While the new couple are flying high and simply giddy, integrate a few stress-busters into your daily life. Then they’ll already be part of your routine once the really tough stuff starts.

Pick your favorite exercise, and stick with it. Whether it’s yoga, kick-boxing, or spinning, give this activity a few hours each week.

If you both have something that calms your nerves — be it reading, painting, or collecting rocks along the shore — don’t always put wedding plans ahead of this activity. You’ll stay calmer, make sounder decisions, and enjoy the entire planning process more if you stay relaxed.

Learn to ask for help. Delegating makes everyone feel better: It makes both or your Moms feel as if she has a vital role, and it puts less on your to-do list.

Don’t forget one of the most important reasons you are getting married to each other — because you love spending time together. Once a week go on a date, and ban any talk about the Big Day.

In decades past, the man got down on one knee, ring in hand, and proposed. Today, many couples jointly decide to become husband and wife. Likewise, they choose the rings together. It pays to know a few things first:

Find a jeweler you can trust. Use recommendations or family connections to find a jeweler you know to be honest and fair.

Select a style. There are many rings out there, with styles from heirloom to contemporary. Choose a style that reflects your personal tastes.

Set a price range. Have some sense of what you can afford before you even visit any jewelers. Most experts agree that the ring budget should total no more than the bride and groom’s combined salaries for two months.

Know your diamond basics. There are four
categories by which a jeweler assesses the worth of a diamond: cut, clarity, color, and carat (see below for more details).

Be sure to keep a good record of where the rings were purchased, how much they cost, the four C’s of the diamond, etc. This will come in handy for insurance purposes and if you find something wrong with the rings after bringing them home.

Also, you both just spent potentially thousands of dollars with a jeweler, so take advantage of your new status as a valued customer and consider using the same jeweler to purchase the bride’s attendants’ gifts. Don’t be timid about asking for a quantity price break.

The four C’S for diamonds

There are four qualities, or Four C’s, that jewelers use to evaluate a diamond.

Color: The closer a diamond is to colorless, the greater its monetary value.

Clarity: This term refers to the number of interior and exterior flaws that can be seen when the stone is magnified ten times.

Cut: A diamond should be proportioned and faceted to bring out the stone’s shine and clarity.

Carat: This refers to the size of the actual stone. Per carat value is determined by color, cut, and clarity. A small stone with flawless color, cut, and clarity can actually have a higher value than a large stone with many imperfections.

Source: howstuffworks.com

What is Marriage?

Dec 19, 2007 Author: John | Filed under: General Wedding Articles, GTA Wedding Tips

Marriage is one of the most important experiences of a person’s life, but like any legal process, it can get complicated. Depending on where you live, there may be laws governing who can get married and how a marriage license can be obtained. Some couples also face the decision of whether or not to have a prenuptial agreement. In this article, we’ll look at some of the laws surrounding marriage, including age requirements and marriage licenses. We’ll also explore some of the many legal benefits to being married. Finally, we’ll take a look at other forms of marriage, such as polygamy, civil unions and domestic partnerships, and find out where they fit in American law and society.

In order to have a legally recognized marriage, a couple has to have a valid marriage license. An application must be filled out in order to get a marriage license, and each state has its own laws regarding who is eligible to receive a license. The legal age to marry varies from state to state; in most states, both parties must be 18 years old in order to marry without their parents’ permission. However, in some states, people as young as 12 years old can marry with a parent’s permission, though some cases may need the approval of a judge. Some states also require blood tests for sexually transmitted diseases or for the couple to undergo pre-marital counseling.
A marriage license is essential for having a marriage legally recognized. In filling out a license, you will have to provide some personal information and identification.
When applying for a marriage license, the bride and groom must appear together in the marriage license office in their town. Official identification is required; it can be a birth certificate or a drivers license, depending on state law. A nominal fee usually accompanies the application ($60 in Hawaii). The couple fills out an official application and gives it to the marriage license agent. In some states, there’s a short waiting period of a few days before the license is issued. Once approved, a marriage license is generally valid for 30 days to a year.

After a couple gets married, a marriage certificate is proof that a marriage has taken place.

Africa is a large and varied continent containing some of the oldest civilizations on earth. It is home to a wide diversity of religions and cultures, and this colorful diversity is reflected in its diverse and colorful weddings traditions.

If any one wedding tradition might be said to be indicative of the African continent it would be the importance of family. An African wedding is, more than anything, the bringing together of two people as a single family, or the combining of two families or even the mixture of two tribes into one family unit. The concept of family is one of the unifying ideas of the African continent.

There are more than 1,000 cultural units in Africa and each culture, each tribe has its own wedding and marriage traditions, many of which can trace their origins back hundreds or even thousands of years.

There are also many different religions represented in Africa. Many northern Africans, especially, have been influenced by Muslim traditions, while further south there are more Christian, Hindu, and even Jewish traditions interspersed with more ancient traditions.

In many places in Africa young girls are trained to be good wives from an early age. They may even learn secret codes and secret languages that allow them to talk with other married women without their husbands understanding what is being said.

Depending on which part of Africa you are in, wedding ceremonies can be extremely elaborate, some lasting many days. Often huge ceremonies are held during which many couples are united at the same time.

In Sudan and in other areas along the Nile a man must pay his wife’s family in sheep or cattle for the loss of their daughter’s labor in support of the family. A wife may cost a man as many as 30 to 40 head of cattle. Often it is difficult to pay the family yet still have enough cattle left to support his new wife.

In Somalia a man is allowed to have as many as four wives if he can support them all, and it is not uncommon for a girl to be engaged before she is even born.

