Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2013

Preparing for a Wedding Rehearsal

It is a good idea to prepare a wedding day schedule in writing to pass out to wedding participants a week or more before the wedding so they can make appointments and you can clear up misunderstandings or concerns (Individual schedules will vary depending on the responsibilities). Make sure to bring a copy with you to the rehearsal in case you need to make adjustments. The schedule should include details like: time and place of pre-wedding gathering, time and place the bride and attendants will dress, time and place of hair and make-up appointments, arrival time for each individual, time and place of portraits, and time and place of the ceremony and reception. Since each wedding is different, more information could be required and the clearer you are- the less room for misunderstandings. Also consider your attendants and discuss travel times, consider asking typically late friends to show up earlier to “help you with _______,” and make sure your vendors and offician

The Importance of Wedding Rehearsals

Ceremony rehearsals are important for all wedding participants. As the bride and groom, this is your last opportunity before your wedding day to clarify your plans and wedding day schedule. For the bridal party and ushers, readers, moms and dads, and others involved it is a good chance to practice and experience what is expected of them during the ceremony: where they need to meet and stand, when they need to come down the aisle, and who they will escort. Everyone will feel more comfortable knowing that they’ve already run through the steps of the ceremony and have eliminated anxiety about travel plans if they are coming from out-of-town. To ensure that your rehearsal is effective and organized, some planning is required. You need to choose someone (not in the bridal party) to run the rehearsal. This could be your officiant, a wedding planner/coordinator, or a person you can count on to keep things on track and direct the focus of your excited family and friends.

How to Prepare a Wedding Budget

Deciding on (and sticking to) a budget may seem like a difficult task, but there are several resources and plenty of advice readily available to help you get started. While some couples may start off knowing exactly how much they have to spend, others may have no idea. Nina Callaway, author of the article “Creating a Wedding Budget,” suggests budgeting about $100 per wedding guest, depending on your area. The next step is to prioritize each element of your wedding. Jo Gartin, voted best wedding coordinator by Vogue Magazine, lists the following “key components” to consider: beverages, bridal gown and accessories, celebrant, coordinator, favors, flowers, food, hair and make-up, honeymoon, insurance, location, music, photography, rentals, specialty linens, stationary, styling and décor, transportation, videography, wedding cake, and welcome gifts. Deciding what is most important to you will help you determine where to spend and where to save. The third step is to make a basic budge

Affordable Coastal California Wedding Ceremony Site

The Sunken Gardens at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse are a beautiful backdrop for weddings and private or public parties. The Courthouse itself is a historic landmark with spectacular Spanish style architecture both inside and out, perfect for photo opportunities and a grand appearance at an affordable price. The Sunken Gardens on the Court House grounds are spacious and green all year round. This site offers six different areas for wedding ceremonies, available for reservation in three hour increments. The Sunken Garden is the largest and most popular site accommodating the most guests (up to 200). The Palm Terrace which overlooks the gardens consists of a smaller lawn that can accommodate 125 guests. Across from the Sunken Gardens is a grove of majestic redwood trees. The Redwood Grove is another beautiful site overlooking the lush courthouse grounds and accommodates a guest list of 100. For more intimate guest lists, the Fiesta Stage (80 persons), Giant Bird of Paradis

Wedding Reception Entertainment: Sharing Photos of the Happy Couple

This is a FAST FORWARD sample of a Couple's Photomontage. Enjoy! Give your guests an endearing glance at you and your spouse growing up and then growing together in love with an entertaining photo slideshow. Animated transitions and music bring your photos to life and will captivate your family and friends. Your photos will make your guests laugh and awww in admiration. Photomontages also make a great wedding and anniversary gift for your spouse, or a family member or friend. Photomontages are especially meaningful for family members who have supported you throughout your life, for friends to reflect on the good times you’ve shared, and for your spouse to appreciate the individual they will spend the rest of their life with. They are also a good reflection of the loving relationship you continue to form with your husband or wife.  Make your couple’s photomontage the center of attention with a silver screen debut at your reception, or have it playing on

How and When to Announce Your Engagement

Now that he’s planned all the romantic details of how to propose and has successfully swept you off your feet, your fiancé can breathe a sigh of relief. . . or can he???!? If your parents have never met your future spouse, this can be an extreme source of anxiety. As parents, siblings, and close family are usually the first to hear the news of your engagement, it would be helpful to introduce him into conversations, prompting questions and opportunities to share more about him before bringing him over for a visit. Once you are all familiar, then you can feel reassured of you happy news being received more warmly, instead of it being a complete shock. For brides who have been married before and who have children it is important that your children and ex are informed first. After sharing the news with your parents and immediate family, most etiquette sources suggest calling relatives and close friends who live further away next. They also suggest calling anyone who

