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Despite the cold temperatures we have seen lately, here at Signature Magazine we’re already looking ahead to summer and all the great things the Pine Belt has to offer – including the second annual FestivalSouth event – Mississippi’s only multi-week, multigenre music festival Last year’s inaugural festival saw thousands of people flock to venues throughout Hattiesburg for two weeks of everything from classical piano, vocal and chamber music recitals to Blues, Broadway and Bluegrass. We are tickled pink to be partnering with FestivalSouth this year to not only provide the official program for the two-week event, but to launch the first-ever Festival South Best of the Pine Belt “competition” where area residents will be given the chance to vote for their favorite things, places, and people in the Pine Belt. Featuring everything from “Best Non-Profit Organization” to “Best Pet Groomer” and “Best Chips & Salsa,” there are dozens of categories and plenty of opportunities to let your opinions be known. Voting will kick off later this month at the Festival South website ( and will continue through mid-April. Look for more details – and a complete list of the categories – in next month’s edition of Signature Magazine. Winners will be announced in the June edition and at a special reception planned to kickoff the festival. We’re thrilled to be partnering with FestivalSouth and we are looking forward to seeing who/what should be included in your “Best of the Pine Belt.”

David Gustafson, Publisher



Happenings ....................................... 4-5 Signature Events .................... 44-59 Quilt ............................................…… 44 Meet the Walkers ............................... 7 AIDS Coldwell Banker Christmas .......…………. 45 Rowan Class Reunion ……………………… 46 Wedding Checklist Hub Award ……………………………........... 47 Bride & Groom’s 12-month countdown ........... 8 Gallery Open House .....…………………… 48 The Sky is the Limit HCC Christmas .....……………………......... 49 Long gone are wedding receptions of cake, punch, nuts and mints that friends of the wedding party put together .................. 13

Honeymoon Destinations ...... 19 Wedding Photography Checklist A list of “Must Take” wedding shots ............. 22 Before you say I do Several things couples need to get in order before heading to the altar ............... 24

Don’t forget the flowers

Wedding trends blossom with change ........... 27

Here comes the bride A montage of local weddings .......................


A piece of cake

Bake it, decorate it and they will come .......... 32

Food .......................................................... 38 Top Chef Q&A Meet Angela Loper of Red Maple .................. 39 Signature Snapshots .................. 41 Signature Traditions Take a trip down memory lane ..................... 43 Signature Q&A

Davis Christmas .....………………………… 50 Friends of Friends …………………………… 51 Junior Cotillion .....…………………………… 52 Peggy Moore Brunch ……………………… 53 Percy Watson Gala ......…………………… 54 Wesley Senior Christmas .………………… 55 Winter Wonderland ………………………… 56 Osher Social .………………………………… 57 WCU Christmas Musical .…………………… 58 Visitor’s Center Open House ..……………... 59 Signature Magazine • February 2011 • vol 5 number 11 publisher David Gustafson editor Beth Bunch contributors Dana Gower • Marlo Matthews • Artie Rawls advertising representatives Emily Hall • Missy Pickering • Jessica Wallace art director Bill Benge Signature Magazine is a product of Hattiesburg Publishing, Inc., publisher of The Lamar Times, The Petal News, hubcitySPOKES, Camp Shelby Reveille and Signature Magazine. For information on submitting items for consideration, call (601) 268-2331 or email To mail information or photos, send to Signature Magazine, 104 N. 40th Avenue, Hattiesburg, MS 39401. About The Cover: Kalee Smith became the bride of Clint Moore on March 13, 2010. The couple married at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church with a reception following at the Ogletree House on the Southern Miss campus. Photo courtesy of Artie Rawls Photography.

Heide Lederman, Lake Terrace Conv. Center Asst. Event Services Mgr .............................. 60

22nd Annual Percy Watson Gala. –See Page 54.

Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Through February 23 Take Time to Appreciate: Photographs of Mrs. L. V. Hull and Rev. H. D. Dennis by Bruce West Bruce West has been documenting the rural landscape and culture of the Mississippi Delta and surrounding regions for the past 13 years. West takes simple and direct portraits of the people he visits and photographs each year, including the two artists highlighted in this exhibition, Mrs. L. V. Hull (c.1943-2008) and the Reverend H. D. Dennis (b.1916). The title for the exhibition comes from a sign created by Hull, a folk artist from Kosciusko and speaks of West's primary objective as a photographer.

Go Red for Women The Annual Go Red for Women Luncheon that supports the American Heart Association in the Pine Belt Area is set from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. February 11 at the Thad Cochran Center on the University of Southern Mississippi campus. The event will include lunch, education breakout sessions, exhibit booths, a keynote speaker (to be announced) and a fantastic red purse raffle. You can attend only the luncheon if needed. Tickets, which are $50, are available by calling 228-604-5310 or email for tickets.



Kenzie’s on Main and John David Williams, co-author of the Fearless Entertaining Book Series.

Day of Dance Dance Your Health Out at the 7th Annual Day of Dance for Your Health hosted by Forrest General Hospital’s Spirit of Women! Day of Dance for Your Health will take place on Saturday, February 26, at the Lake Terrace Convention Center from 9 a.m. until noon. This interactive community event brings together consumers and healthcare providers for an educational celebration of the benefits of dance and exercise for the prevention of heart disease. The event is provided free to the community and is sponsored nationally by Spirit of Women, The Heart Truth, Good Housekeeping and The Healthy Sleep Crusade. The event will include consumer education on heart disease, health assessments, dance instruction, entertainment, door prizes, vendor booths, Day of Dance tattoos for the kids, and much more! Don’t miss the fourth annual “Celebrity Dancing with the Stars” contest beginning at 10 a.m., featuring local celebrities paired with professional dance partners who will dance their way to the big prize! For more information on Day of Dance, call Spirit of Women at 601-288-4968 or visit

Museum Exhibit A Pilot Lights the Way: A Tribute to Jesse Leroy Brown and Blacks in Aviation opened January 13 at the African American Military History Museum. The the exhibit will be on display through the end of February in honor of Black History Month.

USM Symphony The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra presents two shows in February. At 7:30 p.m. February 15, patrons will enjoy the sounds of one of Russia’s leading chamber orchestras, Chamber Orchestra Kremlin. Founded and led by Misha Rachlevsky, the group is know for its warmth and high energy that will stay with listeners long after the last note is played. This performance is part of the School of Music’s Connoisseurs Series. Selections will include Mozart’s Divertimento in D, K. 126, Schoenberg’s Verlaerte Nacht (Transfigured Night), OP. 4, and Schubert’s Death and the Maiden, D. 810. The performance will be in Bennett Auditorium. Future Stars is set for 7:30 p.m. February 17 in Bennett Auditorium on the USM Campus. Annually the School of Music students compete in the William T. Gower Competition to appear as soloists with the symphony in one of the most popular evenings of music. This year’s winners will be selected from strings, piano and voice. Selections include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1.

Beautiful Basics Series The Beautiful Basics Series, sponsored by Forrest General’s Spirit of Women, continues in 2011. All events are held at Hattiesburg County Club beginning at 11:30 a.m. Cost to attend is $15 for Spirit of Women members and $25 for non-members. Lunch is served. Upcoming programs in the series include: February 9, Antiques – Presented by Ellen McKenzie, owner of Mc-

March 9, Garden Gorgeous – Presented by Thomas E. Eaves, Registered Landscape Architect. April 13, Fashion Forever – Presented by local personality Chalie Rae and Phillip Pitts, owner of Parris Jewelers. May 11, Travel Talks – Details to be announced.

Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion

Cirque du Soleil will present its newest arena show, Dralion, for seven performances only at the Mitchell Center in Mobile February 2-6. Show times are 7:30 p.m. February 2, 3; 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. February 3, 4; 4 and 8 p.m. February 5 and 1 p.m. February 6. Tickets are available at or by calling 1800-745-3000. Thrilling more than 8 million people worldwide since the show premiered in 1999, Dralion is the fusion of ancient Chinese circus traditions and the avant-garde style of Cirque du Soleil. In Fall 2010, Dralion embarked on a new journey, performing the same captivating production, but now in arenas throughout North America, giving more peo-

ple the opportunity to enjoy a Cirque du Soleil show in their own town. The name Dralion (pronounced “Drah-lee-on”) is drawn from its two main symbols: The dragon, representing the East, and the lion, representing the West. Dralion derives much of its inspiration from Eastern philosophy with its perpetual quest for harmony between humankind and nature. The international cast features 52 world-class acrobats, gymnasts, musicians, singers and comedic characters. Tickets for adults are $30-$75; children (12 & Under), $24-$61; military, seniors & students, $27-$63. To charge tickets by phone, call 1866-448-7849. The Mitchell Center is located on the campus of the University of South Alabama.

