2014 and the Commitment to Mii

View from the Dragonfly’s Back

MomsGetReal Soul Feeder Chris Wilcox

Here’s the scene: It’s December 28th.  I’m at my parents’ house in Idaho Falls. My cousin, Valarie, is driving from Minnesota to her parents’ house in Iowa.
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Somehow we get on the subject of weight loss.

Now, I have to disclose that my beautiful cousin has ALWAYS been a standard for tall girl beautiful to me.  She’s always looked fit and drop dead gorgeous whenever I’ve seen her. She’s been an athlete and a runner for as long as I can remember, and I always just thought that the flat-where-it-should-be, curvy-sexy-beautiful thing she’s had going on for the whole of my existence was something she just did, so I was kind of shocked to be having this conversation with her.

To balance this out with my reality, I feel like I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 5, but in all reality, it’s probably only been about 20 years. (YAY! 1993 or 1994 – I’m going to blame my first ex-husband) 😉  Honestly, I would stand in my front yard naked in subzero temps during Christmas-Lights-drive-around season for an hour to get everything that jiggles to fall off my body spontaneously.  However, I’ve come to learn that the only thing that’s gonna get it to fall off and die is the whole simple hard work thing. Should be easy, right? I’m great at hard work! Now all I have to do is start the project!

Back to the conversation, Valarie and I decide on a goal – just 1/2 lb. a week. At this rate (in my head) Valarie will be at her target weight by January 8th. I, however, will be there sometime before I retire in 2046.

Of course, as any good hard worker knows, one must prepare for work, so on January 1, I THOUGHT REALLY HARD about what my preparations should be.  I’ve got to set up the space, right?  And I’m still at my parents’ house for a few more days, so let’s burn off a few calories shopping for the new TV that needs to go into said space before I can even think about exercising in it (never mind that there’s $3,000 worth of exercise equipment already in said-space, gathering dust; the right TV – oh and blu-ray player, don’t forget that – will make the space the “right space”).

The TV was hanging by January 8th, if I remember correctly.  The Wii Fit program was running the following night. I turned it on, and lo and behold, there was my chubby little Mii, waiting in the Plaza and waving.  When I clicked on it, the Wii reported it had been 1,692 days since my last check in – that’s 4.5 years for anyone who can’t do the math in their head.

Obviously, the Wii has been drinking a lot in her off time and can’t do math.

Then, I waited for the moment at which Wii said “Step on.” For those of you who have experienced the disappointed “Oh…” that the Wii produces when you step on the balance board, you may understand why my commitment to using it spiraled downward. I heard it again, and the 4.5 years of time that had elapsed since the last time I’d heard it didn’t dull the pain of it this year.

Sigh.

Over the last 10 days, Wii and Mii have continued our love-hate relationship. The good part about being Tall Girl is I have a lot of space over which to distribute all those cheese and bacon omelets I consumed when I was home over Christmas. The bad part is, my relationship to gravity produces numbers I don’t want to see anymore. Ever.  Good part – I’m conscious (entirely due to the bigger TV, I’m sure) of making better choices now, so maybe between my cousin and the disappointed Wii “Oh….” I can see my way to use the space and have everything that’s currently jiggling fall off and die. Another good part – it’s after mid-January, and I’m still working on it.

Namaste.

Important Dos and Don’ts On Your Wedding Day

For a couple in love, their wedding day is the most important day in their lives. It is the culmination of their dream and their togetherness as official  and for life – that is, for most couples at least.

Weddings are intimate occasions where only chosen guests are invited — usually only those related to the couple, their close friends and some extended family members.

As expected, every wedding takes a lot of planning and preparation to make things run smoothly and without a hitch. Nevertheless, it is unavoidable that things can still go wrong even with a wedding planner assisting the couple. This usually happens when it comes to last-minute details before the wedding day itself.

wedding dayHere are some dos and don’ts to make that day hassle-free, smooth-flowing and especially memorable.

Wedding Day Dos

1) Have an emergency kit ready. You can prepare it days before the wedding. Make sure you have all must-haves for “just-in-case” situations like safety pins, hair spray, breath spray, nail polish, comb, nail cutter, scissors, or anything else you may think will be useful for similar scenarios.

