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Bridal Guide

The Oshkosh Northwestern • JANUARY 2012

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BRIDAL GUIDE • The Oshkosh Northwestern • JANUARY 2012

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Bridal Guide The Oshkosh Northwestern • JANUARY 2012 ON THE COVER Seth and Erin Romme Photo by: Dee Photo deephotoonline.com

Bride’s guide is published by The Oshkosh Northwestern. Contents of the section are for The Oshkosh Northwestern. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior consent of The Oshkosh Northwestern. For information, contact Lisa O’Halloran at 920-426-6701 or email lohallor@thenorthwestern.com. Executive Editor and General Manager / Stewart Rieckman Advertising Director / Lisa O’Halloran Graphic Artist / SARAH DREIKOSEN

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JANUARY 2012 • The Oshkosh Northwestern • BRIDAL GUIDE

Is it all right to go all white?

can there be

Too Much White at a wedding? By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL | AP Fashion Writer

Of course, white is the traditional color for brides, but many of them are surrounding themselves with white way beyond a head-to-toe look. It’s more like left to right and floor to ceiling, and everything in between. “I do love an all-white wedding,” gushes fashion designer Amsale Aberra, who uses her first name as her label. “I think it can be very beautiful.” But, in the next breath, Aberra says the look leaves room for error, with white-wearing bridesmaids and flower girls, white flowers, white tablecloths and white candles all potentially stealing the bride’s thunder. “You don’t want to need to wear the veil the whole day just to be identified as the bride,” she says. It takes a woman with a strong personality and sense of self to remain the belle of the ball, and she needs to embrace little tools to help her shine — things like a beaded waistband on her gown or choosing a dress that’s just a slightly different shade of white than everyone else’s, adds celebrity wedding planner David Tutera. Kate Middleton pulled it off at the big British royal wedding this spring, Tutera said, but even so, her sister, Pippa Middleton, got her fair share of attention in her white cowlneck gown. “I think the royal wedding will have an influence on brides for years, even decades, to come, and Pippa Middleton’s white Alexander McQueen bridesmaid dress will most certainly be credited with sparking a trend,” says Darcy Miller, editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings. She notes, however, that it’s a longtime tradition in Britain to

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have the wedding party wear white. “It’s very striking,” Miller adds, noting that Beyonce and Kim Kardashian also opted for the color — or non-color — scheme. Miller says the look is sophisticated, too — but more versatile than one might think. “The classic look of an allwhite wedding is thought of as very traditional, but the clean, sophisticated palette can easily be transformed for modern venues so it is suitable for all types of brides. Whether you are getting married on the beach, at a country club, at a ski lodge or on a city rooftop, the look will translate, so you really can’t go wrong.” Tutera, who hosts WeTV’s “My Fair Wedding,” still isn’t fully sold. When white is done right, there’s nothing better, he says, but there’s still more of a chance that something could go wrong. There are hundreds of shades of white, from bright, blueish diamond white to a creamy, more yellowed eggshell white, he notes. The color scheme of the wedding should all be in the same family, although not 100 percent matching, either. Aberra encourages the warmer, richer shades, perhaps the eggshell, ivory or champagne. “That metallic white — that’s not flattering to almost anybody. A more natural white has a more pearl feel to it, it’s not harsh. I’d stay away from a harsh white, especially in the daytime, which will just look brighter and brighter.” Seems like a lot of detail for a bride to keep track of, but Manhattan-based photographer Christian Oth says the results can be worth it. continued on 4


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BRIDAL GUIDE • The Oshkosh Northwestern • JANUARY 2012

is it all right to go

All White ? continued...

“It’s an established fact that brides look great in white — it might even be why they do it! When you have a bunch of bridesmaids all dressed in white, that’s a beautiful visual thing,” Oth says.

He’d much rather see the parade of white coming at him than the bridal parties of a few decades ago, with the bridesmaids in pouffy-sleeve, fuchsia dresses and the groomsmen wearing ties to match. “Those typical bridesmaids’ dresses are very hard to photograph well,” Oth adds. And the different shades of white that are apparent to the naked eye probably won’t show up in pictures, he says. Still, a little hint of contrast color does work well; Oth suggests white floral bouquets that have visible green stems. Miller agrees that it’s the small details that are key with an all-white wedding. Fabrics and textures will create the depth, she says. She ticks off suggestions, including bouquets of white peonies paired with a cluster of dahlias,

white orchids and snowberry branches, tied with satin and lace.

She likes white flowers on the table, but also suggests whitewashed papiermâché fruit piled on a cake stand and trimmed with silver millinery leaves.

