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Weddings A guide to planning your perfect day

January 2014


Photo Credit: Sara Zarrella Photography

Beacon Communications

WEDDINGS • January 2014 • 2

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ranston’s own Paper Moon is to wedding invitations what love is to a marriage—the essential ingredient. From sophisticated to the spectacular, Paper Moon Invitations creates wedding invitations that are filled with emotion, a timeless sense of wonder, and personal touches that will accommodate any bride or groom. Co-owners and sisters Jeanne Desmarais and Michelle Kloczkowski, along with their team, have for the last decade helped hundreds of clients create memorable wedding experiences. Utilizing classic elements or the latest trends, they strive to bring weddings to life by informing guests of what’s in store for that special day with beautiful, customized invitations. Hidden behind a small store facade, this stationery boutique stocks a tremendous library of invitation choices, which is only exceeded by the staff ’s knowledge of the nearly endless custom invitation options they can provide. With a degree in Art and a background in visual communications, Jeanne is totally dedicated to her medium. “I’ve had a passion for paper my entire life, from the art lessons I took at seven years old to purchasing my first watercolor notecards at ten, I want to bring my passion to all of my customers,” she said. Jeanne prides herself on a near photographic memory, which comes in handy when dealing with extensive wedding requirements. Paper Moon features a bridal room in which brides and grooms to be are provided a personalized consultation designed to fulfill their invitation needs and expectations. Couples may sit down with the accommodating staff in the studio to discuss the details of their special day. There they can browse through more than fifty invitation

albums, along with in shop creations, in a private, comfortable setting. These physical examples allow couples to fully examine all aspects of their invitation, share their own ideas, ask questions, and find a product they truly want-something that’s lost when viewing invitations through online invitation sites. “No matter what the client’s budget is, we can show couples what they want based on their particular needs,” said Jeanne. From hard to find handmade paper to chocolate invitations, this shop will go out of the way to meet any client’s design. Invitations then become works of art that couples create and the perfect introduction to what will eventually become a spectacular event. The staff at Paper Moon is fully versed in invitation dos and don’ts, a service couples are often left to complete themselves with web purchased invitations. The staff also knows the venue coordinators at nearly all Rhode Island locations, a great resource for couples to tap into, and will call and confer details for couples. They also follow specific etiquette rules on names and placement, check all spelling and punctuation, and verify addresses and zip codes of invited guests while providing quality assurance every step of the way. With Paper Moon, happy couples can rest assured that all of their requirements will be met. Centrally located at 995 Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston, Paper Moon Invitations is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. They can be reached by phone at 401-943-1223 or by email at Additional information may be found at their website,

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The best wedding invitations under the Moon

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WEDDINGS • January 2014 • 4

Choose a wedding date wisely


any couples find themselves bombarded with questions the moment they become engaged, and perhaps no questions is more common than, “When is the wedding?” Although a number of couples would prefer to bask in the excitement of their engagement, some couples feel pressured to rush into picking a wedding date. Choosing a wedding date without giving it much consideration may make things more difficult down the road. Rather than jumping head first into any decisions, couples should give thought to any and all dates and decide if there are certain times of the year they want to tie the knot or avoid.

Valentine’s Day is popular for weddings thanks to the romantic sentiments synonymous with the holiday, while some couples prefer Halloween or Christmas weddings. Holiday weddings can be exciting, but they also produce significant obstacles that couples who choose to get married during other times of year don’t have to worry about. Guests may not want to travel or spend time away from their families to attend a holiday wedding. Having a wedding during a holiday may mean competing for vendors and reception spaces. Prices on everything from food to flowers to airline tickets could be higher as vendors cash in on customer demand.

Season When thinking about potential wedding dates, it helps to have a place to start. Some couples find it helpful to start with a particular season and then narrow it down from there. Decide if you prefer the lush greenery of summer or the amazing color spectrum of an autumn afternoon. Perhaps you envision arriving at the ceremony with a snow-packed landscape amid twinkling holiday lights? Think about the season when you feel most happy and then determine if that time of year is doable.

Day of the week It’s less expensive for couples to get married on Fridays and Sundays than Saturday afternoons or evenings. Couples may think that the money saved will be well worth it, but they also should think about how this decision may affect their guests. A Friday wedding requires people to take off from work or school. Sunday weddings may be slightly more convenient, but those who have to get back to work on Monday may be tired from late-night festivities. Couples should anticipate some guests not making it to their weddings when those weddings are not on Saturdays.

