One of the biggest compliments a woman can ever receive is being asked to be someone’s maid of honor. It means that you are the one they trust to make sure their wedding day is the happiest day of their lives. It means that (minus the groom of course!) you are the one they want standing beside them during all of the festivities. It also may mean that you will need to roll up your sleeves and help out your best friend for the next few months. I recently had the pleasure of being my sister’s maid of honor and a couple months later she was mine. Here are some of the things we feel makes a “MOH” truly exceptional.
Weddings don’t magically come together. It takes a lot of time, money and DIY projects to get everything how the bride envisions it. As a maid of honor you should be the one offering to help to get things done. Trust me, helping out with the 500 paper cranes needed for wedding favors will take a load off of a busy bride and make her feel like she doesn’t have to do everything alone.
Bridesmaids dresses can be good, bad or just plain ugly. I have never met a bridesmaid who absolutely loved her dress. I have heard numerous stories about people throwing fits because they hated the color or fit. It’s fine to voice your opinion but it’s really not up to anyone besides the bride and groom what the bridal party wears. As maid of honor its your job to encourage an accepting attitude among the rest of the wedding party. When it’s your turn you can make everyone wear lime green taffeta. It’s only right.
Bachelorette parties don’t have to equate to a Vegas trips. You are the one who knows the bride the best so you should know how this party should be thrown. If the bride is more conservative, a stripper and jello shots probably won’t be her idea of fun. It’s up to you to plan a night that’s all about her and get everyone involved. Ask for a list of her friends and their contact info and plan something special!
In a perfect wedding the bride should never know if something is going wrong. This means no vendor should talk to the bride or groom on their wedding day. If questions need to be asked or checks handed out it’s up to you to take care of it. Make sure all the vendors have your phone number so they can call you with any problems. It’s also helpful for a MOH to call these people a week before the wedding to confirm all plans. It may be a lot of work but your best friend/blushing bride will thank you.
A bride looks forward to hearing the toasts at her wedding. It’s a time for her to hear the people she loves wish her well as she starts her new life and family. Please don’t get on the mic and bring up embarrassing stories. Make it something for her to remember. Something that shows thought and adds personal touches is a given tearjerker. She will always remember what you said and how you made her feel, make sure you put in the effort!
Fortunately for Made Women, marriage today is a joyful choice we make instead of a societal tradition that is expected of us. With this choice comes the question, “How will I know if I’m ready to get married?” Only you will truly know if you are ready, but here are a few signs that may help you understand whether or not to-have-and-to-hold is the right step for you.
(Much credit to my supportive husband who brainstormed with me about how we knew we were ready to get married!)
1. You know what works for you and what doesn’t. The dating journey is the time to learn what you desire in relationships; what makes you swoon and what makes you crazy. When you realize what your deal breakers are and what you cannot live without, you’ve taken a huge step toward knowing what you want in a lifetime partner.
2. You’re ready to share your experiences. At this point in life, you’ve likely written a bucket list or two. When you begin to think those experiences would be even more special if you had someone to share them with, you may be ready for that “forever” step. Whether it’s a new puppy, a European adventure or taking on a new hobby, matrimony may be the right choice if you’re longing to share life with someone else.
3. You’ve lived your young, free and single years to their fullest. Have you had enough wild girls’ nights out, dancing till dawn and shamelessly flirting to get you free drinks at the bar? Have you been truly single and satisfied and pursued your greatest ambitions? If so, you can move toward wedded bliss knowing you lived it up during your single life.
4. You stand on your own two feet. You are confident in your own success and you’re comfortable doing things on your own. Maybe you moved cross country or traveled the world or lived by yourself, and you know that you don’t need a man. When you do find someone who complements that strong sense of self and supports your ambition, he’s likely the right type of guy for the long run.
5. You stop expecting perfection. We all need standards, and we should not settle for anything less. But to make it down the aisle successfully, it’s important to understand that everyone has their own history, experiences and flaws. If you are ready to love someone, flaws and all, you may be ready to say “I do.”
6. Doubt doesn’t creep in. Instead of analyzing every conversation, you are completely secure with where your relationship stands. There aren’t any “what are we?” questions. Though the phrase has been said a million times, it’s true: When you’re with the right person, you’ll know.
