All Articles Tagged "wedding planning"

Ditch The Roses: Non-Traditional Wedding Flowers

March 22nd, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
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When it comes to wedding bouquets and floral arrangements, roses seem to be the go-to choice for many brides.  There’s a reason why these traditional flowers are the most popular for weddings: they symbolize love.  But there’s a host of other equally beautiful flowers that you can choose from to celebrate the day you and your partner say “I do.”  So, ditch the roses and try going with something different.  Which one of these beautiful bouquets can you see yourself walking down the aisle with?  Which flowers or plants would you use for centerpieces?  If you’re in need of ideas, click on!




Echeveria, sedum, aeonium.  Succulents have complicated-sounding names but there’s nothing complicated about their simplistic, understated beauty.  Often green or purple in color, succulents are known for their thick, fleshy leaves.  You can flaunt them all on their own or pair them with complimentary flowers for added flair and pops of additional color.  Succulents can also be accented with billowy bunches of baby’s breath or bundles of lavender.

The Road To The Altar: Wedding Planning Got So Stressful, I Had A Panic Attack

March 17th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you’ve followed any of the pieces written for this “Road to the Altar” column, you already know that while a wedding day is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life, the time leading up to that day is a headache. Planning ain’t for everybody. It can be a seemingly nonstop headache filled with disagreements over everything from guest count to color choices. My wedding planning situation has been like that, and I think it got so bad for my stress levels as of late that something in my head snapped.

And I had a panic attack.

It happened late last month. I’m talking a full-blown panic attack where I couldn’t catch my breath in between sobbing and thoughts of just jumping out of a window. But since I live on the second floor of a three-story walk-up, I probably would have just twisted an ankle and then looked all kinds of foolish in my sleep dress sprawled out in the middle of my quiet Brooklyn street at the crack of dawn.

Other things had also been stressing me out, leading to my “moment.” Work stuff, issues with friends, money worries, my concerns about keeping my weight down, and apartment woes, but the wedding was the base of it. And certain opinions about said wedding had me worried that I was preparing for a marriage where people’s opinions would always be in the loop. That made me very uncomfortable. And that got my mind racing. That on top of the stress of answering questions about if certain patterns were okay, how catering was going to be set up, if my father and my fiancé’s mom could have extra seats for friends, trying to come up with deposit money, and making the time to do research just became a bit too much.

So I went home for a week. I went back to Chicago, holed up in my teenage bedroom with its bright blue walls, and just slept and ate. Each day had no set plan. I was tired of planning things.

“You want to use the car? Are you going anywhere today?” my mom would ask.

“Nope, I’m probably going to call it a night,” I would say as I prepared to go to sleep at 10 p.m. after being in the house all day with the ‘rents.

Many of us take days off of work to explore the world and do things for others, but I just needed that week to explore my mind and do a little something for myself. I just needed to be around people who would listen when I wanted to open up about my stress, and if nothing else, bring me food. Lots and lots of delicious food.

When I wasn’t eating, sleeping, or watching TV with a paper towel covered in peanuts and raisins next to me (I gave up candy and sweets for Lent, so that’s been my alternative), I was reading my Bible. I was looking to find my way back to a sense of peace, a sense of joy, and maybe some happiness, which I told you not too long before my “moment” I had very little of. I restored myself by being back at home with my parents, not letting anyone else know I was in town (lest they ask me to meet up–which would be planning for something all over again), and focusing on my mental health. I had been so busy ripping and running for a wedding I didn’t even want that much anymore, that I let it take toll on my mind.

A few weeks back in NYC and I do feel much better. I struggle sometimes when I have to have “What are we gonna do about ____?” wedding conversations with my fiance, but I’ve learned to find healthy ways to deal with my stress. Including telling him that “We’ll figure it out later” before changing the topic of conversation.

I also only get to wedding planning and doing research when I absolutely feel up to it. And when I feel myself getting overwhelmed in general, I zone out and try to find clarity through my mom, who still sends messages to check in (“Hang in there!!”), and through the Word. By taking things slow and not overextending myself, I’ve actually managed to get a lot more accomplished for the wedding. Including finding and putting down the deposit for a church, finding a makeup artist, finding a new caterer, a photographer, and checking out decor ideas for inspiration with my mom and planner. I’ve also found myself getting more excited about the wedding. Whoever thought that would happen?!