Month Certain months may seem perfect, but not for busy professionals or those with limited vacation time at their disposal. For example, early spring may not be good for accountants tallying year-end numbers. Teachers may feel most comfortable tying the knot in the summer when they already have days off. If you run a pool business or a lawn maintenance company, then the summer might not be so good. Keep these factors in mind.

Religious constraints Couples having religious ceremonies should consult with their houses of worship as to which dates are acceptable. Some will not have weddings on days of religious observation. It is wise to consult with a church, synagogue or mosque before booking any other components of the wedding so that you are certain your chosen day is acceptable.

Holidays Some people would like to tie their wedding day to a particular holiday.

Any available dates Your wedding date may be dictated by your caterer or wedding hall. If you

Valentine’s Day can be popular for weddings, but couples can expect stiff competition for venues due to that popularity.

have a particular venue in mind, you may be limited by their availability. This is a concession you will need to make if your heart is set on this particular location.

Planning a wedding can be exciting. But the ball cannot get rolling until couples first choose the day they will tie the knot.


hen hearing the name “Shriners,” some may think of the fraternal organization whose members sometimes wear tasseled red hats shaped like upside-down flowerpots, and ride around in tiny cars at local parades. Others might recall the fantastic humanitarian work the group does for the young through the Shriners Hospitals for Children. For couples looking for the perfect inside venue to host their wedding reception, The Rhode Island Shriners Imperial Room at One Rhodes Place is the name to know. “Our facilities are open to the public year-round for any wedding related function, from celebrating engagements to hosting wedding receptions, we are here to help. No membership is required!” states Hillary Williamson, Director of Sales at the Imperial Room. Hillary has assisted hundreds of clients celebrate their nuptials during her thirteen years with the organization. Conveniently located in the Pawtuxet section of Cranston, the amenities found at One Rhodes Place consist of elegantly decorated rooms which are easily adaptable to suit the needs of most couples. The facility’s namesake, the Imperial Room, serves as the primary function room for most occasions. This banquet room is flexible enough to entertain the most intimate of gatherings up to larger sized parties, with a capacity of 180 guests comfortably seated when a dance floor is used. The elegantly decorated McIntyre Room features seating for 100 guests without a dance floor, or 65 guests with. Additionally, the Fez Suite, a small room available on the second floor and named after the Shiners’ .trademark hat, is appropriate for use as breakout space for larger parties if necessary, or may be used for gatherings of 48 guests or less. Johnson and Wales University gradu-

ate and Executive Chef Christopher Kurtzo carefully crafts all menu items, from appetizers to desserts, which are prepared in house under his direction. With more than thirty entrée choices available, including chicken, beef, pork, fish, and vegetarian selections, Chef Kurtzo strives to accommodate couples special culinary tastes. An optional fullservice bar, complete with bartenders and cocktail staff, is available upon request and nicely compliments any dinner fare. Dinners are reasonably priced, with the most popular options averaging $21.00 per plate, and provide perfect portions that guests will appreciate and remember. The Imperial Room also features complimentary event planning from start to finish, allowing couples to relax and fully enjoy their day. Staff will assist with outside vendors to carefully coordinate each special event. Basic linen selections which perfectly accent the rooms’ decor are available at no additional charge, or customers may provide their own linens to add a personalized touch. Ample off street parking and fully handicapped accessible facilities ensure an easy visit for guests. At the Imperial Room, couples will receive a wedding day royal treatment that promises a lifetime of great memories. The Imperial Room is located at One Rhodes Place, Cranston, Rhode Island, 02905. Facilities may be rented seven days a week, with room rental fees beginning at only $125.00. To start planning your wedding day, contact Hillary Williamson at 401.467.7102 or by email at Addition information may be found at the venue’s website, www.rishriners. com. Ask about their donation program in lieu of wedding favors, and recognize your guests with a gift that benefits the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

