TV is an amazing gift to be sure, but so many couples, my husband and I included, let it take a place in the marriage that limits and dulls the connection between husband and wife, as well as between each person and God. How can a husband and wife create healthy boundaries in their TV habits? Read “Breaking Up with the Our TV” at GrowthTrac Ministries to start thinking about your own relationship with TV.
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness” (Psalms 115:1)
Congratulations on your engagement!
What an opportunity to savor God’s love for you as you move forward towards your marriage, a covenant relationship that echoes Jesus' steadfast love for His bride, the Church!
Whether you are brimming with joy or overwhelmed with anxiety at the prospect of planning a wedding, take delight in the fact that God has a brilliant and unique purpose for your wedding and for your marriage. You are filled with the sweet fragrance of Christ.
I’m so excited to announce that my husband and I are leading The Significant Marriage seminar in Whittier, CA on August 22-24. Please come if you are able!
What is The Significant Marriage? It is by far and away the best marriage seminar I have attended. It helps each couple build a tool belt for their marriage in order to free the couple up to pursue the purposes God has in store them. Couples get to dream together and create a plan for living purposefully.
My husband is my beloved, my chosen one. Since we fell in love, he has had first place in my heart. Well, until we had our daughter, that is.
I know I’m not alone. Many marriages fall to the wayside when the kids come. For several months, this is a necessary shift in focus, a season of need. How can a couple keep this season just a season? How does a husband take first place again in his wife’s heart?
Hello SCB fans,
Thank you for your patience with me on my (very long) maternity leave. Motherhood has been a joyful journey so far!
On that note, it is with both delight and sadness that I announce the end of my active authorship of The Sweet Christian Bride. I will still post occasionally and I still welcome guest posts, but I will no longer be updating regularly. Instead, I will keep diving fully into motherhood, and I will focus my writing ventures on Christian marriage.
Please feel free to use The Sweet Christian Bride’s archives to the fullest, as well as to download A Bride’s Devotional and purchase The Purposed Bride(makes a great bridal shower gift!) Also, check out Start Marriage Right and GrowthTrac for my articles on Christian marriage.
God bless your engagements and marriages!
“HansonEllis.com is a leading online provider of unique party favors, invitations, and personalized gifts for wedding, company events, and special occasions. We strive to help others celebrate life with love, trust, and faith.”
“Green” Centerpieces (with a Purpose)
By Wendie Aston
One of the most expressive elements of a wedding reception is the table centerpiece. Often centerpieces are comprised of flowers that paint a 3D picture of the personality of the bride and groom. The common use of organic elements in centerpieces make them a natural fit for adding a touch of “green” to your wedding, which could mean having re-useable centerpieces, natural elements, or multi-purposed arrangements that save money and leave less impact on the environment.
Even for the traditional floral arrangements, going green is simple. Using organic and Fair Trade flowers is best for you and the environment. If you live in the NYC area, here is a great sustainable florist like Gardenia Organic. For those in Los Angeles you can try LA Botanicals or just look online or visit your local florist.
Depending on the theme of your wedding and the time of year, you also have various non-floral options and additions. For evening weddings, candles are simple, yet they add elegance to the table and can complement any centerpiece design or stand alone in a glass jar, vase, or vessel of water. Picture floating, organic roses on a mirrored surface with the reflected light of a few soy votive candles around the arrangement. Candles add warmth and serenity to a room that might otherwise feel too big or chaotic. To be eco-friendly, it is important to avoid paraffin candles, which are made from petroleum and emit toxic fumes. Choosing candles made from beeswax or soy will help to ensure that your guests breathe easy and the impact on the environment is minimal.
A less traditional option is to create edible centerpieces. You could use a large basket with a variety of breads, rosemary, and an assortment of olive oils or olives–perfect for an outdoor, vineyard-like reception. Another edible centerpiece is a tower of cupcakes at each table. Cupcakes are a great way to double as a dessert (if your guests can wait to eat them), which means it costs less for you. And if they are organic, you can rest assured that your guests are ingesting only natural ingredients.
If you are a spring bride, consider using potted orchids. You would have the tradition of a classic floral arrangement, yet you would not be left with dozens of arrangements that will die in the next couple of days. Potted orchids, if nurtured well, will last you for many bloom cycles. Similarly, you could put together an array of potted organic herbs to give to your guests as party favors. This is a great cost-cutting idea since the herbs serve double duty as centerpieces and party favors—not to mention, your guests get to enjoy natural flavors in their healthy home-cooking after your wedding is over.
Summer weddings usually have that light and airy feel so you could use vases of sea shells and sand. Potted arrangements of summer flowers also work well since they can be easily reused and taken home to enjoy. Bowls or vases of oranges, lemons, and limes can give a bright, cheery look to the table.
For a fall wedding you can borrow the Thanksgiving cornucopia idea and design bowls of apples, pumpkins, and gourds. These can be reused or donated.
