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Spring 2 011 Spring 2011

Weddings North


By Danae Blanck Anderson


10 FEATURED VENUE: CRAGUNS By Sheila Helmberger

14 REAL COUPLES By Sarah Bach Bergs

18 THE GIFT OF A GETAWAY By Meredith Holt


By Rachel Nystrom


By Sheri Davich


26 WEDDING SECURITY By Rachel Nystrom


By Sheri Davich


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Photo by Laura Radniecki Images

The Search is on... For The Perfect Engagement Ring By Danae Blanck Anderson


his is it” you say. It’s the real thing. He or she is the ideal mate. Once you’ve confirmed this and the time seems right, you move onto the next step. Drum roll… that’s right, ring shopping! Finding the ultimate engagement ring has its challenges. There are so many choices, yet you may still be unable to locate your perfect ring. Sometimes it is mind boggling to think of the endless options and confusing to digest all of the technical information available on precious metals and stones. How do you shop for an engagement ring? Well, in the past the tradition was the gentlemen would select a ring on his own, typically a yellow gold plain band or solitaire diamond. He was usually afraid about whether his significant other would like it. Then he’d pop the big question and offer his mate a one band engagement ring which would lead to a second ring called the wedding band. The wedding band would be soldered to the engagement ring before the big ceremony and placed on her finger as a set during the wedding. I wondered, is this what people still are doing? I thought I needed to investigate what really is happening today with engagement rings and to do it I checked out three jewelry stores, R.W. Carson’s, Riddles Jewelry and Merritt Jewelers, to help give me with the ins and outs for ring shoppers.


Weddings North • Spring 2011

R.W. Carson’s, “We keep the best secrets in town” R.W. Carson’s for Any Occasion, Fine Jewelry & Specialty Gifts, “We keep the best secrets in town.” Randy and Stacey Waidelich have been in business for 16 years in the lakes area and out of that have been located in Nisswa off Main Street near the post office for eight. Their current locale has been a jewelry store since 1981. “We are not a cookie-cutter store,” said Stacey, “we have unique, different things.” She mentioned that they try not to carry what everyone else has. Sure, you can find a little bit of everything, from earrings to watches and necklaces to rings that may be purchased right out of the case, but really what they specialize in is customized jewelry. R.W. Carson’s prides itself in being able to take a dream or an idea and make it into something unique, tangible and real. One noteworthy trend that is becoming more common is that of people being handed down items from parents, grandparents and aunts or uncles; inherited stones and metals that they then reset to be used for engagement rings(or other settings). The metals can be melted down and recast and the stones reset to take a piece of the past and make it into something to be worn today. R.W. Carson’s takes careful consideration into never selling the same piece twice. Each customer has his or her own personal

style and matching that style to a piece of cherished jewelry is what their goal is. When customizing, the process starts with a couple sitting down to discuss their “dream ring,” looking at photos or even e-mail conferencing. Typically, the bride’s ring is created first and the groom’s made to coordinate with it. After listening to the client’s ideas, the ring gets hand sketched. It then gets carved out of wax, either by hand or by milling machine. The 3D wax form or model is then presented and changes can be made at that point. Once the final changes are made the ring is then cast and the stones are set right there in the store. The end result is a completely custom ring that you helped design! It is truly one of a kind! One time someone was so thrilled with their purchase the groom proposed right there in the store. The Waideliches offered a few shopping tips for those g engagement g g g , especially p y concerning g diamonds: seeking rings,

Photo by Laura Radniecki Images

No. 1: Ask for a jeweler’s loop when seriously shopping at jewelry stores. The loop is a special magnifying tool to view precious stones and metals to check for imperfections. Also, “Remember the “Four C’s” equal your “Fifth C”,” said Stacey. The Four C’s include Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat Weight. The Fifth C is Cost. It’s the old adage saying “you get what you pay for.” The cut refers to the depth, diameter and dimensions of the stone. Clarity is the actual “fingerprint” of the diamond, whether there are any inclusions visible to the naked eye or not. The third C being color is just that, the color will not change. Finally the carat weight is literally the weight of the stone when placed on a scale. “It’s important to be correctly educated before purchasing,” said Stacey. Understanding the terminology in ring buying helps the customer make better choices for their needs. R.W. Carson’s carries products certified by the Gemological Institute of America and they have three goldsmiths on staff. “I really do love what I do,” said Stacey. She commented on how fun it is to be in on keeping the “best secrets in town” since jewelry purchases, especially for engagements, need to be kept quiet in most cases. Stroll down Main Street in Nisswa and check out the rose gold, estate items and wide selection of other pieces that can be found at R.W. Carson’s for Any Occasion, Your Lakes Area Custom Goldsmiths. Continued on next page...

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Riddles Jewelry, “In life and in love, it’s the Riddles things that touch the heart.”

Riddle’s has its own credit card and they offer 12 months interest-free financing. They also have a 60-day return or exchange policy and a lifetime diamond guarantee on diamonds that are $300 or more. Inspections are preferred every six months to check prongs, ring shank, diamond chips and broken stone tips. Brown noted that resizing and soldering was done on site for rings purchased there, along with, free cleanings. In addition, to personalize your engagement ring, the store uses Winner’s Trophy & Engraving. This adds a special touch to any jewelry purchase. So, next time you’re in the mall you may want to find your way into Riddle’s Jewelry to see the wide selection of goods available to suit every style and budget.

Michael Brown, manager of Riddle’s Jewelry at the Westgate Mall in Baxter, met with me to share some information about the company, friendly staff and the selection at Riddle’s he feels is second to none. Riddle’s has been doing business since 1959. “We have everything you possibly could want in a jewelry store,” said Brown. The Baxter mall location has been around for almost eight years. There are 52 Riddle’s stores in the Midwest, making it very easy to transfer products between stores when needed. Riddle’s carries numerous types of jewelry; they also have all grades of diamonds available to meet any price point. “There “Your Hometown Jeweler” are hundreds of styles to choose from For the past 27 years Merritt and we can create about anything,” said Jewelers has been found tucked behind Brown. In addition they do jewelry the bobber water tower in Pequot Lakes repair, supply watch batteries and have on Front Street. Yes, they sell retail two goldsmiths on site. jewelry, including earrings, watches, During the sales process the staff necklaces and, of course, rings. They asks questions first. It is essential for also do custom creation and redesign engagement rings in particular. They try or update existing or inherited pieces to find out what the customer is looking but their niche is helping to fix, maintain for, describes Michael, and what their and take care of their customers’ jewelry Photo by special day is planned to be like. This insight on a daily basis. This hometown service is Laura Radniecki gives the sales staff an idea of what direction to something that usually can’t be found at chain Images steer the customer toward. Something as simple stores or through the Internet, said Barb Merritt, as finding out if the customer wants yellow gold or owner of the store, along with her husband, Don. She white gold, can lead them to the perfect piece. stated that they had a more laid back approach to jewelry Currently, the trend seems to be white gold rings with shopping and much less intimidating than, say, Tiffany’s in princess cuts (square); however, they are starting to see New York City. more of the round brilliant stone again. Sets and solitaires I sat down with Barb to get a feel for what she was are still popular but single bands are used a lot more now. seeing in the “engagement ring world.” Through the years Take a peek online at to catch the trends are most notable in the diamond cuts described a glimpse at some of the exquisite trademarked stones Merritt. The marquise was big in the ‘70’s, then round in the such as Radiante, Amarra and Noventa. Another specialty ‘80’s and ‘90’s, princess cut has been popular recently and item is the Hercules knot from the Everlon™ Diamond marquise is actually starting to make a comeback, as well Knot Collection. The Hercules knot is an ancient symbol as, the traditional round. As far as band color, she said that of strength representing the unbreakable bond of love. anyone 30 or younger are looking at white gold but the trade What more could you ask for in an engagement ring? magazines say that yellow gold is definitely coming back.

