Why I Recommend Premarital Counseling

When it comes to the wedding ceremony and officiant, Matt and I went on a slightly different route. Typically, the pastor of the church where you are married does the premarital counseling or there is some sort of church-organized class. We had our former college pastor marry us, and we weren’t married in a church. At the time he was the director of community life at a college in Southern California, so not readily available to counsel us.

We ended up asking a favor to have a counseling pastor at my parent’s church guide us through the program they offer. We met several times over the course of many weeks, going over the workbook to “A Growing Marriage” by Gary Chapman. You may recognize the name from his famous The 5 Love Languages.

Now, it wasn’t always a breeze. Our counseling was very early on Monday mornings and often included discussing personal topics with someone with whom we weren’t particularly close. At times, we felt like we were wasting time about guessing what challenges we would face as a married couple, living together for the first time. In the end, we decided it would be smart to be prepared.

Here’s us young and engaged. Photo by Joel Flory of Flory Photo.

Here’s how we benefited from premarital counseling:

* It gave us an opportunity to talk about things that we may not have discussed otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t flippant about getting married or even dating. It’s hard to know, though, if you’re covering all the basics since we had never gone through this before. We took it seriously and were wanting to make sure we gleaned wisdom from wherever we could.

* It provided a reference point. When an argument arises, we could both directly point at what we learned and go from there.

* We learned more about each other. While I don’t think Chapman’s love languages are perfect, they’re a great way to look at how to best love your mate. A complement to this would be Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, which we also read and recommend. It is very easy to assume you know how to love someone best, but you end up giving them what you want, instead of what they want. It helped us learn to be more intentional about showing our love.

Lastly, while not part of the counseling session, one piece of advice given from a friend has made a HUGE difference with how we communicate and feel. She said both partners will typically feel like they are giving 90 percent and only getting 10 percent back. Knowing this, it’s easier to be more forgiving.

While not mandatory, for those who are trying to decide, give premarital counseling a chance!

PS — We were not paid to review the products described in this post, we just thought they were helpful for us and that others may benefit from them as well.

Poll: Wedding Shower Invitations

You know by now how much I love showers. There is just something fun about bringing someone a gift to celebrate this new phase in their life.  This also means I help plan a lot of showers.  I was in a friend’s wedding in January and I helped her sister (the Maid of Honor) host the shower.  We asked her for a guest list, so that we could start planning.  And she gave us a list with phone numbers.  What do I do with phone numbers?  I am not planning on calling all of these people that I do not know (okay there are probably 5 that I don’t know) and asking them to come over to our little party.

But this leads to the next question.  Do we take the easy way out and send an evite?  This seems to impersonal to me and so many people forget to respond.  So then we send out paper invitations, like normal people, right?  This can be costly.  My etiquette knowledge is just screaming in my ear that an evite will not suffice and we must send out paper invitations.  It’s not some little birthday party or barbecue … it’s a bridal shower!  And it needs to be treated with much more respect. What do you think?

Is it appropriate to send an email invite for a wedding or baby shower?

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And in case you were wondering, we decided to go with paper invitations.  We used an evite for her bachelorette party, but decided to go the more formal route for her bridal shower.

Blogs We Love: WeddingBee

Megan and I subscribe to about 200 blogs. I know what you’re thinking: If we love blogs so much, why don’t we marry them? Well, for one it’s not legal. Secondly, we like our Matts too much. So, instead, we thought we would debut this fun series during Wedding Week, to show our undying devotion.

For those of you who got a ring on it, so to speak, or even for those who haven’t received official confirmation quite yet, I present to you a wonderful wedding planning site: WeddingBee.com.

WeddingBee has brides under cute pseudonyms blog their way through the planning process. Reading through the ups and downs of planning is like having friends right alongside you. Perhaps my favorite part is the can-do spirit of the bloggers. Many of them tackle their own projects — Miss Poodle even made her own dress! — and show you how to do it. They also manage to find good deals and inspirations that were very helpful to me in trying to figure out the world of weddings.


The above belt is Miss Lace’s take on a bridal belt — it’s DIY and looks like something you would find in a J. Crew catalog!

A while back, I also bookmarked this macaron recipe from Mrs. Perfume. These would be cute for the baby shower I”m planning soon.


Another post you should check out is the easy updo by Mrs. Sea Breeze that you should definitely check out. As if the blog portion weren’t enough, they have other super helpful wedding planning tools like classifieds, a forum, galleries and more. Be sure to buzz on over!

