By Michael Letney with Karen Hardin
Being transparent. It is one of the easiest things you will ever do and also one of the
hardest things you will ever do. All it requires is gut-level honesty, communication, and the
removal of all smoke screens. Can it get any easier? Can it get any harder?
Here is a quick litmus test to help you gauge the level of your transparency.
Do you freely share with your fiancé or spouse:
1. Your conversations with others?
2. Who you met with during the day?
3. The sights you surf on the internet?
4. The highs and lows of your day?
5. The deepest thoughts of your heart?
If the answer to any of those is “no”, then you’re probably not being 100% transparent
with your mate. It is time to explore why.
In my own marriage with my wife, Barbie, we have experienced heartache and
challenges that could have easily caused us to throw in the towel, call it quits and not make it to
the forever part because I was not always transparent with her. There were many reasons why
and how I justified my actions, but in the end it was still wrong.
During the course of our marriage, Barbie and I have walked through an armed robbery, a
burglary and not one but two bankruptcies. We drove to the top of the mountain of comfort and
financial stability only to suddenly drive off the cliff and crash at the bottom. Hitting bottom
once was bad, but twice should be a knockout punch to any marriage. It could have easily
derailed our marriage and commitment to forever. And it almost did, until I learned the
importance not only of being transparent and sharing all with my wife, but the four secrets to a
successful marriage. How do I know? Because I can tell you at one time they were not present,
and it could have caused me to lose my marriage and my best friend. Thankfully I got a second
Make no mistake, transparency is difficult to achieve, but the only way someone will get
to know you is if you allow them access to your thoughts and heart and become transparent. And
if you are engaged or already married, there is no one you should be more transparent with than
the person with whom you pledge your life.
# # #
Want to know more about learning to live transparently with the one you love?
Get Michael Letney’s new book, “Four Secrets to a Forever Marriage: Marriage Tips
from a Not-So-Perfect Husband.” Available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As the founder and creator of The Unity Cross, Michael Letney has
influenced thousands of weddings through the wedding rings he has created and now with the
bestselling Unity Cross and Unity Heart which are being used in ceremony’s across the nation. For
Say I Don’t to Wedding Expences!
Summer Weddings are the recent talk of the city. If you too are planning your wedding this summer, let
me warn you in advance, plethora of expenses are waiting at your doorsteps. Water activities, Blower
fans, Regular supply of chilled water, Ice-cream bar and what not? There is no doubt in the fact that
Summer Wedding undergoes a lot of additional expenses but “Where there is a will, there is a way”.
Here are a few tips to save on your summer wedding:
DIY to save money and engrave love
Remove the lid of your pen and put on your thinking caps to design your handmade Wedding Invitation
Card, Escort Cards and Thank You cards. Preparing handmade greeting cards won’t make you look miser
rather will showcase the emotional side of your personality. So, are you ready to surprise your guests
with your creativity and thoughts?
“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship”
Avoid weekends for tying the knots. You can pinch pennies by doing this, generally the marriage halls
and caterers charge higher on weekends. Plus, weekends assure that none of your guests will skip your
wedding day. Specially those who will arrive just to eat (No offense!) ……
You are paying to get clicked? (Save here)
Each one of us has a friend who loves to click photographs and is always spotted with the D.S.L.R. ask
that friend to do it for you. Later on give him a small treat and save your bucks from being squandered
on hiring a photographer from outside instead.
For the Flowers….
Don’t fritter away your hard earned money in buying expensive flowers that are off season. Buy the
flowers which are easily accessible in the market. Use a combination of two or max to max three
flowers, buying same kind of flowers in bulk can also avail you some discounts.
Don’t outstretch your event
It’s good to plan both the ceremony and the reception at the same place. You can save a considerable
sum of money by organizing them at same location. Moreover, be very specific about your guest’s list.
Yeah, I understand it is very difficult to decide Whom to invite and Whom to leave? Be very precise
while you prepare your list.
Here comes my favorite- Food!
Since, it’s a summer wedding you can comfy your guests with a light delight. Keep a plain and light menu
for the reception. No need to go for multi course meal, serve small plates of light meal.
Do you really need an extravagant wedding cake?
They say a penny saved is a penny earned. A tiered wedding cake will cost you a great number. Cup
cakes, cookies and other desserts can be your pick for the day. The best thing about cup cakes is that
they can be personalized individually and then can be taken away by the guests as a memento of your
Here you can save the most- Décor!