5 • WEDDINGS • January 2014

Receive royal treatment at the Rhode Island Shriners Imperial Room

WEDDINGS • January 2014 • 6

How to stay energized throughout your wedding day


couple’s wedding day is the culmination of months and months of planning. For most, it is one of the most memorable, magical days of their lives, filled with fond moments of time spent with close friends and family. As enjoyable as a wedding can be, most brides and grooms who have already tied the knot can attest that a wedding is a long, often tiring day. It is very easy for energy levels to wane. To ensure you have enough energy to last through to the final good-bye of the evening, follow these suggestions to remain energized. • Recognize your wedding day is a very long day. It’s possible to rise quite early

in the morning to begin prepping with makeup, hair styles, wardrobe and more. If the party is an evening reception, it could last until the wee hours of the night. You may find yourself up for nearly 24 hours, when the cameras will be flashing and the video rolling throughout. Naturally, you’ll want to look your best throughout. • Get a good night’s sleep the night before. Get to bed early the night before so you will get ample sleep and look rested. It is understandable that nerves and excitement may get the best of you and make it difficult to fall asleep. If you often grow anxious and struggle to fall asleep before big events, talk to your doctor

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Remembering to eat well and drink plenty of fluids can help couples stay energized throughout their wedding days.

prior to the wedding to ask if you can be prescribed a one-time-only sleeping pill that will ensure you get to sleep promptly. Do not take this medication with alcohol, and be sure to take it only if you can get a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Otherwise you may experience medicine hangover. • Enjoy a hearty breakfast. At breakfast on the morning of your wedding, consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein. The carbs will provide the initial burst of energy you need to get going, and the protein will keep you feeling full. A combination of whole wheat toast, fresh fruit and Greek yogurt makes for a filling start to the day. • Stay hydrated. Although drinking a lot of water can result in more frequent trips to the bathroom -- which can be cumbersome for brides wearing their gowns -- it is essential to stay hydrated. Dehydration can result in headaches, weakness and dizziness and may make you feel cranky. Be sure to consume water throughout the day. • Pack some snacks. The time between breakfast and the cocktail hour of a wedding may be significant. In your wedding “survival” kit, be sure to pack some easy snacks to eat. Trail mix can be nibbled for a boost of energy, and a banana can take the edge off of hunger pangs. Avoid anything messy that can drip onto clothing or get stuck in your teeth. Arrange to have snacks stowed in the limousine or another mode of

transportation so that you can refuel on the way to the ceremony or in transit to the reception. • Don’t overdo it with caffeine. It may be tempting to lean on an energy drink or a super-size cup of coffee to give you the boost you need. But caffeine is only a temporary fix. After the effects of the caffeine wear off, you could find yourself more tired than before and crash at an inopportune time during the day. Instead, a brisk walk outdoors may recharge your batteries. Afterward, time spent on the dance floor enjoying the reception will likely stimulate some adrenaline to keep you going. • Eat dinner. When family is beckoning and the photographer needs to get yet another pose, it is easy to skip dinner. Be firm with your decision to enjoy your meal. After all, you paid for it and it should not go to waste. Besides, sitting down to dinner enables you to rest and absorb the atmosphere of the wedding. • Continue to drink plenty of water throughout the night. Alcoholic beverages may be flowing, but too many spirits can compromise your energy levels. Be sure to balance the booze with hydrating fluids, such as water or juice. Weddings take up the entire day, and it can be easy to succumb to a lack of energy as the day progresses. But by heeding a few tips, it’s possible to remain in top form throughout the entire wedding.


esides choosing a lifelong partner, a venue is the single most important element of any wedding. One of the first things engaged couples think about is finding the perfect place to tie the knot. For those looking to add special character to their ceremony and incorporate the natural beauty of the outdoors into a ceremony, look no further than Valley Country Club. Recipient of The Knot’s 2014 Best of Weddings Award for Rhode Island and the Wedding Wire’s Couples' Choice Award for 2014, Valley Country Club is designed to accommodate all wedding occasions, including outdoor ceremonies, receptions, and much more. Their recently renovated, 40,000-square-foot clubhouse compliments all outdoor ceremonies, from formal to casual, with spectacular views of their beautiful golf course and grounds. Accommodations for on-site weddings with upwards of 250 guests are available in the club’s ballroom, with more intimate occasions held in their Victorian Room. After an outside ceremony, guests may enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres on Valley’s upper or lower outside decks while overlooking wonderful views of perfectly trimmed fairways and their historical stone bridge, then feast on the state’s finest cuisine in their elegantly crafted facilities. While planning any outdoor wedding can be stressful, this venue will certainly lower anxiety levels during the planning stages and the event. The Valley’s teams of wedding specialists are masters in the art of producing weddings to match any expectations, with receptions carried out the way clients envision. Melodi Caruso, Valley Country Club’s Manager and Event Specialist, is responsible for the club’s entire food and beverage production during receptions. An industry expert with more than 16 years

