Weddings of the World: Fiji

Weddings of the World: Fiji

Getting married on the Fijian islands is a girl’s dream – clear blue water, white sand, and beautiful traditions can make for an unforgettable wedding.

Though modern Fijians rarely participate in arranged marriages, brides were traditionally chosen by the groom’s parents based on her tribal background. For them, the partnership was more than two people getting married, it was two families being bonded economically and socially, forever. The traditional Fijian wedding ceremony is called tevutevu. “Tevu” means to spread, and describes how Fijian families shower the new couple and in-laws with a spread of gifts like mats, cloth, pigs, whale’s teeth, and root crops.

The bride is dressed and prepared in traditional costume by her new in-laws to enter her husband’s family home for the first time on the wedding day. Her kuta, or handwoven decorated mat garment, is kept by the women dressing her to be shared with the extended family for years to come. Guests might wear masi garments, which are made of cloth from the bark of a mulberry tree hand-decorated with Fijian designs.

Like so many wedding traditions across the world, the bride makes a dramatic entrance. She can float in on a Fijian bili bili, which is a beautifully decorated raft paddled by men dressed in warrior attire. Once she’s entered her new husband’s home for the first time, the bride is given away in the Fijian nai soli tradition. This is where it gets emotional! Similarly to when a western father gives away his daughter, the Fijian bride’s uncles present a whale tooth, or tabua, and give their blessings to give her over to her new family. The groom’s uncles thank the bride’s parents and extended family for raising her and welcome her.

Afterward, the two families feast together as one. They will most certainly drink Fiji’s national drink, kava. It’s a spicy, mouth-numbing drink made from the dried roots of a pepper tree that is present at all important social gatherings. It’s painstakingly prepared by hand, and guests are expected to drink it all in one sip without spilling any. Food might be cooked by lovo, where it’s wrapped in banana leaves and heated over and pit of burning coconut husks. At their feast, it’s common to have meke entertainment. Meke is the custom where people sing and dance with traditional instruments like gongs or bamboo pipes. They tell stories of love, warriors, and tradition as a tribute to their beautiful islands. Meke is also a beautiful way to add a touch of early Fijian tradition to your otherwise modern wedding.

Photo Credit: Chloe Jackman Photography – http://173.255.253.231/chloejackman.com/public/filimoni-maca-fijian-celebration-part-1-siga-ni-sosoi-yau-fiji/

Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!

~AW~

 

 

Mahaffey Ever After

Mahaffey Ever After

As a wedding planner we normally work for 6 months to a year, but sometimes due to special circumstances, planning a wedding can take two years. We take every element of the wedding and handle the details to bring it all together seamlessly.

The stationery has to be JUST right since because your wedding invitations are a reflection of your personalities and a visual representation of your love. Thus, they not only provide your guests with the first glimpse of this special day but they also set the expectations. Yes, we’re selecting colors, fabrics, and making sure this day will be the most beautiful day of your life. However, the team at J. Ladson Weddings does much more. We spend countless hours each day ensuring that nothing falls between the cracks and no detail is left unaccounted for.

We conduct vendor reviews to make sure that you have reputable people on your team. We review and negotiate contracts to ensure that you are completely covered and are getting everything promised to you.  Once we have a solid team, we can begin the steps of building your timeline and putting all these tiny and meticulous pieces together. Your wedding is like a very large jigsaw puzzle, it’s elegant and beautiful in design, with very hundreds of pieces from each vendor and a several custom specialty pieces that are unique to the couple.  Each day my team spends several hours making sure that all these tiny shapes and pieces fit intricately together.

Now, imagine that it’s been 623 days and you’re just about to put the final two pieces together and complete your masterpiece. However, right before you can insert that final piece, in walks an angry toddler having the biggest temper tantrum and she flips the entire puzzle on the floor….  Well that’s what COVID-19 did to our April and May brides this year and now we’ve gotta pick up the pieces and finish this puzzle again but with a few new pieces being introduced and shorter time frame.

Luckily, Paul and Breana will still get to celebrate their nuptials on the original planned date with a little help from technology. The family will broadcast the wedding through Zoom and share on Facebook Live. Please join us in congratulating this lucky couple on their special day.

 

 

Weddings of the World: India

Weddings of the World: India

 

 

Indian wedding celebrations are among the world’s most opulent. Filled with guests wearing vibrant colors and jewelry to the ceremonies and rituals that can go on for about three days. On the first day, the new couple performs the Ganesh puja ceremony, where they honor Lord Ganesh, an important Hindu deity. It’s the start to the wedding festivities because worshipping Lord Ganesh ensures a smooth wedding, and a prosperous future as a couple. To prepare for the ceremony the family decorates an alter with Lord Ganesh’s idol, favorite snacks and flowers, incense, and symbolic items. Only the couple, the bridal party, and close family member witness the Ganesh puja blessing.

