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Shinto Style Weddings: Japanese Marriage Traditions


Japanese weddings, which typically take place during the fall and spring seasons in Japan, are lovely affairs from beginning to end.

As long as the venue is equipped with a chapel and shrine, it’s an appropriate location for a Japanese wedding. Chapels and shrines are ubiquitous in Japan, and can be found at most hotels and wedding halls.

The religious style depends on the couple, but not necessarily their religion. For example, if a couple has a traditional Japanese Christian wedding, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the couple is Christian. It’s most common for Japanese couples to have Shinto, Buddhist, Christian, or non-religious weddings. The aforementioned practice goes against early Japanese wedding traditions.

If a couple wants to adhere to ancient Japanese wedding customs, they would have a Shinto-style wedding, and it would be held in a shrine. The bride would wear a white kimono, and the groom would wear a black kimono, a kimono jacket, and kimono pants.

It is customary that only close family members are invited to attend Shinto-style weddings. Exceptions could be made for extended family members and relatives.

During a Shinto-style ceremony, many rituals take place—the consumption of sake, a ring exchange, and the couple and wedding guests are invited to a kekkon hiroen, which is a party.

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Modern Buddhist Wedding Etiquette


Modern day Buddhist wedding traditions vary greatly from the original Buddhist traditions of yesteryear. Although some traditions remain, modern day Buddhist weddings are much more relaxed. As with all weddings, however, there is proper etiquette to follow.

Attire: The bride and groom typically wear semi-formal garb, like a dress and a suit. Guests are allowed to wear whatever they please, as long as it is tasteful and modest, unless stated otherwise by the bride and groom. As with most weddings, shoulders should be covered during the ceremony.

Shoes: If the Buddhist wedding takes place at a temple, you are required to remove your shoes before entering. It is also considered disrespectful for any soles of the feet to be pointed at Buddha or any official who is performing at the ceremony.

Cell Phones: This code of conduct is true for all ceremonies—all cell phones and electronic devices should be turned off during the ceremony, especially during the Buddhist wedding vows.

Rice: It is considered inappropriate to throw rice or confetti after the ceremony.

Order of Events: Contrary to original Buddhist wedding traditions, there isn't a customary order of events at a modern Buddhist wedding reception. Typically, it consists of dinner and dancing, but neither are required according to Buddhist traditions.

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Honeymoon Suites in North Carolina


There are a wealth of wonderful honeymoon hotel options for newlyweds in North Carolina. You can find some excellent deals on honeymoon suites, and you will love the raw beauty of the national parks, as well as the cosmopolitan flair of Charlotte and Asheville. Here are a few reasons to visit North Carolina:

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located on the North-Carolina/Tennessee border, is nothing less than awe-inspiring.

North of the Smoky Mountains is the Mount Mitchell State Park, which has excellent pathways for biking and hiking.

There are quite a few world-class ski resorts in the western mountains, as well as great deals on chalets, cabins, and honeymoon suites.

For those who love history, the city of Asheville is home to the famous Biltmore Estate and Gardens, with many fine restaurants, shopping, art galleries, breweries, street performers, and a rich music scene.

For more culture and history, the cosmopolitan city of Charlotte has great cafés, nightlife, museums, and restaurants, as well some of the best sports stadiums in the state. There are also some amazing gold courses and sailboat regattas near to Lake Norman.

The Cape Fear Coast offers some beautiful and uncrowded beaches, historic areas, and plenty of opportunities for water sports.

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4 Wedding Rehearsal Etiquette Tips


Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is the groom and groom’s parents project; therefore, they decide where it will be located, who will be invited, and they are expected to give toasts. Modern wedding rehearsal etiquette is much less defined, and usually determined by whoever is footing the bill. Here are a few things to remember about rehearsal dinner etiquette:

It does not have to be fancy. It is perfectly acceptable to host the rehearsal dinner at a bowling alley, in someone’s backyard for a barbeque, or even have a potluck.

If the cost of the wedding is shared between the bride and groom’s parents, then it is perfectly fair to suggest that the cost of the rehearsal dinner be shared as well.

If the bride and the groom are hosting, or if the groom’s parents are hosting, then the groom should definitely give a toast. He should remember that it does not necessarily need to be long and eloquent; it should be sincere, show his excitement for his wedding day, and should thank his parents and the wedding party for all they have done.

