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4 Tips for newlyweds about to merge finances 5 How to stay energized throughout your wedding day 7 Why you need a wedding planner 8 Save-the-date card etiquette 8 Wedding invitations tip sheet 12 Things to consider when mulling a destination wedding 13 Explore unique cake flavor combinations 14 Tips for selecting wedding day flowers 16 Careful timing makes weddings go off without a hitch 17 How to approach music on your wedding day 20 Roles of the best man and maid of honor 21 Tips when toasting the bride and groom 23 Makeup tips for brides and bridesmaids 25 Mistakes to avoid when organizing a wedding 26 The head table: always a delicate matter 27 Glittering wedding bands 28 No hard feelings 29 The main concerns of a bride-to-be 30 Choosing the right wedding reception favors

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Tips for newlyweds about to merge finances

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Merging finances is an issue many newly married couples face upon returning from their honeymoons.

ewlyweds often have a lot on their plates upon returning from their honeymoons. One of the more critical issues newly married couples must address is their finances and how those finances will be combined going forward. Combining finances can be a touchy subject for many couples, especially those who had not given much thought to their finances prior to tying the knot. But there are steps couples can take to make the process of merging finances go more smoothly. • Discuss finances early and often. Allowing finances to be the elephant in the room is a mistake, as couples do not want to begin their lives together treading lightly around an issue as significant as finances. Couples should discuss their expenditures and spending habits as early as possible, as one of the biggest hurdles newly married couples must clear is coming to grips with one another’s financial habits. If such habits have already been discussed, then developing a

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financial plan will be much easier once that time comes. When discussing finances, define both short-term and long-term goals and how each of you can adjust your spending habits to make those goals come true. • Pay off any debts. The cost of weddings has skyrocketed over the last several decades, and many newlyweds find themselves in a considerable amount of debt upon returning from their honeymoons. When merging finances, couples should prioritize paying down such debt, as debt is a significant source of stress for newlyweds and long-married couples alike. Newly married couples with little or no debt should avoid spending above their means in the months after they get married. Such spending is commonplace, as newly married couples often want to fully furnish their new homes or reward themselves for pulling off their weddings. But new debt can be just as stressful on a marriage as See NEWLYWEDS Page 5


How to stay energized throughout your wedding day

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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

NEWLYWEDS: Merging finances is an issue that looms for many newlyweds From Page 4

debt from the wedding, so avoid this potentially problematic pitfall by paying down existing debts with your newly merged finances. • Make note of mutual expenses and open a joint account to pay for those expenses. Mutual expenses like mortgage payments, food and utilities should be the responsibility of each partner, and a joint account should be established to handle such expenses. When opening a joint account, discuss how much and how often each partner will contribute money. One partner might earn considerably more money than another, so work out a reasonable agreement that details how much each partner will contribute each month, and whether such contributions will be made on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.

• Make concessions for one another. When merging finances, couples often discover that they don’t see eye-to-eye on how each person spends money. Couples who successfully merge their finances often note the importance of making concessions with regard to their partners’ spending on certain hobbies or luxuries. As long as those hobbies are not putting couples in debt or jeopardizing their financial goals, couples can make concessions so their partners continue to be happy and enjoy their favorite activities. Merging finances is an issue that looms for many newlyweds or couples about to tie the knot. Though it’s not always easy, merging finances early and discussing goals can ensure newlyweds get off on the right financial foot.

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 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, See ENERGIZED Page 6

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ENERGIZED: By heeding a few tips it is possible to remain in top form From Page 5

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 supersize 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.

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Why you need a wedding planner

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lanning a wedding is often both fun and frustrating. While planning a party for friends and family can be fun, couples can easily be overwhelmed by the nuts and bolts of planning such a significant event. Interviewing vendors, negotiating prices and arranging for accommodations are just a few of the many tasks couples must complete before they can finally relax and tie the knot. The sheer volume of decisions couples must make when planning a wedding is one reason many men and women seek the services of wedding planners. The following are some additional reasons couples might want to ease their burdens and hire wedding planners as they get ready for their big day. • Planners are familiar with vendors. Wedding planners work for couples, and while planners often recommend certain vendors, they typically work with whomever the couples ultimately choose. As a result, veteran wedding planners tend to have worked with every florist, caterer, deejay, and venue

