Vancouver Officiant Blog

Ambush Weddings: Newest Wedding Trend for 2014?

You've heard stories of celebrities flying their friends to exotic island vacations that are really for their secret destination wedding. While avoiding paparazzi is a great reason to have an "ambush wedding," there are equally great reasons for non-celebrities to surprise their friends.
Ambush weddings or "Trojan weddings" as they are sometimes called, also offer the following benefits:
a. Condensed timeline
A lot of what takes up wedding planning time is finding at least 10 types of wedding vendors, and coordinating with them and your bridal party. By keeping the affair simple, you cut down on the number of search and coordination.
b. Element of surprise and fun
Surprises are always good. What better way to make your wedding memorable and ensure everyone is in good spirits?
c. Excuse to do away with some expected wedding traditions
Because it is not a "traditional" wedding, you have much more leeway on what wedding traditions you want to keep.
d. No-stress guest list
Don't want to agonize over who to invite, sending invitations, and RSVPs? Invite as many people who are in town, and have someone manage the RSVP. Better yet, have a buffet to have more flexibility.
Of course, a surprise wedding is not for everyone. If you have a very clear vision of your wedding and actually do enjoy the planning process, then this option is not for you. If you also like travel and do not want to deal with orchestrating a surprise event, then eloping still remains a popular option for an intimate and easy affair.

Oh and by the way, if you're planning on ambushing, let your Officiant know ahead of time!

Source: The Knot. com

12 Tips to Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

Penning your own wedding vows is no easy task -- it’s like writing poetry, public speaking and having the deepest conversation of your life all at once. Putting your promises on paper is an emotional, eye-opening and often extremely memorable experience. Up for the challenge? Here's the homework you need to do (and the questions you should ask) to make your vows perfect.

  1. Get Clearance
    Make sure your ceremony Officiant will actually allow personalized vows. Certain celebrants and houses of worship may require you to recite a specific set of traditional vows. And remember: Even some of the most accommodating Officiants will want to review your words in advance.

  2. Start Early
    We can't say this enough: Don't leave writing your vows until the day before the wedding! You'll be too nervous, excited and rattled to give them the time and thought they deserve. Give yourselves at least a month, or work on your vows in that pocket of time after you've set up all your major vendors and before you have to start thinking about the details. Vow writing should be done in a relaxed, not rushed, frame of mind. Some loose deadlines to aim for: Try to get a first draft together about three weeks before the wedding and have your final version completed at least two days out.

  3. Look to Tradition
    To get inspired, start by reading traditional, by-the-book vows -- from your own religion, if you practice a certain faith, but others, as well -- to see what strikes a chord with you. You can incorporate these into the original words you write, or simply use them as a jumping-off point to base your personalized vows on.

  4. Set the Tone
    Before putting pen to paper, decide what overall tone you want to achieve. Humorous but touching? Poetic and romantic? It's your call -- the most important thing is that your vows ring true and sound like they're from your heart. One word of advice: While your vows can be lighthearted (or even hilarious), they should, in some way, acknowledge the seriousness of the commitment you're about to make. One way to do that is to weave little jokes into traditional vows (for example: "I promise to love you, cherish you and always watch Monday Night Football with you").

  5. Figure Out the Logistics
    Make sure you and your fiancé are both on the same page. Are you each going to write your own vows, or will you write them together? If you're writing them separately, will you want to run them by each other before the wedding? If you're writing them together, will they be completely different for each of you, or will you recite some of the same words and make the same promises to each other, as you would with traditional vows? If you want them to be a surprise on your wedding day, make sure you both send a copy of what you've written to your Officiant or to one friend or family member so they can check that your vows are about the same length and similar in tone.

  6. Make a Vow Date
    When it's time to come up with the actual content of your vows, go out to dinner or set aside an evening at home to brainstorm. Talk about your relationship and what marriage means to each of you. Discuss what you expect from each other and the relationship. What are you most looking forward to about married life? Why did you decide to get married? What hard times have you gone through together? What have you supported each other through? What challenges do you envision in your future? What do you want to accomplish together? What makes your relationship tick? Answering these questions will help you make and keep your promises, and talking about your bond may expose your inner Wordsworth and help you come up with phrases and stories you can incorporate into your vows.