JORT’s ‘The Dining Room’

Just Over the Rainbow Theatre presents ‘The Dining Room’ at 7:30 p.m. February 17-20 and 7:30 p.m. February 24-26 and one matinee performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, at the Petal Cultural Center, 120 South George Street in Petal. Tickets can be reserved by calling the JORT box office at 601-5837778. Seating is limited. The Dining Room is a humorous and compassionate play, scripted as a series of overlapping vignettes. It visits a host of characters as they go about their daily business. Each of the 18 scenes, which range from the comic to the serious, explores the dynamic relationships of family life. Rather than the scenery changing around the characters, this play is unique in that the characters change around the scenery. In one vignette, the dining room is the scene for an unexpected homecoming, when a returning college student realizes

his mother has had an affair with his father's best friend. In the next, a beaming aunt displays her prized silverware for her nephew, who is conducting anthropological research. In a seamless collection of such moments, the show presents glimpses into the human condition: the joys, sorrows, love and sadness that accompany family life.

Chili Cookoff 3rd Annual

The third annual chili cookoff fundraiser at The First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg will be held from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, February 5. Teams consisting of up to four people are invited to compete. All competitors may refer to the church website, for complete rules and registration instructions. Registration deadline is Friday, January 28. The fundraiser will benefit The Palmer Home for Children, which provides a home for children whose parents are unable to care for them; and The Way Inn, a ministry that offers assistance to women assimilating back into society after being incarcerated. Last year’s winning chili will be sold by the quart and may be prepurchased by calling 601-310-4954. Other events taking place at the chili cook-off include activities and games for children and a silent auction featuring numerous autographed photographs of professional athletes and celebrities. The First Presbyterian Church is located at 4901 Hardy Street. For more information contact the event coordinator at 601-310-4954.

USM Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo Dr. Raymond Whitehead, orthopaedic surgeon with Hattiesburg Clinic Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, will serve as the Grand Marshal at this year’s 26th Annual Southern Miss Coca-Cola Classic Rodeo. This year’s rodeo is set for February 18-19 at the Forrest County Multipurpose Center on Hwy. 49 South. Rodeo tickets will be available beginning Jan. 10 at TJ’s Western Ware on U.S. Highway 49 in Hattiesburg. Tickets are $10 and all seats are reserved.

Dulcimer Fest “Strummin’ on the Front Porch with Southern Strings” 2011 Dulcimer Festival is coming to the Forrest County Multi-purpose Extension Center in Hattiesburg February 24-27. Many well-known instructors including Bruce Ford of Everything; Paul Andry, longtime dulcimer performer and instructor; Bob Taunton, Bass Dulcimer builder and instructor; Rick Long, Psaltery builder, performer and

instructor, will be on hand. Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced classes and general instructional sessions will be offered on Friday and Saturday. If you already play or ever wanted to learn to play this Dulcimer Festival is for you. For more information, call

Mississippi Museum of Art The Orient Expressed, Japan’s Influence on Western Art, 18541918, will hang at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. The exhibit features more than 200 important and beautiful works of art – including paintings, prints and decorative objects, which illuminate the development of Japans enduring influence on the west. The exhibit is part of the Annie Laurie Swaim Hearing Memorial Exhibition Series. For more information, visit or call 1-866VIEW ART.

The museum is located at 380 South Lamar Street, Jackson.

instructor and Jess Dickinson, accomplished Hammered Dulcimer performer and

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Newlyweds Scott and Jennifer Walker have been married a little more than 9 months. The couple wed on April 24, 2010, at Canebrake Country Club where a reception followed. Their planned outdoor wedding was moved indoors the night before as inclement weather was in the forecast. “You know the old saying, ‘April showers bring May flowers,’ ” said Jennifer. The couple was engaged Oct. 3, 2009, and began planning immediately for their big day. Looking back, would they have done things differently? “It would have been easier to plan the wedding for at least a year, especially with our work schedule,” said Jennifer. “We were able to do it in six months, although it was extremely stressful, because Scott was insistent getting married as soon as possible. But we had to wait until my brother, Will, came home from his deployment to Iraq.” The weather on their wedding day was wet and dreary until about 2 hours before the appointed hour when the sun suddenly popped out and all the clouds dissipated. While a bit disappointed that the wedding had to be moved inside, “knowing that it was finally ‘our’ day and that at the end of the day I would be married to the sweetest and most considerate Christian man more than made up for it,” said Jennifer. “As soon as I started down the aisle with my father and saw Scott for the first time, the hectic day and stress of planning during the past 6 months went out the window. I was finally marrying the man who knows my strengths and my weaknesses and still loves me unconditionally. How could I not love this man with all my heart? I was the happiest woman in the world and it turned out to be a beautiful evening. And long story short, if you are having a spring wedding outside, always have a back-up plan!” For Scott, who was not allowed to see any of Jennifer’s wedding finery until she walked down the aisle, the wait was well worth it. “All day I kept imagining where she was, what she was doing, or what she was thinking. I can honestly say that I was never nervous with ‘cold feet.’ I couldn’t wait to get to the altar,” he said. Before the ceremony, as we were taking pictures and visiting with friends and family, I was so afraid I was going to round a corner or look through a door and see Jen before it was time. But all went perfect. As soon as I saw her, as she was escorted down the aisle by her father, I was awestruck. I really believe my mouth was on the floor in amazement! She was far more beautiful than I could have ever even imagined.” One of the things Jennifer and Scott have in common is their job – both are nurse anesthetists.

Scott, the son of Larry and Dianna Walker, was born and raised in Philadelphia, where he graduated from Neshoba Central High School and East Central Community College before going on to Meridian Community College where he received an associate degree in nursing. After 4 years of working as a registered nurse at University Medical Center in Jackson, he received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from University of Mississippi Medical Center and continued working as an RN for 4 more years when he attended the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga for a Masters in Nurse Anesthesia. While attending graduate school in Chattanooga, he was put in touch with Dr. Joe Campbell, chief of Anesthesiology at Hattiesburg Clinic, by his brother-in-law, Dr. David Bullock. Scott interviewed and was accepted for the position and has been employed by Hattiesburg Clinic as a nurse anesthetist for 6 1/2 years. A Pine Belt girl, Jennifer, the oldest of four, was born and raised in Hattiesburg, along with her siblings, two brothers and a sister. Her parents are Bill Jr. and Pam Norris of Lumberton and her grandparents are Bill and Francis Norris, Sr. and Juanita Grantham and the late Roger Grantham, all of Hattiesburg. Jennifer graduated from Sumrall High School and then the University of Southern Mississippi, receiving a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She worked as an RN for 3 1/2 years at Forrest General Hospital before attending Louisiana State University for a Masters in Nurse Anesthesia. She has been employed by Hattiesburg Clinic as a Nurse Anesthetist for 4 1/2 years. They are are both employed by Hattiesburg Clinic as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. “We provide anesthesia services for Forrest General

Hospital, Ambu-latory Surgical Center at Hattiesburg Clinic and the Lowery A. Woodall Outpatient Surgical Center,” said Scott. And while working together might be a bit too much for some couples, the Walkers say it also has its advantages. “One of the advantages to having the same type of job is being able to relate to each others ups and downs throughout the day,” said Jennifer. “Since we are able to speak the same lingo, we are able to bounce ideas off each other, talk about different anesthesia techniques and attend anesthesia conferences together to stay abreast of the everchanging medical advances in our profession.” According to Scott, it’s fortunate that the couple works very similar daily schedules and after ‘taking call’ during the week and some weekends, they occasionally have the next day off together. “Taking call can be stressful just like any other job,” he said. “We never know if we will have a quiet call shift, or a night filled with pa-tients who require emergency s u r g e r y. H o w e v e r, anesthesia is also v e r y

rewarding and we love our job because it allows us to help people.” In addition to busy work schedules, there is also a busy home schedule which includes two children, Brandon, 18, and Lindsay, 13. “Between the kids’ activities and long hours at work we stay very busy and on the go,” said Jennifer. “But we always make time to talk about what has happened in our day, usually over dinner, as many home-cooked meals as possible. According to Scott, the family enjoys playing Wii games, throwing the football, watching movies and bowling. Scott enjoys playing the drums, golfing, working in the yard, and spending time with family, while Jennifer’s tastes lean toward reading, shopping, cooking, attending her nieces’ and nephews’ ballgames and cheerleading events and spending time with family. Together, the couple enjoys going for quick weekend trips to New Orleans, going to concerts to see their favorite musicians and attending the Neshoba County Fair every July and Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans every year. The family attends First Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, where Scott is active in the youth program. They are both members of the local and national anesthesia organizations MANA and AANA. “We plan to have a long happy marriage by placing God first and always making time for each other,” said Jennifer.

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10 - 12 Months Before Introduce both families and officially announce your engagement. Find out who pays for what and start a budget. Create a guest list. Compare calendars and select a tentative date. Choose your wedding party. Create a wedding website to share your engagement. Consider whitening your teeth for your engagement parties and photographs. Conduct interviews and hire a wedding coordinator if applicable. Decide if you want premarital counseling. Start looking at photos of wedding dresses for inspiration. Send your engagement photo to the local paper. Begin thinking about where you want to honeymoon. Visit and book your reception site, and arrange for parking.

