Category Archives: Health

This Is Why I Ride: Urban Impact 3/2/2018

I’ve had a lot of fun over the past few months being a part of the Cyclebar North Hills community. The studio is great and the classes are infectious, but more than anything, I love the heart behind our local studio owners, Greg & Salomé. Each month the studio hosts Cyclegiving Charity Rides: the studio donates their time, the instructor donates his/her time, and 100% of the proceeds go towards a local, Pittsburgh-based charity. It’s awesome.

 

The studio’s next Cyclegiving Charity Ride is on March 2, 2018 and benefits Urban Impact Pittsburgh, a community outreach program helping the North Side of Pittsburgh. I want to fill the studio with people who want to give back (and get a great workout in return), and I want you to join me!

 

If you have wanted to try Cyclebar (or you have, and want to come back for a great cause), mark your calendars and join me on March 2, 2018 at 7:15 pm. Registration is $20, and 100% of that $20 goes to Urban Impact.

 

Click the photo to register!

 

 

Thanks to Cyclebar North Hills for hosting this event, and thank YOU for considering joining us!

 

In peace & good health,

Amanda

 

 

 



Openness for the Journey

I’ve really struggled to consistently blog lately. Honestly, other than my jaw surgery followers (who are awesome, by the way!), I’m not sure who actually reads my posts consistently! But I’ve decided that my 2018 focus will be “openness”, in whatever form that takes: openness to the journey that lies ahead of me, especially this year.

 

Openness does not come easily to me. I’m a creature of habit, and I like things the way they always are. When I go to a restaurant, I don’t usually deviate from the meal I know I already like. “I know that it’s good. Why try anything else?” I say to my husband.

I also struggle with openness in friendships and relationships, as I feel very different than my peers. (I always have!) Growing up with two church jobs at 16 means that I couldn’t do things on a whim on the weekends. I had church jobs that I couldn’t “call off” for. I the only thing I could feel as a “call” was the call to ministry.

And so very often I feel misunderstood by those who don’t work in a church setting. “Yes, I’m tired because I worked all weekend. All weekend. A marathon of back-to-back funerals, weddings, masses, and meetings.” Ministry is so “soul-draining” at times.

 

I’ve grown weary, and so as I looked at 2018, I examined what I wanted to bring to this year. The word “openness” kept coming to mind. And so here are just a few of the ways I’m staying open as we begin to journey this year:

 

  1. I’m open to the best nutrition possible for my body. Every single person is different, and so I’m following a 12-week educational course on finding the best course of nutrition for yourself. It’s been a challenge but I’m really enjoying it! I haven’t been perfect but it’s been very enlightening.
  2. I’m staying open to the potential job changes that I might face this year. I’m listening to “Trade Your Cares for Calm” (Max Lucado) at the moment as I drive. It’s like comfort food for the soul.
    I’m also reading “Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Promises and Plans” (Wendy Pope)

  3. I’m doing silly things like grabbing books at the library that I usually wouldn’t read. I also used my Christmas money to get a subscription to Rosetta Stone. I’m using that openness to get my Polish up to where it used to be! (Uczę się mowić po Polsku!)
  4. I’m forcefully plowing towards our goal of being debt-free this year. (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dave Ramsey!) Staying open and trusting that the finish line is near!
  5. I’m living my truth, as unabashedly as I can. I’m a musician who loves health & wellness, and I love fusing the two worlds together when I can.

 

 

Also, I’m staying open to sharing as many photos of my dog, Cooper, as I can. Because, really, that has brought so much openness and change to my life over the past 8 months. He turns 1 next month, so get ready for that onslaught of photos….

 

Cooper reading Kafka

 

Cooper loves the snow, but doesn’t necessarily like the gear that comes with it

 

 

I don’t know if you’re a New Years Resolution-type person, but hey, if you needed a fresh start, 2018 seems like a pretty good opportunity…Here’s hoping you stay open to whatever you need most!

