Disclaimer: I am in fact a single, straight, educated black man who has JUST within the last few years matured enough to seriously consider marriage. Now for me its about timing and the right woman.
There is an epidemic in The United States. A country wide problem that threatens to destroy the very fabric of our union if we don’t get it figured out. The problem is this; people are not getting married as often as they have in the past. In fact, many of the people who do get married don’t stay married. The numbers say close to fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Selah.
My question is why? Intuitively we know marriage is a good thing. Couples that marry have children and create families, which make strong communities, cities, states and ultimately a strong vibrant country. Statistically speaking married people live longer, healthier, happier and wealthier lives. Marriage is surprisingly beneficial for men. Married men have sex more often and make up to 40% more than their single peers. Yet our generation seems to be waiting longer to get married and in many cases not at all.
The situation is substantially worse in the black community; black women are two times less likely to marry than any other ethnic group of women. The numbers for black men are down right scary, almost twenty five percent of us will end up spending time in a jail cell. In all honesty when you look at the statistics, many of the problems within the black community can be traced to the lack of couples that marry and stay together. But again the real issue is why. Based on my observation and the input of friends here are six reasons.
Finances: Getting married is expensive. In fact dating is expensive, particularly if you are a man. The average couple spends over 26k on their wedding and that cost doesn’t include an engagement ring or honeymoon. The average cost of dinner and a movie is north of 145 dollars when you include hair cut, dinner, tip, drinks, movie tickets and popcorn…and I didn’t include taxi(for us Chicagoans and New Yorkers) or gas. It takes cold hard cash to date and get married. And if you look at the fact that less than 20 percent of black men advance to college and only a third of those graduate you start to see how this plays out. The average salary for a black man with no college degree is $18,396 a year. Its hard to pay 145 dollars for a date on that salary let alone pay 1.5 times it for a wedding. As a side note: Ladies, men are usually happiest when we are satisfied with our career direction and financial state…dating a man with issues in those areas is usually problematic.
Too Many Choices: For the fellas that are in a practical position to date and marry choosing who to date can be tough. There are many choices and it can be hard to figure out who is for you. I call it the “candy store effect”. Even the most God fearing and well intentioned man can find himself entertaining too many “friends” if he isn’t careful. This causes a completely different set of problems. 1) Men don’t really pursue women like they should…because somewhere some woman is pursuing them. 2) Men can become selfish, seeing women they date as a commodity that can be replaced when the situation requires. 3) Women become objects and trophies to be collected. The only cure for this is maturity, Jesus and a renewed mind towards relationships. The unfortunate thing is that it takes time for that to happen. Many black men aren’t ready for marriage until there late 20’s and most in there 30’s.
Lack of Maturity: It’s a sad fact but most black boys grow up without a father in the home. According to the US census, 75 percent of black children will spend some portion of their childhood without a father in the house. It’s hard to mature into something you’ve never seen. Additionally the media (music, videos, radio) in our community define a man as a testosterone driven, misogynist who’s main goal in life is the pursuit of pleasure the consumption of more alcohol, more toys and more women. Look at the most popular rappers and athletes to see my point. Many boys grow up trying to emulate that type of man; the rappers they see on television without even knowing it. The sad part is they are often successful in doing it. It’s just too bad that type of a man doesn’t value marriage.
Too Much Baggage: The lack of a healthy marriage in the home doesn’t just affect young men. In fact, it may be difficult for women to identify the traits of a good future father and husband as a result. This means that many women make poor choices in who they date and are hurt because of the experience. Often times the damage is carried into the next relationship with similar consequences. Unfortunately many of these women never understand that the issue is not that good men aren’t available. The problem is actually that they don’t have the internal discernment to identify a good future mate. That kind of intuition can only be passed from father to daughter. Many times they prefer the immature man without even knowing it…passing over many “good” men in the process.
Fear: Personally I define fear as faith based on bad experiences or information. Unfortunately because so many of our families had bad experiences with relationships and marriage we fear it. We internalize the pain and frustration we saw so many loved ones go through and shy away from marriage as a result. For men oftentimes we see it as restriction and loss of freedom. Many women see it as pain; submitting to a man who ultimately may hurt them emotionally. It’s a tragedy in the classic sense when you think about it.