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White works on the menu if you serve hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour made with seafood such as scallops, yellowtail or crabmeat; veggies like cauliflower and parsnips; and even pasta. The one place a bride and groom shouldn’t see white — unless they specifically request it — is in the crowd, the experts say, with Miller saying the “common consensus” is that only the bride, or bridal party, wears white unless the invitation says otherwise. Tutera says he recently worked with a bride for a year to find her perfect gown, but was upstaged by a guest. “This guest wore all white. She stood out like a sore thumb. You had to ask: What was that guest thinking?”

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Baseball stadiums, poker chips and racks of saucy ribs don’t usually come to mind when you think “wedding.” But these manly pursuits have found their way to the dessert table through a new breed of groom’s cake that is more elaborate and personal than ever. Traditionally a gift from the bride to her new husband, the groom’s cake was usually a simple affair, made with fruit and liquor, and perhaps chocolate. It is believed to have originated in Victorian England and arrived in the United States in the mid-19th century, where it became popular mostly in the South.

“It’s really about the groom’s interests and his hobbies and something that’s reflective of the groom,” said Darcy Miller, editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings. “A wedding is about the two of them. That’s one detail that can be all about the groom.” After last spring’s royal wedding, at which Britain’s Prince William requested a groom’s

Groom’s Cakes no longer just simple or Southern By LISA A. FLAM | Associated Press

Take today’s trend of highly personalized weddings, add the fact that more grooms are involved in wedding planning, and throw in the popularity of extreme baking shows such as TLC network’s “Cake Boss,” and you’ll find that humble groom’s cakes have evolved into works of edible art. While traditionalists still honor the groom with a plain, round cake, many couples are ordering cakes in the groom’s favorite flavor and in the shape of golf clubs, fishing gear, football helmets, smart phones, and guys-night foods like burgers, pizza and hot dogs. WI-5001439461

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cake made of biscuits, the popularity of the cakes among U.S. couples is likely to get another boost, Miller said.

“All eyes were on that wedding,” she said. “I think (William’s) groom’s cake will definitely help inspire the growing trend here.” Groom’s cakes originally were served at weddings. Today, they also appear at rehearsal dinners or day-after brunches. Wedding planner Tara Guerard, who owns Soiree in Charleston, S.C., urges her couples to enjoy the groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner to give the groom a night in the spotlight, so his cake doesn’t get overshadowed by the big white one. “A lot of our grooms want this groom’s cake,” she said. “It’s really important to them.” continued on 8

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BRIDAL GUIDE • The Oshkosh Northwestern • JANUARY 2012

Couples Letters

move ceremony to ‘deeper place’ By JENNIFER DOBNER | Associated Press

The task assigned by the minister ahead of our May 1999 wedding seemed simple enough: a letter from each of us telling her why — out of all the possible people in the world — we had chosen to marry each other.

The answer, too, seemed simple: love, of course. “But you can’t use the word love,” the Rev. Constance Redding Sidebottom said. “That makes it too easy.” Sidebottom, 68, a retired United Methodist minister and my aunt, always asks couples for wedding letters, and is certain they have transformative power. “Often weddings are for show,” said Sidebottom, of Polson, Mont. “The sacredness is removed by the glitz and the money spent. But when couples are asked to write the letters, they often move to a deeper place. Their effort to be honest and genuine for one another is honored by God and made holy.” Beyond the ban on the word “love,” Sidebottom has other rules about the letters, which she reads out loud during the ceremony. Bride and groom are forbidden from sharing their letters with each other ahead of the wedding, and Sidebottom won’t officiate without receiving them. Over her 11 years of full-time ministry, not one person has failed to write the letter, although some have cut it close, Sidebottom said. One groom delivered his to her door at 7 a.m. on the day he was to be married. “Every single bride and groom says they agonize over writing the letters because they understand how important they are,” Sidebottom said. Nearly every faith tradition has a well-scripted formula for wedding ceremonies. There are specific prayers to be offered, scriptural passages to be read and vows to exchange.