7. You don’t try to justify your relationship. We’ve all had those relationships that other people just couldn’t understand … or so we thought. The type that usually makes you defensive when those close to you express their concern. When you’re in a healthy relationship, your family and friends will most likely be the first to see that it brings out the best in you, and they will be nothing but happy for you.
There is a lot more to being ready for marriage than these tips, but these are some of the ways I knew that I was ready to marry my husband.
When do you think a Made Woman is ready for wedding bells? Share your signs and tips in the comments section!
When we think of honeymoons, we imagine ourselves reclined on a sunny beach and fully submerged in a state of pure bliss. The pictures we paint for ourselves are so naturally calming that we easily forget the effort that goes into creating such an unforgettable experience. Yes, it would be lovely if the perfect honeymoon came gift wrapped with a pretty bow and a bottle of champagne. But unless you have a personal assistant and thousands to spare, you should prepare for your upcoming honeymoon with certain practicalities in mind so your journey through paradise goes off without a hitch.
1. You might have always dreamed of spending your honeymoon on a yacht in Ibiza, but it is important to be realistic about your budget when choosing a location. Not only is this fiscally responsible, but it will ultimately spare you unnecessary stress. The wedding undoubtedly set you back thousands of dollars and your honeymoon is the time to unwind from the months of planning and spending, not to be guiltily fretting about the ever-mounting expense of the vacation. Ways to save money include choosing a destination that is closer to home or lesser known, or traveling during the “shoulder season”, which is right before or right after peak season. You can still have fun with your new spouse while also saving a penny or two, leaving you more relaxed and able to enjoy your new lives together when you get back home.
2. Understandably, you are going to be very eager about the honeymoon; not only are you having a romantic getaway with the love of your life, but you’re probably going to a locale you’ve never been to before. Go, see, conquer, right? While this excitement and a sense of adventure is a positive thing, it’s crucial that you don’t become overzealous when planning the itinerary. What do I mean by this? The first day of your honeymoon should not start with the two of you waking at the crack of dawn to rush to a tour bus, followed by a rushed breakfast and then racing from one museum to the next. A honeymoon is the ultimate opportunity to live in the moment and truly enjoy your partner, so plan for a leisurely pace. While it’s a good idea to anticipate a few highlights you’ll want to experience during your trip, plan on having plenty of late brunches and relaxed, site-seeing strolls with your new spouse.
3. Make sure that all loose ends are addressed prior to boarding your plane. The last thing you want to do is waste precious vacation time dealing with a forgotten prescription or an unresolved work situation. Try making a checklist of things that need to be taken care of before you leave and knocking them out one at a time. You should also pack responsibly and plan for worse-case scenarios. One good idea is to carry your money and forms of ID in two different bags in case one is lost or stolen. Be prepared for all types of weather, as nothing can quite ruin a romantic evening like violently shivering in the rain.
4. When planning things to do during your honeymoon, take the wants and needs of both people into account. If an afternoon of zip lining might sound fantastic to you but your hubby is afraid of heights, skip the entire affair. While marriage is about compromise, your honeymoon shouldn’t be; he might be willing to begrudgingly concede to your preferences, but this is a potential setup for resentments and bickering. Instead, find activities that interest both of you and, if you have a hard time pinpointing such opportunities, perhaps reconsider your selected location. Activities will be more fun together anyway.
5. Be flexible and have a sense of humor. If your romantic beach side getaway is seemingly “ruined” by unusual amounts of rain, laugh it off and find fun, indoor alternatives. If the two of you get hopelessly lost on the way to a concert and miss the entire event, open your eyes to the beauty in what is immediately around you rather than focusing on what you missed. If you’re spending your time complaining about the concert, you might miss out on the cute boutique on the corner or the fun bar two blocks away. With your new husband by your side, I’m sure there will be a silver lining to every bout of bad luck.
First comes love, then comes marriage. But between those comes the day most women dream about their whole lives: the wedding day.