But more than anything, I’m realizing more and more what matters in the grand scheme of things. My relationships–with the Man upstairs, with my future husband, with my loved ones, and with myself. And I’m hoping to do a better job of being more kind to all four–especially the latter.

Should Regular Folks Keep Their Marriages On The Hush Like J Cole?

January 19th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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For months, rumors have been swirling about J Cole and his engagement to longtime girlfriend Melissa Heholt. And then they died down, leaving all of his fans and fanatics with a little bit of hope that he was still, technically, on the market.

But yesterday, we learned that that is not the case.

While Cole and director Ryan Cooler were celebrating Dr. King’s dream at the MLKNow event, many women had theirs crushed.

In case you missed the moment, you can watch it in the video above where Coogler asked the rapper how being married has changed him.

Wait, what?! The last we heard, he was questionably engaged. And now we learn that he’s married?

The news left our heads spinning trying to catch up.

Once I let it soak in, the whole thing made sense. The only thing we’ve known for certain about J Cole’s relationship is that he’s been in one from the time he was in college. And that’s it. Mind you, there are pages and pages of speculation about their relationship and his cheating on Lipstick Alley; but the facts are they met in college. Period.

For someone whose relationship will be viewed under a microscope, speculated and whispered about, the notion of keeping it secret seems cautious, protective, smart. Not only do people assume most celebrity men can’t be faithful, there are plenty of people who will root for public relationships to fail.

And that brings me to the regular folk. Are there benefits to keeping your wedding and your marriage low key? Certainly.

And here are just a few.

Maintains its sanctity 

There’s the wedding and then there’s the marriage. And more often than not, the preparation and planning for a wedding becomes such a monster that the marriage, the entire purpose of the wedding, seems to take a backseat. When you marry secretly, whether you elope or keep the guest list to a minimum, you don’t have to consider the opinions, wishes and critiques of others.

Saves money 

If people don’t know you’re getting married, if there are no social media announcements, there will be fewer people, random people, asking for invitations, attempting to bring cousins you’ve never met who will be there talking about the food you so painstakingly selected and paid for.

Build quietly

I don’t want to make a habit out of agreeing with Future. But even a broken clock is right twice a day. And though the rapper’s argument was a bit illogical, he said that he wanted to marry Ciara privately, so that when the tabloids learned about their nuptials, they would have made it past the newlywed stage. Now, considering the fact that Future and Ciara literally promoted their relationship, I’m going to call B.S. But for those who haven’t appeared on red carpets, tattooed the other’s initial or publicly referred to their partner as royalty, then the idea of doing the grunt work out of the public eye might not be such a bad idea. Depending on who you ask, the first year as a married couple can either be fun and exciting or a shock to the system. But everyone agrees that it is an adjustment. While you’re transitioning into the role you plan to hold for the rest of your life, it might be nice to do so without the prying eyes of others.

Keeps your business your own 

When we’re in love, we have a tendency to want to declare it. If you’ve seen Mean Girls, you know about word vomit. You might want to keep certain details or the entire relationship to yourself but as you’re speaking, things just keep flying out. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But it also invites wandering eyes into one of your most private, most intimate relationships. As joyous and celebratory as weddings can be, they can be just as special if they’re shared between the two people who will ultimately have to work to keep the union strong.

Wedding Guest Etiquette: What Not To Do When A Loved One Says “I Do”

September 25th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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The hectic summer wedding season may have come to an end, but quite a few people are also saying “I do” in the fall. With that being said, you probably have a wedding or two to attend in the next few months. And while you think you’re doing friends and family a favor by simply showing up on their big day, you will be doing them a disservice if you exhibit bad behavior during their wedding and reception. We talked to wedding expert Jess Levin to get all the deets on how to be the perfect wedding guest. Levin, the founder of the popular site Carats & Cake, a premier resource for wedding planning, said you should avoid doing things that put a damper on a loved one’s big day. Like the following:

Arriving late to the ceremony

“This is an obvious rule that everyone seems to ignore. Do not assume everyone else will be late. Remember that the bride and groom have to take family portraits and group shots after the ceremony, so it is important to be mindful of time.”

