A snapshot of my year:  Typically I perform weddings at resorts, art galleries, botanical gardens/parks or well known wedding venues. This year I performed many more "church" ceremonies throughout Wisconsin.  I also had a bumper crop of FARM & FAMILY home weddings.  As the granddaughter of a farmer whose farm has been continuously operated since 1852, it's a real thrill for me to set foot on farm land, especially for a wedding celebration. 

There were more typical weddings this year versus "theme" weddings. The most common colors were purples and teals followed closely by blush/champagne ivory colors.  The largest wedding had more than 350 guests -  this
wedding was tiered (meaning there were a smaller number of guests invited to the ceremony...a few more invited to also join the reception dinner and even more invited to the reception dance and festivities). 

More brides wore headpieces and/or veils, too.  The groom's and their groomsmen are getting creative with their duds and buying suits, going jacket-less with shirts & suspenders and wearing funky shoes and socks.  More of the maids dresses were knee length, had pockets and were styles that easily translate into 'After 5' wear which can be worn again and again.  Their shoes were also more in line with comfort... from ballerina flats to wedges and later to coordinated flip flops for the dance.  Yes, there were some ginormous platform stilettos too! 

The most often used two special elements this year were the ROCK and SAND VASE ceremonies.   This year also included quite a few tree, hand fasting, love letters & wine boxes, butterflies and rose ceremonies. 

Readings ranged from the very well known 1Corinthians 13:4-13 to very unusual readings such as Goodridge vs Massachusetts Department of Health to excerpts from the Velveteen Rabbit.  I love the personalization that my couples add to their ceremonies. 

Photo Booths are all the rage and the guests have SO much fun with them.  Horses were also a big presence this year too... from carriage rides for the guests to elegant bride arrivals.  Many of the outdoor weddings on private property also included lawn games and nature walks. 

Printed programs were the norm - from FAN shaped for warm weather weddings, to flower seed embedded programs that can be planted.  Many more couples are opting for message boards and seating boards. One couple wrote their seating charts on vintage paned window frames. 

Who knew that cupcakes would take center stage this year nearly replacing wedding cake!  Cupcakes are also an economical option since there's no serving/plating fee per slice and  you can have a variety of your favorite flavors.  Common remark, though, was that most of them had too much frosting on them... can that really be a problem???  LOL

All in all - a fabulous year with a few more weddings to cap it off before 2013 officially comes to and end.  Oh, and to make it even more blessed... a few baby baptisms and baby welcoming ceremonies mixed in - for some of my previous wedding couples!  LOVE!!!

+++

2013 wedding season is coming to a close.  I'm so happy for all of my 'lovebird' couples who have tied the knot this year.  I'm going to miss them greatly as they journey on to the next phase of their lives. 

I closed my wedding book a bit early this year so that my husband and I could enjoy the fall & winter for a bit longer.  We're "lovebirds" too!  If you're looking to book a 2014 wedding, contact me soon as my calendar is filling up very quickly! 

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I am over the MOON to receive this recognition!

Wisconsin – January 15, 2013 – WeddingWire, the nation's leading online wedding marketplace, is thrilled to announce that Rev. Christine Weidner has been selected as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® 2013 for Wedding Officiants & Clergy in Wisconsin!

The esteemed annual awards program recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. Rev. Christine’s selection as a Bride’s Choice Award 2013 winner was selected based on the positive experiences expressed by past clients on WeddingWire, the world’s largest wedding review site with over one million reviews.

While many industry awards are given by the host organization, the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with Rev. Chris.


The WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® 2013 are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on professional achievements from the previous year. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients. As a Bride’s Choice Awards winner, Rev. Christine Weidner is highlighted within the WeddingWire Network, which is comprised of over 200,000 wedding professionals throughout the United States, Canada and abroad.

 “Each year, WeddingWire looks forward to celebrating the success of the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Now in its fifth year, the Bride’s Choice Awards® program continues to recognize the elite wedding professionals who exemplify a commitment to quality, service and professionalism. These businesses were chosen by our bridal community for their responsiveness and dedication to their clients over the past year. We are honored to recognize Rev. Christine Weidner forher impressive achievements within the wedding industry.”

