All Articles Tagged "weddings"

How The Marriage Talk Gets SO Awkward

April 29th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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mistakes every bride makes feat

Even if you’re a woman who is in no rush to get married—or maybe even a woman who can take it or leave it when it comes to marriage—you still can’t help but feel uncomfortable when the talk of marriage comes up. There has been this pervasive idea for centuries that every woman wants to get married and that everything we do is in the pursuit of marriage and that we want to put a ring on it ASAP! It’s not true, at all. But since the idea has been around for so long, it’s hard for women to shake the nervous feeling that men view everything we do and say under that old (and damaging) light. Even if you know you don’t want to get married (at least not now) you probably find yourself approaching the topic of marriage with a cautious, apologetic tone and that’s because the marriage talk can get awkward in long-term relationships really fast. Here’s how.

Alternative Bachelorette Celebrations For Brides Who Hate Clubs

April 28th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Corbis Images

Corbis Images

When you think of bachelorette parties, well-endowed men in thongs, loads of alcohol, and penis-shaped treats may come to mind, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of other enjoyable ways that you can celebrate your upcoming nuptials that don’t involve strippers or packed lounges. Here are six alternative bachelorette celebrations for brides who hate nightclubs.


Because why not? Renting out a hotel suite for the night so that you can get together with your best girlfriends is a lovely and low-key way to celebrate the commencement of your time as a bachelorette. Good food, plenty of booze (if that’s your thing), manicures, movies and plenty of girl talk sounds like a recipe for a great night.

Amusement Park

If you’re looking for something with a little more thrill, you may want to consider taking on a local theme park with your favorite girls. Few things spell out good time like screaming your head off alongside your best friend while riding a rollercoaster.

Wine tasting

For those who are only here for grown and sexy vibes, perhaps a wine tasting might be more your speed. Some wineries have activities for groups to participate in—like cooking classes, for example—during tastings.

Old school house party

If you like to party, but you just aren’t into the club scene, an old school house party or BBQ might be a great alternative. If you’d like, you can even make it a themed party based on the year you met your honey. For example, if you met in 2001, you may want to tell your DJ to play a lot of songs that were popular that year, like Jay Z’s “Izzo,” Jagged Edge’s “Where Da Party At?” and Mr. Cheeks’ “Lights, Camera, Action” and tell guests to show up in their best throwback jerseys and jersey dresses.

All-girls road trip

Not everyone has money for a flight, but if you all can put in money for gas and a rental car, an all-girls road trip might be a nice way to celebrate your upcoming nuptials.

The Road To The Altar: Are Brides Seriously Concerned About Being Upstaged At Their Weddings?

April 22nd, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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While trying to get an outfit together for a wedding that I’ll be attending later this spring, my fiancé and I found ourselves in the middle of an interesting debate. One of the contenders was a beautiful knee-length three-quarter sleeve, dark navy blue sequin dress that I had purchased years ago for another friend’s wedding.

“You can’t wear that,” my fiancé said half-jokingly. “You’ll look better than the bride.”

“Impossible,” I said. “It is absolutely impossible to upstage a bride on her big day.”

I intended to brush him off, and the more I thought about it, I had every intention of wearing that dress.

What the hell does he know about fashion and wedding etiquette anyway?

But then, after some reflection, I weighed his words. The irony is that this wouldn’t be the first time I had to battle it out for my beloved dress. Years ago, when I first purchased it, my friend took issue with it as well. After learning that she was pregnant, she planned her wedding in exactly one month’s time. In the last two weeks, she asked me to be her maid of honor and lone bridesmaid. Although I was bogged down with work and coursework from an intense graduate program, I accepted. In between my studies, I did everything that I could to support her during that period and assist with planning. Everything went smoothly until the week of the ceremony when I had to pick out a dress. The best man had already decided that he wanted to wear navy blue, so I simply fell in line.

I had been searching the malls all day when I finally stumbled across the dress in Bloomingdales. And to be clear, it’s not one of those cheap-looking, shimmery dresses that you might see on the stage of a “Love & Hip Hop” reunion. Thanks to dark the color, it’s actually pretty toned down. I excitedly went to try it on, and it fit perfectly, which was a small miracle. Because of my breast size, dress shopping, especially when it’s for a special occasion, is always a massive undertaking. I quickly snapped a couple of photos and sent them to the bride-to-be. I just knew that she would be relieved that I had finally found a dress after hours of searching. Boy, was I wrong.

“You can’t wear that Jazzy,” she texted me back. “You can’t be looking better than me at my own wedding.”


