How to: Getting married as students? Organizational tips (#2)

As the summer approaches, the wedding season gets closer!

If you haven’t read the first part of this article, here is the link to find it !

 

With time passing by, you might be starting to stress a little bit more about the organization of your party. Don’t worry, it is totally normal!

You might have found your dress, and already chosen the place of your dinner reception. The key feature you should start worrying about is the caterer for your dinner. In fact, some places are only rentable if you choose to hire one of their caterers. In this case, the price might be a little higher, but the choice becomes a straightforward process and the organization is usually easier as the caterer already knows the kitchen and the furniture of the place.

In order to choose a caterer, you need to define which type of dinner you want: A seated dinner? A buffet?

A seated meal can look more luxurious and exceptional, although it might be more expensive as you need to pay the numerous waiters. We decided to go for a buffet, so our guests can choose between different courses. Moreover, we thought that it was more pleasant for the guests to give them the possibility of moving a little and talk with other tables during the dinner. Something you need to check before hiring a caterer, is if he or she imposes a corkage fee. In fact, it is often more interesting to bring your own drinks, but the caterer can ask for more than €5 for each bottle you bring. If it is the case, then you can probably abandon the idea of bringing your own drinks.

Aperçu traiteur

If you feel courageous or if you know people working in catering, you might want to organize yourself the whole meal. It might be very interesting and very satisfying, but you need to realize that it requires a lot of time and a very strong organization! In fact, you need to think about where you’ll buy food, who will go and transport the food, where to rent a refrigerated truck, who will do the service, where will you rent the tablecloths and napkins, how will you get the tableware etc. It is completely doable but most of the time, hiring a caterer is much more interesting and it will save you lots of stress and organizational issues.

 

Now that your guests have received a Save the Date and that you have found how you will proceed for the meal, you can start sending the final invitations. It should be done 3 to 4 months before your D-Date, and you should ask for responses 1 or 2 months before the wedding.

As we got confined, we had a lot of time to do the invitations ourselves from Canson paper and die-cutting plate. Although, I recommend you buy “simple” cards on the internet. Then, if you want to, you’ll be able to customize them with some ribbon, lace or whatever pleases you!

In order to remain as organized as possible, I encourage you to create an excel file with all the contact details of your guests and whom is invited to which part of the wedding (ceremony + dinner or just ceremony). Then, you’ll be able to add a column to specify  if you have  already sent an invitation or not, another column with their response! It would be very useful if you can also add a column in order to write down if your guest is an adult / teen / child or baby. Then, you will easily access  the exact number of adults staying for dinner, and the number of children in order to hire a babysitter or two! This information will be very important to communicate to your caterer, and for you to draft a seating plan for example.

Name Age Mail Address Invitation R. Ceremony R. Dinner
Charles Phillip Ingalss Adult Ingalls@gmail.com Little House on the Prairie Sent Yes Yes
Sophie de Réan Children NA Château de Réan Sent Yes No

 

Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to your witnesses! They will probably be thrilled to take part of such an event! One last and major rule to apply:

On the D-Day, you shouldn’t take care of anything else than you and your spouse!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Throughout the month of May, the celebration of mothers takes place.
As we all know, the responsibility of motherhood is huge, and the mental load can easily be very stressful.

This holiday exists so we can show appreciation to women who have an influence on our lives, whether it is our biological mother, our stepmother, our adoptive mother, a mother-to-be, a mother who has passed away, and the list goes on.
Hopefully we all have a mother figure in our lives that is there to support us, to help us make the right decisions, and to care for us. 

A bit of history…

This holiday has its own history, depending on the country. 

The celebration of a mother figure is known to have started in ancient Greece, when people celebrated Rhea, the Great Mother of the Gods.
During the 16th century, Christians used to celebrate Mothering Sunday in the UK, a very religious commemoration at the time that honored women and their children.
Mother’s Day, as we know it nowadays, started in the United States. The first women to desire to start this tradition were Julia Howe and Ann Jarvis, who campaigned for a peaceful celebration in the late 1800s. In 1908, the first Mother Day’s celebration took place as Ann’s daughter organized a private memorial for Ann, who had recently passed away.
This idea quickly spread throughout the whole country, even if the proposal to make it an official holiday was denied at first. Eventually, in 1914, the President of the United States accepted it as a national holiday, held every year on the second Sunday of May. After that, several countries all around the world followed up the tradition and officialised this holiday… But what about France?

Mother’s Day in France

The origins of this holiday in France are quite different from what I have just told you about.