experience, she has guided thousands of satisfied clients through their special day. Joined by long time colleague Terry Saccomagno, Valley’s Executive Chef and Assistant Manager who leads their culinary team with 35 years experience, nearly any culinary request can and will be met. Every event this club hosts is a VIP party with only one wedding held at a time. Valley’s professional staff takes pride in being attentive to their clients needs. Whatever the style, Valley Country Club works closely with couples to create a wedding that will perfectly represent them. With many ceremony options and schedules available, bridesand grooms-to-be are walked through all of the day’s details and provided with suggestions to meet any taste or budget. From the angles of the table runners to table layouts to the level of light in the room, Melodi and her staff believe no detail is too small, and want couples to fully approve of all choices before any occasion. Here, couples will not be oversold, as Valley’s consultative services ensure clients are provided with exactly what they need. Valley Country Club can assist with additional wedding details with their large network of trusted vendors that they work with on a constant basis. With Valley’s uncompromising service and attention to detail, superb food, and warm and inviting atmosphere, wedding day jitters will easily be forgotten. Searching for that special way to celebrate your love? Contact Melodi Caruso by calling 401.821.1115 or by email at Valley Country Club is centrally located at 251 New London Ave, Warwick. For a complete list of menu items, services and general conditions, visit their website at

7 • WEDDINGS • January 2014

Outdoor weddings are a breeze at Valley Country Club

WEDDINGS • January 2014 • 8

How to approach music on your wedding day M

usic often plays an important role on festive occasions, and wedding days are no exception. The right music can make a wedding day that much more meaningful, while the wrong music can make a couple's big event memorable for all the wrong reasons. Though music selection might seem like one of the easier decisions couples must make, those about to tie the knot typically must make a host of music-related decisions regarding their wedding day, including whether to choose a live band or a deejay to perform at their wedding receptions. While the reception is when music might be most on display, couples

planning their weddings must think beyond the reception when setting the musical tones for their weddings. Ceremony The ceremony itself often sets the tone for a couple's wedding day. A beach wedding, for example, often creates a laid back atmosphere, while a ceremony held in a large church or temple often sets a more formal tone. Music played during the ceremony also goes a long way toward setting the tone couples hope to establish. When choosing music for the ceremony, couples should first consider the venue where they are tying the knot. Some, such as houses of worship, may have rules


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pertaining to what can and cannot be played inside the venue. Classical, hymnal or processional music often makes the best fit when weddings are taking place in more formal venues. Outdoor weddings tend to give couples more leeway. But in general couples don't want to choose any music that's too loud or over-the-top for their ceremonies. Keep in mind that while the music played during the ceremony can set the tone for the day, this music can vary significantly from the music played during the reception. A favorite performer may not be appropriate during the ceremony, but that doesn't mean the couple can't dance to that artist's music during the reception. Live musicians can add a more elegant feel to the ceremony, but such performers also can be costly. Playing prerecorded music may not be as elegant as having a live performer, but it can cost a lot less and still make for an enjoyable day and evening. Reception Many couples prefer deejays to live bands for their wedding receptions. Deejays can play favorite songs as couples and their guests know them, while bands can only play their own renditions of those songs. Another thing to consider when choosing between a deejay or live band for the reception is the venue itself. Some venues are smaller and unable to accommodate a full band, while others may not have ideal acoustics, making it difficult for a live band to sound as good as they might in a more music-friendly environment. The formality of the event should also come into consideration when choosing between a live band or a deejay for the reception. Deejays spinning the latest top 40 hits may stick out like sore thumbs at

especially formal weddings, while a classical orchestra likely won't fit into the laid back theme of a beach or destination wedding. Couples tying the knot outdoors may need to consider equipment when choosing bands or deejays to play their weddings. For example, some venues do not provide equipment, such as microphones and speaker systems, to couples for their ceremonies. Renting such equipment can be costly, but couples can often skirt such charges by hiring deejays or bands who lend couples their equipment during the ceremony. Deejays or bands who will loan and set up the necessary sound equipment for outdoor ceremonies merit extra consideration. When discussing music to be played during the reception, couples must consider their own musical tastes as well as those of their guests. A wide range of popular music tends to go best at wedding receptions, as guests are more likely to dance to songs they recognize. Avoid any music that has the potential to offend guests, opting for lighter, happier tunes instead. Whether hiring a band or deejay, couples should make a list of no-play songs or artists and make sure that such lists are included in their contracts. Music plays an important role on couples' wedding days. Though choosing music for the ceremony and the reception is often fun, couples must take such decisions seriously.

