Our Couples Costume Challenge this Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! This year, we’re dressing up with style and White House flair. Want to guess who we are? Let me give you a hint. I’m hitting the town as a DC fixer who gets the bad guys while strutting through DC streets kitted up with my Prada. And who will my hubby and co-founder be? Well, he loves me as I am, flaws and all, and just happens to be POTUS (on TV).

Yes, this year we’re going as a pair. Why? Because like our Halloween characters, we go together like peanut butter and chocolate and we work better as a team than on our own (though we’re not breaking up any marriages).

We’re inspired by Halloween costume couples and pairs. No, you don’t have to be romantically involved in real life or in the lives of your characters, but we think it’s interesting how our stories make sense as a pair.

Are you pairing up for Halloween? With who? Are you & your best friend are dressing up together? Are you pairing up with your partner?

We want to know!

We love partnerships because they’re all about the relationships you have both in character and in everyday life.

How do you enter our contest?:

  1. Share your paired-up costume on Instagram or a Twitter, using the hashtag #Hallowed
  2. Mention @wedocracy in your Tweet or Instagram post. We’ll be sure to RT you if you use the hashtag.
  3. Share your pics by 11/7/14. You’ll have one week to recover & gets those pics up.

What do you win?:

The winning image gets a blog feature on Wedocracy.com blog.

We’ll share your story far & wide, and include links to your business and personal social profiles!

Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get A Free Year Of Low Stress Wedding Planning

Here at wedOcracy, we’re all about helping you plan weddings with less stress, more joy and lots of fun! In celebration of making weddings fun, we’re giving you some free stuff. We’re also celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary.

Did we tell you we built this website for our own wedding, had a blast and can’t wait to celebrate 2 years together on November 10th, 2014. Yes, what could be more relaxing that getting some free schwag.

Here’s what you get:

1. Plan with your partner: A social network that lets you connect with your soon to be spouse. Share messages, connect and plan with each other. It’s like an online romance, but even better because you’re planning the rest of your life toghether.

2.  Use 1 website instead of 10: A social network that lets you integrate everything in one place. No more having to use 10 apps (registry, guest list, seating chart, DJ) to plan your big day. Streamline everything and use wedOcracy as your go to place to manage everything from your events (manage all your wedding events in one place) to your registry and seating chart.  Having a Halloween inspired bachelor party next week? We’ve got you! Plan it, message with your best man & Co and get things started off right.

3. Collaborate with your friends: A social network that lets you collaborate with your guests. Who’s bringing the strong tequila to the bachelorette party? Um, well. With our collaborative features, you no longer have to wonder. Loop in your bridesmaids and let them help you! Who’s picking up your dress? Who’s going with you to the dress fitting? We’ve got you!  Assign tasks to them, send them a message and let them know where they need to be and know what they’re supposed to do for each event. Plus, you get a notification when the task is completed.

4. Introduce your guests to each other: A social network that lets your guests connect with each other before the wedding and follow up after the wedding. Why does this matter? Your guests are just as nervous about attending your wedding as you are of planning it and actually getting married. Why? Well, your single guests are wondering who else is attending single (and cute). They’re also concerned about where they’ll stay, who to share a room with to make the trip more budget friendly and who else is coming from their city. And let’s be honest, you’ve always wanted to set up your best girlfriend from college with the Best Man right? Who wants to have to do those awkward intros. Let them find each other.

Here’s how it works: Create an account, invite your guests. They get to create an account to log in, RSVP and connect with other guests via their social profiles.

 

Ready to sign up? Get a free year on us!

We want 1 entire year of wedocracy and we don’t intend to pay a shilling for it!

Tinder For Weddings?

 

When we explain wedocracy  and tell people how guests (and everybody in the system) can see and message each other, people of a certain age almost always say something along the lines of, “so… it’s Tinder for weddings!”

Yes, it is, kinda. But it’s a whole lot more. And how MUCH more is the most important thing.

For us as a couple, we needed Yet Another Wedding App (YAWA) like a hole in the head. We wanted something comprehensive. We wanted something that would connect the guest list to the website for RSVPs, connect the RSVPs to the meals and the seating charts, connect the seating charts to people’s profiles, connect profiles to gifts and later, to ThankYou letters. For us, having a different app for each little thing – and trying to get our guests to adopt even one of those apps – added to our stress big time.