Wedding rehearsal etiquette also dictates that the father of the groom give a toast. Again, this may change depending on who is footing the bill. The father or mother of the bride can also give toasts if they’d like. The first toast usually begins after the drinks are served and before the first course of the meal.

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Ideas for Catholic Wedding Readings


There are four Catholic wedding readings that typically comprise a Catholic wedding ceremony. The first reading (from the Old Testament), a Responsorial Psalm, the second reading (from the New Testament), and a fourth reading from the Gospel. Here is the typical order of the Catholic wedding readings within the ceremony, starting after the seating of the families, the wedding processional, and the entrance of the bride:

First, an Opening Prayer is usually given by the priest.

The First Reading typically comes from the Catholic book The Rite of Marriage. Here are a few options:

  1. Genesis 1:26-28, 31: “God created man and woman.”
  2. Genesis 2:18-24: “The two of them became one body.”
  3. Proverbs 31: 10-13: “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
  4. Tobit 8:5-7: “Allow us to live together to a happy old age.”
  5. Genesis 24: “In his love for Rebekah, Isaac found solace after the death of his mother."
  6. Tobit 7: “May the Lord of heaven prosper you both. May he grant you mercy and peace.”
  7. Sirach 26: “Like the sun rising in the Lord’s heavens, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.”
  8. Jeremiah 31: “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.”


In Catholic Wedding Traditions, the Responsorial Psalm is typically recited by a cantor, or song leader. The cantor sings the verses, then leads the assembly in the response (which is typically the title of the psalm). Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Psalm 33:12, 18, 20-21, 22: “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.”
  2. Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9: “I will bless the Lord at all times.”
  3. Psalm 103: “The Lord is kind and merciful.”
  4. Psalm 128: “Happy are those who fear the Lord.”
  5. Psalm 145: “The Lord is compassionate to all his creatures.”
  6. Psalm 148: “Let us praise the name of the Lord.”


The Second Reading is then given from the New Testament. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Romans 8: “What will separate us from the love of Christ?"
  2. 1 Corinthians: “Your body is the temple of the “Holy Spirit;” If I do not have love, I am nothing.”
  3. Philippians 4:4-9: “The God of peace will be with you.”
  4. Colossians 3:12-17: “And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.”
  5. 1 John 4:7-12: “Love in deed and in truth.”
  6. Revelation 19:5-9: “Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”


The Gospel Reading is usually given by the priest. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Matthew 5:1-12: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
  2. Matthew 19:3-6: “What God has united, man must not separate.”
  3. Mark 10: 6-9: “They are no long two, but one flesh.”
  4. John 15: 12-16: “This is my commandment: love one another.”


Next comes the Homily, which is typically a short sermon or word given from the prist. The homily is followed by the exchange of Catholic Wedding Vows, followed by the Blessing and Exchange of Rings. After the rings are exchanged, there is a Lighting of the Unity Candle, usually accompanied by a song.

Finally, there is the Concluding Rite. Usually the Lord's Prayer, the Assembly joins together to recite this prayer, led by the priest. A final blessing is given, and the ressional begins.

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Gothic Wedding Cake Designs


Once you’ve chosen your Gothic wedding theme, you’ll find many ways to sprinkle it throughout your big day—your wedding dress, wedding color scheme, décor, and last, but not least, your wedding cake. Deciding between one or more wedding cake designs is easy when you have a specific theme guiding you.

A dress shaped wedding cake is a trend that’s growing, and could work perfectly with your Gothic theme. Gothic gowns, specifically wedding gowns, are typically large ball gowns with a number of embellishments. Imagine your wedding cake as a replica of a Gothic gown, adorned with lace frosting, multi-tiers, and a chocolate corset.

Another cake shape that adheres to the Gothic style is a castle cake. Do some research (or pass this task on to your cake designer) on Gothic architecture and have your wedding cake replicate that style. Make sure your castle cake is adorned with stained glass windows to give it a nice burst of color.

Express your Gothic wedding style by the color palette you choose for your wedding cake. Black, white, and red are popular Gothic colors that would look fantastic on your wedding cake. Another option is to have cupcake wedding cakes instead of a traditional cake, and alternate the three Gothic colors with cupcakes. For example, if you have 100 wedding guests, then one third of the cupcakes could be black, one third red, and the rest white.