This is an example of a notch lapel tuxedo, which has become the most popular style of recent years.


entlemen getting ready to tie the knot will have to make certain wardrobe choices so they look their best on their big days. Although many grooms-to-be rent tuxedos on their

wedding days, it may be more cost-effective to purchase a tuxedo. Tuxedos are the ultimate formal wear for men. Worn at formal gatherings like proms, weddings and lavish parties, tuxedos have undergone several style changes over the years. Men interested in looking polished will find no option makes that impression more convincingly than the right tuxedo. Men frequently called upon to attend formal events may find purchasing a tuxedo is a wise investment. There are several advantages to owning a tux rather than renting one time and again. Tuxedos typically cost around $1,000, whereas renting tuxedos can be $200 or more each time, making it advantageous for men who frequently don tuxedos to purchase their own rather than rent. Another advantage to owning a tuxedo is the opportunity to wear a tux that is custom-made and tailored just for you. Instead of a rental that will merely be stitched temporarily to fit your measurements, a tuxedo you purchase will be tailored specifically to your body, increasing comfort and making you look better as well.

Tuxedo History The origins of the modern tuxedo remains a topic for debate, but one of the more widely known tales of the tuxedo’s beginning traces this classic look to a wealthy tobacco magnate of the 19th century. Pierre Lorillard lived with his family in a residential colony called Tuxedo Park, which was roughly 40 miles northwest of New York City. The Lorillards were popular in social circles, and Pierre helped establish the area as a prime hunting and fishing destination. Lorillard also developed a social organization called the Tuxedo Club, which regularly hosted balls. At the time, men wore dinner jackets with long tails to formal events. However, Lorillard wanted something different and modern, and he commissioned a tailless black jacket to wear to the Tuxedo Club’s Autumn Ball. Lorillard got cold feet in time for the ball and did not wear the shorter jacket. However, his son, Griswold, did wear the short jacket and received much praise. Soon the style was copied and worn in various social circles across the country. The “tuxedo” was born, and soon became a timeless classic.

Men who buy their own tuxedos also can choose the style, fabric, color, buttons, accessories, and type of lapels on the jacket. A tuxedo store may have more styles available for sale than for rent. If you desire something that fits your personality and your physique perfectly, buying your own tuxedo may be your best bet. Men worried about purchasing a tuxedo only to see their waistlines increase or decrease should keep in mind that many tuxedo shops offer free tailoring for as long as you own the tuxedo. When purchasing a tuxedo, men should choose classic styles and colors so they can enjoy the tux for years to come. Opt for a slim-fitting white shirt underneath that won't billow out when jackets are removed. Men who want to break from tradition can opt for a shirt that is a pale blue or light gray to wear under the jacket. This is still an understated look, but

one with a hint of creativity. A classic, black bow tie is an ideal match when purchasing a more classic tuxedo. The bow tie is back in a big way, and men who want to spice things up can purchase more traditional neckties for those occasions when they don't want to wear bow ties. Tuxedos come with different lapel styles, and it's important to know the differences. Today's most popular style is the notch lapel, wherein a triangular indentation is cut where the lapel joins the collar. This lapel mimics the shape of a classic suit. A peak lapel is the quintessential classic, featuring a broad, V-shaped lapel that points up and out just below the collar line. A shawl lapel is a smooth, rounded edge lapel. The shawl lapel reached the height of its popularity in the 1950s, but it can still look good today.

