Monday, June 29, 2009

Local Profile: Vocalist Teresa Scalise

I thought it was about time to highlight the local talent available for weddings.

The first person I'm featuring is a wonderful young woman - Teresa Scalise: dancer, actor and singer.

When Teresa is not busy performing, she is the bright, smiling face that serves my beverages at the Mt. Prospect Caribou Coffee. That's how me met several years ago. She brews a mean cup of coffee!

When I was studying to become a Celebrant, Teresa was kind enough to be my vocal evaluator. She was a huge help!

Teresa has been a part of many productions, several at Emerald City's Children's Theater. Among her many rolls, she has portrayed Gretel in "Hansel and Gretel," Fern in "Charlotte's Web," and Mrs. Mayor and Mayzie in "Seussical, the Musical."

Most importantly for all you folks getting married - Teresa sings at weddings! She has been doing so for many years and would be a wonderful addition for any type of ceremony. She can be reached at Email her for information about singing at your wedding!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Q and A: Pew Cones

Question: I recently heard the term, "pew cone." What does it mean?
Answer: Pew cones, also known as pew markers, are used to decorate the ends of rows (or pews in a church) for a wedding ceremony. The cones usually contain flowers or greenery, and can be made of any number of materials, from paper to metal.

Metal cones can be purchased in craft stores, but you can also make your own pew cones.

Here are websites with instructions for DIY pew cones:
Project Wedding
Wedding Bee

I also found some pretty pew cones for sale on Etsy. Check out the pretty paper cones made by Two Sheep and a Bug
and the fabric cones embellished with feathers and beads, made by Modern Victorian.

Whether you decide to make your own or purchase something fun and unique, pew cones will add a nice, colorful touch to your wedding!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

AnitaWeds Nominated for Bridal Blog Awards

Yay! My blog was nominated for a WeddingChannel Bridal Blog Award!

To see the nominating post, click here. To vote for AnitaWeds, just click on the original nomination, hit reply, and add your vote!

Voting ends July 8th.

Thank you for the nomination!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

For those "shotgun" weddings

Planning a shotgun wedding?

Then why not have it at Wild West Town - or, at least next door?

This past Saturday, I married a couple at Village Hall Banquets in Union, IL. The Banquet Hall is adjacent to Donley's Wild West Town. (Shotgun .... Old West ... get it? I know, it was a stretch.)

The ceremony took place in the picnic grove. You can expect more details and pictures of the whole affair when Christa and Justin's wedding is featured in an upcoming Real Weddings Profile. In the meantime, I'll tell you that it was a lovely ceremony for a very sweet couple, gently punctuated by the distant sounds of roosters and goats from Wild West Town's petting zoo. It provided some chuckles and we all loved it!

Between the ceremony and the reception, guests were invited to visit Donley's Wild West Town. They were able to enjoy the attractions, such as the Wild West Show or the Antiques Museum, ride the Chuck Wagon, or even pet those goats they heard during the ceremony.

This is such a great venue! Not only is the Wild West Town a fun addition, the banquet hall itself is terrific! It has a gorgeous antique bar, vintage wagon-wheel chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling windows that make it bright and cheery.

But keep in mind, this isn't just for a venue for western-themed
weddings. Village Hall Banquets is a beautiful setting for any type of wedding. The lovely, natural surroundings are a perfect backdrop.

Imagine a winter wedding with the snow-covered ground setting the scene. Or, a fall ceremony with the gold, red and green hues of the trees providing the decor.

The possibilities are endless!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Q & A: Do you perform same-sex ceremonies?

Question: Do you perform same-sex ceremonies?
Answer: Yes! But, legally, I can only perform commitment ceremonies. Sadly, Illinois does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions.

Please keep fighting to legalize gay marriage!

Thanks to the folks at Two Chicks Nest
for sharing this video.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Can that Centerpiece!

Canned goods at a wedding? You bet!

2000 Dollar Wedding featured a post on canned good wedding centerpieces.

It may sound strange, but it looked great! They simply covered canned goods with white labels and incorporated the cans into a centerpiece.

And the best part?

The canned goods were donated after the wedding. The couple unwrapped the cans and took the food items to their local food pantry.

What a wonderful way to save money on decorations - all while helping people in need.

Be sure to check out the story for all the details of this great project. The couple also shares another creative and fun idea they used to raise money for charity - at their reception.

I love it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Laugh While You Plan Your Wedding!

Having been on a reading frenzy, I picked up the book, "The Longest Aisle - An Offbeat Guide to Wedding Planning" by Richard Mintzer. Truth be told, I thought this was a "real" wedding planning guide when I found it at the library. It turned out to be a spoof of the usual guide book, with very funny do's and don'ts and great (but also goofy!) tips.

