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Wedding Guide Secrets to a long and happy marriage Some might say a long celebrity marriage is one that endures the duration of the newly betrothed’s trip down the aisle. We’ve seen Britney Spears dissolve a marriage after 55 hours and Kim Kardashian call it quits after 72 days. It seems even money can’t buy matrimonial happiness. But some couples have been together for 50, 60 years and say they’re still as much in love as they were the day they spoke their “I dos.” What do they know that others do not? According to clinical psychologist and relationship guru Dr. Phil McGraw, “We all need to be flexible and to compromise in marriage, but you’ve got to be true to your core traits and characteristics, what I call your authentic self.” Some couples enter a relationship projecting a persona they believe the other person wants -- one that really isn’t what they’re all about. This could be a woman trying to fill the role of her husband’s nurturing mom or a guy playing the protector to his wife. In reality, marriage is more of a partnership, and truth and trust are often at the basis of good marriages. There are many other “secrets” that marriage experts will offer to couples seeking the magic formula. Whether you’re pondering marriage or have already tied the knot, consider the following advice to make a marriage endure for the long haul. * There’s no such thing as the perfect marriage. Some couples create an image of what they think

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marriage is supposed to be, and that image that often goes “poof” once reality sets in. Even soulmates are bound to frustrate or irritate one another from time to time. * Couples should express their frustrations. Bottling up frustrations can eat at a person and eventually destroy a marriage. Talking about the things that are bothering you with your partner opens up a

discussion and can help you work through things. * Divorce should not be seen as a viable option. Couples who want to bail on the marriage at every turn could be directing their energy toward divorce as the only solution instead of discovering ways to remove the cause of strife. Divorce can sometimes be the easy way out when you think about the work

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that goes into keeping a marriage working. Experts say that there are a few issues, like adultery, abuse and drug/alcohol addiction, that may be reasonable catalysts for divorce if personal safety and sanity is being compromised. * Make time for romance. It’s easily said but not so easily done. Too often married couples forget what it was like to date when all of their attention was spent on each other instead of the house, kids, work, etc. Today there seems to be even more distractions, from e-mails to texts to pressure and obligations at the office. Happy couples find the time to spend quality time with their spouses -- even if that’s only 10 minutes of alone time a day. * Put “we” first. Many people operate on a “me” mentality. When you’re part of a couple, give more to your spouse than you take. If he or she is doing the same, you’re working collectively for the benefit of the marriage instead of yourselves. * Respect each other. Often couples having troubles realize they treat strangers better than they treat each other. Would use the insults or unflattering terms that you sometimes throw at your spouse with a complete stranger? Probably not. Good marriages are based on a foundation of respect and love. It’s easy to lose feelings of love if the respect is gone. Couples can realize that there are some thorns that come with the roses of marriage, and staying happy together does take work for it to all be worth it. ~ Metro Creative Connections


Seating your wedding guests Weddings are filled with many emotions:happiness, excitement and anticipation, to name a few. With all of the positive emotions a wedding may drum up, in the mix there may be a few negative ones, including feelings of being overwhelmed at all the details that need to be completed on a deadline. One aspect of wedding planning that tends to send people into panic is wedding reception seating arrangements. The thought of having 200 friends and family members together under one roof -- and then attempting to seat them next to an acceptable group of people -- can cause some couples to hyperventilate. Every family has its ups and downs, and there are certain people who get along well and a few who clash. Ensur-

ing that a wedding is memorable for all the right reasons (and not for the brawl at table 3) is why seating arrangements are so important. Many couples can use a little advice when seating guests, while others would love another person to handle the seating arrangements for them. Here are some guidelines for setting up reception seating arrangements. * Place yourselves, as well as the bridal party, at a separate table that is in a prime location in the room. Be sure to allow the spouses or dates of bridal party members at the same table so couples remain together. * Some couples choose to seat both sets of parents at one table together -the parents’ table. Grandparents may also be seated at this table, depending

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on the number of people each table can accommodate. * If children under the age of 7 are invited, they should be seated with their parents. Children between ages 7 and 14 can be seated at a separate kids’ table. * Be mindful of guests with disabilities or mobility issues. Seat them close to the door, bathrooms or food station. * Instead of separating the bride and the groom’s family to separate sides, intermingle the tables to promote conversation. * Consider arranging guests by common interests at each table, seating business associates or parents’ friends together. * Take into consideration people who

have relationship rifts and try to seat them separately. But don’t stress about this too much because it won’t be possible to accommodate everyone. You’ll have to hope that at your wedding a certain level of decorum will preside. * It’s not unheard of to let guests seat themselves. This takes the pressure of finding a seat for everyone off of you as a couple and enables you to think about the other tasks at hand. This can take place at a buffet wedding or a smaller affair. ~ Metro Creative Connections

