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DJ Play That Song

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

If you’re like a lot of couples, you might have a DJ or band at your wedding reception. It’s a great way to celebrate, get the energy up in the room, or just to have a fun time! But deciding on a DJ isn’t as simple as paying for the service. You need to meet with your vendor in advance to make sure the right music is being played at your wedding. Don’t forget to include your fiancé in this process. Follow these simple tips and you’re sure to have a good musical experience on your big day!

  1. Timing is Everything
    You might have a wide range of music you want to have played at your wedding. Make sure that each song is being played at the right time. For example, you don’t want that explicit jam on that you and your college friends love while your grandmother is at the reception. Keep in mind what is appropriate for your guests. Give your DJ or band an itinerary for the evening helping them determine what songs are appropriate for each moment.


  1. That was Awkward
    We all have a list of our favorite songs! I’m sure you and your fiancé have a few in mind that you definitely want to hear at your wedding. But did you think about the “what-not-to-play” list? You might have a few songs you simply don’t like. Or maybe that one song that just doesn’t vibe with you. Make sure you create a list of songs for your DJ that he knows not to play. And if a guest requests one of those songs, the DJ can simply say he doesn’t have it available!


  1. Say What??
    Having a huge dance party can be a blast…but not if you’re trying to eat dinner and catch up with relatives and old friends. Make sure your band or DJ knows when to really get the music bumping and when a quieter song is required. We’ve all been to that wedding when you’re trying to talk to the person next to you but you can’t hear anything because the music is so loud! This goes back to thinking about your grandmother in the room. There’s a time to jam out and there’s a time to enjoy the company of your loved ones.


  1. The First Dance!
    The most magical moment of the whole reception: the first dance! Some couples just know what song to dance to. And that’s great! But for others, it can be a little harder finding that perfect song. Maybe you and your fiancé just never had that one song together. That’s ok! Make a list of possible songs and narrow things down from there. One tip of advice is to make sure you choose a song with an appropriate length. Don’t wait until your big day to decide that maybe you’ve been dancing for 6 minutes now and it’s getting a bit long. Find a time limit that is comfortable for both you and your fiancé. You can also ask your DJ or band to cut the song down to your preferred time.

I hope that these musical tips give you a new perspective on DJ’s and bands. Remember to choose music that really shows the personality of you as a couple! Stick to what you love and what you know your guests will enjoy. And don’t forget to have fun with it!

How to have the Ceremony of your Dreams

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

Before you’re ready to celebrate, you gotta put a ring on it! The ceremony is one of the most emotional, beautiful parts of a wedding. You need to put as much thought and detail into it as you would the rest of the wedding. You might be thinking a wedding ceremony is just a standard ceremony. How complicated can it be? Nowadays, ceremonies can be extremely customizable. It’s important to clearly voice what you want at your ceremony to the officiant. Here are a few things you can consider in the process.

  1. Religious or Secular?
    Will you wed your fiancé at a traditional church or maybe a beautiful garden? Will your officiant be conducting a religious centered ceremony or a speech tailored to you two as a couple? It’s important you communicate what you do and don’t want your officiant to share. Simply holding a meeting with them will allow you both to get a better idea of what style ceremony you really want.
  1. Standard or Personal Vows?
    I’ve heard my fair share of the classic wedding vows, but I’ve also experienced many ceremonies with personal vows written by both the bride and groom. It’s a good idea to decide what route you and your fiancé are going to take early on. This will give you time to prepare a speech if necessary. And remember there’s no right or wrong answer here! Choose whatever vows make your day the best for you!
  1. Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace!
    Everyone should recognize this age-old wedding phrase. It used to be said a lot during the ceremony before the officiant proceeded with the wedding. This would allow anyone who objects with the union of the couple to come forward before they were joined forever. It would be a very shocking event if someone did come forward! Usually you don’t hear this being said too often in weddings anymore. It can be seen as unnecessary and possibly quite awkward. If you want this removed from your ceremony, make sure to communicate this to your officiant.
  1. Stories, Quotes, and Poems
    Sometimes officiants will share quotes, scripture readings, poems, or even stories about the couple during the ceremony. Have your officiant go over his speech in detail with you. Make sure to communicate anything you want included specifically that isn’t traditional to most weddings. And if you happen to be related to the officiant, make sure they don’t tell unwanted and possibly embarrassing stories of you on your wedding day! We’ve seen it happen before!
  1. Whatever you do, time it out!
    This is the most important aspect! Rehearse the timing of your ceremony with your officiant. If you are adding any additional pieces like a candle lighting or sand ceremony, this is especially important. Make sure you don’t create a ceremony that is longer than what you wanted or expected.

