Caring Hearts Ministry 
Engagement Season Rings In New Year of Excitement Welcome to 2019 Are you newly engaged or now engaging in the process~ While it is true that couples make that wonderful decision to marry at all times of the year, there seems to be something truly magical about this time as we transition from one season to the next, one year to the next and one way of life to the next. Yes, we said, ‘way of life’ as it is a change from looking at one’s life from the standpoint of ‘me’ to the standpoint of ‘we’. It is no longer simply the one of you but instead now it is the both of you blending your worlds together and making a newer greater world in which to live.  You each have your individuals likes and dislikes and together you have a lifestyle filled with the new things that each brings to the other. This is why we ask if you are newly engaged as in one of you popped the question (or you both did at the same time) or maybe you saw the changing of the calendar as the perfect opportunity to continue settling into the idea of marrying this year. Is the date set or are you considering the options? Will it be a short or long engagement? What decides that... you... the stars...the coming along... finishing school first. How have you decided on when the perfect time will be to wed?   January is a month for planning~ I can’t speak for you; but, I want to share that, for me and many whom I know, January is an ideal time to hunker down and do some planning. Maybe it is the ridiculously cold weather of Chicago that does it (today it is -4 degrees fahrenheit and  tomorrow it is predicted by the forecasters to get down to a warm [ha ha] -14 degrees..... that was MINUS 14). Somehow, being inside and taking out the tablet or other device and taking a look at how to make the most of time is a great idea. A time to think, think, think. Well, if we are going to do that, how about doing something that will at least be fun at the same time. How about..... let’s see (what might be a good idea.....) okay, okay, I know..... how about...Planning For The Wedding. Okay, if you insist. Did I need to do a lot of convincing here???? Probably Not. This can be a fantastic time to work out many of the preliminary details that are important to get the ball rolling and accomplishing some of the more important foundational plans. Topics like: How many people are we thinking of inviting? Will we be doing an inside or outside wedding? How many people will be standing up in our bridal party? Can you get really good margaritas at the place we have in mind (alright, this last one isn’t the highest in the priorities for the moment.... or, is it? Seriously though, January can seem like a long month with its thirty-one days and it is great to get busy (just what the doctor ordered to keep the flu away and to get many thoughts in place for setting the tone about your wedding day). Knowing how big or quaintly intimate it will be and having a rough idea when and where will help in taking that look at the budget coming up later in our discussion. Another key fundamental is to list out the vendor categories and what you’ll want from each. If you are hiring a pro photographer, do you want video service, too? At this point, don’t expect that you will know this precisely as you need to speak to some number and variety of them in order to get an idea of what services can be gotten so you can then decide what is important to you. Creating the rough draft list helps you to focus on the areas that you need to address as time moves forward.    The early bird gets the .... Who ever created the expression about ‘the early bird getting the worm’ got this moral of life so accurate - so very, very true. One thing everyone eventually learns in life is that if you procrastinate or don’t decide in a timely fashion, you can lose out on what you really want in life. Just as you knew that the person you are marrying is too special to let slip through your fingertips, so too can it be said for each aspect of your wedding day from preparation and rehearsal, the ceremony, the reception, the honeymoon and all the vendors who contribute their skills along the way and throughout that day. Making decisions of who you want most is like creating your own A-Team of elite people who together will allow you to see your vision becoming reality during every moment of your wedding day. You can have that fantastic, awesome and incredible, incredible, incredible day - it is possible. Couples often come to us, for example, because they are searching for best choice non denominational minister mchenry county and ours is a name that they find can be trusted to deliver a stellar officiating performance according to their tastes and needs. We would love to serve more people but the reality is that if we are already scheduled for some other wedding or service call, then we cannot be in two places at once. This is where finding who you like best and committing to them when you know for sure is a good way to ensure that you have exactly who you prefer (not settling for second or third best or - no one at all) before another couple ties them up for themselves. After deciding the venue, the next most important decision is to select.... The most critical decision to make when it comes to