Perfecting The Open-Air Wedding

If your ideal day includes having an outdoor wedding, then the next concern is location. Every outdoor wedding venue has its own unique essence to offer. But they all share one important characteristic: they are all vulnerable to the weather.

Rain can render the ground soggy so that chairs sink when the guests take their seats. Wind gusts can send decorations flying. The temperature can take a sudden spike, and the wedding party and guests can find themselves melting under a relentless sun. Any weather event that can be imagined can become a reality.

The best way to protect any outdoor wedding from being ruined by an unforeseen weather occurrence is to have a backup plan. Commercial tents with available walls can provide shade and protection against rain and most winds. Once the tent is erected, the choice of using it or lowering its walls can be made the day of the wedding. The tent can also be partitioned at one end to provide a dressing room for the bride and the wedding party.

If Mother Nature has cooperated and the weather is perfect, the nuptials and the reception can be held under the tent or outside of it as desired. But without a tent as a backup, wind, rain or heat can ruin the event. The other available backup plan is to have an indoor location on standby. Depending upon the number of guests, this backup location could be a relative’s home, a church, a hotel banquet room or a rental hall.

The cost of getting married is significant, and paying for two venues is generally beyond what any wedding couple is willing or able to do. That’s why creating an outdoor wedding requires diligent research and planning. A summertime outdoor wedding in southern Ontario will not have the same concerns as a wedding in Sudbury at the same time of the year. When planning outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions, the Almanac and the Canadian weather service are valuable resources.

Outdoor wedding supplies and decorations
Other precautions that will make the outdoor wedding experience more enjoyable include:
• clips to hold tablecloths in place
• umbrellas for shade
• hand fans for individual cooling
• insect deterrents
• flags, balloons or lanterns to dissuade birds from joining the celebration
• designated access for disabled guests
• space heaters if cold
• a beverage station with cool or hot drinks as weather appropriate
• shelter for the cake table
• pins, ties, tape and clips to secure altar and reception decorations
• moist towelettes for guests
• clean portable restroom facilities
• a portable dance floor
 

Questions to ask
• Is alcohol permitted?
• Is a band or disc jockey permitted?
• Is there a curfew time for the reception?
• Where can guests park?
• Does an attendant maintain portable restrooms during the event?
• Is it permissible to erect a tent?
• Can poles, a bridal arch, lampposts or other structures be inserted into the ground?
• Are any special permits needed for this wedding or reception?

Nothing quite compares to a day celebrated under the open skies. All the additional preparations are worth the effort, for getting married amid the wonders of nature is amazing.

Coping with rain
You’ve chosen a summer wedding. Whether it’s in your parents’ backyard or on the beach or in a flower garden, reciting your vows under blue skies and warm sunshine surrounded by nature (such as sweet-smelling, multi-hued flowers, chirping birds or crashing waves) is as good as it gets. Members of the wedding party and guests alike will walk away with enhanced memories of the event. Give out beach or garden wedding favours and your wedding will be remembered by all for
many years to come.

However, it can literally rain on your parade. No one can predict the weather, especially months in advance; unless, of course, you go to the trouble and expense of
flying the wedding party and guests to a place that has a Mediterranean climate. There you know that it will not rain during the summer. It is pretty much guaranteed that during certain months of the year, there is zero rainfall. Thus the bride and groom can plan an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception with no fear of them or their guests being drenched by a sudden downpour.

However, most young couples contemplating an outdoor summer wedding do not travel to a place with a no-rain guarantee. So do the young lovers have to ditch their dream of an outdoor wedding because of the very real possibility that it may rain? Do they have to have the ceremony or reception indoors? Not necessarily. There is the possibility that the soon to be newlyweds can have their (wedding) cake and eat it (outside) — all the while having everyone attending their wedding protected from the elements.

How can this protection be achieved? That’s easy to answer. By renting a tent! The couple can plan their wedding as an outdoor event, yet as the day of the wedding gets closer and the weather report for the upcoming nuptials is available, they can modify their plans. If the weather forecast calls for a sunny day, then there is no need to change what they have already decided to do. However, if there is a strong likelihood of rain, than they can have a huge tent erected on the  grounds and have the ceremony and reception inside — but not actually indoors.

