Category Archives: ceremony

writing the words

In an effort to pull some personal touches into my wedding ceremony sermon, I ran across this absolutely adorable version of  vows. Dr. Seuss inspired, it’s sure to keep you smiling all the way through (last part is my favorite) :).

Pastor: Will you answer me right now
These questions, as your wedding vow?

Groom: Yes, I will answer right now
Your questions as my wedding vow.

Pastor: Will you take her as your wife?
Will you love her all your life?

Groom: Yes, I take her as my wife,
Yes, I’ll love her all my life.

Pastor: Will you have, and also hold
Just as you have at this time told?

Groom: Yes, I will have, and I will hold,
Just as I have at this time told,
Yes, I will love her all my life
As I now take her as my wife.

Pastor: Will you love through good and bad?
Whether you’re happy or sad?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love through good and bad,
Whether we’re happy or sad,
Yes, I will have and I will hold
Just as I have already told,
Yes, I will love her all my life,
Yes, I will take her as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love her if you’re rich?
Or if you’re poor, and in a ditch?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her if we’re rich,
And I will love her in a ditch,
I’ll love her through good times and bad,
Whether we are happy or sad,
Yes, I will have, and I will hold
(I could have sworn this has been told!)
I promise to love all my life
This woman, as my lawful wife!

Pastor: Will you love her when you’re fit,
And also when you’re feeling sick?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love her when we’re fit,
And when we’re hurt, and when we’re sick,
And I will love her when we’re rich
And I will love her in a ditch
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold
Ten years from now a thousandfold,
Yes, I will love for my whole life
This lovely woman as my wife!

Pastor: Will you love with all your heart?
Will you love till death you part?

Groom: Yes, I’ll love with all my heart
From now until death do us part,
And I will love her when we’re rich,
And when we’re broke and in a ditch,
And when we’re fit, and when we’re sick,
(Oh, CAN’T we get this finished quick?)
And I will love through good and bad,
And I will love when glad or sad,
And I will have, and I will hold,
And if I might now be so bold,
I’ll love her my entire life,
Yes, I WILL take her as my wife!

Pastor: Then if you’ll take her as your wife,
And if you’ll love her all your life,
And if you’ll have, and if you’ll hold,
From now until the stars grow cold,
And if you’ll love through good and bad,
And whether you’re happy or sad,
And love in sickness, and in health,
And when you’re poor, and when in wealth,
And if you’ll love with all your heart,
From now until death do you part,
Yes, if you’ll love her through and through,
Please answer with these words:

Pastor and Groom: I DO!

Pastor: You’re married now! So kiss the bride,
But please, do keep it dignified.

Not quite ready to Seuss it up?

Here are a few of my favorite places with non-traditional readings.

Romantic, light and beautiful, you’re sure to find something you like.

The First Dance (thank you Micah!)

My Wedding Vows

About Weddings

Non-traditional wedding readings via Elegala

. . . and my favorite vows

Make it meaningful,

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Filed under ceremony, readings, vows

finding the music

I’ve had music on my mind since our second meeting with Darin of Entertainment Plus.  The second meeting, for those of you who don’t know, is when you pick out the all the music.  The songs that take you from your first step down the aisle, to the last dance of the evening.

Below, I’ve outlined all the places you’ll need music throughout the day and a few suggestions to get you started (with a few personal faves sprinkled in – for good measure).

Also, at the bottom of very bottom, I’ve embedded a playlist with all the songs mentioned in the post. For your listening pleasure.

Ceremony Music

Prelude (when guests are being seated)

Traditional – think Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and lots of violins.

Bach – Ava Maria

Beethoven – Fifth Symphony

Mozart – Greensleeves

Modern – look for soft crooners such as Nora Jones, Enya and Andrea Bocelli.

Andrea Bocelli – Amapola

Enya – Fairy Tale

Norah Jone – Those Sweet Words

Or you can go completely badass and have your amazingly, talented uncle play his guitar.

Processional (bridal party walking down the aisle)

Traditional – same as above.

Bach – Sheep May Safely Graze

Pachebel in Canon D

Trumpet Voluntary

Modern – modern in the sense of using lyrics, not necessarily modern artists. A little different. A little memorable.