Act smart and cut the costs wherever you can and as much as you can but again- smartly! Using bigger
tables will reduce the number of centerpieces required. Another trick for you is- Shop off season for the
décor products. Some adorable pieces of art can be purchased at very low prices immediately after
Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Try your hands on them!
Wish you all the very best for your budget friendly wedding. Get, Set and Go! Save wherever you see a
Article Submitted By Riva
“If You Can Dream It, We Can Do It”
Plan Your Wedding, but Perfect Your Marriage
A Tip from a “Not-So-Perfect Husband”
by Michael Letney with Karen Hardin
You are planning the wedding of your dreams, congratulations! After finding “Mr. Right,” everything about your wedding also needs to be right. It should be a day you will never forget in preparation for a lifetime together. But it is important in this flurry of activity to remember that after the candles are blown out, the tulle is tucked away and the runner rolled up, the real work begins. Your marriage deserves just as much loving care to detail and attention as your big day.
Great marriages don’t just happen. Trust me. I’ve been blessed with the most amazing wife, but it’s not because I have always been the most amazing husband. I’ve learned a very important lesson along the way about creating a great marriage that I would like to pass on to you as my personal wedding gift.
The art of a good marriage depends on the couple and their commitment to each other. Like the canvas of a painting, it is what you do with the paint on the canvas that makes it a beautiful picture. Love must be fed and nurtured, constantly renewed. It requires our attention. It also requires four key ingredients which I learned several years into my marriage with my wife, Barbie. These important ingredients are essential. They are transparency, truth, trust and unity.
Transparency requires that we are truthful with our mate. Truthfulness builds trust, which in turn, creates unity. The question is, how willing are you to be transparent and truthful with your mate?
Those four important ingredients were missing to some extent in my marriage at one time, not because I didn’t want to be truthful with my wife, but because in not being completely truthful about my business, our finances and the struggles I encountered, I felt I was protecting her. My intentions were good, even I felt at the time, honorable. After all, why stress her out with the knowledge that my business, which had experienced enormous growth and provided us a very comfortable lifestyle, was suddenly on the verge of financial collapse? Why worry her with the knowledge that we might lose our house and have to file bankruptcy? After all, I could still turn it around and she need never know. So I chose to remain silent, although she could see my stress. She knew something was wrong. Terribly wrong. But ultimately what was wrong wasn’t the crisis in my business, it was my actions. And it could have cost me my marriage.
Transparency. Truth. Trust. Unity. Four Ingredients that when mixed into the recipe of your marriage can provide a foundation so strong it can weather even the hardest of hits as you stand together in unity. This is where the paint is applied to the canvas of your marriage and the result is beautiful.
For a moment, I will be transparent with you and share that I learned the importance of these ingredients as my faithful wife stood with me through the tough times. This included not just one but two bankruptcies, a burglary that completely cleaned us out, the loss of our home, embarrassment over our loss, and months in which I walked through depression so thick it was like trudging through cement. During that season, she also became the primary breadwinner as I struggled to get back on top. If that weren’t enough, she held on after I received a diagnosis that could have resulted in my complete disability or death. Many women would have walked away. I’m grateful she stayed. Why? Because Barbie made a choice when we said “I do.” That when it came down to “in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer,” when it was all put to the test, she had already made her decision the day we married. She chose us.
And I chose us.
I made the decision to change, to be completely transparent and truthful which created a deeper level of trust and unity than we had ever experienced. Transparency requires truth, which creates trust, which builds unity.
Everything in life is a choice. Barbie made the choice to stay. I made the choice to change and be transparent. To offer her all of me, not just what I wanted her to see. The result? A marriage to my best friend that is more amazing than we could have ever dreamed.
Marriage is a relationship. Relationships don’t just happen—they are built. It is a journey.
As you embark on your journey, may it be one that encompasses those important ingredients of transparency, truth and trust that creates unity. May you learn to live in strength and vulnerability with each other, hand in hand, doing life together rather than just two people living under the same roof, together but separate.
Perhaps someday, after the wedding, when life’s challenges hit, you may look at your decision of marriage and wonder, “Did I marry the right person?” You may question whether you should stay.
Motivational speaker and author, Zig Ziglar, who enjoyed a marriage that lasted sixty-five years until the death of his wife, was often asked about the longevity and strength of his relationship by some who questioned theirs. His response is worth repeating.
“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the right person. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.”