Rev. Christine is thrilled to be one of the top Wedding Officiants/Clergy in Wisconsin in the WeddingWire Network of sites, which include leading wedding sites such as WeddingWire, Project Wedding, Brides.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We value all of our clients and truly appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards® for 2013.

To learn more about the Bride's Choice Awards®, please visit www.WeddingWire.com/brides-choice-awards.


    +++

It's the holiday weekend and I finally have a little break in my schedule.  And, thank heaven because it's sweltering outside.  We have been crazy lucky with the weather for outdoor weddings this season but that could change at any moment.
 
This weekend I'll be with family celebrating the 160th anniversary of our family's farm in the Beaver Dam area.  We're fortunate to still have the farm in the family, (currently owned and operated by my cousin and his wife) unlike so many other families who've lost or sold their farms.  Hundreds of our relatives now come from all over the world to attend the reunion which is held every five years.  We need a chart to keep track of everyone. 
 
In my ceremonies I often mention and honor family. That practice really stems from being fortunate in my life to have the family I have.  We so rarely think to THANK our family for their love and support... just taking for granted that they'll always be there or that they already know how grateful we are.  Take some time to make sure your family knows you care. 
 
I probably won't be blogging again till nearer the end of wedding season but I also want to remind everyone that this 4th of July is more than just a day off of work.  We as a country celebrate all the freedoms we've inherited through the independence our ancestors obtained for us, not the least of which is the freedom of religion.  And, that means respecting ALL religions.  Let us find a place in our hearts to honor all religious ideologies and respect all those who have no religious ideology.  That's what makes this country great!    Happy 4th!

I'll be blogging more after the major wedding months.  Enjoy the summer friends!
 
+++
 
This has been a wonderfully busy wedding season made even nicer with all the great weather.  Will the weather hold up for the rest of the season?  Outdoor weddings need to have a fall-back plan for bad weath
er.  I've seen invitations requesting guests bring umbrellas (just in case), one wedding couple bought 8' x 10' clear plastic painting tarps/light plastic and those were very easily used during the ceremony.  Rain is considered a very auspicious sign of a happy, fertile marriage!
 
Being creative is a great personality asset as well as being able to roll with the punches. For those couples who crush under the weight of any small thing going wrong, life as a married couple doesn't hold much promise. 
 
Married couples need to be creative, resilient and strong enough to withstand anything that comes their way.  Sweating the small stuff drains all the fun out of life.  So, I guess the moral of this story is be prepared, be flexible and you'll be strong (and DRY) as a couple.   
+++

80 & 86 years of MARRIAGE! 
 Here are looooong love stories and true examples of how marriages can and should last! 


Enjo
y the video of the Fishers! Click on THIS link to see their YouTube story 

Their keys:  RESPECT, SUPPORT & COMMU
NICATION.

→  And here are the Flemings, with only 80 years of marriage. 




The article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel attributed their succ
ess to taking turns COMPROMISING!  Both have said that DIVORCE was never an option.  I guess they meant it!   Enjoy!
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What a fantastic year, already!  And, the weather has been extraordinary!  Everyone wonders what the summer and fall skies will look like if they've been so beautiful already.  
 
One of the guides I email my couples is a HELPFUL HINTS GUIDE for Brides and one for Grooms.  It contains some common sense things that they both need to do, or in some cases 'not do', before or during the wedding.  I'm amazed at how many bridal couples forget to "EAT" breakfast and/or lunch before their big day begins... and I for one am not a fan of FAINTING during a ceremony!   So, brides and grooms, EAT!  =)


+++

Skype and GoogleChat are fast becoming the most popular way for couples to meet with me and plan their wedding ceremonies.  And, I love it.  There are so many reasons to!  First of all, it's much more informal... and comfortable for everyone to be in their own homes where all of their wedding information usually is.  I've been fortunate enough to see samples of fabric and invitations that way too.    And, now that the cost of gas has gone through the roof, it certainly frees up extra cash for the couple to spend on their big day, instead of on gas. 

 

The "Couples Coaching" I do is also much more private and relaxed.  In fact, I only do couples coaching via private Skype calls now.   Technology, it's a beautiful thing!!!

