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Alton Area 2012

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Weddings

Advantages to a Smaller, Intimate Wedding A wedding doesn’t have to be a mammoth event with 300 guests and a costly price tag. Many couples choose to walk down the aisle and then celebrate on a smaller scale with much success. Millions of weddings take place across the globe every year. According to the Association for Bridal Consultants, the average American wedding includes 175 guests, and the average size of the wedding party is 12 people. Many couples may view these averages and feel pressured to throw a big wedding. But smaller events can be just as much fun and easier on the pocketbook as well. One of the more obvious advantages to a small wedding is the cost. Many large weddings cost between $20,000 and $30,000 dollars. A small wedding will be significantly less simply because there are fewer people to feed. Catering costs account for a large chunk of wedding budgets. A reception with only 50 to 60 people may run $1000 or less.

Another benefit to a smaller wedding is a couple may be able to afford a higher-priced venue. Maybe there’s that historic castle or high-priced mansion that would be over budget if 200 guests were coming. With a much smaller guest list, the venue might now be affordable. Or, couples can look outside of wedding halls to restaurants for a nice dinner. Small weddings tend to be more intimate. Couples can spend more individual time with guests instead of having to spread their time thinly around a large reception hall. Special moments, such as speeches or words of wisdom, may bear more significance when the group is intimate. Destination weddings have become quite popular and are most successful with a small group. Keeping a large guest list in order can prove challenging when traveling, which makes destination weddings ideal for small guest lists. Also, costs will be kept down if the couple is paying the travel fees for invitees.

It’s important for couples to keep in mind that a small wedding is not without certain challenges. Family members and friends may have their own perceptions of what a wedding should be. Once the idea of a small wedding is mentioned, it may be met with some opposition, particularly from parents who want to invite an extended list of friends and distant family members. This can make it difficult to pick and choose who to invite. Another disadvantage is that large weddings evoke the energy of a big party and can make people less inhibited to celebrate and dance. An empty dance floor at a smaller wedding may be intimidating to guests who will choose to sit and not fully enjoy themselves. Ultimately, the decision to have a small-, medium- or large-size wedding is entirely up to the couple or the person who will be financing the event. Wedding planning is largely the personal choice of the couple who will be saying their “I dos.”


Weddings

Wedding Dress for Success: Stay True to Your Personal Style

For most brides-to-be, the choice of a dress is among the first and most important decisions in planning a wedding. With thousands of choices in every price range, finding the perfect wedding dress can be a difficult and time-consuming process. But by making some decisions before setting foot in a store, the search will be both easier and a whole lot more enjoyable.

First things first

Start by knowing your limits. To avoid disappointment down the line, determine the maximum amount that you can spend on a dress -- and don’t forget to include all the little extras, such as undergarments, shoes, jewelry, veil, and/or hair ornaments. Next, take an inventory of your personal style. If you know that you’re not comfortable in strapless or sleeveless dresses, for example, you can immediately eliminate these options. The trick is to rule out a few style options before hitting

the magazines or stores and then be open to all other options.

Firm yet flexible

There will be no shortage of opinions -- from mothers, sisters, friends, and store personnel -- about your choice of a wedding dress, but the decision, ultimately, is the bride’s alone. A great strategy is to be open to suggestions about dresses to try on, but reserve the right to choose the look that feels right to you. With so many potential options, you might want to consider bringing along a camera and taking photos of yourself in the dresses that could be “contenders.”

Go for a flattering fit

Remember: Your goal is to find a dress that flatters your body and expresses your personal style -- not to fit into a particular size. If you look ghostly in white, feel free to choose a creamier shade or a dress that has decorative accents of a different color near your neck,

shoulders and face. Similarly, there’s no rule that a wedding dress has to be floor-length. If you’re planning a daytime or more casual wedding, you might want to consider a tealength dress (one that falls a few inches above the ankle) or go even shorter.

Comfort is key

Style and fit may be the two most important factors in choosing a wedding dress, but comfort should be a close third. Ask yourself if you will be comfortable in a particular dress given the setting in which your wedding will take place. For instance, if you’ve always dreamed of an outdoor wedding, you may want forego a dress with a long, trailing train that could trip you up on your walk to or down the aisle. Even if you’re planning an indoor event, having a dress and shoes that are as comfortable as they are beautiful will greatly increase your odds of enjoying your special day to the fullest.


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Alton 2nd Ed. 2012