Visit and book your ceremony location, including rehearsal time. Create a save-the-date guest list.

6 - 9 Months Before Alert out-of-town guests of wedding date and/or send a FREE save-the-date email. Find a bridal salon and begin trying on wedding dresses and veils. Bring stockings, heels, a strapless bra, and a hair clip to each appointment. Get in shape for your wedding gown by starting an exercise routine. Get ideas for honeymoon locations and research pricing. Start looking at floral designs and interview florists for style and cost. Search for menu ideas and start meeting with caterers. Research wedding photography and interview wedding photographers/videographers.

Get ideas for music and interview bands/DJs. Finalize flower and décor ideas, and select a florist. Include specifics of each flo ral arrangement in your con tract. Sign a caterer. Order your gown and wedding veil. Shop for and select the perfect bridesmaid dress. Book your honeymoon! Find out if your ceremony location requires liability insurance. Finalize contracts with your wedding photographer and videographer. Book your DJ/band. Browse and purchase wedding dress accessories, including shoes, lingerie, purse, and gloves. Choose your officiant and discuss ceremony ideas. Start thinking about all of your gift registry options.

Select three hotels in varying price ranges and reserve rooms for out-of-town guests.

4 - 5 Months Before Start thinking about traditions for your wedding. View wedding invitation styles and research proper wording. Look at photos to get ideas for wedding cake designs, and meet with bakers to taste samples. Discuss menu ideas with your catering manager. Shop for wedding rings. Look for the groom’s tux and decide what groomsmen will wear. Confirm your bridesmaids ordered their gowns and decide on accessories. Have your mother and future mother-in-law coordinate and select their dresses. Compare pricing, place your wedding invitation order, and book your calligrapher. Continued on next page ®

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Continued from previous page Purchase your wedding rings and send for engraving if applicable. Get ideas for wedding favors. Confirm dates for bridal showers and bachelorette parties. Make sure you’ve started your registries before bridal shower invitations are sent. Choose your baker and finalize wedding cake. Reserve rental equipment (chairs, tables, linens, tents, etc.)

Research and book your rehearsal dinner location. Get ideas for wedding hair and makeup. Notify any family or friends whom you would like to give readings, sing solos, serve as guest book attendant, etc. Interview and hire any additional management staff and babysitters if needed. Give your guest list to shower hostesses and check that your registry has enough items. Update wedding website. Consider getting wedding insurance.

2 - 3 Months Before Finalize guest list and submit invitations to calligrapher. Book makeup artist and hairstylist. Order your wedding favors. Candles, baskets, ring pillow… it’s time to start browsing and purchase wedding accessories! Consider signing up for dance classes. Schedule your last tasting and finalize menu. Find gifts for each other, your attendants, your shower hostess, and your parents. Confirm tuxes have been ordered for groom/groomsmen. Prep for your honeymoon – do you have everything you need? Choose your getaway! Finalize wedding transportation. Take care of business: Look into joint bank accounts, insurance, and merging your money. Select your music for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception, and review with musicians, singers.



Check that there are enough options left on your registry, and update your wedding website. Finalize rehearsal dinner plans and order rehearsal invitations, menus, table numbers, escort cards, and any other stationery accessories. Mail invitations eight weeks before your wedding day.

1 - 2 Months Before Have your first bridal gown fitting. Remember to bring stockings, shoes, appropriate bra, hair accessories, jewelry, a camera, and your mom or best friend. Finalize ceremony readings and songs, and review with performers. Order liquor/beverages not handled by caterer. Meet with your officiant to finalize the ceremony, including attendant formations. Begin writing your vows if applicable. Begin writing thank-you notes for bridal showers and early wedding gifts, and update your registry at the same time. Research where to get your marriage license. Prepare a photo and video shot list, naming important family members and guests. Schedule the bridesmaids’ luncheon and buy attendant gifts if you haven’t already. Begin whitening your teeth for your wedding day. Consider liability insurance for your reception location.

3 - 4 Weeks Before Finalize your jewelry, which may include something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Prepare a must-have shot list for your wedding photographer and videographer. Finalize your “must play” and “don’t play” music lists and review with musicians. Practice your first dance wearing your bridal shoes. Design and order your wedding program. Confirm honeymoon and travel arrangements, and give loved ones your itinerary in case of emergency.

Call guests who haven’t RSVP’d. Pick up your wedding rings. Get your marriage license, typically no earlier than 30 days before the wedding. Research how to change your name. Mail your rehearsal-dinner invitations. Purchase small candles, candies, and mints for your guest powder room. Meet with your stylist to discuss and test the perfect makeup and hair for your bridal style.

1 - 2 Weeks Before Have your final wedding gown fitting. Finalize your wedding-day schedule (including receiving-line order) and share with attendants, parents, and all vendors. Confirm all of your beauty appointments. Confirm pick-up times, schedules, and addresses with your wedding-day transportation. Pick up your wedding dress and make sure all of your accessories are together. Pick up the groom’s outfit, make sure it fits, and gather all of his accessories together. Finalize your vows for the ceremony. Get your hair colored and trimmed (don’t wait until two days before the ceremony). Confirm final headcount. Give final attendance numbers to vendors and confirm final date/time for deliverables and pick-ups after wedding. Pack for your wedding night and honeymoon. Create a “wedding box” to gather your ceremony accessories (marriage license, candles, ring pillow, basket, guest book) and assign someone to transport. Prepare a “reception box” for accessories such as guest books, cameras, toasting goblets, cake toppers, etc., and assign someone to transport. Prepare all of your wedding favors for transportation to reception venue and assign someone to move them.

Finalize your seating arrangements (making sure you involve both sets of parents) and submit to caterer. Prepare place cards. Confirm dates/times/locations for all photo and video sessions the day of the wedding. Confirm dates/times/locations with all vendors.

The Day Before Prepare a list of payment envelopes – including tips – earmarking who is responsible for distributing to vendors. Hand out assignment lists and checklists to ensure everyone knows their tasks, including person responsible for transporting gifts. Hand out ceremony box to appropriate person. Hand out reception box to appropriate person. Hand out favor box to appropriate person. Assign someone to mail your announcement cards. Gather together your wedding dress, accessories, and bridal emergency kit. Get a manicure, pedicure, and massage. Rehearse ceremony with officiant and wedding party.

The Wedding Day Your day has arrived! You may be nervous, but try to eat breakfast and drink plenty of fluids. Take a lavender bath – it’s very relaxing. Be sure to wear a button-down shirt for your hair and makeup appointments.

After the Wedding Get your wedding dress cleaned and preserved. Preserve your bouquet. Write and mail your thank-you notes. Complete your name-change kit. Check into your store’s bridal registry completion program. Meet with photographer and videographer to finalize albums/video.



By Beth Bunch These days the sky is the limit – as far as locale, menu and decor is concerned, according to Lisa Gunter, co-owner of Southern Oaks House and Gardens in Hattiesburg. While the venue hosts events other than weddings and receptions, they do make up a good part of the clientele. Gunter said today’s brides are looking for sophisticated, but elegant decor, but as inexpensive as they can go with it still looking like a million bucks. “Brides tend to spend more towards the food and the bar than the decor,” said Gunter. And as far as food is concerned, it’s comfort food – food that is familiar, but made to look cute and different.

While Southern Oaks does put together a few sit-down dinners for weddings, hors d’oeuvres receptions are by far the most popular. “Once in a blue moon we’ll have a sit-down dinner, which are more prevalent up North,” said Gunter. “Sit-down dinners tend to be rather staid and stale. People don’t feel as free and open as they do at other types of receptions. They have a particular place they have to sit, no option on the food they have to eat, and they just aren’t as free to move around and mingle.” But with an hors d’oeuvres reception, which tends to be more casual, the party lasts well into the night, literally. “More brides and grooms are staying to the very end of the reception, rather than making an appear-

ance and leaving,” said Gunter. “It’s definitely a party and they stay and enjoy that with their family, friends and guests, many who have traveled some distance to spend time with them. We see a lot of people at the end....still dancing.” But what’s a good party without food. And depending on the time of day you get married, you need some substinence and some sustenance. At Southern Oaks there is no shortage of food – from pasta and potato stations to shrimp and grits and carving stations which might feature prime rib, smoked turkey or pork tenderloin. Many couples even have different ethnic food stations featuring the foods of different countries they’ve visited – Italy or Mexico, where you might find a taco station

or mini Asian wontons. Most brides also choose some type of fruit and cheese station While the wedding cake and the groom’s cake are still Southern traditions, brides are also choosing to have dessert stations. “Desserts are huge,” said Gunter. “And whoopie pies are the new cupcakes.” Whoopie cakes, which have their origin with the Amish, are two small cake-like rounds that resemble cookies and are filled with icing. At dessert tables you’ll find everything from cheesecake stations which feature cheesecake served in Continued on next page ®

