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winter 2013 | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013


at Race & Religious, your event will ring with romance. Built in the 1830’s and nestled along the Lower Garden District riverfront, the property is comprised of a two-story Creole cottage, a three-story rowhouse, & a two-story “Slave Quarter” with a downstairs bar. The grounds feature a fountain-surrounded pool, palms, & brick courtyards, lit by the flicker of gas lamps. Accommodating up to 300 visitors within 4,000 sq. ft., the space includes two commercially-equipped kitchens, working fireplaces, interior & exterior speakers, & balconies overlooking the courtyards & downtown. Packages range from basic location rental to event planning to an extended stay, allowing as much flexibility as is desired. Offering luxurious amenities, the nostalgia of home, & a rich New Orleans history, at Race & Religious your gathering will be like none other.



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With hardwood floors and private garden, this elegant ballroom is just steps from the colonnaded Sea Lion Exhibit: perfect for that magical wedding ceremony.


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MENTALITY Five bridal trends to consider for your big day B Y M I S S Y W I L K I N S O N



Strapless silk organza gown with layered ball gown skirt, $1,000-$2,000 at Pearl’s Place. | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013

hen it comes to bridal trends, New Orleans women don’t always fit the mold: They eschew some national trends and create others unique to the region. “Ever since I moved to New Orleans, I see feathers incorporated into veils and headpieces like I have never seen anywhere else,” says Lisa Iacono, a designer whose West Bank garment factory offers custom gown designs as well as alterations and reconstructions. “That’s a great way to bring local culture and vibration.” Gail Hester, a bridal consultant at Mimi NOLA, points out that the black wedding gown collection Vera Wang showed in 2012 and the burgundy and plum gowns from spring 2013 didn’t gain purchase among her clientele. “The color was so bold, but on the East and West coasts the (red and black wedding gowns) sold. They were bombs here,” Hester says. “Here, girls just aren’t ready to transition to a bold color.” Though a bride’s region, culture, preferences and even the venue in which she’s getting married can influence the type of gown she selects, Hester and Iacono cite a few trends among brides and on designer runways. Here’s a rundown.


8 | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013


A BODY-CONSCIOUS SILHOUETTE On the flip side, Iacono says many brides are passing on structural gowns that require corsetry and petticoats in favor of those that fit closer to the body. “The silhouettes are getting longer and leaner, with almost columnesque shapes,” Iacono says. “I’m seeing softer fabrics and designs that don’t require that much structure, and I hope it stays that way. I’ve never understood why girls work so hard on their bodies for their weddings and then strap themselves into gowns that don’t show off their hard work.” A long slit is a frequent complement to a slim silhouette and has the added benefit of permitting greater range of motion for the bride. “The opening in the front allows some leg to come through, and I think that’s really sassy,” Iacono says. Hester agrees: “The slit in the front is so cool and modern, and girls want something they can boogie in.” | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013

Chantilly lace halter gown, $2,760 at Wedding Belles.

Lace bodice gown with taffeta skirt and crystal embellishments, $1,200 at Bustles and Bows.


9 | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013


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SMALL DOSES All-over beading is taking a backseat to what Hester calls “focused bling”— sparkle that comes from a pin, fascinator or belt. “(Brides) don’t want it all over the dress,” says Hester, who points out that many brides are choosing glittering shoes as their focal accessories. Iacono has also noticed a decline in beaded dresses. “Things are taking a lighter feel all over,” Iacono says.

Organza mermaid gown with Swarovski crystal beading and layered full skirt, $1,500 at Bustles and Bows. | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013

Keyhole back gown with asymmetrically pleated full skirt, chapel train and satin sash, $1,800 at Bustles and Bows.

Strapless silk shantung taffeta trumpet gown with peplum, $3,987.50 at Wedding Belles.

A HINT OF COLOR A few seasons ago, bridal gowns with contrasting sashes or panels of color were all the rage. Now color is still present, but its role is shifting. Instead of featuring the notorious “pop of color,” gowns in soft, antiqued shades are taking center stage. “The use of color is all over and it’s neutral — things that look tea-dyed or have a vintage ivory tone,” Iacono says. Hester is seeing delicate rose hues. “Girls are beginning to go toward blush and the softer pastels,” she says. PAGE 13


12 | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013


Strapless sweetheart gown with a-line silk organza layered skirt, $5,160 at Wedding Belles.

STRUCTURAL SKIRTS A ball-gown silhouette is a wedding-day classic and makes for a dramatic procession down the aisle; for these reasons, Iacono thinks the look will never go away. “I see strapless sweetheart gowns that have a lot of structure, and then outside of that, billowy draping,” Iacono says. Now, texture, tiered organza ruffles and draping bring new attention to the gown’s lower half. “The gowns are more architecturally interesting in terms of the skirt,” Hester says.