Dating Poorly: My pastor used to tell us that dating was to collect data on a future mate. He also would say if you weren’t ready to be married, then why date? In today’s day and age, dating is less about finding a life long mate and more about selfish pursuits in the now. Let me explain. Some women are going out to dinner because they are bored, hungry or just want to get out the house. They aren’t looking to focus their attention on learning about the guy. As a consequence they aren’t asking the right questions to identify traits of a good husband and father. We already know what most men want and even if it isn’t sex, they want the attention from the woman and could care less about her being a good wife or mother.
Conclusion: What if we decided to change? What if we changed our focus? What if we made it popular to be married? Making it a point that Sean Carter and Beyonce aren’t just “together” but they are married and then had a child. What if we saw Barack and Michelle as more than just the first couple, but as blue prints to design our life after? What if women were open and decided that they would learn how to identify a good man instead of screaming that they don’t exist. What if we did a better job educating our young men instead of labeling so many “emotionally disabled” at a young age? Then they would have a fighting chance in life and be able to afford marriage. Fellas what if we decided that central to manhood was the ability to love and cherish one woman…as a wife? What if we stopped honoring the rappers and singers who blatantly objectify women? If we did this, things would change. We would see marriage levels rebound within our community and our social ills decline. The United States itself would be strengthened if we got married more often.
“What do you think?”
Comment down below, and share your thoughts on this article!
Since I first started coordinating weddings in San Diego, there has been one particular space that I have loved more than any other; The Coronado Community Center, which I may like to add, has recently opened the doors to their Club House and gifted us with the privilege of being the first vendor within this much desirable space. Both of these venue selections are each doubly desirable to myself and to prospective couples.
The Club boasts picturesque views of the water and downtown skyline, flexibility for guests that reserve their rooms, & a fabulous kitchen that allows you to create just about any Menu you could dream of. And let us not forget one of the most picture perfect ceremony sites that San Diego has to offer!
To commemorate our 15th year and 3rd as #1 Wedding Caterer in San Diego. The Abbey Catering is offering a special for all couples that reserve our services at the Coronado Community Center. Anyone that secures full service Catering from November 1st 2013 to June 1st 2014, can take advantage of 100 complimentary Wooden Folding Chairs for their ceremony or reception. It’s just our little way to say thank you to the Community Center and the City of Coronado, and to all of our lovely couples that we will be working with for the upcoming 2014 Season. Upgrades are available, see one of our consultants today to discuss your day.
So, happy planning everybody-& Ill see you on the aisle:)
Love at first sight… some of us get to experience it once in our lifetimes. We fall in love, we plan our future, and of course we plan our wedding. The San Diego Museum of Art is one of the few venues you will look at and have you falling in love at first sight from the moment you step in through the door, if you have been searching for a venue rich with culture, with a splash of elegance, that does not inhibit you from adding your own personal touch; then search no more! The San Diego Museum of Art has both beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces, incredible architecture, and makes for a truly unique and memorable setting for a wedding. Your guests will relish in having the opportunity to see the outstanding art galleries that are the pride of balboa. The Museum’s architecture also makes for some amazing photos for you and your guests to add to your own collections! The San Diego Museum of Art has a location for every type of event for your wedding in it’s different rooms and open spaces; that will be sure to leave you and your guest breathless!
Things to remember when having a wedding where there will be different locations for the ceremony, dinner, and reception:
• Make sure that you adequately staff your event, there are so many factors involved with insuring we create your vision accurately. With so much ground to cover comes a lot of physical and time consuming demands; every member of our catering staff is a vital part of our team, and we all share 1 simple goal, to make your special day your Dream come true. Adding an additional server or two might not seem necessary but the difference an additional set of hands can make is night and day!
• Guest count will make all the difference on how many staff members you will need. You want to make sure that your guests are well taken care of.
• Take advantage of the natural beauty of the grounds and its surroundings. Sometimes less is more, however don’t be afraid to ask your coordinator to help you brainstorm on creative ways to add to the evening.
• Always depend on your coordinator and trust them indefinitely. To ensure a successful evening always ask your coordinator for their advice. They are there not solely for their creativity with planning and decor, but also for their vast experience gained from executing hundreds of amazing events. They want your special day, to be perfect just as badly as you do!
With every bride and groom I meet, there is a constant high level of demand to execute the perfect San Diego wedding.The demand comes certainly from vision, ideal investment, and availability. One new trend I’m enjoying currently is creating my clients complete reception from scratch which includes picking the perfect backdrop, the San Diego skyline.
I recently had a beautiful wedding that needed to be designed and executed within 6 weeks. Short notice can easily complicate things and can certainly create unique challenges that you normally wouldn’t have in a longer time frame. Challenges like finding the right space, understanding whom to retrieve proper permits from and what you need to attain them, and how to execute within the parameters of said permit can be daunting.