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Wedding themes can add up to extra fun Every couple wants their wedding to be memorable. The goal of planning a wedding is to create an experience that everyone will remember for years to come. For some couples, a theme wedding is the best way to accomplish just that. When it comes time to select a theme, the day the wedding takes place may dictate the theme. For example, if the wedding takes place on Halloween, the ideas for the theme are easy. Many other couples choose a theme that highlights a specific interest or hobby or something that is dear to them. Here are some popular wedding themes. * Holiday: The Christmas season lends itself well to wedding planning. The colors (red, green, gold) are already established, and most churches

and buildings are already decked out in holiday finery, cutting down on the amount of flowers and embellishments couples need. Because the holiday season is so busy and a popular time for socializing, couples who want to tie the knot during this time of year should send save-the-date cards well in advance. Another option is to have a “Christmas in July” wedding, featuring the same holiday themes but without the hectic nature of the holiday season. * Vegas: Couples who want to tie the knot in Las Vegas but want to ensure all their loved ones can attend can recreate the magic of Vegas wherever they may be. Casino-inspired games and big buffet meals can make guests feel like they have stepped into a casino

on the famed Vegas strip. In addition, an Elvis impersonator is essential to a Vegas wedding. * TV show: Some couples elevate certain television shows to cult status. Whether it’s “Friends” or “Star Trek,” popular television shows have been transformed into festive wedding themes. Whether the idea is to go daring and exchange vows in costume or simply name reception tables according to characters or show locations, couples can include a little television fun into the event. * Fairytale: Many men and women envision a fairytale wedding complete with horse-drawn carriage and the “happily ever after.” This is what makes Disney properties as well as the various castles around the world popular

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backdrops for wedding events. Those planning a fairytale wedding need only look to favorite stories or movies for their inspiration. * Interest or passion: Love to climb mountains? Avid about scuba diving? Couples who share a particular interest can include elements of this sport or hobby into their wedding. Invitations and decor can hint at the theme, and then special activities can further enhance it. Fish bowls as centerpieces may call to mind underwater adventures, while surfboard-shaped invites may set the scene for a beachside party. Theme weddings can add an extra spice to the festivities and incorporate couples’ interests into the event -- making it even more special. ~ Metro Creative Connections

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Honeymoon planning how-to With all the work that goes into planning a wedding, it can be easy for couples to overlook their own honeymoons. But in the middle of all those seating arrangements and reception hall negotiations, couples also need to plan and look forward to the rest and relaxation that awaits, which will no doubt be a well-deserved escape once the wedding has come and gone. Couples can take the following advice to ensure their getaway goes off without a hitch. * Be budget-conscious. Many couples could enjoy a honeymoon to Siberia in the dead of winter after their big day has passed. After all the stress of planning and paying for the wedding, couples will likely just enjoy the time away. Take this into consideration when planning a honeymoon. If a dream trip isn’t in the budget after all the wedding bills have come due, don’t fret. A less expensive getaway is still a getaway, and couples will enjoy their well-deserved break no matter where it is they’re putting their feet up. * Plan an off-season honeymoon. That dream honey-

moon might be affordable after all if couples can wait till it’s not the height of tourist season. Most weddings occur during the summer months, when tourist season is in full swing.Couples who can put off their honeymoon until the off-season will no doubt find their dream honeymoon is much more affordable. * Start early. It’s never too early to start planning the honeymoon. The earlier couples begin to research possible destinations, the better feel they will have for what they can and can’t afford. Research can be done well in advance to give couples an idea of what their dream trip will cost. But don’t book any flights or make any reservations too far in advance. The best deals are often available a few months before the trip. * Spread the news that you’re newlyweds. Hotels love hosting newlyweds, and many will upgrade rooms for recently married guests. Couples should not be too brash about it, as fully booked hotels won’t be able to upgrade their guests. But let the hotel know you’re on your honeymoon when checking in, and they

might just upgrade your room and comp you a bottle of champagne as a gift. * Think outside the box. When asked about a dream honeymoon, couples will often bring up Hawaii or even Paris. While those are beautiful places to spend a honeymoon, they’re also expensive. Fortunately, there are a bevy of locales, be it domestic or international, that aren’t nearly as pricey as the most popular honeymoon destinations but still make wonderful options for a honeymoon getaway couples won’t soon forget. ~ Metro Creative Connections

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Wacky Wedding Facts According to TheKnot.com, the unofficial experts on all things weddings, there are some things that may surprise the average person about weddings across the country. Here are some facts to consider. * Weddings in Iowa and Nebraska are the biggest, averaging 200 guests. * The average engagement ring costs more than $5,800. * Most brides have one do-it-yourself element, such as favors or escort cards. * “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Lady in Red” are the two most popular first dance songs (even though 87 percent of brides wear white). * Only 19 percent of couples rely on a wedding planner. * Ancient Romans broke a cake over the bride’s head to symbolize fertility. Today, brides must be fortunate to have only a little cake smashed in their faces! ~ Metro Creative Connections

Tips for trying on wedding gowns Many brides-to-be look forward to the day when they visit a bridal salon and are able to try on gowns for the first time. There are certain tips that can make the day go much more smoothly and potentially reduce the amount of time it may take to find the perfect gown. * Wear a supportive, well constructed strapless bra or corset in your correct size. If you will be wearing a petticoat, also have the right size available. * Go without face makeup when trying on gowns so they remain clean. * Try to wear your hair similar to

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the style you have in mind for your wedding. * Note that the size of the wedding gown you will wear is typically one to two sizes larger than your day-to-day clothes. Proper measurements can be matched to designers’ size charts. * It’s best to limit the number of people with whom you shop to 1 or 2 trusted friends or family members. An entourage can be confusing. * It’s always better to order a slightly larger gown and leave room for alterations if you are between sizes. ~ Metro Creative Connections


Wedding Guide