PAGE 15 | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013

Strapless sweetheart gown with tulle bodice and chiffon and tulle skirt, $1,000-$2,000 at Pearl’s Place.



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SLEEVES AND TOUCHES OF LACE “Since Kate Middleton’s wedding, there’s a lot more interest in lace and in dresses that aren’t strapless,” Hester says. “A tight, long lace sleeve makes (brides) feel elegant.” Lace can also be worn as a cap sleeve, applique, placed over a plunging neckline for modesty’s sake, or worn on the bodice or the back of a gown. “All-over lace will always be a beautiful, classic way to make a gown, but more and more I’m finding it strategically placed to add a hit of texture,” Iacono says. “I’ve also sewed vintage lace from a grandmother’s gown into a veil. It’s a way to add an emotional tie or personal touch.” On the cover: Blush V-neck gown in silk taffeta and tulle, $3,000-$4,000 at Pearl’s Place.

STORE INFORMATION Bustles and Bows (3230 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-780-7090; Pearl’s Place (3114 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-885-9213; Wedding Belles (3632 Magazine St., 504-891-1005;

Lace trumpet gown with lace illusion jacket and train, $1,700 at Bustles and Bows.

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How to keep your gown bright and beautiful B Y S A L LY LO R E N S E N C O N A N T


your family and friends will be focused on you, not on any spots or tears. Once the wedding is over, it may be hard for you to give up your gown right away, but it should be professionally cleaned and preserved. If not, it will yellow from exposure to light and air, and any stains, especially if they are caused by red wine or mud, which will bond with the fibers. Even if you do nothing else, take your dress out of the plastic garment bag, which can emit fumes that yellow the gown even more quickly than air, and wrap it in a clean sheet or freshly washed muslin. It can be difficult to find a cleaner who understands just how important your gown is to you. Look for someone who specializes in cleaning and preserving wedding gowns and ask lots of questions. Does the company do the work, or does it send the dress to someone else? How long has it been in business? What precautions does the company take to protect delicate trims and decorations? How does it guard against stains caused by alcohol and sugar-based stains that do not dissolve during ordinary dry-cleaning? Find out if you can inspect the gown after it is clean and if the service uses tissue with an environmentally safe, archival container that will not discolor or damage the fabric of your gown. Ask whether the service seals the box or leaves it open and why. Does it guarantee the gown will not be stained or discolored when and if it is worn again? Does the guarantee depend on an unbroken seal? Today or 25 years from today, who will honor the guarantee? Be sure you are comfortable with the answers to your questions. After all, you want to give your gown, a possible heirloom for the next bride in your family, the care that will keep it in great condition.

Conant is the wedding-gown expert for

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very bride has this much in common: Each loves her wedding day, and the day always goes by much too quickly. Of course, there is little that you as a bride can do to make your wedding day last longer, but there are things you can do to make sure the beauty of your gown remains — if not forever, then at least for a long time. When you bring your gown home from the shop, take it out of the garment bag and hang it where it will be safe from children and pets — perhaps in a spare room or from a hook you install in the ceiling for that purpose. If the wedding is several weeks away, you can protect the dress from dust with a clean sheet or freshly washed unbleached muslin. On the day of the wedding, all too often someone steps on your gown or it catches on something. Put several safety pins into the underside of your gown where they will not be seen but will be handy for just such accidents and prevent further damage. Also, know whether your gown is made from a natural fiber such as silk or an artificial fiber such as polyester. That way, if you spill something on your wedding day you will know whether you will be able to remove the stain. Water or club soda can remove coffee, tea, mud or blood from polyester, but silks and rayons are water-sensitive and you may make permanent spots if you put water on them. If the stain is grease, lipstick or another cosmetic that is not watersoluble, try using a moist wipe on polyester (test it on an inside seam first to be sure it will not disturb the color of your gown). On silk, it is probably safer to camouflage spots with something white and relatively harmless such as baking soda, cornstarch or baby powder. Wite-Out or white shoe polish is tricky and definitely not a good idea for use on silk. Most important, remember that no matter how entranced you are with your gown,





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N I RVA N AW E D D I N G S @ G M A I L . C O M

No Planner? NO PROBLEM! How to trim costs and realize your vision by planning your own wedding.



rate after learning the Women’s Guild of the New Orleans Opera Association offered a discount for members. From a vendor’s perspective, working directly with a wedding