So the first step after considering a space is to get a full proposal based on your rentals needs. Based on the time of year, you may want a tent which will be the biggest investment. Tents range from $1400 for under 100 guests to several thousand. Then there are the basics like tables and chairs, dancefloor, lighting, generators etc. Electricity for lighting & music can be complex, make sure you arrange your needs with a specialist. Other weather considerations are elements like heaters or umbrellas. So , while the permit itself may feel like peanuts, expect to spend the same as a standard reception venue.
Then you need to focus on guest experience. Obviously when you’re planning your wedding , the day is about you. But every invited guest is on that list for a reason. They all impacted your lives in some way making you the perfect person for each other when you met. To ensure guests are happy, check into accessibility for older or handicapped guests, make parking arrangements, and consider proximity to hotels.
One of the strongest trends in weddings for 2014 are the use of the four elements, water, earth, wind, & fire. Aside from the spiritual use of these aesthetics, they offer a unique way of customizing your day. A lot of couples bring aspects of their first meeting or date into their wedding day using these concepts. Just keep in mind through the planning you need to consider the venues rules and regulations pertaining to your projected vision.
Water- This is a great ways to spruce up your day, add a mobile free standing waterfall or fountain. They’re easy to find or fabricate and a nice way to add some interest to your day. Both movement and the soothing sound can make a great centerpiece or back drop for images.
Earth- Use of dirt or clay may seem a little messy or on the rustic side of things but I’ve designed weddings that can easily incorporate this element and maintain an elegant flare. Line clear vessels with dirt, colored clay, or rock to give dimension to centerpieces. Use of planter boxes is also popular right now filled with dirt , rock and a variety of plants. They can be used as centerpieces or in longer planter boxes to create space, section areas ect. There are copious amounts of ways to spread your roots in fertile ground!
Wind- I know what you might be thinking: Using industrial fans to blow your guests away? In reality, spots all around San Diego have nice and breezy venues. These spots are amazing for guests that are not acclimated to the San Diegan heat in the summers, and gentle winds are more kinder on the hair than you think ladies! Fresh ocean air breezing through your reception, really adds a substantial value to your day!
Fire- This is going to be the most tricky one to include and is a very venue-based decision. Small fire pits or fireplaces can be bought or rented. Of course candles are an easy way to get the heat going and even torches. One of my favorite examples was one of my clients first met at a bon fire so they incorporated candles and outdoor brazers on their special day. You can always go faux torch or candles if live flame is out of the question.
These are just a few ways to add elements to your day. Call me if you’re looking for any other ideas or concepts- They sky is the limit!
Earlier this month, we had the distinct pleasure of catering the first private event at a new venue in Coronado called The Coronado Club Room, for the wedding of a lovely and beautiful couple, Arran and Lucy. After guests walked to the venue from the beach ceremony in Coronado, guests enjoyed gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a full bar with a specialty cocktail of blood orange and champagne.
The menu included delectable items like spicy shrimp gazpacho shooters, mini filet wellingtons with a horseradish crème fraiche, and goat cheese and chorizo quesadillas with a chipotle aioli. Pow Wow Vintage Rentals provided beautiful wooden tables and chairs with décor to add an intimate and heavenly element to the wedding. Guests were entertained by the classic rock styling of Ron’s Garage Band.
The architectural and modern space has gorgeous views of the Coronado Bay and Bridge and perfect for a party of 75 people or less. It includes some basic equipment rentals, likes tables and chairs, provided via the Coronado Community Center. The venue is located at 1985 Strand Way, and events can only be booked on Saturdays until 3pm or all day on Sundays. For more information, don’t hesitate to call one of The Abbey Catering’s event consultants at (888) 238-0949.
Two strong factors can present obstacles for selecting that perfect garden venue for your wedding reception. The first being inflexibility on dates & availability. The other being that most of San Diego’s wedding venues book 12-14 months prior to the wedding date. With other brides gunning for your perfect venue, if you don’t plan ahead, it becomes a very stressful endeavor. So if your time line doesn’t enable you to book your outdoor venue, here are some great ways to bring the outdoors inside!
1. It seems pretty simple but your centerpieces-wildflowers or even roses to can create a garden theme. Over sized centerpieces are a great way to add all those outdoor colors to your table side.