After trying to convince her that it’s impossible for her to be upstaged at her wedding, we eventually decided to meet up and head over to David’s Bridal. After browsing through their limited off-the-rack selection, I headed to the dressing room with a few of frumpy-looking garments draped across my arm. One by one, I tried them on. Either they didn’t fit across my bust properly, or they gave off straight up mother-of-the-bride vibes. I was 20 years old; I was not her mother, and I would not be dressing as such. Sorry. I was a broke college student at the time, and I was buying my own dress, so I was at least hoping to purchase something that I could wear more than once. Up until this point, I had adapted the “her day, her way” mentality, but I had to draw the line at this dress situation.

“Look boo, I love you like cooked food, but I’m not wearing any of those dresses I just tried on because I don’t feel comfortable in any of them,” I told her. “We can keep looking if you want, but right now the sequin dress is probably the best that I can do within this time frame.”

We continued to search but turned up with nothing. A couple of days before the wedding I went back and purchased the sequin dress. Everything went fine; she looked beautiful, and as far as I could tell, my little blue dress did not upstage her by any means.

Anytime I looked back on the situation, I always told myself that my friend was being unreasonable, well, until my fiancé recently referenced me outshining another bride at her wedding. I would say that I have definitely matured since my friend’s wedding, but this concept of upstaging a woman at her wedding still escapes me. Seriously, how Sway? Even as I prepare to head to the altar myself, the thought of someone showing up at my wedding looking better than me never crossed my mind. I’ll be the girl in the big, white, Cinderella-esque ball gown, floor-length veil, her weave snatched and her face beat to the gawds. Who is going to show up more overdressed than me? The answer is no one because it’s my wedding. And I would hope that each and every one of my guests feels comfortable stepping out in their Sunday’s best as well—except for big, white ball gowns, because, well, that would just be weird for obvious reasons.

I would never, ever want anyone in my circle to feel like they need to dim their light at any celebration that I ever host out of fear of outshining me. Come correct to my function because I most certainly will. We can shine together. I don’t need to be the best-dressed woman in the room.

Oh, and I’ve decided not the wear the sequin dress to this upcoming wedding. Even though I can’t really rock with the concept of outshining a bride, perhaps this bride will have feelings similar to those of my friend and my fiancé, and I’m not trying to piss off or upset anyone on their big day.

As silly as it sounds, I’ve got to ask: Ladies, have you ever had concerns about people dressing better than you at your wedding?


How Much Are People Spending On Wedding Gifts?

April 20th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Wedding season is upon us, which means you’ll need quite a bit of money for gifts. But how much should you be spending per wedding, exactly? Luckily for us, digital marketplace RetailMeNot did a little research to help us pinpoint how much is an appropriate amount to spend on wedding gifts depending on your relationship with the bride or groom.

According to a survey conducted by the online destination made famous by their treasure trove of coupons, wedding guests are planning to drop $195 on gifts for their siblings. The price tag for attending a best friend’s wedding falls somewhere around $159. For a coworker’s nuptials, guests are planning to spend approximately $63, and $45 for an acquaintance.

And in case you’re wondering whether or not these numbers are accurate, wedding etiquette expert Elaine Swann tells Good Housekeeping that they’re pretty on point.

What do you use to determine how much you’ll spend on gifts for loved ones who are tying the knot?


Should You Invite Your Coworkers To Your Wedding? 4 Questions To Ask Yourself

April 19th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Corbis Images

Corbis Images


“Should I invite my coworkers to my wedding?”

This is a question that probably plagues the mind of every working bride at one point or another. And the truth is, the answer to this question is not black and white. There are several factors that you should take into consideration when weighing whether or not it’s a good idea for your colleagues to be present on your big day. Here are four questions you should ask yourself that will hopefully help you to arrive at a decision that best suits your situation.

Do you socialize outside of work?

If you don’t have a relationship that transcends the walls of your workplace, you should really ask yourself why you’re even considering inviting these folks to something as intimate as your wedding. Your ceremony is a time when the people you love come together to celebrate the fact that you’ve found someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. If y’all aren’t cool like that, please, please, please don’t feel obligated to invite them.

Do you trust them?

As I stated before, weddings are very intimate and personal celebrations. They’re also information gold mines for incredibly nosy people.You don’t want someone there who is going to act as a spectator and collect as much information as they can with the intent of carrying it back to the other office gossips. Please know that if you invite the wrong person (or people), there’s a good chance that you and your family will end up as topics of office gossip when all is said and done.

Can they keep their mouths shut?

Space is often limited at wedding venues, so that places a cap on how many people you can invite. And even if you are considering inviting some coworkers, it’s unlikely that you’re inviting all of them. Of course, inviting some colleagues but not others can create quite an awkward environment, so it’s crucial that you encourage the ones you are planning to invite to refrain from discussing the fact that they’re on the guest list to coworkers who were not as fortunate. In fact, they should refrain from discussing your upcoming wedding in the workplace altogether.

Can you afford it?