Celine Dion – A New Day Has Come

Josh Grobin – You Raise Me Up

Storybook Love – Mark Knopfler

The Bride’s March (yep – we get our own song. we’re that special.)

Traditional – you know, more hymns.

Here Comes the Bride (tons of versions) – not my favorite, but a classic.

Pachebel in Canon D (assuming you don’t use it for the processional)

Bach – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring


Chrisette Michele – Golden

Enya – Only Time

Andre Bocelli – Con Te Partiro (I hear some celebs have used it. Reason enough.)

Recessional (back up the aisle as man + wife)


Mendelessohn – Wedding March

Handel – Water Music Hornpipe

Henry Purcell – Trumpet Tune


Rascal Flatts – God Bless the Broken Road

Dashboard Confessional – Stolen

Donna Lewis – At the Beginning (for the 80s lover. totally guilty here.)

Cake Cutting

The Archies – Sugar, Sugar

U2 – The Sweetest Thing

Pat Benetar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot (if you’re into food fighting)

Father/Daughter Dance

Note: On parent dances, Darin, of Entertainment Plus warns to be careful on song length, as modern songs can be a bit lengthier compared to the older, classics. Long songs with mom/dad can get awkward if you don’t have footwork planned. Thanks for the tips, Darin!

Paul Simon – Fathers and Daughters (mine + dad’s. may need to practice a few steps with this one :))

Heartland – I Loved Her First

Bob Carlisle – Butterfly Kisses

Luther Vandross – Dance With My Father

Mother/Son Dance

Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World (ahh the goldens)

Rascal Flatts – My Wish

Celine Dion – Because You Loved Me

First Dance

Marc Cohn – True Companion (LOVE, love this song. It’s not our first song, but thank you  Kirk + Heather for introducing me to its beauty)

Elvis – Can’t Help Falling in Love (please don’t ruin this by using Michael Buble’s version. Stick with The King.)

Alison Krauss – When You Say Nothing At All (a long time fave)

gold mine of good first dance songs right here

Garter Toss

Elvis – A Little Less Conversation

George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Bad to the Bone

ZZ Top – Legs

Bouquet Toss

Single Ladies – it’s one of the most popular songs for the ‘toss’. I don’t care for it. These ladies are aware they’re single.

Kool & The Gang – Ladies Night

Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Madonna – Express Yourself

Last Dance

Edwin McCain – I Could Not Ask for More

Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight

Lifehouse – Everything (note: it’s a good six minutes – maybe not the worst way to end the night with your love though)

Rock on,

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

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Filed under ceremony, dance, DJ, Music

peace out antiquated trends + traditions

Engagement, it totally changes the relevance of weddings for you as a guest.

All of a sudden you start scrutinizing the invitation of a dear friend, front to back, knowing exactly how much time and money went into it {Letter pressed, really? Girl should have gone without and saved the dough!} You start making a mental check-list of how yours is going to be better.

Then, when you actually get to the wedding, you find yourself picking apart every detail, sizing up the centerpieces, taking note of posture, examining the font size on the programs, and performing a Top Chef-worthy taste test on your free meal.

No joke – this is what being a to-be-bride turns you into.  Basically a wedding researcher {forget the “guest” part of it}.

On the other hand, you do learn to appreciate the little things that others may not notice or forgive. You know what it means to get that RSVP in the mail on time, understand that the slightest default on the address label doesn’t really matter and accept that the bride can {and inevitably will} go a little nutty at any point prior to the ceremony.

If you are not, or have not, been a bride, you may not understand. Brides – they make wedding planning their life for a year plus, and it’s too easy to judge others when you’re going through the exact same process.  Hence the phrase bridezilla – most often given to her by someone other than a current or recent bride. You may not understand ’til you are – simple as that.

My point is that it turns you into a very judgmental person.  And that’s not necessarily a negative inference {or positive for that matter} – you just change the way you observe how things go down.  TLC even picked up on this little character morph with their new series, Four Weddings.  The entire show is based on four brides attending each others’ weddings and judging them from best to worst. Winner gets a free honeymoon.

