Friday, November 1, 2013

5 Tips to Make Your Name Change Simple

I am really excited to introduce Danielle Tate as a guest blogger. Danielle specializes in making name changing easy and efficient after a civil marriage.  I realized that her experience and voice is needed, especially with all the challenges that a Destination Wedding might bring. Enjoy,


Destination weddings incorporate your dreams and an exotic locale…they can also cause a few name change headaches along the way.  Read my tips below to ensure a smooth transition from Miss to Mrs.  regardless of where you say “I do”.

1.            Book Flights & Reservations in Your Maiden Name. You won’t be able to file for a new passport or driver’s license in your married name until your marriage certificate is issued (which is typically 2 weeks after your wedding).

2.            Invest in Travel Insurance.  This protects you from any name-related mistakes that could happen on your trip (and prevents you from needing to re-purchase flights in your maiden name if your fiancĂ© goofs).

3.            Request Multiple Marriage Certificates. Whether you’re married in the U.S. or abroad, asking for 2-3 certified certificates ensures you have enough to file for your name change with all government agencies (and saves you from negotiating for more once you’re home).

4.            Translation/Authentication.  A quick call to the Social Security Administration at 800.772.1213 will let you know if your international marriage certificate needs to be translated or authenticated before it is accepted in the U.S.

5.            Choose Your Married Name. Select your perfect married name before your wedding, so your family knows how to write checks and engrave gifts.  Play the The Married Game for a fun way to find your ideal name!

Danielle Tate is the founder of, the premier online name change service for brides.  Helping over 180,000 brides transition from Miss to Mrs. has made her an expert in name change. Check out for more name change information and

facebook page:

Twitter: @missnowmrscom

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

3 Months before my Destiantion Wedding! What do I still need to do?

Planning a destination wedding might be challenging, but by this time you are over the hump   Mike and I have spent so much time and effort planning our wedding that is very exciting to finally see our wedding day on the horizon.  Three months before the wedding is the time to make all the decisions and finalize the details

A.  Choose the menu for the wedding.

Mexico offers many opportunities for venues other than hotels. Mike and I wanted a private venue to host our big yet intimate wedding. Being a wedding planner food is very important for me so I paid special attention to this factor. The food quality is usually underestimated in a wedding.  People seem to remember the bar, ambiance, decoration, etc but that is only because they haven’t had an exquisite meal served at a wedding. Ours might be the first one!

We went a different route and chose a family style-setting that offered amazing variety of food. We were lucky to be able to taste everything ahead of time and let me tell you I dream about it! 3 more months to try it again!

If you weren’t as lucky and haven’t had a tasting yet and you are not planning to travel before the wedding, reach out to your wedding planner. They know the menus and have worked before with the caterer or hotel before and can provide some guidance.

I always suggest to my clients to consider at least two options for the main course - you want to be able to adapt in the event that someone doesn’t like what they are being served

It’s very important to ask your guests to share their dietary restrictions with you. The most common restrictions are:  Shellfish, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, and Kosher. Any caterer can adapt a menu to these restrictions and deliver a wonderful meal to all guests.

B.  Decoration

You will notice that these last few months might be the most expensive of your wedding planning yet. The reason is because here is where all the upgrades come. All the things you really don’t need but you absolutely want are decided at this time. The reason why I leave decoration for last is because I want to make sure I understand the number of guests that will celebrate with us and adjust the budget accordingly.

My advice for you is to consider your budget before finalizing details with your flower designer and decorator. Here are some ideas that will change dramatically the look of your wedding without having to sell your soul to the devil:

  1. Architectural Illumination. Most destination weddings are dreamed to happen during the day, but what happens at night? The ocean disappears, the amazing buildings around you are just shadows, and all the magnificence of the location is gone. So invest in amazing lights and have an ambiance that will be bullet proof and camera friendly at night.

Our venue has gorgeous fisherman boats docked on the beach and they move with the waves. It is one of the most romantic things ever. I will direct some light to them to keep the ocean moving and also connecting to Playa del Carmen, which until a couple decades ago used to be just a small fisherman town

  1. If you need to add pops of color, your stationary is a great way to decorate your table. A great menu, amazing place cards and table numbers add to a concept and don’t cost much.
  2. Candles candles candles, They are not expensive but your wedding will look like a million dollars
  3. Mike and I are using local flowers for our center pieces, bouquets and boutonnieres. Imported flowers can increase the price considerably.

