Sunday, May 17, 2009

Brides and Grooms ask

It's been several months since my last post (Dec 08 in fact) and while I apologise for my lengthy absence from blogging, I'm back in the saddle and ready to ride. Er, post that is.

Yesterday I was asked by a friend if all brides and grooms exchange gifts just prior to their wedding. While not "all" brides and grooms exchange gifts, certainly some do, and those gifts run the gamut from grooms gifting their brides with jewelry to wear for the wedding, to brides gifting grooms with a wedding morning massage.

There really are no set rules, no specific dollar amount to be spent, no special plans that "must be" made. The gifts could be as simple as a favorite photo of the two of you framed in a lovely leather frame, suitable for the office. It might be a book by a favored author with a loving inscription inside the front cover. Then again, budgets permitting, a groom might gift his bride with a stunning pair of diamond earrings to wear for their wedding, or a bride might gift her groom with a watch inscribed with their wedding date or some words of love.

The point here is that it's the thought that counts, not the dollar amount or making this gift exchange about yet another thing on the list that has to be attended to. Give a gift if your budget and time allow it and your heart so moves you. Give it the day of the rehearsal, or after the rehearsal dinner, or the morning of the wedding, or have one of your attendants deliver your gift while your spouse-to-be dresses for the ceremony.

Looking for something a bit more intimate? Consider exchanging gifts in a private moment right after the ceremony before continuing on to the reception. This is your first official gift to your husband or wife and as such will have even more significance. I happen to be a woman who believes a few heartfelt, handwritten words carry more weight than gold. So my favorite gift from my husband will forever remain the wedding vows he wrote and signed. To this day that remains my most cherished gift from the man who is himself ... the greatest gift.

Lori Lamb
Love U Mean It

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stop "Shoulding" on the Bride!

While awaiting service in a local department store today, I couldn't help but overhear a conversation taking place between who I can only assume were a bride-to-be and her mother. It went something like this;

b-2-b; "Really, I can't wear white?"
mob; "Of course not, in fact your dress really shouldn't look all that bridey, and you shouldn't wear a veil either, this isn't your first time after all."
b-2-b; "Really? wow, I had no idea, are you sure?"
mob; "Darling, I've been there and done that, and I can tell you it's a big mistake. Listen to your mother and choose the ivory cocktail dress, you can't go wrong with ivory."

Now as much as I'm sure that mom often does know best, this is one time I really wanted to butt into a conversation with a big loud "WHOA!" What's with all this "shoulding" over second (even third or fourth) time brides?

Okay, I know as well as the next Wedding Planner that there are "guidelines" and "common practices" and certain schools of thought about what's generally considered as acceptable for second, third, even fourth time brides. But with polite apologies to Emily Post, I say it's time to take a big leap into the 21st century and shake loose those old rules. At least a few of them.

Color: White's right if it feels right. So's ivory, lilac, silver, even red or black.
Veils: There's nothing wrong with a short veil, but even I'd encourage a little moderation here.
Attendants: Hey, it's a celebration! And what's a celebration without friends and family?
Showers: Even if you're combining two households, a lingerie or bar shower can be lots of fun.
Tradition: Nothing at all wrong with toting out traditional vows, the boquet toss, garters, etc.

Basically what I'm advocating here is that we stop all this nonsense of "Shouldn't because you already did." SO WHAT if you already did? When you know better you do better, so cut loose whether it's your second, third, even fourth time down the aisle. Have fun. Express yourself. Live a little. "Shoulda, coulda, woulda" has no place in your planning. Do what feels right and you'll pull off a wedding without regrets. Moderation in all things is always a good guideline, and by all means, steer clear of an exact repeat of previous vows, gown styles, cakes ... you get the drift. A wedding is a time of joy, it's a celebration of love. It's a time to shake off the dust of doubt and dig into your new life with both hands wide open.

And if you need someone to speak with mom about it, call me, I'll kick those shoulds to the curb!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Absent but accounted for

My sincere apologies to my readers for my prolonged absence from blogging. It's not for lack of want, but rather, a need for family time and introspection as I mourn the death of my mother.

On the 13th of November, following a brief illness which necessitated her being hospitalized, mom passed peacefully away. Among the many things I'll miss most about my mother, were her morning phone calls filling me in on the newspaper items and local store sales she thought would be of interest to me.

The woman who taught me to "never leave the house without lipstick" is most certainly in Heaven, and most likely at the lipstick counter picking out the perfect pink to wear with her new wings. For what I know for sure, is that I have a new guardian angel watching over me, and her name is MOM.

Rest in peace mom, remember always - Love U Mean It


Thursday, November 6, 2008

What I've learned from weddings

As a wedding planner, it's my job to remain objective and professional while planning and organizing the happy couple's big day. It's also fair to say that from time to time, pure emotion and romantic fervor enter the picture and throw objectivity (temporarily) out the window.

Weddings and the emotions they sometimes generate often defy explanation ... even for well seasoned wedding goers and planners such as myself. Because the wedding I planned and executed this past weekend is still so fresh in my mind, I offer these observations;

* No woman is so beautiful as a woman in love and about to marry the man of her dreams.