 

 

In peace & good health,

Amanda



2018: New Year, (Pretty Much the) Same Old Me

It’s been a long time since I gave an update on my life and an explanation of the things you may have seen on my social media. And so after a beautiful New Year’s Day celebration with my loved ones, I thought it might be time to share some of the things going on in my life at the end of 2017!

I’ve had a lot of changes with my health and wellness this fall. As many of you know, I am a Beachbody coach (and have been for 5 years!). As someone who runs around like a chicken with her head cut off most of the time, they are the solution to keeping me sane: I stream professional yoga sessions, get tips on weight lifting from the pros, and get my ass kicked by Shaun T anytime I want. I avoid junk food by whipping up a meal I can have on-the-go, since most of my meals this fall were done standing up and on-the-go.

 

But this Fall a local Cyclebar franchise opened in my neighborhood. (If you don’t know what Cyclebar is, it’s a spinning studio that focuses on riding your bicycle to the beat of the music playing in your workout session. Not to mention the immense amount of amenities you get with your membership.) This local Cyclebar studio offered 3 weeks of free classes to get people in the neighborhood a chance to see what all the fuss is about. Now, I gotta be really honest….as someone who works out from home and teaches fitness classes at a gym (and, therefore, gets a gym membership for free)……I had very little expectations when I decided to give Cyclebar a try.

 

Once the first class began, I knew I was in trouble. The energy was infectious. The music programming was superior and passed my annoyingly-high standards. The workout was really tough but very rewarding.  Needless to say….I was hooked.

 

 

I decided to connect with the owners of our local Cyclebar studio and, after much dialogue, I’m proud to say that I am one of Cyclebar’s Brand Ambassadors.

What does that mean?

I help with special events like charity rides (the proceeds completely go to a nonprofit/charity), race expos, fundraisers, etc.

I’ll be hosting a free workout class for all of my friends and family in the near future. (How cool is that?)

I’m also able to give a free first class to my friends and family who want to try it too!

 

 

But you won’t see me spamming your Facebook with anything other than post-workout selfies. I have nothing to sell, nothing hidden. I just love to work out there and want to help others try the studio too. The end.

 

“Does this mean you aren’t a Beachbody coach anymore?”

Actually, no! I’m still a Beachbody coach. You may not see me post that much about it anymore, but I’m still here. My social media presence is changing though….someone can only be ignored and feel insignificant by so many people when you realize your voice is best used in a more valued platform. It can be exhausting to be discounted by so many people for so long. It’s taken a toll on my self-worth in the health & wellness world.

If you are one of the women who keep your light shining among the sea of MLMs right now, then I so applaud you. For now, I will take care of my tribe of ladies and always welcome others, but not bug you constantly about it.

(Sidenote: I talked with Beachbody’s Compliance Department and I am to expressly share that helping the community at Cyclebar has NOTHING to do with being a Beachbody coach. I did my legal duty there.)

 

I’m just a person, like so many of you, who tries new things in life along the way and collects them into my daily habits, like seashells into my pockets after a beach vacation.

  • I started my wellness journey with Beachbody, and I continue to help others find that health/wellness solution if it’s right for them.
  • I consult with jaw surgery patients and plead with them to take their nutrition seriously (advice that I wish more people would take!).
  • I also like to help out the local community and ride at Cyclebar AND teach fitness classes (to fantastic people) at a local university.

 

 

I’m Amanda, and I am shaped by my past and current experiences. I’ve learned recently that it’s okay to piece together so many unique interests and traits that most people may not understand why you do everything you do. And that’s okay.

I always thought that it was strange to be a professional musician who loves healthy eating and fitness, but that was a self-created personal limitation. If my life expands into new avenues as I grow, I’m now okay with that.

 

 

2018’s New Year’s Resolutions

This year my New Year’s Resolutions aren’t to transform myself into this crazy-unrecognizable person. As you can see above, that has already happened over the course of 5-7 years. But my goals this year are to do the following:

  • Finish my Master’s Degree (I’m almost there!)
  • Become debt-free except our mortgage (bye bye, student loans)
  • Work towards fluency of another language (either French or Polish)
  • Complain less. Express gratitude more.

