Monday, February 1, 2021

Wedding Speeches

by Deborah Joy Block, Certified Wedding Planner, National Wedding Dance Expert, Matchmaker and Certified Relationship Life Coach

For Western weddings, the vows, the First Dance and speeches are the most sacred rituals of the entire wedding day. All three are expressions of your love and none can be outsourced to a vendeor or delegated to your bridal party. All three focus on the reason why you got engaged and married. These three rituals acknowledge special people and make everyone feel connected regardless of the size of the group by sharing your true emotions. You will have several opportunities to briefly thank your guests during the receiving line, visiting tables and written thank you notes but this will be your only way to publickly expresss yourself in a more substantial way and have your sentiments recorded on video. Possible speech topics might include talking about what you love most about your spouse, what lessons you learned from specific honored guests about marriage, what marriage means to you, etc....Here are a few tips for giving a great speech:

Who speaks? Traditionally the groom speaks on the bride’s behalf but in modern times guests enjoy hearing from both the bride and groom. Both sets of parents should be represented as well as the Best Man and Maid of Honor. Let everyone know ahead of time when their speech will take place in the timeline and ask them to keep their speech to no longer than 3 minutes.

Acknowledgements: Begin your speech by acknowledging and thanking the speaker who came before you for their kind words.

Humor: Opening your speech with a bit of humor is a great way to get the attention of your guests.

Keep it short: There is a good chance that your wedding includes several speeches. For that reason, it is a good idea to keep all speeches under 3 minutes.

Name Names: If you plan to name names when it comes to who helped with your wedding, it is a good idea to make sure that you have the names written down and share how they hellped you have a perfect wedding. Also mention a general thank you to all who have contributed but have not been specifically named to avoid hurt feelings.

Timing: The engagement party, bridal rehearsal and reception should all include speeches. The timing can affect the energy flow of the so it is important that it fits into the timeline. Most commonly speeches occur during the cake cutting or dinner.

Practice makes perfect: You should practice reading your speech out loud several times. This isn't necessarily to memorize the speech. You should have a few bullet points that you can improvise from the heart so that you will not have to stare at the paper the whole time. Instead, you should be looking around at your guests as you speak.

Thank your parents: This is the perfect time to tell them how much you love them and appreciate everything they've done for you and how special they are and how proud you are of their accomplishments and contributions to your growth. Regard your wedding speech as an opportunity to reassure your parents that they are not losing a child but gaining a son/daughter. You could also thank them for teaching you specific values that you feel will contribute to helping you be a good spouse to your partner.

Thank your in-laws: Thank your new parents for welcoming you into their family and express how happy you are to be part of their family. If you have tensions with them you can at least compliment them on raising a fabulous person and reassure them that you'll take care of their son/daughter.

Thank your spouse: Let everyone present know how happy you are to be married to him/her and why. Don't worry if you end up crying, your family guests and spouse will understand any outpouring of emotions you feel. 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Premarital Coaching: The Benefits of Marriage

by Deborah Joy Block, Certified Life Coach, Event Planner, Matchmaker and Wedding Dance Expert

Congratulations on finding your soul mate! It is truly a blessing to marry your best friend. Your wedding day will be one of the happiest days of your life but it’s only the beginning of an amazing journey. Marriage, the union of one man and one woman, is a sacred and personal but, not private relationship as it has great public significance. Marriage is good for the couple and it also provides the optimal conditions for bearing and raising children. Marriage makes an essential contribution to the common good of society. Some specific benefits are identified below. Virginia does not allow the creation of a “common law” marriage, a relationship in which a couple lives together but have not participated in a lawful ceremony. Unlike some other states, in Virginia a couple cannot acquire marital rights and responsibilities by living together for a particular period of time. For example, as a domestic partner, you cannot collect your partner’s social security. Read on for the many benefits of a lawful marriage.

Sex gets even hotter: By now you've learned eachother's hot spots and pleasure zones and you really know and trust each other. What you may have wondered about before can be something you work out together. Little is off limits and you don't worry about being judged when you express your needs and desires.

Your appreciation for one another grows: You may have appreciated the gestures your partner did while you were dating but his loyalty and commitment holds even more weight when you are juggling a busy household together or navigating stressful moments in life which inevitably arise in marriage. Plus when you see some of your other friend's partners, you may just appreciate how awesome yours is.

The love you feel gets even stronger: The reality is that falling in love and being in love are very different chemically in our brains so don't expect the daily fireworks you had in the first year of dating. In many ways though your love can grow deeper and stronger through time. And even though you may not want to makeout all the time like you used to, you can still find time for novelty, play and adventure. Marriage magnifies everything. Some of your partners quirks become more irritating but your partners strengths will become even greater as you grow closer. In a good relationship you grow together and make each other better people. 

Marriage and Health: On average, husbands and wives are healthier, happier and enjoy longer lives than those who are not married. Men appear to reap the most physical health benefits from marriage and suffer the greatest health consequences of divorce. Married mothers have lower rates of depression than single or cohabitating mothers, probably because they are more likely to receive practical and emotional support from their child's father and his family.

Marriage and Wealth: Married couples build more wealth on average than singles or cohabiting couples. Married men earn more money than single men with similar education and job histories. Married women are economically better off than divorced, cohabiting or never married women. 