* The Father/Daughter dance is guaranteed to make me cry.

* Always have tissues handy for those who thought themselves too unemotional to need them.

* No matter when your last wedding dress fitting occured, THE DRESS will need some minor adjustment on wedding day. Have safety pins, needle and thread handy.

* Including a map with the invite does not guarantee guests won't get lost.

* For some guests, an invite stating a 3:30pm ceremony will still be interpreted as "3:30 ISH"

* Grooms cry too. Tuck a tissue (or three) in his tux pocket. He'll thank you silently.

* Sometimes the best vows are the ones you write just before you say them.

* Ditto for toasts.

* An officiant with a sense of humor is a good thing.

* Always scuff the soles of new shoes.

* Holding the bachelor & bachelorettes parties two nights before the wedding isn't just good planning, it's critical for "hang-over avoidance".

* Shout wipes and Tide pens are a wedding planners best friends.

* All the planning in the world can't overcome the last minute snafu. Go with the flow. Don't sweat the small stuff. Breathe.

Planning a wedding can be a time consuming, headache-inducing, money-swallowing, tearful experience. It can also be a joyous, glorious, beautiful, laugh-fest of love. It's your choice how you approach the experience. A little patience, an honest appreciation for your budget, and a thorough wedding planner can help ease the pain and expand the pleasure. Wedding planning is above all else, a labor of love.

I've loved every single minute of the past nine months working on the Willeford/Sepp wedding.

Congratulations to Tyler and Amy,

Love U Mean It!

Lori Lamb

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Professionals

I've been absent from posting the past few weeks while I wrap up the details for the upcoming wedding of Phoenix Arizona Bride Amy Willeford and her Groom Tyler Sepp, November 2nd at the Arrowhead Country Club. Hand glittering candles, designing place cards that look like airline boarding passes, and stringing 25 pounds of crystals for the show-stopper crystal tree, it's been a busy run up to this most important day.

In the process of checking and re-checking the mountain of details for Amy and Tyler's wedding, I had a lengthy conversation with their wedding photographer Tasha Lamb, a highly creative, and talented young woman who just happens to be my daughter-in-law. Our conversation got me thinking about something I wrote in an earlier post regarding choosing your wedding photographer.

In that post, I advised couples to ask prospective wedding photographers about the professional organizations and associations they belong to before signing on the dotted line. It's true, there are some very highly respected organizations out there, not just for photographers, but for wedding planners as well. And while I pride myself on providing a positive and professional experience for brides and grooms, I personally don't belong to any professional organizations or associations, and it's quite possible I may never join one.

Professionalism doesn't come from simply joining an organization and adding that organizations name to your business cards. It comes from making and honoring your committments to the client. It comes from meeting deadlines and delivering the goods. Professionalism is arriving on-time for appointments, showing creativity and flexibility, it's being honest and caring deeply and personally about the satisfaction of your client. Industry organizations can and do encourage professionalism, but in and of themselves, they can't guarantee that their members will consistently BE professional in all business endeavors.

For me, being a professional is a bit like being a lady; you either are or you aren't.

The professionals I work with and recommend may not have the special insignia of an industry organization on their business cards, but they are consumate professionals with a sincere passion for their work. If they were anything less, Love U Mean It wouldn't be working with them.

You have my name on that!

Lori Lamb
Wedding Planner, Owner
Love U Mean It

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Color me green

Not the green of envy, but the green of earth-friendly, eco-chic! More and more couples getting married today are looking for innovative ways of showing their own committment to helping Mother Earth stay green by looking for earth-friendly wedding guest favors and reception decor. Below are just a few ideas, Love U Mean It has many more ideas which can be shared during your initial consultation;

1. PACKAGED SEEDS ... what's easier than a trip to your local home improvement center to pick out seed packets? Inexpensive and colorful, many seeds attract a variety of butterflys, birds and bees and lend not only beauty, but fragrance to the home garden. Check to be certain that you're selecting the right flowers for your growing zone, then choose two or three packets of flowers, staple at the top and adorn with a ribbon and gift tag. Flowers not your style? Try herbs and spices for a change of pace, or mix it up and include flowers and herbs! As quick as you can say "I Do", you've got a sensible, eco-chic wedding favor!

2. LOVE TAG SEEDED FAVOR & PLACECARDS ... The creative folks over at Milkweed Cafe (www.milkweedcafe/partyfavors.htm) have taken flower seeds one step further with their plantable paper seeded Love tags that serve the dual purpose of being guest favor and placecard. You can even choose the paper color, ink color and ribbon for this awesome, eco chic find.

3. HIGH EFFICIENCY LIGHT BULBS ... Ok, so this isn't your typical romantic guest favor, but think about it; these light bulbs can last up to 10 years longer than standard light bulbs and are up to 5 times more efficient. They're an excellent way to reduce household energy expences. And what's more important, you're the light of each others lives - how is that not romantic?

4. TREES ... Trees are a gift that can last a lifetime and will remind your guests of your special day every time they see the tree. Lots of organizations sell miniature trees (in little tubes) that can be planted indoors or out.