Bright festive colors, song, dance, and music are vital elements of many African wedding ceremonies. Common to all wedding ceremonies is the concept of transitioning between childhood and adulthood. In many African cultures children are encouraged to marry as young as 13 to 15 years of age, as soon as they have reached physical adulthood.

Divorce is rare in African marriages. Problems in a marriage are often discussed with both families and solutions found. Often entire villages join in to help a couple find solutions to their problems and keep a marriage from failing.

Marriage is sacred the world over, and that is definitely true in Africa, no matter which region or which culture you come from, and no matter what your religious beliefs. In fact, many cultures have a special totem that is designed to remind a couple that cultural and tribal differences must be allowed for in order to make a marriage succeed.

Wedding traditions in South Africa

Nov 23, 2007 Author: John | Filed under: International Traditions

After the bridal procession into the church, a prayer of dedication will precede the wedding ceremony. After the exchange of vows, a unity candle will be lit. The couple will then be pronounced man and wife, and blessed by the priest.

The twelve symbols of life important in African culture may be administered as part of the wedding ceremony. These are wine, wheat, pepper, salt, bitter herbs, water, a pot and spoon, a broom, honey, a spear, a shield, and a copy of the Bible or the Koran. Each one represents a different aspect of the love and strength which unites two families.

The wedding feast which follows the ceremony is traditionally known as the Karamu.

In South Africa, to mark the start of the newlyweds life together, the bride’s and groom’s parents would traditionally carry a fire from their hearths in their homes to the home of the new couple, where a new fire would be lit.

Wedding traditions in Egypt

Nov 15, 2007 Author: John | Filed under: International Traditions

As in the past, many weddings in Egypt are still arranged, and the tradition of the groom’s family proposing to the bride is often practiced.

Just before the marriage vows begin there is a musical wedding march called the Zaffa. There is traditional Egyptian music, belly dancers, drums horns and performers with flaming swords.

Traditionally, Egyptians believed that the ring finger has the “vein amoris”, the vein of love, which runs straight to the heart.

Wedding traditions in Morocco

Nov 10, 2007 Author: John | Filed under: International Traditions

As in other Muslim countries, a traditional Moroccan wedding ceremony lasts from four to seven days.

On her wedding day, it is a Moroccan wedding custom for the bride to have a ceremonial purification milk bath before a ritual henna painting (Beberiska) of her hands and feet. Originally, this purification and painting was the wedding ceremony in Arab lands some 200 years ago. Modern Morrocan brides continue this tradition by annointing the palm of guests with a unique smear, called the henna. Before she is dressed in her wedding dress, another woman arranges her hair, applies her make-up and puts on her jewelry. The bride also wears an elaborate headpiece with a veil.

Once the couples wedding vows have been exchanged, and before the newlywed Moroccan bride becomes the mistress of her new home, she walks around the outside of her house three times.

Wedding traditions in Sudan

Oct 10, 2007 Author: John | Filed under: International Traditions

A bridegroom ceremony is a common wedding practice in the Sudan. The bridegroom is welcomed to the wedding site with an auspicious decoration called the umbul-umbul, a type of ‘wedding announcement’. The mother of the bride gives the bridegroom a garland of flowers, welcoming him into her family. She also gives him a ‘keris’, a hidden message encouraging him not to be disheartened while toiling for his family.

The bridegroom welcome is followed by a procession of ladies with candles, who pray for the ceremony. The bride and groom sit next to each other under an umbrella in front of the entrance to their future home with a veil covering both of their heads. The umbrella is held over the couple’s head, serving not only a very practical purpose by also symbolizing esteem and respect.

The bride and groom bend forward and kiss the knees of their parents, a ceremony called sungkem, asking for forgiveness and blessing and promising to continue to serve their parents. This wedding ritual is held in front of a gargoyle fountain. Water flowing from the gargoyle suggests the continuous flow of priceless parental love for their children. A chosen man and woman, sing a special song called kidung on behalf of the parents, advising the couple to treat each other well and to live in harmony. Kidung also invokes blessing upon the couple.

An egg breaking ceremony, called nincak endog, requires the couple to stand facing each other in front of their house. The bridegroom stands outside the entrance and the bride stands inside. The ceremony is conducted by the Sudanese equivalent of an American ‘maid of honor’, who remains an advisor throughout the marriage. In this ceremony, seven broomsticks are burnt and thrown away, dramatizing the discarding of bad habits which endanger married life.

The groom is pronounced master of his house when the egg is broken. His bride cleans the his foot with water from a kendi, an earthen water jug which represents peace. Then she breaks the kendi and crosses over a log into the house, demonstrating willing obedience to her future husband. She is fed a dish of turmeric sticky rice with yellow spiced chicken to symbolize the last time the parents of the bride will feed their daughter.

The groom remains outside for another ceremony, which is enacted before him by a couple who sing. During this ceremony, the groom, via the vocalists, requests to enter his bride’s house, and she consents when he agrees to confirm his Moslem faith. Having done so, the couple is given a barbecued spiced chicken to pull apart on a signal from the ‘maid of honor’. According to tradition, the one who gets the larger piece will bring in the larger share of the family fortune. The ceremony also portrays the importance of working together to acquire fortune.

Following the wedding ceremony, dancers shower the bride and groom with wedding flowers to insure a fragrant future for the couple. A sawer, made of turmeric rice, coins, and candy, is thrown at the couple. Rice is a symbol of prosperity, and yellow is for everlasting love. The coins remind the couple to share their wealth with the less fortunate, and the candy bestows sweetness and fragrance upon their marriage. Seven candles are lit representing the direction the couple should follow to bring about a happy married life. A betel nut set near the couple is a reminder that different customs should not spoil a harmonious marriage.