2) Put someone you trust in charge and let him/her be the point person for your wedding vendors. Vendors are the people who have assisted you in making this wedding come to life. They can be the caterer, the florists, the photographers, etc.

3) Organize all the things you need to bring along with you, if any. Have a separate basket or bin for your shoes, of which you should have at least 2 extra pairs to change into after the wedding ceremony. Anything with lower heels or wedges and flats would be fine. Extra hankies would also be handy for your happy tears.

4)  Have a fixed schedule ready for the hair and make-up for you and your entourage. Even if you know how to do make-up, on this occasion, it would be best to let the professionals do the job for you so you can relax and maintain focus.

5)  Take care of yourself. Get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of water. Do not let the pressure get the better of you. One important thing most brides forget – eat before and during the wedding.

6) Hand the rings to someone responsible and trustworthy. It can be your mom, a friend or another relative. Instruct the person to be the one in charge to give the rings to the ring bearer before walking down the aisle.

7) Remember your wedding vows. Take time to practice your wedding vows before you actually say it in front of your spouse during the wedding ceremony.

8) Don’t forget to say thank you. A lot of people were helped you prepare for the wedding. Hence, before the reception is over, it would be apt to give acknowledgement to these people behind the scenes. Such gesture would be greatly appreciated.

Wedding Day Don’ts

1) Not showing up. Are you having wedding day jitters? It is normal that brides go through doubts and fears before the wedding day. Make sure you have this sorted out before the actual ceremony. Talk to your fiancé about it. Having cold feet on the wedding day (and bolting) is not only embarrassing, but also a waste of time, effort and money.

2) Being late. It’s understandable to be late, but not on your wedding day. It will not only be annoying to your guests, but especially to your spouse-to-be.

3) Complaints about wedding gifts. It’s unethical and uncalled for to gripe about such trivial matters. Furthermore, you can avoid this by signing up for a gift registry so that your guests will know what are the things you need and like. Remember, gift giving is not mandatory. If you have received something you don’t like, you still have to be gracious and thankful.

4) Getting drunk. It’s fine to enjoy yourself, but not too much. Everything should be in moderation. Don’t forget that being drunk during your wedding party can cause embarrassment to your spouse.

5) Not being flexible. Sometimes things may not go as planned, and some disasters or mishaps may occur which are beyond anyone’s control. Don’t lose your cool. Try to have a back-up plan for such eventualities. Most of all, try to retain a good sense of humor.

You will surely cherish fond memories of your wedding by following these important do’s and don’ts for your wedding day. For more wedding tips, features and similar articles, visit Best Bride 101.

A to Z Wedding Trivia

Dave n Shadra Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
Weddings are filled with tradition and draw from ancient customs. Did you know that brides in Zimbabwe think it’s bad luck to get married in the month of November, or that the average age of a Western bride has continued to increase?
Have fun discovering the history of popular wedding traditions as you explore fun wedding trivia from A to Z.

Age: In ancient Greece, the age of the bride was calculated from the day of her wedding rather than from the day of her birth.

Bridal gowns and veils: The longest wedding dress train was more than 7,500 feet long. The Greek believed the veil protected the bride from evil spirits, which is why it covered the face and was not lifted until the end of the ceremony. Now that it has become part of the wedding costume, many brides choose veils that do not cover the face at all.

Cake: The towering shape of the traditional wedding cake was modeled after a building in London.

Danish brides and grooms, in an effort to ward off evil spirits, cross-dressed.

Embroidered cranes on a wedding robe symbolize fertility in some Asian cultures, although today most women choose a Western style gown for the ceremony.

Favors: Giving out wedding favors is a custom that dates back to 16th Century French royals, who were likely to give out precious stones or gold to their guests.

Garter: The garter tradition stems from an ancient tradition in which the garter was a virginal girdle that the groom removed as a part of the wedding ceremony.

Here Comes the Bride, the traditional Wagner wedding march still popular today, was first played at Princess Victoria’s wedding in 1858.

Internet dating has had an effect on relationships: 19% of married couples who participated in a 2007 survey met online – 2% more than those who met at work and the same as those who were introduced by friends.

Jumping the Broom is an African wedding tradition that symbolizes the fresh start that comes with getting married.

Kissing: Ancient Romans believed that the Kiss at the end of the wedding ceremony sealed the contract, while many Christian cultures believe the kiss represents an exchange of souls.