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martini glasses with a variety of toppings to petite desserts such as chocolate mousse served in shot glasses and other bite-size sweets. Gunter did say that some brides are letting these dessert stations take the place of the groom’s cake. As far as cakes are concerned, Southern Oaks leaves that for the experts. “We don’t do cakes, but there are a variety of bakers out there who do incredible work,” Gunter said. For brides still including a groom’s cake on the reception menu, many choose something to represent the groom’s personality – a fish or hunting theme, tailgating or perhaps a logo for his favorite team or a branch of service where he’s served. And sometimes rather than a cake, the groom’s table might feature a collections of pies or such favorites as strawberry shortcake or banana pudding. Most of the bride’s cakes Gunter sees brought in are the traditional tiered white cake, usually with not a lot of flavors. Candy stations, which also serve as party favors for guests, have become popular in the last several years. But with these sweet treats, Gunter stresses that’s it’s all about the presentation. Some brides follow a color theme, such as the all-white station a recent Southern Oaks bride favored. Others just choose a variety of their favorite candies – M&Ms, Whoppers, jelly beans, peanut butter cups, chocolate covered pretzels or raisins, gumballs or licorice. Some brides even search out nostalgic sweets such as rock candy, which can be found online. Glass cylinders dressed up with



colorful ribb o n s , labels or monograms make for a festive table, especially when paired with takeout boxes or festive bags to hold the sweet treats. Gunter said brides are getting away from other party favors such as caramel apples or flower seeds, which were once popular. Another station gaining popularity is a coffee station with a variety of coffees and tasty add-ins. At one reception, the bride and groom had met, worked and become engaged at a Starbucks. Their reception featured a Starbucks coffee bar, complete with Starbucks coffee mugs, compliments of the manager, which guests could fill with the couple’s favorite drink. “We got the recipe and all the ingredients and made it on-site for guests,” Gunter said. At some big late-night receptions, miniature hamburgers, hotdogs, cheesesteak or chicken sandwiches might be on the menu but not brought out until 2 or 3 hours later as late-night snacks. While many brides have a color

scheme, the overall look for the wedding and reception doesn’t evolve around a theme, but rather a logo such as peacock feather or a fleur de lis. She said many couples carry the “logo” throughout the entire wedding from the save-thedate cards to the invitations, the programs and the cake topper. A monogram or single initial has also been quite popular in recent years. Concerning decor, Gunter said chair covers are out, but linens are still very popular. “They bring a lot of color and texture to the decor.” Gunter said these days many of the couples who are marrying tend to be older and are paying for the wedding themselves. “Many brides and grooms are in the 35-36 age range with parents who are retired and living on limited incomes, so the couple is footing the bill themselves. And that brings the budget down a lot,” she said. “Then there are those brides who come in and want the sun, moon and stars,” she said. “But you can still have a nice event on a limited budget.” Church receptions, while popular, are not as abundant as they once were, according to Gunter, who said they do still cater some receptions in church fellowship halls. While the summer months are the busiest wedding season for the business, Gunter said with some

brides it’s all about a date. For instance, an upcoming bride is big on 11-11-11, so she’ll be getting married on a Friday night. Both the ceremony and reception will be at Southern Oaks. And once it’s time for the couple to depart the reception, many are being sent off as guests wave sparklers or throw rose petals. “You don’t see rice or birdseed anymore,” said Gunter. Southern Oaks is in its tenth year, is family owned and was built from the ground up. Both Gunter and her sister were married the same year – one at Camellia Gardens, which is no longer open and and the other at the country club. At the time, they looked and other than Crawford House in Downtown Hattiesburg and now a private residence, AshLeah Manor, the country club and the convention center, there weren’t a lot of other venues for hosting such events. So they took a leap of faith, found a spot in the middle of all the other and built a facility, which they’ve since had to add on to. “We felt like this would be well received, so we took a gamble and it paid off,” said Gunter. She said venues such as theirs are nice, especially in a college town where a bride has lived and worked for at least four years and more and doesn’t have a home church. “Places like ours offer everything in one location.”

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By Dana Gower Sun/sand, the mountains, tropical rain forest, a European getaway... No matter what you're looking for, the perfect honeymoon can be waiting for you – but don't skimp on the planning. Diana Gray, owner of Rainbow Travel, said there are a variety of things to consider when picking a honeymoon destination, ranging from personal interests to the time of the year. "A lot of it depends on their budget and how long they can be gone," Gray said of the type of honeymoon selected, but added that the interests of the couple also are important. "Some people, after a wedding, just want to sit on a beach and do nothing," Gray said, while others are looking for active pursuits. For people who enjoy hiking, Colorado is a popular destination spot, she said. With so many factors to consider, "I would start

planning at least six months out," Gray said. For couples planning on honeymooning outside of the country, one important thing to keep in mind, she said, is a passport. "I would allow two months, at least, and not try to do it around the holidays," Gray said of applying for a passport. "If it's not a holiday

season, they can get it in four-toeight weeks." It is still possible to sail without a passport, but a birth certificate is

needed in that case, she said. For both budget and convenience, one of the best options for honeymooners are cruises or all-inclusive resorts, in which all of the costs are included in the package, she said. "With cruises, food is included" in the price, Gray said, but airfare and alcohol are not. In the case of allinclusive resorts, not only is the cost of airfare included in the price, but so are food, snacks, alcoholic drinks and even tips. Couples can also combine the two experiences, taking a cruise while also purchasing day passes to nearby attractions and resorts, she said. One popular attraction is the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, located near Nassau in the Bahamas. Continued on next page

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Continued from previous page The resort has a 140-acre "waterscape," with water park, lagoons, pools and waterfalls, along with subterranean aquariums. For couples on a tight budget, four- and five-night cruises out of New Orleans and Mobile are very reasonable, Gray said, noting that Gulf Shores is also a reasonablypriced destination site. And, of course, the Disney amusement parks remain a popular attraction. Niagara Falls, once a traditional honeymoon spot, still is sought out by some, Gray said, but usually tied with another trip, such as to Quebec or Toronto. When choosing a location, it is important to match it to the right season, she noted. Toronto or Vancouver are best visited in the spring or summer. Las Vegas is best visited in the fall or spring, with the summertime being hot and winters cold. Alaskan cruises are offered from mid-May through mid-September. After September, those crews ships go to Europe, Gray said. Couples booking summer honeymoons often are looking for beach locations, while the Mediterranean tends to be more popular in the fall.



Hawaii tends to be a popular destination in the spring, she said. "Younger couples go more to the beach," Gray said, while older couples often prefer such destinations as the Mediterranean, Hawaii or wine country. The popularity of getaway spots tends to wax and wane in cycles, Gray said. "The Dominican Republic has gotten a lot more popular in the last few years," she said, noting the beauty of its water and beaches. "A lot of people like to go to Costa Rica," where horseback riding on the beach is popular, she added. "The most detailed planning is trips to Europe," Gray said, noting that some couples enjoy traveling across several countries by train. The best airfare to Europe, she said, are the winter rates beginning in November. "I've got a couple right now that is going to Italy," she added. In a few cases, however, no amount of planning can make the trip happen, Gray said. Among her most unusual requests, she said, "I had someone who wanted to take a cruise to Las Vegas. Another person wanted to take the Amtrak to London."

L Costa Rica

M Atlantis Resort, Bahamas

You'll want to make sure you capture every special moment of your big day with photos and video – from the intricate beading and detail of your gown to the flowers and bridesmaids to the young guests who sometimes make your wedding photos complete. To help your photographer(s) capture every last detail, provide a list of "must-take" wedding shots. But also realize that your photographer is an artist and may have some fantastic ideas about ways to capture the intimacy of the day.

Bride with parents Bride & Groom together Bride & Groom with parents Bride & Groom with families Bride & Groom with entire wedding party Bride & Groom with flower girl and ringbearer Groom with parents Groom with best man Groom with groomsmen Bride with groomsmen

During the Reception

Shots Before the Ceremony Arriving at your designated dressing area with arms full of stuff Fixing hair and makeup, bride and bridesmaids Wedding dress lying over a chair, hanging up Zipping up or buttoning the wedding dress Mother of the bride fastening the bride's necklace, buckling shoes, helping with earrings The bride's garter The bride's veil Bride's shoes peeking out from under the dress Bride looking into a mirror Bride looking out window Florist delivering bouquets to bride/bridesmaids Bride pinning corsage/boutonniere on mother/father Bride with parents (hugs, kisses, special gift) Bride touching up Bride and parents leaving for ceremony Groom tying tie Groom looking into mirror Groom, groomsmen waiting, horsing around Groom pinning corsage/boutonniere on mother/father Groom with parents Bride and parents leaving for ceremony

Shots At the Ceremony Outside of ceremony venue (decor, etc.) Guests walking into ceremony venue Bride and father entering ceremony venue Parents being seated



Grandparents being seated Maid of honor walking down the aisle Bridesmaids walking down the aisle Flower girl and ring bearer walking down aisle Groom waiting for bride Ceremony musicians Officiant Altar or canopy during ceremony Close up of bride, just before she makes her entrance Bride and father walking down aisle Groom seeing bride for first time The back of bride and father walking down the aisle – with the groom waiting in the distance Bride's father and bride hugging at end of aisle Shot of the audience from the bride and groom's point of view

