How Many Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

12864020_SWhen it comes to planning a wedding, there are likely hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions you have to make. This is truer of course when you’re having a larger ceremony, but even the smallest, most informal of weddings still require a few decisions to be made. One of these decisions is how many bridesmaids and groomsmen you should have. And while the number is up to you, we’re here to provide you with a few tips.

If you plan on having a very formal wedding with hundreds of guests, you will typically want to have anywhere from 6-10 bridesmaids and groomsmen. This is especially true if you are having the ceremony in a large venue, mostly just because having more people will help fill in some space. Also, groomsmen often double as ushers, so more are ideal if you have a lot of guests.

For smaller, semi-formal weddings, anywhere from 1-6 is generally recommended. In this case, it’s really up to you and your fiancé, but having at least a few is typically a good idea. Of course, sometimes people have small casual weddings and only have one, two, or maybe even none.

This is also true for people who are getting married for the second time, and for people who have late-in-life weddings. But again, the choice is yours, and it really just depends on how many people you want to have at the ceremony, and how involved you want them to be in the event.

These tips are just guidelines to help you along the planning process. For more tips and suggestions, keep checking back with our blog!

How to Have a Stress-Free Wedding

2147398_SYour wedding should be one of the most joyous, memorable days in your entire life, and it likely will be, but the weeks and months leading up to the event are often very stressful. Fortunately, we’re here to tell you that getting married doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. In fact, it shouldn’t be stressful at all. There are many ways that people stress themselves out in period of time between getting engaged and actually tying the know, but the following tips can help you relax and stay calm.

The most important thing you should do is be open with your fiancé. If there is an aspect of the wedding that you are worrying about, don’t take on the burden alone. What may seem like a complex problem could have a simple solution. No matter what you are worrying about, keeping it bottled up inside will likely only make your feel worse. You should be able to trust your spouse with anything. After all, you are signing up to spend the rest of your lives together. So why not make use of that trust and support by asking for help when you are feeling overwhelmed?

Atlanta Lesbian wedding officiant. Marietta Gay and Lesbian weddings. Rabbi Steve LebowAnother way to reduce stress about your wedding is just to accept the fact that something will go wrong. We’re not talking about anything catastrophic. But many people believe that a wedding ceremony and reception has to go off without a hitch in order for it to be a success, and that’s simply not the case. Odds are someone will make a mistake, and there will be a minor problem or two. On the big day, it will likely be something so small you won’t even realize it. So don’t waste countless hours worrying about every potential scenario before it actually happens.

We’re here to help you have the wedding of your dreams, and we want the entire experience to be as happy and stress-free as possible. For more weddings tips and suggestions, keep checking back with Atlanta Jewish & Interfaith Weddings!

Tips for Planning an Outdoor Wedding

22153231_S(1)Wedding season will soon be here, which means the temperature is rising and outdoor ceremonies are becoming more common. While an outdoor wedding may not be perfect for every couple, there are a few great advantages of having one. Of course, there are some downsides of walking down the aisle outside, but the following tips should help you plan the perfect outdoor wedding.

Possibly the most important thing you need to do is have a backup plan. While the chances are slim, there is always the possibility that it will rain on your big day. While some storms only last a few moments and can be waited out, occasionally you will have to deal with heavy rain, wind, and even lighting that lasts for hours. If this is the case, having a backup location or even tents is a smart move.

Another thing to keep in mind when outdoors is the acoustics. Voices and music travel easily in most churches, even to the people who are sitting in the last pew. But depending on your location, it may be harder to hear for guests at your outdoor ceremony. You can solve this potential problem by renting a sound system and outfitting anyone who needs to speak during the ceremony with a microphone.

Marraige Equality Jewish Lesbian RabbiFinally, while the day is all about you and your loved one, keeping the comfort of your guests in mind is also important. This is especially true on very hot and humid days. Consider handing out bottles of water and even wedding programs that will be able to double as fans.

These are just a few tips to help you get started when it comes to planning your outdoor wedding. Remember every wedding is different, so do what works best for you and your spouse!

How to Add Southern Charm to Your Wedding

7771126_SThere is nothing quite like southern charm, and southern weddings can be some of the most fun and joyous events you will ever attend. But if you are getting ready to throw your own wedding and you want to make sure it has that right amount of southern appeal for your guests, we can help. Take a look at the following tips and incorporate any or all of them into your big day.

Setting up your reception is very important, and you will likely have many aspects of the venue to plan and decide upon, including what type of centerpieces the tables will have. For most southern weddings, flowers like spray roses, succulents, and garden roses will look great. Add a decorative cotton tablecloth and your reception will instantly have that classic southern look.

