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30/07/2015

The Wedding Trend: Funeral Homes as Wedding Venues

Getting married can be quite a stress for couples, especially about the expenses. It can get so expensive to walk down the aisle. The wedding trend now has couples walking down the aisle in funeral homes. The idea has been accepted: funeral homes as wedding venues. Couples get more than 50% savings compared to usual wedding locations. The wedding site TheKnot.com lists wedding venues in Indiana at almost $ 10,000. Community Life Center, which sits on cemetery land and is near a funeral home, offers wedding venue for only $ 4,000.

 

Those who have tried it shared their stories. Some thought it was morbid. Some called it matrimony in mortuary. Some asked the question, 'will there be dead bodies in the room?' But the number of those choosing this option is growing. Like one bride says, '"It felt like a place of love and just bright happy joy on that day, it really did".

 

This set-up with funeral homes started about 5 years ago, but did not really take off. But these days, it has become quite a trend that some funeral homes are booked for weddings already up to 2016.

 

The Wedding Trend: Funeral Homes as Wedding Venues

 

Images: simple wedding dresses

 

This novel idea has become the saving grace for funeral homes. More people are choosing cremation. This option, however, means lesser profit for mortuaries. The penny-pinching ways have also affected traditional wedding venues. Couples now are more practical about costs, and many wedding venues have closed shop due to bad economy. Meanwhile, funeral homes had nowhere to go. While there are still deaths, there would always be funeral homes. And now, while there are weddings, there also remain the funeral homes.

 

Funeral homes as wedding venues have become acceptable not only for the cost, but also for its availability. There are bigger chances of the halls being available. Also, most homes have the setting couples want in their weddings - marble floors, chandelier, and wide grounds. They like that the wedding ceremony itself and the reception can be done in just one place.

 

As the report states, the younger generation seems to have no stigma over death.

 

Although, of course, the funeral homes make sure there are no caskets and urns in sight during the ceremony. And the graveyard not so visible to the wedding party. But as trends go, some couples intentionally make sure the gravestones are seen in the background of their photos. Whatever rocks your wedding boat.

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05:22 Publié dans wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

11/07/2015

Katherine Vaz and Christopher Cerf: Kermit Will Attend

The bride wore white. The groom wore Kermit the Frog.The smiling face of the green amphibian dotted Christopher Bennett Cerf’s tie, as he stood next to Katherine Anne Vaz while their marriage rite was read to them in the leaf-strewn garden behind the townhouse they share on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

 

As each word was pronounced, Mr. Cerf’s smile seemed to inch wider, competing with the Muppet’s for biggest grin. Next to him Ms. Vaz listened intently as their friend, the former editor and publisher of The Nation magazine Victor Navasky, led the ceremony with the assistance of Emily Jane Goodman, a former justice of State Supreme Court in Manhattan. As the proceedings moved along, the bride’s patchwork, tea-length wedding dress swayed slightly in the breeze.

 

“Christopher asked me to be funny,” said Mr. Navasky, who had been ordained by the Church of Spiritual Humanism previously to officiate his daughter’s wedding. “Katherine asked me to be serious,” he said. “Sounds to me like they are already married.”The Sunday morning ceremony was the culmination of a relationship built on fun, as filled with jokes, pranks and humor as are the bookshelves in their home on East 62nd Street.

 

 

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Though neither has children, their library, in which the guests clustered before the ceremony outdoors, could be the envy of any toddler: filled with picture books featuring creatures like the rapscallion Cat in the Hat and the benevolent Big Bird.Mr. Cerf, 73, is a son of the late Bennett Cerf, a founder of the publishing company Random House, which counted Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, as an early star author, and where the younger Mr. Cerf began his career working as an editor. His mother, Phyllis Cerf Wagner, worked closely with Mr. Geisel, but not always easily. In herobituary in The New York Times, Mr. Cerf said: “They had some disagreements which were memorable. They were both perfectionists and would argue about every comma that went on the page.”

 

Perhaps perfectionism runs in the family; for all his appearance of freewheeling fun, amphibian neckties notwithstanding, Mr. Cerf, Mr. Navasky said, is a “secret pedant.”

 

Everyone with an address on Sesame Street is close to Mr. Cerf, who wrote or co-wrote more than 300 songs for the show. The golden gramophone-shaped Grammy Awards gleaming from the fireplace mantelpiece on the first floor of the townhouse, near where guests sipped grapefruit Perrier and ate fresh fruit before the ceremony began, are testament to his long career, which includes such playground hits as “Put Down the Duckie.”