The unity candle (sand) ceremony Close up of bride and groom saying the vows Wide shot of bride and groom saying the vows Exchanging the rings Close up of hands The kiss Bride & Groom walking up the aisle Bride & Groom outside on steps

Photos Before the Reception (These can also be taken before the ceremony depending on whether bride wants groom to see her prior to walking down the aisle, but it usually helps get the wedding party get to the reception quicker.) Bride alone (full length) Bride with Maid of Honor Bride with bridesmaids Groom with bridesmaids

Outside of reception site Bride & Groom arriving Bride & Groom greeting guests Table centerpieces Table setting Bride & Groom's table (head table) Musicians or DJ Guest book Place card table Wedding cake Groom's cake Gift table Decorations A shot of bride & groom with guests at each table Bride with college friends Groom with college friends The food tables (if being served buffet style or place settings if seated dinner) Bride & Groom's first dance Bride & Father dancing Groom & Mother dancing Guests dancing Bride & Groom cutting the cake Bride & Groom feeding each other cake Toasts Signing the marriage license Bride throwing bouquet Groom retrieving garter Groom tossing garter The getaway car Bride & Groom leaving reception Guests throwing confetti/rose petals/birdseed Bride & Groom hugging guests, laughing, getting congratulations Bride & Groom getting in car Bride & Groom in back seat Bride & Groom driving away

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Before heading to the altar, there are several things couples need to get in order, or are required to get in order, by the state. For couples getting married in Mississippi a marriage license is required. In most circumstances you may apply for a marriage license at any Mississippi circuit clerk’s office in the county where you plan to be married. These offices are usually located in the county probate court or circuit court. In Forrest County, the Circuit Clerk’s office is located at 630 N Main Street, Hattiesburg, 601-5823213 In Lamar County, the Circuit Clerk’s office is housed at 203 Main St, Purvis, 601-794-8504. The cost of a marriage license is $21 in cash. This is the only form of payment accepted. There are no residency requirements. You do not have to be a previous or current resident of Mississippi to obtain a marriage license that is valid statewide. For couples applying for a marriage license, there is a mandatory 3-day waiting period until the license is issued. In most states, the waiting period does not include Saturdays, Sundays or holidays. In some instances, the day the application is filed is not included within the waiting period. Once a license is issued there is no waiting period. Couples can marry immediately after receiving their license. While there are no residency requirements, there are age requirements. A person must be 21 years old or older to marry without parental consent. A birth certificate may be necessary to show proof of age. If either partner is under 21, parental consent forms must be signed. At this time you will need a certified copy of your birth certificate.



As part of the requirements for getting a marriage license in the state, couples are required to take a blood test for syphilis prior to receiving a license. The blood test must be analyzed by a state certified laboratory and recorded on a state form. This form can be obtained from the physician, clinic, or the Office of the Town Clerk. Test results become invalid after 30 days. Once you obtain a license, you have 90 days from the date the license is issued before it expires. Once it expires you must start the application process all over again. For those who are divorced or widowed and applying for a license, there is certain information that must be provided. If previously married, the date of divorce or date of a spouse's death must be provided. If the divorce or spouse's death had taken place within the last 6 months, a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate is required. A copy of your divorce records or spouse's death certificate can be ordered online. To legally change your last name following your marriage, you will receive a marriage certificate, a piece of paper proving that you are legally married. This certificate will serve as evidence of your marriage, which you'll need when you begin the process of notifying several government agencies about your name change, as well as any non-government institutions that you do business with (ie, banks, employers, credit cards, memberships, etc). The state provides a legal name change kit that you can use and complete before or after your marriage takes place. Completing all the necessary name change documentation prior to your wedding can be considerably convenient. Not allowed by the state are: • Marriage by proxy

• Cousin marriages • Common-law marriages • Same-sex marriages. In neighboring Alabama, couples may apply for a marriage license at the Alabama circuit clerk’s office in the county where they plan to be married. But getting a marriage license is going to be a bit more costly, roughly $43.35-plus, although fees may vary from county to county, with cash payment required. There are no residency requirements and there is no waiting period. Once couples apply, they receive their license immediately and can marry. Age requirements are also different. The bride or groom need only be 18 years old or older to marry without parental consent. A birth certificate may be necessary to show proof of age. If either partner is under 18, parents or legal guardians must be present. If a parent can not be present, due to death, separation, divorce or other circumstances, proper evidence must be presented for verification. A certified copy of your birth certificate is required and a $200 bond must be executed and made payable to the state. No blood test or physical exam is required but a license remains valid for only 30 days from the date it is issued. For those previously married, the date of divorce or date of spouse's death must be provided. If the divorce or spouse's death had taken place within the last 30 days, a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate is required. A copy of your divorce records or spouse's death certificate can be ordered online. To legally change your name, your marriage certificate will serve as evidence of your marriage, which you'll need when you begin the process of notifying government agencies about your name

change, as well as any non-government institutions that you do business with Proxy marriage is not allowed, but unlike Mississippi, cousin marriages are allowed as are commonlaw marriages. Same-sex marriages are not allowed. In Louisiana, a marriage license will cost you approximately $25, although fees may vary from county to county. Cash payment required. You do not have to be a previous or current resident of the state to obtain a marriage license that is valid statewide. There is no waiting period from the application date to the date the license is issued, however the state does require a mandatory 3-day waiting period before getting married, which can be waived by a judge. For those wishing to marry, you must be 18 years old or older to marry without parental consent. A birth certificate may be necessary to show proof of age. If either partner is under 18, parents or legal guardians must be present. If a parent can not be present, due to death, separation, divorce or other circumstances, proper evidence must be presented for verification. You will need a certified copy of your birth certificate. If you are under 16 you can not marry without a court order. No blood test or physical exam is required and a license expires after 30 days. If previously married, the date of divorce or date of spouse's death must be provided. Bring a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate. A copy of your divorce records or spouse's death certificate can be ordered online. Not legal are marriage by proxy, cousin marriages, common-law or same-sex marriages. For more information, contact the Circuit Clerk’s Office in the county where you will be getting married.

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rides, this isn't your Mother's wedding bouquet. And more than likely it's not your sister's either... even if she got married as recently as five or six years ago. According to Michael Thornton, owner of Petal Florist, the trend in wedding flowers, bouquets and wedding decor in general has changed quite a bit in recent years to a more simplistic look. Gone are the shiny brass branched and arched candelabras which held white or ivory tapers. These days they have been replaced with black iron or other metal stands that hold

chunky pillar candles. “Less is more... less traditional, less flowers, less formal,” he said. And while large flower arrangements are usually still a part of the backdrop, their look is more of a free form and not so tight and organized. He said the number of larger arrangements usually depends on the venue, as well as the bride's budget. “We usually do one really large arrangement, but sometimes as many as six or seven.” As for the flowers being used, “we're still seeing lots of solid roses, as well as hydrangeas and

the calla lily, which is very very popular,” said Thornton. In fact calla lilies have become so popular in bridal bouquets and decor that their cost has been driven up by the demands of brides around the globe. According to Thornton, a lot of flower farms have switched over to growing them because of the need for more of the long-stemmed graceful white blooms. “They've flipped their entire rotation, Because they are farmed differently, just to keep up with the demand, which has also driven their cost up,” he said. Continued on next page

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Continued on previous page

The designs Michael and his floral staff are using in today's bridal settings, both inside and out, are much more simplistic in their design. For a recent Christmas wedding the staff created a fantasy winter wonderland using an all-white scheme - callas, orchids, roses and hydrangeas with rhinestones, crystals and glitter sticks. Although one recent wedding featured flowers such as tulips and gerbers in orange. “You usually don't see a lot of mixed colors except during the fall of the year,” Thornton said. And with the bouquets he said most of the color is seen in the bridesmaid's bouquets with the bride carrying an all-white bouquet, however they have done some bridal bouquets that were solid red roses. The tiny white stephanotis, which grows on a vine and was once extremely popular in bouquets, is making a comeback, according to Thornton, who explained that each flower has to be wrapped by hand with a pick in order to make it stay in the bouquet. Today's bouquets aren't constructed using the white plastic forms of yesterday that come in the size equivalents of a dinner or salad plate or maybe even a saucer. Also gone are long cascading bouquets with lots of dangling ribbons and bouquets full of greenery, bows and ribbons. Bouquets of today are hand held and hand wrapped. Thornton uses a four-inch collar wrap that usually isn't seen because it's covered by the bride's hands, with the stems seen again at the bottom. He said his staff sometimes uses a corset braiding to add details to the ribbon or other fabric being used to hold the stems together. And sometimes special touches such as a family heirloom brooch, monogrammed handkerchief or other decorative touches are added. And today's pew markers aren't big ribbons, but rather many times a single stemmed flower with some greenery and hanging ribbon. Some brides are opting for tall iron stands that hold a spray of flowers and/or pillar candles to mark family pews or to line the center aisle of the church. Also gone, for the most part, are shoulder corsages worn by the mother of the bride and groom. “Moms are no longer wearing the traditional shoulder corsages,” said