C.  Personal Items

Here is where I am though on myself. It’s time to invest all my energy and focus to get the results I want for my personal life.

  1. Body. I set some goals at the beginning of my planning and I haven’t reached them yet - 3 months is the deadline to revolutionize your body. I am trying to work out daily, cutting carbs and minimizing alcohol. Sorry, but this stage calls for drastic measures.  I am not starving myself but I am supper conscious of my calorie intake
  2. Heart Stuff. Are you writing your own vows?  I know I haven’t, but this is the right time to start playing with the idea – Our priest is giving us the opportunity to share our own vows in addition to the mandatory by the Catholic Church. I am still trying to figure out if I want to be funny, romantic, dramatic, one thing is for sure… I am going to cry,  my sister will be in charge of bringing the Kleenex!
  3. Stress Levels: Your guests will start to ask a million questions about everything for some reason calling the hotel directly seems too hard for them! I am trying to direct them to my MOH or the hotel. They say that common sense is the least common of all senses, so be ready to experience it in real life.  I have been lucky to this point but it’s coming I can feel it!
  4. Always be grateful. I just recently had 2 bridal showers and 2 bachelorette parties. I am keeping track of all my presents and I am personalizing thank you notes to all my guests. It’s very important for me to make sure that everybody feels as important as they are to us!

Keep following my blog and as always send me your questions! I love reading them!

Friday, August 30, 2013

MyEvent by Jen Kasten interviewed for luxury travel magazine

I feel honored because  I was recently approached by La Cure World Wise Magazine. They are an online magazine that specializes in luxury travel and  lifestyle.  They asked me if I could be interviewed, to share with their audience, some tips regarding destination weddings. Of course I said yes! Every bride needs all the advice they can get! I could only imagine how nervous I would be if I wasn’t an  expert in the field! So, as always, I am happy to share!

Please read my advice and the wonderful point of view of other colleagues in the industry!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Signing up to online bridal contests. Does it pay off?

Since Mike and I got engaged, I signed up to few online contests. Every supplier in the industry wants to attract couples to their business. There is always a price being offered, free trips, free wedding photographer, etc. So I thought I should try some, at the end you are only a bride once, right?

One of the contests Mike signed us up for was the registry at Macys. Macys hosted and Friday night registry marathon. They reached out to all couples out there via the biggest online sites. Macys was going to give away a few $1000.00 dollar prizes to couples that registered that night. Mike and I thought it would hurt, especially because they have awesome kitchen appliances and all sorts of good stuff!

It so happened that the biggest thunderstorm of all summer in Chicago happen that night. All Macys here were expecting way more couples to attend but due to weather they had a small percentage actually coming.

Here is how it worked. Both the bride and groom had a chance to enter their information for a shot at winning the prize. The draft was computerized and the price was randomly chosen. We didn’t win that night.

Few days later I get an email from telling me that because of the small number of people attending the main night, another random draft happened considering the couples that actually participated in the registry. I won one of the $1000.00 dollars prizes! I stared at that email for a few seconds pondering the possibility of a scam. Mike was sure it was not a real prize but suggested I called Macys to verify.

The very nice Lady at Macys asked me to forward my email and said that she would happily find out for me. After almost 1 week I got her answer. The chief weddings at Macys Nationwide confirmed that that prize was legit and that I was free to claim my prize!

1 month latter I got a tracking number and I am waiting for my certificate to get here tomorrow!

This comes as such a blessing. Planning a destination wedding in Mexico, if you choose high season, means that Chicago will be under a ton of snow while you enjoy the perfect weather in Mexico, however, shopping for clothes to look awesome could be challenging. You have to do it while its summer here! And I am planning to take advantage of all offers, everything summer is 60% off right now at Macys!

Mike and I will be rocking amazing outwear on our wedding week! Thank you Macys!

So my advice to you is sing up… with a little luck you can win the grand prize!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The look for your destination wedding. When to start.

Looking your best for your wedding requires prepping a head of time, because miracles don’t happen over night!

 Here are some things you should consider ahead of time:

·         Hair – Try to visualize the style you want.  I am going for a distressed beachy look so I knew I needed few Changes.

o   Color- My natural color is deep brown with natural curls. I decided to start a balayage process on my hair. I suggest to stay away from the ombre look as it’s too trendy and your photos will last forever. You don’t want to look back and say, what was I thinking?

