Marriage is Not For Me

I don’t have a good topic this week, however I did read this article yesterday as it was floating its way around Facebook and read and re-posted by many of my friends.  It is a GREAT article about how marriage isn’t for you specifically.  Please read the article below…

Seth Adam Smith

Blogger; Editor-in-chief of

Marriage Isn’t for You

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for 10 years until… until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love–their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?” while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful — she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and anguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.

Marriage is about family.

I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article — married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette — I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.

Seth Adam Smith is an Alaskan-born blogger and the editor-in-chief of This post first appeared on his website,

What Wedding Vendors do I Tip?

One thing to consider, when planning your wedding and working within a budget you have set, is tipping your vendors.  While it isn’t mandatory, it is a nice gesture for vendors and some vendors do expect to be tipped.  If you really enjoyed working with a vendor and you thought they did their job well, you may want to consider tipping. Here is a guide to help you decide who you should consider tipping and why.

Wedding Planner/Coordinator

Wedding planners don’t expect a tip; however, if your planner/coordinator did a great job you can always offer a token of your appreciation. Approximately 50% of couples do tip their planners.

Protocol: Optional

The Standard: Up to $500, or a nice gift

When to Tip: The bride or groom should hand off the envelope at the end of the reception, or, they should send a thank-you note with photos or a check after the honeymoon.

Wedding Hair Stylist and Make-up Artist:

This is an area where a tip is expected.  Typically a 15-20% tip is a great tip and is normally what you would tip for a salon service.  If there is a crisis and they were helpful, you may consider more.

Protocol: Expected

The Standard: 15-20%

When to Tip: At the end of your service.

Wedding Delivery and Set-up Staff:

Slip a few dollars to anyone delivering important items to the site (wedding cake, flowers, or sound system). If a lot of items need to be brought in and set-up (tents, chairs, or port-a-potties), the workers deserve a tip as well.

Protocol: Expected

The Standard: $5 – $10 per person

When to Tip: Drop off cash envelopes the day before the wedding to the day of coordinator or a family member that will be on-site during deliveries.

Wedding Ceremony Officiant:

If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you are often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you’re a member you’ll probably want to give a larger amount than if you’re not. However, if you’re getting married there and they’re charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. If you’re using a nondenominational officiant, no tip is required because they will charge you for their time.

Protocol: Expected/Optional (depending on officiant)

The Standard: Donate $500+ to the church or synagogue, or, for a nondenominational officiant, an optional tip of $50 – $100

When to Tip: Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. Otherwise, have the best man pass the cash envelope at the rehearsal dinner if the officiant is in attendance or the day of coordinator on the day of the wedding.

Wedding Ceremony Musicians:

If you worked with a mini orchestra to come up with the perfect score for your service (and they pulled it off flawlessly), consider showing some monetary thanks to them.

Protocol: Optional

The Standard: $15 – $20 per musician

When to Tip: At the end of the ceremony. Give to your day of coordinator to pass along.

Wedding Photographer/Videographer:

You’re not expected to give your photographer/videographer a tip beyond their normal fees.  But, if you enjoyed working with them, feel free to show them that with a tip of some kind.  You can wait until you get your photos back to send a tip to make sure they captured your day as discussed.  Just make sure to then send your tip with a nice thank you card.

Protocol: Optional

The Standard: $50 – $200 per vendor

When to Tip: At the end of the reception or after photos are received.


Tipping is not expected as usually you are paying a pretty penny for the dessert you chose.  However, you are more than welcome to tip them if the dessert you have for your wedding is beautiful and done nicely.

Protocol: Optional

The Standard: What ever you feel is appropriate.  Doesn’t have to be money it could be a nice gift certificate.

When to Tip: Either when your dessert is delivered, you pick up your dessert or you can send a nice thank you with the tip later.

Wedding Reception Staff:

This type of staff includes the on-site coordinator, maitre d’ and banquet manager. A service charge (typically 2 percent) is almost always built in to the food and drink fee, so check your contract. If the gratuity is not included, tip as follows.

Protocol: Expected

The Standard: 15 – 20% of the food and drink fee (based on labor, not the cost), or $200 – $300 for the maitre d’.

When to Tip: If it’s covered in the contract, the final bill is typically due before the reception. Otherwise, have the father of the bride or best man hand the envelope to the maitre d’ at the end of the reception since you will need to know the final tab to calculate the percentage.

Wedding Reception Assistant Staff:

When it comes to bartenders, waitstaff, parking, bathroom, and coat-room attendants the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra, only if the service was exceptional. If it’s not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.

Protocol: Optional, based on contract

The Standard: $20 – $25 per bartender or waiter; $1 per guest for coat room and parking attendants should get $1 per car

When to Tip: Tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event and can be done by your day or coordinator or the bride or groom’s father.

Wedding Reception Band or DJ:

Whether you hire a band or  DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional. (Depending on the quality of the job and how willing they were to follow your ideal playlist!)

Protocol: Optional, yet preferred

The Standard: $20 – $25 per musician; $50 – $150 for DJs

When to Tip: At the end of the reception, by the best man or father of the bride or groom

Wedding Transportation:

Gratuity is usually included in the final bill so check your contract.  If it isn’t, plan to tip provided they show up on time and don’t get lost!