Merritt Jewelers,


Weddings North • Spring 2011

Barb likes working one on one with the bridal couples. It used to be the guy would come in and pick out an engagement ring on their own for a true surprise but really there is no tradition anymore. The majority of the time they see the couples shopping together and they come back two to three times before purchasing anything. “That’s what we are here for…to help,” said Merritt. When buying an engagement ring you should see a jeweler to get the education you need. However, now-a-days most people look in bridal magazines or on the Internet for ideas first then start trying on rings. It is so important for each individual to see what shapes look good on their fingers. “You really don’t know what you are getting until you see it in person,” said Merritt. Another notable trend is the use of colored stones being placed in an engagement setting. A bride may want to use her birthstone or the groom’s birthstone, or maybe just a favorite stone. “There is no rule that says your engagement ring has to be a diamond,” said Merritt. Maybe this is becoming more popular due to the engagement of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton? Middleton’s engagement ring has a sapphire. To see a plethora of colored stones, diamonds and more in a comfortable environment with a lot to offer, visit Merritt Jewelers for that hometown touch. They typically have a goldsmith on site always to help you, GIA and European Gemological Laboratory certified items and years of experience to lead you to the perfect engagement ring. ■ Danae Blanck Anderson is a certified interior D designer(CID), d a professional member of the American Society S of Interior Designers(ASID) and owns I.D. Your World, W a residential and commercial interior design consulting c firm. Anderson has practiced design for 14 years. y She has a bachelor’s degree in both interior design and a mass communications/public relations from Minnesota M State University, Mankato and enjoys writing freelance articles about various topics. She lives in Brainerd with her husband Jarrett, son Jace and yellow lab Maxine.

Weddings North • Spring 2011


The Brainerd Wedding Association By Sheila Helmberger


hen a bride walks down the aisle at her wedding it’s the culmination of months of planning. Dozens of decisions will have been make to make sure that this is the wedding of her dreams. There’s the venue to lock in, the menu to plan, the guest list to finalize, decorations to rent or purchase and hang, and the cake and flowers to order. At times it’s overwhelming. Thankfully, in the lakes area the process is about to get a little easier. The people that know weddings best have joined forces and created the Brainerd Wedding Association. The group is about to host its first big event, a wedding expo entitled “Unveiling, The MN Wedding Experience” from 11a.m. – 3 p.m. Jan. 29 at Forestview Middle School. Various members of the group say they had thought of forming an association for years. The same vendors saw themselves working together over and over again at various celebrations and have become familiar with one another’s work. For brides the association will mean getting a lot of the information they need in one place and being able to request referrals. For members, the association itself it will become a great networking source and a way to strengthen the individual businesses as they learn from one another. “I started seeing a pattern when we’d go to work weddings — not only are they really talented but everyone here is really good at what they do,” says Krista Johnson, owner of Party Time Rental and one of the group’s organizers. 8

Weddings North • Spring 2011

“Brides would have their florists or make-up people flown in from all over the country. That just didn’t make sense to me. We have such talented people right here. That shouldn’t happen.” She also noticed their jobs complemented one another. “For instance when we go to decorate we always ask brides, just for the ease of making things go well, who their caterer is. There are lot of behind the scene things that get taken care of between us and

The people that know weddings best have joined forces and created the Brainerd Wedding Association. some of the other people they hire for their event. We know certain caterers offer certain things,” said Johnson, “Why should we charge them for a table that maybe the caterer always brings and they can get for free? There’s a lot of talk behind the scenes that brides don’t even know happens. There are a lot of potential fires put out.” In its early stages there are already over 40 businesses in the Brainerd Wedding Association. They represent almost every area of the event, from deejays to florists to decorators, caterers and photographers. Biff Ulm from VADA Photography is the tech wiz of the group and in charge of the group’s web site. Nick Miller from Prairie Bay and LaJeanna Eckhoff from Social Butterfly are also part of the association’s steering committee. “What’s neat about this group is we’re competitors,” says Miller. “But when you can build relationships with your competitors it’s only beneficial to everybody.” Johnson agrees, “If they’re not going to do business with us I want them to do business with

these guys,” she says pointing to Eckoff. “I don’t want them to bring someone in from out of town.” The Jan. 29 expo will include booths from various businesses and will have places for both the bride and groom to spend some down time as well. A Bridal Lounge offers a tented area where brides will have an opportunity to kick back and relax and go over the information they’ve picked up and sample various foods.” This is also one wedding event that offers something for the guys: a Groom Room. “It’s a sanctuary for the guys to relax and there will be video games set up where the grooms can play and win prizes for their brides,” says Miller. A bridal fashion show is also planned as part of the expo spearheaded by PJ Overvold with O’Design. Hundreds of volunteer hours go in to making the Expo happen. The event will happen annually. The group is not for profit. Any money made will go back into the BWA say the organizers Miller said planning the expo early in the group’s formation has been a chance for the members to get to know one another even better. “We’re all in the industry and we work together well. It’s only enhancing the local

“This area is really becoming a destination wedding location.”

all of a sudden someone realizes, ‘Oh my goodness I forgot my shoes’ so they go to the mall and pick up shoes. and it’s a trip to the mall.’” Miller says he’s amazed that people come from other areas and are surprised with what we have to offer. “We have a lot of talented, creative people in our pool.” said Miller. With all of that talent and an exciting chance to show brides what they have to offer the Brainerd Wedding Association is sure to become the first stop after saying yes. ■

Sheila Helmberger has a journalism degree. She is a mother of three, and contributes regularly to various local publications.

~LaJeanna Eckhoff

brand and showing off what we can do. It’s just good people working hard for their area. There are plenty of weddings to go around.” “There are about 400 weddings in this area each year,” says Eckhoff, “This area is really becoming a destination wedding location.” And weddings are a boon to other businesses too when a large group from out of town comes to celebrate a couple’s special day. “Often they have vacationed here when they were a kid or their grandparents had a cabin here,” said Eckhoff, “so they come back to get married here and bring people with them. Maybe they make a couple of trips up before the wedding to look for a place for the ceremony. They stay in our hotels and eat in our restaurants, maybe

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Weddings North • Spring 2011

hen it comes to destination weddings the Brainerd lakes area is becoming one of the most popular places in the state for couples to exchange their vows. Cragun’s Resort is a favorite, offering two properties that can handle everything for the most intimate to the grandest of celebrations. Irma Cragun was the first wedding coordinator at the resort. She said about 13 or 14 years ago the business of hosting couples and their families for their wedding ceremony started to become a popular idea. She helped the brides with all of the arrangements. Today, Cragun’s has two wedding coordinators. Diane Heinlen handles ceremonies at the resort and Carrie Hofmann at The Legacy. Irma said one of her mottos in the early days was “Always do what you promise” and that still holds true today. Cragun’s received “The Knot Best of Weddings in 2010” award.

Hofmann says between the two sites she and Heinlen plan 50 to 60 weddings a year. Each place has a distinct atmosphere to offer and prospective couples are encouraged to tour both before making their final decision. Several factors may play a part in deciding which property will work the best for each ceremony including the size of the guest list and the season of the wedding. From the groom’s dinner to the gift opening and everything in between the resort can offer accommodations for both formal and informal events.

