Wedding Traditions Around the Globe, Part 2

swf+tying+the+knot+is+an+old+Irish+tradition+Image+Dean+Ayres

Japan

weddingKimonoPhoto Credit: Wedding Resource

The traditional wedding ceremony is usually very private and formal, taking place at a shrine with only close family present. Of course, a lot of couples opt for the more non traditional ceremony with a lot more people; some still have a ceremony in front of a shrine, but inside the hotel where the reception and festivities are. A Shinto priest performs the ceremony, the couple is purified and drinks sake before reading words of commitment. The ‘san-san-kudo’ sake ceremony is part of the wedding vows and symbolizes the union of two people and two families. The wedding ceremony ends with symbolic offerings to kami (Shinto gods), typically small tree twigs called ‘sakaki.’ Guests are expected to give money at the reception in small, beautifully decorated packets to help pay for the cost. Throughout the reception, the bride and even sometimes the groom will change clothes several times to symbolize their preparedness to return to everyday life.

Russia

zags2Photo Credit: Russian World Forums

A couple will apply at the wedding registry office, ZAGS, several months in advance. They will then think about their decision and go back for their official marriage certificate on their wedding day. Traditionally, the wedding rings are provided by the groom and are worn on the right hand. Engagement rings are a recent addition to Russian weddings that were introduced with Western customs. On the wedding day, the bride’s parents pretend to steal her away and ask the groom for a ransom. He will pay some symbolic monetary value or jewelry, get back his bride, and then they head to ZAGS for their official registration ceremony. After that, they go to a beautiful location for pictures followed by greeting their guests and celebrating together. And of course, there must be plenty of liquor and food, because a traditional Russian wedding lasts at least two days!

Ireland

wedding dresses 2016 nz online shopPhoto Credit: Irish Central

“Marry in May and rue the day,” or “Marry in April if you can, joy for maiden and for man!” Wedding dresses for the traditional Irish bride were not white, but blue (still symbolizing purity); although nowadays the blue dress is more rare to see. Brides used to carry horseshoes to bring good luck to the ceremony and the rest of the marriage. Since those are heavy and a little inconvenient, they now place items to represent a horseshoe in their hair, bouquet, embellished on their dress, etc. During the ceremony, the bride and groom literally tie the knot! Rope, cord or ribbon is tied around the couple’s clasped hands in bright colors (or those matching the wedding theme). Another superstitious Irish tradition is to give guests small bells at the ceremony to help ward off evil spirits. If you don’t want to risk all of your guests ringing bells at the same time and annoying you more than warding off spirits, you can wear a bracelet, anklet or small personal charm with bells.

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Tips For a Healthy Bride

Spring is in the air, the sun is shining, nature is beautiful and……full of pollen and cedar. There’s nothing like being sick on your wedding day to bring down your mood! That’s why it’s important to start allergy prevention and take care of yourself well before your wedding day gets here. Of course, you can always take a prescription or over the counter allergy medication once you start feeling under the weather, but I think healthy and organic prevention is the best way to go! After all, you want to build a strong immune system, not weaken it with chemicals. The Texas hill country is full of allergens; we’ve got cedar, oak, ragweed, junipers, ash, elm,  and many more.

3lbJarHoney_pinkPhoto Credit: Fains Honey

Go to your local farmer’s market or grocery store and pick up some locally made honey — meaning within 50 miles of your location. If you take a spoonful each day, it will help acclimate your body to the pollen in the area and will hopefully lessen its effect on you. It’s very important that it be local honey, the closer the better, or it won’t help much at all.

noni_fruitPhoto Credit: Noni.org

I recently discovered the amazing properties of a Hawaiian fruit, Noni. It’s a tropical fruit that’s been used for years to help the body resist infections and enviro-toxins. Noni can be taken as a juice, pill capsule or in its natural form, eaten as a fruit. Warning! Noni has an unpleasant smell that some people find unbearable. I’ve found that the pill capsules don’t have the weird flavor that you’ll get when drinking the juice or eating the fruit.

