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Real Brides Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

6 Brides on the Unique Bridesmaid Gifts They Gave Their Bridal Party

 Bridesmaids, Real Brides  Comments Off on 6 Brides on the Unique Bridesmaid Gifts They Gave Their Bridal Party
Nov 112016
 
Special Gift I Gave My Bridesmaids

Photo: Kate Headley

Your bridal party is the crew that sticks by your side through the thick and thin of wedding planning — from the moment your partner pops the question to the last song of your wedding night. And because of that, they deserve some love and recognition and most likely a pretty sweet bridesmaid gift. But don't take it from us; take it from the real brides that gave their bridesmaids the most unique gifts for being a party of their big day.

"My friend Rachel is in the cannabis industry (we live in Colorado where it is legal) so we co-created artisan hand-made goodie bags with that theme. We came up with the name 'budmaid' for bridesmaids because in legal cannabis dispensaries the people who host the 'bars' are called 'budtenders'. Each budmaid got an assortment of gifts ranging from a cannabis-infused bath bomb to a hand-blown glass chakra stash jar." —Zoe (Cosmic Sister)

"My bridesmaids were the most supportive, kick-ass, amazing group, so I gave each a 'Princess Diana' engagement ring as a thank you. The concept of rings was an important part of the whole experience as I'd gifted them with Ring Pops when asking them to be my bridesmaids! So it seemed fitting to thank them with a more permanent ring symbol." —Melody

"I'm into the power of crystal so I gave each of my bridesmaids healing crystal bra clips. A bra is a great place to have a crystal because it's a personal reminder that you tread your own path." —Laura

"All my bridesmaids were married so I purchased each of them a Stella & Dot necklace with their anniversary date engraved. I thought no better way to celebrate my special day then to honor their commitment to love and marriage. Each of them absolutely loved it and it was a nice way to cater to each bridesmaid, despite their style differences. I also gave each bridesmaid matching earrings and a robe to wear while getting ready." —Melody

"Three words: 'personalized bridesmaid sweatpants!'" —Anna

"Adele was coming to town shortly after the wedding and the concert was sold out months in advance. I worked some connections, spent big bucks and — voila — got everyone tickets!" —Toni

See More: 7 Ways to Pump Up Your Bridesmaids Before the Wedding

"I bought everyone a two year subscription to the Wine of the Month Club because I knew there was many a night during the lead-up to the wedding I'd caused them to go home and uncork a bottle to release stress!" —Rebecca

"Having been a bridesmaid umpteenth times before I became a bride, I felt the best present to give my gals was to help them out financially with the cost of being there for me on this special day. So I chipped in on their dresses, shoes and many other expenses along the way." —Lynda

"I made donations to everyone's favorite charities—and funded a spa day for my bridal party!" —Kim

"My bridesmaids and I love our Godiva so I got everyone a certificate for a chocolate-making course. We took the class together and made fabulous treats. Yum." —Harriet

"I put a lot of thought into doing something special for everyone and I came up with personalized Song Lyric Necklaces. Several of the bridesmaids liked 'Put a Ring on It'." —Susan

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

6 Brides on the Unique Bridesmaid Gifts They Gave Their Bridal Party

 Bridesmaids, Real Brides  Comments Off on 6 Brides on the Unique Bridesmaid Gifts They Gave Their Bridal Party
Nov 112016
 
Special Gift I Gave My Bridesmaids

Photo: Kate Headley

Your bridal party is the crew that sticks by your side through the thick and thin of wedding planning — from the moment your partner pops the question to the last song of your wedding night. And because of that, they deserve some love and recognition and most likely a pretty sweet bridesmaid gift. But don't take it from us; take it from the real brides that gave their bridesmaids the most unique gifts for being a party of their big day.

"My friend Rachel is in the cannabis industry (we live in Colorado where it is legal) so we co-created artisan hand-made goodie bags with that theme. We came up with the name 'budmaid' for bridesmaids because in legal cannabis dispensaries the people who host the 'bars' are called 'budtenders'. Each budmaid got an assortment of gifts ranging from a cannabis-infused bath bomb to a hand-blown glass chakra stash jar." —Zoe (Cosmic Sister)

"My bridesmaids were the most supportive, kick-ass, amazing group, so I gave each a 'Princess Diana' engagement ring as a thank you. The concept of rings was an important part of the whole experience as I'd gifted them with Ring Pops when asking them to be my bridesmaids! So it seemed fitting to thank them with a more permanent ring symbol." —Melody

