Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Q & A: Say it with Flowers

Welcome to my new feature : The Friday Q & A
And now, our first question......
(drum roll, please)

Question: What are the meanings of different flowers?
Answer: I researched various sources, and here are some of my findings:

ANEMONE: Expectation. Legend says that this flower was sprung from the blood of the god Adonis.

ASTER: Patience, elegance. In ancient times, this purple wildflower was burned to drive away evil spirits.

BABY'S BREATH: Innocence. Also known as "Gypsolphilia" and as "soap wort" in the UK.

CHRYSANTHEMUM: Cheerfulness, optimism, truth, long life, joy, fidelity. Considered to be a noble flower in China where they can be traced back to the 15th century BC. An ancient Chinese city was named "Ju-Xian," translated as "Chrysanthemum City."

DAHLIA: Dignity, forever, good taste. The Japanese name, Tenjikubotan, means "The Peony of India."

HYACINTH: Sport, play. Said to have sprouted from the wound of a dying boy named Haycinth accidentally killed by a discus thrown by his lover, the god Apollo

LILY OF THE VALLEY: Purity of heart, sweetness, happiness, love's good fortune. A legend says that this flower sprang from Eve's tears when she and Adam were exiled from the Garden of Eden. It was believed that this flower protects gardens from evil spirits.

PAPERWHITE: Sweetness. Considered an aphrodisiac due to its intoxicating scent. Also the national flower of Wales, because it is said to bloom on March 1st, the feast day of St. David, the patron saint of Wales.

RANUNCULUS: You are radiant with charm, radiant charm, attractive. Originating in Asia, this flower was celebrated for its medicinal properties as well as its beauty. The name comes from Latin, meaning "little frog," since the flower is often found near water - like frogs.

SUNFLOWER: Adoration, devotion. Symbolizes longevity in China.

SWEET PEA: Bliss, thank you for a lovely time, I think of you. A native of Italy, it was supposedly given its name by the poet John Keats.

TULIP: Perfect love. Considered the emblem of Holland, but originated in Persia.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

DIY Bouquet

Look at this beautiful bouquet.

Can you believe that it's a
paper flower bouquet?!?!

Once again, the brilliant folks at
Simply Dazzling Events have come up with another amazing DIY project for your wedding.

The post,
DIY - Crafted Bouquet and Centerpieces, offers detailed instructions for making the various flowers in the bouquet.

Made with tissue paper, wire, and a few small styrofoam balls, they're really pretty and can easily be incorporated into a centerpiece. And (the best part!) this project will save you tons of money!

So, what are you waiting for? Get crafting!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is your iPod cut out for the job?

Lifehacker, a great resource for MANY topics, has some good advice when it comes to weddings.
I recently checked out the post, "
Wedding Music Tips," and found that it offered some sound advice (pun definitely intended) about hiring a deejay for your wedding.

Now, I'm all about the DIY, but the article makes some good points about hiring professionals. While some couples may want to opt for an iPod, a good deejay has the experience and know-how to help the reception's flow.

A professional will let you pick your own music, but can also "read" the mood and play the right songs at the right time.

Something to think about.....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Garden Wedding Tips

If you are considering a garden wedding, the article, "Garden Gorgeous" is a must-read!
I found this very informative post at the Polka Dot Bride, an Australian wedding blog.

Not only does it offer great ideas for decorating your garden area to make it utterly magical, the post has great photos, too! What more could you want?

Be sure to check it out!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Skokie 2009 Festival of Cultures

This past Sunday I spent the afternoon with my family, enjoying the colorful sights and sounds of the Skokie Festival of Cultures. What great fun!

We really enjoyed the energetic performance by Evanston Escola de Samba, a favorite of my
husband's. I doubt there was a single person not dancing (or at least swaying) to the music!

As for me, I was especially impressed by the dancers from Jasmin Jahal Dance Company, performing dances from Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. (I'm pretty sure my hubby liked them, too!) I confess that I've tried belly dancing classes, so my interest was piqued to begin with. These dancers were incredible! The audience was enthralled by the bright costumes and the fluid, graceful moves.

I learned that Jasmin Jahal Dance is also the host of
Chicago Shimmyfest, held in July. I may need to go check that out!
And by the way, the spectacular dancers are available to perform at weddings!!

In addition t
o the entertainment, the Festival of Cultures offered an International Market, as well as booths with organizations representing different countries. I chatted with a nice woman at the Phillipine both, who gave me a recipe for Adobo Chicken, which I plan on trying this week. The Thailand booth featured a woman carving the most intricate designs from fruit & vegetables. She made a fish from a melon and was in the process of carving carrot tulips as we watched. To the delight of my children, the Germany booth gave out mini packets of Gummi Bears.