planning the wedding has got to be the WHERE QUESTION. Yes, Where are you going to get married and where are you going to hold the reception and where are you going to honeymoon? Unfortunately, everything comes down to the ‘where’ in life. Without knowing ‘where’ everything takes place, you can’t be sure of the WHEN as they both play hand in hand. You may be firm on your date. This means that you may have to sacrifice on the ‘where’ if someone else has the location reserved and there is no place there to accommodate more than one wedding, for example. If the wedding is to take place at your or someone else’s home, there is obviously less competition for the location. Have alternative types of locations that are equally nice as a choice. One factor may be that you require a place between both of your immediate families residences to make it convenient to get to the wedding and knowing a reasonably priced hotel or motel for people flying or driving in from out of town to stay. Maybe you want a special destination wedding and their availability must be checked which may lead to a changing of the date. In short, decide this as soon into the process as possible so you have your date and location set in stone. Make sure you sign whatever contract is required and give your security deposit or other remuneration to seal the deal. What comes next in important things to definitely do ASAP is to know about the wedding ceremony. Are you getting married by a minister for an elopement and then going off for a reception or are you planning on an actual ceremony? Where will the ceremony take place? Will it be at a local place of worship or at the same location as to where the reception is to be held? Note, many hotels, golf courses, banquet facilities and desirable locations like VFW halls, American Legions, museums and others offer side rooms for purposes of holding a ceremony as also it is true that they can set up for an outdoors ceremony or even in the same room as the reception coming later (it is just a matter of moving around tables and the chairs plus enhancing it with flowers, an archway and other amenities). Know WHO will perform the ceremony and (again) reserving this person and / or their religious accommodations will guarantee that someone will be at the end of the isle when you show up to tie the knot. After planning a lavish reception, the last thing you need is to look at one another and confess, “We forgot to line up a minister to marry us!” That wouldn’t be good.  Creating a Priorities List and checking it twice~ Now that the most important issues have been addressed, reserved and details looked at, you now can settle in to start reviewing and selecting the associated side vendor services which will make your day complete and provide for the memories you want most. Here we are talking about whether you will designate someone at the wedding to shoot photography or if you are hiring a pro. What about Flowers? You will have a bouquet and then there are the boutonnieres for the guys, wrist or other corsages for moms, how about the girls standing up - will they have miniature bouquets to carry? Are there to be centerpieces for reception tables, for pillars at the altar or frontal area of a gazebo? How will you arrive? How will the bridal party get there? Will you leave in your vehicle or something special (an antique car or limo or Rolls Royce)? If it is outside, do you need to rent rest room facilities? Use January as a time to get a firm handle on what vendors will be needed and then you can spend a couple of months talking to them and seeing what is offered so you can determine who has the flexibility and diversity to give you what you want now that you know what is available from this kind of service provider. Use any of the lists provided in bridal magazines to make sure you have all of your vendor categories listed. You don’t want to arrive too close to the date only to realize that you never looked into invitations, programs, where to get bubbles, party favors, gifts for the groomsmen and other tiny necessities (No, we didn’t mention the dress because we are assuming this is not something you’ll forget)..... but, it might be okay to forget the shoes, especially for a beach wedding where shoes are optional!!! Let each vendor help you to understand all of your options so you get a better idea on how much things cost and therefore what is within your reach financially and suitable to your personal tastes.  Budget, Budget, Budget  {It’s really not that tough to do - You Can Handle This with a little 5-minute mental prep session, courtesy of us} Here goes.... let us know if it takes more than five minutes!!! I know, no one likes to talk about money.... unless you are an accountant. BUT, eventually, a lot about your wedding will come down to the dollars and cents of it all. You need to address how many months there are to the wedding day keeping in mind that the reserving of vendors requires money (at least a little bit and later the final payment - not on the day of the wedding) just to get them to commit to you. Again, often the final payment is due according to each of their terms at some point before the wedding day to ensure they are paid by the customer. Realizing this and having done some homework already, you