in their areas. That makes them an invaluable resource to couples who don’t know where to begin as they start planning their weddings. Wedding planners can save couples time by suggesting couples avoid certain vendors, whether it’s because those vendors have poor service records or they simply don’t fit into a couple’s budget. Wedding planners also can make recommendations based on what couples want. For example, wedding planners may know which deejays are best for more raucous receptions and which ones are best suited for couples who want a more formal affair. • Planners know pricing. Wedding vendors often leave room for negotiation when making proposals to prospective customers. Seasoned wedding planners will know the going rates for various services, helping couples get the best rates possible and doing so with minimal effort. In addition, planners might be able to negotiate directly with vendors they have worked with in the past, removing one of the biggest stressors of planning a wedding, the negotiation process, from the list of responsibilities couples must handle before tying the knot. • Planners remember the small details you’re likely to forget. Many couples who have large weddings are getting married for the first time, and there are bound to be details they overlook along the way. Seasoned wedding planners are far less likely to overlook even the tiniest of details, helping couples rest easy knowing that no stone has gone unturned as their big days draw closer and closer. • Planners keep you on course. The longer a couple’s engagement, the easier it becomes to put certain decisions off. But as the wedding day draws nearer, See PLANNER Page 9

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Save-the-date Wedding invitations tip sheet card etiquette

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any couples find that tradition reigns supreme when planning a weddings. Certain traditions, such as fathers walking their daughters down the aisle and grooms sharing a dance with their mothers at the reception, are moments to cherish. Though such traditions have withstood the test of time, couples still have some opportunities to embrace relatively recent traditions. One such recent tradition is the save-the-date card, a precursor to wedding invitations that simply lets guests know when the wedding is so they can clear their calendars and be there on a couple’s big day. While savethe-date cards are best kept simple, there are a few rules couples should follow before sending their cards out to loved ones. • Finalize the guest list before sending save-the-date cards. Couples must finalize their guest lists before sending their save-the-date cards. Doing so avoids the potentially messy situation that would no doubt arise if a person were to receive a save-the-date card but then not See SAVE-THE-DATE Page 11

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edding invitations often provide guests with a first glimpse of a wedding’s style. Invitations also may serve as the means by which distant friends and relatives find out about a couple’s pending nuptials if a formal announcement was not made. Amid the flourishes of calligraphy and impressive paper stock is information that speaks to the importance of the day when two people will be joining their lives together. Guests will learn not only the time and the place of the wedding from the invitation, but also the formality of the event and the scope of the party that will follow. Couples should keep certain things in mind as they begin to design their wedding invitations. • Have a good idea of your potential guest list. Before shopping for wedding invitations, it is key to have a strong idea of just how big the wedding will be and

how many guests will be invited. This way you will know how many invitations you will need. Invitations vary in price, so cost may be a consideration if your guest list is extensive. • Decide on the formality of the wedding. Will you be hosting a black tie affair, or will it be a casual gathering at the shore? Guests infer many things about the wedding from the invitations, which should match the formality of the event in style and the sentiments expressed. An ornate invitation written with classic wording suggests a more formal affair, while a whimsical invitation with less formal wording could indicate a more laid-back event. • Dare to be different by playing with invitation sizes and shapes. Rectangular cards are standard for wedding invitations, but you can explore your creativity by choosing more modern, artsy invitations. Circular invites or See INVITATIONS Page 9

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INVITATIONS: Dare to be different by playing with sizes and shapes From Page 8

scalloped edges can add some whimsy to the wedding mood. Invitations that fold out or are embellished with ribbon or other decorations can be appealing. Just keep in mind that cards that are not the standard shape and size could be more costly to send. Always have the entire wedding invitation weighed and priced at the post office so you will know what the postage will cost. • Choose a legible font and text color. Your invitation may look beautiful, but it may prove ineffective if it is difficult to read. Do not risk guests misinterpreting the date or the location because they cannot read the writing on the invitation. Steer clear of pastel or yellow text colors, and remember to have a high contrast between the color of the invitation and the text you are using for easy reading. • Keep the invitation simple. It may be tempting to load the invitation with lots of information, but all you really need are the key pieces of information, such as the “who,” “what,” “where,” and “when.” Crowding the card will take away from its aesthetic appeal. Most stationers will suggest a separate, smaller