Whatever you decide for your big day, you can ensure a smooth ceremony by simply keeping a clear line of communication with your officiant. Even running through the ceremony once can make you and your wedding party feel a lot more confident about how it will go on the day of. And most importantly, the ceremony will be beautiful because it ultimately celebrates the love that you and your partner share!

Remember to take it all in!

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

Wedding planning can be an all-consuming, crazy, stressful, yet exciting task! It can really take over a lot of your time and energy, especially as you get closer to your date. There’s a lot that goes into making the day of your dreams happen financially and logistically. So why not take a moment to let it all sink in? Through the long days and countless hours, don’t forget to stop for a minute and really enjoy the season of life that you are experiencing. This is also easier said than done. Again, it can get crazy! That’s why I’ve got a few tips on how to really take it all in as a couple embarking on this marriage journey!

  1. Don’t stop dating
    Just because you’re about to be newlyweds doesn’t mean you have to stop going on fun, romantic dates! It actually means you should be consistently carving out time for your relationship! Don’t let wedding planning hinder this either. Remember to set aside a night or maybe a lunch date frequently throughout the busy wedding season. And when you schedule these dates, make sure you are taking advantage of them. Spend that time together talking and sharing your lives with one another, rather than on your phone scrolling through Instagram. Remove those distractions!
  1. Set a Timeline
    Your wedding to-do list is probably really long. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Set a timeline for yourself that allows you to accomplish tasks on time. Set goals for each week or month within your wedding planning. Another way to help relieve some stress is to make it a high priority to have ALL wedding planning completely done one week out from your wedding date. This allows you to take it all in, enjoy that last week, and spend time with your loved ones.
  1. Take pictures
    I’ll admit, sometimes I just forget to take pictures during big events or celebrations! It’s hard! For me, I love to be present in the moment instead of worrying about pictures. That’s one of the reasons why we hire photographers at weddings! But in the midst of planning, getting ready, crafting at your house late at night, or that time at the salon, capture that moment. They don’t have to be professionally done. They don’t have to be aesthetically pleasing. Again, that’s why we hire photographers. But, it’s good to have those little pictures that you can have on your phone when everything is over.
  1. Fifteen Minutes
    This is probably one of my favorite ways to take it all in! After your ceremony is over and you walk back down the aisle as newlyweds, give yourself a breather. Before the reception starts, sneak into your beautifully decorated reception space to really take it all in as a married couple. Just the two of you. Admire the hard work that you and your vendors put into making this day happen before your guests can enjoy it. Let it sink in that you are actually married! Enjoy being in the moment.

I hope these few tips make your wedding planning a little easier. Don’t forget that this season is all about you and your fiancé! When you focus on the two of you, everything else can fall into place.

Show Some Bridesmaid Love!

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

After getting engaged, I would say the next special part of your wedding planning is selecting your bridal party. It can be such a sweet time asking your friends, sisters, or even future sisters to stand by you on that big day. For the next several months, they are going to be there for those milestone moments. They’ll be there to see you say yes to the dress, picking out vendors, and maybe even shedding a few tears. These are your girls! That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re making them feel special and loved in return. So here’s a few helpful questions to ask yourself that will guide you and your party through the wedding season!