Anyway – I’m swaying from the point of my post, but you get the idea.

Having attended a friend’s recent wedding, there were details that I, of course, couldn’t help but focus on through out the night. And I’m talking intricacies – things normal people probably didn’t see at all. But it really got me thinking about antiquated traditions, wedding activities I don’t care for and certain events that seem a little odd – for us.

Disclaimer: these are my opinions and my opinions only. They’re not right or wrong.  Just because it’s a “tradition” though, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Remember – to each her own.

Traditions  I’ve observed/don’t like/aren’t including in my wedding day

{get out of there}

garter toss: Okay, I do love garters. I think they’re cute. I think they’re fun. However, my new husband crawling up under my dress in front of grandma is neither.

receiving line: This one can go. It takes up too much time and makes for a few awkward embraces among people you’ve only met for the first time.  Not to mention, those that want to chat will hold up the line, delaying dinner and making others a little grouchy.  In the Yakima heat, no less.

head table: I get that the bride and groom may want their dearest friends to surround them for their first meal as man + wife. I even get that they want them to “stand out from the crowd.” However, it alienates the significant other of a bridal party member and chances are, they don’t know many people there. Sure you can do a gigantic head table to accommodate for the significant others, but there are two alternatives I prefer:

1. Ask your best man and maid of honor (and their counterparts) to sit with you, making the head table a total of 6;


2. Make the head table a table for two and reserve the needed number of tables around you for the bridal party and immediate family – making room for all.

{how awkward. no dude lays like that.}

cheesy poses: I want to have fun in my pictures sure, but cheesy poses {see above} make me cringe.

a too choreographed first dance: I’m all for learning a few steps in favor of the middle school sway for our first dance, but if you get too technical, that special moment becomes stiff and concentrated, rather than natural and light. I’d like to really just enjoy this moment . . . not stare at my feet the entire time.

cake smashing: It took a long time for me to get my face to look like that. Please don’t mess it up before the first dance. This silly little tradition can fade away for all I care.

tight updos: Again, this seems a little more high school dance than romantic wedding to me. I don’t hate them, I just don’t prefer them.

an all rose bouquet: I like roses, but we’re at a wedding, not a funeral. I prefer an array of blooms.

{love this idea}

taking pictures after the ceremony: Much like the receiving line, the lull keeps your hungry guests waiting and un-entertained. However, I do believe in a few exceptions: entire family pictures (you really don’t need them all there pre-ceremony); an all guest group shot; grandparent photos; signing of the marriage certificate, etc.

Mr. and Mrs. his first, his last name: Yep, I am taking his name – his last name. What happened to my first name? I’m still here and you can present us as Mr. and Mrs. his first name and my first name then, our last name.

poor posture: Bridesmaids – make sure that invisible string on your head (the one mom showed you) is holding your shoulders up. Also, feet together . . . you’re in a dress and heels, not boots and jeans. Poor posture doesn’t make for pretty pictures.

tiaras: Ew. Unless you’re the homecoming queen, just don’t.

{sorry Ms. Abdul}

keeping your back to your guests: Kind of. During the ceremony, at the very least, I’d like to try to keep some of my face visible to the guests. They want to see the emotion and hear the words.  It may be a little awkward to stand sideways, but when you have your back completely to your friends and family, much of the ceremony can get lost. I don’t want that.

Hmm, I had a lot more to say than I thought.

Again, these are just my preferences.

Food for thought.

Make it you,


Filed under ceremony, Reception, tidbits, {advice}

Victory #14: The Florist


Martha says you should book your florist six months out, but for some reason, this was the one thing I just could not figure out.  I have no idea about flowers.

(okay maybe there was more than one thing I couldn’t figure out – this one just hung there)

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to DIY or have them made.  Big or small. One bloom or several.

Oh, and don’t get me started on colors. You’d think with only two to choose from (orange and white) the decision would be easy.


Not for me.

After collecting pages and pages of lovely blooms, with no particular cohesiveness, I decided to – in the words of Nike – just do it.  As in, just make an appointment with a florist, then try to figure it out.  I certainly wasn’t getting anywhere with my pretty pictures chillin’ in the book

So, after a few ask-arounds and recommendations, I made an appointment with Melia of Melia’s Floral. Let me just say – good.i.dea.