We absolutely wanted to be able to help our guests connect around all sorts of things – for example, we had a group of friends staying at a B & B. Using wedocracy we showed them the rooms we’d picked for them, with photos, and gave the B & B access to that info to manage the confirmations. Guests were able to see who else was staying nearby and could coordinate independently. Which meant we didn’t have to worry about that. It was the same with flights, shuttles to and from the airport, and many other things. The more we could “hand off” to guests to organize on their own (“self-organize?”), the less we had to handle and more of a load off of our shoulders that was.

This is the essence of what we mean when we say “crowdsourced” wedding planning (and what we DON’T mean is, “everybody get up in your business and tell you how you should do things”).

So, is wedocracy “Tinder for Weddings”? You be the judge. Keep your eyes peeled for when we drop the mobile app, and in the meantime…

Try it Free

Top 5 Tips For Planning A Fun Wedding

Planning your wedding should be a fun-filled time, but it often leads to so much stress. Let’s do a self check in right now! Are you planning your wedding and feeling overwhelmed by everything on your checklist? We suggest you step away from the computer, grab a cool drink (it is summer after all) and read our tips for enjoying your engagement.

1. Do wedding related errands together.

Bringing your +1 on as many wedding related errands makes you more likely to remember why you’re running around and meeting with the florist, photographer and planner. During our engagement, we did all of the planning together. It worked our really well because it gave us the feeling that “we’re in this together”, which sets the tone for your future marriage and partnership. Right?

2. Turn a wedding planning chore into a date

Since you want your wedding to be romantic, why not start making the planning romantic? I know it might sound impossible and utterly strange to suggest the two might go together, but they actually do.

>Here’s why:

It helps you remember that planning your wedding is one of the first things you do together on your lifelong journey together. If you want the day itself to be special, start making the planning special.After meeting with the planner, don’t just go home! Add a surprise dinner or wine tasting in there. Your date night (or date afternoon) idea doesn’t have to add to your already stressful budget concerns. During our engagement, we took dance classes to help us with our first dance. We made it into a date, and right afterwards ate dinner at our favorite affordable restaurant.  We always knew that Thursday night was dancing and dinner & it helped us grow closer as the wedding day approached.

Here’s a tip:

Date nights can be affordable.

If you want to keep the romance flowing without breaking the bank, choose budget friendly dates.

3. Take a day off

Whenever things seem stressful for me, I take a step back and do something else. Maybe you need to unplug from your wired life for a day? Or, maybe you need to spend a day at your favorite restaurant. Taking a step back will give you perspective, clear your head and remind you of just why you’re doing all and any of this.

What do you do to help make your wedding planning easier and stress free?

3 Things You Can Do (right now) To Enjoy Wedding Planning

Planning your wedding should be a fun-filled time, but it often leads to so much stress. Let’s do a self check in right now! Are you planning your wedding and feeling overwhelmed by everything on your checklist? We suggest you step away from the computer, grab a cool drink (it is summer after all) and read our tips for enjoying your engagement.

1. Do wedding related errands together.

Bringing your +1 on as many wedding related errands makes you more likely to remember why you’re running around and meeting with the florist, photographer and planner. During our engagement, we did all of the planning together. It worked our really well because it gave us the feeling that “we’re in this together”, which sets the tone for your future marriage and partnership. Right?

2. Turn a wedding planning chore into a date

Since you want your wedding to be romantic, why not start making the planning romantic? I know it might sound impossible and utterly strange to suggest the two might go together, but they actually do.

>Here’s why:

It helps you remember that planning your wedding is one of the first things you do together on your lifelong journey together. If you want the day itself to be special, start making the planning special.After meeting with the planner, don’t just go home! Add a surprise dinner or wine tasting in there. Your date night (or date afternoon) idea doesn’t have to add to your already stressful budget concerns. During our engagement, we took dance classes to help us with our first dance. We made it into a date, and right afterwards ate dinner at our favorite affordable restaurant.  We always knew that Thursday night was dancing and dinner & it helped us grow closer as the wedding day approached.

Here’s a tip:

Date nights can be affordable.

If you want to keep the romance flowing without breaking the bank, choose budget friendly dates.

3. Take a day off

Whenever things seem stressful for me, I take a step back and do something else. Maybe you need to unplug from your wired life for a day? Or, maybe you need to spend a day at your favorite restaurant. Taking a step back will give you perspective, clear your head and remind you of just why you’re doing all and any of this.

What do you do to help make your wedding planning easier and stress free?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Wedding Pros Need Social Wedding Planning

Attention Wedding Pros!

This blog post is for you!