“There is no such thing as a traditional wedding anymore” ~Carrie Hofmann

With almost a mile of shoreline on Gull Lake Cragun’s Resort is a natural choice for an outdoor wedding on the beach. The festivities could even include an evening bonfire during the wedding weekend. The options at both places are endless, according to Hofmann and Heinlen. They say people are often surprised what can be done on their budget. “Your dollar goes farther than you think it might,” says Heinlen. Hoffman agrees. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me when they book that they never thought they could afford a wedding at the Legacy,” she says. “It had been a dream and we were able to make it come true.” “There is no such thing as a traditional wedding anymore,” said Hoffman. Each ceremony is special because it is an individual expression of the couple. Everything from the attire to the events planned to entertain the couple’s family and wedding party to what is served at the meal has changed. Brides still have to book their venues far in advance, however. A number of Saturdays are already spoken for in 2011 and couples are starting to book for the 2012 season.

A non-traditional ride to the reception

The Legacy Clubhouse at Cragun’s and Cragun’s Resort both offer a multitude of opportunities for breathtaking photography and ways to incorporate fun surprises for your guests and wedding party.

Both wedding planners Heinlen and Hofmann agree, if you can imagine it, they can probably make it happen. You can schedule a chipping contest from the deck at the Legacy or a pontoon ride or spa visit at the resort. Maybe you’d like to take a horse drawn carriage ride to your reception. If you’re planning a winter wedding a dog sled ride is a possibility. If you can imagine it Hofmann and Heinlen say they can probably make it happen. A colorful evening fireworks display could also add to the celebration. Continued on next page...

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Weddings North • Spring 2011


The groom’s dinner can be an event in itself with a Western BBQ, Hawaiian Luau, or an authentic Minnesota menu with walleye and corn on the cob. Special rates are available for guests of the couple who choose to stay at the resort. Deciding what to serve your guests for the reception is often one of the hardest decisions for a bridal Chipping Contest couple. The Legacy One of the many fun and the Cragun’s activities couples can Resort both offer endless possibilities opt to include in their and meals can be wedding festivities. served in an informal buffet style or sit down dinner with individual courses. For something light a hors d’oeuvres buffet with several options is offered. Sit down dinner choices include everything from prime rib to shrimp to pork loin or pasta. Hofmann and Heinlen know every bride has her own vision of what this important day will look like and spend the entire planning process with her as well as the day of the ceremony. “I want her to just be able to sit back and enjoy her day and know everything else is taken care of,” says Heinlen.

Meal options are virtually endless

Hoffman says the staff works hard to make sure everything happens as smoothly as possible. Both women feel privileged to be such a big part of a couple’s special day. “The smallest wedding I’ve planned was for two people,” says Heinlen who became part of the ceremony. ”She asked me to be her witness,” she says of the bride. Arrangements can be made at the resort for a group as large as 800. The Pavilion at the Legacy seats 250. Couples have been so pleased with their experience at Cragun’s that the women say they often get letters and cards from past brides, often with photos of their children. It is a luxury for a bride to be able to let the details of the day fall on the shoulder of a trained wedding coordinator. They can ensure that every piece of the ceremony and celebration flows smoothly so you can enjoy the event as much as your family and friends. “What we can do here and what we are open to,” says Hofmann, “can really make your wedding.” ■

Sheila Helmberger has a journalism degree. She is a mother of three, and contributes regularly to various local publications.

Having the details handled by a trained wedding coordinator can be a luxury to the bride 12

Weddings North • Spring 2011

Window Light: Bride & Groom close up Bride & Groom with rings Bride alone Groom alone Close up of rings w/Ă owers and/or license

Formals: F ormals:

Bride’s Family:

Bride & Groom full length Bride alone full length Bride & Groom close up

Wedding Party: Bride & Groom w/ring bearer & Ă ower girl Bride w/Ă ower girl Groom w/ring bearer Bride & Groom w/maid of honor and best man Bride with maid of honor Groom with best man Bride & Groom w/wedding party Bride & Groom, wedding party and ushers Bride with bridesmaids Groom w/groomsmen and ushers Bride w/groomsmen Groom with bridesmaids

Bride & Groom with Bride’s parents Bride with immediate family Bride & Groom with extended family Bride with brothers and sisters Bride’s parents

Groom’s Family: Bride & Groom with Groom’s parents Groom with immediate family Bride & Groom with extended family Groom with brothers and sisters Groom’s parents

Additional: Bride & Groom with both sets of parents

Bride & Groom with Grandparents Bride & Groom with Godparents Bride & Groom with musicians Bride with personal attendant(s) Bride & Groom with minister(s)

Ceremony: Groom ushering in parents Bride going up aisle with parent(s) Assorted ceremony Exchanging of rings Lighting of unity candle Bride & Groom coming back down aisle Bride & Groom kissing at back of church Assorted receiving line Exterior of Church Bride & Groom leaving church in bridal vehicle

Outdoors: Brine & groom full length Bride & Groom close up Bride alone Groom alone Wedding party

Reception: Bride & Groom with cake Bride & Groom feeding each other cake Close-up of cake Toasting Head table Dance


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Weddings North • Spring 2011


Real Couples

Matt & Rachel By Sarah Bach Bergs


ccording to the leading online dating resource,, 17 percent of married couples have met online. This Real Couples feature couple is a thriving testament to how successful online dating can be! Matt and Rachel have given us an opportunity to learn, first-hand, about all that is wonderful — and challenging — about marriage from their perspective. Matt & Rachel A recently married couple, living in the Brainerd lakes area, Matt and Rachel’s love story is one-of-a-kind. It involves a big-city girl and a small town boy who got to know one another, initially, through the use of modern technology. Matt & Rachel share their story... NAMES: Matthew Delaney and Rachel (McDougall) Delaney AGES: Matt 36, Rachel 34 TOGETHER: Since June 2008 MARRIED: Since Sept. 11, 2010 HONEYMOON:

The happy couple enjoyed time together in the northern part of the state at Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior to celebrate their new marriage status. OCCUPATIONS:

Matt is an electrician, and Rachel is the marketing director at Lakewood Health System in Staples. HOBBIES:

Matt and Rachel enjoy doing as much as they can outside together, including fishing, snowmobiling, skiing and visiting family lake homes. They’ve also taken up the hobby of home beer brewing. When they have some time apart, Rachel enjoys singing, mentoring and getting involved with church while Matt is generally happy doing anything in the great outdoors, especially fishing and hunting. GUILTY PLEASURES:

Matt and Rachel both agree that Earl’s Cheesy Poofs are to die for. “I introduced her to those,” said Matt with a sly smile. They also enjoy watching TV shows together like “The Biggest Loser” and “LOST.” PETS: None yet, although a dog (that must be able to hunt and play fetch per Matt’s prerequisite) may be in the cards in the near future. Continued on page 16... 14

Weddings North • Spring 2011

Photos provided by Matt & Rachel Delaney

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It all started like this: Two words — the computer. “Yes, we are one of THOSE couples,” Rachel said with a smile as she and Matt proudly confirm that the online dating world really does work! Rachel was living in the Twin Cities and Matt was living in Brainerd when they met online via They started communicating, dating and the rest is history! It wasn’t long before Rachel was relocating to the Brainerd lakes area to be closer to the guy she met online...