insert in the wedding invitation for the reception information and response card. Never put information such as where you are registered or “no kids allowed.” This is material better reserved for word of mouth or on a wedding Web site. • Do some math. It is important to know your dates so you can receive the invitations on time, mail them out, and give guests enough time to respond. A good rule of thumb is to mail out the invitations at least two months before the wedding. Have an RSVP date of no more than three to four weeks before the wedding, giving ample time to the caterers and accommodating anyone who procrastinates in sending in a response. You will need the final headcount in order to confirm seating arrangements and plan for centerpieces and favors. • Handwrite the envelopes. Your invitation will look more impressive if you address them by hand, rather than printing them off of a computer. If your handwriting is not very neat, consider hiring a professional calligrapher to write out your envelopes. • Make it easy for guests to respond. Be sure to place a stamp on the response card envelope

PLANNER: Seasoned planners can keep couples on track and reduce stress From Page 7

that procrastination often turns into panic, as couples realize their options dwindling and decisions need to be made as soon as possible. Wedding planners hired shortly after a couple gets engaged will be there to ensure couples stay on track, making decisions as needed and not putting important decisions off until the last minute. • Planners make the wedding day less stressful. Despite all the planning and preparation that

goes into their weddings, couples often find their wedding days to be whirlwind days that seem to fly by. Small problems on a couple’s wedding day have a tendency to be magnified, but a seasoned wedding planner can address such issues before the couple is even aware they existed. This makes the day much more enjoyable for the bride and groom and their investment in a wedding planner that much more worthwhile.

and have that envelope already addressed with your home address so that guests will have no excuses not to mail a response back promptly. • Always order extra. Mistakes happen, and you may need to send

out a few extra invitations that you hadn’t originally counted. Always order extra invitations just to be on the safe side. And don’t forget you will probably want to keep one as a keepsake for yourself.

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SAVE-THE-DATE: Finalize guest list before sending out cards From Page 8

make the final guest list. Trimming the guest list often comes down to finances, so couples also want to agree on their budget before sending out their save-the-date cards. Once the guest list has been finalized, couples can send out their save-the-date cards as soon as possible. • Confirm addresses. Couples should confirm their loved ones’ addresses before mailing any save-the-date cards. This can be easily accomplished by sending mass emails to friends and family members or contacting individuals

via private messages sent on social media sites. Postage to send savethe-date cards can be costly, especially for couples with large guest lists. Confirming addresses can save couples money on potentially wasted postage should the cards be returned because they were sent to the wrong address. In addition, confirming addresses ensures everyone gets their cards and no one feels left out when relatives receive cards and they don’t because a couple did not have their correct address. • Keep things appropriate. Save-the-date cards need not be as

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formal as wedding invitations, but they should still be appropriate. Guests often keep save-the-date cards on their refrigerators, where people of all ages can see the cards. So while cards can be light-hearted, they should still be family-friendly. For example, photos of the bride- and groomto-be decked out in swimsuits should be avoided. • Don’t overdo it with information. Save-the-date cards don’t need to include as much information as the more formal invitations, which tend to include information about the ceremony,

reception, hotel, directions, and other relevant wedding details. A save-the-date card only needs to include the date of the wedding, including the month, day and year so guests are not confused if the cards are going out well in advance of the wedding day. Couples can include a link to their wedding Web site on the backs of their save-the-date cards, which makes it easier for guests to learn more details about the wedding without inundating them with information too early.


Things to consider when mulling a destination wedding

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 See DESTINATION Page 18

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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 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. 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

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ccording to a study from XO Group Inc., creator of wedding Web sites TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, 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 accommodate 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

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Explore unique cake flavor combinations

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wedding cake is the pièce de résistance 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

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

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 palate after a rich meal. Lemon cake, with its summery feel, is tailormade 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 gânache 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 gânache. Or couples can ask that the cake be adorned with white sugar roses for an eyeappealing 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 See CAKE Page 18

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Tips for selecting wedding day flowers