If you are planning a winter wedding, you can take advantage of the season by decorating with pine cones in a glass bowl. You can intersperse moss to give the centerpiece an outdoorsy look or use a small potted Christmas tree as the centerpiece for a December wedding. For favors, add small ornaments for each guest to take home.
Whatever centerpiece option you choose for your wedding, consider being creative with the natural beauty that God has created, as well as evaluating whether your centerpieces can be recycled or reused.
Photo © mrorange002
Wendie Aston is a GREEN blogger who hopes to inspire all moms to be better stewards of the environment and to create healthy GREEN homes for families to thrive. She is available for GREEN consultations to GREEN your home, lifestyle, or to create your dream GREEN nursery in the NYC area or via Skype. www.greenonthescene.blogspot.com
“Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob” (Psalm 81:1).
I love praise music and singing at church because it gets me singing aloud to God, my strength. I was struck, however, by the idea of shouting for joy to God. Occasionally, when I am utterly overwhelmed by God’s goodness or by inexplicable happiness, I’ll shriek with a giddy gratitude for God’s love and the life He has given me. But as soon as the shout exits my mouth, I feel hindered by embarrassment that someone might have heard me. Usually I’m in my car. I’ll steal a look to the drivers on my right and left to see if they heard me shouting.
Your language of praise might be more free than mine, which is awesome. If you do feel awkward letting loose in praise to God, know that you aren’t alone, and hear a challenge to treat God with more gratitude and exuberance than you do your fiancé. You are about to stand before witnesses and declare your love for this special man. You might even sing him a song, and you will likely dance with him and kiss him in front of everyone. Even before your wedding, think of all the ridiculous things you have done to communicate your head-over-heals, crazy love for him: standing under his window with a stereo over your head, checking every old bookstore for his original copy that was once sold, showing up at the top of the Empire State Building at a certain time and day, writing him songs, staying up all night, etc. Consider that your relationship with God far surpasses your relationship with your soon-to-be husband both in significance and in depth of love. How can you show God that you are crazy in love with Him?
Lord of lords, I delight in You! You are my first love, and I want everyone to know about You. Give me courage to be free in expressing my love for You. Give me a language of praise that is unique to our relationship. Be ever glorified in my songs, my shouts, my words, and my deeds. And as I learn to love my husband more and more, let that relationship always be a reflection of my relationship with You and not the other way around. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Sending Save the Dates was a no-brainer for Chris and me because our wedding was in Southern California, but my college friends were from around Connecticut, his high school friends were from Northern California, his family was from South Carolina and Georgia, and his family friends (who were like his family since his parents were missionaries abroad) were from across the world. If we wanted all our guests to come, we had to give them ample time to look for travel deals and save up money.
We did not want to spend a lot on our Save the Date since there would be an invitation to follow, but we also didn’t want to waste the time, effort, and money on sending something not worth receiving. According to us, that would have been something sloppy, something tacky, or even something that was quality but was outside of our personalities.
We wanted our wedding to be a celebration of gratitude for all those who helped shape us into the people we were at that point, so our Save the Dates would be reflective of that. Both he and I are lovers of tradition, but we also are just plain goofy and think life is so much better when it’s lived creatively.
So, let me break down the factors:
1) Budget for Save the Dates: minimal
2) Personalities: traditional yet goofy
3) Purpose: to invite our guests into our relationship since they had been so deeply involved with our lives
4) Time Line: about 6 months in advance
All of those factors intersected when I saw a Save the Date on a friend’s refrigerator. It was a photo booth strip (keep in mind, this was before the photo booth rage, so it was even more creative); each picture had the couple making silly and cute faces while holding up signs that spelled out Save the Date.
So Chris and I made a date of it at the Santa Monica Pier. We spent about $6 taking several strips of photos, trying to master the timing of switching the signs and holding them at the right level. When we finally found a good one, we triplicated it on photo paper at Kinko’s and made enough copies for our guests.
Then we used Kinko’s paper cutters to slice the strips apart. Along with the photos, we added the story of our engagement. Chris had washed my feet on Venice Beach (as Jesus did for His disciples the night He committed Himself in entirety to loving them) and taken me to dessert where our families were waiting to celebrate with us. It was an elaborate set-up and story that we thought our guests would enjoy knowing. So we printed that out, two to a page, and copied and cut those while we were at Kinko’s.
On supplies, we spent around $30, and on postage, another $50 or so. For what it was worth to us to announce our wedding well in advance, $80 was a steal. The story made people cry (definitely a sign of a good love story, right?) and the photo strip was fun and original, so many people kept it on their refrigerators even after the date was marked on their calendars.
If you and your fiancé have the time, you can make an adventure out of the Save the Dates task by doing them yourselves. Especially if the design is one that causes you to reflect on the proposal or on your relationship, it can be a really sweet (and productive) date.
Article originally published on May 6, 2011.