Some vendors say dealing directly with the bridal party gives them a better sense of the vision for the wedding. PAGE 20 | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013

n my living room, a tall stack of wedding magazines stands in the corner like a dusty pyramid. I am supposed to get married in exactly 287 days (there’s an app), and the reality of the situation is bearing down on me: Since I don’t intend to hire a wedding planner, this event isn’t going to happen unless I start to put it together. Fortunately, I’m not the first procrastinating bride to stumble toward the altar this way. Being your own wedding planner (or, as many venues call it, “going direct”) is a growing trend in the wedding industry, as highly personalized ceremonies become commonplace and brides look for way to get handson with the planning process. Heather Dragna, who got married in New Orleans in 2011, says being your own wedding planner is filled with advantages for those willing to put in the time and effort to make their arrangements. “I decided to plan my own wedding because I’m a very detailoriented person and I doubted that a wedding planner would be as thorough or as cost conscious as I was,” she says. “I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so being able to control all of the various details was important to me.” Dragna says planning her wedding became like a part-time job, filling her lunch breaks with phone calls and quote requests. But the flexibility of the process allowed her to come up with creative solutions to unexpected difficulties. Since her wedding date conflicted with Mother’s Day, driving up floral prices, she sourced paper flowers on Etsy. She was free to look for workarounds to established fees; for example, she booked her venue at a lower


PAGE 19 · · · F O R YOU R S PE C I A L O C C A S I O N · · ·

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party offers its own benefits and challenges. Perry Culbertson, director of special events at the Audubon Nature Institute, offers insight into this increasingly common process. “We have a lot of brides who go direct,” Culbertson says. “It gives us more of an opportunity to get up close and personal with the bride ... to talk to her and figure out what she wants to do.” For Culbertson, a bride should arrive at a consultation with numbers: a date range, a rough head count and a working budget. It doesn’t have to be a firm number. A general idea of what you’d like to spend is enough to give the vendor an idea of the

event’s concept and scale. “It’s also helpful to know the format of their reception,” Culbertson says. “When people come in and don’t know if they want to do a seated, served dinner versus reception-style versus buffet, or even what the difference is, we have to educate them on that. Having some idea of their vision [ahead of time] helps, so we can make it happen.” Though many brides who plan their own weddings are also interested in crafting and DIY, Culbertson recommends delegating the more time-sensitive tasks, such as the wedding cake and floral design, to professionals. She urges clients not to take on

more than they can handle, using outside vendors as necessary. (Like many venues, Audubon has a list of recommended vendors, but brides are not obligated to choose from this list — make sure to check this policy wherever you book, because it varies from place to place.) “[On your wedding day], there’s a lot of pressure, there’s a lot of stress, and there are a lot of time constraints, and you have to worry about a lot of different people,” Culbertson says. “[Why] have the stress put on you when you could hire a professional and have it done right?” At Sucre, home of exquisite custom wedding cakes, customer

I think it ultimately ends up being a little bit uninteresting in the end and certainly it’s less exciting,” he says. “It doesn’t leave a lot of room for the little nuances that we can do.” Pontious often prefers to work with the bride or the bride’s mother directly, as one less “filter” to help understand a vision. John Harkins, owner of Harkins the Florist, feels the same way: He actively discourages clients from working with a wedding planner, saying planners can “muddy the waters.” He suggests brides work directly with a vendor’s in-house professionals like his manager Peggy Hamilton, who handles the

If you’re planning your own wedding, have a budget and a vision in mind, be flexible, and be ready to delegate responsibilities. company’s wedding business. She directs brides to the company’s website and wedding magazines for inspiration. Harkins also offers a threetiered pricing strategy at initial consultations, another benefit to look out for when selecting vendors. “What I’ve been doing is giving three prices on each and every item in the wedding, so that the bride has all these pieces they can play with and crunch the numbers,” he says. “I suggest she figure the entire wedding using the low cost, then figure it using the high cost, so she’ll see the range that we’re talking about.” The takeaway from these advisers comes down to a few main points: have a budget and a vision in mind, be flexible, and be ready to delegate responsibilities. In 287 days, I’ll let you how their advice worked out.