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hat would a wedding day be without flowers? The beauty and the aroma of fresh-cut flowers can create a welcoming atmosphere

and complement the beauty and the style of a wedding wardrobe. Flowers are often the first things that guests see upon arriving for the ceremony, and they may even

be something guests take home at the end of the night. Flowers create an air of romance, and most couples want to make flowers — whether fresh or silk — an integral part of their wedding day. As with any decision when planning a wedding, choosing the right flowers requires some research

and a basic knowledge of which flowers will convey the message and the theme of your wedding. The number of colors, textures and combinations that can be created are so numerous that couples may feel the decision on the floral arrangements is best left to the florist. But it doesn’t take a lot of expertise to know what you want, and it is important for couples to convey their feelings to the florist. Consider these tips when choosing a florist and selecting flowers. • Experts advise that a couple start looking for a florist at least six months before the wedding, especially if the wedding will take place during the peak season of May through September. Get recommendations from friends as to which florist they used or find out if your wedding planner or banquet hall manager recommends a particular florist. Some catering halls have agreements with florists, and they work together. • Browse magazines to get ideas See FLOWERS Page 15

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FLOWERS: Keep a scrapbook of ideas to present to florist From Page 14 of what you like. You also may be able to find a florist through an advertisement or if he or she has been featured in publications. Keep a scrapbook of the colors, types of flowers and arrangements and any other ideas that attract you so you will be able to present this information to the florist. • Establish your flower budget prior to sitting down with the florist. You should expect to pay at least 8 percent of the total wedding cost on flowers. Get an estimate on the floral arrangement and then tweak your needs according to your budget. Many florists can modify arrangements and find a middle ground with regard to cost. Selecting flowers that are in-season will result in more affordable rates than if you desire exotic or out-ofseason blooms. • Once you’ve hired the florist, you can come up with a wedding flower worksheet that establishes

all of your needs. The florist may ask for specific information, such as photos of the bride’s gown as well as the colors and styles that the wedding party will be wearing. A good florist knows that a bouquet should not overpower or detract from the beauty of the bride. The florist may want to mimic textures from the dress, such as beading, with smaller flowers or berries within the arrangement. The groom’s boutonniere is traditionally one of the flowers from the bride’s bouquet so that the look is cohesive.• Ceremony flowers may be traditional, and some houses of worship have strict guidelines as to what can and cannot be used. However, reception flowers can be where you show off your creativity and whimsy. After all, this is a party and it should be fun. You may want to give the florist more freedom of expression with regard to reception centerpieces and flowers that adorn other areas of the room.

• Because receptions tend to take place in the evening hours and are often indoor affairs, experts say that added lighting may be needed to put emphasis on the floral centerpieces and help present them in their best light. You may want to think about hiring a lighting designer to spotlight some areas of the room or at the very least incorporate candlelight into your centerpiece arrangements. • To give the impression that there are more flowers than there really are, use fragrance and filler as your tools. Fragrant flowers can fill up the room with a welcoming aroma. Look for frangipani, lilies, hyacinths, jasmine, and sweet peas for a big impact. Florists know how to stretch arrangements by using greenery and other filler to lend bulk without too much extra cost. • Experienced florists will know how long it takes certain buds to open and show off their maximum beauty. Therefore,

expect a florist to be working on your floral arrangements as much as a week before the wedding date — purchasing containers, cleaning flowers and waiting for certain ones to open fully. Minimize changes close to your wedding date as most things will already be started. • It is possible to make your own centerpieces or bouquets if you so desire. Simplicity will work best for the novice. Think about grouping similar-hued calla lilies together for a bridal bouquet. Hydrangea and peonies are larger flowers that can easily fill up a vessel on a table as a centerpiece. White flowers will coordinate with any color scheme and could be the easiest to mix and match. White blooms include sweet pea, rose, camellia, stephanotis, narcissus, gardenia, orchid, lily of the valley, jasmine, and gypsophila. Flowers are one component of the wedding that will help achieve the magic and beautiful atmosphere couples desire.

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Careful timing makes weddings go off without a hitch

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s any holiday host can attest, timing is crucial to getting a meal out hot and ensuring each course is ready for the table. Timing is equally important when planning a wedding. Various elements must come together in the right order to create a seamless day for couples and guests alike. In addition to organizing floral deliveries, ensuring the wedding party arrives on time, and getting hair and makeup done promptly, couples who will be having their ceremony in a different location from the reception will need to spend more time factoring timing into their wedding day equations. Factors like traveling to and from the site, as well as hunger pangs and potential weather-related complications, will need to be considered. Many couples choose to have their ceremonies and receptions at the same site, a decision that makes scheduling much easier. Once the ceremony is over, guests simply go inside or

to another area of the grounds to begin the reception. Some traditionalists, though, prefer to have their ceremony in a place of worship and then travel to a separate reception location afterward. Both scenarios are acceptable, but the latter option requires a little more planning. Couples will need to know when the church or temple is available for the ceremony and when the reception hall will be open to guests. Some

weddings are held after daily masses or other religious ceremonies. An afternoon wedding may end a few hours before the cocktail hour begins at the reception site, leaving guests with time to kill before the reception. Couples can try to remove as much time between the reception and ceremony as possible by coordinating with their catering managers. If finances allow, couples can request the See TIMING Page 18

