and they needed him there. That translates to: this is more important than coming to meet you, and I have zero respect for your time or your clients’ time. I mean, at least that’s what I heard.

When I mentioned (at a more than audible level) that this date and time had been selected by him, and that my clients took off work for this and we all had questions, he suggested that we still go and call him while we were there. When I told him that was unacceptable, he asked to go over the questions while we were on the phone. Really?? No dice. Why? Because you don’t cancel an appointment with less than 24 hours notice solely because you think something else is more important. After explaining all of that, he ended up being present. Unorganized and completely lost, but present nonetheless.

Now, I could’ve reacted differently and let him out of the appointment. But then how would I explain that to my clients? Why is it their problem? It’s not their problem. It’s not even mine. The problem here is that he thought it was acceptable to call me with such little notice and completely disregard and disrespect the appointment we had made. That’s not OK, and our (I say “our” as a society) general complacency to situations like this is simply enabling this type of behavior.

I was taught at a young age that everyone is replaceable. As a child I grew up around the theatre and spent plenty of time on stage performing. You always had to work hard, be the best, and do your job. Your job included things like being on time and coming to rehearsal prepared. Why? Because there was always a line of people, just like you, willing to work harder, sing better and prepare longer. And while I was never involved in playing sports (though my skills as a spectator are, dare I say, incredible!), I saw my friends going through the same thing. I never hated it for a minute, and it made me that much more driven and determined.

Because of this, and probably the fact that I grew up in New Jersey, my expectations of those I work with are always elevated. I expect appointments to be kept and for people to be on time. When those things don’t happen, I hold people accountable. A venue coordinator doesn’t get to shift priorities and leave my clients holding the bag 2 hours before their meeting and 72 hours before their wedding. I’m not sure every planner would’ve forced him to keep the appointment like I did. Many would, but not all of them. After that entire exchange, it’s very unlikely that I will work with that person again, and should a future couple want to, I will have this story to tell them so that they can make a decision knowing the possible issues.

I am frequently emailed by vendors that want to become a part of my “book.” They want my clients (aka, their money) and they want me to refer them. They are willing to offer me commission (which I do not take because that’s shady) almost always. It is infrequent that I update my book because the vendors I work with on a regular basis have proven reliable to me and that is invaluable and irreplaceable. When I do add a vendor, and they cancel an appointment last minute or try to reschedule that same day, I take them out of my book. Because, as I learned very early, everyone is replaceable.

This blog probably has many people thinking that I am rigid and can’t “roll with the punches” with regard to appointments. The bottom line is that I don’t have to, and neither does anyone planning their wedding. I constantly see bad behavior being rewarded either when clients allow this to continue, or when planners recommend vendors that have burned them in the past. This is not to say that emergencies don’t happen, but if I had a nickel for every time a grandmother died and an appointment got cancelled… well, let’s just say I would be typing this from my yacht off the coast of Tahiti.

There are thousands of venues, photographers, planners, DJs and so forth. There are new ones every single day. When you’re planning your wedding, your time needs to be respected. You do not need to settle for a vendor that you can’t even give your money to. On the flip side, as a couple, you also need to extend that same respect with regard to appointments. Everyone is busy, everyone has a packed calendar and an appointment is more than just pencil to paper with an eraser close by. I’m not a big fan of the word “tentative”, and when working with your vendors, you shouldn’t be either.

It’s about respect for one another’s time, and having a strong work ethic. The way a vendor behaves leading up to your wedding is how they will behave on your wedding day. There are enough reasons to be stressed and nervous during the planning process, wondering if your appointments will be held should never be one of them. Everyone is replaceable. As a planner, I give you full permission to hold vendors accountable. Of course, if you’re my client, I will do it for you.

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The Very Best Destination Wedding Photos Of 2015

The best destination wedding photographers know how to capture the beauty of a couple in love and their awe-inspiring surroundings in a single image.

On Monday, Junebug Weddings released their carefully curated list of the top 50 destination wedding images of 2015. Photographers from all around the globe submitted more than 4,000 images from more than 40 different countries for consideration.