Whew! She made me feel so much better. 

This is how it went: I took in a stack of pictures. She made sense of them all.

The restult: She helped me just pick.

And I don’t say just pick in a bad way either.  Remember, I haven’t been making decisions easily or quickly through out this wedding ordeal and time is running low.  Melia simply browsed my photos and asked me questions to get a good idea of what I wanted. And guess what, I answered with what I wanted. Pretty quickly, I might add.

Who knew?! She so easily and subtly brought out those little wants and desires  from the dark corners of my mind.  Those dark corners  which are heavily fogged by all the wedding fumes floating around in the www. Time to be cut off. 

{Well, maybe not quite yet. But soon}


Melia’s Floral

Anyway – Melia helped me make decisions and by asking standard questions, led me to my underlying preferences.

Huge relief and just what I needed. I felt so much better walking out those doors, than I did walking in.

Not only was Melia helpful in the decision-making process, but very talented. She brought in plenty of photos from previous events that ranged from traditional, formal and rather full bouquets and centerpieces, to more casual and minimal.

She also had – and this is what I loved the most  – color range. From deep inyourface color to softer versions, to a mix of white and creams. There was no set type  to her work and it was easy to see she had a wide artistic approach and the obvious ability to adapt to the bride’s style.

It was an easy choice to go with Melia.

I have yet to hear a negative or hesitant remark about this modern floral master and am so excited to have her arranging my blooms for the big day.

My mind – for now – is calm. I have handed this bigfat flower task over to the expert. I couldn’t be happier.

I’ll post soon on the pieces and blooms I choose.

For now – some of my favorite florals to leave you with.

Stop and smell the roses,

P.S. check out Melia on my vendor’s page!




garden rose


I don’t know – pretty white ones

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Filed under bouquet, centerpieces, ceremony, Flowers

Victory #13 Pre-Ceremony Music

My uncle {dad’s brother} – a wonderful and talented musician – agreed to play his guitar for us, pre-wedding ceremony.  We’re including a cocktail hour {or rather, cocktail half hour} to allow our guests to dribble in, take photos for the guestbook, mingle and have a drink or two before the ceremony begins.  My uncle played his guitar as guests were being seated at his daughter’s wedding almost two years ago . . . and he sounded absolutely beautiful. 

This is how I imagine it going:

Guests: “Who’s that playing the guitar?”

Me: “My uncle.”

complete with a big smile on my face

makes me pretty proud

how cool is that

My Uncle Pat and dad @ my cousin, Heather’s wedding in 2008

{I have such a cool family to help me out so much}


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Filed under ceremony, Music, Victories

Wedding Rentals & What You Should Know – from Party Palace

The further I get into wedding planning, and the closer it gets to the big day, I find myself Googling more for actual planning information, insider info, instructions, etc. and less the frilly, pretty pictures that started this whole wedding-blog-obsession. 


I have the layout of my wedding figured out.  I know how I want it to look. My brain is chalk-full of pretty images and ideas to incorporate into the day.  What I don’t have, is someone telling me what I need to look for with vendors, last-minute things to consider, what I really need and how it holds up to what I really want.  You know – all the little things first-time brides may not consider.

Because I’ve found a shortage of this through my Google searches, I’ve decided to start sharing more of this information I have been able to dig up with you brides-to-be.  Sure, I’m a little A-type, and most of you may not worry about half as much as I do, but it can’t hurt to know and be prepared.

Anyway . . . below is a wonderful inside look into wedding rentals, what you should know, do and think about.

Read on. 

How long have you been in business?

Party Palace has been around for about 30 years. 

What is the busiest season for rentals?

Our busiest time is from the beginning of May until the end of September.

What wedding rental seems to run out the quickest?

We run out of canopies, tables, chairs and round linen the quickest.

What is your cancellation policy?

Our cancellation policy states that as long as you cancel 30 days before your event you will not be charged a fee.  If you cancel within the 30 days we charge a 15% cancellation fee.  This does not include cutting back, however.  You can cut back on quantity up until the week-of without charge.