Length of engagement for a pre-marital couple has increased from 12 months to 16 months in the last five years.

Marriage vows can be traced back to Medieval times. The vows, which were published in the Book of Common Prayer in 1549, are eerily similar to today’s vows, with the bride and groom promising to love each other “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.”

Number of weddings in the United States has two million per year each of the last 20 years.

Old, new, borrowed, blue: Something old represents a link to the past while something new represents the road ahead. Something borrowed is supposed to be something borrowed from a close friend or family member whose happy marriage will bring good luck to the newlyweds. Blue was the traditional color of wedding gowns prior to the late 18th Century, but today blue is often incorporated in more subtle ways.

Planning a wedding takes an average of seven to twelve months.

Quilted gowns were popular in 17th Century Provence.

Rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand by nearly three-quarters of the world’s cultures.

Standing on the left of the groom became a tradition because the groom needed to keep his sword hand (the right hand) free to protect his bride.

Throwing rice does not harm birds, and will not cause them to explode. This myth was perpetuated by Ann Landers when she implored her readers to consider the birds when planning their weddings. Rice does, however, provide a dangerously slippery surface for the humans who are walking through it.

Ushers were originally men who were friends of the groom and protected him from the bride’s angry family after she was kidnapped to be wedded.

Valentine’s Day is the busiest wedding ceremony day of the year in Las Vegas.

Wedding costs have continued to spiral, with the average wedding ringing in between $20,000 and $25,000.

X-rays of the chest are required in Mexico as a part of the health exam in order to be able to marry.

Young brides are becoming a thing of the past in the Western world; for the first time, the average age of the bride tipped past 30 (2009 statistics).

Zimbabwe brides believe it is bad luck to wed in November.

 

Stop Staring at Me, 2014!

View from the Dragonfly’s Back

MomsGetReal Soul Feeder Chris Wilcox

2014 has arrived in all its glory, and I – being so forgetful – have reread just about everything I posted last year.

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All I can say to that is, “Damn, I had such good intentions.” 😉 I really did.  I thought that my plan to stay focused was a good one, that I would proceed in my Zen-like state to the amazement and astonishment of all around me and keep landing time after time in my invisible jet, red boots firmly planted, golden eagle gleaming on my otherwise red bustier, and I would finally show Superman how to make that quiche without having a soggy crust.

Laugh. Please.

I could launch into a future-looking state of how busy 2014 is going to be, how I need to keep grounded and be heart-forward rather than logic-centric if I’m going to thrive, but you know what I’m hearing in my head?

Blah-freaking-blah.

And my dragonfly said it, too.

You know what I learned last year from trying to be Wonder Woman? I take life waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously when I don’t allow myself to wander into punchline territory with my sarcasm dictionary tucked under my arm.

Now, to understand the full weight of this revelation, we need to jump in the time traveling DeLorean and set the dial for about October 2007.  At this point, I was stuffed to the gills with guru works. I was studying said gurus with an attention previously only offered to my hair from 1985 – 1993. I had watched The Secret. I had even read Eat, Pray, Love for the love of God. I was fully prepared to have my liver smile on a daily basis. (Okay – confession –  I don’t remember if that was in the book but I know for sure it was in the movie).

And I was miserable. I wasn’t miserable because I was doing anything particularly wrong. I was miserable mostly because I thought I needed to change who I was to “be” happy, but ditching that persona didn’t allow me to deal with what was making me unhappy in the first place. It was putting silk sheets on a straw bed… nothing I could do would make it more comfortable.

Around that time, I arrived at this theory that gurus were usually cloud sitters. You know those people who tell you on some level you need to be able to separate yourself from the fray and realize you’re a spiritual being having a human experience, so you can just let all this human-ness go on around you and sit on your cloud? THAT’S a cloud sitter.

What I’ve come to realize is that while the cloud sitters have a very peaceful persona – very few of them seem to be laughing their asses off on a daily basis. And I want to laugh. Life isn’t about being miserable or seeing how much pain we can put ourselves through. I don’t know about you, but I am at my best, most productive, most confident and happiest when I’m having fun, so I’m ditching the crap that makes me feel way too serious. Life itself brings enough serious to the party. I’m going to sort through it and learn from it and then figure out what I need to hang onto and what I need to let go.