Thornton. “They are carrying more of a tussie mussies-styled nosegay or small bouquet that when held sits on the top of the hand with usually only five or six flowers.” Most are handwrapped. The trend follows that of today's wedding fashions. According to Thornton, many of the materials used in today's mother of the bride-style dresses are flimsy or very thin and there's no where to pin anything and expect it to stay. “The fabric won't support a heavy corsage,” said Thornton, who also pointed out that many of today's fashions are strapless or off the shoulder so there's really no place to pin a corsage. The boutonnieres worn by the men in the wedding party are following suit. While a heavier fabric isn't a problem, today's posies are falling in line with the simple. “Less formal design and less greenery,” he said of the lapel gracers which sometimes feature nothing but leaves and berries or maybe a feather. “But if a flower, it's usually a miniature spray rose or small calla.” As far as flowers and the floral budget, Thornton said hydrangeas fall in the economical category while roses, which are dominant, fall in the middle and callas take the top spot on the expense list. Thornton also noted that they are seeing more outside weddings or receptions, as well as destination weddings. “A lot of couples will go off to get married then come back to their hometown and have a reception at the country club or civic center,” he said. In many of these instances, especially if the couple went to a tropical locale to marry, the florist is using sand, seashells and a lot of tropical flowers in the reception décor. “With the great nurseries we have in the area we can pretty much get flowers from around the world anytime of the year,” he said. “They also offer very glamorous rental packages where we can rent large ferns and 7-foot palms rather inexpensively. Many times we can separate the package and use some for the wedding and the rest in the reception area.” No matter what color or flower choices, styles or decor brides getting married in 2011 choose for their weddings, the trends are sure to change after a season or two and possibly back to what their mothers and sisters once thought was so trendy and popular.

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By Beth Bunch Editor

Bake it, decorate it, plan it and they will come. Angela Loper of Petal is a Jill of all trades. The personnel chef is also a business owner, caterer, event planner, cooking instructor, floral designer, baker and cake decorator. You name it and this Type A personality can either do it or she’s done it or she can plan to get it done. And at this time of year leading up to bridal season, much of what she does is help brides make their dreams come true. “A bride can sit with me and we can plan almost everything – from how she wants to decorate the church and reception site to the flowers she chooses for the décor and bouquets to the wedding cake and reception food and what she wants thrown, tossed or waved as she leaves the reception site. I do everything but go on the honeymoon with Continued on page 34



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Little girl tea parties are also a big hit. “We’re your one-stop shop. The honoree and her guests can come here and we provide the games, crafts, cake, decorations, everything. Everybody just shows up and has a good time,” she said. As for today’s brides, “they are now so educated, thanks to the many cake and wedding shows on television,” Loper said. “They come in with these thick notebooks. They definitely know what they want.” Loper said while some brides still stick with dainty, pastel colored wedding trends, “many go against what is tradition.” “I want their wedding to be different and set apart from every other wedding they’ve attended,” said Continued from page 32 them. And I can do that if they want,” laughs Loper, owner of Red Maple Gifts in Petal. For her sister’s wedding, Loper decorated, catered, made the groom’s cake, did the flowers, as well as her sister’s nails, was a bridesmaid and sang. There are so many things involved in and around planning a wedding that a bride can get easily frazzled, but Loper believes the jobs she and her staff can handle make it “so much easier to deal with,” said Loper, who has actually had brides comment on the ease with which their big day came together. Loper was a human resources manager in the business world until about four years ago when a friend called and asked if she’d like to cater a dinner party for Warren and Carolyn Hood of Hattiesburg. Always eager to get in the kitchen and cook, she jumped at the

chance. That’s when she began cooking professionally. The party went quite well and in a day or two she got a call from Mrs. Hood’s assistant who told her to quit her job, “that I was getting ready to be a busy lady. That was four years ago,” she said. “I’m so thankful to the Hoods; they jumpstarted my career.” Loper purchased Red Maple Gifts in Petal and six months later added a bakery, which features homemade everything from candies, cookies, pies, cakes, casseroles and dips, which skyrocketed their business. They also serve a lunch special at the business located in the Historic Clinton House at 128 South Main Street. Loper offers cooking classes on and off site. “They are great gifts for couples, the bride or the bridesmaids or busy family or friends. We have a great time in the kitchen and it’s a different kind of party,” she said.

said gone are the large one-dimensional arrangements of yesterday. “Today’s arrangements are bigger, fuller and more natural. They are overflowing with a lot of natural greenery such as magnolia leaves and ivy, which can be easily obtained from the yards of family and friends and are easy on the budget,” said Loper, who tries to stretch as bride’s budget as much as possible. A bouquet of roses with ribboned stems with an added sentimental touch, such as grandmother’s wedding ring, have become favorites among brides Loper has assisted. “The flower industry makes it easy to obtain flowers from around the world, such as peonies and exotic flowers,” said Loper, who tries to steer brides clear of the once-popular carnations and baby’s breath. She said brides are keeping the wedding site decor really simple, Continued on page 36 Loper. “It’s a party and they want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves.” When it comes to bridal fashions, which is one thing that Loper and her staff don’t handle, Loper said today’s brides aren’t afraid to be bold and use colors such as black or jewel tones. While Loper would like 6 to 8 months advance notice for the planning process, she has worked with brides who have given her just a month’s notice...and it’s gotten done. “Working with a planner is a time saver for the bride,” said Loper. “Sure, we may need to meet several times, but it beats meeting several times with five or six people.” When choosing flowers Loper

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Continued from page 34 while at receptions guests are enjoying good country, homecooked foods. Loper offers a pan fried grits cakes/shrimp station as well as macaroni and cheese tarts and a mashed potato station. Popular for the groom’s tables are dessert items such as bite-size pieces of his favorite desserts or candies. Their specialties include chocolate dipped Oreos or Oreo truffles with the couple’s initial. “The wedding cake is still something classic. I try and steer them away from the columns and champagne foundations,” Loper said. “Some brides come in with very particular ideas, such as ‘I want a vanilla bean white cake with strawberry champagne mouse filling.’ ” And most of her brides are using monograms as cake toppers, but the Red Maple staff also handmakes sugar flowers which can be tinted to exactly match the bride’s color scheme. “We can customize exactly what you want.” For leaving the reception site, Loper said there are many choices. For a December wedding, Loper used luminaries to line the walks to send the couple off. She’s also seen brides use sparklers, poppers and rose petals.



Because the bride and groom have been so busy visiting with their guests, dancing and having a good time, they don’t always get to enjoy the reception foods they’ve worked so hard to coordinate. “We always make the couple a picnic basket of all the food we served so they can

enjoy it that night or the next day,” said Loper. “Brides have come back later and told me how much they enjoyed and appreciated it.” For party favors, if a candy station isn’t used, Loper and her staff make big monogram cookies which are placed in a bag and tied with silk rib-

bon. “Sugar cookies or dipped cookies with the couple’s initial are most popular,” she said. While a special table for the smaller guests is not as popular as it was once, Loper and staff have been known to put together mini hotdogs, chicken tenders and the like for you young guests. “When helping brides with their choices, I want them to be able to look back at their wedding photos 10 years later and not regret the cake they went with or their choice of flowers,” said Loper. “I want them to be as satisfied with it now as they were then.” And to keep some perspective, Loper knows that no matter how much planning and organization goes into the big day, something is inevitably going to happen. “And that’s O.K.,” she said. “You have to be organized and plan for the unexpected. You have to have a backup plan. I tell brides it’s O.K., slow down and enjoy the moment.” But no matter what choices a bride makes, what does or doesn’t happen, Loper is there to carry out the bride’s every wish and whim, “even if they want carnations and baby’s breath and a cake with columns and a champagne fountain.”

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Hearts Prep: 20 minutes Baking: 18 minutes Yield: 18 hearts with 2 1/2 to 3 inch heart cutter)

I love that we have a day designed to celebrate love! And I enjoy finding creative ways to show the people in my life how much I care about them. This year, I’m sharing some ideas from the kitchen and from the heart so that you can put some extra L-O-V-E into your Valentine’s Day.


for a love letter you write to someone special. Whether it’s a spouse, a child, or a dear friend, take some time to write down the reasons they are so special to you. It will be a gift they treasure for a long time. for organizing the family photos in a new way. Create a slide show on a DVD, a photo book or calendar, or even a family website where you can share pictures and stories with out-of-town loved ones. You’ll preserve old photos and help create new memories. for Valentine cookies like these Chocolate Chip Cookie Hearts. They’re a simple way to share some love. Even the youngest bakers can help make them by pouring ingredients and using cookie cutters to make the heart shapes. Have fun decorating them with pink, red and white icing and Valentine sprinkles. for an elegant dessert like this Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Pie. It’s easy enough for anyone to make, yet pretty enough to show off at a Valentine’s Day party or a romantic dinner.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 large eggs 2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels 1 cup chopped nuts Metal or heat-safe heart cookie cutter(s) of desired size(s), 1 inch in height Various icings, sprinkles, Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels


For more Valentine recipes you can share, visit



BAKE for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Lift from pan with foil handles to cutting board. Cut out hearts with cookie cutter(s). Remove hearts while peeling away foil. DECORATE as desired.