neti_pot_sinucleansePhoto Credit: SinuCleanse

Neti pots are not my favorite items to combat allergies with (I hate the feeling of having liquid in my nose — like a really big wave at the beach!), but everyone I know who uses one says it works wonders for them. It looks like a tea kettle or magic lamp, and works like nasal spray by using salt water to flush your sinuses and keep them clear. Recommended use is two times a day, especially after spending a lot of time outdoors (like floating the river).

omega-3-fatty-acidPhoto Credit: Psych Central

Omega-3 fatty acids are your best friend for a lot of reasons, one of which is allergy symptom relief. Omega-3s can be found in cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and grass-fed meat and eggs. Some added benefits are lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, therapeutic for children with ADHD and autism, prevents and reverses insulin resistance, and is absolutely wonderful for your skin. You can find them in capsules at the grocery store and health food stores if you don’t eat enough of it in its natural form.

crib_mattressPhoto Credit: Greenopedia

Believe it or not, your mattress could have something to do with your bad allergies! The best thing to do is find a high-quality, allergy-free cover or mattress. Wash all of your bedding with hot water at least once a week during allergy season to keep it fresh and irritant free. Check the tags of your mattresses; unless stated otherwise, most mattresses and sheets are sprayed with pesticides.

product_oil_of_oreganoPhoto Credit: Home Remedies Web

Oil of Oregano can be found in capsule form and is good for respiratory issues such as cough, asthma or allergies. It comes from the leaf of a plant called Oregano; the oil is also good for menstrual cramps, UTIs, headaches, and heart conditions. You can relieve stuffiness by putting a few drops of oregano oil to a diffuser or vapourizer. To relieve a sore throat, drink a few drops of the oil with some water or juice.

-Nikki

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Going “Green”

It is becoming more and more important for us to remember our impact on the environment when going about our daily business. It should be equally as important on your big day, but it may take a little extra work! For an outdoor wedding, choose a location that will show the natural beauty of its environment. For an indoor wedding, ask around museums and art galleries; they will sometimes donate your deposit to a good cause. When choosing your wedding bands, make sure to ask the jeweler if they use conflict-free gems and recycled metals. Lastly, try to use as many local vendors as possible to support the community! As for the rest, here are a few ideas to get you started…

Stationery

invitationPhoto Credit: TwistedLimbPaperworks

So much paper is wasted every year and many more trees are cut down to make even more paper! Cut back on your invitations by using only one envelope instead of the traditional outer/inner envelope design. As for the paper itself, there are many ways you can go: recycled paper, bamboo, cotton, linen, or even a plantable (yes, plant it and it will grow) invitations! Check out Twisted Limb Paper, they design 100% recycled and handmade invitations based on a consultation with you. Also, I recommend providing most of your wedding information on a custom website. That way, you won’t need to send as many invitations.

Catering

cateringPhoto Credit: Eco Caters

Ideally, you’ll want to find a catering service that offers organic, pesticide and preservative-free meal options. This may be harder to do if you don’t want to go all vegan, but it can be done (remember, it will most likely cost more to go organic). Discuss with the caterer how they will be cooking and/or serving guests. After all, what’s the point of having an organic, eco-friendly meal if you’re wasting electricity and using paper napkins and utensils? As for the cake, there are many bakeries to choose from who use only local ingredients. Just keep in mind any allergies your guests may have (i.e. nuts, gluten, dairy).

Favors

favorPhoto Credit: Wedding Photography Design

Send your guests home with their very own seedlings! This display could also double as your seating arrangement; just tag each bag with a guest’s name and corresponding table number. Make sure the seeds are all organic, and locally bought if possible. Even if you don’t use pesticides, the seeds could still be affected if they came from a plant that had pesticides used on it. Or, you could give your guests some yummy organic treats as gifts, instead! If you’d prefer not to give favors, then consider donating to a charity and letting your guests know (or even choose).