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Unique Wedding Supplies: How to Find Vintage Decor


Knowing where to find wedding supplies that are specific to your wedding theme can be a tricky feat, but with the combination of online shops, E-bay, local antique shops, as well as estate sales, you should be good to go!

Where to Find Antiques

Local: If you’re wedding theme is Gothic, Victorian, or related to any vintage theme, then the first place you should look is in your very own neighborhood. Keep an eye out for garage and estate sales, you might be surprised at what you find. Also tap into your local wedding vendors, who may not have antique supplies, but could very well point you in the right direction.

E-bay: This online auction site is ideal for anyone looking for something specific that’s difficult to find at your local boutique or supply store. The site changes constantly, so even if you don’t find what you’re looking for at first, go online and check the next day.

Antique Shops: This might seem obvious, and even a bit expensive, but you might get lucky and stumble upon a sale. Also keep in mind that a lot of antique shops are locally owned and run, which means that the owner might be open to negotiating a lower price.

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Flower Girl Gifts: Make Her Feel Special!


One of the most fun parts of planning a wedding is choosing your wedding party gifts and your flower girl gifts. This takes some thought and planning, but it is also very rewarding, as you have the opportunity to thank your best friends. Here are a few ideas for flower girl gifts:

Consider having a t-shirt, hoodie, or backpack or tote bag custom made for the flower girl that says (of course) “flower girl” on it. That way, she can wear it to the rehearsal dinner. Not only will everyone find it adorable, but it will also make your flower girl feel really special and honored.

You should purchase flower gift dresses (meaning, the dress you want your flower girl to wear should be a gift to her). You do not have to buy the flower girl’s dress at a bridal salon; you may, in fact, find one somewhere else unexpectedly, such as at a department store or vintage dress shop.

Many little girls love the thought of being a princess and wearing a tiara. A small tiara will make her feel beautiful, and she will especially love being part of your wedding and will remember it for years to come. If you are having an outdoor wedding, you may also want your florist to make her a halo, accentuating her role as the flower girl.

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How to Have a Buddhist Wedding


If you are looking for a spiritual, yet non-religious way to organize your wedding ceremony, consider planning a Buddhist wedding. Buddhist wedding ceremony traditions are simple, yet meaningful. Here are a few customs to incorporate:

First, decide where you are going to hold your wedding. Typically, a Buddhist wedding is a very small affair, with only a few close friends and family members present. Temples are a possibility if you need to hold more guests; otherwise, a private home is a more intimate option.

Visit a Buddhist priest, who can help you decide whether or not you are compatible, and if so, what day would be spiritually favorable to get married.

Incorporate customs such as the Chessian. During this betrothal ceremony, the bride’s maternal uncle sits on a platform while the lama, or Buddhist priest, prays and shares Madyan (a religious drink) with the guests.

Begin the wedding ceremony customs by lighting candles and incense and placing them in front of the shrine to Buddha. Hymns such as Vandana, Pancasila, and Tisarana are quite common.

Recite Buddhist wedding vows, found in the Sigilovdda Sutta.

Finish the wedding ceremony by reciting blessings, such as the Magnal Sutta or the Jayamangala Gatha.

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How to Get the Most Out of a Wedding Expo


Because it would take months to meet all of the various vendors you will be in contact with at a 2011 wedding expo, there is no doubt that they provide a huge advantage when it comes to the learning curve inherent in planning a wedding. Here are a few helpful hints when considering a bridal expo:

Choose a wedding show that is in the proximity of your geographical location. If you are getting married in the wine country of Northern California, an Orange County bridal fair is mainly going to showcase vendors within the Los Angeles and OC area.

There are typically two types of bridal fairs—mega fairs and boutique fairs. A mega fair is a huge event, typically held at a hotel or convention center. A boutique wedding expo is usually sponsored by a particular vendor or wedding location. The type of fair depends on the bride—if you do not like big crowds or feel overwhelmed when there are too many choices, consider going to a boutique bridal fair. You will still get a feel for different vendors. You just won’t feel quite as overwhelmed.

Bring a notebook and be inquisitive. Ask as many questions as come to mind, and write them down in a notebook as you think of them. Asking questions is the best way to use the wedding planning services you encounter at a bridal fair.

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