It was a great afternoon, capped off by dinner at Pita Inn. Falafel, hummus, chicken shawarma, rice pilaf & mint iced tea - my idea of heaven!

In any case, this festival got me to thinking about the many couples getting married who come from rich, fascinating cultures. It's important to remember that, what's common to you and your family, may be new and exciting (and fun!) to your guests!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pagan Wedding Customs

I have spoken with couples who have asked about incorporating Pagan rituals into their ceremony. What people don't often realize is that many of our wedding traditions can be traced back to Pagan ceremonies. A perfect example is the wedding ring. The circle is an important Pagan symbol, representing eternity, with no beginning and no end.

Handfasting is considered an Irish ritual, but it is also a Pagan tradition as it can be traced to pre-Christian customs.

When considering a Pagan wedding, couples sometimes wonder how to incorporate their beliefs and philosophy into the wedding. Here are some ideas I've found:

Brooms: Although most people associate it with African American weddings, jumping the broom has also long been a Pagan (and Wiccan) wedding tradition. Brooms can also be used as decorations for the reception, as they are a symbol of fertility (hearth and home). Small decorative brooms (available at craft stores) can be adorned with dried herbs, flowers, or ribbons for a nice touch.

Possibilities for wedding reception keepsakes and decorations include:

  • Packets of flower seeds or plant seedlings
  • Jars of honey (sacred to Aphrodite)
  • Bells - used to ward off evil spirits
  • Potpourri which includes orris root, a violet-scented fixative regarded as a love plant
  • Keychains - keys have magical significance (unlocking of the mysteries)
These are all ideas that could be great DIY projects for you crafty couples. You can also easily personalize your projects to make them more meaningful for your guests- and you! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Sweet Tooth Extravaganza!

I just love the trend of candy buffets popping up at wedding receptions. Why didn't they have things like that when I got married??

But then again, I don't know if I could really picture the old German relatives dipping into the rock candy or scooping up handfuls of SweetTarts!

If you're planning on a candy buffet, you really should read the article "How to Create a Candy Buffet Bar," found at Bride and Groom

In addition to many other helpful hints, the article suggests using clear containers, so your sweet treats will also serve as a fun, colorful decoration.

Another idea is offering your guests nostalgic candies, such as lollipops and candy bracelets. Oh, I can just see Uncle Norm munching on a candy bracelet right now!

I found more good ideas in the article, "How to Create the Perfect Wedding Candy Buffet." It gives you tips on what type of candy to buy and -very important!- how much of it to buy. The article also has lots of great candy buffet photos to get your creative juices flowing (and make your mouth water!)

I think this is such a fun idea - and the best part is that it can fit into a tight budget. Just don't forget the peanut M&Ms.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I already shared the cool story of the engagement ring. " Now, as promised, the REAL WEDDING profile of Amber & Evan's May wedding at Hotel Allegro....

Amber and Evan were married on a perfect spring day. Before the ceremony, they went around the city with Terri, their photographer from George Street Photo & Video to snap some photos. Here they are in front of the beautiful Chicago skyline.

Of course, we natives know that the "Windy City" deserves its name!
They came back to the gorgeous Hotel Allegro for more photos. I love the lush colors and fabulous decor in this hotel!
The dress was so beautiful - the detailing on the back was just spectacular!

The event began with beautiful music - classical guitar by David Saenger. The ceremony was full of smiles - and lots of love. It was an intimate wedding, with only family and a few friends. But they came from all over the country - Washington, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa! When Amber & Evan said their vows, pretty much everyone was close to tears (even me!) You could truly feel the love in the room.

And, finally - the pretty cake. You know I couldn't leave out the wedding cake! Made by Rolf's Patisserie, the top tier was chocolate with raspberry filling and the bottom was almond pound cake with chocolate filling. Isn't this the most gorgeous blue?

So there you have it - the first REAL WEDDING featured on the AnitaWeds blog. Check back for future REAL WEDDING profiles!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Another Great Giveaway - Invitations!!

Style Me Pretty is hosting another fabulous giveaway!

Visit the blog and leave a comment about your favorite style of invitations by Hello! Lucky!!

One comment will be selected and the winner will receive a set of 100 digital invitations.

Hurry, the winner will be announced on Friday afternoon!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Still time to contact your State Reps!