A love story, the proposal: Matt took Rachel to the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd in the winter of 2009. Having just gotten her a new pair of cross country skis for her birthday, Rachel was excited to break in the new equipment. “I had a specific place in mind,” explains Matt of where he envisioned popping the question to the love of his life. “But things changed so Plan B was put into action!” Complete with a fanny pack (yes, a fanny pack) filled with wine and wine glasses (how big was this fanny pack?), Matt stopped at a little gazebo in the woods to “stretch his back out.” He strategically bent down to “get snow off of his boot” and came up with the ring. After much screaming and “you’ve got to be kidding me’s”, Rachel happily said “Yes.” They toasted and celebrated together with the fanny pack wine before letting all of their families in on the great news. They both agree that the Northland Arboretum was the absolute perfect place for their proposal story to play out.

The big day: Sept. 11, 2010, at Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley. The reception celebration was at the Doubletree Park Place Hotel in St. Louis Park. Though their wedding was in the Twin Cities, the Delaneys used as many local vendors as possible, such as Chelsie Anderson from Treeline Photography ( “Chelsie did an incredible job and was a treat to work with,” said Rachel. “I would recommend her to anyone.”

The most fun of planning the wedding: Registering! Rachel remembers hearing the beep of the price scanner from a couple of aisles away in the store. Unbeknownst to her, Matt was busy scanning boxes of macaroni and cheese (not your typical registry item). “What?” said Matt upon Rachel’s puzzled look. “I’m hungry.” They also thoroughly enjoyed the taste-testing they got to do for the reception food.


Weddings North • Spring 2011

“We just love each other’ss comp company,” pany,” ~Rachel

Biggest stress of planning a wedding: Without a doubt — the guest list.

Biggest worry as a couple: Trying to avoid settling into a monotonous “day-today grind” routine. “We think it’s important to make sure we intentionally do things — like go on dates and make special time for each other — to keep things fresh and fun,” explained the couple.

Baby clock: Although Matt and Rachel look forward to having a family together, they are in no rush. “We are enjoying our time together as a couple right now,” explains Rachel. “But maybe in a year or two.”

Biggest future splurge: Matt suggested a new detached garage or perhaps a new fishing boat while Rachel excitedly talked about the potential for a tropical vacation. To be determined .

Best thing about being married: They couldn’t agree more how wonderful it is to have each other to come home to everyday. “We just love each other’s company,” says Rachel. “Plus, it’s nice to have someone to share responsibilities around the house!”

Biggest challenge about being married: Matt and Rachel acknowledge that since they got married a bit “later” in life than some, simply put, it’s sometimes just plain difficult to consider someone else in your plans when you’re used to only thinking of yourself. “It’s a challenge that’s much welcomed though,” said Matt with a smile at Rachel.

Decorating style: With a cozy home that has the “Matt and Rachel touch,” the designated “man cave” is downstairs where the main level has a traditional, homey feel. It feels like they’ve been comfortably in their home together for years, though they just purchased it last summer.

Disagreements/arguments: They agree that their disagreements are usually about little things that tend to revolve around their schedules not synching up the best. “Rachel is a night owl and I’m a morning person,” states Matt. “Sometimes her energetic time of day is my down time of day — this can create some disputes in and of itself!”

In the future: Matt and Rachel see themselves still happily living in the Brainerd lakes area, with dreams of someday living on a lake. ■ S Sarah Bach-Bergs lives in Brainerd with her hhusband, Tom, her son, Odin and their labradoodle Kashi. She works full-time as a grant writer but enjoys K ffreelance writing on the side. She also enjoys being ooutdoors, staying active, catching z’s, spending time with friends and family and blogging about healthy w ffood and lifestyle choices at w


218.824.1406 Hwy 371 North, Brainerd, MN

/CMKPI/GOQTKGUHQT1XGT;GCTU Weddings North • Spring 2011


Gift Registry

The Gift of a

Getaway By Meredith S. Holt


f choosing glassware from a list at a department store feels impersonal but you can’t come up with a better alternative, consider giving the couple the gift of a getaway and donate to their honeymoon registry. Honeymoon registries allow guests to contribute to an experience rather than the kitchen cupboard. PJ Overvold, owner of O Design in Pequot Lakes, says honeymoon registries are becoming very popular. “I think you will be seeing this more and more in bigger cities and also for destination weddings,” she says. Many couples have already been living together for years or are waiting until they’re older to get engaged, so the need for household items has diminished, says Lois Sullivan of Bursch Travel in Little Falls. Instead, they’re turning to travel agencies or websites to get help from family and friends to pay for their honeymoon expenses. Some couples may not otherwise be able to afford a honeymoon. One couple said they received over $10,000 toward their honeymoon, and another said they paid for their whole trip, including a fancy hotel stay, helicopter rides and scuba and windsurfing lessons with their registry, Overvold says. 18

Weddings North • Spring 2011

It’s an easy way to provide the couple with lasting memories. “For guests, it means a lot more to them to know that they’re really part of your memories,” Sullivan says. It’s easy for the couple, too. There are several userfriendly online registries to choose from, such as Traveler’s Joy, Honeymoon Wishes, Honeyfund, The Honeymoon, The Big Day and Smart Honeymoon. Honeyfund features no set-up fees, no transaction fees, and no travel purchase required. Disney, Marriott and Palace Resorts have their own honeymoon registries. Barb Krousey, owner of Barb’s Bridal & Wedding Services in Little Falls, says about half use online registries and half use travel agents. “I, however, always recommend booking through an agent.” Once you choose where you’d like to set up your registry, all you have to do is open an account and customize your page before guests can start contributing. You can inform them of your registry by sharing the Web address for your page or posting it on social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some sites provide e-mails and printable announcements, Overvold says. Honey Luna also

allows guests to print out a gift message card that can be brought to the wedding. Honey Luna accepts orders by phone, mail or fax, too, for guests who may not feel comfortable using the site or who don’t have access to a computer. And gift-givers can pay by check, PayPal or credit card, Overvold says. “The website handles all the accounting for the account and lets the couple know what has been received in a daily report,” Overvold says. Couples can also turn to honeymoon registry sites for ideas if they don’t know where to go or what to do there. “They can browse sample destinations to find their perfect honeymoon location. Anything from all-inclusive resorts to international cruises and exotic island getaways. Then they make their choice of location, accommodations and activities to create a gift registry, and they’re on their way to the honeymoon of their dreams,” Overvold says. Some services allow guests to “sponsor” specific activities such as a strawberries-and-champagne welcome, a massage, a romantic dinner, or a sunset cruise. Registries

offer “many different components at many different prices,” Sullivan says. Then comes the fun part: redeeming your gifts. “I do believe that there are those who still prefer the actual giving of a gift, so I don’t think that the store or online gift registries will go away,” Overvold says. In fact, Krousey says, “the general consensus would be that we all tend to be more traditional in choosing from a gift registry for a toaster or stemware rather than a honeymoon.” But honeymoon registries provide an alternative that’s enjoyable for everyone involved. “It’s really kind of fun and exciting for the guests and the clients themselves,” Sullivan says. ■ Meredith Holt is a full-time copy editor and ffreelance writer. She has a mass communications, pprint journalism degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She lives in Fargo.