Some people might think that it’s a big step down to be married — or celebrate a marriage — in a tent of all things. Rental tents can be quite elegant and enormous, with the ability to comfortably seat dozens, if not hundreds, of people. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to rent a tent even if the weather is sunny with no clouds in sight. After all, if the day is very hot and humid, the guests might prefer to be indoors away from the strong rays of the sun. Or there may be lots of mosquitoes and other undesirable bugs or pests flying or crawling around, and being in a tent will provide welcome protection from them. Sunny or rainy, a tent can help make one’s wedding the amazing day it deserves to be.

 

Vera Unveiled – Stay True to Yourself

by Vera Wang

On your wedding day, stay true to yourself.

On your wedding day, stay true to yourself. It may sound cliché, but brides look most radiant when they look natural. Use makeup to enhance your features, not to create a mask.

I recommend focusing on a skin-toned foundation to create an evenness and powder that reduces shine for photographs. Day or night, avoid brightly colored eye shadows or too elaborate an eye in general.

Hair, also should not disguise you or succumb to current trends. An amazing haircut and a great blow dry will always surpass any contrived hairstyle. Hair accessories can be beautiful if chosen carefully – they should never overpower you or your gown. –XO, Vera

Content derived from the Vera Wang Blog, Vera Unveiled

 

Wedding Planners: 4 Reasons I Love Working With Them

When I arrive at the on-location wedding ceremony venue, I am seeing more and more couples hiring wedding planners or that the site is providing coordinators. I love it when I meet these people. They can make my and the couple’s day less stressful.

There are many kinds of wedding planners. Some just do the design. Most will either take care of the whole event or be hired as day-of planners. Many of the better venues will assign a site coordinator to help you for the day. Their mission is to make your life easier. They also make it easier for me to focus on the couple’s ceremony.

The Project Priceless wedding was well planned

Here are four key reasons why I love working with planners or site coordinators:

They update me on the current situation. I arrive usually about thirty minutes before the start of the ceremony. It is wonderful to have someone who can tell me what the current status is. They can tell me what the flow of the day is, if the musicians are on time, where the photographers are and any number of details. More importantly, they can tell me if the bride and groom have changed anything since we last spoke. I don’t have to seek out and bother the bride or groom for these updates.

They make sure the site is ready. It is up to the planner/coordinator to make sure that all is set up for the ceremony. They can ensure that we have the flowers for the rose ceremony in place, that the lighting is right, and that we have a nicely placed table for the signing of the license.

They help me with the GO. The planner/coordinator will help get the bride to the location on time, line up all the bridal party and help open the door for the start. I love it when they keep things on track.

They are there for the unexpected. The best planners/coordinators intervene when they see a problem. They solve the issues without my saying anything. It makes for great teamwork. If they see that there are not enough seats, they get more. If the wine glass for the ceremony fell over in the wind, they immediately replace it.

I highly recommend that if the couple can afford it, that a wedding planner or site coordinator be used for their special day. It reduces their stress enormously. The bride and groom will have a more relaxed and enjoyable wedding knowing that they have someone looking after them.

Hot New Trend – Spa Bridal Shower

by: Diane Lynn Thomas

The bridal shower is an event with all the ladies on your guest list, usually held 2 – 4 months before the wedding.  The most traditional type of bridal shower is serving lunch, playing a few games and open gifts in settings such as a restaurant, banquet facility, country club or perhaps right in your home.  Brides are now looking for unique and different ideas to move away from the norm.  Some are considering a wine tasting tour, “breakfast with the bride”, an afternoon tea party, or perhaps a river cruise.  One of the hottest trends we are now seeing is the Spa Bridal Shower.

What woman doesn’t deserve a day at the spa?  Some go on a regular basis while others only treat themselves on rare occasions.  How cool would it be for your lady guests to open up a spa-theme invitation asking to come and get pampered with bride?

After arriving dressed casually and comfortably, the day could start off with a yoga routine, and then be followed by a deep cleaning mask, a neck message and finish with a manicure and pedicure.  The ideas are up to you to choose! You can provide mineral water, flavoured water, fruit shakes, a healthy lunch – preferably finger foods, as it would be more comfortable for mixing and mingling.  Definitely provide a little treat or cake for dessert (gotta have a little bit of calories) with sliced fresh fruit.

You could rent out a spa salon for the day, but I would bet that most salons accommodate you on a day they are closed or after regular business hours.  If the rental of the facility is out of your budget, then look into doing it right in your home!  Many companies offer a variety of in-home spa services.  Decor would be very minimal, just a few floral arrangements, scented candles and of course, relaxing music.