When to Get Your Marriage License

Marriage licenses should be obtained before your wedding ceremony. In the state of California marriage licenses are valid for 90 days and will cost you between $35 and $100+ depending on the county requirements ($97 for Ventura County). You can get a license the day of your wedding but remember that most government offices are only open on weekdays. To get a license, you have to fill out an application at your county court house’s Clerk Recorder’s Office. Make sure to bring your photo id, driver’s license, or passport. Some counties will also require a copy of your birth certificate. Also be prepared with your mother and father’s full names and information on previous marriages if this applies to you, such as the date your marriage ended and how it ended (death, dissolution, divorce, or nullity). Some counties may require a copy of the judgment. County Clerks can perform civil marriage ceremonies at the County Clerk’s Office (if you’re in a hurry or on a budget) and there ar

A Good Relationship Read

Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages is an eye-opening, easy-to-read book that explains the five categories of love needs and outlines ways to fulfill those needs. While it is easy to understand that each individual has different needs, I wasn’t aware that expressions of love were received differently; that what I like and need to feel loved is not the same for my spouse. Each chapter covers one of the five “love languages” with an insightful look into real-life relationship issues and a clear, concise description of how couples get frustrated when they are not giving or receiving the kind of love they need. It’s like one person is speaking Chinese and the other French. What makes this relationship book so enjoyable is that it provides short, simple, and specific suggestions of actions that express love in each of the five categories. The 5 Love Languages contains great tips, easy to apply strategies, suggestions, and even a quiz to find out what your love language is, whether you ar

Create Your Own Wedding Website!

Computers, Smart Phones, and tablets have all made staying organized a lot easier. And organization is important when you’ve got a wedding to plan! Why not make things easier on you and your guests by putting all your wedding information in one place: your own wedding website. Website design has become super easy, so easy you could have your own site up and running in a day. Website builders like Weebly offer free sites with easy to understand how-to videos and intuitive design tools. Their support forums are excellent and will usually answer your question within 24 hours. They have templates for wedding sites you can edit by clicking on titles and images and replacing them with your own. So simple. Plus they’re beautiful and contain all the information you want to share like your wedding date, location, and time; your rehearsal dinner information, gift registry links, your email and contact information, engagement photos, and any other creative element you’d like to ad

Wedding Tips: Maid of Honor's Responsibilities

WooHooo! You’ve been asked to be your best friend’s honor attendant! You’ve accepted this duty in all the excitement of receiving the news but you have no idea what’s next. Never fear, we’re here to help fill you in on the responsibilities of this special role. Some specific duties of a Maid or Matron of Honor include helping the bride choose the bridemaids’ dresses and making sure each bridesmaid has one, organizing the selection and purchase of the bridesmaids gift to the bride, and offering assistance through all the preparations. The Honor attendant could offer to help go on errands for the bride, go shopping with the bride, help address invitations or make calls, and host or organize a pre-wedding wedding party with the help of all the bridesmaids. During the ceremony, the Maid of Honor holds the bride’s bouquet and the groom’s ring and will sign the marriage certificate as a witness. At the reception, the Maid of Honor should always be available to help Site Make Over Home Page Before and After is proud to reveal its stylish site make-over ! For three months we have been busy updating our site content and completely redoing our interface. We are excited to share our attractive new site with all the beautiful new brides (or brides-to-be) just beginning to organize their wedding day plans. Some of our new features include this blog, a VW Contributors page, an easier to use forum, and a Ventura Wedding Facebook page in the making. We continue to explore new venues to add to the site and are working on classifying our venues by type, for brides looking for garden wedding locations, country clubs, or beach weddings. We hope our layout, updated images, new features, and consolidated information is helpful to you. We’d love to hear any suggestions you have whether you wish to comment here or join/create a discussion in our forum. Happy planning!       

Welcome to!

Congratulations on your engagement! Now that you’ve found the most important element of your special day (your spouse!) you can focus on planning the wedding of your dreams. At, we’re here to help you take the first big step, selecting the location. Whether you envision a simple ceremony in an intimate rose garden with close family members and friends, or a large-scale grand gala event at a private estate we have what you are looking for available right at your fingertips! features the finest sites and locations in Ventura County and surrounding areas. Navigate the site however you like: browse the vendor spotlight on our home page or use our city pages to find locations in a specific area.  Have fun exploring each location on its custom page featuring information on the location type, the services and accommodations they provide, reviews and testimonials from other brides and guests, an interactive image gallery, and videos of weddings taki