If you’re wondering who we are or why you’re here, here’s the short & sweet answer:Because you believe every wedding should be the most incredible event it can be, and that the services you offer must benefit everybody involved.

So, do we! We’re Uchechi and Peter, longtime Web & mobile app development professionals (over 30 years combined) and the co-founders of wedocracy, the social wedding planning app we built to plan our own destination wedding.And here’s something crucial yet obvious we learned from our journey: Everyone involved in planning a wedding has a role and we all need each other to make it an amazing, low stress and fun filled experience. So, in honor of making weddings fun, we’ve been rolling on the wedding pro pages.

Take a look at our latest vendor page to see what you’ll get when you sign up for your own free Web page.

Why Should I sign up for yet another business listing??

4 Reasons you should get an account on wedocracy:

  1. It’s Free: Need I say more!?
  2. You get to showcase your talent on our site while legitimately boosting your SEO.
  3. You can invite your couples to sign up, then plan with them. Say goodbye to lost emails ending up in spam folders. With in-app messaging, everything stays in one easy-to-find place.
  4. You get to showcase your talent to all wedding guests. Each couple AND guest gets an account, as do you as their vendor and voila, your profile is seen by every wedding guest invited to that particular event. 5.You get to be part of the only social wedding planning app created by an engaged couple. We’re not just doing this because we love weddings. We’re doing this because we know what it’s like to plan a wedding and want to give people the tools to rock it!

Need more reasons to join? Hit us up with comments!

We’re not here to take the place of a wedding planner, florist, caterer or any other kick-ass wedding pro. We need you! We’re here to make your job easier, and to make sure you can focus on being amazing.

Happy Birthday wedOcracy!

Happy Birthday wedOcracy!

Yesterday, our company celebrated its 1st birthday. We bought cake (the creamy key lime kind), we lit a candle and we sat with friends who serenaded us and our company. We sat in a New Orleans restaurant on Frenchman street and raised our glasses to our company, our past year and the years to come. It was seriously wonderful.

During our year long journey, we’ve had some amazing highs and some challenging lows, but we’re still here and we’re doing this social wedding planning tech startup thing. Why?Because this isn’t about a wedding planning app. It’s actually about giving people great online tools to live their best lives, especially on one of the most important days.

As Peter’s best man so eloquently said, “your wedding is one of the first things you do together as a married couple.” It sets the tone for how you want to live and work together as a married couple. And, we think finding someone to spend your life with (flaws and all) is really amazing.  So, here’s to the awesome work of one great year and the hope for more to come!

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing highlights from our first year. Here’s to another year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Bastille Day & Our Engagement Anniversary

Happy Bastille Day! We know it’s a French holiday, but we’re celebrating Bastille Day because it’s also the day we got engaged, 2 years ago.

Since then we’ve had an amazing multicultural wedding, launched a social wedding planning startup which we built to plan our own wedding, visited 4 countries and are getting ready to celebrate 1 year as a startup company (we’ll be posting a special company anniversary blog post on Saturday).

At the top of this post you can see the cake topper our niece painted for our engagement party:…
We love it because it was a gift from our (then 8 year-old) niece of course, but we also love it because she took the time to paint the doll so it could look like Uchechi, the beautiful Nigerian bride.It’s cute, but it’s also meaningful to us.The modern wedding looks more and more like our marriage and involves many countries, many cultures, multiple languages.

In 2013, 1 in 5 US weddings were interracial. When you’re thinking of integrating several traditions into your wedding, it’s important to think about making communication easy for everyone involved. Often, family members are helping you plan from different countries and don’t see each other in person until the day of the wedding.That’s a huge part of what motivated us to build wedOcracy for our own wedding: to make information sharing and communication easier for all guests.

Thanks for reading this post and for stopping by to help us celebrate Bastille Day and our engagement anniversary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Find The Perfect Wedding Dress in 24 Hours

The title of this post alone might scare you, but if you can be brave enough to continue reading, it also just might help you find your dream wedding dress in a way that actually lets you enjoy the process.

The perfect wedding dress does exist.

It’s sitting on a rack in some bridal gown store and it’s got your name all over it. It’s waiting for the two of you to meet, but in order for this to happen you’ve got to remember that the right dress for you most likely won’t show up in your life until you are very clear about what you want.

I found my wedding dress in 24 hours and you can too!