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Pie Prep: 15 minutes Cooking: 5 minutes Refrigerating: 2 1/2 hours Yield: 8 servings PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Line 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with foil; lightly grease. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spread dough into prepared pan.

1 can (12 fluid ounces) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk 2 large egg yolks 2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels 1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided 1 container (6 ounces) or 1 1/3 cups fresh raspberries, divided

1 prepared 9-inch (6 ounces) chocolate crumb crust WHISK together evaporated milk and egg yolks in medium saucepan. HEAT over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is very hot and thickens slightly; do not boil. Remove from heat; stir in morsels

until completely melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into large bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until cool. Gently stir in 2 cups whipped topping. REFRIGERATE for 2 hours until thickened. Sprinkle 1 cup raspberries over crust. Spoon chilled chocolate mousse over raspberries. Dollop remaining 1 cup whipped topping on center of pie; top with remaining raspberries. Photo courtesy of Nestlé Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and

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Kathy Garner and members of Delta Sigma Theta

Ivie Pulliam, Kathy Garner

Sandra Thompson, Emma Pope, Harriet Kinnel, Ora Franklin, Deborah Jordan


ounded in 1987, the AIDS Memorial Quilt is a poignant memorial and is the largest ongoing community arts project in the world. Each "block" of The AIDS Memorial Quilt consists of eight individual

Shamera Bourne, Tearanny Street, Kendra Pope

Aprille Williams, Dominique Hilton, Savannah Armstrong, Pamela Robinson

panels sewn together. Virtually every one of the more than 40,000 colorful panels that make up the Quilt memorializes the life of a person lost to AIDS. Blocks of the Quilt were in Hattiesburg during the latter part of the

Tekisha Mitchell, Yvette Parker, Tony Jones, Nancy Bryant

Delta Sigma Theta members



year. The quilt was on display at Trinity Episcopal Church where a Service of Remembrance and Healing, a candlelight vigil and reception, sponsored by the ASC and Delta Sigma Theta sorority, were held.

Tekisha Mitchell, Janie Green

Arnecca0 Byrd, Marlena Jenkins, Tawnya Crockett, Nichelle Harris, Vickie Reed

Harriet Hatten, Leslie Farmer

C Barry McArthur, Selena Grenn, Chip Grenn

oldwell Banker/Don Nace Realtors welcomed family, friends, business associates and members of the community to a holiday open house Dec. 16.

Peggy Woodruff, Don Nace, Gwen James, Winnie Nace

Bailey Fortenberry, Chase Davis

Pat Bennett, Nancy Amacker, John & Laura Hojem

Bonnie Lou Powell, Philip Rogers Jr., Pat & Bob Jefcoat

Darleen Dale, Tony & Edy Rhodes

Ellen Carty, Gregory Ketchings, Stacy Pace, Joshua Johnson

Bob R. Smith, Pam Wilkerson, Gayle Moore

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Joyce Anderson-Burkett, Rekell Knight, Francis A. Hollins-Spates

Alice White Shinal, Samuel Hoard

L. B. Smith, Jesse Portia, Stanley Turner

Carolyn Agee, Lillie Chapman Applewhite, Jackie Eashmond, Altamese Leggett

Frances Hervey, Ethel Leggett, Altamese Leggett, Juruthin S. Woullard

Stanley Turner, Larry Knight

Arthur Applewhite, Inez Dishmon, Lillie C. Applewhite, Betty Hilton Thibeaux

Eleanor L. Harris, Marjorie W. Chambers, Judy Bouey-Knight


Ann Edwards, Sonja L. Spates

raduates of L.J. Rowan High School in Hattiesburg recently held a reunion celebration at the Hattiesburg Cultural Center in Downtown Hattiesburg. Classmates gathered for a meal, program and reminiscing.

Nadeline Johnson, Altamese Leggett, Deborah Delgado, George Goudy, Deborah Blake, Stephanie Hoze, Prince Woullard, Cliff Goudy, John Bester, Patricia Pittman, Johnny Owens



Harry Oatis, John E. Owens, John H. Bester Jr.

Deborah Blake, Johnny Owens, Madeline Johnson

Wayne & Betty Musgrove, Lynda & Ed Langton

G. Carey & Margie Hauenstein, Marcus Robinson

Jude Hoda, Lynn Cartlidige, Andy Cartlidge

Bobby Chain, Barbara Hamilton

Jennifer & Chad Newell, Scott Hummel


Dr. Virginia Angelico Tatum, Lynn Cartlidge, Carl & Martha Nicholson, Sarah Webb

Dawn & Jeff Jones, Laurie & Andy Stetelman

attiesburg’s university presidents, Dr. Martha Saunders of the University of Southern Mississippi and Dr. Tommy King of William Carey University, were honored with the prestigious Hub Award for 2010 during a gala dinner at the Hattiesburg Country Club. The award was made to Dr. Saunders and Dr. King for their outstanding contributions to the community, commitment to excellence and dedication to public service.

Dr. Martha Saunders, Joe Bailey

Mr. and Mrs. Moran Pope, Fran & Tom Estes

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SHannon Mitchell, Allison Wellborn

Daryl & Linden Bosarge

Kaelyn Sydboten, Caitlin Smith

Teresa & Tony Rahaim

Jeff Farris, Molly Kimble, Jake Ray

Amber Finnegan, Jean Hancock

Matthew & Mike Bryant

Erin Moore, Caroline Hatfield, Brooke Boswell


he Gallery at 98 held a grand opening celebration during December. The event was catered by Cork Wine Bar and EDO Sushi and there were product demonstrations, free consultations and gifts.

Nathan & Angel Rogers

MIchael & Dawn Speed, Kimberly & Phillip Gattuso

Joseph & Stephanie Hollomon

Molly Kimble, Jake Ray, Sabrina Malone

Allison Wellborn, Beverly Russell; Linden Bosarge, Mike Bryant, Teresa Rahaim, Molly Kimble, Dawn Speed, Caitlin Smith, Erin Moore, Kaelyn Sydboten



Linden Bosarge, Erin Moore, Caitlin Smith

Anne Speed, Teresa Rahaim, Johnan Hand, Paula Hand

Katie Bush, Teresa Rahaim

Angel Rogers, Teresa Rahaim, Mandy McKenzie, Jennifer Parker, Beverly Russell

Tim & Heather Hallman

Kim Bradley, Mac Bradley, Tim Cole

Taylor Cumberland, Santa (Casey Cross), Brittany Nichols


he Hattiesburg Country Club hosted its annual Christmas Party for members and friends Dec. 16 at the club. Santa Claus and a couple of his elves showed up to hear Christmas wishes.

Sam & Erica McHard, Lisa & Rick Conn

Aaron Bradley, Elise Cole

Ike & Dottie Farris, Tim Farris

Martha Johnson, Liz & Coury Zachary

Chrystal Rogue Shelia Russum, Abby Nicholson, Mark Nelson

Judy & Ric Corts

Gennie & Leon Perry

Andy Moore, Martha & Bob Johnson, Peggy Moore, Lottie & Jeff Vance

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Bill Elkins, Ginny Simmons, Sidney & Richie Malone

Sandra Foster, Traci Davis Speights

Jimmy & Nadine Sumrall, Betty & Woodrow Lyon

Jason & Amy Ainsworth

George & Jean Pace, Ann Adams

Carole & David King

Michele & Shawn Huhn


udy and Lee Jarrell Davis of Hattiesburg welcomed family and friends to their home Dec. 3 for a holiday gathering.

Carolyn & Charles Carter Chad & Kim Pittman, Lee Jarrell & Judy Davis, Traci Davis-Speights

Peggy Sanchez, Colleen Cameron

Annette & Chuck Savell, Stephen Lyon

Kim Pittman, Kana Cochran, Anabel & Justin Spencer, Rob Cochran, Chad Pittman

Miriam Yearwood, Peggy Sanchez, Muriel Anderson, Cathy Brown, Carolyn Ramsey



Sandra Foster, Angel Freed, Christy Hamm, Traci Davis-Speights, Kristine McMillan

James Stokes, George Carter, Lewis Mayard

Beckie Goudie, Emma Cubley

Tommy & Peggy Pittman

Day & Scott Bookout, Rhonda Rogers, Judy Morgan

Bonnie McNair, Peter & Jerre Bokor

Beckie Goudie, Charles & Lynn Stuart, Judy Morgan, Mary Loughman, Bob Ross

Edward & Brenda Nodhturft, Bob & Betty Holder


he Friends of Friends Christmas Party was held at the Canebrake Lake Clubhouse. Guests brought unwrapped gifts for children to be distributed to local charities.