  7. Schedule Some Alone Time
    After chatting with your future spouse, take some self-reflection time to think about how you feel about your partner. What did you think when you first saw them? When did you realize you were in love? What do you most respect about your partner? How has your life gotten better since meeting your mate? What about them inspires you? What do you miss most about them when you're apart? What qualities do you most admire in each other? What do you have now that you didn't have before you met? You may be surprised how these answers may lead you to the perfect words.

  8. Steal Ideas
    Borrow freely from poetry, books, religious and spiritual texts -- even from romantic movies. Jot down words and phrases that capture your feelings. Widely recognized works ring true for a reason.

  9. Create an Outline
    An outline can get you started by helping to establish a structure. For example, plan to first talk about how great your fiancé is and then about how you work together as a couple; pause to quote your favorite writer and then go into your promises to each other.

  10. Remember Your Audience
    Don't make your vows so personal that they're cryptic -- or embarrassing! You've invited your family and friends to witness your vows in order to make your bond public, so be sure everyone feels included in the moment. That means putting a limit on inside jokes, deeply personal anecdotes and obscure nicknames or code words.

  11. Time It Right
    Don't make them too long -- aim for about one minute or so (it's longer than it sounds!). Your vows are the most important element of your ceremony, but that doesn't mean they should go on for hours. Get at the heart of what marrying this person means to you with your vows; pick the most important points and make them well. Save some thoughts for the reception toasts -- and for the wedding night.

  12. Practice Out Loud (Seriously!)
    These are words meant to be heard by a live audience, so check that they sound good when spoken. Read your vows out loud to make sure they flow easily. Watch out for tongue twisters and super-long sentences -- you don't want to get out of breath or stumble.

    Source: The Knot. com

6 Ways to Personalize Your Ceremony

Your ceremony is the most meaningful part of your wedding day. Depending on how traditional your ceremony will be, there are ways to personalize your nuptials to ensure that the experience feels true to you and your future spouse. Check out some of our favorite ways to personalize your wedding ceremony.
Check with your ceremony venue to see if you can incorporate non-classical music into your ceremony playlist. Whether it’s an instrumental version of your favorite pop ballad during the prelude or a cheeky pop tune as a recessional, selecting music that you love will give your ceremony a personal touch.
Depending on your ceremony traditions, you may be able to include a few readings into your ceremony. From Shakespeare to religious texts to more modern-day literature, pick a few passages that speak to you. You can ask close friends or family members who would feel comfortable speaking in front of a crowd to perform the readings.
Many couples prefer to write their own vows. Work with your officiant to come up with a general template to help you get started.
Include personal touches to your ceremony program. Design the program using colors and fonts that you like, and write a note thanking your guests for attending. 
Be sure to meet with your officiant several times before your ceremony. It’s important that your officiant gets to know you as a couple, so that he or she can create a ceremony that includes anecdotes and details about your relationship.
Incorporate flowers and other decor items that are meaningful to you - whether it's including your grandmother's favorite flower in your altar arrangements or including a family quilt in your chutzpah or ceremony canopy.

Source: The Knot. com

The Power of Monogamy: 10 Surprising Claims Regarding Modern Love

Never underestimate the power of someone who has your back: It’s the message in Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, the book by Ottawa clinical psychologist Dr. Sue Johnson, slated for release on Dec. 31.

Her thesis, based on decades of neuroscience research into human emotion, is that just like the bond parents have with their offspring, monogamous love makes sense as a survival code.

“We’ve understood so much about the power of adult love relationships, how this emotional bond creates a safe haven for us in life, allows us to grow and function on an optimal level, as well as how emotional isolation and disconnection are extremely costly to us as a species,” Johnson said. (Johnson is a psychology professor at the University of Ottawa and founder of the not-for-profit organization the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, which trains mental-health professionals – not to be confused with Toronto’s vibrator-waving sex educator Sue Johanson.)