I know it sounds crazy, but it was one of the best things I did to help me enjoy my wedding planning journey. I’m not here to tell you that the dress is just a dress and it doesn’t matter because you’ll only wear it once.The dress does matter. When life events are once in a lifetime events, who doesn’t want to feel phenomenal and look their best if there’s really one shot? So, I get it. But, I am here to tell you that choosing your dress does not have to be so stress inducing and can actually be a fun and enjoyable process.With these tips, you can find a dress sooner than later.

1. Tune out everyone else

Your lovely mother means well and so do all the other relatives, but this is about a dress that you will wear for at least 10 hours.  Take in the opinion of others, but remember it is your day and you should look and feel great.

2. Only bring people who you know will support your decision

We all love our girlfriends and, but only take the ones you know will be there to support your decision. If anyone wants to remind you that your ass has never looked great, then they should probably stay home on that day.

3. Make an honest list of what you want

Here what my list looked like:

  • Natural vs. Synthetic? I chose Natural Silk
  • White vs. Cream? I chose cream colored
  • Long vs. Short? I chose long
  • Straps vs. Strapless? I chose strapless
  • Budget vs. No Budget? Wait, is having no sense of how much you want to spend an option? No, that’s why I chose to have a budget

4. Make a budget, and don’t leave home without it!

While the sales reps love to help, they really need you to tell them what you want and to tell them how much you can spend.I made this list, and I hit the stores. The first dress shop we went into only had synthetic gowns, so I moved on.

Remember, you’ve got to be strong and clear about what you want. If it’s really cute but doesn’t fit your list, make a note of it, but really steer clear.

When searching for your wedding dress, knowing what you want helps you and the people helping you. And maybe you don’t know, but let’s get real. You’ve probably been pinning pics of your dream wedding dress on Pinterest even before you got engaged.  Right? Enough said.Take your list into the store and ask to see the catalog.

5. Decide on a number of dresses you’re willing to try on, and try to stick to it.

I wanted to try on no more than 10, and I ended up trying on 6 and I knew the last one was for me.  I also had a checklist, and I stuck to it.

How you look is important , but remember that you’ll be wearing this for at least 10 hours, so if you can hardly breathe and will need to stop eating to fit into it, stop yourself right there. Once you’ve tried them on, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I feel in this dress?
  • Will I regret it if I don’t buy it?
  • Is the cost within my budget?
  • Does this dress fit my style and personality?

If you think you’ll be tossing and turning at night, then buy the dress. Seriously, your engagement is not the time to start getting wrinkles from finding the perfect dress.   I actually enjoyed going wedding dress shopping. The perfect wedding dress (for you) is out there, but finding it takes a little bit of savvy on your part.

It’s important to be clear about what you want, when you go dress shopping and to bring along the people who are most supportive and always have a budget. While wedding planning can be stressful, finding your dress does not have to be. Your wedding day is not meant to be suffered through.  It’s  really special day, so enjoy it! Please do what you can to focus on how amazing this time is instead of focusing on the dress so much that you can’t sleep or eat. There are other things you should pay attention to, like how awesome it is to choose love and to bring your community together to celebrate that.

How’s your wedding dress shopping going? Was this post helpful?  I want to know! Hit me up in the comments!

Celebrating Loving Day and What It Represents

June is a great month to celebrate love! With millions of people taking to the streets to celebrate Gay Pride around the world, we can’t think of a better time to reflect on the significance of another celebration that celebrates marriage equality

It’s about the right to choose your partner, and our freedom to do so is thanks to the courage of one amazing couple.

As a young girl, Uchechi watched the (1996 Timothy Hutton and Lela Rochon) movie of their history-making journey, Mr. & Mrs. Loving, over and over. Today, June 12th, 2014, is Loving Day in the USA. It commemorates the story of Mildred and Richard Loving (seriously – we could not have made that name up), a mixed race Virginia couple who in 1967 broke the anti-miscegenation (“race-mixing”) laws in the US when they married in Washington, D.C. that year. They couldn’t have know then that their wedding would guarantee people the right to marry regardless of race, anywhere in the country.

The Lovings date with history began when they drove from Virginia to Washington D.C. one afternoon to be married. Back in Virgina after the legal ceremony, they were arrested a few weeks later, jailed, and sentenced to a year in penitentiary. The judge who tried their case insisted that God had not intended for the races to mix and gave them one option: to leave the state for the next 25 years or face a year’s imprisonment. They chose the former, leaving their home and families behind.