"I'm into the power of crystal so I gave each of my bridesmaids healing crystal bra clips. A bra is a great place to have a crystal because it's a personal reminder that you tread your own path." —Laura

"All my bridesmaids were married so I purchased each of them a Stella & Dot necklace with their anniversary date engraved. I thought no better way to celebrate my special day then to honor their commitment to love and marriage. Each of them absolutely loved it and it was a nice way to cater to each bridesmaid, despite their style differences. I also gave each bridesmaid matching earrings and a robe to wear while getting ready." —Melody

"Three words: 'personalized bridesmaid sweatpants!'" —Anna

"Adele was coming to town shortly after the wedding and the concert was sold out months in advance. I worked some connections, spent big bucks and — voila — got everyone tickets!" —Toni

See More: 7 Ways to Pump Up Your Bridesmaids Before the Wedding

"I bought everyone a two year subscription to the Wine of the Month Club because I knew there was many a night during the lead-up to the wedding I'd caused them to go home and uncork a bottle to release stress!" —Rebecca

"Having been a bridesmaid umpteenth times before I became a bride, I felt the best present to give my gals was to help them out financially with the cost of being there for me on this special day. So I chipped in on their dresses, shoes and many other expenses along the way." —Lynda

"I made donations to everyone's favorite charities—and funded a spa day for my bridal party!" —Kim

"My bridesmaids and I love our Godiva so I got everyone a certificate for a chocolate-making course. We took the class together and made fabulous treats. Yum." —Harriet

"I put a lot of thought into doing something special for everyone and I came up with personalized Song Lyric Necklaces. Several of the bridesmaids liked 'Put a Ring on It'." —Susan

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

What Brought These Brides to Tears on Their Wedding Days

 Planning Tips, Real Brides  Comments Off on What Brought These Brides to Tears on Their Wedding Days
Nov 072016
 

If there was ever a time to wear waterproof mascara, your wedding day would be that time. Tears will hit when you least expect them to — and during the moments when you do expect them, like the first look, first dance and even just the first time you see all of your guests in the same place. Here are six stories from real brides who share the unexpected reason they cried on their wedding day.

1. We Couldn't Find the Groom
"I started to panic about twenty minutes before the wedding because my husband was nowhere to be found. I was hysterical when they told me he was missing. Apparently he was missing for a few hours and they finally told me when I had to know that no one could find him. My makeup was all over my face. Finally like five minutes before go-time, he showed up. He was out trying to find my favorite cupcake to surprise me before the ceremony and was stuck in traffic." —Laura F., 32

2. The Wedding Planner Quit on the Spot
"I had quite the crew of high-strung people surrounding me on my wedding day. My mom and my sister were ordering the wedding planner around and I don't know who said what, but the next thing I know is that she walked out of my wedding and quit. My mom and sister were so angry and yelling, and it just made me feel so stressed. I walked into the bathroom and I cried for a good 15 minutes until one of my bridesmaids turned into the wedding planner and helped finishing getting the wedding set up." —Carly D., 28

3. When I Almost Didn't Walk Down the Aisle
"There were so many nerves that hit me head-on the morning of the wedding. I was so nervous and just had cold feet all of a sudden, out of nowhere. It was so weird. I almost backed out of getting married and had a cry fest with my maid-of-honor. Finally she told me to just pull myself together and get moving down the aisle. I did and I'm happy about that." —Hilary D., 30

See More: Real Grooms Confess: This is What I Thought When I Saw My Bride

4. Right Before the First Look — At the Venue
"When I saw the room all set up with the flowers and the tables, I cried. I was so overwhelmed. My parents spend about $150,000 on the whole wedding and the room looked just like I imagined. It was the moment I realized I was actually going to have my dream wedding." —Kelsey D., 27

5. When I Saw Myself in the Mirror
"It's going to sound terrible and also make me look totally into myself, but when I looked in the mirror and saw my whole look come together, I cried a little bit. I was all glammed up and ready to start my day." —Tammy P., 31

6. Before Our First Kiss as Husband and Wife
"When the priest said that we could kiss each other, it was hard for my husband to do that because my face was soaked in tears. Happy tears of course!" —Deb S., 29

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

9 Embarrassing Wedding-Related Social Media Faux Pas You DON’T Want to Commit

 Etiquette, Real Brides, Real Weddings  Comments Off on 9 Embarrassing Wedding-Related Social Media Faux Pas You DON’T Want to Commit
Nov 042016
 
Embarrassing Social Media Wedding Faux Pas

Photo: Getty Images

Let's face it — social media is a crucial part of a wedding journey, from the "Just Said Yes" proposal photo to the "We're Married!" selfie complete with your wedding hashtag. But while sharing your proposal and wedding happenings on the interwebs is fun and totally acceptable, sometimes it can cause a bigger ordeal if not handled in an appropriate manner. Here, nine brides share their wedding-related social media faux pas so you don't commit them yourselves.

