SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN GETTING TOGETHER GROOMSMEN GIFTS
In case you didn’t know, it is often customary to give little gifts to your groomsmen for helping out with the wedding and also renting the tux and all. With that being said, are you looking for the best groomsmen gifts?
Will your groomsmen only be able to use their gift once? Or will they be able to continuously use the gift and be reminded of how much fun they had on your wedding day?
GIFT IDEAS – When it comes down to actually selecting a gift, most people go between $35 – $100 or so, so it can sometimes be challenging to find just the right thing. You need to be thoughtful, but at the same time affordable. Unique, yet at the same time practical. Because your crew probably all know each other, expect them to compare notes. Therefore, all the gifts should be well thought out and roughly the same value. Always set a budget.
$50 RULE OF THUMB – I always say around $50 is good. This is not outside the realm of reason.
Here is neat shot glass idea you can get at www.groovyguygifts.com/ . Both the glasses and the nice wooden box that they put them in come in for around for under $40. The quality wooden box adds to the whole piece, as well, making it feel special.
BE PRACTICAL – As fun as it is to buy crazy groomsmen gifts, lame stuff isn’t likely to be used again. When thinking of groomsmen wedding gift ideas, it’s best to give the posse high-quality, meaningful gifts while also focusing on how practical the items are.
Back when I got married, I did cool Fossil watches, however, in the advent of smart phones, watches are becoming less used. The key to finding the very best groomsmen gifts should be ones that end up symbolizing a lasting token of your friendship. Some ideas could include watches, but why not something they will use over and over again like shot glasses, jack knifes.
Better yet, if the item is personalized, it will even more bring back the memory of where it comes from, and that it was special.
TIMING OF GIFT GIVING – There are so many things to consider when planning your wedding. Many couples will choose to give their wedding party thank-you gifts after the rehearsal dinner, but you really can do it whenever you want. Some people do it at the end of the wedding reception, others do it 2 weeks later. In short, there isn’t really a wrong time to do it.
Perhaps more than any other sort of celebration, weddings are full of traditions and trends. Most of us have a picture of the ideal wedding solidified in our minds: a groom in a black suit, a bride in a stunning white gown, plenty of flowers, friends and champagne. Beyond the basics, things can get a bit more inventive however, depending on the wedding. For example, DJ services often help to define the more unique style of a wedding, and design can vary quite a bit. But even the littlest elements of a wedding – like the wedding rings themselves – can move according to trends and traditions.
For many of us, wedding bands are also firmly defined: basic yellow or white gold bands with very little in the way of glitz or glamour. However, there are actually more options than many people realize when it comes to wedding and engagement rings, and it’s certainly worth taking a look at some of them if your own wedding happens to be approaching. Here are some noteworthy trends in wedding and engagement rings this year.
Multi-Diamond Engagement Rings
The standard image of an engagement ring tends to be a simple metal band topped with a beautiful diamond. However, in recent years a trend has emerged toward multi-diamond engagement rings. Even these rings can come in a variety of styles, many of which are available at popular stores like 77 Diamonds. For example, consider eternity rings – rings featuring tiny diamonds around their entire surfaces, symbolizing continuity and eternal love. Or, consider trinity rings, which feature two smaller diamonds flanking a larger, central stone.
Diamond Wedding Rings
Sticking with diamonds, another trend in wedding rings is for diamonds to be used in the actual wedding bands, rather than simply engagement rings. Generally, wedding bands with diamonds in them just have 1, 3 or 5 very small diamonds set in the bands at even intervals. And, though this may initially sound like jewellery meant for women, many men are beginning to opt for diamond-set wedding bands as well.
Gemstone Engagement Rings
While diamonds are still, and will likely always be, the standard for engagement rings, gemstones are also becoming quite trendy. Like Kate Middleton’s famous sapphire ring, gemstone engagement pieces can be elegant and beautiful, and offer very attractive alternatives to the standard diamond concept.
Another very popular trend for wedding bands is to mix metals for fun and interesting patterns. White, rose and yellow gold, as well as alternative metals like titanium and platinum, are all popular in wedding bands, and mixing them in patterns can make for very unique and original jewellery. For example, one popular option is to have a silver-coloured metal (white gold, titanium, or platinum) in the middle of a band, with small stripes of yellow or rose gold on the outsides. However, there are also more elaborate options, such as swirling or basket woven patterns.