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How to approach music on your wedding day

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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 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-thetop 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 See MUSIC Page 19

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TIMING: Guests comfort and needs should always be a priority

From Page 16 wedding reception begin early. This way guests can arrive at the cocktail hour and comfortably mingle among themselves. These requests are common, and many catering managers will be happy to meet requests to keep a bride and groom’s business. If this is not possible, couples have a few alternatives. If the reception site is a good distance away, the travel there may take up the idle time. Otherwise, the bride and groom may need to come up with another plan. In some instances, a family member opens his or her home up to some of the guests, who

may enjoy light refreshments. It may be possible to use a cafeteria or gathering space at the ceremony site for a little while as well. If the photographer plans to take outdoor photos between the ceremony and reception, the couple can invite some guests along to witness the shots or be a part of the photo shoot. Thoughtful couples also can provide other accommodations, such as letting guests know about local restaurants where they can spend a little time and grab a small bite to eat before the reception begins. Hotels affiliated with the wedding party may be able to host

guests during these in-between hours as well. The hotel bar or a conference room might be ideal spots for guests to kill some time. Couples also can arrange something with the reception hall. While the party room or cocktail area may not be ready until the designated time, the site may have an attached restaurant, salon or gardens, where guests can relax as they wait for the start of the festivities. Timing all of the elements of a wedding day properly can be challenging. Guests’ comfort and needs should always be a priority.

Did you know?

T

hough many couples still tie the knot in traditional religious ceremonies officiated by a minister, priest, rabbi or other religious leader, more couples are embracing less traditional ceremonies that can be officiated by secular officiants. Humanist weddings, for example, may be officiated by someone who shares the same philosophy of life as the bride and/ or groom, and such officials typically have no religious affiliation. Civil ceremonies are another type of wedding ceremony for couples who do not want a traditional religious wedding. Civil ceremonies are often presided over by a justice of the peace, political official or even a certified notary public. The rules regarding civil ceremonies vary from state to state, so couples considering a civil ceremony should do their homework before moving forward with any wedding plans. Couples with different religious backgrounds who still want a religious ceremony may want to consider an interfaith ceremony that includes traditions from each faith and may even include religious leaders from each faith.

CAKE: Red velvet quickly becoming the new classic From Page 13

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 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.

DESTINATION: Popularity and tight budgets can make them out of reach From Page 12

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.

Cakes are a part of many special events, but few cakes are fawned over as much as wedding cakes. Couples

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MUSIC: Couples must take such decisions seriously From Page 17

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.

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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.

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Roles of the best man and maid of honor

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eing chosen as a best man or a maid of honor is a significant and meaningful honor. Those roles have evolved over the years, but these special participants must still perform some of the traditional duties of the past, including serving as the official witnesses to the ceremony. The following is a rundown of the various duties maids of honor and best men are now expected to handle once they’re chosen for these distinguished honors.

Prior to the wedding Before the wedding takes place, the maid of honor will closely assist the bride-to-be with many of the important decisions related to the look and the feel of the wedding. She typically accompanies the bride to dress shops to select gowns for the bride and bridesmaids. Much in the same manner, the best man will assist the groom-to-be with choosing tuxedoes or suits and also with coordinating with the ushers to ensure they know when to go for fittings. Although the best man will serve as a sounding board for the groom, traditionally the bride and her bridesmaids have taken on the majority of the wedding planning, so the maid of honor can expect to play a larger role than the best man. The maid of honor may be asked to delegate certain assignments, such as helping to find wedding vendors or addressing invitations. She may go with the bride for makeup and hairstyle trials. Together with the bridesmaids, she will plan a bridal shower

party and a bachelorette excursion. She may select a wedding gift for the couple and present it on behalf of all the wedding attendants. The best man will coordinate the bachelor party and may be asked to assist the groom with selecting a honeymoon site or to come See ROLES Page 21

