Saturday, August 10, 2013

Country Wedding

Country wedding. We featured this tablesetting story, Home Spun, in our very first issue - I can't help but love the rustic simplicity of the shearing shed, a perfect backdrop for the table and its props. We had such a nice day with the Clydesdale horses and dray from Coopers who came up especially for our shoot. The fruitcake was the highlight though - we got to enjoy a slice every day for the next couple of months!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bridal Gowns with Long-sleeves: Monique Lhuillier Fall 2013 / Spring 2014 Bridal Collections

It seems modest gowns continue to be part of today's trend in bridal fashion.  Monique Lhuillier's latest collection offer brilliant long-sleeve wedding gown styles that has set a strong path for other designers to follow.  While Monique Lhuillier may not exactly be within every girl's wedding dress budget, her designs can serve as an inspiration when choosing your modest bridal gown. 
Be inspired!  Happy shopping, and Mazel Tov on your upcoming wedding!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Creativity and Cake!

With July bringing a slowdown of wedding ceremonies due to Florida's blistering heat, it's a great time for me to work on the upcoming Fall Wedding Season's ceremonies.  For me as a Wedding Officiant, the actual ceremonies may be scant, but the work of creating the ceremonies for the upcoming busy season manages to keep me pretty dang busy!

One of the things I love best about what I do is working with a couple prior to their wedding day to create a wedding ceremony that is a true reflection of who they are as a couple, and says what they want to have said as they are married.  No two ceremonies are ever exactly the same, which means that each ceremony must be created from scratch.  I liken it to baking a cake -- a standard cake mix will taste good, but a custom cake that's done from scratch will have that "extra touch" that makes it truly memorable and extra-delicious!

A nice cake, but....

Look at the difference when you have a...
Gorgeous Custom Cake!
(Created by Cake Designers, Sanford, FL)
To give you some examples of creative ceremonies I've got coming up, I've got everything from Carl Sagan to Drs. Who and Seuss -- Winnie-the-Pooh to The Hobbit -- a proposal that took place on a cliff, to puns and references to alligators and mosquitoes -- the list goes on and on, but you get the idea!  

I say it every time -- I absolutely LOVE what I do -- and helping a couple create a one-of-a-kind memorable wedding ceremony is the icing on the cake!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Modest Summer Dress Ideas

Hot summer days can mean suffering with sticky, sweaty outfits for the Orthodox Jewish gal.  How do you keep covered when all you want to do is jump in a pool to beat the heat?  I explored this quandary myself and found some reasonably priced fashionable dresses perfect for Summer that can work in a multitude of settings, including your friend's upcoming Orthodox Jewish Wedding:

Versatile Day and Evening Dress:

Perfect Dress for the Wedding Guest:

The Little Black "Modest" Dress:

FYI - Designers such as Tahari, Karen Kane, Tucker and Kamalikulture seem to include modest options in their seasonal portfolio of styles.


Questions or comments?  Email me at or write a comment. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Stormy Outside, Sunny Inside!

An outdoor ceremony is always beautiful, especially at a lovely venue like Casa Feliz in Winter Park, Florida -- but sometimes, in spite of our plans, Mother Nature has other ones in store!

Amanda & Francisco's wedding was supposed to be outside, but about an hour before their ceremony time, the storm clouds began to gather, and it became obvious that things would have to be moved inside.  Thankfully, Casa Feliz has a beautiful, intimate indoor spot for ceremonies, so although it wasn't their original plan, they still had a beautiful spot for their ceremony!

Thankfully, before the storm began, they had chosen to have a "First Look," so their photographer, the amazing Heather Rice of Heather Rice Photography, was able to capture a good amount of photos before the lightning, thunder and rain rolled in!
Are they adorable, or what?!
We had worked together on a wonderfully customized ceremony, which began with a nod to how they met -- "Who would have thought that reaching for an engineering textbook in a bookstore would have led to this day?"  It started their ceremony off with a gentle chucke, and from there, it became more tender -- and as a tear came from Amanda's eye, Francisco wiped it with such sweetness!
Their Sand Ceremony celebrated the two of them coming together, along with a third color that represented their future children -- a truly unique and wonderful touch!

And oh, the wonderful kiss as they were pronounced husband and wife -- so full of joy!

So, we let the thunder, lightning and rain roll on -- it was sunny and bright inside!

There were sunflowers everywhere in their decor, including inside!

Congratulations, Amanda & Francisco -- may your life together be filled with sunshine and happiness!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, Do, Do, Do, Do, Doo!!!

Every single wedding ceremony that I perform is special and unique -- my philosophy is that each couple is unique, so their wedding ceremony should be, too!