Bringing last-minute guests

“The amount of guests at a wedding is a big ordeal, and you never want to add more stress to the couple. Guest lists depend on the type of wedding, the venue, and any added costs. Do not take it upon yourself to bring a guest that has not been accounted for by the RSVP deadline. It is also impolite to ask the bride and groom for an addition past the RSVP date.”

Wearing white

“Traditionally, only the bride should wear white, so you should check with the bride before wearing that perfect white dress.”

Switching seating assignments at the reception

“The seating assignments are planned out in a specific way for a reason. You should never alter your seating arrangements or switch seats at a wedding reception. However, it is acceptable to mingle at different tables once dinner has been cleared.”

Limiting the number of trips to the buffet at the reception

“The buffet at the reception is not a free-for-all. Keep in mind that all guests need to be fed so limiting your trips to the buffet is a must.”

Ignore a request from the bride and groom

“Unplugged weddings are a big trend lately, and a lot of couples are starting to request that guests refrain from taking pictures or using their phones during the ceremony. If you see a sign or request to limit your digital usage, try to be respectful of the couple and resist the urge to pull out your phone and snap a few shots.”

Get in the way of the photographer

“During the ceremony and any other big picture moments (like the first dance or the cake cutting), make sure you pay attention to where the photographer is. Especially if you are trying to take your own picture. Try not to block the professional’s shot with your phone.”

The Road To The Altar: I’m Stressed And Highly Fatigued

September 17th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

As two ladies from the MN team prepare to say “I do,” they share what they’re learning about their relationships, the wedding-planning process, and themselves.

When I first shared the news of my engagement with members of my church choir back in July, one of the members who had just tied the knot a few months prior told me to enjoy the moment. I interpreted her statements as one of those things people just say when you announce that you’re getting married. I didn’t think too deeply about it.

But as I left the church later that afternoon, prepping for the ensemble’s summer break (the entire month of August), she walked up to me and said it again. This time, with a lot more conviction: “Seriously, Victoria, enjoy this moment. Don’t worry about planning or anything like that yet. Just take the time to be happy first.” I said that I would and proceeded to head home, a skip in my step, eyeing the sparkle on my left ring finger.

I didn’t realize it then, but she was so right about taking the time to enjoy the moment. Appreciate the high you find yourself on, because ever since I opened my first bridal magazine and started answering “So, when are you getting married?” questions, I’ve been stressed. Very stressed.

And when I say stressed, I don’t mean the kind of anxiety where you take a deep sigh each time the word “wedding” comes up in a conversation. I’m talking head in my hands, low-key sobbing stressed. I’ve had about three of those episodes since July. They’ve all come about over changes in the things my fiancé said he wanted for the ceremony, some stress-inducing statements from soon-to-be in-laws, and the reminder that you can’t have a wedding without alcohol. And alcohol costs money. I don’t even drink!

The realization of all the things weddings entail has left me exasperated. Did I mention I’ve only been engaged and planning this whole shebang for a little over a month now?

When I shared this anxiety with people, most gave me the “Awww, it’s going to be fine” response. But my mother, well, she’s the type to give it to you straight.

“I don’t know now. If you’re finding yourself crying about wedding planning this soon, you might be going about this whole thing wrong.”

And that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out. What am I doing and for whom? What is it that I really want for my wedding day? My opinions change daily. I told my mother early on, even before I was engaged, that when I got married, I would want to keep things small. Inexpensive dress, small guest count, money saved small. But ever since I became Feyoncé Knowles, I’ve been planning a wedding for other people. What I mean by that is I’ve been trying to do things in the hopes of not disappointing folks. I’ve looked into overpriced, grandiose reception halls. I’ve worried about inconveniencing friends and family members who would possibly have to drive 30 minutes from a church to a reception hall. I’ve thought about buying rental shuttles to help people get around. I’ve drastically limited my choices in available venues by assuming that people would say that you can’t have a reception where you wear traditional Nigerian garb but don’t have Nigerian food (halls don’t play when it comes to outside catering). And I’ve been doing this all on a budget of thousands of dollars that I don’t currently have sitting in my bank or savings account, or in my Monopoly board game box for that matter. Now do you see why I’m stressed?

