Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Toasting: The 5 Ws

It's 3 weeks until the big day. You've been making major decisions about dresses, colors, venues, and timelines for what feels like 10 years. But before you exhale a sigh of relief, you have one more to make: the Toasters.

No, I don't mean the duplicate appliances you've received from your Bed Bath & Beyond registry. I'm talking about the select few who will have access to the microphone. You'll want to decide this well before the wedding day and let your Planner and DJ know who is allowed to cheers, or you could end up with Open Mic Night.

The 5 Ws of Toasting:

Who: Bride's Dad, Best Man, Maid/Matron of Honor (typically). Feel free to let someone else in on the fun, like the Groom's Dad or Bride's Mom, if you'd like. But keep the number of talkers to a minimum or much of your evening could be spent listening to family and friends tell stories about your lives. Save that for a night around the campfire.

What: Toasts should be about the Bride, the Groom or the Bride and the Groom. Let your speakers know that going off on multiple tangents for many minutes will mean abbreviated mic time. In a nice way.

When: During dinner is the best time, as most people are seated and paying attention. Avoid clanging for the attention of your guests by scheduling your toasts 10 and 15 minutes apart. Do all the toasts back to back to allow the evening to flow naturally and relatively uninterrupted.

Where: From the toaster's seat is usually best. For the Father of the Bride, you should give the option of speaking from the center of the room.

Why: Because it's one of the biggest days of your lives. And an opportunity for the people who love you the most to let you know it. So let 'em tell a few stories...it's good for the soul!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The First Dance: Not Just a Song

You know when it's time to pull out the camera at a wedding - the first notes of Elvis or Shania come floating from the DJ booth. The couple embraces, smiles at each other and starts to dance. After 20 blissful seconds comes awkward swaying and boredom. Don't be this couple.

Your first dance isn't an obligation. If you don't like to dance and the thought of 150 people circling the dance floor to get a glimpse of you two eye-locking doesn't do it for you, then don't do it. Simply tell your planner to cut it out of the timeline.

But, if you want your two minutes of expressing love through words of someone who knows how to sing it, listen up...

You just said "I Do," something you've been rehearsing how to say for many months, if not years. You just shouted to the world that you've found your soulmate, the person you plan to have and to hold for the rest of your life. While Eric Clapton sure has a way of making me feel wonderful tonight and Lionel Ritchie can sell me on endless love, you can do better if these songs don't have a special meaning to you. Now there's no need to get upset and defend these beautifully written ballads! I personally think they are perfect...when the couple connects perfectly with them.

This is your first real chance to make a statement about your love to the family and friends that just witnessed your first real commitment of love. Dig deep.

Here's how to proceed:

1) Turn on the radio and tune in (together!). Start with the oldies station, then hit the easy listening station, maybe some country, and then pop and soft rock. Write down any artists or songs that remind you of your coupleness. Compare notes!

2) Remember: Just because it was popular in 1952, doesn't mean that it's outside the realm of possibilities. And Remember: Just because it's popular (and possible overplayed) right now, don't nix it from the list. The goal is to find YOUR song, and what's going to make you smile after 20 years of marriage.

3) Lyrics matter, too. There are lots of pretty songs to choose from. But if it says nothing about what made you get down on bended knee or say yes, it doesn't matter.

4) Stop when you find the one! Don't make the mistake of instructing the DJ to play your 8 favorites songs throughout the course of the evening that describe you as a couple. Your guests know that you've "Had the Time of Your Life" and that you can "Feel the Love Tonight." What they don't know is why, so tell them. In one song.

Bottom lines:
Make your first dance something you'll remember.

Not because it was the easiest song to box step to, or your current favorite song on the radio, or what everyone else will recognize.

But because, when you close your eyes, you think of all the reasons that led to knowing this one moment had to happen.