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Through their own words, the couple essentially writes their own sermon about life, love and their expectations for marriage, Sidebottom said. They add a personal touch to a ceremony much like selfwritten vows, a trend that began in the 1960s as some couples moved away from religious tradition, said Diane Warner, author of the “Complete Book of Wedding Vows” (New Page Books, 2006). Warner had not heard of Sidebottom’s letters, but said that, especially in stricter faiths where customized vows are discouraged, they might be a way to satisfy both clergy and the couple. “And for those who have children, someday those letters will be a really valuable gift,” said Warner, of Tucson, Ariz. The letters can reveal more about a couple’s individual personalities and tell the “truth about what’s really going on” between hearts, Sidebottom said. A carpenter she married some years ago, for example, scrawled his thoughts on a bid sheet, while his bride carefully penned hers on beautiful stationery. The contrast made the congregation giggle. Another groom, a Naval officer, compared the bride to his favorite sandwich, peanut butter and jelly. “He said all these things about the stickiness and the sweetness and the savory, how all the right elements for a perfect dish had just happened to show up in her,” said Sidebottom, who confesses the letter is her all-time favorite. “We couldn’t stop laughing and we couldn’t stop crying.” The simple act of reading the letters out loud can add emotional heft to a ceremony. “It’s like the Holy Spirit infuses the place and it becomes

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JANUARY 2012 • The Oshkosh Northwestern • BRIDAL GUIDE

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(the couple’s) wedding with God,” Sidebottom said. “Everybody that is there is affected.” She said many wedding guests have told her their own stories of transformation. Some have been inspired to begin writing anniversary letters to their spouse. Sidebottom often hears from couples she’s married that the letters have had a lasting impact on their marriage. At a visit to a church where she once was pastor, Sidebottom was approached by a man whose wedding she performed more than 16 years ago. “He and his wife are still married — always a relief to me — and they read their letters every anniversary, and at times in between when life was so hard that they had to remember why they wanted to marry,” she said. Thirteen years after my own wedding, my husband, Bill Keshlear, and I are also still married, and still writing letters. We write a new one each year and read them out loud to each other on our anniversary. “It seems to help us re-commit somehow, through the ups and downs,��� he said. We keep our letters in a wooden box carved with X’s and O’s, on the dresser in our bedroom. The box was a gift from Sidebottom.

Even now, the letters aren’t easy to write. Some read like long book reports that chronicle the years’ events — the job loss, the death of our parents, our struggle through infertility and a failed attempt at adoption. Others are shorter, more literary and sweet. I’m not sure if that’s a function of how much time we made for writing or some sign that we had fewer hills to climb that year. I doubt it’s the latter. Some are messily scrawled on lined, yellow notepaper (mine), others (mostly his) are neatly typed and printed from the computer. Neither of us has ever skipped writing, although Bill likes to tease me each May by saying he’s not going to do it this year. What’s most interesting to me is how the threads from those first letters continue through each of the 24 we’ve written since. Our commitment to the idea of marriage hasn’t changed, despite our mistakes and missteps. We love each other and like each other. We respect each other, and in each other we have found a comfortable place to call home.

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BRIDAL GUIDE • The Oshkosh Northwestern • JANUARY 2012

Groom’s Cakes

Like Keenan’s confection celebrating the Yankees, these cakes often highlight something that reminds a guy of home. Patrick Delaney wanted a groom’s cake when he got married last year but was resigned to missing out when his fiancee told him they couldn’t afford one. Instead, she surprised him at their rehearsal dinner in Alexandria, Va., with a cake touting his Kansas City roots.

continued...

Women sometimes keep their grooms in the dark about the cake; other men help select it with their fiancees while choosing a wedding cake. John Keenan wasn’t interested in having a groom’s cake for his August wedding in Baton Rouge, La., but his fiancee persisted. “We have to have something that puts you in the picture, too,” his wife, Ashley, 26, recalled telling him. Pushed to choose, Keenan, 31, asked their baker if she could create the only design he could imagine for himself: Yankee Stadium.

It was shaped as a grill, with a sizzling rack of ribs and a bottle of barbecue sauce from his favorite childhood rib joint, Gates Bar-B-Q. “I was amazed,” said Delaney, 30. “It had even more weight because most of my groomsmen and the family members I had at the rehearsal dinner were from Kansas City.” Bob Hazlet, originally from Ohio, also was surprised at his wedding last year in Memphis, Tenn., with a groom’s cake that looked like his iPhone 4. His bride had the apps personalized: the Cincinnati Bengals, Ohio State, bowling and Chuck Taylors (he wore a pair at the wedding).

“I almost fell down,” Keenan said, upon seeing the highly detailed cake. “It was more than I could have asked for.”

“That got more compliments and comments after we posted the photos than anything else,” said Hazlet, 32. “I hang around in those geek circles, and even folks there were pretty excited.”

Being a native New Yorker in Louisiana is “such an odd thing,” Keenan said, in the drawl of a true Southerner. “The fact that I was able to put a New York twist (on the wedding) ... it was really nice.”