Check out some of the most breathtaking images below. To see the rest of the top 50, head over to Junebug Weddings.

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Why Your Dad Might Act Weird Before the Wedding

Weddings are rough on our dear old dads. Not only do dads traditionally foot the bill, but they also pay, emotionally. For every dad, a daughter's wedding day is a bittersweet day. Rationally, your…


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The Creepy Reason “Secret” Celebrity Weddings Might Soon Be a Thing of the Past

A-listers tying the knot in secret is nothing new. Jen and Justin pulled off under-the-radar nuptials almost two weeks ago, Blake and Ryan did it back in 2012—and these seven celebrity couples also tied the…


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23 Things You’re Going to Forget on Your Wedding Day

Your wedding day is going to be one of the most highly orchestrated days of your life. From your hair to your heels to your underwear, you’ll likely have a plan in place for every…


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Man Plants Endless Lanes Of Sunflowers To Honor Beloved Late Wife, Benefit Cancer Patients

This man’s love for his late wife has only blossomed. 

Don Jaquish‘s beloved wife, Babette, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer, back in 2006, according to ABC News. Sadly, she died late last year.

Babette was a huge fan of sunflowers, so Don honored her in the most fitting way possible — by planting a giant stretch of  sunflowers for her. They bloomed this month and Don plans to harvest and sell the seeds to help benefit cancer patients as part of his organization Babbette’s Seeds of Hope, ABC News reported.

“She got to be known as the sunflower lady of the community,” Don told ABC News of his wife. “So after she passed away, I thought it would be a tribute to her to plant 4.5 miles of sunflowers on each side of Highway 85.”

The “sunflower strip” covers the land of five different farms, KARE 11 reported. Don, who planted the flowers over a span of a week, was able to rent land from his neighbors at a reasonable price to complete the project.

He told ABC News that it was Babbette who originally came up with the idea of selling sunflower seeds and donating a portion of the proceeds to cancer research. About a month after his wife’s death, Don formed Babbette’s Seeds of Hope. Through the group, he’ll sell the seeds in bags, which will soon be available for purchase, with Babbette’s face on them along with her story printed on them. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to hospitals, research and patient advocacy, according to the company’s website.

It’s something the loving husband says would’ve made his wife proud. 

“I think she would be smiling,” Don told ABC News. “We had an amazing response. We’ve had people all over the world send emails.”

While the sunflowers took a lot of time and effort to plant, Don says it was all worth it — especially for a woman whose spirit matched the beauty of the flowers. 

“They fit her personality,” the widower told KARE11. “She’d walk into a room and her smile would light up a whole room.”

Months after her Babbette’s death, Don found a note from his wife stuck in a folder. In light of the sunflowers and their seeds, her words certainly ring true. 

“You move on and live each day,” Babbette wrote, according to KARE11. “Feel me in the morning air, and when you wake up and make your coffee. I will be there always.”

 

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Olivia Palermo and Solange Join the Growing List of Married Celebs Who Don’t Wear Wedding Rings

It seems wedding rings aren’t en vogue among the most stylish married celebs. We just noticed two recently married tastemakers have joined Hollywood’s “No Wedding Ring for Me, Thanks” Club. First up, Olivia Palermo, who…


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10 Signs You’ve Found the Woman You Should Marry

Women are great. Like really, really great.

As a strong, independent woman, I can confidently reiterate that women are a necessity in all heterosexual men’s lives. The woman you’re dating should enrich your life. In fact, she should make it so amazing, that you can’t wait to marry her.

Here are 10 ways to know that the woman you’re with is the one you should marry.

1. She’s sweet.

A sweet woman is hard to find — especially in a big, tough city. So a good woman is surely a keeper. When you find a woman who is sweet, or any version of it, put a ring on it!

2. She makes you smile.

Whether you’re in Central Park or in the South of France with her, she makes you really, really happy. You should able to laugh and be silly with her. Communicating is easy because you can talk to her, and I mean really talk to her. You feel safe and comfortable sharing your emotions with her. You know she’ll be by your side through thick or thin.

