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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle set to marry next May

As news broke early yesterday morning of Prince Harry’s royal engagement to American actress, Meghan Markle, hearts of girls around the world broke as they realized they had minuscule hope of becoming the next princess. Personally, I was rooting for Prince Harry and Meghan since the media started speculating about their relationship in 2015.

The two have been dating for a year and a half and it was announced Tuesday morning they are set to marry next May at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The two are reportedly planning the ceremony themselves. Prince Harry has always been the more ‘bad-boy royal’ so to say, especially compared to his older brother, Prince William. Harry was known for his bachelor’s lifestyle, dating a string of beautiful women when he was younger and often getting in trouble with the press.

Eventually, Prince Harry matured and paid keen attention to his charitable work, including the support of 22 different charities and over 25 different causes worldwide. Before settling down with Meghan Markle, the prince’s long time on and off girlfriend of seven years was Chelsy Davy. Davy reportedly ended their relationship after she allegedly struggled with the pressure of dating a royal. Davy was last seen publically with Harry as she attended Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton back in 2011.

It has been reported by Harry and Meghan that the pair met through a female friend that set them up on a blind date. In fact, Harry claims to have never seen Markle on her most known television role in the show, Suits, before meeting. The two sat down for an intimate interview with a BBC reporter shortly after announcing to the public their official engagement. They giggled behind the scenes and acted very much like a couple that’s down to earth and in love. As Prince Harry remarked in the interview, Meghan Markle was ‘the one” from the very first time they met.

It sounds like the story of fairy-tales. Markle remarked that she excitedly replied yes to Harry’s proposal before he could even put the ring on her finger, as they spent a cozy evening at home roasting chicken. I am beyond thrilled for this next royal couple and considering these two have a lot in common, including their love for charity, it is hopeful they can live a relatively normal life, at least as normal as it can get for for such a well-known member of the Royal Family.

The British family has changed quite a lot over the years, but Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ignored any negative feedback from the public. As Harry is fifth in line to the crown, it doesn’t seem there is any rush for him to conform to the pressure of being a ‘King’, while living in such a modern society. Markle, who is a divorced, American actress, will now allegedly become HRH Duchess of Sussex, or as she will be in our hearts: Princess Meghan, the one that stole Harry’s heart.

Congratulations to this happy and beautiful couple.

Love will conquer all

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary and my husband, Greg Thomson, started our day by playing a video on his Iphone of the Flintstones singing “Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary.”  Like our wedding day, today started with reckless giggling.

My husband is an amazing man. In that quiet time just before we get up in the morning, I sometimes feel as if there is an angel beside me.  He is man who has made it his goal to balance compassion, tenderness, strength, wisdom and grace — and he has succeeded.  Greg has never chased after power or fame, and he doesn’t need social status or wealth to define him – but he makes allowances for those who do.

Greg is rarely critical of people or ideas, he doesn’t possess the arrogance that too often develops in men who achieve success. Greg believes in human potential – in that ability people have to achieve things that others think impossible.

Greg would never hurt anyone and he would never try to limit or undermine someones confidence. He is wise and knows that those who think they know best are fools (although he’d never say that to them). He is a man who feels a duty to give back the world, to tackle mediocrity, and conventional thinking. In his work, he studies the social impact of charities hoping that he can help the small charities who have a large social impact. He gets frustrated over the amount of funds that get wasted by charities that have little social impact, but are filled with influential board members.

When I think about our marriage, I believe our happiness rests on our willingness to give up our individual selves to become part of something bigger. I remember when we were just married, I used to write about my love for him; about the things he did that inspired me, about the awe that I had over this man who chose to share his life with me. Today, I realize that my love is now weaved together with the love Greg has for me. It is constantly expanding. It encompasses our children, and, like a warm breeze, it spreads out over our family and friends. I think our love grows with the choices we make, with the friendships we have, and the experiences we gain. By living up to the people we want to be we are able to feel more deeply, and experience things more richly.