Photos

plantwall

Talk to your photographer/videographer and make sure everything is digital; also find out if they use any extra lighting or equipment that would use electricity. If you are in an outdoor location, I’m sure they can help you take full advantage of the natural environment. If you are indoors, then I love the idea of having a living wall for a backdrop or central decoration. It provides so much color and life, and should make the perfect setup for taking pictures indoors!

-Nikki

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Spring Is All About Daisies

backdrop

Daisies have always been a well-known staple of springtime, but now they are also a popular and growing trend! You can incorporate this simple flower into tons of different spring theme weddings and in multiple colors, too. Daisies will go well with natural, rustic, hippie, and classic-themed weddings. Keep in mind how many of each color you order, especially the white daisies. You may want to use different colored flowers for accents to break it up if there is too much white.

daisyaisleCredits: Wedding Chicks, Martha Stewart, SMP

Accent the aisles with daisies galore! You can play around with different colors, and use ties with burlap and ribbons. Hang them from the chairs, plant hangers or make your own decorations like the yellow and white daisy poms pictured above. My favorite idea is to have the flower girl scatter daisies as she walks down the aisle. If you use fresh flowers, they’ll not only look fantastic but there won’t be any cleanup necessary after the ceremony.

backdrop

I absolutely love this idea as a backdrop for photos, or even behind where the ceremony takes place! Order daisies in the color you want and string them together using twine, ribbon or fishing wire. This depends on your overall theme: twine for rustic, ribbon for classic, and fishing wire for anything else because it won’t be as visible (especially in photos). Try playing around with the different daisy strands and hang them at alternating heights or in patterns.

daisywreaths

Wreaths not only make great decorations, but they are also ideal for pictures. Find different size and shape wreaths, either plain or with some green foliage, and then just fill it with as many daisies as you want! Some other flowers that go well as accents are baby’s breath, billy balls and lavender. Remember, you can also order Gerbera Daisies in shades of pink, red, yellow, orange and white. Hang the wreaths against wooden fences or in between trees for the perfect photo opportunity (make sure you tell your photographer what props you will have so they can show up with ideas and props of their own, too).

centerpiecs

For table centerpieces, you can try floating one or more daisies (depending on their size) or simply arranging them in a vase. You can purchase tons of those decorative little pebbles at your local dollar store or online fairly cheap. For a more classic theme, you may want to try the sleek look in the bottom left picture with colored accents of ribbon to fit your wedding colors. Again, if you think there is too much white, consider different colored daisies or accenting with lavender or billy balls.

lanterns

Lanterns double as colorful accents during the day and cute lights at night; you can buy them very cheap and in bulk online. If you have extra daisies or just want to add more, try stringing them to the lanterns or on alternating tree branches.

Daisies can be incorporated into any theme you want for your spring wedding! They’re very versatile in use and color, and are in abundance during this time of year. So call your local florist or wedding coordinator and ask about all the ways you can use this beautiful flower.

-Nikki

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Wonderful Wedding Vendors

flowers

It’s okay if you’re still missing a few vendors on your list for the big day. Here are a few photographers, videographers, wedding cake decorators and flowers shops, as well as what they can offer you and your fiance on or before your wedding day.

Photo credit: Airstream PhotoBooth

This creative and mobile photo booth uses Daisy, a 1967 vintage airstream, to travel to your wedding, fraternity/sorority party, or corporate event location and provide fun and entertaining photos for your memory book! Airstream PhotoBooth was created by Chris and Yvonne Johnson, who are also the owners of Austin Imagery Photography. Daisy is a fully-functioning photography studio on wheels including professional cameras, lighting and on-the-spot printers. You can rent Daisy and their services for a variety of prices, the Modern Package for $950 or the Vintage Package for $1,150. Both packages offer photo props, unlimited photos, digital images, online viewing, set up and take down, and up to 3 hours of service. They travel all over Austin and the Texas Hill Country areas as well as outside those areas, but extra travel fees may be applied to any outlying locations.

photoPhoto credit: New Road Productions

New Road Wedding Photography and Videography that serves the greater Austin area, including the Texas Hill Country. Most of the photography and videography is done by Wes Sheperd with the help of additional photographers depending on the package ordered. Wes offers a variety of photography packages: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, that can be requested for 6 or 8 hours ranging from $1700-$2750. His videography packages include Silver, Gold and Platinum that can be booked for 6 or 8 hours ranging from $900-$1800. Wes uses all professional equipment and has a resume that boasts work with HGTV, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, DIY Network, as well as having won WeddingWire’s Bride’s Choice Award in 2012 and in 2013. We love working with Wes and his production company here at Lotus Ranch and hope you will too!