"I still cringe when I remember what I did. I'm so used to carrying my iPhone I didn't realize I had it when I was walking down the aisle — until it fell out of my hand with a huge clatter just as my groom was answering the question, 'Do you take Anna to be your lawful wedded wife?'" —Anna

"When I got engaged I was so excited I instantly posted a picture of the huge diamond Ken bought me, saying, 'This is 2.0 carats of love'. Ugggh. How braggy and awful. I took it down the next morning." —Cynthia

"Two weeks after we got home from the honeymoon a cousin said, 'Uh, according to Facebook you're still single!' I had forgotten to update my relationship status." —Beth

"I was so excited to be engaged I tweeted about it before calling my parents." —Linda

"I thought I was posting privately to a few bridesmaids about trouble I was having with a third who was acting like a 'zilla. Only it was public — I was so humiliated and felt absolutely terrible for hurting my friend. We patched things up but it was rough going for a while." —Toni

See More: 8 Ways Social Media Can Ruin Your Wedding

"After weeks of posting updates at least twice a day from my wedding countdown ap, my maid of honor told me eyes were rolling. I got the message and stopped apprising everyone of every little thing." —Em

"I posted a very embarrassing selfie of me on my wedding night half in and half out of my gown. Yeah, I was a little drunk but no, it shouldn't have been on social media." —Megan

"I allowed phones in the fitting room during a wedding gown fitting and pictures of me in the dress wound up on Facebook and Instagram." —Ivy

"What I did was awful. I sent gift thank yous on twitter instead of mailing letters. My mother was practically ready to disown me for being discourteous! I got the message and followed up with snail mail." —Ruth

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

6 Brides Share Their Best Piece of First-Year Marriage Advice

 Married Life, Real Brides, Relationships  Comments Off on 6 Brides Share Their Best Piece of First-Year Marriage Advice
Oct 282016
 

The first year of marriage is a wonderful time — as newlyweds, you're learning the ins and outs of your marriage and what works and what doesn't. But sometimes you need an outsider to put things into perspective. Lucky for you, we're sharing advice that will make your transition from 'me' to 'we' infinitely easier — here, six brides share what they wish they'd known about the first year of marriage.

It's not always as romantic as you imagined.

"Prior to getting married, I envisioned my husband and I taking time each evening to sit on yoga mats with a talking stick in our candlelit living room, taking turns sharing about our day, creating a plan for our future and checking on our progress. Ha! He just wanted to 'be normal' and watch TV in the evenings. I had to manage my expectations. Occasionally, we'll talk the way I always dreamed (on our yoga mats with a talking stick) but usually, he watches TV while I do bedtime with our toddler! Then, I'm often ready for bed myself. Married/family life is wonderful, but not quite as romantic as I somehow imagined it would be!" —Maggie

Choose your fights wisely.

I've been married five years and five months. Here's what I've learned: Choose your fights wisely. It is far better to have peace in your home than to be right. I learned that there is so much power and strength in silence. Sometimes we believe that the louder we get the more our point can be shown but your inability to control your emotions is a sign of weakness." —Elle

Take it day by day.

"The first year is tough on because your expectations get raised. If you remember that the man you married is the same amazing person you were engaged to just a few months ago, it'll go a lot easier. It's also helpful not to think about marriage so much as the rest of your life, but take it day by day." —Liz

See More: 6 Romantic and Unique Ways to Celebrate Your First Anniversary

The first year of marriage is fraught with misconceptions.

"My husband and I had been married about six months when he came to me saying 'I have something I need to tell you.' Scared, I held my breath. Then he blurted out, 'I am addicted to — pound cake.' Of all the addictions I feared sex, which we had plenty of, alcohol, crack. This was a first. Seems his mother had been touted 'Queen of Baked Goods.' Now as his wife, the torch was passed on to me. The first year of marriage is fraught with lots of misconceptions, tensions and expectations. March 2016 we were married 43 years." —Carol

Accept your partner's flaws and eccentricities.

