Picturesque Photos by Amanda: Joy & Ben’s Ceremony & Reception

Check out this blog post by Amanda on May 22, 2012. This wedding is a great example of how simplicity, elegance and a dash of fun can come together. Not to mention how memories can be caught for a lifetime by a wonderfully skilled photographer. If you ever had any question as to why you should hire a professional photographer, hopefully, this will be your answer.

Exposure Shot by Picturesque Photos by Amanda

A Love That Lasts: Respect the institution, but love the person

A Love That Lasts is a book that I found that shares insights from couples that have been married for 50 years and beyond. I tought who would know more about the secrets to a lasting marriage that that?!

This is the advise from Tom and Judy Harper – married November 29, 1947.

Much is said about the importance of “being committed to marriage”. But for the Harpers, commitment to an instituion – even one as time-honored as marriage – left them a bit cold. “I believe strongly in marriage,” Tom says, “but I’ve always focused on being committed to Judy, to her as a person.”

Judy adds, “Our love and passion is for each other. That’s what inspires us every day and what has brought us through some very difficult times. Illness. Crumbling finances. The physical changes that age brings. What I’ve learned through it all is this: You can respect, even revere, an instituion or ideal, but I’ve never been in love with one. I’m in love with Tom.”

Wow! I hope that after being married for 64 years, all of us can say that we are still “in love” with the person that we are married to.

Photo Flair – Stylish ideas for engagement sessions

If you are looking for some creative locales and ideas for your engagement session, we have some for you. All of these photos were taken in Northeast Oklahoma, but could translate to almost any locale. A special thanks to Andrea Murphy Photography, Storybook Wedding Photography and Artworks Tulsa Photography for sharing their fabulous photos.

Storybook Wedding Photography Storybook Wedding Photography

Who Gives a Wedding Toast and Who Shouldn’t?

The classic wedding toast is the rousing, funny, and slightly sentimental best man’s wedding toast. But he doesn’t have to be the only one to raise a glass to the happy couple! Here are the people you might want to ask to give a wedding toast:

  • The Best Man (or Groom’s Honor Attendant) This is the one that’s most traditional, and is as close to non-optional as it gets. He makes people laugh a little bit, and maybe makes them cry when he talks about how much he loves the couple and adds some wise thoughts for their future.  Tips on Giving a Great Best Man Speech
  • The Maid of Honor (or Bride’s Honor Attendant) Why should it only be the groom’s best friend who gets to tell funny stories and sweet sentiments? Though not traditional, it’s becoming far more common for the maid of honor also to give a short wedding speech.  It can be similar to the best man’s but with her own personality and style.
  • The Parents If the bride’s father pays for the wedding, it is his job as host to welcome everyone and thank them for coming. Hopefully, he’s already shared the sentimental stuff at the rehearsal dinner so that this toast can be just a brief welcoming statement. However, if it was a joint effort to pay for the wedding, all of the parents may stand together as one of them gives a welcome on behalf of them all. If the couple has paid for the wedding entirely, then they can give this speech, but should omit any toasting.
  • The Happy Couple This isn’t really a wedding toast, as the couple can’t raise a glass to themselves. But it is nice if they take the mike for a few moments. If they write and give the toast together, then they say thanks to everyone for coming, and especially to their parents and wedding party for everything they’ve done. If only the groom gives the toast, he first thanks the guests, and then his parents. He not only thanks his new spouse’s parents, but he also expresses his happiness at being a part of their family. He finishes by turning to his bride, saying how proud he is to be her husband and how much he loves her. (And hopefully they finish off with a loving kiss!)

Who Shouldn’t Give a Wedding Toast

  • Anyone who’s drunk has no business on the microphone. Drunken wedding toasts are bound to be rambling, incoherent, and embarrassing. If your best man has gone overboard on cocktails, ask another groomsman to take him outside to sober up.  With any luck, he’ll be able to give an eloquent and dignified speech before the night is through. If you’re not that lucky, then there’s no reason you can’t skip it. Better no speech at all than something mortifying!
  • Tell your DJ or band leader not to give the mike to any unauthorized would-be toasters – even if they’re not drunk, you don’t need to allow anyone and everyone who’s feeling loquacious to take the floor. Save the honor for your nearest and dearest, and let other wellwishers express their feelings in a card!
  • If you’re looking at your reception timeline, you may prefer to save more time for dancing, mingling, or eating, rather than having so many wedding toasts. Certainly, you’re not required to have any at all. More commonly, however, is to just have the best man’s speech, saving any other tributes for the rehearsal dinner.

This is a great article that I found on

Wedding Traditions from Around the World

by Susan Southerland, PWG Contributor

It is a challenge to make your wedding planning unique amongst all the weddings you and your friends will attend together. One of the most fun and creative ways to make your wedding stand out is to use a tradition from your family or religious background. The following are some customs from around the world that you may be able to use to make your special day a little different.