Simon Lee Bakery

SimonLee12-406x600Photo credit: Simon Lee Bakery

This is an excellent place to order your wedding treats from! Located just outside Austin in Pflugerville and with over 35 years in combined experience, their motto is “Simon Lee…when it has to be perfect.” They have an extensive menu to choose from including, but not limited to, white french vanilla, italian cream carrot cake, red velvet, marble cake, cheesecakes, fruit toppings, chocolate truffle and more! Simon Lee decorates their cakes beautifully and can make a cake for the bride and groom, as well! They have won the Austin Wedding Day Style Elegant Style Award, The Knot’s Best of Wedding Picks from 2007-2012, and the 2010 Bride’s Choice Award.

Whim Floral Design

prom dresses online shop 2016Photo credit: Whim Floral Design

Whim precisely caters your flowers to you: your personality, likes, dislikes, style, budget and the season (remember, not all flowers are available at all times of the year). They offer a “Signature Collection” which includes consultation, bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, cocktail arrangements, aisle petals or chair flowers, and a custom proposal with one revision. The “Custom Floral Package” includes your favorite flowers (in season), custom proposal with two revisions, complimentary farmer’s market visit, and the option to rent or own vessels (candelabras, elegant vases, backdrops, unique antiques, etc.). You can also opt for their “DIY Floral Package” which includes seasonal fresh flowers for up to 150 guests, along with a link to a video tutorial on how to put bouquets and floral arrangements together. You have the option of picking up flowers that are fresh from the market two days before the wedding, or already prepped and cleaned flowers 1-2 days prior.

No matter which vendor you choose for your wedding, make sure you are comfortable with the arrangements you have made and that you have clearly stated to your vendor what you want from them. If you have a question, ask them, because it is much easier to negotiate in the beginning rather than a few days or weeks away from your wedding date.

-Nikki

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Rain, Rain Go Away?

photo3

So the weather decided to rain on your parade, I mean, wedding. This shouldn’t mean you need to change your date or location if you’re having an outdoor wedding. Below are some ways that can help you prepare yourself, the wedding party and your guests for any potential rain!

umbrellasPhoto found at Wedding Wonderland

Umbrellas, galore! Have several vases, buckets or your choice of container full of umbrellas near the entrances to the aisles for the ceremony for your guests. You can choose specific colors to go with your color scheme but it could be fun to see how different colors turn out in pictures later. Consider getting matching or complementing colors for your wedding party, keeping in mind the wedding party pictures and how the colors will come together later, too. You can find umbrellas for various prices, colors, and sizes on websites like Ebay, Etsy and Amazon.

heart

Here’s a cute umbrella for the bride and groom to share! You can purchase this heart-shaped umbrella at www.unique-vintage.com for $37 plus tax/shipping.

rainbootsPhoto found at Brides of North Texas

Rainboots are another important item but could be more difficult to provide for all of your guests because of their price. If you don’t have room in your budget for all of your guests, then provide rainboots for the wedding party and make sure to inform your guests to bring their own if they’d like. If it is in your budget, you can find a variety of rainboots for different prices at websites like Ebay, Etsy and Amazon.

photoPhoto found at LN Photography
photo3Photo found at Bridal Guide

No need to worry about the rain ruining your pictures! Talk to your photographer about any ideas he/she or you might have for using the rain in your photos. You can take traditional photos inside but why not use what Mother Nature has given you? There are tons of ways to use your umbrellas, rain boots and the natural landscape of your wedding location. Look for large puddles, have some fun and don’t be afraid to get your hair a little wet (well, depending on your hairstyle and how well it holds)!

quotePhoto found on Pinterest

You should also have a few necessities like large beach towels and clear plastic tarps to keep seats and the dance floor relatively dry. The plastic tarps can be used to cover floral arrangements, food or if your venue has a breezeway (we do here at Lotus Ranch) then you can use it to cover one open side to block wind and rain from entering the breezeway. And I leave you with this quote :) when you feel stressed out, just remember that it will be okay and you can still have fun in the rain!