To me, this is probably the most important question. Weddings are expensive, and those guest lists get out of control quickly. It’s likely that you’ll go through several rounds of cuts before your list is finalized. If you can’t afford to invite your coworkers, don’t invite them. They will get over it and your wallet will thank you.

Is Wearing White To A Wedding Still A No-No?

April 18th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Is Wearing White To A Wedding Still A No-No?

Corbis Images

I’ll be attending a wedding in a couple of weeks and I have nothing to wear (yet). Well, there is one dress, which has been sitting in my closet all winter that is dry cleaned, pressed, and ready for me to slip into it. But I won’t be wearing it…because it’s white. For as long as I can remember, wearing white to someone else’s wedding, unless explicitly instructed to do so by the bride, has been a big no-no. But it seems that the rules are changing, at least, according to online shopping destination, Lyst, they are. In fact, the company is actually encouraging wedding guests to buy white ensembles this wedding season.

The fashion retailer conducted a survey and found that 7 out of 10 women would wear white to a friend’s wedding. 1,000 women were surveyed, and 70 percent of them felt that guests being forbidden to wear white to weddings is an old-fashioned notion. Of course, brides had a different take on the situation. Only 40 percent of women said that they would be okay with guests wearing white.

“Weddings have changed to reflect the times we live in. Now you can marry who you want, how you want to. In an era of dog weddings, internet-ordained ministers, unusual venues and flashmob services – it’s no surprise that the old traditions carry less weight, and this goes for fashion too. Our shopping data proves that women are buying white outfits with weddings in mind.” says Lyst Editorial Director Katherine Ormerod.

Perhaps the rules are changing somewhat, but I certainly won’t be testing the waters anytime soon.

What about you? Would you wear white to a wedding? Would you be okay with a guest wearing white to your wedding?

Grace Gealey And Trai Byers Are Married

April 18th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Splash News

Splash News

Low-key and intimate are two words that perfectly describe Grace Gealey and Trai Byers’ secret wedding ceremony.

According to TMZ, the 50-guest ceremony and reception took place on Grand Cayman Island on Thursday. The private event was held at a mansion, and the guest list was limited to the couple’s closest friends and relatives. The Byers wed on a beach, and steak and lobster were served at the reception.

“They just wanted to get away and do it small and simple without making a fuss,” a source told Us.

As you may recall, the “Empire” costars got engaged last July at Gealey’s 31st birthday bash. Days after the ceremony, the bombshell bride,and the handsome groom took to Instagram with matching messages that thanked fans for their well wishes.

“We’re married! God is so good. To all who have extended congrats and well wishes, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Love, Mr. & Mrs. Byers.”

A photo posted by Grace Gealey (@gracegealey) on


Ugh, they’re so adorable it’s sickening. Congrats to this gorgeous couple!

Why You May Want To Consider A Pre-Wedding Honeymoon

April 12th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Corbis Images

Corbis Images

Now more than ever, couples are breaking away from traditional norms and making their own rules when it comes to their wedding plans. This includes going on the honeymoon before the wedding instead of after or taking a mini vacation before the wedding and a lengthier trip later. Pre-wedding honeymoons have grown increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason.

Scheduling issues prove to be a major honeymoon hurdle. Nothing guarantees that because your big day is set to take place on a particular date, you’ll be able to take the following eight days off from work so that you and bae can go snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas. For some newlyweds, this just isn’t realistic. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for couples to book their honeymoons months after the wedding, and in some cases, months before.

“Couples today rarely take their honeymoon right after the wedding. They might postpone for six months or more going away,” shared Simone Vega, founder of Coordinated To Perfection Event Planning & Design. “I waited three months to go on my honeymoon after the wedding!”

Planning large-scale events is also quite stressful, and the months leading up to the big day can leave a bride feeling overwhelmed and out of her mind. In instances like this, she may benefit more from getting away sooner than later. No one wants to be around a grouchy bride—not even her groom!

“The process of planning a wedding can be so stressful, and tension can build between the bride and groom. Going on a quick getaway can really relieve some of that pressure and put things into perspective,” says Victoria Nee-Larty, owner of Victorious Events NYC. “Your wedding is a wonderful celebration of love, but the marriage — spending the rest of your life with your best friend — is what you really should be looking forward to. Some people lose sight of that so a pre-honeymoon could be the answer.”

In fact, Victoria took a pre-wedding honeymoon of her own before her ceremony—and she’s glad that she did.

“As a bride-to-be, my fiancé and I went on a week long vacation to the Caribbean recently — best decision we ever made! We came back home refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of our wedding planning to-do list and we are more in love than ever.”

Of course, there’s also the money aspect. Weddings are not cheap, and unfortunately, neither is travel. If you find yourself tying the knot during peak travel seasons, you may find that your dream honeymoon costs a small fortune. Traveling before the wedding instead of after may not only help you to unwind before “I do,” but it may also help you to hold on to some of your coins.