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service coordinator Zack Pontious agrees that minimizing stress is key. For those forgoing a wedding planner, he suggests designating a “point person” who isn’t a member of the wedding party as a contact for cake delivery and other related tasks. “For us, there’s some coordination that goes on as far as where we’re dropping the cake off, [at] what time, who we’re meeting there, that kind of stuff, and it’s nice to have a contact who isn’t getting ready for the wedding,” he says. Before the big day, he encourages flexibility and open communication regarding the cake’s design. It’s helpful to have some idea of the style of cake (for example, the color or how many tiers it should have), but brides should keep an open mind when planning this creative aspect with their cake vendor. “If you come in [with a photo] and say, ‘I want this exact cake,’

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Have you hired your band? Your caterer? How about your premarital counselor? B Y E I L E E N LO H



tc h o u p i to u l a s

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t a recent bridal show, in a sea of photographers, flowers, cakes, and other wedding trappings, Matt Morris stuck out as the only vendor of his kind: He was selling premarital counseling. “I talked to about 200 brides, and a chunk of them were excited about (counseling). A lot of them said they were doing it already,” says Morris, a marriage and family therapist in Gretna who has been working with engaged couples for more than a decade. “But there was a small percentage of the population, about 15 percent, who were appalled that I was there — ‘You’re already saying our marriage is going to have trouble?’ “What I would like to say to them is, ‘Yes, you are going to have trouble. And that’s OK. That’s the battle. How do you have problems and still grow closer together? That’s marriage.’” With an emphasis on improving communication skills and identifying potential conflicts, premarital counseling is widely recommended for anyone tying the knot. With so much attention trained on creating a fantasy wedding day, this is a rare avenue for engaged couples to focus on the reality that comes after that. As Morris points out, though premarital counseling has proved beneficial to marriage, the idea of it can bother a bride or groom. Some would rather not admit there likely will be bumps on the marital road. “Any healthy relationship has conflicts or disagreements,” Morris says. “If you’re really sharing your life, your beliefs, values, thoughts, dreams, hopes — you’re going to have differences of opinion. If you’re not having conflict, you’re not truly sharing yourself with the other person, and that to me is a key sign of an unhealthy relationship. The best research shows the healthiest couples still fight. “The fights aren’t the problem. Does the fight end in a greater connection between the couple, or a greater distance? That’s the question.” Betty Jo Davis, a family therapist

and founder of Riversong Counseling Center in New Orleans, performs weddings. Like many officiants, she requires the couples she marries to participate in premarital counseling. Her logic is simple: “If you have a good set of skills going into it: how to communicate, how to solve problems, how to forgive, how to be committed, how to maintain trust — obviously you’re going to do better as a married couple,” she says. Engaged couples do participate in premarital counseling of their own accord, but not as often as Davis would like. “Couples will spend thousands of dollars on the wedding day, getting the right photographer, or flowers, or venue. Yet, if you ask them to put out $500 for premarital counseling they will balk and see that as unnecessary,” she says. Morris agrees, calling early marital counseling a great investment for long-term relationship health. He sells his services as an engagement gift: a package deal with six premarital counseling sessions, and four sessions throughout the first year of marriage. “It’s a really good resource to give to somebody, and I’m glad that some churches require it,” he says. Licensed family therapist Mario Sacasa directs marriage preparation programs for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He points out that for generations, the Catholic Church has mandated this type of counseling for couples getting married in the church. “The Church for a long time has known the seriousness of the commitment: that people go through a major life change when they get married,” Sacasa says. “A big comment I hear people saying nowadays is, ‘It’s just a piece of paper.’ ... There’s something about to happen here that transforms your relationship. The Church recognizes the gravity of what’s happening. We want to help people make sure they understand what they’re getting into, so that they can start their marriage on the best foundation possible.”

The Family Life Apostolate’s marriage preparation includes a questionnaire that each partner completes individually. “It checks to see in how much agreement they are, and are not, on key issues,” Sacasa says. “It gives you a snapshot of where the relationship is right now. Typically, a mature couple by this stage has spent a lot of time together and are more or less aware of the problems. You’re just giving them the tools they need to work on those issues. “But every once in a while someone becomes blindsided by their partner’s answers, and when people are, that’s kind of a red flag,” Sacasa says. “If there are significant issues present before the wedding, they’re not just going to magically disappear afterward. It’s best to start working on these things now.”

Premarital Counseling: Ten Topics to Expect

2. COMMUNICATION. One of the toughest, yet most important skills to master for a couple, good communication is essential to a successful marriage. Partners learn how to talk and listen in a respectful way, how to substitute productive conversation for complaining or blaming, how to recognize and respond to nonverbal forms of communication, and other skills. 3. ROLE EXPECTATIONS. Most people enter into marriage with preconceptions of their role within the marriage, and their partner’s as well. “Whether they like it or not, they are already forming expectations about what roles they are going to play,” Morris says. The couple will discuss what each partner expects from himself or herself in the marriage and from the other person in a variety of

4. FAMILY OF ORIGIN. Whether or not we like to admit it, our family of origin has a huge influence on our adult relationships. Discussing our interactions with parents, siblings and caregivers — and their relationships with each other — can be an eye-opener. The goal is to reinforce positive behaviors we learned growing up, while halting negative behaviors and learning better approaches. 5. CONFLICT RESOLUTION. No matter how much the couple loves each other, conflict is bound to arise. Counseling involves identifying potential causes of conflict, learning how to keep a disagreement from escalating, how to deal with stress, and how to resolve conflicts productively. 6. SEX. The couple will have honest conversations about intimacy and the role they expect sex to play within their marriage. Practical discussions include how often they expect to have sex, whether anything is off limits and factors that could impact their sexual relationship.