"I've have been married since June of 1982. We both work and we share many interests. I think that we got to know one another much better during our first year of marriage, even though we had spent much time together since meeting in December, 1979. I expected my husband to change a lot and to become more perfect after we said I do. He has not changed very much, and he is far from perfect. I have learned to accept his flaws and eccentricities. For example, he gets very nervous and grouchy before we take a trip together and sometimes during trips. I expected this to stop because he loved me and because he likes traveling. Nope, hasn't changed!" —Janet

Say I love you — often.

"Say 'I love you' once a day. Actually, say it more than once a day! You can never express your devotion to your spouse enough." —Cindy

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.


These Real-Life Wild Honeymoon Stories Will Totally Inspire You

 Honeymoons, Honeymoons & Destination Weddings, Real Brides  Comments Off on These Real-Life Wild Honeymoon Stories Will Totally Inspire You
Oct 272016
 
Our Wild Honeymoon Adventure

Photo: Getty Images

Who says your honeymoon needs to be all pool lounging and fruity cocktails? More and more newlyweds are opting to take a different approach when it comes to their honeymoon destinations — and we've got the real stories to prove it. From a week at baseball fantasy camp, to spending a year in the Peace Corps, and even a stint at a haunted hotel, these real couples' wild honeymoon stories will inspire you to think outside the box when planning your post-wedding trip.

"We spent my honeymoon camping throughout New Zealand for 21 days and it was wild and crazy and wonderful all at the same time. Not many wives would choose to camp for their honeymoon — and far fewer would choose to camp in a camper van for the entirety of the honeymoon. But that's what I did and I have no regrets. It was the best way to see the country and meet the locals and submerge ourselves in the Kiwi culture. We spent our days driving primarily, but when we'd arrive at each destination an adventure waited. One day we bungee jumped off of the oldest bridge, another day we rode at top speeds through river canyons in a jet boat, once we kayaked through fjords that were straight out of a movie, and yet another day we ended up walking/hiking nearly 20 miles! There's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I was still on my wild and crazy honeymoon, exploring the vast New Zealand landscapes with my husband." —Erica

"Bill and I met while doing volunteer work after Hurricane Katrina. When we decided to marry, we also made the decision as a honeymoon gift to ourselves to do something that was a childhood dream for both of us. After the ceremony we spent a weekend at a lush hotel, then packed up and joined the Peace Corps to spend a year working in a rural village of Ghana. Conditions were primitive but it was an amazing way to start our lives together. The memories of this special adventure bonded us forever." —Amy

"My honey and I wanted something that taxed us mentally, physically and spiritually. So after we said 'I do,' we took off to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. It was arduous to get to the top, of course, but the views were the most breathtaking we will ever see!" —Tasha

"Phil and I met in law school and married spontaneously while in Vegas for a romantic weekend. Our timing sucked as we were both taking our boards the following week. So that was our honeymoon — cramming." —Ruth

See More: 20 Honeymoon Destinations for Adventurous Couples

"Since we are both into ghosts it seemed appropriate to honeymoon at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. The place is haunted by a woman who arrived in 1892, never checked out, and is reputed to 'haunt' lovebirds. I did get a glimpse of a gorgeous young, mournful woman in the bathroom mirror — which was a total thrill." —Cynthia

"Okay, we're both Mickey Mouse geeks so we went to Disney World. It was Mark's 30th time at the amusement park and my 18th! It never gets old: We recently spent our 5th anniversary back at Disney." —Pam

"We were so drained from 18 months of wedding planning that our decision was to go nowhere and relax in our brand new home. It was even better because everyone thought we were off somewhere exotic so Dan and I spend 100% quality time together." —Sue

"Since the two of us both love baseball, our honeymoon was at a week-long Mets Fantasy Camp where we could meet and be coached by former pros like Mookie Wilson. It was surreal and totally fulfilled our expectations. Play ball!" —Laura

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

6 Wedding Budget Splurges Real Brides Were Glad They Made

 Budget, Real Brides, Wedding Budgets  Comments Off on 6 Wedding Budget Splurges Real Brides Were Glad They Made
Oct 252016
 

Any bride on a wedding budget is most likely monitoring it closely and trying not to overspend. But what if there's something you forget to add to the budget — or want plain to splurge on? If you're looking into what last-minute purchases you may want to make, here are six splurges brides are thrilled they made during wedding planning.