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Tips when toasting the bride and groom

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oasting the bride and groom at a wedding reception is a responsibility that typically falls on the shoulders of the bride’s father as well as the best man and the maid of honor. Though it is an honor to give a wedding toast, it also can be nerve-wracking, as

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ROLES: Maid of honor and best man act as support system From Page 20 along to book the trip. Wedding day On the day of the wedding, the maid of honor and the best man will act as a support system for the bride and groom. The maid of honor will help the bride get dressed and help iron out any mini-emergencies that should crop up. The best man will help ensure all of the ushers are dressed and get the groom to the wedding on time. During the ceremony, the maid of honor will hold the bride’s bouquet while she participates in the wedding. The best man will keep the rings safe until they are needed. The maid of honor also will help adjust the bride’s train and veil as she sits and stands during the ceremony. Both will sign the marriage certificate as

witnesses. At the reception, the best man is expected to give a toast and the maid of honor may share some words as well. She also may accompany the bride to the restroom and assist her with managing the gown. After the wedding The best man will be in charge of returning the tuxedoes to the rental shop, if necessary. He also may drive the newly married couple to the airport so they can depart on their honeymoon. The maid of honor will assist the bride in changing out of her gown and into her travel clothes. Oftentimes the maid of honor takes the gown to the cleaners in the days following the ceremony so the dress can be preserved.

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TOAST: Cover appropriate bases without offending the bridal party From Page 21

from a how-to guide found on the Internet, there is a certain formula men and women can follow to ensure their toasts cover all of the appropriate bases without offending the bridal party or fellow guests. • Acknowledge the guests. Families are more geographically diverse than ever before, so more and more weddings host guests who come from far and wide to celebrate with happy couples on their wedding days. It’s customary for men and women making wedding toasts to acknowledge the guests, thanking them for being there. This is often a great way for best men and maids of honor to break the ice and calm their nerves, especially at larger weddings

where they may only know a small percentage of the guests. When thanking the guests, be sure to thank the parents of the bride and groom as well. • Explain your relationship to the bride and/or groom. Best men and maids of honor should devote a portion of their toasts to explaining their personal relationships with the bride and/or groom. Introduce yourself and explain how you met the bride or groom. Oftentimes, such stories have a comical twist that can further calm your nerves. • Aim for a jovial toast. Wedding toasts are typically given at the wedding reception, when guests and the bridal party are ready to celebrate. Such an atmosphere lends itself to a jovial toast wherein best men and maids

of honor focus on happy times with the bride and groom. Tell a funny anecdote that illustrates the special bond you have with the bride or groom. When choosing a story to tell, remember to keep things appropriate for guests of all ages, including young children. • Steer clear of alcohol before giving your toast. Many people overindulge in alcohol at wedding receptions, but best men and maids of honor should avoid consuming alcohol until after they have toasted the bride and groom. Horror stories about drunken, inappropriate wedding toasts may seem more like an urban legend than a legitimate possibility, but the tendency for alcohol to lower people’s inhibitions makes it dangerous for men and women to consume it before giving their toasts.

• Give your best wishes to the bride and groom before raising your glass. Raising your glass to toast the bride and groom is often the last step before your toasting duties officially end. But before you raise your glass, remember to offer your best wishes to both the bride and groom. Once those sentiments have been expressed, ask the guests to raise their glasses and toast the newlyweds. Toasting happy couples at their wedding receptions can be stressful for best men and maids of honor who are unaccustomed to speaking in front of large groups of people. But following a certain formula and speaking from the heart will ensure such toasts go off without a hitch.

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Makeup tips for brides and bridesmaids

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ew events are more photographed than weddings. Needless to say, wedding participants, from brides and grooms to the couples’ parents, hope to look their best for the celebrations. Women 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 balance 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 do-it-yourselfer may need some instruction to master wedding day makeup. Very often the key to wedding makeup is simplicity. Brides want their best features 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 skin color with a spray-tan, do so at least two days prior to the wedding. By the third day the color will set and appear more natural. The same idea

applies to your brows. Tweezing, waxing and threading can create irritation 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 moisturized skin. Apply a few layers of moisturizer, preferably one with an SPF if you See MAKEUP Page 24

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MAKEUP: The key to wedding makeup is simplicity From Page 23

will be spending time out in the sun. When the moisturizer is completely absorbed and dry, use a skin priming product that will help keep your foundation locked into place. • Match your foundation color to your natural skin color. When these colors don’t match, your face may look like it is a separate shade from your neck and decolletage. If you will be tanning, then find a shade that matches the tanned color. A foundation 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 See MAKEUP Page 25

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Mistakes to avoid when organizing a wedding

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here is no doubt about it: organizing a wedding is a big job. To help make sure your special day goes off without a hitch, be sure to keep in mind these common mistakes and avoid them at all costs.