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7. JOBS/ CAREERS. The couple should discuss work or career goals and talk about how these will impact their family life. Do one or both of the partners want to further their education (and if so, how will they afford it)? Do they want to have a two-career family, or will they designate one stay-athome parent? 8. GOAL SETTING. The couple will talk about where they are now, what they want in the future, and how they can achieve these goals together. They will discuss personal goals for themselves, joint goals and family goals. 9. RELIGION/SPIRITUALITY. Couples should know and understand the importance religion or spirituality holds for their partner, and for them both as a married couple. Practical topics include practices, observances and children’s upbringing. “I want them to talk about how they’re going to incorporate their religion into their marriage and family,” Morris says. 10. FAMILY LIFE. Where will the couple live — what’s their ideal home or neighborhood? What are the family values? To what extent will relatives be involved in married life? A variety of topics that involve the couple’s vision for their future home and family are covered.

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1. FINANCES. Because money matters are a leading cause of marital conflict, this is a critical topic to cover before tying the knot. Couples should come clean about their individual finances (credit score, debt load, income, etc.) and solidify their financial goals and plans for achieving those goals. They also will discuss practical matters such as budgeting, money management, and when or how to splurge.

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Post Wedding TO-DO LIST Gifts for

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There’s a lot to do immediately after the wedding, says Sharon Naylor, author of more than 20 books on wedding topics, including The Bride & Groom Thank-You Guide: A Thoroughly Modern Manual for Expressing Your Gratitude — Quickly, Painlessly and Personally! and The Busy Bride’s Essential Wedding Checklists. Luckily, we’re in an age where the bride and groom don’t necessarily leave for their honeymoon right away — they may stay to close down the party, handle the after-tasks and maybe even continue on to an after party, she says. Since many brides and grooms are paying for and planning their own weddings, they’re the ones who will want to meet with the banquet hall manager and wedding coordinator to handle post-wedding business. Parents and attendants can also volunteer to take on postwedding tasks, Naylor says, but make sure that they’re sober. (A buzzed bridesmaid is not the best person to hand out tip envelopes.) Your best bet is to appoint a post-wedding ambassador and a backup ambassador, says Naylor; just to be sure you’ve covered all your bases. Here’s what needs to be done post haste: • PAYING THE PIPER. Immediately after the reception, sit down with the banquet manager and wedding coordinator to hand over final payments, Naylor says. Be sure to get a receipt that’s stamped “paid in full,” with the signature of the manager and the date. This will serve as proof of payment in the case of an administrative snafu, she says.


• GIVING FEEDBACK. While it’s still on your mind, take a moment to thank the entire staff for their work on your big day, Naylor says. If the band is packing up, let them know exactly what you loved. If the bartenders are still around, thank them for a job well done. Experts love getting positive feedback, she says.

the smallest trace of dirt or sweat can turn the fabric yellow over time. Visit a cleaner you trust within a week or two of the wedding, and be sure to mention any stains you’ve noticed, whether from grass, wine or makeup. Trust this task to your mother or maid of honor if you’ll be honeymooning longer than typical newlyweds.

• PICKING UP THE PIECES. Immediately after the reception, either you or someone you’ve designated ahead of time should collect any keepsakes, decorations, rented items, gifts or personal belongings that have been left at the site.

• TELLING THE WORLD. Once you’ve settled back into daily life, be sure to update your wedding website with photos and comments about the big day. This is also a good time to send wedding announcements to those who weren’t invited to the ceremony and place an announcement in your local newspaper.

• TIPPING TIME. Either you or your delegate should hand out tip envelopes to the musicians, DJ, wait staff, bartenders and parking attendants who contributed to your event. • TAKING BACK THE TUX. Tradition dictates that the best man return the groom’s tuxedo on the first business day after the wedding. • PRESERVING YOUR FLOWERS. Your bridal bouquet can be a beautiful memory of your wedding for years to come — if you take care of it, that is. One option is to have your florist preserve your blooms, but be sure to get it to her as quickly as possible after the wedding. You can delegate this task to your mom, sister or maid of honor. If you’d rather go the do-ityourself route, hang your bouquet upside down with string or wire, and store in a dark, well-ventilated location, such as a shed, garage, attic or large closet.


