Thursday, October 30, 2008

Celebrating Grandchildren

…they just don’t know how much joy they give us.

We’ve all heard the cliché phrase “if I had known how much fun grandchildren were, I would have had them first”. Well, despite the biological impossibility of that, every grandparent understands the intent. Sure, in order to be a grandparent you have to come to grips with the fact you’re getting older. I’m embracing that fact, mainly because of the pure joy my grandsons give me.
Three of them are old enough that they can press the speed dial on their parents cell phone and be instantly connected to me. I don’t even care that sometimes there are long silences when I ask a question. Just knowing that they’re there and cared enough to call Granddaddy or Mamaw is sufficient.

One reason I’m posting this is to advise couples to be tolerant of their parents when the babies start to come later on in their marriage.

True, I let my grandsons get away with things I wouldn’t have allowed with my own children—well, get over it. They’re my grandchildren. If my children hassle me too much about the issue, then the next time I’m babysitting, I can give the child a Snickers and a Mountain Dew, and wait for them to be picked up. What the heck, my own mother used to do that with my sons.

We’ve been blessed with two sons, one of whom has two boys and the other one boy. Our other blessing is a daughter (not biologically, but she’s our child nonetheless) who has a son. The four grandsons range in age from 6 years down to 6 months. We also have a grand daughter who was born into Jesus' arms on November 30, 2007. She may not be here in the flesh, but she lives in the spirit, in our hearts.

So today, I celebrate my grandchildren: Aidan Kenneth, Liam Christopher, Alexander James, Sydney Grace and Dawson Kenneth.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Modern Dallas Wedding

...with Old World Charm

A couple of weeks ago I officiated the wedding ceremony of Margie and Robert at the
Maple Manor Hotel which is just north of downtown Dallas and is in the shadow of some of the mammoth hotels and apartment buildings going up in that area. Maple Manor is right next door to the Old Warsaw Restaurant, a long time staple of Dallas fine dining establishments. Old Warsaw has been the site of many proposals of marriage, so getting married at Maple Manor is a natural progression.

Finished in 1898, Maple Manor is built and furnished in Victorian style, but its rooms have been updated to modern amenities such as data ports, Jacuzzi tubs, etc. The event coordinator there, Monique, is always making sure the wedding ceremony and reception go off as planned. Several of us at LoveNotes are privileged to be there on a regular basis.

In this particular wedding, the bride and groom live in Austin, but their family ties are here in Dallas. They are photographers who shoot weddings and other events professionally in and around Austin. Margie managed to keep her composure at the last minute despite the fact that her parents were delayed in Dallas traffic and arrived just in time for her father to walk her down the aisle. The bride had chosen chocolate brown and sage green as her colors, and I just happened to have the right tie in my closet.

I appreciate Hansel Dobbs Photography for sending me the picture snapped during the ceremony. And for the numerous guests who asked and for those reading this piece who will ask, yes, his name is really Hansel.

My thanks to Margie and Robert for letting me be part of a fun and romantic ceremony.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Old Red...

Part of Dallas history.

Two words: Old Red. Any Dallasite who has lived here even a short time knows what those two words mean. The Old Red Courthouse is bathed in Dallas history, including being the location where Jack Ruby was convicted of the slaying of Lee Harvey Oswald. The official Old Red website is currently down for revisions, but you can see the history and pictures by going here

It is in close proximity to other city, county and federal buildings in downtown, but while those others may blend in to the city scape, Old Red stands out. I won’t go into the rich history of this building (you can Google it), but just recently it has been turned into a museum as well as a venue for weddings and other events.

This afternoon I was at a wedding rehearsal at Old Red, the event being planned and executed by Chelsey Dane of Bride-Associates of Dallas. Chelsey and her staff are consummate professionals in their industry and I’ve been privileged to work with them a number of times, including officiating the wedding ceremony for Sarabeth, who is on their staff of coordinators. To learn more about Chelsey and her associates, go here

Old Red joins an ever lengthening list of unlikely, yet wonderful, venues for a wedding ceremony. For me, it’s part of my Dallas history and part of the reason I love Dallas for preserving such a rich historical landmark.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wedding Trends...

Changes in Venue Choices and Wedding Dates

For the past few years in north Texas about half of all the weddings each year take place somewhere other than the traditional church. Consider this number: of the 55,000 or so marriage licenses issued last year in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties, approximately 28,000 were inside a church. This means that the remaining weddings were in hotels, country clubs, restaurants, wedding chapels and other locations including city parks, horticultural settings (such as the Dallas Arboretum and the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens), and so on. (*see note below)

Another surprising number is this: October has replaced the other popular wedding months as the busiest wedding month of the year. Just ask any minister, DJ, photographer, florist or cake company and they’ll confirm this trend. The “June Wedding” isn’t as popular as it once was, at least here in north Texas. Not sure why that is, but I’m guessing that weather plays a big part.