The vote on Bill HB2234 has been pushed up to May 31st.

There is still time to contact your state representatives to urge them to support Civil Unions in Illinois!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pray for rain on your wedding day??

A Jeweler in Oklahoma is encouraging couples to "pray for rain" on their wedding day.

Sound weird? From B.C. Clark's website. an explanation of their "Pray for Rain" Promotion:

"Buy your diamond engagement ring at B.C. Clark Jewelers and if it rains or snows an inch or more at News 9 or Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City on your wedding day, we'll pay for your ring!"

They may have gotten more than they bargained for! This past Saturday, May 2nd, six couples who purchased their rings from B.C. Clark Jewelers got married - and it rained 1.2"!

One of the lucky couples was married right here in Chicago.... by me!

Evan and Amber had a lovely, intimate wedding at Hotel Allegro this past Saturday. It was perfect - great weather (no rain in Chicago!), a gorgeous bride, a handsome groom, really sweet family and friends.... and a FREE ring! How cool is that?! I was lucky enough to be a part of this beautiful celebration - and now I have a great story to tell, too!

Stay tuned for more details about this lovely couple - they'll be featured in a "Real Weddings" post soon!

Maine Governor Approves Same-Sex Marriage!

Great news! Maine Governor, John Baldacci, signed a bill Wednesday to legalize gay marriage. Maine is now the 5th state where gay marriage is legal. Read the Washington Post article here.

For a smile, kick back with a cup of coffee and read Andrew Sullivan's reaction. Yes, this is turning out to be a good year!

Now let's work on Illinois legalizing civil unions. Contact your state representatives now!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Join Celebrants - support HB2234 & legalize Civil Unions in Illinois!

It has just come to my attention that the Illinois General Assembly may be voting on Act HB2234 - the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. Passage of this act would legalize civil unions in Illinois.

Please join me and my fellow Illinois Celebrants in urging our State Representatives to vote YES on Act HB2234! Let your voice be heard!

According to the Assembly's website, it looks like it may be called to a vote this Friday, May 8th - so please act quickly! You can go to the Illinois General Assembly to find your representative. Not sure who your State Representative is? Click here to do a search using your address. Please call and/or email today!

I just sent the following letter to my representative (of whom I've been a big fan!), Elaine Nekritz:

Re: HB 2234 - Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act

Dear Representative Nekritz,

This letter is in regard to HB2234 - the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. It is an issue of civil rights and human dignity. This Act would grant civil unions to same-sex couples, as well as to senior citizens unable to marry for fear of losing essential benefits.

Loving, committed couples are denied basic rights, including hospital visitation, health care decision-making, survivor benefits, shared nursing home living, and the authority to make funeral arrangements. In emergency situations, relationships are not recognized – partners are treated like strangers.

As a citizen of Illinois, a registered voter, and a Civil Celebrant who performs commitment ceremonies, I urge you to consider how this issue affects your constituents and their families. Please help put an end to the heartache and injustice suffered by so many people in our state. This important Act would guarantee that ALL families in Illinois would be treated with respect and legitimacy, without offending religious traditions associated with marriage.

I ask that you vote “yes” in support of this important legislation. Please support equality, fairness, and justice for all Illinois citizens.


Anita E. Vaughan

Civil Celebrant

Monday, May 4, 2009

Something old, something new.....

We've all heard the saying, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." But what the heck does it mean?

Actually, most people don't realize that there is another part. The entire rhyme is:

Something old, something new.
Something borrowed, something blue,
And a sixpence in her shoe.

A sixpence is a silver coin that was used in England in the past. The saying is English and hearkens back to the Victorian era. The poem is a wish of good fortune for the new bride.

To break it down, "something old" refers to heirloom jewelry pieces that brides have traditionally worn for the wedding, and thus, her connection with family and ancestors.

"Something new" refers to the hope of a happy future.

"Something borrowed" is usually something the bride borrows from a happily married friend. This allows the married friend's luck and happiness to rub off on the new bride.

It's said that "something blue" goes back to Victorain England, where the color symbolized royalty, or "blue blood." In other words, the wedding couple were seen as being royal on their wedding day. (Hey, I kinda like that idea. Do my bidding, peasants!)

Blue can also be traced back to ancient Rome, where blue symbolized purity and fidelity. In Christianity, the Virgin Mary is often depicted as wearing blue.

And, of course, the sixpence represents financial security.

So there you have it. Now you know what it all means. And remember, when you borrow something blue, make sure the lender is truly in LOVE!