With so much information about weddings available in magazines, online and on TV, more couples are aware of the groom’s cake tradition, and the cakes are now being sliced and served in many parts of the country, not

just the South, Miller said. Rachael Myers, owner and baker at Sweet Tooth Confections, a small, custom-order bakery in Alviso, Calif., says the number of groom’s cakes she made nearly doubled from summer 2010 to summer 2011, with about 60 percent of couples now ordering them. Her couples mostly learned about groom’s cakes through cake-baking shows or real weddings posted online, she said. They order cakes shaped into guitars, baseball hats and gloves, and vintage cars. “Here in California, it’s not about the cake itself, it’s about what can we create out of cake that the groom is just going to fall over on,” Myers said. “People are starting to realize it’s really more of an art form than anything else,” she said. Even in the South, Kyleen Kiger-Smith, who owns Fairy Dust Cakes in Denham Springs, La., and baked Keenan’s Yankee Stadium cake, says just one in 10 groom’s cakes she makes is the old-fashioned kind. Because of the elaborate work, her groom’s cakes, though smaller than most wedding cakes, usually cost $10 to $12 a serving, compared to $5.50 per slice of wedding cake. But price is not holding her couples back, Kiger-Smith said. Many, she said, “realize how much time these cakes take and they’re willing to pay for them, and they’re willing to outdo the wedding they just went to.”

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JANUARY 2012 • The Oshkosh Northwestern • BRIDAL GUIDE As her grandfather sat pleasantly perplexed at her wedding, Lauren Barnes reached into the recesses of her strapless white gown, whipped out her iPhone and accepted her groom’s Facebook relationship change to “married.”

Social Media

mobile tech on the rise for weddings By LEANNE ITALIE | Associated Press

“Nothing’s official,” she said, “until it’s Facebook official!” In today’s $78-billion-a-year business of getting hitched, those wacky viral videos of whole wedding parties dancing down the aisle seem positively 2009. Social media, mobile tools and online vendors are abundant to offer the happy couple extra fun, savings and convenience, though most of the nation’s betrothed aren’t ready to completely let go of tradition. Some send out video save-the-dates, include high-speed scannable “QR” barcodes on invitations, live-stream their ceremonies for far-flung loved ones to watch online, and open their party playlists to let friends and families help choose the tunes. They invite guests to live tweet the big day using special Twitter keywords, called hashtags, and create interactive seating charts so tablemates can chat online ahead of time. One couple featured a “guest of the week” on their wedding blog. Another ordered

up a cake with an iPad embedded at the base to stream photos at the reception. A third Skyped in a “virtual bridesmaid” who couldn’t make it, so she was walked down the aisle by a groomsman via iPad. For Steve Poland, 31, in Buffalo, N.Y., it was the whole shebang for his Sept. 10 wedding. “We used the Twitter hashtag ‘polandwedding,’ our nuptials were read from an iPad by our friend, who got ordained online, and our wedding invites were printed by the hip Us.moo.com as postcards that we mailed out. I was really hoping to use Turntable.fm as our music, but it didn’t work out,” he said. Oh, and Poland and his wife, Caryn Hallock, spent part of their honeymoon in a Hawaii tree house they found on Airbnb.com. According to surveys by the magazine sites Brides and The Knot, tech is on the rise in the world of weddings, with 65 percent of couples now setting up special sites to manage RSVPs, stream video of the ceremony and-or reception, and keep guests in the loop. One in five couples use mobile apps for planning. That includes chasing down vendors, and virtually trying on and locating dresses. Seventeen percent of couples use social media to plan, shop or register for gifts, along with sharing every detail online. About 14 percent to 18 percent of brides

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buy a dress online, according to Brides. Nearly 1 in 5 couples go paperless for invitations or save-the-dates. Many of those who have preserved the tradition of paper invites have dispensed with the inserts usually tucked inside envelopes, opting for e-mail or Web tools for RSVPs, maps, and details on destinations or related events. From proposals on Twitter to Foursquare check-ins from the church or honeymoon, weddings seem ready-made for social media sharing — or oversharing, depending on whether you’re invited. Alexandra Linhares, 23, is nervous about that. She just moved to Marietta, Ga., but she’s getting married in April back home in Highlands Ranch, Colo. She and fiance Bradley Garritson, 24, are taking care not to gush too much to their hundreds of Facebook friends. Other couples turn off their Facebook walls so premature messages of congrats don’t show up before they’ve announced their engagements. “There are a lot of people I work with on Facebook and who follow me on Twitter,” Linhares said. “We don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.” But apps and online services have saved her life, logistically speaking. “Since we’re planning a wedding from thousands of miles away, we’re relying continued on 10

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BRIDAL GUIDE • The Oshkosh Northwestern • JANUARY 2012

Social Media

continued...

heavily on technology to help us,” she said. “We have a private Facebook group that we use to communicate with everyone in our bridal party since we’re all in different states and countries.”

she said. “People will be able to watch the wedding via live streaming, though it’s only for the ceremony because I consider that the most important part of the wedding.”