In the early 1800s, the French emperor Napoléon I, thought of creating a day where people would celebrate mothers of large families. This idea did not come to life until 1896, as a way of motivating people to be more family-oriented and have more children. Shortly, during the first decade of the 20th century, mothers of big families were starting to get honored as much as the fathers. 

French people would have to wait until the end of World War I to start celebrating Mother’s Day inspired by the American tradition.
In 1918 a celebration took place to honor the women who lost their husbands in battle.  Mother’s Day became an official holiday in the following years, with the intention of celebrating and honoring mothers and their involvement in their family’s lives.
In 1950, a law was passed stating that Mother’s Day would occur every year on the last Sunday of May. However, if the Pentecost (Christian holiday after Easter) happens on that same Sunday, Mother’s Day is postponed to the first Sunday of June. And guess what? That is what is going to happen this year! Mother’s Day in France will be celebrated on June 7th of 2020.

The new way of celebrating Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day, which was first created to make mothers feel appreciated, has now been highly exploited. In fact, retailers quickly understood how this holiday could be beneficial for them and started to take advantage of it.

From Mother’s Day pre-made cards to expensive gifts, the commercialization of this holiday is one of the most successful ways to make money in most developed countries.

What could we do to make Mother’s Day less of a commercial holiday?

Well, there are a lot of possibilities! 

    • Instead of buying pre-made cards at your local supermarket, you could make your own.
      It is quite easy, fast and you have the power to do whatever you want to your card – make it simple or extravagant, you decide!
    • Write a letter to the mother figure you want to celebrate.
      Writing letters is a lost art. Unlike cards, which are meant to be aesthetically pleasing, take this chance to express yourself and tell them how much they mean to you.
    • Food, food, food!
      You could prepare her a little something to eat, in order to show her your appreciation. Whether it is breakfast in the morning or any other meal, this is a lovely idea that would make anyone happy.
    • A drawing goes a long way.
      The simplest things can bring the most happiness in life. If you are an artsy person, you could definitely draw something cute and give it to her as a gift.
    • Make use of your printer.
      Some moments are so special that they become part of the highlights of our lives. Do not hesitate to print a picture (or a picture collage) that means a lot to both of you.
    • Most importantly, do not forget to tell her how much you care about her.
      Sometimes we do not show much affection to the ones we care about the most. This is the perfect opportunity to remind them how important they are to you.

Hopefully, you enjoy this year’s Mother’s Day close to the women you appreciate the most in your life. If not, do not forget that distance does not invalidate your feelings. Cherish the sweet memories!
Also, keep in mind that there are various celebrations honoring other family members such as fathers and grandparents and they are just as important! Appreciate your relationship with others and keep on making great memories.

Entertainment and chill

We all know how busy and stressed out we can get with classes, and work, as part of student life. Sometimes we just want things to slow down for a bit, and enjoy ourselves in front of a great TV showor a book.
The new year started a few months ago and we have already been blessed with loads of new TV series, books, and even movies!
Let me help you through the (potentially annoying) process of choosing what to watch/read by giving you a few recommendations that will hopefully please you.

TV SERIES
Don’t you love it when a TV show is so entertaining that it can make you feel every type of emotion, regardless of its nature, in every episode?
You can learn so much from them, and it is also a great conversation topic.
Here is my top two TV series that you should absolutely watch (and they’re both available on streaming platforms) :

Altered Carbon
This one was recommended to me by one of my closest friends and I fell in love with it from the get-go.
The first season of this series aired in February of 2018 on Netflix. It is an
adaptation of a novel also named
Altered Carbon, written by Richard K. Morgan and published in 2002.
The scene takes place in the future, and the technology is way more developed than we could ever imagine. People have, what they call,
a stack integrated into their bodies, which allows everything that they do and/or think to be recorded and stored. Bodies are just bodies – mentioned as “sleeves” throughout the show – meaning that they can be easily replaced. As an example, after your death, if your stack has not been touched, you can come back to life in another body. Rich people can afford whichever body they want.
As the show goes on, we follow
Takeshi Kovacs, a known soldier, coming back to life after being killed centuries ago. He was brought back to life by a tremendously rich person,Mr. Bancroft, who has a strenuous mission for him.

Without spoiling it to you, the show can get very dark and violent but the best part is that it also explores so many original concepts – the human body, the mind (the subconscious, dreams,..), our identity.
Each character has a purpose, and I cannot promise that you will not fall in love with one of them.
Season two of this TV show just aired on Netflix so it is not too late to catch up!
If you like
Science Fiction, this is the show for you.