Even if you have yet to find Mr. Right, chances are you've spent more than one boring lecture or slow day at the office daydreaming about the designer gown you'll walk down the aisle in, or the beachfront property where you'll say your vows. A wedding is not only the celebration of a lifetime, but for many it's also the biggest party they'll ever throw. So beyond the fantasy of those (hopefully) once in a lifetime nuptials, there's also the reality that a wedding takes a significant amount of planning and preparation.
On average, this glorious one-day affair requires 1,600 hours worth of prep time and comes with a median price tag of almost $30,000. Sound overwhelming? Well, it doesn't have to be. By keeping some simple tips in mind, the planning process can be just as enjoyable as the big day that it leads up to.
Try to start the planning process at least 9 months in advance of the wedding date. This will give you plenty of time to think through what you want your big day to look and feel like, while giving you ample opportunity to research venues and vendors that can help execute your vision.
Establish a realistic budget
The budget is the very first thing you should think about when you start the wedding planning process. It affects EVERYTHING, from how many guests you can invite to the type of venue you should select. So once you have the ring, before you do anything else, sit down with your fiancé, parents and anyone else that may be contributing and establish a realistic budget. Once you know how much you have to spend, plan accordingly.
The phrase "you can have it all," doesn't apply when it comes to planning a wedding, unless you're on Platinum Weddings. Take the time to think about the elements of your celebration that matter most to you and your groom. For example, if you want to include a certain number of family and friends in your special day, you may have to cut back in other places like food selection. But just think, when all is said and done, having your college dorm mates there will be a lot more memorable than whether you were able to serve beef instead of chicken.
With so many moving parts, it's vital that you set up a system to help keep you organized. You'll accumulate a lot of important paperwork and contracts during the planning process, so purchase a three-ring binder with tabs and sheet protectors to store key documents. Create an electronic folder in your email account to keep track of all important wedding correspondence. Keep a monthly checklist of items that need to be accomplished and enter important dates, like dress fittings and tastings, into your planner.
Rally the troops
While we pride ourselves on being super women, a true Made Woman knows when to delegate as well. Don't attempt to do everything on your own. Enlist a team to help you carry out the many tasks required to pull off a successful event. Mothers, friends and bridesmaids are typically eager to lend a helping hand and are especially valuable on DIY projects like assembling programs. If you have the money, hire a good wedding planner. Enlisting the help of a professional during the early stages of the planning process can really save you a lot of time, energy and money in the long run.
Keep your eye on the prize
At the end of the day, remember that the wedding is truly about celebrating the love and commitment between you and your groom. Don't spend so much energy planning the wedding that you forget to nurture your relationship. Over the months of planning, regularly and intentionally carve out time and schedule activities that are wedding-free. Ultimately, a wedding is nice, but a healthy and happy marriage after all the guests are gone should be the true focus leading up to the big day.
We live in an age where polygamists reign supreme. Hugh Hefner has three girlfriends. Kody Brown of TLC's "Sister Wives" has four wives. Lil' Wayne has "Project Twins": two children, the same age, by two different women. While their reasons for being with more than one lady may differ – Hefner's lifelong fear of commitment, Brown's adherence to a religious tenet and Wayne's apparent aversion to contraception – one thing is true. Lots of men seem to prefer a life with many women over a life with just one. There are, of course, commitment-phobic, man-loving women who would rather date several men at a time than settle down with one. However, women are evolutionarily hard-wired to seek one long-term partner to protect us from the wild, while men are programmed to propagate the race, spreading their "seed" far and wide. I hate to get all Carrie Bradshaw (Ok, I actually love it), but in a media-inundated generation where “pimpin’” is glorified, does monogamy even have a chance?