3. She’s a good partner.

Your life is better with her in it. She’s someone you can build (and imagine!) a great life with. Picturing having a family with her is a no-brainer, because she’d be a good mom. She’d be such a great wife that you’d consider giving her a wife bonus. Just kidding!

4. You want to be with her.

Plain and simple, you want to be with her. You hear stories from your friends about how they love being single, or they dread seeing their wives. Maybe your single friends talk about how they don’t want to give up the bachelor life. Your coupled friends say they work late just to avoid spending quality time with their significant others. But you don’t feel that way. Being with her never gets old. You want to be with her — as much as you can!

5. She thinks you’re a dime piece.

You catch her checking you out pretty often. You might be in gym shorts, or in black tie formal, and she always thinks you’re the sexiest man alive.

6. You trust her.

She’s loyal. You know she’s your ride or die lady. She’d never cheat on you, because she loves you too much. She could be on a girls trip in Ibiza for 10 days straight and you know you have nothing to worry about. She’s there when you need her and she makes you a priority.

7. You think she’s hot and sexy.

She could be fully dressed, or sans clothing, but when you look at her, you think “Daaaamn.” You know you’re lucky, because she’s so hot and sexy.

8. She’s your biggest supporter.

She’s always singing your praise. Whatever life has in store for you two, you know she’ll be your biggest cheerleader. She’s always there for you.

9. Everyone likes her.

Everyone likes her because she’s that wonderful. She’s easy to talk to. She’s friendly and personable. She’s so great that even a homeless person would want to be her friend.

10. She lets you have space.

A good woman will give you space. She doesn’t crowd or smother you. Man days, man nights, man cave, you name it — she lets you do your “man” things.

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2 Things Your Wedding Guests Really Care About—and 1 Thing They Just Don’t

Of course your wedding day is mostly about swapping vows and becoming husband and wife.* But if you’re hosting a traditional wedding with guests and a dinner {a.k.a. A Giant Party}, it’s also about your…


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Avoid These Songs at Your Wedding, Please

You’ve snapped hundreds of photos of linens and flatware. You’ve decided that the frilly musketeer hat is a superior photo booth prop to the fedora. You even passed on shotgunning an Ice House with your old college roommates in the name of evaluating a unity candle.

Yes, this wedding season was a little different than the rest … because you are walking down the aisle next year, and your reception needs to be perfect.

Sure, the decorations, food, flowers, and dress are pretty important. But there’s one major area that most budding newlyweds seem to ignore, an overlooked area that can singlehandedly obliterate months of handwork and planning — reception music.

We’ve all been in that situation where you just want to light up the dance floor with a domestic beer in hand, but end up lurking in the shadows because you aren’t quite sure (or drunk enough to know) how to dance to “Sherry” by the Four Seasons.

So, please, put some effort into your playlist. Prohibiting overplayed or awkward-moment-inducing songs will ensure that your guests stay on the dance floor all night, making your reception the stuff of legends.

Not a musical connoisseur? No problem. Just keep the music post-1970, and make sure to avoid the songs below.

“Love Shack” by the B-52s
In the United States, there are roughly 2 million weddings per year. You can bet this song is played at 99.99% of them. Be a hero. Be part of the .01%.

“Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard and “Cherry Pie” by Warrant
Some things just can’t be unseen– like your cousin and her 40-something friends dumping pitchers of water on themselves and putting a Whitesnake music video to shame as they “dance” on tabletops.

“Electric Slide,” “Cha Cha Slide,” or any song with the word “Slide”
While everyone is smiling and clapping on the outside, they’re screaming in anger-filled-hatred on the inside. Other song-title words to avoid: scoot, shuffle, boogie, crawl, cowgirl or cowboy, train, murder, adultery.

Heavy/Trash/Death Metal Songs
Other than a deranged, stalker ex-boyfriend straight out of a Lifetime movie, the most unwanted guest at any wedding is a paramedic. So avoid the Metal music. Either your brother gets a bottle of Jim Beam smashed over his head, or your great aunt suffers a heart attack while frantically searching for the holy water in her purse.