Marriage and children: Children raised by their own married mother and father are less likely to be poor or to experience persistent economic insecurity, more likely to stay in school, have fewer behavioral and attendence problems and earn four year college degrees. They are less vulnerable to serious emotional illness like depression and suicide and are more likely to have positive attitudes towards marriage and greater success in forming lasting marriages.

Marriage and Crime/Domestic Violence: Married women are at lower risk for domestic violence than women in cohabiting or dating relationships. Boys raised in single parent homes are more likely to engage in criminal and delinquent behavior than those raised by two married biological parents. Married women are significantly less likely to be the victims of violent crime than single or divorced women. Married men are less likely to perpetrate violent crimes than unmarried men.

Marriage and Society: The institution of marriage reliably creates the social, economic and affective conditions for effective parenting. Being married changes people's lifestyles and habits in ways that are personally and socially beneficial. Marriage is a seedbed of prosocial behavior. Being married changes peoples lifestyles and habits in ways that are personally and socially beneficial. Marriage is a seedbed of prosocial behavior. Marriages generates social capital. The social bonds created through marriage yield benefits not only for the family but for others as well including the larger society.

Marriage and money: Married couples qualify for an estate tax marital deduction. When one spouse dies, his or her estate passes to the surviving spouse, tax-free. That's not true for domestic partners. However there is a marital income tax penalty as you are taxed in a higher bracket as the government considers your incomes combined. You'll qualify for the gift tax marital deduction. As long as your spouse is a US citizen you can make tax free gifts of any amount to him or her. Unmarried couples may be surprised to find out that they owe gift taxes as a result of making gifts or supporting each other. You can roll over a deceased spouse's IRA to the surviving spouses's IRA. If your significant other dies with an IRA and you arent married you'll have to start taking distributions immediately regardless of your age. A surviving spouse has the option to roll over the IRA into his or her own IRA which makes it possible for a younger surviving spouse to postpone minimum distributions until a certain age. Married individuals can contribute to a spousal IRA. If you are a domestic partner and you don't work, you can't contribute to an IRA for retirement savings since you have no earned income. However if you're married and you have a working spouse, the non working spouse can use the working spouses income to qualify for IRA contributions. Married persons can receive survivors benefits from a pension plan. If your spouse is lucky enough to have a pension and they've elected to have survivors benefits, you will continue receiving pension benefits after he or she dies. You can receive the social security benefits of your spouse once he/she has died. You'll save on health insurance. Usually plans for onne plus a spouse a re cheaper than if you each have your own plan especially if it is an employer sponsored plan. This is especially helpful if one of you qualifies through your employer and you can bring the spouse on board with the plan coverage. If both of you are self employed however, health insurance is prohibitively expensive and your join income will likely disqualifiy you from Obamacare subsidies. 

Marriage and the Law: If your significant other is in the hospital, you may have more difficulty visiting him if you aren't a blood relation or a legal spouse. And if a judge has to name someone to make healthcare or financial deciasions on behalf of your partner, you may be overlooked in favor of a parent or sibling if you aren't married. You have more protection if your spouse dies. If one passes away without a will the state is going to dictate where your assets go. If your significant other still has parents and sibling in the equation they may recieve assets over a boyfriend or girlfriend. Prenuptial Agreement benefits - it's presumed under the law that when two people get married they are creating an economomic partnership. Filing taxes jointly may or may not help you depending on how much income each person earns.

Marriage and Expectations: Old assumptions may melt away. Individuals previously fearful of committment may find intimacy to be very healing. Feminists that were previously opposed to changing their names or reticent to have children may find themselves softening and welcome these changes as  a beautiful gift, as the love grows the urge to bring more love into the family increases and she sees the many blessings of relying on someone special to be her soft place to fall.


Dance Style: Waltz

by Deborah Joy Block, National Wedding Dance Expert


The German "Landler", a folk dance, is supposed to be the forerunner of the Waltz. During the 18th Century, a dance developed, which was called the walzen, German for to roll, turn or glide. The Walzen was met with outraged indignation by the older generation when first introduced into the ballrooms of the world in the early 19th century because it was the first dance where the couple danced in a modified closed position-with the man's hand around the waist of the girl. Regardless, the Waltz became popular through many parts of Germany and Austria. The Waltz was given a tremendous boost around 1830 by two great Austrian composers - Franz Lanner and Johann Strauss: they set the standard for the Viennese waltz (a very fast version of the Waltz).

The first time the waltz was danced in the United States was in Boston in 1834 by Lorenzo Papanti. The Boston, a more sedate form of the fast Viennese Waltz, danced at a leisurely 90 beats per minute. It evolved in America around 1870 and by the 1920s had slowed down even more to ¾ time with strong accent on the first beat and a basic pattern of step-step-close. This slower version of the Waltz retained the characteristic traveling and turning figures while allowing for more figures and a dip. It is popularly know n as the "traditional American wedding dance" and is often used for Father/Daughter and Mother/So n dances. Its characteristic lilt using undulating rise and fall technique and shoulder sways gives the dance an oceanic or floating quality.

Song examples of Waltzes:

"Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog
"Fascination" by Nat King Cole
"If You Don't Know Me by Now" Simply Red
"Play Me" by Neil Diamond
"Moon River" Breakfast at Tiffany's Soundtrack
"Open Arms" by Journey
"Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof"
"Come Away With Me" Norah Jones

Waltz Song Suggestion List 

Waltz Video