Have you talked about finances yet?
Just like that conversation you had with your parents about finances, you should be asking your bridesmaids what they feel comfortable contributing. For example, consider if your bridesmaids can afford to pay for their own hair and makeup for the day of the wedding. Maybe this is something you want to have done. Similarly, bridesmaids usually pay for their own dress. But make sure this is clear with your party and no assumptions are being made.

How is your line of communication?
Communication is key! From the beginning of your wedding planning, you need to be clear on what you expect from your bridemaids. If you are taking on a lot of DIY projects for your wedding, this is especially important. How much time, crafting, and support are you asking of your girls? How many pre-wedding parties and events are they attending? Your bridesmaids probably have responsibilities and time commitments aside from your wedding. No matter what you decide on, make sure you are being considerate of them as well.

Did you say thank you?
This is an obvious one! Your bridemaids have been your cheerleader since day one! The wedding went without a hitch thanks to them and their support. Now that the big day is done, make sure to send them a thank you. A cute way to do this may be to give them gifts on the day of your wedding. Personalized totes, robes, or jewelry are great ideas that are sure to please. If you want to get extra creative, check out the Ruthe Jackson Center Pinterest Boards as well! Hand-written cards sent in the mail after your blissful honeymoon can also mean the world to your girls!

Picking out your bridemaids may come easy to you, but make sure these little details do as well. When you are all on the same page about your wedding vision, things can go a lot smoother. Then you and your loved ones can focus on what really matters: the celebration of you and your groom-to-be!

How to Get the Groom Involved

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

He finally popped the question! You couldn’t be more excited! The thrill of announcing your engagement to all of your friends and family sets in. But now it’s time to start wedding planning! A lot of brides can’t wait to start this season of picking out colors and vendors. Some brides even have zero problem with taking all control over this process. But you want to make sure your fiancé has a hand in it too. After all, it is a day to celebrate both of you. Plus, you could use the support in wedding planning that is quickly proving to be overwhelming. Ruthe is here to share some easy ways in which you can get your man involved!

1. Help with the guest list
This can be an obvious one. You need to make sure your fiancé is inviting his friends and family to the wedding. Communicate with his parents as well to make sure you don’t miss any extended family on your list. You, your fiancé, and both of your parents should have a generally equal amount of guests. If his family is inviting more than your wedding budget can handle, this is when your man will need to step in. Have the conversation early on with both sets of parents on what a realistic head count will be for your event.

2. Rehearsal Dinner
Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is financially covered by the groom’s parents. If you plan to go this route, it’s a good idea to let your fiancé know in advance. Communication is key when it comes to budgeting and planning the event. You can even give your groom specific tasks that he can coordinate to make sure the rehearsal dinner runs smoothly. This not only takes a load off of your to-do list, but it involves him in the wedding details.

3. The Guys
If you plan on including a wedding party into your big day, your fiancé needs to find groomsmen. To create an even-looking ceremony, it’s also important that you and your groom have an equal amount of bridesmaids and groomsmen. This means one of you might need to add or subtract a few from your side of the wedding. After he has selected his groomsmen, your fiancé can also take charge of finding gifts for his friends. This is a kind gesture for the men who have committed to stand by him at the wedding. Don’t let him forget to say thank you!

4. Vows and Speeches
“Through sickness and in health!” Just about everyone can recognize these lines from the traditional wedding vows couples have opted to use. Nowadays, we are hearing less and less of this. In current wedding trends, couples have decided to write their own vows. This is often seen as more personal and emotional. If you decide you want to join in on the trend, you need to give your groom plenty of time to consider his portion. Allowing him to write his own vows lets him into the wedding planning. Don’t forget about any other speeches you want during the reception that he will need to coordinate as well.