Check out the Arbor Day Foundation ( for more information and pricing. Tree in a tube not your cup of tea? Consider a small "topiary" placecard holder like the ones available from Kate Aspen (

5. BIODEGRADABLE WEDDING CONFETTI ... Tossing rice is a no-no, bird seed is out of favor as well, why not give your guests something fun to toss that's also easy on the environment? Personally, I like the biodegradable wedding confetti available at Favor Creative (see

6. DONATE, DONATE, DONATE ... Most of us have enough stuff sitting around our homes, including things we received as wedding guest favors but haven't touched since we got home from the wedding. When you and your groom are considering what new "thing" your guests would most appreciate, why not consider a gift of donation? The American Humane Society, ASPCA, and World Wildlife Federation all are in need of your donations to fund their ongoing efforts to help both domesticated and wild animals the world over.

There's also the Susan G. Komen Fund fighting the great battle against breast cancer, and the American Cancer Society. Charitable donation has become such a popular idea that the American Diabetes Association will even supply table cards to explain your donation to your wedding guests.

In an age when many of us are looking at our material accumulations with an eye to thinning out, a wedding is a great time to extend your happiness to those most in need with a donation to the charity of your choice.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Arizona Marriage License requirements

To apply for a marriage license, contact your County Clerk of the Superior Court office:

APACHE COUNTY P.O. Box 365 St. Johns, AZ 85936
928-337-7550/FAX 928-337-2771

COCHISE COUNTY P.O. Drawer CK Bisbee, AZ 85603
520-432-8570/FAX 520-432-4850

COCONINO COUNTY 200 North San Francisco Street
Flagstaff, AZ 86001 928-779-6535/FAX 928-556-0530

GILA COUNTY 1400 East Ash Street Globe, AZ 85501
928-425-3231FAX 928-425-7802

GRAHAM COUNTY 800 Main Street Safford, AZ 85546
928-428-3100/FAX 928-428-0061

GREENLEE COUNTY P.O. Box 1027 Clifton, AZ 85533
928-865-4242/FAX 928-865-5358

LA PAZ COUNTY 1316 Kofa Ave., Ste.607 Parker, AZ 85344
928-669-6131/FAX 928-669-2186

MARICOPA COUNTY Clerk of the Court
201 West JeffersonPhoenix, AZ 85003602-506-3676/FAX 602-506-7684

Obtain Marriage Licenses at this location: 601 West Jackson, Phoenix, AZ 85003
602-506-3360/FAX 602-506-5649

MOHAVE COUNTY P.O. Box 7000, Kingman, AZ 86402-7000
928-753-0713 EXT 4377/FAX 928-753-0781

NAVAJO COUNTY P.O. Box 668 Holbrook, AZ 86025
928-524-4188/FAX 928-524-4261

PIMA COUNTY 110 West Congress, 1st FloorTucson, AZ 85701
520-740-3201/FAX 520-798-3531

PINAL COUNTY P.O. Box 2730, Florence, AZ 85232
520-866-6296/FAX 520-866-6252

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY 2150 North Congress Drive, Nogales, AZ 85628
520-375-7700/FAX 520-761-7857

YAVAPAI COUNTY Yavapai County Courthouse 120 South Cortez Street
Prescott, AZ 86303 928-771-3312/FAX 928-771-3111

YUMA COUNTY 168 South Second Avenue, Ste. B, Yuma, AZ 85364
928-817-4210/FAX 928-329-2007

Here's what you need to know, and what you have to do to get a Marriage License in Arizona. (Note: These details were obtained from the Clerk of the Superior Court of Maricopa County.)

If you are both 18 years or older, you can get a marriage license.

If you're under 18, you'll have to have a notarized parental consent form or have your parents accompany you, present the proper identification, and sign the parental consent form in front of the clerk issuing your license.

If you are age 16 - 17 identification and one of the following documents showing proof of age is needed: certified copy of birth certificate; current driver's license; state or military I.D. card; or current passport.

If you are age 15 or under, you must also have a court order to get a marriage license.

The fee for a marriage license is $50 payable by cash or check with a driver license, bank guarantee card or credit card. There is an extra charge for a certified copy, which is required if the bride will be changing her name at Social Security and MVD.

If you are purchasing a license at the Justice Courts, they accept checks, money orders, or cashiers checks.

No blood test is required to obtain a marriage license.

Copies of previous divorce decrees are not required.

You may be required to provide proof of age to obtain a marriage license.

You'll receive your marriage license at the time you apply for it, so you can be married on the same day.

The marriage license is valid for one year, and can only be used within the State of Arizona.

Marriages may be performed by a member of the clergy, a judge, a magistrate, a clerk of the circuit court, or a clerk or clerk-treasurer of a city or town.

There are special requirements for Covenant Marriages.

You do not have to be an Arizona resident to get a marriage license here.

Neither common law marriages nor same sex marriages are recognized in Arizona.

In 2004 AZ stopped allowing application for the license by mail to ensure that a marriage license would not be issued to a same sex couple.

If you have other questions about a marriage license, please contact the Clerk of the Superior Court at 602-506-3360 or 506-2125.

What You Need:

Proof of age ** $50 (plus $18 for certified copy) ** And a fiancée of course!