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  • Meb McMahon

Have you heard?  In 2024, bows are everywhere.  They are the latest trend in bridal embellishment.  Look for them on waistlines, shoulders, even bridal combs.  This year a bow can "tie together" your bridal aesthetic. Some brides are even replacing their veils with bows.  How do you decide to incorporate them into your 2024 look?

When considering a veil or bow to complement your dress, consider the style of your gown. Veils remain a timeless classic and come in varied lengths from fingertip to floor-sweeping.  Bow are on-trend and add whimsy, opting for one if you're wearing and illusion back or off-the-shoulder neckline.  Focus on your personality and vision for the aesthetic of your special day.

Veils offer versatility.  You can easily switch between a casual cathedral length for photos to a more dramatic long train for your first dance. Bows demand attention as a focal accent, perfect if you want a splash of color, ribbon or intricate details.  Experiment trying on both to see how each makes you feel. Your attitude is key. Choose the accessory that lifts your spirit.  

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  • Meb McMahon

Do you remember that scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy says, "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore?" I can’t tell you how many times that scene has played in my head over the last few weeks. We are in unprecedented times, and our normal routines and patterns of life have been radically altered. We've been told to keep gatherings to fewer than ten people. We’ve been told to keep six feet between ourselves. In Ohio, traditional weddings have been strongly discouraged, forcing wedding couples to make difficult decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones. But postponing a wedding is easier said than done. Many couples have already picked a venue, hired vendors, selected menus, sent out invitations, organized all the details. Some of them have been planning their Big Event for months if not over a year. My heart goes out to all of those who are having to change their plans on such short notice.

If you're not sure if your plans need to be changed, contact your “point person.” This may be your wedding planner or the venue coordinator. These individuals are keenly aware of the rapidly changing wedding landscape and are already helping couples like you everyday . Your planner or coordinator can help you determine whether your wedding date is a hold or a fold. If they determine that a postponement is the safest option, they can then help you secure another wedding date.

As soon as you land on a new date, call all of your other vendors to see if they’re available. Good vendors will understand the extenuating circumstances. With the spring wedding season essentially erased, most vendors have no choice but to honor your decision to postpone.

However, you’ll have to be prepared to be flexible. Venues and vendors will have to manage not only spring postponements, but also their normal schedule of late summer and fall weddings. If your dream venue is booked for the Saturday you want, consider a Friday or Sunday wedding. If your favorite DJ is booked on your new date, ask her for recommendations. The whole industry is in this together. Think of your vendors as your companions on this confusing Yellow Brick Road to a new reality.

Of course, it's essential to let your guests know that plans have changed. One of my own wedding couples added a “Frequently Asked Questions” page to their wedding website to address changes. Other couples have sent out emails or made phone calls to each guest. If you’re committed to snail-mail, writing postponement notices by hand is the perfect labor-intensive and tedious busywork to see you through a long quarantine.

That being said, there is another alternative to postponement. When it comes to weddings, there are pragmatists and idealists. Idealists have a strong vision for their wedding, and will be understandably unhappy about these next few options. However, if you’re more of a wedding pragmatist, it is possible to tie the knot right now, during the pandemic. Here are my recommendations for those couples who don’t want to wait:

  1. Plan a private ceremony with your officiant. If you take the basic precautions against infection, there’s no reason such a small gathering wouldn’t be reasonable. After your private ceremony, take some time to plan a vow renewal and blow-out party for the near future. If you feel compelled to invite your intimate friends and family, remember: keep it to 10 guests or fewer, and make sure family groups sit at least six feet apart.

  2. Consider a drive-in ceremony in a scenic parking lot. Ask your guests to stay in their cars and to honk their horns instead of clapping. If you don’t have access to sufficient audio amplification, it may be challenging for guests to hear the ceremony, so keep that in mind. However, the most important thing is that your friends and family are present, celebrating with you.

  3. Plan a virtual wedding ceremony. Get together with your officiant and a friend (perhaps the Best Man or Maid of Honor) and ask them to record the ceremony with their phone or camera and live-stream it to a private Youtube channel. This option allows guests to see and hear your ceremony in real time and feel like they’re present with you until you can all get together for the big party.

Remember, these recommendations are not meant to necessarily replace a big ceremony or a reception; they’re only meant to bridge the gap until large gatherings are possible again.

Every generation in history has faced challenges that have forced them to adapt their routines and values to a new reality. Now it's our turn. The most important thing is to be flexible and realistic, and to remember what’s really important—what your wedding is really all about. Changing your wedding plans can make you feel like your life has been pulled up by a twister. In these days of uncertainty, there's a reason people feel sad and anxious. It’s normal. Share your feelings with your partner. Use this opportunity to grow closer, to learn how to weather the tough times together. If you have any questions about weddings and the Covid-19 pandemic, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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  • Meb McMahon

Houses of worship are less and less likely to host weddings with each passing year. In 2017, only 22 percent of weddings were performed in a church! As more wedding ceremonies move to banquet halls, country clubs, museums, and beaches, most of the liturgical restrictions begin to fall away. While many couples still opt for a familiar ceremony with a traditional structure, they may find opportunities to flesh out the content of the ceremony in ways that capture the heart of their unique love story. In this blog post, we outline five ways you can work with your officiant and your coordinator to make your wedding ceremony your own.

1. Get to know your officiant. At Wows and Vows, we tailor each ceremony to your unique love story. There are no two people exactly like you, and there is certainly no love quite like yours. In a custom ceremony, it's the job of the officiant to capture what makes your love unique and weave that narrative through the entire wedding. A good officiant will perform an interview with you and your partner to distill the history and quirks of your love story into a ceremony that feels personal, intimate, and romantic. Be vocal with your officiant about your vision for the day and the content that you'd like to see in the ceremony.

2. Write your own vows. Writing your own vows is the perfect way to inject authenticity and intimacy into your wedding. While the officiant is busy putting together the ceremony as whole, work on developing vows that feel right to you. You may work with your partner to develop vows that complement one another, or work separately and surprise each other on the Big Day. This is your opportunity to look each other in the eyes and share with your audience what you appreciate and love about one another. There are many resources online for writing personalized vows. If you’re interested learning about our approach, just drop us a line and we’d be happy to share our strategies.

3. Include your dogs in the processional. Perhaps you think that the last thing you want on your wedding day is an unpredictable animal. However, well-behaved dogs can add a touching element to your ceremony—after all, they are family. They love us unconditionally and they help us through our hardest times, so consider including them. Ask a member of your wedding party to guide your dog down the aisle with them, or even do it yourself. If restlessness or noise is an issue, you can always hand your dog off to a family member or friend who will take them out by a side aisle. Even less predictable dogs can be an endearing addition to your ceremony if you and your partner are open to the adventure.

4. Honor loved ones. Weddings are an opportunity to celebrate all of those friends and family who have shaped our lives. Asking your officiant to honor significant loved ones who have passed on can add a personal and poignant dimension to the ceremony. Giving thanks for all who have inspired the love that is being celebrated at your wedding means that those loved ones will be included in spirit.

5. Include a planting ceremony. A planting ceremony is an endearing and meaningful idea for gardeners and green-thumbs, but it can serve as a powerful symbol for any couple. This ceremony requires each partner to obtain soil from a significant place in their life (perhaps a childhood home). During the ceremony, they pot a plant in their shared soil, and water it together. The planting ceremony symbolizes the vow of partnership and the shared accountability that comes with true, lasting love. Just as you work to keep the plant alive, so should you work to keep your love alive. There will be moments of wilt and moments of bloom, but the planting ceremony focuses on the crucial definition of love through all of those highs and lows: effort, service, and care.

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