  • Wedding cakes in France were typically a Croque en Bouche (pastry balls filled with cream and stacked in a pyramid then drizzled in caramel). What a great change from the traditional wedding cake.
  • The French may have started the “after party” as well. Cheverie is the tradition of guests clanking pots and making noise in front of the honeymoon suite. Traditionally the groom invites the guests in the room for some snacks and drinks. The noisier part of this tradition might not go over very well if the honeymoon suite is in a crowded hotel or bed and breakfast, but if you plan to spend the night at home, invite your friends back for a while.
  • Jumping the Broom has become a very popular African tradition in wedding planning. Slaves could not legally marry, so to symbolize a bond between husband and wife, the couple would jump a broom to start their new beginning together.
  • Candied almonds are traditionally served at Italian weddings. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the candy is said to remind everyone that marriage is for better and for worse. Life is bitter and sweet.
  • Another fun Italian wedding planning tradition is to cut up the groom’s tie and auction the pieces off for money. Cash is given to the bride and groom to use on their honeymoon.
  • Traditional Japanese weddings include the ceremonial drinking of sake. The bride and groom drink nine cups of sake, symbolizing the bonding of the couple. Family and guests also drink sake to reaffirm the bond.
  • Traditionally Indian brides are decorated with henna prior to the wedding. At some wedding celebrations Mehndi artists are hired to decorate the hands and feet of wedding guests to wish the new bride happiness and luck in her future.
  • At the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom steps on a glass and breaks it. This wedding planning custom has a couple of explanations. One states that the noise will scare away evil spirits, the other states that the couple will stay married as long as it takes to reassemble the glass.
  • Having a piper lead the processional and recessional is a great way to incorporate Celtic tradition into your wedding planning. Hiring a ceilidh band for the cocktail hour or party is another great way to add Celtic flavor.
  • At Russian weddings, a friend of the couple gives a toast at the beginning of the reception. All of the guests are to drink the champagne and throw the glasses to the floor. If the glass breaks when it hits, it is considered good luck for the bride and groom. Again, this is a tradition that works best at home rather than in a public reception facility.

This is just a small selection of ways to incorporate ethnic traditions into your wedding planning. The Internet is a valuable resource to find all kind of unusual ways to celebrate a wedding day. From ceremony to dinner and dancing, there are thousands of year’s worth of customs to try.

For more ideas and inspiration go to Perfect Wedding Guide.

Wedding Color: Creating Your Signature Style

Perfect Wedding Guide is providing a free e-book on creating your signature style by using the right colors. Here’s some more information:

Weddings have come a long way from traditional white and ivory. From hot pink wedding gowns to splashes of bold-colored lights shining on the walls, no color is off limits on your wedding day!

But how do you know which color goes well with another color? How many colors are too many? Which color should you choose? In this free eBook, Wedding Color: Creating Your Signature Style, we’ll help you find the perfect palette for your wedding, and share the hottest colors for 2012 that brides across the country are adopting for their wedding day style.

Download your copy.

PWG Tulsa Bridal Show

The Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show Tulsa is fast approaching. It will be at the Tulsa Convention Center in the Tulsa Ballrooms on March 4, 2012 from noon to 4.

The Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show offers an elegant and fun opportunity to plan your wedding and connect with leading wedding professionals in Tulsa, Oklahoma–all in one day, at one place. Be inspired with great ideas in a no-stress atmosphere.

Find the perfect menu, wedding accessories, flowers, wedding planners, venues–everything you need to make your wedding day as perfect as you’ve imagined.

Make the most of your most precious resource, time –and put some fun in your wedding planning. Pre-register early and receive BOGO tickets (this will save you $5 per ticket)!

Check out this video from our last show.

Tips For Attending a Bridal Show

Bridal Shows are a great way to get information and ideas for your special day, but for some it can be overwhelming. At the Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show, we do our best to make the event fun, relaxed and inviting. Here are a few tips to help you prepare and enjoy the show.

1. Preregister online to save time and money at the door. For our show you can go to to register in advance.

2. Bring preprinted lables that include your mame, contact information & wedding date. These can be used for entering contests and registering for giveaways.

3. Use the show as an interview process. Take the time to talk with potential vendors and see if your personalities are going to mesh. Don’t just pick up information to sort through later. It becomes harder to place the vendor with items/services that you want.

4. Attend the planning classrooms that are provided. This is a great way to take some of the stress out of your wedding planning.

5. If you are out of town, you can send a friend or mother to attend in your place.

6. Have FUN!

7 Steps for Setting (and following) a Wedding Budget.

Setting a wedding essentials budget is a smart way to stay on track with spending during your wedding planning. Here we offer a practical step-by-step guide to help keep things sailing smoothly toward your big day.

Step 1: Take a Realistic Look at Your Finances

If you and your fiance are handling to the bulk of the wedding costs, figure up how you can each comfortably contribute to the budget without going into the red (starting a marriage in debt is not a wise decision!). Money is a touchy subject, and being honest and upfront about how much you have to spend on your wedding will not only squash confusion, it will also lay the foundation for how to resolve money issues once you’re married.