2. Succulents-Very popular last year and still going strong. There are a variety of colors & shapes of this very hearty plant and they make great arrangements and can be used as accents. The great thing is your guests can take them home regardless of a lack of a green thumb, would be hard-pressed to kill them.
3. Live Plants & Trees- Renting or buying potted plants or trees , even hedges can really spruce up your ceremony & reception. You can use them to create spaces while still looking dynamic. If you rent them you don’t have the hassle of lugging them back & forth but if purchased, you can recycle them or gift them to your guests.
4. Moss or Grass Installations-Moss can be used as an accompaniment to arrangements or in border boxes to the room or on auxiliary tables. Grass can boxed in cubes and used to create intricate designs on the floor of your hall or ballroom or even on your ceremony isle.
5. Edible Floral- Bring your garden theme to your food & beverage. Any noteworthy San Diego caterer can give you tons of options for integrating edible floral into appetizers, entrees, or craft cocktails.
Finding the right elements to add to your San Diego wedding or private event can be tricky, since it can be a constant battle between selecting something that is unique, fits your vision, and doesn’t break the bank. Here are some ideas that may be silly and even a little flamboyant, but are sure to wow your guests:
• Instead of a DJ or band, hire a choir or chorus to provide some entertainment for your wedding. What could be more grand or campy than that? They could provide music for everything from the pre-ceremony to your first dance. Here’s a visual: think of Stanford and Anthony’s wedding in the movie, “Sex & The City 2″.
• At a wedding, the sound of glasses clinking is always the cue for the newlyweds to kiss. Why not even the playing field a bit by calling out other married couples throughout the dinner to kiss in front of everyone as well?
• When you’re sending out your wedding invitations, ask guests to write a song that will get them out of their seat to dance. At the right time, play those songs and make the guests get on the dance floor and break out their best moves.
• Station a search light outside your venue to bring attention to the wedding or private event, like a big Hollywood movie premiere. That will definitely bring attention to your event and have passersby wondering, “What’s going on there and why wasn’t I invited?”
• Although it may be more appropriate during a cocktail party, organize a scavenger hunt at a rehearsal dinner or corporate function to provide an interactive element and encourage guests to mingle. Some of the items on the scavenger hunt should encourage people to talk to one another, like having to find three people with the same initial as your first name or revealing people’s special or odd talents. Get creative and have with it!
• Finding the perfect wedding favor may seem impossible, but what do you get those VIP wedding guests, like your best man or maid of honor? Depending on their taste, consider gifting them a monthly subscription to a book, beer, or wine club, or go with a subscription with companies like Birchbox (http://www.birchbox.com). With every monthly Birchbox, your friend will receive a selection of beauty, grooming, and lifestyle-related samples from various companies. As a Birchbox member myself, I always look forward to what my box is going to contain each month. This month, I received everything from lip balm to a canvas grilling apron.
CNN did an amazing exert on wedding etiquette questions and asked them to some famous wedding planners. Here are some of the best questions asked:
CNN: When it comes to weddings, it seems like everyone has an opinion, from mothers to mothers-in-law to friends and sisters. Unfortunately, those “brilliant” ideas often do not fit in with the type of celebration that the bride and groom envision. How do you suggest that couples politely decline well-meaning suggestions about what they “must do” or “must have” to make their wedding perfect?
Steven Petrow: Make sure both members of the couple are on the same page. It’s called “the power of two” and makes it much easier for a bride to say to her mother, “James and I had another idea for the centerpieces.” It can also be helpful to assign specific tasks especially to a mother-in-law and mother-of-the-bride to help them feel a part of the planning and yet keep their focus narrow.
Remember, very few brides will get away without accepting some well-meaning suggestions. It’s the art of compromise, and it will get you off to a good start with your new family.
Interestingly, for same-sex couples this is much less of a problem since a large majority (86% according to a recent Advocate survey) of gay couples plan and pay for their own nuptials. Family members are also less likely to be as involved in the wedding as a result. That’s one way to tame a Bridezilla MOB to be.
Southern Weddings: Smile sweetly, and thank them graciously. Perhaps try this line: “Well, bless your heart — thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. We’ll definitely take that into consideration.”
CNN:Managing the guest list is typically one of the most challenging aspects of wedding planning. What is the best way to inform guests that they are not welcome to bring a plus-one or their children to your reception?
Lizzie Post: If you don’t speak up, you run the risk of upsetting others who did follow the rules. When you get the RSVP, call them and say, “Jane, there might have been some confusion — the invitation was for you and Bob only. We chose to have this be an adults only reception; I hope this doesn’t cause too much inconvenience.”