 

 

Let’s see how 2018 goes, shall we?

 

In peace & good health,

Amanda

 



Puppy updates (“Pupdates”) & Life, In Progress

It’s been awhile since I wrote a blog entry, and since the last one was such a doozy (My Journey with “The Puppy Blues”) I really owe it to my readers to give an update.

 

First thing’s first: My Update on the Puppy Blues

Since I wrote my blog entry on my “Puppy Blues” (which was shared a ton of times with lots of visitors to my page- yay!) I had many people approach me and tell me how worried they were about me. Maybe it’s because I share so much on social media that tries to be positive and uplifting, but stopping and admitting that I wasn’t okay seemed to really upset people.

I also got several people who messaged me and sympathized with me, which was so nice! It made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and it helped me get through that tough initial time. Whether you extended a hand because you were worried about me or if you had a similar experience, thank you. The reaction over my last blog entry was more than I expected, and it helped me to feel that sense of connection as we adjusted to a new “normal”.

 

My Update on Cooper

Oh, Cooper. Our little black ball of fluff. Since I wrote the last blog entry, things with Cooper have been ten times better. He’s had some health issues (puppy UTI, tapeworm) from incidents along the way, but I’m happy to say that he’s healthy and a really happy, good dog. My phone has two sets of main pictures now: pictures of my garden and pictures of Cooper.

 

 

Everyone loves him….especially us.

We’ve been taking him to doggy day care 1x/week, puppy socializing classes 1-2x/week and family member drop-ins 2x/week. He’s such a good dog, and while we’re still working on his puppy behaviors (play biting- especially biting my husband), he’s so smart and friendly and a great companion. I know we are still adjusting, but things have definitely gotten better with Cooper since I last blogged.

 

 

I will say, though, that the past 6-8 weeks have brought out a new side of me. I can’t determine if it’s permanent or not. I have a balance of extroversion to introversion in my personality, and I’ve been much more introverted over the past few months. I don’t see the need for checking Facebook (unless it’s with my team of coaches or jaw surgery clients), and I don’t necessarily see the need for sharing my life’s journey at this time. Maybe I’m growing up, or maybe I’m going through a phase. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m now creating social media content for a large-scale organization, too (which is such an honor), thus taking my “creative energy” and re-directing it to another source.

 

I don’t know, honestly. But what I can say is that I’m going through a phase in my life where I don’t necessarily plan on sharing every little thing on social media. I love blogging, though, and plan to share my journey throughout the summer on my blog (subscribe if you want these updates!). I also plan to work on some creative projects for jaw surgery clients. But in terms of my health & fitness journey….I’m just so sick of seeing the quick fixes that it drains the creative energy right out of me. (Just being honest!) I’m going to keep following my nutrition plan of simple, easy eating; I’m going to keep exercising from home and being in great shape as a result; and I’m going to work with the people who actually want to see change in their life. If this sounds like you, then please message me, and we’ll link arms together this summer. Otherwise, you may see less of me than you used to.

 

Stay tuned on my blog for more Puppy Updates/”Pupdates” and my journey, and until then, have a wonderful first official week of summer!

 

In peace & good health-

Amanda



[UNBELIEVABLE] Brown Butter Carrot Recipe

Lately I’ve been on a carrot kick. The carrots in my region have been so affordable! One of my local grocery stores had carrots for $.69 for a 3-pound bag. That yields a lot of vegetable servings for .69 cents! So I’ve been playing around with recipes and I think that this one, by far, is my favorite. I’m considering headed out to the grocery store just to buy more carrots and make it again. Does that sound a little crazy? Even if it does, I’m fine with it. This brown butter carrot recipe is that good.