-Nikki

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Spring Weddings

Spring Bouquet

Spring is a popular time for a wedding and one of my favorites for Texas weddings. It’s not too cold, not too hot and usually, most of the wildflowers are in full bloom. Consider this if you’re looking for an outdoor venue, but also be prepared for any unexpected rain showers as the weather can’t be predicted that far in advance.

colorscheme

You have so many color options to play with when planning a spring wedding! Pastels and brighter shades in almost every color, but I would stay away from using too many shades of green; especially if you are getting married outdoors. There should be plenty of natural green around you in the springtime. When using pastel colors, you can even choose a bolder, darker color for an accent. When using bright colors, stick to one or two bright colors with a light contrast (white, unless you prefer something more non-traditional).

centerpieces

For your centerpieces: flowers, flowers and more flowers! It’s okay to use a lot of flowers but try to break it up visually with props. You can use vases, rustic wood decorations, umbrellas, baskets, perfume bottles (filled with water) or even bird cages.

dress

You can match your groomsmen to your bridesmaids by ordering bowties of the same color as the bridesmaid dresses, or pastel pants that complement the bridesmaid colors. Feel free to go fun and crazy with prints and patterns! If you choose the pastel route then try to stick to nude or white shoes, and if you choose the bright colors then wear nude or black shoes. Also, try to find shoes in the same color as the bridesmaid dresses so you can match your girls! For your wedding dress, ruffles and lace designs are very in fashion for the springtime.

food

Floral decorated cakes are almost a must for a spring wedding or you can add a subtle touch with lace detailing. Wine, tea, lemonade, popcorn, fruit pie pops, macaroons, fruit and cheese are all great snacks for a spring wedding. Depending on how early or late in the spring your wedding is, an ice cream cone/sundae bar might be a welcome refreshment for your guests!

Some flowers that are available in spring include: tulips, daisies, peonies, lilacs, anemones, daffodils, orchids, forgetmenots, pansies and sweet peas. Baby’s breath is always available and even if you don’t think you want them in your wedding, I would recommend ordering some anyway, just in case. They’re great for filling spaces in bouquets, table centerpieces and along the aisles.

-Nikki

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So, You’re Engaged…

Lotus Ranch

So, you’re engaged…now what? Congratulations! It’s time to celebrate for a little while. But, eventually, you need to get down to business and start planning (or calling wedding planners). There’s no need to feel too overwhelmed in the beginning as long as you don’t try to take on everything at once. Use this helpful timeline to plan a few things at a time, and hopefully you’ll be on your way to a stress-free wedding day! Depending on how long your engagement is, this timeline may be extended.

After Engagement

engagement

First, you need to set a budget, choose your bridal party, create your guest list and narrow down a few dates for the big day. You don’t need to pick a location yet, but you might want to start researching places that you would like. Some venues can be booked full for almost an entire year in advance, so it’s best to find out early on if they’re available. Creating a wedding website is optional, but I highly recommend it! It’s a good way to keep yourself and all of your wedding details organized. Also, you can defer a lot of your guests’ questions to your website instead of everyone calling you for answers.

1 Year Before

venue

Research photographers and look at their portfolios, and start shopping for your wedding dress! You will feel more comfortable having plenty of time to choose a dress, and then get it altered. Find your wedding venue, and book it! Make sure you find out if they have accommodations for sleeping over and a reception dinner. If not, research nearby hotels who have rooms available for your dinner and guests. No need to book it just yet, you can do that closer to the big day. Also ask the venue if they have an officiant and book them if you do not have one already.