The gift to your guests could be a “spa goody bag” with items such as massage oils, hand creams, scented candles or bath salts.  The gifts from the guests may also include a theme – they can purchase gift certificates, beauty products, lingerie, or any personalized items for the bride.  Perhaps you already have all the toasters you need!

Due to costs, a spa day wedding shower may not be designed for a large group, but is a great idea for a small number of women.  Call around and get a few different quotes to compare services.  

Every woman loves to be pampered in such a relaxed and casual atmosphere.  It adds to the enjoyment when you all have something to celebrate! It certainly is a unique idea that your guests will definitely talk about. Being treated like a princess all day – sounds like fun to me! has

Diane Lynn Thomas has been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years, specializing in event planning and delivering the perfect wedding for the last fifteen in Canada. Her blog can be found at:  I Just Said Yes

Getting Your Vows Just Right

Finding the right celebrant
By Iris Winston
Inset Photo by Melissa Johnson Photography

After the excitement of the marriage proposal and acceptance comes the joy of the engagement and sharing the news with family and friends.
When the immediate euphoria passes, the practicality of planning the wedding is before you. The first questions to be answered about the ceremony are the three w’s — when, where and who.

For people who are regular members of any religious congregation, selecting a date, location, celebrant and type of ceremony are clear. The decisions are more difficult for couples without such a connection. (They may even find that most spiritual leaders are unwilling to marry couples who have not demonstrated religious commitment by regularly attending a house of worship.) This is where the growing industry of wedding officiants comes into play. The aim, says Lynne Langille, who co-owns Exceptional Ceremonies with her husband, Keith, is to help couples make a meaningful choice and give them a day filled with special memories.

“We call ourselves both officiants and celebrants,” says Lynne, a retired teacher, who has been a licensed officiant for seven years. “We put a lot of energy and passion into the ceremonies we perform and we like our couples to feel that way too.”
“We want the ceremony to fit the couple like tailor-made clothing,” says Keith, also a licensed officiant. “We have designed our ceremonies to be highly personalized, with many optional elements and some humour. We want the people who attend the ceremony, as well as the couple, to be really engaged and to enjoy it.”
“We have clients who are spiritual but not ‘churchy’ and they want a certain control over what is said,” says Lynne. “Everything in the ceremony is completely approved by the couple.”
The affianced couple also has free choice over where to hold the wedding. “We do many home weddings, mainly outdoors. We also go to places like Strathmere, the Billings Estate, museums, art galleries, hotels and restaurants. It’s really up to the couple.”
On the other hand, couples married by officiant Reverend Dave Hunter, an ordained minister with the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, go to the wedding chapel he has built on his North Gower property.
“We are trying to provide an alternative to big wedding venues and offer a low-cost means of having a wedding in a dignified manner,” says Dave, who wears a second hat as a chiropractor. Dave suggests a general wedding format to the couple, he explains. “We provide a template for couples to build on. They can add their vows and readings and different formats about how they feel.”
“Basically, we are providing ministry to the ‘unchurched’ or people who don’t have a church but still have a belief,” says Dave, who also performs baptisms and funerals at the chapel. Reverend Susan Guimond, an ordained minister with the Ottawa Interfaith Spiritualist Church, offers a  different type of alternative approach. “Our ceremonies are completely open and imaginative,” she says. “People from very different backgrounds will tell me what is important to them. For instance, I just married myself, and our important issue was my calling to the church and his calling to travel. Our issue was supporting each other in what we love to do, so we put that in the ceremony in a spiritual context.”
Susan points out that couples married at her church must have a second wedding ceremony to legalize their marriage. “They have to marry twice, in the church and then they go to a justice of the peace and marry again. The reason is that the church has only been in existence for three years and we don’t have marriage rites yet,” she explains. “Every religion has its own requirements,” notes Lynne, who taught religion as well as other subjects in the Ottawa Catholic school system for 37 years. She explains that officiants in Ontario need to have a clergy number to be licensed. The Langilles’ own marriage was in the Roman Catholic Church, so they obtained their clergy number through that church. Currently, there are close to 300 licensed officiants in Ontario.
For information:
Exceptional Ceremonies; www.exceptionalceremonies.com
Rev. Dave Hunter; www.avalleywedding.com
Ottawa Interfaith Spiritualist Church; www.oisc.byethehost15.com

 

Wedding Advice: Prepare and then Focus on What’s Right

You have spent many hours preparing for your wedding. You can get all caught up in the details and become upset when they don’t all come together. In focusing on what is right – your marriage – you can ride these out and have a fondly remembered day.