Namaste.

Reality 2013

View from the Dragonfly’s Back

MomsGetReal Soul Feeder Chris Wilcox

1386296554exeuzTwo years ago today, I arrived in Fort Worth for what would be only 15 months of non-Idaho residency.  My sister and I pulled up in front of a little house just off Berry Street & University Drive, wiggled a moving truck past a maple sapling into a driveway that could only be described as perilous on its best days, and then we drove to Dee’s house in Crowley to spend the night.

I unpacked for what I had thought was going to be at least a couple of years, but it wasn’t. And it almost seems like it never really happened now. It’s become nothing more than a movie preview that led into the chaos that became 2013, which is interesting to me; at the time, it was a boulder in the middle of a puddle. The boulder became a pebble into the ocean, and covered the endless floor with a new layer of sand in the process.

But the sand is pretty – so I’ll keep it around.

So what’s ahead for 2014? I’m not sure. Here’s what I know.

I’m feeling far less “mystical” at the end of this year than I did at the end of 2011; maybe it drained away through the cracks that surfaced in my life when I was trying to force things to stay together.  Maybe it’s because I fell off the cloud that I had attached to living somewhere else and I’ve landed back where I started. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up a little or because I’ve realized that I don’t have to take life so seriously. I don’t feel a need to peel back all the layers and dig into what every last detail means anymore or what my distance from all of that means right now – maybe that’s smart or maybe that’s stupid. I’m not sure yet.

It seems like – for me and for those around me – Reality 2013 crashed in with a force that no one really expected, but we (unknowingly) were ready for it. Everything I went through – all the shit, heartache, baggage sorting, tears, laughter, friends found and lost – prepared me for the chess square I’m standing on now. Some days I’m the Queen, some days the Rook, other days, I’m just the Pawn – and may very well be the one that’s sacrificed. But the game always picks up again. For 2014 – I think it’s time to play again.

Namaste,

Chris

Going through Baggage

View from the Dragonfly’s Back 

MomsGetReal Soulfeeder Chris Wilcox

toadflySo, I’ve spent this Mercury Retrograde in my Way Back Machine – because if an astrological event has the capacity to make you dredge up your baggage, for better or worse, I far prefer the former to the latter.  And I’ve gotten lots of opportunities to do so.

It’s so interesting to me how we account for our baggage – we know we’ve all got it but some people throw it up on the train platform soon after they unload it the first time and are able to leave it behind. I can do that with some things – like ex-husbands and shoes that pinch my feet. But I’ve gone to great lengths to decorate the baggage I stubbornly hang onto with all-weather leather and topstitched coordinating trim and handles.

So here’s how I got here.

First, I lost my driver’s license. While I’m fairly certain that it fell out of my purse at some point in the Spokane airport or on the flight back to Boise, no one’s ‘fessing up to having it. I discovered the loss of said identification when I was at the bank yesterday, and had to deposit a check into an account that I had no way to prove was actually mine – apart from the debit card attached to the OLD account I had up until October 18, when I realized there was an asshat still listed as a signatory. Then, my bank educated me to an important fact: you can’t just take someone off an account – you have to close everything and start over.

So, license-less and feeling that first flush of obsessive-what-did-I-do-with-it-ness, I politely reminded my brain that it would do no good to fly in six directions like a dragonfly and I needed to calm down.

Wait.

Fly.

6 AM Monday – Boise to Philadelphia.

And the TSA gets picky about letting you on a plane when you can’t prove who you are.

No worries, I thought. That’s what passports are for, right?  I just need to get my passport from where I keep my passport and the passport will get me on the plane.

You know what’s coming next. Right! My passport was not where I thought I last left it.

Where this gets tricky is I moved last April, but (a) I wasn’t the one to pack my house, and even though (b) I remember holding my passport at some point this year, (c) I don’t precisely recall when that was, exactly. It could’ve been in Fort Worth, it could’ve been here. Who knows? And this is where the “go through the baggage” stuff begins.

Gratefully, my friend Jennie (her real name – because anyone brave enough to dive in and help me navigate my baggage deserves full credit) helped me to unload many of the boxes that filled up my house, so I called. She came.  5 hours later, still no passport, but I did manage to find both my divorce decrees, 3 copies of my birth certificate, college transcript, a savings passbook for a bank that no longer exists, college ID card, every yearbook from school and an album of wedding pictures that somehow survived what I’ll refer to as The Great Fire of 2009.