Think ahead of time about the people you are inviting. Should you have a babysitter at the wedding for guests with young children so their parents can travel with them? It is really important for guests to respect that “no kids” means no kids, not even infants.
If guests are unsure about whether it is OK to bring their baby, they can call and say that they are not yet comfortable traveling without the baby. That gives the host a chance to either say that it is OK to bring the baby or to say “We understand; we will miss you at the wedding.
Randy Fenoli: It should be clearly stated on the invitation: This invite is for one guest only and we love children, but we have decided to have a grown-ups only wedding. You should always be polite, but firm.
CNN:What advice do you give to a couple whose relatives do not support their union — whether it is a same-sex union, a matter of religious differences or some other issue?
Randy Fenoli: Every family situation is different and should be approached accordingly. For me, if someone didn’t support me, or the partner I choose to be with, why would I want him or her at my wedding? Invite people who genuinely love and support you. It’s far better to have an intimate wedding than a huge wedding filled with people who aren’t supportive.
Steven Petrow: Because weddings are about new beginnings I generally urge gay couples to take the high road and invite family members, even if they don’t support your relationship because you’re a same-sex couple.
One of the most effective things is to talk directly with any disapproving relatives, as a couple, about your love for each other, the commitment you’re making and your ceremony plans. Take the time to explain why marriage matters to you: because it makes for stronger families, that you’ll become eligible for federal and/or state benefits or that you want to affirm your relationship before your loved ones.
It takes an awfully cold-hearted person to sit through a wedding ceremony and not be moved — if not to tears, at least to acceptance. Consider this a unique opportunity to change some hearts and minds.
CNN: One of the most commonly asked wedding etiquette questions is: “How can we politely request cash gifts?” What’s your advice to the couple who already has all the toasters they could ever need?
Southern Weddings: It’s never considered in good taste for the couple themselves to offer gift preferences, unless asked directly, so make sure your closest friends and family know your wishes. Guests are more willing to give cash when they know what it’s going toward, as in: “Emily and John are saving for a down payment on a house, and would be so grateful to have your help.”
Steven Petrow: “High manners” still generally frowns on the notion of “pay for play” weddings, even though it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for and receive a cash gift in some communities and ethnic groups. Still, plenty of workarounds exist to avoid getting an excess of toasters.
Feel free to tell those in your wedding party or other close relatives that you prefer dollars to doilies and that, if asked, they should relay your wishes. There are also honeymoon registries, which make it possible for guests to contribute to a fund; their gift might be one night at the hotel or an adventure outing (sea kayaking, anyone?)
Many same-sex couples, marrying after many years together and with too much stuff, are forgoing gifts altogether and politely suggesting to their guests that donations be made to a marriage equality organization, like Freedom to Marry.
CNN: Who should get the most say in which wedding gown to buy — the bride or her mother? And does that change depending on which one of them is paying for the dress?
Randy Fenoli: I work for the bride, so when this problem arises, I ask the mother, “Who picked out your wedding dress?” If she did, then I tell her it’s time to let her daughter pick out hers. If her mother did, I ask her how she felt about that.
If this doesn’t work, I ask her who is choosing her mother of the bride gown, or how would she feel wearing a garment she didn’t like on the most important day of her life.
If all these tactics fail, I simply turn to the mother with a smile on my face and say, “I’m sure like any parent, all you truly want is for your daughter to be happy.”
Lizzie Post: It is a discussion you need to have before you go shopping. If your ideas are too far apart, thank you mother for her offer to pay for the dress, and then say that you have decided to take care of it yourself. You may still wish to invite her to come shopping for the wedding gown with you.
CNN: What is your best advice for couples about choosing the people who will stand up with them at their wedding?
Lizzie Post: Take everything into account. Who is really important to you? Look at family first. Also reach across the aisle to the family you are going to be joining; you may wish to invite your future sisters-in-law to be bridesmaids.
Do not get carried away choosing your bridal party; keep it simple and remember that you can always find other special jobs and other ways to include friends who are not bridesmaids. Sometimes it is best to limit your bridal party to just family to keep the size reasonable. It is also OK not to have attendants at all.
Southern Weddings: Think about your past, present and future. It’s tempting to choose your childhood friends for sentimental reasons, even if you’re not close to them anymore, but a newer friend might be a more meaningful choice if you can see them standing beside you long into the future.
For any tips or advice ask us at The Abbey Catering & Event Design!