 

But interspersed among the playful books are tomes of a more serious nature: They are the works of Ms. Vaz, 59, who has written extensively on the Portuguese-American experience, including two novels, with far darker tones than the stuff penned by Mr. Cerf, the president of Sirius Thinking, a company that creates interactive learning tools for young students. And he is an author of various books on language with Henry Beard, of the National Lampoon magazine, which Mr. Cerf helped start.

 

Yet to paint the couple standing beneath a bower of slightly dripping trees — having hastily moved their wedding from the rose garden in Central Park to the flagstone patio at home because of predicted bad weather that fortunately failed to materialize — as a yin and yang of fun versus serious would be incorrect.

 

“We’re both just two big kids,” Ms. Vaz said in an interview before the wedding, as she worked on the relocation details. “That’s why it works.” (At the ceremony, a friend, Sean Kelly, said of Mr. Cerf: “He’s like a 5-year-old. It’s a compliment.”)

 

Ms. Vaz added: “It’s not just a fun-and-games household, it’s just a quiet loving. We have reached an age where we have a lot of joy together. Joy is a serious thing. He and I were really alone for a long time, so this is kind of, ‘Oh, my God, life has given us this incredible gift,’ and we take it very seriously.”

 

When they must travel to the many conferences at which one is invited to speak, the other will invariably tuck among the folded clothing a tacky figurine, to be discovered later. It is one of the many in-jokes the couple share, references to which they are constantly leaving for each other around the house.

 

They are “jokes that no one else gets, but we find hilarious,” Mr. Cerf said, filling the relationship with levity. But the pair also respect solitude, as two writers must, often retreating to separate rooms to write, with a deep understanding that such seclusion is part of their work — something Mr. Cerf said was lacking in his other relationships.

 

“Love means being the guardian of each other’s solitude,” Ms. Vaz said.Their first date was in 2007 at a book party — at Bellevue Hospital, a site weird enough to intrigue Mr. Cerf, who had initially become intrigued with Ms. Vaz 22 years earlier.

 

They had first been introduced at the home of Mr. Beard. Mr. Cerf recalled having spoken with Ms. Vaz about Portuguese dance and having found her ravishing.But that was as far as it went. They married other people, yet somehow they never forgot each other. Each had later divorced amicably, before being reintroduced by a mutual friend.

 

After the hospital date, they carried on to the literary hangout, Elaine’s, now closed, where they talked for hours, then, unexpectedly, kissed madly before parting.Ms. Vaz recalled, “I sat on the edge of my bed afterward and realized my life had just changed.” Then the phone rang. It was Mr. Cerf. He felt it, too.

 

Mr. Cerf said Ms. Vaz radiates kindness, in life and work. “She once showed me a letter a student wrote saying how Katherine’s generosity and love had changed her life, and it almost made me cry, because it’s so true that she has that effect on people, certainly on me,” Mr. Cerf said.

 

Of their former marriages, Ms. Vaz, in an email, wrote: “Neither of us regard a past marriage as a mistake. In fact, my ex, Michael, was instrumental in helping me organize the paperwork I needed to obtain the license to marry Chris, because he has always cheered me on. We’ve been apart over 10 years, but it was a matter of deciding with true affection to allow each other to go in different directions. His ex-wife, Genevieve, helped us clear out parts of our house to help me move in.”

 

Their wedding took place on the anniversary of their first date, the first day of summer. It was also Father’s Day, chosen in homage to Ms. Vaz’s father, August Mark Vaz, who died two years earlier. Her chin trembled when Mr. Navasky mentioned her father’s name. Beyond her, in the small crowd, stood her brother-in law, Jon Goodfellow, wearing the same necktie Mr. Vaz had worn on his own wedding day.

 

The ceremony was a mix of poetry and Portuguese: Ms. Vaz wore a custom dress that was a blend of different fabrics, chunks of lace and linen falling beneath a sweetheart neckline. At the hem, she had asked the designer, Mary Adams, a New York-based couturier, to incorporate swatches of antique doilies and a pillowcase that had been a family heirloom, into which a matriarch had stitched the words “I love you very much” in pink, in Portuguese. The words trailed Ms. Vaz down the curving metal staircase as she descended from an upper floor to the garden level for the ceremony. Mr. Cerf beamed from below as he watched her spiral down the stairs.

 

The role of paparazzi was played by Phil Donahue, the former talk show host, who snapped photos incessantly with his iPhone at the direction of his wife, the actress and activist Marlo Thomas, who had collaborated on an album and a book with Mr. Cerf.