Now, this is not a 5-minute dish, but in 30 minutes or less, you’ll have some tender, caramelized, savory carrots that you’ll eat before your husband tries to get some. (Oh, did I just say that? Whoops…)

 

Brown Butter Carrot Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Whole carrots
  • 1-2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter) or regular butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried rosemary

 

Directions:

  • Wash, peel and dice carrots. (I strongly recommend a mandolin for this step, as a mandolin cuts down on cutting time exponentially.)
  • Heat pan to medium heat; add 1-2 tbsp of butter. I used clarified butter (ghee) for health reasons and for its nutty taste. (For more info on ghee, click here!)
  • Heat butter until it melts; wait until it begins to brownImmediately add carrots and salt. (For more info on browning butter, click here)
  • Cook carrots in butter, stirring consistently on medium to slightly medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until carrots begin to brown on one side.
  • Add rosemary for an additional few minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

 

 

Now excuse me as I go to the grocery store….I have more carrots to make.

Did you like this brown butter carrot recipe? If you make it, share it on social media with the hashtag #amandaplazek and I’ll check out your take on this savory, healthy, delicious recipe!

 

In peace & good health,

Amanda



The Cost of Jaw Surgery in the United States

Today I’m going to share my experience when it comes to the cost of jaw surgery in the United States, but before I do, allow me to introduce myself! So as many of you know, I got jaw surgery in February 2014. When I was in the midst of the jaw surgery planning process, I didn’t find as much support as I would have hoped. In fact, any documentation from jaw surgery were graphic, horrifying pictures of people post-op! It was enough to scare me out of the process entirely. As a result, I’ve worked to pay it forward and help as many people ever since. With my jaw surgery support group, The Smile Diaries (click here to apply), and my YouTube channel (click here to subscribe), I want to keep helping as many people as I can!

 

Let’s address the topic of the day. When it comes to documenting my jaw surgery journey, I get asked constantly: “What is the cost of jaw surgery”? “How much did your jaw surgery cost?”

 

The honest answer to this is…”I can’t tell you how much your surgery will cost!” Technology and methodology is completely different across the world. The cost of jaw surgery depends on too many factors for me to tell you how much yours will cost. But I’ve found that the cost of jaw surgery in the United States can be estimated depending on some crucial questions to your health insurance provider. And so, without further ado, I give you my most recent jaw surgery YouTube video.

 

In this vide I address things like:

  • Things to ask your oral surgeon
  • Things to ask your health insurance provider
  • Budgeting options for your jaw surgery
  • Is your oral surgeon in-network or out-of-network?

and more. I hope this helps! Watch and enjoy:

 

 

Do you want more videos like this? Then click here and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Do you have questions about the cost of jaw surgery? Reach out to your oral surgeon and healthcare provider! They will help you best. Good luck!

 



Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University: Am I a Budget-Buster?

As you know, I am currently following Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I feel like I’m out of my league when it comes to budgeting. I know that it takes 3 months to really get the swing of things, but this week was a struggle when it came to groceries.

 

If you know anything about me, you know that I love grocery shopping. I love picking out the foods that we can afford (because of Aldi, my favorite grocery store) and imagine what I will craft this week with them. But because I spent half of our weekly food budget on meats, I didn’t have much left over for the fruits, veggies, dairy and eggs that I get at Aldi.

 

Alas, and alack. I threw caution to the wind and I went over the weekly budget.

 

What does this mean?? I felt like a failure immediately, but I’m working on giving myself some grace. Here’s how I break it down:

I spent $126.95 on:

-10 lbs of lean ground turkey meat

-4 pounds of chicken breast

-a huge container of Parmesan cheese (thanks, Sam’s Club)

-a week’s worth of eggs (6 dozen, to be exact. yes, we go through 6 dozen)

-2 lbs of coffee grounds

-a week’s worth of fruits & veggies

-1 carton of almond milk

-2, 16-ounce containers of organic baby spinach

-6+ bags of frozen vegetables

 

…plus more. But there it is. A week’s worth of groceries (and more) for us. The meats will actually bring us through next week, which ate our budget plenty this week.

But let’s theorize that every single grocery item above is consumed this week. That would break down to:

 

$126.95 / 7 days / 4 meals per day / 2 people = $2.27 per meal.