So as your wedding day approaches, my personal gift to you, as you enter into the most sacred covenant of marriage, is to make the decision to include these four ingredients from the very beginning. Make the decision to be transparent and truthful, which will create trust that will ultimately develop a unity that can withstand the storms of life. The storms will come. But when you are in unity, you can weather them together. How do I know? Because Barbie and I just celebrated our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary together. Our relationship is more than I could have ever dreamed and what I wish for you—that you will also experience a happily ever after.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Letney is the founder and creator of The Unity Cross and Michael Letney Design Studios. His new book, Four Secrets to a Forever Marriage, will be released July 19. Receive a free e-book and free freight with our pre-release special offer only at: ShopBetterBooks.com. For additional information about Michael Letney and the Unity Cross go to: www.michaelletney.com or www.unitycross.com.
 Ziglar, Zig. Inspirational Marriage Quotes. http://www.great-inspirational-quotes.com/marriage-quotes.html (accessed Nov. 8, 2014)
Your wedding day is meant to be the most important day of your life. While it is sure to be memorable, it can prove to be incredibly stressful for both the bride and groom. Whether you are having an intimate wedding with only family in attendance, or a ceremony and reception for 500 attendees, anything can go wrong, making proper planning and preparation your best friend. From the time of year you are going to get married, to how long you are staying at the reception, having everything planned will help your day run much smoother and avoid some possible wedding disaster scenarios.
Once you are engaged and begin planning the wedding, the first thing you will need to do is decide when and where you want to get married. If you live in an area that has nice weather, it may be a great idea for an outdoor wedding as there may be six months to even all year round of fantastic outdoor wedding weather. Summer weddings are by far the most popular time of year, so if you have your heart set on a specific venue, locking it up sooner than later will take a lot of the stress out of the planning. Timing is everything so double check that your wedding date doesn’t coincide with any religious holiday if holding the event at a church. For example, Catholic churches won’t allow weddings during Lent. Also be careful about planning your wedding around major holidays that may conflict with traditional travel plans, like Labor Day, 4th of July, etc.
Arguably the most difficult and stressful part of wedding planning is finalizing the guest list for the ceremony and reception. Whether it is 50 of your closest family and friends, or 300 people, there will always be someone who is left off the guest list.
One of the best ways to handle this is by first deciding how many people your venue can accommodate, and have both the bride and groom make a list of all friends and family they think should be invited. Once you have this list put together, you can go through and either add to it, or make the necessary cuts to trim it down to size. The bride and groom are each given 50% of the guest list and should turn over the responsibility of sending out the invitations and handling RSVP’s to the bride’s parents. Choose wisely, everyone you invite will be mixing and mingling with your spouse’s friends and family. Remember, you can’t please everyone, so don’t feel bad about dropping someone from the list if you are on the fence about inviting them. You may also consider inviting some guests to only attend the reception if you feel they wouldn’t be a good fit at the ceremony.
Food & Drink
When it comes to the wedding day itself, the reception is one of the most important aspects of the day. Depending on what time your wedding is and the size of your guest list, selecting what kind of food you will serve is a big decision. While this part may all depend on the size of your budget, there are a variety of different options you have to choose from. A fully catered meal for all your guests will certainly be a popular choice, but could cost you a pretty penny in the long run. If a full meal is a bit out of reach, a sampling of hors d’oeuvres can get the job done just fine.
Alcohol is always a hot button issue at weddings, as it can play a big factor in the overall budget. If you can afford a full bar and have the guests to utilize it, this is a great feature for any wedding. Otherwise, you will likely be able to get by with a couple of kegs and some bottles of wine. While you may like to knock a few back on the weekends, make sure you set a limit for yourself on this day. No one wants to wake up the next morning and not remember half of what happened on their wedding day. Or even worse, possibly do something that may embarrass your new spouse or family.
Dancing and weddings go together like peanut butter and jelly. Whether you intend on hitting the dance floor much yourself after your first dance as bride and groom or not, it is very likely that a large majority of your guests will expect to get out there and enjoy themselves. To accommodate these guests, investing in a DJ, or at least one of your musically savvy friends to MC and run the music is always a good idea. Putting together a special dance piece for your and your bride to be can be very entertaining and special, but it’s important to know what you are doing. The last thing you want is to build the whole thing up, take the dance floor and then not know the steps or overdue the intensity and have the special dance become an utter failure. Make sure that if it’s a new dance for you both that you practice, practice, practice. Give it your best and have fun.
From the best man and maid of honor, to opening the floor up for family and the rest of the wedding party to say a few words, speeches and toasts can be a special thing for the bride and groom. If you don’t put some sort of time limit on people however, this can quickly turn into a never-ending cycle that gets off track. While you may want to have people share their stories, keeping the amount of people who can talk at a small number will keep your guests in a good mood and not drag the night out too long for those who may need to get on the road.