 

+++

"Let's have some FUN!"  Fun Weddings, Hiking Weddings, Harley Weddings, Renaissance Weddings, Cultural Weddings, Sailing Weddings, Destination Weddings, Solstice Weddings, Solemn weddings, Religious Weddings, Simple Weddings, Twin Weddings, Military Weddings, Dancing Weddings, Singing Weddings…

 

There’s pretty much no such thing as just a “regular” wedding and isn’t that wonderful!!!  Everyone deserves a unique ceremony.  Today’s wedding couples and families bring so many new elements and dimensions to weddings these days.  There’s a trend to make weddings unique and personal and I LOVE THAT TREND!

 

You can really tell when a wedding ceremony has been planned instead of canned.  Not only does the wedding couple really get into the ceremony, but the family members and guests also enjoy and appreciate the entire experience. 

 

This is what I love doing and it’s so important to me that the bride and groom are happy, moved and inclined to remember all the elements of their ceremony and wedding day. 

 

A wedding ceremony doesn’t have to be ‘the same old thing’. It should be as unique as the couple in every way.  It should be fresh and new and maybe even surprise those attending with how deeply meaningful and persona it is. 

 

This is the benefit of having enough planning meetings with your clergy or officiant.  No one wants to show up on their wedding day not knowing what’s going to happen or be said during the vows! 

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Personalized Weddings?
Years ago weddings w
ere pretty much done using standardized civil or religious texts... then the 60's and 70's ushered in homemade vows and wedding ceremonies.  Today we're seeing fewer self-written vows but much more personalized services for those wedding couples who specifically request that type of ceremony.
 
Personalized services can only happen if the clergy/minister/wedding officiant gets to know the couple, and this is most easily done during the wedding ceremony planning and marriage coaching sessions.  It's a joy to see the couple's faces when specific references to their relationship are interwoven into their wedding. 
 
Couples often ask how long a ceremony typically is.  Personalized ceremonies are a bit longer than civil ceremonies but then again, in civil ceremonies, there are no readings or special elements.  On average a ceremony can last from 20 to 45 minutes depending on all of the elements.
 
Personalized services are not only wonderful for the couple but for their family and friends as well.  You want your guests to tell you how beautiful your ceremony was, and you want them to remember your big day for years to come.  
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Now we get the snow!   This is Wisconsin, after all.  Planning weddings even in good weather can take a lot of time and be stressful.  The past two years+ I've enjoyed using a time saving tool for pre-wedding planning meetings and marriage coaching sessions called Skype.  For those who have video cameras as part of their laptops or PCs its a great way to meet and avoid the drive time or hustling after work to get to a meeting place "and" for those who are out of town or out of state and trying to plan a local event, this can be a really great option.  Let me know if you'd like to use this option.  And, stay safe! 
 
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The first wedding of the 2012 Wedding year was on Valentine's Day weekend.  How fitting!
  And, of course it was wonderful.  There are several venues I absolutely love and one of them is The Quilted Bear (ask for Melissa) in Germantown, WI where the Valentine's
weekend wedding and reception took place.  Another wonderful venue that I love is the Victorian Village Resort  (ask for Tara) in Elkhart Lake, WI and the Seven Seas Resort (ask for Amanda) in Delafield.  All of these venues have staff members who go out of their way to help the wedding couples and their guests so that everyone can enjoy every minute of their special day. In the next couple of months you'll see other venues featured.

My husband (seen in this photo) accompanies me to all of my ceremonies, no matter if they are baptisms, funerals or weddings.  My ministry has given us many exceptional experiences and has brought so many wonderful people into our lives.  We remain close with most of my couples and families. 

This year it appears that I'll be doing a great deal more out-of-town weddings all over the State of Wisconsin.  Since we love to travel and since SKYPE (web cam live chat) makes planning the ceremonies with couples who are out of town so easy... What's not to love? 


My circle of life ceremonies also continue to grow... special rite of passage ceremonies for teen boys and girls, baptisms now more popularly named Baby Welcoming Ceremonies, vow renewal ceremonies for anniversaries and the last life ceremony, funerals.  I'm so blessed to serve the families that I've met.  Thank you so much for your kind referrals and wonderful recommendations. 