11 Months Before

flowers

Find a florist and decide what flowers you would like to use, and how many of each kind you will need, for bouquets and/or decorations. Think about what you want to use for centerpieces (i.e. flowers, candles, vases, photographs) and begin gathering those materials. Also, discuss what type of food you want to have and book a caterer. Keep in mind any guests you know who have allergies. A lot of caterers can provide an alternative for those with food allergies.

8 Months Before

weddingregistry

Book the photographer/videographer you decided on now. Make sure to meet with them and discuss the pictures you absolutely want taken, along with any ideas the photographer may have. Now is also the time to start your wedding registry. After you have registered, send your save the dates out to your guests; include the link to your wedding website if you have one, which should give them your wedding registry info.

7 Months Before

cake

Research and meet with a baker for your bride and groom cake, as well as any cupcakes or side treats you wish to have. Meet with your photographer and take your engagement photos. You may take them earlier depending on how you want them to look and if you need to gather any props for the photos.

5 Months Before

linens

Arrange to rent any linens, tables or chairs you may need. Make sure to discuss what specific measurements you think will need. When in doubt, I recommend getting longer linens and a few extra tables and chairs. You can always cancel a table or two closer to the date if you find out it won’t be needed. Book a DJ or band and find out if you need to provide any extra sound equipment for them. If so, arrange to rent that equipment as well. If your wedding venue does not have a space, book a location for your rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

4 Months Before

groom attire

Decide on the groom and groomsmen attire and have them fitted and altered as needed. This is also the time where you can complete your attire, i.e. shoes, lingerie, veil, jewelry. And now the fun part: booking the honeymoon!! You can do this step earlier, but make sure you book it no later than 4 months prior, just in case. Start trying different makeup and hairstyles; use Pinterest for a DIY approach, but most makeup counters in department stores will give a demonstration with a  small purchase.

3 Months Before

limo

If your wedding venue does not have accommodations on site, this is the time to book those arrangements elsewhere. Now that you know where you are getting married, where the reception is and where you are going to stay after the wedding, you can book a car/limo to take you there if you wish.

2 Months Before

invitation

Check with all of your vendors, caterers, DJs, etc. to make sure everyone is on the same schedule and still confirmed for the big day. Send out your invitations about 8 weeks prior to your wedding day. Again, include the link to your wedding website.

1 Month Before

epsom-salt-detox-bath

Get your marriage license, have your final dress fitting, and start buying your bridesmaid’s gifts. Also arrange any spa day treatments or special bridesmaid activities now.

1 Week Before

Confirm the arrival times with all of your vendors, pick up your wedding dress and break in your shoes!

Finally, relax! There will be some details that still need to be worked out but you can be confident in the fact that all of your vendors and guests have been confirmed, and your wedding day is only a few days away. Congratulations and enjoy!

-Nikki

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Homemade Spa Treatment

epsom-salt-detox-bath

So your big day is coming up and you used most of your budget already? No problem! You don’t have to go to a fancy spa to get pampered before your wedding, you can do it right at home with your bridesmaids. I would recommend gathering the materials and preparing the following concoctions prior to the day you wish to use them, just to save time, unless the directions specifically say to prepare and use while fresh.

exfoliating scrub

Homemade Exfoliating Sugar Scrub by Foxy Whole Foodie

To make about 1, 1/2 cups you will need the following: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup slightly melted coconut oil, and your favorite essential oil.

You can use all salt or all sugar but you may find that sugar dissolves more by itself. Add the sugar and salt to a container that you can seal, maybe an old exfoliating scrub container. Melt the coconut oil in a bowl for about 5-8 seconds and gently stir; it will melt at 75 degrees. Add the melted coconut oil to the sugar and salt mixture, and stir until it seems fully mixed. Finally, stir in about 15 drops of your favorite essential oil to give the scrub the desired scent.

deep-hair-conditioner

Natural Deep Hair Conditioner by Petit Elefant

You will need: 1 shower cap, 1 avocado, 2 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut oil), 2 tablespoons water, and 2 tablespoons whipped heavy cream.