When you turn on pop radio, you are not bombarded with beautiful love songs. To the contrary, artists like our trusty Lil’ Wayne remind us that they wish they could *bleep* every girl in the world on almost every, single song they put out. Drake, Canadian King of Contradiction (half black/half white, half gangsta/half wheelchair Jimmy), on his new “Take Care” album almost perfectly sums up this generation’s view on love and monogamy. It’s part “Bottles and Models” and part longing for The One. While in our youth monogamy may seem unimportant or unnecessary to many, we all, secretly or not, harbor a deep yearning to end up in the kind of seemingly impossible fairytale love we see lauded on the big screen. Everyone – man, woman and beast – who saw 2004’s seminal love story “The Notebook” will admit they shed a tear watching Ali and Noah’s story unfold. Who doesn’t want to one day hear some perfect love say, “if you’re a bird, I’m a bird?” And therein, my friends, lies the rub. We are a career-driven generation, less concerned with monogamy or likely to marry than any generation before us, but we all crave human companionship as the ultimate goal. The focus we give to the media’s images of love and marriage is proof.
Kim Kardashian’s over-the-top wedding to Kris Humphries – which would famously end in divorce a mere 72 days later – was broadcast over the course of two days to over 8 million viewers. The nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton drew 26.2 million viewers, the largest audience of 2011. Yes, many tuned in to see the dresses, the regalia, and the well-dressed guests, but many will admit they love a good wedding special because they love to see love. Many little girls – and boys! – watching Prince William and his new bride share that kiss on the balcony dreamt that they too would one day find a prince or princess to make their castle feel complete. That dream never dies. It may fade, as bad experiences, lost loves and betrayals can often make us feel jaded, but deep down everyone holds on to a shred of hope that they’ll find that one special person. Their soul mate. Their lobster. The Beyonce to their Jay-Z. Monogamy may be old, it may even need to suck on an oxygen tank every now and then, but it’s definitely not dead.
It must suck to be poor and in love. While most young couples are freaking out about racking up debt and scraping together pennies for their weddings, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries are getting theirs paid for by airing it on TV and selling exclusive photos to magazines. Making money on your own wedding? Yes indeed, my friend. Kim has already made her mark as somewhat of a cash cow, what with all the income she generates from her TV show, endorsements, personal fragrances and a clothing line. Now, she has even managed to monetize her marriage vows. You kinda have to admire her hustle. Well. As long as you don’t mind sacrificing things like, oh, I don’t know. Privacy, dignity, etc. But who cares about that? Anyone? (Bueller?) I mean, the girl was already richer than every single person in my family combined and multiplied by 500, and now she's marrying an NBA player and making a fortune off of what, in the past, was supposed to be a sacred ceremony. It's enough to make you want to weep for humanity, but the world somehow seems fascinated by even the smallest detail. Even though it pained me a bit to do so, I decided to check out the info that’s leaked thus far in an attempt to understand what the big deal is.
The big event took place this past Saturday, August 20, at an estate in Montecito, CA with a guest list ranging anywhere from 400 to 500 guests, depending on which source you read. Let’s just sum it up by saying a mammoth assload of people attended, shall we? Celeb guests included Ryan Seacrest, Julianne Hough, LaLa Vazquez, Ciara, Kathie Lee Gifford (huh??), Demi Lovato, Lindsay Lohan and Eva Longoria. All guests were directed to wear either black or white only, and apparently all the décor and the cake reflected that color scheme. Kim wore a total of 3 different dresses - all designed by Vera Wang. Sketches are included below but if you’re dying for the real thing, those exclusive wedding pictures will hit People Magazine this week. OK forget the dress, what about the ring? Well, her wedding band is reportedly set in platinum and clocks in at a whopping 12 carats. It’s safe to say that Kim’s $2 million 20.5 carat engagement ring is in good company, hey?
Kim was walked down the aisle by her stepfather, Bruce Jenner, but Kim paid tribute to her late father, Robert Kardashian, in a message on the wedding program. It read: “I so wish my dad could be here today to walk me down the aisle, but I know in a way he is here, and I feel his loving presence all around me. I love and miss you, Dad.” Aw. OK, that’s sweet, Kim.
Robin Thicke sang his song,“Angels” to introduce the couple for their first dance, followed by a set by Earth, Wind and Fire. So who catered the shindig? None other than Wolfgang Puck himself. Gordon Ramsey must have been busy that day.
A wedding like this must have set the pair back millions of dollars, right? Right! About $10 million or so, to be precise. But don’t feel bad for these two – they are estimated to rake in just under $18 million from the event. They’ll get between $12 and $15 million for the rights to air the wedding in a four hour, two part special on E!, airing October 9 and 10. All this plus the cash they're making for those coveted pictures. These two will probably spend their honeymoon counting their millions.