1. A Day-Of Coordinator
"I thought hiring someone to oversee the day would be a waste, especially because we got married at a hotel and they assured us there would be someone there we could work with. It was the best last-minute thing to spend money on. We paid about $800 for someone to be at the wedding for 8-hours and make sure it was set up perfectly and our vendors came on time. She also troubleshooted all the things that went wrong, so that I didn't even know about them." —Mary D., 32

2. A Dessert Bar
"We almost spent about $500 on a wedding cake and then my fiancé decided that since we are not really cake lovers, we should spend the money on a dessert we enjoy. We scrapped the cake and instead paid the cater extra to present a dessert bar. It was such a delicious way to end the night and to be honest, nobody even noticed that we didn't cut a cake." —Danielle H., 29

3. The Photobooth
"I know everyone has a photobooth, but it was something we almost didn't do because it's an added expense, and I didn't think people would care to use it because every wedding has one now. I noticed, however, that it was such a good way to get guests out of their chairs, especially the ones who didn't want to dance. It was also a great icebreaker for guests who didn't know each other and just met that night." —Sarah P., 27

4. Bottles of Water
"We did bottles of water with customized labels on them for our party favor. So glad we spent the money to do that. Everyone is thirsty leaving a wedding. They don't care about anything else or any other kind of party favor. They will take the bottle of water, and they will drink it." —Marissa B., 30

See More: Got a Little Room in Your Budget? Wedding Planners Say You Should Splurge on These Items

5. An Extension With the Venue
"Our wedding should have ended at midnight. At around 11pm, everyone was having so much fun. Nobody wanted to leave. We didn't have an after-party or anything planned, so I spoke to the venue owner and we got to keep the party going until 2am. Of course we paid a pretty penny to make that happen, but it was surely worth It." —Jessica V., 31

6. A Videographer
"The one thing I'm glad I did for my own personal wedding, is pay for a videographer. I was so busy the whole night and having someone videotape every moment was the only way I could recap the night knowing exactly what happened. It was cool seeing things I missed and remembering moments I enjoyed." —Barbara C., 31

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

3 Couples Who Had a Fitness-Inspired Wedding Ceremony

 Fitness and Health, Real Brides, Wedding Ideas, Wellness  Comments Off on 3 Couples Who Had a Fitness-Inspired Wedding Ceremony
Oct 242016
 
Fitness Themed Weddings

Photo: Getty Images

If fitness is an important part of your life, you're likely hoping that your other half will also be as into working out as you are. After all, working out as a couple comes with lots of benefits: it builds the connection the two of you have with each other, builds a sense of camaraderie and, yes, it also makes for a steamier sex life.

So when you do finally meet your swolemate, what better way for the two of you to tie the knot than with a ceremony inspired by your favorite way to stay fit? That's exactly what these couples did. While most wedding planning involves a white dress, a sit-down dinner and dancing, these couples had something a bit different in mind. Read on for the most inventive fitness themed wedding ceremonies to ever happen, from Nama-saying yes (sorry, had to) to saying "I do" at a mud run.

Alix & André
"My husband and I got married at our yoga studio in Chicago. We hired our yoga teacher to teach us a yoga class, and then we had a ceremony, with just us and one friend who took photographs. Our studio has super high ceilings and hardwood throughout, and the sunlight was shining through on a very warm January day. The teacher we hired actually taught a group of judges at the courthouse downtown and asked one of them to officiate the ceremony. It was the first time he married a couple in his socks! It was perfect."

Krissie & Paul
"The moment Paul and I met, we knew there was something special between us. Immediately, we found out we both had a love of running obstacle course races and working out. It wasn't long after our first date that we ran our first Mud Run together. We had the time of our lives! When the time came for our wedding, we knew we wanted something unique, which incorporated everything we held dear to our hearts. The moment the decision to say our vows at our favorite obstacle race (Monster Challenge) was made, our MudRunFun family came together to give us our perfect day. In a matter of minutes, we had a volunteer officiant, cake, decorations and approval by the race director. The day was everything we hoped it would and more. Our families came to the wedding, and even surprised us by running with us as a married couple. We were not only able to seal our love, but we were able to introduce obstacle course racing to the people in our lives, and give them some awesome memories to take home. The day was perfect, and an added bonus was that it was on Halloween!"