“Closing Time” by Semisonic
This isn’t a bar…or the end of an eighth grade graduation dance. Also, the lyric “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end,” sounds like an allusion to an early divorce.

“F**k Her Gently” by Tenacious D
Hammered groomsmen + $ 200 of pooled cash + a DJ with credit card debt = the most awkward, unforgettable-in-the-worst-way moment of your life.

“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung
Everybody was having fun tonight…until this song came on. And, do you really want songs ordering you around, telling you exactly what to do? What’s next, “Everybody Place Your Beer Bottles in the Recycling Bin Tonight”?

“Thank You” by Dido
Playing a song with a chorus that proclaims “And I want to thank you, for giving me the best day of my life,” will solidify your status as the lamest person in the world. Plus, that lyric seems to imply that every day thereafter is a slow, downward spiral.

“The Scientist” by Coldplay
It’s great to slow things down once in a while and cool that blazing dance floor. But people at your wedding should be crying tears of joy, not ones of bitter regret and self-loathing.

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DIY Party Ideas You’ve Never Seen Before

You’re getting married, congratulations! It’s bound to be one of the most special moments of your life. Before you say the “I dos,” though, a caveat: The list of things you’ll feel pressured to buy for your wedding will probably run the length of a football field (or two). 

Unless you have the sewing skills of a wizard, you’ll probably have to outsource the dress. Maybe you’re a highly motivated baking aficionado and will be making your own cake. If neither of these apply, don’t fret. You can still DIY your way to happily ever after—just do it with decor. For a dreamy outdoor wedding, make string lights using mini cupcake liners. Marble paper for placecards to perk up any table. Or dry pineapple flowers to one-up that open bar with the prettiest cocktails you ever did see. Here are 10 DIY wedding decor ideas to make your big day a little more you:

Pom-Fringed Table Runner by Laura Kaesshaefer

DIY Pom Fringed Table Runner

 

A Centerpiece Made of Sticks & Leaves by Debra Szidon

 

Dried Pineapple Flowers by Anna Hezel 

 

Cocoa Pear Crisps Place Card Holder by gheanna 

 

Easy Flower Arrangments by Amanda Sims 

 

 

String Lights by Anna Hezel

 

Marbled Paper for Place Cards by Stephanie Fishwick 

 

More: If you’re in need of the perfect wedding gift, these make-and-take ideas won’t soon be forgotten! 

 

Hanging Japanese Moss Balls by Samantha Weiss-Hills

Hanging Moss Balls

 

Parchment Paper Votives by Anna Hezel

DIY Votives

 

Low-Budget, Unexpected Centerpieces by Paige Morse

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24 Wedding Ceremony Spaces That Make A Magical First Impression

Your wedding ceremony will set the stage for the rest of your big day.

Make the right first impression by choosing a scenic location, adding some romantic decor and filling the space with lots and lots of love. Below are 24 inspiring ideas that couldn’t be more beautiful. 

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Why This High-End Jeweler Wears a Hexagon-Shaped Engagement Ring—and Why You’re Going to Want One Too

London-based jewelry designer Noor Fares has always been attuned to shapes, signs, and symbolism. She called her first collection Touch Wood, based on the Middle Eastern tradition of knocking on wood for luck. (She’s Lebanese.)…


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A Good Relationship Versus A Bad Relationship In One Comic

One way to know you’re in the right relationship? Your spouse finds your little quirks and odd habits endearing rather than embarrassing. 

Cartoonist Sarah Andersen of the website Sarah’s Scribbles highlights that important distinction between a good relationship and a crappy one in the cute comic below: 

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Jennifer Aniston Didn’t Invite Half The Cast Of ‘Friends’ To Her Wedding

You’d think after working with someone on a hit TV show for 10 seasons, you’d probably invite them to your super secret wedding - especially if that TV series was called “Friends.” 

Well, 11 years after the show ended, it looks like Jennifer Aniston isn’t quite as good of friends with some of her former castmates as others. Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer were all absent from the 46-year-old’s wedding to Justin Theroux last week, and that’s because they weren’t invited. 