 

On the second day of an Indian wedding celebration, the women of the family perform the mehndi ceremony. Popularly known as henna, mehndi is a paste used to create beautiful, traditional designs on women’s arms, hands, and feet. The ceremony is a way for her female friends and family to wish her good health and prosperity in her marriage – mehndi is also a natural herbal ingredient and has a cooling sensation meant to soothe the bride’s nerves.

 

A few nights before the wedding, Indian couples hold a sangeet. It’s essentially a party for both sides of the family to get to know each other; guests perform traditional songs and choreographed dance in celebration of the wedding.

The final day is the main ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Though the third day’s itinerary might sound familiar, an Indian ceremony is a bit different than a Western one. To begin, the groom is the one with the big entrance. In the baraat, the grooms enters the ceremony on a decorated white horse. Grooms often use decorated luxury cars or even elephants in place of the white horse. His procession is a party – if there aren’t traditional drums being played, a DJ is playing music while guests celebrate the groom going to meet his bride. The ending of the ceremony comes after the grooms streaks a red powder on his wife’s forehead and ties a black necklace on her. Both symbolize her new status as a married woman. If you didn’t know already, Indian weddings are a huge party and the reception is no exception. There’s lots of folk dancing and a huge variety of food. If you’re a guest at an Indian wedding, be sure to check your invitation for information about which of these days you’ve been invited to. Oftentimes, several of the days are family only.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned once a month for our Weddings of the World blog. Where we will take a deeper look into the cultures and wedding traditions of countries around the world!

~AW~

Winter Wedding Cake Ideas

Winter Wedding Cake Ideas

 

Winter Wedding Cake Ideas

Winter wedding season is here, which means it’s time for glistening color palettes, gleaming fireplaces, and twinkling lights. Your winter wedding celebration can be full of holiday cheer, snowy landscapes, or moody winter hues. 

This is also the year’s slowest wedding season, which means you’ll have less competition for your wedding and event planner, wedding venue, food vendors, and more. 

The winter season is also full of warm and decadent flavors. Take advantage of the season’s warm spices on your wedding cake and at your dessert table. Consider adding in an interactive food station such as an apple cider station or hot cocoa bar. 

Here are some of our favorite winter wedding cake flavors: 

  • Vanilla bean blood orange cake: Blood oranges are winter’s favorite citrus treat. Decorate a traditional vanilla bean cake with aromatic candied blood oranges for a taste guests can’t get any other season. 

 

  • Blackberry yogurt cake: If you are going for a moody winter color palette, consider adding in dazzling purple hues to your wedding cake with fresh blackberries. Consider a yogurt cake base as a healthier alternative to traditional cake. 

 

  • Red velvet cake with coconut frosting: If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas wedding, play up the festive theme with a red velvet cake that is covered in snow. Achieve this holiday look with a delicious coconut cream frosting and winter plant garnishes such as fir or pinecones. 

 

  • Apple cake with apple cider frosting: You can never have too much apple spice during winter and fall. Serve an apple cake that is drizzled in apple cider frosting and caramel sauce. 

 

  • White chocolate raspberry cake: If you and your partner love white chocolate, this is the perfect decadent dessert for your winter wedding. The cake is decorated with swirls of white chocolate and ruby red frosting, making a stunning display with a delicious center. 

 

Check out Zola for more delectable winter cake recipes

 

The Responsible Registry: Putting Your Wedding Gifts Toward Your Future

The Responsible Registry: Putting Your Wedding Gifts Toward Your Future

The Responsible Registry: Putting Your Wedding Gifts Toward Your Future

Brittany Fisher – Creator and Head Writer at Financiallywell.info

Planning a wedding is a very exciting time, and one of the most exciting aspects is putting together your wedding registry. From stocking your kitchen with expensive cookware to registering for your dream honeymoon, creating the registry gives you yet another reason to look forward to your new life together.

Some couples are conservative with their choices, while others might get a bit extravagant. There is no right or wrong way to set up your wedding registry — it’s all about your specific priorities. Many couples, especially those who have been living together or out on their own for a while, don’t really need household items; instead, they want to focus their registry on building a responsible, reliable financial future. If this sounds like you, or you just want to strike a balance between serious and frivolous gifts, we’ve got four suggestions you can explore.

