Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poll Results: Favorite Summer Wedding Colors

60% voted for: lavender, powder blue, and sea green

Book Review: An LDS Girl's Guide to Getting a Date by Dr. Brent Barlow

An LDS Girl's Guide to Getting a Date, by Dr. Brent Barlow. Published by Leatherwood Press, 168 pages. Retail price: $11.95. ISBN: 978-1-59992-046-7.

If Brent Barlow was not a PhD, scholar, and BYU professor, his book, An LDS Girl’s Guide to Getting a Date, would still be credible to me simply based on his upbeat voice, succinct advice, and plethora of ideas. An LDS Girl’s Guide to Getting a Date is the perfect book for any young single LDS sister.

The “girl” in the title of this book may be misleading, but Barlow actually wrote the book for adult women of marriageable age (i.e. over eighteen). The book’s cute design and light, encouraging style is appealing and inviting. Barlow’s dating formula—Animation, Closeness, and Touch (ACT)—sounds too easy or too problematic, but throughout the book Barlow gives all his advice by teaching sound social and spiritual principles and moderation. He also supports his ideas and instructions with useful quotes from modern prophets and apostles.

An LDS Girl’s Guide to Getting a Date is even more than a guide to getting just one date. Through this book, any single sister can feel like she’s taking Brent Barlow’s marriage preparation class at BYU. Barlow’s book is more like a personal dating coach for any sister looking for Mr. Right.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Book Review: Your Temple Wedding, Not a Cover-to-Cover Read

Your Temple Wedding: A Guide to Planning, Preparing and Celebrating Your Special Day by Jeri-Lynn Johnson and Amy Jones. Published in 2007 by Leatherwood Press, 128 pages. Retail price: $16.95. ISBN: 978-1-59992-060-3.

A recent LDS wedding planning guide is always in demand. In their attractive new book, Your Temple Wedding, Jeri-Lynn Johnson and Amy Jones give great ideas for current wedding venues and resources. Their planning guide is appealing and helpful, but, due to its complicated organization, difficult to manage cover-to-cover.

Flipping through Your Temple Wedding for the first time, what caught my eye were the color photograph pages with ideas on flowers, reception set-ups, dresses, cakes, refreshments, and photography. Matching these photographs, the best part of the book is the reception chapter. The authors’ ideas on choosing a reception site and all things about the reception are very practical and informative. The other chapter I particularly enjoyed was “The Temple Wedding,” a great run-down on temple protocol, expectations and requirements, what a temple wedding day is like, and suggestions for spiritual temple preparation.

Your Temple Wedding’s greatest weakness is its organization. Based on the simple, appealing cover, I expected the book to be effectively organized for a prospective bride. With a temple wedding as its theme, I also expected “The Temple Wedding” to be the highlight of the book. Instead, I found that Your Temple Wedding is cumbered with enormous task lists that make it sound like every wedding idea ever thought of is a necessity. For example, the first thing a bride needs to hear when she becomes engaged is not all the difficult topics to discuss with her fiancĂ© (page 13) or that she must have a good wedding coordinator, videographer, and live band.

In their introduction to Your Temple Wedding, the authors state, “This book is designed to provide you with options” (page 9). Perhaps the authors meant this statement to be a disclaimer that means that not everything they suggest in the book is important, but I disagree with many of the authors’ suggestions. For example, choosing a style and a theme for your wedding shouldn’t be the second thing you do after you get engaged, your wedding doesn’t have to cost at least $10,000, and what you really should do “before you begin” is remember the covenants that you are planning to make.

Your Temple Wedding’s saving grace, in terms of organization, is its index. A lot of the information in the book is helpful, even though most of it isn’t anything that most people haven’t heard before, but the organization of the book is poor. The book gives some good modern ideas about websites and other current venues, but overall its resource list is limited. Unfortunately, I have never found the perfect temple wedding planning book. Your Temple Wedding is not perfect, but is a new and current book, just make sure you use the index rather than reading it cover-to-cover.

Book Review: Wisdom of the Prophets—Temple Worship, The Perfect Gift

Wisdom of the Prophets: Temple Worship, design by Andy Goddard, printed by Leatherwood Press, 2006. Retail price: $14.95. ISBN: 978-1-59992-008-5.

Wisdom of the Prophets: Temple Worship is a beautiful, inspiring, and inviting gift book. The design of the book is so appealing that I wish it were available in a larger coffee-table sized version. The quotations throughout the beautiful pages are not just by modern prophets, also modern apostles and quotations from the Doctrine and Covenants. The photographs throughout the book are wonderful, but I wish there were more temples and less just generic nature pictures. I also wish I knew who took the photographs. Overall, the beauty of the book and inspiring selection of quotes makes Wisdom of the Prophets: Temple Worship the perfect gift for pretty much anybody—yourself, a spouse, parents, siblings, newlyweds, children, current and prospective missionaries, and nonmember friends and family.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Maid of Honor To-Do List: What Your Best Friend (The Bride) Really Needs and When

After you read this list, you’ll wonder why no one has written a wedding planning guide for the Maid of Honor. I wondered this to, which is why I’ve come up with the following short edition that includes two important attributes a bride should consider in choosing a Maid of Honor and three important roles a good Maid of Honor should fulfill.

For the Maid of Honor:
You’ve watched your best friend dream about the perfect wedding day for years, and now you’re about to help make it happen. While it’s comfortable to think that all she needs is you to show up in your mint-green formal and flirt with the best man, she really needs you for much more than that. In fact, she needs you more than you, or she, can even imagine. Think of it as your parting gift as she moves on to a new phase of life. If you follow this list to become the perfect Maid of Honor, she will truly always remember you as her very best friend forever.

For the Bride:
If you’re the bride, appoint a Maid of Honor ASAP. You will not regret going through the difficulty of picking just one Maid of Honor from all your many friends and buying a special gown. At all costs, I’d like you to avoid the 11:00 p.m. Bridal Breakdown the night before the wedding. A Maid of Honor to help you with all the planning,
organizing, and decisions along the way is a big help. Trust me, you need her.

Choose a Maid of Honor carefully, based on the following two qualifications. Preliminarily, a Maid of Honor must be:

*Accessible: Your Maid of Honor needs to live close, close enough to come over at any time for any emotional or physical need. This is very important.

*Dependable: This sounds bad, but the best Maid of Honor is not in a relationship, especially not about to be engaged herself. The perfect Maid of Honor is not quite a full-time job, but is going to cut significantly into evening and weekend time, more and more as the wedding approaches. She must be someone who is dependable and able to fulfill the bride’s needs.

If the friend you were thinking of to ask to be your Maid of Honor doesn’t live close, is preoccupied with a lot of things in her own life, or isn’t that great at organizing, you might want to choose someone else.

For the Maid of Honor:
If you were asked to be a Maid of Honor, consider what is requested of you carefully. As the bride’s best friend, she very much needs you to help her get through all the organizing and decision making. What does she really need you to do? The following three roles are indispensable for the perfect Maid of Honor:

1. Shopping Coordinator/Companion:
This is the very first thing your best friend needs you for. When you think of an engagement, the first thing you think of that follows is, of course, a wedding dress! Whether or not the bride has had her gown picked out since she was twelve or she has never thought about a dress design before, she needs to get this huge stress out of the way ASAP. As the shopping coordinator, go through the yellow pages and look for bridal shops. Plan a route on a
Saturday. Don’t forget to plan a break to eat for lunch. On shopping day, be the one to drive so the bride can focus on making decisions. As companion at the store, take along a clipboard. Mark down the price and notes about the style of each dress the bride seriously considers. Take pictures to look over when you get home.

In addition to the dress, the bride will also need the Maid of Honor’s help with shopping for:

· accessories and jewelry to match her wedding dress
· the groom’s band
· bridesmaid outfits

The Maid of Honor can also be helpful in helping the bride make decisions about flowers and reception food, music, and favors. For example, as the Maid of Honor, volunteer to burn the reception play list CD. Take suggestions from the bride and groom, but then take that stress of their hands.

2. Parental Liaison
Planning a wedding is time consuming and costly. The money side of things is often the most difficult part of what the bride has to do. It’s hard to blend the demands, expectations, and circumstances of two sets of parents. A good Maid of Honor can be very helpful to the bride by constantly reminding her to keep open communication with parents. Remind her to ask both families for a budget and to send them updates of how the planning is going. She needs a friend to keep her on-track and to help her juggle all the different needs and opinions in the wedding planning process.

3. Worry List Specialist
The extensiveness of a planning a wedding causes a lot of stress on the bride. A good Maid of Honor can help ease a lot of that stress by playing scribe and organizer for everything on the bride’s mind. In essence, the Maid of Honor should really be the one in charge of the wedding planner to take down notes as the bride makes difficult decisions. If the Maid of Honor is there to write things down and make sure things are done in order, then the bride only has to focus on making decisions.

For Both:
Any bride with an accessible, dependable Maid of Honor at her side who can successfully function as shopping coordinator/companion, parental liaison, and worry list specialist will have no problems at all with planning a wedding. Plus, the situation is win-win because going through the wedding planning process as a Maid of Honor will make the Maid of Honor’s future wedding planning experience so much easier just through practice. As bride and Maid of Honor, the work you’ll do together will be hard, but the wedding can bind your friendship close forever, even though the bride’s situation is about to change.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

As usual, this summer has been a busy time for weddings. Are you at a loss for original gift ideas? Here are some fresh, unique, and fun wedding gift ideas for the last of the summer months to help your favorite couple enjoy the outdoors, celebrate the remaining summer holidays and sunny Saturdays, cool off, strengthen their relationship, and just plain have fun together. There’s a fun and unique summer wedding gift for every personality and every gift-giver budget!

Picnic blanket/basket
Any gift that is related to a park is an instant outdoor date! A lot of stores have picnic basket gift sets. Some of Target’s include a matching picnic blanket. Bed Bath & Beyond picnic baskets come with built-in insulation and picnic dishes. If you’re looking for a great picnic blanket, look for one that has a waterproof bottom, or whip up a quite large-patch quilt out of scrap fabric as a very thoughtful gift.

You’ll probably want a nylon kite rather than a cheap kids’ plastic one, but you can find suitable nylon kites for under $20 at most stores or at

American flag
A medium-sized flag for hanging on holidays is an excellent unique gift for newlyweds. You can find flags that include hanging devices for an outside wall or that stick in a lawn. This will help the wedding couple build a great patriotic family tradition from the start!

Two-player games
You can’t go wrong with any game as a wedding gift, but selecting something that works well for two players makes an especially fun and thoughtful wedding gift. My personal favorite is Connect-4. Card games like Uno can work well too, as can puzzles.

Sports equipment
A lot of stores sell sports packs with a net and equipment for badminton and other games. Sports balls make great gifts, like a volleyball or basketball. A good Frisbee is another favorite sports gift. For an even more unique sports gift, buy the couple a Bocce ball set.

We’re not talking about anything with propane, but a small charcoal barbecue is a great under $50 gift. Make the gift set complete by adding a bag of charcoal, a cleaning brush, or tongs.

A small box fan is a great summer wedding gift, very practical and essential. You can choose a basic box fan, or on a bigger budget look for one that is quiet and can be pre-set.

The best selection of a cooler would be not too small and not too large. In other words, pick something that is easy enough to carry for one person but large enough for food (or road trip drinks!) for two.

Ice cream maker
There are a lot of different types of ice cream makers available in the summertime. Large bucket-type ice cream makers that require a layer of ice on the outside are great for parties, but other designs are better for two if you just freeze the inner bucket yourself, no outside ice required.

Beach towels
Great wedding gift ideas, like the ideas above, can be fun, unique, and also very meaningful. Games and tools that will help the wedding couple enjoy summer will also help strengthen their brand-new family. Take the time to enjoy selecting fun and meaningful wedding gifts for the rest of this summer!