“I was surprised. I didn’t know about it,” Perry told “Entertainment Tonight” when asked about Aniston’s wedding at the CBS, CW and Showtime Summer TCA party on Monday, adding that he’s “very happy” for the couple. 

Meanwhile, LeBlanc didn’t score an invite to the A-list event, which was held at the couple’s mansion in Bel Air, either, but he reasoned that it was likely because the wedding was “small.”

He only had good things to say about his former co-star, and seemed happy that Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow were there. “The girls were there. You’ve got to have the girls there,” LeBlanc told “Entertainment Tonight.”

Aniston and Theroux married last Wednesday in front of about 70 people, including Howard Stern, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres, Orlando Bloom, Chelsea Handler, Cox and Kudrow. 

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Brand-New Victoria’s Secret Angel Kate Grigorieva Says “I Do” in a Wedding Dress From Zac Posen’s David’s Bridal Line

She’s walked down the runway in itty-bitty costumes, but newly minted Victoria’s Secret Angel Kate Grigorieva walked down the aisle in a pretty conservative wedding dress. The model married in her native Russia over the…


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‘My Wife Is Fat’

Reader Wife Is Fat writes:

I felt compelled to send you a message after reading the Husband is Overweight entry because my situation is a bit reversed.  I’m in the army and my wife is the overweight one (200lbs and 5’4″) and she knows it.  She gained weight after she was pregnant with our daughter (she had hyperemesis gravidarum which messed her diet up) so I’ve tried to be patient.  After about a year and a half she has finally started to make half-hearted attempts because she wants to lose weight before having another child, in case she has another complicated pregnancy.  Half hearted attempts include paleo or various other diets for a month at a time without exercise.  Finally started some 21 Day Fitness routine where she exercises and follows a portioning diet but that lasted about a week and a half and she just made brownies the other day.  If I complain or refuse to eat them, she says, “Well, I’ll just eat all of them and just get fatter.”

On top of all this she has several tools and people at her disposal but I think she is too self conscious to get help.  I’m an endurance athlete by the nature of my job,  I’m familiar with nutrition and training. We have a gym in our garage even.  My suggestions fall on deaf ears because “women’s bodies are different”  Her friend across the street is a Crossfit instructor with a child of similar age and she just says “Crossfit doesn’t help fat people” …Sure.  I found a group similar to Stroller Strides at the park I run at, had some initial interest and I didn’t think she could really make an excuse for that one since we already have  a Bob.  She wants a “fat friend” to do it with her and don’t expect it to happen.

Ultimately, I have a hard time with this because I’m extremely self driven (also according to some of your articles I have narcissistic traits too), wake up early in order to workout before work.  I offer to watch our daughter when I get home but usually my wife is tired by that time or doesn’t really want to work out.  She refuses to put our daughter in any sort of day care (she’s 18 months old).  I will say she is a nurse and works nights once a week so I understand she is tired after working but that should be one or two days.  She recently got an appointment scheduled to remove her mirena because she thinks that is the source of her weight gain among other side effects, this is also when she stopped following the 21 day plan.

I’ve mentioned that I would like her to lose weight a couple times ( as subtly as I could and mostly because I want our family to be more active as our daughter gets older) but that gets a retort of “You’re a real asshole.”  I feel like there isn’t a nice way for men to put it.  I’ve thought about getting separated (for this and some conflicting personality issues) but its not quite to the point of “I’ve had enough” and I’m afraid of my daughter being raised seeing me as a villain if we did separate and it lead to a divorce.

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Dear WIF,

I’m sorry you’re so upset.  You can read this post, in which I give advice to another man whose wife is overweight.  Basically I say that if he stops telling her to lose weight, she might decide to on her own, but if it’s a dealbreaker, then leave. I give the same advice to you. What you should not do is remain in a relationship where your daughter continually picks up on the idea that you’re dissatisfied with her mother’s appearance and that you consider her mother to be lazy and unmotivated in addition to physically unattractive.  So, either get out, or get therapy so that you can make peace with your fat wife.