Weddings North • Spring 2011


Wedding Trends

Save the Date! Moving wedding dates to Friday, Sunday and even Thursday

By Rachel Reabe Nystrom Photos provided by George Hausler Photography


his is your year to get married. Mr. Wonderful popped the question. You said yes. The first order of business is to pick a wedding date. If you want to get married on a Saturday, you have only 52 options in 2011. Thankfully, a new generation of brides and grooms are walking away from the Saturday-only rule and opting for weddings on Fridays, Sundays or any other day of the week that works for them and their guests. It’s easy to see how Saturday evolved into be the wedding day. Most churches are busy on Sundays with morning worship services and evening gatherings. Many people work Monday through Friday, leaving only Saturday as a free day for the bridal couple and their guests. A Saturday night is a convenience for out of town guests who can drive to the site on Friday night after work or Saturday morning and use Sunday to return home. But the demand for a Saturday wedding date has exceeded the supply. More and more bridal couples found their preferred dates taken. Churches were booked up and prime reception locations locked in far in advance. Brides and grooms were out of luck unless they could think creatively. When Nikie Knudsen and Billy Olmstead, both of Brainerd, got engaged in March 2010 they decided to get married in the late summer or early fall. With a threemonth window of possibilities, they thought it would be a snap to find a date that would work. As they worked their

Nikie and Billy with their wedding party 20

W Weddings ddi d N North h• S Spring i 20 2 201 01

way through reception sites, the pickings became slimmer and slimmer. They had to find a place that would accommodate the over 200 guests at a price within their budget. Their first choice for a reception was the Lodge and their preferred date was the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Nikie and Billy loved the large reception hall at the Lodge, with its north woods décor and thought it would be perfect for their celebration. Unfortunately, the venue was booked for that date. The banquet manager at the Lodge mentioned the room would be available on Sunday and the cost would be substantially reduced. “It made so much sense that we switched to a Sunday wedding,” said Nikie. “On Saturdays, the reception hall rented for $1,000 and the minimum cost for food and drink was $5,000. On Sunday, the same room rented for $250 and there was no minimum fee for food or drink. We were able to have our reception at a price we could afford.” Sue Knudsen, Nikie’s mother, said the Sunday wedding date worked because it was a holiday weekend and friends and family from out of town had an extra day off work. But having a Sunday wedding posed additional challenges, according to the mother of the bride. “Because the reception hall was booked for Saturday, it meant we would not be able to decorate the room until Sunday, the day of the wedding. That made me a little uneasy,” Knudsen said. “I like to be prepared ahead of time and we were going to have to decorate both the church and the reception room on the day of the wedding.” Because of Sunday morning services, the church wasn’t available for setup until noon, just four and a half hours before the wedding. Knudsen said the tight time frame was worth it because the price was right and Nikie, who had worked at the Lodge, had always wanted her wedding reception there. “The way it worked out, the Saturday event at the Lodge was canceled and we were able to get in the day before and decorate,” said Knudsen. “I know it was a God thing. I was so relieved.” There were other factors to consider in scheduling a Sunday wedding. Hair salons and florists shops are

traditionally closed on Sundays. Thankfully, Nikie was working at a small beauty salon in Pequot Lakes. The boss offered to open the shop for Nikie and her attendants on Sunday morning. The bridal party carried silk flowers so delivery of fresh flowers was not an issue. Sunday was an advantage for clean-up duties. Instead of having to clean up the church and reception location after the celebration, Knudsen said they were able to return on Monday to both places to put things back together. “Most of our wedding guests said they enjoyed a Sunday wedding on a holiday weekend,” Nikie remembered. “it turned out so much better than we could have dreamed. We had a blast at our reception. The best part was we could relax and really enjoy the day.” Grand View Lodge on Gull Lake reports that they are hosting more weddings on days other than the traditional Saturday. “Just in the last two years, we are seeing more Friday night weddings and Sunday brunch weddings,” said Maggie Mellby, Grand View’s catering manager. Megan Griggs, Baxter, and Jon Wiese, Nisswa, got engaged in August, they wanted to get married on a Saturday before Christmas. They quickly discovered 12 weeks to plan a wedding eliminated a lot of options. “Most of the reception sites were booked for Saturdays, but were available on Fridays and the prices were considerably lower,” according to Melody Griggs, Megan’s mother. “Hotels and resorts had space that was not filled on a Friday night and they’re trying to earn your business with competitive prices.” Megan and Jon set their wedding for December 17 at Lakewood Evangelical Church in Baxter at 6:30 p.m. followed by a dessert buffet and dance at Grand View Lodge. “We hoped that having an evening wedding would allow our guests to come after work. It worked well for both families and almost everyone we invited was able to come,” Melody Griggs said. In addition to saving money, Melody said there were other advantages to a Friday wedding. “We had a lot of

Nikie kie e ly y and Billy eirr say their ay y Sunday g wedding d worked h for both families..

h wedding. ddi B h family ffrom out off town at the Because the celebration was Friday night, they were able to stay all day Saturday and Saturday night before returning home. We had such a wonderful time together on Saturday,” Melody said. “Jon and Megan were able to open their gifts with everybody there and it was a really sweet, relaxed time. If it had been a Saturday wedding, everyone would have rushed home on Sunday. In 2010, Grand View hosted 30 weddings. Five of those were on days other than Saturday. Grand View’s Maggie Mellby expects that trend to continue in 2011. “Lots of bridal couples are shopping for wedding options. Price in this economy definitely matters.” Saturday night weddings from July through September are prime time at Grand View. By opting for a celebration on another day of the week, the couple can still have a wonderful wedding experience at a destination location while saving money, Mellby added. That’s one way to have your cake and eat it too. ■

A journalist, Rachel Reabe Nystrom worked as a rreporter and talk show host on Minnesota Public Radio for almost 20 years. She currently serves on the R Crow Wing County Board as a commissioner. C

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Don’t Forget The Groom! Ways to include your husband-to-be in the planning process

By Sheri Davich


n days gone by a man never knew how insignificant he could be until he prepared for his own nuptials. The wedding day was all about the bride! A majority of men would like marriage planning to be a shared experience, an event that he and his bride prepare for and celebrate, together. Couples should approach their wedding planning as a first opportunity to take on a large project as a team. Busy brides can certainly use the help! Whether you are the man who would like to be more involved, or you are the woman who wants to encourage her fiancé to pitch in, where do you begin? Good etiquette is always in style and no one knows etiquette better than Emily Post. In “Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette 5th Edition” (HarperCollins Publishers, available on, author Peggy Post details a groom’s traditional duties. The groom has always been expected to do so much more than to get to the church on time. These tasks are a great place to start in getting the guys into the game:

Traditional groom responsibilities: Select the engagement ring. A bride often likes to be included in the process. ■ Choosing his wedding party — a best man, groomsmen, ushers ■ Choosing the attire for himself and his attendants — in keeping with the style of the wedding and under the approving eye of the bride, of course! ■ Selecting hank you gifts for his attendants. ■ Arranging and paying for lodging for his wedding party. ■ Selecting a gift for the bride. ■ Compiling his part of the guest list and ensuring his parents provide their guest list. ■


Weddings North • Spring 2011

■ Planning

of the honeymoon. Today this is more of a couple’s task. ■ Choosing wedding bands with his future bride. ■ Arranging for and purchasing the marriage license. ■ Making arrangements for transportation from the ceremony to the reception site. ■ Planning the bachelor party or event. A best man often takes a lead role in this. ■ Giving the ceremony officiant a fee or donation, or arranging for the best man to pay the fee. ■ Standing in a receiving line after the ceremony. Greeting guests at the reception. Making toasts and responding to toasts at the rehearsal dinner and the reception. ■ The first dance with the bride, plus a dance with his mother, the bride’s mother and the maid/matron of honor. ■ Cutting the cake with the bride. ■ Writing personal vows, if applicable. ■

Going beyond traditional Now, this list is a great place to begin, but it is just that — merely a beginning. The fifth edition of “Wedding Etiquette” includes a chapter on additional responsibilities for modern grooms. Some suggestions from the book are included here along with other ideas. Can you come up with some of your own?