There have been countless times when I’ve seen stressed out brides just before a ceremony. They have worried about the color of the rose petals that the flower girl will carry and a never ending list of small things. Unfortunately, they can lose sight of what is important – their marriage.

I arrived at the golf course in Montreal to perform the wedding ceremony. They had hoped to have the wedding outdoors. The weather had not cooperated and the grounds master would not allow it to occur on the grass. This was the beginning of many challenges with this wedding. When I checked in with the groom, I found him so nervous that I thought he would faint at any moment. She had forgotten a get a glass for the “Breaking the Glass” ritual and reached around and gave me a standard wine glass from the bar. I needed to hunt around and haul a table so that we could do the signing. By the time the ceremony began, two water column vases had been knocked over and broken. As the bride walked down the aisle, she almost tripped over the runner. Her bridesmaids were not in the right order at the front and her parents got confused in where they were to sit. All this before I started talking at the ceremony.

I love this bride. She could have freaked out at any time. Instead, she took it all in stride and focused on what was important – she was marrying her man. It was fitting that one of her readings was the following:

“Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficult and fear assail your relationship – as they threaten all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.”

I later received an email thanking me for all the laughs and tears on her big day – a day that is now a fond memory.

Are You Camera Ready?

Know what you want when looking for a photographer
compiled by R. Legault

Great wedding photos serve as a fabulous reminder of your big day, so you want to make sure your photographer is knowledgeable and dependable. You should start  looking for your photographer well in advance of the wedding to give yourself the time to find the right person and to make sure the photographer books your event into his/ her busy schedule.

Talk to friends who are married and ask if they would recommend the photographer they used. Many specialize in weddings, so going with someone who has expertise in this area may be an advantage as far as organization and experience goes.
 
A lot of wedding photographers now have their portfolios online, so you can have a peek at their work without even contacting them or needing to pencil in an appointment, which is a great time saver. Look at the style of the photography and assess whether or not that is what you are looking for. Some wedding photographers are more into candid photography than portrait photography — but talented ones can do both. Have an idea in mind of what you would like — a lot of people go with a mix between the two — as your photographer will most likely ask about what you want early on in your communication.
 
Transportation and coordination become more complex if your photos are being taken at an off-site location, so consider who will be part of the wedding shoot in advance so you can make any necessary arrangements.
Many photographers offer photography packages — different packages that will cover a photographer’s presence at different parts of the day. For example, a package may or may not cover the “getting ready” part of the day with the bride, so be sure to clarify what your package includes. Some photographers bring along an assistant, so if you want the groom and groomsmen to be photographed getting ready at the same time as the bride, a photographer might have an assistant carry out those duties.

Packages are usually defined by the parts of the day they include:
• Getting ready.
• The ceremony (including the signing of the marriage certificate, etc.)
• The combination of bride, groom, wedding party and family shots usually happens between the ceremony and the pre-reception (cocktails before dinner) or the reception, but these days a lot of people are also doing their wedding photos before the wedding ceremony in order to fit their time schedule for the wedding venue and dinner. This, of course, requires a somewhat non-traditional couple who are okay with seeing/being seen in their wedding outfits before they walk down the aisle.
• The pre-reception (cocktails before dinner).
• The reception.
• The dance and the after party.

 
Ask what kind of coverage the wedding photographers are offering and form your idea of what it is worth to you. If you have coverage for the whole day, you may need to plan for the photographer and assistant to eat with your guests (so count a couple of extra people for food and beverages) or have a break so that they can arrange for food themselves.
 
Also ask yourself if you want/need pictures of your guests eating. Many people value photos of the first dance and the cutting of the cake, so a day-long booking with a photographer may be the way to go. Or consider asking a skilled friend to take photos later in the day after the photographer has departed. Consider what your priority is — is it full photographic coverage or an affordable fee?

Once you have decided on a wedding photographer and made the booking, make sure to call and follow up a month in advance of the wedding date to confirm the location and times. Make sure the wedding photographer knows where you are to be found (hotel name, address, room number, etc.) if they are covering the early part of the day when you get ready.

 
Some photographers take it upon themselves to research the wedding location and look for spots that will do well for wedding pictures. Be sure to ask them for their advice and if they have been in the area before. Or, if you have a particular place in mind, let them know that in advance — don’t wait for the wedding day — so they can plan all the lighting measurements and other procedures they require.
 