The recipe calls for olive oil, but I much prefer to use coconut oil as a substitute whenever I see a recipe that calls for olive oil. Combine all of the ingredients and comb it through your hair. Put on the shower cap and wait for about 20 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water. You may want to shampoo your hair afterwards as it will probably smell like avocado.

facial steam

Facial Steam by The Mountain Rose Blog

You will need: 1/8 cup organic Green Sencha Leaf Tea, 1/4 cup dried organic Lemon Balm, 1-2 tablespoons dried organic Peppermint

The ingredients may take a little longer to find because they are organic but this facial steam will moisturize, relax muscles, plump wrinkles, eliminate toxins and dirt, and increase circulation. Place the three ingredients into a large glass, or ceramic, bowl. Boil water, pour it into the bowl and immediately cover it with a towel. The hot water will cause oils to be released from the ingredients and you do not want them to escape into the air. Let that steep, or sit, for about 5 minutes. Place the bowl so that you can comfortably lean over it with your face over the bowl. Remove the towel, place your face over the bowl, and recover the bowl plus your head with a towel so that the steam doesn’t escape. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for about 10 minutes, and you should feel refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated!

epsom-salt-detox-bath

Detoxifying Bath Soak

I mentioned to my grandmother one day that I had been looking for a good detoxifying bath recipe that didn’t have too many ingredients and she gave me this recipe. You will need: 1 cup Epsom Salt, 1 cup baking soda

Fill your bathtub with as much hot water as you can handle, remember it will seem extra hot when you first get in but your body will adjust. As the tub is filling, pour the Epsom salt and baking soda slowly near the faucet. I usually swirl the water around with my hand a little to make sure it spreads to the other side of the tub, too. Once the bath is full, get in and soak for 40 minutes. You will sweat! I repeat, you will sweat! It may feel a little uncomfortable depending on how hot the water is but try to last the full 40 minutes if you can (if you can’t, its ok; I got out after 30 minutes the first time I tried this). Drink plenty of water during and after this bath. I buy the Epsom Salt that has eucalyptus in it for added benefits and a pleasant smell. You can use ginger root shavings or an essential oil to create the aroma you prefer.

body butter

DIY Body Butter by Bes Skincare

You will need: 1 cup Coconut Oil, 1 tsp Vitamin E oil, your favorite essential oil

You can easily buy a body butter from stores like Bath and Body or Victoria’s Secret, but if you want a cheaper, more organic lotion then making your own is the way to go. Combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix on high for at least 5 minutes or until it is creamy and whipped. Put the mixture into a clean glass jar with a lid you can seal, and store it at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

-Nikki

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In Memory of…

memories table

Your wedding is a happy time but it is always nice to have special ways to remember and honor those loved ones who are no longer here. This can be done in a very subtle way so that only you know, or in a more obvious way for your guests to see as well.

bouquet

If you prefer the subtle approach, tie mini photos around your bouquet. As you walk down the aisle, you can look at the photos of your loved ones and know that they are with you.

memories table

If you would like your guests to have an opportunity to remember them as well, set up a memories table near where your cocktail hour will be or near the gift table. You can include photos, albums, personal belongings, or favorite quotes if the person was well known by many of your guests.

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Place an empty chair in the front row at the wedding ceremony. Decorate it in a way that reminds you of your loved one and place a note in it to let everyone know your loved one is there with you that day.

candle

Another subtle way of showing your respect is to light a simple candle and place it on the altar during the ceremony. You and your fiance will know what the candle represents even if nobody else does.

bride aisle

If you have lost someone who would have had a special part in the ceremony, consider leaving that place unfilled. It will represent that no one can ever replace them, even when they are no longer here. If you have lost your father, you might want to walk down the aisle alone instead of being given away by someone else.

There are many ways to honor loved ones, but the best ideas are those that come from the heart and mean a lot to you. You could choose a song that was special to them and use it for your first dance, or even just as a dedication song during the reception. Mention them in your toast or read a poem they wrote or liked. Whichever way you choose to remember them by, it should be personal and thoughtful and they will appreciate it.

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