Travis & Lindsey Hacker, Denny Hawkins

Lynn Stuart, Barbara Carter, Charles Stuart, Peggy Moore

Andy & Peggy Moore

Judy McGee, Joanne Oshrin, Dianne Warren, Bonnie McNair

Jack & Anita Gay, Patsy Thomas Scott Stromeyer, Peggy Moore, Pam & Mike Nobles, Amy Stromeyer

Charlie Bevon, Charlie Winstead, Chris Moore

Roy & Thelma Roberts

Mike Warren, Kevin Malone, Dan McGee, Steve Oshrin

Tiny & C.W. Hicks

Chris Thompson, Emma Cubley, Buck Thompson

Thelma Roberts, Mike Nobles, Bobby & Emma Cubley, Pam Nobles, S.E. Moore

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Sarah Smith, Bailey Simon

Michael Fore, Ethan Karstens

Callie Crider, Sarah Hadley Greer

Allie Mayers, Anne Kathryn Andy, Kelly Coffin, Julia Bishop, Sarah Hadley Greer, Aubrie Ann Wilkinson, Mary Claire Whitehead

Presley Davis, Carlisle Washburne, Landry Callender, Erin Cox, Elizabeth Hyer, Ashton Reno, Rhyan Plumlee

Roma & Gabrielle Graham

Lander Filce, Reilly Warren, Lauren Jones, Catherine Sullivan, Callie Crider, Katie Kelly, Erin Collins

Madison Mitchell, Kristen Cone, Sheldyn Turner, Landry Callender, Delaney Havard, Erin Cox


Sinclaire Green, Emilee Hoang, Makenzie Rahaim, Chloe Anderson



he National League of Junior Cotillions of Hattiesburg held its annual Holly Ball at the Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center in Downtown Hattiesburg. Dressed semi-formally, the students participated in the elegant evening which gave Cotillion members the opportunity to put into practice all the dances and etiquette that they learned during the past half year in Cotillion classes.

Lyn-Holli Severson, Madelyn Black, Mary Grace Prine, Katherine Robbins

Peggy Pittman, Patsy Hawkins Janet Slay, Ann Aldridge, Carolyn Petro, Allene Korinek

Mary Loughman, Mary Ann Cox, Lynn Stuart, Susan Carruth


eggy and Hilda Moore hosted their annual Moore Christmas Brunch for family and friends at Lake Serene on Dec. 7

Hilda Moore, Peggy Moore

Frances Sudduth, Ruth Centanni, Diane Hammond

Judy Fortenberry, Rhonda Kammerdeiner, Chris Thompson, Sherie Bryant

Barbara Carter, Pam Nobles, TIny Hicks Sherry Winstead, Dollye Kirk, Betty Lyon, Carolyn Lyon, Nadine Sumrall Carrence Curry, Emma Cubley

Donna DuFour, Betty Jo Ison, Peggy Moore, Becky Goudie, Neely Cooley

April Selman, Glenda Guess

Richie Malone, Margaret Langford, Debbie Pollitz, Mary Holland, Judy McGee

Deborah Harless, Carrence Curry

Marika Warner, Nadine Sumrall

Beth Bice, Chris Thompson

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Erika McFarland, Reginald Myers

Shanika Bennett, LeKisha Franklin

Joyce Barnes, Angie Dillon, Maria Barnes, Dr. Sonja McCaskill-Mitchell

Regertha Jordan, Annie Pope, Macheline & Dorian Johnson

Erika McFarland, Rochelle Campbell

Ashley Hudson, Tiffany Cooper, Whitney Catchings

Mayor Johnny DuPree, Rep. Percy Watson

Tia Brannon, Terrence Bivens

Anitra McElroy, Brittany D. & Melba Houze

Carl & Anita McSwain, Reginald & Rita Myers


ep. Percy Watson hosted his 22nd Annual Appreciation Gala Dec. 18 at Lake Terrace Convention Center. Guests, who enjoyed good food and entertainment, were asked to donate educational books or toys for a needy child. Regina Smith, Frederick Rials, Glenda Nickson

Yvonne Harrison, Sarah Dean, Carolyn Scarbrough, Shelley Garner

Thomas & Fannie Evans

Joanne Allen, Cecilia Baker, Triconya Brown, Denetria Williams, Beverly Patrick, Wauline Carter, LaTonjia Tate



Carlos Wilson, Annie Pope, Flora Wilson

Anna Flemmings, Beverly Calcote

Glenda Deloach, Verna C. Bivins, Sondra & Perry Doss

David & Carla Irvin, Janice Briggs, Bo Williams

Wanda Murphy, Mechelle Duckworth, Katherine Pittman, Karen Daniel, Melissa Garretson

Christa Walles, Martha McInnis


esley Medical Center’s Senior Circle program held its annual Christmas Senior Circle is an organization that improves the lives of people 50 and better; it celebration Dec. 7 at Lake Terrace Convention Center. Senior adults,, is sponsored by Wesley Medical Center. For more information, visit www.wesage 50 and better, were invited to attend and enjoy food, fun and door or prizes. Wesley CEO Mike Neuendorf was the keynote speaker.

Flora Means, Janet Expose, Alice Minor

Jean Crockett, Beatrice Errington

Fredrick & Jane Burge, Cindy & Fred Lee

Bemella Smith, Maxie Snell, Ella Moody, Elizabeth & Perry Gandy

Don Pittman, Maveline Bingham, James & Joan Harper, Virginia Roe, Barbara Hayman

Joyce McKenzie, Marty Turner, Doc Vernon Tuttle

Melissa & Claire Garretson, Lynell Murray, Bess McDonald, Ginger Eberling

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Southern Miss carolers

Billie Johnson, Rachel & Micah Douglas, Nick Johnston Sara, Julia & Jack Farris

Sarah Hadley, Landen Barham

Betsy, Elliott & Richard Walsh

Carmen, Toni & Josh Moody, Kendra Pope, Richard Jones

Melanie, McKenzie & Cohen Keller, Lindsey & Lexie Bourgeois

Maddox & Bettie Rose Breazeale

Rick & Gabrielle Graham


Cassie Davis, Jackson Rigney



ake Terrace Convention Center and Forrest General Hospital joined forces for a winter wonderland, complete with a Christmas Village full of activities, Santa's workshop with elves and other characters and kids got to make crafts, magical reindeer food and ornaments. Mrs. Claus' Sweet Shoppe featured holiday treats. Forrest General's newest family member, Forrest the deer, made his official debut. A winter wonderland concert featuring live entertainment from the USM Symphony Orchestra followed with special guests Guy Hovis and Mary Donnelly Haskell.

Santa’s Helpers...The FGH Spirit Girls

Andrea Hood, Bill Youngblood, Leslie Ortego

Nancy Youngblood, Debbie Thorn, Edith James, Melissa Janetson, Karen Le Beau

Linda & Larry Smith

Charles Poston, Doris D. Davis


Jim & Charlotte Hill

Jerre & Peter Bokor

Tammy James, Leslie Ortego, Debbie Thorn, Melissa Garretson, Bill Youngblood, Andrea Hood, Ed Langton, David Shelman, Brad Holmes

he Osher Lifelong Learning Center (Olli) located on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi held its annual holiday gathering at the Peck House/Asbury Annex.

Dawn & Russ Stratton

Richard & Carolyn Kozelskis, Sue Pace

Sharon & Thomas Bartlett, Margarita Matheus

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Lou Ann McInnis, Donna Wheeler, Joyce Norris

Gary Fordham, Barbara Hamilton

Joanne & Hardy Denham, Mona & Don Stewart

Jeannette & Hugh Dickens

Cheryl & Jerry Bracey

Don Odom, Margie Myrick, Walter Butler, Lewis Myrick

Gloria Green, Louella Benedict


holiday reception was held prior to the musical Christmas Extravaganza: Like the Ones I Used to Know at William Carey University.

Linda & Gary Gordon, Scott Hummell, Sandra King

Paul & Lou Ann Cotton, Errol Simmons Lois McKenzie, Joel McKenzie

Carolyn Owens, Tommy King, Eugene Owens, Sandra King



Sandra King, Quentin & Louella Benedict

Mary Beth & Barry Breland

Tonya Neely, Karen Matlock, Amber Hartfield

Nicole Ruhnke, Jordan Whittle, Barbara Ross

Sherry Morgan, Felisha Ruffin

Crystal Crawford, Debbie Woullard


Sheila Varnado

he Hattiesburg Visitors Center hosted their Seventh Annual Christmas Open House Dec. 15. Special guest was Mississippi Miss Hospitality Jordan Whittle with a special performance by the Southern Miss Carolers.

Jessica, Judy & Mark Baker

Cindy Warren, Chris Rowell

Lah-Lah Devine, Rachel Upton, Katie Barr, Renesha McNeal

Peggy Pierce, Anne Makay & Kristie Fairley, Kristi Buckley

Katrina Baker, Jasmine Bolton, Jo Davis, Jean Pace

Anita Wright, Dinah Griffin, Heide Lederman, Nathan Jennings

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Signature Magazine - February 2011  

The February edition of Signature, the Pine Belt's "Scene and Be Seen" magazine.