Subsequently, this odd sock dance tradition that punishes single siblings for not already being married has bled some into the states. Today, brides and grooms in the Capital Region and specifically Albany and Saratoga Springs, NY who come from our northern neighbors have been working the custom into their wedding planning. Now, another odd Canadian tradition related to the Ugly Wedding Sock Dance is making its way into our wedding halls. This one is called “The Hog Trough Dance.”
The overall philosophy behind The Trough Dance is still the same as the Sock Dance; to punish an unmarried older sibling at a younger sibling’s wedding reception by making them dance in a ridiculous manner for not being married yet. Hoever in the Hog Trough Dance, the sibling dances barefoot in a pig trough or a wash basin, sometimes full of liquid. The idea is that if you are older and still not married, you need to be thrown into the spotlight and peer pressured into tying the knot soon, to avoid the public ridicule at your next brother or sister’s wedding. Because you are not already married, you are indangering the passing down of the family name, and this is punishable by mud.
From my research, I found Ethnologist Jean-Claude Dupont of New Brunswick , showing the earliest written description of the trough dance. He said that, “a musician would play a tune and the single sister had to dance in the muddy pig trough, which had been brought inside special for the event.”
Dupont went on to explain that if the sibling were a male, things would be even worse in a French-Canadian Hog Trough Dance. When it was a bachelor who was being punished for not marrying before his younger sibling, “the brother would actually be made to eat out of the same trough!”
The tradition also sometimes involved dancing in and around a trough filled with food that would be sampled after the dance. Sometimes, a variation with a basin filled with alcohol, a mixture of beer, and hard liquor that the dancer must also drink after the dance.
I have learned that updated variations to this tradition that has evolved some in recent years. Early on, legitimate dirty old troughs pulled right off the farm complete with mud, steaming fresh pig droppings (or worse) were in fact used for the dance, in the most extreme cruel and unusual forms of this wedding torture tradition.
You can bet that feet covered in pig droppings would have left some really lasting impressions on guests sitting near the dancer’s piggies after the festivities. This is all the reason more to make sure that you are married before your younger sister.
However, in today’s more politically correct version of The Dreaded French-Canadian Trough Dance, we see a more forgiving version. People spend a lot of money on clothing on the big special day, and not many people will want to cooperate in such a dance knowing that they will get ridiculously dirty. Another issue, is many halls do not want confetti getting around, let alone pig $#!t, so you can imagine what their responses may be to this type of custom.
With the loosening of family constraints, we now see relatives pushing victims into the Trough Dance in a clean trough purchased just for the occasion.
Other than mail order Russian brides, there are some different traditions that revolve around Russian weddings. Whether you are a Russian bride or groom-to-be, this is a great list of Russian traditions that may help you come up with some great ideas to commemorate and celebrate your ancestral roots of Old Mother Russia.
First off, did you know that Russian weddings are much longer than the traditional American wedding of today in that they typically go on for two full days?
THE KISS PRINT NAPKIN – Before the wedding ceremony, it’s tradition for all Russian grooms to accomplish a few prenuptial traditions. For example, when he comes to pick up his bride, the groom may be handed a napkin with lipstick prints of the bride and her attendants on it. In the unfortunate case that the groom can’t pick out which is his bride’s kiss print, he must pay a fine to the bride-to-be. In jest, Grooms who guess wrong may have to cover a shawl with money to reassure her.
PRE-CEREMONY REGISTRATION- The official traditional Russian ceremony is only one part of the entire wedding event. To start things off, the bride and groom arrive in separate cars and are lead into different rooms that are ideally a decent distance apart before filling out the regestration papers. Next, the couple wait until they are called.
PRE-CEREMONY BUTTEFLY TOSS – Once the Russian bride and groom exit the civil marriage registration office, it’s time for picture taking to commemorate the occasion. Friends and family members toss flower petals, coins, and sometimes release butterflies to wish the couple good luck. And before they leave, it’s tradition for the groom to sweep the bride up in his arms and kiss her in front of all assembled, among flying butterflies.