Needless to say, by the time that exercise proved futile, I had looked at, held, unfolded, opened, questioned and ultimately kept or tossed a lot of baggage that I either didn’t realize I still had or had been unwilling to recognize was keeping me in a place that wasn’t good for me.

Oh, and about 10 tubes of various lipsticks and glosses, $57, and a bottle of Body by Victoria that became Jennie’s finder’s fee. I was happier about that list than the previous one.

What made it easier? Jennie was here – and more importantly, Jennie is one of the key friends who can cut through emotional bullshit like a hot knife through butter. She’s the perfect counterpart to go through everything with me because there are few triggers for her. She can hear me say things like “But I remember where I was when I got that!” and still look at me with an expression that says, “That’s nice. Would you like to take a photo of it before I throw it out?”

Through all of yesterday’s panic and consternation, I realized one very key thing about this year: I’ve not asked for help enough. I’ve taken too much personal responsibility for sorting through my baggage on my own. And I realized how grateful, lucky and blessed to have my friends, and how much I love their help.

 

 

Truce

View from the Dragonfly’s Back 

MomsGetReal Soulfeeder Chris Wilcox

Yesterday morning, I was flipping through one of the dozens of emails I get everyday that I rarely read – you know, those email lists you sign up for because one day a million years ago another version of yourself found resonance in something that was said – and I saw one that said “Your year’s almost up! Let’s assess.”

My mind did one of those hazy whirlpool effects that we used to see on 1980’s sitcoms when they would do a flashback. For real.

I read the title again. While it still said, “Your year’s almost up! Let’s assess,” in my mind it said “You failed. You ass.”

A year ago, I was sitting at a home this many miles away from my past and current Point A:

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I was in the heart of Fort Worth. I had every intention of staying there.

I had just started Doing Things that were What I Wanted to Do. After all, that was the reason that I moved 1,566 miles away – to be selfish. To make decisions that were for me and the life I wanted to live. I started three or four classes for things I was interested in. I walked the dogs on the warm fall evenings and envisioned the life Doing Things I Wanted to Do.

And then I wrote in my journal about this life that I wanted, and I ended it with something like “My Goal is to Live My Purpose.”

And slowly life, like pebbles  dropped into a half-full glass of water, started making that happen. Problem was, my purpose wasn’t What I Thought I Wanted It To Be.

My work escalated – the work that was fine and that paid the bills but that I had stopped loving. And I said to myself that it would be okay. That as long as I stayed grounded and centered, that I could Get Through This. I could put on my Fairy Wings and grab the Unicorn by the mane – I would write every week as a way to stay on track. I could and would Get Through This because I knew What I Wanted to Do.

40 hour weeks became 60 hours that could easily have reached 70 or 80, and occasionally did. My ability to stay grounded circled around being able to wake up in the morning, and with every passing moment, the only thing I could see at the center of anything was a pile of Things that Needed to be Done. And since my job also happens to be writing, doing anything that involved staring at a keyboard and screen was like a bus man’s holiday – it became something I couldn’t even think of doing. And then the piles of “I Wants” became a trash bin I labeled “You Should’ves” and every day, I stacked another Thing I Wanted to Do in the can, a reminder that I had again failed myself, just like I’d failed every diet, relationship, and self-improvement class. I let my “I Wants” get muffled and silenced by the onslaught of “I Have To’s.”

In doing so, I declared War on myself. Everything I did was stupid, wrong, or draining. Everything, said the voice in my head, was wrong. And all my fighting would never make it right again.

It finally occurred to me that everything I was dreading, hating, not accepting could actually be central to my purpose. And that thought was akin to a bleach cocktail after cheesecake with cyanide sauce.

I thought, in all of this, the dragonflies had abandoned me – when in reality, like being pushed out of the nest, they had taught me to fly, but letting them fly for me would do nothing to strengthen my wings. I had to fly on my own.

 

 

A Short or Long Engagement: Which is Right for You?