In a recent story in the
Dallas Morning News the writer unknowingly confirmed what I already know. Wedding chapels are being purpose-built for those happy occasions and business is good. More couples each year are choosing venues that can accommodate the ceremony and reception on the same site (or close proximity).

The picture is of a wedding chapel still under construction at the subdivision mentioned in the news story. It’s being built on an island in the lake. Not even completed and evidently couples are already trying to book it.

All of this actually makes good sense, in much the same way that going to a medical specialist makes good sense. You want someone with considerable experience in one area of expertise. The wedding chapels that call me regularly are booked every weekend, sometimes multiple weddings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That kind of experience is worth looking for and paying for. Probably not much you can ask for that they haven’t already handled many times. It also means that couples would be advised to book their venue and vendors well in advance if they want the date of their choice.

To see the Dallas Morning News story go
here and if you’re looking for wedding vendors go here


Update: In a television news interview on Thursday, Nov 6, 2008 the developer of Adriatica (see pic above) announced that he may not be able to finish the project as financing was drying up in our tight economy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You know you're getting older when get pictures like the one below

Yep, I know I’m getting older when couples that I married years back are sending me cards with pictures of their children. Pictured below are Brian & Jen (and their two kids). I was privileged to perform their ceremony some years ago at the Dallas Arboretum

Even though such pictures remind me of the years flying by, the age issue doesn’t really bother me. The fact that my couples stay in contact and share their lives with me is the important part, and is part of the reason why I do what I do.

Brian and Jen chose one of the grassy gardens at the Arboretum and arranged the chairs in a circle around the center with four different aisles. It was an interesting arrangement and served to get all of the guests much closer to the bride & groom than having the chairs arranged in traditional fashion. The attendants used each of the four aisles to enter and then sat on the front row so that all the guests had a clear view of the bride and groom. Very novel idea. What everyone will remember, though, is that we had an early heat wave in May, with temperatures in the mid-nineties. Fortunately, the couple provided fans on each chair and the Arboretum is great about having coolers filled with bottled water. Still, as soon as the ceremony was over, everyone retreated to the shade.

So, to Jen & Brian, and all my couples—keep those pictures and notes coming in. I cherish every single one and they are all saved in my files.

To learn more about weddings at the Arboretum click here and then click on "rentals".



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Honor Your Father and Mother

...that you may live long in the Land the Lord is giving you"

Those words from the Old Testament book of Exodus 20:12 rang in my head today as my wife and I had lunch with my father in Mesquite. He lives in rural Van Zandt County, we live in a busy part of far north Garland. Sometimes we'll meet somewhere along highway 80 in Forney or Mesquite to have a bite and visit. Todays gourment lunch was Arby's.

As we chatted I thought again about what an amazing man he is. After being widowed almost 11 years ago, he sold one property, supervised the building of his current home on the lake, has stayed active in church, and even has a lady friend. God took away his love of 53 years, but he's continued an active and productive life in Wills Point, Texas. To look at the man walk and talk, you wouldn't believe he is about to turn 84. My gosh, he's got a cellphone, an HD TV, a computer, uses email and can send & receive digital pictures. Well, maybe texting on the phone can come later.

In my teens and twenties, I didn't think he was so smart. Amazing what a few more years has done to my evaluation of his IQ. Now, with children and grandchildren of my own, I cherish every word from him and every piece of advice. Our parents are a treasure of experience and wisdom--they have something we want and need. All we have to do is ask for it, and then LISTEN. To the right is how dad looked the year he married my mother.

When I counsel couples before a wedding, that's always one of the topics, their relationship with their parents. Statistically, the single most common stress or argument on wedding day is between the bride & her mother. I advise couples to just understand that it will happen, get past it as flexibly as they can, and then re-establish a good relationship with those parents. I've seen the result, years later, when folks don't take that advice and it's not pretty.

So for today, I salute my own father just for being there and being willing to share his wisdom with me. With three children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren he has certainly learned things along the way that can help me. I love you, Dad.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, Monday

...So good to me
And if you can remember that song lyric, well then I have an idea how old you are.

LoveNotes has a ministerial staff of 18 (although only 14 are pictured below). All of us have a habit, a practice, a policy which we call “Monday, Monday”. In simplest terms it means that every Monday evening we make contact with brides and/or wedding coordinators for weddings coming up in the subsequent 6 days. We verify every detail of a rehearsal and ceremony that involves us.