And, every once in a while, I have a couple whose joy and enthusiasm make for a ceremony that doesn't go exactly as scripted!  Shana & Howard's wedding at the beautiful Rose Garden at Leu Gardens in Orlando was one of those ceremonies -- and what an amazing time it was!

Prior to their wedding day, the three of us worked beautifully together to create their ceremony -- they had great ideas and contributions they wanted to include, and the end product was a great script that we were all thrilled with!  

On their wedding day, I arrived as photos were being taken -- they had a "First Look" session, which is such a great idea -- and Shana & Howard greeted me with big hugs. I met their families, and as the photographer gathered the group for a photo, Shana shouted "Wait -- I want Renee in the picture, too!"  Wow -- I was so honored -- in all of my years of officiating, that's only the second time that's ever happened!

Here we are before the ceremony!

The time for the ceremony arrived, and we gathered for the processional.  Shana began to get teary -- Howard gently wiped her tears, and they whispered to each other so lovingly -- their sense of excitement was palpable!  

Howard and I walked down the aisle, and waited for Shana's arrival. The radiance on her face was amazing!

Things began with the two of them hugging and kissing with joy -- definitely not in the script, but it was amazing, and so spontaneous and natural -- they were simply overjoyed to be getting married!

They had a friend sing an a capella aria from "The Marriage of Figaro" that raised goose bumps -- then, after I welcomed their guests, a friend read a beautiful verse called "Why Marriage?" that had a lot of meaning to them.  

Then, as the scripted part of their ceremony began, it became obvious to me that although we had selected wording and direction, things needed to be modified so that their absolute joy could be acknowledged, and be a part of the event.  So, with the outline in mind, the ceremony turned into a very "interactive" experience between me, the two of them, and their guests. The essence of the ceremony remained, but with the flexibility of allowing for actions and wording that enhanced the ceremony, it made for something that I (and, I hope, the two of them and their guests) will never, ever forget!  I still can't find the proper words to describe it!  It's something that rarely happens -- but when it does, it's magic!

As they walked back down the aisle to Colbie Caillat's "I Do," I'm not sure whether they were dancing, or floating on air -- it was that high an experience!

I can't wait to share some photos from Howard & Shana's wedding -- but in the meantime, here's a great pic that shows their joy and playfulness!
It was a hot day, so Howard was helping Shana stay cool!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- I LOVE what I do -- and wonderful couples like Shana and Howard are the reason why!  

May the two of you share a long, loving life together, filled with all of the joy you shared with us on your wedding day!  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Fun-Filled, Nature-Based Wedding!

One of the things I love most about officiating is working with so many diverse couples -- each couple has something they want to emphasize in their ceremony, which is what makes each ceremony unique!

Megan & Bill's joyful ceremony tied in with their love of nature and trees.  It was held under a beautiful oak tree at the Dubsdread County Club, a beautiful venue in Orlando.  The weather was perfect for an outdoor wedding!

Megan's engagement ring also reflected their love of nature -- the center stone is Mystic Topaz, an unusual, unique and beautiful choice!

And aah, their ceremony -- it was truly unique, from a verse from "Captain Correlli's Mandolin," about how love erupts like a volcano, and when it subsides, how you've found that your roots have woven together into one -- to the vows they wrote to each other, which included love, humor, and nature references - to their ceremony ending with the touching wording:

"Marriage creates from two committed spirits one beautiful tree of life.  Its roots are the trust and devotion that underlie each action, thought and motive.  Its branches are experiences shared, hopes realized, and dreams pursued.  And its blossoms are the kisses, gentle words, and tender sighs that decorate each day and beautify the union of two loving hearts.

Bill and Megan, may your love grow like a beautiful tree, sending roots deep and branches high, with new beauty every season of your life together. May you find constant reward and challenge as you pursue the ongoing adventure of learning who you are and where you want to go. May you always have a special sense of your mission in life together, and may you never tire of the endless possibilities of exploring your shared existence.  And long, long years from now, may you look at one another and be able to say, “With you, I have lived the life I always wanted to live – with you, I have become the person I always longed to be.”

Check out their wedding favors --
they stayed with their theme!

But do you know what the most touching part of their ceremony was?  When Bill saw Megan coming down the aisle with her father, his face began to glow, and his tears began to flow -- which is exactly why I carry tissues in my officiant's book!  Both of them cried happy tears during their ceremony!

This was the first of several tissues!

Congratulations, Bill and Megan, and thank you for choosing me to be a part of your joyful day -- may your Tree of Love grow to astounding heights!

Take a good look at the picture to see what it spells -
LOVE it!  

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