See More: 6 Ways Working Out Can Make You Better in Bed

Christina & Oliver
"Oliver and I were set up on a blind date by our wonderful friends. For that first date, we met in the gym where Oliver worked. Since the first week of our relationship, we've enjoyed working out together. We've completed multiple partner competitions and obstacle course races together. We always have a great time encouraging one another and watching each other achieve new personal records. We are both actively involved and employed in the fitness industry, and believe that fitness is a core pillar for a happy, healthy, long life. Sharing our individual experiences and helping others to reach their health and wellness goals means a great deal to both of us. We went to the Reebok Crossfit Games for a vacation in 2015. We had already booked our flights, hotel, purchased tickets, etc. for 2016, when we got the news that we won a Reebok-sponsored wedding at the 2016 games. We decided to enter the contest because our trip to the games in 2015 was the best vacation we had ever taken together. We had a blast. We got engaged in June 2016 and thought, 'Wow, getting married in our favorite place, at our favorite sporting event? Why not?'"

This post was originally published on ClassPass's blog, The Warm Up by Danielle Page. ClassPass is a monthly membership that connects you to more than 8,500 of the best fitness studios worldwide. Learn more here.

6 Women on What Saved Their Marriage From Divorce

 Married Life, Real Brides, Relationships  Comments Off on 6 Women on What Saved Their Marriage From Divorce
Oct 142016
 
What Rescued Marriages from Divorce

Photo: Getty Images

Marriage is a beautiful thing — but it can also be a challenging experience — one that requires work and commitment. To save you from the minor (and major) pitfalls of it all as you embark on the most amazing journey of your lives, six women share their stories of how they turned their marriages around when all seemed lost.

"We took a marital time out, putting lots of distance between us. I moved to Oklahoma and my husband stayed in Panama where he was stationed with the military. This space gave us both time to think and re-evaluate our relationship. After a little over two years the love was still there. Today after 43 years of marriage we are stronger than ever. That time-out saved our marriage." —Carol

"I need a full eight hours of sleep or I can't function. My husband is a terrible snorer. This created horrible fights between us to the point that I brought up the word 'divorce.' That shocked us both that the problem had become so serious. We didn't want to sleep apart so my husband got a little device called mu:te and it made all the difference." —Amy

"In June 2014, after 10 years of marriage and two children we filed for divorce. It was awful. We'd been having issues for years but stayed together for the kids. But filing and going through lawyers, court dates, splitting of finances — it was awful, especially since I'd recently lost my job. I began begging family members for money. It was so embarrassing. I made the decision that financially it was better to stay with my husband, go to school, get a nursing job and leave when I was financially ready. Two years later we are the happiest we've ever been. What saved us? I believe he got a glimpse of me being serious about leaving him if he didn't change. I had said it many times before but he never changed. He has now — I also now praise him as often as possible. He deserves the praise!" —Uzo

"After a few decades and seven children I was exhausted and angry from my husband's do nothing attitude. And I was very tired of picking up after the kids. This led to a weeklong strike where I did not perform any household chores. I made everyone sign a contract that they would help. Now the chore equation in the marriage feels equal." —Sherri

See More: 8 Ways to Have a Sexy as Hell Relationship OUTSIDE of the Bedroom

"We had a big lack of empathy problem. Our last ditch effort to save the marriage was to go to therapy. She gave us a homework assignment: 'Walk a Mile in the Other Person's Moccasins.' That is, I wrote a letter imagining I was my husband having to deal with me as a spouse. He wrote a letter putting himself in my position being married to him. Sharing the letter at the next session was revelatory. It started an ongoing conversation between the two of us. We now make an effort to constantly put ourselves in the other's headspace. There is always another way to look at something!" —Beth

After six years together we had an airless relationship. We existed in the same household and worked together on keeping our daughter happy but we had forgotten that at the core we were a unit. My husband came home one day and asked, 'Do you remember the last time we had fun together?' It was an eye-opening question. Now we have a pact: Twice a month, we get a babysitter and do something truly energizing — rock climbing, gallery openings, whatever. The point is we must always make time for marital adventures!" —Jenny

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

How This Bride Made the Best of Torrential Rain on Her Wedding Day

 Brides Magazine October 2016-November 2016, Planning Tips, Real Brides  Comments Off on How This Bride Made the Best of Torrential Rain on Her Wedding Day
Oct 112016
 

Uh-oh! We hate to break it to you, but whether your bridal bun is more Bride of Frankenstein or the wedding party's limo never arrives, wedding day disasters can — and do — happen. But as the BRIDES October/November 2016 issue proves, brides-to-be can survive any catastrophe. (Trust us!) In our latest issue, real and very brave brides are sharing their wedding nightmares. These major mishaps might have you clutching your pearls, but don't worry — everyone still had their happily ever after. See? Brides can handle anything! Still don't believe us? Read one of the catastrophic wedding day tales below.