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Tuxedo purchasing pointers

WEDDINGS • January 2014 • 1

Explore unique cake flavor combinations


wedding cake is the piece de resistance of the wedding ceremony. Guests anxiously await the unveiling of the cake near the end of the festivities. Modern cakes are showpieces grander in scale than in years past. As bakers and confectioners hone their skills with fondant, buttercream and gum paste even further, the results are often impressive, awe-inspiring cake designs. While the look of a wedding cake is certainly important, cakes should not only look good, but taste good as well. Vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting was once the gold standard. But today's couples are being more adventurous with their wedding cakes and winning rave reviews from guests along the way. The vast scope of wedding cake flavor choices available to brides and grooms is astonishing. Options may range from the traditional to something

adventurous and daring. Keeping in mind that couples will need to please the masses, finding a compromise between plain vanilla and a mocha-chile-coconut surprise is essential. Otherwise, they risk an unpopular flavor and a lot of wasted, expensive cake. Some couples shy away from more adventurous cakes because they fear something chocolately or not white in color will not be well suited to a wedding reception. Such couples should keep in mind that any flavor of cake can be hidden beneath layers of pearly white fondant or royal icing. Therefore, the sky is the limit with regard to flavor combinations. Those who might want to veer from tradition can consider these clever cake combinations. • Lemon cake with vanilla buttercream: Lemons are tart, juicy and refreshing, helping to cleanse the

David Hannon Photography Long after the flowers have faded the cake has been eaten

palate after a rich meal. Lemon cake, with its summery feel, is tailor-made for summer weddings. The flavor is popular enough to appeal to many, but just a little different to add an unexpected zip of flavor. • Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and mocha filling: True chocoholics will be hard-pressed to resist such a decadent flavor profile. Chocolate can be sweet and satisfying and a welcome change from the vanilla cakes commonly served. For traditionalists, the cake can be covered with a white chocolate ganache. Or couples can ask that the cake be adorned with white sugar roses for an eye-appealing contrast. Chocolate cakes covered with autumn hued flowers go over well at fall weddings. • Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting: Red velvet cake was once a regionally specific staple, but now has grown steadily in popularity across the country. Red velvet has quickly become the new classic, as its vibrant red coloring offers a shock of something different, while the flavor is mild for those who are not comfortable taking risks. The richness and creaminess of

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Think outside of the cake box when selecting flavors for the centerpiece of the wedding reception.

cream cheese is irresistible. • White cake with chocolate mousse: Couples who want a bit of chocolate but do not want to be overwhelmed can select a white cake that is filled with light and rich chocolate mousse. It's the perfect blend of vanilla and chocolate for guests who enjoy both. • Variety tiers: Those who cannot settle on just one flavor can have different flavors on each tier of their cakes. This gives guest some flavorful variety and enables them to pick their favorite flavor combination. Brides- and grooms-to-be who have specific flavors in mind can ask their bakers to include two cupcakes with the wedding cake. Then the couple can enjoy their own mini cakes while the rest of the guests enjoy a more classic cake. In addition, an assortment of cupcakes in lieu of one cake can give guests the opportunity to sample several different flavors. Cakes are a part of many special events, but few cakes are fawned over as much as wedding cakes. Couples can spice things up by choosing a nontraditional flavor combination.

11 • WEDDINGS • January 2014

WEDDINGS • January 2014 • 1

Choosing the right wedding reception favors


lanning a perfect wedding is no small undertaking. From scheduling venues and hiring vendors to tasting menus, lots of decisions must be made when planning a wedding. But when the pieces fall into place, the entire day can be magical. One of the final components of weddings are the favors guests will take home with them as mementos of the festivities. Though favors don't require immediate attention, that does not mean couples should wait until the last minute to made decisions regarding their wedding favors. Brides- and grooms-to-be should not underestimate the importance of handing out wedding favors, a tradition with a rich history. A wedding favor is considered a symbol of good will to guests, and there are many different wedding favors on the market. Finding the right one can take a little work. It is usually a good idea to find something that suits the theme of the wedding and is both long-lasting and practical. Try to avoid anything that is too kitschy. A couple's budget should be considered when choosing wedding favors. A couple may want to give their guests lavish gifts but should only do so if their budget allows. It may be challenging for couples to find favors that fit the theme of their wedding, as well as their own personalities and budgets. But it can be done. The following are some favor-finding guidelines.

Be creative Wedding favors can be just about anything, so there's no need to stick to Jordan almonds or wine bottle stoppers. The more creative couples are, the more receptive their guests will likely be. For example, for an autumn-theme wedding, fill mason

jars with the ingredients for a spiced cake and give the recipe directions on a tag. For a summer wedding, gift guests with a sun and surf survival bag, full of sunblock, a beach towel and sunglasses.

