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Stay happy – and debt-free – with the right wedding planning.

Love and Marriage

Relationship tips and how to plan for the big day on a budget By Sharon Harris-Zlotnick

OR SOME PEOPLE, FALLING IN love and making a commitment takes months or even years. For others, love may hit like a lightning bolt. Which is the real deal? Both may be valid and enduring ... or not. There is no secret formula to finding that “Mr. or Ms. Right” partner. There is no definitive answer. Relationship experts claim that both are valid feelings. Melanie Gorman, director of operations for the Mars Venus organization (based on John Gray’s Mars and Venus book concepts), recently theorized that beyond the physical chemistry of instant attraction, individual history may impact a person’s ability to sustain a meaningful relationship. In other words, those who have made peace with their prior relationships may be able to find true love in an instant. For many, a new relationship is too

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Discerning couples must examine their expenses as they plan.

were happy or “reasonably content” in their marriages, with almost 75 percent citing “deep love” or “companionship” as the key reason. Ironically, men choose to remain married by larger percentages than women — 69 percent versus 56 percent. Communication is a key component. The good news is that less than onethird reported remaining because of money or the “trouble of getting out” of the marriage. That bodes well for the future of wedded bliss.

Planning the Day on a Budget In this tough economy, planning a wedding this year has become financially challenging. Forty years ago, the Beatles sang “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.” Today, couples who marry must sustain their love to overcome tough economic times. No one doubts that the bridal industry is experiencing the same revenue decreases as every other business. Discerning couples must examine their expenses as they plan. The Association for Wedding

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er children in the future. The founder believes that it offers options for singles since 50 percent use Internet dating sites. However, such personal service has a hefty $2,000 price tag. While testing, candidates fulfill the values and preference criteria. ScientificMatch.com also conducts extensive background checks often reactionary. Singles frequently try for extra client protection. Individuals should recognize what to fill a void or rebound from a former lover’s personality by getting involved is necessary for relationship success. with a totally different type. Conversely, Traditional marriage is alive and well in others may be too cynical and jaded to embrace possibilities that can lead to long term happiness. Gorman claims that it is fine to be swept up by the moment, but a tough dose of introspection should also be involved. ScientificMatch.com has taken attraction “chemistry” to new levels. Launched in December 2007, it is currently limited to the Boston/Providence area. However, the United States, despite more non-trait will probably expand at some point to ditional marriages, the divorce rate and other regions. The site matches people other cohabiting arrangements. To determine the health of American based on DNA analysis, collected from a cotton swab, their values and prefer- marriages, Parade magazine surveyed 1,001 adults last spring — 501 men and ences. The analysis takes two weeks. The premise is that matching people 500 women — over 18 years old. For with diverse immune-system genes will most, marriage has worked out quite generate better attraction and healthi- well. Almost 88 percent claimed they

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(Continued from page SB-3) It is estimated that the average wedding costs $18,000 to $21,000.

Professionals estimates that the average wedding costs $18,000 to $21,000. Smart coordination will enable smart bridal couples to have a memorable event without eliminating too much. Wedding receptions typically account for half the total cost, so a close examination of each area makes sense. Couples should seek unconventional venues for receptions. Local restaurants with private party rooms

Local restaurants with private party rooms may offer good deals. may offer good deals for catered banquet menus. Also, renting a hall and ordering elaborate party trays from small chain operations or grocery stores may look extravagant without the high price tag. Use a professional photographer or videographer for the ceremony, but sophisticated digital cameras can provide wonderful photos from friends and family whose

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Wards Pastry

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Weddings Bridal Showers Baby Showers Anniversary Cakes Party Trays

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(Continued from preceding page) candid shots could offer a personal perspective. Using customized CD or MP3 playlists with rented speakers may also save money over live bands or DJs. Wedding consultant Anna Griffin (www.annagriffin. com) designs the Wedding Studio product line. She recommends many “do-it-yourself” kits that help brides create veils, invitations and centerpieces with designer looks but without designer prices. The invitation kit comes in four styles with three color options. The floral budget is one category that is easily adjustable. If money is really tight, couples living near a floral-design school may opt to hire students to provide flower arrangements. However, if a professional florist is preferable, there is plenty of room for compromise. According to Bettina Sabbagh, owner of the newly relocated Bettina’s at Parkview in Galloway Township, “Flowers are like fashion. Brides should ignore the magazines. Substitute roses and other orchids for expensive gardenias and mini calla lily flowers. Couples should allocate most of their money to reception flowers. Ceremonies are short, and churches often insist on keeping the flowers for their services. Hotels will let

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Movie times and reviews by Lori Hoffman.

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good cinema. bad cinema.


(Continued from page SB-6) There’s always a simple wedding on the beach as an option.

us reuse them in another room.� For those who reject a venue’s standard polyester linens, Sabbagh recommends colorful plain satin as a rich looking alternative. Choosing patterns and embroidered linens increases the costs. Ironically, Caribbean destination weddings are holding their own for booking contracts, and in some cases, even growing. Many hotel executives project at least the same number of weddings in 2009 as in 2008, although the per-wedding spending may decrease. Island wedding planners and hotel managers cite the definitive pricing of all-inclusive packages as appealing

Every bride and groom desires a unique wedding day, but no one should go into debt.

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to cost-conscious couples. They credit the appeal of combining the wedding and the honeymoon, often all in one fee. However, despite a one-price package, bridal couples are scrutinizing the costs more carefully and taking longer to finalize their booking. There is a tradeoff. While island weddings may limit flexibility and travel options, the couple is ensured a reasonably priced, memorable event. Whatever the location, realistic lodging costs motivate out-of-town guests. Investigate multiple hotels with different price points to encourage friends and family to attend. Every bride and groom desires a unique wedding day, but no one should go into debt. Couples should plan sensibly, focusing instead on life after the party. n


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Bridal Guide - Spring, 2009