Protocol: Expected

The Standard: 15 – 20% of the total bill

When to Tip: At the end of the night or after the last ride. If you used a separate company for the guest buses, designate a bus captain to hand the driver a tip, otherwise,  the best man.

*Information taken from The Knot

Wedding Guest List

One of the first things you and your fiance will need to start thinking about after an engagement, is your guest list.  This is an IMPORTANT part of the planning process and it will play a factor in determining the venue capacity, as well as can play a key role in your budget planning.

You may want to invite everyone you know.  It is such a joyous time in your lives why wouldn’t you want to share your wedding day with the world?  However, most couples have a budget cap and a capacity limit and therefore won’t be able to invite everyone.

But, where do you draw the line?

The best way to start, is to make a list of anyone you THINK you would want to invite to the wedding.  Then take that list and split it into to categories.  List 1 which is the must invites (family and close friends typically) and list 2 the would likes (everyone else that didn’t fit on list 1).  Then take list 2 and start to narrow that list down.  Ask yourself some questions such as: How close are you with this person? When was the last time you saw or spoke to this person? Would having him or her there on your wedding day really make an impact?  These questions should help you and your fiance narrow list 2 down, which in turn should narrow your entire guest list down.

Other ways to reduce you guest list can be done by leaving off old friends from high school or college that you haven’t seen in years and probably won’t see again, family you aren’t close with or hardly know (3rd cousins, great aunts and uncles, etc), your parents extra invites (however, if your parents are helping pay for the wedding they should have some say in your guest list), make it an adults only wedding, skip inviting co-workers if you aren’t close outside of work, etc.

Also, just because you were invited to someone’s wedding doesn’t mean you have to invite them to yours just to return the favor.

Trimming your guest list can be one of the hardest parts in planning a wedding.  Typically, most people will understand if they didn’t get invited.  You may still feel bad about having to trim your guest list, but it is definitely one of the easiest and quickest way to save some money!

Finding the PERFECT Venue

One of the first items you will want to get checked off your list, is finding the venue that will host you wedding day.  To some couples, this can seem like a very daunting task.  But it is something you will want start to work on asap as a lot of venues, especially the popular venues, can be booked out a year+ in advance.

The best way to start looking for a venue is to ask yourself the following questions:

-What month do I want to have my wedding take place?  Depending on where you live, this can play a HUGE factor into needing/wanting an indoor or an outdoor venue.

-How many guests will the venue need to hold?  It is important to make sure that your venue can hold your ENTIRE guest list.  Normally everyone that is invited won’t be able to make your special day, but you don’t want to bank on this.  It won’t be fun to be scrambling the month of the wedding to figure out how to fit 175 people into a venue that only has space for 150 and normally a venue won’t let you book over capacity.  It is also nice to consider a venue that will hold a little more than your guest list if possible, because it will give you a little extra room for everyone to feel comfortable and be able to move freely without feeling like a sardines.

-Budget.  How much can be spent on the venue?  This is also really important.  You don’t want to spend all of your money in one place, so when you are starting your search make sure you have that number in place, whether it be $600 or $5,000, this number plays a very important factor when booking your venue.

-What feel and look are you trying to achieve?  There are so many types of venues, narrowing this down will help greatly.  Decide if you like a hotel banquet room, a museum, an outdoor tent, a barn, etc.   The possibilities are endless.

Once you have asked yourself these questions, start browsing different venues in your area on the internet or in bridal magazines.  This can be a great way to narrow down your list of possible venues to those that you would like to tour.  When you contact a venue to set-up a tour ask the following question either during that conversation or during your venue tour:

-What is included in your venue package for the rental price (ie: tables, chairs, set-up, tear-down, etc).  This can be nice not to have to worry about renting and bringing in chairs and tables, but it might not be a deal breaker for you.

-What are the rental hours (is it a block of hours and you get to choose the start and end time or do they set the hours for you)?  How many weddings does the venue hold per day?  After they give you this information make sure you plan out the day slightly to make sure the rental period suits you.

-Do they require you to use vendors from their preferred vendor list or can you bring in any vendor you like? Some venues have started having their own preferred vendor list that they make you work from.  They do this because they know they can trust those vendors.  However, it won’t give you the chance to shop around for the best price.  Some couples find using a preferred vendors list a great thing because they know the vendor comes recommended.  This decision  is something that varies per couple.

-Is your ideal wedding date available?

-Can you see you exchanging vows at this venue with your other half?

If all of the answers you gather work for you on a particular venue and this venue fits into you big plan and budget than you have potentially found your PERFECT venue!

So…you have the RING…now what?

The time has come!  Your significant other has proposed or in today’s world, you proposed to your significant other and you are about ready to jump into wedding planning.  Many couples have mixed emotions about such a big event to plan.  When I say big, I don’t necessarily mean the size of the wedding, because people have all different numbers of guests at their wedding.  What I mean when I say big event, is that with a wedding comes hours of planning and making sure every detail is covered.