 

The ceremony was followed by a reception in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s patrons lounge, where guests listened to some of Mr. Cerf’s songs liltingly plucked by a harpist. Guests marveled at what the couple had seemed to achieve, beyond all others: a life of continuous laughter, now solemnized on a Sunday that in the end turned out to be a sunny one.“They will have a laugh-filled life,” Ms. Thomas said. “And I think that’s the cushion of life, after all.”

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04:48 Publié dans wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

08/07/2015

Big day, huge price tag: The skyrocketing cost of a wedding

If you're about to get hitched, hang on to your wallet.

 

Each year, Weddingbells Magazine surveys thousands of brides- and grooms-to-be for a glimpse of their wedding wants and needs. Then, it crunches the numbers to forecast trends, including how much the average wedding will cost, and releases an annual survey.

 

The forecast for 2015? A cool $31,717, this year's poll indicates. [That's up from $27,899 forecast that the magazine made just three years ago.] The online survey involved more than 2,000 participants, between June 2014 and this March.

 

Before you decide to elope, consider that whopping figure includes some big bells and whistles: a honeymoon averaging $4,489 and an engagement ring at $3,125.

 

Weddingbells editor Jen O'Brien says that average gets skewed by larger cities. Booking a venue in downtown Toronto will cost considerably more than one in Corner Brook, N.L., for instance.

 

Canadian couples will typically spend more than $30,000 to pay for the costs of their wedding, a Weddingbells Magazine poll indicates.

 

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The pressure of Pinterest

 

Both the betrothed and those in the wedding business point to media, especially social media, as having a massive influence over spending. In particular, Pinterest — the popular site where users share photos and inspirations like a virtual clipboard — is widely used for wedding inspiration.

 

"[Couples are] spending a lot of time on Pinterest before even becoming engaged, so they're not really willing to compromise on their dream days — they have an exact vision of what they want, and they're going to get it at all costs," says O'Brien.

 

Online site drives up wedding expectations, costs

 

She adds that 75 per cent of people surveyed by her magazine end up blowing their wedding budgets.

 

Andrea Hounsell, owner of the St. John's-based wedding planning company Something Borrowed Something Blue, agrees.

 

"I think that people are seeing a lot more photos of weddings than they used to before, and a lot more inspiration pictures," Hounsell said.

 

That inspiration adds up.

 

Wedding photographers routinely charge upwards of $3,000 for one day of service. With widespread exposure to professional photos in unique locations, couples now want unique mementoes of matrimony: one Corner Brook-based photography company has worked with couples who have booked helicopters in order to get the perfect shot — on a mountaintop.

 

The big cost ... of chair covers?

 

Even scaling back to simple decor might not be the answer.

 

"If you have 300 guests, or 250-plus guests, it doesn't matter how simple your decor is. Just chair covers alone are $4 to $5.50 per chair cover," Hounsell said.

 

"Times that by 300 people, and you have a very large chunk of your decor budget probably eaten up already by that point in time."

 

The Weddingbells survey cited venue and catering costs as the single largest expense, up to one third the total cost for the event.

 

And if you're wondering who's footing this bill?

 

"About half the people we surveyed said they're relying on their parents to chip in," O'Brien said.

 

"And actually 61 per cent of brides indicated that cash donations are an important part of their wedding budget. So people really are relying on those envelopes full of cash on the big day to pay for everything."

 

Consider the winter wedding

 

One way to save big is to skip summertime.

 

Half of the 2,600 marriage licences issued by the Newfoundland and Labrador government in an average year are handed out in just two months: July and August.

 

O'Brien said venues can charge a premium during that period, and couples can score better deals negotiating during the off- season.

 

Hounsell adds it's important to plan ahead, and shop around. "Get a little idea of how much things cost from decorators beforehand," she said.

 

"Then set a realistic budget for what you want your decor to be, before you get into the nitty gritty details of picking out centrepieces and linens, because you really can go from zero to 60 very quickly."

 

'Everything was kind of a shocker'

 

Bride-to-be Faith Parsons has taken some of these tips to heart.

 

She's on track for an October wedding, with a $5,000 budget.

 

"We did a lot of the DIY. We got a lot of things from the dollar store, and spray-painted them ourselves, and did glittering ourselves. Just to keep costs down rather than get somebody else to do it."

 

But even then, Parsons was caught off guard by the price of planning.

 

"I found everything was kind of a shocker. I didn't expect it to be so expensive," she said.

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07:55 Publié dans wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)