The basics and beyond The bride and the groom should agree on a time and date for the wedding, and if the couple is paying for all or part of the wedding they should set a budget together.

Finances are one of those make or break areas where two people in a relationship need to be in agreement. Again, great practice for the future. Many men like to be in charge of the money and fancy themselves natural-born organizers. Perhaps he would be comfortable keeping track of receipts, schedules, contracts, and appointments? Let go, ladies, let go! Researching vendors is another area in which the groom can participate. He should accompany his bride to wedding expos where a number of vendors can be browsed in one place. This is a great way to simplify a maze of options. Once you have gathered information you can divide and conquer. For example, the groom can tackle tuxedo rentals, photographers and transportation (a “man zone” if ever there was one), while the bride can concentrate on flowers, invitations, and wedding dresses. Choosing entertainment is an area that can be more play than work, when done together. Spending an evening out, going to clubs, listening to music; it all sounds suspiciously more like dating than wedding planning. And once you have a band or DJ selected the groom can work on a play list. Gift registry is another date opportunity in disguise. Make a day of it — comfy clothes, a breakfast or lunch out beforehand. Fortified by good food and with the proper attitude, list in hand, off you go on a shopping spree! We’re not talking simply china patterns and crystal. Gift

registries have evolved to include barbecue sets, barware, camping equipment, flat screen TVs, DVD players, and even computers. He may be more interested in these type of items, but remind him he will be using the towels and sleeping on the sheets, too. Shouldn’t he have a say in what is chosen?

The partnership begins BEFORE the wedding! Two people will be saying “I do”. Do you want your groom to play a more significant role in your wedding? Just ask! Many grooms shy away from planning a wedding because they feel their assistance is not wanted or needed. Can we blame them? Check out the magazine stand - Modern Bride, Bride’s, etc. Where are the periodicals targeted at the groom? Encourage him! Ask for his opinions, and really listen. His thoughts matter. After all, this is his day, too. ■

S Sheri Davich is a free-lance writer living in Pequot Lakes. Her work has appeared in local, regional, L aand national publications including Guideposts and Marathon and Beyond. M

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Post-Wedding Festivities

Photo provided by Kristi Patnode, Studio Montage

What about After the big day? Brunches, Dessert Parties, Wine Tasting By Meredith S. Holt


ou’ve made it through your wedding day, and everything (hopefully) went off without a hitch. Now what? Instead of immediately jetting off to an exotic location for your honeymoon or returning to the daily grind without so much as a breather, consider extending the festivities. An after-wedding event for family and friends is the perfect way to wind down the weekend, spend more time with out-of-town guests, express gratitude and say goodbye. “It’s a great time to again thank everyone for being a part of their big day,” says PJ Overvold, owner of O Design in Pequot Lakes. She suggests the couple take the opportunity to share their wedding pictures and memories. Guests can also talk about their experiences and tell stories about the day. “This can be a lot of fun,” she says. Barb Krousey of Barb’s Bridal & Wedding Services in Little Falls says the day-after gift-opening remains the most popular post-wedding event, whether it’s a brunch, a full meal or a private event between the couple. “A good number of brides and grooms have chosen to open gifts in a private, more 24

Weddings North • Spring 2011

intimate setting, mostly the day after, and some have waited until after the honeymoon.” LaJeanna Eckhoff, owner of Social Butterfly in Baxter, also says she’s noticed a shift away from the “everyone’s invited” gift-opening. “My advice is to keep gift-openings to just immediate family. Gift-openings can create awkward moments,” she says. Eckhoff recalls one instance where a bride’s uncle gave her and her husband a “very generous amount of money It was unexpected, and it created quite a stir when she opened it in front of everyone. Unfortunately, the uncle was mortified and uncomfortable with the attention. He felt it should have been private,” she says. She explains that he hadn’t always been able to give so generously, so the gift had the potential to create hard feelings with relatives. “It can also make someone feel bad if they felt their gift wasn’t enough compared to others,” she adds. Instead, keep the post-wedding event light and fun and not gift-focused. Krousey says most couples invite immediate family members and the wedding party to join them the following

afternoon for leftovers from the night before, including the cake. “Of course, they have sandwiches and finger food, as well,” she says. Overvold says more brides are opting for casual gettogethers. “This could be a barbecue, or maybe even a potluck dinner so that everyone feels a part of it.” Day-after brunches are quite common, Eckhoff says, and “most appreciated by their guests.” A brunch can include the basics of coffee, juice and pastries, or be an all-out affair complete with mimosas and made-to-order omelets. Overvold also suggests afternoon teas or wine-and-cheese gatherings. “Having a small group gathered around a table set for tea is beautiful!” she says. If you choose a wine-tasting party, provide a variety of wines within a specific category, wedding website The Knot advises. Choose a color (reds, whites, or a mix of reds and whites) and a consistency trait (country, grape or year), and stick within a price range. “Maybe throw in one more expensive one and see if your guests can guess which one it is,” the site says. If you’re serving food, finger foods that pair well with wine include cheese, nuts, olives and chocolate-covered fruit. Tip: White wines should be served at 50 degrees (let a pre-chilled bottle sit out for 30 minutes), reds at 65 degrees (refrigerate for 30 minutes).

Or skip the breakfast, tea and wine and go straight for dessert with an indulgent dessert party. Consider interactive desserts like chocolate fondue or a sundae bar. Include something for the more health-conscious, too, like fresh fruit or low-fat sorbet. The Knot suggests serving palate cleansers like seltzer or soda water to help counteract the sugar. Whatever you choose to do, pick an activity that suits you. “If they’re into golfing, have a day on the green; if they like skiing, book a ski lodge,” Krousey says. The location of the wedding can also help determine what kind of post-wedding event to schedule. “Often with our area, we do see families opening up their cabins the day after for a day of fun and relaxation in the sun. It is so hectic the week leading up to the wedding that afterwards is more of a de-stresser and casual affair,” Eckhoff says. The bottom line: Keep it simple, stay within your financial means, and “first and foremost, be genuinely grateful,” Krousey says. ■

Meredith Holt is a full-time copy editor and ffreelance writer. She has a mass communications, pprint journalism degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She lives in Fargo.