Many times, the engaged couple doesn’t quite know where to start..  A good first step is to tell those that you are close with that you are engaged.  It is an exciting time for you and your family and friends, so why not share the news with them first!

From there, let the planning begin!  First, I recommend picking a wedding date to give you an idea of the season you want your wedding in and the amount of time you have to plan your wedding AND setting a budget.  A budget is VERY important to set early on BEFORE you start the planning.  It will really help guide you as to what you can afford and what is important to you to have on your wedding day.  You don’t want to start your married life broke or in debt after your wedding, do you?

Once you have your budget set, jump into the wedding planning!!  Decide first if you want to work with a wedding planner.  If you do it is an appropriate time to start the search to hire one.  A wedding planner IS different than a wedding coordinator. (I will cover this in my next post).  You will also want to start your venue search.  Your venue will determine a lot while planning.  The venue will factor into the style of your wedding, the maximum count for your guest list and sometimes it can play into your wedding date.  Many venues book out a year or more in advance.  However, that isn’t saying all venues will be booked by the time you get engaged.  But, unless you have the perfect venue picked out before you have the ring on your finger, explore your options.  The venue I got married in was not anything I envisioned as a little girl, but it was PERFECT!  So you just never know until you start exploring what is out there!

Once you have your budget in place, your wedding date chosen and your venue booked have FUN!  Wedding planning really can be a great experience!  Use your family and friends to help you enjoy this task also!  It is such a special time in your life and something you will always remember, so make those memories fun and exciting!

Happy Planning!


I can’t believe it…one of the moments I have been waiting for, for months, happened last night.  My business website went live!  What an incredible feeling to have something that you have put a lot of time and effort into, be published for everyone to see.  I am incredibly happy with how it turned out and I can’t thank my wonderful web designer enough.  He put up with me from day one when I had a website vision, but no idea how to go about creating a website.  He was able to get a feel for what I wanted right away and put it into action for me to see.  He also dealt with my million changes, edits and emails.  Not only did he design my website, but he also created my logo which I am very happy with as well.

Things are moving forward for Cassie Renae Events,LLC.  Big things are coming, I just know it!

Business Progress

I just got back Sunday night from a week long, much needed, vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  I stayed at a beautiful Solmar property, called Playa Grande.  It would be a BEAUTIFUL location for a tropical wedding!

This vacation week was nice and relaxing.  It was nice to take a break from all the website designing, wedding packages compiling, contract editing, business card designing, and gearing up for wedding season business.

While I was gone, my web designer made some great progress and my website is about 85% done and my domain name has been purchased.  This means I can now order my business cards!  Everything is tied together in one way or another on the business side of things, so it always takes progress on one item to wrap up a different item.

It was probably good for me to disconnect from my business world for a week to give my web designer a chance to work on my website without my many emails!!

Can’t wait to wrap things up soon!

The differences between the wedding planner and a wedding coorindator

Once you have decided to hire someone to help you plan your wedding in some form, there is still another decision to make.  Do you hire a wedding planner or a wedding coordinator?  What is the difference?  I will explain that here and hopefully after reading this you will have a better understanding of each role and which role would work best for your wedding.

A wedding planner is normally someone who is hired during the wedding planning…typically in the beginning, after the engagement, to help the couple throughout the planning process or about half way through the planning process.  The wedding planner can be as involved as the couple wants them to be, but they are there to provide ideas, referrals, accompany the couple to meetings, review contracts, etc.  Wedding planners will typically offer different types of packages for wedding planning.  A higher level package usually starts in the beginning and helps with ideas and meeting of all major vendors and continue down to all the small details before the wedding.  A lower level package usually starts about 4-6 months before the wedding when all the major vendors are booked, but the couple needs guidance on the final planning, decor and details and confirming all details with vendors.  This gives the couple a little more to do on their own in the beginning, but can still be a great resource.  Sometimes, depending on the planner, there may be a package or two in between also.

A wedding coordinator is hired for day of coordination.  Sometimes, this is included in another package if you were using the same person as your planner, as well as you can also find someone that will do just day of  coordination if you feel like you have everything else under control.  Typically, this package will start 4+ weeks before the wedding to give the wedding coordinator some time to get up to speed on the vendors being used and contact them to confirm details, your decoration plans, and all the details in between.  They will help you put together the rehearsal and walking order, run the ceremony through with you, your family and your bridal party and conduct the ceremony day of the same way it was rehearsed.  They will also run the reception to make sure you are on cue for all your shining moments and that each vendor knows their expectations and when to have their items ready.  The wedding coordinator can play a huge role in your big day to make sure everything runs smooth and according to plan and they are there to manage all vendors and step-up should a problem arise.  Hiring a wedding coordinator is one of the best things money can buy for a wedding.  It truly helps take the worry and stress off the couple and their families.

That is a quick explanation as to the difference between a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator. It is also just an overview as each company will offer different things and packages.  Please contact me if you have any questions.

I offer 3 packages: Complete Planning, Partial Planning and Day of Coordination.  With the 2 planning packages I do include day of coordination.

Please email me if you are interested: