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So, you just married the love of your life, and you’re already to pull your hair out of your head – sound all too familiar? Studies show that the first years of marriage are the most difficult; and national statistics indicate that most divorces occur within the first five years of marriage. When University of Oklahoma researchers studied newlyweds, they found that “expressions of love and affection between a wife and husband drop by half in the first two years of marriage,” and researchers find that most couples “experience a significant drop in happiness about 18 months after the wedding.” However, despite all of these depressing facts, you and your lover don’t have to go through any heartache if you implement these simple secrets into your marriage:

  • Love yourself first. You will never be able to love anyone else with your whole heart unless you love yourself first and foremost. When you love yourself, you treat yourself with respect, and you don’t let others bring you down. In short, when you’re your number one, your heart is open and ready to accept and love others fully.
  • Don’t lower your standards, but change your expectations. Things will never be perfect, because no human can ever be perfect. Don’t expect your mate to be doting, romantic, and kind all of the time. Enjoy when they DO treat you like a King or Queen, and don’t chastise them when they don’t.
  • Remember that your partner’s not a mind reader. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Nobody can read minds, so don’t expect your husband or wife to be clairvoyant about your wants or needs. Express yourself clearly and honestly.
  • Be all ears. Your mother gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason – to listen more than you speak. Sometimes your mate doesn’t need a lecture or any advice; instead, all they may need is an open-minded and patient listener to tell their problems and worries to.
  • Friends first, lovers second. Would you make your best friend sleep on the couch? Would you yell at your best friend over forgetting the fortune cookies when he/she brings home Chinese takeout for dinner? It’s oxymoronic, but we often treat those we love and care about most better than those we hardly know or hardly see. Treat your mate with the utmost level of respect – be a friend first, lover second.
  • Don’t let the kids control your marriage. Remember to make alone time, away from the children, at least once a week for you and your significant other. The formula is simple: happy parents = happy children.
  • Take turns doing chores. Break the barriers between traditional male and female roles in the household. Do laundry together, have your wife mow the lawn, let your husband cook dinner and get the kids ready for bed. If you take turns at chores, you’ll appreciate each other more.
  • Be honest about finances. Honesty is the basis for any relationship, but fiscal fidelity is one of the most important types of openness in a marriage. Managing your finances together helps you both understand your monetary standings and budget limitations. Don’t hide anything – it all comes out in the wash!


Photo Courtesy Of: GodlyWoman.com
Statistics Courtesy Of:  Reader’s Digest


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In a platonic relationship, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon you is the role of Maid or Matron of Honor. Although this title can be a privilege and confirmation of your best-friendship to the bride, this job is a full-time gig – so you better be prepared! Even if there is an actual wedding planner on the job, don’t get your hopes up – your involvement with the wedding will still be extensive. There is a long list of duties that are associated with the Maid of Honor role, but here are some helpful reminders to assist you in your long and crazy journey:

  • Make Her Smile: You’ll be the one she turns to when her pre-wedding spray tan makes her look like a creamsicle. It’s your job to console her; bring over a bottle of wine, Dirty Dancing, and some smut magazines to help her feel better.
  • Be All Ears: Your darling mother gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason – to listen more often than you speak. You may have gone through this process before, especially if you’re a Matron of honor; however, this is not YOUR day. When the bride speaks, it’s your job to hear her out, no matter how ridiculous she may be acting!
  • Coordinate with Fellow Bridesmaids: You are bridesmaid numero uno. It is your job to keep the others in the loop…and keep them at bay when necessary!
  • Help Make Big Wedding Decisions: If your schedule allows you enough free time, help the bride-to-be with all of her major decisions. Some of these decisions include:
    • Dress
    • Hair Style
    • Makeup Style
    • Invitations
    • Venue
    • Cake
    • Catering
    • Flowers
    • Linens
    • DJ
  • Be Involved with Parties: Do not feel obligated to plan every party, but you should offer your assistance with as many of them as you can. As the Maid or Matron of honor, you usually know the bride better than anyone else, and therefore will be able to throw her a bash that she (and everyone else) will remember for many years to come. As a side-note, some things that you should plan on delegating or personally taking care of are small duties such as keeping a list of the presents and who they’re from. This may seem simple, but it is extremely helpful to the bride! Some parties that you will be involved with are:
    • Engagement Party
    • Bachelorette Party
    • Bridal Shower
  • Toast at the Wedding: It can be long and drawn out or short and sweet, but the Maid or Matron of Honor’s speech is highly anticipated by not only the guests, but the bride as well. Be sure that your toast is heartfelt and sincere – and not too overly-embarrassing!
  • Organize Gifts: After the reception, the newlyweds will be in their honeymoon mindset – and rightly so! As a final parting duty, you should take on the responsibility of collecting the couple’s gifts and dropping them off at their home, or other desired location.

The aforementioned list becomes even more detailed if the bride does not have a wedding planner. Nudge her in the the direction of hiring a coordinator, and make everyone’s lives a lot easier! Best of luck.

Photo Courtesy Of: DexKnows.com

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The annual “wedding season” is fast approaching – do you have your date set?! Perhaps you do, but if you and your mate are confused about selecting the ideal day for your upcoming nuptials, read on! Here are some tips to help you select the perfect date:


Photo Courtesy Of: TeamWedding.com

  • Symbolic Date: Your parents’ anniversary, the first day you met, the day he proposed, a dating anniversary, or some other memorable day in your couple history or individual histories all serve as significant and fitting dates for your wedding. Not to mention, it’s totally romantic!
  • Favorite Wedding Planner: Because you’re planning on getting married, you’ve probably recorded or rented The Wedding Planner, Bride Wars, Bridesmaids, and every other typical wedding movie known to man. From these films or from following wedding trends, you know how important it is to have an amazing wedding planner for your special once-in-a-lifetime wedding day. Your favorite wedding planner’s availability may play a role in the date that you can choose. Be sure to match your wedding date desires with your planner’s weekend openings.
  • Holidays: Some holidays may be a no-go because of familial obligations, but if you’re determined to have a cupid pinata or Christmas tree at your wedding, a holiday wedding date may be for you. Although it is technically “your day,” depending on the holiday celebration, it may be acceptable to provide guests with some festive entertainment in combination with the wedding ceremony and reception. For example, if you love the Fourth of July, provide barbecued food for your wedding’s dinner and incorporate fireworks into your reception for great fun for all attendees!
  • Pricing: Traditionally, the most popular wedding months are May through August; thus, prices for planners, venues, flowers, etc. will most likely be higher during these months. If you and your lover are looking to save some money, try holding your wedding date in some of the lower-key months in Fall and Winter.
  • Season: If you’ve always dreamed of having your wedding in Lake Tahoe with the snowflakes falling down on your nose, low lighting, and a hot chocolate being served, Winter is your ideal wedding date season! Match your wedding date and individual personalities with the season that you’d like to celebrate your marriage in. As a small reminder, too hot or too cold is uncomfortable for you and your guests – be sure to make accommodations!
  • Special Accommodations: There are some guests that you just can’t celebrate without. If your great-aunt Myrtle is having hip surgery or your crazy cousin Gertrude is travelling to Croatia to inoculate newborn babies and they just have to be there to witness your nuptials, be sure to coordinate with them before choosing your wedding date. As a warning, if you offer this accommodation to one person, others may jump on the bandwagon too!
  • Tax Weekend: One of the most stressful times of year for everyone is April 15th – that being said, DO NOT schedule your wedding on that date unless you’re prepared to deal with some grumpy guests!

Your wedding date will be a day that you and your partner remember forever. You will have champagne glasses, photo albums, and future anniversary gifts engraved with that special date – choose wisely, and best of luck!

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When two lovers get engaged, it is typical practice for the man to purchase a beautiful diamond ring and place it on the left finger of his beloved – why? Well, this tradition can actually be linked back to the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. They believed that the circular shape of the ring symbolized eternity; however, wearing a ring in recognition of marriage did not become prominent until Roman times. Their rings were usually made of iron, but gold bands became more popular, and later were combined with beautiful jewels that symbolized things like the heart (ruby) and the heavens (sapphire). Because of its hard substance, the most coveted and meaningful of all precious gems was the diamond, symbolizing “the unconquerable.” The Greeks also believed diamonds to be fragments of fallen stars sent down from the Heavens, granting unearthly protection to the wearer.  The birthplace of diamonds was in India, where they were thought to be a shield against the forces of evil. Since their discovery, the world has always been enthralled with the seemingly mystical powers that diamonds behold, making it the perfectly timeless betrothal gift.
The wearing of the rings on the left hand “ring finger” began with the Egyptians who believed that the vena amoris, or vein of love, went directly from the heart all the way to the tip of this digit. Men started wearing wedding bands in the early 1300s, when the concept was introduced by the Greek Orthodox church. However, the tradition did not take off in the United States until the early 1900s during World War II. When they were unsure whether or not they would be able to return to their lover, the men would be able to look at this symbol of everlasting love and know that no matter how far away they were, their brides were thinking of them.