The following tasks can wait until you’ve unpacked from your honeymoon. • CLEANING YOUR DRESS. Your gown may not look dirty, but

• EXPLORING THE SPOILS. Have fun opening your gifts, but don’t put off returning duplicates or unwanted items. The sooner you return them, the less hassle it will be. • CHOOSING YOUR PHOTOS. Get together with your photographer to review the proofs from your wedding and select your favorites. Don’t forget to give your family and wedding party a chance to choose one or two for themselves. • SAYING THANKS. Posthoneymoon, experts recommend making thank you notes a top priority. (Ideally, you should mail them out within two to four weeks.) Addressing the envelopes before the wedding can help speed up the process. Don’t forget to express your appreciation to friends and family who helped with decorating, cleaning up and getting you to the venue on time. • CHANGING YOUR NAME. If you’re making a name change, start spreading the word as soon as you receive your marriage certificate (usually two to three weeks after the wedding). Be sure to contact the following people or institutions: 1 The Social Security

Administration or relevant government agency. Visit for details on how to change the name on your Social Security card. 2 Your employer 3 The Department of Motor Vehicles. An important piece of identification, your driver’s license will come in handy when informing other companies of your name change. 4 Your bank 5 Your landlord or mortgage company 6 Your insurance companies 7 Medical professionals (doctors, dentists, etc.) 8 Utility companies (phone, electric, cable, gas) 9 Credit card companies 10 Passport office

11 Voter registration • CHANGING YOUR STATUS. When it comes to insurance and health benefits, getting hitched affects more than just your name; it also changes your status. Post-honeymoon, both you and your groom should confirm your newlywed status with all employers and insurance companies. Congratulations! You’ve made it through the wedding and everything that comes after. Breathe a sigh of relief, and get ready to move on with the rest of your life. Jenny Stamos Kovacs writes about health, nutrition, psychology, work, money and love for magazines such as Self, Shape, Glamour, Women’s Health, Prevention and Woman’s Day. | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013

As soon as you recieve your wedding certificate, it is time to start the process of changing your name with many instutitions.


Wine LIST Choosing the right vintages for your wedding reception can make the party better — and save you money.

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rides’ magazines fill the newsstands and supermarket racks, offering everything imaginable to make a wedding unique and special. In between a seemingly infinite number of glossy ads are articles aimed at making the ceremonial marriage rite run more smoothly, look classier and adhere to a budget. Browsing through these magazines makes me realize the endless decisions that must be made when planning a wedding can drive a person to cancellation. Choosing wines for your reception shouldn’t be the hardest part of planning a wedding party, but some brides’ magazines say intimidated brides feel it is. Don’t buy in to your feeling of being overwhelmed. The decisions should be easy — and inexpensive. Since you can buy wine in bulk, bringing your own wine to the party can result in significant savings. Caterers and event venues normally offer a limited list of wines available from them, but you should inquire about purchasing the alcohol separately so you can get what you want and have more control over costs and quality. Outside wine might incur a “corkage fee” from the caterer or venue, but weigh the difference in cost as well as enjoyment. Remember that corkage fees are meant to cover the overhead costs a caterer incurs with servers setting up and pouring wine, but they also are an infamous gouging area and are highly negotiable. Choosing the wine should be fun. If you’re hosting a sit-down dinner, the decision is pretty simple. You need two wines: one white and one red. Some varietal wines — wines made from one type of grape — pair perfectly with food and some don’t. Choose sauvignon blanc over chardonnay, since the lighter, more acidic sauvignon blanc melds better, especially with seafood. For reds, select a merlot. It’s lighter in body than a cabernet sauvignon and appeals to wine drinkers of all levels. For stand-up receptions, go

for variety. Offer at least two reds and two whites, and make sure they appeal to a wide range of tastes; choose wines with smooth flavor that don’t require food to ease the acidity or tannins. Good white choices include Australian or California chardonnay, dry Washington state riesling, or New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Red wines that appeal to a range of palates include Australian shiraz, American merlot, Oregon pinot noir or a juicy, friendly California blend like Jest Red from Belvedere. For the wedding cake toast, definitely go for a sweeter sparkling wine rather than a brut. The sweetness of the cake will render a dry brut helpless and flat. Look for sparklers that say “Extra Dry” or “Demi Sec” on the label. Suggestions: Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee, Moet & Chandon White Star and Banfi Rosa Regale. To determine how much to buy, remember there are approximately five glasses in each still wine bottle and about six in a sparkling wine bottle. On average, people will consume about one glass of wine per hour with dinner. The same formula applies to the reception, but the amount of wine you need can depend on what other beverage options you offer and what is going on, since people sitting at a table normally drink more than those who are dancing or being entertained in some other way. A nice detail for the party (and a good memento for attendants) are wine bottles customized with the newlyweds’ names on the lable. Formerly an online gimmick, local places are beginning to offer the service, enabling you to taste the wine before you buy it so you won’t be disappointed on your big day. You wouldn’t want bad wine to define your marriage — or the party. — Taylor Eason, the former wine critic at Creative Loafing newspapers, blogs about all things alcohol at