Despairing, Mildred wrote to then-Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, who sent a young lawyer to interview them. Eventually their case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where it was judged in Loving v. Virginia that she should be able to love her husband and spend the rest of her life with him without the intervention of state or federal law. As the unanimous(!) ruling famously stated:

“The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”
Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967)

Their case set a precedent that we now see echoed in the ruling that struck down the odious and ridiculously-named “Defense of Marriage Act” (almost as sickening a name as the “Racial Integrity Act“) in the same month of 2013.

Without the Lovings, our own interracial love story and wedding would not have been possible in a country that prides itself of being the world leader of freedom and civil rights.

We are eternally grateful to the Lovings. In their name, let all people be free to marry the one they love. As Mildred Loving herself said in 2007 on the 40th Anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision:

“I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry… I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

6 Reasons To Let Your Bridesmaids Choose Their Own Dresses

This week on Twitter, we were discussing the issue of who’s responsible for paying for the bridesmaid dresses, and this is how the conversation went:

@abrideabudget A3: Let ur bridesmaids choose their dress & they’ll gladly pay. I did this & it was great! #BridalBabble — wedOcracy (@wedocracy) May 28, 2014

I let my bridesmaids choose their dresses, and it was one of the best wedding planning choices I made.

Why?

Have you ever planned a party and felt so stressed out only to realize that you have a great group of friends who would drop anything to help you if you only let them?

Well, that’s what a stress free and fun wedding planning experience should look like, but so many people feel overwhelmed and unprepared for the journey. It doesn’t have to be that way. And, when it comes to asking your closest friends to be there to support you by being part of your wedding party, you can lower your stress and have fun with them by actually letting them choose their own dress.

 Here’s how to do it in a way that’s fun and easy:

1. Pick a color and let the rest go

I love pomegranate red.

It’s always been a favorite color of mine, so when it came to planning the wedding, I did know that I wanted my bridesmaids to wear this color.  While the color of the dress was important, the style was not. As long as they found something in that color that they would be comfortable dancing down the aisle with, then I was game (BTW that’s not my wedding photo below – we are in the top photo).

Bridesmaid Dresses from Hello Gorgeous

 

2. Pick a style, and change up the colors

As long as you have a theme running through, the rest can be very simple. Do you want everyone to wear strapless dresses? Great! Send out a message to your bridesmaids with a “general idea” of the style, and ask them to match it. As long as they fit the style, let them know it’s okay to buy what they want to buy.

Image Source wwwmichaelamiciweddingphotographycom

 

It’s great for your financial and emotional well being

On Twitter, we had a conversation about who should pay for the dress. I strongly believe it really depends on the couple, and no one should feel pressured to do something just because of tradition.

 Here’s why it works so well to do this:

1. Letting your bridesmaids choose their own dresses reduces your stress

You can spend your time thinking about something else, while giving them an excuse to find themselves a new dress that they actually want to wear. Guess what? Everybody wins!

Remember when you were growing up and your mom decided your cool new style didn’t match what she wanted you to wear. Well, my mom did this and I was so upset with her about it. She wanted me to dress more preppy and less stylish and I didn’t like it one bit. Granted I was a kid and she was paying for the clothes, but at 15, I really wanted to define my own style and personality through my clothing.

So, why not let your bridesmaids do the same?

2. Letting your bridesmaids choose their own dresses allows your closest friends to help you plan

Who doesn’t want the chance to buy a new dress? We all love new clothes, especially if we feel we can wear them again and again. When you let your bridesmaids choose, they’ll want to pay. Think about it this way! If they have to pay for it, and hate it so much because it’s more of your style of less of theirs, then they won’t want to buy it because they won’t use it again.  And, if you let them choose it, they’ll most likely be helping you figure out the attire for your end of the wedding party. You already have your own wedding dress fitting to worry about. Why make that several fittings to worry about?

When it doubt, make things simple.

3. Letting your bridesmaids choose their own dresses allows them to show their style

If you let them choose their bridesmaid dresses, they’ll gladly find something that complements their style.

If you don’t like ruffles, why wear them for 10 plus hours, and why should they (unless they LOVE to)?? What could be so bad? It’s okay to set parameters to help. Why not tell them they need to find a long dress, or a short dress, or a strapless dress. And ask them to send you pics. My girlfriends did, and it became fun we shared – not a battle for control. If one of them perpetrates a fashion crime, you aren’t the one who chose their outfit, they are, so they can’t be mad at anybody but themselves. You have more important things to be concerned about – like the fact that you are marrying somebody.

Image Source bridesmaidtradecom
Choose a theme and ask your bridemaids to find a dress to match! Image Source

4. Allowing your bridesmaids to pick their dresses shows them you value their input

It is your wedding, but it’s also their wedding involvement and you asked them to be a part of it because you value them. They care about you or they wouldn’t have said yes to being part of it.