Please review some of my selected previous BLOG entries below! 
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What an incredible wedding season I experienced this year.  I'm in the process of wrapping up the last of the weddings before our travel begins for part of the winter/holidays.  To say I'm feeling blessed is a real understatement.  Every wedding, unique in itself, has one thing in common, LOVE.  LOVE, LOVE.  =) 

This year I also had the privilege of coordinating military weddings via Skype and another online video chat service.  Technology!  How wonderful. 

This year I also had a bumper crop of weddings with  children/step children involved.  Those were joyful, exciting and very tender.  Even the teenage kids were full of participation and fun!  Who knew?  =)

And, now I'll have a bit more time to update my website and blog about wedding ideas and upcoming events!  So, stay tuned and DO contact me if you have referrals or ideas for weddings. 
Peace and Joy!
Rev Chris


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It surely feels like fall outside. 
The weather somewhat cooperated this past spring and summer.  There are always the last minute unknown weather conditions.  Fortunately no one got completely rained out (unlike last year's rainy season).   I counsel my couples to be prepared for the unforeseen situation and no matter what happens - it then becomes "their story" about what happened on their wedding day.  

I even go so far as to recommend an EMERGENCY BOX in the groom's trunk  that contains the following things:  Paper towels, kleenex, sealing tape, magic markers, poster board, spot remover, drinking water, safety pins, bug spray, sun screen, band aids, cash, umbrellas, spare digital camera, medications (aspirin, tylenol, antacids), hairspray, comb/brush, toothbrushes/paste and anything else specific to their needs.  You may want to suggest that a family member of friend put this together for you as a shower gift! 

Much can be determined about a couple's future by how they handle adversity in the present.  Will they roll with the bunches or crumble under the pressure?  Will they be planners or fly by the seat of their pants? There's a lot to be said for flexibility and planning ahead.  My goal as your wedding minister is to minimize stress.  That's why I make it a practice to show up EARLY and bring the printed readings with me so the bride and groom can relax.  Besides, if I show up early, it's also one less thing for ME to worry about, too!  =)

============================================================
 
Too busy to update blogs?  This is actually a good thing but for the next several months things are going to be very busy and the updating to my website will be done only as time allows.   
 
Some of the other vendors that I work with and recommend, such as MKKreations, whose specialty is bridal wear from scratch and alterations, also report a banner year of activity.

The three photographers I recommend, MRE Studios, Ken Shafer and Orange Monkey Photography, have calendars filling up as well.  My own group of designers who specialize in wedding/anniversary announcements, programs, reply cards, etc. had an overflow of work earlier this month but are now able to take on additional projects. 
 
I promised to write about another special ceremony, but it'll have to wait for more time and maybe even a picture or two.  I will tell you that the ceremony is specific to this couple blending their young families.  Just beautiful!  Until I update again, Peace! 
 
         ♥  ♥                            

 Do you share any wedding similarities with this royal couple?   No,
you’re not spending over $100,000 on just the bride’s part?  Not being broadcast in dozens of countries?  Now “this” is wedding pressure for everyone involved!  William and Kate must have bucket loads of it.  Yet, they really seem calm and centered on each other.  They're a lovely example. 
One very dramatic break from the royal past is their insistence on keeping it small and obviously meaningful for themselves.  While they will be required to do the public processions and ceremonial things, the rest of their big day will be defined by them, and not entirely by their royal family members.

How many of us cave into what our families want versus what we want?  William and Kate are good examples of having their relationship be the focus of their day.   If there was any turmoil or family drama, it didn’t become the center of attention.   In my experience, I haven’t seen one family that doesn’t have some sort of “interesting” family dynamic (including my own family).  The goal is to not make that the day’s theme… the goal is to keep the wedding couple in the forefront. 

All the brides-to-be will be watching anxiously to see what her wedding dress will be, as well as all the other ladies’ gowns.  The guys will probably be wondering whether he’ll wear his military uniform.  And, I’ll be watching the bishop and the ceremonial parts.  =)  A little something for everyone.  


My next blog entry will be about another wedding “special ceremony” specific to a couple who is blending their families.  Until then, enjoy the Royals!