 

If we were to remove one of the 5 lb containers of ground turkey that will not be eaten until next week, that breaks down to:

($126.95 – $12.95) = $114 ($14 over budget)

$114 / 7 days / 4 meals per day / 2 people = $2.03 per meal.

 

Is that too much math for you? It might be for me!

 

Either way, I’m over-budget this week. Rats.

 

I have to admit, I’m feeling a little bit like a failure on this first week of budgeting. I mean, come on! It’s the first week, and I’ve already gone overboard.

But on the same token, it’s just the first week. It’s given me a chance to see what we typically spend on our groceries each week. Next time I’ll know better.

 

I think this blog entry would be under “The Setbacks” section, but soon I hope it will be a “triumph”!

 

Onward and upward! Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is not conquered in one day.

Interested in what I’m doing with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University? Subscribe to my blog and see how I do in week 2!


Posted on February 10, 2017
By amanda.plazek@gmail.com

Filed under Dave Ramsey Financial Peace, Health
Comments Off on Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University: Am I a Budget-Buster?


The Easiest, Most Delicious Roasted Sweet Potato Recipe

So recently I attended the Pennsylvania Farm Show and had one of the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten. It was soft, and the texture was incredibly smooth. “I could eat this every day!” I thought….and I have almost ever since.

 

Turns out that sweet potatoes are a great post-workout recovery food! The amount of time it takes to prep the sweet potatoes frustrates me sometimes: washing the skin, peeling the potatoes, and cutting them into little cubes (from a 3-lb bag of potatoes) can be daunting when you don’t have much time on your hands.

 

However, I discovered this recipe and fell head-over-heels in love with it. It takes less than 10 minutes to prep, and as long as you’re okay with letting the potatoes roast in the oven while you watch television, then you’re good to go.

 

Here’s the recipe video and breakdown:

 

 

Feel free to print this out and save it for yourself!

 

 

 

 

Did you like this sweet potato recipe? Share it with a friend!



How to Stay Motivated Throughout the Entire Year

 

I hear from people almost every day that say, “I wish I could be fit like you, but I can’t.
[insert excuse here: “I don’t have time”; “I can’t afford it”; “I don’t have exercise equipment”; “I don’t like to exercise”; “It’s just not for me”, the list goes on.]”

 

I used to feel the exact same way. I was never athletic growing up, and exercise did not come naturally to me. I had to develop motivation after many (many) attempts on my own.

Here are some of the ways I’ve found motivation so that my New Year’s resolution is still going strong, even at the end of the year:

1. Focus on the fact that this is a permanent lifestyle change, not a 3-week “phase”. 
If I miss a day or two on my workout schedule or I fall off the nutrition wagon for a week, I don’t quit. I forgive myself (although it can be incredibly challenging), I hit the “reset” button and I move on.

2. Follow a researched and effective workout plan. 
I am a fitness instructor, but even I know my limits. I don’t claim to be a certified personal trainer (yet!), and I don’t claim to have researched exercise science. I believe in following a safe, effective plan that I can do from the comfort of my own home. Trying to create my own program does not give the results I want! I’ve found that I see the results I want when I take my ego out of the equation.

3. Follow a nutrition plan. 
This is another one where I am humbled sometimes. I don’t find the results I want when I think I know everything about nutrition. However, I do not believe in “dieting”. (refer to #1!) My nutrition plan is exactly that: a plan. If my plan changes because I went out of town for a few days with my family, then I do the best I can. I bless and release, and let it go.

4. Celebrate the little victories. (spoiler alert: They don’t necessarily revolve around the number on a scale!)
Did you follow your workout calendar to a “T” this week? Give yourself a dance party and unwind with a magazine and a clay detox face mask!
Did you do well on your nutrition plan this week? Great! Paint your nails and watch “Parks and Recreation” or whatever you like.
Did you have a crappy week taking care of yourself? Oh well. It happens to literally all of us. Read those quotes I put above (or google some of your own). One week does not have the power to ruin your entire year.