“If going on your honeymoon in the off-season means cheaper rates, then definitely jump on that chance,” shared Simone.

If you’re considering taking your honeymoon pre-wedding, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Can you afford it?

Couples who go on post-wedding honeymoons sometimes have the luxury of splurging on their trips due to monetary gifts given by wedding guests. When taking the trip before the wedding, more than likely, you’re on your own.

2. Is there anything that will require your attention while you’re away?

If so, you must be sure that you’re leaving your planning responsibilities in capable hands. “It’s only realistic if they are working with a professional wedding planner who will keep them on track with their to-do list so they will actually enjoy their getaway without having a million pending items on their mind,” Victoria advises. “Don’t run away from the stress of the wedding. Make sure you have everything under control before you go.”

3. When are you trying to go and how long do you plan to be away?

“During the last month, pre-planning details will require a lot of [the couple’s] time, and they should definitely be around for that. But there is definitely nothing wrong with a quick two-night getaway!!” encourages Simone.

Would you consider going on your honeymoon before the wedding? Why or why not?

To learn more about Victoria Nee-Lartey and Victorious Events NYC, click here

To learn more about Simone Vega and Coordinated to Perfection, click here.

Ciara Talks Coming To The Realization That She Was Going To Be A Single Mom

April 11th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Ciara is Essence‘s May cover girl, and the newly engaged beauty has plenty to talk about. Not only does Ciara open up about her journey to “I do” with fiancé, Russell Wilson, but also, her broken engagement with her ex-fiancè, Future, who also fathers her 1-year-old son.

On becoming a mom in 2014:

“I’d always wanted to have my own family,” she said. “And my pregnancy was planned when I was at a point in my life when I was finally ready to take on the responsibility.”

On her split from Future:

“That wasn’t necessarily part of my vision,” she recalls. “But the moment I realized I was going to be a single mother, I had to reflect and reorganize my thoughts. I decided to trust that God had a plan for me, and move forward one day at a time.”

On her new beau, Russell Wilson:

“I remember telling my friend the kind of guy I wanted: a God-fearing man with a very fun spirit who loves kids and would really, truly care for me. I was very specific because I do believe you can have it all.”

The May issue of  Essence hits stands April 15th.

Would You Hire Someone To Write Your Vows?

April 11th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Would Your Hire Someone To Write Your Vows?


Vow writing is one of those anxiety-inducing tasks that brides and grooms have the option of removing from their wedding to-do lists altogether, if they please. It’s not unheard of to opt not to share personal vows and most guests won’t even think twice about the fact that you recited traditional vows. Still, many of us choose to challenge ourselves and our partners by deciding to speak from the heart. Of course, anyone who has ever attempted to write anything knows that getting your thoughts down on paper isn’t always as easy as it sounds. But just as with anything else, there are professionals available to make the vow writing process a lot easier. Alicia Ostarello and Angie Sommer, the women behind Vow Muse, offer professional writing services for wedding vows, best man and maid of honor speeches, and any other oral, wedding-related presentation that you can think of. Recently, I was able to catch up with the writing duo to find out a little bit more about professional vow writing and how it all works.

What are some of the reasons someone might want to have their vows professionally written?

There are a lot of reasons! Some clients reach out to us because they just don’t have time to write their own vows — it’s a daunting task. But many clients seek us out because they know how they feel, but they aren’t sure how to put those thoughts into words. When it comes to writing about complex and deep emotions, even good writers struggle. There’s so much to the feelings that surround love! Alicia often jokes that when she gets married, she’s going to ask Angie to help her write her vows. And other clients really don’t know what they want to say, so we work with them to help them discover the right words.

What is done to ensure that vows have a personal touch even though they’re being written by someone other than the bride or groom?

A lot of our job is listening. Every time we write vows, we start by talking to the client. We ask them a lot of questions about themselves, their partner, and their relationship. We want to know our clients as people, and understand the nuances of their courtship and commitment. When we know all this, we can create vows that are personal and touch on inside jokes and memories the two share. We also include revisions in our process and encourage honest feedback, so we work with our clients to make each set of vows word perfect for them.

What would you say to someone who feels that reading vows written by someone else is impersonal?

It’s totally understandable to feel this way. But if we’ve done our job right, you won’t feel like you’re reading vows someone else wrote. You’ll feel like you’re reading your vows. No good writer works alone (even we work as a team on every project). Heck, even the President has speech writers who take his ideas and get them to sound great. The best writing – and thus the best vows – comes from collaborating and editing, and our process is in place to ensure that we are able to write vows that are true to you. All that said, you should always do what feels the most comfortable and right for you.

Would you consider hiring professional writers to pen your wedding vows? Why or why not?