Lucifer
If you’re down to laugh and enjoy yourself, this could be the show for you.
It has been out since 2015 and thanks to Twitter fans (#SaveLucifer) the series is still going on, and season five will come out during the Summer of this year – which gives you plenty of time to catch up if you have not watched it yet!
The storyline talks about
Lucifer Morningstar, also known as the Devil, who decided to come to earth to live a new, regular life away from the boredom that had become Hell. Owner of a nightclub, he lives his best life as no one believes he is literallythe Devil.
Throughout his adventures, he starts helping the Los Angeles Police Department solving crimes – especially thanks to his ability to make people confess to their deepest desires.
Chloe Decker, an LAPD detective, becomes then his partner and their relationship evolves throughout the whole series, full of intriguing drama.

If you love characters full of sassiness and loads of character development, you will have a blast.
The show has been nominated for several well-known awards: the Dragon Awards, the People’s Choice Awards, and the Teen Choice Awards.

BOOKS
If you are someone who also enjoys reading, I got you too! It is a great hobby to help you improve your concentration, vocabulary, social perception, and even practice a foreign language. I highly recommend you read the following books in English if you would like to improve your English skills.

The Shadow of the Wind
This magnificent fiction book was written by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and first published in 2001 – but it is timeless.
Daniel Sempere is a ten-year-old Spanish boy that loves to read. One day, he goes to a secret place known as The Cemetery of Forgotten Books and chooses a book – The Shadow of the Wind– that is going to change his life forever.
He finds himself on a mission to find everything he can about
Julian Carax, the author of the book, that has disappeared along with all the books that he had ever published. We follow his adventures filled with danger and excitement through his adolescence.
The story jungles between both of these two characters and we get to know how their lives are actually similar in several aspects…

A couple ofquotesfrom this book:

– “Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
– “I could tell you it’s the heart, but what is really killing him is loneliness. Memories are worse than bullets.”

Do not let the length of the book throw you off! Give it a go if you wanna know more about the life of Daniel.

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos R Zafron

Followers
Written by Megan Angelo and published in January of this year, this is her debut novelthat will make you question your online presence.
It talks about
Orla Cadeen, an unsatisfied blog writer that lives in New York in 2015.
Orla and her roommate,
Floss, both dream of finding true love and being known for their talents – writing and singing respectively. They strive for fame together and use the internet to become A-listers.
In parallel, we learn about
Marlow, a young woman that lives in 2051, and her day to day life – how everyone is recorded every single day with barely any privacy.
Technology’s evolution has a huge impact on people’s relationships, including the one with themselves.


The story is beautifully written to make you understand the role of social media in each character’s life – where their virtual life is way easier to achieve than real life.
This novel will show you that no matter how big technology is in our lives, we all crave for
real connectionswith other human beings at the end of the day.

Followers – Megan Angelo

Hopefully, I did not spoil you and my tips were of help! Now go, and enjoy some time off by watching/reading one of my recommendations.
Do not hesitate to leave more recommendations on the comment section!

 


~~TIPS~~


Do not be scared to watch TV shows, movies or read a new book in English. This will definitely help you extend your vocabulary and knowledge of the language.
If you would like to practice your English even more, some students are organizing “Lunch in English” from Monday through Friday at 12.5pm in room 118 – it is the perfect opportunity to socialize in English.

How to: Getting married as students? Organizational tips (#1)

Here it is, you have found your soulmate! You may have met both families and the wedding is to be scheduled. There is just an ultimate detail: you’re still a student with a tiny budget! Don’t panic, you’re on the right page.

If you wonder how to organize a beautiful wedding with a tiny budget, then keep reading! 

 

The first thing to know is how much time do you have before getting married. The more time, the easier it is to organize. Having a whole year allows an ideal organization, but things are easily workable in 8 / 10 months. 

Then, you may have to dress a first draft of a list of people you want to invite, especially for the dinner. Friends, family? This first list will highly influence your decisions concerning a major point of your organization: the dinner’s location. In fact, the room has to be large enough for all your guests. You should search for a 10% larger room than expected with your first draft as, even if some people won’t come, you surely will have other guests your forgot to write down on your list. However, the size of the room isn’t the only characteristic you have to check. A key feature that could make a difference is the kitchen (if there is one): is it sufficient to cook the whole meal for all your guests, is the equipment suitable for the whole evening ? Moreover, some places have enough tables, chairs and dishes to receive a lot of people, but some don’t. Make sure to check what equipment and services are included in the price of the rent. 