Complete the theme Some weddings follow a particular theme from start to finish, and wedding favors should stick with that theme. Couples who will showcase their love of travel on their wedding days may want to give guests keychains or purse holders that feature popular landmarks around the world. Those who are admitted beach bums may want to present a small fishbowl with sand and a goldfish inside, reminiscent of days at the seashore.

Go traditional Couples who opt for universally appealing favors can lean toward some popular options, such as silver cake servers, candlestick holders, decorative photo frames, or engraved keepsake boxes. Aim for favors that have utility. Otherwise, favors may end up collecting dust on someone's shelf.

Food and beverage gifts are fun Food favors mean guests can enjoy their gifts and not have to worry about finding space inside their homes to display trinkets. Food favors can be lavishly decorated cookies, fine chocolates, petit fours, small bottles of champagne or cupcakes decorated like the wedding cake. Favors are often integral to wedding celebrations. Selecting a favor that will be appreciated and fit with the wedding is often a fun and stress-free part of planning a wedding.


ew events are more photographed d than weddings. Needless to say, s wedding participants, from brides tand grooms to the couples' parents, hope

to look their best for the celebrations. lWomen often find that well applied cosmetics can enhance their beauty and help ensure they are picture-perfect. The key to wedding makeup is finding a rbalance between application that will come -across well in person and will look good in photographs. Professional makeup artists may understand just how heavy a hand to -use to apply makeup, but the novice dosit-yourselfer may need some instruction to -master wedding day makeup. Very often the key to wedding makeup is simplicity. Brides want their best features h enhanced and have the makeup add to their beauty rather than outshine it. Brides want guests to notice their faces and gowns -and not their makeup. Here are some other tips brides can employ in an effort to put their best faces forward. • Begin preparations a few days prior to -the wedding. If you will be enhancing your eskin color with a spray-tan, do so at least etwo days prior to the wedding. By the third -day the color will set and appear more nat-ural. The same idea applies to your brows. eTweezing, waxing and threading can create pirritation and redness. Have your brows professionally shaped a few days before the wedding and then do a minor touch-up with your tweezer the night before. This allows your skin to recover and redness to dissipate. - • Start out with well hydrated and mois-turized skin. Apply a few layers of moisturizer, preferably one with an SPF if you will sbe spending time out in the sun. When the moisturizer is completely absorbed sand dry, use a skin priming product that dwill help keep your foundation locked into place. g • Match your foundation color to your tnatural skin color. When these colors don't ematch, your face may look like it is a sepaerate shade from your neck and decolletage. If you will be tanning, then find a shade that matches the tanned color. A founda-

tion that has slightly yellow undertones will even out redness on the face and look better in photos. Apply the foundation thoroughly with a sponge or brush and be sure to blend it well at your neckline. Set the foundation with a matte powder. • Apply concealer to red spots or undereye circles after the foundation. Aim for a creamy, emollient concealer for under the eyes. A peach color that will contrast with the purple and blue tones of your eyelids. Putting on the concealer after the foundation means you will probably need less and won't look like you're caked with product. • Use an eyebrow pencil or powder to fill in your brows. This is a must for your wedding day and can really help to frame your eyes. Use small, light flicks of the pencil rather than long strokes to make the color blend naturally. Use a brush to blend in further. Always go a shade or two lighter than your natural color. Finish with a gel that will set the hairs into place. • Complement your lips and eyes. Many brides like to play up their eyes on their wedding days. If you are going for a dramatic eye, opt for a more neutral lip, and vice versa. Otherwise, you may look like you're wearing stage makeup. Neutral colors look best for weddings and will not appear dated in photos. Stick to subtle browns and taupes for universal flattery on most eye colors. Use a light hand to apply a neutral shade of light shadow all over the lid. Apply a medium brown to the crease of the eye and a darker brown to the very outer corner, and blend thoroughly. A very light shade of shadow can be used directly under the browline and toward the inside of the eye to make eyes appear wide and bright. Stick with matte shades of eye shadow, with the exception of one pearlescent shade that is lightly dusted right in the center of the lid from the lashline to the crease. This will add just a touch of luster to catch the light and make eyes sparkle. • Apply liner before mascara, and blend it with a brush. Push the liner into the lashline to make lashes appear thicker. Use mascara to lengthen lashes. Place a makeup sponge behind your lashes when applying

mascara so you don't risk hitting your lids with the mascara wand. If you will be using false lashes, apply them now. Err on the shorter side for fake lashes, and cut them as needed to fit your eye. Lashes that are too long or full may appear cartoonish and can be uncomfortable to wear. Connect your lashes together with the false ones with another application of mascara. Waterproof mascara will hold up through tears of joy. • Be subtle with blush. Use subtle blush in a peach-pink color to achieve that blushing bride appearance. Smile and apply the blush only to the apples of your cheeks. • Choose a long-lasting lip color that will hold up through kisses and smiles. Lip stains work very well, as they provide that hint of color but wear well during the day. Another helpful tip is to perform a practice run prior to the wedding, taking some photographs to see how the makeup looks