PRE-CEREMONY BREAD PRESENTATION – Before exiting the registration hall, a member of the bridal party, or sometimes another special person is assigned to present the bride and groom with the ceremonial bread and salt tray, which will be an interesting part of the Russian wedding tradition. Next, the bride and groom are lead into the actual ceremony hall where the actual rites and vows are to be held.
BRIDAL PARTY SASHES – It’s tradition for the best man and maid of honor to wear sashes over their clothing.
RUSSIAN WEDDING RUG – For the ceremony, the bride and groom stand on a traditional wedding carpet and the officiant reads a welcoming speech and then asks the bride and groom to confirm their reason for being there. Very much like our American tradition, the Russian bride and groom then engage in an exchanging of rings, the couples sign in the registry, and then the witnesses sign and the couple are pronounced man and wife.
BREAD BITING TRADITION – A platter of bread is presented during the ceremony to the Russian bride and groom at hand. This part of the ceremony symbolizes the hope for a healthy long life with prosperity for the couple. The bread is then bitten into by both the bride and groom, and the joke is that the one who takes the largest bite will make all the major decisions and essentially be the one who wears pants in the family!
DECORATED BRIDAL RIDE – After the wedding, the bride and groom make a nuptial tour of their town’s historic sites. To transport themselves and their guests to these locations in class, many Russian brides and grooms will hire a fancy limousine covered in with gold decorations and flowers. Quite often, villagers will see the couple’s names painted on a side window, and wave good luck in support of their neighbors’ happy day. When the couple cannot afford a limo, most just have their bridal party pimp out their ride, or borrow a friend’s car suitably tricked out ride, as well. Either way, the bride and groom ride in style.
FIVE STOP TOUR – For Russian brides and grooms the historic town bridal tour is not only a matter of showing up in a specific and often scenic location for photography reasons, the ride is a symbolic act that assures a long and happy marriage.
Typically, the bride and groom make pitstops at five different places around the city that hold special meaning for citizens. There they have post-wedding photos snapped, and at each stop-off, the bride and groom leave flowers to symbolize their contribution as husband and wife to the history of the town/village.
DOVE RELEASE – The couple sometimes simultaneously releases a white dove, as tradition, to symbolize and emphasize the purity of their love, near a waterfront.
BRIDAL RANSOM – There is also a silly tradition of “the stealing the bride”, when the groom takes his eyes off the bride, she might get stolen and the groom will have to pay ransom! All in jest, of course!
An Irish theme wedding is a perfect way to make your wedding stick out and be memorable to all the guests attending. It additionally celebrates your heritage and Irish culture, and is a great way to start your marriage.
There are many things you can incorporate into your special day. Irish traditions can be fused into your decor, ceremony, clothing, food and also reception activities.
First off, the look of the reception hall is everything. When you purchase decorations, it s easy to go with anything Saint Patrick’s day, but I would stay away from the over-the-top cartoony stuff. You can get away with some of it, perhaps at the reception, if you absolutely want to go with leprechans and pots of gold, but you really shouldn’t have them at the ceremony. Those type of decorations can make your wedding look cheap.
CELTIC WEDDING TRADITIONS
The traditional Irish Wedding Bell – A hand held “Irish Wedding bell” is sounded by the new husband immediately after the ceremony. Decoration-wise for a modern Irish wedding, small bells can be distributed as favors to your guests. These are nice keepsakes, as they replicate the symbolic Irish Wedding Bell rung at the couple’s ceremony. Guests are encouraged to ring them upon departure from the church after the ceremony, much we throw rice here in the states, or blow bubbles.
The ceremony bell is not forgotten and left behind at the ceremony as a decoration, however, with the flowers. It accompanies the new couple to their home as a momento of their vows. In fact, whenever there is an argument, it is supposed to be rung to remind the couple of their wedding vows. (ONE DOWNFALL – Everyone knows when Mr. & Mrs. O’Reilly are arguing. They sounds like the Salvation Army by Walmart at Christmas time.)
Irish Shotgun Wedding /Add Gun Fire! – If you really want to start your married life out wth a bang, another Celtic tradition is for rifles to be fired to announce that the couple have been declared now, “man and wife.”
