10 Tips for a Lasting Marriage

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There are plenty of places from which to glean marriage advice, we’ve found some sarcastically charming advice in unexpected places. Need a humorous, lighthearted kick in the rear to nudge you toward the altar? Listen to Jenna McCarthy’s TED talk called “What You Don’t Know About Marriage.

Although there are plenty of couples who seem to sprint down the isle, we recognize there are many things to consider before you commit to one, single other person for the rest of your life. There are statistics swirling around about divorce rates and unhappy marriages and affairs and so much more that deter people from looking for their own happily-ever-after. Jenna uses some silly statistics to remind us that marriages can be successful, fun, and full of a long-lasting love.

Jenna’s Tips

  1. Couples are happier when the woman is slimmer and better looking than her counterpart. Apparently men are much happier when their spouse is better looking, and more appealing to him. But don’t worry! Women, we don’t have to be skinny. According to Jenna we just have to be skinnier than him. So, bake a cake. Buy him his favorite beer. Fatten him up, and long live your marriage.
  2. Happy, lasting couples can find good in almost any situation. Be optimistic. If you can keep negativity out of your relationship as much as possible, you are more likely to last. This makes sense, right? When you are arguing or upset, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Is it worth the negativity? The criticism? OR could you simply pick up the dirty socks he left on the floor, think to yourself “You know, he doesn’t always pick up his dirty clothes BUT at least he puts the lid down,” and move on with a happier spouse.
  3. Husbands who are willing to do housework, appear more attractive to their partners. So pick a man who knows how to plug in the vacuum, run the washing machine, and doesn’t mind scrubbing the stuck on food off your dishes after your they sat out on the coffee table all night long. If you have someone who is willing to share the household chores with you, you feel more connected and more like a team. It becomes something you respect about each other, you’ll begin to see the chores as a way of expressing your love, gratitude, and respect for your spouse rather than a tedious, time consuming task.
  4. Childhood photographs of smiling faces, indicate individuals who are less likely to get divorced, according to McCarthy (and some study that the government wasted our tax dollars trying to find some magic antidivorce loophole). This is just one of the studies that she mentions that–we found–particularly amusing.
  5. The Oscar. Stay away from those. Apparently there is something called “The Oscar Curse” or the marriage kiss of death, according to McCarthy. Even watching Romantic films can increase your chances of divorce. Why? People who watch romances are reminded that their love life is “dull” or “ordinary” compared to those who don’t. McCarthy encourages you to watch horror movies or actions flicks that remind you, that your safe, happy little life is much better than explosions or hauntings or aliens overtaking the planet.
  6. Divorce is contagious. So don’t surround yourself with good friends who are dividing their assets and scheduling childhood visitation rights. There are some couples who could remain unaffected by this, but better safe than sorry, right? Stick with people who stick with their spouse.
  7. Need a monetary incentive? There are over a thousand legal benefits recorded by the federal government that are strictly awarded to married couples. Three words: “joint tax returns.”
  8. Couples who are married tend to be healthier. In all aspects of their lives: physically, emotionally and mentally. So, if you want to lead a healthier life you should definitely consider matrimony.
  9. People in monogamous, committed marriage relationships have been shown to produce happier, healthier, more productive children in to society. Basically, kids who come from a home where their parents are still married are better for our society and ultimately the future of the world. Consider that.
  10. Married people live longer. Plain and simple.

Now, this is just a funny video to help you relax. Marriage is a serious, life-long decision. Take all of these goofy tips into consideration, but always trust your Mama and do like she always told you, choose wisely.

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The Age Old Question: Open, Cash, or No Bar?


We realize here at Big Hat that this is something that really gets people going. Whether its a family discrepancy, a budget issue, or something else, the beverage situation can cause friction in the planning of a big day. So, we wanted to make it a little bit simpler for you, we compiled a piktochart. It represents the pros & cons to each it is designed to help you decide which option is best for you and your wedding day.