Monogamy, she says, makes sense, and yet “there are so many forces pulling us away of being aware of relationships.” Among them are porn, a robust friends-with-benefits culture and attention-splicing technology, she says. Just as parenting has undergone a radical shift over just several generations, Johnson is hoping for an overhaul in the way North Americans think about love.
“In the last 40 years we’ve really started to understand exactly how much impact a parent can have on a child’s development,” she said. “The revolution that we went through in parenting, we have to go through it with romantic relationships.”
The Globe asked the author about 10 of her more surprising claims regarding modern love.
Our culture exalts independence even though it’s not natural
“We are supposed to live in a rich social environment, and part of it is long-term bonds with special people. It sometimes feels like modern society is just determined to forget this,” said Johnson, referring to the high rates of solo dwellers in North America. (Census figures released last fall showed that 27.6 per cent of Canadian homes have just one occupant, a massive shift from decades past.) “We don’t live in little villages any more. People now often depend on romantic love as their main source of social support.”
Romantic love is a bonding attachment like that of a mother and child’s
“We are not wired to face the perils and uncertainties of life by ourselves. Our brains are designed to use the people we love as physiological and emotional safety cues to make the world a safer place. What our society does with that is, as children we have parents, and then we have life partners as we get older. These are the bonds that we count on,” explained Johnson. “In that sense we never grow up.”
Emotional dependency is healthy, not ‘clingy’ and pathological
“Secure attachment – having one other person you can count on as an adult – is related to almost every index of good functioning, happiness and health,” says Johnson. She cites the physical and mental-health implications of social isolation and loneliness, from increased risk of anxiety, strokes and heart attacks to elevated heart rate and increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which impacts the immune system. “Having no one to confide in at all literally is going to stress your body out all to hell.” The caveat: “You don’t have to be glued to each other, that’s not healthy, but you have to be available.”
People are at their best when coupled up, not isolated
“It’s been shown in research but we know in our gut that with somebody valuing us, loving us, listening to us and supporting us, we are the best we can be then,” said the author. “We take risks, believe in ourselves and deal with problems better. If you’re securely connected you’re more assertive, more trusting, confiding … you’re better at dealing with ambiguity.”
Secure relationships breed independence
Beyond health, the benefits of monogamy extend to “emotional balance,” says Johnson. “The safer our relationships are, ironically, the more independent we can be. Closeness and independence are two sides of the same coin. They’re not opposed.”
Attachment styles can change, depending on their partner
“Yes, people can change,” says the psychologist. The thinking used to be that we receive a relationship template from our parents, a model we would then use our whole lives. Newer research suggests “we’re adaptable animals,” says Johnson. “If we have new experiences and we’re open to them, we can change our template.”
The novelty of open relationships is ‘overrated’
Friends-with-benefits relationships don’t “make sense” as a survival code, says Johnson. The trouble with polyamorous arrangements, she says, is they don’t fulfill the physiological bonding needs people have for “someone in the universe to depend on, who we come first with.”
Porn is a bad teacher
“People who don’t trust other people are into performance and sensation. The trouble with that is it’s endless: You need more and more performance and sensation because you’re emotionally numb,” said Johnson. “What we’re creating in our society is this empty, formulaic, going-through-the-motions sexuality. Porn is a lesson in how to be a really bad lover.”
Monogamy yields the best sex
“The people who have the best sex, enjoy it the most and have sex most often are people in long-term committed relationships,” says the author, citing the survey research of University of Chicago sociologist Edward Laumann, who found that monogamous couples were the cohort having the most sex, and so also the happiest with their sex lives.
Technology erodes our relationships
“Look at couples courting on dates: They’re on their little screens almost half of the time,” says Johnson. She argues that technology should be used as a tool, not a replacement for more intentional relationships. “What you don’t use you lose. Face-to-face conversation is an essential in human life. It’s not an incidental.”

Source: Zosia Bielski via The Global & Mail
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