5. Let’s Dance!
Who can forget about the first dance? It can be such a magical moment between couples after just being wed. You may want it to be a perfectly coordinated show with a complicated dance routine. If this is your dream, you’ll want to take a few dance lessons months before the big day. Have your fiancé commit to this fun date idea with you! Not only are you preparing yourselves for the wedding, but you are carving out dedicated time to spend with each other during the chaotic wedding planning season.

Having your fiancé plan your wedding day with you can such a rewarding experience. No matter how you decide to involve him in the process, make sure you are both committing to the vision you have shared for your day.

The Great Escape

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

The long tradition holds that after a wedding is through, the bride and groom whisk away to their newlywed life in a grand escape. Friends and family line the doors as the couple runs to their getaway car. Candid pictures are captured that the lovebirds hold dear for a lifetime. While this tradition may seem as easy as leaving the venue with your new spouse, there are a few details that need to be discussed to make this event as smooth as possible.

When does your reception end?
This is an important question to ask as your “great escape” pictures can be as different as night and day. Literally! Do you have an early afternoon wedding that ends before dusk? Keep in mind that your grand exit will be pictured in daylight. This might change your mind on the sparklers. If your reception ends at night time however, make sure to plan accordingly with your photographer. Depending on how late the party goes on, you could also run the risk of losing some of your guests as they leave for the night. Be prepared to not have quite as many folks cheering you on to your fancy ride.

Have you delegated accordingly?
This little detail is probably not the number one thing on your to-do list of wedding planning. However, it can’t be overlooked! It is really important to delegate someone to take care of all of the decorations, presents, and belongings for when you leave the venue. Give yourself that peace of mind knowing everything is covered while you enjoy the rest of your night. Don’t forget to send a big thank you to the friend that stays behind!

How creative can you get?
As far as I know, throwing rice at the newlywed couple as they run out of the church has been a big wedding staple. It’s something that comes to my mind when I think of a grand escape. Nowadays, couples have gotten quite creative with their exit props. From sparklers, glitter, and confetti, the possibilities are endless. Even releasing paper lanterns into the night sky has become quite a wedding trend. Whatever you decide, I encourage you to let your personality shine through. Find something that is unique and fun that guests will certainly love to be a part of!

How to Plan the Perfect Fall Wedding

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

What season could be more romantic? It’s sweater season! That means snuggles with your fiancé by the fire while sipping pumpkin spice lattes and watching the leaves fall outside your window. Nothing could be more picture perfect than a fall wedding.
But what about the not-so-picturesque Autumn moments? Weather can be so uncertain this time of year while some of your favorite blooms might not even be in season. How can you avoid the downfalls you may ask? Maybe a few of these tips will give you some inspiration!

Plan Ahead of the Weather
Like I mentioned earlier, Autumn weather can either be beautiful and breezy or blistering cold and unforgiving. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception, it can be a little scary not knowing what mother nature will throw your way. A good tip is to check the weather on your wedding date from years past. Looking at the average temperatures can give you a good guess on how the day will play out. Don’t forget to let your guests in on what to expect. A great way to do this is by adding a note to your invitation or website reminding guests to bring coats and umbrellas just in case.
In addition to doing your research, you can also set up a backup plan with your venue. Communicate with the staff to see what can be done in case of rain or bad weather. Luckily, if you choose the Ruthe Jackson Center, we have many options! Our facility has both indoor and outdoor spaces to accommodate whatever Autumn decides to bring on your big day.

Don’t Forget the Pictures
Speaking of outdoor weddings, the fall season has another curve ball to throw your way. Typically, the sun goes down sooner in the evening than in the summer. This might affect your photoshoot schedule, especially if you’re going for that golden hour lighting. A quick Google search can tell you exactly when sunset will take place in your area. So don’t forget to plan with your photographer accordingly.

Embrace Nature
Nature has a lot to bring to the table during the fall season! Take advantage of this! Find flowers and greenery that are in season and that compliment your Autumn aesthetic. Get creative and use pumpkins and gourds for ceremony and table decorations. You can even bring in hay bales as a cute photo backdrop. These gifts of nature can not only bring your fall wedding to life, but they can be easier on the wallet than other flower alternatives.