Consider Your Options:

First you need to understand the aspects of each option. An open bar is where you provide your guests with alcoholic beverages with no cost to them. This is convenient for guests because they don’t need to worry about bringing cash. There are several options, for instance you might choose to have an open bar that serves only wine and beer. A cash bar provides guests with drinks for purchase. This allows guests to buy their own drinks during the reception. Once again, there are several options, you can choose top shelf liquor or lower priced spirits to provide for your guests. Lastly, no bar, which is exactly what it sounds like: no alcohol. Weddings without alcohol are often a result of family beliefs and opinions, or simply as an attempt to keep costs lower. You can, however, still offer a champagne toast!

Pros & Cons:

We hope you will explore the piktochart in order to become more accustomed to the pros and cons of each. But one thing we feel we need to note is that Open Bars have many different forms. You can choose to serve strictly beer and wine, you may set a limit so that your guests will no longer be served once they have collectively consumed a set amount (like $3000 worth), you may choose to serve cheaper versions of everyone’s favorite spirits rather than the top shelf bottles. So, if you’re opting out of alcohol for budgetary reasons make sure you explore your options to see if it is possible for you to do something other than the “traditional” open bar. However, cash bars are another way to save on your costs.

Whatever you choose, just make sure you, your groom, and your families are comfortable with the choice! Your wedding is about you, and while you want to keep your guests happy they are not top priority on this particular occasion.

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“I Present to You Mr. and Mrs…”

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There are so many details that are so meticulously decided when planning a wedding. We understand that your head will be spinning. But one decision we recommended that you really, I mean really think about, is who will officiate your ceremony.

The officiant can make or break your big moment, your “I do” that is seen as foundational for the rest of your marriage.

Refer to Buffalo Bride
In an article written by Jill Jaracz on Buffalo Bride’s website called “Selecting Your Wedding Officiant,” does a great job of summing up how to designate the responsibility of presenting you and your new spouse to the world.

Who to Choose?
Jaracz says that a lot of couples like to make it personal by having a close family member perform the ceremony. But she cautions, make sure that they take it seriously there use you might end up with a wedding catastrophe on your hands. Some times people who aren’t used to speaking in front of a large crowd, or any size crowd for that matter, tend to get nervous and might forget their lines.

Just make you sure they know what you expect and how you want them to present themselves during the ceremony. Let he or she practice and make sure they are comfortable before the big day.

It is your job to make sure that your officiant is prepared if he or she is not a professional. Choose wisely, and check reviews online if you are going with someone other than a family member or close friend.

Jaracz suggests checking online resources like Instagram or YouTube to see how an officiant performs. Reading reviews can be helpful in determining if a particular officiant will fit into how you see your big day panning out. Make sure you meet with more than one candidate before determining who will present you as a couple to your family and friends.

Regardless of who married you, your day will be special because it is the beginning of a lifelong commitment with the one you love. Even though we stress all of these little details, keep that in mind!

StyleMePretty; Oh, So Pretty

 

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With the internet booming, nearly anything can be found online. Wedding planning,  is no exception. Though there are many useful sources available to frantic brides, penny pinching father’s, and overbearing mothers, Style Me Pretty reigns supreme in our eyes.

Some of the aspects of Style Me Pretty that make it an effective source include its consistency in theme, user-friendly layout and organization, simplicity of site navigation, appropriate color palette, and provides readers with well-written content.

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Theme, Color Palette, & Organization

This particular theme is whimsical and light. There is an airy feel that suggests a aura of white, fluffy, lacey, delicacy. It does an excellent job of embodying a wedding day. A plain white background, colored with black texts with blue accents make the site appear both cheerful and readable. Everything is well-organized and clearly marked for the accessibility of the reader.  All of the links house galleries full of varying options, such as the category “DIY  Projects” which is split into wedding decor, flowers, favors & gifts, cakes and desserts and many others.

Site Navigation

SMP also makes navigating their site quick, simple, and understandable. Each of their links takes you directly to the gallery specified by the tab. Within those galleries are other galleries to choose from, like I explained previously. There are numerous options for you to explore while planning your big day. SMP even provides you with galleries full of other weddings to use as your inspiration. At the end of one page of a gallery, in the bottom right hand corner SMP provides a “next” button, as well as a “previous” option for easy navigation between pages. SMP also provides the links to their other wedding blogs that are divided by region (like The Midwest, New England, The Southeast, and the Mid-Atlantic) to simplify further the process for those who are planning.