Don’t spend too much time worrying about matching dresses and instead spend more time showing them you value their input and friendship. They will reciprocate whatever you put out.

Image Source wwwandytailorcom
Letting your bridemaids choose their dress lets them show their style! Image Source

5. Allowing them to choose their own dress helps you save money

Are you concerned about your wedding budget?  I was, since we were paying for half of it. I let my bridesmaids choose their own dresses (and buy them at a store of their choosing) and they were happy to pay for their dresses.

The thing is, if they get to choose it they’re more likely to look for something that fits their style and is within their own budget.  I know there are traditions that say the bride should pay, but we believe the modern couple makes their own traditions.

6. Allowing them to choose their dresses shows them you want to strengthen your relationship instead of watch it fall apart

We’ve all heard of the crazy bride who demands so much from her bridesmaids.  Guess what? They are celebrating this big milestone with you. Let them be a part of it in a way that’s fun and exciting.

How We Ended Up Getting Married in a Mexican Whorehouse, with Mom’s Blessing

And had our reception in a barnyard.

I love saying we got married in a cathouse. Of course it isn’t active NOW, and it’s beautiful not skanky, but there are enough people horrified by the idea of it that I still savor the memory.

We didn’t start out planning to have a bordello wedding ceremony. Actually the plan originally involved an elegant colonial hotel which would have housed guests, provided grounds for both wedding ceremony and reception, even included both a world-class chef and a wedding planner. As of about 90 days out, that was the plan.

As of about 75 days out we realized we’d been negotiating with them for weeks, and nothing had yet materialized. No contract, seemingly no help or organization by their in-house planner. Though we were in central Mexico, a London hotel chain owned the property so any decision required a week’s worth of ping-pong with the head office. We realized this was not gonna work out, and cut bait.

So, 75 or so days left and we have no idea where either the reception or the ceremony will be, who’d be catering, and where our key out-of-town guests would stay. Add to the challenge that we are not Catholic, which in Mexico eliminates about 2/3 of your possible venues. Unlike the USA, renting museums and other pubic venues just isn’t done (for the most part).

Naturally we freaked out.

But we believed that if we stuck with our gut that we were doing the right thing, it would work out. And we absolutely believed we were doing the right thing.

We asked everybody we knew, and random people on the street, for suggestions. Eventually one of my fiancee’s bridesmaids offhand suggested we look into Casa de La Noche, which had been a notorious house of ill repute until fairly recently but was now a lovely bed & breakfast spot with a large courtyard that might just work.

It could and it did. We booked all the rooms and the space came free with it. We had the ceremony there and a Sunday Brunch for far less than we’d have paid at the fancy hotel. We loved the story of the place – it was certainly memorable, and quirky like us – and the managers (no longer there, sadly) did everything we could have hoped to make it a perfect event. We found a local planner who brought the catering (including a different world-class chef!) and still came in under budget.

Maybe Miss Manners would be horrified, but we were over the moon.

Which left only a venue for the reception, since the B&B didn’t have kitchen facilities (or space for enough of them). Again we searched. This time it was our officiant who suggested a former Méson, or Inn, a short walk from the whorehouse site. They’d had a restaurant which had recently closed and might be worth a look.

One day we walked in to see if anybody could talk with us and sitting in the spacious open courtyard were the owners, looking over flowers for their son’s upcoming wedding – we couldn’t have made it up. So long story short, we’d found our reception venue (and they hardly charged us a thing, really).

How does this relate specifically to grooms? My fiancee wasn’t picking the location with her bridesmaids or her mother. I took special interest in the venue because I wanted to love it, during the events and later on, looking back. We figured out together what each felt to be important and worked from there. We want our marriage to be a collaboration, so we collaborated. That set a good standard for the wedding itself and has so far been a good foundation for our married life.

I’d say finding the venues was actually our biggest challenge. Because we both had strong ideas about what we wanted, it was that much more difficult to find venues that met our requirements, and that much more exciting when we found them.

What did we learn from all this? If anything, having our first choice location fall through served as a reminder to stick with our gut, and to be ourselves. We literally created not only one but two venues where there were none: Neither place had ever hosted a wedding before.

Brides magazine is not going to recommend you find a good whorehouse for your wedding, but you never know what will work for you. Be true to yourselves, be open, and don’t be afraid to take risks to make your wedding reflect you both. It’s your wedding.