With so much going on before, during and after the ceremony there a few very important things that you cannot forget, if you want to avoid stress and potential wedding disasters.
Don’t forget the ring, whether its the groom’s wedding band or the bride’s diamond ring, make sure you know where they are and at least 2 others do too. This will avoid possibly the biggest possible disaster.
Don’t forget to acknowledge those close to you and how they helped make this day so special. If Aunt Stacey really pulled it together with the floral arrangements, let her know. Just a little appreciation can go a long way.
Don’t forget your manners. In such a high stress environment it can be very easy to accidentally be rude to someone, or short with the staff. At a wedding, everyone is watching the bride and groom and it would be a shame if all they remember was you getting upset at wait staff over some small issue.
Don’t forget the luggage. If you are leaving for the honeymoon directly after the wedding or the following morning, the last thing you want is to miss your plane to Jamaica because you had to go out of your way and pick up the suitcase you forgot at home.
With so much on your plate, planning a wedding can seem a bit overwhelming. Remember to enjoy the moment and put your own needs ahead of others. You won’t be able to make everyone happy, so make sure you are happy with the final outcome.
Written by James Maloney, ordained interfaith minister and lover of all things tennis. When he’s not attending weddings across the NorthWest he can be found shaping the life of local youth athletes.
Trying to decide whether or not get your groomsmen a gift? Groomsmen are – ideally – guys who are closest to the groom. The list can include the brother, the cousin, the high school crowd, or the best friend that lived next door for as long as anyone can remember. If you’re trying to decide whether or not to give your groomsmen a gift then read on. Below are just a few reasons why it might be a good idea to give those special guys in your life something special.
1. To show how much you really know and understand them.
Well-thought out gifts show how well the gift giver knows the recipient. Same goes with groomsmen gifts. You may not be vocal with just how much you value the presence of your boys, especially on such a big day, so why not show your appreciation by taking the time to give each groomsman a gift that suits him the most?
2. To spend more time with them
Groomsmen gifts are often times products or items that serve a purpose (such as socks for the wedding day), but that doesn’t mean they should be limited to anything you can put inside a box. If your groomsmen are all fans of a specific sport, it can be a great idea to treat everyone to tickets for the upcoming game. Or maybe it’s a weekend fishing trip that will not only satisfy your fishing buddies but also allow you to spend quality time with your crew.
3. To make sure they look their best for the wedding.
You love your friends, you really do. They’re the best group of guys a man could hope for. But after knowing them for years, you just KNOW they’ll turn up at your wedding with a missing sock or the wrong belt buckle – or even looking unkempt. Giving socks, belt buckles, or shaving sets as groomsmen gifts may just be the resolution needed to ensure your guys look as presentable as ever.
4. To immortalize your brotherhood.
Groomsmen gifts need not be generic but should also avoid being tacky. Personalized items are usually well-received and can certainly be taken up a notch by way of well-meaning yet symbolic gifts, such as groomsmen caricatures. These creative art pieces have taken the world of wedding party gifts by storm as they are not only unique, but also immortalize the bond of brotherhood during one of the most important events of a man’s life. Definitely one of the best groomsmen gift ideas to date.
5. To say thank you.
Saying thank you by giving gifts is an age-old practice, but it is no less meaningful today than it was centuries past. Simply saying thank you may be enough, but giving a functional yet meaningful gift is even better. Show your gratitude to the guys who have been with you through the ups and downs of life. The same guys that will stand by you as you say goodbye to the carefree life of bachelorhood by preparing awesome gifts that you know they can never say no to.
Giving groomsmen gifts may already be a tradition that your friends and family practice in which case no further reasons are necessary. However, if you haven’t thought about giving your groomsmen gifts then perhaps now’s the time to start thinking about what to give to the best bros a guy could have.
Looking for gifts for the men in your wedding party? Visit www.groovygroomsmengifts.com for unique and affordable items!
Get 15% off all gifts at www.Crystalimagery.com with Coupon Code: WV15
Hand-crafted, custom engraved personalized barware. Our wine, whiskey, scotch, bourbon bar glasses and beer glasses feature clarity and depth beyond traditional etching and engraving.
1. The Closed Photo Booth
People can pose without judgement, a pretty reliable machine.
Becoming an overdone cliché, cheap webcams can be disguised as cameras, print quality is often just average, home made booths can look quite cheap.
Best suited for:
Small intimate weddings, large festivals or events where people don’t know each other, permanent fixtures.