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Wedding Security Keeping your wedding safe By Rachel Reabe Nystrom


edecked with flowers and ribbons, the church is ablaze with light. Family and friends gather to celebrate the wedding of a wonderful couple. Everything is thinking about love, unless you are retired Capt. Neal Gaalswyk of the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department. “When you have a large gathering of people in a public place, you should think about personal security,” said Gaalswyk . “The bridal party is up at the altar. Everybody else is facing forward watching the wedding. No one is paying attention to the back door. That’s the point. It needs to be talked about.” Gaalswyk said it’s important to have a plan. “You probably don’t need armed security guards but you do want to involve some people to be thinking about potential problems. Ask the ushers or a couple of burly uncles to be on the look out for people who shouldn’t be there or are acting strangely. It’s their responsibility to let you know if something doesn’t seem right.” A 25-year law enforcement veteran, Gaalswyk is also a wedding veteran. His daughter married in 2004, his sons in 2006 and 2008. “Shootings at a wedding are very rare but whenever there is a gathering of people, it presents an opportunity for someone who wants to make a bold Photo provided by: statement with Neil Gaalswyk shock value,” Gaalswyk said. “Churches and Gaalswyk and daughter Melanie 2004 schools are soft targets. You can’t harden the target by putting locks on the doors but you can take away the element of surprise by 26

Weddings North • Spring 2011

asking three or four people at the wedding to be aware of anything out of the ordinary. Have them watch the back door and the parking lot.” Not all disturbances at weddings are caused by strangers. An Internet wedding website is crowded with questions about security to protect the bridal couple and guests from aggressive relatives. A recent post from a bride asked, “Would it be tacky to hire a security guard for the wedding reception?” She went on to say that the threat of being physically removed from the party might be the only way they could keep the groom’s parents and sister from ruining it. The wedding expert suggested she hire a security guard or two dressed to blend into the crowd. “They should be treated like regular wedding guests but if trouble breaks out, they jump into their work mode, ” he said. A licensed security guard added his opinion to the online discussion, saying that a security guard can be a valuable asset at a wedding but make sure the guards are professional and discrete. “You don’t want a ‘rent-a-cop’ with a bad attitude making things worse,” he said. “It’s better to escort people outside rather than manhandling someone in front of the wedding guests.” He wears a suit to his jobs with a badge on the inside, tucking a can of pepper spray and a pair of handcuffs in his pocket. Gaalswyk agreed that most wedding disturbances happen at the reception rather than the ceremony. “That’s typically where things go to pot,” he said. “It’s not malicious but mixing alcohol and emotions in a large crowd can produce arguments and fights. Not everyone is thrilled that the bride married whom she did or that the groom settled. There are exes and wannabes.” A jilted suitor can be a serious problem, said Gaalswyk.

“It’s important that his picture has been distributed to your Gaalswyk said. “ If we can make it through a Gaalswyk security detail so they can identify him if he shows up.” wedding without a trip to the emergency room, we are very Gaalswyk got a firsthand look at potential wedding happy.” problems after a stint as a bouncer at a resort that hosted At a wedding he attended a couple of months ago in wedding dances. “There were scuffles,” Gaalswyk said. “I Pierz, Gaalswyk reported the young ring bearer slipped and remember guests trying to make off with bottles of liquor fell, cracking his head open, less than an hour before the from the open bar.” He suggests controlling the alcohol and ceremony. “Thankfully, there were nurses and emergency having assigned greeters to watch over the crowd. responders among the group and they rushed him to the Sometimes a wedding reception with free food, drinks clinic. While the doctor was stitching the gash on his head, and music is a magnet for those looking for a cheap party. the boy’s aunt was washing the blood out of his shirt and Actors Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan educated a whole drying it. They were back at the church in time and the generation on the high jinks of wedding crashers in their wedding went off without a hitch.” movie of the same name. As they demonstrated, a stranger Between security threats, angry relatives and medical can easily mix and mingle with wedding guests with each emergencies, the bridal couple also has to figure out how family assuming he belongs to the other clan. to secure the gift table. Guests arrive at the reception, drop Gaalswyk said there’s nothing wrong with asking a off their wedding gift on a decorated table or add their guest who wedding card they are with cash to “It’s better to escort people outside rather than manhandling with. In fact, the basket someone in front of the wedding guests.” ~ Neil Gaalswyk it happened and walk to him. Years ago, Gaalswyk attended a wedding with away. The table is only attended until the party gets a cousin in a small southern Minnesota town. During underway. The pile of gifts and cards are an easy target the reception in the church basement, he found himself for anyone passing by. Gaalswyk said someone should surrounded by three big guys who didn’t look happy. “ be assigned to the gifts, locking them away during the They wanted to know who had invited me. I quickly found reception or ceremony. “It’s a simple precaution but often my cousin because they were ready to move me out,” he goes overlooked during the wedding celebration.” remembered. How did Capt. Neal Gaalswyk handle security when his Gaalswyk suggests assigning a couple of people from children were married in Brainerd? “I really take that on both sides of the bridal couple to monitor the crowd. “ myself,” Gaalswyk said. “I’m always watching for potential If you see someone who seems out of place, who doesn’t problems. “ He admitted he let his guard down momentarily know anybody else, you might want to ask the bride or when he walked his only daughter down the aisle at her groom’s father who they are. If there’s a problem, the next wedding. “I lost my concentration for a moment when step is calling the authorities.” tears blurred my eyes,” Gaalswyk admitted with a laugh. ■ In addition to security issues, Gaalswyk said medical emergencies are also commonplace at weddings. He suggests thinking ahead about what guests they could call on if needed. “A wedding celebration includes the oldest A journalist, Rachel Reabe Nystrom worked as a people in the family who bring their infirmities and medical rreporter and talk show host on Minnesota Public conditions with them and you also have the youngest Radio for almost 20 years. She currently serves on the R Crow Wing County Board as a commissioner. C members of the family and the most rambunctious,”

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In Loving Memory Honoring deceased relatives at the wedding By Sheri Davich


ou have found your beloved. You will wed, surrounded by family and friends who share in your joy. But we can’t always have all our heart’s desire. Of all those we choose to celebrate with us, we want our parents and grandparents present when we marry. The best we can do, when they have passed on, is to include them in a memorial. In this way they can be present and a part of our joy. There are many opportunities available to memorialize those we miss in the day’s festivities.

Remembrance table A remembrance table can be set up, either at the wedding site or the reception, with flower arrangements and a card noting in whose memory we remember. A picture of the bride and/or groom with the individual is a nice touch.

A Spoken Tribute The officiant can include loved ones’ names in a special prayer, or even say a few words during the homily.

These words might include something like “Today we are celebrating the love One option to be considered is to these two people share and a new life include memorial candle lighting during they will build together. We also wish to the ceremony. A memorial candle or honor ____’s father, ___, who, although candles can be lit on behalf of those passed on, is remembered and an Photo provided by Laura being remembered. This can be noted important part of this special event.” Radniecki Images in the program and, if you choose, an A favored scripture verse, piece of opportunity can be given for your family fiction fiction or poetry ca can be recited. Even a special letter given and friends to pause in a moment of silence. to you by the loved one can be read, if you choose to share it. You as the bride or groom can say a few words but A seat of honor give careful consideration before treading here. Emotions The area where the departed parents or grandparents are already heightened, and offering a tribute to a missing would traditionally sit can be left vacant. An empty chair, loved one on a sentimental day is more than most people can decorated with flowers before the ceremony or flowers left handle. This often is just too difficult and uncomfortable, not during or after the ceremony, lends significance to their only for the couple but also for those in attendance. absence.

Memorial candle lighting


Weddings North • Spring 2011

The wedding program A memoriam line can be added at the end of the program. A tribute can be written to what they have meant in your life, a favorite anecdote about the individual, a favorite saying or poem. Deceased parents can be listed at the beginning of the program, as you would with living parents. Typically grandparents are not named in the program. If you choose to add a memorial ceremony of some kind to the service you will need to include the names and relationships of those being remembered so all those in attendance are aware.

At the reception site Other ideas for the reception site, besides a remembrance table, include a toast during the meal or a dance in their honor, perhaps to a favorite song.

from you to them, never mailed, but most certainly received. How do you feel about them? Let them know! Thank them for what you learned from them. Ask for their blessings. Tell them you love them. Some couples choose to leave just such letters, and even bouquets, at the loved one’s gravesite, if location permits.

