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The 4 Professionals You Must Hire For Your Budget-Friendly Wedding

The 4 Professionals You Must Hire For Your Budget-Friendly Wedding

Planning a budget-friendly wedding might seem like a challenge. Often times when planning a wedding with a budget, the first thing the soon-to-be bride and groom do in order to keep costs down is limit the use of professional services during the ceremony and reception. While limiting the number of people you have to hire can help you save money, there are some areas that truly benefit from adding a professional’s touch to the task.

Before you cut all of the professional services from your budget-friendly wedding, consider keeping these services to ensure you get the wedding of your dreams:

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A Wedding Photographer

Many people are under the belief that anyone can capture a quality photo. While smartphone cameras and apps have allowed more people to explore their interest in photography, that doesn’t mean that just anyone can achieve a high-quality result. Photography is an artform after all and it requires a certain level of expertise in order to be done well. And since you only intend to get married once, failing to get the professional photographs you imagined means you missed your opportunity completely if you don’t hire the right person to take your photos for you.

Since capturing the memories of your big day are often critical, hiring a wedding photographer needs to be a priority. Not only are they familiar with all of the traditional poses most couples want, but they also understand how to ensure everyone looks their best in every shot. Their familiarity with wedding services also helps them anticipate when important moments are coming up, ensuring they are prepared to get that shot when those key wedding day moments take place.

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A Wedding Cake Specialist

When people picture the cake at their wedding, a sheet cake from the local grocery store normally doesn’t quite come to mind. Many bakeries of this nature have limited experience creating the cakes more commonly seen at weddings. Additionally, many home bakers don’t have the opportunity to create multi-tiered creations often, so they may not be familiar with the intricacies of creating a proper supporting structure for such a large and decadent piece.

bride and groom celebrating
    Credit: J. LEAL

    So, if you have your eyes set on a more traditional looking dessert, then it is best to choose a bakery that creates delicacies for weddings on a regular basis. More than likely, they will work with you to identify less expensive wedding cake options that will suit your budget.

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    A Band or DJ

    If your reception involves music playing throughout the night, then you might want to make sure this is handled by someone specifically hired to do the job. Many brides and grooms think managing the music/playlist for the entire evening is an easy thing to do, especially since many people can carry around thousands of songs in their pockets through their phones and music devices. But, unless you want to create a playlist for the entire reception, it can be worth the investment to choose a professional to manage and perform that task for you.

    Not only can they ensure certain songs are played at the right time, but they can also take requests from guests while you’re enjoying your special night. If there are certain songs you don’t want to hear on your big day, you can provide them with a list of songs that are off limits too. That way, you don’t have to worry about a friend or family member taking over your smartphone to find the “Chicken Dance” if you really prefer it not be played. And sometimes, having that professional buffer can alleviate a lot of stress.

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    A Caterer (For Large Receptions)

    Many people underestimate what it takes to produce food for large groups of people, especially if you are planning on having a full meal prepared and served. While smaller receptions might be manageable for those accustomed to cooking for large families, very few non-professionals have the expertise required to time and create a multicourse meal for hundreds of people.

    If you have concerns about the food budget, but would still like options available to a large group, consider timing your ceremony to make only having hors d’oeuvres appropriate. Otherwise, choose food options that are less expensive for full meals. For example, chicken tends to be less expensive than most other meats, so you might be able to experience significant savings by choosing it over options like beef or fish as your entree of choice.

    Featured photo credit: J. LEAL via jleal.eu

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2021

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

    Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

    Posture

    First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

    • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
    • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
    • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
    • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

    All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

    Facial Expressions

    Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

    • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
    • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
    • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

    If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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    1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

    A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

    The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

    This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

    2. Relax Your Face

    New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

    To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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    3. Improve Your Eye Contact

    Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

    The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

    To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

    3. Smile More

    There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

    Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

    4. Hand Gestures

    Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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    It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

    5. Enhance Your Handshake

    In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

    “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

    It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

    6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

    As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

    Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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    Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

    Final Takeaways

    Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

    If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

    More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

    Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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