A word of caution, they have a ton of bloggers, which can make your RSS reader fill up quite quickly!

Do you have a favorite blog that you think NewlyWife readers should know about? Let us know and we’ll consider featuring it in an upcoming post.

Wedding Shower Favors

As we already learned, I love going to showers and blessing brides with gifts.  I also love hosting showers.  It’s where creativity meets generosity.  How can you go wrong?  I also like to leave the guests with a little something to take home.  It does not have to be extravagant,  but just a little something to say “thanks for coming by and showering the bride with love.”

Favor #1: This was from Emily’s shower, actually.  So this goes back to May 2008!  My mom and I tagged teamed this tea-themed shower, and both came up with this favor idea.  I think I  had the idea for the custom tea bag holder which said Love is Brewing and she found these super cute candles that were half groom and half bride.  I don’t have a picture of it, but take my word, it was cute!  There were 3 or 4 different blues used for the tea holders, and contrasting blue basket grass stuff.  We put them together in a little bag with some candies, and set each one at a place setting in a teacup.  How quaint!

Favor #2: This was the second bash that my mom and I threw, about a month after the tea party.  This shower was for Emily’s sister-in-law (and my new cousin-in-law), who got married 3 weeks after her.  We had an outdoor garden party in my parents backyard.  It was a warm June day and the weather was just right!  We packed these little goodie bags with sunscreen, candy and those tiny flower pots sets from Target (they can be found seasonally in the dollar aisle).  Affixed to the front was a little tag with one of those plantable flowers glued on (it had seeds inside) with a cheesy, but cute poem.  This made it personal, and that way the guests had something to remember for a long time.  There was probably something else in the favor bag that I am forgetting.

(In case you wanted to know what the poem said: Love is Blooming — Plant this flower In a little Pot. Remember the shower, Before they tied the knot.)

Favor #3: These were for a bridal shower that I helped throw last summer.  I made each of these soaps.  I used this tutorial (and yes, it’s the same method as the soaps for L in my wedding shower gifts post) and had images of rings, cakes and hearts on the front.  The bride got a personalized set with a wedding dress and her new initials on it.  (And Lorene, thanks for taking this picture!)

Favor #4:  These were more recent, from a November bridal shower, the same one where I made the snowflake table runner and towels gift.  Winter coziness was our theme, and what fits better than personalized hot cocoa mixes?  We (the shower planners) got together a week before the shower and mixed together the cocoa using this recipe.  I  had previously printed out and stamped (it’s embossed, when you put the powder on the ink and heat set it). The little tags said The Perfect Blend, with instructions on the back.  We then put the cocoa in mason jars and affixed ribbons attached to the little labels.   Again, thanks to Lorene for letting me use her pictures.  I think I forgot my camera at this shower!

Now, what are some of your favorite shower favors that you have either given or received?

Happy Anniversary to Megan!

Do you know what today is?  It is my second wedding anniversary! Two years ago today I married the wonderful Matthew, and life has not been the same since.  We just got back from spending this past weekend away in Lake Havasu, Arizona.  It was wonderful to sit back, relax and just enjoy each other’s company — that’s necessary sometimes, right?  My anniversary means two things to you, dear readers.

1. This will now be wedding week on NewlyWife.  Please enjoy tips and things that we have learned.  I will also be letting you in on some of my bridal shower secrets.

2. I get to share some wedding pictures with you all!  I know you are all dying to see what the “M@” and I looked like on our wedding day.  Props to our amazing photographer (and cousin) Joel Flory.  Please check out his site — he is incredibly talented behind the lens.

Dad and daughter.

Sassy bridesmaids.

Second official kiss as Mr. and Mrs.

Our wonderful wedding party.

America’s Next Top Bridal Model, anyone?

Telling a funny joke?

The very happy couple.

Stealing a kiss for the cheering crowd of bridesmaids.

My beautiful Maid of Honor, and co-blogger, giving us a toast!  There’s another more serious picture, but I like that you can tell she is in the middle of a joke right here!  :)

Cutting the yummy cake!

Don’t you just love the expression on my face?  Oh yeah, and I totally overshot the throw!  Like 5 feet above the girls — and it landed about 20 feet behind them! Oops!

This was about 3.5 seconds before the sprinklers went off.  Many of our guests got soaked!

I hope you all enjoyed some of our wedding pictures!

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