I think that all of your wedding vendors should do some version of Monday, Monday. This is true whether it’s cakes, photographer, DJ, musicians, flowers, or any other vendor essential to making your wedding and reception just as you picture it. Here’s why…

Occasionally I’ll hear a bride or parent lamenting the fact that they were presented a written contract by a florist, a cake person, DJ, etc. In order to book the event, they were expected to sign the agreement and make a deposit. Another way of looking at that is this—it protects the bride, as her wishes are then spelled out in black & white. Even though LoveNotes is mainly a ministry, we still work from a written agreement so that we have a clear understanding of our duty to our couples.

Oftentimes there may be last minute changes to time, location, or special instructions. Everyone involved needs to be kept in the loop. This is especially so for those of us at LoveNotes as we each may have more than one wedding scheduled on a Saturday or Sunday and there are usually multiple rehearsals on Fridays. Think what would happen if a couple had changed wedding time to 4:00pm when the original instruction was 5:00pm, but no one thought to tell the string quartet or florist. It would probably be a quiet ceremony with no flowers.

This is just one more reason why having a wedding coordinator and an experienced officiant on your side will make your event all that you dreamed of. If you want to know more about how LoveNotes operates, you can click the LoveNotes link at the right above, or just click here and to see a short video message from us click here


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wedding Coordinators & Rehearsals

...why you need both

A wedding ceremony is like opening night in a Broadway play, except that you don’t get to do it over the next night. If all the players (bride, groom, attendants, parents, etc.) are rehearsed, then the grand performance goes off smoothly. Five minutes before wedding ceremony isn’t the time to start thinking about who lines up where and what order, and so on.

Your minister and the wedding coordinator almost certainly have more wedding experience than any one else associated with your wedding. Take advantage of that experience. If you—the bride—stress over every single little detail, the result is that at the end of the day on wedding day, you’re still married, you just didn’t have any fun. Your wedding should be fun.

The DFW area has many fine venues and many independent wedding planners, some of whom are dedicated to their profession to the extent that they attend classes and seek certification in their craft from national associations of wedding professionals.

My advice to you, the bride: let as many other people as possible handle details, especially during wedding week. It’ll make your wedding day stress free, and FUN!

To locate some of the wonderful professional wedding planners, check the links in the sidebar and click on The Knot, WeddingWire, or OneWed.


Friday, October 17, 2008

This Weekend in Flower Mound

…Wedding Bells Ring

Congratulations are in order for Matt and Melissa, who got married on Saturday in the Chapelle des Fleurs in Flower Mound. Janice (the owner), Anna (wedding coordinator) and the staff always do an amazing job with all the wedding details. To see more about Chapelle des Fleurs click here
The couple met through friends of the groom and despite being some distance apart (him in Austin, her in Dallas), Matt persevered for several months to get that first date. By the way, those friends stood together supporting Matt and Melissa during the ceremony.

The bride chose red as her primary color and the bridesmaids were in red dresses, with groomsmen in black ties and red boutonnières. At the bride's request, I wore a red tie and red pocket square.

Melissa actually planned her own surprise proposal, although she didn't know it. She thought she was putting together a Christmas surprise for another couple and didn't realize she had been tricked until Matt got down on one knee. She said yes!

I love stories like that and plan to share more with you as time goes on.


p.s. If you happen to be at the Chapelle des Fleurs and a staffer offers you an appetizer on a tray--take it. Doesn't matter what it is, it's good. My personal favorite is the artichoke poppers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Children At Weddings

Let the kids come...

Occasionally folks will ask me how I feel about children attending a wedding ceremony. My answer: bring 'em on, especially if they happen to be related to the bride and groom. Children need to see these festive occasions and be included. If they get restless or make a little noise, it doesn't bother me. What I advise couples who ask me these questions is this: Let the children come to the wedding; if they decide to be a child in the middle of the ceremony, then we just pause a moment and let them be a child. Absolute silence just isn't that important to me, a thought which I'm sure will come as a shock to my own children.

As always, the decision on whether to have children attend the ceremony should be completely up to the bride and groom.

My particular favorite kind of wedding ceremony involves blended families where the bride or groom (or both) have children from a previous marriage. Including the kids does several things. It shows them respect to be included and it subconsciously gives the child a feeling of "ownership" in the whole family relationship. Giving them some kind of gift (after the bride & groom exchange rings) goes that much further in making the child feel included.

The little girl in the picture is the daughter of the groom; I didn't know they snapped this picture. Right before the ceremony she was asking me questions about the wedding, where she would stand and a dozen other things on the mind of an eight year old child. She and her brothers did just fine as the flower girl and groomsmen.

There's nothing quite as touching or humbling as looking into the eyes of a child when they look to you for answers.