"Wow," said my cousin Jen, putting her arm around me. "How much did it cost to get a waterfall at your wedding?" Friends, it wasn't a waterfall. It was a pure, driving rain that had broken through our pristine white wedding tent and was pouring onto the dance floor, threatening to ruin the night and send 243 people out into a storm and back to their B&Bs.

Flash back to 10 months earlier: Jake and I got engaged under a weeping willow along the Seine in Paris, and I pledged to be the most chilled-out bride in the history of brides. We weren't even going to throw a wedding, per se, just a wild, carefree celebration of us, and how happy we make each other, at my in-laws' house at the foot of the Berkshire Mountains.

The day before our wedding, as I was double-checking the seating chart against the master guest list, I thought back to that Paris pledge and laughed at my naïveté. Because once we wrote that guest list, which topped 250 people, all of whom would want to eat, drink, sit, and dance, we realized we were planning not only a wedding but a big one. And if we were going to ask all those souls to schlep out to rural Massachusetts, we wanted to make it worth their while. They deserved welcome baskets stuffed with locally tapped maple syrup and a hand-drawn map of the area. They deserved linen napkins in our signature apricot color.

The morning of our wedding was sunny. But Jake called from the wedding site, a.k.a. his parents' backyard, saying that the rental company had erected a quick tent for the ceremony, just in case. "But it's beautiful out!" I protested. Jake agreed, then explained, with his typical patience, that there was a good chance of rain. "But that's not how I pictured it!" I whined.

"That's not how I pictured it" went through my head at least 20 times during the first hours of my wedding: When the caterer set up the cheese table in the dining room instead of on the patio. When guests started using the bathroom inside the house. When my bridesmaids' apricot pashminas became umbrellas against the misting rain. Every time I looked up at the ominous sky, silently pleading for a break in the clouds.

As my nerves built, so did those clouds. Just as the last guest filed into the enormous tent in the middle of the field, the sky opened up and I felt my own tension break. It was pouring. What was there left to do but accept it? I sidled up to the bar and looked around. People were laughing and smiling, grateful to be inside and dry, and talking more loudly in order to be heard above the pounding rain. The vibe, in other words, had changed from ominous to electric.

Speaking of electricity. When my brother-in-law, Teddy, started his hilarious speech, lightning struck the tent and the lights blinked. "Don't touch the poles," he said, which got a big laugh. "No, really. Do not touch these poles." As the night wore on, I spotted drenched cousins and friends and assumed they'd braved the elements to reach the rather elegant port-a-potties. Later, I learned that many guests were leaving the tent for another reason: Our friends were having sex in the barn, in the pool house, in the forest, in those (ridiculously upscale) port-a-potties, and even on the shuttle bus. The storm had made the party permissive, rendering our country-chic affair more raucous and causing people to let their (wet) hair down. Would all that debauchery have happened if the rain hadn't turned everything up to 11? I really don't think it would've.

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And that impromptu waterfall? It happened somewhere around 9 p.m. — after the rustic Italian dinner but before the blueberry pie — and elicited a big cheer as everyone danced right through it. Bottoms up, I thought, and I finished my blush-colored Japanese beer (chosen to match the wildflower bouquets). We stepped off the dance floor as someone from the rental company patched the rip and mopped up the water. Aside from one sprained ankle, no harm was done.

There's an old proverb that says rain at a wedding is good luck because a wet knot is harder to undo. It poured on my grandparents' wedding day too. They lived a long, happily married life, sleeping all that time in a full-size bed; they couldn't bear being even inches apart. I wondered if my grandmother had been disappointed on their day or if the rain had made their night more fun. Because after we'd spent months obsessing over the menu, the linens, and the lemon-thyme centerpieces, in the end it was something we couldn't ever plan — that pouring, soaking rain — that made our wedding a wild, carefree celebration of Jake and me and how happy we make each other.

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