Men! We Just Launched a New Site: Groom Tips!

I don’t mean to take anything away from a bride’s moment in the sun, but I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say the wedding industry treats men like second-class citizens.

Case in point: Uchechi & I crashed a Bridal Expo to do some guerrilla marketing (don’t tell). We bought tickets and acted like your garden variety engaged couple, expecting to find something for each of us, but the ridiculousness started at the front door:

  1. As the Bride, she got a fancy sticker (“I’m the Bride”), I didn’t even get a wrist stamp.
  2. Worse, she got a goodie bag, and I didn’t!

It’s not like I can’t live without a target on my chest so vendors know I’m a punter. And I can also live without a bag full of ads and craptastic marketing swag. It was the principle of the thing. There are two people getting married here.

I asked the security guy at the gate what gives. He shrugged, and told me to check out the “Men’s Lounge”. So that was my welcome.

Of course I had to see what the “Men’s Lounge” would be. My expectations couldn’t have been lower – and were not exceeded by the forlorn-looking couch behind the single male-oriented display: the local bespoke bowtie company.

Not that their bowties weren’t great – they were.

Anyway, my aggravation with the absence of resources for grooms (The Man Registry being one of the few sites I had any awareness of, kudos to you, mates!) has been building and I finally got off my ass to do something about it:

www.groom.tips

Please take a look, don’t mind a few categories that haven’t got any tips yet, and weigh in. I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers,

Peter

photo of Soweto’s awesome Smarteez: Chris Saunders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Support of Marriage Autonomy for the Sake of Marriage Equality

As June nears, we’re getting excited about all the upcoming Pride events that will take place around the world. In honor of our courageous LGBT friends, we’re sharing why we believe in marriage equality. A different version of this post was originally published in 2012, during our engagement, on my Thriving Blog. where I kept an online journal during the 90 days leading up to our wedding.
—Uchechi

When I was 10 years old, my dad sat me down in the kitchen and told me I would one day have an arranged marriage.

I will be married in 23 days and I am thinking about my father’s words. He also said I needed to learn how to cook because no man would marry me if I didn’t. By no man he meant no Nigerian man. You see, my Nigerian family was sure I wouldn’t challenge what was expected of me. They were wrong! At 10 years old, my biggest fear was that I would wake up next to a man that I did not choose and pretend to love him for the sake of tradition. Marriage scared the hell out of me.

In less than a month, I will be marrying someone I chose.

After getting engaged, I started thinking about some of the similarities between the cultural expectations I grew up with and the laws against Marriage Equality. I’m in a straight relationship, but I’d like to think that anyone in support of Marriage Equality shares a similar interest: When it comes to saying I do, we all want to decide who to share our lives with. Although I am marrying a man, I am very familiar with that fear that comes with not feeling like you fit in because you want to live your life differently. During college, I dreaded receiving those blue par avion envelopes from Nigeria, knowing they came from suitors. I hid the fact that I didn’t want to return to my village to find a husband, but deep down I knew it wasn’t for me. I never felt there was anything wrong with choosing to find love this way, but it wasn’t for me.

Until 1967, my interracial wedding would not have been legal

I love the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial Virginia couple who defied laws against interracial marriage. They were arrested on their wedding night because they chose to choose each other instead of federal laws that said their marriage was illegal. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have the freedom to marry my husband more than 40 years later.

Marriage equality matters to us because it’s a big part of our straight wedding story!

Some of us are first generation straight Americans whose immigrant parents are afraid to let go of traditions from the old country. Some of us are part of the LGBT community. I think most of us just want to be able to legally recognize that we’ve accomplished one of the most amazing and difficult things in this world: found someone who is anything but perfect and chosen to try loving that person and being vulnerable to the best of our ability. That’s brave! That’s awesome! And that’s something we should all get a shot at, even if we fail!

Today my friend posted (on Facebook) a picture of herself dancing with her soon to be wife.

She was celebrating her birthday and made it very clear what she wants as a gift: to be able to marry her partner and raise her son with the same rights that all human beings yearn for and deserve. I can’t grant her that for her birthday, but I can give her a belated birthday present by letting her know that the beauty of the two of them dancing made you know that there was love there. If there is love, there is possibility, and if there is possibility there is community and if there is community there is accountability and if there is accountability there is an investment in who each and every one of us becomes. And when there is that communal investment, I do believe god (or whatever you want to call it) is there: That presence of grace that gives all of us permission to come forward as we are without shame or ridicule. I truly believe that an ashamed society can never be an accountable or fully loving one.