It is becoming more and more common that the Internet and computer technology is involved in the process of getting your wedding photos. Some photographers offer an online site where you can proof all your images once they are done and decide which ones you want. Some wedding photographers will give you a DVD with all your wedding pictures on it or allow you to visit a site where you can download them. Some wedding photographers also put together wedding albums of the chosen photos.
 
Wedding photo albums are great gifts for the parents of the groom and the bride — and don’t forget one for yourselves! Although computers are very convenient it is very nice to have a tangible book dedicated to your wedding day that you can go back and look at whenever you want to.
Compiled by R. Legault from files of Ottawa Wedding Magazine and
www.everythingaboutweddings.net.

Up Close & Personal

Keeping the wedding reception the right size and style for you

Story by: Iris Winston,
Photos by: Melanie Shields and courtesy of Stonefields Heritage Farm

Riding up the gravel driveway in a horse-drawn carriage towards a pre-Confederation farmhouse may be the beginning of your dream-wedding scenario. Or, perhaps you think in terms of an intimate, elegant dinner with your immediate family and closest friends in a downtown or country restaurant that has a special meaning for you and your partner. Then again, maybe you like the idea of a weekend destination wedding close to home. Any of these dreams can become reality in the National Capital Region.
At Stonefields Heritage Farm in Beckwith, Stephanie Brown and her partner, Steve Malenfant, offer outdoor wedding packages from May to October that offer” superior offerings and customer service and with an emphasis on detail,” she says. “We host the weddings at the farm where we live,” she explains, noting that caterers are brought in to offer guests a variety of menu options. “People who have come here say they like the fact that we’re involved in every detail, from the wedding coordination and tending the gardens, to dealing with any catering questions, and even helping the bride zip up her dress.”
Stephanie says that weddings are held in a large tent set up for the season. “The views all around are century-old barns, oldfashioned fencing and fields. A local farmer keeps his cattle in two ofour fields and, next year, there will also be Clydesdale horses. Part of our plan is to work with the riding academy across the street to make a horse-drawn carriage available.”
“Our goal is to make sure that people shouldn’t feel they are going to a wedding factory or a hotel,” emphasizes Stephanie. “We want them to feel as though they are coming home when they come here.”
For those who prefer an urban setting with just a handful of wedding guests, the Courtyard Restaurant in Ottawa’s Byward Market may be the answer. “The smaller numbers make it special,” says general manager Genevieve Rochon. “People can sit around one table, so that it feels much more intimate. The clients get to spend a lot more time with their guests than they do at a larger wedding. That’s one of the bonuses.” Further pluses are that guests may choose from a variety of menu options and that it is possible to cater to special requests and dietary needs, as well as holding the wedding ceremony at the restaurant if this is the couple’s choice.
Alternatively, some bridal couples may select a country restaurant — for example, Restaurant Les Fougères in the Gatineau Hills. “We have a lovely country property with a lovely hollow of land at the back that we use primarily for outdoor weddings under a big tent,” says Jennifer Warren-Part, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Charles Part. “It’s a delightful place, and some couples make a natural cathedral by the way the chairs are placed (for the ceremony). Others choose to have the wedding in the garden and then come up to the restaurant and choose their meal from the à la carte menu. The smaller the wedding, the more you can custom-design the event.”
Custom weddings are also a prime aim at Econiche House in Cantley in Gatineau, says chief executive officer Nancy Bailey. “We try to transform the atmosphere into whatever the bride and groom are expecting,” she says. “We have many different looks for a room and they can give it their personal touch.” She points out that Econiche House is an exclusive-use venue. “Our whole facility and all 20 hectares (50 acres) and the whole recreational area are put aside for one wedding. It’s a very different locale, so groups often stay for the whole weekend, and that’s a great way for both families to get to know each other in a relaxing setting. We provide them with great food and a lovely location to relax in for the whole weekend.”

For more information, visit:
Courtyard Restaurant; www.courtyardrestaurant.com
Econiche House; www.econichehouse.com
Restaurant Les Fougères; www.fougeres.ca
Stonefields Heritage Farm; www.stonefieldsheritagefarm.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer beauty at the Stonefields Heritage Farm.

 

Building a Rich and Satisfying Marriage

Saying “I do” can be a risky investment. Currently, about 38 per cent of all Canadian marriages will end in a divorce before couples reach their 30th anniversary. And statistics show that the biggest source of stress contributing to those breakups is money, not fidelity.