After getting engaged you will no doubt want to spend some time celebrating and enjoying the time together as a newly engaged couple. Once you are ready to start the planning there will be one main question to answer first, do you want a long or short term engagement? There are a number of benefits to both types and it is a matter of personal preference to which one you choose.

Choosing a Short Engagement

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou may be a couple that like to live in the moment and will therefore benefit from a short engagement. A spontaneous wedding can be exciting and full of surprises for the guests as well as yourselves. Weddings that are arranged in a matter of months or even weeks can be achieved and have even sparked programs such as ‘Don’t Tell the Bride,’ in which the groom arranges the nuptials in only three weeks. This can often be very stressful but by compacting the time spent on the organization you will save yourself a huge amount of worry in the long run.

You may have circumstances which alter the time constraints for you to get married such as a family member suffering with illness. You also may be getting married later on in life and simply do not see the point of waiting around. This way you can enjoy married life for even longer and make the most of the time you have together.

You may be under the impression that by having a long engagement, that you will be able to save money and get certain deals. However, if a venue has a slot that has become available unexpectedly, they will be concerned about it being left untaken. You may therefore be able to knock their regular price down significantly, grabbing yourself a bargain.

One further benefit of a short engagement is being able to keep on trend. Fashions and styles change at a fast pace and it can often be hard to keep up. Therefore, choosing your colour scheme and outfits years before the actual event could be a huge mistake when further down the line you see them as old fashioned.

Choosing a Long Engagement

You can alternatively pick a long engagement which has a range of benefits to both the couple and also the guests. It can often be difficult to find a date soon after becoming engaged which everyone can attend. Therefore, by having the wedding later on you can give plenty of notice to all of the people who are special to you so that they will be sure to make it.

If you are the laid back type, a long engagement could be just right for you. You will have plenty of time to make the arrangements as and when you wish, giving you time to really consider what you want from the occasion. You will be able to visit a variety of venues so that you can get an idea of exactly where you want the nuptials to take place. It will also allow you to get the date that you were hoping for as they are far less likely to be booked already.

With a lot of the wedding depending on budget, stretching out the time before the big day will give you and your other half time to save so that you can have exactly the day you have always dreamt of. This will also be highly beneficial if there are any money mishaps that occur unexpectedly. It can be very hard to recover from these with a shorter engagement and can cause excess stress.

Whatever option you choose, it depends on your personal preference and the needs of your relationship. With benefits to both options, the main thing to bear in mind is to enjoy the time and make the most of being the bride and groom to be.

 

Image Source: DaSh factor

 

This post was written by Amy Bennett who recently got engaged to her long term boyfriend. Choosing a short engagement was an easy decision after 8 years together and after seeing her beautiful ring from 247 Engagement Rings, she can’t wait to get a wedding ring to match.

 

 

5 Things to Consider When Going Through a Divorce

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Andraea Campbell

When couples marry, they plan to stay together and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Even though couples enter their marriages with the best intentions, trouble can still exist. Sadly, just about half the couples married today will spit up and divorce. The mental and financial strain of divorce is stressful on couples. Below are five things you should consider when going through a divorce.

Keep Quiet

Protecting Kids During Divorce
Protecting Kids During Divorce

When you divorce, keep your business quiet. Everyone talks to family and friends to have an outlet, but they may also interpret your talk as a cry for help and mention this to your spouse. This would not be a great idea if you plan on having an amicable divorce. If your marriage has ended, your spouse needs to hear the news from you. Never tell your spouse until your plans are in order.

Keep Emotions in Check

The state of your finances can affect your emotions when going through a divorce. The better off your financial state is, the better your emotional state will be. When you let your spouse know that the marriage is over, you must be prepared that they will walk out the door. Consider if you are financially prepared for your spouse to leave when you tell them you are divorcing.

The Children

Keep in mind that your children are always watching you. It is always best to be nice to your spouse because your children are watching your interactions. Think about when and how you will tell the children about your divorce. The best way to do this is both parents telling the kids together. If the parents are cordial to each other, the kids will feel more comfortable about the divorce.

 Save Money

Have enough money saved for at least six months when going through a divorce. Running one household is a lot cheaper than running two. Calculate how much it costs for you to live every month. Have a plan in place to meet those expenses on your own. It is recommended you have at least one credit card that is in your name solely, and pay off any joint debt that you can. Remember that your spouse might not commit to maintain any joint credit cards after a divorce, and it could affect your credit rating. A person’s credit rating is usually the first casualty when a marriage is ending.