                                       

One of the couples I'm working with told me about the "Love Letters" they're writing to each other.  Love letters aren't really anything new... but this couple won't be opening their love letters... until they need them most.


Rarely do I meet couples who are not only focused on the exciting times immediately ahead, but also on the realities that wait for  them in their future.  Marriage is wonderful, but it isn't a cake walk and this couple knows there could be some trying times ahead.  And, that's the purpose of their "love letters" - to be a message from the past for their future.

The letters will be given to each other during their ceremony, and are being written to be reminders of what their hopes and dreams are on their wedding day, and of all the reasons they fell in love.  But mostly to help bridge any hurdles they may be facing at the time the letters are opened.  What a beautiful and tender expression of love.  Can you imagine opening a love letter that your spouse wrote to you maybe five, ten or twenty years earlier... and reading it just when you needed it most?  

                        ♥                    ♥   ♥                    ♥  
Oh, this weather
!!!   We must be part "fish" or part "snowman".  Thank heavens the weddings planned for these months have been indoor.  I'm certain we'll be having good weather soon.  Lately I've been very busy with the planning of the summer and fall weddings.  It's a lot of fun.  If you're looking to book a wedding, do it soon. 

I also do destination weddings but those require a bit more planning for travel.  The couples I've talked to are so happy to have a minister that they have gotten to know, and who knows them, at their wedding.  A minimum, if any, last minute surprises or changes.  =) 

Well, today is just a good day to curl up with a good book and just chill (literally and figuratively! LOL).  Enjoy this last bit of winter wonderland, friends.  Really, spring IS coming!
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The couples I'm assisting this spring and summer are really incredible. And, all are completely different from each other.  Each ceremony is unique... I truly enjoy that!  I'm feeling so very blessed.

*Remember that I also have people in my group who can design your wedding invitations, reply cards, and ceremony programs... really whatever you need... reasonably, with fast turn around. 

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    LOVE IS IN THE AIR! 
The calendar for 2011 and 2012 weddings is filling up.  My good fortune is to somehow meet the most wonderful couples and help them plan the wedding ceremonies they most want.  The ceremonies are all very different; some wish to have very traditional, some are completely non-religious, and others are a blend of different religions or philosophies.   And all are quite wonderful.
    Today I received another very kind email from a bride-to-be.  These calls, tha
nk you cards and emails mean everything to me!!!
    I'm noticing a lot of bright colors for this year's weddings, from Cornflower blue to Kelly Green and then from  Corals to Pinks.  Love it!   As for me, oh well, I'm always in some version of black.
    I've also been really blessed, too, with a fast recovery from my full knee replacement in February.  I thank God for the skill and talent of the surgeon and his associate who helped me, and for all the very kind nurses, CNAs, techs, PT's and OT's who have or who are still helping me get my stroll back.  My husband I will be dancing very soon.  =)
    So many of my couples are on Facebook that soon I'll be hosting a ministry page on there too.  I already have a personal Facebook account because all of my family, extended family and many of my friends are on there too.  Even my parents have their own Facebook account!  So stay tuned for more  information about that. Enjoy the love, everyone!

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SPRING! 
There have been a lot of wonderful things happening lately.  Not the least of which has been the warmer weather and the sun!  Are you getting the spring itch like I am? 

The renewal of life each year becomes more and more  meaningful to me as I get older (and maybe a little wiser).  I've been blessed to be able to sit back and really watch and enjoy the changes of seasons and the growth all around me.

When I was in my 20's I couldn't tell you when the birds came back to Wisconsin... I was too busy working and raising a family.  But I can tell you now that the 4:30am symphony of birds begins on or about March 15th.  I hope you take the time to become aware of the beauty all around us!  Happy "almost" Spring!


A beautiful explanation about why the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger.   Sweet!

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvbLJ9rHMMk






If you haven't been feeling BLESSED lately, you WILL after you watch this!  Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc4HGQHgeFE&feature=player_embedded

How high are the mountains that have been blocking your life?  Isn't life really only what you make of it?  What are you making of your life?  Realize your full potential.  Believe. 