2. The Open Air Photo Booth
Lots of branding options from booth wrap to backdrop – applicable for weddings and parties too, entertainment for onlookers and participants
Hard to know what you’ll receive on the day, no privacy for guests, quality between businesses varies greatly.
Best suited for:
Staff parties, large weddings, product launches, expos, award nights, anything with branding required.
3. The Vintage Booth
A more unique option, impressive for guests, fits in with event theming, beautiful photo prints.
Can be hard to find, can be more expensive
Best suited for:
DIY personalised weddings, garden parties, vintage themed events.
4. The Caravan Booth
Awesome marketing options, impressive looking, social media kiosks.
Take up a large space, most expensive.
Best suited for:
Festivals, carnivals, expos, large outdoor events.
5. The Slow Motion Booth
Super original, shakes people out of their comfort zone, very fun.
Not for the shy, can get a little messy, nothing physical for guests to take home, needs a big space, can be expensive.
Best suited for:
Weddings with fun guests, staff parties, school formals and events, brand campaigns.
Say Cheers! Make your Toast unforgettable with these Silver Plated Crystal Toasting Flutes that will add elegance and style to your Wedding décor. Your first Toast as Newlyweds is a special moment and deserves to have the perfect glasses for a perfect memory. They are beautiful keepsakes to not only cherish in remembrance of your Wedding but can also be used for many of your Special Occasions such as Anniversaries, Birthdays or to Celebrate New Years! The Toasting Flutes are 10 ½ inches tall with a Glass Top and Rhinestone Accent.
Stop your guests in their tracks with these Contemporary Swirl Design Wine Bottle Stopper favors! They’re loaded with elegance and guaranteed to have a long lasting appeal in your guests’ homes. Each chrome plated metal Wine Bottle Stopper favor measures 4.25 x 1.5 inches and has a modern freeform swirl showstopper top on a conical base, wrapped with a black rubber gasket for a snug seal.
Thank You … two quick words, but strong enough to keep the relation going, two words which bring smiles, words which lets one forget all the vices, words which one often loves to hear …
To add to the smile-bringing factor of a thank-you, there are now Thank You cards. And these come for various occasions, like for simply being thankful for a task made easy, or accepting a gift, or some help, or accepting an invitation.
Thank You should not only be in words, but it also should directly come from your heart, it should be said with a heart of gratitude. If not, be it over the phone calls, messages, or cards, thank you seem to lose gravity. Thank You said without sincerity, a smile on face, and gratitude in heart will sound hollow.
Often distance hampers the effect of a heart-felt thank you. And that is when Thank You cards come in handy.
Strengthening the Bonds: Thank You!
Not many would agree to it, but the truth is that a true thanks still strengthens social relationships, helps fight emotional battle during stressful times. Something as simple as thank you wedding cards to people who attended you or your relative’s weddings works wonder. When relationships are going through tough times, it’s sorry and thanks that do their magic to prevent them from dying. It might be difficult to say ‘sorry’ but it’s easy and essential to say a thank you. Despite it being easy, people hardly get time or even the right words to express thanks, and then comes a need of the card which says all that is required to convey their heartiest feelings. Thank you cards are the best way to express one’s gratitude and thankfulness. If one can’t return the favor then saying thanks fulfills the need. Thanks … a small word that makes huge space for you in heart.
Say it through Cards: Thanks stored for Years!
Here, a must to mention, thank you wedding cards, something well in trend in the western culture, has also entered Indian culture. There have been several changes in Indian weddings today if compared to what it was earlier; thank you weddings cards are a welcome change. Realizing that some of the guests might come tantalizing their personal plans and work, a thank you card to them makes them feel not only good, but also proud and much appreciated.
Thank you cards do wonders when one lacks right words to express feelings. Thank you cards are the best to go for when you want people to know how grateful you are to them. One might also wonder why not to call the invitees to thank them! But then, a card, with a personalized text, and a few photographs in it … won’t that make it a much memorable gesture, something that probably even the receiver would like to preserve for long.
These days, there are professional designers for beautiful thank you wedding cards. These designers plan on cards along with the preparation of the wedding invitation cards. They’d either like to be involved with the wedding families and some occasions, or might simply ask you to hand them over a few memorable pictures of the wedding. For a personal touch, the designers design cards with the receiver’s pictures with the bride and groom, which is a special effort.
Cost Effective Thank You
With the digitization of everything in today’s world, designs for these cards are also available on the Internet. Want more?, like online wedding invitation cards, thank you wedding cards too can be made online and shared with every guest, displaying your personal gesture for each.
Article Written By: Mr. Atul Gupta is the co-founder of 123WeddingCards.