Written Content

The writers of SMP draw you in and make you feel as though you are experiencing these events with them. Whether it is creating your own floral arrangements, learning to apply wedding day make up, or a review of someone’s big-day-done-right, these writers are talented. It is likely you won’t stop at just one, usually we catch ourselves reading four or five articles at a time. They are short, sweet and informative. There is nothing about them that we don’t condone!

Overall Style Me Pretty is an excellent source for planning your wedding. Their additional blogs are written and styled with the same tasteful elegance and simplicity. We appreciate what they have done for the industry and we know you will love it too!

Photos by Style Me Pretty 

Who Wants Cake?

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In the past few years there have been more and more articles concerning homosexual marriages and the wedding industry. Recently there have been some articles regarding several different bakeries that have refused to makes cakes for same sex couples. 

The Case

One bakery in Colorado has received ample publicity surrounding their case. Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, stood on their Christian principles and denied an order from a gay couple. The co-owner of Masterpiece, Jack C. Phillips said that as firm Christian believers they would not serve their cakes at a gay ceremony.

The couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, were able to find another bakeshop willing to provide a cake for their celebration. However, Craig and Mullins filed a lawsuit against Phillips. A Colorado judge, Robert N. Spencer, ruled against Phillips’ assertion that the Constitution’s 1st and 14th amendments should guard him from the government trying to control how he practices his religion.

Phillips views his cake decorating as a form of artistic expression, he argued that the government edict that was put into effect was violating his freedom of expression. But the judge waived this argument, stating that a private business does not have the right to refuse service to whomever they choose.

Personal Stand

As a Christian in the same industry, I have been interested in these articles. When considering all of these instances, I am torn. I grew up in a conservative Christian home, with strong values that have been enforced and lived out by my parents. I believe that homosexuality is a sin, according to the Bible such as in Leviticus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 12:31. 

While I do believe that homosexuality is a sin, I began to consider what reaction would be to a situation like the one Phillip’s faced. God also teaches Christians to love those who fall short of his glory, for we are all sinners. The debate might concern how much love we are to give others, without supporting and even promoting their sins.

My conclusion is that, I would agree with Phillips in standing up for my right to practice my religious beliefs. While I would love and pray for a homosexual couple who approached Big Hat Events, I would feel that my beliefs take precedent. I would feel that it would compromising my own beliefs to support a homosexual couple in their union.

We stand firm in our beliefs, but also choose to love all individuals despite their decisions, recognizing that we all have sinned and are therefore unholy in the eyes of our Creator.

3 Best Wedding Websites & Apps

With everyone and their  mother getting tech phones, it’s nearly impossible to avoid technology. We suggest you do the opposite, embrace the technological advances, they will serve you well! We’ve found the top 3 wedding websites and (and app) available today that can help you plan, shop for, and document your big day.

1. Style Me Pretty

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SMP is a blog chocked full of so much wedding related material you won’t know what to do with yourself, seriously. This website is perfect for any bride who doesn’t know where to start. There are thousands of weddings documented here, inspiration out the wazoo, and hundreds of useful blog posts. We encourage you, spend a couple hours…a couple days on this website if you need to make some wedding decisions. Creating an account is free and it’s fast. After creating an account you can make a”board” where you can save your ideas and separate them into different collections. SMP even offers a list of vendors. Another useful aspect of their website is they divide their information up, you can choose from Canada, Australia, New England, California, The Northwest, Midwest, Southwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Tri-State areas when looking for something specific like a photographer, florist, or caterer.  There is even an option for you to submit your wedding photos and hints after your big day.

2.  Lover.ly 

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On this website you have the ability to browse thousands of images from the top wedding blogs, available in one concentrated location. It allows you to search wedding styles and themes, dress types (neckline, material, cut etc.), floral preferences, stationary options, and the  list continues. This is like the ultimate Pinterest dedicated specifically to weddings! It’s easy, quick, and free to create your account. Creating an account will allow you to save your ideas and inspirations all in one place.