As a couple, you can improve the odds of financial and matrimonial success if you communicate honestly and openly about money right from the start — before you tie the knot preferably. “Couples will readily talk about wedding plans, where they’ll live or how many kids they want — but they don’t necessarily talk about money,” says Erik Davis, a financial planner in the U.S. with 20 years of working with married couples. “Honest and open communication about something as sensitive as finances is crucial to any healthy relationship, and the earlier this habit is established, the better.”

When he’s working with new couples, Erik proposes they follow his seven sound steps towards a richer married life.

Step 1: Look in the mirror
Separately, take a thorough look at yourselves and be honest about where you are financially. Prepare a written inventory of your own personal individual finances — warts and all — including assets, debts, trust funds or looming lawsuits. By knowing your own situation, you’re better able to bring a more informed and stable point of view to the discussion.

Step 2: Don’t hide the dirty laundry
Just as being honest about your past relationships or current entanglements is important if you are to establish trust, being honest about what you are bringing to the table financially (good or bad) is equally important. When you are ready, set a time in a comfortable, neutral location to share the inventories each of you prepared. It’s not uncommon for one partner to be in a stronger financial place than the other, but for some, openly discussing a sizeable family trust or expected inheritance can result in as much anxiety and feelings of vulnerability as those who come clean about huge credit card debts. The key is to share without judging. Honesty is always the best policy. If you lie out of shame and are then found out, it may be very hard for your future spouse to trust you on other fundamental issues, such as fidelity.

Step 3: Share your fears and dreams
Each of us has our own personal relationship (positive or negative) with money, often resulting from our upbringing or childhood experiences. Sharing memories and stories will help your partner understand what makes you tick money-wise. Tell stories about financial decisions you made in the past — both your successes and mistakes — and discuss what motivates you now (in other words, what keeps you up at night and what gets you up in the morning). Money is, for most, really about security, financial independence, control and dignity. By sharing stories about how you were taught to regard money and recounting the lessons you learned from your role models, you can help your partner better understand where you’re coming from.

Step 4: Paint a picture of the future
Describe in personal detail what you hope your future together looks like. “I want to retire while we are still healthy enough to travel the world together” paints a powerful picture of what you want your golden years to look like and what you might be willing to do to get there. “I want to make sure our children can get a good education and have the same opportunities that we did” reveals a lot about what values and traditions you wish to pass down to the next generation. Once you’ve outlined your visions, combine and prioritize your lists. While compromise will be necessary, sacrificing what’s important at your core (for example, living your life in a way that might not feel secure, stable or fulfilling) is not. Planning for the future involves shared commitment, so you want to know that you’ll be pulling in the same direction.

Step 5: Create a set of shared goals
To give yourselves the best likelihood of reaching your financial goals together, the next step is to create a road map together. A vision without steps to achieve it is just a dream. This step can involve some tough questions. Are you willing to forgo a few nights out to start that college fund early? Could you delay retirement a few years so your spouse can stay home with the kids? Would you be willing to take out a second mortgage on the house to do so? Establishing shared goals can deepen your bond, but every goal involves some sacrifices. Having a clear understanding of what you’re both working towards will make those sacrifices easier to bear.

Step 6: Acknowledge that people evolve and situations change
Once you’ve set your goals, commit to meeting periodically for the sole purpose of reviewing your progress and reassessing your current finances and concerns. You may need to adjust your financial strategies as your personal situations change, as the economy shifts or your vision of the future evolves over time. Are you saving the amount you determined you needed or does that need to be adjusted? Have you outgrown old insurance policies or do you need new ones? Have you continued to pull together in the same direction? With even the most ironclad plan, things change. Being willing and able to adapt to those changes is essential.

Step 7: When you need help, consult an expert
Accomplishing these steps takes diligence. Starting the process, setting the agenda and putting the action plan in motion can be challenging for many couples. Emotions and number crunching can get jumbled when trying to set a course that you both can agree on. The sheer amount of options, information and noise in the financial planning marketplace can be overwhelming or even paralyzing. For couples who find themselves in these situations, the help of a professional expert such as a certified financial planner who has helped others deal with similar circumstances can be invaluable. They can offer objectivity, clarity — and the tools that are necessary for you to have a richer, happier and more financially secure married life.

Source: Erik Davis, CFP, San Francisco, CA.