Get an Attorney

Hiring an attorney is one of the first things you should do. Having the best legal advice you can is very important when going through a divorce. A divorce is the beginning of a new living situation and life for you. Making sound decisions will influence your life for years down the road, and a good family law attorney can help you make those decisions.

 

Andraea Campbell is a freelance writer from Kahuku Hawaii. She enjoys writing, surfing, snowboarding, hiking, and being outside in general. Andraea is also divorced and knows how hard that can be. She wrote this article on behalf of a family law attorney in Milwaukee,  one of a few legal services she recommends.

Top 10 Tips For Planning The Perfect Outdoor Wedding

One of the many, many decisions that every bride needs to make is whether to say their vows inside or outside. The former option is certainly the easiest but if you’ve been dreaming about the latter your entire life, an outdoor ceremony is the only way to go.

The good news is that while certainly more challenging, planning the perfect outdoor wedding isn’t quite as difficult as most people believe. Provided you’re both aware of the inherent challenges and plan for them in advance, there’s no reason why your big day can’t go off without a hitch.

Here are ten straightforward tips for throwing the perfect outdoor wedding.

Choose the Right Month

First off, we have the small matter of scheduling, if there’s one thing that you don’t want to get wrong, this is it. Rather than blindly choosing a Summer month, take the time to do your research. Which month is historically the most reliable in terms of both sunshine and the absence of rain?

Keep a Tent Standing By

Regardless of how hard you try to predict the weather, freak rain and wind cannot be completely ruled out. What you can do however is prepare for them. Wedding tent hire isn’t expensive but it’s an invaluable back up plan to have. Even if you don’t use it, you’ll benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that you have it.

Visit the Venue

When it comes time to check out potential wedding venues, it’s important to time your visits appropriately. Don’t visit during the morning if you plan on having your ceremony during the afternoon or evening. Noise, insect and tranquillity levels can all change drastically over the course of a day.

Go Easy on the Decor

One of the many perks of hosting your wedding outside is that you don’t need to spend as much money on décor. In fact, excess décor can easily take away from the natural look that you should be trying to create. Choose somewhere beautiful and let the location speak for itself.

Keep the Insects in Check

For all the beauty of an outdoor wedding, there’s no denying that indoor ceremonies tend to have a lot less insects. If you don’t want your wedding guests to be swatting the air while you’re saying your vows, it’s therefore important to take a few countermeasures. Look into bug sprays, citronella candles and granular repellents.

Hire Experienced Professionals

As you’ve probably guessed by now, outdoor weddings come complete with quite a few unique challenges. It’s therefore important to hire professionals with actual outdoor wedding experience. Do your caterers know how to keep food warm/drinks cold on a Summers day? Is your photographer familiar with ceremonies that are held in the sun?

Choose Appropriate food

Regardless of how experienced your caterers are with outdoor food, it’s important to realise that they can’t work miracles. Some foods just aren’t a good idea in the Summer sun. When they tell you what those foods are, listen to them and take their advice. The last thing you want is to serve your guests spoiled food.

Accept That Your Dress Will get Dirty

 

If you want to a spotless wedding dress, have an indoor wedding. If you want an outdoor wedding, accept that keeping your wedding dress spotless is impossible. Don’t spend the happiest day of your life worrying about a dress that you’re never going to wear again. Even the most well cut grass leaves stains.

Help Your Guests Prepare

In theory, telling your wedding guests that you’re having an outdoor wedding should be a sufficient way of encouraging them to dress appropriately. In reality however, fail to give instructions and half of them are likely to turn up completely unprepared. Your wedding invitations should therefore include a brief note about outdoor shoes, cool clothing and sunscreen.

Keep Everyone Hydrated

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of keeping everybody hydrated during the ceremony. Alcoholic beverages might be a wedding essential but they are the very opposite of thirst quenching. It’s therefore important to serve your guests a wide selection of non alcoholic beverages too. For style points opt for home made lemonade and delicious virgin mojitos.

Clark Douglas, the author of this post, works at MDM Shelters, a well-known wedding tent manufacturing company. He likesto write articles on various topics in his free time.

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