Unsurprisingly, there isn’t all that much info circulating about the OTHER member of this new couple, Kris Humphries. What did he wear? Do we know anything about this guy? Does he even speak? I doubt we will have to wonder for long. I bet you there is a new TV show in development at E! centered around their relationship. Look forward to E! eventually changing its name altogether to The K! Network. Let’s be honest; it can’t be that far off.
Bonus rumor: Supposedly Ray-J, Kim’s sex tape co-star and skeeviest guy ever, texted her on the big day saying, “And to think you have me to thank for all of this.” Of course, this could be totally made up… but I have seen some of this fool’s antics on For The Love of Ray-J (sadly) and it doesn’t sound too far out in left field to me. I’m not sure what it is about Ray-J, but whenever I see him on TV I have to resist the urge to punch the screen and wash myself in Clorox.
Okay, this may be hard to believe... but in all honesty, I don’t have anything against Kim or any of the Kardashians. The truth is, I think Kim is a gorgeous girl who has a lot of smart people behind her that have helped propel her to fame and fortune. I wish Kris and Kim all the best, but this wedding—as grand as it all seems—raises some red flags for me. The media attention and huge sums of money exchanged surrounding this event are completely over the top. There are so many more important issues to focus on - like our country’s soaring debt and the conflict in Libya, to name a couple. It’s kind of scary to think that we idolize and worship celebrities over people who actually make a difference in this world. I enjoy mindless entertainment as much as the next person (Jersey Shore, anyone?), but I do think it’s become a bit disturbing when someone’s wedding coverage is earning them enough money to feed an entire third world country. Just my 2 cents.
So, what do you think? Does having a price tag on your wedding demonstrate a savvy business move or a total lack of sincerity? Tell us in the comments below!
Giving gifts is a tricky feat in general, but when it comes to weddings it can be even harder to find something that's both unique and appropriate. Like the time you gave your quirky coworker that lacy leopard teddy--at what turned out to be an awkwardly formal bridal shower. Well, we've done our research to help you avoid this type of blunder in the future. Consult our MW gift guide for the lowdown on the best wedding presents for any bride or groom.
A. Mixed-media Bridal Portraits: Every bride loves her dress. She has spent countless days searching for the perfect one. Commemorate her special day and special dress with one of these handmade collages. You can send the artist a picture of your dress and she will create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece using your colors and dress for inspiration. Bonus: prints of this piece can be ordered. Frame this work and enjoy your dress every day. ($90 and up)
B. Wedding Guest Book Revised: Better than your run of the mill guest book, this guest book box allows for guests to fill out their names, addresses (for thank you cards) and warm wishes. They will already be filed away and ready for display in your new nest. A wedding gift that organizes itself while saving you guess work? Priceless. ($39)
C. Wedding Survival Kit: Because you never know what might go wrong, prevent many potential nail biting and dress disasters with these handy contents. With 30 essentials including deodorant, double sided tape and pain relievers, these are perfect bridal shower or bachelor/bachelorette gifts. ($47.50)
D. Potentially Cold Feet Socks: The days of a woman darning her man's socks might be in the past, but a Made Woman can certainly consider giving these socks to any man. At only $10 this gift is not only funny but easy on the wallet. Great for getting a smile out of a guy friend about to marry or even for a male co-worker.
E. Aprons: With the potential to be almost as sexy as lingerie, and definitely more utilitarian, these apron, glove, and garter sets are a fun way to add spice to those traditional cookware gifts. Perfect for entertaining guests, or just the groom, these fun designs are feasts for the eyes. ($39.95 and up)
F. Bling it On: What girl doesnt love to be gifted with sparkle? Whether its a vintage bag, necklace, earrings, or a hair pin for the big day itself, these pieces are gorgeous. Stunning, sourced, and with many handcrafted options, give the bride a gift she can wear on her wedding day and beyond. Bonus: some of these stones come in shades of blue, for the Bride's something blue. (Prices range from $15 to over $100)