To get my hair to the color and texture I wanted without damaging it too much, I needed at least 3 treatments, in other words 9 months

o   Length – I have always had long hair and my wedding will not be the exception. I want mermaid length.

Although tricks like hair extensions could work to give me the length needed, I want to grow my own hair. I am 80% where I want to be.

Cutting your hair actually helps when you want to grow it. So far I have grown around 5 inches. I still need 2 more. Overall I will need 9 full months to grow the 7-9 inches I want.

o   Treatments – Dry hair is a no-no for a bride. I invested in good shampoo and conditioner. Pamper your hair with treatments that will make it shine on your big day.

Also remember to protect your hair in your wedding week as sun/sand/ocean/pool will damage you hair and could change the color/texture.

I suggest you start nurturing your hair 6 months before

o   Extensions - Although my hair will have the length I want, it loses the volume when it’s too long. I will need to create some volume for the big day.

I suggest you invest in good click-on hair extensions. They don’t damage your hair and they come handy when you need to impress.

Buy your hair extension before your last hair appointment. Have your stylist color them with your hair and cut them too!

·         Teeth

o   Whitening – This is super important. You will be so happy that you won’t be able to hold your smile.

You need at least 2 sessions of 30 minutes to get to a pearl white color. Do it in different sessions as your teeth will be sensible after.

It’s not necessary to start too long ahead. Have your first session 1 month before your wedding and the second one 1 week before and be ready to smile!

·         Skin

o   Tanning lines – Beware of your tanning lines. Make sure you consider the shape of your wedding dress

Also, please don’t look like Tan Mom on your wedding pictures. A little color is great, it will make you look relaxed young and happy, but a lot of color is not a bad idea. Who wants to look like a card box on their wedding?

o   Flawless face - having young/fresh looking skin is a must for every bride. I am flying to Playa a week before my wedding and will be indulging in all sorts of SPA treatments! Poor me…

·         Body

o   Beach bikini body – Finally the toughest one. It will require your full effort for at least 6 months.

Working out and diet are the ONLY way to do this right. Start a healthier life style!

For guys is so much easier, I still had to work on changing Mike’s look for the wedding and also started months ahead of time.

·         Body – Small changes in a guy’s routine will give them what they want. They need no diet, Mike is riding his bike to work and that should be enough to shed all the extra pounds ways. Don’t you hate them?

·         Teeth – He will do the same process I will.

·         Hair - For as long as Mike can remember he has had the same boring hair cut. Your typical $30.00 “soldier cut”. Of course being the planner I am I had to sweet talk him in to letting his hair grow to a stylelish NYC stockbroker look.

He looks so much better and I get to marry even a more handsome guy that what I agreed too! Yes!

Please plan all changes and DON’T do anything abrupt right before the wedding. Here are my DON’Ts:

·         Don’t change your color last minute.

·         Don’t cut your hair drastically. It’s never a good idea

·         Don’t try to lose all the weight last minute. There is no magic wand and eating disorders are the worst. You will lose the weight but you will also look sick/unhealthy.

·         Don’t be too trendy.

Remember that you want to look like the best version of yourselves that day. Not like complete different persons!

I got engaged last year on 08-03-12 on my birthday, exactly a year later 08-03-13, what do you think? I am heading in the right direction with my look?



Thursday, June 27, 2013

How to choose the right hotel for your destination wedding?

As every other couple Mike and I faced all the same questions while choosing our hotel. Mike and I wanted our guests to explore Playa del Carmen and we wanted them to enjoy Mexico. As a couple we love to travel and to feel the culture of the places we visit. We felt that an All Inclusive (AI) keeps you locked in a wonderful parallel universe where you can’t anywhere if you want to take advantage of the goodies included.  Mexico is so much more than that, so we decided to embrace my culture and minimize our search to European Plan Hotels (EP).

Not everybody has to agree with us. Luckily, Mexico is so wonderful and offers plenty of options for every budget, style and size of hotels in all their destinations.

With that said our list of musts included:

·         Beach Front

·         Beautiful rooms / Great amenities

·         Budget friendly. We needed a hotel that could accommodate all budgets

·         Great Service

·         In town (Playa del Carmen) Location location location

I like to tell my clients that there is always a feeling when you see your venue and your hotel. You can picture yourself enjoying with all your loved ones by your side. Sometimes, you have your mind set to something that you saw online and that looked wonderful but when you are on your site inspection, things change and become clear.

Mike and I had two final contenders and after lots of negotiations and tons of stress we made our choice.