MISTAKE 1: NOT HAVING A BUDGET Budget planning is an important part of any wedding. Having a budget means that you decide in advance where all your hard-earned money is going. This lets you avoid overspending or spending your money on the wrong things. MISTAKE 2: GROUP SHOPPING Shopping for a bridal gown with friends and family members is not necessarily a good idea. The reason is very simple: everyone has their own opinion, even if they don’t

openly discuss their tastes and favourite colours. The danger here is in being influenced to choose a gown that somebody else has been dreaming about rather than the one you’ve always wanted. It is preferable to go shopping with just one other person, someone who you can count on to be honest and objective. MISTAKE 3: EXTENDING LAST-MINUTE INVITATIONS Draw up your guest list carefully and then stick to it. Don’t add names along the way to please those who want to invite themselves or interfere with your planning. Be prepared to respond gently but firmly to that single friend of yours who told you she’d be coming unaccompanied but who now would love to bring her lastminute love interest. MISTAKE 4: SPENDING

MAKEUP: Perform a practice run From Page 24

PHOTO: JUPITERIMAGES / THINKSTOCK

EXORBITANTLY — OR STINGILY A wedding doesn’t have to be spectacular and grandiose to be memorable. Some expenses can be reduced. Put your friends to work on decorating, for example, and spend a bit more on your dream dress. But be careful not to go to extremes; you can be reasonable without being cheap. Your wedding is likely going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and too much money-pinching could result in a plain or boring day.

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 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.

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All eyes will be on the head table, so it is important to choose who sits there very carefully.

The head table: always a delicate matter

P

lanning your head table seating arrangements can be tricky, especially when parents are divorced or remarried. It is important to leave lots of time to plan a solution to this problem and consult the parties involved; if done well in advance of the wedding day, chances are that you can accommodate everybody’s needs. Typically, if the parents of the bride or groom are divorced and remarried, they are not seated at the head table with their new spouses. However, if head table space and family relationships allow for it, then toss convention to the wind and do what feels right for your fa mily. One practical solution is to organize a separate table for step-parents and their families, which could be in close proximity to the head table or an extension of it. Another option is to use a table in the shape of a half circle just for the bride and groom, the maid of honour, and the best man. The partners of

the wedding party members sit at other tables. There are many ways to organize the seating at the head table, but generally speaking, the groom is seated to the right of the bride. If the bridal party is seated at the head table with the newly married couple in the centre, then men and women are seated alternately. If you’re afraid of hur ting the feelings of people who you have not chosen to sit at the head table, you could always ask them to host the ta ble where they will be seated. In that case, be sure to indicate the names of the table hosts on your seating chart. If it is proving difficult to find a head table arrangement that pleases everyone, you might want to resort to a “sweetheart” table, at which the bride and groom are seated alone. This is an increasingly common solution for keeping everyone happy at the wedding reception.

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Bride’s Guide 2014

Page 27

Glittering wedding bands

What kind of wedding band are you going to choose when the time comes? Will you give free rein to your creative dreams or will you opt for something more practical and restrained? Whatever the case, the ring seals your union on the big day, so be very careful about what you choose. A lot of importance is attached to this little piece of jewellery, and with good reason. So relax and take the time to establish your priorities; doing so will allow you to make a good choice. First of all, be sure to consider your own personal needs and tastes. Close your eyes and visual-

ize your wedding day. What do you see on your finger? One or two overlaid rings? White gold or yellow? An embedded single clear diamond or a cluster of emeralds? There are lots of questions to think about before you get down to some serious shopping.

ion-cut ring. If you love a clunky cocktail ring, then you will love one of these; it will not go unnoticed on your finger.