When we were first married we talked about what we wanted in our future. Greg wanted to feel more, to do more and to make a difference in the world. Back then I couldn’t understand what Greg meant by ‘feel more” because I had been raised to put both my heart and mind into everything I do. At the beginning of our marriage I realized that Greg put his head and thoughts into what he did, but not his heart.  He learned to be cerebral, to hide his feelings, but part of him knew he was missing out on something. Over time as our love weaved together Greg let himself feel more, he put his heart and not just his head into everything he did. He allowed himself to go beyond just thinking about the world to sensing it. I learned to see the world through Greg’s eyes just as he learned to see it through mine. Our world became much bigger, more vibrant, sensual, and beautiful. We are soaring above the ground we walked as individuals.

A few months ago a man told me that I should be much more afraid of failing than I am. I’ve thought about his words a lot since then; about what he thinks is failure, and about the limitations his kind of thinking has placed on him. In the world of keeping up the Joneses he’s succeeded, but in the world that Greg and I live in, he seems shackled by fear, limiting his involvement in things that might expand his world because he fears failure.

The love that Greg and I have has allowed us to embrace the world. Together we can take on any challenge. And the only true failure that either of us could have is to fail to live up to the moral code that guides our lives. Our love has made us free, and has given us confidence. Together we experience life, we set out to achieve our dreams and we live every moment to the fullest.

When our eldest son was born, I remember sharing that moment when we both realized that our duty extended beyond just what we could give to the world, but to provide our children with love, compassion and a value system that will allow them to find the love we have managed to build.

Everyday I wake up and I know how lucky I am to have such an amazing man in my life. Greg is the strongest man I have ever met. He would never compromise himself for gain, or use “business” as an excuse for hurting someone. I think he would actually be physically sick if he thought his words had hurt someone. He is kind, compassionate and every day he defines what it means to be a gentleman.

The vision of who Greg wants to be captures all the qualities that go into making a true hero.  He is a part of how I define myself, the pulse inside me that drives me forward and makes me want to put everything I have into everything that I do —  so that one day I just might be good enough for him.

How to create a beautiful D.I.Y. wedding

A wedding is an expensive affair that often breaks the bank for newlyweds. Instead of pouring thousands of dollars into one single day, why not take on some of the essentials yourself, saving some of your hard-earned money for the honeymoon or your future home? Here are some beautiful and simple do-it-yourself tips that will save you money, and also give you the fairytale wedding you deserve.

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  1. Make your own bouquet and don’t over-do the flowers

Bouquets can become expensive quickly, especially if you tag the word “wedding” onto the order when you decide on a florist. Many florists and other wedding services have a mark-up for the ‘big day’, so avoid dropping the ‘w-word’ if you can. Instead, find a friend who is a gardening expert and co-opt them into a trip to the greenhouse. Designing your own bouquet is fairly simply and adds a lovely personal touch. Also if you decide to make your own flower arrangements, be sure to obtain flower preservative from a florist or greenhouse to keep them fresh the night before the big day.

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  1. Decorate and set-up yourself

Wedding decorations can quickly become gaudy if they are over the top. Simple and elegant is best and who better to make that happen than you! Keep the decorations simple and natural in order to make an elegant wedding. An example is to use mason jars with tea lights in them and springs of pine on the side or subtle flowers alongside the chairs. Using natural elements for a simple wedding also keeps it looking fresh and is a better option than buying cheap and fake decorations. By setting up yourself, you also save on the costs of hiring a crew to do it. Instead of asking for wedding gifts, why not ask for wedding help? That’s what a wedding party is for, right?

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  1. Have your wedding at a low-cost location with natural beauty

If you have a beautiful outdoor venue at your disposal, why not use that instead of paying an arm and a leg for a private venue? Look at public parks  or use a friend’s backyard who lives somewhere scenic. Public parks have a cost, but then you are supporting the upkeep of their green space and it is still much more cost-effective than a private venue. Finding a setting that is by a lakeside or has mountains in the background creates a naturally beautiful wedding and ultimately saves you money. It also creates a great energy on your big day by breathing in fresh air and seeing the sunshine glint off your beautiful dress. Outdoor weddings for the win!