can put a table or chart together outlining estimations (look to be a little on the high side ) reflecting what is due during each upcoming month. A next vital area is to know where the money is to come from. Do Not Assume Here or you are setting yourself up for a major heartbreak if ‘when’ the money is coming in does not match the schedule or needs and you are then forced to cut back and at that point you are needing to figure out who you are committed to and how much is needed. How much are you looking to spend on the entire wedding? How much will come from each set of parents? Don’t assume that etiquette of who pays for what parts of the wedding will be honored by either side. Know if the person you think is paying for a rehearsal dinner is actually acceptable with doing this and for how much. Know where contributors stop and the rest is up to you (yes, each of you) from your savings or anticipated future earnings. How was that? Did it take five minutes. Take the pressure off by knowing how much to budget and where and when that money will be received. This will go a long way in reserving services, how much can be allocated to each vendor according to your anticipated needs and you will feel a lot better knowing who you can pick from instead of needing to make changes later due to a shortage of cash and no credit left on the credit card. Holding out for those Last Minute Deals, Steals.... so long as it’s not a Derailment You know that you had to put a budget together; but... it just so happens that you came across this ____ that you have to have and then of course there was also ___ and ____ and Ooooooo, we can’t pass this up - “It will be wonderful at the wedding” you’re thinking. It is easy to get that ‘kid in a candy store’ way of thinking and finding that the budget gets ignored in favor of a wish list of more and more goodies that are a ‘Must Have’. When we talk about making a list and checking it twice, this is so you have an understanding of just how far the budget can be stretched with causing a derailment of the whole celebration because you are over your head and trying to dream up ways to get more money, apply for credit .... even beg, borrow or steal, if that is what it will take to get that totally awesome ___. Some play a game of taking a chance that there will be mark downs, cancellations or other reasons for things being reduced in price giving you the ability to now take advantage of the super deal. This is not always a good strategy as you may end up not getting the quality service or product because you are settling for left overs - this means left over items left behind by previous brides and left over service providers who were not selected yet since someone better passed their tests better. It is always better to set your sites wisely, know best about what you can allocate in terms of money to pay for it and get that item or reserve that service which you know you will be happy with rather than waiting for some revelation that may never come your way. You don’t want to settle for the only minister not working that day, nor do you want the photographer who just bought a camera at Walmart and decided to put an advertisement on Craigs List in hopes of making some side job money. Don’t play the game of monitoring web sites, flyers and the like hoping who you prefer will somehow drop a price. By the time that happens, they may not be able to accommodate your date and then you are left back at square one looking all over again for the next best ___. Thinking That You Need Some Helpppppp  You both work full time jobs, you have a newborn plus another child, your company is asking you to take a course at night to be certified in using a certain piece of medical equipment, your partner is re-painting a room, you together decided to adopt a pet (okay, you got the cat and she wanted the dog so you compromised and got both pets..... now comes training them on going to the bathroom in the kitty box or outside and not on your favorite pair of socks... or worse). Let’s not forget that we need to get the brakes re-done and there are three birthdays and a cousin’s wedding coming up, too. WOW.... yes, we do find couples this busy. When you have a lot going on, you might want to consider the help of a professional planner to take the burden off in many areas. If the budget permits, one of these pros can help alleviate the stress and enjoy more of the process leading up to the wedding. The biggest thing to know here is to set the goals for the planner along with boundaries so the planner does not over step boundaries that you want established. You want to be in charge of the decisions - not the planner. The planner should be carrying out your requests to ensure you get done what you expect and that everyone is effectively handling and abiding by their responsibilities correctly and without skimping on the details. If a wedding planner is not in the cards, try to make use of delegation skills that you have deep within your personal abilities to get things done. Enlist the help of parents, members of the bridal party and anyone else you can acquire. Now you have all of these people in charge of seeing to it that you get what you expect. These people get the chance to feel important and as a part of your