Picture-perfect WEDDING

How to capture memories without stopping the party. B Y C H R I S TO P H E R H A L L


the guests were herded into a single, narrow exit so they would pass in front of the videocams. I’ve also attended a number of otherwise lovely wedding receptions at which the photographer, often with the approval of the bride and groom, repeatedly interrupts the natural flow of events to stage shots. My brother and his wife were hijacked by a photographer who insisted on posing them in every conceivable location at the church long after the guests had moved on to the reception. After nearly an hour, they joined their guests at the reception. Admittedly, these may be extreme examples, but it seems undeniable that wedding photography has assumed more significance than ever before. What role should photography play at a modern wedding? That is a decision the bridal couple must make — and then pass on their desires to the photographer. Whether a couple opts for a few photographs or a full video with live Internet feed, two simple rules should govern. First, photos should document what is spontaneous and real. Aside from shots of the wedding party and family together, asking the family or a few guests to pose for a photo is fine, but there should be no reenactment of a moment — the best man’s toast, for example — solely for the benefit of the photographer. The second rule is related to the first, but is probably even more basic: Photography should intrude as little as possible into the celebration. Pose to your heart’s content in the days before the actual event. But on the wedding day, keep in mind that the best wedding photographer is silent and invisible, allowing a couple and their guests to live the experience and only later realize they were captured on film. As a two-time best man and a guest at more than 50 weddings, San Francisco-based writer Christopher Hall has been photographed, filmed, videotaped and sound-recorded. As far as he knows, he has yet to appear in a live Internet feed.

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came across a bizarre but fascinating newspaper account of a husband and wife who celebrated their first anniversary by staging a precise reenactment of their wedding day. No detail was too trivial to duplicate. They donned their nuptial outfits again, placed the same flower arrangements in the same church, hosted an identical luncheon and asked their guests to dress in the same clothes they had worn a year earlier. The reason? The photographs from the original event hadn’t turned out as well as the couple had hoped, and they wanted new ones. Wedding photography has been around as long as the camera. In the beginning, a stiff, formal studio portrait of the couple was the rule. The photo was made after the fact, but it was a precious keepsake of what might have been the most important day of a couple’s life. As cameras became more mobile, they started showing up at the wedding itself. I fondly recall my own parents’ 1950 wedding photos, which were mounted in a slim white binder kept on an inconspicuous shelf in the den. They included a studio portrait of my mother in her gown, a few formal poses of the wedding party and my parents’ families at the altar, and a number of candid shots: the maid of honor and best man signing the certificate; the cutting of the cake; and my parents at the wedding lunch, momentarily lost in each other’s eyes. Perhaps I romanticize my parents’ wedding photos — they concern my own history, after all, and the fact they’re in black-andwhite makes them seem from a time long ago — but they have always struck me as elegant, simple and touching mementos. In recent years wedding photography has become a more elaborate undertaking, to the point that it sometimes undermines the very celebration it seeks to document. It’s not unusual to find a phalanx of video cameras set up around the location where vows are exchanged. I attended one large wedding in a church where there were so many cameras and lights that the altar looked like a Hollywood set. After the ceremony,


‘Green’ ideas FOR WINTER-


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ou’re ready to say your “I do’s” in front of your family and friends. Planning a memorable celebration of your commitment to each other doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your commitment to the environment. It’s possible to create the wedding of your dreams and stay “green,” even in the cold months of winter. Environmentally conscious weddings are a hot trend, according to, a popular wedding-planning website. If your vision of the perfect wedding marries eco-friendly green with winter white, here are some tips and ideas to help you turn your vision into reality.


Friendly feasting Great food is an essential part of any wedding, whether you’re serving a sit-down dinner or just hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. When you’re planning your menu, keep in mind how the foods you choose may affect the environment. For example, is that fish entree net caught, line caught or farmed? A dish’s environmental impact depends on several factors, including how the product was raised and harvested, how it was transported and how far it had to travel from the point of origin to the plate. Choose locally grown products or those grown and harvested using sustainable practices.