They tell you that wedding planning is stressful, but you don’t realize how tiring it is until you actually have to set things in motion. Even looking for a planner and setting aside the money to pay them is a task in and of itself. So with all that going on, and after multiple cry-it-out sessions, I’ve decided to take a break from the whole process. I’ve realized that until I know for sure what it is I really want for my big day, as well as the final list of things my surprisingly choosy fiancé is hoping for, my planning is useless. I’m going to be doing useless hours of research and finding myself in a crying corner over and over again. So it’s time to start again. From scratch.

With that being said, I’m back to square one. And I’m mentally back to where I was a little over a month ago when my fiancé popped the question on the floor in his living room. I’m doing what I should have truly done then. I’m enjoying the moment. I’m enjoying talking to the love of my life about the fun and silly things we’ve always conversed about, the politics we’ve always debated on. Going out for ice cream cones. Dancing with him and our friends over Jollof rice and Gulder. Laying on the couch watching An Officer and a Gentleman, singing “Up Where We Belong” together off-key. I’m appreciating this peaceful time, and when I have my mind and my money right, as well as more hands-on help in research from my fiancé, wedding planning will reconvene and be in full swing. Before I lose my shit and my relationship, I need to focus more time on continuing to nurture the partnership my fiancé and I have. Because while a wedding is a beautiful and memorable thing, I need to do more planning, research and work to prepare for what comes after.

I’m Engaged! Now What? 10 Questions I Have Now That I’ve Said “Yes”

July 27th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

So, my…fiancé (it’s so weird to say that!) popped the question late last week. We discussed marriage in the past. In fact, he even asked my dad for my hand when he went home with me for Christmas last year. But I was still shocked by the proposal. I literally turned around and there he was, on his knee, with a ring!

Since coming down from cloud nine, I’ve been asked a few times already about specifics for the future wedding. Questions which I have no answer to (causing people to stare at me like I have three eyes). You see, I didn’t grow up as one of those girls who knew what her colors were going to be, what her dress was going to look like, and when and where she was going to get married by the time I was in high school. Nope! So now that it’s time to think about those things, I can honestly say that I’m a bit overwhelmed. So many things to do research on! So many things to consider! So much money to save!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited to be the future Mrs. Oluloye (*smiles*), God willing. But at the moment, I have no idea where to start in this wedding planning thing. If you have any advice, I would appreciate it. So with that being said, here are 10 questions that have popped up in my head since getting engaged that I need answers to.

Wedding Etiquette 101: The Latest Wedding Tips & Trends For 2015

July 8th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Summer is the busiest time of the year for weddings! Although weddings are supposed to be blissful times, most wedding problems are quite universal, and can often lead to anxiety. Cheryl Seidel provides fresh and unique solutions to alleviate the stress of wedding etiquette dilemmas. Please see below for some of her tips!

The Activity Shower
Think about the bride’s interests and hobbies and turn it into a memorable afternoon with friends. You may have to go to a local studio or kitchen, but most likely you can have an expert to come to your location.
The Destination Shower
Destination weddings and bachelorette parties have been popular for some time. And now, we’re seeing a new trend- the destination bridal shower. This shower is usually for a small group of the bride’s closest gal pals. Spend the day getting pampered at a spa, live it up shopping and dining in the city, or head to a nearby vineyard for winetasting.

The Jack and Jill Shower
Co-ed showers are becoming increasingly popular. As more men are getting involved in wedding planning, they are also taking an interest in the parties that go along with weddings. Attendees typically bring a gift that will be used by both the bride and groom.

Duties of a Bridesmaid
Purchase the bridesmaid’s dress,
Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner,
Attend other pre-wedding events (when possible),
Arrive on time for wedding-related events and follow instructions (this means the rehearsal and ceremony),
Help with any children in the wedding party, if asked,
Smile for pictures,
Stand in the receiving line, if there is one, and
Mingle at the reception and act as ambassadors of the bride and groom.