Step 2: Be selective with the guest list

An important step in setting your wedding essentialsbudget is to determine how many people you will want to invite to your ceremony and reception. The guest list dictates the amount of space you’ll need to accommodate your well-wishers, the quantity of food caterers must prepare for the reception meal, and other key budgetary considerations. Besides, it’s a no-brainer that the less people you invite, the less you’ll need to spend!

Step 3: Verify if others plan to contribute to your wedding expenses

Families of the bride and groom will often offer to pay for some—if not all—of the wedding essentials expenses. If you’re uncomfortable asking your parents for cash, how about asking them to purchase certain items like the wedding cake, or let them pick up the tab for the rehearsal dinner. Whether your family pays a portion of your wedding costs or foots the entire bill, having others contribute to your wedding budget will certainly relieve the stress of limited cash flow.

Step 4: Open a separate “wedding” account to track spending

Once you’ve pulled your wedding funds together, you’ll want to place them into a bank account solely devoted to paying wedding expenses. This way you won’t mix everyday money with your specially allocated funds.

Step 5: Determine where you want to spend the most/least

Some wedding essentials-centered items and services automatically come with a hefty price tag. Point blank. Period. But knowing where to shell out the big bucks and where to cut costs can make all the difference in your planning. Create a list of wedding services that you don’t mind spending more money on, and those that you’ll be fine with scaling back from. For example, you might want to hire a pricey, but renowned wedding photographer to snap every moment of your wedding day, but opt for a beer and wine only reception instead of an open bar. No matter where you choose to save or spend, it should be something you can both agree on.

Step 6: Pick a financially-feasible wedding essentials date

Certain times of year are more expensive for having a wedding. Holidays generate the most money in the wedding industry (Labor Day weekend, Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years). Vendors are also in higher demand, so expect an up-charge in services if you’re setting a date around these times. However, if you’re able to show flexibility with your wedding date, you’ll find some great deals. And never be afraid to negotiate—many wedding wedding essentialsvendors are willing to work around your budget.

Step 7: Resist the urge to splurge

It’s easy to get swept up in all things opulent when dreaming of your wedding day. You want everything to be perfect . . . but not at the expense of a small fortune. As Step 5 states that while it’s OK to pay a little more for big ticket items (i.e. food and beverage, photography, floral design), you should still remember to impart good judgment with your spending. For instance, as much as you’d love to give each of your bridal attendants Swarovski crystal picture frames as “thank you” gifts, there are less-expensive options they’ll appreciate just as much as the pricier versions. Remember to shop smarter when selecting items for your wedding; you’ll soon find that most everything under the sun has a less-expensive counterpart.
Setting a wedding essentials budget is the best way to manage spending as you plan your wedding. Knowing exactly what you can (and cannot) afford will help you better communicate with vendors, and each other, as you prepare for the wedding day of your dreams.
For more planning ideas and tips go to

Wedding Receptions: 10 ways to get your guest involved

The best wedding receptions occur when you can feel the love in the room. It’s magical! You step inside the ballroom and all the guests are engaged. Even if they aren’t on the dance floor, they are swaying in their seats. Every bride and groom wants a wedding reception just like that. Making sure your guests get involved with your wedding isn’t difficult; it just takes a bit of planning. Follow a few of these suggestions and you will most certainly have a magical evening!

Photo by Storybook Wedding Photography

1. Start on Time. Don’t keep your guests waiting. Sitting around at the ceremony or staning at the cocktail hour (especially in the heat or cold) for an extended amount of time will frustrate your guests. Frustrated guests typically want to eat, drink and leave.

2. Interact with your guests. Greet as many as you can and thank them for coming. This thoughtful guesture will make each of your guests feel wedcome and loved.

3. Add personal touches. Old photographs, personalized place cards and memorable songs will engage your guests and draw them into the evening’s activities.

4. Provide conversations starters. If many of your guests don’t know each other, consider having place cards with trivia questions about you and your groom. Questions like “How did Susie and Bob meet?” or “Where did Bob propose?” will get people talking.

5. Be active in your reception. Guest take their cues from the newlyweds. If you are up dancing, your guests will be, too.

6. Play music that appeals to a variety of attendees. Start out with music that everyone recognizes and build up to the songs you and your friends like as the evening progresses.

7. Keep all entertainment inside the reception room. Anything that draws your guests away from the reception room will detract from the reception. Photo booths, photo presentations, caricature artists, etc. should all be stationed inside the reception room.

8. Make sure the music isn’t too loud. If the music drowns out conversation at the guests’ tables, they are more likely to walk out of the reception room to take a break from the sound. As the reception room empties, the party will slow down.

9. Keep the party moving. According to traditional etiquette, it is proper to leave only after the cake is cut. Holding guests “hostage” if they want to leave isn’t a good way to get them involved. Cutting the cake after dinner allows the guests who want to eat dessert and leave to feel comfortable doing so. Leave the partying to those who want to party.

10. Allow group dances. Most people who don’t feel comfortable dancing solo will join a big group on the dance floor. Some couples shy away from them because they think that group dances are “cheesy”. They are so many from which to choose that you and your band or DJ can find one that will work well with your group.

 For more planning tips, pick up a copy of Perfect Wedding Guide or go to