Reuse, recycle and revel Brides in bygone generations gladly wore their mother’s wedding dress,

Consider wearing or altering a vintage wedding gown for an affordable and eco-friendly option.

but the practice fell out of vogue as more brides wanted their own unique look for their wedding day. The green movement has breathed new life into the practice, since reusing and recycling eliminates the need to use materials and energy to make something new. More brides are finding that recycling a wedding dress has other advantages, too. It’s possible to achieve a great vintage look with a used wedding dress — whether it’s one handed down from your mother or one you found in a secondhand clothing store. A new gown can cost thousands of dollars, while a repurposed dress can be purchased much more cheaply.

Wedding favor wonders Sure, it’s a cool idea and the groomsmen will likely use theirs often, but just how eco-friendly is that custom-printed beer cozy? Wedding favors are a way of thanking guests for sharing in your special day, but many popular items are made from less-than-ecofriendly materials. To green your wedding, consider favors that are useful and organic, such as baking or spice mixes. You can find a plethora of these great-tasting, green-minded options from purveyors like Simply Organic (, or you can make your own. Dress up favors with decorative netting and ribbons, and you have a unique favor that’s good for guests and the environment, too. Sun 3 -Th 301 u 11 :00a S. CA m-10 1881 pm :30pmRROLLTON · 488- pm-11:00 0 · Fri 11:00a m-11:00pm · Sat 4:0


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The little things that mean a lot Some other steps that may seem small — like choosing locally grown, in-season flowers rather than out-of-season ones that must be imported — can make a big difference. Whether you opt to replace cut flower bouquets and centerpieces with artificial ones that can be reused, or choose acoustic music that requires no electricity to keep guests dancing, it’s possible to find green options for almost every aspect of your wedding.


3 11 5 M A G A Z I N E

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The invitation often is the first impression guests have of your wedding. While every bride wants invitations that will wow guests, keep in mind the cost — both monetary and environmental — of all that paper. Many eco-minded brides are switching to invitations made with recycled paper or, better yet, electronic invitations. No raw materials are used to create e-vites, and what’s more, you can find online services that not only help you create an e-vite, but send it and monitor responses — all online. Using such a service can help you keep better track of RSVPs. There is the option of sending invitations printed on recycled paper with flower seeds embedded in the paper. Your guests can plant the invitation in their garden and remember your special occasion every time they see the beautiful flowers growing. Visit to learn more.



7 11 J E F F E R S O N H W Y .


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W W W. J O H N S T U X E D O S . C OM


A toast whether traditional or not, when two support each other the love is like sweet music

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How to make your

PROPOSAL PERFECT Simple tips to ensure your engagement day is a unique, memorable experience for you both.


ou’ve picked the perfect ring. You’ve practiced the words you’ll use when you propose. But you know she would be livid if you asked her on the big screen at a sporting event. Making an engagement truly memorable will win you points each time she retells your engagement story. With so many engagements between now and Valentine’s Day, here are some great ways to make your proposal one of a kind.


You are proposing to the woman or man of your dreams. The one person with whom you’ve chosen to spend the rest of your life. The person who is the perfect, unique match to yourself. So, make the proposal just as special as that person. Yes, you may have chosen the perfect ring, but presentation is equally important. Choose something that will not only stun your betrothed, but will be something he or she can keep for years. Ditch the typical velvet box and go for a personalized, engraved keepsake box. With dozens of box options, you can perfectly match the style of your new fiance, from classic and elegant to contemporary chic. Then take it one step further and engrave something meaningful to commemorate this day. Your names, the date you were engaged or a personal love saying (that maybe only the two of you understand) are ideal inscriptions.

A personal engagement party is something you and your families will remember forever. Whether you choose a private, intimate locale to pop the question or a bustling public setting, convene family and friends during or afterward to celebrate. Plan a special party to commemorate this momentous, life-changing occasion. A great party doesn’t necessarily mean great expense. Gathering at home with Champagne, a cheese plate and a homemade playlist can make for one of the most memorable occasions of your life. Just be sure your future spouse is the center of attention, and you’ll make the event unforgettable.


Nearly all couples choose to hire photographers and videographers to capture the memories of their wedding day. But isn’t the engagement just as momentous? As your heart begins to race when your knee bends toward the ground, the last thing on your mind will be your camera. But being able to actually look back at this moment will be something you’ll treasure for years to come. If you plan on hiring a professional photographer, make sure to call at least a few weeks in advance. Unlike your wedding day, you’ll probably only need the photographer for an hour or so. If you’re already on a shoestring budget, see if a photography enthusiast friend will take photos for you. With a decent camera, you’ll be sure to have some great snapshots of the big moment. | wed: gambit’s bride book | wiNter 2013



WED, February 2013  
WED, February 2013  

<i>Gambit</i>'s bride book helps you plan the perfect wedding