Monday, May 23, 2011

Being a Gracious Gift Receiver

Engagements begin an onslaught of gift buying and receiving. Which end of the process you are on often depends on who you are in the wedding scenario. If you are a bride or groom, you may be up to your nuptials in wrapping paper. Most of the gifts to you will be from family and friends. However, many couples give gifts to each other, and therein lies the potential for a great token of love to be offered and received -- or feelings to be hurt intensely at an already emotionally-charged time.

In my experience (and after so many years, it is vast and varied)women tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to being lousy recipients of presents. There is a tendency to be a critic of what is being offered, and to ignore the intent of the giver. Of particular annoyance to me is the unrealistic expectation of many brides (probably spurred on by television commercials and the often predatory "wedding industry") over the appropriate size and cost of engagement rings. An engagement ring is a gift. It is a token of love and affection. Being a pill about carat size is not just ungracious -- it's greedy.

I knew one groom who spent weeks shopping for and outfitting a toolbox for his fiancee to carry with her in the trunk of her car when she traveled. He humbled himself and bought "cute" tools, and all kinds of road flares, reflectors, etc. His underlying message was, "I want you to be safe and taken care of no matter where you are." Fortunately, his bride understood his intention, and made a big fuss (in the good sense) over his gift. He loved her, he showed it in his efforts, and she responded with love in return. That's the way it's supposed to go.

It's a rough world, and the way we pay tribute to each other is incredibly important. Try to be sensitive to the underlying motive and message of what your beloved selects not only for an engagement or wedding gift -- but for anniversary presents, Mothers Day, birthdays, etc. I think the saddest words I ever hear anybody say about a spouse -- and one's that are a heads-up for potential problems later on -- are, "She/he never likes anything I do."

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Word to Photographers About the Marriage License

I take the proper signing of the marriage license very seriously, for my couples who are fortunate enough to be recognized as legal partners in the state where I officiate weddings. I also understand the "photo op" characteristics of the signing of a marriage license. I get it. However, I have begun to get testy when a photographer grabs the license away from a couple mid-signature to get a better angle, or otherwise interferes with the execution of a very important document. It's not a prop. It's an important piece of paper that has often created many challenges for a couple to procure.

I am tolerant of whatever photos a photographer and a couple agree they want. I will cooperate with almost anything. However, I am beginning to push back -- HARD -- when the license is manhandled or not treated with the seriousness that it deserves. It's my responsibility to make sure that it is signed, sealed, and delivered in accordance with the law. My couples deserve at least that much from me.

Virginia's House -- Yesterday Meets Today's Weddings

Natalie Stahl, owner of Virginia’s House and co-founder of the West Valley Wedding Association, takes pride in the family-like atmosphere and attention she devotes to brides that marry in her home. Virginia’s House is the West Valley’s original "boutique" event venue.

Founded in November 1998, this charming wedding and reception venue is located in historic downtown Glendale. Virginia’s House is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places as the CH Tinker home, built in 1913. The grounds include the home, a spacious lawn with gazebo for ceremonies, stunning flower gardens, and a covered patio for receptions.

While Virginia’s House can accommodate parties of up to 125 people, Natalie notes that a trend she has seen for fall 2011 and spring 2012 is that “weddings/receptions are getting smaller (guest size). Our economic climate has forced people to pare down their parties while still keeping them memorable and fantastic.”

Unlike many venues that are new to the wedding business, Natalie has more than a decade of experience “giving our brides the best possible wedding experience with the vendors that I love the most.”

This experience, she says, differentiates Virginia’s House from other wedding reception venues. “We have been in business since 1998 and have learned the ropes. We have lots of weddings under our belt and lots of continuing friends because of it. We love our brides like family and try to stay in touch with them,” Natalie added.

This personalized experience is one of the reasons Virginia’s House has won WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2010, they were awarded the Ruth Byrne Historic Preservation Award.

While Virginia’s House is known for hosting weddings and receptions, they actually hold many kinds of events, including showers, luncheons, retirement parties and even proms. Wedding prices range from $150-$3,675. For brides on a budget, Natalie stated, “Is our pricing outside your budget? Just ask. There are many ways we can help trim it down to fit. We even have all-inclusive packages if that’s what you’re looking for.”

Natalie’s dedication to making a wedding memorable and stress-free is evident in her advice to Phoenix area brides and grooms: “Have fun! This is one of the greatest times of your lives – make it memorable for the right reasons. And let us help where we can. We’ve been doing this a long time and can help take the stress away.”

Contact information:
Address: 6838 N. 59th Drive, Glendale, AZ
Phone: 623.435.0878