5. Get connected to a team who’s got your back. 
Making a permanent lifestyle change for yourself is much easier when you connect with others. I am a coach to help people across the United States and Canada find a way to connect, motivate, uplift, and support each other.

Don’t have time to go to a gym? Pop in a 25-minute, scientifically-researched workout in your living room. Let us know when you’re done, and we’ll be there, cheering you on. Boom.

And there you have it! Some of my thoughts halfway through the month of January 2017.

Want to kick it into high gear, even though it’s not January 1? Not a problem. Email me at amanda.plazek@gmail.com and let’s get started. Life is easier when we work towards bigger things together!



Wedding Trends and Tips for 2017

 

When I’m not being a fitness coach, I am a church organist! Yes, I know. You probably expected an 80-year old named Marilyn to play your church organ, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, I’ve been working at a church that is famously centered in our city to house beautiful, panoramic views. As a result (along with a fabulous church culture), we have a lot of weddings each year.

 

I calculate that since I started at this church 8 years ago, I have played about 450 weddings. This year alone I played for 83 weddings. Yes….Eighty. Three. 

 

I meet with almost every single bride that gets married at my church. I help them through the last 3 months of their wedding, and end up playing the music as she walks down the aisle. The entire process is a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

 

As an organist for so many brides (and a bride myself in 2015), I’ve seen a lot of things. It’s true. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed as trends coming in, trends leaving, and advice for any 2017-2018 brides. Read onward, and email it to anyone who got engaged over the holiday season!

 

 

Things that are trending (in a good way)

  • Bridesmaids trends: think pink (not necessarily matching)
    The color of this year was blush pink, especially in summer bridesmaid dresses. There was a weekend when I saw the same shade of blush on two separate set of bridesmaids! Brides still love the look of having different styles in the bridal party. This allows for the bridesmaid to pick the silhouette that they think is most flattering.

Source: bridalloft.wordpress.com

Blush definitely had its moment this year!

  • Wedding Dress trends: Sleeved wedding dresses, less strapless, low backs and lace. One of my favorite personal trends! Wedding dresses are becoming more and more modest, and unique sleeves made its hayday this year. Low-backed dresses with form-fitting silhouettes stole the show this year, combined with a more modest look in front. From intricate beading to the demand of lace, wedding dresses definitely don’t look cookie-cutter these days.

Allure Bridal style 9167

 

  • Bridal Party Trend: bridesmen”, “men of honor” and “best women”. Bridal parties are catering more towards the bridesmaids as the bride’s friends, and the groomsmen as the groom’s friends.

 

  • Ceremony Music: Bach Cello Suite no. 1 made a huge statement this year. I had three brides hire a cellist just to have this song at their wedding! It’s a beautiful piece, and if it speaks to you, consider investing in a cellist for your ceremony so it can be done:

  • “Please don’t take pictures during the ceremony”: I think this came after the previous years filled with people holding up their huge iPads during ceremonies. It became comical:

Source: Corey Ann Photography

Source: Rachel Whyte Photography

And lastly, the most interesting thing I’ve seen all year:

    • Streaming your Wedding Ceremony on Facebook Live: This one was kind of surprising to me, as historically you invited the people that you wanted to witness your wedding ceremony. However, I’ve seen it used several times when family members couldn’t attend (or people loved sharing their joy). Here’s an example from a wedding where the bride was from Lebanon. Part of her family couldn’t be there, so she streamed it on Facebook so they could watch it from home. (Note that the ceremony was in English and Arabic to accommodate both families):


 

 

 

Things that may be on its way out (or you may not need)

      • Ceremony Music: Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” and Mendelssohn’s “Bridal March”. These two songs have been used so many times in TV commercials, movies, and everything in-between. In fact, many Catholic Dioceses do not allow the use of these songs because of their completely secular (non-sacred) nature. Ask your ceremony musician for some joyous, “fresher” takes on the bridal entrance and departure:

 