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  1. Buy your dress off the rack

Wedding dresses can run into the thousands and many women get sucked into buying an overly expensive gown bedazzled with one-of-a-kind jewels and all the extras that come with it. Ditch the overdone look and let your family and friends revel in your natural beauty. If you go for a more elegant and simple dress (with a bit of bedazzling to be sure), then it will save on unnecessary costs and you will still look ravishing. Also, buy the dress off the rack if you can to save on costs of ordering one. It is a dress to be used for one day only. Let’s not go over the top ladies.

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  1. Get a photography student for wedding photos

Wedding photos are so expensive. Not to say they aren’t important though, as they preserve the memories of your big day. Instead of opting for a big-time expensive photographer, make use of the little guys (they will love you for it!). Being in the media world, I can name 10 photographers off hand that are extremely talented, but can’t find work because of their lack of experience. By giving student photographers a chance to do your photos, you will reap the benefits of lowered rates and help someone move forward in their career. Just ask for a portfolio of samples first and give the newbie a whirl.

Overall, there are many ways to cut down on costs for your wedding by simply doing it yourself. It is also a great way to spend time with your bridesmaids and loved ones. I’ve always found the process of creation creates a more authentic and positive experience than getting other people to do it for you.

What are your D.I.Y wedding ideas? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

 

How to be the best maid of honour you can be

Most women dream about being a bride and getting married, but I’ve always hoped to be asked to be a maid of honour. It is flattering to know that one of your girlfriends adores you so much they would be willing to have you stand by their side during one of the most memorable moments of their lives.

My dream came true when a long-time friend asked me through a hilarious Ryan Gosling meme:

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I responded by calling her on the phone, crying tears of happiness.  Now that the initial buzz has worn off, I’m ready to do the best job possible for my bride.

Being a great maid of honour takes work. You have to be attentive and available for a variety of tasks and traditions that are important and memorable. The first and foremost job of a maid of honour is to be there for moral support. Frankly, many men are not interested in planning their weddings and even though I am classified as a tomboy oftentimes, I love looking through beautiful dresses. When the day approaches, being available for those stressful moments and last minute cancellations is essential and can make all the difference between a great maid of honour and a flop.

Attending appointments with the bride is important. Between trying on gowns and helping pick out flowers, if your bride wants you there, it is essential to prioritize your schedule. Each bride will have her own idea of which appointments she needs you to attend. Because this is the bride’s choice, it is important to set out expectations. Asking and communicating will help avoid disappointments or overdoing it. Helping with do-it-yourself projects for the wedding is a fun way to spend time with her and help out at the same time for the big day.

Certain brides will pick the maid of honour dress and others will let you decide. I’ve been asked to choose my own and I find it vital to make sure it is within the colour scope my friend loves and reflects her style. Compromising between a dress that fits your body well but still coordinates with the colour of the wedding is important.  But never forget, what the bride wants, the bride gets. It isn’t your wedding.

The bachelorette party and bridal shower are the main responsibilities for a maid of honour. Some family members will want to plan the bridal shower, so it is important to decide with the bride what events you will be planning. The bachelorette party is definitely a tradition for the maid of honour to organize. Some brides want an exciting and loud party in another city and others prefer a quieter event at a low-key bar. Getting pointers from the bride to plan an event that suits her will ensure a good time. Also, avoid the cheesy games. They are irritating and no one wants to hear the forced laughter these games incite.

On the big day, make sure to be fully available to the bride for any last minute errands that need to be done. Being well prepared in advance will help. The maid of honour is the go-to person on the wedding day so the bride can enjoy her wedding without being bothered with the little things. Be an impromptu wedding planner if needed.

Everyone talks about the best man’s speech, but the maid of honour’s speech is just as important. It is a must-have at the wedding reception. Prepare in advance, because you don’t want to get tongue-tied in the moment. Speak from the heart and speak about the positives of both the bride and groom in a personalized manner. I would avoid making fun of the married pair unless it is very endearing- but you know the couple best.

Being a maid of honour is an unforgettable experience and the ultimate test of your friendship bond. Doing a good job will ensure your bride has a memorable wedding day and she will be so grateful if you can be supportive and helpful. This is an important milestone in a great friendship and will make memories for years to come. Also, don’t forget the most important part: have fun!

Have you been a maid of honour? Share your tips in the comments below.