A Horseshoe Bouquet- The bride’s bundle of flowers can hold a horseshoe inside it, to bring the couple good luck as tradition. (Just make sure to remove it before the flower toss, as getting hit with one brings bad luck and a hefty hospital bill.) A twist on this tradition is that some women also sew a tiny cute horseshoe into the hem of their wedding dress in Irish weddings.
CLOTHING OPTIONS FOR AN IRISH THEME WEDDING
The Harvest Knot – Many years ago, the men of Ireland gave their brides-to-be an accessory called harvest knots which were weavings of straw. Usually, a Harvest Knot is trimmed with flowers and worn in their hair or around your neck. You can put a harvest knot also in the flower bouquet along with the lucky horseshoe to symbolize Irish pride.
Add Irish Flare – Okay. Okay. I know this sounds cheesy, but as a twist on the Horseshoe Bridal Bouquet above, some women also sew a tiny cute horseshoe onto the hem of their wedding dress for Irish weddings. Try it! It is like bedazzling for your future good fortune!
Adding Irish Lace – A great way add Irish to your wedding attire is to mix in some Irish lace. Authentic Irish Lace is always loaded with intricate patterns and great quality. You can add lace to the veil to really bring the Irish out.IRISH FOOD OPTIONS
The Dinner – The way that the wedding guests would feast in celebration, back in old Ireland was to have a potluck meal hosted at the bride’s family’s house. Traditional Irish dishes include coddle, stew soda, Irish bread, and of course everyone loves cornbeef and cabbage.
The Wedding Cake – The Irish wedding cake is typically a heavy fruit cake with white icing. Tradition says that one of the bride’s sisters or bridesmaids is actually the one to cut and serve it. But they location of the actual cut is the strangest part of this cake cutting custom. Tradition actually has the bride seated while the groomsmen held the cake over her head while her sister or best friend cut it.
MUSIC OPTIONS WITH CELTIC APPEAL & THE MUST-HAVE IRISH PLAYLIST
Irish Bag Pipes – Rock out at your ceremony or for your introduction into the reception hall with the belting melody of the Irish pipes. Although bagpipes have Celtic roots, they are often today played by the Scottish. However, with a little research, you can find a real Irish uillean piper play at your wedding.
Celtic music can be played wherever appropriate during the ceremony and reception, as there are many varieties. I particularly recommend Celtic harp music for the ceremony for the atmosphere it sets. There are many CDs on Amazon, if you are not having a live band or musician.
Reception Dancing – Learn and perform a real Irish jig to traditional Irish music at the reception. The actual steps of Irish folkdances are called ceilidh.
Here is a good playlist of must hear Irish songs for your wedding reception:
Andres Segovia – Henry Purcell
A 12 Year Old Irish Girl In All Of Us – Flogging Molly
A Walk in Irish Rain – Irish Descendants
Ave Maria (Schubert) – The Irish Tenors
Barrett’s Privateers – Irish Descendants
Black Velvet Band – Irish Rovers
Catch The Wind (Folk) – Irish Descendants
Come on Eileen Dexie’s – Midnight Runners
Danny Boy – The Irish Tenors
Dublin in the Rare Old Times – Three Irish Tenors Farewell To Nova Scotia – Irish Rovers
Give Ireland Back To The Irish – Paul McCartney
Haste to The Wedding (Celtic) – The Corrs
I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen – Three Irish Tenors
Irish Heartbeat – Van Morrison & The Chieftans
Irish Jig – Various Artists
Irish Medley – Dixie Chicks
Jump Around – House of Pain
Mother Machree – John Gary
Old Irish Blessing – Sprague Choir
Peg O My Heart – Jerry Vale
Riverdance Soundtrack – Irish Diddy
Shipping Off To Boston – Dropkick Murphies
The Biplane Evermore – Irish Rovers
The Irish Washerwoman – Celtic Bagpipes
Tim Finnegan’s Wake – Celtic Connection
Toora-Loora-Looral Three – Irish Tenors
Traditional Irish Folk Song – Dennis Leary
Unicorn – Irish Rovers
Waltzing Matilda – The Irish Rovers
Wasn’t that a party – Irish Rovers
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling – Bing Crosby
Wild Irish Rose – Country George Jones
A month ago in Albany, NY, I was the wedding disc jockey for a younger Lithuanian couple, proud of their roots. They were good people, so I can understand why their guests wanted to shower them with money, but something at this wedding was different. These cash gifts were not in card-form at the gift table, but rather people showering the dance floor …with coins!