It is nice if they:
Help you with wedding planning,
Help host a bridal shower, and/or
Throw you a bachelorette party.

Smartphone Etiquette
As a wedding guest, you’re caught up in the moment — the bride’s dress is striking and the flowers are gorgeous. You immediately want to share the excitement you’re feeling with all of your friends on Facebook, but some guidelines and decorum should still be followed even when the couple supports the use of smartphones during the ceremony.

-Don’t photo bomb the vows. Remember there’s probably a professional photographer somewhere behind you trying to do the job the couple has hired him to do.

-Leave the iPad at home. There’s no way you can be inconspicuous with an iPad.

-Don’t block the people behind you. If you know you’ll be snapping away, take a seat in the back or the far aisle.
– Get permission to post. Make sure the couple has a chance to see and approve all images before you post them.

To kick off the new summer trends, one lucky bride-to-be has the chance to win her own customized mosaic dress sculpture, valued at $4,500-$6,500! The sweepstakes began on May 1st, 2015 and will end at 11:59PM on October 1st, 2015. All interested participants with an online wedding registry must sign up at using the contest form. Additional entries will be awarded when the couple’s guests, friends, or family use to search for their wedding registry to purchase a gift. Bonus entries are also given for sharing the contest or following @RegistryFinder on Twitter and Pinterest. Additional entries increase, but do not guarantee, the likelihood of winning. The one lucky winner will be chosen at random at the conclusion of the contest. Shelly will work directly with the winner to create the mosaic dress sculpture of her dreams, which will take between 4 and 6 months to complete.

To sign up for your chance to win or to learn more about the contest, please, visit:

About Cheryl Seidel:
Seidel is a sought after etiquette expert and regular contributor for The Huffington Post and author of the popular Ask Cheryl blog. She helps advise readers with handy tips on how much to spend, when gift giving is appropriate and other would-have-loved-to-know-that-when moments in gift giving, She is also the founder and President of, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more. Seidel has 22 years of business experience, with concentrations in new product development and consumer advertising and promotion.
For additional information or interview opportunities with Cheryl, please contact

Spring 2015 Wedding Trends: From Decor To Cakes To Gowns

April 20th, 2015 - By Rich
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images courtesy of: and

Spring is in the air and wedding season is here. I absolutely adore spring weddings because they are filled with off the shoulder wedding dresses, bright florals, bold patterns, delicabible comfort food and refreshing cocktails. This season we will see lots of couples incorporating their own individual styles into their weddings and the way to do that is through the details.  Let me breakdown the trends that I am swooning over for this spring season.

Spring 2015 Wedding Trends: From Decor To Cakes To Gowns

10 Ways To Get The Wedding You Want

January 25th, 2015 - By Toya Sharee
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the wedding you want

Last year I got the crazy idea to plan a wedding and carry a pregnancy all at the same time. What can I say? I’m ambitious like that. Honestly, one of those things wasn’t exactly planned but that didn’t make them both any less incredible. And with wedding season right around the corner, I advise anxious brides-to-be to keep that same mindset or you may risk losing it…your mind, that is.

Although I had to change my wedding date, choose a gown that could accommodate both me AND my daughter and track down wedding guests who were already rushing to make travel plans, my Vegas wedding day ended up going exactly how I wanted it to go and it was all because I decided that day was about what me and my fiancé wanted and not about what anyone else thought it should be or perfecting some Pinterest puzzle. If you’re planning your special day, here are 10 ways to make sure your day goes just the way you want:

Signs You’re Suffering From More Than Just Cold Feet

August 13th, 2013 - By Ashley Page
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It’s not uncommon for the bride and groom-to-be to be overwhelmed by feelings of doubt before the big day. This is often known as cold feet, and while not everyone suffers from it, there are plenty of people who do. However, in some cases, the hesitation to tie the knot can mean much more than just cold feet. It might signify that you really aren’t ready. Here are a few signs something more serious is going on.