If you have narcissistic traits, it’s good that you can admit it, and please realize that this means that you’re even more sensitive to how others perceive your wife.  You’re a guy with a fat wife, and that is not comfortable for you.  It would be enlightening to explore the origins of your current dissatisfaction and your marital dynamic in your childhood.  Was one of your parents passive aggressive (like both you and your wife seem to be)?  Was one depressive and unmotivated and the other condescending and detached?  (That would parallel your wife and you.)  Was one a caretaker and the other a narcissist?  Was one the guy who said, “No biggie, 24 hour shifts don’t make you exhausted for more than one day afterward and we should put our year and a half old into daycare despite this child being the emotional lifeline for you since I provide you with limited emotional support and implicit criticism?” Just asking.

Here’s some good news for your wife though, since I doubt you think she’s smarter than you about much: she’s right about the exercise.  Exercise doesn’t make women lose weight as easily as it does for men, because women’s bodies are different.  In fact, exercise makes people hungrier and doesn’t work for weight loss overall, according to research.  Of course it has loads of other awesome benefits and can make your body look more toned, and intense exercise (like your wife is unlikely to start with) may hasten weight loss, but in terms of calories in, calories out, I never lose weight from exercise because a 30 minute run burns 250 calories (I’m slow) and then I’m hungrier for two apples later.  Yup, two apples negates a run.  O cruel world. This is why you see so many runners who aren’t rail thin, and are even overweight.

Your wife needs to eat less and differently to lose weight, and this can be supplemented by exercise for all sorts of good reasons.  But we don’t even know if she genuinely wants to lose weight; it’s hard to access internal motivation when you’re being subtlely (or unsubtlely) commanded to do something or risk your husband’s loss of love. (Read this about how Type A, narcissistic guys criticize their stay at home wives. because I think a similar dynamic is at play even though she works.) Food, and probably caring for your baby, seems to be her source of emotional support.  If she wants to examine this in counseling, great, but that counseling is also going to focus on your “subtle” comments that undermine her self-esteem and may end with her leaving you, then losing weight and attracting a new guy that is nicer to her.

I also suggest couples counseling, because you both need it before you have an affair or model a crappy marriage for your kid.  By the way, if she wants another baby, you better watch out if you have one, because that will really stress your marriage to the breaking point if you haven’t worked on it by then. I also think that she might in fact want another baby in part because maybe then you’ll get off her case about her weight, and also it might make it easier for her to say that she wants to stop working nights, since having two kids is harder than one.  Maybe this isn’t the case but I’ve seen a lot of couples in this situation.

If you wanted concrete communication advice, it would be to say something like:

“Hey, I’m sorry I’ve been acting like an asshole about you being overweight.  Upon introspection, I believe that in addition to my own dislike of fat, on myself and others, I also feel we are getting into the same dynamic as my parents, where she sat around and watched TV and he would shake his head [or whatever their dynamic was; I’m guessing it wasn’t perfect].  I also want to apologize for talking about Crossfit all the time, which is difficult and intense for even super fit people. In fact, if I’m honest with myself and you, it’s not the same issue for me that you’re inactive as it is that you’re overweight.  If we both tried to limit our sugar intake together, this would be a good first step that would make me happier.  Also, I think we should go to couples counseling because our communication needs work and we barely have sex anymore [I’m just guessing that part].”  If you love her and can say that, add it in.

To be honest, your wife probably isn’t going to lose weight till your child(ren) are older.  She has no motivation and you may be more difficult to deal with than you realize (come on, eat her homemade brownie, or at least half of it).  I am a big Stroller Strides proponent, but if my husband told me to do Stroller Strides when my first baby was 18 months old, I would have told him to stride out of the house while I cried and ate ice cream.  I didn’t exercise from the birth of my first child till the birth of my third three and a half years later.  People either need intrinsic motivation to exercise.  Intrinsic is stuff like “I want to be healthy” or “I want my awesome loving husband to think I’m hot.”  It is usually not “I want to appease my narcissistic husband although I am certain that no amount of weight that I could reasonably lose would be enough to make him prefer me to a Crossfit loving 25 year old.”