As the first dance came to an end, the wedding party rushed to pour tons of silver dollars, quarters, and smaller coins, all around the dance floor corners. When the newlyweds finally made their exit, the guests frantically moved in to pick up the coins to fill a tall glass vase on the head table. Eventually, a lucky guest held the specially marked coin in the air and demanded his dance with the bride.
I since learned that the Lithuanian love coin wedding tradition originated from a 1500’s Lithuanian town legend that would later resurface as a fad in the 1800’s. Here is what our Disc Jockeys at TheDJservice.com could find about the original story that transformed into the wedding tradition we have today:
THE LITHUANIAN LOVE COIN LEGEND: In a small Lithuanian village in the 1500’s, a young man did not have enough money to buy his girlfriend an engagement ring. With the country involved in one of the many Muscovite–Lithuanian Wars, most men didn’t have much money and had to be creative. What this man chose to do to profess his undying love, was to provide his bride-to-be with a personalized gift. He took a coin and spent many hours cleaning it, sanding it, and overall, turning it into a piece of beautiful art. When he finished, one side now had a beautiful dove and both of their initials. When he presented this treasure to his lady and proposed, she of course said “yes.” But the ceremony was, unfortunately, not to happen anytime soon. Soon after the proposal, the man was drafted off to war and would not able to first marry his true love for another ten years.
In the meantime, she waited. As a symbol of their love, she treasured the coin and kissed it every night before bed, awaiting his return. One night, however, thieves broke into her house and stole her very few valuables and also put the coin in a bag. The girl awoke the next morning and was heartbroken.
After ten years, the man finally returned to his home town as a hero. His bride-to-be had waited eagerly and was very elated with his return, but very sad to confess the loss of the coin he had made for her. The man comforted her and decided to waste no more time. They planned their wedding for the weekend. The next day, the entire village passed word of the news. Come the weekend, the whole town came to what was supposed to be a small wedding ceremony to show thanks to the man who fought so bravely for them for many years.
The guests felt badly, however, when no rings were exchanged during the ceremony. They realized that the couple had no money. They learned that the wife had recently been robbed and decided to do something about it. Between the ceremony and the reception, the villagers ran home. When they returned to the reception hall, they brought with them lots of great food and presents to show thanks to their war hero.
As tradition, the couple entered the reception hall last. They drank wine and ate salt and bread to symbolize joy, tears, and work; the three main elements of a life together. Then they were surprised with an even better feast from the thankful guests. During dinner, word got out that the bride’s belongings and their precious love coin had been stolen less than a year before the groom’s return. When the first dance began, the villagers emptied their pockets and purses in merriment onto the floor, as gifts to start the home the new husband and wife.
As the guests collected the money for the couple in a flower vase, a curious thing happened. The original love coin was, in fact, found. It had been re-circulated and passed around the village and ended up in one of the guest’s pockets! The coin was happily returned to the couple who danced with it’s finder in celebration. As the story goes, they lived happily ever after.
THE LITHUANIAN LOVE COIN WEDDING TRADITION LIVES ON: Today, some Lithuanians re-live this beautiful love story, in memory of this couple and the good people of the village. The guests bring loads of silver dollars, half dollars and quarters to weddings and throw them all over the dance floor. One of the coins is marked with bride and groom’s initials. At the end of the first dance, the wedding party collect all of the coins for the newly weds and fill a clear vase, and the lucky person who finds the “love coin” gets a special dance immediately with either the bride or groom for their find.
LOVE COINS – If you are considering doing this tradition at your reception, you can make your very own Lithuanian love coin, buy a hobo nickel, or you can try to find a vintage one with their initials on it. There are many vintage ones on ebay and at: Love Tokens: Engraved Coins.