We chose the hotel that treated us as we every bride and groom deserves. They made us feel unique and special… that goes places. Let’s call this hotel: hotel A

I felt with the other hotel  (let’s call it Hotel B)we were begging for them to take out business, but they were too confident that they were going to sell the date regardless that killed our joy and excitement. The lack of response and flexibility ultimately made our decision easy.

When discussing this with Mike I made an analogy that made me pull the trigger. I told Mike that with hotel B I felt I was in that typical high school relationship where the guy thinks he is too good for you. He goes and parties without you, he flirts with other girls; just treats you poorly but you keep on taking him back because he is handsome LOL… Hotel B made me feel like that.

On the other hand, hotel A was charming, a smart choice, understood that we are only getting married once, and basically tried their best to accommodate all our needs and requirements

If in real life I chose the most wonderful man in the world, who  saw me for who I was and treasures me deeply, why would I choose wrongly when it came to my hotel?!

Let me tell you, WE COULDN’T BE HAPPIER!! We have had guests booking and had wonderful things to say, the services was as great as what we have experienced! Over all, best choice ever made.

So here is my piece of advice: if the place you visit on your site inspection: Is dirty, their food doesn’t taste great, the service is bad, the onsite wedding planner takes forever to answer, and it’s just not ideal, be smart and choose to fall in love with the right hotel!

I am happy to dig deeper with names and recommendations if you contact me directly! Send me your questions to and follow me on facebook and twitter!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Catholic + non Catholic Marriage – Can you have a Mix Marriage in a Destination Wedding in Mexico?

I just went through all this with my fiancĂ© Mike. Before we were ready to move on and book our Church we did tons of online research but honestly, everything in the internet CAN’T and should not be trusted. It only got us more confused!

Some websites say that only catholic + catholic can get married in the church, others say that only Catholic + Christian can do it and some others don’t even consider a destination wedding as a factor!

So Mike and I went straight to the source. We sat down with our priest in Mexico and asked all our questions. Here is what we found out

1.       At least 1 person in the couple has to have 3 sacraments completed: a) Baptism b) Eucharist c) Confirmation.

2.       If the other person has never been baptized, you can file for a Mix Marriage. The church requests you to promise to raise your children in the Catholic faith for them to marry you

3.       In the Mass the non Catholic person won’t take communion but the rest of the weddings is normal

4.       If the non Catholic person wants to get baptized and confirmed before the wedding they should consider at least 1 year in advance. As an adult the process of being baptized is very different compared with an infant’s process.

Babies or small children are brought by their parents in front of God to get baptized. Later on their faith is requested to be confirmed in the First Communion and Confirmation.

As an Adult you have to take a program called RCIA that lasts around 6-7 months. In this program they teach you everything about the faith, church, Jesus, the Bible, etc. You get baptized, confirmed and receive your first communion the same day. This day is ALWAYS a day before Easter.

Mike and I are getting married in January so we couldn’t meet the time required for him to take the RCIA. On top of that I wasn’t confirmed! And if you add the fact that we are having a destination wedding made it more complicated. But guess what, we are on our way  and with everything in order.

This is what we did:

1.       We reached out to our  local parish here in Chicago I think a day or two before Easter LOL! And our Priest offered a solution for us. It seems that Cathedrals have more programs for confirmation than normal churches and cater to business men and women! So I signed up for Adult confirmation class at Holy Name Cathedral in downtown.

2.       I had to go 6 Mondays from 6:00 – 7:30 PM to refresh my faith. Surprisingly it was very cool! Met great people and enjoyed studding the bible! I believe as an adult you are more mature to understand the word of Jesus. (Everybody should do it!)

3.       I asked my friend Stephanie to be my sponsor for my confirmation

4.       I chose my Grandma’s name as my confirmation name. I wanted to honor her in my confirmation

5.       And on May 22nd 2013 I got confirmed by the Cardinal himself!  Pretty cool!

 So right now Mike and I are in line to take our Pre-Cana and to start our paperwork!

Our church in Mexico is booked and our priest there is informed of every step we take!

This is my experience and I hope it helps you. But I strongly suggest that you stop doing online research when it comes to this and reach out to your local Church for Advice. They are the experts!

Remember you only need 1 Church in your home town and 1 Church in your Destination willing to make it happen for you.
There is nothing like getting married with the ocean as your back drop!

Please send me you questions and/or comments! I will be happy to help if I can! /