Hopefully you can stay and be happy; if not, make your decision and allow your wife to live her life free of you and criticism, and you can get one of those Crossfit women and start enjoying your life (till she pops out a baby and exchanges the kettlebell for a Moby wrap).  Good luck and keep me posted.  Till we meet again, I remain The Blogapist Who Says Your Own Counseling Could Really Help Shed Light On Many Aspects Of Your Life.

This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Pre-order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family.

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9 Rules for Buying Your Wedding Dress Online

While there's nothing quite like browsing through wedding dresses with your bridesmaids and mother, there's something to be said for the ease, variety, and even savings to be found from shopping online. Plus, "it…


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9 Things Your Hair Colorist Wishes You’d Stop Doing

The relationship we all have with our hair colorist is one of the most intimate we have outside of our family and friends. We trust them to conceal our roots or gray hair, and fix our bad at-home dye jobs (more on this later). 

At the end of the day, your hair colorist has a job to do, but there are some key things you can do to make his or her life easier. Here’s a couple of bad habits your colorist wishes you’d break — after all, this is a relationship worth saving. 

1. Don’t be late for your hair appointment. “Five to 10 minutes late is understandable,” says Kyle White, the lead colorist at Oscar Blandi Salon in New York City. “Life happens, there’s traffic or the babysitter was late. I totally get it, but when you are consistently 20 minutes late for your appointment, it says one thing to me. You think your time is way more valuable then mine, and every other client that will be kept waiting because of you.” The pro’s advice: If you are more than 15 minutes late, apologize profusely and reschedule.

2. Don’t be dishonest about your hair history. ”If there’s color on your hair or it’s chemically straightened, we need to know,” White says. “I promise we won’t think any less of you if your hair is not 100 percent natural or you had to see someone else while you were summering in the Hamptons.” A colorist may get angry if they use the incorrect dye formula because a client fibbed about their hair being “virgin” or using a box color the week prior, White explained. “Always be honest,” he says. “It could be the difference between beautiful hair and head full of straw.”

3. Don’t wear white or an expensive designer outfit to get your hair dyed. L’Oréal Paris celebrity colorist Kari Hill says, “When people come for hair color application dressed completely in white — makes me nervous!” White adds, “Also, I’m betting that you won’t care what color your hair is if we get a huge glob of bleach on that Birken!”

4. Don’t forget to bring a picture“You know the saying ‘A picture says a thousand words.’ Well, that’s never truer than when it comes to color,” says White. Pro trick: look for a photograph of someone with a similar skin tone, eye color and natural base hair color as your own because those shades will probably work best and be the most achievable.

5. Don’t show up with wet or dirty hair. Hill notes that you can’t color wet hair, so it wastes time having to blow dry it first and then apply color. “There’s also a false belief that it’s better to color on very dirty hair [but] an excessive amount of hair product residue on strands can impede color application,” she says.

6. Don’t move around while you are getting your hair colored. “I swear sometimes I think the clients are more interested in reading magazines and sipping cappuccinos then they are about getting their hair done right,” says White. “If you’re a moving target, things get messed up, highlights get placed incorrectly or a spot may be missed.”

7. Don’t distract your hairdresser by talking non-stop. “There’s no denying that there is a strong social aspect to a hair appointment, and many of my best friends started out as clients,” he says. “Keep in mind that intricate haircuts and color are complex procedures that require a reasonable amount of concentration.”

8. Don’t have unrealistic expectations about the outcome. Having black hair with a desire to go blonde in under an hour is impossible, according to Hill. “It doesn’t work time-wise, and you will never be totally pleased with rushed results,” she says.

9. Don’t forget to protect your fresh new hair color from the sun. “I’m tired of hearing clients tell me that they spent time in the sun and then complain about their color changing,” says Hill. “Hair oxidizes without the proper protection! I always advise on wearing hats or headscarves, limiting sun exposure and using products with UV filters.”

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15 Brand-New Wedding Dresses That Are Almost Too Pretty. (Almost.)

Every bride wants a pretty wedding dress, of course. But you don’t want your dress to be so fantastical that your guests can’t see past it. Enter the latest wedding gowns from BHLDN—available online starting…


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