Rock the Look
The chilly weather in Autumn doesn’t have to cramp your style on your big day! Consider complimenting your dress with a shawl or fur wrap. You could also look for bridal gowns with sleeves if that is your style. And don’t forget about your guests! Providing festive scarves or wraps at the wedding can be a creative party favor and nice gesture on a brisk evening.

Think Outside the Box
A fall wedding does not always have to mean warm brown and red tones. Consider other color combinations that can really wow your guests. Pinterest is a great tool for this. Simply searching for fall wedding color palettes can give you tons of inspiration. For example, metallic shades of gold can add that pop to your decorations you’ve been looking for. But beyond decorations, you can add your unique color palette to the small details like your shoes, accessories, and bridal party wear.

When you simply plan ahead, your fall fairytale wedding can really come to life! As always, the Ruthe Jackson Center team is here to help you and your big day. We hope you will allow us to be a part of that Autumn dream!

Help! How do I tell my guests that we want an adult-only wedding?

By | Ruthe Tuesdays

You’re finally engaged! You’ve been thinking about this moment and that big wedding day since you were five. Everything has to be perfect. After talking it over with your fiancé, you both agreed that you want the night to be romantic and intimate. You want to be surrounded by close friends and family members as you start the rest of your lives together. But for both of you, that wedding vision also means having children at the wedding is not an option.

The only problem: how do you tell your family and friends that you prefer they hired a babysitter for the night without sounding rude? The last thing you want to do is hurt their feelings or cause them to not attend the wedding at all.

Thankfully, I have a few tips to make breaking the news to guests as smooth as possible!

  1. Be open and honest
    If you’ve decided an adult-only event is what you want for your wedding day, make it clear. This day is all about you and your fiancé and the vision that you wish to bring to life. In the end, you need to be true to yourself and the wedding day you want to have. The best way to do this is by being open and honest about your guest list. Talk to the parents personally about your adult-only celebration and how you would love to see them at the wedding. The worst thing you can do is simply stick “no kids allowed” onto your mailed invitations. This can send the wrong message to your beloved friends and family. Having that face-to-face conversation with your guests before invitations are sent out is the best way to approach the situation.
  1. Address the guests
    In addition to having the conversation with parents in advance, make sure to address each person you would like to invite in your invitations. Instead of addressing the entire Smith Family, make sure to address only Mr. and Mrs. Smith. This is an easy way to ensure only the couple listed are attending the wedding. You can also say something like, “we have reserved 2 seats for you at our wedding” to further communicate your wishes.
  1. Don’t forget the wedding party
    What if you decide to have your younger sister as a flower girl? Maybe she is the only child that you would be willing to have at your wedding. How can you have her attend the wedding without other parents feeling disappointed that they had to leave their children at home?
    Again, communication is crucial. To make sure other relatives or friends aren’t upset at the situation, you will need to communicate that you only want children in the wedding party to attend. Placing the distinction between the wedding party and other guests is important.
  1. When in doubt, call Ruthe!
    If all else fails and you and your fiancé decide inviting children is the best decision, Ruthe is here to help! At the Ruthe Jackson Center, we are equipped with a large facility that can accommodate your dream wedding vision and the kids too. Instead of keeping the children at home, all guests can use the RJC kids room during that adult-only party. While you and your fiancé are enjoying the night of your lives with all of your loved ones, the kids can have a blast in their own space big enough to fit bounce houses, movies, pizza and more. Instead of each parent having to find a babysitter for the night, you can provide childcare to come to the facility for all the kids.

Whatever you decide is best for your big day, I hope these tips to this difficult subject can make wedding planning a little easier. Remember to always stay true to yourself and the day you’ve envisioned since you were a kid. When you do that, everything else will fall into place.