Family is incredibly important to most southerners, and can be reflected by displaying antiques, silver pieces, or any other type of meaningful belongings that have been passed down through generations. In addition to representing your family, these pieces can add a personal touch to your venue that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.

Another way to emphasize family and recreate large southern dinners is by having one or multiple long tables at the reception. This will give the impression of a family gathering where everyone is joining at the table to share a meal.

These are just a few of the ways you can enhance your reception to give it a classic southern feel. Of course, the specifics of your ceremony and venue are up to you and your fiancé, so take some time to decide what type of look and feel is right for the two of you!

Millennials Don’t Hate Marriage!

Bearded HipsterThere has been much debate regarding whether or not marriage is as important to millennials as it has been to past generations, and a new study is only adding fuel to that fire. Last year, the Pew Research Center surveyed Americans across the country, asking whether or not they were single and how important marriage was to each of them. The results showed that the number of unmarried people is higher than it’s ever been. Going along with those findings, the results indicated that people viewed marriage as increasingly less important. But does that mean the institution of marriage is in trouble? Not so fast.

There are several reasons that could account for these results, many of which the researchers point out themselves. The average age that people choose to get married is on the rise, and many people are choosing to live together and have children before they even think about tying the knot. But that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually just get married, just the common order of doing things is getting swapped around.

Hipster CoupleEssentially, millennials don’t think marriage is essential to any society, but that doesn’t mean they are against or won’t eventually get married themselves. In fact, another survey shows that more than 70% of high school students still think having a good marriage is very important. Some people think that millennials are simply choosing marriage less often, or at least not right away, for financial reasons. Another factor to consider is that millennials are less likely to judge whether or not something like marriage is an important decision, because they are more open to a wide range of lifestyles. Their lack of interest in passing judgment on marriage could make it seem like they are against it, when it’s really the opposite.

So, it’s safe to say marriage isn’t going anywhere. The only thing changing is people’s perception of it. Society is becoming more diverse, which is a good thing for everyone.


The Top Three Things Your Wedding Video Should Include

30515178_SPlanning your wedding and reception is a full-time job that can have huge returns for yourself, your partner, and your family and friends. The wedding is sure to be an emotional, life-changing moment and the reception is guaranteed to be a party that no one is going to forget soon. However, having a way to relive the day at the height of its glory is absolutely paramount. So we’ve put together a list of the top three things your wedding video should include so as to assure you don’t lose a moment of it!

First, make sure your videographer gets the personal vows on film. Adrenaline is running so high during the ceremony that it can be easy to remember only snippets of what was said to each other. Whether your vows are self-written or quotes borrowed from others, being able to relive that moment is a huge part of the wedding video.

Next, it’s not just what was going on, but what was said. Having fantastic audio makes a wedding video. Speeches, first dances, toasts, and candid banter between guests should all be highlights in your video. Make sure the audio tech and your DJ or band is working together so that nothing gets lost in translation on film.

Finally, pick a videographer who can find the character in your wedding. Whether it’s the mother-of-the-bride crying during the exchanging of the rings or the best man cracking up at an inopportune moment during toasts, be sure to catch it. Yes, your wedding is about the two people exchanging vows, but it’s also about remembering those candid moments from your family and friends. Catch not only the actions, but also the reactions.

And for an officiant that brings out the character of everyone involved, contact Rabbi Lebow at Atlanta Jewish & Interfaith Weddings today!


Choosing a Budget for Your Wedding

Wedding BudgetYour wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and most couples plan accordingly. Choosing a budget for the wedding always comes with a lot of advice from planners, friends, family, and anyone you’re showing rings too. But there’s a lot of false information out there so we put together a few urban myths regarding cutting wedding costs to take into account before planning your day.

One of the most pervasive myths is that Friday receptions cost less than Saturday receptions. This probably comes from venues offering specials like a minimum budget of $10,000 on Friday versus $15,000 for Saturday nights. However, take into account how many guests you’re planning on inviting. If the cost of food and beverages is about $100 a head, inviting 150 guests will cost you as much both nights. For real budgeters, hosting a brunch or lunch reception is much more cost effective than dinners for everyone.

Backyard weddings and weddings in public park’s offer a free venue. However, they don’t include catering, restrooms, decorations, or seating for the ceremony. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Many venues offer huge discounts and package deals, so be sure to crunch the numbers for everything, not just the space before making your decision.

Choosing groomsmen and bridesmaids can be a great way to get your guests involved in the wedding. However, the size of your wedding party drastically impacts the budget for the wedding. Remember that hair and makeup for each bridesmaid ups the price by at least $100. Small things like centerpieces and runners for the head table at the reception can also increase depending on how large your wedding party is.