What is the biggest misconception about the event rental industry when it comes to rentals?

That everything is brand new.  They are rental items so they’re not perfect, but we do take care and pride in everything we have.  Little imperfections your guests will more then likely not notice.

What things should a bride consider when selecting their venue?

There are lots of things that need to be considered.  First, does it fit with you and your groom’s vision of you want for your wedding.  Is there enough parking for all of your guests?  What kind of kitchen facility does it have?  If you are having a canopy, is the ground flat, are there power lines overhead? Underground sprinklers?  Last, does the price fit what you are getting?

What is one thing a bride should save on when booking with you?

Some brides rent double the amount of chairs so they have enough to set up for the ceremony AND the reception.  You can rent just the amount you need and have either your guests grab their chair or have the groomsmen and ushers move them, while your guests go through the receiving line.  Also, the style of chair makes a difference in cost.  You can choose the style that is cheaper to save money.

What is one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?

For an outside wedding I would say a canopy.  It provides shelter from rain and sun. 

What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone has made in your industry?

The worst thing I’ve heard of was being overbooked.  There was a time when a venue overbooked on a weekend luckily it was a large outside area so it all worked out.  Also, there have been times when other rentals companies have overbooked themselves on items. 

What are a few things a bride should review in contracts with you and with their venue?

First of all make sure you understand our cancellation policy.  Also, understand that if anything is broken, missing, or damaged, it is your responsibility to pay replacement charges.  As far as the venue goes, if you are having things delivered, make sure that you have a place to store the items until we can pick them up.  Also, make sure your venue is okay with our delivery and pick up times. 

What is something you wish all your bridal clients knew or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?

Not to worry about the little things; everything will come together in the end.

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Filed under ceremony, Reception, rentals

Flower Time

Well, maybe not quite yet, but I’ve been checking a lot of vendors off my to-do list in the last few months and florists are one area I still have to look into.  I have no clue where to start with this process but it was perfect timing when I came across this helpful post by Blue Orchid Designs.

Wedding Vendor Hiring Guide :: Wedding Florist

Stone Castle Photography

Wedding flowers can help pull a reception together and help give a cohesive feel to wedding photos. Plus, they’re fun! I mean really, who doesn’t love fresh flowers? Ordering wedding flowers is a little different than ordering a bouquet for your friend’s birthday, so here are some things to keep in mind in your search for your floral designer:

Are any vases or containers needed to create the arrangement included as a rental or sale item?
Some florists will rent the vases needed to create your wedding centerpiece and others will sell them to you and include them in the cost. There are benefits to both the florist and you in both options. If the vases are rented, the florist can reuse them for other clients and you don’t have to keep them. If they are included in the sale price, then the florist doesn’t need to use costly storage space and you can give the entire centerpiece to an honored guest at the end of your wedding reception. The trick is deciding what will work best for your wedding and finding a florist who can accommodate your needs.

Do you use any dyes in the bridal or bridesmaid bouquets?
Artificial coloring is sometimes used to make a floral arrangement pop, but when used in a personal wedding bouquet, those vivid colors can easily transfer to your dress.  While you may have the best intentions of holding your bouquet a little bit away from you throughout the day, it will inevitably brush against your wedding gown.  Ask up front if they use dye in their flowers.

Do your fees include delivery and pick up at the end of the wedding?
Ask ahead of time if the florist will come back at the end of the wedding reception to pick up any rental vases or other decor items used in the floral arrangements.  If not, you may need to arrange for someone to pack all of that up and deliver it back to the florist’s shop.  Also be sure to ask if their floral delivery will be in time to have the flowers for pre-ceremony photos.

Will you stay to pin on any corsages or boutonnières? 
Your wedding planner or day of coordinator should be able to handle this if your florist does not include pinning in their services.

Will you include a physical mock up of our centerpieces for us to see prior to the wedding?
Creating a mock up can be quite costly and some florists include it in their prices while others skip it, thereby passing that savings on to you.  Determine whether or not seeing a mock up of your wedding centerpieces is a priority for you, and then budget accordingly when hiring your florist.

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Filed under centerpieces, ceremony, Flowers