One of my favorite parts of the book was "Money Saving Tips." These wonderfully silly suggestions include:
  • Finger foods are less expensive..... try the new McWedding hors d'oeuvres.
  • Hang out at the local hospital and "borrow" flowers from rooms when patients are sleeping.
  • Hamburger Helper can make your main course go a long way.
  • Pick up thrown rice and boil it to be served as a side dish.
  • Sixteen Sarah Lee cakes smashed together and covered with frosting look just like any other wedding cake.
  • Make your wedding invitations an assignment for a local fifth-grade arts and crafts class.

Another favorite was "Problems You May Run Into When a Friend or Family Member Plans
Your Wedding." These issues include:
  • You don't agree on balloon animals as centerpieces at a formal affair.
  • She ends up marrying the groom.
  • She forgets to invite your parents.
  • Your mom plans it and invites a different groom ... of her own choosing.
So, if you need a laugh to ease the pre-wedding stress, browse through this book. You may not find any helpful advice, but you'll probably get a good chuckle. Enjoy!

Friday, June 12, 2009

FRIDAY Q & A: Hawaiian wedding traditions

Question: What are some Hawaiian rituals that can be used for a wedding?

Even if you're getting married right here in Chicago, you can have an island-themed wedding. Here are some rituals to infuse your ceremony with Aloha spirit:

Exchanging flower leis: The bride and groom exchange flower leis (or garlands), which is related to the idea of exchanging rings. The circle shape of the leis represent eternal love.

Ring Blessings: Hawaiian wedding include a ring blessing, in which the officiant has a Koa wood bowl filled with water. Koa is a revered hardwood, and represents strength and integrity, the foundations of a good marriage. A Ti leaf, symbolizing prosperity and health, is dipped into the bowl. The water from the Ti leaf is sprinkled over the wedding rings three times, while the officiant recites the blessing, "May peace from above rest on you and remain with you now and forever."

Hawaiian attire: Traditional Hawaiian weddings call for the bridal couple to both wear white. The bride wears a white holoku, while the groom wears a white billowy shirt with white pants, and a colored sash (usually red) around his waist. It is now common for the groom and groomsmen to wear Hawaiian shirts. The bride also commonly wears a ring of flowers, or huku lei, around her hair.

Check my post Hawaiian wedding - in Chicago? for more tips on planning a Hawaiian-themed wedding.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Literary Affair

This past weekend Chicago played host to the annual Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest. I'm sorry to say that I missed the event, especially because there were appearances by some of my favorites - namely, Marc Smith, creator and host of the Green Mill Poetry Slam, and the fabulous author, Neil Gaiman. Sigh.

But then, as I was drinking my tea and reading the Trib yesterday morning, I learned of another reason to be disappointed about missing the festival. A wedding!

According to the Trib story, the couple had their first date at the festival two years ago and chose it for the site of their wedding this past Saturday.

In keeping with the book theme, the wedding programs were bookmark-shaped and the bride's bouquet was made of origami flowers, created from the pages of old books. Fantastic!

I wish I could have been there to see it.....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chinese Wine Ceremony

One of my favorite things about being a Celebrant is learning about the rituals and ceremonies from other cultures.

As you may probably know, many cultures have some type of wine ceremony for weddings. Recently, I learned more about the Chinese wine ceremony.
I had picked up the book, "Wild Geese and Tea- An Asian-American Wedding Planner," by Shu Shu Costa, in order to learn more about Chinese weddings. In my reading, I came across the details of this particular wedding ritual.

The wine ceremony is one of five Chinese wedding rituals. In this particular ritual, the bride and groom sip wine from delicate cups, which are tied together with red string. They then cross their arms, exchange cups, and drink again.

This ritual, "tuan yuan," is known as 'completing the circle.' When the couple shares the wine, it means that their lives together will be harmonious. In some weddings, the bride and groom are themselves tied together with a red sash.

Isn't that a lovely celebration of unity?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Q & A: Handfasting Cords

Welcome to another installment of the Friday Q & A!

Today's Question: Where can you get handfasting cords?

Answer: Make your own!

Although you can, of course, purchase a cord, it would be pretty easy to make your own. It's simple! I found detailed instructions on
how to make handfasting cords at one of my favorite websites, Offbeat Bride.

With these simple instructions, you can make personalized cords that will be special and meaningful to you. By choosing your own colors and incorporating unique touches, such as charms, your handfasting cords will be a wonderful keepsake from your wedding day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Prairie Style!

I have to tell you about a great wedding venue called
Prairie Productions, located in Chicago, west of the loop.

I officiated a wedding here last weekend and it was absolutely lovely!

The couple exchanged vows under a Chuppah in front of these windows - it was beautiful! They also took pictures with the bridal party, outside on the attached patio.

Inside, the space was decorated with round, white paper lanterns hung from the ceiling, which gave it a festive air. Although it's quite spacious, it has a warm feeling when decorated - and filled with happy wedding guests!

There is also a small courtyard, so guests were able to mingle outside. It was perfect for a gorgeous spring day!

This is definitely
a great place for a wedding! Check out the reviews at Yelp.