Photo Courtesy Of: Wedding Bee Blog

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It’s a tough economy, and you just got engaged – first off, congratulations! If you saw dollar signs instead of stars when it finally hit you that you have a wedding to plan, this article is for you. There are tons of things that you can do to help yourself save money on your wedding – we’ve got you covered. For example, the most fabulous centerpieces are the eye-catchers of the table. You may be asking yourself, “how do you create striking centerpieces for cheap?” Well, honey, here are a few helpful suggestions:

  1. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. Centerpieces may be the star of the linens, but they shouldn’t steal all the spotlight. Make sure that they tie in with the theme of the table, not overpower it.
  2. Guests enjoy edible arrangements. Place a colorful candle or table number in the middle of a bowl of fruit, silver Hershey’s kisses, or nuts. Not only will your centerpieces get the attention that they deserve, they will keep your guests from complaining while waiting for dinner to be served.
  3. Sentiment sells. Photos of you and your someone-to-be make excellent talking and laughing points as well as interesting centerpieces of the table. Take photos of you and your loved one holding up cut outs of numbers to let guests know what table they are sitting at. This is an extremely cute and relatively inexpensive idea.
  4. Match your theme with simplicity. For example, if you’re having a beach-themed wedding, place some sand, seashells, and a few candles in the middle of the table – the only thing you actually have to purchase are the candles. Collection of the sand and seashells is also a great project for the flower girls, ring bearers, and junior bridesmaids!
  5. Grow your own. Rustic, outdoorsy, eco-friendly/green, and bohemian are “in” right now – theme your wedding in such a fashion. Take the opportunity to develop your “love fern” with some actual planting. Flower seeds are cheap! Plant your own flowers in the months prior to the wedding and clip them before the ceremony. Put them in vases and voila! You’ve got beautiful, fresh flowers compliments of Mother Nature.

Photo Courtesy Of: WeddingChannel.com

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Have you ever been to a restaurant and used the dinner fork to eat your salad? Although this might not seem like a huge deal, proper dining etiquette is important to know if you plan on attending nice restaurants, business dinners, and especially nice weddings. Below is a relatively simple and universal diagram for proper dining etiquette:

Tips to Remember:

  • Bread on the Left, Drink on the Right: make a little “B” with your left hand and little “D” with your right to help you remember which is which.
  • Napkins Belong in Your Lap: Keep your napkin in your lap, unless you are excusing yourself from the table. If you must leave the table at any point during dinner, place your napkin to the left or right of your plate, or hang it over the back of your chair.
  • Passing Items: Always pass items from left to right, like you are reading the table.  If you are asked for the salt or pepper, both should be passed together.
  • The Do-NOTs of Formal Dining:
    • Do not wait for anyone to begin eating; eat when it is hot!
    • Do not slurp your soup.
    • Do not blow on your soup; let it cool before eating it.
    • Do not chew on your ice.
    • Do not smoke at dinner or excuse yourself for a smoking break.
    • Do not take leftovers (unless it is an informal dining experience).
    • Do not use your fingers to scoop your food onto your fork/spoon. Use your other utensils or piece of bread.
    • Do not put your elbows on the table.
    • Do not blow your nose at the table. If you need to, excuse yourself.
    • Do not cough into your hand or open air; use your napkin to cover your mouth.
    • Do not double dip; scoop a serving of the dip or salsa onto your plate.

Photos Courtesy Of: Classy & Fabulous Blog

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On Tuesday, the Catrina Maria Designs team had the opportunity to visit the beautiful city of San Francisco to see an “Over the Top” presentation by the world-renowned designer, Preston Bailey.


His story was truly inspiring to listen to, and the designs that he shared with us were jaw-droppingly intricate. We had so much fun! For more information about Preston Bailey’s background and amazing designs, visit his website at http://www.prestonbailey.com/.

Before we headed to the cocktail hour at the Julia Morgan Ballroom, we visited My Boudoir SF to talk to the amazing and very knowledgeable lingerie stylist, Miriam Hernandez, for a some girly fun! For questions about your own undergarments, visit her website at http://www.thelingeriestylist.com/. 

At the Preston Bailey NACE event, we had the chance to interact with some very exciting vendors! Some of our favorites were:


A big thank you to San Francisco NACE for hosting this event! The Catrina Maria Designs team had a blast!

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