3. Instagram

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Although it’s likely that you will hire a professional photographer, keep in mind that smartphones are equipped with digital cameras that can produce high quality pictures. You guests will be snapping photos all night long and chances are they will get some shots that even your high-dollar photographer will miss. So, take advantage of their amateur photography skills and create a hashtag that your guests can use for your special day. When they hashtag the images, you’ll be able to search the Instagram app and find all the images from your wedding in one place! You are free to dance, laugh, visit, eat, and drink the night away and you will be able to relive everything you missed out on by accessing your guests images after everything is long over.   Post signs, chalkboards, or even add it to the invite so your guests are sure to use your hashtag!

Hint: Make your hashtag unique enough that you will be the only wedding using it! 

Remember, your big day is supposed to be special and enjoyable! We’ve found that these websites (and app) are useful and easy for brides to use in planning their weddings. While there are hundreds of websites and apps available, we feel that these are the most user-friendly. These websites also provide you with copious amounts of useful, inspirational information to help you prepare for your big day. Enjoy!

Images from: StyleMePretty /Lover.ly/Pinterest

10 Steps to Creating Your Own Personalized Wedding Favors

We know that weddings can be a stressful time, but we are here to help make your day go more smoothly. Whether you choose to hire a wedding planner to help out along the way or you’re on your own, we think that you should make sure that you keep it personal.

Your wedding day is unique to YOU. This is the first step on your lifelong journey. We feel that you and your future spouse should both be reflected in every aspect of the event.

Creating your own favors can be the perfect personal touch to your day. You want to do something that guests will appreciate and remember. There are hundreds of different types of favors you can provide for your guests as a souvenir and a token of your appreciation of their attendance. 

Various themes call for different types of favors. From handing out jars of homemade jams to bottles family-distilled whiskey, personalized matchboxes to custom printed cozies, wedding favors come in all shapes and sizes.

Although these ideas are cute, we want to keep it simple, chic, and cheap. In several wedding showers we have helped to host, we’ve worked to make simple boxes using scrap booking paper and a simple template we found online. Though cutting out each box, and folding and gluing them can be tedious, we loved the result.  

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This can be a fun project for you and your bridesmaids, family members, and friends. We chose to fill the boxes with small candies (m&m’s, mike&ike’s, Red Hots, butter mints, Hot Tamales, jelly beans and
Skittles have been our biggest crowd pleasers). The best part is being the box candy-filler (the box manufacturers will be too busy to notice a missing handful or two!).

First you’ll need to purchase your supplies; scrapbooking paper that is consistent with your wedding color palette or theme, scissors or a paper cutter, glue and any additional tools such as stamps, a paper scorer, ribbon, and glitter.

When it comes to the paper, search for something fun and unique. Also consider the thickness of your paper. We’ve found that a sturdier stock paper works best for these boxes.

Consider whether or not you will want to customize the boxes further. We recommend a stamp. You can press your initials onto the boxes and offer a more personalized favor for your guests. If you choose to use stamps, you’ll need to make sure you stamp the boxes before folding them.

There are several places online that you can purchase a monogram stamp for your wedding. These are adorable and you can use them after the wedding too! You can spend anywhere from $15 to $45 on these stamps, depending on what you want, so look around before you buy!

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Making your boxes:

1. Print off your templatesmbox

2. Cut your template out (we recommend you laminate this to make it easier for re-use)

3. Trace your template onto your scrapbooking paper

4. Stamp your monogram onto the preferred side of your cube

5. Use your paper scorer (or a pencil can work too) to crease your folds for a clean, professional look

6. Glue the sides of your boxes to make sure they are sturdy enough to hold your contents

7. Let your boxes set, allow time for the glue to dry

8. Pour candy into your cubes

9. Garnish with a ribbon

10. Repeat steps 1-9 until you have accommodated all of your guests

These boxes will be sure to please your guests and add a small touch of YOU to one of most overlooked aspects of your big day. We know you will love creating these with your wedding party. Make a day out of it; start with brunch or a lunch (full workers are happy workers).

As always, be sure to keep CUT in mind, we want it to be Chic, uniform, and tasteful.

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