Start a Savings Account

Registering to pad your savings account is a great way to ask for money without feeling awkward with your guests. Some couples feel a certain air of taboo only registering for money, so if the emphasis is on your savings, the wedding guests feel like they are not only celebrating your love but also contributing to your marriage’s success. The number one cause of fights — and unfortunately divorce — for most couples is financial stress. While you may not want to lead with this stat when you invite your wedding guests to give to your savings account, you can let it be known that their gift will help give your marriage peace of mind for a long time.

Life Insurance as a Gift

Registering for a life insurance policy may not be the most romantic of gifts, but it certainly is one of the most responsible, especially if you plan on starting a family together. Life insurance provides financial security for a lot of situations that can be a major burden on a family. For example, final expense insurance can help your family recover financially after an unexpected death. Do some research to find the right policy for your lifestyle and income level, and then talk with a representative on how to get up your policy as a gift people can contribute toward.

Collect for a Down Payment on a Home

Many responsible couples will set their registry sights on one big-ticket item, like a down payment on a house. Most lenders agree that a 20 percent down payment is your best chance of getting approved for a home loan and getting lower monthly payments. For a home costing $200,000 — the national average for the United States — that means a $40,000 down payment is ideal. For many couples, it may be unrealistic to expect to get the full down payment for a home through cash wedding gifts, but you might be surprised how much more quickly you can get to that number when you have a good chunk already set aside.

Get Debt-Free (or Almost Free)

Nearly two-thirds of all marriages start out with debt. The national average for wedding gift money is around $150, which can quickly add up to help pay down credit cards, pay off cards, or make a real dent in your student loans. Of course, it might feel awkward to talk about debt with your wedding guests; it helps to explain to your guests that their gift will help you and your partner start your marriage off with a clean slate. For the very brave and transparent, you can even make a game of it. Create a chart with all your lenders and the amount of debt and let people drop their gifts in a bucket that goes toward a specific kind of debt. Offer a special prize to the category that gets to $0 debt first by the end of the reception.

Building a registry at Bed, Bath, and Beyond is fun. You can imagine a whole new style with your soon-to-be-spouse. And gifts that prioritize financial stability can also do the same — it’s all about how you present it to your guests and get them interactive and engaged. You’ll be thankful when you are eating off your same old plates in your brand new home.

Thanks for your time,
Brittany Fisher
Creator and Head Writer at Financiallywell.info
brittanyfisher@financiallywell.info

Weddings of the World – South Sudan

Weddings of the World – South Sudan

 

Being a South Sudanese bride is an extravagant and joyous experience filled with overwhelming celebration, community, tradition, love and exclusive treatments. It is not a simple one-day event, but a continuous year of celebration. 

So before he can put a ring on it, your hubby-to-be and his male relatives must go to the bride’s home to ask for permission to marry. Both families conduct a “background check” to evaluate the family and tribal history. Once approved, the male elders of both families set up meetings to negotiate on the bride price. Bride price must be paid for the bride, by the groom, typically with the help of his whole extended family. Many factors are taken into account when deciding on the amount, such as level of education, family status, physical qualities, and others. Back in Africa, these payments may be made through assets such as cows, goats, gold, and more, but in the US, it would be translated to $$$. 

On the date the groom is ready to pay the specified amount, a big “engagement party” is hosted. It is usually at a venue with lots of food, dancing, gifts exchanged, and traditional attire. This is also when the groom is supposed to officially give the bride her engagement ring. 

A South Sudanese bride is pampered like royalty during her entire wedding experiences by the women of the community. The home is a continuous festive place for the bride with lots of dancing, gifts, advice and joy surrounding her. Special indulging such as homemade sugar body waxes, scrub and bath treatments, and other lavish regimens start weeks in advance to prepare the bride to be glowing and gorgeous her big day.

A few days before the wedding, the bride-to-be spends hours receiving beautiful intricate henna designs from her fingers to forearms and toes to ankles. Some brides in South Sudan have a henna party the night before the wedding, which is a tradition adopted from northern Sudan from when they were one country. It is an all women’s event filled with dancing, singing, and eating. 

For the main wedding, the couple has a traditional church wedding. The reception is typically buffet style and filled with many toasts. The bride and groom’s tribal groups and families perform traditional dances as they bring out gifts. During the cake cutting, the bride and groom each walk to their new in-laws, get on their knees, and serve them cake as a sign of respect and unity. The rest of the reception is a dance celebration with all music styles, lasting all night. On the next day, most families usually host a BBQ or some kind of going away event for guests. 

Community is such a crucial element in South Sudanese culture, and weddings are a prime time when you see the whole community abundantly celebrating and embracing the newly weds as if it was their own child, ensuring it is a memorable and enjoyable journey. It is definitely an experience worth joining if you ever have an opportunity to experience a South Sudanese wedding!

~OE~

 

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