Including everyone we love Gone, but not forgotten, and missed most during milestone moments, deceased parents and grandparents should be remembered as we celebrate life’s great events. Done with thoughtfulness and sensitivity, a tribute during a wedding ceremony or reception can be a means to honor loved ones without introducing undue sadness to a joyous occasion. ■

A More Personal and Private Remembrance A favorite song of theirs played at the wedding or reception, a piece of jewelry, an article of clothing — these can be a means of remembering privately, between only you and your loved one. It is that “something borrowed,” something you share, special. A quiet moment spent thinking of them before the ceremony can be a calming meditation, but do you have much to tell them and thoughts alone are not enough? All those feelings you hold in your heart can be written in a letter

Brainerd B rainerd L Lakes ake es

S Sheri Davich is a free-lance writer living in Pequot Lakes. Her work has appeared in local, regional, L aand national publications including Guideposts and Marathon and Beyond. M

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DIY Centerpieces

Catching Your Unique Style By Danae Blanck Anderson Photos provided by Danae Blanck Anderson


enterpieces on tables are like the icing on the cake or the trimming on the tree. They are a must! They set the tone for your gathering and when done right can even be the conversation starter at each table. After all, your guests see the table decor first and foremost and for the entire length of your party. It truly sits there staring at them. Why not wow them with something great that you can actual make yourself? Creating the ultimate do-it-yourself centerpiece to capture the theme of your wedding, whether formal or casual, can be tricky, especially if you are trying not to “break the bank.” So, I met with PJ Overvold, owner of O’ Design Event Decor Planning and Linen Rental, for some step-by-step tips on centerpieces that a bride and groom can do themselves. The initial process to arrange this centerpiece can take approximately 45 minutes to one hour (plus shopping time of course). The time needed for each sequential centerpiece lessens once a person gets the hang of it.


Weddings North • Spring 2011

Try the following steps to create a unique centerpiece: Here’s what you need… Your Shopping List: • Vase • Filler

rocks, coffee beans, colored or clear marbles, fruit, etc…you decide what fits your theme

• Knife if cutting fruit for filler is selected • Ribbon (optional)

• Styrofoam ball

size varies depending on vase

• Real or artificial flowers • Greens (optional) • Votive candles/holders (optional) • Vase or wire cutter • Hot glue (optional)

of your theme and find or buy filler for the vase(limes in this case). Consider purchasing ribbon for a finishing element. You may need scissors to cut floral stems or a wire cutter and hot glue to attach them to the Styrofoam sphere(if the stems won’t stick).

What’s Next? Step 2:

At this point you may need a knife to cut limes or whatever other fruit you may choose. Fill the vase with the item of your choice. In this case, we used cut in half limes.

Don’t Forget… Step 3:

Place Styrofoam ball or sphere covered with flowers(either real or artificial) on top of the vase. Adjust accordingly to center it.

Finally, The End Result. Step 4:

Feel free to add a ribbon with an embellishment on to the vase for a final touch. You also may want to add small votive candles around the perimeter of the centerpiece base to add a little sparkle to the festivities. “Ta da” as my two year old says. Continued on next page...

Getting Started Step 1:

Select a tablecloth and/or runner. Then find a clear vase in the correct shape (your style comes into play but also scale and height) for your arrangement. We used one approximately 9” high and 4” round at the top. Purchase a Styrofoam ball or sphere to fit the top of your vase, typically around 6” diameter. Decide on real or artificial flowers to cover the ball, we used artificial hydrangeas. Think Reserve your wedding, wedding anniversary, shower, bachelor's party, family reunion, Christmas party, surprise party or almost any kind of party you can think of. Hurry, dates are booking up fast. So, call the Pierz Ballroom, Banquet, Reception Hall and Bowling Lanes today!


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It can literally fit any season, style or budget. couple’s style so no wedding or bridal event she ever plans is exactly the same. “I do consultations with brides to go over their wedding vision and help with different items to correlate a theme and colors. I can help do it all or as little as just giving my ideas,” said Overvold. And believe me, as an interior designer myself I know those ideas are not “just a little thing.” They are priceless. Overvold not only concentrates on weddings but also wedding showers, themed parties, Christmas decorating, cocktail and dinner parties, company meetings and basically any other event planning you can imagine. Contact her at 218-340-6172 or ■

Even more ideas for altering the centerpiece : • Consider your theme and find or buy any filler for the vase you can think of. PJ and I talked about lemons, walnuts (natural or spray painted to coordinate with bridal colors), cranberries, rocks, pinecones, colored glass marbles or beads, ornaments…you name it…the sky is the limit on colorful fillers! • Add a different twist to the top of the vase by using a rattan sphere with a floral arrangement inserted in it. Again, you can use live, dried or artificial flowers. One can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, traditional or non-traditional. • Place a floating votive candle on top of the arrangement instead of a flower. You could even do this on some of the arrangements and keep others with flowers. Even change the heights to create interest. Try every other table getting a votive vs. a flower. • Take scraps of coordinating fabric and use stick pins (preferably decorative looking) to set the fabric into the Styrofoam ball. A sheer or organza fabric especially gives an illusion of a feathery look. The great thing about this type of centerpiece is that it is so versatile. Depending on what you use as a vase filler and topper, it can literally fit any season, style or budget. This is fun and easy to do. Even your groom will think so! For a multitude of wedding planning ideas you can find PJ Overvold in amongst her vast selection of vases, table linens and fun accessories in her corner at The Lime Greenery in Pequot Lakes, located right on Main Street. It’s basically a one stop shop with all sorts of decor and floral items to meet any style and budget. In fact, PJ helps the bride and groom come up with something they are comfortable with to make it their very own wedding celebration. She believes in personalizing the event to each and every 32

Weddings North • Spring 2011

Danae Blanck Anderson is a certified interior D designer(CID), a professional member of the American d Society of Interior Designers(ASID) and owns I.D. Your S World, a residential and commercial interior design W consulting firm. Anderson has practiced design for 14 c years. She has a bachelor’s degree in both interior design y and a mass communications/public relations from Minnesota State University, Mankato and enjoys M writing freelance articles about various topics. She lives in Brainerd with her husband Jarrett, son Jace and yellow lab Maxine.

A Bride’s Rescue Kit

A crisis is no longer a crisis if you’re prepared. Here is a list of items you should have handy on your big day. Extra Stockings Static Guard Spray Spot Remover Mirror Make-up Comb/Brush/Hairspray Hair Dryer/Curling Iron Hairpins/Bobby Pins Safety Pins Mini sewing kit Nail polish 1 clear (for runs) 1 bride’s color Nail File & Clipper

Clear Deodorant Baby Powder Lotion Plastic Bags Umbrella Tissues/Wipes Sanitary Needs Phone List of all involved with party Cell Phone Asprin/Tylenol etc.. Mints A Snack



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Choose A Setting As Special As Your Event

Woo oody’s Photograp hy

tography Woody’s Pho

Choose either of our special venues, Cragun’s Resort or the Legacy Clubhouse for your wedding. Our attentive staff will make sure your event is perfect – down to the smallest detail. Bridal Showers ~ Grooms Dinners Wedding Ceremonies ~ Receptions Dinner & Dance Party

tography Woody’s Pho

Call today for a personal tour of our wedding facilites. 800-CRAGUNS (1-800-2727-4867) ext. 8857 Visit our website at: Photo by Mike

Aulie ~ Sother’s

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Weddings North Spring 2011