Linhares found her gown with the help of an app. She and Garritson rely on Skype meetings to interview vendors. They’re keeping track of RSVPs on their phones, along with the usual tangle of deadlines. And they’re using an app to keep track of their budget. The couple went to the cloud — for online data storage and sharing — to maintain a master spreadsheet everyone can access at any time, avoiding the need to push updates around in e-mail.

Jon Hamm, co-founder of Ustream, said about 10,000 weddings have been broadcast live from the site over the last 12 months. “People want to participate in the moment,” he said.

Such tools can be a godsend, so long as older or not-so-techie folk aren’t stranded on the wrong side of the firewall. “But that list of people is shrinking fast,” said Anja Winikka, site editor for The Knot.

“It’s proven extremely popular so far, and surprisingly not with the younger crowd as we had originally assumed, but with the 40 to 55 set who like not worrying about losing the envelope,” Stone said.

Brides found that 17 percent of couples register for gifts exclusively online. Sites have popped up making it easier to combine multiple registries into one — like MyRegistry.com — and ask for cash at the same time for honeymoons or home repairs.

She jiggered her Deposit a Gift so people can contribute $25 increments of brick, for instance, or $100 toward the cost of new windows.

Stone is using DepositaGift.com. It offers a button on her wedding site so people can give cash for the couple’s home remodel “without ever worrying about checks or actual cash envelopes,” she said.

Cris Stone, 33, will marry Jerry Delp, 44, in San Antonio, Texas, in May.

Nicole Endres, 25, in Centreville, Va., and fiance Dan Rodriguez, 28, asked for cash, among other gifts, on their wedding website using Honeyfund. com, to help pay for their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic.

“I already have a wedding website,”

“We can transfer it straight from PayPal

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to our bank account, instead of taking checks to the bank,” Endres said. On invitations, some couples are using the small, square QR codes to lead guests online for additional details, and sharing photos and video on Tumblr, Flickr, Picasa or numerous other fast, free sites. As for the Barnes and James Williams nuptials held Sept. 3 on the grounds of the Long Beach Art Museum, their officiant and friend Andrew Pachon used an iPad for the ceremony, but that and the Facebook fiddle to “married” was about it in the way of tech flourishes. Williams and Barnes, a 29-year-old physician from Long Beach, had Pachon explain toward the end of the ceremony that the couple wanted to share the moment with their 400-plus Facebook friends. Before the ceremony, Williams had sent his bride a Facebook request to change his relationship status to “married to Lauren Barnes.” Once they were hitched, she accepted using her iPhone — at 5:48 p.m. to be exact. There was a flurry of “likes” from gathered guests and the masses in cyberspace. But not grandpa, who still managed to have a good time.

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The premier bridal show and event in Oshkosh - the Wedding Faire -will feature cake, hors d’oeuvres and champagne along with door prizes, giveaways and a grand prize drawing on January 19, 2012. La Sure’s Hall Banquets & Catering in collaboration with Encoré Event Planning are your hosts for The Wedding Faire to be held from 4pm - 8pm at La Sure’s Hall & Banquets. The Wedding Faire is sure to be a great experience for the bride as it is an intimate affair. We want you to visit with each vendor and decide what is best for you on your special day without overwhelming you.

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JANUARY 2012 • The Oshkosh Northwestern • BRIDAL GUIDE

There will also be bridal fashions throughout the night by Alban, ltd., Nedrebo’s Formal Wear, Elle Mae Romance Boutique and Stella and Dot, as well as a trunk show from Dave Alban, the well-known dressmaker in Oshkosh. Tickets $6 in advance, $10 at the door. Buy advance tickets at the following locations: Encoré Event Planning, La Sure’s Hall Banquets & Catering, Hrnak’s Flowers & Gifts and Elle Mae Romance Boutique. You can also go online www.theweddingfaire.net.

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• Sewing classes available • Needles & Stabilizers

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BRIDAL GUIDE • The Oshkosh Northwestern • JANUARY 2012

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Bridal Guide