      • The Unity Candle: There was a definite decrease in use of the Unity Candle in weddings over the past two years. While it has no liturgical significance in a Catholic wedding, it is a nice symbol for those who want to use it. However, you are still married either way!
      •  

      • Aisle Runners: Aisle runners used to be a way of announcing a bride’s entrance; however, they have since become liability issues and end up getting torn easily and quickly. This might be one that you can skip in the budget.
      •  

      • Short, Teeny Bridesmaid Dresses: There was a time a few years ago when bridesmaid dresses got smaller and smaller. I once saw a bridesmaid pull up her dress, then pull it back down to cover her legs! On behalf of every bridesmaid out there, I want to thank you for allowing more fabric to be a part of your bridesmaids’ dresses.
      •  

      • Homemade, DIY bouquets. Homemade bouquets made from brooches were really big a few years back. This is a great way to save money (or include some heirlooms/personal items that mean a lot to you), but when it comes to your bouquet, flowers still seem to be the way to go.
      •  

Source: https://weddings.thefuntimesguide.com

 

      • Kids In Wagons: There was a trend a few years ago where children under the age of 2 were wheeled down in wagons. I didn’t see this in 2016, and to be honest…I’m alright with its departure.
         

        Source: Pinterest

      • Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes: Cupcakes made its way into our hearts in a big way in the early 2010’s. While there are still cupcakes at weddings, we’re seeing less of them than we had in the past decade.
      •  

      • Trinkets for Wedding Favors: Many people are opting out of giving a trinket at wedding receptions (they did just pay $60+ for your dinner, after all). In lieu of a trinket favor, consider donating to a charity you both feel passionate about.

Photo: Joe Appel Photography

 

 

 

Things that don’t matter as much as you may think:

      • Pew Flowers for the Church: Pew bows for a church wedding may not be worth what your florist may charge you! For my DIY’ers, a simple loop of tulle can be enough to make a nice touch. Or find out if your church has pew bows that they can lend you for free!
      •  

      • Choosing your Ceremony Prelude Music: This is the music before your ceremony that sets the tone as your guests arrive. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: you don’t hear it, and your guests barely do too! It’s meant to be talked over, and your musicians are okay with that. Let your ceremony musicians pick some appropriate songs for prelude music.
      •  

      • Wedding Program Design: People love wedding programs. Any wedding brings together a group of people who are Christian, non-Christian, Jewish, Atheists, and everything else under the sun. That’s okay! They are there to support you two. Ribbons, sequins, and fancy embellishments don’t necessarily matter on a wedding program, but the order of the ceremony does. People refer to that program the entire time, so if anything, typing up the order of the ceremony encourages people to participate (if needed).
      •  

      • Kids under the age of 3 in the Bridal Party: Everyone is different, and everyone has different reasons of putting children in the bridal party….but from my experience, the kids cry. They almost always cry when they walk down that aisle alone, with hundreds of people watching them.
      •  

 

 

My Advice for Brides (and the Bridal Party) on The Big Day

      • Eat enough during the day. Dear God, Eat. I’ve seen too many bridesmaids collapse during a wedding because they hadn’t eaten enough for the day. I’ve been in weddings and I know it’s tough to get enough to eat, so I would strongly recommend it to your bride (or sneak a few protein bars in your purse). You’ll thank me later.
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      • Be as invested in your ceremony as much as your reception. Now, I know I’m a church organist so I have to say this, but really. If you believe that what’s about to happen to you and your significant other is one of the biggest things of your life, then reflect on that. Get involved in the church where you’re getting married (if you’re a church-going person). If you’re getting married in a field, then sit down and reflect on the music or scripture or poems that you want to reflect such a sacred moment. I’ve met too many couples that want to “get the ceremony over with”, but really, the second celebration can’t happen without the first.
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      • There will be one major thing that goes wrong, and that’s okay. I’ve seen it all, and the couples still get married!

 

That’s all for now! With another full  year of weddings, I’m sure I’ll have more trends to report in a year. But in the meantime, share this post with your fellow brides and grooms, and ramp up for Wedding Season 2017!