Marriage Equality is really about Marriage Autonomy!

I don’t want my parents, my elders, my village, my fellow Nigerians, other Africans or my government in my bedroom. It’s that simple for me. When we lose our right to vote, we lose our voice and when we lose our right to choose who to love, we lose our understanding of what is possible in our lives, and when we lose this understanding, we lose our sense of self. I don’t want this to be my future or ours. Vote for Marriage Autonomy! The worst thing that can happen is that you find a whole lot more people walking taller and feeling stronger and better about themselves. One might just catch your eye too, and then anything is possible.

The Rise of the Hashtag Wedding

photo credit: We Heart Photography

My husband and I recently attended a friend’s engagement party, and the events that took place during the celebration confirmed for us that we live in the age of what I call, The Hashtag Wedding. Having said that, let me describe to you what happened when we popped open the bottle of champagne, filled all the guests’ glasses and toasted to her soon-to-begin wedding journey:

As the glasses clinked, friends reached for their mobile phones and started snapping pics of the newly engaged couple while shouting things like “hashtag #engaged!,” “hashtag #weddingbling!” and “hashtag #itsofficial!”

In that moment they reminded us of how social media allowed us to plan our own Nigerian-American-Jewish wedding in Mexico and about just how much the modern wedding is influenced, planned and experienced via social media. What was even more intriguing than the fun people at the event was the use of social media and how it supported our beliefs  about modern weddings and the newly engaged of the Millennial generation.

My engaged friend and I are both in our 30’s and both part of the Millennial generation. And while some critics say social media can negatively affect how couples plan their nuptials, there’s no denying that social wedding planning isn’t going away anytime soon. Here’s why?:

As Millenials, we are using social media to plan our weddings because it leverages the power of our most important relationships.

It also takes advantage the ways in which we use technology and social media in our everyday lives, including planning our weddings.

As a generation, we are using social media to plan our weddings for these reasons:

 

1. We  are wired:

Everything we do on a daily basis involves our tech gadgets. Think about this: 53% of millennials would rather give up their sense of smell than their laptop or phone. If you were planning your wedding and lost your cell phone, would you be able to find your guest list in a physical address book? If you’re my age or younger, the answer is probably no. You would however be able to check online to see if you saved a copy somewhere.

2. Our wedding guests are also wired:

It’s not just you who’s planning a wedding using social media, your guests are also planning to attend your wedding using social media.Why?Because social media is part of our everyday lives and helps us make plans and stay organized. If your guests already use it everyday, they might as well use it to help them get to the wedding on time.

3. We are super busy:

From bloggers to full time parents and everything in between, we are all very busy. Would it surprise you if I told you that most of my friends job titles can no longer be explained using one or two words like nurse, teacher or office assistant?The modern job title looks something like this:SEO-driven blogger on a mission to make copywriting fun and useful.You get the point! When we’re this busy, we need effective, easy to learn and use online tools to help us in our everyday lives. It’s especially the case when we’re planning the biggest party we’ll ever throw. Well, at least that’s true for most of us.

4. We are multicultural and international:

I’m from Nigeria, my husband is from California and between the two of us we had a wedding that incorporated so many cultures and traditions. We’ve also lived around the world, and had a wedding that included family traveling from across the globe to celebrate with us. And the thing is, we’re not alone.  This means using forms of communication that help us stay in touch with our Indian grandma living in Nepal and our socially awkward yet favorite 1st cousin living in Australia.

In 2013, 1 in 5 Millenial weddings were interracial.   When you’re bringing together family from all over the world, we would expect you to care more about getting them to your wedding than about getting your wedding color palette right. Right? (Please say yes.) This means using forms of communication that help us stay in our friends and family living halfway around the world. If our wedding guests are going to travel thousands of miles to come to your wedding, then we believe they deserve to have a blast while they’re at it. And, they deserve to be able to continue communicating with you in the same ways you already use to keep in touch with each other, which is social media.

5. We are already using social media to plan our weddings:

We’re not just using social media to plan our weddings, we’re actually using tools provided by social media platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter) to plan our weddings.

Need more reasons to start using wedOcracy to plan your big day? We built it so we could have all the things we love about the different social media platforms (social networking, collaboration, social sharing, etc) in one place. We call it social wedding planning! Nobody gets social wedding planning like we do, because we use it ourselves (and didn’t get married 20 years ago).

What are your thoughts about planning weddings using social media? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!