wedding and the vendors know that they must perform as expected (not to mention this keeps communications between you as the couple and the vendors open so as to eliminate any last minute confusions). Hire that planner or enlist assistance. Don’t try to do it all alone. You’ll feel a great relief as the burden of coordination if listed from just resting on your shoulders and a noticeable amount of pressure off so you can enjoy this time leading up to your spectacular wedding day . Don’t Sweat .... There are big things in life and then there are little things in life. A big thing is that you both are healthy. A big thing is that you both make it to the wedding (I didn’t say on time... just that you got there). A big thing is that {Hmmmmm, I can’t think of anything else}. The reason for the latter is that besides the few really big things in life and about your wedding, everything else are all ‘little things’. Yes, they truly are little things in terms of relative importance. It is true that no one likes if the bouquet for the bride gets left at the hotel, the rings never came in as ordered so you have to use someone else’ rings, the flowers were a slight shade different or not the right flower arrangement, that the ...................... Actually, the more complicated a wedding or other event, the more likely ‘some thing’ will not quite measure up to expectations. The main point to always keep in mind is that the little things truly are ‘little things’ Don’t shoot for perfection unless you want an ulcer along the way. Aim high but enjoy the day when it arrives. Here’s The Wrap Up So here we are in the month of January, looking out the window and wondering how best to enjoy our time ... and it happens that you are engaged to get married. You can choose to do something boring or you can work on having fun planning for your wedding. Being a long month gives you plenty of opportunity to take your time in preparing for that date. If you haven’t done so thus far, try to set the date and location for the wedding. These are essential because it determines your theme, what month and where you hope to have for your day. Get the minister or other clergy reserved to ensure you have the ceremony under way. Create that list of the vendor categories which will be most needed and have some additional ones in case you run into having extra money to spend. Set up an over all budget detailing out where (from whom) money will be coming and when you can expect this for meeting your reservation deposits and retainers on time to get the vendors you want most. One by one, decide on the complete package of exact items and services you need, knowing the final costs to decide if more money will be needed or if there is money left over to enhance the wedding from other ideas on your secondary wish list. Next, enjoy the process by not trying to do everything yourself. Hire a professional wedding planner or enlist assistance from those willing to help (bridal attendants and closest friends or relatives). Lastly, make this fun. Make this fun (I know I repeated myself). Nothing in life is ever perfect. You both love each other and at the end of the day, nothing else matters other than the fact you two are together. If something goes not quite as intended or arranged, consider dealing with it through the professional planner or your other lieutenants (bridal party and close friends) who are there to lend assistance and pave the way to your fantastic memories. Planners usually are very good at negotiating and insisting on improvement or due compensation back for a vendor’s failure to uphold to their promises and parents especially can put their foot down insisting on better service during the wedding when you need the help most or even after the day is over. You have one main task to concentrate on - to enjoy your wedding day. Wrap yourself in the joy of the venture savoring the moments of this uniquely special time together planning the ceremony and celebration that will begin it all for you both. With some good planning and the right attitude, you are ready for an exciting year counting down the days to those moments of looking at each other and saying, ‘I Do’. This is where the really fun part starts... Ready... Set....Go.    Best of Luck to you Both!!!
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Caring Hearts Ministry
Conveniently located in Crystal Lake ~  and proudly serving ~ McHenry County, Kane County, Winnebago County, Lake County, Cook County, DuPage County, Kendall County, Boone County, Ogle County + Lake Geneva and surrounding Wisconsin areas
Copyright © 2008-19, Caring Hearts Ministry. All Rights Reserved.
We are a non-denominational ministry service which accepts all regardless of race, national origin or sexual preferrence. Visit us and see for yourself how we can become a refreshing difference in your life.
Whether you wnat to get married quickly at the minister’s home or at a local park… OR.. if you are doing it up bigger at a favorite venue or destination spot, Rev. Bob will create and deliver before you and your friends & family a beautifully intimate ceremony that everyone will thoroughly enjoy and talk fondly about for many, many years to come.
Rev. Bob has married over 700 couples since 2007  
Rev. Robert D Russell