Brokenhearted, Carrying around past hurts?
So many people h
ave had their lives distorted by carrying around hurt feelings and doing everything they can to deliberately keep the memories of perceived wrongs fresh instead of just letting them go. 

These hurts are often reincarnated at the worst possible times, the big events in people's lives: weddings, funerals, serious health events and other family centered public moments.  They can result in even more bad memories for everyone involved.  The tragedy is unfortunately replicated when family splits and grudges are witnessed by younger generations.  Some
people simply won't let go no matter what.    It's as if there's a contest to see who can carry a grudge or a broken heart the longest. 

Once you decide that what happened in the past can't be changed and no amount of apologies made by the offenders would make any difference anyway, why not let the hurt go?   Why give any more energy to these negative feelings?  Try a healthier approach.   If you can't find a way to get over the past problems, get professional help.  You'll be glad you did. 


"That which offends you only weakens you. Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place- so transcend your ego and stay in peace." - Dr. Wayne DyerPeace!

Prayer & Healing Ha
nds:  I come from a family who has long believed in the power of healing hands and prayer. It's no surprise that some of us have developed careers and ministries along these lines.  I have a sister who believes that some members of our family are HSP (highly sensitive people) who respond to others pain and feel the need to help.  However, if healings were as simple as the laying on of hands, the performance of prayer or rituals, or the simple belief that all things can be fixed... it certainly would be a much more interesting and pain free world.  

Scientists and theologians still don't understand why some belief structures and practices, like healing hands, blessings, prayer ceremonies/cultural rituals and positive thinking work for some and not for others.   Some new, not-so-new and resurrected ancient therapies that use different forms of touch are now very much a part of our daily lives such as simple massage, or Reiki - a healing practice developed in Japan in 1922 or an even more ancient therapy such as acupuncture; add to that a renewed and growing interest in all types of meditation and prayer.  There are even smart phone apps for prayer, meditation and healing therapies!

I have seen people experience improvement and comfort from the efforts of those who sincerely want their well being to improve.  Even something as simple as a hug or a kind word can bring about positive changes.  When a call comes in for prayers, my entire family rallies.  As you can see, I'm also very blessed to have such a special family.  I do believe that thoughts become "things" and there are many religious texts that seem to support such thinking.  "It is through thinking that man forms that which he has in life."  Proverbs 23:7  So, keep your thoughts positive and your life open to possibilities!

There is a caveat to prayer and healing rituals of all types:  It is my belief that it is never an appropriate option to completely replace traditional medicine and therapies with blessings and the laying on of hands or with only alternative therapies for serious medical conditions.   We need to view all tools, including traditional medicine, as blessings and gifts from God.



Sweetness & Light: 
A solid and happy future lies ahead for Abbey & Carl (not real names).  I've recently started working with them to plan their wedding and chose to feature this particular couple because of their wonderful spirits and kindness towards each other.  I must say that they're an absolute joy to work with.

 Sometimes you just  know intuitively that people are right for each other and that is truly the case with Abbey & Carl.  Unlike so many other couples, they're actually have FUN planning their big day, as opposed to being stressed out by every detail or by the mistake of planning an event that is simply too large to afford or manage. 

They've done the right thing by starting the planning process well ahead of schedule, too.  What I'm also loving is their desire to blend two entirely different religious backgrounds into one beautiful and thoughtful ceremony.  I just know their ceremony will be beautiful and their families will be so deeply touched by their efforts. 



Miracles & Tragedy:  In 2005 I had the privilege of being with my brother when he passed away.  For our family this tragedy
lingers on, even today.  He was only 48 years old, too young, too vital to die.  The illness that led to his eventual de
ath was completely unexpected.  The entire experience rocked our family and changed all of us.  

Before Crai
g's death I had sat vigil at elderly family members' bedsides, as many people do.  And, along with family, I struggled with grief and acceptance.  I had never really understood death as a process or as a right of passage to the next life until my brother died.  

Throughout this experience we witnessed countless examples of things we simply couldn't quite explain...  bringing us a bit of comfort in our sadness and reinforcing our beliefs that the soul  lives on.   My advice is to be open to life's miracles even in the midst of sadness and tragedy.   Rest in peace, Craig.