In order to keep your budget for the wedding in order, use a free online wedding calculator. There are dozens to choose from to keep yourself on track. And for an officiant that perfectly marries professionalism and that personal touch, contact Atlanta Jewish & Interfaith Weddings today!


Planning Your Wedding in 2015

New Year 2015No matter how large or small your wedding will be, you will likely spend months planning it, if not longer. However, once the ceremony is over, the reception is finished, and all of your friends and family have returned home, it’s time for you and your newly wedded spouse to take a vacation. While most of your effort may go in to planning the wedding, taking some time to think about your honeymoon well in advance is always a good idea. Follow these tips to get the most out of the first vacation of your married life.

There are many reasons why you should plan ahead. Not only will you be able to secure lower rates for flights if you plan on traveling across the country or overseas, but you can weigh your options and find the right place for your honeymoon. You and your spouse may think you want to go to one particular destination, but after reading more about it change your mind completely. Making these decisions early on will give you the extra time you need to be able to do some research.

Knowing your budget is also essential. You don’t want to return home from your honeymoon and find you’re in debt. Make a simple budget that covers the major expenses, including travel, lodging, and meals so you have a rough idea of how much you will be spending. Of course, being spontaneous can be fun, so you don’t want to kill the mood by having every single hour of your week planned out in advance.

Other things you should figure out in advance is what dates you will be gone, the locations of some of the major sights you want to visit, and whether or not your trip will require a visa. For more tips about honeymoons, and of course weddings, keep checking back with our blog!

True Love Is Hard to Find and Even Harder to Keep

13532967_SIt is easy to fall in love. It’s even easy to be in love. It is, however, very hard to keep love and to grow in it. But as with most hard things, it is very much so an endeavor worthy of effort. Margaret Paul, Ph.D. of the Huffington Post has shared a few of her thoughts on how to keep and grow love in the long term. We, in turn, would like to share some of those with you.

Paul’s idea is that love flows between open hearts. At the beginning, our hearts are wide open to new experiences and shared perspectives with our partners. As we grow together, we often react to romantic relationships by starting to narrow the passages into our hearts. It follows that if both partners strive toward the same goal, keeping that passage wide and clear, love will not only last, but blossom.

Behaviors that can cause a closing of that line in our partner’s are often rooted in control, be it overt or covert. Overt controls include anger, criticism, defensiveness, righteousness, and violence. Covert controls include withdrawal, lying, resistance, and denial, among others. Controlling behaviors are an attempt to change the other person, rather than ourselves, which diminishes love in an unwillingness to open ourselves up.

The best way to fight behaviors like this is to replace them, as often as possible, with behaviors that reflect prioritizing loving yourself and giving love to your partner over getting love (which is really what controlling behaviors are all about). Being honest and authentic, without blame or judgment, is a huge part of positively interacting with your partner. That also means taking responsibility for your own feelings of worth, joy, anger, pain, and security is a priority, rather than leaning on your partner to provide those things.

Finally, both partners need to be committed to loving and learning. Mistakes, disagreements, outside strife, will happen. The trick is not falling into a lucky, mad love; it is prioritizing open communication and working through issues together in times of trial.

If you and your partner are ready to keep and grow in love, contact Rabbi Lebow of Atlanta Jewish & Interfaith Weddings today. We can’t wait to help you along on your journey.



Lighten the Mood a Bit

8964051_SWhen it comes to weddings, most people take the ceremony very seriously and expect to save the fun for the reception. We’re here to tell you that doesn’t always have to be the case, and many couples are deciding to take a different approach. While the ceremony shouldn’t be taken lightly, there are a few things you and your guests can do to lighten the mood and have a little fun.

One idea is to have some untraditional readings. Instead of the same passages that have been read thousands of times, why not pick something that has some extra special meaning to you and your loved one? You could read a quote from a book both of you love, or a passage that has a special sentimental value to your relationship. This doesn’t mean you have to do away with reading religious text, but it can be a fun addition to the standard fare.

Another idea is to involve your guests in some way. While the ceremony is and should be all about you and your loved one, it can’t hurt to forget all of those friends and family who came to see you. For example, you could make everyone feel special by staging a group photo shoot at the end of the ceremony, rather than having everyone try to snap a picture from their seats.

You can also include your guests by having them pass around the rings before the ceremony. This allows everyone to see them up close before they find their permanent home on your fingers. More importantly, this can be seen as a blessing where everyone can wish you would before you are married.

These are just a few ideas you can use to include your guests, have some fun, and overall make your wedding an even more memorable experience. We are always eager to hear your own thoughts and wedding ideas, so let us know what you have in mind!