13 • WEDDINGS • January 2014

Makeup tips for brides and bridesmaids

in pictures. Cameras and flashes can wash out makeup, so sometimes you need to apply just a little bit more than usual for it to show up on film. Also, certain makeup products will reflect light more. Don't forget to stock up on oil-blotting papers to touch up your face during the day.

WEDDINGS • January 2014 • 1

Things to consider when mulling a destination wedding

less of an ordeal. When choosing a location for their destination weddings, couples should consider the cost and convenience of travel. Remote islands are not very accessible, and as a result guests will likely have to pay a pretty penny for their flights and lodging. In addition, the more remote a destination wedding locale is, the less convenient getting there figures to be. Nonstop flights likely won't be a possibility. Before choosing a locale for a destination wedding, research flights, making sure that affordable flights are available within spitting distance of loved ones' homes and that they won't have to suffer through multiple connecting flights when traveling to and from the wedding.


ccording to a study from XO Group Inc., creator of wedding Web sites and, 350,000 destination weddings take place annually. Such figures reflect a growing trend of couples who want to tailor their weddings to their own personalities, even if that means tying the knot in exotic or unusual locales. But as popular as destination weddings have become, couples who have had have such weddings can attest that planning a destination wedding is not necessarily easier than planning a more traditional ceremony close to home. Though destination weddings can make for memorable affairs, there are some factors couples must consider when mulling whether or not to have a destination wedding.

Guest list The XO Group study found that destination weddings have an average of 86 guests. When sitting down to organize their guest lists, many couples realize they have well over 100 guests on their lists. Such couples may find a destination wedding especially difficult to pull off, as resorts may or may not be able to accom-

modate such a substantial number of guests. In addition, couples who hope to invite children to their weddings might want to reconsider a destination affair, as those youngsters' parents will have to foot the bill for additional airfare and accommodations and, depending on when the wedding takes place, pull the kids out of school for an extended period of time. Couples with smaller guests list might find a destination wedding much more manageable than those whose guest lists crack triple digits. Another thing to consider is that the larger the guest list, the more likely many of those guests will not be able to afford to attend or get enough time off from work to make it to a destination wedding. Couples who want to ensure all of their loved ones can be there with them on their big days might be better off avoiding destination weddings. Accessibility Accessibility is a common concern for couples considering destination weddings. Destination weddings typically ask guests to travel far to attend the ceremony and reception, but there are ways to make that travel

Weather Weather is another factor couples must consider before choosing to have a destination wedding. The XO Group study found that 30 percent of American couples who have destination weddings choose to tie the knot outside of the continental United States. That's a distinct disadvantage for couples who likely are not very familiar with weather patterns overseas. Couples who choose outdoor weddings close to home are often familiar enough with local weather patterns to choose a wedding date that likely won't be interrupted by harsh weather. But choosing an overseas or distant locale erases that comfort level, and couples may find themselves worrying about storms or other inclement weather conditions as their wedding days draw nearer. Before choosing a locale for their destination weddings, couples should thoroughly research each potential destination's weather patterns. Brides, grooms and guests alike don't want to do all of that traveling only to end up indoors because it just so happens to be tropical storm season.

Competition As destination weddings have grown in popularity, the competition for idyllic locales and top-notch venues has increased. That competition is great for venue owners' bottom lines, but it might not be so great for couples looking to keep their wedding costs down. Costs might be considerably less in the off-season, but that's also when storms and inclement weather tend to take hold, Booking a venue early can help couples mitigate some of the costs of a destination wedding, but the growing popularity of destination weddings might make them out of reach for couples working on tight budgets.

15 • WEDDINGS • January 2014

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WEDDINGS • January 2014 • 1

Brides jan 2014 web  

A guide to planning your perfect wedding day

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