Keep in mind that the trend in engagement rings and wedding bands for 2014 is towards diamonds and geometric shapes, such as squares and hexagons. What’s more, the 2014 ring is definitely on the large side — dainty diamond solitaires, move over! Because of the impressive size of the central stone, it is also referred to as a cush-

Diamond pave wedding bands are also very much in evidence this year, featuring single or double halos. With this style, either the ring or the central diamond is highlighted by a tangle of small diamonds dancing around it. Wow! Enjoy your shopping!

Wedding bands are definitely shiny in 2014. (Photo: Birks, www. birks.com)

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No hard feelings

It’s a well-known fact that brides- and grooms-to-be often end up arguing about the organization of their wedding. There are so many decisions to make that patience can quickly reach the breaking point. But these arguments can be avoided. Here are a few tips to help you organize your wedding peacefully and harmoniously. THE GROOM’S INVOLVEMENT Some men may not be interested in certain aspects of the festivities. Choosing a theme or colour scheme may be something they just don’t want to be bothered with. But don’t take it personally; it doesn’t mean they’re not interested in getting married! Take the time to decide which aspects you’ll organize together and which elements you’ll take charge of individually, depending on your interests and strengths. THE FAMILY’S PARTICIPATION Some families stay in the background, while others want to get involved in the preparations, or even make decisions for you. If someone tries to interfere in an unwelcome way, be firm but calm and polite when explaining that you don’t need their help. If that person is contributing financially to the wedding, perhaps you can work together on a particu-

PHOTO: COMSTOCK IMAGES / THINKSTOCK

Faribault 2nd Annual

Bridal Fair March 1, 2014

lar aspect of the planning where you don’t mind giving up control. Otherwise, reassure the person that you really want the day to reflect your own tastes as well as those of the groom. SHARING THE COSTS Take care to spend your budget in a fair way. For example, if the bride spends a fortune on her dress, there will be a lot less money left over for the honeymoon, an expense that both the bride and groom will really appreciate. Agree on a budget at the start of the process and allot an equitable amount to all your planned expenses. THE CHOICE OF GUESTS You can’t invite the whole world to your wedding, so some kind of limit has to be established. Discuss your ideal scenarios together and then draft a list of the people you want to invite. To avoid real conflict, it might be necessary in the end to limit the invitations to close family and friends. Be prepared to make concessions and keep the guest list balanced between bride and groom. Once you’ve established your list try not to alter it. Above all, keep this rule in mind: even if you devote yourself to the organization of your wedding as a precious once-in-alifetime event, it should never, ever become more important than your relationship.

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The main concerns of a bride-to-be If you’re part of a future bride’s inner circle of friends you might be expected to offer some tangible support during the wedding preparations. Of course, if you’ve been asked to be the maid of honour, the following list will also be of interest to you.

since childhood. Help her choose one suitable for a true princess.

The guiding principle in assisting the bride-to-be is to put yourself in her position and keep in mind her main concerns. Staying in an empathetic frame of mind will let you give her some good advice when she needs your opinion.

3. THE RECEPTION VENUE As early as possible, the bride and groom will have to choose a venue that suits their needs. Do they want to celebrate their union in a reception hall, a restaurant, a marquee, on the side of a lake, or at a vineyard?

She will likely be preoccupied by the following things: 1. THE GOWN The dress has to be absolutely p-er-f-e-c-t. For some brides, the gown is something they’ve dreamed about

4. THE WEDDING BANDS The rings are an important part of the wedding ceremony; they symbolize the love and commitment of the bride and groom. See CONCERNS Page 30

PHOTO: JUPITERIMAGES / THINKSTOCK

2. THE INVITATIONS The first step is to draw up a guest list, prepare the invitations, and then mail them in good time.

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Choosing the right wedding reception favors

P

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

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From Page 29 5. THE FLOWERS What could be more beautiful than surroundings filled with flowers? The bride will want to choose with great care the flowers for her bouquet, centrepieces, and hall decorations.

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 See FAVORS Page 31

6. THE WEDDING CAKE Choosing a baker and a cake design is an important detail. The cake is a central element of every wedding reception. 7. THE GUEST FAVOURS A small gift or wedding souvenir allows the bride and groom to thank their guests for celebrating with them. 8. THE MUSIC The bride and groom will want to choose music that has a special meaning for them, whether it’s for the wedding march or for the couple’s first dance.

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FAVORS: Selecting favors is often fun and stress-free From Page 30

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.

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