If you have a tiny budget, try to rent a village hall. Most of the time, these rooms are perfectly suitable for large receptions and very affordable. If you want a more charming place, you should find domains or castles to rent, but you will strongly increase the cost. Keep in mind that you can still decorate your room with flowers, sheers or garlands. Another way to reduce the cost of the rent, is to get married during the week or in winter and not on the weekends in the middle of the summer. In fact, almost all places adjust their prices. As an example, we had a 20% discount on the price of the rent because we decided to get married on a Monday instead of a Saturday. Check the national holidays, for you might find a very nice date to get married during a week! Few places even offer a 50% discount during the week or the winter. 

Table decoration

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Tips to improve your English skills as a French student

Learning a new language requires a lot of effort, commitment and investment. The problem of the majority of French speakers is not only that they have not spent enough time to study pronunciation correctly, but also they have spent all their life pronouncing things wrong (and thinking that they were pronouncing it correctly).
Indeed, in which world can « choir » (chorus) be pronounced as « quaia »? It’s that they do not even look alike! And I am not talking about any exceptions, just have a look at more common words like « water » (water) pronounced « ou – o – tah » (in British English)

 

It is common knowledge that the learning of English is not immediate, but here I will offer you a few tricks to practice your knowledge and surpass them.
The first thing you want to do is slow down! Many people believe that if you talk very fast, it is more difficult to correct bad habits. Practice some basic things every day. It starts with simple sounds, then continues with words and later go on to pronounce whole sentences.

To improve your vocabulary, you can read in English, as having clear notions of what you are going to read allows you to build better grammatical bases. You can read anything, from novels to short stories, news articles, anything, as long as you enjoy what you are reading. A good way to start reading in English: read books you’ve already read and enjoyed in French.

In English, the writing and pronunciation of words are different in the vast majority of cases and this can cause confusion. Once you have learned to differentiate the sounds corresponding to each letter, the next step is to achieve an accent that brings you closer to the pronunciation of the natives.
To achieve that, you need to learn to listen, in order to pronounce better. In this life we go so fast that we even forget to listen. I do not mean to hear what they say, but to listen with calm and attention. However, it is the key to improve pronunciation, because in the end what we want is to imitate a way of speaking.
But, what to listen to will you ask? Well, subscribe to a British or American YouTuber!
Some have become very famous and have millions of visits in each video! From videogames to fashion, to beauty, travel or simply people who record themselves telling their lives and adventures … There are for all tastes, you just have to choose yours!
And why do I recommend YouTube and not to watch TV, listen to the radio or watch movies to improve pronunciation? For the simple reason that in Youtube Videos, there are native speakers who are talking in a natural way, in exactly the same way that a British would talk in the street: vocabulary, expressions, speed, and intonation…
Listen as the natives pronounce the words and try to identify the sounds that are made. Pronounce the words aloud again and again until you notice that you have said it correctly.
Once you have integrated these three main points, here are 3 tips to work on your pronunciation in English
1. Differentiate vowels with the same sounds
This is something that usually happens for example in the words « beer » and « bird », or the very famous « sheet » and « shit ». The trick here is to always pronounce the combination « ee » with the vowel « i » of the French language, while the words with « i » as the second case of each example, it is better to pronounce them with an « e » of our language, but very soft.
2. Convert the O into an A and the A in an O
That’s right, the correct pronunciation of the O is often a kind of combination between O and A! Try to pronounce in this way some words like « rock » or « color » and you will see the difference, they sound in a much more natural way.
An exception to this rule is when the O is at the end of the word, as in « Do », in which case it becomes a French « ou ».
Converting the letter A in an O does not apply to all words that carry the letter A, but you have probably noticed in many words the A has a sound more like the O of our language. Take for example words like « Awesome », « Walking », « Talking », « Although », « All », in all these the pronunciation of the A corresponds to an O.
3. Blowing the P, T and K
A good way to sound more natural during pronunciation is to « blow » the P, T and K. This means that you shall not make a dry sound as is normally done in the French language, but should try to « take a breath » with them as you are pronouncing them.

After working on the pronunciation, you need to actually talk right? For that, two main tips. First, you should record yourself speaking English. In order to know where your errors are at the time of pronouncing or to what aspects you should pay more attention, it is better to analyse the way you speak from the outside. You will be surprised to hear yourself and you can more easily change what you think should be improved. And last but not least: share with a partner! Having someone with whom going through an English language learning process is a good way to compare your own progress in the language. Practice, learn and try to solve your doubts with your partner.

Finally, you must remember that constant practice will give you greater fluidity. Apply the tips I have detailed and you will notice the progress in the way you speak and thus pronounce English

Good Luck!